Title: Falling In & Out
Pairing/Characters: Finn, Tina, implied Finn/Rachel, implied Tina/Artie, hints of Finn/Tina
Disclaimer: Glee belongs to Ryan Murphy and company.
Notes: Set after Season One.
Summary: Tina and Finn starting hanging out together during summer vacation.
Word Count: 1540
Summer vacation is long and boring, especially with Rachel off at some summer camp that's supposed to hone her talents and ensure that she'll have everything that she ever dreamed of. Everything she had ever dreamed of that doesn't include him. Finn knows that Rachel cares about him, but she's so easily distracted as of late. He doesn't blame her, in some ways he thinks that it's retribution for how he toyed with her heart all of the time. They're not quite dating, instead they're waiting for school to resume for their relationship to start, or at least that's what Rachel had told him.
So when he meets up with Tina at the mall, things don't seem to be serious. Just two friends from Glee club meeting up, to hang out, to pass away the hours of a long and hot day in the nice air conditioned mall. Yet almost immediately he starts to see Tina in a different light. She's different away from the others, more confident of herself, more comfortable in her skin, and a little less timid.
The next day, they head out to the movies. They see three movies in a row and when he's driving her home late that night; Finn feels something he's only ever felt for Quinn and Rachel. So the next day when Tina calls, Finn doesn't answer the phone. Instead he tries to think about how Rachel makes him feel when they're singing together for Glee club. He tries to think about how she looks but he has to pull out his yearbook because he can't quite recall what Rachel looks like. (Tina's face keeps coming to his mind, not that he admits that to himself.)
A week later, Finn sheepishly picks up his phone and calls Tina. She doesn't act like he hadn't suddenly dropped her like a hot potato or that she had called him three days in a row after the movies with no response. He's easily forgiven and when she agrees to go to the pool with him. No one they really know is there, the other members from Glee off doing whatever it is that they've been doing this summer and they're easily forgotten.
At one point, Tina falls into his arms in the water, laughing and smiling and he's never noticed how happy she is. And he wonders if this is something that's new. He immediately lets her go and pushes away the feelings that seem to be growing. Finn tells himself that he loves Rachel now and he can't break her heart, not again.
Every day, one of them finds a reason to call the other up. Tina doesn't mind hanging out at his house playing video games and he doesn't mind renting movies about vampires. He really doesn't mind the way she clings to him during a particularly scary moment. In fact if Finn were honest with himself, he'd admit that he really likes it when Tina clings to his arm and presses her face against him, hiding from the screen.
September draws closer and closer with every day and soon they'll be back in school. Rachel will be back and Glee will resume and everything will go back to how it was and Finn realizes that he doesn't want that. He likes Tina a lot, he likes who she is, and how she isn't this stereotypical Goth girl that he thought she was. And he really likes how Tina never treats him like he's completely clueless or stupid. He might not be a genius, but Tina treats him like a teenage boy, something that neither Quinn nor Rachel did. To them, he was always a trophy.
It's a week before Rachel is supposed to return and two before school starts and Finn is lying on his bed staring at the ceiling with his cell phone clenched in his hand. Tina had just texted him wanting to know if he wants to hang out and Finn's torn. Before today, the answer would have been a simple yes with a question of what should they do. Now the simple question seems weighted. If he says yes, will it change everything? Does he want it to change everything?
His phone vibrates in his hand again and Finn looks at the screen and its Tina. And Finn realizes that he wants to be with her. Badly. But there's Artie and there's Rachel and there's probably a hundred reasons why he should just ignore how he feels. But he doesn't want to. Before he knows it, he's texted her a response, telling her that he'll pick her up in five minutes.
When they're in his car, they're both silent. Finn doesn't know what to say and Tina seems content to play with the radio, looking for a song that they'll both enjoy. His tongue is tied and he doesn't know if he's going to be able to say what he wants to say without looking like a jerk. After all, they're both technically taken even though they've been able to spend this summer together for the most part.
Tina says something about the song she's found and he finds himself agreeing to whatever it is that she's said. She gives him a weird look before she starts telling him about a movie she watched the night before. Finn's barely processing the words as he finds a spot where he can pull over and talk to her. Really talk to her, to tell her everything that he's been wanting to tell her.
Later when he's finally said his piece (although he's certain he's mucked it all up), Tina's staring out the window, silent and still. Finn wishes he could take it back. He'd rather have her as a friend than nothing at all. It's going to make Glee club rather awkward and then there's Rachel. He sighs as he leans his head against the steering wheel.
“Finn, why are you with Rachel?”
“She's always been there,” Finn replies.
Tina sighs and shifts in the seat so she's facing him. “No, seriously, why are you with her? Do you love her?”
“Yeah but…” Finn can't finish saying the words that would devastate Rachel if she ever heard them. He loves Rachel but not quite in the way that she wants him to love her back.
“Then don't do this to her,” Tina says. “It's not that I don't feel anything for you, because I do, but don't break her heart.”
“But,” Finn starts, the vague idea of telling Tina that this is high school, that their hearts are supposed to broken over and over again so that they'll know how to act when they're adults is on his tongue but Tina stops it with a sharp look.
“I know Rachel's a lot to take in, but don't you think you should give her a chance?” Tina asks.
Finn tiredly nods in response. He knows that he should do the right thing and that telling Rachel that he's met someone else while she was off pursuing the dreams she's had forever is not the right thing to do at all.
“And this,” Tina says as she waves a hand between them, “Is just because we've spent so much time together, it's not real.”
He wants to argue with her and tell her that it is very much real but he doesn't.
“It's not that I don't like you Finn, I do, I think you're a really nice guy but you're Rachel's guy and …”
Tina's voice trails off as she stares out the window again. The unspoken end of her sentence is that she's Artie's girl rings in his head. He doesn't know how he's going to get through the next two weeks or even the upcoming school year. But she's right, he's a nice guy and right now Rachel deserves to have a fair chance with him. One that's not tainted by Quinn and her pregnancy and her lies, so he knows that he has to give up Tina.
“Wanna hang out tomorrow? Watch a movie or something?” Finn asks.
“Sure,” Tina replies.
Finn goes to start the car but her hand on his wrist stops him. Tina leans forward and places a kiss on his cheek. She doesn't give him any false platitudes about how this is for the best that they're sacrificing whatever they might have together for what they have with Artie and Rachel. Instead she gives him a quick taste of what might have been.
Three weeks later and school's back in session. Tina nervously takes center stage for the solo performance that Mr. Schuster had insisted she take. Finn smiles at her, he knows that she can do this. After a summer of being together, just the two of them, he knows that she can do whatever she sets her mind to. Tina gives him a smile back before she starts to sing, her voice hitting the notes of the song that she had sung in his car as he drove them around Lima all summer long. She's still his Tina, the girl that he met by chance when they decided to hang out at the mall together at the start of summer.
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