Sam pulled on the loose thread on the collar of his polo-shirt nervously. Santana and Mercedes, Kurt; they'd all been amazing. Which looking at it now, he should have expected. Even though their Glee club had only come in third at sectionals last year, they had a lot more talent in this one room then most schools did in every classroom combined. He nearly shot out of his seat when Quinn grabbed his fidgeting fingers and lowered them from his shirt. "Would you relax? We're going to be fine."
He nodded, bouncing his head up and down. "Yeah. Fine. You're right."
Licking his lips, he tried psyching himself up by imagining the two of them at Breadsticks, alone in a cozy booth, staring into each other's eyes...
The thought only made him more nervous. But it also gave him the motivation he needed to put on a confident front.
"Next up, Finn and Rachel." Mr. Schue announced, stepping aside to let the two brunettes have the floor.
"Thank you," Rachel nodded to the teacher with a big gleaming smile. He'd heard from a few of the Glee clubbers that she was the star of their little entourage. Somehow, he didn't have a hard time believing that. With her tiny form, she looked similar to that of a ballerina; perfect for center stage.
Music started up, then; a song he recognized almost instantly. It was Elton John's Don't Go Breaking My Heart. Settling into his seat, he watched, ready to hear the voice of the infamous Rachel Berry.
Finn led the song, and Rachel jumped in, her voice sugary and soft. It matched her oddly child-like and endearing way of dress, and pixie-like height.
They circled the piano, but the quarterback seemed to vanish as his eyes were only on her. As they got further into the song, he felt himself grinning and silently mouthing the words to the male lead as if he were the one belting it out with her. Her musical voice touched something inside him, in a weird, spiritual way. However, as she went for an energetic twirl, her foot suddenly slid out from under her and she fell to the linoleum with a screech of surprise, and a thump.
Sam stood up from his chair in shock, but didn't make a move to approach her. Finn rushed to her aid, grabbing her by the arm and hoisting her upward. She visibly winced as she attempted to walk on her left foot. "I think it's sprained." Rachel spoke, testing it again, and gritting her teeth against the pain.
"Do you need some help getting to the nurse, Rachel?" Mr. Schuester asked, and Sam stepped forward before Finn had a chance to say a word. "I'll do it."
"Sam," Quinn said, grabbing his bicep with a hint of alarm in her tone. "You can't leave, it's our turn next." He could practically see the words forming in her head that finished the sentence. And with Rachel failing the song, we might have a shot at this!
It was true, with their star down for the count, they at least had a chance.
Sam looked to Will. "Think we can take our turn when I get back?"
Mr. Schue grinned lightly. "Absolutely. Just get her to the nurse, Sam."
The blonde nodded, while the baffled Finn Hudson said nothing as the blonde hooked his arm around the boy's girlfriend's shoulders and led her out of the choir room.
"Why are you helping me?" She asked in suspicion, eyeing him like she expected him to drop her then maybe kick her while she was down.
"We're teammates. I dunno, when one falls down, aren't we supposed to help the person up?" He shrugged his shoulders.
She nodded reluctantly. "Yes, you're right about that. Although, it doesn't seem that's exactly how this team functions."
The two stopped walking- well, limping, in Rachel's case- and basked in the silence for a moment, before Sam asked; "You get picked on a lot, don't you? By the Glee kids, and everyone else at this school?"
Miss Berry thought over her answer, before finally she sighed in what seemed like defeat. "Yes. Though my fellow club members are admittedly nicer to me then the neanderthals at this school- who slushie me almost daily- they do take their little quips every now and then."
"I think it makes it more hurtful, that way."
She gazed at him in confusion. "Pardon?"
"They're supposed to have your back. They're supposed to be there for you. Like a family. A team, in my books, is kind of like a family. Families aren't supposed to beat their siblings down." He shook his head in what appeared to be disgust. "You trust them, and they take their swings at your. It's not right..."
Rachel frowned, lifting Sam's well muscled arm from around her, before leaning up against the cold locker directly behind her. "You sound like you know the feeling."
He bit his lower lip, then proceeded to stuff his hands in his jean pockets and duck his head. "Yeah, I do."
"Would you like to share your experience? I have to admit, I'm curious."
He moved to stand beside her and prop his back up against one of the other lockers. "See, I went to an all boy's school. I mean, I guess it was okay, I didn't get slushied there or anything, but..." Sam stared down at his shoes. "Well, you know how guys can be. I was- am a total dork. I love comics, and Avatar, and even the occasional action figure."
Rachel smiled. "I see nothing wrong in enjoying such things. If it's something you love, then who cares what everyone else thinks, right?" Her smile turned sheepish. "Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt."
He laughed and shook his head. "I always thought that, too. Until one day, a guy I knew in my math class found my stash of comic books in my backpack, and was just ruthless about it. He showed the whole class, insulted me, then ripped every one of them up. He laughed the whole time, like it was nothing. We weren't the tightest of friends, but he was still someone I'd call a bro, you know? To see him do that..." He trailed off, surprised when Rachel reached down and squeezed his hand.
"I understand completely..."
"Then it got worse," He squeezed her hand in return. "I signed up for the soccer team, to try and seem a little cooler. I'd always had a thing for sports, anyway, so it seemed like the perfect fit. One day at practice, I'd went to score a goal and I hit the post by accident. I cursed in Na'vi, and one of the dude's on the team bashed me for that, too." He shook his head. "I'd been nothing but friendly to all of them, but every where I went, I was still Sam The Dork."
"I think Sam The Dork sounds like a very warm, interesting individual. Football Playing, Athlete Sam is wonderful as well, and I look forward to possibly hearing him sing today, as well as maybe getting to know him as more then our eleventh Glee club member. But," Her sweet smile turned into a full beam. "If somewhat Dorky Sam wishes to show me some of his comic books, or teach me some Na'vi, I certainly wouldn't object, nor treat you any different than I am now."
Sam didn't know what to say to that. He racked his brain for a moment, but could do nothing more then smile in return and reply with a, "Cool."
The duo stood there a minute longer, in comfortable silence, until he broke it. "Bullying is wrong," His tone was hard as he squeezed her hand tightly in his. "And from now on, I've got your back. Anyone rips on you, I'll kick their ass."
She laughed, letting her head fall against his arm. "Thank you, Sam."
He didn't realize his hand was still wrapped comfortingly around hers, until they returned to the choir room and were met with stares of different expressions. Mostly confusion.
"So..." Puck drawled out with a smirk. "Shall we call 'em Evanberry or Samchel?"