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Once in a Lifetime

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“Dude, look at all these guys!” Sam whispered urgently, leaning close to speak directly into Blaine’s ear. “I should just go home. There’s no way I’ll get the part.”

Smiling reassuringly, Blaine laid his hands on Sam’s forearms. “Sam, you have as much of a chance as any one of these guys. More! You were meant to be Teddy!”

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was about to wrap up its first, highly successful season and they were casting for a few recurring characters that would debut in season 2. It took approximately .003 seconds for fandom to realize that the two major roles they were looking to fill were Teddy Altman and Billy Kaplan.

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Sam, who had been booking steady modeling jobs and some work in commercials, decided he had to at least try to audition and so, on the day they were looking for a potential Teddy in NYC (they had been casting for Billy the day before), he braved the open call.

As Blaine was nearly done with his first year of classes at NYADA (which impressed him far less than Kurt and Rachel), he accompanied Sam to the audition to provide moral support. It was kind of their thing. Their habit of supporting and encouraging each other had carried over from high school, intensifying, if possible, as Sam was there for Blaine all through the crushing, final implosion of his relationship with Kurt and Blaine always bolstered Sam’s sense of self worth, which occasionally took hits from thoughtless members of the modeling industry.

Really, who in their right mind could look at Sam’s abs and call him fat?

As usual, Sam seemed to relax at Blaine’s calming reassurance and he offered him a tentative smile. “Really?”

“Really,” Blaine confirmed, then, as a woman walked past them into the casting room beyond, he offered, “Want to run through your lines again?”

They spent the next couple of hours running Sam’s lines together and talking as an assistant called names and actor after actor disappeared into the back room. When Sam’s name was called, Blaine gave his hand a squeeze as he got up to follow the woman into the casting room.

God, he hoped Sam got the part! Sure, it would suck when he went out to LA to film, but he’d come back and it was such a good opportunity….

Ten minutes later, the assistant popped her head out again and called, “Blaine Anderson?”

Well, that was a surprise.

“Yes?” he asked curiously, not sure why they would even know his name.

She gestured at him. “Come with me.”

Confused, Blaine straightened his red Iron Man t-shirt, shouldered his messenger bag and stood, feeling the eyes of all the big, blond, muscular men in the waiting room following him, clearly wondering what the hell he was doing. He was pretty much the opposite of the type listed on the casting call sheet for Teddy.

He entered the room, where Sam was standing before table, where a man and three women sat. Blaine almost tripped when he recognized two of them, Jed Whedon, Joss Whedon’s brother, and Maurissa Tancharoen (Oh God, she had walked past them in the waiting room and he hadn’t recognized her!). They were two of the show’s executive producers and writers and happened to be married.

“Hello,” he said brightly, automatically drifting toward Sam. “I’m Blaine Anderson and I’m not auditioning for the role of Teddy Altman, so a little confused.”

Sam grinned at him and touched his elbow lightly as Maurissa said, “We’d like you to read with Mr. Evans here. I saw you two running the scene in the waiting room.”

That was unexpected, but he nodded. “Oh, yes, of course.”

“We casting for Billy as well, but we’re having a bit of an issue finding someone,” Jed added with a grin. “Sam here says you’re a performer too… Most talented guy he knows. Do you have a headshot and any interest in auditioning for the role of Billy?”

He really had auditioned for many television or movie roles, but this was Marvel. This was Billy Kaplan! “Yes and I totally am,” he said quickly, fishing his headshot out of his bag and handing it over.

“NYADA,” one of the other women said thoughtfully as she read over his resume. “Very impressive.”

“Thank you,” he replied and the as yet unnamed woman waved a script at him.

Once Blaine had it in hand, she said, “Run through the scene together, if you will.”

They’d run the scene so many times that Blaine didn’t need the script. He knew he and Sam could be these roles.

Nerves running high, Billy gasped when a strong hand grasped his arm, tugging him out of the bustling hall and into the janitor’s closet.

“Relax,” Teddy’s familiar voice said and Billy felt some of his tension beach away.

Some of the tension.

“Relax? How the heck am I supposed to relax, Teddy?” He asked, gesturing grandly. “I knew someone was going to start poking around after I fried half of the computer lab last week and you caught that jumper by the science wing. I mean, yeah, not like you could let that girl die and I prevented a nasty computer virus from being let loose, but still….”

“Billy,” Teddy said, placing big, warm, comforting hands on Billy shoulders. “It’s going to be okay. We didn’t do anything. We’re just a couple of high school kids. People will lose interest really fast. We just have to play it cool… Especially around those new substitutes.”

“Oh, you get a weird feeling off of them too?” Billy asked. “I swear, it felt like Ms. May was looking right into my soul during Lit!”

Teddy nodded somberly. “Yeah. Gym teachers are normally a little too into dodgeball, but Mr. Ward kept going on about it being war and strategy and angles of attack...Just a little too much to be a normal teacher.”

“So, no trusting the subs?”

“No,” Teddy agreed, squeezing Billy’s arms and looking him in the eye. “It’s you and me. I’ve got your back, you’ve got mine, right?” Their eyes met in something changed in the air, the fear and slightly frantic moment shifted into something personal and intense. Teddy’s thumb brushed over Billy’s bicep as he reaffirmed, “You and me.”

“Yeah,” Billy said, voice shaking slightly, but not with fear, fingers coming up to wrap in the fabric of Teddy’s soft, plaid shirt. “You and me.”

They held that pose for a long beat before breaking character and smiling broadly at each other, turning back to the casting agents, were peering at them intently. After a few seconds Jed nodded. “Okay. Very nice. Thank you, boys. You’ll be hearing from us within the next couple of weeks.”

Thanking them for their time, Blaine and Sam exited the room, walking a number of feet down the hall before stopping and turning to each other. “Oh my God, what just happened?” Blaine asked, peering up at Sam, who looked equally stunned.

“I don’t know,” he said, sounding breathless. “I did the read through with them and then Maurissa said she’d seen me practicing with you out in the waiting room and asked your name. And then they called you in!”

“Well, it went pretty well,” Blaine said with a smile. “I don’t want to jinx anything, but wouldn’t it be awesome if we….”

Sam beamed at him. “Totally awesome!”


“Those two,” Jed said with certainty and soon as Sam Evans and Blaine Anderson left the room and the door was firmly closed. “Them. They’re it.”

“Told you,” Maurissa said, smiling triumphantly. “When I saw them out in the waiting room they weren’t practicing the script. They were just talking to each other and they were perfect.”

Sitting back in her chair, Sarah nodded. “After the absolute lack of appropriate Billy candidates, I’m thrilled.”

“We still have to see the other young men here to read for Teddy, but after that….,” Tamara added, trailing off as everyone present nodded in agreement.

“We have our Billy and Teddy,” Jed concluded, pulling out his phone to text Joss.