Originally written in May 2001 this is the concluding part of my trilogy (Never Saw It Coming and 40 Days of Summer which have already been posted recently as completed although all three fics can be read as stand-alone stories in their own right.) This one diverges the most from cannon as I'd already stopped watching the show when it was written and was only relying on things I'd heard and clips I'd seen. I'm going to change a few things in this repost like characters and song choices but it's essentially the same outcome (she says, giving away the ending! LOL!)

Disclaimer: Me no own Glee!


PROLOGUE (AKA Bringing everyone up to speed)

Sam sat in Kurt's kitchen, drinking chocolate milk and feeling miserable. It was his last day in Lima.

He liked being with Kurt. The smaller boy's calm manner had a soothing influence on him. They'd just been discussing how much he should tell the Glee club about his imminent departure.

Sam was quite happy to just vanish off the radar. He'd told Kurt the same day that he had broken the news to Mercedes. Broken everything with Mercedes in fact. It was horrible coming to the realization that the one person you could really talk to was the one person that you'd just had to let go. But Kurt was a good guy. He'd been there for him once before and he'd do it again. That's why Mercedes was his friend. And by some strange default he felt closer to her just by being near Kurt. They'd sat for nearly two hours outside the motel room on that Monday night, most of it in a comfortable silence. Kurt just being there for him. He nearly hadn't opened the motel room door when he'd heard the knock. They'd just brought his dad back from the hospital and they didn't want anyone to know what had happened.

Flashback:

When the delicate tap on the door happened for the second time Sam finally moved to the window to see who it was. He saw Kurt's perfectly coiffed head craned towards him, smiling. A large cooler bag was clutched in his hand and he pointed to it.

With a sigh Sam made his way to the door, opening it very slightly and sliding his way out, making sure that Kurt couldn't see into the room behind him.

"Hey Sam!"

"Hi! Look, I'm sorry I can't ask you in but Stacy is asleep and both my parents are in so it's pretty cramped." He also couldn't forget his dad's cruel words about Kurt and didn't want them in the same room together.

"No problem," he replied brightly, "I just came to drop this off for you." He held out the large cooler bag towards him.

"What is it?"

"It's from Mrs Jones. They brought it by on their way to the airport saying they for forgot to give it to you earlier and they knew you wouldn't be back at the motel yet so they asked me to drop by this evening. It's just stuff from their fridge. Whenever they go away for more than a couple of days she gets paranoid and has to clear everything out of the fridge and switch it off before she leaves. Something about an unfortunate incident back in college days..."

"Thanks." Sam took the bag. It's not as if he could refuse hours after the event. And quite frankly they did need the stuff. He asked Kurt to wait while he took the bag in to his mom and returned quickly. The two then sat outside. Kurt looked at him intently.

"Sam. Somethings up. I know it is. What is it?"

Sam felt his eyes stinging. No he wasn't going to cry again. He had cried more in the last 24 hours than he had in the last decade of his life. And for now there were no more tears left.

But here was also no lying to Kurt.

"We broke up."

"WHAT!"

Sam bent his head and rubbed the back of his neck.

"SAM WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?" Angry Kurt was not a good sound. It hurt both his ears and his heart.

"We're moving back to Tennessee next week." His voice wobbled and he closed his eyes. He'd thought there were no more tears left but clearly he was wrong. With a heavy sigh he rubbed his temple. His head had been throbbing all day. "You don't have any Advil do you?"

Kurt eyed him doubtfully but fished around in his satchel. People mocked when he carried a bag and yet they were always wanting things from it.

Sam popped two tablets dry before continuing. "The short version is this. We have to get out of the motel. My crummy good for nothing dad hasn't worked at all for the last six weeks. He's been busy drinking the money that mom and I've been struggling to bring in. Then yesterday afternoon he got into an accident. Trashed the car and ended up in hospital. It's only by some stroke of luck that he didn't get arrested as well!"

Kurt's eyes bugged out. "Oh my god Sam! Is he okay?"

"Unfortunately yes. But they kept him in hospital overnight. Between that and the scans the cost was phenomenal. Plus the cost of fixing the car. It's totally tipped us over the edge."

"You should have brought the car to my dad's place!"

"True. To be honest I didn't think of it. But my mom has a contact through work and they're already sorting it. But what I'm trying to say is that we're now down to less than nothing. We had been trying to save for a deposit for a place but that's totally wiped out. There's now nothing left to pay for the motel room and we have to get out next week. The hospital called my grandparents as they're on dad's next of kin list and they're sorting the most of the medical fees for us. They also want us to move in with them to look after dad and we have no choice."

"So you're going back to Nashville?"

"Memphis actually. It's my dad's parents not my mom's."

"Oh hell... How did Cedes take it?"

"Not well. She was with me when the news broke last night and I filled her in on the rest this morning. She didn't want to go on this holiday to Florida. She wanted to stay with me but it's not her choice. And by the time she gets back I'll be gone-"

He choked on the final words and Kurt put a soothing hand on his friend's shoulder.

Sam looked at him sadly. "We've been together less than six weeks. And we hardly got to see each other much during that time. Between me always at work and other stuff it's only been the equivalent of about 2 weeks of proper dating. To try and drag it out with the long distance thing would only be cruel and painful. She needs to be with somebody who can be right here for her. I need to let her go now before too much damage is done." He sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. "It's the hardest decision I've ever made in my life. But I made the right decision didn't I?"

Kurt had no idea what to say in reply.

Flashback ends.

Sam would tell Finn when he came home from work today. There was no sense in causing friction between the new brothers. The only other person he'd told about leaving was Quinn. She'd popped by to ask why the family hadn't been at church and he'd had to come up with some cruddy excuse. Luckily she bought the story of his dad getting a job. That was the official story they were telling people. The only ones who knew the truth were Kurt and Mercedes. He'd told them the truth of what had happened and the real reason they were leaving. But he could never tell them the truth about the hurtful and offensive things that his dad had said about them. The stuff that he would be too ashamed to ever repeat to another human soul. The man clearly didn't like the idea of him being with Mercedes and now he had his wish. He also didn't like his friendship with Kurt and that was going too. Sam didn't care that the man just had been in an accident and got hurt. He still hated him for it, for his ignorance and for the way that he'd hurt his own family.

There was just one other person he wanted to say goodbye to himself. That was Mike. Even though he was a quieter member of the group, Sam still felt an affiliation with him. They had chats and a shared sense of humor that could be conveyed with just a look but set them off into fits of side splitting laughter. Mike deserved a final manhug.

Kurt stayed quiet. He was texting furiously on his phone. Obviously to Blaine. Sam didn't care much about what he was saying. He didn't much care about anything at the moment. He'd thrown himself into working off his one week notice at the pizza place. By leaving the motel early they would get two nights cash refund which they would be used for gas money as well as allow them to buy food at the rest stops. The kids were excited about that part. They hadn't eaten out in months and a crappy highway diner was as exciting to them as a gourmet restaurant.

Life was never going to be the same again. Mercedes was on holiday in Florida while he and his family were putting together the final touches of their packing before heading off to Memphis.

"Sorry about that." Kurt finally put his phone down.

Sam shrugged. He'd been lost in his own thoughts for a while now anyway. Stacy had started playing up over the last week. Throwing tantrums about missing her friends and demanding to see Mercedes to say goodbye. It wasn't her fault. She was too young to understand. But a motel room is too small to be sharing with a kid throwing tantrums. He hoped that there wouldn't be any lasting damage. She'd struggled with saying goodbye to her friends in Nashville and making new ones in Lima. To make her do it all over again in Memphis was heartbreaking and she just didn't understand. He knew that if Mercedes was here she would sit her on her knee and reason with her and get through. He'd tried, but had been blocked by his own sadness and Stacy saw right through him.

He'd left the goodbyes for the last moment for a reason. There was no way he could pretend to be happy about a made up job for more than a day. And he didn't want anyone trying to organize and leaving events which would make him feel even more guilty about lying. He just wanted to go.

He needed to go.

And he needed to put all aspects of his life in Lima Ohio behind him.

Memphis Tennessee and his uncertain future awaited him.

A future without one essential element.

Mercedes Jones.