Disclaimer: Evidently, being seventeen and Australian, I don't own it. Like, at all.
This is set in late Spring, AU after 2x10, "A Very Glee Christmas'. Liberties will be taken. This is an "I Wish" verse, ergo not stuck to canon. That's the only pre-warning you're getting. Angst is present. Ignore it.
It all starts with a badly scheduled date.
Then Rachel and Finn break up for the umpteenth time (they've been mostly fine since New Years, even though their Christmas drama was just irritating, and it's late on Spring now). But then again, when does it really start with anything else?
No one's really surprised – the relationship is dysfunctional, doomed right from the very beginning, and it's a questionable fact that the two are even together anymore. No one really knows how Finn puts up with Rachel's intensity, or why Rachel puts up with all his crap and all his flaws (there's a list of them somewhere, they're sure, written in elegant script and marked with a star). But their dramatic 'will they, won't they, yes they will but they'll break up in a month, stop, rinse, repeat' act is mostly met with lethargy now. It's normal. No one really cares. So they go about their lives as normal, apart from Puck's decision to have a Glee-only (and Kurt, and maybe his Dalton friends) pool party.
Actually, the surprising part is that Rachel shares the mindset – she doesn't care. She doesn't follow Finn around to get him back, doesn't apologise for breaking up with him (did she break up with him this time?), and all around doesn't seem all that interested in anything to do with the boy for the entire two weeks following.
Finn? Well, he's not so happy.
It's pretty evident from the way he sulks in the corner all day while Rachel ignores him, smiling brightly and laughing along with Kurt, slapping Puck on the back of the head when he tries to feel her up in the middle of a game of chicken with Tina and Mike. By majority, the rest of the group ignore him too, because he snaps at Mercedes in the first half hour and after that everyone kind of just figures that he'll bring down their good moods – and really, why bother then?
Everyone gets out of the pool for lunch, and it's when they're all lazing around with their food that it comes to a head. Rachel and Blaine have already finished eating, and they're dancing around the poolside singing along to Bon Jovi while it blares from Puck's stereo. Everyone's watching with unveiled amusement, because Rachel has never been this relaxed around any of them before (bar Blaine and Kurt, who've hung out with her enough times to take this with wide smiles and familiarity, and Puck who doesn't mention is but knows way better), and really, the whole show is ridiculous. Finn grumbles in the corner, arms crossed over his shirt, and he hasn't eaten and he hasn't even been in the pool all day.
Most of the group will say that this is where the whole thing starts. But they don't actually know anything, and really, it all started with the badly-scheduled date.
Finn growls eventually, and stalks over to the two in the middle of 'Bounce', wraps one of his behemoth hands around Rachel's wrist and yanks her around the other side of the pool, as if the open surface of the pool water between them gives them some semblance of privacy. Everyone – including Rachel – rolls their eyes, except Blaine who seems rather miffed at having lost his dance partner. He moves to stand next to Kurt, who lazes back on a lounge chair and eats his burger slowly.
It may be the oldest show in the world to the lot of them, but they still watch as Rachel yanks her hand back from her ex-boyfriend, rubbing at her wrist idly, and Finn speaks, low and fierce but steadily getting louder. Entertainment is entertainment, after all, no matter where it's from. Especially when it comes from voices that are raised over the top of hard rock and high volume.
"You can't hold this against me! You cheated on me before and I forgave you!"
"Finn, there's a big difference between making out with someone and sleeping with them. How stupid do you think I am? I'm not going to be your plaything just so you can hide the unsavoury nature of your romantic interests from our classmates. Really, there's nothing about you - from your reputation or your personality to your looks - that is appealing enough for me to take up any such position. It's not like you've ever done anything for me anyway."
"I got you all the respect you have in McKinley. I was the perfect boyfriend for you! You can't say no to me, you can't deny me, I'm on the football team and you need me!"
"No I don't," Rachel scoffs, and everyone is a little surprised at the sarcasm and the fact that Rachel's not fawning over him, and the fact that he's apparently cheated on her. "You're the one who needs me, apparently."
"Rachel, my reputation is worth everything! If you don't get back with me, I will make your life a living hell," Finn practically screams, and everyone on the other side of the empty pool just watches in shock and astonishment. Rachel lifts a hand and pokes the boy in the chest.
"No," she says loudly. "There is nothing you can do to me that will make me even consider playing your beard. And if it were really so important to you, you wouldn't have kept up the weekly late-night rendezvous with the guy."
"Guy?" Mercedes hisses to Quinn, and everyone is exchanging glances now, wondering what the hell is going on.
"You would not have cheated on me with Drew Gillan, and you would certainly not have had him over on a Friday afternoon where I found him in your bed," the girl continued, and everyone was slack-jawed now, because the Finn and Rachel show had been totally renewed. "More than that, you would be smart enough to know that I would never be dumb enough to believe that the naked guy in your bed was just there to 'hang out and play video games'. I really don't want to be with you."
"You always wanted to before!"
"Finn, I thought you were stupid, not gay."
"Oh, so you won't date me because you're homophobic!"
"I have two ga- no, you know what, you're still stupid."
"I can't believe you would do this to me! You're so selfish!"
Rachel has the mind to look affronted. The rest of the glee club is just looking on in shock, trying to figure out if this is real or a dream, or just all scripted. It's not impossible – this is Rachel Berry they're talking about, so it might all be one big, bad joke.
"You cheated on me with a guy from Carmel High for three weeks, used me as an unknowing cover for your sexuality, complained endlessly nonetheless that I wouldn't put out for you, and still want me to get back with you like nothing happened, just so you don't look like you were dumped by the school loser and so no one thinks you bat for the other team, an yet I'm the selfish one?"
The level of disbelief, disgust, and fury in her voice is significant enough for the rest of the team to realise that, no, this is not a joke, and yes, Finn is really gay. And a cheater. And kind of manipulative. This is a strange day.
"Fuck you, Finn Hudson."
And that – that – is the real catalyst, because that is when Finn realises the damage to their kind-of-false relationship is irreparable, and she's not going to help with the upkeep of his reputation. That understanding leads to anger, and anger leads to a raised fist. Everyone else is too shocked to say anything, or do anything, but they don't think they have to when Rachel sidesteps with a scoff. Except then Finn grips the girl's shoulders with his huge hands, his knuckles white with the pressure of the hold, and she winces. It will probably bruise, but his infuriated words come before that really registers to anyone.
"I made you better, Rachel! You don't get to do this to me!" he yells as he shakes her, and there's genuine fear on her face as she tries to get away from him. He doesn't let her go, though, even when she starts crashing her fist into his chest. "You don't get to turn your back on me! I'll freaking kill you!"
But then she knees him a little too harshly, and everyone lets out a collective sigh because Finn lets go of her to grip his stomach. But before she can move away, Finn growls out a 'bitch!' and shoves her violently away from him – with enough force to send her stumbling back and falling off her feet and into the deep end of the pool with a shriek, a huge splash, and a sickening 'crack!' that nobody can quite place.
There's a pause, a hesitation, because – is this real?
But then Puck's out of his chair and thundering around the pool, crashing into Finn who still grips his stomach, and barging him to the ground. Matt and Sam go to try and restrain him even though they agree with the sentiment – "you don't hit girls, and you don't ever, ever hit Rachel, do you hear me you punk! I'll kill you! I'll fucking kill you!". Kurt and Blaine just exchange disbelieving glances with the girls until the former goes to tell off his step-brother, stiff and angry, and the latter realises something all too crucial.
"Rachel hasn't come up."
The most the girls can do to that is turn their surprised gazes to the pool, looking for that dark shape beneath the water. But they don't really get the chance to do much else anyway, because as soon as Blaine says the words he's up and rushing to dive in the pool. By the time he's resurfaced, pulling the girl up through the water over his shoulder, all the girls are at the side of the pool ready to help him pull her out. They lay her down and circle around her in a rush until the boy pushes them aside and goes through the right routine.
"Heart's beating," he says while he grabs her wrist, but a fraction of a second later he leans in to listen near her face and counters it with worse news. "She's not breathing."
Everyone looks at each other in fear and anxiety and – god, this can't be happening – disbelief, but the Dalton boy's already right up on it with CPR. Tense moments – will this work, will she be okay, why did this happen? Rachel's body is already paling, and it's so much fucking relief for everyone when she's coughing up water a few moments later. But then Blaine's brushing her hair back with his fingers while she opens her eyes, and the disorientation is totally feasible because they come back with blood. He's quickly realising that the unnamed crack when she was pushed into the pool? That was the sound of her head hitting the pavement on the edge of the pool.
"Shit. Mercedes, get some towels," the Dalton boy orders quickly, and Mercedes hesitates to comply, staring at the red on his fingers. "Now!"
Santana snaps a phone out of nowhere before anyone else can even think of it, and dials off 911, and then Mercedes rejoins the group with a few dry towels so Blaine can press them to the back of Rachel's head. She just blinks up at the lot of them, her eyes glazed over.
"What are you all... doing?" she asks slowly, ignoring the Latina who speaks hurriedly over the phone. "I'm on the ground... what – my head..."
She groans, eyes slipping closed, and Blaine's surprised when one of the girls pushes up to be directly opposite him, leaning down on her other side.
"Open your eyes, Berry," the blonde orders harshly – he might see the desperation on her face, but he certainly can't hear it in her words.
"...'m so tired, Quinn..."
"Open your fucking eyes, Stubbles!" is the only reply she gets, and Rachel struggles to comply, cowed by the tone. "Good girl. You're going to do what I tell you. Look at me. Talk to me if you have to. Do not, under any circumstance, close your eyes on me."
"Or I will personally slushy you every day for the next five years – including weekends," the head cheerleader fires back tensely, glare in place all the way. Rachel stares dully back up at her for a moment, eyes tired. Then she smiles.
Quinn just narrows her gaze at the girl.
"Don't get used to it," she grumbles, but there's the tiniest quirk at the corner of her lip and an adamant relief in her eyes, because Rachel seems to be okay, if only for the moment. There's sirens in the distance, and Puck and Kurt have wandered over from the other side of the pool, where Finn is being forced to stay on the ground by Mike and Sam, neither of whom seem even the slightest bit inclined to let him up. They're rather fierce with him, actually. Stoic, even.
Puck and Kurt? Not so much.
"Shit, Rach, are you okay?" from the former.
"Has anyone called an ambulance?" from the latter.
"Quinn won't let me sleep," is all they're told, and the cheerleader just smirks and takes the girl's hand while Puck grabs his cell from the table a few metres away and the sirens out on the road get louder. Someone turns off the stereo – no one is really paying attention, because they're all huddled around Rachel at the poolside while Blaine holds a towel to the back of her head and Quinn grips the girl's hand, reminding her not to close her eyes every time she tries to.
"Yeah, hey, Hiram? It's Noah," Puck says eventually into his phone, and no one knows who he's calling, but it gets pretty evident. Noah, he introduces himself as – Noah – and the only one of the group who calls him that is Rachel. On top of that, he's all manner of anxious. "No, I – it's Rachel. Could you meet us at the hospital?"
He closes his phone and goes back to kneel next to Rachel, and Kurt takes the spot beside Blaine.
"Called your dad, baby girl. He'll meet us at the hospital."
"Mmkay. Sing me some Pokémon."
No one really comments on the weird familiarity between the two, or the absurdity of the comment. But Puck starts singing the original Pokémon theme song anyway, and Kurt and Blaine decide to join in midway through the verse, and Rachel just smiles and stares at the sky until the sirens cut off over the fence. Mercedes goes to get the paramedics from the front door, and Quinn keeps a death grip on the girl's hand.
"If I die, tell Finn he's an asshole."
They meet Hiram Berry for the first time at the hospital, and Puck explains that this all started with a badly scheduled date.
This ain't no game; I play it hard
Kicked around, cut, stitched and scarred
I'll take the hit but not the fall
I know no fear, still standing tall
You can call it karma, call it luck
Me, I just don't give a -
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