He's back.

She sees him across the hallway and immediately smashes all her things into the locker and speeds off towards the girls' toilet. She's still there when Quinn comes in after third period.

"Quinn?" A small voice sounds and the blonde looks around in confusion, her perfect eyebrows arched in confusion.

Mercedes pushes the door to her stall open and for a moment they just stare at each other.

"Ah," says Quinn.

Mercedes bursts into tears.

"I'm fine."

Quinn wipes more mascara from Mercedes' cheeks, but says nothing.

"Really, it's all hunky-dory."

Quinn snorts. "Nobody who says 'hunky-dory' is fine."

"Peachy, then."

There's silence again. Sugar enters the toilet, but quickly retreats when Quinn gives her a glare so bitchy, Mercedes almost chokes.

"She can go to the toilet, Quinn," she smiles.

"I don't like her," Quinn shrugs.

"I have a boyfriend," Mercedes announces suddenly.

"I don't like him either."

There's silence. And then: "I'm not sure I do, either."

"Rumor has it Mercedes Jones is hiding in the toilet to avoid you!" Jacob shoves a microphone in his face and Sam wonders if it's acceptable to go Tennesee on his ass and break his glasses into a million pieces. "Care to confirm this rumour?"

"I'm not quite sure Sam is informed enough to answer questions about Mercedes whereabouts," comes a dry voice from behind him. "Run along now."

Sam turns around to thank Artie, but the words get caught in his gasp as Artie runs over his left foot. Repeatedly.

"What the hell?" he asks when Puck has lead him, doubled over in pain, to the nearest bench. The pair sit on either side of him, glaring at him.

"Dude, you dumped Jones. We have no problems with you as a bro, but right now you broke her heart."

"Yes, yes," Artie nods. "Our bromance is still intact, but we need to make sure you pay for dumping Mercy."

Suddenly, Puck has pulled back his fist and slammed it into Sam's nose. Blood streams down his chin but the pain quickly fades as Artie adds: "And then help you win her back."

"What did you expect, Wheezy? Skipping classes will give you detention." Santana's harsh, but her hand is rubbing Mercedes' back and Brittany leans against her shoulder, making sad sounds.

"Oh god, this is going on my record," Mercedes hyperventilates.

"See, daddy can buy off my detentions," says Sugar. She quickly shuts her mouth as Santana kicks her hard in the shin.

"I'm breaking up with Shane."

"Because you got detention?" Brittany asks, her face scrunched with confusion.

"I think so."

"Sam, I can not believe you would engage in such a childish fight," Mr Schue growls. "And on your first day back. I am so disappointed."

He gestures toward Puck, face splotched with blood, sitting on the piano stool and groaning loudly.

"I. I-" Sam has never been so confused in his life.

Mr Schue shakes his head sadly. "Detention, Sam. I expected this from Puck, not from you." He storms out of the room, Shelby following with a small smile on her lips as she looks over at Puck.

"What the hell, guys?" Sam yells as soon as the door has slammed. He had come from English directly to the choir room where he had been yelled out for punching Puck in the nose. He had tried to defend himself, but it didn't help that his swollen nose indicated that a fight indeed had taken place.

"Chill, bro," Puck says, taking a tissue from Artie to wipe away the blood. "This is all part of the plan."

"What plan?" Sam groans, sinking onto a chair. Now he would be late home and god knows that Stacey and Steve wouldn't save any foodfor him so he would be eating cereal for dinner.

"The epic plan of winning back Mercedes, of course."

Sam narrows his eyes. "I'm beginning to think there is no plan, but this is all a way for you to mess with me."

"She just broke up with her boyfriend," Puck smirks.

"All righty then," Sam nods, marching towards the door. He stops when his hand was on the door knob, "One more question.

"The fake blood?" Artie grins. "Being director in McKinley High production means unlimited access to theater make up."

She's here.

He can't believe it. Sitting behind a desk, looking exceptionally bored while inspecting her nails. Puck and Artie must be wizards.

"You will sit here for an hour, there will be silence. Complete and utter silence." The geography teacher bugs his eyes out for a moment just to emphasize precisely how silent it's supposed to be. "My office is right outside, if there is no silence, I can hear you." Then the old man stumbles over the threshold, comes back for his forgotten briefcase and then for his pencil. Finally, he slams the door shut and it's Sam and Mercedes and silence.

"Hi Mer-"

She shushes him. He can't believe she shushed him.

"Come on-" She gives him a glare that clearly says: "Shut the eff up."

Fine. He leans back in his chair and studies her. The way she avoids looking at him, the fall of her glossy hair, the melted colour of her skin.

God, he's missed her.

Talk to me.

The notebook lands on her desk. His tidy scrawling on the top of the page.

About what?

He's so damn glad that she passes the notebook back and seeing her loopy handwriting a few inches under his makes his body sing.

About the fact that I love you.

She reads the sentence. Then again. For a moment, Sam just watches her eyes go over the line. Her mouth is slightly agape. And finally, she looks up and meets his eyes.

God, she forgot how fast he moves. Suddenly, he's kneeling in front of her, eye to eye, nose to nose.

"You broke up with me," she whispers. Hands out of control as they float towards his hair.

"I was moving, I told you I loved you." His hands go to her waist, find their home. "How could you have gotten the impression that I ever stopped?"

She smiles, sheepishly. "I didn't. It was just easier to hate you than miss you."

He snorts. "Love me instead then."

There's silence. He waits for her answer, this life-and-death feeling settling in his stomach. She opens her mouth to say something and suddenly shrugs as if she thought better of it.

Then, she kisses him.

Puck and Artie perform a complex high five, involving the wheelchair and a weird mohawk dance, when Sam and Mercedes come to Glee the next day. Finn goes a bit cross-eyed as he watches them and Mr Schue glares at Mercedes.

"See you later," Sam whispers, kissing her on the cheek. She fires of a big smile at the club, ignores Mr Schue and marches off to her own rehearsal.

"What the hell, Sam?" asks Finn. "You're fraternizing with the enemy?"

Mr Schue looks thoughtful, "Since you and Mercedes are dating, isn't it possible that you could convince her to return to New Directions."

Artie, Puck and Sam let out similar noises of disbelief.

"Why would I?" Sam asks, "She likes it there. Let her be happy."

"But she could be using you to spy on us!" exclaims Rachel, ignoring how Kurt rolls his eyes in contempt.

"You're one to talk," snarks Quinn. "Remember Jesse?"

The club breaks out into squabble, but Sam can barely hear them. He sends Artie and Puck a grin and counts down the seconds until he can see Mercedes again.