Disclaimer: I do not own Glee
Life Like a Song
By Santiva Potter
Summary: Valentine's Day has arrived at McKinley and Mercedes is forced to make the final call between her two ex-boyfriends—but with the help of an old friend.
Samcedes/Shanecedes/Kurtcedes friendship with mild Klaine & Brittana.
Part 3 of 3.
"I just don't understand when 'lock and hold' became so difficult," Santana sighed walking through the halls of McKinley alongside Brittany.
"We have to find someone to replace her," Brittany said examining her history book—which she held upside down. "Maybe we can reunite T.U.T.?"
"The Unholy Trinity," Brittany smiled.
Santana bit back a grin. "I don't think Quinn would be interested but maybe. Now, what is this?"
They had arrived at Santana's locker, where Kurt and Rachel stood bickering.
"Fabulous," Kurt sighed spotting the two cheerleaders. "Now, I'm certain that you can correct Rachel in her obvious ignorance about the importance of—"
Tina Cohen-Chang was rushing through the halls, Quinn hot on her heels.
"Please tell me that one of you has seen Mercedes?" Tina gasped.
"No," Rachel answered slowly. "What happened?"
"Yes, what exactly, did you do?" Santana asked as Quinn swore.
"I screwed up so bad! Shane knows!"
"Shane knows what?" Kurt pressed.
"About the kiss," Quinn answered. "Shane knows about the kiss."
"What were you thinking?" Santana demanded as Kurt and Rachel snapped, "What kiss?"
"Sam and Mercedes kissed," Brittany shrugged, "during Michael week. After they sang Human Nature together."
"How does Brittany know about this?" Kurt staggered.
"Because newsflash Kurt, ever since you joined on the Rachel Berry bandwagon and gotten extra cozy with Bowties," Santana answered putting her books up, "you've missed out on all the fun times with Aretha."
"That's not my fault! Mercedes left New Directions!"
"I don't think that's completely fair, Santana," Rachel argued.
"Really?" Santana chuckled. "Hummel, when is the last time you spent some quality time with Mercedes?"
"She and I were just at Rachel's—"
"You and Mercedes," Santana repeated and when Kurt didn't respond she continued. "And for the record that whole Mercy leaving New Directions thing is shit because even Tina managed to show her face every once and awhile."
"This arguing is not going to get us any closer to actually finding Mercedes," Quinn intervened before Kurt could retort.
"Sam!" Rachel exclaimed pointing to the blond as he came into view through the crowd. They crowded him instantly demanding if he'd seen his ex. He frowned at them before pointing down the hall to where Mercedes stood with Shane, smiling brightly.
"So much for ex-boyfriend, huh," Sam chuckled bitterly as he passed them.
"I could kill babies right now," Santana growled watching them.
"Well there's not much we can do now," Rachel reasoned. "Let's get to Glee club. We can deal with Mercedes there."
The Glee club met that day in the auditorium to finalize the set list for the Valentine's Day party that Sugar was hosting that night.
"We have almost everything in order," Rachel announced—she had taken over after Mr. Shue had to depart a half hour into their meeting—"but we still need an epic love song, a ballad, which I believe—"
"Here we go," Santana groaned.
"—Mercedes should preform," Rachel finished beaming.
"What?" Mercedes laughed. "Did you hit your head this morning Rachel?"
"I think our set list already showcases my talent as a songstress quite exquisitely and with Regionals fast approaching I think it's in the best interest for the team that I take extra care and preserve my voice, therefore leaving this slot to the only other competent diva within our midst."
"I think that's the closest, Rachel has ever come to a compliment," Tina whispered to Mike, slightly impressed.
"And I've already got the song picked out," Rachel sang, dragging Mercedes to the stage. "And Sam, you come up here too."
"Oh no, Rachel. I don't think—"
"No, don't be silly! I got to thinking last week, you two have never sung a duet before and I think this would be the perfect time to showcase your combined talents. Besides, I got the idea from Sam."
"Excuse me?" Sam said joining them on the stage as Mercedes glared at him.
"Yes, I saw this video on YouTube of you from Kentucky playing—"
"That's on YouTube?" Sam cut over her, his face going red.
"—and I think with your country swag and Mercedes' sultry tones, together the two of you will do the late Ms. James proud," Rachel beamed making her way off the stage. She found a seat next to Finn and quickly hissed to Santana, "You're not the only one who can play match-maker!" before turning back to the two them on stage and yelled, "Action!"
"I've wanted to sing this to you since July," Sam sighed quietly. He strummed softly at the strings of his guitar as the opening chords rang throughout the auditorium and Mercedes gasped as she recognized the song.
"At Last," Sam sang sweetly, "My love has come along. My lonely days are over—"
"And life is like a song," Mercedes finished. They danced around each other slowly, lost in the Etta James' classic, completely ignorant of their cheering audience.
"Okay Rachel," Santana ceded, watching Sam and Mercedes sway together. "Unlike most of your attempts to make things easier for the rest of us in New Directions, I have to say that in this instance—I approve. Cheers for not making this worse than it before."
"That is definitely the closest Santana has come to giving Rachel a compliment," Mike smiled.
"For you are mine," Mercedes belted coming to the close of the song. Her hands had somehow found rest on Sam's shoulders. She had intended on finishing the tune but when she looked up at him—Sam's emerald eyes shining with indescribable emotion—the words flew from her. And in the deepest, most chilling voice he could muster, Sam muttered, "Jesus Mercy," before swinging his guitar over his should and reaching down to kiss her.
It was the only warning that Santana could give before Shane bulldozed across the stage, separating the pair. Puck was the first to make to the stage, helping Sam up while Mercedes turned on Shane.
"Boy what the hell? Have you lost your mind?"
"That's an unfair advantage and you know it Mercedes!" Shane growled.
"We were just singing Shane," Mercedes snapped.
"Yeah, just like last time," Shane spat glaring at Sam.
"Your friends told me about how you let him kiss you—"
"—that's because she wanted to be kissed—"
"Sam, shut up," Mercedes snapped, before lowering her voice. "Now Shane…"
"That is it Mercedes!" Sam yelled. "I am sick of you going back in forth about Shane—"
"Then maybe you should get to stepping," Shane grumbled.
"Sam," Mercedes sighed. "Not now."
"No, right now." He held her gaze long and hard before continuing. "I love you Mercedes Jones and I've done everything you've asked, but I can't keep up with this game. I need you, like I need air. When I'm with you I don't have to play up some stupid stereotype or expectation like the jock or the bread-maker or the pauper, I can just be Sam. And I can't tell you how much that means to me or how much you mean to me." He paused and reached out toward her, his hands securing hers in his grasp. "Not just Mercedes Jones, the diva but Mercy: the girl that hates peanut butter on apples, is secretly obsessed with Star Trek and the girl would choose to own a closet of 45's over a closet of shoes any day of the week. Mercy, I know things about you that I never thought would ever matter, but because it's you—because it's a part of us, all of it matters."
No one spoke as the two ex's gazed at each other, lost in their private reality.
"Shane, shut up," Kurt snapped from the bottom of the stage.
The undercurrent of another wave of arguments pulled Mercedes out of her trance and she wordlessly turned to Shane and dragged him off of the stage.
Sam stayed rooted in place in the wake of it all, his body tight with emotion, until Puck tried to reach out to him.
"Dude…"he began softly, but Sam had already turned from him and stormed out of the auditorium.
"Well that went well!"
Most of the New Directions stood near the edge of the stage still wondering how everything had gone so wrong, so quickly.
"I'm going after Mercedes," Kurt announced.
"Oh please, Porcelain," Santana rolled her eyes. "You barely know what color Mercy's shoes are let alone how she feels about this shit storm."
"You're right Santana," Kurt said. "I haven't been around much, but Mercedes and I…we still need each other. So I'm going to go talk some sense into her, one of you should go make sure that Sam doesn't do anything stupid."
"Let's just hope that he doesn't cause any more damage than you've caused Hobbit," Santana sighed once Kurt left.
"What? How is this my fault?"
"Santana we can't blame Rachel. Shane practically materialized on that stage," Quinn said. "No one saw that coming."
"Seriously," Puck agreed. "That was like some freaky Harry Potter shit."
Outside of the auditorium, Kurt found Mercedes, alone, on the floor leaned against a set of lockers.
"Kurt, please," Mercedes sighed. "If this is about Shane or Sam—"
"It's about you," Kurt cut in. "And us too."
"What about us?"
"I wanted to apologize," Kurt began slowly, easing to the dusty ground. "I know things between us haven't been the same. We've been both caught up in relationships and—"
"—dropping me like a hat for Rachel Berry—"
"—was wrong." He paused and squeezed her hand apologetically. "I know that they say high school friends eventually grow apart, and maybe that's true, but I'd like to think that we should be crossing that bridge ten years from now, not on the Valentine's Day before we graduate. And besides, as much as I love Rachel, I could not imagine having an immensely popular Bravo TV Show with anyone else but you."
Mercedes couldn't help but giggle as she found herself falling into line with her 'handshake' with Kurt.
"But right now," Kurt started. "I really think that you could use a friend. Not an opinion of why Shane over Sam or Sam over Shane but someone who is solely concerned about what you think. And I am more than willing to provide of this and more…so long as we get off of this floor."
Mercedes' laugh echoed throughout the hall. "Oh Kurt, I wish I could, but—God why don't they ever tell you how hard it is."
"Relationships? I don't know," Kurt answered. "But we wouldn't love our boyfriends as much as we do without the struggle."
Mercedes leaned her head against his shoulder. "I don't think I'm ready to be Sam's girlfriend."
"When I fell for Sam, I fell so hard that I didn't even realize it until he came back. Being able to see him again, hear him—"
"—kiss apparently," Kurt teased.
"Yeah," Mercedes smiled. "He pulled that one right under me. I know what my heart wants, Kurt, but what happens in June when we all have to part ways? Aren't you worried about you and Blaine if you go to NYADA?"
"Of course," Kurt answered, "but I have something with Blaine that is beyond words and definitely worth fighting for. But, Mercedes I would have never figured that out if I hadn't tried first. Obviously you and Sam have a lot of chemistry and he looks at you as if—"
"—he's ready to get married," Mercedes chuckled. "Yeah, I know. That's what my dad said the first time he met Shane."
Mercy nodded. "Shane had just left from dinner and he was talking to my mother and said, 'Shane's a good kid, but do you remember how that boy Sam would follow Mercy around here as if she was one? Like he already had a ring in his back pocket?' It took everything in me that night not to cry myself to sleep or worse call Sam."
"Speaking of Shane…"
"We're over," Mercedes said. "He's been trying to talk me out of it, and I thought about entertaining the idea, but it's done. I broke up with him after Santana crashed at my place after Michael week."
"And this morning?"
"Shane trying to be cute," Mercedes explained, frowning. "In the hallway it worked, in the auditorium. No."
"I'll be honest Mercedes: it does sound like you've already made a choice. You just need to go through with it. He loves you."
"I know," she smiled sadly. "So much love, it's almost scary."
"Maybe," Kurt agreed reminiscing on the first time that Blaine confessed his love for him, "but I can tell you, there's nothing like having someone love you for you. Not to mention holidays and birthdays become so much better."
Laughter filled the hall again as Kurt stood up.
"C'mon Diva, we've barely got enough time to get ready for this dance and you have to on point tonight if you're going to snag Sam Evans once and for all."
They got ready got ready together at Mercedes' house. Her mother had been especially glad to see Kurt and her father benefited a great deal from Kurt's fashion inspection before Mr. Jones took his wife out for the night. When Mercedes and Kurt did arrive to the gym the party was in full swing. Rachel and Santana were just finishing up a number when Brittany dragged them to the stage for a performance of "Love Shack". Kurt had killed along with the numbers that had followed, but even through all of that there was no sign of Sam.
"Finnocence, where is he?" Santana snapped grabbing Rachel's other half.
"He said he was coming," Finn replied. "And I just called Burt who said Sam left 45 minutes ago. Maybe he got lost?"
"It's Lima!" Tina stressed. "How can you get lost?"
"Alright everyone," Mercedes said from the stage. "I'm going to slow things down for a little bit and pay homage to one of the greatest divas."
"If I should stay," Mercedes began to sing, "I would only be in the way…"
Couples all throughout the gym gathered close swaying under the soulful cover of Dolly Parton's ballad, but the members of New Directions watched pensively as their friend lost herself in the song, her emotions an open book.
"If we don't get her to stop," Santana said softly, her arms wrapped around Brittany. "We're all going to die. In fact I think I might already be dead."
"A bit much, Santana?" Quinn mumbled. "She's hurting; this is a perfectly natural response."
"Too bad Aretha's tears will flood the gymnasium, leaving us all to drown—but hey it's a perfectly natural response."
that is all I'm taking with me.
So, goodbye. Please, don't cry.
"Santana's right," Tina sniffled, as the New Directions members huddled together. "We have to stop her. I say we get Rachel to sing a song or two—lord knows she's a walking Broadway catalog."
And I will always love you.
I will always love you.
"It can't be over," a gruff voice said from behind. Sam stood behind him them, his eyes as red as everyone else's.
"Then please for the love of Ellen, Samuel" Kurt choked, "do something about it!"
And I wish to you, joy and happiness.
But above all this, I wish you love.
Sam had made it to the front of the audience, just under Mercedes' gaze. It didn't take long for her to see him and when Mercy did, she had to steady her hands on the mic-stand after locking eyes with his.
"If they don't start making babies after this, I will kill her," Santana promised.
"And I will dye his hair back to that atrocious lemon juice blond again if we don't walk away with a new couple in glee," Kurt added.
"Guys, I think we'll be good," Quinn smiled, grabbing Puck's hand and leading them to the dance floor.
When Mercedes did stop singing, Sam immediately stepped on the stage and lacked his hands with hers.
"You love me?" he asked softly.
"Always," Mercedes replied.
"Tell me it's enough, Mercy," Sam begged. "I need to hear it. I need this to be real."
"Samuel Evans, your love has always been more than enough," Mercedes said. "And I'm sorry it took me so long to see that. I just want us to start over Sam. No matter what happens three, four months from now, I just want to be yours again, even for just a little while."
Sam rested his forehead lightly against hers, his lips teasing her own.
"It doesn't matter what happens three, four or even twelve months from now, Mercy, I'm always going to be yours," Sam promised.
"I'm going to hold you to that" Mercedes teased before Sam's lips met hers in searing kiss.
And that's it! I was planning on ending with more Sancedes but I've really been missing Kurtcedes, so that kind of that took over *kanyeshrug*
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it. Please share and review! And if you'll excuse me, I will go back to fangirling and waiting impatiently for Heart...
Song Credits: 'At Last' Etta James; 'I Will Always Love You' originally by Dolly Parton, made popular by Whitney Houston