By The Way – A Short Story

Sometimes it is difficult being Finn Hudson's friend. Like when he just up and joins the Glee club during sophomore year (which yeah, turned out to be an ok idea later) or when he admits that he thinks about the mailman to stop his shit from exploding when he's making out. That's fucked up stuff right there. And maybe it's difficult because Finn always gets the girl. Always. And he can't fucking understand that. And then when he's not actively getting the girl, he still manages to cock block Puck with some you're my boy bullshit and then follows it up with a keep your hands to yourself ultimatum. He knows it is more fucked up that he actually agreed to that shit.

But nothing compares to how difficult (and fucked) the past two weeks have been trying to be Finn's friend. Because yeah, Finn's his boy and he tries to have his back whenever he can but coming here to talk to him about her. Not cool. Cause him and Rachel? They have history and Finn knows that all too well. And maybe he's worked really hard over the last year to be her friend and maybe he really wants to be more than that but Finn got in there first (and yeah, he might have stupidly helped him) and he's acted like he's ok with that and he's tried really fucking hard not to interfere. But Finn Hudson sure as hell isn't making that easy right now.

It wasn't too bad at first. Yeah, he was surprised when Finn showed up late one Monday night. They're friends and all but they haven't exactly been hanging out like bros or anything. He talked about a lot of nonsense at first and then started complaining about Rachel making him sing some Snow Patrol song in Glee. He couldn't figure out what the hell the big deal was because she's Rachel Berry and everyone knows she does this shit. It's expected. Hell, he's pretty certain that she has it explicitly written in some boyfriend contract somewhere that whoever she is dating has to sing whatever she wants with her. Whatever. It's kinda cool. He actually liked the song.

He just told Finn to suck it up. It's fucking Glee and he has to sing anyway so why not sing with his girl? Besides Snow Patrol is damn cool and he's lucky that she didn't choose something from the Sound of Music or some other shitty musical. Finn just shrugged and got that goofy look on his face that he does when he realizes he's being stupid and then he moved on to talking about other ridiculous crap.

He showed up two days later carrying a couple of illegally downloaded movies. Puck was all game for watching them in his basement rather than paying 15 bucks a pop in the theater. Besides, they're probably shit anyway and he'd be pissed if he paid that much for crap. They ordered a pizza and watched the movies and then Finn didn't leave after and Puck really wasn't game for any heart to heart bullshit. It took a few minutes but he started about Rachel's outfit that day. How it was weird to have penguins on her shirt or something like that, Puck was only partially listening. He just told him whatever. It's Rachel for god's sake and it's not like these stupid sweaters were a new thing for her. Finn says yeah and laughs and then leaves a few minutes later.

The next few days are pretty much the same story. Finn shows up with a movie or new songs on his iPod or sometimes with empty hands and they talk about shit until Finn starts in on Rachel. Most of it is petty crap and Puck just ignores it but it's getting on his nerves because nothing Finn is saying is new or even remotely surprising and it's like Finn forgot that Berry was crazy way before now. And seriously, why the fuck is he telling this shit to him? The boy may be a bit dopey but he knows Puck has Rachel's back just as much as he has his and talking shit about her is just making him want to stab that back he's supposed to have. I mean, c'mon Rachel's Finn's fucking girlfriend so he's supposed to be defending her, not trashing her. But it's not like he ever did that before so he guess he shouldn't expect him to start now.

Rachel's sick at the beginning of the week and Finn looks like he's just won the fucking lottery. He guesses he's enjoying the rare day where he can walk down the hallway without the tiny diva hanging onto his arm and chattering incessantly. Kinda pisses him off though cause no one should look that happy for their girl to be sick. But he ignores it, figuring he's reading way too much into it and Finn is probably just smiling dopily because he copped a feel from her a couple days ago. He'd probably be smiling like a loon then too. But he notices Finn talking an awful lot to Quinn throughout the day and it gives him this sick feeling in his gut. And guys really aren't supposed to get that feeling. He texts Rachel to see how she's doing and she responds she's better so he figures it will all be back to normal the next day and Berry will be stuck to Finn's side like she typically is.

Finn comes over that night. He lounges in a gaming chair and plays a few rounds of COD with Puck before he gets that look on his face, the same one he always gets before he starts talking about Rachel. He says something about her going to New York after graduation and he doesn't want to go. No surprise there, Puck thinks. Finn rambles on about how Lima is his home and it's where he wants to stay and he doesn't want to hold Rachel back from her dreams. Puck just scoffs and says he won't, he's pretty sure no one will hold Berry back from her dreams and he wonders if Finn fucking knows his girlfriend at all. He gets a little testy when Finn won't stop talking about Lima and Rachel and he asks him why the fuck he tried so hard to get her back knowing she was leaving if he just planned to bitch like a bitch about it. He gets thoroughly ticked when Finn can't come up with an answer. Like he can't even fucking give a reason why he wants to be with her. Finn never seems to get it and he leaves a few minutes later, telling him he'll see him tomorrow and Puck fights to urge to call Rachel and tell her to drop Finn's ass now but he promised Finn a while ago he'd say out of his relationship shit and he figures Finn is just getting spooked at the thought of losing Rachel soon so he tries to brush it off again. Though it won't seem to leave his mind.

Rachel asks him what is wrong the next day after he decides not to sit with her and Finn at lunch and he will barely look at either of them all day. He can't tell her that it's because the love of her life won't stop talking shit about her and he can't get it out of his mind so he tells her he has a headache and just doesn't want to talk. She gets all worried about him then and pulls aspirin out of her locker to give him. She makes him promise he'll go home and rest and let her know if he needs anything. He just smiles at her and tells her he'll be fine tomorrow, he's sure. He knows he has to be for her sake. She needs someone to have her back since Hudson's just talking behind it.

He figures he'll just talk to Finn today so he plans to go to his house later and lay out exactly why Berry is a catch and Finn shouldn't be fucking around with their relationship. But before he even knows it Finn's back in that chair in his room and he's got his arms behind his head and it looks like he's actually thinking about something important. And he is but what he's thinking about is about to make Puck fucking livid, like put Finn in the dumpster and light it on fire livid.

"Rachel's not ready," Finn says and Puck just glares at him. Holy fuck he doesn't want to be here right now cause he's the last person Finn should be talking to about sex. Ok, scratch that. He's the last person Finn should be talking to about Rachel Berry having sex. Is he really the only fucking friend Finn has? Isn't Mike or Artie or fuck even Kurt a better option right now? At least none of them have fucking made out with your girl. Of course, Finn doesn't get the "shut the hell up now" look on his face and he continues on. "I'm not gonna try to rush her or anything."

Well duh, he thinks. If there is anything anyone should know about Berry is that she does what she wants when she wants and no one else has a say. Hell, if anyone did he would have talked her into giving it up to him a hell of a long time ago. And he's really fucking glad he's not gonna try to rush her because he would have to give a second thought to that dumpster idea and he's fairly certain that would land him back in juvie.

"What's your point, Hudson?" Finn flinches slightly and he finds it a little amusing. He knows his tone is a bit harsh but what does he expect? He's kinda hoping Finn rethinks having this discussion with him but he knows that's highly fucking unlikely.

Finn lowers his head and starts fiddling with his fingers and Puck can feel his irritation brewing. "It's just that Quinn she kinda offered this, I don't know, no strings attached thing. And I know it sounds bad and I really shouldn't even consider it . . . . but I don't know . . . . what do you think?"

Holy fucking hell. Finn Hudson is not actually asking him for permission to cheat on Rachel Berry? This may be the most fucked up thing that has ever happened to him, even more than daddy dearest abandoning him or his stint in juvie. Cause clearly he didn't hear this right or Finn has lost his ever loving mind.

He cocks an eyebrow and eyeballs his friend. "Did you just ask me if I thought it would be cool to do a friend with benefits thing with Quinn fucking Fabray?" He hopes to hell he says no and that he just completely heard everything Finn just said wrong. Cause if he says yes, then he knows it's gonna be real hard to continue to be his friend.

Finn shrugs and smiles dopily. "Well, yeah, kinda."

Fuck his life. As soon as the words leave Finn's mouth he feels a rush of adrenaline sear through him like it's totally ripping his whole body apart. He gets up and walks heavily to the window, throwing it open and looking outside. He hopes to hell that the cooler air will calm his ass down and maybe wake Finn the hell up. Cause really, right now, all he wants to do is rip his damn head off. Cause cheating on Berry? That shit is not cool. Not at fucking all and he sure as hell isn't going to give him permission to do it.

Obviously the air doesn't work because it's not long before Finn continues on. "I know it sounds crazy. It's just that me and Quinn, we've always had this connection and it gets real hard waiting on Rachel and not knowing if she's ever gonna be ready. And I don't really wanna lose Rachel because I know I've only got her for a couple more months anyway so I thought maybe Quinn's idea isn't so bad because then there's not so much pressure on Rachel and she doesn't even have to know. But sometimes, you know, I'm just kinda wondering if waiting on Rachel to be ready is really worth it."

And that fucking rips his heart apart because he knows for damn sure that Rachel Berry is worth more than that. He jerks his head to the side, away from the window and sends a death glare in Finn's direction. If looks could kill, he's pretty sure Finn Hudson would be dead right now. "If you have to ask, you don't deserve her. If you actually fucking wonder if she's worth the wait then you sure as hell don't deserve to be the one waiting for her."

Finn looks shell shocked. Like he didn't have a clue that Puck would actually react like this and defend Rachel. Like he hasn't been around for the last year and watched Puck defend her on a regular basis and he doesn't know that Berry is his girl, even if she's Finn's girl. Jesus he's more oblivious than he thought. And that just pisses him off more.

He takes a couple steps across the room, away from Finn, because he knows he probably shouldn't be too close to him right now. He runs a hand through his mohawk and takes a heavy breath. "Rachel Berry, she's a grade A whack job. She's more irritating than anyone I've ever met. She has an opinion about everything and she never shuts the fuck up. But if you don't see how completely awesome this girl is, then you shouldn't be with her. Cause she's passionate about everything and that's fucking cool and if she believes in you, she believes in you with every fiber in her body and even if you don't believe in yourself, it's ok because she has enough belief in her for everybody. And she's crazy talented, like maybe more talented than anybody I've ever known or even heard about." He stops pacing long enough to look Finn in the eye. "She's beautiful, man. She may not have the perfectly scalpel sculpted face like Quinn but she's fucking beautiful. And you . . . . you're a fucking idiot."

He hates the ridiculous shocked look on Finn's face and the way his mouth is hanging open so he just turns his back to him.

"You want her," he hears Finn say and he knows from the surprised tone in his voice that it's a statement rather than a question. That he's finally figuring this shit out.

He just shrugs, "Obviously more than you want her. Cause fucking Quinn Fabray wouldn't even be an option if Rachel were my girl." He doesn't wait for Finn to respond, knowing that he'll likely make some bravado induced declaration that Rachel is his and Puck can't have her. Cause half the time he thinks Finn only wants things that he knows Puck wants. He turns to face him. "Now you should probably get the hell out of here before I break your face. Because I really fucking want to right now."

He clenches his fists open and shut and ticks his jaw as he watches Finn shake his head and push himself out of the chair. He doesn't watch him leave the room but he hears a distinctive slap as soon as he does and he turns to find a teary eyed Rachel Berry standing in front of Finn. Fuck, the sight of her just claws at his heart because he knows she just heard everything that went on.

Rachel stares at Finn for a few minutes and then jerks from his grasp when he reaches for her. "Leave," is all she says as she pushes past him and into Puck's room. Puck glares at Finn when he turns to watch her and then Finn just shakes his head and barrels down the stairs.

It takes literally fucking forever for Rachel to look at him and when she does she just takes two quick steps and wraps her arms around his waist. She's crying into his shirt and he's pulling her in tightly to him and he can feel his heartbeat speed up with every second that she's there. She mumbles a thank you into his chest after a few minutes and he just says yeah. What the hell else can he say right now because he's pretty sure nothing is going to make it better. At least nothing more than he knows she's already heard him say.

She doesn't mention his words that night or even for a while after and it kinda bothers him but he knows she's not ready so he keeps quiet too. She officially breaks up with Finn the next day and tells Quinn, in front of the entire Glee club, that she can have him now with strings attached. He smiles at her like he's proud because he sure as hell is. He finds it's no longer difficult to be friends with Finn because Finn won't come anywhere near him and that's perfectly ok with him because he still wants to bash his face in or throw him in the dumpster and set it ablaze. And Rachel goes about her normal routine just the same as always as he continues to be her friend and defend her whenever he needs to. Cause that's what he needs to do.

Nothing changes until the night before graduation. They're at Brittany's house for a party and he feels her rest her head against his arm. When he looks at her she smiles and his heart literally skips a fucking beat. He slides his arm around her tiny waist, moving her head to his chest and it stays there the rest of the night. It's really just that simple.

And everything after that is just as simple. New York, marriage, babies. At no point does he ever consider that she wasn't worth the wait. She rewards him for that every single day. Their simple little life is simply everything he's ever wanted. Finn Hudson may not have been so sure she was worth it but he sure as hell knew she was all along. And now she's his for fucking ever.

End of story.