Title: Summer Nights

Author: CSM

Disclaimer: I don't own Glee

Summary: AU. He never thought the little girl, he ran into when he was 10, would turn out to be the most important person in his life. A series of summers showing the progression of Finn and Rachel's relationship.

AN: As some of you may know I started this fic a while back and planned to post it in full, but 30,000 words later and I decided to break it up into chapters for each summer. Thanks to tiltingaxis and Katherine for encouraging me and helping me with this fic :)


Summer Nights


i.

He is 10 when his Mom finally lets him go to one of those "going away" summer camps. He feels like such a big kid, packing his bag and being away from his mom for the first time ever. The camp was five hours away and he gets to take a bus with the other kids and everything.

His mom cries when he leaves, as he sits on the bus, gazing out the window and to wave at her. One of the older kids laugh, and he tries to discreetly hide his stray tear as he watches her figure slowly dwindle on in the distance. He is not a baby, he keeps reminding himself, ignoring the heavy weight on his chest. He is a big kid, 10 years old and getting to go off for a whole two months without his mom. He wasn't some puny kindergartener crying for his Mommy. So he sucks it up and gets sucked into all the camp songs the camp counsellors make them sing to pass time.

He's sharing a cabin with six other boys. He gets stuck on the top bunk 'cause the other boys got to it before he could. The kid below him, his name is Sam Evans and he's almost a foot taller than Finn. In fact all the boys in his cabin were taller and bigger than he is. He's tiny for his age, a scrawny skinny boy with messy dark brown hair, but his mom tells him not to worry. He'll get big and tall, just like his dad was before he died.

The camp has various teams according to gender and age and he along with the other boys in his cabin and the one in Cabin 4F are part of the Blue Dragons. They along with the girls team, he thinks they call them their sister team, the Pink Flamingos do everything together. And today they are playing tag football, boys vs. girls, and he was the last one in the shower 'cause the other boys think just because they are bigger than him, that means they can push him around and so he ends up getting the last shift in the shower again. He's running through one of the dirt paths behind the camp counsellors' cabins, tugging his Blue Dragons team shirt over his head, when he collides with something soft. A small scream follows as he and the person go tumbling down.

"Oh I'm sorry!" Finn says as he rubs his chest where he collided with said person.

He looks across to see a girl no older than him, dressed in matching uniform like he is, white sneakers and khaki pants, but instead of the Blue Dragons shirt like his, she's wearing a Pink Flamingo's team shirt and right on the centre of her shirt is a large dirt stain. When Finn looks at her face, he sees her lower lip tremble, her eyes beginning to fill with tears as she holds one of her knees to her chest. Finn winces when he sees a small trickle of blood slowly making its way down her knee.

"It hurts!" She sobs out clutching her knee, tears rolling down her cheeks.

"I'm sorry! I didn't see you!" Finn says, panicked, inching closer to her to look at the cut, "I have band aids back in my room. I can get it for you?"

The girl bobs her head, tears still rolling down her cheeks as one of her pigtails fall limply over her shoulder, some of it already coming out of the rubber band at the end, "Okay."

"I'll be right back." Finn promises

He runs to his cabin as quickly as possible, yanking open the door and making a bee line for his suitcase, grabbing the little first aid kit his mom packed for him and tugging the box of Finding Nemo band aids, leaving the open bag on Sam's messy bed. He reaches back to the girl in record time and drops in front of her, taking the tail end of his shirt to wipe the blood off gently.

"Sorry," he apologizes, wincing as she whimpers. He then holds ups two band aids for her, "Nemo or Dory?"

"Dory, please," she sniffles, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand.

Finn gently eases either side of the tabs open and places the band aid on the small cut. Once he finishes smoothing out the band aid, and before he thinks about it, he leans forward and presses his lips briefly on it and then pulls back, his cheeks flaming, "All better. That's what my mom always does."

The girl nods, smiling brightly, "My daddy too, and then he gives me chocolate."

Finn giggles. "My mom only gives me ice cream when it's really bad. When I broke my arm last year, I got all the ice cream I wanted!"

"Oh no, did you get a cast and everything?" She asks eagerly, folding her legs in front of her, her cut all but forgotten, "My papa is a pediatrician, that's a kids doctor, and he does those all the time, I never got one though. My daddy builds huge buildings and stuff."

"You have two dads?" Finn asks in awe, "That's so cool."

"What does your dad do?" She asks innocently.

"Oh, my dad died when I was a baby, but my mom said he fought in the Army. He had like big guns and stuff. My dad's a hero, we have like all of his medals hanging up in the living room. "

"Finn! Rachel!" A new voice calls out, and Finn looks across to see Anthony one of the junior camp counsellors running up to them,

"There you two are. We've been looking for you all over! The game's about to start!"

"I cut my knee!" The girl, Rachel explains as she stands up brushing off her shorts, "And Finn was getting a bandage for me."

Finn nods as he gets up but before they could follow Anthony though, Rachel stops him and holds out her hand. Finn realizes she's too is also taller than him. She smiles at him brightly "My name is Rachel Barbra Berry, nice to meet you."

Finn grins as he shakes her hand in greeting, "Finn Christopher Hudson, why are we saying our full names?"

"Well I say it because I'm going to be a star one day and everyone will know my name." Rachel says confidently as the make their way towards the field. She loops her arm with Finn's and smiles down at him, "You're my new best friend."

"Okay," Finn agrees, allowing her to tug him along the trail towards the football field. He knows he should be slightly freaked out by her declaration. They aren't five, people don't just decide to be friends like that, but he figures he threw her down and caused her to scrape her knee and she didn't rat him out to the counsellor. That's what he calls a friend.

For the rest of the summer, he and Rachel are inseparable. The boys in his cabin tease him all the time about being friends with a girl. Dave even tells Finn, he'll get cooties 'cause all girls have that, which Finn thinks is the stupidest thing ever. Besides, Finn's been around his mom all his life and he never got that.

Rachel tells him to just ignore them and in a few years when biology kicks in they'd be in for a rude awakening and regret it all. Finn has no clue what she means by that, but he's gotten used to the fact that he's not going to understand half of what Rachel's says 'cause she's really smart and Finn feels like he's just a bit smarter because he's around her all the time.


ii.

By the next summer vacation, Finn can't wait to get back to camp and tell Rachel all about the last year and when they finally to see each other, it's like a whole year hadn't passed and everything just stayed the same.

Well not everything. He's grown a bit so now he and Rachel are the same height, and Rachel no longer has her bangs, but she still wears her little dresses or sometimes a skirt and a sweater with a little animal print on it. So basically they are still the same two people.

The boys still tease him relentlessly about Rachel, but this time the new boy, Sebastian calls Rachel Finn's girlfriend and he has all the other boys teasing Finn as well and tells them to shut up about it, but they a relentless in their teasing.

Rachel isn't Finn's girlfriend, Finn's neighbour, Annie, who babysits him sometimes when his mom works later, she's 15 and sometimes her boyfriend comes over when she's babysitting. Finn sees what those two get up too, when he comes downstairs for a late night snack when he's suppose to be sleeping, Annie is always kissing her boyfriend or holding his hand, once she was sitting on her boyfriends lap and well Finn ran back upstairs before he could see anything else.

He does not what to do those things with Rachel, he and Rachel just hang out, he likes teaching her how to play baseball and this summer she taught him how to swim in the lake, sometimes she even sings for him and this summer she learned some of his favourite songs and they sing along together. Finn doesn't think that makes her his girlfriend; that just means she's an awesome best friend for learning some of his favourite songs. His favourite by far is when they sing along to Journey, Rachel got the new iPod nano for her birthday and she made an entire play lists of songs for them to sing along with, and this one actually has an option to save the lyrics unlike Finn's old iPod that just has songs on it so they both have songs they like and they teach other some of their favourites.

Rachel is just really awesome like that, remembering all of his favourite songs from the summer before and getting new songs for him that she thinks he will like, and he loves almost all of them.

"I hate washing dishes," Finn moans as he sticks his hand into the pile or dirty dishes, wrinkling his face in disdain.

The Blue Dragons and Pink Flamingos got stuck with cleaning up the mess hall this evening and Finn pulled washing duty, but as luck would have it, Rachel also got that, seeing as the two teams mostly work in pairs. But it didn't change the fact that Finn hated washing the dishes.

Rachel, who had been drying for the past 10 minutes, rolls her eyes and holds out the dishcloth. "Here lets switch, you big baby."

"Hey!" Finn says indignantly as he turns around accidently flicking soap studs at her, some of them landing right on her nose. When he sees her shocked expression, he can't help but giggle in response, "Whoops."

"Finn!" Rachel squeals

Before Finn realizes what she's doing Rachel scoops up some of the soap studs along with water in the palm of her hands and splashes Finn with it.

"Hey! I didn't wet you on purpose!" Finn complains, immediately retaliating as he sticks his hand under the running faucet and spraying Rachel entire face with streams of water.

She splutters in disbelief at him, her eyes wide, the small bit of soap studs on her nose all but washed away. Her hair is wet, little bits are clinging to her face and Finn is already doubling over in laughter at her facial expression. She looks like drowned rat.

"I'm going to get you!" She yells, grabbing one of the clean bowls she just dried and filling it up with water and then slowly begins to make her way towards Finn, holding the bowl high up in the air as she grins tauntingly at him

"You wouldn't!" Finn says in alarm already backing away from her, his hands going up in defence, "C'mon Rach, I'm sorry. We're gonna get in trouble if we make mess."

Finn has to bite the inside of his cheek to keep from smiling; when his words do exactly what he hopes for. Rachel stops in her tracks, after a few seconds, her shoulders slump in defeat and she walks back to the sinks emptying the bowl. If it's one thing that will always stop her is the idea of getting in trouble, Rachel never likes to break the rules, so Finn's strategy works like a charm.

Rachel then holds out the dishcloth she was using to dry the dishes, "You're right and it's almost time for stories around the campfire and we're still in our uniforms.

Finn nods in agreement and walks back to the sink, taking the dishcloth from her as well as the now empty bowl and dries it quickly, resting it back on the rack of already dried dishes. They work in unison for the rest of the time while he begins to whistle the Lost Boys song from Peter Pan, he looks across at Rachel and she giggles in response, elbow deep in the dirty dishes.

"Following the Leader. The Leader

Following the Leader.

Wherever they may go"

She sings along and to Finn's amazement she starts making the 'dee doop' parts as well. Finn looks across at her and they both grin in exchange and continue washing and drying, Finn whistling and Rachel singing along.

"and the last one!" Rachel says dramatically as she hands Finn the final cup.

Finn grins taking it from her making a big show of getting it completely dry, which causes Rachel to giggle and clap when he finally places it on the rack. He turns around about ask her to bring her iPod to campfire games, cause tonight might be storytelling for the 6 year olds and usually her and Rachel sit in the back and listen to music, but before he could open his mouth a stream of water hits him straight in the face.

"Hey!" Finn splutters out in surprise, he wipes his eyes and looks at Rachel who's grinning at him slyly.

"Now we're even." She says with a smile, her cheeks red.

Finn shakes his head, the little bit of water on his face and hair splatter onto Rachel which causes her to giggle, he wipes his face in his t-shirt and grins, "You tricked..."

But he trials off when he suddenly feels Rachel lips on his, he freezes in surprise, his eyes wide and he barely registering the softness of her lips before she pulls back just as quickly, and before Finn could even blink Rachel runs out of the room, and he's still rooted in the spot not sure what just happened.

Later that evening Finn is sitting on the bleachers surrounded by some of the boys in his cabin, and there is no sign of Rachel, he's been waiting over 15 minutes, because they usually come early to get the back seats, but she's nowhere to be seen. He even stands on the bleachers hoping to catch a glimpse of her but gets yelled at by one of the junior camp counsellors before he could really look around.

The stories begin and still no sign of Rachel and Finn knows he can't go looking for her after because lights out is immediately after. So slumps in his seat hoping he'll get to talk to her tomorrow. He doesn't know what happened, or why she would do that, but he really hopes this doesn't mean he just lost his best friend nor does he hope he just got a girlfriend.

For the rest of the week Rachel totally ignores him and that pretty much gives him an answer to his question. Before he knows it, he's back on the bus home and he and Rachel have not said two words to each other. He feels so lost and confused, and usually when he does not understand something, he asks Rachel, but now he can't and just knowing that depresses him even more. So for the first time, he's not even excited to be going home to see his Mom like he usually is. He just goes to the back of the bus, slipping on his headphones, and blocking out the chatter around him, he hates the heavy feeling in his chest, when he thinks about Rachel, and he hates even more that he just doesn't understand what's going on.


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