Disclaimer: I don't own anything you recognize.
Tina doesn't always get to see Mike's recitals, the same way he isn't able to come to every one of her shows. After so many years together, they've both accepted this as fact, which only makes it more exciting when they can come out and support each other. The show tonight is something Mike's been buzzing about for weeks and Tina was thrilled when her director called a few days ago and said he had to cancel the evening practice tonight.
Don't get her wrong, Tina loves the theatre and feels incredibly blessed to be working in one full time, but it feels so good to sink into an auditorium seat for once. All around her, parents of Mike's students talk quietly, a comfortable buzz. She overhears someone say how excited their daughter was to be a part of this recital and Tina's chest swells with pride.
It had been hard for Mike when he broke his knee and, unceremoniously, was fired from his dance company. He'd originally taken the job as a dance instructor with the intention of quitting once his knee had healed completely, but had fallen in love with the kids at his studio. Now, he choreographs half of the dances that they take to competition and, in addition to a growing number of trophies, has some of the most hardworking students in Chicago.
Someone drops into the seat next to her and Tina can't help but let out a little squeal when she realizes who it is. The parents may be giving her the evil eye for making so much noise as the lights begin to dim, but Tina can't help herself. She hasn't seen Blaine in nearly a year and now he's hugging her over the armrest and laughing. The lights are almost all the way out, so Tina whispers, "What are you doing here?"
Blaine grins, looks up to where Mike is standing on stage. "I wouldn't miss this recital for the world."
Mike clears his throat as the house lights finally go out and the room is silent. "Hi, everyone, I'm Mike Chang. I'm an instructor at the school-"
He has to stop for a burst of applause, looking delightfully bashful at the attention. Blaine hollers and Tina wolf-whistles, because he deserves to feel like a star whenever he gets on stage. Mike raises his hand to shush them, and continues, "Thank you! Tonight, we're doing a very special performance. I teach several different age groups: from the toddlers in the Mommy and Me classes, all the way up to high school students who are about to leave me for bigger and better things. All my kids are talented and they all mean the world to me, but tonight's performance is dedicated to someone else."
Mike points up into the air and a second spotlight appears. Blaine stands and drags Tina with him, until the spot lands on them. Then, he scurries off to god knows where and Tina is left alone, turning red because of the sudden attention. She's about to run when Mike starts talking again, eyes focused on her alone.
"Tina Cohen-Chang, this one is for you."
He blows her a kiss and sprints off stage as the music starts.
It starts off with the Mommy and Me classes: mothers in white while the kids are in black, doing easy spins and tumbling in time with Stand By Me. They dance up into the chorus, then the moms all pick up the toddlers, who blow kisses and wave as the next set of dancers come on.
It's a group of three girls, each dressed differently. One is in a plaid skirt and a shirt with chains, hair straight and a beanie pulled to the point where it covers her eyes. The one right next to her is all black lace and frills, like she stepped out of a gothic lolita magazine. The final girl is in a baby doll dress and go-go boots.
They stand on stage, beaming, until Are You Gonna Be My Girl? begins and they start doing a complicated tap routine. Halfway through, they begin to fall into themselves. Tina is a little horrified, remembering the time she broke down in front of the glee club, except then three little boys (hair spiked, plaid shirts on over their leotards) rush out and dance the girls off stage.
Stage still bare, the song transforms into The Book of Love. Almost immediately, Tina recognizes the girls who come out as Mike's ballet class. They had gotten first prize at a local competition and, as promised, Mike had hosted a pizza and movie night at their house. The girls didn't even pay attention as they watched Footloose, much to Mike's horror, because they were too busy asking Tina what it was like to be a real actress. The routine they do is the one that won them the competition, but just as they're about to finish, the music cuts out suddenly and Blaine rushes on stage.
He's wearing a lavalier microphone and looks comically frantic, now dressed in a tuxedo with a sequin vest. The girls try to look horrified, but some of them giggle, probably at how Blaine's hair has been mussed to the point where it looks like an afro. He squats down in front of them and says, "Go and find Tina! Say we need her to sing back up!"
As the girls rush off, Tina wonders what she's going to be backing up, when Brittany Pierce appears on stage in a bright pink tutu. Background music starts up and, clasping hands, Blaine and Brittany start to sing.
You are the girl that I've been dreaming of, every since I was a little girl...
By the time that the ballet class has found Tina and pulls her on stage, most of the New Directions are up there too. They're singing loudly as they form a chain, spinning around Tina and creating a circle on her. She starts to laugh wildly, because she hasn't seen most of these people in far too long. While Blaine and Brittany finish the song, her circle of friends corral her to the side of the stage, still in the light, but leaving plenty of room for the next act.
The lights change, going from the standard white to a soft blue. Rachel is at her side, squeezing her hand tightly and Mercedes can't help but whisper, "You're gonna lose it."
Tina wants to ask why, but a song she can't quite remember starts. All of Mike's students rush out, the older ones doing all kinds of tricks and flips while the little ones carry flowers, which they each hand to Tina before joining the others, who have formed two lines and joined hands. When the first lyric is comes on (it's a beautiful night, we're looking for something dumb to do), tears spring to Tina's eyes.
As the kids sway to the beat, they slowly part. Mike walks down the line, singing even though he can't be heard over the music. When he reaches the end, everyone from New Directions abandon her in order to line up in front of Mike. While his students show off their best trick moves, Mike systematically goes through their group of their friends, dancing a few steps before rejecting them so they can couple up and waltz with each other.
When he gets to the end of the line (Puck was last, looking particularly offended before dancing off to join Quinn), the song is almost over and Mike is standing in front of Tina. She's fully aware of how awful she must look right now, mascara tear tracks running down her face and a hand clamped over her mouth as she's torn between laughing and crying. Mike still takes her into his arms, spinning her around the floor until they get to center stage. As the song ends, Tina is pretty sure that Mike is going to dip her, but instead he drops onto one knee.
The music has ended and the auditorium is silent, all eyes on Tina and Mike. He smiles up at her, pulling a chain necklace off. There's a ring hanging on it and when Tina spots it, she starts crying all over again. Mike takes her hand, kissing the knuckles.
"Tina, I've loved you since we were in high school and had no idea what we were doing. Now, we're grown up and I still have no clue what I'm doing, but you seem to have it all figured out. So, if it's not an inconvenience, I'd like to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?"
Tina more or less screams the word 'yes' and the crowd goes insane. As he's slipping the ring on her finger, she realizes that Mike hadn't been wearing a microphone for the proposal and loves him all the more for it. The students immediately swarm Mike, everyone wanting to hug and congratulate him at once. Tina steps aside happily, more than happy to give him this moment, because they're going to have the rest of their lives together.
Santana sneaks up to her side, wrapping an arm around Tina's waist and whistling when she gets a good look at the ring.
"So, on a scale from one to crapping your pants in public," Santana says, grinning, "How embarrassing was this proposal?"
Tina smiles, fiddles a little with the ring on her hand. "I don't know, I think my fiance has some sweet moves."