dancnwithmyself: (Artie and Tina cute)
[personal profile] dancnwithmyself
Title: Evolution
Author: [livejournal.com profile] dancnwithmyself
Claim: Emotions
Table: Table is here
Prompt: Despair
Rating: PG-13
Summary: The evolution of Artie and Tina's friendship, set through the latter half of Season 2
Word Count: 2072
Warnings: This chapter, spoilers for 2x17, Rumors
Notes: This hopefully will turn out to be a 10 chapter fic, following the evolution of Artie and Tina's rekindled friendship through latter half of Season 2. The first six chapters will be set against episodes, and will pretty much follow canon fitting in with my view. After that, completely AU, unless of course, RIB sees sense and rekindles Artina. Glee is owned by Fox, and Ryan Murphy Productions. No copyright infringement is intended, this is just for my playtimes. Unbetaed, and many thanks and internet cookies to [livejournal.com profile] morbidbubbles for her help and support.




In the end, none of the teachers would chaperone the Brainiacs on their trip to Detroit. Typical of what was expected at McKinley High – unless a teacher was personally invested in an activity, none of them wanted to know, even if it helped to improve the school’s reputation. It was the academic decathlon Nationals, someone should be taking note of what they were doing for the school, but as usual, unless it involved Sue Sylvester, the students were left to flounder on their own.

Artie’s dad had volunteered to take them there after arriving home one evening when he saw both Artie and his girlfriend despondent over the fact that they couldn’t go, though his condition was that they try to make sure that the school actually supply the funding for the trip – it was a school activity, therefore should be the recipient of school funding. When Sandy Ryerson donated the money after that fateful Night of Neglect concert, Mr. Abrams followed through on his promise, and the four Brainiacs found themselves travelling towards Detroit early on Friday evening in the Abrams family van.

“Singalong!” Brittany had said almost as soon as they had picked Mike and Tina up, bouncing in her seat beside Artie. It had taken Artie five minutes to remind her to put her seatbelt on, and it looked as if it wouldn’t stay on for very long. She bent down, digging in her purse.“I made a mix cd. Could you please put it on, Mr A?” she asked, leaning forward to pass the CD to Artie’s dad.

Artie’s dad glanced quickly at his son, then nodded. “Sure, Brittany,” he said, with a smile for his son's girlfriend, taking the disc off her and slipping it in the CD player. The sounds of My Headband came out of the player, causing Mike, Tina and Artie to look at each other in horror.

"Can we skip forward a track?" Artie asked, glancing at Brittany. "We should save that for after we win, maybe?" Anything to stop it playing now. Thankfully the next track was a Ke$ha song, which had the four of them singing along, passing the time as they travelled quickly.

After an hour, Artie's dad pulled into a rest stop. "Quick break, guys, then no more till we reach the motel." Brittany and Mike dived out of the van as fast as they possibly could, laughing as they ran, chasing each other as they ran towards the bathroom. Artie's dad exited next, leaving Tina and Artie behind.

Tina turned to look at Artie, who had made no move to even unbuckled his belt, let alone leave the van. "Staying here?" she asked, cocking her head slightly as she looked at him.

"Yeah," he said, giving her a small smile. She looked more closely at him, and she could tell that he was hiding something, that there was something almost wistful about his expression. She frowned slightly at him. "Takes too long for me to get out of the van and back in again. Dad only wants to make a short stop," he explained.

"It hardly seems fair," she said, hopping up beside him, but leaving the door open for fresh air. "I mean, don't you need to break too?"

"Nah, it's only another hour or so to Detroit. Dad knows what Brittany is like - we took her to Columbus when it was my Nana's birthday. Let's just say the trip was interesting," Artie laughed. "Dad now knows to stop to let her burn off some energy."

"Do I want to know how bad it was?" Tina said, laughing in return. She couldn't help herself - it was infectious.

"When we got there, it took a good three hours for her to burn off the energy at the other end," Artie said, grinning. "I had to take her with my cousins to the park so they could just run. I swear Brittany lasted longer than James." Artie's younger cousin, James, was considered the tearaway kid by the rest of the family. Tina had met most of Artie's cousins back in freshman year, when they'd become best friends and done virtually everything together, including several trips to Columbus.

"That's... okay, that kind of doesn't surprise me," Tina laughed in return. "Mike can be the same - too much pent up energy. I think it’s something related to dance ability. But that still doesn't explain why you are staying in the car."

"I'm fine till we get there," Artie said, trying to give her a reassuring grin. "It's fine, Tina."

But she didn't quite believe him.


After arriving at the motel, they split off into two rooms; Mike and Artie in one, Brittany and Tina in the other. Artie's Dad was staying with Mike and his son, so both couples knew there would be no sneaking around to spending time with their other halves. Mike lay on his bed, throwing a hacky sack at wall. "Dude, it's so not fair," he grumbled.

Artie was carefully unpacking his things, but he turned to smirk at Mike. "Ruin your romantic plans?" he said, teasing Mike. He'd personally have liked some alone time with Brittany, but that wasn't going to happen until they got back home.

"Seriously, between mine and Tina’s parents, alone time is a rare thing," Mike said, the hacky sack hitting the wall at regular intervals. “I don't know how you manage it."

"Britt's parents are fine with it," Artie said, grinning at Mike. "Honestly, I think they are just happy she has a stable relationship, instead of different guys home every week."

"I could hate you, you know," Mike said, throwing the small ball at Artie, who grinned as he caught it, tossing it back at Mike.

"Everyone loves me," Artie grinned back at his friend.


However, later on that night, Artie found he couldn't sleep. Mike was out like a light, and his Dad was snoring away, as usual. He idly wondered how his Mom actually coped with how badly his dad snored. It was bad enough suffering it for one night, let alone every night. He quietly transferred himself to his wheelchair, and opened the door to their room, having grabbed his key on the way out. He'd go get a soda from the machine he’d seen earlier, then head back, trying to sleep again. He certainly didn't expect to run into Tina, who had obviously had the same idea.

"So stranger, what are you doing here?" he asked in a low, light voice as he approached her.

"Brittany talks in her sleep," Tina said with a small moan. "She was talking about 'My Little Pony' when I left..."

"Oh yeah. I should have warned you. Sorry," Artie said, giving his friend a wry smile. "She mostly does it when she is in a strange place."

"Well thanks, friend! I should have brought ear plugs. Why are you out here?"

"I need ear plugs too," Artie shrugged, digging in his wallet for coins to buy the soda. "Dad snores like... well I'm not sure there is a comparison. I'm amazed Mom puts up with it. That, and I always find it difficult to sleep in a strange bed. They are never as comfortable as mine at home."

"This doesn't bode well for New York," Tina said, pulling a face. She'd gotten her can, and opened it, taking a long drink from it. She spotted a seat close by and walked over to it, sitting down. Artie got his can, dropped it into his lap, and wheeled over to her, settling himself opposite her.

"Yeah, how do you think it's going to work? I mean, there is what, thirteen of us now? Seven girls, six boys. Mr Schue wouldn't just go for two rooms, would he? Cause being in a room with Finn and Puck would be hell." Artie pulled a face. It was bad enough going away to a city like New York and sharing rooms with people he didn't really know. Knowing what he had to go through just to go to the bathroom, with potentially five other people in the same room as him? Some of them would be okay, but he knew that he would get stares from his friends in a way he hadn't had to deal with for quite some time, since he first joined the football team. Puck was one of his closest friends, but that didn’t mean he wanted to be seen to take a catheter into the bathroom.

"I don't know. It wouldn't actually surprise me if he did, though," Tina replied, giving him a sympathetic look. "It'll be fine, Artie. You've come on leaps and bounds this year." To her eyes, he had. She might not have agreed with his reasons for joining the football team, and been worried about him, but he seemed a whole lot more settled than he had when they had been dating. She idly wondered if it was something to do with her. Had she held him back, not let him reach his true potential?

"You think?" Tina was surprised by how hopeful the look he gave her was. It was like he needed some confirmation that yes, he had grown up, accepted the limitations his disability had given him, and was working to the limit of his current abilities, pushing himself as far as he could.

"I think so, Artie. I mean, look at you. How many disabled kids have won their Letterman jackets by being in the school football team?" she grinned at him. "Even if you do need Puckerman to push you down the field."

Artie glared at her for a moment, then laughed, Tina joining in. Any tension between them regarding the football team, and why he had joined it had dissipated. In that moment, they were just the Artie and Tina of old, friends who got each other, and shared so many experiences.

"I missed this," Artie said suddenly, giving her a shy look as he admitted something very personal to him.

"Me too. I mean... I don't blame you for hating me after everything that happened. I'm just glad we've moved on enough to be able to do this."

"Yeah," Artie agreed, nodding slowly. "I mean, I did hate you, kind of. But I think I hated myself more when I really thought about it. I kind of screwed things up, after all."

"We both did." It was the first time they had really sat down and talked even vaguely about what had happened that last summer that saw them drifting apart - and the first time Artie had admitted that he was at least partly at fault. "Brittany has been good for you." Sure, Tina found them disgustingly cutesy at times, but she could see how Artie had improved as a boyfriend over the few months they had been dating. He really had taken on board what she had said.

"And Mike's been good for you," Artie admitted in return. He hated the fact that technically she had cheated on him, but he could see the change in Tina. She was more open, more confident than she had even been with him. Though she did seem to cry more than she had ever done with him. Maybe that was the trade off. "Maybe we just work better as friends?" he suggested, before giving her a shy look.

Tina gave him a thoughtful look, then began to speak slowly. "I think... that maybe you're right," she agreed with him, before smiling at him. "Proper friends again?"

"Yeah."


They hadn’t truly expected to win, however much they had hoped for it. But that last tie-breaker was easy thanks to Ms. Holliday, and the trophy was theirs, not that they expected much to come of it, other than their own happiness. No matter what happened with Glee, they had won something. It would just make the trip to New York that much sweeter if they placed.

The trip back to Lima was much quieter, with both Mike and Brittany crashing out asleep, having run about wildly celebrating their win. For Tina and Artie however, something had changed. They sat next to each other on the trip back, listening to Tina’s iPod, sharing a set of headphones, very much like old times. Artie was content. He had his girlfriend who he loved, and he had his best friend back.
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Artie Abrams

March 2015

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