had it with being your kid sidekick (sotto_voice) wrote,
had it with being your kid sidekick

Fic: thank you for being a friend

Title: thank you for being a friend
Fandom: Glee
Rating: PG-13
Characters: Santana Lopez/original female character, Blaine Anderson/Kurt Hummel, Rachel Berry/Finn Hudson
Summary: Over the course of the summer, Santana steadily becomes less of an enigma to Blaine. Mostly because she keeps walking into the employee-only area at Six Flags and also crashing his dates.
Count: ~10,000 words

Notes: Title from the Golden Girls theme song; the two episodes referenced are "Henny Penny - Straight No Chaser" and "Scared Straight."

* * *

“Hey!” barks a vaguely familiar voice. “Eyebrows McGee!”

Blaine had A Day. It’s 90 degrees with 95% humidity, he spent the afternoon singing and dancing in the sun with a very reluctant cast, a ketchup packet exploded across his uniform shirt while he was on his lunch break, and a kid who was really old enough to know better screamed at the top of his lungs through the entire 2:00 performance. Blaine can both see and feel the waves of heat radiating up off of the pavement. He is so, so ready to go home, stand under a lukewarm shower for an hour, put on clean clothes, and go rest his head on his boyfriend’s shoulder in an air-conditioned space and listen to him enthuse about the Pippa Middleton musical that he’s writing.

But here he is in the Six Flags employee parking lot, sweaty and sticky and gross, staring at Santana Lopez. She’s leaning against his car, wearing some kind of a shorts-bustier-jacket-boots combination, and if there was ever any doubt that she was talking to him, the impatient beckoning gesture that she makes directly at him settles that.

“Santana,” he says, walking over to his car. “Hi! This is a surprise.”

Santana is probably the New Direction who Blaine knows the least. Between friendships with Kurt and/or Finn, most of them are over at the Hummels’ house pretty regularly, which means that Blaine hangs out with them pretty regularly, but not Santana – she’s an enigma. He has always been a little bit fascinated by her, much to Kurt’s chagrin; Blaine thinks she’s hilarious. He may be tired and sweaty, but he’s intrigued now.

“I heard you were clowning it up here. Hot ride,” she says, patting the hood of his car. “Not bad for a guy who could be a smurf if you put him in a white hat and painted him blue.”

Blaine slowly blinks at her.

She pushes herself off of the car. “Come on.” She stands in front of the passenger side door, tapping her boot impatiently. “Lima Bean, pronto.”

Blaine has a selfish moment where he thinks longingly of the change of clothes in his bag and the shower with four different water pressure settings at his house, and then he glances across the hood at Santana.

He is supposed to meet Kurt at the Lima Bean in an hour and a half anyway.

“Sure,” says Blaine, and he pops the locks so Santana can slide into the passenger seat.

It’s way, way too hot. Blaine can actually hear the Lima Bean’s air conditioning unit whine every time the door opens.

“So,” Santana says around her straw.

“So,” says Blaine agreeably.

She eyes him for a moment in apparent disgust, then sighs sharply. “Oh my God, what are you, gay Buddha? Do you think if you sit there and,” she makes a complicated, attitude-filled hand gesture at him, “zen at me long enough, I’m going to give up all my secrets?”

“You did show up at my workplace, invite yourself on my date, and tell the barista to run up an iced coffee tab on my card,” Blaine points out patiently. He gives it a second as he thinks about it, then adds, “Which, by the way, I’m pretty sure is something they only do in bars.”

“And yet you paid anyway,” Santana says, in the smug way that screams: you miserable sap.

“Just so you know, I have no problem with waiting until you’re ready to talk about whatever you wanted to talk about.” That’s not entirely true. Blaine would really, really like just five minutes to himself before Kurt gets here. Five minutes to at least change out of his sweat-soaked, ketchup-stained shirt and put on deodorant; maybe try to fix his hair in the coffee shop bathroom. “And I think zen is a specific branch of Buddhism; it isn’t necessarily automatically related to the Buddha all the t—”

“Gay Buddha,” Santana corrects, jabbing her fingers at him like he just proved her point.

Kurt would have the perfect retort for that. Blaine settles for scrunching his eyebrows at her in polite confusion.

She heaves a sharp breath. “Okay, whatever; fine. I needs your queer eye.”

Blaine says, dubious, “If you’re looking for fashion advice, you really could have called Kurt. I like Vogue as much as the next gay teenage guy, but he won’t talk to me for a week if he thinks I’m usurping his fashion advisor status.”

“Kurt?” she scoffs. “Please. His idea of butching it up was listening to wrinkly rock stars and wearing 40% less crap in his hair.” Blaine isn’t sure whether to be offended on Kurt’s behalf or just be really, really confused. “And like I care about your weird sexless power plays. You’re like a couple of baby animals.” She flaps her hand at him. “No, I—” And for the very first time since Blaine saw her on a stage belting the hell out of Amy Winehouse, Santana looks uncomfortable. She glances from side to side, eyes flicking, and then she leans in.

“I need gay advice, okay?” She says it all at once, very low and very dangerous, like she’s ready and waiting to strike back at him for whatever he responds with.

Blaine had an idea that something was up with Santana. From what Kurt has reported, both from experience and from gossip passed on by Tina and Mercedes while he was at Dalton, Brittany and Santana have some kind of long-standing understanding, and Blaine could tell even from their limited interactions that Santana seems to have been having struggles lately. ‘I gotta gay’ was a pretty good clue; so was blackmailing a closet case into dating her.

But he’s still surprised to have her admit it, and to him, no less; someone who’s almost a complete stranger. Then again, maybe the fact that they don’t have a long and complicated history together is why she’s coming to him.

“Okay,” he says, leaning in and keeping quiet in respect for her clear wish for privacy. “What kind of gay advice? Coming out, or dealing with people who are going to be jerks, or trying to figure out same-sex dating in a world that is seriously obsessed with the gender bina—”

“Wow,” Santana interrupts. She’s staring at him, nose scrunched up, like there’s something fundamentally wrong with him. “Is that a stirrer or a rainbow in your coffee?”

Blaine is beginning to understand why Kurt makes so many faces when the subject of Santana comes up.

“Nothing like that. I gots my eye on a lady, and I gots to get my lesbian ons.”

He is so, so confused by the spontaneous s’s and the head-jerks.

“I’m looking for lessons on how to be a big ‘mo.” She gestures expansively, like she thinks this is a generous offer. “Gaying around. You’re a little butcher than Kurt, so you’ll do.”


“Oh my God, what’s going on here?” Blaine has never been so happy to hear Kurt’s voice in his life, and that’s really saying something. He half twists in his seat, quick enough to see Kurt crossing one pointer finger over the other and raising that warding gesture at Santana as he approaches their table. “Santana. I thought you couldn’t cross a ring of sugar,” he points at the packets on their table, “without being sent back to the pit from whence you came.”

“It’s salt, not sugar, Dorothy.” She rises out of her chair, patting Blaine on the head condescendingly and then pinching and tugging at Kurt’s cheek before he can bat her away. “Nothing salty going on here; Auntie Tana lives to be awesome another day.” Coffee cup firmly in hand, she heads for the exit, but not before turning back and pointing dramatically (borderline threateningly) at Blaine. “Think about it, hobbit.”

The bell over the front door tinkles as she leaves. Kurt looks fresh and cool and fantastic, and he is gaping at Blaine. “What just—?”

“Can we please, please just sit here for a minute?” Blaine asks fervently. He feels like he needs recovery time. Kurt blinks at him and nods, sliding his bag off his shoulder and under the table, and slipping into the chair across from him. Blaine pushes Kurt’s low-fat iced mocha over to him. Then he takes Kurt’s hand in his, letting his thumb run across Kurt’s skin in slow tiny strokes.

Kurt smiles, quiet and gentle and right at Blaine, and Blaine can feel his day immediately start to improve.

“She is really abrasive,” Blaine says, once they’re in the air-conditioned safety of Kurt’s room and he has successfully changed out of his disgusting clothes.

“She’s the devil,” Kurt says lightly, shaking out a shirt and neatly folding it in three precise moves. He has a really intense laundry system, which is why Blaine is sitting cross-legged on the bed and not helping. It’s not for lack of offering. “I’ve been telling you this for months.”

“I believed you, I did, but—”

Kurt reads his expression well; he usually does. “It’s different when you witness it for yourself,” he allows, and he pats Blaine on the shoulder as he passes the bed with a stack of clean clothes. It’s a little condescending, but that makes Blaine suppress a smile more than anything.

Kurt is on a major Broadway kick at the moment, even more so than usual; he says that listening to original cast recordings provides inspiration for Pip Pip Hooray. Blaine listens to little Cosette sing, ‘I know a place where no one’s lost; I know a place where no one cries.’ The room is bright and sun-lit, Kurt’s parents’ laughter drifting up from downstairs. Blaine watches Kurt duck around the room, absently humming along with the recording.

“I don’t think she’s the devil,” Blaine says. “I think she’s scared.”

Kurt glances back at him over his shoulder, then his face narrows in that way it does when he’s thinking about something and he slowly turns all the way around. “You’re going to do this, aren’t you?” he asks. “Try to help her.” It really isn’t a question.

“I just feel like she needs somebody, you know?”

And this is what Blaine loves about Kurt. He doesn’t say “you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into” (even though he’s clearly thinking it); he doesn’t shake his head. He just says, “This is a terrible idea, but I think she does,” and he runs his fingers down Blaine’s shoulder the next time he passes the bed with an armload of neatly-folded clothing.

“She’s totally on the DL,” Santana says, perched on the hood of his car. “Her dad is, like, running for biggest jerk-off in the state senate or something.”

“I’m not sure I understand,” says Blaine. The metal would be way too hot to sit on if they were out in the sun, but Santana showed up on his lunch break and he moved the car into the corner of the parking lot that lies under the shadow of Goliath, the biggest roller coaster in the park. “I mean, plenty of politicians have openly gay kids these days.”

She rolls her eyes. “Biggest Republican jerk-off. Girl wants to keep her trust fund.”

“That’s – incredibly depressing,” Blaine says, emphatically not thinking about the terrified days before he came out to his parents at 14. “But valid.”

“Whatever,” she says. “Get with the program, Obi-Gay Kenobi. Let’s go. I’m an important person with important places to be.”

Kurt’s silent assessment was right: Blaine was so not ready for this. He gives it a valiant effort, though. “If you really want to impress this girl—”

“Woo,” Santana corrects, with an emphatic hand gesture.

“—What?” Blaine asks.

“I’s gonna get my woo on.”

“Okay.” Blaine gives it a moment. A car full of happy riders tears past on Goliath, their screams thin but audible even from the parking lot. They loop the loop and disappear down the other side of the roller coaster. “So if you really want to woo this girl—” He tilts to the side, toward her, hands in his lap. “What does she like?”

“No,” she says, pointing at him emphatically. “I’m not here for the Wobbler crash course in flower bouquets and puppies with bows on their heads.”

“Warbler,” Blaine corrects gently, knowing he’ll be ignored.

“I’m here for the gay lessons. So come on.” She spreads her hands. “Bring the gay.”

“Santana, it really doesn’t work like th—”

“What’s the secret? Trucker hats, plaid, softball, cargo pants – what?”

She is staring at him impatiently. Does she actually think this way? Blaine feels like he’s floundering.

“You’re trying to impress a girl,” he says, “so you want to … hit as many lesbian stereotypes as possible?”

“I’m giving the whole gay thing a shot,” she corrects, voice short.

“You can do that without wearing flannel shirts.”

Santana pulls a pen out of her cleavage and says, “Flannel…shirt,” as she writes it on the back of her hand.

Blaine needs some back-up. Things that sound logical and reasonable in his head, and would probably sound that way to just about anyone else in the world, are seriously not working on Santana.

“Anderson!” Freddie hollers from about 30 feet away, waving a McDonald’s bag at him as he jogs toward the entrance to the park. “C’mon! We’ve got three minutes!”

Blaine turns back toward Santana. “You don’t have to change anything,” he says, talking faster than is ideal, but he really, really needs to punch in before his lunch break is over. He slides off his car and offers Santana a hand down. “Just be you; you don’t need any kind of gay lessons.”

“But apparently, I do need gay speeches,” Santana says tartly, ignoring his hand and hopping down onto her feet. She wiggles her skirt into place, pats him on the cheek (much harder than she really needs to), and saunters off toward the opposite end of the parking lot.

“How do you even get here?” Blaine mutters to himself, watching her go for a minute, and then Freddie bellows, “Dude, hurry up!” and he bolts.

It’s a rare Saturday night when Blaine gets to do whatever he wants. When he doesn’t have to perform at Six Flags, when they don’t have to schedule things awkwardly because Kurt will be stuck at the garage doing inventory early on Sunday morning, and, best of all, when the Hummels are in Columbus for the weekend at a trade show. The idea of doing something as simple as making dinner with Kurt (or, more likely, following Kurt’s instructions to the letter while they make dinner) … it’s really nice.

It’s not like they have anything scandalous planned. Finn will be in the house, and Kurt is already eyeing vegetarian options for what he calls “that inevitable moment when Rachel Berry appears on the doorstep like a orphaned bush baby.” (Off Blaine’s bemused look, he added: “Have you ever seen their eyes? You can’t say no to them.”) Blaine has an overnight bag in the trunk of his car, and he thinks they’re probably going to stay up late watching black and white movies or a Grey’s Anatomy marathon and then he’ll sleep on the couch. So it’s not particularly scandalous, but it’s easy and domestic in this way that feels both a little scary and weirdly right, and, most importantly, it’s time spent with Kurt.

Which is starting in the produce aisle at Ray’s Supermarket, as Kurt squeezes eggplants and Blaine comes closer and closer to giving in to the impulse to coast along on the back of the shopping cart.

“I don’t know if you’re going to be able to convince Finn to eat eggplant,” Blaine points out.

“Which is why we’re not going to tell him that it’s eggplant,” says Kurt, which is probably the most logical response possible, even if it is accompanied by him brandishing an eggplant threateningly at Blaine. Kurt is the only person Blaine knows who would use an eggplant for dramatic emphasis and would wear a bowtie and men’s skirt to the grocery store at the Northland Shopping Plaza. It’s fantastic. Kurt is fantastic.

Blaine stares at him for a minute, long enough for Kurt to eye him suspiciously and then for his face to start to soften in recognition of why Blaine is looking at him like that, but when Blaine opens his mouth to tell Kurt just how fantastic and adorable he is—

“Is that Santana again?” Kurt asks, slipping the eggplant into the plastic bag with the other eggplants and pulling the cart along behind himself, the moment totally lost. “Because your codependence is beginning to concern me.”

Blaine tactfully doesn’t mention the number of times that people have – both jokingly and not – said similar things about his relationship with Kurt. He tags along after Kurt, pulling his phone out so he can check his texts. “It’s her,” he confirms, seeing SANTANA L. pop up in his inbox. He opens the message. “I think she's happy to have someone to connect with.” Someone who has never tried to get into her pants, has never had an eye-clawing fight with her in a McKinley hallway, and who she isn't in love with.

“Either that or she’s taking a great deal of joy out of annoying you,” Kurt says dryly over his shoulder, stopping at a refrigerated case. “Did she really ask you about an entire string of lesbian clichés?”

Blaine nods, tapping a quick ‘shopping with kurt’ in response to Santana. “She’s not annoying me. But I definitely couldn’t tell if she was serious or if she was being that offensive on purpose.”

“Probably a little bit of both.” Kurt peers at the ingredients label on a package of turkey bacon. “She’s both woefully misinformed and delightfully contrary.” Even with the attention to the bacon, he apparently catches the look that Blaine shoots him, because he adds, “She likes getting under people’s skin. She calls it,” he makes sarcastic air quotes, “ ‘keeping it real.’ ”

Blaine’s phone buzzes again. He reads the text. Before he can quite stop himself, a half-amused, half-indignant snort escapes him. When he glances up again, Kurt is studying him dubiously. Blaine sighs. “She asked what kind of shopping we’re doing.”

Kurt lifts an eyebrow, clearly waiting for what caused his reaction.

Reluctant: “And then she asked if I was carrying little Lord Fauntleroy’s bags.”

“Hm,” says Kurt. “That’s tame for Santana. She’s losing her touch.” He flaps a dismissive gesture at Blaine and drags the cart down the meat aisle. “I’m both mildly insulted, and impressed that she knows who Lord Fauntleroy is.”

Blaine watches him go for a second, then laughs to himself and jogs to catch up. Mostly thanks to his relationship with Kurt, Blaine has become kind of a genius at walking-and-texting while doing something else, like maintaining a spoken conversation. He makes use of that skill now, texting ‘picking up ingredients for dinner :)’ even as he says, “I think she’s more stressed about Bunny than she wants to admit.”

Kurt sloooowly turns toward him. “—What is the young lady’s name?” he asks, his head tilting alarmingly.

“Bunny,” Blaine repeats, switching his phone off and slipping it back into his pocket.

He snorts lightly and goes back toward the shelving. “Did her parents think they were living in a 1960s sex farce?”

Blaine is pretty sure, from the way that Kurt’s hand momentarily freezes with a package of steak tips halfway out of the refrigerator, that that slipped out before he really thought about what he was saying. But the fact that it’s only a split second before he brings the package the rest of the way down to eye-level so he can study the label, and that the side of his face that Blaine can see doesn’t flush – well, there was a time when Kurt’s reaction to saying the word ‘sex’ in front of Blaine would have involved a lot more visible embarrassment.

Blaine laughs, both for normalcy and because that was a legitimately hilarious remark. “Maybe,” he says, nudging Kurt’s shoulder with his as he pushes the cart down the aisle, and Kurt smiles after him – and then Santana Lopez rounds a display of half-price soda.

Kurt says, “What is she—?”

Blaine says, “Uhh.”

Santana says, “Hello ladies.”

Kurt’s mouth opens and closes. He doesn’t look pleased, though Blaine isn’t sure which he’s more irritated by: Santana showing up on their date or being called a lady.

Blaine makes the executive decision to step in. “Santana,” he says, cautious. “Hi. What – are you doing here?”

“Please.” She rolls her eyes. “It’s not like I’m stalking you; you two aren’t my type, okay?”

Blaine has actually lain awake at night and wondered who would win in an eye-rolling competition: Kurt or Santana. He’s generally inclined to give the prize to his boyfriend; even more so after seeing his epic immediate reaction to Santana’s disclaimer.

“I’m gettin’ my bowl on at Northland,” she says, wagging a finger in the general direction of the bowling alley at the other end of the shopping plaza. “Anita figured out that Chaz was faking her scores and clocked her with a bowling pin, so I came to find my two favorite sources of coffee and entertainment gossip while the paramedics do their thang.”

Blaine … really isn’t sure what to make of any of that, but Kurt doesn’t skip a beat. “I didn’t realize you were an avid bowler,” he says, one eyebrow arched perfectly in that way that he always does; that Blaine can’t imitate even if he tries.

“If I’m gonna go gay, I’m doing it r-i-g-h-t,” Santana proclaims. She probably feels safe announcing that considering that there’s no one else in the aisle, but it still takes Blaine by some surprise. “Bowling? Super dyke-y. Do you know how many of those ladies have crew cuts and man-hands?”

“Oh my God,” Kurt says to Blaine; “I can’t,” which is pretty much how Blaine feels, too.

So he totally ignores everything that was just said. He files it away, since he and Santana definitely need to have another conversation about stereotypes and clichés and being your own person – the last talk clearly didn’t stick – but the meat section of Ray’s is probably not the place for it. “Is Brittany on the team too?”

He’s aware of Kurt blinking and glancing between the two of them, but Blaine is mostly looking at Santana, who stiffened up immediately at the mention of Brittany’s name. She tosses her hair in a show of nonchalance. “Nope,” she says, with attitude. “This here’s a solo project.”

“Except for the other four women on your team,” Kurt says in a half-mutter that would probably crack Blaine up, if he wasn’t beginning to realize just how frightened and confused and guarded Santana really is.

“Oh, pipe down, Jack McFarland,” says Santana, and Blaine is grateful that her phone chirps just then, because he really doesn’t want to know where this conversation was about to go. She holds up an imperious hand for silence as she checks her texts. “They cleaned the blood off the lanes; we’re good to go.” She snaps her phone shut. “The Strikes ‘n Dykes don’t know who they’re messing with; I am from Lima Heights.” In a whirl of hair and chains (she’s in a motorcycle jacket and wearing a lot of heavy jewelry), she walks away. Over her shoulder: “Laterrr.”

Except it isn’t much later, because she turns up on Kurt’s front porch just as they’re sitting down to eat.

Santana breezes into the house like she owns it, and Finn is startled and alarmed enough that he drops his plate of ratatouille. Thankfully, he was holding it above the dining room table and it only falls a few inches; just enough to slop squash, zucchini, and eggplant over the table.

Finn points at her with his fork. “What is she doing here?” he asks, wary, keeping the table between them.

“I was about to ask the same question,” Kurt says testily. “There is a newfangled invention called a doorbell, Santana.”

We are celebrating the Lickety Splits’s ass-kicking win,” Santana informs them all, and she grins with more teeth than Blaine realized could be in a human mouth. She shoots a disdainful look at the (absolutely gorgeous; Kurt has outdone himself) pan of ratatouille on the table, and pokes at one of the dropped vegetable slices with one finger. “Is that eggplant?”

Finn turns a shocked, deeply betrayed face on Kurt.

Kurt looks like he is seriously considering dumping the entire pan over Santana’s head.

Blaine says, “It’s delicious and you should try it, but—” (Finn totally won’t try it.) “—I’m pretty sure I saw a microwave pizza in the freezer.”

By the time that the doorbell rings and Rachel calls a cheerful, “Hello” down the hall, Finn is nervously sharing his pizza with Santana, and Blaine has curled up with Kurt and the couch and a plate heaped high with colorful ratatouille and homemade crusty French bread. Everyone has been pretty quiet while eating, but the second that he hears Rachel’s voice, Finn is up like a shot.


“Ooh, something smells deli—” Rachel comes up short as she appears in the living room doorway, her huge smile fading into confusion. “Santana.”

Santana salutes her with a slice of pizza, apparently too busy eating to come up with a pithy greeting.

“Rachel, my girlfriend! Who I love. A lot.” Finn is a total train wreck, rushing over to kiss her; Rachel is blinking, and beginning to look less than happy about finding Santana sharing a meal with her boyfriend.

“What am I missing here?” Blaine mutters, leaning in close to Kurt.

“Hetero virginity drama,” Kurt says succinctly, and he knocks back a slug of club soda like it’s tequila. Blaine thought that he had heard all of the best New Directions stories by now, but he apparently missed this one.

“We kept a plate warm for you in the oven, Rachel,” Blaine says, since there is a lot of awkward silence happening — and Santana looks just about ready to finish chewing, which means that she’s probably about to say something less than helpful — and that’s all that he can think to contribute.

Rachel’s head snaps toward the two of them on the couch. “Thank you, Blaine. That was very thoughtful,” she says stiffly. She gives Finn a long, level look, and then flounces into the kitchen. Finn sighs before he picks up his plate and follows her.

Blaine, Kurt, and Santana listen to a few seconds’ snatches of melodramatic conversation (“She just showed up! She — bowled or something! Rachel, come on; we’ve got to trust each other.” “Do we? Do we, Finn?!”) and then the argument fades along with their footsteps on the stairs, and Finn’s bedroom door closes loudly.

“Young love,” says Santana, and she tears into her slice of pizza with gusto.

“You’re the most shameless homewrecker I’ve ever met,” Kurt tells her, not without warmth, and he flicks on the TV. He flips past Martha Stewart, two infomercials, Fox News, one of the new Star Wars movies, a Golden Girls rerun, Top Chef

“Wait, go back,” Blaine says, hand on Kurt’s elbow, and Kurt thumbs back down to TV Land.

“This is one of my favorite episodes; it’s great.” He can feel Kurt silently laughing at him, side shaking, but he sets the remote control down and very willingly listens to Blaine. “Dorothy’s class is putting on a production of ‘Chicken Little,’ and — you’ll see; you’ll see.” He grins at him and Kurt grins back, knocking his right knee against Blaine’s left.

“This is the gayest you two have ever been,” Santana says mildly, but she slides around to sit on the other side of the coffee table, just beside Blaine’s feet. Her remarks start out caustic but her mocking laughter slowly turns genuine, and Blaine knows they have her when, laughing, she demands, “What is she even doing? What is that?” when Rose appears in the giant chicken costume.

Which is how Blaine somehow (eventually) winds up tucked under his boyfriend’s arm with Santana Lopez curled up against his other side.

It’s not so bad, all things considered, even with the wary, bewildered look that Finn shoots the three of them when he comes downstairs to ask Kurt where to find a couple of CD’s that Rachel apparently wants to borrow. It’s a much more private setting than the meat section at Ray’s Supermarket, but this isn’t the time and the place for the stereotype conversation either, and Blaine lets it go and laughs with Kurt as Santana discovers just how much she identifies with Sophia Petrillo.

“Here you go,” Blaine says, sliding Santana’s iced cappuccino across the table and sinking into the seat across from her. She accepts it like she’s expecting it; like she’s very, very used to people handing her free things.

Blaine actually wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case. Santana is very attractive and not against using her looks to her advantage.

He sets his own cup down and folds his hands on the table. “How are things going with Bunny?”

“Fine,” she says over the rim of her cup, and doesn’t seem inclined to expand on that.

“Have you said anything to her about how you feel?”

She looks at him like he’s an idiot. “No; what do you think all the lez-learning has been for?”

And that’s it; that’s the thing. Santana has been “lez-learning” for a month, but she hasn’t shown any sign of actually going for it. Which, as far as Blaine can gather, is very un-Santana-like behavior.

“I think it’s really admirable that you’re willing to put that much effort into this,” Blaine says earnestly, leaning forward, and it’s definitely the most positive thing that he could think to say about Santana’s month-long journey through stereotypes and offensiveness. “But you know it’s unnecessary, right?” Her mouth turns down and her eyes flick away and he knows, in that second, that Santana fully realizes just how silly everything she’s been forcing herself into is; the experiments with studded jewelry and steel-toed motorcycle boots and softball teams and rugby scrums and Tegan and Sara albums. “Bunny is going to like you for you, not because you – wear trucker hats and can bowl spares.”

“Strikes,” she corrects in a bid for self-confident sassiness, but her heart clearly isn’t in it; he can see her hesitating.

“Strikes, right.” He pulls himself up as reassuringly as he can. “If you’re scared or still thinking about Brittany, Santana, that’s completely normal, and you can ta—”

“Whoa,” says Santana, and her stop right there face is almost as effective as the quelling hand that she raises. “Okay, listen up, short stuff, we’re not here to talk feelings. We’re here for some good old-fashioned gay mentoring. I’m not gonna throw myself across the table and start weeping in womanly fashion, and I’m not going to spill ladyfeelings all over the place. So you can sit here and help me, or you can leave. Your call.”

“I really don’t think this is helping you,” Blaine starts, and Santana slams her chair back.

Fine,” she says; “I’ll leave.”

Her storm out is pretty impressive.

If mitigated by the fact that she seeks him out two days later.

The doorbell rings again.

Standing in the foyer, Blaine and Kurt share a glance.

“How does she keep doing this?” Kurt asks, perilously close to a whine. “How does she even know where you live?”

“I don’t know,” says Blaine. “I don’t know if I want to know.”

Hey,” Santana says, muffled through the door. “Geniuses.” She leans close against the frosted glass and bangs on the door. “I can sees you. Open up. Open sesame. Ali baba.”

Kurt heaves a sigh. Blaine smiles at him; leans in and presses one last kiss to his lips, and can feel Kurt’s hovering smile as Kurt kisses him back.

Santana wolf whistles. They break apart.

“Would it be impolite if we left her out there and went back to making out on the couch?” Blaine asks wistfully, hands on Kurt’s shoulders.

“Yes,” Kurt says, straightening Blaine’s sweater, “and normally I would be all for it, but I think Santana would break your windows and key my car.”

“Well,” says Blaine, “that would be bad,” and he kisses Kurt on the cheek and goes to get the door.

Fiiiinally.” Santana sweeps unsteadily into the foyer. She makes a show of tapping her chin. “Hmm, I was expecting more marble floors and portraits of disapproving dead white guys.”

Kurt glances over. Blaine has a pretty good idea of what he’s thinking, both because Kurt’s face is expressive and Blaine is thinking the same thing. He’s incredibly sympathetic to what Santana is going through, but he is also really, really tired of interrupted dates.

“It’s creepy when you do that,” Santana tells them, still studying Blaine’s thoroughly-normal-for-a-middle-class-family living room. “Like super gay ESP. Gaysp.” She looks and sounds tired; her mascara is streaked. Her hair is up in a loose, messy ponytail and her eyes aren’t focusing properly and her mouth is trembling and she’s wearing sneakers with her tube dress and fringed jacket.

“Is everything okay, Santana?” Kurt asks, and Blaine finds him peering at Santana with confusion and suspicion and genuine concern.

There is a pause, and then she sobs, “Nooo” and bursts into tears.

Kurt’s eyes go huge. Blaine can feel his own mouth hanging open. He thinks they’re witnessing a sudden and complete nervous breakdown, and it’s terrifying.

“Santana?” Blaine asks, taking a hesitant step toward her. He feels like the slightest vibration, including his voice, could set off a bomb. “What’s—”

“She doesn’t want this!” Santana wails, with a practically-obscene gesture down at her own body. “Not unless I go public, even though I’m the hottest shit at that school! And she said I should totally go mack on Bunny and it’s all stupid, and the only people I have to talk about it with are,” she lifts one of her hands away from her death-grip hug on her own torso long enough to make a disgusted gesture toward them, “you two, and—” And then she’s sobbing again, and Blaine is close enough to notice something.

“Kurt,” he says. “She smells like a distillery.” He reaches out and carefully touches her shoulder. Much to his surprise, instead of lashing out or trying to knee him in the crotch or anything, Santana immediately shoves her face into his shoulder (hard enough to almost hurt) and then starts talking incoherently into his sweater.

“Suddenly it all makes sense,” Kurt says, while Blaine hugs Santana. “She was the weepiest drunk I’d ever seen.”

Blaine shoots Kurt a bemused look over the top of Santana’s head. “How many drunks had you seen?”

“Shut up,” Kurt says with no rancor, flapping a hand at him, and he slips away into the kitchen, where Blaine hears the faucet run.

“Okay. Santana?”

“No,” she cries.

“—No, you’re not Santana?”

She says something in Spanish and smacks his shoulder, hard. Blaine’s Spanish is nowhere near good enough to follow it; he has to hope that this isn’t permanent, or else that Kurt’s is better.

“How much did you have to drink?”

“Hey,” she snaps, raising her head and jabbing him in the chest with her finger, “I can hold my tequila shots,” and then he’s fairly certain she’s insulting him, but whatever she is saying was definitely not in his Spanish II vocabulary lessons.

“Kurt?” he calls, and, yeah, Santana is definitely a violent drunk. Blaine is starting to be hit by flashes of how she spent that party at Rachel’s house: sobbing, smacking Sam, or licking Sam all over his face.

He’s also starting to be hit by her elbows.

“Ow! I completely believe that you can, but you should sit down and,” he hisses between his teeth as she shoves him back a step and then ineffectually bats at him again, “drink some water now.”

If it were possible for a person’s eyes to fall out of their sockets due to the strength of an eyeroll, Blaine thinks it would happen to Santana right now.

“Okay,” Kurt says, coming back in with a sleeve of crackers and something else tucked under his arm, a plastic cup of water in hand. “Santana, siéntate.” He points unerringly at the sofa.

Santana sneers at him. Blaine can’t understand the letter of what she’s saying, but the you can’t tell me what to do affronted tone can’t be mistaken.

“She’s perfectly capable of speaking English right now,” Kurt says. “She’s just being—”

She clearly doesn’t appreciate whatever he finishes with, because she narrows her eyes, points at him, and says, “Mámalo, perra,” and even Blaine has an idea about what that one means. The hip thrust and two-handed slap that she gives herself high on her thighs, in a motion that Blaine has a blurry memory of Puck pulling during that terrible idea of a party, is a good context clue, too.

“Charming,” Kurt drawls, and then he walks around the sofa and drops down with enough force to make the cushions ripple. He leans over and pulls a DVD case out from under his arm, and starts setting up the TV.

“Kurt?” Blaine is currently letting Santana run a clumsy hand through his hair and then down over his face. Muffled through her fingers: “What are you doing?”

“Seven seasons, Blaine? Really?” Kurt asks, holding up the DVD case. It’s the fourth season of Golden Girls. He looks at Santana. “He has all seven seasons on DVD. And the terrible spin-off that only lasted for 24 episodes.” (Santana snorts.)

“Don Cheadle wasn’t bad in that,” he protests, and Santana stops tugging at his arm and starts laughing, clearly at him.

Kurt pulls a face at him and then beckons him in as the familiar strains of the opening theme begin to play. Blaine asks: Really? with his eyebrows, and, with no subtlety whatsoever, Kurt widens his eyes and jerks his head toward the couch. With a final glance at Santana, who is glaring at her cell phone like it has done her grave harm, Blaine warily crosses his living room and sits down beside Kurt.

“I can’t decide if Dorothy’s caftans are so shapeless and shoulder-padded that they circle back around to on trend, or if they’re stuck at hideous,” Kurt says contemplatively.

By Sophia’s first insult about Dorothy’s social life, Santana has stopped pacing. Blaine glances over his shoulder and spots her hovering, looking perilously close to falling back into drunk-sob mode. He catches her eye and pats the sofa encouragingly. She rolls her eyes, but, after a second, walks over and wedges herself in between him and Kurt. Nobody says anything. Kurt hands her the cup of water without looking at her, then turns her other hand palm-up and drops two Advil into it.

Out of the corner of his eye, Blaine can see Santana pop the pills and take a long drink of water.

Oh, we’d better put out the welcome mat!” Rose says.

We don’t have a welcome mat,” corrects Blanche.

What about the one Dorothy says is at the foot of your bed?” asks sweet oblivious Rose, and all three of them laugh. Santana almost looks surprised, like she wasn’t expecting to guffaw and it slipped out before she could even register it. After a minute, she lets her head lower to rest on Blaine’s shoulder.

“I don’t know about Dorothy's wardrobe choices, but Blanche’s suit is retro-fabulous,” Blaine says, smiling a little bit as he feels Santana settle herself against him. It really is; cream-colored with a pencil skirt and matching jacket. Kurt mmm’s his agreement.

“Pleeeaaaaase,” Santana says, and it comes out muffled thanks to how hard her cheek is pressing against Blaine’s arm. “It has a peplum.”

Kurt turns to look at her. “I’ve seen you wear a dress with a peplum.”

She picks up her head long enough to retort. “Excuse you, it was a jacket, and I looked totally,” she lifts a hand: “sa-moking.”

While they bicker, Santana’s movements still way too sloppy — and words too slurred — for her to be entirely sober, Blaine realizes precisely which episode this is.

“Did you pick this one on purpose?” he asks Kurt, just after Santana has finished a diatribe, something about Betsy Johnson and prudery.

Kurt looks at him like he has grown a second head, but by the time that Blanche’s confirmed bachelor(TM) brother has been introduced and Dorothy and Blanche have had a Moment, complete with an in-the-closet joke, he looks startled enough that Blaine can safely bet that the episode selection was a complete coincidence.

Santana is a little quiet at first, but when they reach Dorothy's shocked, “Clayton is a hobo??” line and Santana realizes what Rose actually whispered in place of ‘hobo’ — Blaine can abruptly feel her shaking against him. He glances down, alarmed, and realizes that she is silently laughing; not-so-silently, after a second or two, and she laughs so long and so loud that they have to pause to allow her some recovery time. Kurt hands her crackers and makes her drink water until she starts hiccuping and threatens to dump the rest of the glass in his lap. When that doesn’t work, she threatens to dump herself in his lap.

(That works.)

They watch the whole episode, right down to Blanche’s loving — if unique — acceptance of her gay brother. Blaine loved this show as a kid, ever since discovering it in reruns on Lifetime while home sick from school. It was clever and sharp and funny, and the ladies loved everyone and treated them all the same, like they deserved respect, including the gay and lesbian characters who guest-starred. He used pooled allowance money to buy a bunch of seasons from Amazon during the terrible spring when his arm was in a cast and he flinched at shadows, and he has never regretted it.

There’s a comfortable silence for a few seconds as the credits roll. Then Santana says, “Rose is totally Brittany, isn’t she?”

Kurt says, “Yes,” as Blaine agrees, “She really is.”

The quiet hangs. Blaine opens his mouth but Kurt catches his eye around Santana and shakes his head. The credits finish and then the room really is silent.

“Brit and I are best friends,” Santana says suddenly, her shoulders hunched up defensively. “She wants stuff I can’t give her.”

“ ‘Stuff,’ ” Kurt says, watching Santana carefully. “Like coming out.”

Santana breathes in sharply, and for a half a second, Blaine is expecting her to snap at both of them. But then she nods and her voice is low, her eyes flicking away, when she says, “Yeah. Like that.”

Kurt says, “Why not?” right as Blaine says, “Everybody comes out at their own pace.” They glance at each other, and Santana suddenly laughs.

“Please,” she drawls, apparently feeling enough like herself again to start fanning her face with one hand. “Feel free to fight on my account.”

Kurt rolls his eyes; Blaine doesn’t, but really, really feels like doing it. “Use casual bitchery to try to change the subject all you want, Santana, but that doesn’t change any of the particulars of the situation,” Kurt says. “Blaine was right; come out when you’re ready.”

“Thanks,” she drawls, slow and painfully sharp. “ ‘Cause I need your permission.”

“I’m not trying to give it,” Kurt says, and Blaine could kiss him for how earnestly he’s looking at Santana. “I’m just saying, when you are ready – glee will be completely behind you.” She looks ready to scoff a cutting remark, but Kurt doesn’t leave enough of a pause for her to say anything. “They’re more helpful than you’d think.”

“Yeah, helpful like a hole in the head,” says Santana, wiping the back of her hand across her eyes, but she smiles a little bit at Kurt.

Kurt later reports that the two of them argued the whole way from Blaine’s house to Lima Heights Adjacent (Santana texts fyi your bf’s a bitch), but Blaine figures it's a case of you win some, you lose some.

“Do you ever call ahead?” Blaine asks, squinting at Santana from his seat at the empty break room table. He stopped asking how she always knows where he is and how she gets into the employee section of Six Flags, and how she travels from place to place without always seeming to have a car. He stopped asking three weeks ago, when Santana purred, “Wouldn’t you like to know?” and he decided that he would not, in fact, like to know.

“I was waiting,” she says from her perch on the countertop, and Blaine blinks and glances over. Santana looks – well, she looks vulnerable more than anything, which is a kind of scary but heartwrenching sight. “I thought maybe – if I waited long enough, Brittany would forget about the whole,” she rolls her eyes, though it’s not with nearly the vehemence that Blaine has come to expect from her, “coming out thing. She forgets a lot of stuff.”

Blaine lets one side of his mouth curl upward, just a little bit, because Santana is half-smiling, too, even though it obviously hurts; because that was the fondest thing he has ever heard come out of her mouth. Because she so clearly is painfully, terribly in love with Brittany.

“But she made herself pretty clear on this one; I thought she’d be,” she gives a short, sharp, bitter laugh, “jealous when I told her about Bunny, and she said I should mack on that. And – ” She’s running her thumb back and forth across the edge of the countertop. “It’s one thing to say it to you and Kurt and my idiot human-refrigerator of a beard, but if I actually go out and be a big ‘mo with someone new…”

“It makes it more real?” Blaine tries, after a minute. He didn’t think that way himself (with the exception of last spring’s vodka-induced four-day haze of doubt, he has been confident in the reality of his sexuality since he was 11 years old, despite the fact that he didn’t so much as hold a boy’s hand until Kurt. He didn’t need to), but he can see how Santana might.

She hesitates for a second, and then she nods. She doesn’t say anything else, which is another unfamiliar experience when it comes to Blaine’s interactions with Santana. She is always, always talking; one of them is always talking. They’re talkers.

He waits, though, and eventually, Santana straightens her shoulders up and flicks invisible mascara smudges out from under her eyes. “I’m done with waiting. Screw waiting; Santana Lopez waits for no bitches. Now I’s gets what I wants.”

She walks out with a spring in her step and without any kind of a goodbye, and Blaine realizes that he actually isn’t totally clear what she’s going after.

Five hours later, he gets a phone call. “It’s real,” Santana says, and then she hangs up on him.

She sounded … almost cheerful, Blaine thinks. He calls her back, and is surprised when she actually picks up.

“What?” she asks briskly.

“You called me,” he points out.

“I made a move,” she tells him. “You can stop being all up in my grill now.”

Blaine slowly grins at his bedroom ceiling. “How’d it go?”

“I told her we were both hot and we should make out,” Santana says, matter of fact. “She agreed. We made out.”

“And how was it?”

There’s silence on the other end of the line, apart from the distant tinny sound of what Blaine is fairly certain is Rihanna’s latest single. Finally, Santana’s voice says, “I’m super lesbian.”

Blaine cracks. He can’t help it. He’s trying to be Mr. Steady and Helpful here, but Santana sounds awed and so smug, and he so understands the feeling that she’s describing – he can’t maintain a straight face.

After a second, Santana starts to laugh, too.

“It’s a disaster,” Kurt says firmly; “an absolute tragedy.”

“It could actually turn out to be a good thing,” Blaine points out, balancing their takeout containers while Kurt wrestles to get his umbrella ready. Kurt shoots him a highly doubtful look. “No, really! You needed a conflict for the end of the first act.”

“I’ve lost my male lead, Blaine.” They weave their way through tables. It’s early on Saturday morning at Lulu’s Diner; the crowd is mostly families, older couples, and a handful of truckers. “That’s more than a first act conflict; that’s a showstopper, and not in the good way. As in, it will literally stop me from writing the show.”

Blaine knows better than to suggest that Kurt take artistic license with the facts. “Maybe Pippa will get back together with him.”

He brightens. “That’s a definite possibility; they have been off and on for yea – do you see that?” The last is in a sudden lowered voice as he stops dead in his tracks.

“See wh—?” is as far as Blaine gets before Kurt grabs his elbow and Blaine hears the familiar voice.

Santana Lopez is tucked into a booth by the window, her face crinkled with her huge smile as she laughs. She’s wearing a Crawford Country Day sweatshirt that must belong to the stunner sitting across the table from her. He can only see the back of the girl’s head (a long, glossy black ponytail) and the side of her face, but she’s faintly smiling and clearly gorgeous. Blaine can’t get over how happy Santana looks.

“Wow,” says Kurt, and Blaine can’t help but agree, although in retrospect, he’ll realize that there was a chance that Kurt was talking about the D&G raincoat draped over the back of the booth seat. And then Kurt is dragging him over, standing over their table, and drawling, “Goood morning.”

Both girls start and glance up guiltily, ponytails swinging. The tall Indian girl looks suddenly, strangely familiar.

“Hey,” Santana says, visibly relaxing even as she narrows her eyes at them. “Bambi and Thumper.” Blaine blinks and then his eyebrows furrow as he tries to figure out who is who, but Kurt doesn’t so much as twitch. “What are you doing here?”

“Breakfast, Santana,” Kurt says, tapping the styrofoam container that Blaine is carrying tucked under his arm. “Some people do eat it, instead of living off of the harvested souls of the damned.”

“We stopped in for some food before getting on the road to Columbus for the day,” Blaine says, as Santana is opening her mouth on what was sure to have been an epic retort. “There’s an exhibit on video and sound work by contemporary artists at the Museum of Art; it looks fantastic.” He smiles at the girl sitting with Santana. “Hi.”

“Hi. Bijoya Satpathy.” The friendly-but-forthright way she says her name and the businesslike shake of his hand jogs Blaine’s memory. She’s definitely the president of Crawford’s Young Business Professionals of America club.

“Kurt Hummel; a classmate of Santana’s. Charmed, I’m sure. ‘Bunny’? ” Kurt asks Santana incredulously, still shaking the girl’s hand, and Santana shoots him a flat look.

Bijoya straightens her (very chic, borderline-hipster) glasses. “Santana couldn’t pronounce my name when we first met, so…”

“Bunny,” Kurt says, dry. “Of course.”

“In my defense,” Santana says, holding up an equivocating hand, “club music and mojitos were involved.”

Blaine smiles at Bijoya. “And I’m Blaine; hi.”

He can see it in Bijoya’s expression, the second that she recognizes him as a friend of Dalton’s YBPA chapter president (Thad, who gets really, really intense about their fundraisers and tends to recruit as many Warblers as he can get his hands on). The warmth drains out of her face. “You go to Dalton.”

“We both did.” Blaine reaches out and wraps his hand around Kurt’s. It’s a casual move, one that’s low-key and perfectly safe given their surroundings -- a crowded diner full of parents and kids, where it’s so busy that nobody’s paying any attention to them -- and hopefully reassuring to Bijoya.

“Temporarily, in my case,” Kurt corrects, squeezing his hand. Between the hand-holding and the way that Blaine is comfortably leaning against Kurt’s shoulder and their entire vibe, Blaine is pretty sure there’s no mistaking the fact that they’re together.

Bijoya glances between the two of them and then over at Santana, who shrugs and continues eating a strawberry in the most shameless way that Blaine has ever seen. Bijoya’s gaze goes dazed and lingers on Santana’s mouth for a second – then she visibly snaps herself out of it, and she gives Kurt and Blaine a wary but seemingly genuine closed-lipped smile.

Blaine had had an inkling that Santana wasn’t being totally honest with him when she proclaimed that her interest in this girl was all about “shiny hair and a great rack,” but he hadn’t realized the depth of the lie until right now. It’s not the way that she looks at Brittany, and she’s clearly trying to play it cool, but — she looks happy. She looks like this is fun and easy. And every time Bijoya looks away, Santana stares at her like she can't quite believe she's here.

Kurt clears his throat. “Well!” he says brightly. “We’ll let you finish your food. Instead of standing here and awkwardly staring at your meals like we didn’t just finish a full one.” That passive-aggressive last part is clearly directed at Blaine, who can only laugh.

“It was nice to see you again,” he says to Bijoya, who looks like she doesn't know what to make of what Blaine thinks of as Kurt’s beauty pageant wave, but waves back as they go. In his last glance back at the two girls, he sees Bijoya crack a smile, Santana looking like the cat that caught the canary. Then Kurt is tugging him out into the rainy parking lot.

“She looked happy,” Blaine says, grinning.

“She did, didn’t she?” says Kurt thoughtfully, and he doesn’t make a single snarky comment; he just tucks his arm into Blaine’s and puts the umbrella up over them.

“We’re not going on a,” Santana glances around and lowers her voice, “double date.” There isn’t much chance of anyone overhearing; not with the sheer amount of shouting, splashing, and laughing currently going on in the shallow end of the pool, and not with Santana’s parents’ killer sound system pumping the Black Eyed Peas’ latest out into the backyard. “We’re not dating, we’re macking, and I don’t live in a gay romance novel where all the homos meet up on Saturday nights for tall frosty mugs at the wholesome malt shop.”

Blaine wonders exactly what kind of gay romance novels Santana has been reading.

“It wouldn’t be a double date,” Blaine protests, sitting on the edge of the pool with his feet and shins dabbling in the water. “I just said you should bring Bijoya to hang out more often.” Bijoya, who is, at the moment, balanced on Lauren’s shoulders and engaged in a game of chicken against Puck and Mike. He wouldn't have thought that serious Bijoya had it in her, but she apparently has a mean competitive streak to go along with her no-nonsense attitude.

Santana lowers her enormous sunglasses and stares dubiously at him over the top of the frames.

“And Kurt might have said something about a double date,” Blaine admits.

She pushes her sunglasses back up the bridge of her nose, adjusts the brim of her truly enormous hat, and settles into prime sunbathing posture, which mostly seems to involve sprawling as much as possible in a very tiny bikini. If Blaine didn’t already know that he was very much gay, sitting up close and personal with this spectacle and not feeling the slightest prickle of interest would confirm it. “Whipped, Anderson,” she says, her eyes closed. “Whip it good. He’s Indiana Jones and you’re a freaking pipe that he’s about to swing on.”

He gives it a minute.

She wiggles her eyebrows lasciviously.

“What are you doing this weekend that’s so important that you can’t spare time for unlimited breadsticks?” Blaine wheedles, watching Kurt float toward them on an inflatable lounger.

“Gettin’ my derby on in Columbus.”

“Roller derby?” Kurt asks, not even opening his eyes as Blaine reaches out and reels his float toward the edge of the pool. He turns his head toward them and raises an eyebrow. “Really, Santana? Really.” He makes an indignant noise and glares after she kicks his inflatable, nearly shoving him into the water.

That’s not quite the delivery that Blaine would have chosen, but he kind of agrees with the sentiment. Is Santana back to joining sports teams because she thinks that’s what it means to be a lesbian? Because she has seemed a lot happier, and the summer has been much more pleasant, since she dropped that.

Yes, really,” she says, and she sounds testy, but her expression takes a turn for the wolfish with her sudden grin. “I like it.”

Blaine exchanges a glance with Kurt.

“Of course you do,” Kurt sighs. “You get to hip-check people without being sent to the principal’s office.”

“You’re lookin’ at the one and only Angela Slamsbury,” Santana says smugly, and Kurt shoots her a pained look as Blaine tilts his face up toward the warmth of the sun and starts to laugh. “It’s temporary while I customize; I’m thinking Sanramma.”

Dry: “Or Satana.” Kurt’s expression goes slightly horrified when Santana looks thoughtful. “I was joking. It was a joke.”

“It's perfect,” Santana says decisively.

“It’s terrible,” Kurt insists, and this time, Santana succeeds in pushing him back out into deeper waters. He scowls back at her, the lounger spinning through the water. “And yet apropos.”

“We can meet you somewhere that isn’t Breadstix,” Blaine points out, sliding down into the pool. He’s gotten the idea that, as much as Santana is more obsessed with Breadstix than is healthy at all, she avoids it when she’s with Bijoya. It’s a McKinley date hotspot, and Santana is very, very careful about not doing anything that could bring her close to most McKinley students or even potentially hint that she’s on a date. It took a week to convince her to invite Bijoya to a simple pool party with the New Directions. “Thank about it.”

“Leave it, Richie Cunningham.” She readjusts her sunglasses, lays her head down on her towel, and flicks her fingers at him dismissively. Blaine ducks under the blissfully cool water and lazily, leisurely swims out to Kurt’s raft.

“Did Santana actually just reference Happy Days?” Kurt asks.

“She did.” Blaine scoots up until he can rest his forearms along the edge of the raft, the plastic tipping toward his weight but not nearly enough to dump Kurt off. “I think she's been watching reruns; her insults have gotten surprisingly old-school lately.”

Kurt snorts lightly and then raises his sunglasses. His face is going a little pink and Blaine should tow him in for more sunscreen in a minute, but in the meantime — his boyfriend is shirtless and wet, in fantastically-printed clingy swim trunks; he’s allowed to enjoy the moment. Kurt isn’t watching him back, though. “Do you think she’ll ever come out?” he asks, and Blaine glances over his shoulder to follow what Kurt is looking at. Santana has lifted the brim of her hat enough that she can watch the shallow end shenanigans, her expression guarded and her eyes clearly on the laughing girl in the yellow bikini.

“I think she’ll get there,” Blaine says, treading water under the raft and letting his chin rest on his folded arms. “Eventually. And in the meantime, this seems like it’s good for her.”

Kurt sighs dramatically. “We know way too many people in secret relationships.”

“Want to know why I’m glad our relationship isn’t secret?”

He eyes him, and then makes the clear decision to play along. He tilts his head against the raft’s built-in inflatable pillow. “Why?”

“Because it means I can do this.” Putting all his weight on his arms, Blaine kicks, hauls himself up, and gets one knee up on the raft. Kurt yelps in protest but there’s an edge of laughter to it as he braces his weight against the other side to keep it from tipping. There’s a moment where it could go either way — and then they both roll into the middle of the raft.

“Hi,” says Blaine, up close and personal. He’s pressed fully along Kurt’s warm side, ankles to shoulders.

“… You’re dripping on me,” Kurt says, but he sounds breathy.

“Get a room!” Santana’s voice hollers, and Blaine throws an arm across Kurt’s chest and laughs into the side of his neck.
Tags: fic, glee
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