I remember seeing a post a few days ago basically saying to be nice to teens and adults who might be trick or treating and I know it’s not Halloween anymore but I guess I wanted to extend on that by saying, please be kind to ex-Jehovah Witnesses, especially the ones who were raised in the religion. Unlike the other Christian branches, JW’s golden rule is not to associate with ANYONE outside of their little cult. We are literally isolated from everything growing up, especially if there’s no one in your hall that’s in your age bracket.
I remember always hearing how strict Catholics are, but they have nothing on Jehovah Witnesses. Catholics have forgiveness; you mess up, you can pray, you can fix it, god will forgive you. In the Kingdom hall, you do ANY that could possibly be seen as wrong and you’re OUT,
excommunicated, because now you’ve tainted yourself, and your only goal now is to taint everyone else around you; and I don’t mean being gay or having premarital sex, though they DO count.
If you’re seen smoking, or have a tattoo or piercing you’re destroying your “holy temple” and you’re OUT.
If you so much as be seen near a non-JW party, you’re OUT.
If you’re seen out passed curfew you MUST be up to no good and you’re OUT.
If you’re seen hanging out with someone who isn’t a JW and you’re NOT trying to convert them, you’re OUT.
Shit, if you plan on going to college, tough luck ‘cause who KNOWS what could happen so far away from home.Those gosh darn dirty worldy degenerates will tempt you with their evil ways. Go ahead and go, but don’t you dare come back because obviously the devil already owns you.
You’re lucky if you aren’t completely kicked out of the house, ‘cause now your family isn’t allowed to even talk to you.
No one teaches you how to be an actual adult in the Kingdom Hall, because you aren’t allowed to be an adult, at least that’s what I got out of it. You’re just supposed to be a hermit, a ghost in this world. If your co-workers or neighbors aren’t JWs, tough luck, don’t talk to them.
The most damaging thing you can do to a child is isolate them their whole life, and there’s an entire religion for it.
A/N: So, I got a prompt that I didn’t know what to do with. (It was also the same prompt raegearl had gotten and started a story about, so it felt weird to get it two days later.) But it made me start thinking about a conversation I’d like Rae and Finn to have (as unlikely as this scenario is). So here’s a little moment I imagined.
I have a fluffier fic than this in the works that I hope will make up for the angst of this one.
* * *
The question has been plaguing her for days. Well, since the first time they kissed, and the first time they walked into school together, and the first time she trusted him to touch her under her long-sleeved layers. The question is always there, at the back of her brain. But she never dares utter it, because she has this idea that if she changes anything or upsets the equilibrium, he’ll wake up and push off. She can’t upset the delicate balance of the universe.
“Rae, what’re you thinkin’ about?” He smiles lazily as he asks her, his head twisting to look at her profile. She tips her head back instinctively, to keep the line of her chin and throat smooth and undoubled. She wonders for a moment if she has ever answered this question honestly. He asks it all the time, whenever she gets quiet and broody. She can’t say “Nothing.” He’ll know she’s lying.
“I’m thinkin’ …” She smiles, remembering how she told him he had B.O. the first time he asked this. And how he was so good-natured about it. Laughing and asking for personal hygiene tips. “… about how I’m not ready for my A levels.”
Finn laughs. “Those aren’t for yonks! No use worryin’ about ‘em yet.”
How well she knew that. It was no use worrying about ANY of the things that swirled around her brain, but it was all her brain knew how to do. Fret and focus and panic and stew. She’s always brewing up a big pot of stew in her mind pot. Exams and war and people in the street calling her names. Twats at school slagging her off and famine and her mum getting into an accident. They’re all primary ingredients flavoring her stew. But the base, the broth, the thing that everything else marinates in, was her weight.
That was the question: “Should I lose weight?”
She knows her answer, but she never dares ask Finn, though … If he said yes, she’d be worried that if she didn’t lose it he’d get mad and chuck her. If he said no, then she’d worry about HIS mental state and figure that he was hours away from waking up and chucking her.
But underneath it all, she has a sneaking suspicion that she never does anything about her weight because she needs it. She needs it to be the reason he leaves and not anything else. If he leaves her because she’s fat, then everyone will blame him and not her. It is a literal security blanket against calamity. That and …
This body is all she knows. She’s been chubby her whole life. She’s gotten taller, but the basic dimensions have always been the same. She has another idea that being thinner won’t actually make her any happier, but everyone will expect her to be happier and then she’ll just disappoint everyone in a new way.
Finn asks her what she’s thinking all the time, but if he ever actually knew … it would be disaster.
* * *
Her big mouth betrays her while she’s asleep. She and Finn regularly nap together after college. Rae never gets enough sleep at night, what with her brain whirring away like a top, and Finn can sleep at the drop of a hat. (And he’s read somewhere that you can only grow if you get enough sleep and he’s hoping for another inch or two … just to be on Rae’s level.)
When she awakes one afternoon, Finn is staring at her. His eyes are soft, but he’s not smiling. She rubs her eye and stretches, trying to elongate everything, streamline herself, trying not to think what she must look like when she’s not conscious enough to care. This is automatic now; she doesn’t even think about it. Finn is still looking at her when she’s done and she raises an eyebrow.
“What’re you thinkin’ about, Finley?” she sing-songs it at him, hoping her humor will diffuse the tension in the air.
“You.” He says it simply, but she can sense there’s more.
“That’s as it should be, right?”
“You talk in your sleep, did you know that?”
Her face goes slack and her mouth goes dry. Oh shit, she thinks. What did I say?
“No one’s ever mentioned it, but I don’t usually have an audience when I’m asleep … well, I never used to.” Jokes, jokes, jokes. Keep joking and he’ll forget what he was going to say.
“You were having a conversation with … I guess yourself, but …” He finally looks away and Rae blinks rapidly, willing the tears threatening to spill back behind her eyes.
“My mum always used to say that talkin’ to yourself didn’t make you mad, it was only if you answered yourself …” Rae chuckles, a small part of herself still wildly hoping they can avoid this, but she can see the trajectory. It’s already out of her hands … this is happening in slow motion, like a car crash.
Finn shakes his head at her comment. “Rae …” he says her name soft and slow.
Rae sighs. Fine. She’ll expedite the proceedings. “Alright, what was I talkin’ about?”
Finn breathes deep. “You asked … ‘Should I lose weight?’”
“Well, that’d be a yes,” Rae keeps quipping, despite knowing Finn hates it.
“And then you answered yourself by saying, ‘It wouldn’t matter.’” Rae looks at Finn, startled, and sees his eyes are shining with tears, just like hers. “‘It wouldn’t matter because I’ll always be a blob, no matter what shape I am.’ That’s what you said.”
“Oh, Finn …” Rae puts her hand out to touch his face, but he turns his head.
“I don’t get it, Rae,” he exhales.
“What’s there to get?” Rae asks, voice small, brain already busy going over it’s pre-programmed script of terrible thoughts.
“How you can care about me, but you can’t care about yourself. How you want me to be happy, but can’t see that the only thing that makes me happy is YOU being happy.” He sniffs and turns back to face Rae. “If you think losing weight will make you happier, I’ll help you however I can. But you wouldn’t be doing it for me. Because I love you the way you are.”
Rae makes a fist and punches it into the bed, muttering, “Stupid gob.”
Finn grabs her fist and holds it tight. “No, Rae! Stop. Just stop. I’m glad you talked in your sleep. Now we’re finally talkin’ about this! It’s been between us from the beginning, and I don’t want anythin’ between us.”
Rae looks down at her stomach and has to physically stop herself from saying it’s that that is coming between them. The words burble up her windpipe and she has to swallow hard to keep them from tumbling out. Finn sees her hesitation. “I love your sense of humor, Rae, but when you use it on yourself, I hate it. So I’m glad you didn’t.”
Rae wonders if they’ll ever say the things they need to say to each other. If it’s up to her, she won’t. But Finn has this sixth sense about her, and sometimes seems to instinctively know what they need to talk about.
“Rae. I love you. How you feel, how you look, but most of all how you ARE. Most of the time, that is, when you’re not slagging yourself off. What I love most about you isn’t going to change if you decide you want to lose weight.”
Oops. All those tears she tried to dam inside her come flooding out.
Before she can react, Finn is wrapping her in an embrace and tracing a heart on her shoulder. And she thinks, for a split second, “Is this the dream?” But then Finn is kissing her neck, her cheek, her lips, and her dreams never feel so real as this.