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when you and I collide

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Finn’s first day back on campus is less than awesome.

All he has on his schedule are a couple theater electives, and he’s been sort of looking forward to them. Not as much as Will, but Finn’s pretty sure it’s not possible to be as excited as Will about anything school-related. Still, he kind of likes that Will thinks he’s good at something, so Finn doesn’t complain when Will goes on and on about how much fun he’s going to have in his improv class.

He figures Will’s probably right, anyway, because Finn’s acted before, and he likes it enough to keep trying out for shows at the community theater. And okay, a lot of that has to do with the fact that Will’s always there too, but still. Finn doesn’t hate it or anything.

So he shows up at his improv class expecting something kind of like community theater; a handful of other actors, most of them probably younger than him, yeah, and maybe one or two will be intense in that scary way Rachel used to be, but for the most part he figures they’ll all be there to have a good time and get an elective out of the way.

What he doesn’t expect is for everybody in the class to think they’re the next Brad Pitt or whatever. In fact, he’s pretty sure most of them think Brad Pitt kind of sucks – which, whatever, Brad Pitt makes more money than any of them will ever see – and they’re all planning to be the next whoever’s-really-famous-on-Broadway. Whatever theater actor who never does plays where there’s any singing, because Finn gets the impression as soon as he mentions Fiddler that singing isn’t something to brag about around here.

After that he keeps his mouth shut – or he tries, anyway, but it turns out that’s not all that easy in an acting class – and mostly listens to the rest of them brag about all the roles they’ve landed that are somehow way more impressive than playing Perchik in a community theater production of Fiddler on the Roof directed by his boyfriend.

Not that he mentions the boyfriend part. He’s not sure if it would help him or hurt him at this point.

By the end of the class he knows two things: Improv class isn’t going to be anything like community theater, and he doesn’t have any freaky natural talent for making stuff up as he goes along. He doesn’t see what’s so wrong with working from a script to begin with, but everybody else in class seems to think scripts are for amateurs. Which he technically is, but Finn’s smart enough not to point that out in front of any of them.

Instead he keeps his mouth shut some more, and when their professor finally decides they’ve had enough humiliation for one day, he pulls his coat on and grabs his backpack and heads for the door before the rest of them are even out of their seats. The temperature’s dropped a few degrees since class started, and every few seconds a snowflake melts on his cheek or his jacket or his hair. Finn barely notices the weather on his way to the parking lot, but once he’s in his truck and the heater’s running he frowns up at the sky and digs out his phone.

He opens a new text message and scrolls through his contacts until he finds Will’s name, then he starts typing.

Looks like snow. If its on the road when u get out call & Ill come get u.

He knows Will’s probably teaching right now, so he doesn’t expect an answer. He drops his phone on the seat next to him and backs out of his spot, then he points the truck toward the shop and focuses on getting to work in time for his shift. He’s halfway there when his phone rings, and Finn reaches for it and frowns at the display for a second before he answers.

“I thought you had a class right now.”

“Second period just ended,” Will says, his voice kind of low, like maybe he’s trying to keep any stray students from overhearing. “I’ve got a couple minutes before the juniors descend on me.”

“Oh. Well, I meant it, Will. If it snows, don’t drive the Camaro home. I’ll come get you.”

“It’s not going to snow.”

“So I guess I’m just hallucinating the snowflakes on my windshield right now.”

There’s a pause on the other end of the line, and Finn bites back a laugh as he pulls into the shop parking lot and shuts off his engine.

“Okay, okay, if there’s any accumulation, which is highly unlikely, I’ll let you pick me up.”

“Promise?”

Another pause, then Will sighs in Finn’s ear and he feels his skin heat up in spite of the weather. “I promise. But that’s not why I called. I want to hear how your first class went.”

Finn groans at the reminder of the last hour and a half of his life and closes his eyes to run a hand over his face. The fact that he has to do it all over again on Thursday morning just makes it even worse, and there’s a part of him that wants to turn around right now and drive back to campus to drop both his classes. Except if he does that he’s not sure he can still graduate, and if he drops out in his last semester he’ll have Will, Burt, and his mom to deal with.

“That bad?” Will asks, and Finn’s pretty sure he hears actual sympathy under the disappointment.

“It might get better, I guess.”

“What happened?”

Finn lets out a deep breath and opens his eyes, glancing out the windshield and frowning at a gray cloud hovering on the horizon. “I’ll tell you about it when you’re not about to teach a bunch of juniors how to habla Espanol.”

The sound of Will’s laugh makes him feel a little better, and Finn grins in spite of the weather and his apparent lack of improv skills. “Does that mean I’ll be seeing you tonight even if it doesn’t snow?”

“Yeah,” Finn answers, because he’s pretty sure Will wants to see him, even though Finn never asks. He said he wanted Finn to move in, after all, and okay, so technically Finn hasn’t officially moved all his stuff in yet, but he’s done pretty much everything but. He’s been spending every night with Will for almost two weeks now, anyway, and if Will wanted some space Finn figures he would have said by now.

“I should probably stop by my folks’ place after work, put in an appearance,” Finn adds, glancing toward the shop this time, but Burt’s not standing in the window looking at him or anything. Finn’s pretty sure Burt doesn’t mind if he moves in with Will, but Finn’s mom is probably going to hate it a little, so he’s trying to break it to her slowly.

Okay, so maybe he’s trying to get away with not breaking it to her at all, but even he knows that’s not really going to work. Eventually he’s going to have to tell her that he doesn’t actually live in her basement anymore; he’s just sort of hoping that by the time the subject comes up, she’ll already be used to not having him around.

Finn hears muffled voices on the other end of the line and knows Will’s students are starting to show up. He doesn’t really want Will to hang up, but they both have work to get back to, so Finn swallows a sigh and swings the truck door open.

The blast of cold air surprises a gasp out of him, and he pulls his coat a little tighter around him as he shuts the door and hurries toward the shop. “Finn? Everything okay?”

“Yeah, it’s just cold out. Listen, I meant it about the snow. If it’s bad…”

“I know,” Will interrupts, but he sounds more amused than pissed, so Finn figures he doesn’t really mind. “I’ll call. Are you having dinner with your parents?”

He probably should; his mom’s not going to put up with his constant disappearing act for that much longer, not without wanting to talk about it. But the thought of even one night away from Will is more than he really wants to deal with, so instead Finn shakes his head and lets himself into the warmth of the shop. “I wasn’t planning on it, unless you’ve got something to do.”

“No plans,” Will answers, and something about the way he says it makes Finn’s face heat up. “I’ll see you in a few hours, then.”

“Yeah,” Finn says, bites back the urge to say I love you, because he knows Will can’t say it back in front of his students. “See you later.”

He hangs up his phone and pockets it, then he slides his coat off and hangs it in the office before he heads for the garage. When he gets there Burt’s leaning over the engine of a Ford that’s seen way better days, and Finn waits until he looks up to say hi.

“How was class?” Burt asks, and when Finn just shrugs and pretends to be fascinated with the Ford’s engine Burt doesn’t try to get him to talk about it. Instead he wipes his hands on a shop rag and reaches for a wrench, then he hands it to Finn. “Catalytic converter’s shot. Think you can handle replacing it by yourself?”

He’s helped Burt replace a couple catalytic converters, but Finn’s never tried to do one himself. Then again, it’s a pretty straight-forward job, so he shrugs again and takes the wrench. “Yeah, sure.”

Burt pats him on the shoulder and leaves him to it, and Finn takes a deep breath and tells himself that Burt wouldn’t trust him with the job if he didn’t trust Finn not to screw it up. It takes him awhile – longer than it should, probably – but when he finishes and starts the car the engine sounds perfect. He feels a lot better about the catalytic converter than he does about improv class, anyway, and by the time Finn finishes his shift and promises to see Burt at home he’s almost forgotten how much his morning sucked.

When he gets back in his truck the roads are still clear, and he’s not sure whether or not he’s disappointed that he won’t have to pick up Will after all. It saves him the extra drive, sure, and it means he won’t have to drop Will off in the morning, unless it snows overnight. But there’s a part of him that kind of likes the idea of picking up Will in front of his old high school, of leaning across the cab to kiss him and not worrying about who might see.

They’re already official, because Will’s already told Figgins, and that means the rest of the teachers know too. All their friends know, and their parents are mostly cool with it, sort of, so it’s not like they’re hiding anything. Still, it kind of feels like they’re hiding something, and Finn figures maybe that’s his fault.

His mom’s home when he gets there, emptying the dishwasher when Finn crosses to the sink to scrub at his hands with the special grease-cutting soap Burt keeps there. He makes a mental note to pick some up for the kitchen at Will’s place, but as soon as he thinks it he feels a stab of guilt and glances across the room at his mom.

“How was your first day of classes?” his mom asks without even looking at him, and Finn rolls his eyes when he catches himself thinking she can read his mind.

“I only had the one,” he answers, turning back to the sink to scrub at a stubborn patch of grease at the base of his thumb. “It was okay, I guess.”

He’s not sure why he doesn’t just tell her the truth, that it sucked so much he’s kind of thinking about not going back. Maybe because changing his concentration in his last semester and maybe adding another year to his college career was Will’s idea, and his mom isn’t exactly Will’s biggest fan. It’s not like she hates him or anything, but it’s only been a couple weeks since she found out about them, and he knows she’s still getting used to the concept.

So he’s trying not to remind her any more than he has to of why she’s not exactly crazy about the idea of him and Will, at least not until she finds a way to get past it. It’s not that easy when Will’s pretty much all he thinks about, though, and when he looks up again and finds her watching him he’s not so sure she can’t read his mind.

“Are you staying for dinner?” she asks, then she turns back to whatever she’s cooking.

“I told Will I’d come over,” he answers, and when he sees her shoulders tense he feels kind of bad about it, but not bad enough to take it back.

For a second her only answer is a nod, and just when Finn thinks maybe the conversation’s over she says, “Why don’t the two of you come for dinner this weekend? Saturday, maybe.”

“It’s the last weekend of the show,” he says, and now he does feel bad, because he’s pretty sure inviting them over for dinner means she’s trying. “You guys could come to the matinee on Sunday; we could all go get some dinner after.”

He’s not sure how Will’s going to feel about that; there’s usually some kind of cast party after the last show, and as the director Will’s kind of the guest of honor. But they can probably put in an appearance before they bail to have dinner with Finn’s folks, and if it means his mom’s going to come around, it’ll be worth it.

“Sure, hon,” she answers, and if her smile looks kind of forced Finn tells himself it’s just because she’s going to have to break it to Burt that he’s sitting through the show again. The thought makes him laugh, and when she raises an eyebrow he just shakes his head at her.

“Where does Burt get this soap, anyway?” Finn asks, inspecting his hands for any signs of grease he missed.

“He orders it through the shop, but the drugstore carries it. Why?”

Finn shrugs and tries not to blush, glancing at the soap so he won’t have to look at his mother.

“I figured I’d pick some up to keep at our…I mean, at Will’s place,” he answers, stammering over the words, and now he’s really blushing. It’s not like he came right out and said he’s moving in with Will, but judging by the look on his mom’s face he figures he might as well have.

For a second he’s terrified she’s going to start crying, but then she blinks and flashes a kind of sad smile in his direction. “I’ll pick some up for you when I go shopping tomorrow. Stop by after your class on Thursday.”

“Thanks, Mom,” he says, and before he can talk himself out of it he crosses the room and plants a kiss on her cheek. She holds onto him for a second, then she lets go and turns back to the stove.

“It’s just soap, Finn,” she answers, but he can hear the tightness in her voice, and it makes his own throat close up a little.

He nods even though she’s not looking at him, then he backs toward the kitchen door. “I’m gonna go grab some stuff from downstairs, then I’m heading out again.”

“Okay, hon,” she answers, and her voice sounds almost normal. “Say hello to Will.”

He’s pretty sure she doesn’t really mean it, but she said she’d come to the show on Sunday, and he knows she loves him, so one of these days she’ll come around.

~

Will’s already home by the time Finn gets there, a beer open on the counter and singing along to Journey’s Greatest Hits while he messes around in the kitchen. He doesn’t cook a lot, mostly because he’s not that good at it, but there’s only so much takeout they can eat, so Finn doesn’t complain about the questionable smells coming from the pot on the top of the stove.

“What’s for dinner?”

Will turns at the sound of his voice, smiling around the chorus of “Ask the Lonely” and finishing the line before he stops to grin at Finn. “I didn’t hear you come in.”

“Yeah, I got that,” Finn says, then he pushes himself off the door frame and crosses the kitchen to stop in front of Will. “It’s cool, though. You know I like watching you dance.”

“Was I dancing?” Will asks, hands on Finn’s hips to pull him close and sort of move them together in time to the music. And Finn’s still a lousy dancer, even after all this time, but he just laughs and lets Will move for them both.

He reaches up to push a hand through Will’s hair, leaning in and tilting Will’s head up just a little to fit their mouths together. It hasn’t been all that long since they last kissed, but it kind of feels like forever, so Finn ignores the sigh he lets out when Will presses closer and slides his arms around Finn’s waist.

At some point while they’re kissing Will stops dancing, until finally they’re just standing in the center of the kitchen with their arms around each other, kissing slow, and Finn’s not in any hurry to stop. In fact, this is pretty much exactly what he’s been thinking about all day, and now that he’s here it’s easy to forget about all the other stuff.

Will’s mouth leaves his to kiss his way along Finn’s jaw, the rough scratch of his stubble sending shivers down Finn’s spine. Finn groans and tightens his grip on Will, turning into him until their mouths are pressed together again. And if they keep this up they’re not going to make it to dinner, but Finn’s pretty okay with that.

As soon as he thinks it Will’s pulling away, thumb tracing Finn’s bottom lip for a second before he smiles and looks up. “So do you want to talk about your class now?”

He groans for a whole different reason this time, then he pulls his hands away from Will and crosses to the fridge for a beer. “There’s not much to tell. Everybody in class was kind of an asshole.”

“Everybody?” Will asks, like he doesn’t really believe Finn. “What about your professor?”

“He was the worst one,” Finn says when he straightens up again. “Everybody was talking about their acting experience, right? So I mentioned Fiddler. I might as well have told them I delivered singing telegrams or something.”

When Will laughs Finn can’t help smiling, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s true. He doesn’t fit in with the kids in his class, and the thing is, he doesn’t really want to. He doesn’t care what any of them think, because he likes theater group and he likes singing, and most of all he likes hanging out with Will. He’s not so sure he likes studying theater in school, but he doesn’t tell Will that.

Instead he leans against the counter and watches Will stir whatever he’s cooking, and when Will looks up Finn raises an eyebrow. “Since when do you make chili?”

“Shannon gave me her recipe,” Will answers. He grins and stirs it again, then he puts the lid back on the pot and turns the heat down a little. “Apparently the longer it simmers the better it tastes.”

He stops in front of Finn, one hand back on his waist and the other reaching behind Finn for the beer he left on the counter. Finn leans into him, pressing his face against Will’s neck and breathing in before he brushes his lips against Will’s skin.

“So we’ve got some time to kill?”

“A little,” Will answers. He pulls Finn away from the counter, toward the living room to pull Finn down onto the couch. He sets both their beers on the coffee table before he pulls Finn close again, letting Finn push him back onto the couch and stretch out next to him.

Finn presses their lips together, hand resting on Will’s chest to feel his heart beating through the button-down he wore to work. His free hand pushes through Will’s hair again, and when Will’s hands slide across his back to pull him even closer Finn sighs and breaks the kiss to press their foreheads together.

“It'll get better,” Will murmurs, hands moving up and down Finn’s back in what he’s pretty sure is supposed to be a reassuring gesture.

“Yeah. Probably,” Finn says, and he doesn’t believe it, but he knows Will wants him to, so he doesn’t argue. “My mom wants to have dinner this weekend.”

“The show…” Will says, hands coming to rest in the center of Finn’s back.

“I told her that. But they’re coming to the last show on Sunday, and I figured we could meet them at Breadstix or something after we put in an appearance at the cast party. If you don’t want to I can tell her next weekend’s better.”

“No,” Will says, then his hands are moving again, and Finn relaxes into his touch and presses a kiss to the bottom of Will’s jaw. “Sunday’s fine. I’m glad they’re coming to the show.”

“Yeah, me too.” And he means it, because there’s no way anyone could ever be as crazy about Will as he is, but he knows his mom'll like Will at least as much as she likes Puck, once she gives him a chance. “I love you.”

As soon as he says it Will’s hands leave his back, then he’s lifting Finn’s head so Will can look at him. For a second he just looks, like maybe he’s trying to figure something out. Then he smiles, soft and almost shy, and it makes Finn’s heart twist hard in his chest.

“I love you too, Finn,” he says, and Finn doesn’t doubt for a second that he means it.