note(s): alright, so this was originally suppose to be just a drabble, but i had an idea for a longer one-shot, so i rolled with it.

the title is from a poem by robert frost

some say the world will end in fire
this is the way the world ends:
not with a bang, but a whimper
t.s. elliot

Marley Rose sits quietly in her chair in Glee, exactly two rows above and five seats over from Jake Puckerman. He stares straight ahead for the rest of Glee after she sings "Everytime," and Marley tries not to glance over at him, but she can't help but find her eyes raking over the back of his head and down his shoulders.

She wants to be sitting next to him, like they had planned before Kitty. Before the world Marley had built up inside of her head came crashing down, taking Jake's warm leather jacket with it.

Kitty is his girlfriend. Kitty. The very same one who threw slushies in her face and called her mom mean names. It all feels like one awful slap in the face, and Marley can barely stand being so close to him, and yet, at the same time she yearns to be closer.

Mr. Schue says something to the group which Marley doesn't quite catch, and then everyone starts standing and collecting their things. Everyone except Marley, who's blinking, lost and confused at what's going on.

Before anyone else can notice, Unique is standing in front of her. "Get up, girl. Glee is over," she says, grabbing a hold of Marley's arm. If she's noticed Marley's attitude, she doesn't say so, which Marley is thankful for. She starts tugging her down, swishing her hips as she goes, and all Marley can do is grab her bag and numbly follow her.

They get to the door the same time as Jake, the one person Marley simultaneously wants to forget about and kiss. He opens his mouth, as if he's about to say something to Marley, but Unique shoots him a look and then drags Marley out before he can start moving his lips and forming words that Marley doesn't want to hear. What can he say, anyway? Nothing can make it better.

All she can think as Unique chatters on about school and attractive men and hopefully getting more solos is, "I should've known."

It was all too good to be true, wasn't it?

She spends three days depressed over it, with Ben and Jerry and Everytime playing on repeat and Unique braiding her hair and Tina painting her nails as The Titanic plays on the TV, with Marley holding a pillow to her chest as tears slip out of her eyes that she swears is from the scene where Jack dies.

They all know it's not the truth. "Jack hasn't even died yet," Unique nearly says, rolling her brown eyes, but she stops herself because her friend is in pain and she's not heartless.

And then, the next day, Marley comes to school and it's like nothing ever happened. Well, almost nothing.

"Hello," she greets Jake as she sits down beside him in the more than half-empty Glee classroom. They're the only two people who've arrived early, and Glee doesn't start for another seven minutes, which means most of its members won't be arriving for another five or so minutes.

Five minutes alone with Jake. The idea gives Marley more pleasure than she'd like, and she reminds herself that he's with Kitty now. He's with Kitty. He's with Kitty. He doesn't even like you like that. He's with Kitty.

Somehow it hurts more than it helps things.

But still, Marley sits a little straighter and holds her head high and pretends she's okay with everything, because that's what she's got to do. So she thought there was something there between her and Jake; Obviously she was wrong. She grieved, she cried, she watched The Titanic on repeat, and now it was time to stand up and wipe the dirt off her knees, and maybe get a few bandages. She'd be fine with due time.

"Have a good day?" She asks Jake idly, not looking at him, as she digs through her bag, searching for her Spearmint gum. She nearly yelps in victory as her fingers brush across the green package, amongst other items in her cluttered bag. "Gum?" She offers, lifting her head back up, only to find him staring at her, saying nothing.

Marley can't read the look in his eyes, she can't read him and she can't tell what he's thinking. But oh, did she wish she could. Swallowing, she wiggles the hand with the package in his face. Jake shakes his head. It's a discreet, if-you're-not-looking-for-it-you-won't-see-it kinda thing and Marley just nods and slips the pack back inside of her bag, just as several other Glee members scurry in.

Unique and Tina shoot her looks like, "what the hell are you doing? Did you not learn the first time?" But Marley ignores them because she knows what she's doing.

Okay, so maybe she has no idea what she's doing.

Sitting on the bleachers where she and Jake first sang together, she works quietly on finishing Hamlet, the book they were assigned in English class to read, but her mind keeps wandering. Wandering in the direction of Jake and Kitty, the former who's got his guitar out and the latter who's wearing Jake's leather jacket and she just can't help but feel replaced.

Frustration fills her veins and she wants to stand and stomp her feet and just scream about how unfair all of this is, or maybe push Kitty off a cliff, but she does neither. She sits there for a while, before someone sits down next to her.

Marley doesn't notice at first. Instead, she sits there with her eyes on Jake and Kitty, just glaring at them, before a voice speaks, making her jump. "You should stop torturing yourself," Sam Evans suggests as he stretches his legs out over the bleacher seats in front of them and casually tosses an apple up and down, catching it, and then releasing it.

Marley turns to look at him, and she opens her mouth to protest, but Sam cuts her off. "He's an idiot, Marley. And he's proven that you deserve much, much better than him." He gives her a pointed look, and then stands up. "Now, get up and let it go."

Marley opens her mouth. "But-"

"No. No buts. Stand up, Marley Rose."

Marley's chest heaves in a sigh. Doesn't he see that she doesn't want to let it go? That she can hardly muster the energy to stand up. Apparently not. She does as he tells her to, albeit a little reluctantly.

"Now scream."

Sam's request makes Marley blink, and blink, and blink, and then she laughs. That is, until she realizes he's not laughing with her. "I'm sorry, what?" she asks with wide eyes.

Sam shrugs. "Scream." He says it like it'll solve all her problems, like it'll be the glue that pulls her world back together, so she takes a deep breathe and wills herself to forget about the rest of the world as she opens her mouth and screams, shoving down feelings that have built up inside of her over the past few days.

The only thing that she lets go of that day is her voice, as it floats out over the football field, towards the subject of her many whirl-wind emotions.

Jake Puckerman glances up at the bleachers when a shrill scream cuts through the air. He catches sight of two figures, and he squints to get a better view. It looks like Marley and Sam, but before he can become properly worried (jealous), Kitty rolls her eyes and pulls his lips back to hers.

Screaming helps Marley, and eventually she manages to move on (and by that, I mean she buries her feelings for Jake eight feet under, and then builds a gazebo over them). Nearly a month later, Jake and Marley have managed to move past the awkwardness, but there's always this air about them, full of sexual tension and unsolved history.

Marley's least favorite subject is history.

Even though he's dating Kitty, the only one that can calm him down when he gets so angry he feels like his head will explode is Marley. There's no exception when he knocks on her door in late October, his nose gushing blood and his chest heaving. He looks furious, but his eyes seem to soften when they take in her appearance. Her hair is falling out of a braid, her eyeliner is running, and she's in wrinkled Tweedy Bird pajama's and a white tank top.

"What happened?" Marley gasps, ushering him inside of her tiny mobile home.

She leads him to the couch as he offers her only this as an explanation, "Kitty's friends are asses." Marley blinks, but doesn't ponder this too long. Instead, she heads quickly into the kitchen to grab some ice and a paper towel to wipe the blood off his nose. She had always known Kitty's friends were asses, so why didn't he?

When she sits back down beside him, he arches his eyebrow slightly at her, before glancing at the TV. Marley's relieved that he's calmed down since she lead him inside, but then she glances at the TV and that relief vanishes, leaving embarrassment in its place. It's only then when she looks at the TV that she realizes The Notebook is still on, in the middle of a sex scene. Marley rolls her eyes and grabs the remote, clicking the TV off wordlessly. From the time she opened the door to her house and saw him standing there until now she had completely forgotten she was even watching The Notebook.

"What happened?" Marley asks, as she gingerly dabs at his nose with the paper towel, soaking up the nearly-dried blood on his skin. He's so close, she can feel his breath on her cheeks and see every single fleck of gold inside of his brown irises and she has to focus all of her attention on looking at his nose, and not his eyes.

If she looks into his eyes she'll either cry or kiss him, and neither seem to be very good options. Not now, not with everything that's happened.

"Those guys, the ones that were calling your Mom names..." he starts, and Marley goes completely still. Her hand freezes, still clutching the paper towel to Jake's nose. "They were... well," he fumbles for words, and Marley blinks.

What could those guys have done so awful that made Jake attack them? "They were what?" Marley encourages. She can't help but sneak a peak upward at his eyes, and when she does, so many emotions stir inside of her that she fears she might combust.

Jake looks furious and upset and protective and, oh God Marley was screwed, pretty damn hot. "They were saying inappropriate things about.." he scratches the back of his neck awkwardly and Marley nearly sighs.

"About Kitty," she guesses, glancing back down.

Jake blinks, and for a moment he wonders why she thinks he'd be upset like this about it, but then he remembers he and Kitty are dating. Oh. "No," he starts, clearing his throat. He doesn't want to say it, because he doesn't want her to ask what they said, and he can't say no to those brown eyes of hers, but he also can't repeat the words that those assholes said about her. Jake breathes in, and then out, before he glances up to meet Marley's curious stare. "No, about you."

Marley stares at him, thinking maybe all of this is a dream. Maybe she's going to wake up any second now, and Jake won't be sitting on her couch bleeding, and she'll still be just one of the many other girl's Jake's led on.

But she's not and she can clearly see that in his eyes, and it scares her, so she glances down at her lap and nods thickly, before focusing all of her attention on cleaning up his nose and putting ice on his busted knuckles.

"You should see the other guys," Jake says quietly, and it takes every inch of Marley's self control not to look up at him, not to touch him more than just the ginger touches her fingers brushing across his skin as she wipes his nose clean causes.

The next day at school, she sees the two guys that threw slushies into her and Unique's eyes the first day they joined the Glee club, and she finds herself stopping in her tracks in shock. All around her, people whisper rumors about what happened to them, but only Marley knows the truth.

Jake was right - they both look much, much worse than Jake, and she can't help but allow a tiny smile to come over her lips because he did this for her.

The smile falls, however, when she notices Jake leaning against the locker next to Kitty's, with a smile on his face. He says something to her, and she laughs, before leaning up to kiss his lips.

Marley winces and looks away.

What was that saying about getting your hopes up, again?

Jake and Kitty seem to become one of those on-again-off-again couples, and the first two times that Marley hears about their break-ups she's sure that it's for real, but then she sees them making out against the lockers and her heart ends up in her throat and she thinks maybe she's suffocating; drowning in disappointment.

She doesn't crack right then though, no. That happens later, in Biology. She's sitting right behind Kitty, and Kitty starts on, talking to the girl next to her about how "fat Marley's mom is." Marley isn't sure what to say, but then Kitty turns around and smiles at Marley, before turning back to the girl. "Jake's a really good kisser. He does this thing with his tongue. We almost went to third base today, actually." Kitty speaks loud enough so that Marley can hear and then she turns around and smiles once again at Marley, and it's only then that Marley realizes what's going on.

Kitty doesn't want Jake. She only wants him because Marley wants him.

Something inside of Marley snaps - maybe it's the fact that she's been dealing with bullies like Kitty since she started pre-k, maybe it's the fact that she's tired to the slushies being thrown into her face and the superior looks Kitty flashes Marley over Jake's shoulder every time she passes them in the hallway, or maybe it's the fact that she's fallen in love with Jake in the last three months that she's known him.

Whatever it is, it gives Marley a sudden burst of adrenaline, and she jumps up out of her chair and charges at Kitty, pushing her to the floor, taking the chair with her. Before Kitty can do anything, Marley is on top of her, punching, slapping, and clawing at every surface of skin she can access.

Violence isn't usually her thing, but God Damn does it feel good to punch Kitty in the face.

She's on top of Kitty for maybe forty seconds before a teacher pulls Marley off Kitty. Forty seconds doesn't seem like a long time, but when Marley gets a good look at Kitty's face before she's dragged off to the Principal's office, she grins.

Kitty looks like she was mauled by a bear, and Marley thinks as the teacher grips her wrist pretty hard and drags her out of the classroom, she is pretty proud to be the bear that mauled Kitty.

She sits inside of Figgin's office with Mr. Schue beside her, and their in the middle of arguing over whether or not Marley should be suspended when Marley starts laughing. It starts out as small giggles, but quickly grows into shoulder-shaking, breath-taking laughter.

Marley thinks she may just be in shock over everything that's happened in the last few months. She guessed falling in love with someone who didn't look twice at her in a romantic way could do this to a girl.

Mr. Schue and Figgins both looked unsure what to do, and then finally Figgins decides "it would be best if we discuss methods of punishment without you in the room." Marley takes that as a "get the hell out of here," and she has no problems with that.

She stands quickly and moves out the door, not once looking back. She just needs some air.

Marley ends up on the bleachers outside. The bleachers where Jake Puckerman stole her heart, and then proceeded to throw it down the steps. She places her head in her hands and she cries for a little bit, but her sniffles turn silent, and there's nothing but the sound of her breathing and then, wait, foot steps?

Marley subconsciously wipes at her eyes as she lifts her head, only to see both the last and first person she wants to see. "Jake." She swallows the lump growing in her throat as he sits down beside her.

Jake opens his mouth, and Marley expects him to start talking about what happened with Kitty - surely he's heard by now - or maybe even something else, but instead he says something else. "I'm sorry."

Marley nods, and maybe yesterday she would have smiled and accepted it, but not today. Today she's just too tired, too worn out. "Okay." That's all Marley says, before she stands up and walks down the bleachers, leaving Jake sitting alone the way he always seems to do with her.

Jake is... well, he's Jake and he makes her heart stop in her chest and makes her mouth go dry and her hands shake and when she's around him she feels like she'll both explode and implode at the same time, and she's crazy about him, but he'll never feel the same.

"Baby, I'm so into you."

He sings the note low, so low in fact that she nearly doesn't hear him. Marley freezes. "You got that something, what can I do," he stands and moves down the bleachers, until he's standing on the bleacher seat directly behind her. She can feel his breath on her neck and it tickles a little and makes her shiver, but she doesn't move.

His singing reminds her of the day they first sang together. That seems eons ago now, and yet she can still remember every single tiny part in vivid detail.

She blames what she does next on the hysteria. Turning around, she starts singing because it's the only way she's ever been able to properly express herself. "Baby, you spin me around. The earth is moving but I can't feel the ground."

There's no melody, no guitars, no drums, no keyboards. It's just the two of them and their voices, but before they can continue singing, Jake leans down and he does what he should have done months ago: He kisses Marley, long and hard, and his fingers slip into her hair, and Marley only pulls away for a second: "What about Kitty?" "I broke up with her." And then they're kissing again, and it's as close to heaven as Marley's been in her entire life.

"So it all worked out, then?" Sam Evans asks Marley a few days later. They're sitting on the bleachers again, and Marley's got this goofy smile on her face.

"Yes," she says, and she can't help but giggle a little. Sam smiles, but it doesn't quite reach his eyes. He bits into the apple in his lap and stays silent for a few minutes, before speaking again.

"He's still an idiot," he tells her, and Marley rolls her eyes.

"He's not."

Sam changes the subject. He doesn't tell her that if he were Jake, he'd have jumped at the chance to win Marley's heart over. That he wouldn't have taken three months to do so, either. That he would've made her his, and he wouldn't have ever let her go. But Marley isn't his, she's Jake's and that much has been obvious from the start, so why should he have even tried?

Marley's oblivious to Sam's train of thoughts though, probably too lost in her own thoughts about Jake Puckerman. It's only when Sam speaks again, that she puts Jake out of her mind for a little while.

"There's this girl," he tells her before he can stop himself. He needs to get it off his chest, some how or another. He needs to tell her, even if he's not really, truly telling her. "I met her a little while ago and she's totally great. Really cute, too. But see, the thing is. She's with another guy. I think I'll scream it off. Join me?" He asks, and he says it so casually, Marley doesn't even begin to think that maybe she's the girl he's talking about.

"Of course," Marley says, standing up with him. She wants to ask him if he's alright, but she's been there and she knows how he feels, so she takes his hand and they scream and scream, and Marley never realizes how much Sam enjoys holding her hand, nor how much it hurts him when she lets go and runs down the bleachers the second she spots Jake, jumping into his arms and kissing him.

Sam winces and turns his head.

Screaming doesn't really help, he realizes with a heavy sigh and he drops back onto the bleachers. Somehow he thinks maybe his ending won't be as happy as Marley's.

note(s): i'm not sure i like the beginning. in fact, i think i rather hate the beginning, but i loved the end. haha even though honestly that wasn't the direction it was suppose to go in. anyway, review, yeah? :)