Disclaimer: I have no affiliation to Glee or its characters. This is fiction pure and simple.

Thank you - RHatch89, Aremkay, Dosqueen67, Shanehardy, AmyViolet, That Little Canadian Shipper, Chryalyss, Jov and Gotta B writin.

Red Letter Days

Chapter 23

Blaine flipped onto his belly and burrowed under the covers, pulling the pillow over his head. The soft giggling still reached him and dragged him from slumber. Even the warm press of Sam's thigh along his shoulder failed to soothe him. He knew they weren't trying to wake him but the whispering was worse than if they'd been using their regular speaking voices. Pressing his hands over his ears he proceeded to count the heads he hacked off sheep, none of it helped. The sandman danced out of reach, getting further and further away with each breathy vowel. This was not the first night they'd woken him, to hope it would be the last was foolish.

In his absence, Sam and Tina had bonded; melded even, with their systems and routines, and the never-ending chatter. The weekly meetings to sort out Sam's finances that dissolved into idle gossip… Honestly, some days Blaine felt like he was dating both of them. It was exhausting.

Blaine loved Tina, he did. He just didn't love her quite so much at 2am when she got back from her dates, kind of wasted, woke them (Sam) up and insisted on sharing every unsavory detail with them (Sam). His boyfriend got a kick out of it; in fact Sam insisted she wake him up when she got home. And if she ever felt threatened or unsafe with one of her men, she'd call and - now a walking talking encyclopedia about crime statistics in New York City - Sam would go get her, Blaine tugging along reluctantly. Luckily most of her dates ended like this, the princes walked her to their door and she came in to share the less than princely things they did together. Oddly enough Sam was willing to go hang in her room for the duration but Blaine would rather they annoyed him than leave.

"He has a crooked wang." He heard her whisper. "Not even like regular crooked, I'm talking 90 degrees kinda crooked."

"No way?" His Sam. Forever curious.

"I've got a photo." She insisted.

Photo? What? Now Blaine was fully awake and dammit he kinda wanted to see it.

"Why would he let you take a picture of his junk?"

"I didn't take it. He acted like a perfect gentleman all night, pulling out chairs, opening doors. Then I step inside this door and its like boom – dick pic. Here, check it out."

Blaine felt the bed dip and Sam start to laugh.

"I am never seeing him again."

It was the last straw. Tossing off the pillow, Blaine fought his way to the surface, cleared his throat. "Why is it always about sex with you two?" Their heads swiveled in his direction, both of them staring at him like the odd sticky thing you found at the bottom of your shoe but he soldiered on, turning to Sam who was propped up by a pillow, looking rumpled and so sexy in the warm glow of the single lit lamp. He thought their sex life was really great because they were fundamentally connected at more than just their groins. Their relationship had a solid foundation. "What about good conversation, a real friendship, affection, intimacy, love? Sam and I are good together because we have all those qualities. You need to stop judging your dates on these drunken horny windows in time when their guards are down and everything else is up. They could be great guys. Give them a chance."

"Jeez sweetie," Tina giggled. "Save something for the vows."

"Why do I bother?"

"I heard everything you just said and here's my counter argument." Tina shoved her phone at him. "Even if I had all the love from every cliché Katherine Heigl romcom ever released, it still wouldn't make this dick any straighter."

Blaine dragged the screen closer to his face. Ouch! That was one crooked penis. It pointed downward in a way that looked super painful. "Okay, I admit you dodged a bullet on this one, looks like it could lodge places. Who is this guy…wait… I don't want to know. If he ever comes over, this is literally all I will be thinking about." Handing Tina back her phone, he curled up, resting his head on Sam's lap thrilling when his hands slid into his hair, softly kneading his scalp. "As you were." He instructed.

Tina launched into another story about yet another random thing that had happened to her earlier. Blaine merely snuggled in, Sam's stroking threatening to pull purrs from his throat. Loving the little zing he got when Sam's hand stopped moving and he leaned over pressed a kiss to his forehead and whispered, "I love you too." Smiling faintly, Blaine closed his eyes. This was nice. He could definitely spend the rest of his life like this. Then he slept.

ooOoo

Blaine sighed as the amused proprietor left him to serve yet another more decisive customer. Placing the honest to god Mini Robot back down on the counter, his fingertips hovered over the price tag. Maybe they were having a holiday sale and the price had been dropped to $49.99. Flipping it, he scanned the label and huffed in disappointment. No such luck. Sam would have gotten such a kick out of it. It was absolutely perfect for him. So was the phone that he needed because he'd cracked his screen or the gorgeous JCrew cashmere sweater that perfectly complimented his green eyes or the set of engraved guitar picks or the endless number of gifts that Blaine had considered, some of which he'd already purchased which was ridiculous because he couldn't give any of them to him. Why had he agreed to the fifty-dollar limit? This was torture.

It was their first Christmas and Blaine wanted to give him the world. But they'd agreed and he didn't want to make Sam feel bad because he couldn't afford to shower him in lavish gifts as well. Shaking his head at the gray haired gentleman, he exited the store before he could hear the pointless sales pitch for the third time. It was late, his feet were killing him and the jingling of bells and overly cheerful carols blaring from every single corner was giving him a headache. Resolving to head home and start the search over again the next day, he elbowed his way through the teeming crowd and ducked into a nearby bookstore that boasted a tiny coffee shop. He joined the line waiting to place his order. Spiced Gingerbread latte and a small bag of Christmas cookies in hand, he eyed the comfy couches dying to curl up with a good book but he had to get home. He debated but the lure was too great, he'd sit for one second then leave. Thirty minutes later, fingers poised to turn the page he looked up from The Luminaries completely convinced that Eleanor Catton had deserved the Man Booker prize. As the door swung open, his hand automatically raised in greeting when he saw Kurt enter, lowering when he remembered that his presence was unlikely to be welcomed. He'd completely forgotten that it was Kurt who'd introduced him to this place.

Frozen, Blaine watched him settle onto one of the couches that overlooked the street. Kurt hadn't seen him. He could slip out, vanish into the crowd and the other boy would never know they'd occupied this same patch of earth even for a little while but - Blaine would know. It had been over a month since the disastrous meeting on the NYADA stairs. Not nearly enough time for Kurt's hurt to fade but Christmas had been their favorite time of year. All his favorite memories of the holiday involved Kurt in some small way and it felt strange for them to not even be speaking. It was selfish of him to keep pushing for forgiveness and a friendship but just this morning thoughts of his ex had assaulted him as he'd gone past the ice rink at Rockefeller Center. And running into Kurt now…this had to be a sign.

Heavy steps led him across the room, "Hi." He muttered. Kurt reeled back, his eyes shooting over his shoulder then back down to his hands. He did not seem happy to see him. Blaine thought about leaving but it'd taken so much effort to get this far, he wouldn't just give up. "Do you want me to go?"

Kurt studied him for a while, and then he shook his head. "It's okay. I'm early anyway so you can sit for a bit. Just a bit. I'm meeting someone."

It was the very careful way he said 'someone' that tipped Blaine off. He sank down into the proffered chair. "Someone? Like a date someone? You're dating?" He jumped in far too eagerly. Then he reined himself in, he was definitely endorsing this too hard. "I'm sorry. Your love life is none of my business." It wasn't anymore but Kurt dating was a good thing. A very good thing. This guy could be the one. They would fall in love, Kurt would be happy, forgive Blaine and they could all go back to being friends. It could happen. Maybe not quite that easily but a guy could dream.

"Stop weaving your little romantic fantasies." Kurt drawled. "It's only a second date."

"I'm not weaving anything."

"I know you."

"I just – " Blaine stammered in the face of his skepticism. "I hope he's a nice guy."

Kurt gave a hard laugh then quipped, "He can't be worse than my last boyfriend." Then he blushed, threw him an apologetic glance. "Sorry. It's kind of hard to turn it off."

At least he was trying. "It's okay. I deserve it."

They fell into a weighty silence staring out at the world as last minute shoppers ducked for cover as the sky opened up, pelting them with a cold wet drizzle.

"So…Christmas huh?" Kurt broke the standoff. "What does Christmas look like in Hamilton Heights?"

Feeling a bit lighter, Blaine smiled at the memory. "Hopefully nothing like Thanksgiving. There was high decibel screaming… charred dinner… and at least one threat of castration." He'd had a plan and his roommates had bulldozed right through it. "Not all the cooking brandy went into the pot…at 10am." He explained.

Kurt leaned back amused, hands on his crossed knees. "That must be a huge adjustment for you."

Blaine managed to contain the resounding 'Yes!' Finally! Someone that got it. It wasn't like he was insanely Type A. He wasn't. He just liked things organized. His Thanksgiving plan had been awesome. Since the four of them were basically a family – sorta - and no one was heading back to Lima for the holiday; he had thought it a good idea for them to blend different dishes from their different backgrounds. You know, form a new potluck tradition. But it all fell apart when Artie didn't bother to show up, Sam's 'Hakuna Matata' approach to life insisted that he try cooking something new and he chose Salmon – Bloody Fish! Half of it ended up black and stuck to the bottom of the pan. Tina refused to cook and instead argued that she shouldn't have to feed them because she was the girl, this argument eventually devolved into an epic feminist rant. At the end of the day, all Blaine could do was join them in a distinctly nontraditional Spicy chicken and coconut curry dinner and finish the cheap brandy. But Christmas was going to be different. He had a plan. Okay. A better plan than the last one and dammit he was going to get everybody to sit at a table at the same time and act like halfway decent human beings because that is what families did.

"It gets pretty crazy but I'm adapting."

"Well - I'm simply stunned that you are bucking the Blaine Anderson way. Putting up with all that insanity? You must really - " Kurt trailed off, picking at non existent loose thread on his pants. "Love him."

The ends of that sentence hang in the air shifting the mood. Blaine hesitated unsure about what to say. He did truly love Sam. Completely adored him. It was a love he'd hoped for, prayed for. Now that he got it, he wouldn't change it for anything. Chaos was part of the package that came with being with Sam and he had to find a way to cope with the madness every single day. The part that completely blew his mind was, he had no desire to change him. He loved that Sam could be unpredictable; off the wall, kind of wacky yet still manage to make him feel completely safe. They complimented each other. He was logic to Sam's emotion. Him, with his feet firmly on the ground balanced out Sam's constant head in the clouds spirit. On those days when their roles reversed, he was still with someone who got him.

But to say that to Kurt would be to deliberately hurt him, he already knew the truth why rub it in. Instead, Blaine tentatively offered an olive branch. "You could come over, you know, for Christmas dinner. I can't guarantee any edible food but - fingers crossed - we might manage to squeeze in a trip to the ER."

"No. I mean…thank you but I don't…it's too soon" Kurt glanced at him. "Maybe next year."

Blaine berated himself, he knew it was too soon to ask but they'd been getting along, actually talking and he'd gotten carried away. "Yeah of course, next year would be fine." He made to get up. Paused. "Did you get the ring?"

In response, Kurt dragged a thin platinum chain from under his collar until it exposed the ring dangling at the end.

"You're wearing it?" Blaine babbled. Why was he wearing it? What did it mean? Was he still in love with him? Oh sweet Jesus, where was the exit? He couldn't have this conversation.

"For the love of… Get over yourself." Kurt correctly interpreted his panicky look. "It's just a reminder for me not to be so hasty next time."

"Oh!" Blaine forced a laugh. "That makes sense."

He'd hardly caught his breath before Kurt snatched up his bags and shoved them at him. "You need to bounce. Luke's here."

Blaine turned studying tall, dark and handsome who just walked in and was shrugging out of his coat. "Is that him?"

"Go."

He left. Only lingering to determine that it was indeed him, and by the shy flirty smile Kurt was tossing him, he was definitely interested. Was it selfish of him to pray to every single deity for him or her to bless that union for his own benefit? Probably.

ooOoo

Coming in from the cold, Blaine hang up his umbrella and coat, dropping his purchases in the hall closet. He found Sam in the kitchen surrounded by Holiday Gift Baskets, wrapping up the last one. It wasn't the first time his errands had spilled over into their home life. He didn't care. Any time they got to spend together was precious. Blaine watched him untie the gold ribbon his brow furrowed in concentration. It was cute how seriously he was taking it. "You're home." Blaine said softly as he walked towards him. It was such a stupid thing to love. The way Sam smiled when he heard his voice, right before he looked up.

"I am." Sam grinned. "The drunk baby that signs my checks hates the cold so he left for a couples only nude resort in Cancun." He rolled his eyes at the statement. "So…I'm all yours until after New Year's. Maybe longer. He took Ray with him and there's a very high chance they'll kill each other."

"They made up?" Seriously, Ray! Where was that man's self respect?

Sam shrugged. "I don't care anymore. I am staying out of it."

Blaine reached up and kissed him. Settling back on his feet, he elbowed the open brimming basket sending a ripe peach crashing to the floor. Stooping to pick it up, he asked, "It's the 21st, shouldn't you have had these delivered already?"

"I did." Sam explained. "These were gifts from Ro's clients. Since he was leaving, he said we could have them."

"You're kidding?" Blaine looked at the scattered baskets with new eyes. So many gourmet treats; chocolate, nuts, meats, coffee, honey, fruit… "Moet!" He shrieked much to Sam's amusement."It's official I love him. I don't even care that he was probably wasted when he gave this stuff away."

"He was sober." Sam thought then corrected. "For him. The one shaped like a sleigh is full of that stinky cheese you like."

Blaine found it and clutched it to his chest. Oh Camembert! The rest would be more excited by the sheer volume of wine and bubbly gracing their kitchen but this was it for him. "Can you work there forever?"

Sam burst out laughing at his question. "Step away from the cheese. I uh – kinda got you something."

That got his attention. Blaine actually put the basket down. "What?"

"It's like a pre-present present."

Pre-present present? Blaine couldn't even come up with one good present and Sam already had three. "I thought we agreed on only one gift with a $50 limit?"

"I didn't break our deal. This cost basically nothing." Sam led him into the living room, pulled him down besides him on the couch and opened Tina's pink MacBook. "I'm just going to show it to you, okay?"

"Okay." Blaine echoed. Sam was tense, which was odd. He immediately popped up off the seat and started pacing behind him when the page started to load.

The first thing that crossed Blaine's mind was 'F**k, I'm never going to top this'. The second was, 'Is that how he sees me?' Placing the laptop on his knees, he tipped the screen back so he could see better. The black and white illustration of his face in profile etched in graphic pen was prominently displayed; the Roadhouse sign lay shadowy in the back, the date and time when he played scribbled just under it in pale gray. With the click of a button, he realized it was a fully functional Facebook page about him…as a musician. Son of a -

Impatient, Sam plopped back besides him. "You hate it." He said looking worried.

"No. I love it. Of course I lo - how long did this even take?" Blaine was completely blown away by the amount of work Sam had put into it. He clicked the gallery scrolling through extensive volume of photos from the last two shows he'd played. Photos he didn't remember being taken. "How did you get these?" He pointed one out.

"Tina."

She took so many photographs of them, that he'd stopped even noticing when she ditched her phone and upgraded to an actual camera. Sighing Blaine turned to him. "I love it but Sam I've only played twice and Bessie conked out halfway during the second show." To even call them shows was to oversell them. His audience was a bunch of sad drunks crying in their beer that occasionally looked up at him and made a request for something nostalgic that made them even sadder. He played mainly for himself, rediscovering how much he loved music, the performance more than the applause. The terrible audience did not once diminish his enjoyment. He was reluctant to give up the untouched paradise that he had all to himself. "I don't know if I'm ready."

"Come on babe, you rock!" Sam persuaded. "You are a legendary Warbler. You are so fucking amazing everybody needs to come watch you play. Don't be less than who you are. Please say yes because it's all set up. We already started to spread the word. I even talked to Sebastian – he's a dick I know - but he agreed to place a link on the Dalton website and drum up some support through the other Warblers that moved to New York."

A larger audience would be nice but it was Sam's belief in him that sold him on the idea. "Okay. Go nuts." Head tilted to the side, Blaine watched him celebrate. He wondered. "I hope you realize this won't make everybody like me again."

Sam turned towards him exuding concern. "That's not what this is about. I mean you said you were cool with the way everything went down, right?" His grimace was an unprecedented reminder of all the nasty things that had been said about Blaine by former friends. In a nutshell, news of their relationship had gotten out, shit had hit the fan. Sam and Kurt had come out smelling like roses but the consensus was that he was a bastard for cheating on Kurt twice. All the consequent lines that were drawn by Glee clubbers past and present were between those who liked Sam and those who liked Kurt, none of it had anything to do with him. Except for those few that had taken it upon themselves to 'advise' Sam to break up with him because he was some sort of serial cheater. It had been saddening and infuriating and he didn't even want to think about it anymore because he was in such a good place in his life.

Sam took his hands in his. "If they can't see how awesome you are then fuck 'em. We don't need them."

Surprisingly, Blaine was okayish – not quite alright but he was getting there. He focused on the most important thing that Sam still looked at him with such love in his eyes. Nothing and no one else's opinion counted for anything. "I'm okay." Some bridges you burn just as others opened up. There were other Warblers in New York. Why hadn't he thought of that?

The doorbell rang and tabling his concern Sam went to answer the door. It was Artie with Lucy sheepishly explaining how he'd forgotten his key at their place. It was an inauspicious beginning to their Sunday movie night. Then Tina came home, her date showing soon after. You couldn't blame Blaine if his eyes lingered a little too long on his pants wondering what monstrosity lay beyond the ordinary khaki. An hour later, the bell rung again, this time Charlie with his date, he ushered him straight into the living room then reappeared besides them.

"He seems nice, right?" He whispered.

"Yeah. He does." Blaine answered as Sam stood besides him tearing into one of the baskets and putting the goodies away. "One question though, did he seem gay when you picked him up?"

"Yeah!" He answered with confidence.

Blaine hesitated. He didn't want to burst his bubble but Charlie was a romantic disaster. He frequently missed clues, ignored hints and was so dogged in his pursuit of love that he often fell for the wrong people. Blaine might not have been all the way sold on him but if he let him make a move on the straight guy who had no idea he was on a date with another man, they would end up on the news. So he merely pointed to where Lucy had bent over to talk to Artie and you could see clear down her top and how Charlie's date was positively drooling.

"Oh! Come on." Charlie moaned discouraged.

Sam laughed. "Dude, I have better gaydar than you do."

"Hey!" Limp with affront, the gladiator continued to watch his date unravel with such misery Blaine thought he might actually start to like him.

"Sorry dummy," Leaning over, Sam gave his friend a quick hug. "Beer?"

"Yup. All the beers and keep them coming."

Looking around, Blaine treasured this, the realisation that he was happy. Their house was full of family and friends. It was nice. Tina's date wouldn't last and straight guy would probably never make it back across their threshold but Sam was here so was Tina. Artie had Lucy on his lap. Kurt had talked to him. He was having an awesome day. Given how many 'friends' he'd recently lost, absolutely anybody that accepted him and Sam was welcome in their home. Okay seriously, Lucy and Artie were really going at it now, tongues and everything.

Sam draped over his back. "Please tell me we are not that gross."

"I was just thinking that."

"You are." Tina said, breezing past to retrieve two massive bowls and get the popcorn.

"We're grosser than the ridiculous amount of smacking that's coming out of that chair?" Blaine challenged.

Tina emptied the final kennels into the bowl. Then she looked at them smirked. "You know there's more than one fork in this house, right? And you can both have one. Each."

Blaine scowled at her and she got it. It was a gross habit but it was also a little on purpose. Sam was more likely to eat certain foods off Blaine's plate than serve them himself. He tricked his boyfriend into eating more. Sue him.

Tossing him a wink, she hefted both bowls. "Movie's starting." She called out. "Human Centipede 2."

"Christmas. We said pick a Christmas movie, Tina." Artie protested loudly. "Why do you insist on terrifying us into submission at every turn?"

"Okay. Fine, you only had to ask. God!" Digging through the stack of DVDs she discarded several then held up one." If I absolutely have to pick something else then uh - 'It's a wonderful life', coming right up."

Blaine loved that movie but it always made him sob like a freaking baby. Sam leaned over him his green eyes brightening, lips forming that teasing smile. "Should I bust out the tissues?"

"I'm not going to cry." Dammit! "Yes." He admitted weakly. "Get them."

They all piled onto the couch. It was a very tight squeeze. "We need a bigger boat." Sam yelled as he wedged in behind Blaine to make more room and Charlie and his not date took to the carpet.

The lights were down. George Bailey was offering to lasso the moon for Mary. With his back against his chest, Blaine could feel Sam's heart beat, occasionally feel his lips on his neck when he was bored, feel his arms loosely slung around his waist except for when they were reaching for popcorn or dangling an absurd amount of tissues in front of his face. Just this. The feel of him, the smell of him. The absolute knowledge of how much Sam loved him. Just this was everything.