Title- The World Is Full Of Guys
Summary- Post Sectionals. Can Finn be Finn Again?
Disclaimer-No, I do not own Glee
Two weeks after their triumph at sectionals Finn had recognized that things at Glee had changed, possibly for ever. After his last minute appearance to save the day (at least that's what he liked to think) the general assumption seemed to have been that he would rejoin Glee. Finn himself hadn't been too sure whether that was what he wanted or needed at the time. However Tina somewhat timidly approaching him and asking him if he'd be interested in helping them all present a routine for Mr Schu to both celebrate their win, and thank him for all his support seeing as he wasn't able to witness their big day in person, had led Finn to making the first steps back into the glee fold.
He had done it for Mr Schuester. Finn hadn't been sure at the time how he felt about any number of the members of Glee. He knew how he felt about Mr Schuester though. The teacher, and yes mentor, had never let Finn down so Finn wasn't about to let him down. So he took part in 'My Life Would Suck Without You', and he had even enjoyed it, especially seeing how touched the teacher had been by it, but Finn still knew things wouldn't just go back to normal.
The night of sectionals Finn had finally had a conversation with Quinn. It was the first time he'd talked to her since the revelations about her and Puck had come out. She was still living at his house, in his room in fact. Finn knew that it was out of necessity not choice for her. He had yet to tell his mother the truth about the whole situation.
Despite her pregnancy and baby bump Quinn had seemed smaller than ever perched on the end of his bed. The bed they had never shared and now never would share. When Quinn had moved in with them Finn had relocated to the basement and a camp bed. Not the most comfortable of arrangements for someone of his height but he had managed just fine.
"Look Quinn," he had started "I think you should stay here. Um you're still planning on an adoption yeah?" At Quinn's nod he'd continued, "So it'll only be for a few more months. We can be like polite around the house yeah but as far as school goes and Glee I don't really have anything to say to you."
Tears had been evident on Quinn's face as had been the mixture of disappointment and relief.
"Okay" was all she had said and Finn had felt so incredibly relieved that she hadn't attempted to apologize again or explain what had gone on between her and Puck. He felt that there was more he should be saying. That he should tell her that everything would work itself out eventually. That one day he wouldn't hate her. That they could eventually be almost friends again. But in the end he couldn't bring himself to say any of it because Finn couldn't bring himself to bring her any comfort. But he didn't want to bring her any pain either. In the end Quinn broke their strained silence.
"If there's nothing else then I should be getting to sleep. It's been a big day." She said, and he could tell that she was close to crying so he said "sure, um, see you in the morning" and left.
So that was the state of him and Quinn. It was a fragile, uneasy state to be sure, with neither him nor Quinn wanting to destroy the uncomfortable but survivable status quo.
Finn's presence at Glee was also fragile and uneasy. Surprisingly the ones most outwardly unaffected by his return were Puck and Quinn. Things between the 3 of them were simple. He didn't talk to them or look at them and they tried not to talk or look at him. Which seemed to work for all 3 of them. The same unfortunately could not be said for the rest of Glee.
Finn knew that he was making his fellow glee clubbers uneasy. Practices hadn't been the same since the revelations. Sure, there was no overt hostility between him, Puck, and Quinn but the silence must have been deafening for the rest of the group because Finn didn't only stop talking to Puck and Quinn. He stopped talking to anyone. He knew he was spoiling it for the rest of them but he didn't seem able to change his behaviour. Eventually after a few weeks of the others being nervous around him, waiting for what he was sure they thought would be the eventual explosion, they seemed to adjust to the new reality. This was the new Glee club. All singing, all dancing, but not exactly joyful.
Finn hated himself for what he was doing to the club. The place where he had been happiest. The place where they had all been happiest. He knew they thought his silence was a punishment. A punishment for them for keeping the truth secret from him. Finn longed to tell them that it wasn't. That he didn't blame them anymore. That he wanted Glee to be like it was before every bit as much as them. That he missed them. All of them. That he missed him. The Finn he used to be. But he feared that Finn was gone forever. He wasn't trying to punish them with silence. He was trying to protect them.
He was trying to protect them from the thoughts in his head. The mean, hateful, horrible things in his head that were forever on the verge of coming out of his mouth. Silence was the only way to keep them from coming out. At times he thought he could literally feel them bubbling up out of his throat. Almost choking him until he was sure he would vomit them out. He would sit there. Gripping the arms of his chair so tightly that his hands would cramp and he would swear the bones in his palms were about to break. Eventually it would pass and he would feel such immense relief. So much relief that it would almost bring him to tears.
So he spent his time trying to project blankness whilst feeling hurt and anger and regret. Little by little this facade of blankness started to work. He found the angry voices becoming quieter and quieter. He spent less and less time gripping the armrests of his chair. About 3 weeks after his return to glee he even found himself wanting to laugh out loud as Rachel and Kurt performed a duet together each one clearly trying to outdo the other. The laugh didn't come out because he had learned to outwardly suppress his emotions so effectively. But it was the first time something joyful rather than hateful had tried to bubble out from within him and it made Finn hope again. Perhaps some of the old Finn was still there inside him. Perhaps he was beginning to heal.
Just one month later he had almost completely let go of his anger towards Quinn and Puck. It was replaced by genuine indifference. So much so that he questioned how good a friends he had ever been with Puck. Not because of how Puck had betrayed him with Quinn, but because of how Finn found himself not missing their friendship. He wondered if Puck had known all along. Known all along that they were never really friends. That they were just 2 kids who met in grade school and had sports in common. That they had graduated to High School and ended up moving in the same social circles.
The realization shocked Finn. He couldn't at first believe it was true. Maybe he was just trying to minimize what he had lost. But no. He had been forced to admit to himself that he didn't miss Puck. He missed being Finn. But he didn't miss being Finn and Puck. Or Finn and Quinn. If anything he was relieved to be rid of Puck. He had cringed at the revelation. Rid of him. Like Puck was some burden that Finn had carried around with him. What kind of a person feels that way about their best friend he wondered? Which was the greater betrayal? Sleeping with your best friends girl? Or not liking your best friend in the first place?
Any remaining traces of bitterness Finn had towards Puck and Quinn disappeared with this recognition. Gratitude took it's place. He was off the hook with being a dad. And he was off the hook being a boyfriend to a girl he could admit he'd never really known and wasn't sure he'd ever really wanted to know. Finn was aware that none of this made him exactly a nice person. In fact he suspected it made him kind of a douche. He kept this to himself however and instead started being nicer to Quinn when they were at home. A change in behaviour which Quinn had been tearfully thankful for. Which had made him feel even more of a douche. Sometimes on those rare occasions when he and Puck shared a look, he could swear that Puck suspected everything that was going through Finn's mind. The reasons behind Finn's new found civility to Quinn. But neither of them ever said anything.
So no, he could honestly say that he had no regrets over how the whole Puck and Quinn thing had played out. Any regret he had he saved for Rachel.
He hardly talked to her anymore. He didn't know why because he knew it hurt her but he felt himself do it anyway. In the immediate aftermath of the Puck/Quinn drama he'd been shell shocked. But as he had started to recover he had realized that this was his chance to be with Rachel. At first he held back because he wasn't sure that she still wanted him. He knew he had treated her less than well at times over the last few months. Reprehensibly she would no doubt say. So at first it was cowardice preventing him making his move.
He decided to compose in his head the words to win her over. To make her feel that she wasn't second choice. Because she honestly wasn't second choice. How could she be? She was Rachel Berry for god's sake! The most amazing girl he had ever met. Stubborn and exasperating. Challenging and intense. Beautiful and brave. So brave and so beautiful and so talented and so Rachel.
So Finn had assembled a great speech in his head. One he knew would win her over. One which would melt her heart. One which would join them together.
But then he paused. Paused and thought about Rachel. Really thought about her. And remembered what she had said once to him.
"My dreams are bigger than you." She'd said.
She had said it as if it was meant to be some great revelation to Finn. But all he could remember thinking at the time was – of course. Of course your dreams are bigger than me. It was self evidently true to Finn. You couldn't spend more than five minutes with Rachel without realizing just how big her dreams were. And there was the reason for Finn's pause.
His dreams weren't big at all. Nowhere near Rachel Berry big.
Finn's dreams were regular sized. He wanted a job he didn't hate and which he was good at and respected for. A home he could afford. A girl who he loved and who loved him and kids that they both loved even more. Rachel wanted an amazing life because she was an amazing girl whereas he wanted a regular life because he was a regular guy.
Rachel Berry had never been a regular girl in Finn's opinion. But he suspected that sometimes, in her weaker, less self assured moments she wanted to be a regular girl. And maybe that's what Finn represented. Her taste of being normal. Well Puck/Quinn/Finn was hardly normal but to Rachel it was probably her shot at a crazy type of normal.
But Rachel wasn't normal. That was exactly what drew Finn towards her in the first place. She was extraordinary not ordinary. Finn had been around ordinary his whole life. Rachel was more than that. She was a force of nature as far as Finn was concerned. Everyone knew she wasn't normal, and while most seemed to regard this as a bad thing, and sometimes Finn suspected Rachel herself was included in this number, Finn thought it was was the greatest thing that he'd ever seen.
But there was no way that they would end up together. Because her dreams were bigger than him.
And that was part of what he loved about her.
Would this shot at normal that a part of her seemed to crave dull the real, exceptional her? Finn asked himself. How would she feel with the far from exceptional Finn? Would Rachel feel the need to be less and less exceptional?
A relationship with Rachel would be right for Finn. But was it right for Rachel?
She was going places. He wasn't. Her dreams were bigger than him. His dream was her. Finn couldn't see how it could ever work. He knew he had already hurt her enough in the past and had no wish to do it again. He'd have to figure it out before going in full steam ahead declaring his feelings. Put her first for once instead of acting on impulse.
So he would hold his tongue. Bury his feelings for Rachel. But he could still be her friend. He knew his silence had hurt her. The very fact that she hadn't approached him once in the six weeks since his return to Glee spoke to how wary she had been of his possible reaction. Finn hadn't even considered until now that perhaps she felt he blamed her for telling him the truth about Quinn's pregnancy. He berated himself for being a selfish idiot. He had been so concerned with his own hurt feelings that he had ignored hers.
Her tentative smile when he sat down next to her after a month and a half of silence and said "Hey!" almost broke his heart. She still looked a little unsure, then Finn turned to her and casually mentioned that he had finally heard the soundtrack to 'Wicked' the previous night, and did she have any other recommendations. He was rewarded with her eager beaming smile and she, uncertainly at first, and then with mounting enthusiasm, launched into what seemed like a thousand different conversations all at once.
Finn sat back and thought to himself that he could watch her talk forever. Listen to her as well, even though 80% of what she said went right over his head if he were honest with himself. But he loved to watch Rachel talk. See her whole face become animated as she was transported by some new thought or idea. How she burst into more life than he had ever witnessed. How her whole body seemed to vibrate the moment yet another idea struck her and her hands and arms would start to make elaborate movements to illustrate the point she was making.
The sight of Rachel like this filled Finn with such joy and sadness at the same time. Joy because Finn never felt so alive as when he was talking with Rachel or singing with Rachel or dancing with Rachel. That was because Rachel was the most alive person he had ever met. At the same time it only served to confirm that she was meant for far far greater things than him. But how could Finn give this up? He couldn't. He had to be in her life someway. Even if it was just as a friend.
As he continued to watch her Finn's mind suddenly leapt forward 15 years. To a time when he and Rachel were still friends. Where they would talk on the phone about her auditions and premieres and his promotions and bruises picked up in rec league football games. Where they would only meet up twice a year because she was very busy with rehearsals or filming or whatever, and she would complain a bit about the long hours she was working, but wouldn't be able to help herself in the end and her enthusiasm and pride in her achievements would take over and she would begin with these same gestures, and her face would be moving and her eyes sparkling and she would be glowing. In this mythical future Finn hadn't decided if he would be single, with maybe a dog for company. Or if he would have a wife he loved who was wise and kindhearted enough to indulge her husband, whom she knew loved her, in his twice yearly forays into Berryland, and who would smile indulgently when he went happily off to catch up with his friend Rachel and returned just as happily to his wife whom he loved, and he was happy because Rachel was happy and he knew that the Rachel of his dreams couldn't be the Rachel of his dreams if her and Finn were together as a couple. Because if there was one thing Finn knew he wanted more than to be with Rachel Berry. It was for Rachel Berry to be Rachel Berry.
But he could be her friend. So Finn would just find a topic each day to start off the conversation and off she would go like a wind up toy. After 2 weeks they were closer than ever. They would take turns to pick an activity and would delight in taking each other out of their respective comfort zones. For Finn that meant introducing Rachel to the delights of alcohol and bungee jumping, though not at the same time. One time they even spent an entire day constructing a model airplane and then taking it out to the deserted McKinley High Football field late on a Saturday afternoon to fly it. Rachel had begun the day grumbling about Finn not following the directions correctly, then when he'd offered to let her take over, complaining that none of the instructions made sense. But her delighted laughter as she maneuvered the plane on a loop the loop over the field as the sun set in the distance is a memory that Finn knows will stay with him forever.
She would often make them do their homework together. Unsurprisingly his grades began improving with Rachel showing up till now hidden depths of patience with him as they worked on history, math and science. She somehow managed to talk him into making a MySpace video with her. In fact they did a fortnightly series of duets taking turns to choose the song. Finn's reputation around school was pretty much shot to pieces by then anyhow. What with not being 'man enough to knock up his own girlfriend' and having to 'get Puck to pinch hit for him'. He found it a relief rather than an annoyance because by now he didn't care about any of that popularity crap and couldn't believe he ever had. For the most part any comments were said behind his back rather than to his face. The rest of the football team seemed wary of the more silent and possibly more deadly Finn. A feeling only cemented when Finn had stuffed one of the offensive lineman, who had decided it was a good idea to call Kurt a 'fag', into the boys own locker.
The more time Finn spent with Rachel the more he began to engage with Glee. Slowly he began to re-establish relationships with his fellow performers. He could now acknowledge that he had held feelings of resentment towards them since he had realized they knew about the paternity of Quinn's baby but had chosen not to tell him. His new found honesty with himself led him to admit that he might well have done the same in their situation, and in any case when Finn reflected upon instances of dumpster dumping and egging he knew that Kurt, Rachel, and Tina had forgiven Finn for far greater sins when he had first joined Glee.
Rachel seemed to accept her friendship with Finn without ever hinting that she might want more. In fact she accepted a date with one of the members of the jazz band, a nice guy named Kevin. Finn fought down his jealousy and managed to be supportive. Rachel went out with Kevin a couple of times and Finn tried to ignore his feelings of relief when Rachel announced one afternoon before Glee started that she wasn't going to be seeing Kevin anymore. Finn asked her why to which Rachel replied simply that it hadn't felt right.
Things continued like this between them for another couple of weeks until one day at glee Brittany mentioned that she was going to see the 'New Moon' movie that night. A revelation which caused Rachel to huff in a manner which Finn just knew would lead to something entertaining. He just loved to see her riled up. His inquiry as to what was wrong with 'New Moon' was met with a 9 minute rant (Finn timed it) about how the Meyer canon(what did guns have to do with it Finn wondered) was a terrible example to young girls. That Bella is denied her 'own agency' by Edward and all decisions are made for her. Finn was somewhat lost. Agents? There were agents in 'New Moon'? It wasn't about sports was it? It was about vampires Finn had thought. Ohh maybe Rachel meant secret agents? Vampire Secret Agents! Finn thought that sounded pretty cool in his opinion.
Finn suddenly realized that Rachel had finished speaking and was now looking at him for a response to something she had said. He decided the wisest course was to make a non committal noise. Which led Rachel to attempt to clarify her position.
"Edward makes all these decisions for Bella. As if she's not capable enough or rational enough to make her own decisions. He takes her agency away and it's patriarchal and patronizing and she's perfectly capable of deciding what she wants and what she needs for herself. Or at least she should be." Rachel finished.
Finn managed a nod but inside his mind was in in turmoil. Had he taken away Rachel's agency?
Sure she was too good for him. But was that his decision to make?
She was smarter than him after all. She could choose for herself surely.
And was he really being as self sacrificing and selfless as he wanted to believe?
Maybe he was just scared that Rachel wouldn't choose him.
Finn started to think. Would Rachel really let him interfere with her dreams? Did he really believe that?
Her dreams were bigger than him. Those weren't just words. Her dreams were bigger than him.
He wasn't protecting her. He was protecting himself.
He was pretending he was sacrificing for her but he was being a coward. He was being a coward because he knew that the time would come when she would leave him.
Okay. So she would leave him. But come on, he said to himself, college was a year and a half away. Was he really going to maybe miss out on a year and a half of being with Rachel. Really being with Rachel just because they might not last into college. What High School couples did last into college? Sure it would hurt if they went their separate ways, but so what?
They could be together right here, right now. They could love each other here in the present. That was all that mattered surely.
Finn realized that the guarantee of a happy ending wasn't what was important.
A happy ending was still an ending.
It was the living in between which was the important bit.
He looked over to her. At his gorgeous, talented, feisty, complex, kind, Rachel Berry.
"Go on a date with me" He said.
Rachel blinked up at him with a confused look on her face.
"Rachel please go out with me. And after we've been out, be my girlfriend."
Rachel continued to blink up at Finn and if anything her confusion grew.
"You know" he continued "Not too long ago I prepared a whole long speech giving all the reasons why we should be together. About how special you are and how much I loved you. It was a very good speech I must say. I was very proud of it. I was very convincing." Finn finished with a smile.
"How convincing?" Rachel asked with a tilt of her head and the beginnings of a smile.
"Very. In my head you said yes. There may even have been kissing involved."
"The Rachel in your head said yes?" she queried.
"Well" she said "Far be it for me to contradict imaginary Rachel"
"So you'll go out with me." Finn confirmed.
"Love to." She said with a smile. "Now what was that about kissing."
That was 6 months ago. He hadn't told Rachel about his theory about them inevitably parting and to be honest he hadn't really thought about it much. Finn was too busy living in the now. Reveling in the time he got to spend with Rachel Berry. His girlfriend. His leading lady. His best friend.
Today they were at Rachel's house. In her room. Watching the movie 'Say Anything' on Netflix. She had seen it before. He hadn't. She sighed at the scene where John Cusack's character, Lloyd Dobler, holds a boombox aloft outside Ione Skye's character,,Diane Court's, bedroom window, pumping out Peter Gabriel. Finn thought it was kind of corny. But as he watched the movie Finn started to see the parallels between him and 'Lloyd', and Rachel and 'Diane'. Diane was smart and beautiful and special, and on the face of it far too good for Lloyd who was sort of an underachiever and slacker. Okay the parallels weren't exact. In the movie Diane's dad ends up in jail and Lloyd's a kickboxer. But the point is that Lloyd's good at loving Diane, that's what he excels in, and at the end of the movie Diane gets some big deal offer to study in England and Lloyd decides to just go with her, even though he has no idea what he's going to do when he gets there.
And Finn knows it's just a movie, and it ends with them on the plane so you don't even know if it works out in the end. But the important point is that Lloyd got on the plane. They got on the plane together. Finn didn't know what would happen between him and Rachel in the future but he knew that given the chance sometime down the line he would get on the plane with her given the opportunity.
Not necessarily an actual plane.
A metaphorical plane.
Because metaphors are important.
And Rachel was Diane Court.
And there are worse things in life than being John Cusack.