A/N: This story felt like a necessary challenge to take on. How does one take the Puck/Rachel of "Mash-up" into consideration, use only them in a story, keep cannon, and maintain a Puck/Quinn and Rachel/Finn pairing? This was my solution.
This story is oddly short for me and it was actually finished days ago. I know I've usually been posting on Wednesdays (which I missed yesterday) as I had set that deadline for myself for previous fics, but further explanation for the delay in posting this comes in the form of the other things I'm working on at the end of the story
Warning: Just in case you missed it in the summary and above, Puckleberry fans beware that this is not a Puck/Rachel fic.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Including the title, which belongs to the Rolling Stones.
You Can't Always Get What You Want
Rachel Berry does not give up easily.
He should have seen it coming, but honestly he thought, "We weren't friends before," would have been a clear enough sign to give up.
But she's Rachel Berry and determined seems to be the only mode she knows.
It starts the day after they break up, right after the glee practice where they all throw their slushies at Mr. Schue. Though he beelines out of the choir room after practice she somehow manages to magically appear beside him.
"I'd like to apologize for misspeaking yesterday. I said that you want it too much and that's why you fail with girls, but that's not it. It's not what I meant either, but, well, I should apologize for also being distracted the entire time we were talking since Finn was in those tight white pants you football players wear. Anyway, I was wrong. It's not that you want to be a stud too much, it's that you don't want it enough. Because you want Quinn," Rachel says all in one breath and keeping up with him despite the fact that he increased his pace to practically be a jog.
He rolls his eyes. His jaw tightens for a flash before he snaps at her, "No. I. Don't."
She shakes her head and responds, "I'm afraid I don't really understand denial. I've always embraced my romantic feelings for Finn. But I'm sure I can help you through it anyway. It will probably help if you talk about the things that hurt. Like for me, it hurts when we have the leads of a song and he looks at me, just me, and the second it's over he's looking at her."
"Sounds horrible," he drawls sarcastically.
He's finally reached the parking lot and maybe yesterday he would have offered her a ride home. If they were together it would be expected, but today, he plans on getting in his car and leaving. If she doesn't have a ride that's her problem.
She stays on the steps from the school out to the parking lot and to his horror shouts, "Just admit you love her!"
He stops in his tracks. He turns around with clenched fists at his side and stalks back to her. He walks right up into her personal space and informs her in a low, menacing tone, "If you ever say anything like that to me again, I will make you regret it."
She doesn't say anything else as he leaves, which gives him some confidence that his threat was effective. The part that nags at him though, is that she didn't look the slightest bit intimidated.
The nagging part of him was right.
The next morning she's waiting for him at his locker. He knew he never should have let her know where it was. At least he had the good sense not to let her know where he lives.
She starts talking as if they're already in the middle of a conversation. He believes that in her head they actually are. She rambles, "It brings me comfort that he doesn't always seem that into her. But then again even if he stopped liking her he lacks the confidence to end it. She's strong enough to end it, but she needs to have a good reason to. I was thinking you could be her good reason. If you try, she may just go for you."
He's sure she keeps talking after this, but over the course of her few sentences he's managed to open his locker, get out the book for his first period class, and start walking away with the first guys in letterman jackets to pass by.
Later, right after school, he's trying to chat up this girl near her locker because he may have failed many times now, but it's not stopping him from trying to get his old self back again (the one that didn't care if a girl spent exactly two and a half minutes in between classes hugging someone else as she clearly tried not to cry). Somehow, as he's trying to become a stud again, Rachel finds him. She delves right in to continuing the conversation from earlier, "Which brings me to our mission of making you sweeter, more likable. It needs to start with you closely watching the words that you let leave your mouth."
He grabs her by her upper arm and drags her away from the hot girl he was talking to. He doesn't bother apologizing to the girl, he's probably not going back anyway. Rachel, thankfully, stops talking as he drags her across the hall and shoves her into the nearest classroom as he follows behind.
"What don't you understand about us not being friends?" he demands.
"You know you walking away from that girl without giving an explanation doesn't help your predicament," she criticizes as if he never asked anything of her.
"They're not breaking up," he reminds her vehemently, "I'm dealing with it. Which is more than you can say."
She shakes her head and responds, "You're not dealing with it, you're running from it. I'm not willing to settle, especially without a fight. And I don't think that anything is impossible. I don't think you do either. You're just too scared to fight for what you want."
He wishes she were right. He knows from experience though, there's no point fighting this. He's not going to get what he wants no matter what. "I don't care what you think," he says through a tired sigh, "just stop talking to me."
He turns to leave but only gets a step towards the door before she speaks again. She asks hopefully, "What if I can prove she likes you? Would you consider fighting for her then?"
"Sure, why not?" he responds easily as he continues out the door mutter, "Since that's never going to happen."
Rachel Berry doesn't talk to him for an entire day. It's blissful.
But of course the bliss doesn't last. He's never been the guy who gets what he wants and this is no different. She returns. This time at least, she has the good sense not to say anything in public and lies to him about a practice so that they end up alone in the auditorium.
She heads for the stage, the place she feels most at home, and sits herself on the edge before announcing giddily, "Quinn likes you too."
"There isn't a practice, is there?" he questions. He should have seen right through her, but he was slow on the up-take.
She ignores him and continues on, "I was trying to find something that said that she liked you. I read her myspace page, I…eavesdropped- which I'm not proud of, and I was even considering getting her locker combination and looking in it. But then today Kurt came up to me to warn me that she's 'after my man.' And I thought that was weird because he knows that she has the one I want, but then he explained that the man he was referring to was you. I don't know how he didn't catch that we broke up, he's usually on top of those sort of things. Anyway, he said that while you were signing 'Sweet Caroline' she couldn't take her eyes off of you- which I did do to sing along despite the fact that I thought the song was for me. So she definitely really likes you."
"No she doesn't," he grumbles from his spot beside her sitting on the edge of the stage.
Once again she hasn't seemed to pay attention to what he said, but then again he learned long ago that the girl didn't need anyone else to carry on a conversation. She continues, "Didn't you notice her reaction while you were singing?"
He hates this. Remembering. Why doesn't she get that all this only makes it worse? He responds angrily, "Yeah I noticed. Did you notice how she left rehearsal that day still with Finn? Or how she's still been with Finn every day since?" He sakes his head and explains, "I don't know how you keep not getting it, but it doesn't matter if he smiles at you or she stares at me because they're still choosing to stay with each other."
She seems to consider it for a second, but then declares, "That doesn't matter. If you were fighting they might not be choosing each other. And I proved that she feels something for you and you promised that if I did you'd do something about the fact that you want her."
He picks up his binder, hops off the stage, and says guiltlessly as he heads back up the aisle, "I lied."
How does Rachel Berry handle someone who she's trying to make her friend being a jerk to her?
She ignores their attitude and actions and continues on her mission.
This time, he saw it coming. Not in the way she tried this time, but after all the times she didn't give up, he had a feeling this time would be no different.
It's two days after the auditorium and they have a glee rehearsal. Not everyone is there yet just Arty, Tina, Matt, the Cheerio's, and the former Cheerio. And Rachel of course. As soon as he walks in he finds Rachel throwing her arms around him and hugging him tightly.
He doesn't hug her back. His arms hang awkwardly at his side as he fails to formulate a response, instead simply saying, "Uh…"
"Thank you so much Noah," she gushes as she releases him. She's talking semi- quietly. Quiet enough to seem like she means the conversation to be private, loud enough that if they want to everyone else in the room can hear. She continues, "My dads really appreciated your help last night. And I do too since you really didn't have to do that given that we've broken up because we both love other people."
It can never be said that Rachel Berry doesn't have balls. In a different world he'd probably appreciate that about her. But in this world she found the button on him that annoys him the most and she's pushing the hell out of it. "Rachel," he warns low and menacingly.
"Yes Noah?" she responds blinking innocently like she has no possible idea what she's done. She's a helluva actress.
"We need to talk," he says, tone unchanging as he quickly and forcefully drags her out of the room.
She wrenches her arm out of his grip. It was really hurting her and she knows that maybe she went too far this time. She always goes too far. She follows him into the nearest empty classroom with her head bowed. She has a feeling she knows what's coming.
He doesn't explode. He's gotten angry before and it doesn't seem to bring any results. Plus, as has been common lately, it hurts too much to fight at the moment. He takes a deep breath and gathers his thoughts. If she's going to stop then she has to know what this is doing to him. As much as he doesn't want to say anything, doesn't want to talk about it, doesn't want to think about it, he knows it's his best chance at getting her to stop. So he asks, "What if Finn chose you? One day he decides Quinn isn't who he wants and he picks you and it's the best day. All day long you think he picked you. Then you wake up the next day and he's gone back to picking her. How would you feel then? What would you do then?"
"I'd feel awful," she responds honestly. She's played a lot of roles and has plans for many more so she's good with hypothesizing. She elaborates, "I'd be heartbroken that he went back to her." She knows that it'd be a worse heartbreak than she feels now, but she also knows herself for better or worse. She continues answering his last question, "I'd be crushed, but I'd spend every day that he still picks her letting him know that I think he's making a mistake. That I am the better choice no matter how many times he picks her. That the day he picked me was the only day he was truly happy and all the ones with her will pale in comparison. And I'd let him know everyday that I'm waiting for him and I'll be here when he realizes what's right."
He sighs and shakes his head, tries to find answers in the linoleum beneath his feet. She's too determined for her own good and she clearly doesn't see how hard it is.
Rachel's a smart girl and she hasn't missed the insinuation. She volunteers, "She can't know that she chose wrong when she went back to him when you've never showed her you wanted her after that day."
He sits down on a desk. He hates to admit that she has a point so he doesn't. Instead, he tells himself that it wouldn't change anything. Instead of fighting to get his old self back, the one that doesn't care about any girl (besides his mom and sister), he could fight for her (and the daughter he's heard they created that day) but he honestly doesn't think it will change her mind about him at all. And maybe it's right this way. "She's better off with Finn," he admits, convinced he's right.
After a beat of silence Rachel simply responds, "I disagree. And not just because I want Finn."
Her words make him feel a little bit better despite himself. He sighs and asks a question he's been wondering since she started all of this. He asks, "Why do you want to be friends with me anyway?"
She glances down as she reasons, "We're the same. We both want someone who's with someone else. And we both tried to find something to fix that by agreeing to be with someone who's both similar and different from the person we want. You're much more abrasive and cocky than Finn. And I noticed how you emphasized my Jewishness, which contrasts from Quinn's Christianness. But you and Finn are both athletes as well as performers. What did I have in common with Quinn? I haven't figured that one out yet."
He thinks maybe she's too smart for her own good too. He didn't think he was ever that obvious and somehow she seemed to catch on to every last part of him. There's no point denying. Give her another ten minutes and she'd probably figure it out anyway. So, he responds, "You're both smarter than me and really stubborn." As an afterthought he adds since it was originally what made him take notice of each of them, "And you both wear short skirts."
She smiles a little because it feels like the beginning of success. She asked a question and he actually responded honestly. It's a start. She continues, "Well, I know I sought out the comfort of a relationship because I'm miserable. It just hurts to want someone so bad and for it to seem like they don't want you the same way. I don't have anyone to talk to about it, anyone who understands. And our similar situations already got us in the same place, but maybe we just put the wrong label on what we are because we should have been supporting each other in our realities instead of helping to create a fantasy life for each other." Her long, rambly and probably overly complicated explanation has left him with a slightly furrowed brow. She sums up for him to make sure he understood what she was saying, "I just really need someone to talk to about it all that understands."
She's got sad, imploring eyes and the vulnerability is oozing off of her. It' s kind of hard to say no to that. He wants to. He wants to do something mean so he gets out of this for good. But he's not heartless and he gets it, the ache that's ever present because someone broke something in you. Begrudgingly he offers, "You'll do most of the talking?"
A pleasantly surprised smile lights up her face as she promptly replies, "It's likely."
He roles his eyes at her because he hates that he's caving and he's trying to make it seem like it isn't a big deal, "We can be friends then I guess." He quickly adds a condition, "No more saying anything about any of this in public though."
"Agreed," she responds immediately. She's happy that she's won, that her mission was successful and she's once again gotten what she wants. But she also knows that the truth of this situation isn't what she had in mind. She asks, just to make sure, "I'm never going to convince you to try and go after her though, am I?"
"No," he answers honestly, "I can't." He knows that Rachel may have a chance with Finn, but things aren't the same for him. She knew what it was like to be with him and then she decided she didn't want it and she went back to Finn. Not to mention all the baby complications. She's worked up this whole mess with Finn and there wasn't any room for him in it.
She nods in acceptance and is determined to resist the urge to try and change his mind for now because she doesn't want to scare him off from being her friend. She realizes that nearly ten minutes have passed since they left glee, which means that they are now late whereas they had both been early.
On their way back across the hall she invites herself to dinner at his house. Somehow, she's figured out that he went against the Christian thing for a Jew out of some kind of guilt someone recently instilled in him. He tells her his mom would like to see him date a Jewish girl. She says she'll come over and play his girlfriend for a night. He, feeling oddly nice (and a little worried about the combination of Rachel's intensity and his mom), says she doesn't have to. Just before they head back into the choir room she says that it's fine, he'll be doing the same for her. He doesn't know what it means, but he has a feeling this friendship is going to be a lot of work.
When he enters the just barely starting practice he notices that a certain blonde's eyes are on him (not him and Rachel, just him). He tries not to read anything into it. There's been too many times where she hasn't picked him for him to actually have hope. Yet, he can't help it occupying his mind the rest of the day. He starts to think maybe Rachel's ideas aren't so bad. Maybe she was right. And he found himself slightly comforted by the fact that he gave in to what she wanted and became her friend because at least that means that she always gets what she wants. The other thing she wants is Finn and after everything he's been through with her he doesn't see how she won't get it.
Maybe, after the way her eyes have been trailing him every so often lately, he should take Rachel's advice and let the girl he wants know that she chose wrong. Maybe.
After all, if he's friends with Rachel Berry, anything is possible.
A/N: Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed the story!
And remember to Please Review!
Note: If you have no interest in things I have written or will write, stop reading now and thank you again for reading this story:)
I'd like to say thank you to all the wonderful people who have been reading my Glee stories. You guys rock!
In the reviews there was a lot of wonderful people asking if I would be writing more Puck/Quinn and though I responded to those people with an affirmative, for those of you who read and didn't review but possibly were wondering the same thing I wanted to say yes, I definitely have more Puck/Quinn on the way as we suffer through this break in new episodes.
The reason for the delay in posting this was because I am already working on another story. I was struck by Mr. Schue's words about everyone helping to clean Quinn up when she gets her daily slushie facial now that she's off the Cheerios and a story was inspired from there. It's a chapter fic this time instead of my typical massively long one-shot (the story above being a rare exception). The chapters will be of more medium length, but I wanted to be well into the second chapter before posting this and through the third chapter (of what I'm expecting to be four) before I post it at all.
So, wonderful readers in the Glee community, I just wanted to let you know that as I said, I am indeed working on more Puck/Quinn. Thank you again for all of your wonderful responses.