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Lightning From the Blue

By bubblewrappedkitty

Romance

Lightning From the Blue

Disclaimer: I don't own Glee and neither do I own "The Search is Over" by Survivor. Lyrics are in italics.


Lightning From the Blue

The choir room was thankfully empty, which wasn't that much of a surprise since practice had ended ten minutes ago and we'd been practicing in the auditorium today. I'd only come back because I'd left my backpack behind. And I wanted some time to be alone and think. I'd thought that being in a wheelchair had taught me to take everything in stride, that nothing could throw me off, but that had been proven wrong this week.

I found my backpack hanging off the back of one of the chairs and I reached for it. As I pulled it into my lap I saw the little splash of blue tied to the zipper pull and smiled. It was a neon blue feather with a thick black bead on it, roped to the pull with a piece of black plastic cord. Everything about it reminded me of the person who'd given it to me (the colors were no coincidence after all) and that only made me feel worse. Boy had I really blown things this time.

Twisting to hang my bag over the handles of my chair, my eyes fell on my guitar, leaning in its stand next to the drum set. That familiar urge rose in me and I rolled over quickly, pulling the guitar onto my lap and hastily tuning the strings. It didn't take a lot of thinking to come up with what I wanted to sing. Guess that's what happens when you're feeling this much. I plucked out the tune until I was confident in the chords and then I let my voice join in.

How can I convince you, what you see is real?

Who am I to blame you, for doubting what you feel?

I was always reaching, you were just a girl I knew,

I took for granted the friend I have in you.

Man if that wasn't the truth. She had done a good job of reminding me of it too. After I'd cooled down I'd tried to talk to her, but by that point she had given it some thought too and come to a completely different conclusion. She'd gotten it in her head that I'd only been her friend because of the stutter. She drove it home by telling me that I may have only seen her for her stutter, but she'd never seen my disability at all. And I knew she was right about that last part, because if there was one thing I was sure of it was that she'd never given the chair much thought. She'd been the truest friend I'd had, and now that was gone.

I was living for a dream, loving for the moment.

Taking on the world, that was just my style.

I really did take on the world sometimes, putting on a brave face and accepting everything that got thrown at me, both literally and figuratively. And so had she. I'd thought that was what we had in common because of our disabilities, but in the end our disabilities had nothing to do with it. It turned out that I sort of did understand what she was doing, even if I didn't relate to her reason behind it. She had hidden her fears behind a stutter, the same way I hid mine behind an over-bright smile and occasionally forced optimism. We'd fought against the world together, even if it was in different styles, but now she was gone and I wasn't doing very good at charging on by myself.

Now I look into your eyes,

I can see forever.

The search is over.

You were with me all the while.

I had never really consciously thought that she'd be my forever person. I had always had these dreams of finding that one person who would really understand me and it would be as close to a fairy tale as paraplegics get (yeah, guys do the fairy tale dream thing too, we just don't admit it as often. Or maybe it's just me...) It was only now that I realized that at some point my brain had filled Tina into that slot. Maybe that was why I'd been so panicked when I'd found out about her fake stutter, because I thought all of a sudden that she didn't fit into that outline anymore. So of course my stupid head only figures out now that the person I'd been looking for might have been there already.

Can we last forever? Do we fall apart?

At times it's so confusing, the questions of the heart.

You followed me through changes, and patiently you'd wait,

'Till I came to my senses, through some miracle of fate.

Tina had been helping me through a lot over the last couple years, and especially recently. I can be kind of dense sometimes; I'll be the first to admit it, especially given my current situation caused by my stupidity. Tina was always that person who had been there to shake me back to reality when I started getting too caught up in my head to think straight. Like she was the one who actually convinced me to join Glee. She'd heard me sing, we sang together sometimes when I was practicing guitar, but I wasn't sure I could actually do Glee. She'd been really cool about talking me into it gradually, making me think it was my idea actually, and before it was over I was gung-ho for it and trying to convince her to join with me. I'd never really thanked her for doing those sorts of things for me. Why hadn't I come to my senses faster on this whole stutter thing? Apparently she was done patiently waiting for me.

I was living for a dream, loving for the moment.

Taking on the world, that was just my style.

Now I look into your eyes,

I can see forever.

The search is over.

You were with me all the while.

'Were' with me. Not anymore. I'd done a hell of a job messing that one up. I'd never been more resentful of myself than I was now, and that was saying something because my disability had given me my fair share of angst over the years. I knew I acted out sometimes in defense, when you're as defenseless as me it happens, but lashing out at Tina for trusting me was not something I'd ever expected from myself. Damn rash judgments and teenage hormones and whatever else had gotten into my head to make me an idiot.

Now the miles stretch out behind me, loves that I have lost.

Broken hearts lying victims of the game.

Broken hearts? Yeah, that was a good way to describe it. I'm not too much a man to admit it. I'd been feeling a lot of it lately, at first with the stutter revelation and the realization that I was more alone than I'd thought. Of course that was nothing to the way it felt to have Tina railing back at me the next time I tried to talk to her, to apologize. I wished she'd have yelled, that would have been easier than the way she just stared at me and told me the facts in that empty deadpan voice that was so unlike Tina it was actually scary. And all of that was nothing to seeing the tears in her eyes when she turned and walked away without a backward glance. Yeah, heartbroken was a good word for it.

Then good luck, it finally struck like lightning from the blue.

I stopped, my voice cracking on the last word. Lightning from the blue. How fitting was that for Tina? I thought about those beautiful flashes of bright blue in her hair, of the metallic blue fingernail polish she sometimes wore when it wasn't black, and of the blue feather on my backpack. I bit my lip, breathing heavily through my nose as I tried to get myself back under control. Maybe Tina "Lightning from the Blue" Cohen-Chang was my good luck, and that's why I felt so crappy right now. Or maybe it was because I'd only just figured out that I was in love with my best friend who currently hated my guts because I was thick-headed loser. One of the two.

Every highway's leading me back to you.

I sat bolt upright, because even though those were the lyrics for the song, it wasn't my voice that'd sung them. Taking one hand off my guitar, I grabbed my wheel and pulled back so I spun to the door. And there she was, in all of her black and blue glory, standing in the doorframe with her arms wrapped around herself. There were tears in her eyes and my heart stopped.

"Tina?" I asked, almost not daring to believe it was real. She licked her lips anxiously and nodded but didn't say anything. Remembering what came next, I started up the chords again.

Now at last I hold you, now all is said and done.

The search has come full circle, our destinies are one.

So if you ever loved me, show me that you give a damn.

You'll know for certain, the man I really am.

I put everything I had into that last verse, needing more than ever for her to understand me. She was here, that must mean something right? It meant this wasn't completely out of the question, meant that she must still feel something. Maybe, just maybe, if I could get her to understand what I was saying then we could salvage this. If she still cared for me, at least a little bit, then I knew I could fix this and make us right again. I had to. She had to know I wasn't just that idiot who judged other people as harshly as they judged me.

Tina just kept staring at me and I felt my heart sinking with every second that passed. She blinked frantically and I watched as a tear escaped and rolled across her cheek. And then, very slowly, she took another step into the room. Encouraged, my hopes rising once more, I started playing again.

I was living for a dream, loving for the moment.

Taking on the world, that was just my style.

She had taken another two steps, her arms still wrapped around herself protectively but there seemed to be a little more light in her eyes. I almost didn't dare breathe as I watched her, waiting for something, anything to happen, but unfortunately (or maybe it's fortunately, I'm not quite sure at the moment) singing requires breathing. I took a shaky breath and continued, quietly like I was afraid she might turn and run. Which I was.

Then I touched your hand.

There was the faintest curl in her lips as she took another step closer and then kneeled down, so that she was eye level with me but just barely out of arms' reach. I longed to move forward, to just grab her and hug her so she couldn't leave me again, but I knew I couldn't do that. This needed to be her choice or things would never be right. So, unbearably slowly so I didn't startle her, I put my guitar off to the side and held out a hand to her. She stared at it, studied it like it was something really complicated, and I could see she was still trying not to cry. And then she lifted a shaking hand and put it in mine.

Her voice was so quiet I had to lean forward to hear her, and she gasped out, "I'm sorry."

"So am I," I said sincerely. She looked up and for the first time I felt sure that things would be good. She was crying, her lower lip trembling and tears streaking eyeliner across her cheeks, but there was a genuine light in her eyes that I knew meant things were right. My Tina was back. I took another breath, a little surprised at the way it shuddered into my lungs, because my song wasn't done yet.

I can hear you whisper.

The search is over.

Tina smiled, a genuine smile that was the first I'd seen since that night. She reached her other hand up and brushed it across my cheek, and it was only when I felt the wetness against her palm that I realized I'd been crying too. That explained the shuddery breaths. My voice was cracking as I managed to get out the final line of the song.

Love is right before my eyes.

In a whirlwind of color, Tina threw herself into my lap. She curled up on my legs, burying her face into my shoulder as she cried. I wrapped my arms around her, pulling her as close to me as I could manage, determined that I was never going to be stupid enough to let her go again. "I missed you," I said into her hair.

Even though her lips were still trembling, when she pulled back to meet my eyes she was smiling. "I missed you too."

I reached up and wiped the tears from her cheeks, although it didn't do much except smear the make-up worse. "Tee, I really messed up," I said.

"So did I," Tina agreed in a quiet voice, so much the shy Tina I remember.

"Can we – do you think we could try again?" I asked and then in what I thought was both a brave and stupid attempt at humor, added, "You know, a do-over?"

Tina gave a small, watery laugh and hugged me again. I was a little nervous, since this wasn't exactly the answer I'd been expecting, but then she nodded into my shoulder and gave me an even better response. "I love you too, Artie."

AN: I hope that ending wasn't so sugary it sent someone into insulin shock, if so I am really, really sorry.

I just wanted to ask one last favor of all my super supportive readers/reviewers/favers/alerters. You guys have been epically fantastic so far and so I want to hear some feedback from you. I've got a poll running on my profile about a possible ArTina future fic I've been considering writing called "Baby Blue Eyes," and I was wondering if you guys would check out the brief summary I have for it and tell me what you think. I'm a little leery about writing it because it's a bit AU and pretty removed from the sort of stuff that happens on the show, but I also have some really good ideas that might make it turn into an interesting story anyway. Drop a vote and let me know what you think of it! Thanks again, you guys really are awesome. -Artie R.

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