A/N: So this prompt has probably been way over-filled by this point, but...
Prompt: Five times Rachel cried in front of Finn and one time he cried in front of her
I tried to paint you a picture
The colors were all wrong
Black and white didn't fit you
Chuck E. Cheese is awesome. It's like, he gets to eat junkfood and play games at the same time. And a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese? That's awesome times by about a bajillion infinities. Seriously. There's a clown and everything. He thinks it's totally cool that Brittany invited the whole class because he hardly ever talks to her, but he still gets to eat her birthday cake and stuff.
His mom made him bring the present she had bought at the last minute. He doesn't even know what's in the wrapper, it's probably something pink, but he shoves it in Brittany's hand with a wide smile before he bounds off with Puck to get to the arcade, nodding his head distractedly at her thank you.
He and Puck had been playing Donkey Kong for like half an hour (Puck's really good at it. He says that Mario is epic, whatever that means), when the clown arrives. He loves clowns. Puck hates them, 'cause he told Finn all about this evil clown movie he saw once, but come on. What kind of an eight year old hates clowns anyways? He leaves Puck with his game and gets in line when it's time for the balloons, 'cause it's the main reason why clowns are awesome. He always gets the dog, because his mom won't let him get a real one.
He's halfway through the line when he sees Rachel Berry standing way behind at the back. She's standing on the balls of her feet, jumping a little up and down as she talks rapidly to Cassie Johnson, who's actually completely ignoring her. She catches him looking and grins widely at him as he quickly turns back towards the clown. She's kind of weird, like, she scares him. She's always so loud and bossy and a lot of the kids in their class don't even like her all that much, ever since she got them all in trouble when Puck and Mike and Kyle let the class frog, Kermit, out of its glass and it had hopped away to escape. She totally tattled on everyone even though the whole class swore not to tell and Mrs Peterson was really, really mad and they got into a lot of trouble.
Ever since that day, Puck always makes it a point to make fun of her animal sweaters and how she likes to sing all the time. Finn kinda feels bad for her sometimes, especially 'cause all the girls in class always sit together at recess but she's always sitting by herself. She reads a lot. Real books too, like without pictures. And she sings a lot too. And she's kind of snotty and likes to brag about all these pagan competition thingy she enters and wins. Sometimes he thinks she probably does that to get people to like her. Boy, she sure has weird ideas on what would make people like a person.
He's never really talked to her before, and he doesn't really want to.
She smiles at him a lot though, and sometimes he smiles back because it's rude not to.
He forgets all about Rachel Berry when he comes face to face with the clown.
"What'll it be buddy?" Bozo asks, winking as he leans down to face Finn.
"Can I get a dog?" he asks excitedly.
"Ah, classic. You sure can." He watches in wonder as Bozo pumps a red balloon for him and professionally twists it into a dog. It's amazing. When he grows up, he's gonna learn how to do that.
"Here you go little man," Bozo says, handing it down to him.
Finn looks down at the red dog in his hand and back up to Bozo, who's already making another dog out of a green balloon for Mike.
"Hey can I stay and watch you?" he asks. Bozo turns around to look at him in surprise, before he grins.
"Tell you what, how do you feel about being my assistant for the day?"
"Yeah, yeah. So stand here," Bozo says, motioning to his left. Finn obeys immediately, shuffling to his left next to the clown's makeshift table. "And hand me a balloon every time one of your friends come up okay?"
This birthday party is totally the best one ever. He hands over a piece of balloon every time a new kid gets to the front and he takes his job very seriously, watching intently when Bozo expertly twists it into shape. He realizes that the supply is getting low and when Bozo accidentally pops one while trying to make a flower for Brittany, he starts counting. There are seven balloons left and eight kids. Uh oh. Rachel Berry is the last one in line and she's smiling so wide at Bozo that Finn's face starts to hurt.
"May I please get a star?" she asks politely when it's finally her turn. Bozo looks at him and he looks back and shrugs his shoulders. He sees Bozo scratch his rainbow wig before he crouches down and smiles apologetically at her.
"Sorry kid. We're all out of balloons. Hey you wanna see a magic trick instead? How 'bout we all start with the magic tricks?" He continues out loud as he straightens up and rummages through his bag while the other kids crowd around them. Rachel's looking down at her shoes and Finn sees that her shoulders are shaking a little. She doesn't even notice when Santana runs up to the front and shoves her to the side. He kinda feels really bad for her, 'cause he doesn't think she'd been having as awesome of a time as he had, 'cause Brittany's mom probably made her invite Rachel, but that didn't mean that people were just suddenly going to talk to her. Bozo moves a little to the centre of the room and all the other kids follow him. He hangs back for a second, 'cause it's kind of mean to just leave Rachel Berry standing alone when she's looking like that.
"Hey," he says a little hesitantly. She looks up at him and man, she's crying. He hates when girls cry in front of him. His mom does it sometimes, and he always just lets her hug him, until she stops. But he doesn't want to hug Rachel, she has cooties and stuff.
Plus, Puck would totally make fun of him for it.
"I really wanted a star," she tells him sadly, her lips quivering as her big brown eyes start to spill over. The other kids are totally ignoring them, and even Puck is standing way behind in the group and looking warily at Bozo who's pulling a coin out from behind Brittany's ear.
"Erm," he looks at her helplessly, feeling really, really crummy when she starts to sniffle. He looks at the red dog he's still holding in his left hand. He holds it a little tightly as he looks back and forth between his balloon and Rachel. It kinda sucks, but he thinks he doesn't really have a choice. He tries to stifle a sigh as he loosens his grip. This dog is awesome.
"You want my dog?" he asks quietly. She looks up at him, surprised. "I know it's not a star, but it's still really cool."
"Really?" she asks, her voice small.
"Here," he tells her, holding his balloon out for her to hold. He sees that wide smile start to grow back on her face as she takes it from him.
"Thanks Finn," she says happily.
He sees her holding the red dog carefully all through the party. She doesn't let go of it once, not even when they're playing musical chairs. It makes him feel a little better when he sees that she likes it so much.
They're waiting for their parents when it's over and he sees one of her dads walking in the front door, the really tall one, who looks like he could be in the army. That's another thing they like to tease her about, 'cause Rachel Berry has two dads, and they all live together. He doesn't really understand what's so bad about that, 'cause he doesn't even have one of those, and she's got two so he thinks she's kinda lucky. But she doesn't have a mom though, which sucks because moms are awesome. She runs up towards her dad the moment she sees him and he scoops her up in his arms. Finn sees her thrusting her balloon in her dad's face as she talks quickly.
She catches his eye again when she's at the door and she smiles.
He smiles back this time.
You were shaded with patience
You're strokes of everything
That I need just to make it
He thinks the first week of high school went by okay. So a bunch of seniors have been calling him Assface and Beanpole, but at least it wasn't as bad as getting thrown into a dumpster. He saw that the first morning he arrived, and yeah, he was going to make sure he does whatever it takes to not be one of those guys.
That's why he's going to try out for the football team. He had coach Tanaka for gym on Wednesday, and the dude kinda sucks and just yells a lot for the most part, so it's a drag that he's coaching football but Finn figures that getting on the football team is probably the best way to stay clear from the bullies. 'Cause the best way not to get ragged on is to hang out with the dudes doing the ragging right?
He knows that tryout starts at four, so he's loitering around school grounds for the next hour.
He's supposed to meet Puck at the field for a little practice, but he's been standing in the sun like an idiot for half an hour and the dude's nowhere to be seen. Deciding that he's done waiting, he walks back towards the school building. He's pretty sure he still has half a bar of Snickers that he left in his locker yesterday, and he's starving. Besides, if none of the seniors were in, he could maybe try out those weights in the locker room.
He's thinking of tryouts and wondering if he's big enough to not get knocked down, so he's definitely not watching where he's going. So when he bumps into something solid and hears a loud squeal coming from it, his first instinct is to apologize.
"I'm sorry I-"
"Excuse me, I wasn't- oh it's you."
He looks down in surprise at the venomous tone to find Rachel Berry struggling to get up off the floor, glaring daggers at him. What is she so pissed for anyway? It was an accident. That's when he notices that the front of his hands is sticky. He looks down at his shirt to find a patch of purple coloring smack dab in the middle. She's already standing and he turns to look at her in confusion.
"You know, you and your friends are barbaric and uncouth, and I hope being a Neanderthal for the rest of your life suits you, because that is exactly what you are!"
She's kind of screaming at him hysterically by now as he stares back at her blankly. What the hell is a Neanderthal? Did she just insult him?
"Sorry," he tells her, thinking that she's pissed at him for running her down. She still looks totally mad though, and when she swipes at her eyes angrily, he realizes that she's crying.
"I didn't mean to knock you down. And what is... this?" he blurts out, looking down at the stain on his shirt. She looks at him in confusion for a second, before the scowl on her face returns.
"Are you making fun of me?" she asks dangerously, ignoring the tears that are by now streaming down her face. Holy crap, this girl is scary. She's crying and pissed at the same time. How can one person feel that much?
"Because I will have you know, Finn Hudson, that you and your stupid friends can throw Slushies at me all you want, because that will only serve as gripping drama that will aid me to stardom when they make a TV movie about my life someday."
"I didn't-" What is this girl talking about? Someone threw a Slushie at her? Wait, she's gonna be on TV? "Hey I didn't-"
But he didn't get to finish his sentence because she suddenly lets out this loud sob and pushes past him as she runs into the nearest toilet. He stares after her blankly, still highly confused and feeling a little shitty for knocking her down and making her cry, when he hears laughter from behind him. He turns around to find Puck walking towards him with a couple of the seniors he's too afraid to look in the eye.
"Dude!" Puck calls out, holding up his hand for a fistbump. He reciprocates quietly as the rest of the guys nod at him. "That was classic. What'd you say to her?"
"Whatever. This is my man, Finn. Finn, these are the guys."
He looks up and tries to smile confidently. He knows that these dudes are on the football team and he saw Woods last week, throwing that poor sucker in the dumpster. He notices the empty Slushie cup in Puck's hand and he thinks maybe he's not the only reason why Rachel Berry was crying.
A week later, he's on reserve and he stands next to Puck nervously as the rest of the team stands behind him. Wood tells him that this is a test to see if his aim is any good. He kinda gets the feeling that this is a test to show which side of the dumpster he's going to be in. He feels a little sick about it, his hands are shaking a little. But it's not like he has a choice right? It's either her or... him. He sees her step out of the school compound, walking briskly down the sidewalk with her pink bag rolling behind her.
"Now," Wood whispers behind him, nudging his shoulder. He throws the egg in his hand as hard as he can. It hits her back and he watches as it cracks against her purple sweater. Laughter erupts from the group as some of the guys clap him in the back and he watches as she tenses and stops, before continuing to walk without looking back.
"You're alright Hudson," the linebacker tells him in approval.
He thinks he might just throw up.
Every single day that I can breathe
You change my philosophy
I'm never gonna let you pass me by
He's totally staring at her. He can't help it though, because every time she opens her mouth to sing, this like, total storm of awesomeness just rolls out of her and it just does really funny things to his stomach, okay? When she sings, he barely remembers that she's Rachel Berry and that she wears weird animal sweaters and talks funny and stalks him sometimes. When she sings, he forgets the fact that he's not supposed to like her, or that she's supposed to be this giant loser that he's supposed to ignore.
It's not like he can do that in general anyway. Trying to ignore Rachel is like trying to ignore a football when it comes at you at full speed. Impossible. And he does like her, kind of, and he doesn't think that just talking to her is going to make him lame even though Quinn keeps telling him that.
She's got her eyes closed and her face contorted in some dramatic expression as she sings about loving some guy. She said that this song was about Jesus? He sees a tear slipping down her face. Wow. Isn't she like, Jewish or something? He thinks it's really funny that there's a musical out there called Jesus Christ Superstar, and if Quinn ever hears about this, she'd probably blow a gasket or two. She opens her eyes and stares at him for a few seconds, and he tries to ignore the goosebumps that are running all along his arms as she mouths the words about wanting some dude, tears running down her face. She finishes the song, closing her eyes for a few seconds before opening them again, smiling brightly.
"And that," she says proudly. "My fellow Glee clubbers, is how you sing a solo."
"Thank you Rachel," Mr Schue says as he claps. Finn claps too, even though he's really the only one who ever does. She turns to look at him gratefully and he smiles at her. "That was a very moving performance."
He sees Kurt and Mercedes rolling their eyes and Artie nodding his head at Mr Schue. Tina's looking down at her shoes. She does that a lot. He still wonders sometimes just how in hell he became part of this group. Rachel walks back to her seat and plops down primly next to him as Kurt walks towards the piano to start his solo. He turns to look at her as she dabs at her eyes with a tissue.
"Hey," he says, nudging her shoulder. She turns to look at him expectantly. "Are you okay?"
"Of course," she says, grinning. "Why wouldn't I be?"
"Well, you're kinda crying," he says slowly.
"Oh! Oh I'm perfectly fine, Finn. I was just feeling the song, you know? I cry every single time I sing a solo," she finishes nonchalantly as she turns her attention back to Kurt. He stares at her for a few seconds longer. Every single time? He shakes his head, grinning.
She's totally crazy.
He kinda likes that.
We won't break, we won't die
It's just a moment of change
"The worst part of it, was feeling like I was replaceable."
He looks over at her, sitting on the edge of his bed, her finger tracing the patterns of his bedspread as she stares at it intently. He pauses his game and ditches his controller on the bean bag. Pushing himself up, he walks over to her, standing awkwardly in front of her sitting posture.
She's been quiet all afternoon, ever since he brought her home from the pool. They'd had a lot of fun this morning. It was kind of the first time he ever went to the community pool without a swimming shirt and if he was nervous at first, the way she had blushed when she saw him, the tinge spreading its way all over her bikini clad body had definitely boosted his confidence.
They're taking things slow. Well, as slowly as things could get the second time around (some might say third, but he still thinks that the two weeks where they were supposedly together without him knowing how it happened doesn't count). She had dragged him out of bed at eight in the morning because she claimed that the pool was going to be full by eleven. He only did it because it was her, and because she had totally jumped in his bed and kissed him until it was impossible for him to not be awake, if you catch his drift.
Anyway, things had been going great until they decided that the pool was getting too crowded and took off. Her dads are home and his mom and Burt are in Cleveland for the weekend. Kurt's... wherever Blaine is, so he took her home and made her a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch (Vegan cheese, that his mom had bought when Kurt went on his temporary vegan phase). They just hung out at his house and it was kind of awesome, getting to do that with Rachel again. But she got really quiet after lunch and when he asked her if she was okay, she said she was fine.
Fast-forward an hour later and he's standing in front of her, awkwardly wondering what to say to the statement she'd just blurted.
"Rachel," he starts, putting a hand on her shoulder as she drops her head lower so that her hair was curtaining her face. "What are you talking about?"
"It's nothing," she mumbles quietly. He sighs as he sits next to her on the bed, nudging her gently to move and give him room. She does, still looking down.
"Hey," he says, reaching for her jaw to pull it up while his other hand tucks her hair behind her ears. "What's wrong?"
She looks at him for a few seconds, her eyes bright with tears, before she looks away.
"Did I do something wrong?" he asks, worried. She shakes her head. "So then why are you crying?"
"I'm not," she mumbles, leaning her head against his shoulder. He pulls her a little closer, wishing desperately for her to just spit it out. He sucks at guessing. She sighs against him, wrapping one arm around his waist.
"I- the worst thing," she begins again. "The worst thing about seeing you, with Quinn, was feeling like I was replaceable."
He feels that feeling again, the one where it feels like he just ate a ton of rocks and they were all trying to come back out from his throat.
"I hate that feeling," she whispers quietly, hiding her face against his shoulder. "I hate it. It was like- like it was with my mom."
He frowns as he feels his shirt start to get damp, tightening his hold on her as she snuggles deeper against him.
"When she told me she didn't want me, and when she took Beth, it felt like she- like she replaced me. Like I was replaceable, like I didn't matter."
"And I never wanted to ever feel like that again. But when you broke up with me, and I saw you walking around school holding her hand, it was the same feeling all over again. I felt like it didn't matter if it was me," she continues, looking up at him, her voice unwavering even though tears are running down her face.
"Like, you could just.. replace me. With Santana, with Quinn... And it felt so horrible Finn. It sucks so bad, feeling like I'll never matter to you the way you matter to me. Because- because I could never replace you," she continues anxiously, her eyes flashing as she looks up at him. She leans back purposefully, as if her words aren't enough, like she needs her body to say the same thing. "Because I loved you so much and I could never, ever picture anyone else in your place. I-"
She deflates again as she looks at him, her gaze guarded. It hurts to see her looking at him like that, like she can't trust him. It hurts to hear her say all that.
"That was the worst thing," she finishes. He says nothing for a long time, racking his brains for something smart to say. The room is silent; the only sounds are her sniffles and his loud breathing as he hugs her to him, one hand smoothing down the back of her head repeatedly. He thinks it's kind of stupid that she even thinks that, but he guesses that he hasn't been doing all that great of a job not making her think that either.
"Rachel," he finally says as he pulls away to look her in the eye. "You are not replaceable. Like, at all. I-" He sighs, running a hand through his hair in frustration as he pulls his words together.
He doesn't really like to think about it. He doesn't really like to think about Santana and Quinn, mostly 'cause it always leads him to think about Rachel and Puck and he can just never not remember the anger he feels that day at the school hallway. Whenever he thinks about the whole mess they had gotten themselves into, the first thing that he always remembers is that feeling he got in his chest when he found out that she cheated on him, that sinking, squeezing feeling like his heart was being put through a meat grinder. He hated that feeling. But maybe that's what Rachel feels every time she thinks about him and Santana. And Quinn. And it's Rachel, so he knows she probably thinks about that way more than she should anyway.
"They weren't replacing you, you know? They were just- I thought they could help me forget you," he says carefully, looking for the right words, because he can't fuck this one up, not when she's looking at him like her heart is depending on his next words. "I mean, Santana- she told me that you were going to do it with Jesse, and I- I thought I still had a chance with you then, you know? But she basically said it to my face that I had blown it, and I was- I was mad at you, for lying to me, and for- for choosing someone else and I-"
"You did it out of spite," she says quietly, her expression unreadable. God, he's such an asshole.
"I'm sorry," he says quietly. "I- I wanted to forget about you, and I thought that if I slept with her, it was going to build my rep again, and- and that if you found out, you'd- I don't know. That you'd want me back. But I couldn't go through with it, with telling people about it. It felt- it made me feel like nothing after it was over. I felt like crap. It was a mistake, Rachel. You have to believe me-"
"I know." He stares down at her, surprised. She looks away. "I- sometimes I think it was the same thing, with Jesse. And it was definitely the same thing with Puck."
He doesn't know what to say to that. But she's looking at him encouragingly, as if urging him to continue, so he pushes on.
"And- and Quinn. Quinn was a mistake. Quinn's always been a mistake. I- You hurt me, so badly. I thought it was going to hurt forever-"
"And I've hurt you too. We- we hurt each other. And Quinn was just- she was there, and I- I always knew what to expect with her, you know? Like yeah, she can be a bitch and her mood swings throw you in for a loop, but I knew what I signed up for, kind of. I love her." He sees her suck in her breath, her eyes clouding over with hurt and he rushes through his words before she gets the wrong idea.
"But I didn't love her. I never loved her like I love you." He looks at her quietly for a few seconds, his heartbeat rising as he feels the back of his neck heat up. He's never been all that great in expressing himself. That's kinda why he always sing his feelings. But he knows he has to try, he owes her that much.
"I- I don't think I can ever love anyone like I love you. And when you- you- cheated on me, I- I can't-"
"I'm sorry," she whispers, tears streaming down her face. "God, Finn. I'm so sorry-"
"I know. I know you are. I am too. You're not replaceable Rachel." he continues urgently, gripping her hands like that would help him convince her. He thinks back to that day at Jean Sylvester's funeral, and the way coach Sylvester's words had hit him like a ton of bricks, at how he finally, finally got it, finally realized exactly how irreplaceable she really is. He doesn't know how to put his feelings into words, he never has. She's crying again, and it pisses him off how he's so good at making her do that.
"You- you're- you're you." That makes no sense. He's a fucking tool.
"I believe you," she tells him, her voice choked and congested. She leans up to kiss him and he can taste the salt from her tears as he presses his lips firmly against hers, holding her close.
"I'm sorry," he whispers quietly, their breaths mingling.
"I love you."
"I- I love you too."
Time could tear you apart
But it won't break
Everything that we are, we are
He's still kneeling on one knee, looking up at her expectantly, only the expression on his face is slowly turning into one of doubt because he's pretty sure it's been about a minute, and she's still standing in front of him, her eyes almost blank.
"Er, Rach? Now's kind of the time for you to say something," he says awkwardly as his knee starts to cramp up. It's like some semblance of recognition finally hits her because her eyes go wide and her hands fly up to clamp over her mouth.
"Oh my God," she says quietly, her voice muffled by her hands. "Oh my God. Oh my God."
What does that mean?
He gives up on his stance and struggles to stand, the white gold band secure in his clammy fist. He sees the pink spots on her cheeks and the way she's blinking her eyes rapidly and he already knows what's coming next. He wonders if it's literally possible for a person's heart to drop straight down to the soles of his feet. This isn't exactly the reaction he had been hoping for.
"Finn." His name comes out in a choked sob as her hands drop to her sides and he stares down at her in alarm when her shoulders start to shake.
"Rachel," he starts, bewildered. "What-"
"I can't- I can't-"
He thinks his heart is beating loud enough to jump right out of his skin as his stomach churns painfully at her words.
"You- you can't?"
"No!" she yells, her eyes wide in alarm as she shakes her head rapidly. "No!"
"No what?" he asks, unable to keep the frustration out of his voice. Why can't she just act like any other normal woman who's been proposed to? It's a yes or no question. Either turn him down and crush his heart (again) or say yes and save him from his impending heart attack. She's still staring up at him, wide-eyed and speechless and he sighs as he slips the ring back in his pocket and leans forwards, grabbing her shoulders firmly to look her in the eye.
"Rachel," he says gently, his tone firm, belying the nerves that are making him feel sick. "I want to be with you. I want to marry you. Be my wife Rach. Do you want to be my wife?"
He says his words as slowly as he can, because for some God knows what reason, he's just rendered Rachel Berry speechless for once in her life, and it just has to be the one sole moment where speech matters. Okay fine, he guesses he did jump the gun a little. Like maybe by a year. It's only been slightly more than a month, but it's him and it's her, and if anyone really takes the time to actually think about it, this has pretty much been years in the making.
Slowly, she nods her head, and his chest clears. He's breathing again in the span of five minutes.
"You do?" he asks dumbly, relief and joy washing over him in waves. Tears are still spilling out of her eyes, but she nods again. He grins at her, roughly pulling her in by the shoulders for the biggest hug he can give.
She lets out a sound that's a cross between a snort and a sob as her fingers curl themselves around the lapels of his jacket.
If someone would have told him a month and a half ago that he'll be standing in the middle of his tiny apartment right now with a ring in the pocket of his pants and a botched proposal in his wake, he'd have told whoever it was to cut down on the drinking. Then again, if someone would have told him a month and half ago that Rachel Berry would be standing in the middle of his tiny apartment in his t-shirt and crying uncontrollably in his arms, he would probably have told the dude to fuck off.
He settles them both down on his father's old armchair (it was pretty much the only thing he insisted on moving with him). She's curled herself on his lap, leaning her head against his chest with her fingers still tightly holding on to his jacket, and he's holding on to her as snugly as he can, still mostly bewildered by whatever it was that just happened.
But partly ecstatic.
Holy fucking hell, they're getting married. He bought a fucking ring and got down on one knee and asked her to marry him and she said yes. Well, in not so many words.
It really happened. This is really happening.
She pulls back suddenly, her movement restricted by his arms. He relaxes his hold slightly until she leans far back enough to look him in the eye. Her gaze is searching as she brings her small hands up to his face, resting them against the rough stubble on his jaw.
"Are you sure?" she asks softly. Her eyes are red and puffy and her nose is a little swollen, and her hair is all over the place because he had dragged her sleeping figure out of his bed and into the living room, allowing her only a few seconds to slip the shirt she's currently wearing over her head (Because seriously, proposing to her while she's gloriously naked will not be a story to share with the world). She's looking at him intently, almost like she's actually afraid that he's going to say no, which is ridiculous when only minutes ago, she had him down on one knee and sweating like a pig as he waited for her answer.
He thinks about waking up to this, waking up to her for the rest of his life. He thinks about the past seven years of waking up to someone or something else, always someone else. The answer is pretty easy. Once he allows himself to admit his feelings, the answer's always been the same. He smiles at her, one hand leaving her waist to cup her jaw.
"You've always been my sure thing," he tells her seriously.
"Really?" she asks, her voice hesitant as her gaze searches through him.
"Even in the last seven years?"
"Even when you told me to go back to New York?"
"Even when you told me that we could never go back?"
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," she apologizes at the exasperation in his voice. She leans in closer, close enough until there's barely an inch of space between them. Her eyes are still glassy, glistening with the tears she's holding back. "It's just- this is so surreal. I- seven years ago, I thought we were done. A year ago, when you decided to move here and didn't tell me about it, I thought we were done. And- and 45 days ago, when I turned up here and you asked me why I came, I-"
She stops talking and sighs, leaning into his embrace as she hides her face against his neck. He wonders why everything always feels so complicated, but so easy when it comes to the two of them. Knowing their feelings have always been simple, but just being together was always so hard.
"I've given up on ever thinking we're ever going to be done," he whispers quietly into her hair. She laughs as she pulls back, shooting him a watery smile.
"Yeah. I mean, look at us. No matter how hard we both try to fuck this up, we keep ending up in the same place."
"That's so romantic Finn," she answers, rolling her eyes. He shrugs.
"It's like our destiny or something."
"40 days ago, when I told you that, you told me that destiny was a load of bullshit," she answers dryly, clasping her hands at the back of his neck. He grins as his hands make their way under the fabric of his t-shirt to rest on her back.
"A lot can change in 40 days," he whispers huskily, leaning forward to kiss her. He feels her smiling against his lips and he can't help breaking into one of his own as he pulls her closer.
"We're really doing this," she mumbles softly against him. He reaches into the pocket of his pants and pulls out the ring again.
"Yeah, but babe," he starts, grinning at the way her eyes zeroes in on the piece of jewellery in his hand. "You haven't said yes yet."
I need to get some perspective on these words
Before I write them down
You're an island and my ship has run aground.
She looks at him out of the corner of her eye and studies the clench of his jaw, noting that there's tightness in his eyes as he stares straight ahead. She's still not completely sure of exactly what's going on. They've been driving around in his truck for almost half an hour in silence, and she still doesn't know where they're headed.
Things have been a little weird between them ever since they got back together, and she knows that all the tension is mostly coming from her side. She knows she's been... well, a little shrewd lately, a little more reserved than she had ever been with him.
It's not that she loves him any less this time around. On the contrary, sometimes she thinks she loves him so much more. That's what scares her the most though, because in the back of her mind, 365 days loom before them, and how is she going to let him go in a year when she already loves him so much now? She knows he can feel her pulling away, and it makes her feel guilty. Finn, for all his affections and declarations, had never been as open with her while they were together before as he is now. He's always been just a little guarded with his feelings, or maybe it was just that was never that in tune with them. She was always the one wearing her heart out on her sleeve, and it feels a little like the tables have turned when she keeps holding herself back. He's not holding back this time. She's being unfair to him.
But that was why she planned to surprise him today, because she wanted to make up for it. She'd spent all morning in the kitchen baking everything he loves, including the banana bread he never did get enough of, to put in a picnic basket, as a sort of token of her affections. He didn't send her a good morning text today, and she should have realized then that something was wrong, but she'd just written it off as him forgetting. She knew his mom and Burt aren't going to be home today, because Kurt told her that his dad was taking Carole for a romantic day out, courtesy of Kurt Hummel's plans of course.
She had dressed up too, wearing the summer dress that she knew he loved because the last time she was in it, he couldn't stop staring at her chest. She had plans for a picnic. But she knew when Kurt opened the door that it wasn't happening.
"Oh thank God you're here," he had exclaimed, practically pulling her in and closing the door behind him.
"I'm planning a surprise picnic for Finn," she said, beaming at her friend, who was pretty much ignoring her as he muttered under his breath. "Where is he?"
"He's upstairs, brooding."
"Lord knows," Kurt answered, rolling his eyes. "I asked him what he wanted for lunch and he practically bit my head off. Now that you're here maybe he'll be in a better mood. He does have a tendency of turning into a sappy love fool when you're around."
"Finn is not sappy," she answered, blushing. Kurt had rolled his eyes and told her to go upstairs and fix her boyfriend so that his house wouldn't be so gloomy when Blaine comes over. She got the feeling that maybe what Kurt really wanted was for her to get Finn out of the house so that he'd have it all to himself to do whatever he wanted with his boyfriend. She ignored his remark about keeping his house pure and walked briskly up to Finn's room.
"I'm not hungry Kurt!" she heard him yell, sounding a little frustrated when she knocked. She frowned, gripping the handle of her picnic basket tighter before she spoke hesitantly.
"It's me." She heard him move haphazardly inside before he threw the door open a few seconds later.
"Rachel?" He looked at her in confusion as she smiled at him. She noticed the slight swell around his eyes but said nothing.
"Surprise," she said brightly as she held up her picnic basket. He was still in his sleep clothes even though it was almost one in the afternoon, and the redness around his eyes still alarmed her. But he had smiled when he saw her picnic basket, and when she told him that she brought his banana bread, he had leaned down to kiss her.
Rachel stifles a sigh as the silence in the truck gets to her once again. She'd asked him what was wrong and all he said was nothing. He's got his guards up, and she realizes that it's been a while since she's had to manoeuvre through them. She gets the feeling that maybe she's pushed him too far, and that now he's retreating. She turns to look at him again, and it's almost like he doesn't even notice she's in the car with him.
"Finn," she calls out softly, touching his arm. He starts, and turns to look at her almost in surprise before he gives her a small smile.
"Nothing." She knows that he's lying through his teeth, and she knows that he knows she knows too, because he sighs as he turns his attention to the road, one hand gripping the back of his neck for a second before it goes back on the steering wheel.
"Do you mind if we stop somewhere?" he asks quietly.
"Of course not. Where do you want to go?"
"I just- I need to make a stop."
Five minutes later, she frowns when he pulls his truck up at Lima Memorial.
"Wait here okay?"
"I'll just be gone a few minutes."
She notes the way his voice cracks just a little and nods her head mutely. He smiles at her as he leans over the console to kiss her cheek. She watches as he steps out of his truck and slowly makes his way through the cemetery. It's killing her just a little to be kept in the dark this way.
His few minutes turn into ten, and when it reaches fifteen, she worries to the point of being hysterical. She needs to know what's going on, or she thinks that she could just burst from the curiosity and anxiousness. Turning off the engine, she leaves his truck and follows the trail she saw him took earlier until he had disappeared.
She finds him about a few metres to the right, sitting cross-legged, his back to her. She comes up behind him silently, not wanting to disturb him, but when she steps on a twig, his head spins around to face her and she sees him quickly rubbing at his eyes.
"Finn?" she calls out softly, walking a little quicker to lay a hand on his shoulder. He's been crying. She knows it by the way he's avoiding her gaze.
"Hey, sorry. Did I take too long?" he asks, his voice raspier than usual.
"I don't care," she says, kneeling down next to him, trying to find a comfortable position to sit in with her short dress.
"You're gonna get your dress dirty," he mumbles as she leans her head against his shoulder.
"I don't care," she repeats in a whisper. She feels his arm come around her shoulders and she places a hand on his thigh, trying to comfort him in some vague way as he keeps silent.
"This-" he starts suddenly, pulling her closer to him. "This is my dad."
"I thought your dad was cremated and his ashes are in your room-" She clamps her hands over her mouth dramatically at the words that spilled out. He looks down at her, almost like he's amused.
"I- I'm sorry Finn-"
"Nah it's true. But they did another burial, like an official one, and they buried his military clothes."
"Oh." It's quiet again as he plays idly with the strap of her dress, and she thinks involuntarily of all her baked goods, forgotten at home. Kurt had sent her a text saying that he's going through them. She doesn't mind, so long as he leaves Finn's banana bread alone.
"It's his birthday."
"I think mom forgot."
"We come here every year on his birthday, and she'd tell me about the time he wanted to propose but didn't have the money to buy her a ring, and how her engagement ring came from a Cracker Jack box."
She smiles at that.
"That sounds so romantic."
"Yeah. She'd tell me other stuff too, like how he used to carry me around like I was a football and how she'd yelled at him to be careful and he'd tell her that I was gonna be a great football player some day. That's pretty cool huh?"
She nods silently against his shoulder as he continues speaking, his voice light and quiet. She knows that his dad fainted in the delivery room when he was born, and that he had put up the cowboy wallpaper in Finn's old room because he loved John Wayne. His mom said that his dad loved singing too, and that Finn sounded a little like him. His dad loved to bowl and for the first 24 hours of his life, neither of his parents had put Finn down once.
"He sounds wonderful Finn," she tells him earnestly. She feels the shudder that goes through him and looks up to find him blinking rapidly.
"Yeah," he answers, his voice choked.
"Do you miss him?"
"I never knew him."
"Yes you do," she answers passionately, tugging his arm to force him to look at her." You know that he called you Finn because that's his grandad's name, and that he loves to bowl just as much as you do and that- and that he loved you so much, he had your birth date tattooed on his forearm."
"Yeah. That's kinda weird," he mutters. She shakes her head and pulls away to kneel in front of him.
"The point is that you do know him, Finn. And that even though-"
"I think she's forgetting him," he says quietly, ignoring her. She's speechless for a few seconds before her brain recovers.
"She's not," she says helplessly.
"How do you know? You didn't see how quickly she wanted to change everything. I mean, Burt is awesome, you know? And I'm happy for her. Really. And it's awesome to have a brother now and all that, but- but sometimes I feel like I'm the only Hudson left, you know? And when people call her Mrs Hummel now, sometimes it's like she's someone else."
She thinks her heart is breaking a little at how lost he sounds. It's always so easy to overlook him, she realizes. He always makes it so easy for people to do that.
"You miss your mom," she states. He looks away again, and she doesn't know what to do.
"She loves you Finn-"
"I know that," he answers in frustration. "I know she loves me. And I know that she's happy, and that she was never happy before this, not really. And I want her to be happy. I just-"
He sighs as he looks at her grimly.
"I just wish she didn't forget today. It's- it's our day."
She feels the tears prickling at the back of her eyes and quickly shakes her head. This is no time for her tears. He needs her. She shuffles herself closer to him and opens her arms to engulf him in her embrace. She feels him stiffen before he relaxes into her touch, his arms snaking their way around her waist to pull her into his lap.
"I won't forget," she whispers into his ear.
"Today. From this day on, Rachel Berry promises that she will never forget Finn Hudson's dad's birthday for the rest of her life. Ever."
He pulls away to look at her, the confusion evident in his eyes. She brings one hand up to his face, smoothing away the lines on his forehead.
"You're not alone Finn," she tells him solemnly. "Not while I'm around."
She sees the smile grow on his face slowly, until his amusement makes its way into his eyes. She squeals when his large hand grabs the back of her head and his lips land against hers. The kiss is short, but urgent and when he pulls away, she sees the tightness he's had around his eyes all day finally give way.
"I love you Rachel," he tells her, his tone soft and firm all at once.
She beams at him without restrain, letting the reins she's been holding on her emotions go at last.
"I love you too."
All we are, all we are
Is everything that's right
All we need, all we need
A lover's alibi
A/N: Obviously, this fic ran away from me. It was supposed to be simple, and then it got complicated. And then once I was almost done with the story, my USB choked and ate it and I had to start over on some parts. Not to mention that this story has just opened up more questions for me than resolutions. That said, I hope you liked it enough to press that review button down there ;P.
Lyrics are to All We Are by OneRepublic