Title: What the Water Wants is Hurricanes
Fandom: Glee
Rating: G
Word Count: 1,138
Summary: Once, she almost tells him at lunch, almost lets her fist slip out from under her chin so she tilts forward and closes the thirteen inches of space between them. It's a rickety seesaw she's sitting on, and she knows one of these days she's going to slide right off.
Disclaimer: Everything belongs to Ryan Murphy, Fox, et al. — I'm just having fun. ;-)
Notes: Title from the song "Sister" by Sufjan Stevens. Randomly written while I was procrastinating on studying for my Geology test (because really, unrequited love is more interesting than rocks). Unbeta'ed, so all mistakes are mine.

This? This is starting. And she needs to stop. Or maybe she needs to stop starting, but, really, it's easier to learn how to finally stop. Hypothetically.

"So, what do you think? Hey, it'll be fun." He swats her arm playfully with the rolled-up stack of flyers and raises his eyebrows. "Not to mention it's for a good cause; New Directions could do with some extra funds."

"A car wash," she says, repeating the words like they're in Klingon.

"Yeah. What do you say?"

There's a term for this. What is it? "Pathetic" is depressing, and untrue; any other single woman put in her position — Sue excluded, because she's pretty sure that Sue reproduces by budding or something — wouldn't be able to help feeling the same. Of course, there's also probably therapy and series of medications for this.

She knows that expression, the one about teaching an old dog new tricks. But she's barely cleared thirty, so "old" doesn't really apply — maybe a different one?

"...Sure. I'll be there bright and early on Saturday."

The corners of his eyes crinkle slightly as he grins. "Great! Thanks so much for the help, Emma, I really do appreciate it."

Ah. Right.

Old habits die hard.


As soon as he waves good morning at her that first time in the front entrance of McKinley, sunlight catching on his third finger, she's already started her soon-to-be-well-worn mantra of don't start. Don't start when he's looking dead at her with eyes the color of cut grass and a friendly, crooked smile bracketed by a couple of sheepish lines. Definitely don't start when he walks over, half-folded paper in hand.

"Hey," he says. "Will Schuester. Sorry, I'm new here — well, sort of — and I — gosh, I can't seem to read this map of the school worth a darn. They've definitely done some remodeling since I was last here." He laughs a bit awkwardly, rubs the back of his neck.

"Oh. Hi. Well, I'm Emma, Emma Pillsbury. I'm a guidance counselor. Here," she adds unnecessarily. She blinks a few times before noticing he has his hand out and there's that familiar recoiling feeling, the one reminding her of the distinct lack of Purell currently involved in this interaction.

Before she can really process it, though, her own hand's already reached out, gripped his, and started bobbing up and down.

Mental clap to the forehead: this is starting.


Helping him tack up advertisements in the hallway for New Directions' fall charity concert during lunch hour shouldn't count as either. Then again, her stomach gives a traitorous little rumble, and she's glad he's out of earshot because if he hears it, tells her to go ahead and eat, and she stays anyway? That does count.

And she's enjoying the neutrality.

"It's really great that the kids are doing this," she offers. "I'm sure their parents'll be so proud."

A pink wedge of tongue sneaks through his teeth as he presses the corners of the flyer down. "Yeah, they're all really excited. They'll finally get a chance to show off what they've been working on all semester — you know, outside of competition — and the pediatric ward at the hospital will finally get the new furniture it's been needing. Rachel's dads have already bought out the entire front row for themselves and their canasta club." He turns to face her, a corner of his mouth twisting up, and she wishes he would push that down, too. Only, she never actually wants him to do it. "Thanks for the suggestion, by the way."

"Um... what? Oh, no, don't — don't be silly. It was really — it was nothing."

"Oh, whoa! Look out." His arm thrown out in front of her shoulders, gently herding her flat against the wall so she doesn't get flattened by the horde of football players sprinting down the hall towards the buses waiting for them outside — this is why she shouldn't start. Ignoring the fact that she already has, because she's stopping. Or she's going to learn. Or something.

She doesn't even notice the bits of putty caught under her fingernails until she's back in her office later on, stomach empty and a full book of appointments dictating the rest of her afternoon.


Somehow, she ends up assigning herself as his tour guide, and she tells herself that she'd do this for any new teacher. After all, she is the guidance counselor, isn't she?

He touches a hand to the inside of her elbow, briefly, as they pass the trophy cases. "Hey, mind waiting a minute? I wanted to look at one of the displays."

"Yes. I mean — no, I don't mind waiting. Go ahead."


When he strolls over to the shelf with the plaques and statuettes for the glee club, lightly pressing his fingertips to the glass for a moment before quickly pulling up the sleeve of his jacket to wipe away the smudges, she hangs back. It feels like a silent reunion, one she has no right to be a part of.

"You know," he starts quietly, not turning, "I think Mrs. Adler might've been the best teacher I've ever had."

She takes a tentative step forward. He looks at her and smiles a bit, eyes soft, and it doesn't feel like an intrusion at all.


Once, she almost tells him at lunch, almost lets her fist slip out from under her chin so she tilts forward and closes the thirteen inches of space between them. It's a rickety seesaw she's sitting on, and she knows one of these days she's going to slide right off.

Before then, though, she's going to learn how to stop. Or not start.

And maybe Sue's going to start wearing blazer-and-skirt combinations and bring in baked goods for the Cheerios before every meet.


"Okay, this has to be new," he says, tapping a foot on the carpet. "The floor never had any actual colors while I was here."

"What can I say, Will? The board finally called in the cleaners to detail it at least once a semester. Guess they got tired of people thinking we had grey carpeting." Standing in the doorway with her arms crossed, she laughs a little.

He laughs, too. "Guess so. Hey, thanks for showing me around; I can't tell you how relieved I was to find someone who could help."

"Oh — no problem. I — you know, I didn't have all that much to do this morning anyway. So."

The lie only stumbles a little as it springs from her lips, and she's perfectly aware of what it means, but there's always tomorrow. She'll have a fresh slate then, and she'll keep it just as clean as the rest of her things.

Current Mood: working
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