It's no secret to anyone that Blaine is a hopeless romantic.

Valentine's Day has always been his favorite holiday, that's no big surprise to anyone because ever since he could first get his hands on the crisp, clean white construction paper they used to hand out in elementary school in the weeks preceding the big day, Blaine would just draw huge hearts over every single square inch, because it made the paper prettier. But when he thought about it more, Blaine realizes that no matter how much he's in love with love, he's never been in love. He's come close, but never close enough, always skimming the surface before falling flat.

And then, it all changed. It all changed with Dalton.

Sam is his next-door neighbor, living across the hall with Jeff. He's on a soccer scholarship for their team, hinted at by all the posters of famous players that Blaine has no idea who they are splayed across his walls. As soon as Jeff introduces the two of them, Sam's all smiles, grinning and talking and just radiating warmth and.

Sunshine. That's all Blaine can think about when he looks at him, unable to keep himself from smiling as well.

It's strange, because everything about them seems to be polar opposites – blond and brunette, outgoing and shy, athletic and artsy – and yet, Blaine knows somewhere that they're not unlike at all. Strangely, he's never felt more like he's had more in common with someone than with Sam. It just – it works in a way that he can't describe to anyone, no matter how many times people ask him. They're best friends, and that's all there is to it.

They're sitting together in Blaine's room one night, illuminated by the flickering of The Hangover on the screen in front of them, and Sam's strangely quiet, finally admitting that he wishes he was able to attend Dalton for what he wanted to, and not simply because they need him. He says to Blaine, surprising him, that he wishes he could just start his life over from the beginning some times and be somebody else. He admits to loving things like music and singing and weird science fiction movies, but he can't, because that's not him, not who he's supposed to be. It leaves a strange ache in Blaine's chest, but before he can ever respond to it, Sam's smiling again, like he had never said it.

Blaine joins the school's show choir, and makes friends with Kurt Hummel, who is an amazing singer and brilliant beyond belief when it comes to anything musical, and also lacking in any realms of personal space and devoid of a brain-to-mouth filter, as is proven to Blaine on their first meeting when Kurt immediately insults his hair and pulls out a container of hair gel to fix it. He's quirky and weird, and probably one of the sweetest people Blaine has ever met.

The thing that surprises him ever more is how much Kurt likes Sam. Kurt is constantly telling Sam that if he worked on it, he could look like he stepped out of the pages of Italian Vogue, or whatever is the new hit this week. And Sam will grin and nod and agree with Kurt, only to forget everything in the next three seconds. But it pleases Kurt enough to make him a newfound presence in their rooms now, reading magazines and singing and giving them fashion advice as the two of them watch movies or play video games.

And when Blaine walks into Sam's room one night, finding Sam sitting in his desk chair with Kurt perched on top of the desk, foils and a bowl of something that smells extremely strong right next to him, Sam only grins at him. "Lost a bet," Sam mouths at him, only wincing a little bit as Kurt tugs on a bit of hair and covers it in the goop from the bowl and wraps it in foil.

When Blaine starts to laugh, he knows. Yeah, this could work out.

Sam introduces them to Dave Karofsky in the beginning of their junior year. He's the new goalie for the school's hockey team, and the two them met during condition over the summer. He's unnervingly quiet and seems jumpy in his own skin, but Blaine just shrugs it off, figuring if Sam and Dave are friends, they guy must not be all that bad.

What surprises the hell out of him, though, is how much Dave changes when he meets Kurt. Suddenly, the cold, hard exterior is gone with one of Kurt's flirtatious smiles, and Dave's smiling back, laughing at something that Blaine must've missed along the way because he doesn't really know what's so funny. It must've shown on his face, because as he's watching the two interact with one another, so caught up in nothing and taken with each other, Sam elbows him lightly. He grinning deviously and his eyes are laughing brightly, like he knows some secret that Blaine doesn't.

"Don't start anything," Blaine whispers, already understanding where this is going. Sam just laughs more, clasping his hand down on the back of Blaine's neck reassuringly.

"Winter break, they'll be together," he whispers as he starts to steer the two of them away from Dave and Kurt. Blaine just narrows his eyes at Sam, because no, he doesn't think it'll take that long.

It's the middle of November, and Sam trudges into Blaine's room as he dumps all of his stuff onto the floor with a thud. Blaine's watching what looks like a early release of the Harry Potter movie on his laptop, but now, he's not even looking at the screen anymore – he's just staring up at Sam, waiting for him to speak. Without any form of grace, Sam throws himself onto the bed next to Blaine, laying his head on the smaller boy's shoulder as he mutters flatly, "Jeff dumped me." Sam's always known that it was stupid to try and date his roommate – but they'd been roommates for over a year now – and Sam had always thought there was something. It wasn't love, but something. And yet he found Jeff cheating on him with Nick, and was the one who was dumped.

"I could go beat him up for you…" Blaine said with a shrug, after a few moments of silence pass. Sam laughs, rolling over onto his back next to Blaine but almost impossibly so they're even closer than they were before – shoulders and hips pressed until touching.

"That's very sweet gesture, but do you even know how to fight?" Sam asks, closing his eyes with a sigh. Blaine pulls a mock look of offense, but he runs a hand through Sam's hair, fingers carding through gently.

"Okay, well. Instead we could eat pop-tarts and watch movies. Sound better?"

In it's own strange little way, it's perfect. Eating brown sugar cinnamon pop-tarts on Blaine's bed and watching Daniel Radcliffe face off against a guy without a nose? Yeah, that's perfect for Sam.

When Christmas rolls around, and everyone's finding themselves caught under mistletoe and snuggling under blankets and whatever couples do during Christmas, it's just another reminder that they're yet again single. At least, Blaine and Sam are.

Although they did just pull off the plan of the century by catching Dave and Kurt under the mistletoe with one another, finally getting them to stop tiptoeing around each other and just face it all head on. The kiss was slow and tender, and when they pulled away both of them smiled shyly, before Sam let out a big whoop of excitement.

That had been hours ago, and now Blaine and Sam were walking back to their dorms in the quietness of the few flakes falling from the sky. Tomorrow they'd go home for winter break, and most likely wouldn't see each other for a month or so.

"Blaine?" Sam asks quietly.


There's a moment of silence that passes between the two of them, before Sam finally responds with "Do you ever think about…" Blaine stops when they reach the door of their building, his hand on the handle and an eyebrow perched in anticipation. When Sam finally gets it, he shakes his head, erasing the look of contemplation from his face. "Never mind." He walks past Blaine, pulling the door open and leaving a confused Blaine standing out in the cold, wondering what just happened.

It's February, and it's so bitterly cold everywhere they go that it's inescapable. Blaine's hit hard by a fever, one that wipes him out completely and leaves him delirious and barely able to move. He's trapped in his bed for three days, and through it all, Sam's there, bringing him Gatorade and placing cold hand towels on his forehead. He jokes about how horrible Blaine looks but even through the haze of the fever, Blaine can see the concern knitted in Sam's smile. Blaine weakly musters up a smile, and jokes that not everyone can have Kurt Hummel as their personal stylist. Sam's still smiling, but he doesn't say anything, and Blaine still sees the worry still there, shining as bright as day.

It's not until May that Kurt starts dating Finn Hudson, a football player from a public school just a town over. When he hears of it, Blaine bursts into Sam's room, looking angry and sad and disappointed and – and just everything. Sam's sitting cross-legged on his bed, staring meanly at a book of math problems, so when Blaine walks in, he happily closes it.

In a furious tangle of limbs, Blaine tumbles onto the bed, slowly rearranging himself so that his head in Sam's lap. Sam's smiles down at him, and like it a habit for the two of them, his hands automatically begin to run themselves through Blaine's hair. "It's not just me, right? He's being an idiot, right? They're in love, for fuck's sake."

Sam hums in agreement, but there's not much else that can be said. Neither of them moves for a while, and when Sam finally looks down again, he's not all that surprised to see that Blaine's fallen asleep.

By the time the end of their senior year rolls around, it's safe to say nothing is the same as it was when they started. Kurt's gone, fallen head over heels in love with a football player who he could've had right here but was too scared to admit it. Dave's gone, heartbroken and bitter.

And then there's Blaine and Sam. Graduation is two days away, and they're laying in silence, side by side on Blaine's bed. The TV is softly providing a buzz in the background, and it's comfortable.

So when Blaine reaches over, tangling his fingers with Sam's, Sam looks down and then over at Blaine, who's now watching him instead of the TV. Blaine's biting down on his bottom lip, and Sam wants more than anything to ask what gives, but he waits patiently, rolling slightly onto his side

"I love you."

Sam's pretty sure he stops breathing at that point, because through everything, through these past four years, through it all, it's never actually been said. All those times – all those times he wanted to say it but was too scared to because he didn't want to lose everything…

"Okay,"Sam says, his voice shaking so much that it doesn't even sound like him. Blaine sits up more, fingers twined together, and his other hand is cupping Sam's cheek, softly brushing over his cheekbone.

Letting out a nervous laugh, because what the fuck, what is this, what the hell, Sam says "Okay" again. This doesn't even seem like it could be real, because it's too perfect to be real, and Sam's wanted this since he could remember, and everything that Sam's ever wanted he never gets. But then Blaine's hands are fisting themselves in the collar of Sam's t-shirt, pulling him close and kissing him harder than he could ever imagine, and it feels real and it seems real.

And it hits Sam – this is real. He kisses Blaine back like he's always wanted to, desperately, needy, hungrily, wanting this moment to never end.

This moment, where they're spread out on Blaine's ratty bedspread, dressed in sweats and t-shirts, and watching Conan… nothing has ever felt more real to Sam. He squeezes down tightly on Blaine's hand again, just to make sure that he's not dreaming. When Blaine squeezes back, he smiles against Blaine's lips.

It's no secret to anyone that Blaine is a hopeless romantic.

Blaine realizes that no matter how much you're in love with love, nothing compares to being in love. And when you're in love with someone, in love with your best friend and you have been ever since you can remember and it's just. It's everything you could ever need.

So yeah, Blaine likes being a hopeless romantic. He likes the thought of romantic gestures and being in love and the idea of love.

But when you're actually in love with someone?

Nothing can compare.