Rachel walked into the bar. Feeling the instant heat against her face and neck where her jacket gaped open, she barely waited until she found the first free spot to start pulling her arms out of it.
“Rachel!” Sam’s voice suddenly grinned from in front of her, the blond pushing aside a random man to get to her. “Here, let me take that. We’ve got a table in the back.”
Handing him her jacket, Rachel smiled, her hand snaking around his waist so she could keep close to him; sometimes it really was unfortunate being as short as she was. “Thank you. You managed to find a table?” She had to raise her voice to be heard as evidently one of the teams featured on the various television screens scored due to the cries of elation and groans of annoyance that erupted.
Sam nodded. Motioning for Rachel to pass him as they reached the table where Tina, Mike, Puck, and Quinn waited, “Puck showed up hours ago. Hey everyone, look who’s here!”
“Fellow hot Jew!” Puck grinned, raising his beer at her, Mike and Tina waving in between picking apart their wings. Rachel happily waved back, “Hi guys.”
“You braved the crowds, eh?” Quinn smiled at her, patting the seat next to her.
“Of course,” Rachel replied, thanking Sam when he draped her jacket over the back of her chair before going back to joining Puck and Mike in making sure no one else tried to steal the as yet unclaimed seven chairs, “It isn’t every day I get to see my fellow gleeks, even if it is during one of the worst days to set foot inside of a sports bar.”
“I know, right?” Tina grinned, taking a deep sip of what looked like her signature Asian Fusion Twins special: copious amounts of alcohol, energy drink, and fruity taste, “But at least it’s not boring.”
Plucking up the half-menu in the middle of the table, Rachel realized the empty seat next to her wasn’t really empty as an already sweating beer sat waiting for its owner to come back. “Super Bowl is never boring,” she laughed, then indicated the beer, “Who else is here?”
“Oh, that’s Santana. She’s currently on the phone with ‘Cedes, trying to find out when she’s coming with Kurt and Dave.” Tina pushed her drink at Rachel, “Want some?”
“No, that’s okay. I’ll have my own drink pretty soon.”
Tina shrugged, “No worries. Means more for me.”
“And you wonder why we think you’re an alcoholic in the making,” Quinn teased, swiping Tina’s drink to take a sip of her own, “Jeez, Tina! That’s - my throat’s on fire!”
“Been going down on Mike again, Fabray?” Santana smirked, sliding into her chair. “About twenty minutes more.” Ducking the fry Quinn threw at her, Santana’s smirk grew at the expressions on Tina and Rachel’s faces, the boys having somehow missed the comment entirely. “And you guys call yourself straight? It’s a dick. It won’t kill you.”
“Thank you for those lovely words of oral sex encouragement, Santana,” Rachel gave her a pointed look before dissolving into giggles, “You are so shameless!”
Santana shrugged, hands in the air, smiling fakely modestly, “What can you do when you’re as fucking awesome as I am?”
“At least you’re willing to admit it,” Quinn rolled her eyes, eating the french fry she’d just picked up instead of tossing it at Santana again.
“Uhm, kind of - kind of would negate it if she wasn’t,” Tina spoke over Santana, stirring her drink with her straw as she grinned.
Shaking her head, smirking, Rachel went back to reading over the menu. Ears idly alternating between the girls’ conversation about Santana’s ego and the guys’ conversation about the game, Rachel’s head snapped up, a breathy squeak leaving her mouth when someone suddenly put their hand on her thigh. “Excuse me - ” she started, glaring, face almost somersaulting in its haste to change into one of delight when she realized it was boyfriend. “You made it!” she exclaimed, kissing Artie, “I thought you were going to be busy for a while yet.”
Artie kissed her back, thanking Quinn when she obligingly moved her chair aside enough so he could wheel in next to Rachel, automatically taking her hand, “I wasn’t, until I remembered being the boss meant I could call it a day whenever I wanted to. Hey guys.”
“Artie!” Sam greeted, he, Mike, and Puck raising their beer mugs in greeting, Tina and Santana doing the same with their drinks. “Wheels,” Santana grinned, “Any trouble gettin’ through the crowd?”
Artie raised an eyebrow at her, putting his hand in the air in accompaniment to his words and affected voice, ”Girl, when you have a wheelchair, everyone knows to move out of the way unless they want a broken foot courtesy of the Crusher.”
The group laughed, Sam moving forward to give him a high five.
Waiting for the high five to end, Rachel squeezed Artie’s hand, diverting his attention. “So,” she leaned forward, whispering into his ear, “How long do you think we can get away with staying before we can go home and have a Super Bowl party of our own?”
Artie’s fingers tensed around hers. “Cheerleader outfit?” he swallowed, glancing at her out of the corner of his eye, behind his glasses.
Rachel kissed the tip of his ear. “Mmhm. I ever tell you how sexy you still look in your football uniform?” Enjoying his low clearing of his throat, Rachel kissed his ear again and affectionately ran her free hand through his hair. If someone had told her in high school she would have ended up with Artie Abrams and happily so, she would have said they were crazy and devoted half a day to making a PowerPoint presentation at just how ridiculous it was to even contemplate. But now, a year strong, Rachel smiled and snuggled in when he slung his arm around her waist, leaning into his wheelchair and his side, enjoying listening to her group of gleeks resettle at Artie’s inclusion as she and Artie looked over the menu, she knew she was happy she’d asked him out after rekindling their friendship in New York.
Puck stood up, squaring his shoulders. “Alright, beer run. Give me your orders.” When everyone with the exception of Santana called out, he groaned. “Okay, no. Dude. Mike, bro, you’re coming with.”
Making a face, Mike stood up. Going over to Quinn’s side when she motioned for him, he bent down to accept her kiss and teasing, “Good luck. I believe in you. Don’t die.”
“Har har,” he made a face, smiling, then poked Puck so they could quickly disappear into the direction of the bar through the still very active crowd.
Santana chuckled. “At this rate, I almost feel like I’m obligated to kiss my girl.”
Turning to her, Tina set down her drink. Raising her eyebrows, she crossed her arms, grinning. “Well? I’m not stopping you.”
Rachel, Quinn, Artie, and Sam’s mouths dropped. “W-wait,” Sam spluttered, pointing between the two, “You two? Nah.” A smile split his face. “When?”
Sighing, smiling, Santana slid over to wrap her hand around the back of Tina’s neck, bringing her in. Kissing her slowly, deeply, her other hand disappearing down to cup Tina’s waist, Tina’s arms came up to wrap around her shoulders.
“…Damn,” Artie whispered. Rachel nodded.
Quinn let out a loud, “Whoo!” clapping. “About time,” she smiled broadly, “But, ladies, we are in public.”
Dragging her hand back, Santana threw the blonde a blind middle finger, it ending up more in Artie’s direction than her intended target. Still, she grudgingly pulled back. “Damn,” she husked, “Best way of coming out ever.”
“Oh yeah,” Tina agreed, pushing her hair behind her ear, cheeks flushing lightly. She took up her drink of lieu of saying anything else, one hand conspicuously under the table where Rachel hoped for her sake it was just holding Santana’s hand and not Santana’s… Other.
Sam let out a low whistle, Rachel shaking her head with a giant smile on her face. “You guys,” she gushed, “I’m so happy for you!” Taking her hand away from Artie, she brought back Quinn’s applause.
Artie added his own applause, shaking his head, lips quirked up. “Damn girls, hawt!” When Rachel nudged him with her elbow, glaring at him, he laughed, “No, no, but awesome. Welcome to the couples club!” He leaned across Rachel’s front to high five both Santana and Tina in turn. Pausing on Santana, he sobered a little, “Do I got to give you the ‘speech’?”
Santana’s eyebrow quirked. “When a man and a woman love each other, the man puts his - “
Tina slapped her shoulder. “Santana, stop. And Artie, thank you. That’s sweet.” She slid her fingers up and down Santana’s arm, smiling softly, “I think I’m fine, though.”
“Damn fine,” Santana hummed, going to kiss Tina again…
…Only to get stopped from an Asian Fusion Twin getting thrust between their faces. “You’re lucky,” Puck chastised, pointing at the two of them, “That Changster caught that on his phone. Because doing that where the Puckasaurus can’t see it is wrong.”
Mike, smoothly walking back to his seat, he and Quinn’s drinks in his hands, froze, then hung his head.
Quinn punched his arm. “I said not die. Santana’s going to kill you!”
And indeed Santana was already up, out of her chair. “Mikey…” her voice was low and sugary sweet, promising bodily harm, “Give me your phone.”
Stumbling back, colliding with a man making his way across the room, Mike apologized, his head snapping back and forth from him and Santana. “Santana, listen, I’ll delete it! It was a mistake!”
“You’re damn right it was a mistake,” Santana growled, then abruptly smirked, rocking back on her heels, “But don’t you dares delete it until I gets to see it.”
“Hey!” Tina protested, making to stand up but evidently thinking better of it, sinking back down in her seat. “Just be smart,” she glared at Santana, who blew her a kiss back.
Booing good naturedly, Rachel grinned at Tina, shrugging in slight supplication. “She’s your girlfriend now,” she giggled, waving a finger at Tina before picking up her own drink, “So you better get used to it!” Taking a small sip of her own muted down version of the Asian Fusion Twins, she offered it to Artie.
Declining, Artie slipped his hand back down to Rachel’s knee, lightly curling down towards her inner thigh. Hugging his arm, knowing he wasn’t trying to start anything, Rachel turned her attention towards appreciating Quinn’s incessant teasing of Tina that smoothly segued into requesting all of the dirty information she could, everyone else joining in except for Santana and Sam who had gone off on the quest for more chicken wings, reappearing minutes later with some vegan substitutes as well. Already completely enjoying herself, Rachel’s smile grew even bigger when Kurt, Mercedes, and Dave joined them, and even bigger still when Finn and Brittany finally arrived ten minutes later.
This group, her friends, the people she loved the most in the world… She couldn’t be happier - - even if they were in a sports bar on Super Bowl Sunday.
But honestly. Rachel caught Kurt and Mercedes’ eyes, nodding determinedly.
God help anyone who thought they were going to get away with speaking during Beyonce’s halftime show.