i haven't written angst in ages, so i apologize for the poor quality this is probably in, haha.
prompted by the lovely desty who was having a bout of finchel feelings, although i think i kind of wrote something completely different than what she was expecting, haha. dedicated as always to the wonderful miss mary gael :)
title is from the song 'spores' by say anything
i miss you more tonight
He doesn't know why they fall apart, but they do. Suddenly they're fighting more as graduation looms, suddenly she's talking about how she can't go to New York tied down for the rest of her life.
Suddenly, she gives him back his ring.
He feels like he's been punched in the stomach that first week of May, and he can't even blink back his tears as she walks away, her shoulders hunched, her arms wrapping around herself. He doesn't know why she's doing this, why she suddenly thinks she can't have it all.
He tries to call her and get her to change her mind, even ambushes her at her house, but she refuses to listen.
"We can't do this anymore Finn!" she shrieks at him after she finds him waiting on her porch. "We can't pretend like we're going to be okay."
He stares at her, his blood running cold, numbness spreading throughout his body. Finally, he finds his words.
"I wasn't pretending."
He leaves then, and he stops trying to make her see. Maybe he was a fool, thinking they could get married and go to New York together and live happily ever after. Maybe that's not what she wanted at all.
He tries to convince himself he'll be better off, but he doesn't believe it.
He ends up going to school in Ohio, because New York doesn't sound appealing anymore. It's tainted with Rachel; the name of the city alone brings bile to his tongue. Kurt tries to get him to come along anyway, but he refuses.
"I can't," he tells him hollowly. He seems to be a lot hollower now that she's gone. "You know I can't."
"You were great together," Kurt reminds him quietly, and it's like a knife to the heart, because doesn't he think he knows that? "I'm sure she just needs a reminder."
"She made it clear that she doesn't," Finn cuts him off, his voice curt. "So I appreciate the attempt to help but…" His voice cracks on the last word, and he takes a second to clear his throat. "It – it looks like it's too late."
Kurt frowns, but he doesn't press the matter, and the next day, he leaves for New York with Rachel.
It hurts, everything hurts, and he doesn't know when it'll stop hurting.
He dates a few girls while he's at the University of Cincinnati, but nothing ever gets serious. He doesn't want to put himself out there like that again, and frankly, he's not sure if he ever will be able to. Part of him still loves Rachel, still loves her a lot, and he's pretty sure he always will.
He talks to Kurt from time to time, and he usually doesn't even ask, but Kurt gives him updates on her anyway. "She misses you, you know," he says sometimes. "She doesn't say as much, but I can tell. Sometimes she just locks herself in her room and plays 'Faithfully' on loop for hours, and she doesn't even sing, Finn, because – she doesn't think I know this but I do – because she's crying too hard."
"Why are you telling me this?" he asks, his voice cracking as he presses the phone closer to his ear.
"Please, just talk to her," Kurt pleads. "Come visit for a weekend or something, talk it out. You both still love each other, and this is kind of ridiculous."
"Kurt, I can't," he says shortly. "She wants to do this New York thing on her own, and I have to respect that."
"Did you ever think maybe she changed her mind?"
Finn pauses, but he doesn't answer. Kurt sighs, changing the subject, but Finn's not even paying attention, because all he can think about is Rachel, curled up in a ball on her bed, sobbing as their song plays through her ipod dock.
He feels another pang in his chest, and he feels guilty even though he shouldn't. She broke up with him. She gave him his ring back. He shouldn't care that she's upset, shouldn't want to fly to New York and hold her and tell her that it will be okay.
He does, though, and he hates it.
Kurt finally convinces him to come out on his spring break, which is a week before NYADA's, and his heart pounds in his chest when he and Kurt arrive back at the apartment. Rachel doesn't even acknowledge him as he comes in, but to be fair, she's on the phone, talking in urgent, low tones. She shoots an anxious glance his way, and he gulps.
"You'll be fine," Kurt murmurs, setting his bag down. "I have to go downstairs quickly and speak to our landlord, but I'll be back in a jiffy."
He leaves then, and it's just Finn and Rachel standing alone in her and Kurt's apartment, an awkward silence hanging in the air as she hangs up the phone.
"Er… hi," he tries.
She nods. "Hello, Finn."
"So… uh, how are you?"
She gives him a small, halfsmile. "Fine. And you?"
"Pretty good," he says with a nod. "I'm at the University of Cincinnati and I'm majoring in education, hoping to do something with music education, maybe a teacher like Mr. Schue, I think."
"Kurt told me," she responds, her voice cold enough to make him flinch. She seems to startle herself though, and her eyes soften, and she's almost looking at him the way she used to – the way she did when she loved him, when he thought they would be together forever. "But that's great, Finn," she adds. "I'm really happy for you."
He nods. "Thanks, Rach. I'm – I'm really happy for you, too."
Kurt comes back in then, his babbling chatter quickly filling the room, and Finn notices Rachel slip quietly into her room, her gaze flickering onto him once more before she closes the door behind her.
Kurt conveniently forgets his wallet when he, Finn, and Rachel go out for lunch two days later, and he has to go back to the apartment to get it.
"Kurt," Rachel hisses as he gets up from the table, but he waves her aside, saying that the apartment is only two blocks away so he'll be back in a flash.
"I can go get it for youif you want," Finn offers, but Kurt violently shakes his head, his eyes practically bugging out of their sockets.
"No, no!" he squeaks. "You stay here, catch up, I'll be back!"
And with that, he's gone.
Finn sighs, rubbing a hand on the back of his neck, staring intently at the faded wood of the table. "I'm really sorry about this, Rach. I – I can go if you want…"
"No, no," she replies tersely, but she's looking at her napkin instead of his face. "It – It's fine. I mean, just because we're no longer together doesn't mean we're not friends, right?"
She glances up at him from beneath her dark eyelashes, and he nods. "Yeah," he echoes. "Friends."
She sighs. "I – I really have missed you, Finn. I'm sorry I didn't call or – or ask how you've been doing…"
"I missed you, too," he admits quietly. "And it's fine – really," he adds when she her mouth opens and she looks like she might interrupt. "Don't worry about it. We can move forward now, as friends, alright?"
She gives him a small smile and echoes his phrase. "Alright."
His heart hurts somewhat less now that they're talking, and he smiles a bit as she launches into a description of the play she's currently in at NYADA, and he realizes how much he really has missed this – missed her – because, above all things, she was his best friend first. He's glad to have her back, if not in quite the way he's hoped.
He and Rachel start talking more often after he goes back home to Ohio, and he texts her at least once a day. His conversations with her start becoming the best part of his day, and he knows that he's falling in love with her all over again. He wonders if she feels the same way, but he doesn't dare ask.
He knows she won't let herself feel that way again that easily.
So for now, he just clings on to their budding friendship, the little smiley faces she tacks on to the end of her messages and the sound of her laugh when he gets the guts to call her. He's falling fast, falling all over again, and he's scared of what all this means.
He should be trying to get over her, but he can't. Rachel's still the one she wants, even when she's miles away.
Do you ever think about all the happy times we shared?
He stares down at the message, his heart pounding in his chest. He should probably type 'sometimes' or 'why does it matter?' in response, but he takes a deep breath before his fingers begin to move over the keys, forming three simple words.
Yes. Do you?
Her reply is seemingly instantaneous, and his blood pounds in his ears as he opens her message.
Yeah, I do. We were great together, weren't we?
He doesn't text back. He doesn't know how to reply without bringing up the pain she left him in or telling her that they still could be. He can't do that to her. So he just shuts off his phone and rolls over, squeezing his eyes shut as he attempts to go to sleep.
He flies to New York on a whim on a Saturday in May. He can't explain it – he just has to see Rachel, and he kind of wants to surprise her. He texted Kurt to let him know he was coming, and Kurt said he wasn't home, but Rachel should be.
He hesitates, then he raises his fist, knocking at the door.
He hears giggling, then footsteps, and then the door swings open, revealing Rachel, bright-eyed and smiling, wearing nothing but socks and a shirt that's way too big for her. A man's shirt.
Her smile fades. "Finn? Wh – What are you doing here?"
"Rachel?" A guy's voice is coming from the direction of her bedroom, and Finn thinks he might be sick.
"I – I'm sorry," he says quickly. "I shouldn't have come here, I'm sorry." He backs away, turning to go, because he can't look at her and he needs to get out of here, needs to get out, needs to just go.
"Finn," she says, her voice breaking, and he slowly turns around. "I…"
"Hey, you don't owe me an explanation," he tells her quickly. "I – I should have called first or – or not come at all. It's fine." He swallows thickly, taking a few more steps backward. "Fine," he repeats, and he hopes she can't hear the anguish in his voice.
He turns and starts walking again, stuffing his hands in his pockets and ignoring her when she calls after him, begging him to wait, her voice cracking and breaking, just like his heart.
He feels stupid. He has nowhere else to go in this stupid town, so he finds himself in the café a few blocks away he went to with Kurt and Rachel when he was here over spring break, the one where he and Rachel decided to be friends again. He orders a coffee – black – but he doesn't drink it. He just stares into the cup, hoping that if he stares long enough, he can just fall right in.
He thought the first heartbreak was bad, but this one is even worse, because at least there wasn't someone else involved the first time. He and Rachel were just falling apart. Now it seems like she's moving on, and it hurts because he knows that she has every right to. He just thought she might still feel the same way that he does, like they were a part of something special.
He nearly dumps his coffee in surprise as he looks up to see Rachel standing at his table, wringing her hands and biting her lip. She's wearing clothes now, so he figures that's an improvement.
"Can I sit for a second?"
He has half a mind to say 'no,' because this conversation is surely only going to hurt more, but he nods, not meeting her gaze. "How did you even know I was here?"
"Well, it was either here or the airport," she points out. "You didn't really see much of the city on your first trip." She pauses, then she adds, "I'm glad it was here you chose to come, though. I didn't really want to try to chase you down at the airport."
He can see her smile, the corners of her mouthing turning up, but he doesn't smile back. "Why are you here, Rachel? Shouldn't you be at your apartment?"
She sighs. "Look, Finn, I'm sorry you had to see that, but you should have called—"
"I know," he snaps, cutting her off. "I'm – I'm stupid and I should've called. I know."
She frowns, placing her hand hesitantly on top of his. He jerks his hand away.
"You're not stupid, Finn," she tells him, her voice soft, and for the first time since she sat down, he looks at her, really looks at her. Her brown are eyes are soft, probing. "Never stupid."
"I was stupid for thinking that you'd wait for me. That you'd see that you didn't mean those things you said," he points out quietly before he can stop himself. "I was stupid for thinking that maybe you still wanted me after all, that I still meant something to you."
He sees her eyes fill with tears then, and her voice wobbles as she speaks, "Finn, I had no idea—"
"How bad it hurt when you gave me back my ring? When you didn't want to marry me after all, didn't want me to go to New York with you? How it made me realize that I'm truly not good enough?"
She looks like he's slapped her. "Finn…"
"Just forget it," he snaps, throwing a few bills down on the table to pay for his still-untouched coffee. "Just… forget it, Rachel, and forget me. You're pretty good at that, anyway."
He leaves then, pushing the door open and walking out into the city, looking desperately for a cab.
He needs to get to the airport. Coming here was a bad idea. He shouldn't have thought they could ever make it in the first place.
She tries texting him for weeks after he leaves New York, and she even tries calling him a few times, but he doesn't answer, doesn't pick up. Trying to be friends was stupid, and if he's going to truly move on, he has to start by ignoring her, pretending she doesn't exist. It can't hurt anymore than the image of her being with someone else, so he has to try.
He goes on a few dates with a few girls, but nothing ever clicks, and he still just feels so empty. He wants to get over Rachel, really, truly wants it for the first time in his life, but it just doesn't seem like it's a possibility for him.
The semester ends and he heads back to Lima, his summer plans mostly revolving around working four days a week at Burt's auto shop. He remembers when his summers used to revolve around Rachel, but he forces himself to forget. Thinking about her won't do any good anymore. He needs to move on.
He's working in the shop on a day at the beginning of June, grease already covering his face, when she walks in, looking nervous.
He freezes when he sees her, and she smiles timidly at him.
"Kurt's not here," he says shortly. "And neither is Burt. Kurt's probably with Blaine, and Burt's out for lunch with Mom, so whatever you need, you'll have to come back later."
"Actually," Rachel says slowly, shyly almost, placing a lock of hair behind her ear, "I was hoping that I could… talk to you?"
He does his best to ignore the pounding of his heart in his chest, to keep his expression blank. "I think we've already done enough talking, Rachel."
"No," she corrects, "you did all the talking. I think, with all due respect to you, that it's my turn now."
He just stares at her for a second, but she looks so determined, the familiar Rachel Berry glint in her eye, that he has to sigh, wiping his hands off on a towel. "Okay," he says. "Shoot."
"When I… ended things with you, senior year," she begins, "I – I was scared, Finn, I was so scared. I've never felt about anyone the way I feel about you. It's just… how many people feel that when they're eighteen years old? I just… somehow I got this idea in my head that New York would break us, mangle us and make us unrecognizable. Different people. And I didn't want that. So I decided to break us first."
His tongue darts out to wet his suddenly chapped lips, but his eyes don't leave her face.
"I am so sorry I hurt you so badly. I am. I – I loved you so much, and I was stupid, and foolish. I should have talked to you about it, but I didn't and I – I regret it, so much." She takes in a deep breath. "I regret letting you go so easily, especially when you refused to let go of me."
She takes in a deep breath, then she continues. "Then, all those months later, you showed up in New York, and I was scared of being close to you, scared of feeling that way I've always felt when I'm around you – like I need you. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to keep my feelings in check. But you – you were perfect, as usual, and so kind even though I didn't deserve it, and it was so easy to be your friend again, to get some part of you back. That was selfish of me, but I couldn't resist. I wanted you, in some way or another. And I wanted to think that you wanted me, too."
He did want her, but he doesn't say that aloud. He doesn't want to interrupt and break the spell.
"Then we fell into that pattern, talking every day, and I was falling in love with you all over again. I didn't think it was a good thing. I didn't know where you stood, and I didn't want to get ahead of myself. I didn't think I had the right. So I started seeing guys, started flirting and putting myself out there, and – and some of the dates were fun, but they were all lacking one thing." Her eyes are shining with tears now, and some of them begin to clog her throat. "They weren't you."
He feels a little lightheaded. This can't be happening. He must have fallen asleep on his break, because things like this don't happen.
"I – I didn't s-sleep with that guy that was at my apartment, Finn," she says, a tear slipping down her cheek. "I couldn't. I knew that before I got there. Things g-got heated, but I was already freezing up. His hands didn't feel right, and his lips weren't made for mine – not like yours. And then, magically, you showed up, and it was l-like a sign. I wanted to tell you everything right then – how I loved you still, how nothing was going on – but you had already left. And I knew that I had I hurt you all over again, and it killed me. So I went after you, but you made it clear that it was too late. And for a while, I accepted that."
She sniffs, wiping at her eyes. He wants to grab her hand and kiss it, but he refrains.
"Then I realized that it's never too late for us, Finn, because – it's like you used to say back in high school – we're tethered. No matter what happens, no matter how much time passes, we'll find a way back to each other. So this is me, standing in front of you, telling you that I'm not giving up on us. I love you, Finn, and when you love someone, you fight for them—"
He cuts her off then by grabbing her face in his hands and pressing his lips urgently against hers. His hands are covered in grease, but she doesn't seem to mind, whimpering a bit as she clutches the back of his neck, keeping him as close to her as possible.
She has a smudge of grease on her cheek as he pulls away, but she doesn't move to wipe it away, beaming up at him instead, her eyes still shining. "So does this mean you love me again?" she breathes.
"Oh, baby," he whispers, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear, "I never stopped."
Another slides down her cheek, and he wipes it away with his thumb before kissing her again.
They spend their summer in Lima getting reacquainted with one another. They're together practically every day and they stay up into the late hours of the night, making up for lost time. He can't believe he went a year without kissing her, a year without feeling her moving under him, a year without hearing her gasp out his name as she comes.
"Was there anyone else?" she asks as he kisses his way up the inside of her thigh, her back arching as his palm finds her breast.
"Only you," he promises, his thumb flicking over her nipple, the sound of her ragged breathing the only sound he hears. "Only you."
She sighs, writing the words 'I love you' against his chest as he pushes into her and begins to move, and he murmurs the words into her collar bone, reveling in the feel of her, of being around her, inside her, completely and irrevocably in love with her.
Afterwards, she curls into him, her breathing soft and slow, her hand covering his heart. "It's beating really fast," she whispers into the darkness, her eyelashes fluttering against his jaw.
"It's always been yours," he promises, taking her hand and kissing her fingertips.
"Mine has always belonged to you as well," she promises. "And it always will."
He kisses her, and for the first time since before she shattered his heart, he feels whole.
He heads back to school a week after she heads back to New York, and he misses her already, but they already set up a Skype date for later in the evening, and he knows she won't break a promise. This school year's already looking up, and he's glad to have not only his girlfriend back, but his best friend back as well.
Kurt keeps sending him texts that say 'I told you so' and 'please try not to be too sickening with your messages to Rachel, if she squeals one more time I may barf,' but Finn knows that Kurt's secretly happy they're back together.
His phone dings, and he looks down at the new message on his screen.
Break a leg :) xoxo
He grins before typing out an 'I love you.'
He flies up to New York on some weekends and she comes back to Ohio on others, so, despite living in different states, they spend as much time as possible together. Sometimes Kurt comes back with Rachel when she comes to Ohio, but usually she comes alone, and Finn meets her at the airport, spinning her around when he sees her and pressing kisses to her cheeks.
She giggles as he sets her down, grinning up at him before pulling his face down to hers, and he thinks that this is how it's supposed to be, how it should've been for the beginning.
He doesn't dwell on the past anymore though, because all that matters now is the present and the future.
"I missed you," he breathes into her hair, wrapping an arm around her as she picks up her bag.
"I missed you, too," she says softly, smiling up at him, leaning into his shoulder. "It's been a long week, so I'm glad that you're finally here next to me."
He kisses her forehead, and he's glad that he can be the person she counts on to help unwind when she's stressed or feeling down. He wants to be that person for as long as she'll let him.
He's just finishing up his third year at the University of Cincinnati when he decides to tell Rachel his plans for after college. Her face is peering at him interestedly through his computer screen, and he takes a deep breath, hoping she doesn't laugh at him or think he's stupid.
"So, after college, I was thinking that maybe…" He takes another deep breath in. Rachel looks like she's leaning forward, literally on the edge of seat. "Maybe I could move to New York."
A slow smile spreads across her face. "Really?" she asks, almost as if she doesn't dare believe it. "You'd want to move out here?"
"Well, yeah," he says slowly. "I mean, there are teachers in New York, and who's to say I have a better chance of getting a teaching job here in Ohio then there in the city or the surrounding area? Plus, it's where you'll be, so…"
"Oh, Finn!" she squeals, practically jumping up and down in her seat. "If I could, I would kiss you right now!"
"So you're okay with the idea?" he asks, to clarify.
"Yes!" she shrieks. "Yes, of course! We can get our own apartment and be an actual New York couple, paying for our own rent and getting extra jobs to make ends meet. It'll be wonderful."
He smiles in relief as she babbles on about the life they'll share together, and he thinks about how much he loves this girl.
"Finn?" Her voice pulls him out of his reverie.
"Are you okay?"
He smiles. "Oh, yeah, I was just thinking about how much I love you and how lucky I am to call you mine."
She's blushing; he can tell even through the somewhat crappy connection on the computer screen, but she says she loves him, too.
He doesn't think he'll ever get tired of hearing her say that.
It's Christmas break of their final year of college when he gets up the courage to propose to her (again). He hides the ring box amongst the presents with a bow on top, and it's the last present she grabs at the Hudson-Hummel gathering on Christmas morning. Her eyes go wide when she looks over to see Finn on one knee, and her lips move, but no sound comes out.
"Rachel," he says, his lips turning upwards into a smile, and he can practically hear his mom gasp as she realizes what's going on. "You can marry me if you want to."
She breaks out into a watery grin, wiping at her eyes. "I want to," she manages to get out, wrapping her arms around him and kissing the side of his neck.
His mom lets out a loud sob, and Rachel laughs as she pulls away, holding out her hand so Finn can put on the ring, just like he did nearly four years ago after she accepted his first proposal. He admires it there for a moment before his mom is engulfing both of them in a hug, Kurt right behind her, already chattering about wedding details and color pallets.
Finn just grins, looking around at his family, at his fiancée, and he can't imagine a better Christmas.
They get married in the summer, in a simple ceremony just outside of New York City. Kurt's the maid (well, man) of honor and Puck is Finn's best man, and it's kind of a hybrid between a traditional ceremony and a Jewish one. Finn thinks it's perfect, and judging by the wide smile on Rachel's face and the tears in her eyes, she does too.
Finally he's told that he can kiss the bride, and he can't believe that Rachel's all his now, for the rest of forever. He dips her a little bit as he kisses her, and he feels her smile against his lips.
They're announced as Mr. and Mrs. Hudson, and he feels his heart swell in his chest as he looks down at her. "You're so beautiful," he murmurs as they exit the church, and she smiles and squeezes his hand in response.
The reception is great. He manages not to step on Rachel's feet during their first dance, and Puck manages to not be too crude in his best man speech. Rachel looks stunning and he keeps having to pinch himself because this is real, this is happening. She's his and he's hers, and they have the rest of forever. They're moving into their apartment in the city after they get back from their honeymoon, and then he has several positions to apply for at inner city schools with openings.
His life is certainly looking up, and he can't wait to share it with Rachel, to accomplish everything with her right by his side. Looking back, he wouldn't change anything about their story, about their path to each other, because it led them right to where they are today.
"What are you thinking about?" Rachel asks, touching his arm lightly. They're both sitting at the wedding party table, and her hand is firmly clasped in his own.
"You," he confesses. "Us. Our future."
"It's going to be great," she says, her eyes bright. "Absolutely perfect, Finny."
He presses a kiss to her knuckles. "I love you."
She leans her head against his shoulder. "I love you, too."
He can't help but think that this is the beginning of a new chapter in his life, possibly the greatest one of all.
thank you so much for reading, and reviews (as always) are appreciated! :)