Disclaimer: I do not own Glee or any of its characters; Ryan Murphy and Co. hold that honor. I'm simply writing this for fun, not profit.
"You're such a cuddlebug tonight," Blaine teases, wrapping his arms around Marley and pulling her a bit closer. "What's gotten into you?"
"Well, since the boys kicked you out - "
"Okay, they didn't kick me out, I chose to room with you guys," Blaine corrects, nudging her in the side lightly.
"Since the boys kicked you out," Marley continues serenely, wrapping an arm around him more snugly and cuddling up to his chest, "you get to be my cuddle buddy."
"I thought I was your cuddle buddy," Tina protests, climbing into bed on Blaine's other side and wrapping her arms around him. He rolls his eyes, turning slightly so he can slip an arm around her shoulders and give her a light squeeze.
It's the night before their nationals' competition and, accordingly, Mr. Schuester's only foresight was to purchase three rooms ahead of time rather than leaving it to the last minute. (Blaine will admit to quietly sending him an email asking about it three weeks in advance, a quick On it his only response). The hotel is surprisingly inexpensive with larger rooms than they'd been expecting and fewer cat fights as a result.
Besides, their small band of Glee clubbers doesn't require a ton of space. There's no Finn to take up half the bed this year. Schuester and Sylvester room together, leaving the others to duke it out over who sleeps where.
By mutual consensus, the boys and girls still split, with the girls claiming one room and the boys quickly staking out theirs with snacks and video games. Within fifteen minutes of their arrival, the boys' room already looked well lived in, half a dozen pillows scattered throughout the room and pizza boxes on every available surface.
While eating pizza and killing zombies was all fine and well for a few hours, Blaine could only handle so much of it before he just wanted to settle down and relax.
It had been an exhausting drive. Coach Sylvester volunteered as one of their two chaperons for the trip. (Volunteered was perhaps a gentle word for the bribery and coercion that took place between Principal Figgins and Mr. Schuester before they agreed that she wouldn't deliberately try to kill them). As a result, there hadn't been a dull moment.
At least they managed to keep the first few hours civil. Mr. Schue wanted them there at five in the morning to complete the fourteen hour drive in good time. "Come on, guys," he encouraged, on his fourth cup of coffee with three shots of espresso apiece. Blaine didn't know how he could stomach it. "Happy faces - we're going to nationals!"
"Whoo," Sam offered halfheartedly, climbing on to the bus while the others stared at Mr. Schue in silent disbelief. They all passed out in the first seats that they could find, ignoring Mr. Schue's exaggerated attempts to excite them about the upcoming competition. There would be plenty of time for excitement later.
Blaine knew that it was going to be an interesting ride the moment Coach Sylvester took the wheel. He'd known it would happen - she'd driven them last year, too - but he still braced himself for the worst as they set off.
It wasn't bad, at first. A little rocky in the mountain areas, but most of the New Directions were fast asleep for that part of the journey. Joe was one of the only other conscious Glee clubbers, quietly reading a travel-sized Bible in one corner. When he caught Blaine staring (more out of listlessness than anything), he smiled and explained, "It's like a good luck charm. Figured we could use all the help that we can get."
Nodding along and letting his cheek rest against Brittany's shoulder, out of coffee and motivation to stay awake, Blaine drifted, startled back to awareness by a loud screech of tires as Coach Sylvester pulled up to a rest stop. Everyone stirred groggily at the commotion, piling out of the bus to stock up on five hour energies in the little convenience store while Mr. Schue pumped gas into the bus.
It was easier, then, to stay awake, as they alternated between listening to each other's iPods and, feeling especially bold, practicing songs and even playing around with harmonies a little. Mr. Schue seemed to approve, but Coach Sylvester was noticeably less amused, smoldering behind the wheel.
Their upbeat rendition of Ride Wit Me was the last straw.
It took the better part of an hour for Mr. Schue to convince her to leave the next rest stop and continue to drive them to Minneapolis. She'd already loudly threatened to maim them in a variety of creative ways for their singing, and she blatantly ignored Mr. Schue's attempts to convince her to take them back on the highway.
Sensing that the argument wasn't going to end any time soon, Jake pulled out a frisbee and, after confirming that the bus wasn't leaving, hurried off the bus with the others in tow. They managed to squeeze in a few energetic rounds of ultimate frisbee before the rain started, slick with mud and grass by the time Coach Sylvester blew her whistle and ordered them to get back on the bus or so help me.
Wisely, they obeyed.
It had seemed like everything was going fine then, Blaine reflects. No casualties, at least, in spite of Coach Sylvester's near constant threats. They'd made it to lunch without incident, chowing down at a local Subway.
Then there was the traffic jam at around three in the afternoon. Or was it the thunderstorm first? Definitely the thunderstorm, Blaine decides, rubbing a hand up and down Marley's back absentmindedly as Tina cuddles closer.
The rain didn't abate after their impromptu ultimate frisbee match, coming down in sheets around them. Not daring to delay the journey any further, they sat in idle quiet, chattering among themselves and sharing iPods as they made plans for how they were going to spend their free time in the big city. It wasn't until the first fork of lightning split the sky that they'd quieted, a loud rumble of thunder rolling over them a moment later.
Seconds later, Blaine had a lapful of Brittany.
"Brittany," he said, voice slightly muffled by her hair as she buried her face against his shoulder and wrapped her arms around his neck. "Honey - "
"I thought I was your boyfriend," Sam pouted, scooting in beside them. Sugar, already cushioned between Blaine and the window, rested her head against his shoulder.
That was all the encouragement that the others needed, buckling down as the storm intensified, multiple forks of lightning splintering the sky at any given moment. Even Blaine's heart rate escalated when a particularly loud crash rattled over them, suddenly grateful for Brittany's and Sugar's and especially Sam's presence.
("Dude, off," Jake was saying at the back of the bus, even as Ryder protested, "I'm not on you, bro," and scooted away again.)
It took hours to abate, everyone a little on edge as they waited. Blaine rubbed Brittany's back slowly as he rested his cheek against her hair, feeling Sugar cling to him a little more tightly each time a crackle of thunder broke overhead. He doesn't remember drifting off again, precisely, only aware of the light smattering of rain that greeted him when he blinked awake again. Sam and Brittany were cuddling in another seat, Marley at his side instead, her long hair draped over his shoulder.
Content to be snuggled, he was even more pleased when the rain finally dispersed, leaving only gray clouds and damp fields in its wake.
After that, everything was fine. There was a two hour delay during the three o'clock traffic jam, but they'd still made it to Minnesota in relatively good time, stopping for dinner once they were within two hours of their hotel.
Sam sat beside him for the last leg of the journey, and it was nice, because Sam was warm and he was feeling kind of sleepy and it didn't even matter if they both woke up two hours later dazed and a little sheepish as Coach Sylvester ground to a noisy halt outside their hotel.
Long thought it might have been, they'd made it, and that was what mattered.
"What are we even watching?" he asks as two of the women break out in a fight on screen, a row of dresses lined up behind them.
"Say Yes to the Dress," Tina and Marley answer as one, side-eyeing each other a moment later before looking back at the screen as someone shrieks and a rack tips over. Blaine winces sympathetically as one of the designers scurries over to try and separate the two, arms flailing as they screech muted profanities at each other.
Thinking that Kurt would have a lot to say about the show's professionalism (or utter lack thereof, in this case), he's tempted to text him and ask what he's watching, except his phone is still on the nightstand and Marley sort of has his left arm pinned between them.
It isn't bad, especially because they slipped out of their traveling outfits before tugging on their most comfortable pajamas and staking claims on the beds. That was done by tossing as many of their own articles of clothing as they could find onto them and adamantly refusing to be swayed once they decided. Kitty had her whole suitcase on the other bed; Unique had enough clothes spread around it that Blaine wasn't sure who was winning.
Marley graciously permitted him to share her space if he let her cuddle him. It hadn't been a choice, really, since it was either that or the floor, and he didn't mind being a pillow when Marley was involved. At least she was comfy. And Tina, too, he adds graciously, settling back more comfortably against the headboard.
"We should definitely watch Desperate Housewives next," Tina pipes in as the show switches to a commercial, earning a loud, "Dude, no," from Marley.
"We're watching Cake Boss, actually," Sugar interjects primly, leaping onto the bed. Blaine grunts as she lands mostly on top of him, Tina yelping and Marley shoving her lightly in retaliation. "Hello, darlings," she croons, splaying her arms out to encompass all three of them.
Blaine rolls his eyes as he nudges her off, shifting Marley a little so Sugar has more room at the foot of the bed. "Your calves are so comfy," she chirps, resting her cheek against Blaine's leg.
"Thank you?" he says slowly, still trying to wrap his mind around his sudden popularity when the door bursts open.
"Guess who got pizzaaa!" Brittany whoops, Kitty appearing at her side with a flourish as they brandish two boxes in the open doorway. Blaine looks over at them and grins as Sugar leaps up, scurrying over to claim one.
"We stole them from the boys," Kitty adds dryly, padding into the room as the door clicks shut behind her and Brittany. She drops the boxes off on the coffee table, fishing out a slice and taking a bite before adding, "They're on their third box already."
Shaking his head in amazement, Blaine points out, "So much for 'never going to eat again."
"Boys are notorious liars when it comes to food," Marley confides, tracing circles against his shirt absentmindedly. "How many polos do you even own?"
Blaine pouts at her. "Not that many."
"Eighteen," Brittany answers without missing a beat, hopping onto the bed beside them with a slice of pepperoni pizza in hand. "Kurt told me," she adds, taking a bite and shrugging when they stare at her.
Blaine groans. "Of course he did. He was sworn to secrecy, you know."
"What person needs that many polo shirts?" Kitty asks dryly, sitting on the couch and glancing over at the TV. "Oh, hell, no," is all she says, reaching over for the remote. "We are not watching this trash."
"We should watch Urban Tarzan," Brittany says, rattling off the channel when Kitty looks over at her flatly, unconvinced.
"Urban what?" Blaine asks, quickly overridden by a loud, "Hail the return of your queen, Unique!" as none other than the woman herself appears in the doorway between the bathroom and the main area.
"Gorgeous, darling," Marley heralds teasingly as Unique struts into the room, fresh from her shower and dressed in deep purple pajamas. "Absolutely stunning."
"Awesome, shower's free," Tina says, hopping up as Unique glances between Kitty and her suitcase before pushing the latter off the other bed and climbing onto it.
"No, you can't escape now," Marley complains with a pout, letting go of Blaine so she can make grabby hands after Tina.
"Yeah, Tina," Blaine agrees with a grin, watching as she strides off towards the bathroom. "Come on. Movie night."
She waves without turning around and shuts the bathroom door behind herself, ignoring Brittany's loud admonition of, "You're gonna miss Urban Tarzan!"
Urban Tarzan, as it turns out, proves even wackier than expected, and Blaine mostly lets the girls duke it out on their own as he fishes his phone out of his hoodie pocket and grins at a new message from Kurt.
Barely, he replies, adding, Still in one piece. That counts, right?
It does, Kurt agrees. After a moment, he adds, I just got off work.
Blaine frowns at the time, adding slowly, Long day?
Isabelle was out for a conference so I had to close shop.
Mm. Blaine's fingers hover over the keys indecisively, wanting to ask more about his day, his week, his plans for the future, any of a dozen normal things, but he's still not entirely sure how this whole 'we're back together' thing works. Part of him wants to believe that everything is fine now, that they can tell each other secrets again and ask about each other's days and hold each other's hands without having to silently ask for permission first. He wants that, but it's been a long road to get here and he doesn't want to set them back at all.
Grunting a little when Brittany accidentally plants an elbow in his ribs as she shuffles closer, he types out, I'm sure she appreciates it, and hits send.
She does, Kurt replies easily. She wants me to switch to full time.
Blaine wavers. What about NYADA? he asks at last.
It's no secret that he auditioned last month. While Carmen Tibideaux remained as icy and unreadable as even throughout his performance, he likes to think that he made an impression, that maybe he got in. And if he did get in, then Kurt and he could be at the same school together, maybe even sharing a few nonessential classes and meeting for lunches between time off and work. He knows that the likelihood of being chosen is slim, further compounded by Rachel's acceptance the prior year and Kurt's mid-semester (NYADA does have its regular hot spots for recruiting, but small town Ohio is not one of them).
It's still a chance, though, and with Kurt's tentative blessing, he'd gone through with it.
Except if Kurt accepts a full time job at Vogue dot com, that means fewer hours together and inevitably less interaction. It means less talk about musical theater and performance and more about fashion and industry and business. It's a divergent course, and no matter how broad his own fashion horizon might be, he knows that he doesn't want to become a true fashion icon, not unless it happens to correspond directly with his ability to perform and write songs and be someone on the stage.
Looking down at his phone, he blinks at the new message, scrolling down it slowly as he reads: I told her that it would be an amazing opportunity, but I'm not ready to step away from what NYADA has to offer yet. I can always reapply for a full time position in the future, and with Isabelle's recommendation, there's still a good chance I would get in. With NYADA, it's now or never. I don't want to jeopardize that.
Blaine hopes that his relief doesn't show too much as he writes, It's hard to turn down a job opportunity like that, but I'm proud of you for making that decision.
He waits for a response, then, shifting his leg a little when it starts to fall asleep under Sugar's weight. After five minutes or so, he almost panics and writes, I'll support you no matter what, of course, but I think it's a very adult decision that you would choose to stay in school and explore those possibilities - when an incoming text interrupts him.
Thank you, Blaine.
Three simple words, and yet they still manage to Blaine feel a little lighter, somehow. A little more confident. Thank you for telling me, is all he writes.
How was the trip? Kurt asks.
Long. Then: Good. All accounted for.
Schuester thought so.
He smiles when Kurt sends him a brief video clip of Santana slow-clapping, sitting on one of the couches in the loft with her girlfriend pillow at her side.
"Who are you texting?" Marley asks, nestling her head more comfortably against his shoulder and glancing down at the screen. "Is that Santana?"
"Mmhm," Blaine agrees, tapping out a brief, Thanks, Santana, as he looks over at Marley. "Yeah. They're - "
He doesn't have a chance to finish the sentence as someone knocks loudly on the door. "I've got it," Kitty replies. Before any of them can offer more than a token protest, she's pulling the door open, staring blankly at Joe.
"What do you want?" Kitty asks. To her credit, she maintains the exact same bored, unimpressed expression even when Joe holds up a bucket of ice demonstratively.
"I forgot to take a room key with me," he explains. "I tried knocking, but they couldn't hear me over their own screaming." He shrugs, asking, "Do you have a spare?"
"We have pizza," Marley offers, sitting up a little. Blaine smooths down the rumpled part of his shirt that she's been sitting against, only to have her settle back against him more comfortably a moment later, thoroughly disheveling it. Suppressing a sigh, he watches as Joe looks down at Kitty, who wordlessly plucks the ice bucket out of his hands and sets it on the coffee table beside the pizza.
Ten minutes later, they're almost in the exact same positions as before, with the exception of Joe sitting cross-legged on the floor next to Unique's bed. In spite of hushed assurances that Urban Tarzan and Joe are not, in fact, the same person, Blaine knows that Brittany doesn't believe him when she finally asks, "So how did you escape from the jungle?"
Rather than appearing offended at the question, Joe simply says, "I've never been to one, but it'd be awesome to go on a mission to visit some time."
After a short discussion that largely entails Brittany confirming that Joe has not seen any of a plethora of wild animals, they settle down in comfortable silence. Kitty alternates between shows at commercial breaks, at last picking a fairly raunchy late night talk show before answering the door again when someone else knocks.
"Hey, guys," is all Mr. Schue manages before the door promptly shuts in his face. "Don't break curfew!"
Kitty ignores him as she sits back down on the couch, flipping channels once more.
"I should probably get back to the boys' room," Blaine adds as he notices Sugar dozing off at his feet, Brittany curled up like a cat next to him with her head on his belly.
"No, stay," she says, wrapping a surprisingly strong arm around his waist and snuggling closer. "You're like our magical good luck charm."
"Someone has to make sure that they didn't break anything," Blaine reminds, running his hand up and down Brittany's back slowly.
"I can do it," Joe offers, lifting a hand and pushing himself to his feet. No sooner than the words are out of his mouth, a loud click comes from the door before it bursts open.
"Guess who won the tournament?!" Sam bellows, already lunging for the nearest bed.
Blaine grunts as Sam tackles them, shoving at his shoulders halfheartedly. "Sam," he grumbles. "Get off."
"No way, dude," Sam says. "I won!"
"That's . . . great," Blaine replies, patting his back. "Good job."
"Hey, why didn't you tell me that you were having a slumber party in here?" Sam asks, scooting over when Brittany shifts back a little more to make room.
"Because it's girls' only," Marley quips, not lifting her head from Blaine's shoulder. "Go back to your zombie killing."
"No," Sam insists, shimmying over beside Blaine and grinning when Brittany cuddles up to him. "Blaine's not a girl," he adds, nudging him in the side until Blaine punches him lightly on the shoulder.
"Excellent observation," he says dryly, grunting as he shifts over to make more room for them. He yelps when Sam's fingers skitter quickly up his side, all but vaulting over Marley in his haste to get away, grunting as he hits the floor with a loud oomph.
"Ha! Called it."
"Are you really that ticklish?" Kitty asks, staring down at Blaine as he tilts his head to look over at her.
"No," he insists. "That's not fair," he adds accusingly in Sam's direction, sitting up and glaring at him.
"I made a bet, bro," Sam says, almost apologetically, as Brittany latches onto his waist.
Huffing once in exasperation, Blaine climbs back onto the bed, careful not to step on Sugar or Marley. The moment Sam opens his mouth to comment, he swipes the pillow out from behind him and stuffs it over his face, ignoring Marley's suppressed chuckles beside him as she rests her cheek against his shoulder.
He isn't surprised in the slightest when the same pillow whacks him in the face a moment later.
"If you two start a pillow fight, we're kicking you out," Unique warns, glancing over at them. Sam pouts and holds up a hand innocently, Blaine tucking the pillow underneath his back.
It lasts for about twenty seconds before Sam dives for a pillow kicked off to one side and Blaine lunges after him, pillow in hand.
At least the other girls can't say that they were neutral parties.
. o .
"Where the hell have you three been?" Jake asks three minutes later as Sam pads in the boys' room, Blaine and Joe in tow.
"And what's with all the feathers?" Ryder pipes in, lying on his stomach on the bed closer to the window. He spares them a quick glance before tapping away rapidly at a controller, Artie glaring silently at the screen. "Fuck."
"Coach Sue kicked us out of the girls' room," Sam says cheerfully, shrugging out of his feather-covered blue polo and shaking it out.
Blaine plucks a tiny feather out of his hair and adds, "Mr. Schue thought we were getting a little out of control. Coach Sylvester was back up," as he plops onto the bed beside Jake, folding neatly into a cross-legged position. "Who's winning?"
"I am," Artie and Ryder announce as one.
"I was," Jake assures, taking another bite of pizza and eyeing Joe as he unrolls his sleeping bag on the floor. Artie's already claimed the fold out couch, Blaine notices, but Joe doesn't look put off at the circumstances, wedging himself between the far wall and the foldout couch and snagging a bottle of orange soda from on top of the desk.
Blaine doesn't know exactly when everything finally settles down, but seemingly between one blink and the next, the lights are out and Ryder's snoring fills the room. It's still fairly impressive even from underneath the pillow that Jake stuffed over his face ten minutes ago. Jake himself is already clocked out beside Blaine, his head buried underneath a pillow to drown out the additional noise.
Stripped down to an undershirt and a fairly comfortable pair of sweat pants, Blaine almost misses when his phone lights up with a new message on the floor beside him. Shimmying carefully over to the edge of the bed, he squints at the name, picking it up and unlocking the screen.
Hey, you. Sorry if this wakes you up but I forgot to wish you guys good luck tomorrow! I'm sure you'll be amazing. Don't let Mr. Schue give any pep talks. Have fun and enjoy it!
I love you.
Blaine smiles and writes: Thanks, Kurt. I love you, too.
Win or lose, he knows that he has a lot more to look forward to in his future than a nationals' trophy.
Author's Notes: And then sometimes truffles writes fluff.
NOTE: This is mostly at an anon who asked how this was a 'Hevans' story (Kurt/Sam). For some reason, the characters switched around (I originally selected Blaine, New Directions, Kurt, and Sam, in that order), and then it showed up as Hevans.
Sorry! I removed Kurt and Sam so it won't happen again.