Pairing: mentions of Kurt/Sam
Rating/warnings: PG for language
Word Count: 1343
Note This started with shiphassailed talking about how amazing it would be if Kurt and Sam were characters on Friday Night Lights instead of Glee, so now I'm consumed with this crossover. CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE oh god it would have been the greatest story ever told.
Summary: Eric Taylor watches his quarterback have a meltdown in his office.
There's a knock at his door, and Eric looks up to see a head of sweat-darkened blond hair through the blinds. He waves him in, and Sam Evans enters, looking like a golden retriever consumed with guilt over pissing on the kitchen floor.
“What?” Eric asks curtly.
“I need to talk to you,” Sam says in more of a mumble than usual. The kid can barely be understood on a good day—his deep voice combined with his Tennessee accent leaves Eric thanking his stars that at least he can throw a goddamn football.
“What?” Eric repeats, watching Sam stare at the floor. Sam's cheeks are flushed, a sheen of sweat standing out on his nose. He gets impatient. “What the hell do you want?” Sam makes a move to sit. “Don't sit down. Spit it out and get outta my office, I got work to do.”
Sam jerks to resume standing, his damp bangs falling into his eyes. He opens his mouth, makes a sort of half-choking, half-groaning sound, closes it, swallows, then opens it again. “There's somethin' wrong with me.”
“What?” Eric says for the third time, his hands on his hips as he looks at Sam from beneath the bill of his ratty Panthers cap. He furrows his brow. Sam's sick. Sam has cancer. Sam has syphilis. Sam can't run on the field because his balls hurt. This could cost them the game. “Evans, what the hell is wrong with you? You sick?”
“No,” he says quickly, then stutters. “I don't know. Yeah, maybe.”
“You tell me what's goin' on right now,” Eric orders seriously. “You tell me right now.”
Sam looks pained. “There's this... I like someone—” And he cuts himself off, chewing on his lip.
Eric blows out a sharp breath. “Jesus, Evans, what the hell is the matter with you? You like someone? Let me guess, they don't like you back, and now you're all torn up about it. You'll get over it. Eat some ice cream. Get the hell outta my office. Keep your girl problems off the damn field.”
“No, it's not—that,” Sam says, almost gasping. “It's not a girl problem, Coach, it's not...”
“Then what is it? Quit wasting my time, son.”
“I like someone,” Sam continues, his voice twisting painfully, and his shoulders start to shake. “It's wrong, and—I'm wrong, and I can't stop, and it won't go away. I don't—I don't know what to do, I can't do anything, and I don't know who to talk to—”
Eric stands behind his desk and looks at Sam, who's only stopped talking because he's fucking crying, actually blubbering in a way that Eric's only seen a few times in his life. He's seen a lot of crying kids because they think they know everything and then they get smacked in the face with reality, but this is different. This is deeper, like it's been plaguing Sam for a long time, before he even joined the team. Sam collapses into the chair, clenching his fists over his eyes, and Eric wishes he could press a magic button and have his wife appear so she can deal with this. She's better at this than him—better at most things, and he has no shame in admitting that.
“Sam.” He licks his lips, looks at the door, then back down at him.
“I've been watching the cheerleaders, you know?” Sam blurts out suddenly, his voice thick and wavering. “Like, 'cause they're pretty, and I'm supposed to do that stuff, I'm QB and everyone expects me to do all this stuff, and Riggins keeps talkin' about three-ways, and I've never even had a—a one-way or whatever, and—I want to be like everyone else, but it's not workin', like, I don't know what's goin' on with me, and I'm fu—freakin' scared.”
“Okay,” Eric says, nodding, even though he doesn't have the damnedest clue what the kid's going on about. “You know, well, you don't do anything you don't want to do, all right? Don't listen to Riggins, he's an idiot. He's a moron. Don't listen to him.”
“It's not Riggins,” Sam says, scrubbing his face. “You know the cheerleaders, right?”
“Yes, I know the cheerleaders, 'course I know the cheerleaders. What about 'em?”
Sam makes a little squeaking sound, another sob wracking his shoulders. “There's this kid on there. He's on the squad, he does, like, dancin' and stuff, and he's... he's...”
“He's what?” It's not until Eric says this that he notices the male pronoun here. He knows who Sam's talking about. Kurt Hummel had caused quite a stir when he joined the squad, and for once people paid more attention to the damn cheerleaders than the actual football game. He scrutinizes Sam, watching him wipe the back of his hand over his eyes, shivering in full pads.
“I can't stop thinkin' about him,” Sam whispers hoarsely, like he's ashamed, and—well, he is. Sam covers his face again, sliding his hands through his hair as he whimpers, sweat and tears mixing on his cheeks. Eric exhales slowly, bringing a hand up to rub his chin, looking out the window to see Puckerman and Smash horsing around on the field.
“I don't know what's wrong with me,” Sam utters in a shaking breath.
“There's nothin' wrong with you, son,” Eric replies.
“There is!” Sam insists, looking up at him with wild eyes. “My parents are gonna kill me.”
“No, they won't. This isn't the end of the world.” He doesn't know, though. It might be for Sam. He doesn't know if Sam has a crazy dad like Joe McCoy who beats on his son with barely a reason. “You're gonna be all right, okay?”
Sam's face crumples, but he nods, closing his red-rimmed eyes. He nods fiercely, like he's desperate to hear those words, to believe them. Eric exhales again, nodding himself, like he needs to believe them, too.
“You listen to me, all right?” Eric says, and Sam opens his eyes, gazing up at him wearily. “You're gonna be fine. You're a good kid, you got a good head on your shoulders, and you're gonna be fine. You need someone to talk to, I'll get you someone to talk to.”
Sam nods throughout his words, his wet face glistening.
“You don't worry about this, okay?” Eric says, even though he knows it's an impossible request. “There's nothin' wrong with you. You understand me?”
“Yeah,” Sam answers in a strained voice.
“I said, do you understand me?” Eric repeats sternly.
“Yes, Coach.” Sam's voice is stronger this time, and he sniffs, wiping his nose on his wristband.
“You get cleaned up and you go home, do your homework, help your momma with the dishes.” Eric cocks his head toward the door, and Sam takes a deep breath, wiping his tears away and pushing his hair out of his eyes as he stands. “You're gonna talk to someone tomorrow about this, all right? You're gonna talk to my wife. She's gonna take care of you. You tell her everything and you don't give her any lip, okay? She's gonna help you.”
“Yes, Coach.” Sam blinks hard.
“All right. Now get outta here. You're gonna be fine. You'll be all right.”
Eric watches as Sam nods again, walking a little unsteadily to the door. Sam turns abruptly, meeting Eric's eyes.
“Thanks,” Sam says, uncertainty marring the word, but Eric nods smoothly. Sam swallows, then turns around again, ducking through the door, forgetting to close it all the way. He disappears to the locker rooms, and Eric sighs heavily, sitting down and leaning back in his chair. It creaks as he presses his palms to his head, over his cap, and closes his eyes briefly.
After a moment he picks up the phone to call Tami.