Fic: It's gonna be alright... Someday
Summary: Two words can change your entire life and you'll be forced to resort to back-up plans, give up dreams and actually see. See who actually cares and what really matters.
Fanfiction.net link: here
Author Notes: Multi-chaptered fic. The Storyline is completely planned and I have some dialog already written. Despite this, this is a work in progress fic.
Most of the medical stuff will be accurate, I had the bad luck of having cancer so I understand the treatments, I did not have the type of cancer described here (my father did, though).
It's Gonna Be Alright... Someday
Chapter 1: Silence.
Tracheal cancer... Two words. Asphyxiating two words.
Ironically it isn't the person giving the news the one that feels like they can't breathe. The silence in the room is terrible, like some kind of shadow that covers everything making the people in the room shiver. The same place that is always full of loud teenagers singing and screaming is now silent, and not because the guys don't want to say something, but because somehow they feel they can't.
The people in the room can't move, they just see her standing there with her expression set in stone. Suddenly a sob interrupts the silence, it's Tina. Of course it would be her. Schuester can't say a word, it's like he has been punched and even his expression is pained. Finn is just holding his head, looking at the floor, like trying to deny that this is actually happening. Artie and Mike just look at her, with deep sadness; while Puck and Sam look like they are about to jump and say something, but simply can't. Kurt and Brittany have tears down their cheeks, both trying to not make a sound. Blaine is holding Kurt's hand and looks at her with a sad smile. Rory and Sugar just look at her, almost expecting that she starts saying that it's a joke. Quinn looks calm, suddenly she takes Mercedes hand and almost in unison they moved their hands and it was pretty obvious that they were praying.
Rachel just stood there, in the middle of the room, trying to keep a straight face while explaining that there was no way to know beforehand, that the two tumors were in her trachea and that she had to start treatment immediately. She couldn't sing anymore, the location of both tumors made it difficult, since she had issues controlling her breath and the effort might hurt her. She was already sorting backup plans in case she couldn't sing anymore after the treatments. Maybe drama, maybe musical composition, maybe even something related to science or math, since she was good at it.
Santana just sat there, trying to understand how a visit to the doctor would change someone's life so radically. She could feel how wet her cheeks were and moved her hand taking her sleeve and drying her tears a little forcefully, she wouldn't let Rachel see her tears. What Rachel needed now was support and strength, not a remorseful, crying cheerleader. She knew people got sick everyday, her dad was a doctor and a real good one, but death and sickness were natural, a part of life... A part of life that happened to old people, not to 17 years old tiny girls full of dreams. And tracheal cancer? She knew how that worked. People had trouble breathing, they lose their voices, they even have trouble swallowing their own saliva. She could clearly recall being seven years old trying to help her grandfather drink a little bit of water and seeing how it pained him.
Once Rachel had finished explaining, everything seemed the same that when she said those two words like 20 minutes ago. Nobody knew what to do. Surprisingly, Santana saw how Brad stood up and suddenly hugged Rachel. It was as if that simple gesture brought the whole room back to life. She could see how Rachel was shaking and the rest of the club moved to hug her, to talk to her, to offer support, and rides, and company for treatments, doctor visits or simply staying at home.
But Santana... Santana just sat there, trying to understand.
Chapter 2: The beginning of the end
Sitting in the middle of my living room is not something uncommon, but Finn hugging me and willingly accepting to watch a musical without any complaint is. It's not that I do not appreciate his efforts, or that I reject how attentive he is, or how he wants to help. It's just that the 'Why now? Why not before?' bothers me. So I just stay there, trying not to move, because even when I try to be a little bit more comfortable he asks if I'm ok, which might have been nice or romantic for me a month ago, but now is almost as asphyxiating as the illness.
It's as if suddenly everybody thinks I'm made of crystal, now everybody is suddenly aware that I have feelings, that my ego gets bruised and that, apparently, I am not as strong as it seemed. It's sad they didn't notice before when one single word or a especially cruel remark would make me feel unworthy of everything. Surprisingly the only one that seems to notice my discomfort with the new 'treatment' is Santana. She doesn't look at me with pity, nor tries to soften her words when there's something she dislikes or bothers her, and I greatly appreciate it.
And when Finn just hugs me closer to him I remember everything, and I tense up . He notices, but doesn't say anything, and the memory haunts me.
He was just having a talk with Puck near the lockers, when the words 'break up with Rachel' astounded me and I just stayed there, without saying a word, hiding so they wouldn't see me. Puck talks him into telling me that they have plans to leave for Cali and start a business there, and Finn confessing that he loves me, but he's not in love with me anymore, breaks my heart. I can understand him, I feel the same, but the pressure and how good we seem to get along, and how both of us compromise for each other, and how some people seemed to like this 'popular jock dating unpopular but talented gleek' because it is some sort of 'high school fairytale', it all worked for me. But when I compare what we have with what my fathers have, I can't help but feel disappointed. We have settled for each other, and that's not how it should be.
"I hate this part," he suddenly interrupts my line of thought.
"Uh?" It's all I can manage to ask.
"All this 'Oh God she's going to die' but then she just says she had a vision and looks fine all the sudden," I just shrug and say my point of view,
"It's okay by me, Rent is a sad conflicting musical, so I like that it has a relatively happy end, full of hope for them," I use that tone that used to bother everyone so much, trying to get some reaction.
"Yeah, you are right." He says and keeps watching. I almost rolled my eyes at him. It's all predictable, all annoyingly cute. I dislike it, I dislike everything. I'm not in my death bed, not yet anyway. I have plans, I have dreams and hopes, and despite that I've always wanted people to pay attention and care for me, this was definitely not how I expected, nor what I want.
"I'm tired," I say and I know what is going to happen.
"Sure, sure… I'm going to go to Puck's now, I have some stuff to do and… Do you need me to go with you upstairs? I can make sure you are in bed before I leave." And that's it.
"Finn, I'm sick, I haven't even started any treatment, so don't treat me like I'm dying, or like I'm a three year old who needs to be put up to bed for a nap before her parents attend their responsibilities." I can see that I've hurt him, and I hope he understands that this is incredibly uncomfortable to me.
"Ok… I'm going to leave now, and I hope you are better later, when I call you before sleep, ok?" this time I roll my eyes and don't do anything to hide it. And I feel a weird satisfaction at seeing his baffled expression.
"Bye, Finn." No goodbye kisses, not even a wave, I just go to my room and turn my iPod on. I walk near my window and see his car leaving. And I know this is the beginning of the end, and it's not as painful as I thought it would be.
Chapter 3 - Hard to breathe
"¡Ay no! ¡No de Nuevo!" Santana groaned as quietly as she could, feeling that inevitable desire to literally palm her face and flip the rest of the glee club off.
Now, in front of her were her classmates - who by the way didn't even ask her if she wanted to help - singing an 'encouraging' song to Berry. So she just sat there seeing their faces, which by the way made her cringe, and seeing how the midget was about to leave the room trying to get away from all these assholes. She couldn't blame her, she wished she had a gigantic palm to hit them all for being insensitive while trying to be sensitive. Screw them.
"Of course," Rachel says, while faking a smile and gritting her teeth, of course this had been a brilliant idea of Mr. Schuester… And Finn. She looks to her left and see Santana rolling her eyes and she stops faking a smile, just to do it amused. Apparently Santana got it, which was good, and surprisingly unexpected. Basically because of all people she thought would somehow understand her, Santana Lopez was not on the list. Okay, maybe that was an exaggeration... She was on the list, but her name was second to last before Sue Sylvester's.
Santana apologized and informed everyone that she had 'hot shit to do' and and had to leave early, so she just stood up and waved everyone goodbye. It was clear that she was irritated. Rachel couldn't help smirking sardonically and Santana smiled back, and it seemed sincere not full of pity, which felt good.
Rachel wishes she could do exactly the same, just wave everyone goodbye and walk as fast and as far as possible, but just like things are going half of the club would 'volunteer' to take her home, which is ridiculous, because she has two tumors in her trachea, not one in the brain that prevents her from walking alone or drive.
Mister Schuester looks at her with pity, like somehow her life is over, but she refuses to acknowledge it. And she wants to scream. Yeah, maybe she can't sing anymore, maybe there won't be a big Broadway opening night in her life, nor Tony nominations, no stardom. But she is incredibly intelligent, she has amazing grades and she is an organized person, and if everything works out well she will go to college, and with luck she'll be something more than a frustrated teacher with delusions of grandeur wondering 'what ifs…' while trying to teach kids with way more potential than her own.
And it's mean of her, it's mean that she doesn't want to mask her disdain, how much she doesn't want their pity, but everyone has their limits. And Mr. Schue, almost sensing her change in demeanor, finishes the meeting. It's like something inside of her jumps, making her pick her bag fast and try to run away. Yep, she's escaping the choir room… That's new.
As soon as she's about to leave, she's intercepted by a smiling Finn and a fidgeting Quinn. Rachel looks at them expectant and almost at the same time both offer to drive her home. 'Saved by the bell' is all she thinks as soon as her phone rings. It's a text from her dad asking to buy some groceries before going back home. She informs Finn and Quinn that she drove to school and her car in the parking lot, so she can't go with either of them. Finn looks at her frowning.
"I thought your daddy would bring you today, he told me he would." He says, skeptical, as if he was suspecting that she was lying. And Rachel literally wants to punch him… Punch him and punch her daddy. So that's why he didn't want her to come by herself in the morning, because he told Finn he would take her to school. How frustrating!
"No, I'm perfectly capable to drive, and think, and be by myself, Finn. Thank you" And she turns around leaving Finn and Quinn there, she hears a sudden slap, which she suspects is Quinn hitting Finn in the back of his head, but to be honest she couldn't care less. If it was that, he deserved it.
So she just walks directly to her car, trying to avoid all contact with Mercedes and Kurt which are a couple of parking spaces away. She waves, because she is not a rude person, but she keeps walking fast before they decide to invite her to a 'musical movie night' despite of how much Mercedes hates musicals, or to a 'shopping trip to the mall', despite of how much Kurt hates going to the shops and stores she likes. So she just gets into her car and breathes profoundly. She can feel the tears stinging her eyes… It's not the glee club, not their attitude, but the fact that it's already happening… She's having trouble breathing, so she can't walk fast. She's having trouble breathing, so she can't sing difficult songs. She's having trouble breathing, so she can't have her normal routines. She's having trouble breathing, so she just can't be her usual self. She's not going to cry, she's not going to be a freaking cliché sitting in her car crying her heart out. So she tries to make her breathing exercises, but then she snaps. In the entrance of the building is Finn and he's clearly looking for her car. So she just put the key in the ignition, pretends not so see him and leaves.