Someone mentioned the idea of Marley being Finn's "someone". Not so much him and her having a relationship but rather she developing a school girl crush on the new teacher. So I had all these Finn feelings in my head and decided to write something. It's more Finchel related then Finn dream related though.
This is my one-shot mainly inspired by that and the song "New York" by Snow Patrol.
I'd like to thank Eera (tiltingaxis) for her help in editing my final draft and the notes that no doubt improved this piece of work. Thank you soulmate. Truly. I dedicate this to you.
I also haven't written anything in a year so forgive me if it's not up to standard.
If you were here beside me
Instead of in New York
If the curve of you was curved on me
I'd tell you that I loved you
Before I even knew you
Cause I loved the simple thought of you
If our hearts are never broken
Well there's no joy in the mending
There's so much this hurt can teach us both
Though there's distance and there's silence
Your words have never left me
They're the prayer that I say every day.
He's sitting in the choir room staring at his notes and the sheet music scattered on the piano, all of them serving as reminders of why he's back here. Why he agreed to come back. Why he's not all cuddled up with a beautiful tiny brunette in a city far away, living out their dreams. Why his heart isn't with him anymore. He's helping out the teacher who taught him so much, the teacher that gave him a chance and believed in him. The teacher that led him to his heart- music and her. Her. Always her.
They had agreed that they loved each other too much to really let go, so now they're in some sort of limbo. Giving each other space and time to figure out what they truly want. He knows what he wants, it's her, it's always been her but he's gotta get his dream on track too, you know? He can't just be the boy that loves her and worse, he just can't stand the thought that she might be settling for him. She says she isn't, that she'll wait for him to finally realise that too, but until he gets his future on track, he can't put that on her.
Everyone has told him it's crazy, that he's being nuts, and way too serious about this. But that's the point though. He's that serious about Rachel, and he's not taking any chances on her and her future just because she loves him so much.
Maybe he is crazy, he doesn't really know anymore.
He doesn't really know anything anymore.
One thing he does know? He's only ever truly loved one girl in his whole life, and it's her. He knows that now as much as he knew it when he first told her he loved her. Just like the last time he saw her three weeks ago. He's never getting his heart back. Not really anyway. Once Rachel had it, it was hers, and he's kidding himself if he thinks it will ever belong to anyone else.
The Glee Club comes in and Artie rolls over to give him a high-five. That's possibly the only good thing about being away from where he wants to be, the fact that he's not alone. He's giving himself time to pick up the pieces of his dreams and figure his life out. He just gets to add coaching a Glee club to the mix. It's the one thing he knows he's good at, so it doesn't scare him as much as it should. Just like working at Burt's tire shop is something he's good at. Simple. It's all easy and doable. He also knows it's all merely temporary. Or at least, he's telling himself it is.
He just hopes that temporary doesn't become permanent.
Marley sings the last note and he gives her a huge smile, coupled by some really loud applause. She's good. The newbies really are. Even that 'Jake' kid. Puck is like his brother from another mother okay(well not literally, but you get the sentiment)? So let's just say he knew all about Jake before even asked for his help. He's definitely been looking out for him, and finding out if he's getting along well with the rest. He knows Puck would do the same for him. Family is family (It's funny how Puck and him have actual brothers of their own now. Life can be crazy like that).
He sees the way Jake looks at Marley though, and the way Marley's smile drops everytime she sees that Kitty girl waiting outside the choir room. Well, he hasn't seen that sad look in a while, but he knows it's there. It's like déjà vu for him. Right down to Kitty's snotty comments and looks. Some things never change. All he can hope for is that history doesn't actually repeat itself.
He doesn't know why Jake chooses to deny the obvious but then again, people do crazy things when they don't know how to process what they feel.
See Finn Hudson circa 2009/2010/2011.
Marley asks to stay back and rehearse her solo and run some questions about his notes by him again. She's been doing it for the past 2 weeks. He's cool with it, it's not like he has to work today and going home early means all he'll do is think about Rachel and his life right now, and he's not in the mood for that kind of pain. Actually, all he does is think about her. Sometimes he doesn't even realise it. He'll be in the choir room, and he'll make a comment and immediately think that Rachel would agree.
He'll be in the teacher's lounge (yeah, he's in the big leagues now) sitting down for his lunch and he can see her as clear as day, wrinkling her nose in distaste at his choice of meal, reminding him there are other healthier forms of protein to consider. He always used to just smile and kiss her cheek and she'd roll her eyes, but her smile always gave her away. Someone sings a solo and he remembers her furiously jotting down notes with little reminders on how to 'ease in her critique' so as not to seem controlling (She was always trying, okay?). That's one of the things he loved about her. He'll be writing the topic of the week on the board, and he'll remember her whispering into his ear, telling him she knew exactly what song she'd be singing and how she intended to blow everyone away. She always did. Always does. The kids complain about training and solos and all he can think about is Rachel, up bright and early, rehearsing every potential song possible just so she's always ready. There really isn't anyone quite like her is there? Someone writes in a notebook and he thinks of her Glee notebook with his name in hearts scrawled across the top. He thinks of all their little notes back and forth in that book. The hearts, the sweet nothings, the jokes and the arguments. All of it.
Rachel, Rachel, Rachel. Rachel everywhere. He sees her all over this place. It's a miracle he's still standing.
Time. All they need is time.
God, he hates time.
He's broken out of his thoughts by Marley clearing her throat. She's sweet, not one to get annoyed with her teacher's lack of attention. He smiles a little, thinking of how Rachel would have reacted in her place. His baby, the drama queen.
He tells her to go ahead and she does, only to stop at one point to ask for his opinion on the way she's emoting her feelings and he decides to share with her his take on it. Clearly, telling her isn't doing the trick, so why not show her? He can't help but think Rachel would agree with that teaching approach.
He shakes his head a little, and starts to focus on his singing and Marley starts looking at him in a way that feels all too familiar. Not the kind of familiar he liked so much either.
She joins in and soon, her solo becomes this duet, and he can't tell if she's finally getting his notes about her emotions during the song, or if she's actually looking at him like he's the subject of her song. Suffice to say, it's freaking him out.
The awkward silence that follows, coupled with his realisation that she's been looking at him like that for a while now though? Much worse.
"That was good. Much better Marley,"he says, hoping to break the tension.
"Thanks Mr. Hudson, I-"
"Finn", he says.
"Oh yeah",she laughs.
She's making flirty eyes at him as she says it. It's been a while since he even paid attention to girls that weren't Rachel, but he still remembers what flirting was all about.
He feels old, so much older than his 18 years.
"Thanks Finn, you're a really good teacher. I can see why asked for your help",she says sweetly.
Almost too sweetly, and she starts coming closer. God, this really isn't happening to him is it? This sweet girl can't be misplacing her feelings right? He's a stand-in for right now, not actually his teacher, so why is this happening to him?
"Thanks Marley. That's it for today, I'll see you again at practice tomorrow okay?" he says as he starts to make a show of collecting his things. He's hoping he's imagining all of this, but from the way her face falls, he's starting to think that it's all true.
"See you later Finn."
She picks up her bag and leaves, and all he can do is sigh because really how is any of this his life?
Marley keeps wanting to stay back after school to ask him 'questions' about her work and to her credit, she has actual questions so really, how can he deny her his time?
They talk and laugh and he starts to wonder if it was all in his head, this 'school-girl attraction'. Maybe he's so on edge, thinking about Rachel and his future, that he's putting way too much stock into things.
Marley is sweet. She's kind. She could have easily been a really good friend had she been in Glee Club when he and the other seniors were still around. He likes talking to her.
She kinda reminds him of Rachel in some ways, which makes his heart hurt even more than he thought it would.
She talks to him about her hopes and dreams and growing up with a single Mum, and he can't help but relate to her. He tells her about his family life. Not everything, because he's still her teacher and besides, not everyone knows the truth about his Dad. Okay, at least she and most of the people outside of Glee Club doesn't, and it's nice to focus on the positive. His father might have struggled in the end but it didn't cancel out the fact that he was, for the most part, a really good man.
Finn still feels like he hasn't done enough for him, even if his mother pointed out that the kind of man he has become is more than enough, and that his stint in the army should have proved to him that he'd done all he could. He doesn't talk much about that either. The Army.
Besides his family, only Rachel knows. She's his family too so she had to know.
Marley doesn't ask, and Finn likes it that way.
Shit. Remind him to always trust his instincts.
They're sitting in the choir room while she waits for her mother to be done for the day (another reason why she's in school after school ends), and he's telling her the best way he performs any song.
"Honesty", he says quietly, telling her to put her honest feelings into her music, to not just feel what is in the song, but to think of times where shewas happy/sad/longing/whatevertoo. Make it as real as possible.
"Someone once said to me that 'being an artist meant expressing your true feelings in the moment, no matter what the consequences'. Always go for it Marley. It's pointless to hold back,"he states firmly.
It doesn't surprise him that the wise words he chose for that moment were hers (He's forgotten when it was that her words became his and his hers).
The fact that the song, his song about them, is playing in his head doesn't surprise him either.
The kiss that came with its own cape.
The SUPERMAN of kisses.
He remembers the feel of her lips on his. The joy of her kissing him back.
All their kisses made him feel like a hero.
It comes in waves, the pain of her still being his, except, not really.
He tries to focus on the task at hand, at Marley smiling this huge smile and getting all excited and chatty.
He tries to bask in the glow of his very 'teachery' moment. He figures he's succeeding, because although he hasn't focused enough to catch up on what she's saying yet, he gets that it's positive.
Which is why he almost doesn't see it coming, almost.
If life is an actual TV show/movie/game/whatever you fancy, this would have been Finn Hudson's great pause moment.
Or at least, the pause moment of the week.
It was like it was happening in slow motion. One minute he's trying to re-shift his focus back to the young girl in front of him, and the next, she's literally jumping forward trying to plant one on him.
And by that, he means 'kiss'.
They're at a stalemate right now, because Finn's literally holding her shoulders back, and she has this weird kissy face going on and crap, are allhigh school girls like this?
(Oh who is he to talk, "you can kiss me if you want to/I want to" ring any bells? Still at least these things were asked or stated back when he was her age.)
Wait, how old is she? Good God, she's not 14 right? Because then he'd really feel like an old creep.
Okay, not OLD, just OLDER.
He breaks out of his freak out long enough to gently push her back, keeping his hands up as a defence incase she tries to leap forward again.
He couldn't make this up if he tried, okay? He's Finn Hudson and this is his life.
The sad, dejected look on her face is what prompts him to speak first.
"Marley, what..what was that?"
"I thought you liked me. You're always so complimentary and you're such a nice guy. Plus, you were talking about going for what I felt and consequences be damned and… I want.. You".
He's shocked, and beyond confused because really, when did this even develop? It doesn't even matter because he's her teacher and good God.
"Marley, I'm your teacher. I mean I know I'm only a few years older than you but it.."
"You're only two years older than me Finn."
He does a silent happy dance because THANK GOD. He doesn't feel as remotely creepy as he did a couple minutes ago.
"You just get me so much Finn and I-.."
"I'm thinking works a lot better now," he murmurs, but she doesn't hear him over her passionate outburst.
"I just feel safe, you know? You know what it's like and you're so open, and kind. Don't you want to be happy Finn?"
The question startles him because he wasn't expecting that.
"Yes?"he says after a moment.
"Me too. We could try being happy..together? Right? I mean, what's the harm?"
"The harm is I'm you're teacher Marley and.."
"You won't be after comes back. We can go out then?" she cuts him off.
"No. I.. I can't. Even if I wasn't your teacher, I can't.", he says shaking his head. This is madness.
Her face falls, and she look like she might cry and shit, please God, don't let her cry. He's a mess when girls cry.
"Why not?", she whispers.
The answer is simple. Probably the simplest thing in his life right now.
"Because I love someone else. I've always been in love with her and I see no end to it. She's my soulmate"he says quietly.
"That Rachel girl? The one that's in New York? She's not coming back. I mean that's what everyone else said."
He's a little annoyed by this. Don't people know he knows that? He's the one that put her on the damn train okay?
"I know. I don't want her to. Not here, at least. Still, she's my everything Marley, and even if I wasn't your teacher, I still wouldn't be.."
"It's okay. I get it. I'm just not anything anyone wants."
She tries to escape but he catches her wrist.
"That's not what I said. I can't be what you want because for one, I'm taken and frankly, so are you."
She shoots him this cute, confused look (And in another life, maybe).All he can see now is how she doesn't scrunch up her nose the way his girl does. That her eyes aren't the right colour. That she's too high up from the ground. That her wrist in his hand feels oh so wrong.
So he lets go, and motions for her to sit.
He decides to cut right to the chase.
"You like someone else".
"No I don't."
He gives her his best "Uh huh, nice try" look and she shrinks a little.
"You like someone else, here in Glee Club," he starts again."It's okay you know. To like him."
"No, it's not."
"Yes it is."
"Even if he has a girlfriend? Even if he chose her over me?Even if he doesn't like me back, but keeps sending me all these signals? Helping me, singing with me, lending me his jacket and saying all these sweet things?"
Finn wants to tell her that, by the way the kid looks at her, he's pretty sure the feeling is mutual. However, telling her that Jake likes her back, true or not, doesn't change the fact that Jake has a girlfriend. It doesn't change the fact that Jake has to be the one to do it.
So he goes with the next best thing.
"You don't know that, not really. People do crazy things sometimes. Till you do though, you can't just up and misplace those feelings and put them on someone else. Me or anyone. It's not fair to you Marley", he says looking right at her.
"Yes, YOU. Forget about any of us. I get that you're lonely and you want something you can't have at the moment, but it doesn't make you any less. You're wonderful, Marley. I've only known you for a few weeks and even I know that. You're sweet, kind and really talented. Any guy would be lucky to be yours and have you be his. You can't settle just because you can't get what you want. Don't settle. You deserve more than that."
"What makes you think I'm settling?"
"You know nothing about me, other than our meetings in Glee Club, and all of a sudden you have these feelings? I know what it's like to want something you can't have. It doesn't go away just because you pick someone else. It doesn't hurt any less either."
"What do I do? I just, I'm hurt and I want it to stop."
"You don't try and kiss other people for one. Trust me on that. As for the rest, I wish I could tell you, but I'm still figuring it out myself. It hurts because it matters Marley. The only way it'll stop is if it stops mattering or if it gets better. There is no in-between".
"Is that how it is for you?"
"With Rachel, your girlfriend?"
'Fiance' his mind whispers.
"Having no in-between? You never talk about her and everytime someone mentions her name, they do it quietly like they're afraid it'll hurt you. You must have really loved her".
"There is no past tense for me. I love her. I don't know how to stop. If you knew her, you'd get it. She made me feel like I was more and she's, she's everything".
He's a little startled that he didn't even hesitate with his answer. It's the truth though, isn't it? It's why he can't ever move on. She's everything and now he's back to square one, alone without the one person besides his Mum who saw him as everything he was, and believed in all he could be. She loved him, flaws and all and really, there is no escaping his love for her.
"Could you, do you mind… Could you tell me about her?"
"Yea, what is she like? I mean I heard she was a quote on quote loser like us, and you were the QB and she managed to-…-"
"She wasn't a loser. Ever. She was the best person in this place. People just didn't dare to admit it".
"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean.. I just.. I want to know how, what is she like?"
He doesn't want to. He doesn't want to talk about her because he'll never stop. He'll open up, and she'll be in every corner of his brain. He doesn't talk about her for a reason, because it makes it that much harder. Being in this school while she's so far away is hard enough, remembering her and all the times they had hurts. She's not gone but she's not with him and he..
He just can't breathe.
Still, the one thing that always makes him smile is her. So talking about her? As much as it pains him, its also one of the best things he can do.
So he does.
He tells Marley about her smile and how it lights up the room. Her personality, how it might be grating to some, but it's just because they don't know her. She's passionate, sometimes too passionate, but that's what he adores the most. He talks about how smart she is, and how he probably wouldn't have done as well as he did in English and History if it wasn't for her. He tells her how beautiful she is (Sexy too he mentally adds). How it took her a while to see it, but God her beauty just stuns him. He tells Marley how she was his Prom Queen, and how he never thought a crown was ever placed on a more worthy head. He just wished it was a real one. He tells her how until Rachel and Glee Club, all he did was go through the motions, until he found his heart, and the music that followed. He goes on about how much he loves her and how there isn't anyone else like her.
Marley is smiling at his words and soon, she's asking more specific questions about Rachel, about Glee Club, and it's almost as if all previous awkwardness has been forgotten.
Marley's mum stops by the choir room to pick her up and it comes as a welcome reprieve for Finn. Marley leans forward to hug him but changes her mind, instead extending her hand forward and thanking him for being so honest with her and helping her despite what happened.
He reminds her that he's her teacher, and that he's there for her if she needs him. Not in other ways though, and they share an awkward laugh.
It's only when she leaves and he's packing up his things that Finn allows himself to focus on what he didn't tell Marley.
He didn't tell Marley how Rachel had a few smiles reserved just for him. He's not being conceited. He knew they were her 'Finn' smiles. She only ever looked at HIM like that. Or how sometimes she'd look at him like he hung the moon, and it was all he needed in the world.
He didn't tell her how Rachel set his skin ablaze with a single touch, or how her kisses took his every breath away in the best way possible
He didn't tell her that he wanted was to see himself the way Rachel saw him, like he was capable of anything. He didn't tell Marley how he started to believe that, because of her.
His hero. She'll always be his hero.
He didn't tell her that loving her was as easy as breathing, and that without her it's so damn hard to breathe. He doesn't tell her that asking Rachel to marry him was one of the greatest things he's ever done or that when she said "YES", he thought his heart would explode in the best possible way. He doesn't tell her how he felt holding Rachel and kissing her in that moment or when she said she wanted to get married after Regionals. He doesn't tell her what it felt like to watch Rachel walk towards him in that beautiful wedding dress, or what it felt like to take her arm and walk out to meet their friends and family. He didn't tell her that he'd do it all over again, even with the same ending in that car.
He didn't tell her that sometimes, when he's lying in bed at night thinking about Rachel in NY, he starts to think that like that song says, he must have loved her before he even knew her. Like his heart was waiting to be filled with such love and hope and promise. He didn't tell her that sometimes he wishes he just went with Rachel and figured things out there, or that he sometimes wished he had let her stay.
He didn't tell Marley that everyday in the Army was like torture because he knew it wasn't where he was supposed to be. He knew it wasn't his dream and that he was trying to redeem his father and even though it made sense at the time, it didn't when he actually went in. Sometimes he's grateful for the circumstances that got him out, the ones that gave him a second chance to get it all right.
Being with Rachel, being loved by her makes him feel brave. Like he can do anything. He can actually take on the world and win. She still makes him feel that way. Thinking of her makes him focus and really want to get his plans together.
He's just scared that in the end it'll be too late.
He didn't tell Marley that all he wants is to be right where Rachel is, and it scares him that he might never get that chance. That too much time will pass and they'll never be together again. He didn't tell her that he's still so scared Rachel will choose something else, someone else. Rachel used to tell him how in the past she was scared he'd leave her? Well, he's always scared. He is, because he knows he can't possibly ever stop loving her, but he just doesn't expect her to feel the same.
He knows Rachel loves him. He knows it. After their confrontation in New York, he knows it's still there. She said she was sure of him, just not sure of marriage at 18, and it sort of gave him some solace. Still, he's afraid that this time apart? It'll wreck them more.
There are too many 'what ifs' in his life and he's scared.
That's the one most important thing he never told Marley.
The lone neon lights
And the heat of the ocean
And the fire that was starting to spark
I miss it all, from the love to the lightning
And the lack of it snaps, me in two
If you were here beside me
Instead of in New York
Of the arms you said you'd never leave
I'd tell you that it's simple
And it was only ever thus
There is nowhere else that I belong