[too long i've been afraid of losing love i guess i lost]

Rachel tapped her fingers impatiently on the bench as she waited outside of school for one of her dads to pick her up. Sighing, she glanced down again at her phone, checking the time.


She'd been waiting for the past fifteen minutes. Honestly, her fathers never ran this late.

She was resolved to call them again and was about to dial the number when the school door opened. Out sauntered Kurt, looking as flamboyant as ever. He paused when she saw Rachel, as though debating whether or not to go back inside, but at the small wave of her hand, he seemed to think better of it and came to sit beside her on the bench.

"Kurt," she greeted him.


They were silent for a moment, unsure of what to say to each other. Rachel twisted a lock of her hair uncomfortably; it was a fairly well known fact that she and Kurt did not get along well: their egos were just too constantly at odds for them to develop any sort of relationship.

(Sometimes, in moments of clarity, it struck Rachel that her ego was the very thing that kept her from having the friends and popularity she so desired.)

This week, though, things had been…different. It wasn't as though they were suddenly best friends—no, that, Rachel was certain, would never happen—but this past week, in particular, Kurt had been especially kind to her.

Or, at least, as kind as Kurt knew how to be.

She heard him clear his throat, seemingly as uncomfortable as she was. She glanced at him as he said, "My dad couldn't pick me up right after glee. Work," he explained. "I was in the library looking for sheet music for songs we could use at Regionals."

"Oh, yes, I've spent a lot of time doing that this week as well," Rachel answered matter-of-factly. "Did you find anything new?"

"Well," Kurt said, reaching into his bag, "I thought we should use this." He handed her some sheet music.

Rachel smiled as she saw the title. "'Bohemian Rhapsody,'" she read. "Well, we were quite good at 'Somebody to Love.' I think we are extremely well equipped to perform Queen."

Kurt grinned. "My thoughts exactly."

They shared small smiles for a moment, before Rachel said tentatively. "Kurt?" She paused. "I just wanted to say…thank you. I really appreciated your desire to defend my honor after Vocal Adrenalin humiliated me." Taking a deep breath, she continued, "I know that must have been odd for you because we don't really get along, and I know I can be very difficult to work with because I am so assertive, but…thank you." She glanced up at him and found him still smiling.

"You're right," he said honestly. "You are assertive. And bossy. And very loud. And just a little annoying." He paused. "But without you, glee wouldn't be nearly as good. And…the choir room would be far too quiet.

"Besides," he added, "we misfits have to stick together, right?"

Rachel nodding, smiling as she sat back on the bench, content to spend the rest of the wait in silence. She closed her eyes as she felt tears form.

They weren't best friends by any means, but as she and Kurt sat there, listening to the crickets chirping in the evening air, Rachel thought it was good to not be so alone.

[for here you are, and what was once a world is a star]

Tina sighed as she stared out the window of Artie's kitchen, chewing on some cookie dough. She checked her watch quickly: 5:01. Smiling, she glanced at her…what was he again? He wasn't her boyfriend. At least, not officially; really it was more of something that was understood rather than stated.

For the first time in three months, that bothered her.

Tina frowned, shaking her head. That was silly—she shouldn't be bothered. This thing, whatever it be labeled, with Artie was going really well. They were on the same level, metaphorically speaking—he was no longer mad her about the whole lisp ordeal and she had forgiven him for infringing on her rights.

So then why did she feel such a queasy feeling in her gut that she didn't know what exactly this was between them.

Artie seemed to sense her unease as he turned away from putting more cookies in the oven. He paused, studying her before saying, "What's wrong, T?"

Tina pulled herself out of her reflection quickly, giving Artie a small smile. "Nothing, A-dawg."

Artie raised an eyebrow at her, unconvinced. When she offered no response, he wheeled himself closer to her, taking her hand in his. "Come on, Tina. You know you can tell me anything."

Tina sighed, allowing herself to look him straight in the eyes. Her resolved softened and fell crashing to the ground with just that look.

(She was probably in love with him.)

She smiled timidly. "Artie," she started, "what, uh…what are we?"

Artie gave her an odd look, unclear of her meaning.

Taking in a deep breath, she began again, "I mean…if I were to, say, introduce you to my parents, how would I do that? As a friend? As my…boyfriend?" She dragged out the word slowly, uncertain as to how he would take it.

And then, just as she was holding her breath, Artie did the last thing she expected: he laughed.

It wasn't just a chuckle, either—it was a full-on, boisterous laugh, from somewhere deep in his soul.

Tina frowned, feeling slightly rejected. She pulled her hand from his and was ready to reprimand him for his unkindness, but she was stopped as he grabbed her hand once again and settled his laughter.

"Hey, no, wait, Tines, don't be mad at me. Please," he said earnestly, looking up into her dark eyes. "I just thought you had to upset about something deeper than that." He let out a small breath, smiling and stroking her hand. "Of course, I'm your boyfriend: I had thought that was a given." He shook his head and stretched up a hand to play with a piece of her hair.

"I really don't want to be with any other girl than you," he confessed. "You're kind of the coolest person I know."

A smile blossomed instantly on Tina's face. She leaned down quickly and planted a quick kiss on his cheek. "Good," she told him.

He stopped her before she could sit back down, though, instead cupping her cheek with his hand, teasing softly, "Is that really all the sugar I get?"

Tina giggled and happily complied, leaning in to touch her lips to Artie's.

As she felt his tongue slide against her bottom lip, she thought that love was probably an awful lot like making out with the coolest person you know.

[hold on to that feeling]

After glee club, Matt usually waited around for his mom to pick him up, but on one of those rare occasions, Mike had been able to wrangle his older sister's car today, and had offered Matt a ride home.

So there they sat at 5:01, the windows rolled down, blasting MC Hammer as loudly as they could.

It was a perfectly normal, pleasant ride, until the conversation turned to Regionals.

"Everyone seems really nervous," Matt commented casually. "Not that I am," he said hastily. "We'll own this. But…everyone else…"

"Yeah," Mike answered. "I know what you mean."

There was a pause.

"What happens if we…don't win?" Matt finally asked, more rhetorically than anything else.

Mike sighed, running a hand through his hair.

"I guess, that means glee club is…over," he said hopelessly.

They were silent for a moment until Mike pulled over to the curb in front of Matt's house. Before he got out of the car, Matt turned to his best friend and said with determination, "Well, then. I guess we'll just have to make sure that doesn't happen."

Mike smiled as the same thought passed through both boy's mind.

Vocal Adrenalin can go suck it.

[there's nothing you could say, nothing you could do]

Mrs. Jones was waiting at the door when Mercedes and Quinn returned from picking up her stuff from Puck's house. Mercedes smiled as they walk up the drive, each carrying a box.

"I hope Puck doesn't feel like I'm stealing you away," she joked.

Quinn rolled her eyes. "Believe me, I'm sure he's more than relieved," she returned. "I swear, that boy has absolutely no sense in his head."

"Well, he seems to be trying a little harder lately."

Quinn smiled, shaking her head. "Yeah. It's disconcerting, to say the least."

Mercedes laughed quietly as they reached the porch.

Mrs. Jones stood in the doorway, an apron on, her hair done up in a bun. She smiled a small smile as she took in the sight of Quinn. "Oh, child, here, let me take that box from you," she said. "We don't want you hurting yourself."

"Oh, well…" Quinn said as the boxes were pried from her hands and set just inside the Jones' house. She followed her hosts as Mercedes and her mother entered the house. Quinn stood in the foyer, taking in the house.

It was small and rather unlike her old home, but it radiated a sort of comfort that she had found lacking anywhere else she stayed.

"Well, Quinn, sugar," Mrs. Jones said, turning to her. "Welcome home."

She reached out and enveloped Quinn in a huge hug that brought tears to the girl's eyes. She stared over Mrs. Jones' shoulder, focusing on the clock in the kitchen that read 5:01, trying her best not to let the tears fall.

(She was pretty sure it was a losing battle.)

As Mercedes reached out to stroke her arm in comfort, Quinn let the tears fall. She clung to her new friend's hand, desperately seeking a comfort she had never been able to find before.

As she felt Mercedes fingers lace through hers, she knew she was going to be okay.

[the darkness inside you can make you feel so small]

1 New Message 5:01
From: Britney
wat r u doing?

1 New Message 5:01
From: Santana
hmwk u?

1 New Message 5:02
From: Britney
looking 4 my pencil i think my cat 8 it

1 New Message 5:02
From: Santana
of course it did

1 New Message 5:04
From: Britney
do u think we will win on sat?

1 New Message 5:04
From: Santana
yes b/c we r the best

1 New Message 5:04
From: Britney
ms. sylvester says we suk

1 New Message 5:05
From: Santana
shes wrong

1 New Message 5:06
From: Britney
how do u kno?

1 New Message 5:06
From: Santana
i just do

1 New Message 5:07
From: Britney
r u a fortune teller?

1 New Message 5:09
From: Santana
i just kno b/c were special, rite? were all special

1 New Message 5:10
From: Britney
im special

1 New Message 5:10
From: Santana
i kno, B :)

[if you try sometimes, you get what you need]

Finn glanced at the clock as he clocked in for work that Thursday afternoon. Five-oh-one. Great—of course, he was a late. Nothing seemed to be working out for him lately.

It wasn't any better that he and Puck had gotten jobs at the same place. Though no more brawls had taken place since the one in December, they were hardly back to being BFFs. It was difficult enough to not strangle him most days.

And then there was the whole Assistant-Assistant Manager thing. Puck hadn't said anything about it yet, or even seemed any more angry than usual, but then again, maybe he didn't know yet. Either way, Finn was keeping his distance.

Except, of course, when Puck cornered him in the pillow aisle, looking more apprehensive than Finn could ever remember Puck looking in all the years they were friends.

After a short stare down, Puck gave in, letting out a breath. "Look, man," he said, "I know things have been weird between us recently…"

"Weird? Yeah, just a little," Finn shot back. "You got my girlfriend pregnant, remember?"

Puck glared at him. "Ex-girlfriend," he returned forcefully. They frowned at each other for another moment before Puck dropped the act again, continuing, "My point is…I know we've been avoiding each other lately and that I've been a douche to you, but I think we should…what do they say in stupid chick-flicks?—uh, try to move past it.

"So, here goes: I'm sorry, dude. Sorry for sleeping with your girl and getting her pregnant, and sorry for keeping it from you for so long." He shrugged apologetically. "If it's any consolation, I wanted to tell you long before you found out."

Finn stared at him for a moment, debating his next move. Really, he only had two options:

1) Punch Puck in the face and tell him to go screw himself, or

2) Forgive him.

There were, of course, pros to the first option—for example, it would feel really good to take out some of his anger on the person who caused this whole mess in the first place, but before he could make that decision, something stopped him.

It was the one thing that always seemed to stop him lately.


When Finn thought about it, if it weren't for Puck and his inability to keep it in his pants, he would never have had a shot with Rachel because he would never have broken up with Quinn. If it weren't for Puck, he wouldn't be standing where he was standing thinking about the diva when he should have really been thinking about Puck's apology.

So, really, while this whole thing was Puck's fault, he also had quite a bit to thank him for.

So instead of punching his former best friend, Finn smiled and stuck out his hand. Cautiously, Puck accepted it, wary of any tricks.

"Apology accepted," Finn responded. "Just," he added slowly. "Make sure you take care of her, okay? Even if she thinks she doesn't need you to."

Puck smiled, and Finn finally let go of the goddess that Quinn had always been in his mind.

(Frankly, he was so obsessed with Rachel that he was pretty sure he was always supposed to be with her and not Quinn, anyway.)

As he and Puck dropped hands, the bad boy smirked. "You might not want any advice from me, Hudson, but I'm going to give you some anyway," he said. "Hurry up and make a move before someone else does."

He turned on his heel and sauntered away. Finn chuckled after him.

Something in the air tasted like friendship.

[maybe you could take me in somewhere underneath your skin]

Will glanced down at his watch as he took the porch steps by two. Five-oh-one. It occurred to him somewhere in the back on his mind that he must have sped to get here, but he quickly dismissed it, deeming it entirely unimportant.

When he reached the front door, he paused, considering his next move.

He hadn't seen Emma all week, which was odd; usually they were able to have at least a few moments together, even during a horrendously busy week. He spared a moment to wonder what she was up to all week.

Just as he was about the ring the doorbell, the door swung open to reveal Emma, looking much as she did at school: pristine and beautiful. She was wearing a bright yellow dress that must have been new; Will had never seen it before.

"Will," she said in surprise. "What are you doing here?"

Will let out a breath, taking in her appearance. It was strange how much of a comfort the mere sight of her was to him.

"I'm officially divorced," he told her, his voice edged with a bitterness he was sure it would take months to get rid of. "This week the glee assignment was about regrets, and…Emma, you should have seen the kids. They performed this awesome funk song for Vocal Adrenalin, and they just put their whole life and soul into it. It was really amazing."

Emma smiled at him, leaning against the doorframe.

Will continued, "I was standing there, watching them, thinking about things I regretted in my life, and I realized that if there was one thing in my life I did not want to regret it was missing out on being with you."

Emma smile faltered a bit as she listened to his words.

"I know that I screwed up," he said pleadingly. "I royally screwed up, I know. But…I want to be with you. Only you." He looked into her deep blue eyes, hoping for some sort of answer. "Can you forgive me?"

And Emma—sweet, adoring, timid Emma, who hated bugs and germs and anything unclean—took two steps forward, placed a careful hand on his cheek and said the six greatest words he had ever heard, "I think I'm willing to try."

(For her, it was always going to be him.)

They sealed the deal with a kiss.

That night, they all dreamed of music and trophies and teammates who love them. No matter what.