this fic is loosely based on the television series 'scrubs,' specifically jd and elliot's romantic arc throughout all 8 seasons. i say loosely because it's not going to include everything that both of them went through and some things are going to be different, as well as the fact that finn and rachel are not the same characters as jd and elliot. i'm simply inserting these characters into a similar storyline so please keep that in mind!
this story will have five parts.
special thanks to robin, who came up with this idea for me to tackle :)
dedicated to mary gael, who assured me this wasn't as terrible as i thought it was, and amalia, who has a close connection to this plotline and said she didn't know if she wanted to punch me or hug me when she found out i was writing it.
my graceless heart, part one
He's actually working in an actual hospital. All of those years at school and all of those late nights studying have finally paid off, and he's actually interning in an actual hospital.
He almost has to pinch himself. It's all so surreal.
He feels a hand clap his shoulder. "Looks pretty good, don't it, Hud?"
He glances over at his best friend, Puck, then back up at the building. "Yeah," he says, "it does."
"Ready to be actual docs?" Puck asks, smirking as they head inside the building.
"I think so," Finn says. Hopes so, more like. "I mean, this is what we've been working toward for like, eight years, and now…" He takes in a deep breath. "We're actually doctors, dude."
"Astute observation, kiddo." The voice is sarcastic, and as the owner of the voice brushes past him, he notices it belongs to a tall woman with short, blonde hair and blue eyes that are in slits as she surveys the group of interns. "As Frankenstein pointed out," she says, addressing the group of seven or eight of them in front of her, "you are in fact doctors now. No more playing around, no more med school. This is the real deal. You will not be babied." She sends a glare in Finn's direction. He gulps, wondering what he could have possibly done already. "You will not be coddled. You are professionals, and you will be treated as such. Is that understood?"
"Excuse me, Dr… Sylvester, is it?"
Everyone, Finn and Dr. Sylvester included, turn to look at the smallest intern in the group, a girl with long, dark hair and big, brown eyes.
"Aren't we supposed to be here to learn?"
"It's Berry, actually, Rachel Berry."
Dr. Sylvester acts like she didn't hear her. "Streisand, you are here to learn, yes. But mostly, you're here to see if you're actually cut out for the profession you have oh so naively chosen. Not all of you will make it through your year as interns and go on to be residents. Those are just the facts. So, yes, you will be taught, and this will be a learning experience, but mostly, it'll be an experience. Does that make sense?"
Finn glances over at Puck, and he's glad to see he's just as confused as he is, because, quite frankly, that doesn't make sense, but the dark haired girl – Rachel – is nodding fervently, so he doesn't say anything.
He really hopes he can handle this. He thinks he can handle this. He can handle this, right?
Puck punches him in the shoulder. "Bro, we got this."
Finn nods. He can handle this. He's a doctor now.
He's not going to let one crazy lady of a doctor intimidate him.
He ends up working with Rachel more than he ends up working with Puck. Puck wants to be a surgeon, and Finn knows he definitely doesn't want to do that, although he isn't quite sure exactly where he wants to focus in on.
"It's perfectly normal to not know exactly what you want to do," Rachel tells him knowingly as they do rounds for Dr. Sylvester. "I mean, for the first year of college, I was a musical theater major before I decided I actually wanted to be premed!"
"Really?" Finn asks, raising his eyebrows.
Rachel nods, smiling.
"What made you change your mind?"
"I just realized that the medical field might be a little easier to get into than the Broadway stratosphere." She shrugs. "Plus I always did love anatomy and physiology, and how the body works, so I figured it was a good fit." She turns to survey him after she finishes changing out Mrs. Robinson's IV. "What about you, Finn? What made you choose medicine?"
He swallows, licking his dry lips. Rachel's wide brown eyes are probing, and she's really pretty, he's noticing, even if her nose is a little big and she likes to talk a lot. It just adds to her appeal, he thinks.
"I wanted to do something that would've made my dad proud," he says finally.
"Oh," Rachel says quietly. "Was he a doctor?"
He shakes his head. "He was a soldier. Died in Desert Storm. I never really knew him, but he was – he was a great man. And I knew it would kill my mom if I went into the army, but I figured… you know, if I was helping people, like he was, maybe it would've made him proud, you know?" He shakes his head, letting out a breath. "It's stupid, I know."
"It's not stupid," she says gently, setting her hand on his arm. Her hand is splayed against the fabric of his medical coat, her fingers tiny and dainty. "I – I don't have a mom, so I kind of understand. I mean, I have two fathers instead, and I never really felt like I was missing out, but – oh, this isn't really helping is it?"
"'S fine, Rach," he says easily, laughing a bit, because she's biting her lip, her expression worried, and she looks quite adorable, he has to admit.
"No one's ever called me that before," she admits quietly.
"What?" he asks.
"Oh, I can, like, not call you that if it bothers you—"
"No, no," she says decisively. "I think I like it."
He gives her a hesitant smile then, and she smiles back, smiles so wide he can see all of her pearly, white teeth, and right then and there, he knows Rachel Berry has the prettiest smile in the world.
He thinks he really likes Rachel, like really, really likes her, which Puck doesn't seem to understand.
"Like, bro, I agree she's hot and all, but you don't wanna get involved with that."
"Why not?" Finn asks, furrowing his brow.
"Dude," Puck says slowly. "She is crazy."
Finn rolls his eyes. "She is not. She's just, like enthusiastic about stuff, and yeah, she likes things to be neat and in order, but that doesn't mean she's crazy."
Puck looks at him in disbelief. "Yes, it does."
"Whatever," Finn says with a roll of his eyes. He flips through the chart he's supposed to be getting for Dr. Sylvester.
"Besides, I've got my sites on a real woman," Puck says, and Finn looks up just in time to see him waggle his eyebrows suggestively.
Finn scoffs. "Like who?"
Puck just grins, looking behind him.
Finn turns to see one of the nurses, Quinn, leaning over the counter, her blonde hair falling in her face as she scribbles something down.
He turns back to Puck in disbelief. "Quinn Fabray?" Puck nods, smirking. "Bro, you're dreaming. Quinn's way out of your league."
"Says who?" Puck says defiantly. "No one can resist the Puckzilla."
"And that's why," Finn deadpans, going back to his chart.
Puck ignores him. "Watch this," he says instead, maneuvering around Finn and heading to where Quinn's still bent over her paperwork.
Amused, Finn looks on as Puck taps Quinn on the shoulder. She already looks annoyed, one eyebrow raised, and her green eyes quickly narrow into slits. Puck says something else, and then she laughs, and Finn's pretty sure she's laughing at him, not with him.
Quinn turns to leave then with a roll of her eyes, picking up the chart she was scribbling on.
"I'll see you later!" Puck calls after her.
Finn can hear her laughter echoing down the hallway. Puck trudges back, a sour look on his face.
"So, how did it go?" Finn asks innocently.
"She'll give in soon enough," Puck says knowingly. "If there's one thing the Puckzilla knows how to do, it's how to wear down a woman."
Finn snorts. "Good luck with that."
"Yeah, well, at least I'm takin' chances, not whining about some girl I'm interested in but don't have the balls to do anything about."
Finn frowns, but he doesn't answer.
Puck may have a point.
He starts getting coffee with Rachel after shifts, just the two of them, from the Lima Bean just down the road. It's a friend thing (because they are friends, even though Finn can't help but feel things deeper than friendship) and nothing more; it's purely innocent.
He finds it so incredibly easy to talk to Rachel about anything and everything. He tells her about Puck's pursuit of Quinn, and how the other day, she'd actually giggled at one of his pick-up attempts, in a way that suggested she was caving.
"He really can wear a girl down," Rachel notes, her tone teasing.
"One of his many charming qualities," Finn says dryly.
Rachel giggles, taking another sip of coffee.
He just watches her for a moment, her dark hair framing her face, her brown eyes just visible over the rim of her coffee cup. She's so beautiful, but in a subtle way. He doesn't think she realizes just how beautiful she is.
Rachel puts down her cup of coffee with a smack of her lips, checking the time on her phone. "Shoot," she mutters. "I have to go."
Finn furrows his brow, so she adds, "My dads are in town and I have to pick them up from the airport in half an hour, so I'll see you tomorrow, okay?"
"Oh, um, okay," Finn says quickly, getting up from the table when she does. "I – I had plans to hang out with Puck anyway, so…"
Rachel just gives him a small smile, says "Well then tell Noah I say hello," and then she leaves, the door clanging shut behind her.
He sighs, sitting back down. He pulls out his phone, figuring he might as well text Puck anyway to see if he wants to hang out. He rubs his face with one of his hands while he stares into his coffee cup. Rachel had ordered her coffee black, but he didn't want to admit that he wasn't exactly a fan of coffee, so he'd just ordered his with a ton of cream.
She had still smirked at him, cocking an eyebrow. He can still see her face swimming before his eyes, her smile wide and full, and he knows he's already in too deep.
His phone buzzes, meaning Puck's decided to answer him. He clicks on the little message icon.
Sorry bro, I'm taking Fabray on a date tonight. She finally gave in to the Puckerman charm.
Finn raises his eyebrows. He can't believe Quinn actually caved.
Then he realizes that this means he truly has nothing better to do than just go home and sit on his couch and watch old reruns of whatever he can find on television, and he sighs again. He discards his still-half-full coffee cup on his way out of the shop.
Puck starts hanging out with Quinn like a lot, which is fine and everything, although Finn does kind of miss seeing his best friend. He starts hanging out with Rachel more to compensate (and maybe because he really likes hanging out with her. What? She smells nice and her eyes are gorgeous and he loves just listening to her talk, okay?).
Their friendship has progressed to the point where they can go and hang out at each other's apartments, so he finds himself over at Rachel's surprisingly pink abode one Wednesday after a twelve hour shift. Gold stars seem to be the main décor, and she's quick to tell him that they're a metaphor for her being a star in every aspect of her life.
"My entire nursery was decorated in gold stars and it's been that way ever since!" she tells him cheerfully, sorting through her DVD cabinet. "Have you ever seen Funny Girl?" she asks him.
He shakes his head.
She gasps. "Oh, Finn, it's only one of the most monumental musicals of all time, and quite possibly Barbra Streisand's greatest work! We have to watch it."
Before he can even open his mouth – whether to protest or to agree, he's not even sure – she's putting the DVD in the player, grabbing the remote, and sitting down next to him on the couch.
"Pay close attention," she tells him seriously, "because our friendship depends on your opinion of this film."
He thinks she's teasing, but she looks quite serious, so he can't be sure.
She sings all of the songs throughout the film, and he definitely knows why she originally wanted to go into musical theater: She probably has the most beautiful voice he's ever heard. He finds himself watching her more than he watches the film, because she's just so involved, hanging onto every line, even though she's probably seen the film hundreds of times.
When it ends, she turns to him expectantly. Her lips are pursed, her eyes bright. "Well?" she demands.
"I really liked it," he says quickly. "Like, really."
"Fantastic!" Rachel squeals, her tiny hands gripping his upper arm. "I knew you would, I knew it, Finn! What was your favorite number?"
He wracks his brain for a song – any song – from the film. "I, uh, I liked the one at the end, when she was singing about how she'd love him no matter what? When she was in the black dress?"
"'My Man'!" she says excitedly. "It's one of my favorites, too!"
She continues to chatter on about the film, asking Finn about this part or that, but finally she takes a breath, looking at him with wide eyes, her demeanor almost completely different.
"What?" he asks, giving her a confused smile.
"There's something different about you, Finn Hudson," she says decisively.
"Is… that a good thing or a bad thing?"
"A good thing," she says firmly, punctuating this with a nod. "Definitely a good thing."
He grins in relief. "Good."
"You know," she says a few minutes later as she's walking him to the door, "I think you might just be the best friend I've ever had."
He ignores the sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach as she says the word – friend – and somehow he manages a smile.
"You're not too bad yourself, Rachel Berry."
She beams, blushing before she bids him goodnight, but his smile fades once she closes the door on him.
He's already managed to be friend-zoned, and he's barely known her for a month. He needs to figure a way out, and fast.
They're back on her couch a week later, and Rachel's still insistent that he's the best friend she's ever had. When he told Puck about it, he practically fell on the floor, he was laughing so hard, and a few tears ran down his cheeks.
"You're stuck in the friend zone with Berry!" he'd managed to gasp out, and Finn had just glared.
It doesn't help that Puck is actually in a relationship with Quinn now; it only seems to add insult to injury.
Rachel's curled into his side, her arm draped across him as they watch some lame horror movie. He wonders how she could possibly think that they're in a platonic position right now – both mentally and physically – but he just sighs, wrapping his arm around her waist. He guesses he'll take what he can get.
She sighs, her chest rising and falling, and then she's peeking up at him from the spot where her head rests on his chest, looking up at him from underneath her long, long eyelashes.
He really wants to kiss her, but he doesn't get the chance, because she kisses him first, leaning up to press her lips against his. He's shocked at first, but it's not long before he's kissing her back, eagerly, his tongue easily sliding into her mouth. She lets out a little moan, her fingers curling around the base of his neck, drawing him closer to her.
He maneuvers them so that he's pressing her into the couch, hovering over her, and he moves his mouth to her neck, peppering kisses along her skin. He doesn't dare ask if they're actually doing this, because he's afraid that if he asks, she'll realize that they're actually doing this and put a stop to the whole thing. He wants her too much to risk that.
Her fingers curl into his hair and she whimpers his name as his fingers slide underneath her shirt, pressing against the smooth skin of her stomach. She arches up as he slides the cotton over her head, peppering her skin with kisses. She tugs insistently on his shirt as well, and he pulls away briefly so she can pull it off completely. Once it's tossed across the room, he eagerly presses his lips back against hers, and feeling her move underneath him is already making him incredibly hard.
It's not too long before they've both stripped down completely, bare skin against bare skin as he slides on the condom, fumbling just a bit.
"Are you sure?" he finds himself asking before he enters her. He's ready, and God he wants this, but he can't unless he knows she wants this, too.
She nods. "Yes," she whispers, "I'm sure."
And that's all the permission he needs. She's warm and wet and tight as he slides inside, and he waits before he begins to move, letting her adjust to the size of him.
"O – Okay," she whispers after a moment, her hands locking around his neck. "Go ahead, Finn."
The sound of skin slapping against skin fills the apartment, and she feels so good, her moans filling the apartment as he thrusts in and out of her. He grunts and he knows he's getting close, but he wants her to be close as well, so he lowers his hand between them, pressing against her most sensitive bundle of nerves.
She cries out, her breasts bouncing with every thrust, and then she's coming undone around him, and that's all he needs to come as well, spilling into the condom.
Their labored breathing is all that fills the room for a few moments until a shriek comes from the television, and they both jump. Clearly, they both forgot to pause the movie while they were otherwise engaged.
She laughs then, and he can't help but laugh along with her. She bites her lip, glancing back over at him, and he just raises his eyebrows.
"That was hot," he tells her candidly.
She blushes. "It was rather nice." There's a pause, then she asks, "Wanna go again?"
He tackles her in response, pressing his lips firmly back against hers, swallowing the laugh that escapes from her throat.
They're both doing rounds the next day for Dr. Sylvester and Rachel's pretty much acting like nothing happened between them, like they didn't share the hottest sex of Finn's life, and it's really, really confusing him.
Right after lunch, he decides he has to confront her about it, because he definitely wants to have sex with her again, and he doesn't think he'll be able to bear it if she doesn't feel the same pull, the same attraction, he did.
"So…" he begins, and she looks up at him over her clipboard, her brown eyes wide. "We had sex last night."
Rachel flushes. "And?"
That throws him for a loop; it's certainly not the response he was expecting. "I just… I mean…"
"Look, we're still friends, Finn," she says empathetically, and his stomach really churns at that word now. "Yes, we had sex, but we don't have to make things awkward! We can just move forward in our friendship!"
He swallows, and he tries not to feel so hurt, but he finds himself asking, "Was it not good for you, or…?"
"No, no, it was great," she says quickly, reaching over to touch his arm. "Really great, Finn. I just…" She sighs. "I'd rather not date anyone right now, you know? I mean, we lead busy lives – the lives of interns striving to be doctors! – and I really can't handle a relationship right now. So what we had was lovely, but it'll have to remain that."
His heart sinks all the way down to his knees, and he can't just let her get away so easily, so he finds himself blurting out, "It doesn't have to be a relationship!"
Rachel cocks a brow. "You mean… just sex?"
He nods, licking his lips nervously. He glances down at Mr. Kowolski, the patient they're attending to, and is momentarily glad the man is in a coma.
"I suppose I could be okay with that…" she allows, narrowing her eyes thoughtfully. "I mean, I could use a way to unwind after a particular trying day, and what better way than sex?"
Finn smiles in relief. "So we're doing this?"
"Yeah, okay," she says, and she gives him a small, almost shy smile.
"Cool," he says somewhat sheepishly. He pretends to check Mr. Kowolski's vitals then, but he's really watching Rachel out of the corner of his eye. She's glancing back at the chart, but he notices she's got a bit of a grin on her face.
He really hopes that this friends-who-have-sex-with-each-other thing could really be a doorway to bigger and better things concerning Rachel Berry.
Sex with Rachel is incredibly hot. She's pretty much down to do it anytime, anyplace. They've done it at both of their apartments (when Puck wasn't home at his, of course) – on multiple surfaces, he might add – and even in the on call room on a couple of occasions.
They were nearly caught by Quinn, but he managed to zip his pants back up just in time, Rachel curling up on the bed and pretending to be asleep. Quinn had simply raised an eyebrow, looking first at Finn, then at Rachel, her smile knowing.
"I'm just taking a break," Finn had said somewhat unconvincingly, but she seemed to have bought it. At least he thinks she did.
Puck asks Finn about it over a beer that night. Quinn's out with some other nurses, so it's just him and Finn.
"Quinn said she caught you and Berry in the on call room this morning looking freshly sexed up, so you got some 'splainin' to do."
"What?" Finn says, trying his best to act completely shocked by such accusations. "We just happened to be in there at the same time – Rachel was sleeping!"
Puck just looks at him. "Hudson," he says finally, "you are such a shitty liar."
Finn sighs, taking a swig of beer.
"Well?" Puck demands. "Is she feisty in the sack? How long have you two been boning? I need some details, man!"
Finn glares at him. "Look, Rachel and I may not be dating, but that doesn't mean she wants me telling you all this stuff about how she is in bed—"
"Wait, you're not dating?"
Finn shakes his head morosely.
"It's a no strings attached kind of thing? Fuck buddies?"
"I guess," he says with another sigh.
"Bro, you are the man!" Puck cries out, slapping him on the back as half the bar turns to look at the pair of them.
Finn feels his cheeks redden, and he tries to distract himself by downing more of his beer, tilting his head back and feeling the liquid glide smoothly down his throat.
"So, what's it like, tasting the Berry?" Puck asks excitedly, and Finn chokes on his drink.
He coughs and sputters until finally, he can breathe enough to say, "Dude!"
"What?" Puck asks innocently. "I just asked you a perfectly good question!"
"Rachel's… awesome," he says decisively.
"And that's all I'm gonna say, okay? I really don't want to like betray her trust or something."
Puck eyes him for a moment. "You have a thing for her," he says suspiciously.
"You do! God, Hudson, a girl just wants meaningless sex and somehow you want more out of that?" Puck shakes his head. "I thought I raised you better."
"We met freshman year of college," Finn says, momentarily confused.
"Look, whatever, the point is you've got a good thing going, Hud. Don't screw it up with all this emotional crap, okay?"
"Good," Puck says. "I'm apparently the one who has to deal with the emotional shit right now unbelievably, since Quinn's apparently my girlfriend now. And yes, we're exclusive."
Finn just laughs. Maybe he can be as nonchalant about this whole thing as Puck usually is. He can just fuck Rachel and not get attached. People do it all the time.
Puck's right: He does have a good thing going, and the last thing he wants is to ruin it.
He's ruining it day by day. He's growing more and more attached to her.
Hell, he thinks he's falling in love with her.
He knows this is a complete and total disaster, but he can't help the way he feels. He just loves every part of her: Her slightly too-big nose, her wide brown eyes, but most of all, her heart. She cares so much, in such a great capacity, and he's pretty sure she's his dream girl.
When he kisses her, he feels things he shouldn't be feeling: He feels lightheaded and dizzy, feels like he's falling. And he is falling, he supposes, falling into something much deeper than either of them had anticipated.
The sex is still great, but it hurts to know that it probably means more to him than it does to her. And he wants to be able to say it means nothing, but the point is, it does mean something.
It could mean everything.
He's in love with Rachel Berry, and he doesn't know how he can possibly fall out of love with her.
"You're an idiot," Puck tells him knowingly, pausing their game of Halo.
Finn sighs, dropping his head back against the couch. "I know."
"No, like seriously an idiot."
"I know!" he snaps. He rubs his temple with two of his fingers.
"Look, you aren't supposed to fall in love with your fuck buddy," Puck says, his voice low since Quinn is sleeping in his room, just off of the living room where they are now. "It's like, rule number one in the fuck buddy manual."
Finn manages a dry chuckle. "What's rule number two?" he deadpans.
"If you do fall in love with your fuck buddy, don't fucking tell her, because otherwise, you won't have a fuck buddy from that point forward."
"But what if she feels the same way?" Finn finds himself asking, even though he knows it's ridiculous as soon as the words leave his lips.
"You don't risk it," Puck says. He stretches, his arms reaching back over the couch. "I mean, you'll just be right back in the friend zone if she doesn't feel the same way, this time without the sex, and is that really what you want?"
Finn sighs. "I mean… I guess not."
"It's not," Puck tells him. "Take it from Puckzilla here. The sex is good, right?"
"Then just take it for what it is. You don't wanna blow a sweet deal like the one you have. So take my advice and just don't tell Rachel about these feelings. Actually, just cram those feelings way down deep. Don't even tell yourself about them."
Finn just sighs again. He knows Puck's right; he does have a good thing going with Rachel, and the last thing he wants is to screw that up by admitting his feelings for her.
Maybe he doesn't even really have feelings for her. Maybe he was just caught up in the moment, caught up in her. And they are friends first and foremost. He really doesn't want that to change.
So he'll take Puck's advice, and he'll keep any feelings he may or may not have to himself.