A/N: Happy Holidays in July! I started this fic seven months ago! I had the first quarter of it, but gave up. I think this sprung from an open prompt about Rae and Finn kissing under the mistletoe. justagirlnamedkayla favored us with a lovely Christmas fic off of that prompt.
Anyway, when I was searching for drabbles to clean up and post, I found this, and the story just came to me. (I’m rarely so lucky.)
(It’s worth mentioning that since I started it well ahead of Series 2 airing, most of the story lines you’re all familiar with have not happened in this fic. You’ll see. Hope you like it!)
* * *
You can procrastinate anything. Papers for school, cleaning the house, going to the doctor, even living your life.
When Rae and Finn had had that moment in front of the chippy, and he’d traced I LIKE YOU on her back, there had been one brief shining moment that she thought he might like like her and they’d get together and date and hold hands and kiss and do more than kiss, playing their own game of rounders and hitting all the bases.
But then they walked back to the reception, and joined the rest of the gang in celebration, dancing to crap tunes from the 70s, drinking pints, and laughing like a load of twats.
In the morning, Rae was happy and hungover for a brief dazzling moment, but almost immediately started to doubt everything. Maybe I LIKE YOU was just a way of saying, “Just because you’re crazy doesn’t mean I’ll totally ditch you.” Maybe they really were just best mates, like she’d told Chloe. She convinced herself he didn’t mean it how she hoped he had, because she didn’t want to be humiliated by thinking he had feelings for her when he didn’t. So, when she saw him the next day, she just smiled and didn’t say anything, waiting for him to make a move and prove her wrong.
* * *
She obviously didn’t feel about him the same way he felt about her. She’d smiled when he declared himself the night before, but hadn’t said anything back, and when they met up with the gang in the cold light of day, she still didn’t say anything. No clue that she reciprocated his feelings. Finn drank his pint in silence, watching Rae sitting across the table, talking to Archie about some film they both liked.
Chop elbowed Finn in the ribs. “What’s up wi’ you, mate? Ya’ve got a right face on!”
Finn shrugged. “Nothin’. Jus’ tired, I guess.” He thought he saw Rae glance over at him for a split second, but she turned right back to her conversation with Archie and didn’t make eye contact again.
* * *
And, just like that, a day became a week became a month. They were still friends, still hung out at the pub and the chippy, still felt little jolts of electricity from time to time when their eyes met. But the moment had passed. The opportunity didn’t present itself again, or maybe they were just too scared and overwhelmed that neither wanted to take a step toward the other only to find the floor wasn’t there and fall on their face.
Plus, once college had started, there were plenty of distractions. Finn was glad of them, and actually got the best marks he had since he was in primary school. Rae found herself back in survival mode, trying to ignore/avoid her critics, and she didn’t want to share her troubles with the gang. Keeping her head down meant that she missed the angst in Finn’s eyes when she walked past him in the halls, oblivious, and when they were at the pub, she seemed to ignore him more often than not to focus on the the trail of bubbles inside her pint glass.
Time passed haltingly; sometimes days streamed by without notice, sometimes the two of them found themselves early at the pub, struggling to find conversation or a way to be with each other, and ten minutes seemed like a week. Other times, the rest of the gang seemed superfluous; the two of them could riff for hours on bands and lyrics. They both kept hoping the other would make a move at some point, and neither did, so the gulf between them kept widening.
Finn still found excuses to touch her, though their communication via secret method tapered off. It hurt too much to guide his finger across her thigh, only to have her smile at him thinly, not knowing she was too scared to say anything back, let alone move it over a few inches and ask him to write out In Search of Lost Time.
I don’t know how I missed this, but OH MY GOD!!!
SUCH A GOOD FIC!!!