Santana had insisted on coming over to Sam's to check his outfit choice for Rachel's party. He'd rolled his eyes hugely over the phone at her for this.
"I can dress myself you know," he groaned irritably.
Santana chuckled patronisingly. "No you can't."
"I'll be there in five."
Sam walked out into the living room where his… uh… girlfriend, Santana, was waiting for him wearing an impatient expression. She looked Sam up and down and then shook her head.
"No," she said simply, waving him off to try something else.
"Too gay," Santana said simply.
Sam looked down at his green V-necked shirt and skinny jeans and pouted. This was his favourite shirt. The last time he'd worn this T-shirt was when he saw Iron Man 2 with Artie and Puck and Artie had said it brought out his eyes and…
"Come on, Sam," Santana urged, now getting up and pushing him back into his room. "We're going to be late and I wants to get my drink on."
"I'm going, I'm going!" Sam snapped, exasperated. Santana went with him and chose something she deemed acceptably heterosexual and they walked together to Rachel's down the road.
"Don't let me get too drunk," Santana urged as they turned the corner to Rachel's house. "Or at least keep me away from Britt if I do."
"Only if you don't let me get too drunk," Sam contested. "Or keep me away from… guys."
Santana smirked. "Guys?"
Sam rounded on her. "Yes. Guys. That's kind of the point of this whole-"
"You don't have any particular guys in mind?" Santana teased, leering at him.
"No!" Sam shouted maturely.
"No?" Santana put on a face of mock confusion. "Not even Artie?"
Sam stopped short. "Wha-what?" he asked helplessly. "I don't-"
"Shh," Santana silenced him with a finger over his lips. "Auntie Tana always knows."
Sam started to panic. Artie was his best friend, and yes, while he was one of the few people who knew about Sam being gay, knowing about his feelings for him was a different thing altogether. He didn't want to ruin everything they had by complicating things.
Santana went on. "Good thing he and Britt have been broken up long enough for it not to be weird if anything happens," she mused, allowing herself an indulgent grin.
"Nothing's going to happen," Sam said firmly.
"I know," Santana sighed, "But we can dream right?"
Sam's mind was still racing. "Please, please don't tell him," Sam begged. "Or anyone!"
Santana put a hand on Sam's arm comfortingly and laughed with a mocking yet affectionate tone at his panic. "Do you not understand how this whole beards thing works?"
Sam bit his lip.
"We look out for each other," Santana told him emphatically, with a sudden seriousness. "I don't tell anyone anything you don't want them to know."
Sam stared at her, watching for a flicker of something to distrust or doubt, but he found none.
"No problems, Trouty," she smirked, leaving the previous tender moment behind. "Now let's get our drink on!"
Sam and Santana's promises of not letting each other get too drunk were less than successful.
The room was spinning but Sam felt totally on top of the world. He was sure he'd never danced better either. He looked over and saw Santana dancing extremely closely and provocatively with Brittany and remembered something about needing to pull them away… but a voice stopped all of his thoughts.
"Sam I don't feel well," slurred Artie, tugging on Sam's hand.
Artie had the same effect on Sam that kittens had on cat people. He just wanted to scoop him up and cuddle him until nothing was wrong. But he wasn't sure if he'd be able to carry Artie very well because his legs were having enough trouble with him, so they went to find some water and sat down on the couch next to Mercedes and Tina.
"Great party, huh?" Sam said to Artie, who had just struggled out of his wheelchair onto the couch. He was looking less pale now, but still slightly unstable. After a slight pout and a sad nod from the smaller boy, Sam couldn't help but wrap his arms around him and start stroking his hair.
"You'll be fine, Artie!" Sam was yelling despite their closeness. "I won't let you die."
Artie snuggled closer to Sam's chest. "Thanks, Sam."
Soon, Artie felt better and insisted that Sam dance with him. Sam took the instruction 'dance' as 'straddle my lap and dance extremely suggestively', but Artie totally didn't seem to mind. Sam practically fell onto the wheelchair at one point, only just catching himself before head-butting Artie by grabbing the back of his chair. There was something interesting in Artie's eyes and Sam felt Artie's arms around his shoulders, pulling him down closer when-
Santana called him over, detaching herself from Brittany - who she'd been grinding with.
"SAN," Sam yelled over the music, then he pulled away from Artie and bounded towards her. "I'M SO GLAD YOU DIDN'T LET ME GET TOO DRUNK OR ELSE I'D BE DOING SOMETHING REALLY GAY RIGHT NOW."
Santana stumbled towards him. "ME TOO SAM. BEST BEARDS EVER."
They high-fived each other, totally chuffed at their achievement. Then Santana dragged him over to the couch and pounced on him with furious kisses just to be sure.
Four beers and two wine coolers later, Sam was on the ground next to Artie watching Santana do shots off Brittany. He laughed so hard he collapsed onto the smaller boy's lap.
Someone suggested Sam do bodyshots off Artie.
"You up for that, dude?" Sam checked.
"You know it!" Artie lay down and ripped off his shirt like Superman. "Go!" he urged with a laugh.
Sam's brain short circuited at the sight of him and his bare chest and… abs? "Is that what you've been hiding under those grandpa sweaters?"
Artie chuckled then yelled, "LESS TALKING MORE DRINKING."
Sam made some loud noise of agreement, and then tried not to fall over as he bent down. His tongue slid up Artie's abs clumsily, missing the trail of salt. Sam definitely wasn't opposed to the idea of having another go though, and he relished every inch of Artie's skin under his tongue. He took the shot, burning all the way down to his stomach.
Everyone was cheering and laughing and screaming. Artie had that strange look on his face again.
"Your abs taste awesome, dude," Sam gushed, still balancing on his hands, propped up directly over Artie.
Artie didn't laugh, but stared at Sam still with that strange look. Suddenly Artie's arms were around Sam's shoulders again, and this time he managed to pull him down properly and he kissed Sam desperately. Sam's brain took a moment to register what was happening, but then he started kissing Artie back in earnest, trying to put all the suppressed feelings for his friend into the kiss because he knew he wasn't really capable of words at the moment. He tried not to let the kiss get too sloppy, but that seemed to be exactly what Artie was going for, kissing him furiously, frantically, mouths parted, tongues exploring. Artie clung to Sam, pulling him down further, closer, because they were both sure they needed to close any space between them, but if Sam got any closer he'd fall on top of Artie, so instead he pulled Artie so he was sitting in front of him and both their arms wrapped around each other, holding tight, hands everywhere. They broke away reluctantly, lips swollen but smiling. Sam planted a sweet kiss on Artie's forehead.
Then he remembered suddenly that their entire extended group of friends was there too.
A small cheer came over the music.
"GET SOME!" Puck was yelling.
No one else seemed to have noticed, however, because the somewhat more unlikely pairing of Blaine and Rachel were totally getting it on on the other side of the room and everyone was reacting with various degrees of amusement and horror.
And after that Sam didn't remember much.
He woke up, head pounding, back aching on an uncomfortable couch in an unfamiliar room and groaned loudly.
"What's happening?" he moaned, curling himself up on the couch so clumsily that he knocked himself off.
He heard voices cackling from the other side of the room. He looked up to see Artie and Puck sitting next to each other, watching him and hooting with laughter. They both drank a lot more than he did more often, so they didn't seem to be as badly affected.
Sam crawled over, berating them for laughing, but it just made them laugh harder. When he reached them he was still whining, and he put his head on Artie's knee, looking up at his friend with a sour expression in hopes of getting some kind of hangover remedy or at least a cuddle.
The events of the night before came flooding back to Sam and he leapt away from Artie, standing up quickly, eyes wide in shock.
"And…" Puck announced loudly, "That's my cue to go!" he sauntered out of the room making inappropriate comments all the way.
"Artie, I'm so sorry," Sam blurted out immediately.
"I know I should have told you I had feelings for you but I really didn't want to ruin everything that we-"
"Sam, I don't-"
"-have… because like you're the best Artie. And I don't want to lose you ever. But I was drunk and-"
"I promise it'll never happen again and we can just forget this ever happened."
He stared at Artie, waiting for a response.
"Two things," Artie began dramatically.
Sam nodded, hoping for the best but expecting the worst.
"First." He held up a finger. "I kissed you. So I'm pretty sure if anyone should be apologizing it should be me."
Sam opened his mouth to respond but Artie silenced him with his hand.
"Second: we definitely shouldn't pretend this never happened," he said seriously. "In fact, I think it should happen a lot more."
"Really?" Sam asked, a huge grin gracing his features.
Artie grinned back. "Really," he said. "Like… it could happen again now if you'd like?"
"Oh, I'd like," Sam said, kneeling down, taking Artie's face in his hands and kissing him. Not like the night before – it was a sweet, simple kiss, sealing the deal of whatever was to come next between them.
Just as they broke apart, Sam's phone vibrated.
It was Santana.
Morning gayface. I just woke up at Britt's and I can't find my underwear… I think my beard got shaved off last night.
Santana's phone buzzed just as she crawled out of Brittany's bed on the hunt for some clothes.
It was a photo: Sam flashing her a grin bigger than she could remember seeing with those guppy lips of his while Artie, not looking at the camera, was kissing his cheek.
Yeah, me 2, said the message underneath.
Santana smiled, proud of her boy.
Congratulations, she texted.
Shhh can't talk - making out.