They were halfway through their second lap around Rainbow Road when Finn finally just said it. He and Kurt were sitting cross-legged next to each other at the end of Finn’s bed, with the rest of the room sort of dark (it was autumn and the sun went down way too early and Finn forgot to stand up and get the lights between races), and the TV was glowing with the weird see-through track. Kurt was playing King Boo, as always, and as always, he was beating Finn, because Finn sucked at staying on the track on Rainbow Road. He blamed Bowser, but he knew it was just him and his totally awful reflexes.
But they were going through the star portal things and Kurt was concentrating really hard on hitting a speed boost, his tongue sort of sticking out of the side of his mouth and the controller held tight in his hands as he twisted it right and then left, and the idea to talk about this had been sort of building in Finn all day, so he just let it out. “Rachel and I slept together.”
Kurt missed the speed boost. He also fell off of the track, which gave Finn a little victory glow because finally that annoying noise wasn’t because of him, but then he glanced at Kurt and Kurt was staring at him openmouthed instead of looking at the screen, and okay, maybe he should have brought that up when they weren’t in the middle of something.
Finn coughed. “So. Yeah.”
Kurt closed his mouth, then opened it, then closed it again.
Finn looked back at the game (he was in third now and Kurt was in eighth) and tried to act as if he hadn’t said anything at all, just passed through the checkpoint again, but Kurt dropped the controller into his lap and smacked Finn really hard on the arm.
“Ow!” Finn dropped his controller and turned to Kurt. “Dude!”
“You don’t just say things like that, Finn!” Kurt hissed. His face was half-washed over with the light from the TV, weird colors, and he was using that voice, the one where he wanted to be yelling but he couldn’t because Mom and Burt were down the hall. “Oh my god. I need to bleach that sentence out of my brain.”
Finn frowned at him. “I just – I didn’t tell—” He stopped. Yeah, no, this was an awful idea. Finn was really dumb. He looked back at the game, picking up his controller again. “Nevermind.”
But Kurt reached for his own controller and paused the game before Finn could overtake Waluigi. He looked like he was gathering himself for something: straightening his back, taking a deep breath, the kind of stuff he did when they were about to go on stage to perform for people. He closed his eyes for a minute, then looked back at Finn. “You obviously want to talk about it,” he said, weirdly evenly. “So what did you want to say?”
It was Finn’s turn to look like a fish for a minute. The game’s music was still sort of loud and annoying in the background, but it was drowned out by how screwed Finn was right now. By his own stupid brain. “I – uh,” he managed. “I don’t really know. I just – like, I haven’t told anyone about it.”
Kurt’s eyebrows lowered. “You didn’t tell Puck?”
Um, duh. “Dude. No,” Finn said, wrinkling his nose. “I mean, I asked him about condoms, so obviously he knows, but I didn’t, like, go up to him at school the next day and tell him what it was like or anything. That’s, like, an invasion of privacy, or something. That’s not cool.”
Kurt was looking at him the way he did sometimes, like Finn was this new person he was meeting. His eyes narrowed. “It wasn’t because you’re embarrassed of her, right?”
What? “Dude!” Finn said, a little too loud. “No! That’s my girlfriend. You guys might be fighting or whatever, but you can’t just say that kind of stuff about—”
“No, Finn, no,” Kurt said, holding up a hand. “I didn’t mean it like that.” He dropped the hand, still looking at Finn like he was considering him really carefully. He shook his head slowly. “The things you’re weirdly good about never cease to surprise me.”
Finn couldn’t really tell if that was a good or a bad thing. But from the faintly not-unhappy look on Kurt’s face, he figured it must be a good thing. He fidgeted with his shirt for a second, breaking eye contact, hoping Kurt would just leave it there. But of course he didn’t.
“Why’re you telling me?” Kurt asked. “Are you – do you feel okay about it?”
There was no reason to keep looking down at his shirt without looking like an idiot. He dragged his eyes back up to Kurt’s and his shoulders slumped. “Yeah,” he said, softly. “I – yeah. I guess. It was better than with – you know, last year. It meant something, to both of us. It made me feel—” whole, purposeful, strong, ready, loved “—better. It made me feel good.”
“Did you two. Um. Talk about it – after?”
Finn nodded. Fiddling with his jeans now, much better than with his shirt. He pulled a little at the hole in the knee. “She said she felt the same way. She said it was right. Which is, you know, good.”
Finn felt Kurt relax and little bit next to him, like he’d been worried about that. Rachel would probably like to hear that. Kurt was still worried about her, even if he hated her a little for being selfish. Kurt paused for a moment. “You don’t sound like you’re really sure if it was right or not,” he said.
Finn pulled more at the tear. It gave a little, got a little bigger. He sighed. “I’m not totally sure. Like, it was really sudden. We were going to, and it was for the wrong reasons, and then we didn’t. And then a few days later we did, and I’m not really sure what changed, and I’m not sure it was suddenly for any better reasons. Like, maybe for her, but not for me.”
Kurt blinked at him in the dark. “Can you explain that slowly?”
Finns sighed again, frustrated. Talking about feelings sucked. “It was that day. When Cooter told me I wasn’t going to play football in college? The opening night of the play. That was the night it happened.” He felt Kurt’s breath catch a little next to him, and glanced over to see his face a little red. Or it might have been the light from the TV. Whatever. “So I wasn’t, you know, happy. I was really messed up. Then Rachel came over, and it made me feel – better. Like, a lot better. But I don’t know if that’s good or not, you know? Should I have waited until I already felt good? Was it, like, pity sex? Did I ruin Rachel’s first time by being kind of angry and sad before it?”
“I—” Kurt was giving him deer-in-headlights eyes, and he totally deserved it, because Finn had been totally ready to let this go. But now he sort of wanted to know what Kurt actually thought. That was the reason he’d asked in the first place. Because Kurt wasn’t really super experienced, especially not with girls, obviously, but he had, like, common sense, most of the time, and he was good at talking about important things when they didn’t really involve him at all. Kurt cleared his throat. “I don’t know, Finn. Those aren’t really things I can tell you. You should talk to Rachel about it.”
Finn’s shoulders slumped further. Nevermind, Kurt sucked at this. “That totally wasn’t helpful, dude.”
Kurt’s face flickered with an annoyed expression. “You asked me questions I can’t possibly know the answer to. If Rachel said that it was a good thing for her, then it probably was. You’ve been dating her long enough to be able to tell if she’s lying or not about something like that.” Kurt stopped. He frowned, looking hard at Finn. “And I think that, if you let yourself look closely enough at your own feelings, you’ll be able to figure out the rest of it. Whether or not it was right for you, I mean. You’re the only one who can decide that.”
Finn let out a breath. Drawing his back up into a straight column, he closed his eyes, and he thought. The way Rachel’s eyes looked in the firelight – the way her hands felt, the sort of nervous but excited twitch of her smile. Those were good things. The things they’d said – things she’d whispered to him, things he’d whispered to her – things that made him feel – god. Happy. Understood. Like he knew his place in the universe. The fear and the weirdness of it and the gentleness of it.
It’d felt right, then. He’d felt all of those things — whole, purposeful, strong, ready, loved — and safe, mostly. Mostly he’d felt really safe, like nothing bad could ever touch him again.
It was only later, when Rachel was gone with a smile and a kiss and a lingering look back, that Finn had started to let the doubt creep in around the edges of his happiness. Because nothing was perfect forever. He’d learned that when he was a little kid. Life was basically a series of really huge disappointments filled in with tiny moments of pure beautiful awesomeness, and Finn tended to always be waiting for the other shoe to drop. We had a nice Christmas, but Mom needs to work more shifts later and she’s really stressed and eight-year-old Finn feels bad. Darren The Emerald Dreams Guy was around for a little while, but then Darren’s driving away with this blonde girl and Mom’s crying and Finn sort of hates him.
Being with Rachel was like that. They’d break up, get back together, break up again, and it was always really dramatic and crazy. This time it was steady – it actually felt real, like those other times were with two people who weren’t actually them. They both felt older now, like they could actually do this. And Finn was really happy, with everything. Rachel made him happy. And then all of that horrible stuff with Cooter, and him and Rachel fighting, and everything crashing down around him. And then – it was like fixing it. Everything. Being with Rachel that way, it made him perfectly happy until the second the door closed after her.
It felt like there was that other shoe, hovering somewhere right over Finn’s head.
But. Maybe there wasn’t.
Finn opened his eyes. “I think it was the right thing to do,” he said. Safe, he thought again. And, Maybe it’ll feel that way next time, too.
Kurt tilted his head slightly. “I’m glad, I suppose.”
Finn grinned at him. “I am, too.”
Kurt smiled a little, looking at him like he was really weird, but Finn didn’t care. He reached over and tried to unpause the game on Kurt’s controller. Kurt jerked it out of his reach. “Wait,” he said. “Are you absolutely certain that we are done talking about this? Because after this moment you are never to bring it up in my presence ever again, or there will be serious consequences.”
Finn racked his brain for anything else, but found nothing. “Yep,” he said. “That’s it.”
Kurt let out a sigh of relief. “Good,” he murmured. He took the game off of pause and regripped his controller. “I can go back to destroying you in Mario Kart.”
“I think you’re a lap behind me now, dude.”
Kurt tutted. “Because you distracted me with terrible mental images.”
Finn fell through the track again, but it didn’t really bother him that time. He glanced at Kurt out of the corner of his eye for the second he had to look away from the screen. “Hey,” he said, sort of seriously, “if you ever need to talk about – you know, that kind of thing. Even though – yeah. I’m, uh. You can talk to me. If you want.”
Kurt didn’t look away from the TV, but Finn could see the curve of his sort of laughing smile in his profile. “Sure, Finn,” he said. “I’ll bring you all of my gay sex woes.”
Finn coughed before he could help himself, but tried to hide it. “You, uh. Do that, man.”
Kurt snorted softly next to him.
They played for a few moments in concentrated silence, Kurt leaning a little forward over his knees, the wheel controller in front of him, as if that would make him go any faster. Finn was in first, Kurt was in second. The finish line was coming up, and Finn was just getting ready to break out the victory arms, when Kurt said conversationally—
“Blaine and I had our first time that night, too.”
Finn fell off of the track.
Kurt turned King Boo’s car to slide sideways over the finish line, and the winner music started playing.
“Oh, look,” said Kurt, putting down his controller and leaning back on his arms, turning his head to give Finn a wry grin. “I won.”
That was totally cheating.