Disclaimer: still not mine.

The heart wants what the heart wants.

"A little bird told me that a certain gentleman was paying you a lot of attention," Kurt smiled as he leaned over a locker next to Mercedes'. She wanted to sigh, feeling quite exhausted by the topic already, but she could never be mean to a teasing Kurt.

"More like a flock of little birds," Blaine amended peaking from around Kurt's shoulder. He snuggled his head into the crook of his boyfriend's neck and Mercedes wasn't sure if he'd ever find a way to dislodge himself. Not that it seemed to be a concern for him; he looked quite comfortable right where he was.

Mercedes shushed that part of herself that wanted to coo and gush and pinch their cheeks because their adorableness would be annoying if it wasn't so damn precious. She turned a fierce glare on them. At least, she hoped she did, she was never able to be as fierce when these two were around.

"If those idiotic birds don't stop chirping, I will make a fricassee out of them," she threatened.

Kurt arched an eyebrow at her tone.

Mercedes turned away from his inquisitive gaze and slammed her locker shut.

Blaine snuggled closer to Kurt. How was that even possible, she couldn't imagine but he managed it.

"You're alright?" Kurt asked quietly. His eyes had grown softer and Mercedes felt what little fight she had in her drain. She definitely felt bad for her harsh tone, now. It must be nice to have face like Kurt's; one that could make any one feel like the baser of scums just for being mean to its owner.

"I have a boyfriend," was all she said, as if it explained everything.

"Shane's very nice," Kurt nodded.

"Very supportive," Blaine added. It was a wonder his voice didn't come out muffled.

"He's been good to me," Mercedes went on, hating the note of despair she could hear in her voice.

"I know," Kurt replied smoothly but it held a hint of sadness, as if he knew something she didn't.

But she did know. Oh, how she knew!

There seemed to be nothing to add so Kurt embraced her and Blaine dropped a kiss on her cheek. It felt so nice. She smiled. Had there really been a time when she had felt threatened by Blaine? Silly 'Cedes. She'd gained someone wonderful and had not lost anyone in the process.

"See you later," he said as he led Kurt away. Mercedes watched them go. Kurt seemed to be more than reluctant to leave her and she felt such a surge of affection at his concern, it almost brought tears to her eyes. He kept looking back so she smiled reassuringly. It would be alright. She was going to be fine. How could she not, with friends like that?

She felt much better when she saw Blaine put an arm around him and whisper something in his ear. Kurt visibly relaxed and let his boyfriend take him away.

Despite her previous thought, Mercedes' heart ached. She wished things were that easy for her. It wasn't that Kurt and Blaine didn't have their own issues to deal with, but they seemed so perfect together. So in love and strong. The truth of the matter was things weren't easy for her. They could be easy but they weren't and, honestly, she didn't know who to blame anymore. It'd be simple to blame Sam. He seemed to be the easy target and the source of her troubles. However, the ugly truth was that she wasn't completely blameless either. Not anymore. Not since those blissful and sinful kisses at sectionals.

It's been weeks and yet she hadn't been able to erase the feeling of his body pressed so deliciously against hers. She could still taste him on her tongue. The memories still made her shiver.

He'd made her forget Shane. He'd made her an accomplice. A cheater. She almost winced at the recurring thought. She hated it.

She knew she had to make a decision, take a stand but try as she might, she couldn't. She had not broken up with Shane and she had not discouraged Sam. The idiot was persistent, too. There had been no possibility for another rendezvous –she'd made sure of that- but that didn't mean that Sam was giving up. He texted her. He sent her notes during class quoting sensual poetry (Sam Evans quoting Pablo Neruda and e.e cummings! It boggled the mind). He even sent her flowers. He looked at her. Looks that made her hot and shivery at the same time, looks that made her squirm on her chair, looks that had people talking all over the school.

She never replied, never sent a note back, always averted her eyes as soon as she could but that was all she did. That was the extent of her dealings with the situation. Because it had become a situation. He made sure of that.

She liked Shane. She really did. They weren't perfect but, really, which couple could claim to be? Besides Klaine, of course. Those two seemed to be the exception to the rule. She had something good, simple and safe. And why should that not be enough? It shouldn't matter that Sam wanted her back. He couldn't just waltz back into her life, proclaim his desire for her for the entire world to hear and then kiss her until she couldn't tell up from down. He had no right.

The fact that she had loved (past tense, nothing else could be considered. Ever!) the stupid boy wasn't something that should count. It shouldn't. The past was the past. He'd left and her broken heart had just started to heal.

No. Shane was nice. He was safe. Sam had been her first everything but that was all he was going to be. For her sake and peace of mind, that is all she would allow him to be.

She spotted him coming down the corridor talking with Puck and Artie. She averted her eyes and walked on, heart heavy and shoulders tense. She relaxed as she felt his fingers deliberately brush against her as they passed each other.

Damn!


On Friday, most of the gang had lunch period at the same time. Mercedes spotted the group quickly, it was hard not to with all the noise they were making. Sugar was singing (if that was what you could call it) an ear-bleeding inducing version of I will always love you while an amazed and terrified Rory looked on. Mercedes made her way to them, avoiding looking at the left side of the table. She sat down between Rachel and Blaine and tried to catch up to the different conversations going on around her. She was still very aware of a pair of blue eyes following her every move but she avoided them. Beautiful as they were, they were quite dangerous, too.

"I'm tellin' you! They were huge!" Puck was saying to Rory. Now that Sugar had finished her performance, he was free to be harassed by another member of their (weirder-by-the day) group. The poor kid's eyes looked about to pop out of their sockets.

"Classy," Tina said making a face at Puck who winked in response.

Kurt turned to Rory and laid a reassuring hand on his shoulder. "You'll soon learn to discard every word coming out of Puckerman's mouth, Grasshopper."

"But they were huuuuuge!" Puck protested.

"She was a he, Dumbo!" Kurt shot back with a smirk and the friends all laughed at the horrified look on Puck's face.

Mercedes was still chuckling when she received a text.

Meet le at the gazebo after glee.

-S.

Mercedes kept her head low, fighting all kinds of urges. She wanted to look at him. She wanted to punch him. She wanted to be at that gazebo already. She wanted so much, too much and she hated him a little for making her feel this way again.

She finished her lunch, eating and laughing with her friends. After that she went back to class, she enjoyed Tina and Blaine's rendition of I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my head during glee and after school she gave Shane a smooch good bye and went home.

She didn't sleep at all that night but sacrifices needed to be made for one's own peace of mind.


"You look beautiful."

Mercedes closed her eyes and willed herself to stay calm. She turned around and found him leaning against the piano. The glee club had spent the afternoon decorating the choir room for Christmas and she had decided to stay after them for the final touches.

"Thank you." Amazing how steady her voice was when she felt anything but.

"Having a good day?" he asked. His tone was light but when she looked up, his eyes were serious.

Was she having a good day? "I am. Glee club was surprisingly fun. I thought the Christmas spirit would be a perfect excuse to indulge in drama but they were surprisingly well behaved."

He chuckled. "Maybe they've indulged enough for the semester."

Her breath caught and for once it was in anger. "How would you know?"

She hadn't meant for the words to come out but the past few weeks had been so emotionally charged, the dam had to break one way or another. He was looking for trouble, he would get it. She was Mercedes Jones, damn it, she would not be harassed. Even if the harasser was as gorgeous as an angel and he had haunted her dreams for the last four months.

He stiffened momentarily, all suaveness draining out of him and Mercedes was startled to see the sadness lurking in his eyes. His shoulders suddenly dropped and before she had time to react he was right in front of her, too close for comfort. He cupped her cheeks and she felt his fingers tremble on her skin. He looked grief stricken and she longed to make him feel better.

Old habits.

"You have no idea how sorry I feel," he whispered. Looking at him right then, she thought she knew. "I have missed you so much." He said voice rough and tender.

She felt herself melt under his heart broken gaze. How strange to feel a keen ship to someone who had broken your heart so thoroughly.

"You have to know this isn't a game for me. You matter too much. I thought about you every day. Every day," he repeated, his eyes begging her to understand. The sad part was that she did understand. "I… I'm not doing this to make your life miserable. I'm doing this because… because, the truth is I can't help myself. You're here, I'm here and this is the only response you'll get out of me."

He kissed her then, sweet and soft and sensual. She tasted her own tears and he pulled her closer, breathing her in, tasting her like one would taste an expensive French wine. Not that Mercedes knew anything about that but his kisses were turning her whimsical and she felt kind of drunk so the analogy seemed adequate enough.

He paused in the kiss, resting his forehead against hers. His breath was coming out in hard puffs against her cheeks. His eyes were closed as if in pain but she could feel the warmth of him and the want cursing through his veins. She could feel it because it was a perfect reflection of her own. He brought his lips to hers again and this time he was demanding a response. And the fool that she was responded quite eagerly. Her tongue was inside his mouth and he shivered violently. Mercedes felt so good, so powerful, it was hard to imagine a better feeling than having Sam Evans melting under her touch. He nibbled at her mouth, as if she was a delicacy and she felt both frustrated and wonderful. He dropped wet, hot kisses on her neck, on her cheek, stopping at her ears and paying them special attention. She was quite sure she could die like this.

He let go of her then and he looked devastated. Mercedes could barely catch her breath. She hoped she wouldn't fall down. That would go down as the most embarrassing moment of her life.

It took her a while to realize he was speaking again. "This isn't fair to you. I didn't realize how much things had changed for you and the only thing I want is to hurt you. I'll back off."

What? Where was this coming from? She thought dazedly. She was still not completely recovered.

He turned to leave and the relief she was supposed to feel wasn't here. She felt bereft and more alone than when he had left in August.

He was at the door when he whispered: "I'll be waiting."


Two days later, she found him at the gazebo. It was small and old and no one cared about it but to Mercedes and Sam it was a place of summer love and friendship and laughter and kisses. They'd spent a lot of their time here, almost out of town, in secret and Mercedes cherished this place like home.

She sat down next to him, almost touching but not quite. She offered him one of the cupcakes she had baked that afternoon while thinking about him.

"Nutella," was all she said. He looked good as always but his eyes were tired and guarded. He looked ready to hear the worse.

She looked pointedly at the cupcake in his hand and his lips twitched. He took a bite and Mercedes laughed as she saw the look of utter bliss crossing his features. He offered her a bite and she leaned over, grabbing his hand for support and took a bite. She heard his sharp intake of breath and felt herself warming up from the inside out.

"I baked this for you."

"Pity cupcake. Nice," he said, his tone flat.

"Celebratory cupcake," she corrected. His eyes asked the question. "I thought maybe you wanted to go the movies… or something," she smirked. He had asked her out the exact same way for the first time a few months ago.

His eyes widened and she relished the moment.

"But what about Seamus?"

"Shane," she corrected with a shake of her head. "I broke up with him two days ago. He's a good guy but what you said to me the other day… it stole my breath," she explained. "Shane is nice but, in the end, he's not you."

He quite literally launched himself on her, even forgetting the cupcake in his hand. Later (a hundred kisses and giggles later) when she found nutella smears and cupcake crumbs all over her shirt as she got ready to shower, she couldn't even bring herself to care.