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01 November 2011 @ 07:58 pm
fic: Running the Banner Down 1/?  
Title: Running the Banner Down
Rating: NC-17 eventually
Pairings: past-Fuinn, past-Finchel, Klaine (mentioned), Finn/OC, Kinn (eventually)
Spoilers: Everything up to the current hiatus. It's set after the end of season 3, anyway.
Summary: When you try your best, but end up left behind and broken-hearted, there's only one way not to end up a Lima loser: get the hell out of town.
Credit: beta'd by epanaphoric 
Prologue

Chapter 1
 
No, I don’t know where I’m going
But I sure know where I’ve been
Hanging on the promises in songs of yesterday
And I’ve made up my mind
I ain’t wasting no more time
Here I go again, here I go again.
 
Here I Go Again - Whitesnake
 
 
*
Kurt Hummel heard the car engine kick into life on some subliminal level of awareness. It didn’t really register into his conscious mind – but it was enough to make him start tossing and turning in his sleep for the following few hours.
 
At five to 6, finally snapping completely awake, he slung his legs over the bed and headed groggily downstairs to make some coffee.
 
He never knew if it was a sixth sense or just a random impulse that made him look out of the window and see the empty parking spot where Finn’s old beat-up car should be; but somehow, running upstairs to his brother’s bedroom, he knew exactly what he was about to find.
 
In spite of the untouched mess on the floor and the pathetic pillow ploy, Finn was obviously gone.
 
*
 
Finn drove for the remainder of the night. In spite of what everyone said about him, he might be dumb, but he wasn’t stupid. He knew that in the morning – if not earlier, heck – his family would find out he was gone; if he stopped too soon, it would be a piece of cake to track him down and bring him back. He just needed to get far enough to make people lose his tracks. Hit the highway, then take a secondary road, didn’t matter which one, as long as it got him out.
 
He kept his cell phone turned off, knowing all too well he would find it overloaded with missed calls and texts later. Well… from his Mom, anyway. He wasn’t sure any of his friends from Glee club – much less from the sport teams – would care enough to call. Still, his Mom would, and he felt bad for basically shutting the phone in her face, but he really needed to save the battery, and… he didn’t want to risk the chance of being persuaded to come back. No, he was going to do this.
 
So he kept driving, stopping at every gas station he found open, caffeine and adrenaline zinging through his veins even as tiredness crept into his bones.
 
A small thrill ran down his spine, feverish, when he crossed the state line. Indiana. Yes, it might have just been the neighboring state, but Finn Hudson wasn’t a man of the world, so it was still pretty exciting. The highway stretched ahead into the early morning darkness, the silence only broken by the few cars driving past or alongside him.
 
Strange. When planning his getaway, Finn had thought he would blast some music, he would sing along to some good old fashioned rock’n’roll, but… he found himself reluctant to turn the radio on, as if afraid it would mar the significance of the moment.
 
He was running away. He had run away. Starting a new life.
 
Biting his lip, he drove on in silence.
 
*
He was passing through a town called Kokomo when the sun began to rise.
 
Pulling over to the side of a street in a quiet suburb, he got outside and scrambled onto the roof of the car. His nervous energy was starting to burn out, but that wasn’t why he had stopped.
 
Finn wasn’t much of an early riser, especially on weekends or in the summer (seriously, who the hell gets up early when they’re on vacation?), therefore it was a while since he’d last seen the dawn.
 
He couldn’t remember where he’d been, or with whom. He’d always wanted to watch the sunrise with his girlfriend, but that would have required both of them being happy and carefree and in love. You can’t cuddle up to someone in the quiet of dawn when they’re trying to get you to father their – their – baby, or when they’re sulking at you for not having enough drive and letting your talents go to waste.
 
He pulled his knees up to himself and got a bottle of Coke from his backpack, shivering a little in the breeze, as his eyes remained glued to the sky. He wasn’t with the girl he loved, and he wasn’t on a beach, or in New York, or anywhere really cool; just in a dull small-city neighborhood, by himself, on the top of his beat-up car.
 
It was still the most beautiful thing he’d seen in a long, long time.
 
*
After the sun had risen halfway into the morning sky, Finn slid off the car, stretching his numb, cold muscles, and got back inside. He was really tired by now, and he’d need to crash soon – his eyes were itching with tiredness, but he forced them into staying open – but not for a little while more. Revving the car back into motion, he drove for as long as he could trust himself not to fall asleep. At one point, the landscape whizzing past by the windows  started blurring into one big dusk-gray blot, his eyelids feeling as heavy as if someone had just dropped a cartoony anvil on them, but still he kept going.
 
He was petrified that someone had heard him and somehow managed to follow him, even if he’d taken care not to stay on the same route for long. That would be the worst, Finn thought. If his Mom came to get him before he’d even really got away; he would have hurt her, and he would have failed. Yet again.
 
He managed another 45 minutes, driving through a small town named Delphi, then pulled over into a semi-deserted gas-station (no way was he going to fall asleep and risk running over another mailman, not that he had any clue what a mailman would be doing on a Indiana highway at dawn).
 
Finn scrambled his way over to the backseat and unfurled his sleeping bag. Then, remembering just how freaking warm that thing was, he started trying to strip off his t-shirt, somehow managing to bump his head into the roof and punch himself in the face while at it. He’d just wriggled his way inside the warm cocoon when he remembered he should lock the car doors, nearly falling off the seat as he reached for the button.
 
Finally, he lay back, curling up as best he could in the small space. The morning sun would have made it near-impossible to fall asleep, but Finn, completely burned out from fatigue and nerves, blacked out the very moment he let his eyes drift closed.
 
*
 
 
 
Finn woke up sometime after noon, sunlight streaming hotly into the car making him feel like he was stuck inside a pressure cooker. He struggled out of his sleeping bag, his stomach rumbling ominously as he did so. Man, he was hungry.
 
Rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, he reached for his cellphone, abandoned on the passenger seat, and turned it on.
 
There were twelve missed calls (four from home, five from his mom’s cellphone, one from Burt’s and two from Kurt’s) plus a series of increasingly irritated texts from his stepbrother.
 
Well, I guess Rachel hasn’t heard yet.
 
Finn was relieved, because he was sure that as soon as she did, the attempts to contact him would redouble; not exactly because she would worry for him, but because Rachel loved a good bout of drama, and she would firmly cast herself as the tragic heroine. He could just see Kurt rolling his eyes as she paced around dramatically, tiny hand clutching at her chest, proclaiming that ‘if anyone can touch his heart and get him to come back, that’s me!’.
 
…Not to mention she would probably tell everyone she knew, which could get awkward. It was already bad enough as it was; Finn figured his Mom had worked herself into a frenzy and more or less forced Burt and Kurt to call. Why else would they?
 
Stop pitying yourself, scolded a voice in his head whose resemblance to Quinn’s was uncanny. They care and you know it. Especially Kurt.
 
That was true. Finn knew they cared, really. It was just easier to convince himself only his Mom gave a damn – and she pretty much had to by job definition, anyway –  because otherwise, he would only be hurting more people, and… he didn’t need the extra weight.
 
With a long sigh, he started typing a text to his Mom’s number. Man, he felt more like a piece of shit with each letter he punched in.
 
Mom, it’s Finn. I’m sorry if I scared you. I just want you to know I’m all right and nothing bad happened to me. I just can’t be at home right now. I need to be on my own and I know this was bad of me but please try to understand.I’m so sorry but please don’t worry about me. I promise I’ll take care. I love you.
After looking at the “message sent” screen for a few moments, he started another one, this time less sure what to say.
 
Hey, Kurt. I know u’re upset-
 
Wait, that sounded arrogant, didn’t it? Kurt was only worrying like any good brother. Finn couldn’t just assume that the other boy was spilling hot tears over his disappearance. In fact, he probably wouldn’t even miss him, especially since he was moving to New York in a month.
 
Hey Kurt. I know u’re probably mad at me for just leaving-
 
(Yes, this was better. More realistic. People tended to get mad at him a lot.)
 
-but I’m ok & there’s nothing 2 worry about. Just need 2 be on my own. Pls try 2 get mom not to worry either. I’ll be fine, promise. I lo-
 
He frowned. He had meant the words in the same way he had to his mother, in a family way, but they just… looked different when they were written down in the blank space under Kurt’s name. He deleted them.
 
I’ll miss u
 
He hesitated, biting his lip. It was true, but why admit it and sound like a total girl? What if Kurt didn’t reply “I’ll miss you” back? And even if he did, there was no reason to put that weight on him, was there? Much better to leave it at that. Or…
 
Good luck in NY.:]
 
He sent the message, his heart strangely heavy for some reason he could not comprehend. Then he turned the cellphone off again, some of the weight removed from his shoulders with the simple gesture.
 
Putting his t-shirt back on and running his hands through his hair with the only result of messing it up even more, he unlocked the car doors and crawled out, stretching his sore muscles in the warm sunshine. His stomach growled at him again, a clear signal that unless he got some food in there, things would get ugly.
 
He scoped the surroundings curiously. There were flat lands all around, and some really tall, narrow windmills spinning slowly in the barely-blowing breeze. They didn’t look anything like those cute Dutch windmills he’d seen in school books, but it was still pretty cool.
 
A sudden rush of excitement seemed to run over him. He was in a new place, on his own, and farther from home than he’d ever been if one didn’t count the New York trip. He could do whatever he wanted, go wherever he wanted, be whoever he wanted, without constantly being afraid to let people down.
 
Happily humming a Bon Jovi song under his breath, he reached for his backpack and strolled over to the small shop at the gas station, hoping to find something that passed for actual food.
 
The shop was cool, air conditioning blasted at full power, dispelling his grogginess bit by bit. Browsing the aisles, he picked up all the stuff Carole and Kurt insisted was bad for him (Slim Jims, KitKats, Doritos, and other such items) but that was more out of principle than actual choice; right now, he was longing for some home-made waffles, or even Kurt’s low-calorie pancakes, with that syrupy sauce that—but well, no matter. Hell, he was a runaway; he could deal with some discomfort.
 
Heading to the cashier’s desk, he let the handful of junk food tumble on it as he reached for his wallet.
 
“Howdy! Late morning today?” a cheery voice made him look up, and he noticed the girl sitting behind the desk for the first time.
 
She was blonde and petite in a way that had nothing to do with Quinn. Her hair framed her face in thick, curling locks, and the twinkle in her bright blue eyes was genuine and playful. She reminded him a little of Brittany, although there was nothing naïve in her bubbly demeanor. She seemed more like… a younger April Rhodes, Finn thought. Only not soaked in alcohol.
 
“Um… yes, pretty much,” he replied with a weak smile, wondering if it was that obvious that he had only just woken up. People back home always said he looked kind of sleepy all the time. He thrust the money at her, shyly.
 
“Don’t worry, I’m not psychic. You’re the guy who was sleeping in the car, yeah? I saw you on my way here. Do you even fit on that backseat? You looked kinda cramped,” she chirped, counting the change she owed him.
 
Shit.
 
Finn hadn’t counted on anyone seeing him all curled up in his junky car. That hardly made him look like a cool runaway—more like a pathetic kid with no direction. Oh, wait.
 
“I’m Kayla, by the way.” A brilliant smile and a held-out hand interrupted his disappointed musings.
 
“Finn,” he said, shaking her tiny hand and feeling grateful she didn’t ask for a last name. Just in case his Mom had the police looking for him or something.
 
Kayla gave him a small plastic bag, and watched him pensively as he tried to fit all the horribly unhealthy snacks in it.
 
“Wait, is that what you’re planning to have for breakfast?”
 
“I, uh…” Great. More judgment, and you only just met this chick. “Yeah? I mean I know it’s not really good for you and stuff, but--”
 
“Oh, I don’t really care about that, I mean whatever, not much the salad type myself. I’m just saying, is it nearly enough? I mean you’re like, giant,” she giggled. “And you kinda look like you’re still growing, too. D’you wanna go for lunch? I know this place that makes like, killer hashbrowns and a mean cup of coffee. Way better than this crap right here,” she pointed at the automatic coffee dispenser in the shop.
 
Finn frowned in confusion. “Uh, but… don’t you kinda have to run the shop, or…?”
 
Shrugging, she hopped onto the counter and swung her legs around. “Nah. It’s my cousin’s, I just help him out. My old folks have another one a few miles away. I do this in the summer for some pocket money, but it’s dead boring, it’s what it is.  ‘cept when some new faces show up,” she concluded, poking his arm.
 
“Rooooy! I’m goin’out for lunch!” she called out in an unexpectedly loud voice, in the general direction of the toilet door. A non-committal grunt sounded from inside.
 
Finn followed her outside, squinting against the sun. She was wearing a faded t-shirt  and jean shorts, her tanned, toned legs fitted into cowboy boots.
 
“Uh, my car’s the other way,” he pointed out hesitantly.
 
“Yeah, we’re going with mine. I don’t climb into strangers’ cars,” she winked, extracting bubblegum from one pocket and tossing him the half-empty package. It didn’t make much sense to Finn, but then, a lot of things didn’t make sense to him. Shrugging, he popped a piece of gum in his mouth and followed the girl.
 
TBC

Tags: , ,
 
 
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: Omaha - Counting Crows
 
 
 
do you got room for one more troubled soul?: [G]★If Only We Were Older♬aoitsukikage on November 1st, 2011 09:07 pm (UTC)
Oh, Finn. Of course you love Kurt. Just admit it ;)

I'm still very intrigued to see how this is all going to play out, but since it's you I know it'll be wonderful!!
starsandgutters: Finn - wtfstarsandgutters on November 1st, 2011 09:56 pm (UTC)
He does, of course he does. Now if he could only see that.:)

Aww, thanks. I hope I don't disappoint!
Morgan D.: Glee Finn/Kurtmorgan_d on November 1st, 2011 10:13 pm (UTC)
Your take on how Rachel would react to all this is so perfect, I could actually see and hear Lea Michele playing the scene in my mind. ^__^

Very interesting premise, I'm so curious about what will happen.
starsandgutters: Finn - smilestarsandgutters on November 1st, 2011 10:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :D I'm always thrilled when people think my characterisation is good. And Lea IS quite the theatrical lady, isn't she.;)

I'm working on it, and hope it lives up to the premise!
iskra667: puckurt_bitchfaceiskra667 on November 2nd, 2011 01:16 am (UTC)
That's really interesting, probably the first fic I've read that takes Finn 'seriously'.
starsandgutters: Finn - smilestarsandgutters on November 3rd, 2011 07:16 pm (UTC)
Glad to have provided something original!
daisy70daisy70 on November 2nd, 2011 07:51 pm (UTC)
I liked this chapter,too and your writing of Finn's point of view is very good.
I hope to read a new update of this story soon. :)
starsandguttersstarsandgutters on November 3rd, 2011 07:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm doing my best~ :)
nickershnick25: corynickershnick25 on November 5th, 2011 04:41 pm (UTC)
I really like this so far. I wish that Finn's character could be a bit more developed on the show like you are doing here. I love your Finn voice. It sounds just like him. A lot of fics with Finn in them tend to overdo the airhead thing but this is perfect. Can't wait for more :D
starsandgutters: Finn - smilestarsandgutters on November 6th, 2011 10:00 am (UTC)
Yeah, I wish the show would focus a little more on him. Maybe it was too much in season 1, but he's such an interesting character, and way more tri-dimensional than many others on the show, and doesn't deserve to be cast aside.

Thank you! I'm glad you think I've got him down. I love writing in Finn's voice. It's my happy place. And again, he's not as stupid as so many people portray him. He's naive, that's all.
Santana Lopez: [finn] friendlyitsahotone on December 11th, 2011 12:15 am (UTC)
/finally reads this

Finnnnnn, you're kinda breaking my heart. sob.

which is to say, I am eager for more. ;)

(santanaisbito/snoopypez again hjfdksfks)
starsandgutters: Finn - OMGstarsandgutters on January 17th, 2012 02:31 pm (UTC)
Wow, super-super-late reply! o_o But yay, I'm proud to have caused heartbreak! :D (Er, as long as it's, y'know, a good thing?)

I love you in all your multiple-accounts-ness. And here is the next part. ;)

Edited at 2012-01-17 02:31 pm (UTC)