Title: You Never Know (If You Never Try)
Ship: Finn/Mercedes, Rachel/Puck
Dedication: thebamcqueen and nitefang, my fellow Finncedes fans!
Word Count: 2,014
Summary: Mercedes only meant to run interference for her friend, but now she's in the arms of Finn Hudson and she can't say she hates it.
You Never Know (If You Never Try)
It was an impulse she wasn't sure she should, or could, regret.
Here she was at senior prom, wearing a gown she and Kurt had spent weeks poring over magazines and designing and having made specific to her, and she was in the arms of Titans quarterback Finn Hudson.
Now, she might say it wasn't a bad thing. Finn, although dopey at times, was a sweetheart with good intentions. And solid. Like, she wasn't trying to squeeze him or anything, but it was a slow song and her arms were around his neck, and good lord, what did his mama feed him because she felt like she was up on her tip-toes trying to reach. In any case, she was stretched against his long frame and while he wasn't exactly toned like Sam, he still had wide shoulders and a firm upper body that seemed to rub against hers with each move they made.
A couple years ago, this would be something out of a high school fantasy. Underrated and underappreciated diva with a voice to rival Beyonce herself getting the boy, white-bread as he was, on her big prom night. Only, Finn wasn't her boyfriend. He was a friend, a glee-mate, and currently she was really just doing her friend a favor.
See, Puck had won Prom King, not so surprising since despite the 'hawk and his usual lack of interest in buddying up to the people, he was still every shade of cool. But miraculously, Rachel had won Queen. Mercedes wasn't saying she stuffed the box – No, really, she wasn't, because she was pretty sure she'd learned her lesson the last time and with Nationals this close, she just wouldn't risk it – but something underhanded went down. Because much as she loved her fellow-diva, Mercedes knew the truth. And that was that outside of the glee club, and Jacob Ben Israel's freakish obsession – very few people liked Rachel. Especially not enough to vote her the Prom Queen. So maybe it was Puck, maybe it was Santana since she'd all but shottied Rachel as her favorite little dwarf, whoever it was, they were the reason Mercedes was in this mess.
And by mess, she meant dancing with a handsome boy to Santana and Quinn knocking Adele's One and Only out of the park. She wouldn't have dragged him out onto the dance floor if she hadn't seen that constipated look on his face as Puck took Rachel's hand and twirled her out, making her laugh and blush and look up at him like he hung the stars. Sure, Finn and Rachel had been broken up for months, but that didn't change the fact that seeing her happy with another boy had to hurt. That was the endless cycle of Finchel though; one she was seriously hoping wouldn't repeat before school let out and she could stop watching it.
As much as she drawing Finn out to dance had to do with him making him feel better, it also had to do with him not ruining the moment. Rachel was her girl, as crazy and dramatic and demanding as she was. And the guy she wanted to be with, the guy she wanted to have this big moment with, was Puck. So Mercedes did the only thing a good friend would, she eliminated any chance of interference.
She just hadn't thought it through.
Because now she was inches away from a boy who smelled amazing. Like, what was that? Woodsy and masculine and soapy fresh. She smiled each time she breathed in, getting another draw of that purely Finn scent. Her cheek was pressed to the firm chest of a boy who was the All-American dream. More than that, he was goofy and sweet and one crooked smile made her feel pretty and feminine. And now that she was actually moving with him, swaying side to side, his big hands low on her back, she felt her breath stutter from her lips.
Mercedes would be the first to admit that she could throw around the confidence whenever she needed to, wagging her fingers and snaking her neck to get her point across. But when it came to being loved, being wanted and desired…? She faltered. When she thought about the girls Finn had dated – Santana, Rachel, Quinn – they all had one thing in common. They were thin. Now, don't get her wrong. Mercedes loved herself. She loved her curves and her booty and her soft, dark skin. And she sure as hell loved what mama gave her in the cleavage department. But sometimes, when she looked at boys like Finn and she wanted them, she reminded herself that they weren't looking for a girl like her.
Even now, pressed up close to him, she wondered if he felt awkward; if he didn't like how she looked, how she felt. She was in love with herself when she left; she loved how shapely her dress made her, emphasizing curves in all the right places. But now she felt insecurity hollow out her stomach, making her palms sweat and her nerves raw. Or maybe that was because Finn was so close she swore she could hear his heartbeat.
I don't know why I'm scared, I've been here before
Every feeling, every word, I've imagined it all,
You never know if you never try
To forgive your past and simply be mine
"I know what you're doing," he said, bending his head so she could hear him better.
Her eyes widened. "You… You do?" Panic welled in her throat.
"Yeah, sure…" He leaned back to look down at her, a half-smile tugging at his lips. "You think I'm gonna get in the way…" He nodded his head to his right.
Confusion reigned for a half a second, before she realized and, despite her former fear that he knew how much she was enjoying dancing with him, she felt disappoint hit her hard. Mercedes turned and looked at where his gaze had landed. Funny how she'd originally thought dancing with Finn would help out her friends but she hadn't looked at them once since Finn put his arms around her.
As expected, they were wrapped up close in each other. Mercedes wasn't even sure what they were doing could be called dancing since Puck had buried his face in Rachel's neck, his plastic crown sitting crooked, and they were mostly just swaying as they held onto each other, whispering back and forth. Puck's fingers moved deftly up and down Rachel's exposed back while she scrubbed her nails down the nape of his neck, combing through the tail of his 'hawk. It was intimate; careless of the outside world.
She smiled somewhat sadly; wanting a moment like it for herself.
"It's okay," Finn told her.
Brows furrowed, she looked up at him. "What?"
"I'm not gonna do anything…" He shook his head, shrugging a shoulder. "I mean, yeah, at first, I was… I was mad…" He nodded, frowning now.
Mercedes noticed that while he'd pulled away to talk, his hands were still on her hips and he was still shuffling his feet side to side. He was by no means a great dancer, but at the very least he hadn't stepped on her feet… yet.
"It's okay, Finn… I know you love her." She shrugged, shaking her head. "It's gonna take some time to heal and… Her and Puck? That can't be easy."
"That's it though…" He smiled down at her. "Like, Rachel and me… I—I dunno. It sucked when we broke up, but…"
He squeezed her hips and she bit her lip, eyes widening slightly. She wasn't even sure he knew he did it. She could feel the imprint of his fingers through her dress like they were branding her; she half hoped they would bruise so she would have proof it happened.
"I'm kind of… over it… Y'know?" He tipped his head wonderingly, a brow quirked. "Like I still care about her, but… We're better not together. And happier…" He smiled. "Her and Puck? They…" He glanced over at his best friend and his ex-girlfriend. "They kinda make sense…"
Mercedes was shocked; her mouth hung agape.
Finn laughed at her, ducking his head, looking as boyish and handsome as ever. "Guess you wasted a dance on me, huh?"
She scoffed. "No, of course not…" She rubbed his shoulder comfortingly. Rolling her eyes, she added, "I mean, yeah, I was worried you might throw another fit like last year's prom…" She reminded with a raised brow.
He laughed under his breath.
"But you're not a waste, Finn… You… You're my friend," she told him, grinning.
"Then I'm lucky," he said, grinning that breathtaking smile of his. "'Cause you're a really great friend, Mercedes."
She smiled, ducking her head a little, partly because she was touched by his words, and partly because she wished they meant more than what they did.
But then his fingers were on her face, brushing dark curls back behind her ear, and he tipped her chin up so she was facing him again.
"Hey, I really mean that…" he told her sincerely. "You're like… the coolest girl I've ever known, y'know?"
Her eyebrows furrowed in confusion. "W-What?" she laughed awkwardly.
"No, really… You're… I dunno, you're just so smart and pretty and nice to like everybody. Like you didn't need to look out for me tonight, but you did. You're… kind of amazing…" He shrugged, looking abashed. "And you're so confident. In who you are and what you want and I just, I really like that…" He nodded, smiling. "That you're you and you just, go for what you want."
Mercedes stared up at him searchingly, at his warm brown eyes and the collection of freckles across the bridge of his nose. "I do…" she murmured. "I go for what I want… and what I deserve…"
"Yeah," he agreed, nodding happily.
Swallowing tightly, she looked up at him and wondered, "You're over Rachel?"
His brows furrowed for a moment before he finally said, "Yeah. Yeah, I think I am."
"Good…" She smiled. "Then when this song is over, I'd like to dance with you again…" She smiled, lifting a shoulder. "And I'd like it to be for just us, nobody else, no other reason." She lifted her chin determinedly. "I think you're a really sweet guy, Finn… And I—" She drew in a deep breath. "I think I'd like to see if maybe we could be more than friends, y'know, eventually."
His eyes widened and for a moment, all Mercedes felt was her heart racing and dread setting in. She just knew she was going to get the, 'Hey I think you're amazing but we should just be friends,' speech.
He smiled crookedly and drew her in closer. "I'm a really lucky guy," he told her, his arms sliding around her waist once more.
Grinning widely, Mercedes wrapped her arms around his neck and leaned into him, feeling joy and excitement and hope kick her heart into action.
So I dare you to let me be your, your one and only
I promise I'm worthy to hold in your arms
So come on and give me a chance
To prove that I'm the one who can
Walk that mile until the end starts
Come on and give me a chance
To prove that I'm the one who can
Walk that mile until the end starts
When the next song started, Mercedes spotted Rachel and Puck leaving the dance floor, arms wrapped around each other, direction set on the exit. Finn didn't pay any attention to it, he didn't get upset or show any sign that he was doubting what he'd just said. Instead, he twirled Mercedes around, and they laughed lightheartedly as he drew her back up into his chest, where she was sure now that she could hear his heart, beating just as fast as hers. And for that song and many more like it, Mercedes got her moment with a boy she wanted and who wanted her back.