A/N: Anddd here we are. The final chapter of Antics! Thanks for sticking around!
Special thanks to tjcrowfoot for beta-ing this chapter for my lazy ass. ^^ Lemme know what you all think!
Disclaimer: Sadly, I don't own Glee yet. But I'll let you know when that changes.
Finn was relieved to know that all of Rachel's tutoring sessions hadn't been in vain. Okay, so sometimes he forgot which courses he was taking, but once he got in the swing of attending class every day, even he knew his grades were going to improve noticeably. And with all this PSAT bullcrap coming up, at least he would be passing something. Anyway, so school was going pretty well, all things considered. Glee club was still the social pariah, but he was glad to know that no one really cared anymore, himself included. And thankfully, he and Rachel had gotten past the whole "you're going to ditch me" yaddity yadda BS.
Anyway, so now things were totally great. Like, super. With Rachel, at least. But since that was the area of his life he cared most about, that was okay with him. So when Rachel directed him to the auditorium after school today, he wasn't sure if he should be confused or excited. So he was both. It was decidedly unelaborated, especially given that it was, you know, Rachel. But it made him smile anyway. The lighting was low and she perched herself on the piano bench. She was wearing this cute outfit that he knew she'd worn exactly at some other point in time, but obviously couldn't remember. "Rach?" he asked softly, not masking his curiosity.
"I just figured we should meet back in here, since it's our anniversary after all," she replied brightly.
Finn froze. Anniversary? He knew from experience that anniversary meant once a year. (One time he'd bought Quinn flowers for their one month anniversary and she'd laughed, called him stupid, and anniversary meant annually—as in one time a year). And even though no one would accuse him of being the pointiest tack in the box (or whatever), his IQ had at least reached cabbage level. "But we didn't start dating until the end of last school year…"
She placed her hands primly on her hips. "Why, yes, I am aware of that, Finn. I mean, this is our anniversary of the first time we kissed!" Did he really not remember? She even replicated the outfit that she'd been wearing that day. She watched as his eyes widened and he suddenly burst out laughing. "Really, Finn, what is so amusing?"
He just walked toward her and enveloped her in his large frame, breathing in the scent of her. "You're just…I can't even explain it, Rachel. Only you would do this and you're kind of crazy." He noted the flash of her eyes. "But it's a good kind of crazy. The best kind." He twirled a section of her hair in his fingers, watching as it cast shadows over her face. "I mean, this time last year, I would've run away probably. Actually," he frowned, "I guess I did. But I mean, I'm not now, so…"
Her expression changed into one of gratitude as she took his hands. "I didn't want to mirror the setting of that day since…it didn't exactly pan out." Her voice was lower, almost embarrassed. And he had to resist the urge to laugh again. She was embarrassed by that situation? He didn't even want to go there.
He cleared his throat. "Well, what did you have in mind for today?"he asked.
She pursued her lips. That was the thing; she didn't have anything particular planned. It was unusual for her, but she hadn't known what to expect. She could admit to herself that she was a little disappointed that he didn't remember, but she supposed she couldn't fault him. The boy could barely remember the day of the week. She knew it wasn't entirely conventional to hold an anniversary for a first kiss, but then her relationship with Finn could hardly be described as typical itself. But that kiss had represented a milestone in their relationship, even if he hadn't been able to face it at the time. She shook her head, unsure.
Finn couldn't deny that he was surprised that Rachel hadn't mapped out some detailed schedule, but he could roll with this. In theory. But he didn't really know what to say, so he didn't say anything. Instead, he pulled her close and just held onto her. Someday, they would have a real anniversary. A year of dating, then a year of marriage, and then years and year and years. He wasn't even going to consider trying to live without her. He hoped by then, though, he'd be a little more savvy at picking out gifts for girls. It didn't matter a whole lot at this point in time, but he wasn't afraid to think about the future anymore. He kissed her softly. This wasn't about trying to sex her up (for a change); it was about passion and understanding. Because needed her to know that he understood her; he got where she was coming from and why this was important to her, even if it was maybe a little weird. But the one thing that Rachel had that no one else he knew did was distinct compassion and certainly. He'd hurt her enough in his life to know that underneath all that confidence, she was more fragile than she would ever let on. So he held onto her to let her know he'd be there to hold her together when she needed it just the same way she kept him together.
Rachel settled against her boyfriend (she doubted she would ever get tired of saying that). She remembered a year ago when he sat here and told her that he looked under the bed to make sure she wasn't hanging out there. And then she remembered the earnest honesty in his expression when he'd confessed that her singing had touched something in him. Her hands traced patterns that spelled "I love you" on the small of his back. "Finn?"
"Mmhmm?" He skimmed his lips across her face, placing small kisses on her cheeks, her temples before pressing them briefly against hers.
"When you listen to me sing, does it still touch something in you?" She prepared herself for any answer, out of habit more than distrust of his reply.
He pulled back a little, his hands clutching her elbows. "Rachel, babe, you don't even need to sing to touch something in me anymore. Don't get me wrong, I love singing with you." He flashed his trademark half-smile."It opens up everything inside me. But even just looking at you, I know you've made me a better person. I don't know, but I kinda think that's better. You know?"
Her smile was just so…big. And god, it was beautiful and he'd never get tired of seeing it. So okay, he was a total sap now, but well. Whatever. If being with Rachel turned him into a pansy, he would just deal. Because he seriously doubted any of the guys with a god complex who would give him shit for being a girl had ever had anything as good as this, as good as Rachel.
"Finn," she murmured, encircling her arms around his neck. "Happy anniversary."
He couldn't help it; he laughed affectionately. There just wasn't anyone else like her. "Thanks, babe. Uh, and you too. But I mean—oh crap! I definitely didn't get you anything!" He hoped she would understand. Didn't girls hate it when you forgot presents? Or was that just in his mom's romance books? Well, it wasn't like he read them, so he wouldn't actually know…okay, anyway, was this a good time to panic? He wasn't sure. So he just looked at her.
She gazed at him, her eyes dark and soulful, her voice low and almost melodious. "You did."
He looked at her perplexedly, as he often did. She chuckled a little, finding Finn's naiveté positively endearing. She hoped he knew just how big his impact on her life had been. She was Rachel Berry and in no way would she revert back to the despicable and deplorable ways that she felt demarked the average high school girl and she would forever be high maintenance. However, it hadn't meant she couldn't make room to become a more generous person, to really give her heart. And Finn had enabled her to do that. "Finn, just agreeing to be here without berating or ridiculing me is a gift enough. But the fact is, everything you've given me, it's enough to fill up a lifetime of anniversary gifts. Not that I'm discouraging you from presenting me with anniversary gifts in the future," she added firmly.
He pulled her down onto his lap on the bench and turned her to face him. "I don't really have the words to tell you everything I feel about you 'cause I barely have the words for anything. And I know our relationship has had its rough patches, but I wouldn't give it up for anything. And if you wanna have anniversaries for the first time we kissed, or the first time we plant a tree together or the first time I congratulate you on getting your first Tony, that's totally great. Maybe people will think we're kinda…what was that word you taught me? Eccentric, yeah. Maybe they'll think we're eccentric, but the point is, we'd be doing all this stuff 'cause we love each other. And that's totally good with me."
She didn't understand why he always thought he was stupider than he was. He always managed to find a way to fumble his way through everything she needed to hear, regardless of whether it was what she wanted or not. He was her rock, her stability in a life filled with crazed drama and intensity. And in turn, she served as his driving force when he was too unsure to search out his potential. They complimented each other not only well, but perfectly. It wasn't just black and white with them; they weren't just opposites. It was more accurate to say they had different approaches as to how to reach their goals. But at the end of the day, they just wanted to be someone important and love each other unconditionally. That he would grant her all these things that anyone else would only scoff at meant more to her than she could ever possibly convey to him. But since the name Rachel Berry was practically synonymous with determination, she was going to try.
She leaned forward, bringing her mouth up to his. He gripped her waist tightly, cupping her hips. "I love you, Finn. Don't ever forget that."
He smiled, his lips brushing down the side of her face. He began to sing softly. "My hopes are so high that your kiss might kill me, so won't you kill me? So I die happy. My heart is yours to fill or burst, to break or bury, or wear as jewelry. Whichever you prefer."
He grinned and quirked a brow in question. It was her turn to laugh. "It was perfect." He was perfect. They were perfect. She couldn't reiterate it enough.
"I know," he said with a smirk. Okay, so she was kind of crazy and everything, but mostly her antics were just amusing. And in some mind-warped-from-love way, he loved them. Probably because he loved her. But he wasn't going to overanalyze it. He was happy with where he was in his life and all seemed right (or right enough) in the world, so why tempt it into giving him bad luck?
"You know!" Finn said with excitement, suddenly struck with inspiration. "We should have an anniversary for when we first told each other 'I love you.'"
Rachel played with the hair at the back of his neck, wondering if he could be any more adorable. "Those would be two different dates." When he frowned, clearly disappointed, she added, "But there's no reason we can't add both as separate anniversaries."
"I don't think I have enough money to buy presents for that many anniversaries."
She smiled again and rested her forehead against his. "We'll find a way to make it work," she assured him, feeling relief and joy as his mouth turned into another half-smile. And they would make it work because they would make everything work. Relationships took a little giving and a little getting on both sides, and they'd both come to terms with that. This was already a large improvement over the time they had been here a year ago; when he'd rushed off abruptly and she'd sat with her head in her hands, utterly humiliated. They'd come a long way. But she knew from the overall score sheet she'd been keeping inside her head since the night she'd decided against going to Chicago that she was still far behind Finn; she still owed him immensely. And now was as good a time as any to start narrowing that gap.
"Come on, Finn," she whispered near his ear and pulled him to his feet. She'd made a promise to give back to him. And she was going to keep it.
Welcome to my first official completed multi-chaptered Glee fic. Thanks to everyone who has alerted, faved and reviews. I appreciate all your support.
I'm always coming up with new ideas, so you won't be seeing the last of me. Thanks again! Oh yeah, Finn's song = "Hands Down" by Dashboard Confessional, which I don't own.
I'm always coming up with new ideas, so you won't be seeing the last of me. Thanks again!
Oh yeah, Finn's song = "Hands Down" by Dashboard Confessional, which I don't own.