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09 August 2012 @ 03:12 pm
the art of almost - (pg-13, 11327) (1/2)  
» Title: The Art of Almost
» Author: chernoalfa
» Artist: sanadafaye
» Beta: casness
» Fanmix: .zip download
» Rating: PG-13
» Genre: (Gen, het, slash, femmeslash) Slash
» Pairing/Characters: Adam Milligan/Sam Evans, Noah Puckerman, Kurt Hummel, Blaine Anderson, Quinn Fabray, Sam and Dean Winchester, brief mentions of Mercedes Jones, Rachel Berry, and Sugar Motta
» Warnings: Language, brief mentions of gore, glee-related silliness, disability.
» Word Count: 11,327
» Notes: Crossover fic that takes place mostly in the Glee 'verse. I never thought to consider these two a pairing but a Tumblr roleplay I joined/am an admin for has helped me see that these two actually have a lot of potential together.
» Summary: Adam Milligan was saved from the ghouls just in the nick of time by his half brothers, Sam and Dean. In an attempt to give Adam the normal life John had wanted for him, the Winchesters relocate Adam to the smallish town of Lima, Ohio where he meets and befriends the members of McKinley's glee club. Oh the irony, considering Adam's traumatic experience with the ghouls has left him mute and unable to talk (or sing). But a select few members - including the club's starlet, the school delinquent, and one of the star football players - decide maybe there's a way to help Adam find his voice again.

---


Adam tried not to pay attention to the magnified stare that Principal Figgins was giving him right now. He felt like a frog pinned open on a corkboard, with its stomach split open and its organs bare to the world, ready for dissection. He didn’t like being the center of attention, and he never had been. The fact that he was the new kid was a problem in and of itself, but coupled with his other obstacle...

“Your paperwork is all in order, Mr. Milligan,” Figgins said as he regarded Adam from across his desk, hands steepled in some semblance of power and authority. “Your ah...guardian filled everything out on time and provided all the necessary information.”

Adam had to try and control the roll of his eyes at the word ‘guardian.’ If there’s one thing Dean Winchester isn’t, it’s everything a ‘guardian’ should be. Not like Figgins has to know that, though. That was strictly on a need-to-know basis.

Figgins leaned back in his seat, settling against the back of his squeaky leather chair with something akin to satisfaction. Adam couldn’t quite place why the principal of this practically meaningless high school would look so pleased with Adam sitting there, but he tried not to think about it too much. Maybe Figgins was seeing something in Adam that Adam couldn’t: the future star of the track team, the newest member of the debate club, the possible president of the Honor Society. Lord knew Adam’s transcript from his Windom high school supported all of the above, what with his grades and extracurricular activities in order, but he had no intention of jumping right into the William McKinley school spirit anytime soon. He was here to just get through his senior year of high school without any more mishaps or bouts of craziness. Avoid confrontation. Keep his head down. The basics.

At last, Figgins seemed to finish assessing Adam as he said, “You can go to the front desk and get your schedule from Mrs. Stronach, our secretary.” He gave Adam what was supposed to be a welcoming smile but ended up looking more forced and strained, like he was constipated. “Welcome to William McKinley, Mr. Milligan.”

Adam nodded once before standing up tiredly from his seat, legs aching as though he’d been sitting there for hours but was really only a few minutes at most. He’d just felt so uncomfortable in that office, being scrutinized and stared at like a zoo exhibit that the anxiety just got the best of him and sapped him of most of his energy. Following Figgins’ instructions, Adam got his schedule from the secretary, thanked her with a curt nod, and hesitated in front of the glass doors of the office.

Once he left the safety of the main office, he’d be out there in his brand new high school, susceptible to all the possibilities that a high school education could only promise him. Good grades were, of course, high up on his priorities, as were the wishes for a normal existence in this boring Ohio town, but then there had been the whisperings of “slushies” (whatever that meant) between two freshmen as he’d passed by, as well as the occasional-but-typical jock who’d ram one of the smaller students into the lockers as he passed by. It was normal, which was what Adam had wanted, but he could’ve lived without the added bonus of typical cliché bullshit.

With an inaudible sigh, Adam looked down at his senior class schedule where Mrs. Stronach had written his locker number. He pushed the glass doors open and seamlessly filed in with the rest of the flow; the bell had just rung and everyone was on their way to their third class of the morning. With blue eyes searching the locker numbers, Adam followed the line of students as they carried him around a corner down past the auditorium, around another corner until finally he spotted his locker on the other side of the crowd. He shoved himself through, feeling a bit sorry for not apologizing to anyone, and braced one hand against his newfound locker as though savoring the fact that he had a physical place to hold him up.

Locker #936 was on the top row and apparently needed a little finagling to get it open, but once Adam put in the right combination and jiggled it open, his heartbeat finally started to calm down. Always being on edge wasn’t really a good thing for his health, but it wasn’t exactly something he had much control over right now. It was too soon for control. In fact, the word was barely in his vocabulary anymore.

The student crowd was thinning out behind him so Adam took the time to experimentally shut his locker and tried to open it again to get used to his new combination (and to the idea of jiggling his locker to get it open, something he hadn’t needed to do since the seventh grade). As he was putting in the combination, a deep voice sounded right behind him, making him jump and almost smack his forehead into the steel in front of him: “You’re gonna wanna lift the lock up while you pull the door out.”

Adam turned slowly to regard the tall, broad-shouldered, dark-skinned male standing behind him, grinning a little cheekily as he stared right back at Adam, unfazed. The male raised an eyebrow and nodded. “Trust me on this one, dude. I had that locker last year. Such a bitch to get it open without knowing what to do.”

Adam nodded his thank you and put in the last number for the combo. He hesitated a beat before following the mystery boy’s instructions as he lifted the lock and yanked on the door. It opened seamlessly.

The dark-haired boy clapped him on the back; Adam’s knees almost gave out from the unexpected contact. “There ya go. Now you know the secret of locker nine thirty-six. Live long and prosper.” Instead of leaving, though, the boy leaned on the locker next to Adam’s, arms crossed over his chest as he stared unabashedly. “So you’re new here, huh?”

Adam shut his locker, as he had nothing to put in it yet, and nodded once, eyes trained on the space between the boy’s body and the row of lockers, avoiding his eyes. The boy ducked his head down to try and look Adam in the face, but the blond just turned away instinctively.

“Dude, you okay?” There was no malice in his voice. He paused. “You nervous or something? McKinley’s not that bad. Well, there’s the slushies and everything, but aside from that I promise, it’s a pretty decent school.” He held out a hand for a shake. “I’m Puck. Well, Noah Puckerman, officially, but everyone calls me Puck.”

Adam shook his hand, trying his best to smile back at Puck, who then asked, “And your name is...?”

Silence. Adam bit his bottom lip and felt his cheeks flush pink.

Puck stared. “You gonna tell me or d’you want me to guess?”

Adam shook his head quickly, eyes apologetic and wide. He didn’t want Puck to think he was ignoring him or being rude, but there wasn’t really much else he could do in terms of trying to communicate with the guy that—

Puck, however, seemed to be on his toes as he cocked an eyebrow and surveyed Adam with part curiosity, part astonishment. “...can you talk?”

Finally, Adam was able to give a straight answer, as he shook his head no. His face was still flushed pink in embarrassment and he averted his eyes, but Puck wasn’t looking at him the same way Figgins had, with interest and morbid curiosity all rolled into one. Puck looked...sorry. But it wasn’t the false sympathy that Adam usually saw in strangers’ faces when they realized that he couldn’t speak, it was...genuine? Full? He couldn’t quite place a name to it. Whatever it was, though, it kept Adam from trying to dodge a bullet and run off.

“Oh” was the only thing Puck said after the revelation. He stood there in silence for a moment, looking Adam up and down as though sizing him up for McKinley’s standards. Adam could almost read the commentary in his eyes: Yeah, this kid’s dead meat. No way is he gonna last very long here if he can’t even talk.

But finally, after what seemed like an eternity and a day of just standing there, Puck said, “Well hey, listen, if you ever need any help around here, just come to me, alright? Figgins talks a great game about a no-bullying policy but we’ve got our fair share of assholes here.”

That didn’t exactly make Adam feel any better, but he nodded and tried to smile anyway.

Puck seemed to take that as a sign of Adam’s comfort around him so he clapped him on the shoulder again (Adam flinched less this time, but Puck didn’t seem to notice) and said, “See you around, dude. Good luck” before taking off down the hallway at a saunter that clearly read I own this place. Adam couldn’t imagine a guy like that having to deal with bullies, but then again he didn’t know anything about Puck, and everyone had their fair share of secrets. Just look at Adam.

---


The remainder of the school day passed by dismally, if Adam was going to be honest about it. In every class, the teacher would stand Adam up in front of the room and ask him to introduce himself and talk about who he was, what he expected to get out of McKinley, blah blah blah. It was mortifying every time Adam had to face the class and open his mouth, but no words would come out. Some of his classmates would giggle, others would smirk or sneer at him (mostly the jocks, which Adam had expected) and others still would turn their heads away with secondhand embarrassment on his part. Adam didn’t know which reaction was worse.

After his teachers figured out that he wasn’t going to speak any time soon, they just told him to return to his desk, which he did so gladly, cheeks burning and eyes stinging a little. Figgins had said he was going to try and inform Adam’s teachers beforehand of his little disability; what happened to that? Whatever the mistake or miscommunication had been, Adam sat through the rest of his classes looking at nobody and feeling as though he’d like nothing more than to sink into the floor and disappear.

It was right before his last class of the day, English, when he went back to his locker to return some of the new textbooks he’d gotten in all of his classes; the load was too heavy for his arms. He followed Puck’s advice to get his locker open and was just putting his books away when someone tapped him on the shoulder from behind. Adam turned, confused, and had just enough time to shut his eyes before he got a face full of cherry red slushie. The cold drink was jarring, heart stopping, and to be honest it stung like a bitch. Adam could feel the blood drain from his face as the slushie started sliding down his neck and chest, wetting his shirt and making his skin break out into goosebumps everywhere.

Adam reached up, mouth slightly open in shock, to wipe some of the goop from his eyes so he could see who just tossed the drink in his face. It was a kid he didn’t recognize, but he wore a hockey jersey and a smug look like he’d been born with both already in place. Adam sort of recognized him from his math class – he vaguely remembered the guy being the same age as him, a junior – but before he could try and place the name, the guy laughed in his face.

“Welcome to McKinley, Silent Bob,” the hockey player snickered before continuing on his way down the hall, the empty slushie cup still in his hand as he walked up to a teammate and high fived him before the two of them rounded the corner and disappeared.

Other students in the hallway had turned to look at what was happening, but as soon as the hockey player disappeared everyone averted their gaze and continued moving through the hall to get to class. Adam’s eyes searched the crowd, hoping against hope that maybe that guy Puck would pass by – the only familiar and friendly face Adam knew so far – but the chances of that were already slim at best and sure enough, Puck was nowhere to be found. Adam wiped at his eyes again, unsure if the stinging sensation was due to his getting some of the slushie in his eyes or whether he was actually crying. Either way, it was embarrassing as hell and all he could do was shuffle in the direction of the boys’ bathroom to clean himself off.

Luckily for him the bathroom was empty as he walked slowly over to the nearest sink and looked at himself in the mirror. His hair was sticky with red slush and dye; his skin was shining wet and his shirt was damp around the collar from where some of the drink had slid down and absorbed. The red was still everywhere: in his hair, on his face, stuck to his shirt where it was already melting with the heat of his embarrassment...

Without warning the bathroom door slammed open and Adam nearly went into cardiac arrest at the loud noise, like a gunshot in the otherwise silent bathroom. A tall, blond, broad-shouldered boy stood in the doorway, a half smile already on his large lips that faded and turned into a frown when he spotted Adam.

“Whoa, sorry, didn’t mean to scare — are you okay?” His tone switched from apologetic to concerned in a split second.

Adam nodded rigorously and tore his eyes away from the new boy, not wanting anyone else to see him like this. He turned the sink on full blast and shoved his slightly shaking hands under the spray. Instantly the blond boy was by his side, a hand steadying Adam’s forearm.

“Hey, hey, hold on a second,” the boy soothed. He looked down at Adam’s trembling arms. “God, you’re shaking like a leaf. What’d they do to you? They beat you up before they slushied you?”

Adam shook his head no and the boy’s brows furrowed. “Then why...” He trailed off before shaking his head. “Nah, doesn’t matter. C’mere.” He gently moved Adam’s hand out from under the running water before reaching into his back jeans pocket and pulling out a black bandana. The boy caught Adam’s confused expression before he chuckled and said, “Once you’ve been slushied a couple times, you learn to always carry something with you to clean yourself off.”

With that being said, the boy dipped one end of the bandana under the running water and wet it thoroughly before he proceeded to gently wipe the slushie off Adam’s face. Adam shut his eyes and scrunched up his face a bit, which made the blond chuckle, but not viciously.

“Haven’t seen you around before,” the boy said, no doubt making small talk for the sake of the stranger whose face he was cleaning. “And I feel like I know almost everyone that the puck heads slushie. Most of ‘em are in glee club, after all. You new here or somethin’?”

Adam nodded and the boy smiled, though Adam couldn’t see it with his eyes shut tightly. “Well I’m sorry your first day here turned out this way. Normally they give you like, a couple days’ leeway to get used to the place before they attack.” He wet the bandana again, washing away the red dye so the running water turned pinkish, and proceeded back to Adam’s face. “So what’s your name?”

Adam was saved the trouble of having to go through miming his ridiculous situation to the blond boy by the door swinging open again and Puck slinking into the bathroom, backpack haphazardly tossed over one arm as he took one look at Adam and said, “Knew it. Knew it’d happen eventually. You’re like the perfect victim for those assholes. No offense, dude.”

The big-lipped boy cocked an eyebrow at Puck. “You know him?”

“Yeah, we met this morning. He’s my locker buddy,” Puck said as he shot Adam a smile that the silent boy returned hesitantly. Something seemed to click into place in Puck’s mind as he turned back to Sam quickly and added, “Oh, he doesn’t talk by the way. He’s not just...being rude or anything. He doesn’t. Or can’t. Not sure which yet.”

Blondie looked back at Adam with his mouth slightly open in surprise, forcing Adam to look away again in embarrassment. Damn him and his inability to look people in the eye. “O-oh. Sorry about that, dude. I just kept talking; I was wondering why you weren’t saying anything....” He trailed off before holding out his hand, an attempt to take two steps back and start over politely. “I’m Sam Evans. And if you can’t speak I dunno how I’m supposed to learn your—”

“His name’s Adam. He’s in my gym class and I saw the updated roster,” Puck added when both boys gave him questioning looks. “And your last name’s something with an M but I don’t remember right now.”

Adam shrugged and forced a smile; his surname really didn’t matter much. Sam took the silence as an opportunity to wet the bandana again and continue cleaning off Adam’s face, swiping gently over his nose and under his eye.

Puck moved to lean against the wall farthest from the bathroom door, arms crossed over his chest as he talked. “Unfortunately, dude, I think you’re gonna end up getting a lot more crap from the puck heads than the rest of us, seeing as they probably all know by now that you can’t talk. I mean, our gym teacher practically announced it all the way to the eastern seaboard when she had you in class. Like I said, walking target. Better watch your back a bit more carefully from now on.”

Adam nodded as Sam finished removing the last of the slushie from his hair by ruffling it with the bandana. Sam took a step back and admired his handiwork before looking over his shoulder at Puck. “You don’t think they’ll actually get more vicious with him, do you?”

Puck snorted. “’Course they will. The dude can’t talk, which means he can’t tattle on any of ‘em. He’s a total sitting duck.” He caught the mortified look on Adam’s face before adding quickly, “But don’t worry, we’re not gonna let that happen, right Sam?”

“Yeah, yeah, totally,” Sam agreed, nodding quickly as he turned to face Adam and smile. “You’ve got nothing to worry about.”

---


Coaxing Adam to come to glee club with Sam and Puck the following week was about as easy as trying to let anyone else other than Rachel Berry get a solo: not entirely impossible, but as long as you argue long and loud enough you should do decently well. (Admittedly, the conversation was a little one-sided considering Adam couldn’t exactly argue against his new friends.) Eventually he had no choice but to give in, especially with Sam giving him a puppy-dog look that could reduce a marble statue to a quivering mess.

Glee club had their practices after school, so Adam had to shoot a quick text message to his older brothers Sam and Dean that he’d be late today. The older Winchesters were working a case in the next town over that involved a dead plumber and a lot of crude porn jokes from Dean, but they’d taken up residence in a cheap Lima motel for the time being so Adam could have some kind of high school experience before they packed up and moved on to the next hunt. That was how it worked now: find a job, bring ‘the kid’ along, stick him in school so he was out of the way for six hours a day, finish the job, repeat ad infinitum.

Granted, Adam should’ve felt more grateful than anything. After all, it was Sam and Dean Winchester who’d saved him in the nick of time from becoming ghoul fodder, but he couldn’t stop himself from wanting more. He didn’t want to be the new mute kid all the time, especially during this, which was his senior year. He wanted to graduate. He wanted to actually apply to a college – hell, he wanted to get into a college. Medicine was an interest of his, so he’d started looking into schools with good pre-med programs when they’d been staying in the previous town. Maybe here in Bumfuck, Ohio he could actually stay long enough to have a return address where potential colleges could send acceptance or rejection letters.

But permanent home or not, Adam decided it was probably time that he made some new friends other than the resident delinquent and ‘Lady Lips’ (or ‘Trouty Mouth’, depending on who was doing the name calling). And so it was that Adam found himself following Sam and Puck into the choir room, trailing after them like a lost puppy. At first he’d been worried about the rest of the group’s reaction; Adam knew they were supposed to be all about welcoming the school misfits (as Sam had explained) but that hadn’t seemed to be the case lately. Adam still ate lunch alone, still walked through the halls and went to class on his own, still sat away from everyone (unless it was gym, where Puck was with him and kept him company). If this glee club was supposed to welcome everyone, why hadn’t any of its members stepped up for him other than Sam and Puck?

Adam decided not to over think it as he stepped into the choir room and was immediately set upon by a bubbly brunette girl who introduced herself as Sugar and hugged him so tight he thought he would break. Once the girl released him from the chokehold she had on his neck, he was able to meet the rest of the club, though most of their names went over his head as he was so overcome with greetings and handshakes and the occasional welcoming slap on the back. The whole time, Sam and Puck flanked him like Secret Service and Adam couldn’t help but smile a bit at the thought, at the notion that he was worth protecting.

He sat down in one of the small choir chairs and for a moment wondered if he was going to be treated like a fish out of water, with the whole glee club staring at him, but when he turned to look at everybody there wasn’t a pair of eyes on him, save for the smallish brown-haired girl with the pink and white dress and the kitten heels who’d introduced herself as Rachel Berry. It was a quick look and almost as soon as Adam saw her staring, she was looking back towards the center of the room, so he brushed it off. Sam and Puck had picked up guitars in the meantime and one of the band members sat down at the piano while another picked up a violin. A third one grabbed a tambourine and sat down on the piano bench next to the pianist.

“Well,” Sam started with a goofy smile on his face, “I think it’s only fair to properly welcome Adam to McKinley after a week. You might not sing here dude but you’re welcome to join us any time.”

Adam flushed a bit at the mention of his lack of speaking but nobody else even blinked; apparently they’d all been told beforehand.

And before Adam knew it, the pianist was playing and Sam was singing. At first Adam couldn’t place the tune, but suddenly he recognized the lyrics from “Call Me Maybe” and grinned. Though the song was annoying at best, it was...strangely intoxicating when not punctuated by electronic beats. Actually, as an acoustic song sung by a male, it was borderline good.

Adam made a mental note to visit the glee club more often.

---


“I brought ‘em for you. I hope you like ‘em, dude. They’re from my own collection so they’re kinda special to me but I figured you could find some sort of use for them more than I could,” Sam said as he pushed the shoebox across the table at Adam.

Adam took the shoebox carefully and lifted the lid, exposing the various versions of Teen Titans comics piled inside. He hadn’t asked Sam to bring these, hadn’t expected Sam to pull this favor for him, but once Adam had written down on a napkin during lunch that he sometimes read comic books, Sam had jumped at the opportunity to really get him to dig his feet in.

Sam scooched his Lima Bean chair closer to the table and pointed at a curly haired blond boy on the cover of the top comic. “That’s Jericho,” Sam explained. “He’s kind of...an ambiguous character for the most part. I don’t wanna give any of it away, but I wanted you to read the comics with him in it because he’s pretty cool.” Sam looked up and caught Adam’s eye. “And he’s mute, like you.”

Adam cocked an eyebrow and pulled the first comic out of the shoebox to stare at the image of Jericho. The title splashed across the top read The New Teen Titans and there were more superheroes on the cover than just the blond, but he was all Adam cared about at the moment. Mute, like you. Adam knew about superheroes with disabilities – Daredevil was probably the most obvious one to point out – but it had never occurred to him that muteness would be an interesting trait for a character. Wasn’t it the goal of a superhero with a disability to overcome said disability? Was that the point Sam was trying to make?

Apparently so, because Adam heard Sam speaking in the background as he flipped through the comic: “...wanted to show you that even though it’s obvious you don’t, y’know, enjoy your situation, you can still come out of it strong.” His head was ducked forward as though he was trying to hide from something, or get closer to Adam. “I hope I’m not, like, overstepping any boundaries or anything. Or offending you.”

Adam looked up quickly and shook his head no.

Sam smiled. “Good. Because I mean, I dunno what happened, but...if you ever need to like...talk – wait, I don’t mean talk literally, but you know. Like type something out on an email or IM or Facebook or whatever. You can do that with me. I know I’m like a year younger than you and you’ve probably got friends your own age but I’m still here if you need someone less cool to talk to,” he joked with a lighthearted chuckle.

Adam knew that Sam meant what he said, knew that he could trust Sam to be understanding and patient. In the week that followed his first visit to the glee club, him and Sam (and Puck, on occasion) did their best to hang out during school hours, like in between classes or outside during lunch. And really, it was lucky that Sam liked to talk so much because he seemed not to mind Adam’s silence. Most of Adam’s classmates tended to try and avoid talking to him just to get away from the awkward silence that would follow after every tale and joke, but not Sam Evans. If anything, he seemed to like reading Adam’s reactions, observing his facial expressions. Adam had never come across anyone so taken aback by his ability to communicate without words, sometimes even without hand motions or writing things down. His face said it all.

Not even Sam or Dean Winchester took that much of an interest in Adam, though in all honesty he didn’t blame them too much. They had a lot on their plates, from hunting Casper to the Creature from the Black Lagoon to Dracula to all manner of once-fictitious beasts that Adam now knew, from hard personal experience, were real. Adam lived with them for now in the cheap motel just outside of Lima where the wifi was free and the cable was shit, but it was a hell of a lot better than where Adam could’ve ended up if his two half-brothers hadn’t decided to roll by Minnesota when they did.

The Winchesters had been wary about letting Adam come here to the Lima Bean to hang out with Sam, mostly because they’d barely been there a month and they were a little wary about letting Adam out of their sights, especially after Minnesota. But then Sam had won them over with his charm and mega-watt smile and it was all Adam could do not to blush when Dean practically shoved him out the door with a teasing, “Be safe, munchkin.”

Which reminded Adam: he owed Dean a kick in the shin for that little one.

Sam seemed to read the look on Adam’s face as contentment as he leaned back more comfortably in his seat and lifted his coffee cup, taking careful sips of the scalding liquid while he watched Adam flip through the comics. Adam looked up after he got to the last one in the shoebox and caught Sam’s eye, wanting to say ‘thank you’ – to really say it, not just mouth it or try to convey his gratitude with a simple look. He opened his mouth, thinking maybe here and now was the moment when he’d be able to speak again, but with a small shudder he retreated; already his mind was at work, pulling him farther down into his memories and robbing him of his speech like it had done so many times before.

Sam, in his perfect understanding, said, “You’re welcome” and smiled gently.

---


Hanging out with Sam one on one was something Adam was slowly getting used to – and enjoying – so when Sam invited him over along with Puck and Blaine for a group sleepover (that obviously included Kurt and Finn, with whom Sam was living for the time being) Adam had been a little wary. He was used to Sam’s way of nonchalantly continuing a conversation with Adam that more often than not included mostly Sam’s ramblings, with a little of Adam’s facial expressions and hand motions thrown in there.

He was also used to Sam’s politeness and way of making sure time and time again that he wasn’t overdoing any of it: the talking, the hanging out, the comics that Sam still brought him on a regular basis. Sam had suggested more than once that they go to the store together but Adam always refused; he didn’t like going out as much anymore. So every time school started on Monday, Sam would bring Adam yet another Teen Titans comic, usually out of order so Adam was never able to keep up with what was going on, but he didn’t mind. Why would he? Sam was his friend and...

Adam rewound his thoughts as he walked up the pathway to the Hudson-Hummel household, a plastic shopping bag with chips in one hand and a pillow in the other. He rang the doorbell with his elbow and waited a beat before it swung open and Kurt was there, grinning wide.

“You made it!” he gushed and brought Adam into a one-armed hug, using his other arm to push the door open further as he hustled the silent boy inside. “Everyone’s already downstairs where my room is. We’ve got a movie set up and everything. Oh, are those potato chips?” Kurt peered into the bag that he gently took from Adam’s already slack grip. “You’re a life saver. I thought I was gonna die with Sam going all health freak on us. Come on in.”

Adam, a little surprised at the affectionate hug, nevertheless followed Kurt to the basement stairs where he could already hear the sounds of the other boys: “Gogogogo—” “I’m going as fast as I can!” “Watch out for the guy camping behind that—” “I’M ON YOUR TEAM!”

“Never mind,” Kurt said over his shoulder to Adam as they descended the stairs into the darkened room, lit only by the TV. “Sounds like they’ve got the videogames out now.”

“Adam!” Puck’s voice was loud over the sounds of fake gunfire and screaming coming from the TV. “Pick up a controller and help me kick Blaine’s ass!”

“Are you kidding? You’re already killing me every time I regenerate!” Blaine complained, his voice emanating from somewhere on the floor in front of Kurt’s bed.

“Help me kick Blaine’s ass more,” Puck amended just as his character shot Blaine’s in the spine.

Adam chuckled silently and made his way over to where he could make out Puck’s outline against the harsh TV lighting. His eyes quickly flicked around the room, searching for Sam, but he couldn’t find him. With his heart a little deflated, Adam took a seat next to Puck and picked up a third controller, going to the control panel to sign in as a third player while Puck and Blaine kept trying to kill each other.

Everyone seemed to be surprised that the mute kid could play videogames.

“Adam, dude, did you just lock yourself in your room and play shooter games all your life?” Puck asked as Adam used a sniper rifle to take Blaine out from an impossible angle.

Adam smirked and waited for Blaine to regenerate so he could shoot him again when he heard heavy footsteps descending the stairs. He’d recognize that gait anywhere as Sam’s, but he kept his eyes glued to the TV screen.

“You feelin’ better, dude?” Puck asked, also looking at the ongoing game.

Sam said nothing, merely sat down on the ground somewhere behind Adam and sighed.

“Is this about Mercedes?” Kurt stage-whispered to Sam.

Adam practically honed in on the conversation at that point. He’d heard rumors that Sam and Mercedes had a summer romance thing going before Sam moved away, and that since Sam had returned he’d been trying to win Mercedes back from her current boyfriend, Shane. So far nothing seemed to be coming of his efforts, which Adam admitted gave him a certain amount of satisfaction for the simple reason that he liked the idea of having Sam more to himself, but it still pained him to see Sam this miserable after each failed attempt.

Behind him, Adam could hear Sam’s long sigh. “Who else?”

“This about the song she sang in glee club today?” Puck asked, mouth full of Oreo.

Adam perked up. He hadn’t gone to glee club today, instead choosing to run to the hotel and quickly patch up a few of Dean’s wounds from a minor hunt they’d finished earlier. He’d gotten the text during his last class and made the decision quickly, hoping he wouldn’t be missed. After all, it wasn’t like he did anything during his visits other than watched.

“Yeah. That was a real bummer.” Sam tried to chuckle gamely but Adam heard no humor behind his voice. “Kind of embarrassing, too, considering I couldn’t even stay in the choir room in one piece and had to leave when she finished.”

Adam turned in his spot to look at Sam, surprise and sympathy written across his face in a way that not even Kurt, who was also able to see Adam’s face, could misunderstand. Sam didn’t see him though; he was too busy staring at the floor, apparently concerned with one particular spot in the carpet. Adam stared, waiting for Sam to acknowledge him, and when he didn’t he put a comforting hand on his knee.

Sam looked up at the gentle touch, caught Adam’s eye, and smiled gently through watery eyes. “Thanks.”

His recognition of Adam’s wordless comfort made his heart leap.

[ NEXT PART ]