The inevitable Uptown Girl fic, because my sister is always bugging me to write more Niff. There really isn't enough of it...

I do not own Glee; if I did, Niff would be canon and the Warblers would be in it more.

"Uptown girl, you know I can't afford to buy her pearls…"

Jeff sighed, feeling hollow inside. His good mood, prompted by Blaine's unexpected visit, was quickly evaporating as he watched Nick dance and sing, looking adoringly at Mademoiselle Dauptain. Jeff knew that Nick probably didn't mean anything by it – he'd spent the previous night moaning about what a grumpy cow she was, after all – but he couldn't help feeling like his insides had been scooped out with a spoon.

He plastered what he knew was a ridiculously fake-looking smile on his face and tried to concentrate on singing and dancing around without looking too wistful. He was vaguely aware of Blaine looking at him thoughtfully from his spot further up the line, and of Sebastian staring blatantly at Blaine (Kurt would not be happy about that if he found out, and Jeff was sure he would), but he didn't really register it – he was too busy carefully watching Nick and Mademoiselle Dauptain and feeling a little guilty as he made snarky comments about her dancing inside his head.

Jeff shook his head. This was ridiculous: he and Nick weren't going out. He didn't even know if Nick liked him or not. Heck, he wasn't even sure that Nick was gay. He was fairly certain that he was, but it wasn't something that they had ever discussed – there was an unspoken understanding between the two of them that that was the one subject they would never speak about. Jeff didn't like it, but he loved Nick too much to argue.

He thought about it for a moment, losing a little concentration as he did so (and even then he was still a better dancer than Mlle Dauptain), and realised that…it was true. He did love Nick. He wasn't sure when the shift had occurred, but it had, and it was simultaneously delightful and terrifying. It also upped the pressure: now that he'd realised the depths of his feelings for Nick, he couldn't stay silent. That wasn't the Sterling way. He'd have to say something.

His resolve hardened as Nick stepped forward and finished the song. Conversely, Blaine was immediately surrounded by hoards of excited Warblers, chattering loudly; but Jeff hung back a little, not really paying attention, instead trying to work out what he was going to say. When the crowd eventually dissipated, Blaine being snagged almost immediately by Sebastian, Jeff managed to catch up with Nick in the hallway.

"Hey," he said breathlessly, laying his hand on Nick's shoulder. "You were…you were great back there."

Nick beamed. "Really?"

"Of course," Jeff said. "You're always amazing, but you were really brilliant in that number." He forced himself to smile and look at Nick, though he could feel a scarlet blush burning on his cheeks.

Nick's cheeks were faintly pink too as he pulled Jeff into a tight hug. Jeff remained stiff and didn't return the hug like he usually would: he was sick of the way things were now, the semi-platonic, not-just-friends-but-not-more-than-friends almost-flirting and hugs that were too long for friend-hugs but never meant anything more. They needed to clarify the situation, one way or another.

"Jeff? Are you all right?"

But, when all was said and done, wasn't what he had better than nothing? If he rocked the boat, he could gain Nick as more than a friend, or he could lose him altogether. It didn't take a genius to work out which was better.

"What? No, I'm fine."

"Good. Good. You want to go and get some coffee?"

"Yeah, that sounds great."

After all, something was better than nothing, right?

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