A/N: Written for Finchel Secret Santa. Dear SMA (ladysmaoffildos), from one fellow writer to another, I hope this piece of fiction fits the bill =). Merry Christmas!
Request: Finchel babysitting Beth
His eyes scans his locker for the fifth time as he leans forward, hoping that his History report will magically appear somewhere between the candy wrappers and the books shoved carelessly on top of each other. His world suddenly grows dark when soft, cool fingers blind his vision and he grins as he feels her pressed up against his back.
"Guess who?" she whispers softly, her lips brushing against his earlobe as he automatically lowers his stance so that she won't have to stretch too much.
"Santa?" he asks, feigning confusion. He grins as she giggles, grabbing both her hands in one of his when he turns to see her smiling brightly up at him. "Your hands are freezing."
"I forgot my mittens," she answers ruefully, blushing when he shoves each of her hand in the pockets of his letterman, pulling her closer in the process.
"I can keep you warm," he says, grinning suggestively as he leans down to kiss her.
"You always do," she answers, sending her own grin in retaliation. It's getting harder for him to remember that they're in the school hallway, but she pulls away, and the look on her face goes back to prim and proper as he leans back against his locker.
"You're late," he tells her when she twines their fingers together to pull his large body as they start walking to class. He'll find that homework later.
"I know," she answers apologetically. "I was talking to Ms Corcoran."
It's a little weird how Rachel calls her mom Ms Corcoran. Then again, it's even weirder to think of Ms Corcoran as Rachel's mom. She's pulling him along briskly through the crowded hallway, and he figures that whatever it was, it wasn't a bad thing. She's always only in two different states when she comes back from seeing Shelby, and it's either happy or depressed.
"Exactly what I'm about to tell you," she answers as she looks back at him, smiling. "What are your plans this weekend?"
He stifles a sigh as they stop to wave at Rory, who returns their gesture with the widest grin he's ever seen.
"Rachel, I told you, I already bought your birthday present, and I'm not just saying that like I did for our sixth month anniversary and then forgot about it. And no, I'm not going to tell you what it is, so stop asking me."
"I'm hurt that you'd suggest such a thing," she says indignantly as they stop in front of her English class. "I was merely asking because I thought that you would like to spend some quality time together, what with us being in a loving, trusting relationship after all. But if I'm annoying you, then by all means Finn Hudson, feel free to have a weekend free of Rachel Berry."
She makes a move to stomp into her classroom, but he stops her with a gentle hand on her shoulder.
"Sorry baby," he answers sheepishly, shooting her the grin that he's starting to realize lets him get away with almost anything. "It's just, I know how much you want your birthday to be special, and I'm just a little jumpy 'cause you know, I don't wanna ruin the surprise and all. I totally want to spend time with you," he finishes as he pulls her closer, leaning down and lowering his voice. She calls it his 'bedroom voice', although he doesn't really know why since he uses it in other places too, like right now in the school hallway, and mostly whenever he wants to make out.
He sees her soften as she smiles at him and mentally pats himself in the back for that quick save.
"I know how you can make it up to me," she tells him brightly, coyly playing with the buttons of his jacket. His mind goes straight to sexual favors, but he shuts that wishful thinking down immediately.
"My dads won't be home tomorrow," she starts softly. Holy shit, maybe it's not that wishful after all.
"Yeah?" He pulls her closer, glaring at the hockey player who almost shoved him into her.
"Yes. So you know, since I'll be all alone tomorrow, and I had a talk with Shelby when we ran into each other this morning, how do you feel about babysitting Finn?"
"I'd totally love to- wait. What?"
"Babysitting," she repeats slowly. "You know, with me."
"What do you mean why? Shelby said she needed a babysitter for tomorrow, but she couldn't find one at the last minute, so I offered her my service."
"I thought Puck and Quinn were supposed to do that," he answers, confused. She looks around furtively before she leans up to speak in a whisper.
"Remember that thing we talked about? About Puck and that ridiculous song he performed, which by the way, you were by far the best thing about that performance Finn, well. I think it's not just us seeing things."
His eyes widens as she shoots him a knowing look.
"I think so. I mean, did you see the looks they were giving each other during his performance a few weeks back?"
"No, but ew," he answers, crinkling his nose in disgust.
"Yeah, tell me about it. So anyway, don't you think it'll be fun? Us babysitting?"
Not really, but she's giving him that crazy look, the one that tells him she's not really looking for his opinion.
"Uh... sure. Sounds awesome."
He smiles at her as she beams and leans up to kiss him. Miss Newton shoots them a disapproving glance as she walks into class and Rachel pulls away, grinning at him.
"I have to go. See you at lunch. Love you."
"Yeah, I love you too" She's halfway in before she turns around abruptly.
"I really don't mind ruined surprises. In fact, I think it's the best kind of surprise of all."
"Not gonna happen Rach."
"What do you mean the whole day?" he asks, his voice whiny, as he parks his truck.
"I told you Finn, Shelby needs to get her Christmas shopping done, and that takes a lot of time. Besides, aren't you glad that we're going to be spending all day together?"
"Of course I am." Just not with a two year old in the picture. She smiles at him sweetly before stepping out of the truck.
"Well good. We're going to have a great time!"
"I'll bet," he mutters under his breath, trailing behind her. She's waiting for him at the entrance of Ms Corcoran's building, and she takes his hand when he reaches her, her other hand pressing her phone to her ear.
"Yes, we're here," she says to who he guesses must be Ms Corcoran.
He doesn't realize that she's practically crushing his fingers until they're halfway up the steps.
"Hey," he says softly, tugging on her hand as he stops walking. She turns to look at him inquisitively. "You okay?"
"Of course I am, why wouldn't I be?"
"Well, maybe 'cause it feels like you're trying to turn my hand to mush," he answers, his tone teasing. Instantly her grip loosens and her face falls.
"Hey it's okay," he tells her quickly, pulling her into a hug in the middle of the stairs. "I can barely feel it anyway, 'cause you know. I'm strong and stuff. Not that you're weak. You know, 'cause you're totally strong, but not like in a dude kinda way-"
He stops the train wreck when her bewildered stare turns into a fit of giggles, grinning in relief.
"You think me embarrassing myself is funny huh?" he asks in mock hurt.
"No I don't. I think it's very funny," she quips, smiling as she hugs him again. He smiles as her grip tightens.
"I'm kind of nervous," she mumbles into his shirt. "I've never babysat before."
"What if I screw up?" she asks anxiously. "I mean, do you even know how to hold a baby?"
"Well, when Mrs Belman who used to live next door to my old house had her baby, I sometimes helped her hold Tommy when she locks her door," he offers, grabbing the back of his neck.
"Oh my God," Rachel mutters in distress, the hopeful expression she wore when he started talking sliding off her face. "We're going to kill Shelby's baby."
"You're overreacting," he tells her patiently.
"What if I forget to turn off the stove and her apartment catches fire?"
"Then we get the fire extinguisher. Or like, call the fire department. Those guys are total badasses."
"What if we make a mess?"
"Then we'll clean it up."
"What if she chokes on her baby food?"
"Didn't you take the Munich test last summer or something?"
"Heimlich," she answers automatically, wringing her hands. "What if she hates me?"
"Baby," he answers patiently, leaning back against the railing as she starts muttering to herself. "She's two."
"So? Babies have feelings too you know."
"She's not going to hate you."
"How do you know?"
""Cause you're Rachel Berry and you're awesome. And like, I bet if you shove a cookie in her mouth, you'll get her to love you."
"Finn!" she admonishes, scandalized. He shrugs his shoulder as she breaks out into a small laugh.
"Promise I'm overreacting and we won't ruin this?" she asks in a small voice. He leans forwards and hides a smile as he tucks a stray lock of hair behind her ear.
Shelby opens the door at the third knock, and Rachel's hand tightens around his when the older woman smiles brightly at them.
"Come on in guys," she tells them as she turns around, grabbing her coat along the way. He squeezes Rachel's hand in support, nodding his head at her look, and they trail after her.
"Thank you so much for doing this, you have no idea how backed up I am, and Beth is a terror in crowded places. She doesn't like it when it gets too noisy, so I really can't afford to take her shopping with me. Rachel, you're being a Godsend,"
"Finn and I are happy to help you out, right Finn?"
The teacher smiles gratefully at him, and whoa, it's always a little weird to realize once again how much Rachel looks like her.
"She's in my room. Come on, I'll introduce you."
They trail behind her again and Rachel's ears perk up as they get closer.
"Julie. She and Sesame Street are about the only things that get played on that tv."
"Really?" Rachel asks, excited. "My favorite show was Sesame Street too," she continues shyly, looking back and forth between him and her mother. "And Mary Poppins was my dads' go to movie whenever I 'boasted vocal chops', as they called it."
"I didn't know that," Shelby answers softly. "A girl after my own heart."
They share a small smile as he looks on awkwardly, not wanting to ruin the moment by saying something stupid, like "I used to have a crush on Julie Andrews when I was seven" or something. They follow Shelby to her room and he spots a set of blond curls on the floor as he reaches the doorway.
"Hey sweetie," Shelby coos as she squats next to her kid. "Mama's leaving for a few hours, but Rachel and Finn are gonna take good care of you, okay?" She leans forward to place a kiss on Beth's forehead as the child continues to be transfixed by the screen.
"All the emergency numbers are on the fridge, and her bottle's in the fridge too. I've left the instructions on how to heat it up on the counter. She usually has lunch around one, so you can give her some applesauce. And if she wants any snacks, there's a box of Rusks in the second cabinet. I'll try to be as quick as I can."
She speaks quickly as she moves through the small space, showing them where everything is on her way to the door.
"Is it um- I mean, is it okay for us to just be here, like this?" Rachel asks, a little nervous.
"Oh she doesn't have any problems with strangers. Actually that can be quite alarming sometimes. Anyway, she's almost always well-behaved and if you find you can't get her to stop crying, well, you already know what to do Rachel," she says, smiling.
"Pop in Julie Andrews?"
"Or Sesame Street. Either's fine."
She leaves with a hurried goodbye and leaves them standing in the middle of the hallway, staring at each other.
"This doesn't look so hard," she says, trying to convince herself. "We can do this right?"
He tries to smile at her reassuringly.
"We can do anything together," he tells her, wrapping an arm around her shoulder as they walk back towards Shelby's room. They find Beth in the same exact position, her eyes still glued to the tv.
"She really loves The Sound of Music," he remarks as Rachel steps forward, gingerly kneeling down next to the little girl. She looks up at him as if he just said the most obvious thing in the world.
"All smart girls do. Isn't that right Beth?"
"So like, that's how you were almost called Drizzle," he finishes as he helps Beth fit another star-shaped block into the right hole. She looks up at him and giggles, waving one tiny hand towards him. He gives Beth a tiny fist-bump as he grins at her. "Yeah, you totally love the name Drizzle, don't you? Quinn had no idea what she was talking about," he finishes conspiratorially.
He's sprawled on the floor, his long legs surrounding Beth, who's on all fours as she crawls for her plastic blocks. It's been almost three hours, and it's really not that bad, especially since she spent the first hour watching tv. Shelby wasn't lying, Beth really had no problems with strangers, 'cause she barely bat an eyelash when and Rachel introduced themselves after. There was like a split second where it looked like she was about to cry, but Rachel distracted her by singing Do Re Mi, and soon she was joining in with her gibberish. That was pretty quick thinking on Rachel's part, but his girl is smart so that's no surprise.
He finds out that Beth really loves it when he puts her on his shoulder and pretends to be a horse, if by the way laughed hysterically was any indication, and he does that for quite a while, much to Rachel's chagrin. She told him he might drop the baby, but he totally ignored her because playing Cowboys is fun at any age. She claps her hand and laughs like crazy any time one of them makes a funny face too, and they both find it to be the most adorable thing ever, so they spent like, half an hour making her laugh when Rachel put her down on the couch and they knelt in front of it, making faces at each other and laughing along with her.
"I think she likes me," Rachel whispered in his ear in between the face pulling, and he smiled at her.
"Told you. You didn't even need a cookie."
The problem, they realize, with babysitting a two year old is that she's still not tired.
He's freaking exhausted, to be honest, and he knows Rachel's silently freaking out because she's running out of things for Beth to do. He's been helping Beth with her blocks for fifteen minutes and they're almost done, so he really hopes Rachel is almost done with her lunch.
Talking to a two year old is awesome though, 'cause like, she can't talk back and she has no idea what he's saying, but she nods like she does anyway, and then she grins at him, and when she laughs it's like the funniest thing ever, and she's laughing a lot. He likes her.
"You're awesome little dude," he tells her.
"She's not a dude," Rachel calls out from the kitchen.
"Lady," he amends. "You're an awesome little lady. Hey, you wanna hear about how you got your name?"
Rachel yelps in surprise and he looks up, alarmed to find her slapping a hand to her forehead.
"Rach, you okay?" he asks.
"No," she moans. "I burned her lunch."
"You what?" He looks down to find Beth quietly shoving a block into her mouth, ignoring their loud conversation. She looks up and smiles at him through the spit-covered star. "Hey buddy, I'm gonna go help Rachel out, 'kay? You stay right here."
Making sure that she won't be able to choke on the block, he pulls himself up to walk towards his girlfriend, who's looking down at a bowl in dismay. He walks up behind her and peers into it over her shoulder, finding applesauce curdled on one side, darker than what it was supposed to look like on the bottle.
"Wow. You really did burn it."
"I'm a total failure," she mumbles, upset.
"Hey," he starts soothingly, snaking an arm around her waist to pull her against him comfortingly. "Relax. She's got like, a bunch of applesauce in that cabinet. We'll just make another one."
"Poor Beth is probably starving."
"Well she looks alright to me. Plus, I'm pretty sure she's having a great time snacking up on her blocks." She attempts to whip her head around, but he's got a snug fit around her waist and his head on her shoulder.
"You let her put her toy in her mouth? Finn."
"It's fine, I did it all the time when I was a kid."
"But what if it has lead in it? Did you know that a few years back, there was a case where a bunch of children's toys had to be recalled because lead was poisoning the kids?"
"Where the hell did you read that from?" he asks, startled as he lets her go.
"Google," she tells him. "You know I always do my research."
"What, you googled how to babysit?"
"No," she tells him, rolling her eyes. "How to take care of a two year old. You need to be more specific Finn. The search engine can only help you so much. I don't think this is a laughing matter," she insists in exasperation when he snorts. "I'm depriving Beth of her sustenance and you're slowly letting her be poisoned by unknown chemicals."
"Sorry, sorry. But baby, you need to calm down. Just pop open another bottle of applesauce, it'll be fine. I promise I won't let her eat anymore blocks."
Rachel sighs, looking dejectedly down at the bowl in her hand.
"I guess you can just feed her a Rusk for the time being."
"Yep," he answers, reaching behind her for the box of baby cookies. He walks back to the middle of the living room, cookie in hand, and stops short at the sight before him. The blocks they're been storing are all over the small area as the storage is upturned, and Beth laughs happily as she throws a square into the air, hitting his knee in the process.
"Yep," he tells her dryly as he sits on the floor and hands her the cookie. "You're Puck's kid alright."
"She's so beautiful, don't you think?" Rachel whispers loudly, looking down at the sleeping toddler in her arms. One lunch, two 'spits' (puke is puke no matter what Rachel tries to tell him), and two hours of Sesame Street later, girl finally shuts her eyes.
"Yeah, she's pretty."
"She looks just like Quinn," his girlfriend continues, fixated. "She's perfect. You know we're kinda like sisters," she whispers quietly to Beth, smiling softly when the little girl burrows a little further into her arms. "We have a lot in common too. We both love Sesame Street, and Julie Andrews, but my favorite will always be Mary Poppins. And we both love Finn," she continues, looking up to smile at him. He grins, twirling a lock of her hair with the hand he's draped behind the couch they're sitting on. "But he's mine though. We can share him sometimes, if you'd like."
"That's good to know," he jokes quietly. She shushes him, sticking her tongue out at him playfully.
"And you know, we're both adopted too. And- and we have the same mom, that's why we're sisters."
Pantera pierces through the silence and Rachel glares daggers at him as he fumbles for the phone in his jeans, rejecting the call immediately.
"Sorry," he apologizes in a whisper as Beth moves restlessly in Rachel's arms.
"Your ringtone is ridiculous," she tells him, annoyed. "It gives everyone around you a heart attack every time someone calls you. Where are you going?"
"Erm- it's erm- it's Puck. I need to call him back."
"Yeah, so you know, I'm just gonna stand right outside the door-"
"You're leaving me alone with her?" she asks, panicking.
"Rach you'll be fine, she's asleep."
"I can't talk to Puck in here. Like what if he hears her?"
"Like you said, she's asleep."
She sighs witheringly.
"But I suppose it would be a little insensitive for you to be talking to him around Beth, especially since he doesn't know what we're doing."
"But please hurry up," she pleads.
"I will," he assures her, pecking her on the lips as he hurries out the door, his phone pressed to his ear.
"Hello brother dear."
"Hey Kurt," he whispers as he steps out. "Sorry 'bout that. I was with Rachel."
"Of course you were," Kurt answers dryly. "I have bad news for you Finn. Although, really, what did you expect with such a dismal budget?"
"I told you-"
"Yes, you splurged on her birthday gift, but that is not an excuse she'll take to well Finn."
"I know," he sighs. So enlisting Kurt for help on her Christmas gift is a bust. He's running out of options. He wouldn't even have asked his brother if Kurt hadn't overheard him asking the other guys in the locker room. He's pretty sure that had been the most useless conversation he's ever had with any of them so when Kurt had offered to help, he'd said yes in his desperation. After all, Kurt and Rachel are like, bestfriends now, so he'd know what Finn should get her. How would he know the budget was going to be a bitch? He'd have looked around for himself if it wasn't for the babysitting thing, he'd probably find something within his 'price range'. That's not really the problem though. The problem is in trying to find something that's both awesome and what she wants and also affordable. He sighs.
"Man, are you sure I can't just-"
"For the hundredth time, no Finn," Kurt cuts in, exasperated. "You absolutely cannot let her birthday gift double as her Christmas gift too. Seriously, what is wrong with you?"
"Oh she'll thank you and tell you she loves you, but you know Rachel."
"Yeah," he answers glumly. "I do. Thanks anyway Kurt. I'll figure something out. Maybe I can get an advance from the workshop or something."
"Good luck with that."
He hangs up, sighing as he slips his phone back into the pocket of his jeans. He opens the door and the first thing he hears is the sound of Rachel's voice, softly crooning an all too familiar tune. He smiles.
"Did she wake up?" he asks quietly. Rachel looks up at him and smiles as she continues to sing. She shakes her head, ending the song with the chorus.
"She blinked. I figured that she should start familiarizing herself with the greats at a young age. I'm sure Shelby will do it too, but there's no harm in speeding things along. And really, who better to start with than Barbra?"
"That's my favorite," he tells her as he takes a seat. She rolls her eyes in good nature.
"You just say that because you think it's about you," she teases.
"It is about me," he answers, not phased in the slightest. She blushes as she looks at him almost shyly.
"I guess it is," she murmurs, smiling. He takes in the view in front of him, of Rachel and her pretty blush and Beth sleeping quietly in her arms.
He thinks she's perfect. He always does.
"You know there's one thing that song's got wrong though," he tells her.
"Well you know how the dude in that song's like, too dumb to notice this girl who's totally into him?"
"That's... one way to phrase it," she answers in amusement.
"Well," he starts, smirking as he leans over the child in her arms to kiss her. "I'm not that dumb."
"No," she agrees, smiling warmly at him as he pulls away. "No you're not."
"I think we can put her down now," he tells her quietly.
"But what if she wakes up?"
"She looks like she's dead to the world right now. And your arms must be tired."
"I'm used to holding my posture for ballet," she tells him.
"Yeah, but not with a baby on you."
"Okay, but if she cries, it's your turn," she warns as she stands, wincing at the movement. "I'll be right back."
"We're clear," she whispers as she reaches him, standing between his legs in front of the couch. He leans forwards, wrapping his arms around her.
"Then why are you whispering?" he asks, amused.
"I don't want to startle her."
"Right. So we're done?"
"Well, we have to wait until Shelby gets back."
"I know, but we're done right? I mean, Beth's asleep so we're pretty much set until then," he says, looking up at her, grinning.
"Pretty much," she says nonchalantly, holding back her smile.
"So c'mere," he murmurs, pulling her closer. She sits on his lap as she wraps her arms around his neck, smiling as their lips touch.
"I had a lot of fun babysitting with you today," she mumbles against his lips.
"Mmhmm," he answers absent-mindedly, his mind focused on the passion fruit taste on her lips as he grazes his teeth against her bottom lip. He loves passion fruit. She pulls away just as he's about to coax her mouth open.
"We had a lot of fun, right?" she whispers, her grip on the nape of his neck tightening as he moves his lips to the curve of her jaw, undeterred.
I think Beth and I will be great as sisters. I have to admit I was a little hesitant in the beginning, but- oh, that tickles-she's perfect."
"Hmm." She shivers when his lips reach her collarbone, his hands snaking under her untucked blouse to rest on the curve of her back.
"And she really loves you Finn. We make an amazing team, you and -"
"Shut up so I can kiss you."
She glares at him halfheartedly, but her hands are already roaming through familiar places so he knows she doesn't mind. He grins at her shamelessly as one hand snakes up her back, gently pushing her towards him for a few minutes of blissful silence. She pulls back to trail her lips up his neck as she moves her legs to straddle him.
"For the record Finn," she whispers against his ear, the vibration from her lips making him shiver. "I'm not going to have sex with you on my birth mother's couch."
He pulls back in surprise.
"You think I wanna do it here?" he asks. She looks at him, startled, her breathing ragged.
"What? I- um. No?"
They stare at each other for a few more seconds as his brain clears up. A slow grin spreads over his face as Rachel's face starts to burn up.
"I wasn't thinking about having sex in a teacher's house, you know, with her two year old kid sleeping in the next room," he starts slowly.
"Well- good. You shouldn't."
"You were," he says, grinning from ear to ear as his tiny girlfriend turns the brightest shade of red he thinks he has ever seen on a person.
"Shut up Finn."
"I never knew you were so kinky-"
He grunts in surprise when she suddenly pushes him, his head falling against the head of the couch with a thud as she kisses him vigorously. He grips her waist to keep her from sliding off, her hands fisted in his hair, kissing him so thoroughly he almost forgets his own name.
"I was not thinking that," she mumbles against his lips when they come up for air.
"Mmhmm," he mumbles noncommittally, pulling her back to him.
She totally was.
A/N: Tried to Christmas-fy the fic as best I could. Merry Christmas to all of you too!