A/N: This idea popped in my head and won't leave. Title comes from the song "Those Days" by Lucy Schwartz. All mistakes are my own. By the way, first fic. Ever.
Spoilers through "A Very Glee Christmas" and the as of yet untitled Super Bowl episode, though nothing major should ever come up. AU as soon as the Super Bowl episode airs.
Disclaimer: Glee is not mine. I'm just playing with it, once.
Warning: Crude language and some minor sexual content ahead. Extreme wordiness as well. Ye Be Warned.
She could do this.
She was Rachel Berry; of course she could do this.
She could do anything she set her mind to, like getting Sandy Ryerson fired (unpleasant, but necessary); becoming the, short-lived, star of Cabaret; directing the "Jump" commercial for that mattress store; single handedly (well mostly, Finn helped too) winning the 2010 Western Ohio High School Show Choir Sectionals; joining the football team (what was she thinking at the time?); winning the 2011 National Show Choir competition (with the help of her fellow Glee club members of course); defending said title in 2012 (with the help of a larger Glee Club); and winning the star quarterback's heart.
It was like pulling off a band-aid. Do it fast and the pain would only last for moments, drag it out and the pain would last much longer. This was a lesson she learned over and over again during her time at the bottom of the social ladder in high school. She didn't know what to do when she had her first slushie thrown at her so she had to endure the stares and comments that came with her ruined clothes for the entire day, but she learned that with a quick change of clothes and a brilliant smile no one would be the wiser. This learning experience was the hardest, but she eventually learned to stop letting her anger simmer for weeks when Mr. Schuester constantly gave away the solos she deserved. It was much easier and healthier to be annoyed for that one practice when he announced solos for a new piece than to be angry about it for entire weeks. Eventually, she even began to appreciate, very slightly, this trial, because what leading lady didn't meet adversity during her journey?
But, just because she had to do it fast did not mean she could not do it right. There was a time and place for everything and a perfect plan for almost everything. So, she planned. She figured a month would be enough time, not too short but not too long because this plan would hurt. But it was the right thing to do. She would do this right because this is what protagonists in stories did. They did the right thing, even if it meant hurting someone else, even if it meant hurting herself.
She started a new calendar for this because everything needed to be done according to schedule. She also hid it because she knew what she was doing was underhanded and if anyone from Glee found out about her plan they would be horrified, disgusted, and most importantly disappointed with her. She was thrilled that after three years she had found friends, real friends, in the people of Glee. And Santana finally learned to tolerate her. They were the first group of people after her dad and daddy that she never wanted to disappoint so they could never learn of her plan.
She wasn't surprised when Quinn and Kurt - after Finn they understood and liked her best - knew she was up to something but with her superior acting skills she was able to calm their fears that she was about to execute, in their words, "some harebrained scheme of hers that will end in disaster." Although, she couldn't help but notice their sad expressions every time she executed another part of her plan. They may have seen what she was doing, but they didn't understand why she had to do it. She even hid it from Finn, with whom she shared everything with.
After the never to be mentioned again Santana/Puck Christmas incident was finally resolved, they never went more than a few hours without talking with each other. They talked to each other about serious things, sweet nothings, and everything in between. They talked about their hopes and dreams (being a Broadway star of course; not being a Lima Loser), their favorite color (pink; red), what scared them the most (not becoming a star; ending up a Lima Loser), what they would do if they were rich (buy the Broadway Theater and make it her personal stage; buy the Chicago Bears), and how they loved each other (completely and faithfully; a lot).
They spent every moment they could, and even some they couldn't, with each other. Which, to be frank, was a considerable amount of time. If they weren't walking through the halls of school together, they were sitting next to each other in rehearsal, or they were sitting next to each other in class, or they were on a date, or they were driving to or from somewhere, or out with fellow Gleeks. Or Finn was sneaking into her room late at night to cuddle, or she was falling asleep on him after a late movie night, or she was sneaking into Finn's room after their first win at Nationals after reading dozens of "How to Please Your Man" articles for weeks beforehand and ended up forgetting all of the tips that night. They spent a lot more time alone after that.
When Finn didn't even think twice about taking the partial football scholarship to THE Ohio State (she never understood why she had to emphasize "The," but it made Finn happy so she did it) her sixth sense was telling her something was wrong. When Finn told her that he would be following her to New York City right after graduation, she knew something was wrong. This led to their first serious fight since that unmentionable incident.
She said he was about to throw away his future.
He said that the only future he wanted was with her in it.
She said that long distance could and would work.
He said it wouldn't.
She yelled at him.
He yelled at her.
She looked up at him near tears.
He smiled his half smile.
They made up.
That night when she was wrapped in his arms, she stared up at his ceiling unable to sleep because she knew what she had to do. She couldn't let him destroy his future by letting him follow her to New York City. She knew the statistics comparing the earnings of a college graduate vs. a high school graduate; a college degree would mean everything in the workforce. She knew Finn deserved better than to follow her as she chased selfishly her dreams right after graduation. In one of those rare moments when she was completely honest with herself she knew that Finn was never meant to be with someone who went to audition after audition only to never hear back. She was a big fish in a small pond but that didn't mean she'd be a big fish in a bigger pond.
She knew that the first few years (decade?) would be a struggle and that wasn't Finn's cross to bear. She couldn't stand to see him coming home day after day from a menial job doing things that he hated because she never wanted to see that depressed look on his face again like when he performed "Loser" with Noah while they were working at Sheet-N-Things. Yes, while after a few years she would be a big star and she could provide for both of them he still wouldn't be happy because he would be doing nothing but riding her coattails. He would just be a New York City loser instead of a Lima loser, but a loser nonetheless. Finn deserved to be happy with his life, deserved someone who could give him the things she never wanted. So, she planned in her head that night and laughed off the comments people made when they saw her with bags under her eyes the next day.
It's the little things that count. The devil is in the details (not that she believed in the devil). But those sayings were right; she couldn't just end their relationship suddenly because Finn wouldn't believe her. She had to show him that she was falling out of love with him. So, she made her calendar and decided that a month would be enough time. She followed it to the letter and hid it from her friends, parents, and teammates. She ignored the feeling in her chest when Finn's confused looks turned into questioning looks that turned into looks of pain.
All the other days were crossed out and the only day on the calendar that mattered was circled.
She asked Finn to meet her one last time.
"Finn, I'm breaking up with you."
She left for New York City the next month and never looked back.
She was Rachel Berry and she could do anything.
A/N 2: So yea, first chapter done. What? You wanted actual dialogue? That's coming up.
Also, review if you want. If not, that's fine. I write this for myself.