Disclaimer: I own nothing you recognize.
A/N: Title shamelessly stolen from The Fox and the Hound's Best of Friends.
Everyone who went to the Breadstix party glares when Blaine bounces into the Saturday morning rehearsal. At best, the cast and crew look like they haven't gotten any sleep, but then Rory starts to throw up in the boys' dressing room. Blaine had the second hangover of his life this week and the smell of vomit is giving him flashbacks, so he heads to the girls' dressing room.
They let him in with weary looks and Tina just moans when he turns on the vanity lights, but no one bats an eye when Blaine shucks off his shirt in order to change. The schedule Artie handed out at the beginning of the rehearsals said that today was supposed to be a full dress to work out any opening night kinks, but Blaine isn't sure anyone is really up for it.
A part of him really, really hopes that Artie sees the error of his ways and just cancels it so Blaine and Kurt can head back to Blaine's still empty house. Except he still can't get the damn spin right and that bugs him. So, he starts to apply his stage make up and he's just about found the right balance between too much blush and not enough when Santana comes in, slamming the door and making at least three of the girls groan.
She regards Blaine carefully. "I know you and Hummel had a spat, but if you want to win your lady love back, you can't hide in here."
Blaine shrugs the comment off, smiling pleasantly. "Kurt and I are fine. I'm just visiting for today."
Santana rolls her eyes and shoves Blaine out from in front of the mirror, opening up her own make up kit. It occurs to Blaine that this is the first time he's ever seen her bare faced and, strangely, without the bright lipstick and smoky eyes, Santana looks softer. Kinder.
"You starin' for a reason, Twinkle Toes? Because I will go all Lima Heights-"
She stops suddenly, mouth dropping open and brows furrowing. It makes Blaine feel self conscious, because what if she can tell he had to wax his chest, because Artie said that Tony couldn't have hair showing when he was down to a tank top in the fight scene. He tries to turn away, but Santana only pulls him in closer, smirking.
"You gots your down and dirty on last night, didn't you?" She's whispering, but Blaine still goes red and shushes her.
He's not ashamed of what he did with Kurt last night and he never will be, but no one else needs to know about Blaine losing his virginity. He can't quite meet Santana's eyes and kind of mumbles when he asks, "How did you know?"
She taps her nose and smiles. "Oh, my sweet little non-virgin, when you gets as much ass as I do you can smell it on others. Also, there's a bite mark the size of Russia on your collarbone."
Blaine looks in the mirror and goes 'oh', because in just his tank top, you can totally see the place Kurt did that thing with his mouth that felt really good last night. Artie is going to kill him.
"Tell him that Tina did it," Santana says.
She looks at him as if he is a particularly small, stupid child.
"Tina fucks around with make up all the time. Just say that she did it for practice and you thought Maria was a biter. When you get home, do a hot compress and use a shit ton of cover up tonight," Santana shrugs, "I get them a lot and Coach Sylvester won't let us cheer if you can see them when we're in uniform. Just be glad it isn't on your thigh."
TMI about her and Brittany's sex life aside, Blaine is grateful for the advice. It's not that he's never had a hickey before; it's just never been this...visible to others. He thanks her and they both go back to applying their eyeliner.
"I hate everything," Santana says matter-of-factly, clutching her cup of shitty hospital coffee as if it's the only thing tethering her to the world.
Blaine, who feels like he's been up since the dawn of time but is somehow still awake in the far backseat of Carole Hudson's minivan, regards her carefully. Kurt's dad is shuttling a bunch of the glee club back to the Hudson-Hummel house. They'd spent the last two hours in the hospital's waiting room, Regional and the wedding forgotten.
Quinn was still in surgery when Mr. Fabray came in and said something that Blaine didn't hear, but it made Santana lunge at him: all screeching Spanish and animalistic claws. Blaine had been the first one to wrap himself around Santana, pulling her back. It seemed like something a friend would do, but now, with Santana staring moodily out the window, he kind of wishes he had let her hit Quinn's dad.
Blaine reaches out to take one of Santana's hands slowly, pulling it free of the coffee cup and lacing their fingers together. And she watches him with eyeliner-smudged eyes, as if no one in the world had ever held her hand before Blaine.
"I hate everything right now too," he says.
It's mostly true. In the very basic levels of his heart, Blaine will always love things like the smell of his grandma's house and the fact that Kurt exists. But right now, rage at how unfair the world was making think of how his grandfather has arranged it so he never sees Gran or how Kurt is trembling as he sleeps on Blaine's shoulder, and one of their friends might die because of a fucking text message.
"Careful. If the Sunshine Kingdom hears you talking like that, they'll take away your throne and Hummel will flip if he finds out he can't be a princess anymore."
Normally, anyone implying that Kurt is less than a man raises his hackles. Except, Blaine knows that Santana says some shitty things when she's mad and, weirdly, he understands. He knows what it feels like to have too many feelings stuffed inside and the only relief is the pleasure of destruction. Blaine boxes, Santana bitches, and maybe that's an explanation of why they're friends.
"You'll always be my favorite princess," Blaine tells her, even though it's stupid. Because he's learned that sometimes when you say stupid things, it pays off.
Santana doesn't laugh or smile, but she does squeeze his hand hard enough so her nails dig in and Blaine's hand aches. "I wish Britt was here."
"I love you."
Blaine is whispering, because she's the first non-family member beside Kurt he's said it to while meaning it and things like this speak so many volumes that they demand to be said softly.
He didn't expect Santana to say it back and she doesn't. Instead, she stares at him for a minute and then burst into wheezing laughter. Blaine can see Burt eying them in the rear view mirror and Mercedes sniffs from the middle seat, not the runny nose kind but the how-dare-you-right-now kind. It's only when Kurt stirs at his side that Blaine squeezes Santana's hand, urging her to be quiet.
She settles immediately, all laughter gone from her face. Still, Blaine likes to think Santana looks less likely to set something on fire when she asks, "So, is this the part where we make out in the common room or do I have to sing a Beatles song first?"
Blaine just drops his head to her shoulder, because sleep would be so good right now, but he knows it won't happen. Quietly, he repeats, "I love you, Santana."
"I heard you the first time, idiot."
Santana moves so her shoulder hit him in the jaw, but she didn't tell Blaine to get off. He lets his eyes slide shut and still recognizes each bump in the road, murmuring to Santana, "Sometimes you just to need to hear it twice, though."
Blaine gets home and finds the house empty, save for Santana, who is stretched out across his bed. She's curled into herself and snoring lightly, which tugs at Blaine's heart a little. He starts to tuck a blanket around her, but then Santana's sitting bolt upright with an iron grip on his wrist. He let out a little scream and she released him, shaking her head.
"C'mon, Blanderson, I know I'm hot but that doesn't mean you can use me for your girl on gay experimentation cuddles. There's been more than enough sexual identity drama this year."
Blaine wants to point out that she's been one of the main contributors to the drama, but then his conscious starts to sigh heavily at him. Instead, Blaine busies himself with refolding the blanket and asking, "How did you even get here?"
"I tailed Hummel a couple of times when you were on your deathbed and stuff. Once, we had a nice chat about you being 'under the influence' and you gave me the key code to your garage," Santana grinned wickedly at him, "Long story short, your house is now in my GPS as the Big Gay Mansion."
It's stupid, but Blaine feels embarrassed by that. He knows that Westerville is kind of a snooty neighborhood and his house is small by the town's standards. But compared to his friends' houses in Lima, Blaine looks at his home and only sees excess.
"Stop looking constipated and sit next to me," Santana complains, reaching under his bed for a bag she's stashed there.
Blaine toes off his shoes and settles in the bed so there's about a foot between them. He feels nervous and isn't sure why, because he's pretty sure that he and Santana are friends this week (though, it's hard to tell with New Directions). She probably won't hit him or anything.
"You've still got that constipated look. Drink this."
Santana passes him a bottle of water and Blaine thanks her. He's glad to have something to do with his mouth other than not talking, so he takes a big swig. Which turns out to be a bad idea, because then he's choking as his throat burns.
"What is this?"
Santana rolls her eyes and takes a long drag from her own bottle. "It's Auntie Tana's truth serum. Drink up so we can gets our lady chat on."
Blaine hesitates for a moment, but when he sees the set of Santana's mouth and notices how red her eyes look, he nods and takes another sip of the drink. By the time that Blaine realizes that he's been drinking straight vodka, Santana has spilled out the story of her grandmother and the sex tape and tears are appearing in the corners of her eyes.
Clumsily, Blaine leans in and wipes them away with his thumb. A small, watery smile appears on Santana's face and she touches his face too. Blaine thinks it's a little weird, because he's not the one who's crying but the feel of someone else is so nice, so he leans into her palm. Santana, despite her icy personality, is so warm.
"Hey," Blaine says after a moment, "Instead of girl on gay cuddling, we can just do gay on guy snuggles. 'cos I'm a guy and you're gay, too."
Santana stares at him for a long moment before laughing. And, yeah, it's more her mean laugh than anything else, but that doesn't matter, because a minute later, she's tucked neatly under Blaine's arm and singing softly in Spanish. The vodka has chased all traces of bilingual-ness from Blaine's mind, so he just gives her a quick squeeze and drifts to sleep.
In the morning, his mouth is bone dry and Santana is gone. There's a note on his nightstand and a glass of water.
Sleep well, you fucking lightweight. - S xo
It's five am on a Saturday and Blaine dreams about being in another dodge ball tournament at McKinley. He is in the middle of an awesome dive catch that would totally won the game when his phone rings and wakes him up. When he squints at the caller ID, Blaine sees that it's Santana.
"Hello?" he croaks.
"About fucking time," she says and hangs up.
Blaine stares, dumbfounded, at his phone for a few seconds. Then, there is the soft tck of something hitting his window. Rolling out of bed, Blaine pulls his emergency beanie on. Santana is in his front yard, throwing wood chips from the garden.
Taking a moment to wonder how this became his life, Blaine opens the window and leans out. Santana cups her hands around her mouth to yell up at him. "As much as I'm appreciating the raw sexual appeal of the batman pajamas, get your dapper ass in gear so we can go."
He has no idea what she's talking about, but that seems to be how Santana likes to keep their hangouts. Blaine's parents aren't home and he doesn't know their neighbors that well, so he yells back, "Come inside. We'll have breakfast."
It only takes Blaine ten minutes to speed through his morning routine, but by the time he gets to the kitchen, Santana is frying eggs on the stove. Blaine can't remember the last time that someone besides Kurt has cooked him breakfast.
"These are gonna be shitty breakfast burritos without sausage," she informs him. "What gives? You loves the man meat but not the pork?"
Blaine feels himself go red, but tries to ignore it in favor of pouring them both orange juice. Santana makes an appreciative noise and presents him with what appears to be an omelet wrapped in a tortilla. They clink their OJ before Santana digs in, not stopping until the burrito is demolished. Blaine, who's barely half-finished, asks, "What's the rush?"
She grins at him. "Prom is coming up and I need my best gay to go dress shopping with."
"Didn't you go dress shopping with Kurt and the girls last year?"
"Now that Quinn is running for queen with Frankenteen and she totally bombed her audition, Rachel is all gross and weepy. Your lady love will be fawning over her and ignoring the fact that I gots to get my prom on," Santana rolls her eyes and jumps so she can sit on the counter top.
"You should be nice to Rachel," Blaine says, "She's having a really rough time right now."
Santana dismisses him with a wave of her hand. "You're the nice one in this relationship and I'm the sassy bitch. We balance each other out, making you my very best gay. It's totes an honor."
And, in a really weird way, as he finishing his breakfast burrito and Santana talks about how she basically wants the same dress as she had last year, Blaine does feel a little bit honored. He's pretty sure that there aren't many people who get the privilege of seeing Santana like this: all predawn calm and honest excitement.
"Hey now," She warns, "I know it's exciting to be eye level with a rack like mine, but control the hearts in your eyes, Blanderson. I gots a girlfriend and she don't share."
Blaine blushes again, because he didn't mean to zone out when looking at Santana's chest. (The part of his brain that he ignores pointed out that hello, he never means to stare at girls' chests. Boobs seem pretty complicated, because how the hell do bras even work?) Santana laughs in Blaine's face and leans in to kiss his forehead, smacking her lips loudly.
"C'mon. We're wasting time sitting here."
She jumps off the counter and begins to pull him away. And, smiling, Blaine let her lead.
After their Nationals win, the New Directions are flying high. The hotel is booked until Sunday morning and Mr. Schuester allows them to explore the city as long as their back by ten for lights out.
Blaine has never heard of a teacher being so lenient and he went to Dalton. Still, he's grinning as the New Directions are unleashed on the hapless citizens of Chicago, Kurt's hand securely in his own and Santana making out with Brittany as they wait for a cab.
They head out to the Magnificent Mile for Kurt and Navy Pier for Britt. Both Blaine and Santana are more than happy to hang back and let their respective SOs flail over Burberry and the Children's Museum. While Brittany recruits Kurt to help pick out feathers for her hair, Santana asks Blaine if he wants to ride the Ferris wheel.
He knows Kurt isn't big on heights, so he nods and even offers to pay for both their tickets. Santana lets him and the woman behind the counter coos about how cute it is to see young couples in matching clothes. They exchange a look and laugh, because they're still in the Nationals outfits, but head into line holding hands.
When they finally get on the ride, Blaine feels like a little kid as he presses his nose to the window. It may not be New York, but Chicago is beautiful in it's own way. He could get lost here if he wanted to, forget about the college planning he's supposed to be doing and just play music on the streets and-
"Gimme a quarter," Santana demands, shaking Blaine from his thoughts.
"Are you going to try and throw it at people when we get to the top?"
Santana gives him a look that clearly says duh and, while Blaine knows she probably wouldn't, he doesn't try to fish any change out of his pocket. Instead, he says, "The sky is really pretty right now."
Santana makes a noise of agreement, staring out the window to the city skyline painted against a backdrop of pinks and reds. The lake is funky looking and, if he squints, Blaine can make out Kurt holding Brittany's hand as her feathers get put in.
Blaine snaps back to attention, fully prepared to give a lecture about why throwing things at people is mean. Instead, Santana is giving him this quiet smile, eyes still on the sky. She takes a deep breath, turns back to him. "We won Nationals."
And Blaine has to take a deep breath too, because it feels like a dream, "We totally won Nationals."
"I want to kiss someone. Or have celebration sex."
And Blaine flushes and thinks this is a conversation for your girlfriend, as if he and Kurt aren't going to make the most of sharing a room with Sam, who has snuck into Mercedes' every night of the trip. Santana grins wickedly at his embarrassment, leaning forward to pinch his cheeks.
"Calm down, you prude. I know your heart and ass belong to Hummel."
Blaine preparing another lecture (My Sex Life is None of Your Business, Santana. Really.), but then she's breaking the rules that the Ferris wheel guy laid down and leaving her seat in order to press herself against Blaine. Santana pulls out her phone and presses her cheek against his.
"Gimme your best smile, champ."
He does so over and over until Santana finally gets one where she doesn't find faults. By then, the ride is basically over and the sun is down. Kurt and Brittany are waiting for them at the exit, because Blaine texted his boyfriend as soon as they got tickets. He has Santana send him the picture and while it doesn't replace a prom picture of Kurt as Blaine's background, he does make it his Facebook default.
Santana will make fun of him for it later, but tonight, they just continue exploring the city, feeling undeniably like winners.
Blaine goes to Santana's graduation party by himself, because Kurt needed to be alone. And sure, he's friends with everyone in New Directions, but something inside him feels hollow as he sits on the Lopez's living room sofa and takes small sips of his beer.
The music is loud, a play list of Latin and dance, which means that everyone is grinding on each other in the den. Outside, the lingering members of Santana's family are talking in Spanish and laughing. (It had been some aunt who had pressed the beer into Blaine's hand, winking.)
Blaine considers leaving, because he's definitely being a party pooper, but then Santana drops into his lap. She's smiling, face flushed and lipstick smeared as she presses a kiss to his cheek. He feels it leave a mark.
"If you're not smiling," she tells him, "You're too sober. Drink this."
She presses her own cup to his mouth and Blaine nearly gags, because it smells like a fruit cocktails that's been left to ferment. When she keeps pressing it into his lips, Blaine coincides and takes a mouthful. It burns the whole way down. Santana nods in satisfaction and then drains the cup.
"We all know Kurt should have made it," she tells him quietly, sniffling, "We're all bummed out for him. But I really want tonight to be fun."
Blaine doesn't see how that's possible, because Santana has probably cried a dozen times since the booze came out. The most common causes seem to be whenever she thinks about her abuela or the fact that Brittany still has a year left of school and they're going to be apart. And Blaine can sympathize on the last one, but it feels wrong to party when he knows that Kurt is at home, feeling miserable.
"I'm sorry, Santana," Blaine says, trying to sound diplomatic, "But I think the only way it will be fun is if I leave now."
She whines loudly and wraps her arms around his neck, pulling Blaine so close that his face is partially buried in her chest. He's never felt more uncomfortable in his life, because Santana has started to cry a little.
"You're my best friend next to Britt. You can't leave now, 'cos Imma miss you next year already. I don't want to mix you tonight."
Blaine has considered himself Santana's friends since, like, October, but this is the first time he's heard her say it. The phrase 'best friend' is a whole lot different from 'best gay' or 'least irritating glee club loser'. He wraps his free arm around Santana in a hug.
"Okay. I'll stay with you."
Santana says something in Spanish and lets Blaine go so she can kiss his other cheek. Then, she's nuzzling his neck softly and he doesn't even worry about her lipstick leaving a mark, just cuddles her back, because Kurt isn't the only one he'll miss next year.
Someone (it sounds like Puck) yells for them to get a room. Blaine laughs, because Santana sees this as an opportunity to yell a reminder to a room that she is a lesbian. Then, Santana climbs off his lap to drag him to the makeshift dance floor and, very seriously, informs him that they will never be friends with benefits.
Blaine is fine with that. He's also fine with how she finishes the rest of his beer and makes Blaine drink another fruit cocktail from hell. He's even okay with the fact that Santana nearly dislocates his shoulder when she pulls him into her bed, saying that since Brittany is on her other side, they make a sunshine sandwich. When Santana starts to make out with Brittany, but doesn't relinquish her grip on Blaine's hips, he just closes his eyes and pretends to be asleep.
After all, what are friends for?