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Kurt’s been wrong about his gaydar before—wishful thinking had him sure that one day Finn would fall in love with him—but he knows for a fact that, today, he’s not wrong about the new boy in Glee. Even if it weren’t for the dye job, and the shyness, Kurt notices that Sam’s been sort of, well. Staring at him.

 

It’s not in that way that usually comes, wherein guys in Letterman jackets look at Kurt like they’d like to throw him in the garbage. It’s little, cursory, harmless glances; their lockers are across the way from each other, and when Kurt stops between each period to check his hair in the mirror, he feels the stare coming from Sam’s direction. Lo and behold, Sam’s looking, curious blue eyes; not smiling anymore than the natural smile that his mouth is shaped with, and not ever for very long. But when Kurt waves or smiles at him, Sam nods. One time, Kurt catches Sam shaking his head, muttering something disparaging to himself as he looks away.

 

Whether it’s coincidence or Sam really is curious, Kurt tells his prediction to Mercedes when she asks who he’s going to sing the competition duet with in Glee club. “He’s team gay,” he says to her. “No straight boy dyes his hair to look like Linda Evangelista circa 1993.” He doesn’t add that Sam’s been looking at him—realistically, he’s probably looking at all the Glee kids that way, since they’re the only people he really knows—because he knows she’ll call him “crazy, circa 2010” anyway.

 

But he’s determined to prove her wrong and himself right. Just after lunch that day, Kurt approaches the pretty new boy at his locker with a formal proposal.

 

“I have three gifts,” Kurt says by way of introduction, “my voice, my ability to spot trends in men’s fashion, and my ability to know when it comes from a bottle.”

 

Sam looks hesitant, but smiles. “I don’t dye my hair, dude.”

 

“Yes, you do. But it’s just between friends. That’s not natural.”

 

“I’m gonna go,” Sam says, backing away, though he’s still smiling somewhat, “‘cause you’re kinda freaking me out.”

 

“Wait.” Kurt catches up with the boy as he walks away. Hard sell. “Maybe my instincts were wrong, but let me make it up to you. Team up with me for the duet competition. Listen, unless you team up with Rachel, I’m your best bet at winning.”

 

“Aren’t duets supposed to be between a girl and a guy?”

 

“Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor would protest.” At Sam’s blank look, Kurt protests. “Make ‘Em Laugh? Singing In The Rain? 1952? Okay, maybe you are straight.”

 

“What?” Sam laughs.

 

“Nothing. Rent it, and then look up the menu for Breadstix online, and then call me, ‘cause we are gonna win this.”

 

After Kurt’s next class, he’s standing at his open locker when he gets a text from Mercedes.

 

Mercedes: Ask him yet????

Kurt: Indeed I have.

Mercedes: What’d he say???

Kurt: He didn’t say no.

Mercedes: That’s BS. U need a yes. Get a yes!!!

 

“Hey, Kurt.”

 

Suddenly, Sam is there. His hair’s wet and his skin’s a little red from a post gym shower. Whatever he puts in that color treated hair, it smells incredible, Kurt thinks, biting the inside of his cheek.

 

“You said to call you,” Sam says, “about the duet, but then I realized, uh, I don’t have your number.”

 

Sam’s fumbling with his phone in his hands, so Kurt takes it, calls himself until he feels his own phone buzz in his other hand.

 

"Cool. Thanks," Sam says, shoving his phone in his back pocket. "I, uh. Won't let you down."

 

Kurt winks. "No, thank you."

 

As Kurt walks down the hall, his face on fire, Mercedes appears at his side and joins him in-step, looping her arm through his.

 

“Um, okay," she says, giddy, "what was that?”

 

Kurt sighs, full of bliss, squeezing her arm. “That was a yes.”

 

 

 

 

 

Sam actually does rent Singing In The Rain and look up the Breadstix menu online, that night. He isn’t totally sure this was what he’d pictured when Finn told him that the Glee club was going to make him feel cool and popular, but at least his first day in Glee wasn’t like flag football in gym at a new school, when the captains each go down the line picking their friends and the new, weird, big-mouthed kid’s always left alone.

 

He thought he’d have to work the nerve to ask someone himself to be his duet partner, which may not have been that hard, since he’s a football player now, and all. But instead, to the relief of his social anxiety, someone accosted him.

 

And Kurt Hummel was definitely...someone. Sam hadn’t lied when he’d said that Kurt kind of freaked him out. He’d noticed the kid on the first day, wearing something that looked like a bedazzled sailor’s outfit, but with dozens of chains as a belt. He’d asked the girl sitting next to him in his first class if this wasn’t a school where you were supposed to wear a costume.

 

She looked up to where Sam’s eyes were still fixed out in the hall, where Kurt could be seen through the doorway talking to a black girl.

 

“You talking about Kurt Hummel?” she said. “No, that’s just him." She laughed. "Closet freak.”

 

Sam would soon find out that, just like Finn Hudson and those other guys he sang with that one day, that Kurt was a member of the twelve person Glee club. It was hard not to stare at all the Glee kids, for him, as they were one of the most eclectic, diverse groups on campus. But if eclectic had a spokesperson, it was definitely Kurt. Sam had a locker down the way from him and couldn’t help but look at him when he passed through. He’d seen gay guys before, but never any that were so...obvious. Sam would probably rather die than wear some of the head-turning outfits that Kurt does, but he has to respect the guy for not caring what people think. He wishes he could be more like that himself.

 

On the day that Kurt, well, cornered him, and asked to be his duet partner for the assignment, Sam was only half listening, mostly because he was distracted by the raccoon tail that Kurt had dangling from the backs of his form-fitting jeans. If it wouldn’t’ve sounded weird, he would’ve asked if it was, like, some kind of trophy from hunting or something? But Kurt didn’t seem like the hunting type. Also, it had glitter all over it.

 

He isn’t sure why he’s so nervous when he asks for Kurt’s number. Just because he’s gay, it doesn’t mean that he thinks Sam’s asking him out or anything. This is just for an assignment, and surely, Kurt has some kind of other gay boyfriend somewhere. Right?

 

Still, when Kurt bids him adieu with a wink, Sam feels his insides do a turn.

 

Shit. I think maybe I just asked this guy out...

 

Finn’s advice to Sam, in the locker room just before football practice that day, when Finn discovers that Sam and Kurt are doing a duet, doesn’t make Sam feel any less embarrassed about what he’s apparently done.

 

“Kurt’s kind of a steamroller,” Finn is saying. “Don’t let him dress you up in a fur coat and heels and make you sing back-up to a Streisand song.”

 

“Is that what he usually does?”

 

“Bring your ideas to the table. Be firm, or else Kurt’ll get what he wants. Oh, and, outside of Glee, I’d keep it on the down low you’re singing with him.”

 

“Why?”

 

“C’mon, dude, you see what kinda school we go to. Kurt acts like he’s above it all, but he takes a lot of shit around here for being gay. And, if you’re seen too much with him, y’know, people talk.”

 

“So," Sam says, "you’re, like, his brother, right? Do people talk about you?”

 

Finn pauses at that, looks sort of offended.

 

“I’m just saying,” he says, hands up, “be careful, that’s all.”

 

“Thanks." Sam feels offended now, too. "Think I can handle it.”

 

As Sam goes through the motions of practice, gets home to start his homework as the late afternoon turns to night, he thinks about those words that that girl in his class used to refer to Kurt, the words everyone around here seem to use. Closet freak.  "But wait," Sam thinks aloud, tapping the end of his pencil on his math book, "everyone knows he's gay, right? Why would they use the word closet?"

 

He shouldn't even be thinking about this...what he should be doing, he guesses, is answering Finn's texts about whether he'll be in Glee rehearsal tomorrow. Great.

 

In order to return, Sam needs to make some headway on the assignment, so he gets over himself, and bites the bullet. He dicks around the Internet for a while, looking at cat .gifs before remembering that Kurt said something about 1952 and Gene Kelley. He's supposed to watch this movie. For research. His Google searches, however, are not resourceful. He's totally lost. Already, he needs to go crawling to the source.

 

Sam: So I can’t find this Singing In The Rain thing on Youtube or Netflix or anything

Kurt: Ah, yes, you’ll have to take a trip to your local video store. Remember those?

Sam: You guys still have those?

Kurt: Lima’s home to one of the last surviving Blockbusters in these great United States. It’s in a bad part of town, where if anyone sees you wearing anything that costs more than a couple bucks, they’ll jump you for it. Lost my favorite cashmere pashmina last month.

Sam: I don’t even know what that is

 

Sam walks there, realizing that if his house is within walking distance of this place, he must live in the bad part of town. He wanders around the empty, sparse store until he finds Singing In The Rain in the back. He's then distinctly aware of the round, quiet, Filipino cashier staring him down hatefully, as he waits for his DVD to be bagged in plastic and thumbs through the candy on the rack at the counter.

 

"You have to bring it back, you know," says Howard Bamboo, holding the bag out towards Sam. "Please, bring it back."

 

On Sam's walk home, during which he doesn't see anyone who might try to rob him, thank God, his phone buzzes with another text from Kurt.

 

Kurt: I think it’ll be in our best interest to familiarize ourselves with each other’s voices before we start.

 

Sam doesn't know what to say to this. He waits until he's back in his room, in front of the computer, socked feet up on the desk, popping his "new" DVD into the drive, before he takes his phone out and reads it again. It makes his head feel all confused, because if Kurt were a girl, he'd definitely take this as a sign that he should call her. Right now. If Kurt were a girl that Sam knew liked him for sure, he'd take this chance to maybe have a little...what...a little phone sex? Sam thinks this kid's good-looking, and all, but even that’s making his stomach twist in knots. He doesn’t know if he can handle a full phone conversation with him.

 

Sam: K...

Sam: How do we do that exactly

Kurt: Send me your email.

 

Sam half expects that Kurt’s going to send him dick pics (wishful thinking?), but instead, said email has attachments of not ten, not twenty, but sixty .mp3's that are, apparently, all clips of Kurt singing. Sam doesn’t listen to them all, skipping through until he gets the general point, but some, he listens all the way through. Kurt's voice is a silver bell, an easy, clear tone that Sam thinks he’d hear on the radio from some pop singer or something. Kurt sounds like a girl. In a good way.

 

Sam: Guess it’s not that weird if two dudes sing a duet if one of those dude sounds like a girl

Sam: No offense

 

When Kurt doesn't answer right away, Sam assumes he's indeed offended him, scared him off. But then, Kurt answers.

 

Kurt: None taken ;)

 

Sam pays attention to the faded-color movie on his screen, of which the first fifteen minutes or so of has played without him noticing. It's corny-funny, and he likes it; he doesn't know if he's ever watched a musical on TV before, or anything this old, for that matter, but if he's gonna be in some club about old-timey theater stuff, he should probably start now. The song Kurt wants him to watch in particular, "Make 'Em Laugh," is something he thinks he could pull off someday, as an adult actor, when he's way more confident in his comedic skills. He does impressions now and then, makes funny faces at himself in the mirror--it's like Kurt knew that this would be in his hypothetical wheelhouse--but, like he said, not confident enough yet.

 

He doesn't know if he can be bold, and laugh, and trip over couches, and run into walls inside closet doors, with such grace.

 

 

 

 

 

The next day at school, in the cafeteria, at lunch, Sam does his usual shuffle of not knowing anyone really well enough to sit anywhere in particular. He plants at the corner end of a table of nerdy freshman girls who don't look twice at him, shoving his mom's homemade tuna salad sandwich into his mouth when he notices, Kurt and Finn shuffling through the line nearby him.

 

"I'm not saying don't do it," Finn is saying, "I'm just saying, you can kinda be intense."

 

"Bite me."

 

"This is exactly what I'm talking about."

 

"You want him to win, right? With me, he'll win. It's just a competition, Finn, I'm not getting down on one knee and asking him to marry me in front of the whole school."

 

"Don't do that, by the way."

 

The rest of the day, that weird conversation he heard aside, and how it makes him feel, Sam wants to talk to him. To Kurt, not Finn. Their lockers are so close. Kurt's there every passing period, gossiping with Tina or Mercedes or some other girls, fixing his hair, smiling at his mirror. Sam can't, though. Just cross the thin gap in the hallway and talk about...whatever. Something. They've texted now. Smiley faces occurred. Well, a smiley face. So that means they're friends now, right? Sam has never been sure how making friends with other guys works. Why can't he think of something to say in person? Maybe he should just talk about the song. The one he knows nothing about.

 

Finally, after the last period of the day, Kurt comes to his locker, instead.

 

"Hey," Kurt says, demure.

 

"What's up?"

 

"Just...wanted to make sure you still wanted to be duet partners."

 

He's thinking about backing out... Sam doesn't know why that thought makes him feel so rejected. Last night's conversation made it seem like a sure thing...

 

"Uh, yeah. I'm sure. Are you sure?"

 

"Mm hm."

 

"Okay. Well. See you in Glee club, like, in a minute."

 

"In a minute."

 

There are already a few pairs who are ready to debut their duets on the first day. Tina and Mike do a hilarious rendition of"Sing!" and Mercedes and Artie blow everyone away singing "River Deep, Mountain High." Sam sits in the back row, totally impressed, halfway terrified, and sort of falling in love with this strange, dingy dance room. Everyone has so much fun in here. The laughter is loud, and no one's afraid to be silly or themselves. Even Santana, who seems to hate everyone, enjoys herself. The courage in here is contagious. "Make 'Em Laugh" may have seemed out of his league when he watched it the first time, but Sam can do this. He just needs to practice.

 

When the meeting is officially over, Sam makes his way down the steps and over towards the piano where Kurt's standing talking to Mercedes. He didn't make it a point to sit next to Sam during rehearsal, which Sam was both relieved and anxious about.

 

"So," Sam says to Kurt, not missing the way Mercedes raises her brows and looks between them suggestively as she backs away. "If we're gonna do this whole...getting hit with boards and doing backflips, kind of thing, I'm gonna need to practice. Like, a lot. Today."

 

"I'm free today, if you are," Kurt says. "At least, until re-runs of I Love Lucy come on at 8:00."

 

"So how's this work, do we just like, find an empty room around school here or something?"

 

"Well, I try not to work here after hours if I can. People, and by people I mean jocks, tend to wait outside and slushie us into oblivion."

 

"Oh, yeah, I've heard about those. I don't mind, like, coming over to your house, if you're okay with that. Since you came up with the idea and everything."

 

Kurt purses his lips. Sam gets that feeling in his stomach again. No point in denying whatever this is...

 

"Okay," Kurt agrees, smiling. "6:00? I'll text you the address."

 

"I'll be there."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So Sam is there at Kurt’s kitchen table. Kurt's pacing the kitchen in front of him, before the light storyboard he worked up, talking fast and informative like Sam's never performed a dance number in his life, and he probably hasn't. He’d swear Sam's giving him those eyes as he talks, the way he has all week at school, but now Sam is in his house, and Kurt has never had a cute boy that he's crushing on in his house that he's not also step-related to. Kurt's kind of freaking out. Can Sam tell? He's freaking out. He invited himself here, Kurt reminds himself. You're not predatory, it's just a duet. You'll be fine.

 

“I've taken a gander at the thrift store on Valencia and I've found some cheap couches and boards that we can use to richochet and do our tricks. It's not traditionally a duet, but I've arranged it as such on the sheet music I emailed you and hour ago—by the way, check your email again. The challenge of this song will be to transition from speaking to singing in quick succession. I've already mastered this by memorizing the score to the semi-autobiographical Funny Girl, but you'll probably need...um..."

 

Sam is completely listening to every word he's saying, even if he may not understand them. Kurt has never had a boy who is such a captive audience. Puck and Artie and those guys would never let him talk to them like this. It makes him lose his train of thought.

 

"Y-you'll probably need a little work with, um...that.”

 

Sam frowns. “What?”

 

“It’s just. You look at me. Sometimes. In the halls, between classes. It’s distracting. The looking.”

 

“I’m sorry. It’s just that you’re not like any other guy I’ve met before.”

 

Kurt snorts, self-depreciative. “Let me guess, first time around someone gay?”

 

“Not at all. I went to an all guys boarding school last year, so...it happened.”

 

Kurt goes on about his ideas for the number again, trying to downplay what just happened—he's been around other gay guys, which means maybe he's gay, this can’t actually be happening—when Sam suddenly, gently, interrupts his tirade:

 

“You think maybe we could maybe do something, I don’t know...a little more toned down?”

 

Kurt flinches. He knows what that means. He dials it back, withdrawing on himself. “Toned down?" 

 

“Your ideas are—really cool, and stuff, and that song'd be fun if I were, like, an acrobatic or something, like you. But I was hoping I could start off in Glee club with something a little more. Simple. Acoustic.”

 

Kurt raises a brow as Sam gets up, goes to retrieve the battered guitar case he left by the door when he came over. He returns to the room with said guitar around his broad, beautiful shoulders, which are unfortunately covered by thick blue sweater.

 

“I suppose I’m not opposed to something leaning toward a capaella," Kurt compromises, as Sam comes to stand close to him, with the instrument.

 

Sam looks at Kurt in that away again, smiling, as he strums a few light chords. “Know how to play?”

 

Kurt shakes his head, the words dying in his throat as he thinks, God, please teach me.

 

It's as if Sam read his mind, or maybe his body language. “C'mere. I’ll show you.”

 

Sam lets go of the neck of the guitar, motioning for Kurt to come stand right beside him, in front of it. Kurt does so, careful not to touch Sam's shoulder with his own, but it's a tight space. They brush slightly.

 

"Give me your hand," Sam says, easy. Kurt hesitates, not wanting this to seem like more than it is, avoiding Sam's eyes, trying not to smile, really trying hard there. He relents, eventually. Sam's hand is softer than Kurt expected, positioning Kurt's fingers lightly around three strings, in three frets. Sam strums a simple beat. "This is C." Then moves Kurt's hand again slightly, to another chord. "A minor." And to a third. "G." Sam's really not afraid of touching his hands. "You got it?"

 

 "Got it."

 

"Now just switch 'em. Every four beats."

 

He watches Sam continue to strum, trying to remember each form for his hand, surprising himself as he pulls it off. Sam's eyelashes flutter as he stares down at their playing, a sort of goofy grin spreading on his face.

 

“See? Look at that." He glances up at Kurt again, and Kurt thinks he might die, those eyes. "You’re playing it.”

 

Kurt is embarrassed by how breathless he sounds. “Playing what, exactly?”

 

“My favorite song right now. ‘Lucky.’”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sam isn't gay. Or at least, he doesn't think he is. He's never imagined what it might be like to see another guy's dick in real life. The internet's another story entirely... His point is, he went over to this gay kid's house, that he just officially met all of four days ago, and they pretty much basically fucking held hands, and he got that butterfly feeling being close to his face the way he would being next to a girl who looks like Quinn or Brittany or something... But he's not gay. As in he doesn't want to have sex with Kurt, or at least, he didn't last night when he was standing in the guy's kitchen.

 

But Kurt holding onto his guitar, and picking up the words to his favorite song like it was the easiest thing in the world, his voice sounding more like Colbie Calliat's velveteen alto than he ever thought a guy could pull off... Kurt offering him raisin-almond cookies as a thanks, wrapped in crinkly little plastic, with a bow, before he not-so-politely kicked Sam out to watch his I Love Lucy re-runs in peace...

 

Sam forgot how much he loves to sing, that's all, hasn't ever gotten to sing this song with anyone else. And Kurt's funny.

 

 

 

 

 

"Hey." Sam pulls Kurt aside after Glee practice the next day, guitar on his back, as everyone else is filing out either door. "I have football practice today in like, an hour, and then I have to take my siblings to a movie or something 'cause my parents are gonna be out, so I was hoping we could run through the song one more time, before tomorrow. In here, I guess."

 

Kurt looks at the open doors of the now empty chior room. It's 4:00, so lingering students and teachers still pass by to and from other after-school activities. He immediately recalls the last time he, Tina, and Mercedes stayed after hours to work on a number a week ago. They'd even locked the doors for good measure, and put strips of old Christmas wrapping up over the window slits. Alas, Rick "The Stick" Nelson and the rest of the hockey terrorists showered them in nine blueberry slushies when they walked out, for the offense of "gaying up the premises after hours." They also gave Kurt a wedgie.

 

As Kurt moves to close both of the doors, Sam chuckles lightly.

 

"You're not ashamed to be seen with me, right?"

 

"Au contraire. You should probably be ashamed to be seen with me."

 

Kurt resumes his position, posing his hand on the neck the way they've practiced, and is it just him, or does Sam push up closer on him every time they do this?

 

"I like you, Kurt," Sam says. "You know, as a guy. Nothing to be ashamed of. Anyway, uh. I think we should work on the bridge, since we didn't really have all that much time to get to it yesterday."

 

"Okay."

 

They play through their introductory chords together, and then Sam separates from him, playing solo, starting them off:

 

"And so I'm sailing through the sea, to an island where we'll meet. You'll hear the music fill the air, I'll put a flower in your hair..."

 

"Though the breezes, through the trees, you move so pretty, you're all I see. As the world keeps spinning 'round, you hold me, right here, right now..."

 

As they join in together on the chorus, Kurt feels that someone's staring at them through the window. He looks over, and sees none other Dave Karofsky, with Azimio and two other guys, mimicking Kurt's swaying and laughing derisively. Kurt feels cold. His stomach turns. He stops.

 

Sam notices, stops too. "What is it?"

 

"Nothing." Sam looks past Kurt at the window, but when Kurt looks again, the guys have moved away. "Nothing. Sorry. Let's start again." 

 

Twenty minutes later, they're leaving the room, but outside in the otherwise empty hall, lying in wait, is Dave and four of his friends. Holding slushie cups. Two each, sans Dave.

 

"'Sup, homos?" Dave grins, and the guys all walk towards them, backing them up against the door they came out of. "'Sup, Sam, didn't know our second-string QB liked to take it up the back."

 

"Fuck off, Karofsky."

 

Kurt sighs, his hands trembling, though he tries to grin and bear it. "Will you just get it over with?"

 

"It's not you we want today, pancake," Dave says. "Just your boyfriend here."

 

With that Dave grips Kurt's wrist, yanks him aside and Kurt watches as the jocks hurl violet slushies at Sam's face, chest, and crotch, each of them advancing on Sam to hold him against the wall when their hands are free, so their next friends can aim.

 

When Sam's a shivering mess, cups empty on the ground, they take their leave.

 

Dave lets go of Kurt's wrist, which is already starting to bruise. Winks.

 

"Later, Fancy."

 

Sam groans, wiping his face over and over.

 

"Fuck. I didn't know that, like. It'd hurt. My eyes. Why does it hurt my eyes..."

 

"I-I..." Kurt can't finish, can't look at Sam, at the mess he's probably made of this guy's life so soon. "I'm sorry, I'd help, but they're all in the locker room now, a-and that'd just make it worse...I'm sorry..."

 

 

 

 

 

That night, Kurt texts him calling the duet off, saying Sam will be protected this way.

 

Sam doesn't respond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sam backs off, because of Kurt’s insistence. That football practice sucked, though at least Finn, Artie, Mike, and a couple other guys gave their condolences about his first "you're probably gay" slushie.

 

Sam still wants to sing with Kurt, though. What's done is done, and a slushie that happened yesterday doesn't change today. He figures he's been marked already, anyway.

 

But the next morning, when Kurt passes by him, ignoring him besides a small, apologetic look, Sam doesn't bring it up, taking the hint.

 

Maybe Kurt's scared of being by his side. Maybe he should be.

 

However, Mercedes approaches Sam about Kurt in the hall, that day, which is how he knows that, maybe, not all hope is lost.

 

“You do wanna sing with him," she's saying as they walk to third period, "don’t you?”

 

“Yeah, I mean—the guy's got like, a thousand enemies just for being who he is, and it freaks me out that people'll hate me if I don't treat him like garbage. But he's really cool and funny and I like the song and..." I'm totally spilling my guts to this black chick I don't even know...  "and I don't care that he's...gay, or whatever. So, yeah. I wanna sing with him.”

 

“Show him that. Show him you’re proud to do that duet with him, and make it really hard for him to ignore. 'Cause trust me, he'll try. By the way." She stops their tracks, putting a finger in his face, gentle but firm. "If you aren't gay, you need to tell him."

 

"I. What?"

 

"Don't mess with boy, now, you heard? You've been warned."

  

Before fourth period, Sam wants to try and show him. It isn't fair that guys like Karofsky beat up on him, that people call him closet freak, just jealous. So Sam walks up to Kurt where he stands before his open locker, slow, not wanting to startle him.

 

"Hey."

 

Kurt doesn't say anything, but glances at him for a moment, then back at his mirror.

 

"I just, uh." Sam fumbles. "Do you have first or second lunch?"

 

Kurt raises a brow, not looking at him. "First. So you do. You knew that..."

 

"Right, yeah. I forgot. See you."

 

At lunch, then, Sam decides to be bold. Already marked, and all that. His love of music and that spark being reignited in him now fuels his courage. The second the bell rings, releasing him, he runs to take his guitar from where he keeps it during the day in Mr. Schue's office. When he enters the busy cafeteria, students screeching and laughing and filing around with their trays, he finds Kurt sitting with most of the other Glee kids at a table just off-center.

 

He walks right up to Kurt, guitar in hand, and gets down on one knee. Kurt's eyes go fireworks wide, mortified. People are already starting to stare.

 

"Oh, my god," Kurt quips, "what are you doing?"

 

Sam grins. "Showing people that I'm not afraid to sing with you."

 

Sam starts playing the opening to his other favorite song, as Rachel, Mercedes, and Tina squeal and give Kurt supportive shoves; Finn, who's nearby at a football-Cheerios! table, looks probably just as shocked as Kurt. 

 

Kurt's still sitting down, still mortified, but suddenly looks like he's working really hard not to smile back.

 

Well, you done done me, and you bet I felt it. I tried to be chill, but you're so hot that I melted. I fell right through the cracks, and now I'm trying to get back. Before the cool done run out, I'll be giving it my bestest, and nothing's gonna stop me but divine intervention. I reckon it's again my turn to win some or learn some...

 

But I won't hesitate no more, no more, it cannot wait, I'm yours.”

 

Sam gets up off his knees and dances around the table, as Kurt buries his ever-growing red face in his hands, and almost everyone in the caferia's watching now; the jocks, Karofsky and them, are booing and laughing hysterically, while other students shout back at them, "shut the fuck up!" Some people, freshmen girls and band nerds and the Glee kids, clap and harmonize.

 

Well, open up your mind and see like me. Open up your plans and, damn, you're free. Look into your heart and you'll find love, love, love, love. Listen to the music of the moment, people, dance and sing. We're just one big family, and it's our God-forsaken right to be loved, loved, loved, loved, loved..."

 

Kurt finally unburies his face from his hands.

 

So I won't hesitate no more, no more, it cannot wait, I'm sure. There's no need to complicate, our time is short. This is our fate, I'm yours.

 

Sam ends his performance back on his knee in front of Kurt.

 

“So," he says, his heart beating wild, "will you still sing with me?”

 

Kurt nods frantically.

 

“Uh huh, yeah, yeah."

 

The Glee kids applaud and whoop, as Becky Jackson yells, "Shut the fuck up!", and someone throws part of their salad at the table.

 

 

 

 

 

Sam sits next to Kurt in Glee club. Kurt's still too embarrassed, and horribly flattered, to say anything other to him than, "Hey." Sam's all quiet smiles.

 

After Finn and Rachel offend everyone with their take on "With You, I'm Born Again," Kurt and Sam have only to wait for Brittany and Santana’s “Come To My Window” by Melissa Etheridge before it's their turn to take the floor. Kurt knows he should feel like that extraordinary gesture at lunch today was a trial run for their duet, but somehow, he's more nervous about doing this, in front of their small crowd.

 

 

"So," Kurt says to the room, as he stands comfortably close to Sam, hand on the neck of the guitar, and Sam stares at him, "we had a bit of a journey, getting here, as you all saw. But, here's this."

 

Sam starts:

 

"Do you hear me? I'm talking to you. Across the water, across the deep blue ocean, under the open sky, oh my, baby, I'm trying..."

 

"Boy, I hear you in my dreams, I feel your whisper, across the sea. I keep you with me, in my heart. You make it easier, when life gets hard..."

 

 

 

 

 

When they finish their song, Sam's ears are on fire as he slowly steps away from Kurt's warm body, and Kurt curtsies. He's aware that every girl in the room, sans Santana, is looking at him with puppy eyes, and not the way they do when they see something wanna hump. The way they do when they see something small they wanna cuddle. Infantilize. The guys, sans Mr. Schue, are looking at each other, eyebrows raised and crooked smirks; Sam knows he did the right thing, here, for Kurt, but still. He wonders what they're thinking. What they'll ask before the game tonight.

 

“Wow, I have to say,” Santana snarks, before Mr. Schue can sing his praises, “that that was extraordinarily gay.”

 

Kurt rolls his eyes. “Oh, please. Like your song with Britt was any less gay.”

 

Santana's expression falls.

 

 "On the contrary," Mr. Schue says, standing up, ushering Kurt and Sam back to their seats on the second row, "I think it's incredible that you guys weren't afraid of--high school, and labels, the way that kids these days are so afraid of being affectionate with their friends of the same sex. There's nothing wrong with two guys, or two girls, singing any song they like, no matter how they identify. Really good job, you guys."

 

 

 

 

 

When Glee rehearsal ends, it's implied that Kurt and Sam are probably going to need the room to talk. Sam attempts to catch up with Finn, and Finn definitely looks like he wants to talk to Sam, all protective big brother, but Rachel's dragging him along, shushing him.

 

Kurt wanders over to the piano, sitting on the bench. In his head, Sam hears Mercedes' voice:

 

If you're not gay, you're need to tell him.

 

"I'm not gay," Sam blurts out.

 

Kurt can't help the disappointment that fills him, that must show in his face, at least a little. Still, he smiles, sighs lightly. Shrugs, gently playing a high C note on the piano.

 

"I figured as much. You're from, where, Alabama?"

 

"Tennessee."

 

"Can't be any safer there to be who you really are than it is here."

 

 

Sam almost says it again, like Kurt didn't hear him. I'm not gay... But Kurt did hear him, that's the thing. Sam's not gay as in he doesn't know for sure that he likes guys, has almost always only liked girls before.

 

"Listen," Sam says, walking close to the piano, wishing Kurt would look up at the keys from him. He's starting to look upset. Sam doesn't want that at all... "You're awesome. Like I said, I've never met...anyone like you, who's out, and proud, like it's no big deal. Even the guys at my boarding school, we all knew who was on the down low, but nobody was really that up front about it. I like...I've made out with girls, and stuff. And I like that."

 

Kurt looks up at him now, still playing the key.

 

"But..." Sam comes to sit beside him on the bench, their legs not touching. "But I've also looked at guys online..."

 

Kurt presses his lips together.

 

"I don't even know why I'm...telling you all this," Sam says. "'s not like you asked."

 

"But I did." Kurt slowly plays a C scale. "Finn gets on my case about not taking no for an answer, and being really aggressive with men, but I know that I come off...it's just hard, being the only one. I'm lonely. When I walked up to you and told you you were going to be my duet partner, well. That was me asking. Blindly hoping, more like."

 

It's quiet, then, besides Kurt softly playing. He shifts to play an A minor scale, and then a G.

 

"If we win," he says, then, "you don't have to go to Breadstix with me. On a date. In public."

 

Sam's grateful for that. He imagines the two of them, imagines classmates and concerned parents and his parents  watching them, observing and judging. His own parents have no clue that he feels like this...

 

"I mean," Sam says. "If it wasn't for the way that people are...guys like Karofsky, they have power over me. It's high school. As much as I hate that guy, and his loser friends, if they don't guard me, I get sacked and break my spine. And people are just rude, and they wouldn't leave you alone..."

 

Kurt nods. "I know. I get it."

 

Sam watches Kurt's hands, wishing he could slide his fingers over Kurt's on the keys. Wishing Kurt could teach him how play.

 

"Maybe we can get take-out," Sam says, then. "Eat it at your house."

 

"Deal."

 

Kurt looks over at Sam, but notices that Sam's staring at his hands. Romantic, longing, hard-on-him-himself staring. He doesn't think anyone's ever looked at him like this before.

 

"Thanks for singing my song with me," Sam says, smiling. He looks Kurt in the eye.

 

"No problem."

 

Kurt stands, moves across the room to retrieve his bookbag, and heads towards the door. 

 

He leans in the frame of it before taking his exit, aware that Sam is watching after him.

 

"Let's do it again, sometime, huh?" He winks.