A/N: This fic was prompted by Hailee (rachel-berry), over at tumblr. There was a post floating around there, about '8 ways to say I love you' – and this is my highly modified, 7 ways to say I love you, Finn x Rachel version of that post! This is AU.

It was incredibly hard to try to get back into Finn's headspace. I tried my best, though, and I hope you guys enjoy this, even if there's more than likely a bit of OOC-ness going on. Also, I rewrote this at least 6 times, so there are probably a few (more than a few) typos. Apologies! Title and lyrics are from the song Flaws, by Bastille. Don't own that. Don't own Glee!


When all of your flaws and all of my flaws

are laid out one by one

A wonderful part of the mess that we made,

we pick ourselves undone


Finn Hudson has been friends with Rachel Berry for three very long, very intense years. They go to school together at NYADA, which is this insane performing arts school in the city. And even though she's only a junior, she's easily the most talented person there – could've gone onto Broadway her freshman year, probably, if she'd really wanted to.

And yet, he's never really thought about her romantically. Not really, anyway, and definitely not in the way that he is right now, currently, at this very moment.

But there's a clarifying relief that comes when he admits to himself that he loves Rachel. It's the sort of feeling that he can only really compare to coming home for the first time after a super long time away. That initial moment when you open the door and all the sights, sounds, smells hit you – they're familiar and warm, and they make you feel secure, you know? Like you're back where you belong.

That's how he feels, when he's around Rachel. He feels like he belongs there.

It's like the curtains have finally been drawn back, like he's finally seeing who he really is, who he really is when he's around her. And he's in love with her. He's so fucking in love with her and he's been just fucking blind to it for the past however many years.

And yeah, maybe it's true that this realization hits him after he's four shots back and a few beers in. But he's almost positive that even if he wasn't drunk right now, he would've come to this conclusion eventually. Maybe it wouldn't have happened until another three years had passed, but still. It would've happened. He's sure of it.

Santana laughs at him when he says this, licks the salt off the rim of her margarita glass. Her eyes are wide and she talks so loudly that Finn has to remind her he's only across the table – not across the country.

He laughs at his joke and she frowns because it's, "Stupid and not even remotely funny to joke about us being a continent apart."

Santana takes a sip of her margarita and stares at him expectantly.

Finn apologizes, quickly, stumbling over his words, because tonight should not be a night of drunken fighting, tonight should be a night of happiness because tonight, Finn Hudson is going to tell Rachel Berry he loves her.

Like, for real loves her, not just loves her because she always remembers to pick him up extra Cheetos for class when she's out grocery shopping, or because she always runs lines with him even though, "you really should've had this scene memorized last week, Finn!"

"I pick you up beer from the grocery store, and you don't love me," Santana says, and she's sort of pouting but sort of not and Finn tells her that she looks like she'd holding in a big shit or something.

She groans. "So fucking eloquent."

He doesn't know what that word means and he's too drunk to manage the dictionary app on his phone, so he ignores her and says, "I do love you – I'm totally in love with you – but just not in the way I'm in love with Rachel."

He stresses the word love because, yes, as much as he loves Santana, the love he feels for her is completely different than the love that he's now, over the past ten minutes or so, realized he feels for Rachel.

"I just don't get why you're realizing your undying love for the hobbit now, after three years," Santana says, dropping her head slightly and groaning so loudly that Finn has to remind her, again, that the bathroom's towards the back of the bar and to the left.

She throws a dirty napkin and chewed up lemon at him. "Stop being an idiot," she says, as Finn knocks the lemon off from his shirt and onto the floor.

"You bought me this sweater," he says, "and you know I don't know how to wash it right, so don't get all mad at me when it smells like lemons for the next six months."

They've been friends for like twenty years now – literally, because they met when they were still in diapers, and they learned how to walk and talk and all that stuff together – so Finn can read her pretty much better than he can read anyone. And what people don't get is that there are levels to Santana's anger, and they're (surprisingly) well distinguished. You just have to tread lightly.

And if she was that mad, she wouldn't be throwing napkins at him. She'd be dumping her drink on him and making him pick up the tab.

Instead, she sighs dramatically, closes her eyes and places her fingertips to her forehead, as if she's trying to solve an impossible question.

"Just explain to me, please, how one suddenly decides to be in love, after three years of friendship? And I'm talking pure, straight, boring ass friendship – not even a random hook-up friendship."

Santana almost sounds disgusted.

Finn almost doesn't know what to say.

He takes another drink of his beer. And he thinks.

Because now that he knows he's in love with Rachel, it's difficult to formulate why it took him so long to realize this very simple fact. It's like trying to explain why his favorite color's blue, or why he hates bananas but loves banana pudding.

He doesn't know why. It's just the way things are.

He tells Santana that but she says that's stupid, and so he tries again.

"She's the best person I know," Finn says. "She's super smart, and funny, and her talent is like – I don't know." He stops, and then, "We all just – it's like we're all orbiting around her in class, like everyone knows she's the best and most important person in there, the person who's going to make it, but we're all just too fucking scared to say it."

His heart's pounding in his chest and his breath's heavy in his lungs and he feels so aware of everything going on around him right now. He's not sure if it's the beers he just drank or the weed he smoked earlier but it's like before this night, he was staring at a fuzzy picture of his life, and now everything is in crystal clear focus.

(He's good at clichés, or at least, pretty sure he is. His English teacher always writes that he uses a lot of them in his papers, and one time she wrote that he used them too much when he really shouldn't be using them at all, but really, is there ever too much of a good thing?)

Finn's so in love with Rachel and he wants to scream it from the roof tops. That's another cliché that's true, and Santana says that he's smiling too much and it's making her uncomfortable.

"You look like a creeper," she says, as the bartender slides another margarita in front of her, and a beer in front of Finn.

He takes the lime out of her glass, bites into it. "I can't help it."

"You most certainly can," she says, taking a sip. She leans back in her chair then, crosses her legs and stares at him apprehensively for a second; as if she thinks he's about to go totally insane or something, run around the bar like a lunatic.

After a moment: "You've never looked like this before."

Finn raises an eyebrow.

She clarifies. "You know, all into a girl and stuff. For a while there back in high school, I thought you were gay for Evans." Santana shrugs, in this conciliatory sort of manner. "Wouldn't have been the worst life choice you've ever made."

He rolls his eyes and says, "I was with Quinn for like a thousand years." Actually, six and a half before she broke up with him at the end of last year for no reason other than 'I think we're going in separate places', but who's counting? "Pretty sure I was into her at some point."

Santana pretends to gag and Finn ignores her because fighting with Santana over the merits of his ex-girlfriend isn't what he's looking for tonight.

He grabs a nacho from the plate in the middle of the table, shoves it into his mouth and says with his mouth full, "And I hooked up with that girl last month, the one in my Theory class."

She nods and says, "But – you weren't like, into her, into her." She pauses and says, "I mean, if we want to get technical, you were literally into her, but you weren't figuratively into her."

"Yeah, I was there – I got it."

"Just making sure."

Santana eats a nacho and she's quiet which usually means she's thinking of an insult, but instead, she says, "Do you think maybe you just think you're in love with Rachel because you're wasted?"

Finn shakes his head. "Nope. I think I'm in love with her because I am in love with her."

And maybe he should feel embarrassed about that fact or something, you know? Maybe he should feel a little bit ashamed that he's in love with her, that he's fallen in love with one of his best friends, a girl who's seen him at his total worst and never at his total best. Because – there's no way she's in love with him, too.

The world doesn't work like that. She's not perfect but she's pretty close and he's – he's just. Not.

He asks Santana what he should do about this situation, and Santana says that she's concerned about the soggy nachos, too; he should go and order them a new plate. Finn frowns and Santana apologizes and says she's sorry, but she's really more concerned about food than love.

"That's just the honest truth," she says, and she holds her hand over her heart. "Ask my ex-girlfriend."

Finn nods in agreement and then he pulls out his cell phone, takes another drink of his beer.

"I should just tell her," he says suddenly. "Like right now."

"Sleep on it first, yeah?"

"No. Because if I sleep on it, maybe I'll forget that I thought it in the first place."

"Maybe that's like saying you shouldn't have thought it in the first place."

Finn's silent. And then,

"No, yeah, I'm just gonna call her right now."

He calls Rachel and he leaves a very long, rambling message. He tells her that he's loved her since he was eighteen – maybe, actually, no, because he was still sort of in love with Quinn then – but he's loved her for probably a really long time (he thinks he loved her even though he was still with Quinn, actually, but don't tell anyone that, okay?). He just has never realized it before right now. And if she loves him, too, that's awesome, but if not, that's still awesome, because at least she knows now that he loves her. And that he doesn't just love her but he's in love with her, and if she could just call him back whenever, just to give him a heads up on that whole love thing, that'd be great. But again, totally cool if she doesn't feel like it, not a big deal.

Well, it is a big deal but Finn will pretend like it's not, so don't even – don't even worry about it.


Rachel doesn't end up calling him back. At least, she doesn't end up calling him back about that whole voicemail situation. Not directly, anyway.

She calls him on Sunday night and Finn ignores the call at first, instead hoping that maybe the floor of his apartment will open up and swallow him whole or something. But that doesn't happen – obviously, he knew that there was only like a .00001 percent chance of that occurring – so he picks up the phone the second time that she calls.

It's not like he can avoid her forever. They have classes together and stuff, so.

He clears his throat, awkwardly, and he has this sinking suspicion that everything he does around her from now on is going to be just a little bit awkward.

"Hello?" he says, and he sounds like he has a frog in his throat, so he coughs, but then it sounds like he has emphysema, and then Rachel's asking him if he's alright.

Repeatedly. Because he can't stop coughing and he's not sure if it's nerves or those popcorn kernels that he was gnawing on a couple minutes ago.

Eventually, a few seconds later, he finds his voice. "Sorry about that," he says, and he pulls a pillow over his head. Even though she can't see him, it still makes him feel better to hide his face from the world.

"That's alright," she says. For a second, Finn can swear that she has to hear how loud his heart is beating, because to him, it sounds like it's about to beat right out of his chest.

She tells him, "I'm confused about where to go for this writing assignment."

He can see her in his mind's eye, tapping her pencil against her composition notebook, twisting some strands of hair around and around her finger. He's getting that urge again, that one that makes him want to just blurt out that he loves her, but he thinks that maybe that's not the best way to go about this whole – thing.

Not that this is even a thing, it's not a thing, because the ball's in Rachel's court now and she's made it clear that she doesn't want this to be a thing. Right?

He breathes out a soft sigh, and he's not sure if it's of relief or disappointment.

"That one for Creative Writing?" he asks, and Rachel laughs and says,

"The only writing assignments we ever have are for Creative Writing, Finn."

He tries to make a joke about extra credit but it falls flat in between them and he tries to cover up the empty space with offers to help her with the paper.

"That's what I was calling about," she tells him. "You're so much – you're so much better at this than I am. I feel like whenever I try writing, all that comes out are melodramatic turns of phrases."

He thinks that now is not the best time to tell her that their writing teacher frequently writes the same notes on his papers.

Instead, he tells her, "Yeah, I mean. I guess. Santana's working all night so my apartment's free, if you wanted to – to just come over now, or whatever. I could try to help."

That's the best he's got, at sounding cool and collected. That's really all he can manage right now, too, because he's still hung over and forming any words at all is proving to be a lot trickier than he thought it'd be.

Rachel lets out this happy little noise and she's so cute that it's almost physically painful. She says (more like chirps) that she'll be over as soon as she can, and Finn tells her not to rush, that,

"The apartment's kind of a mess right now."

And it is, it totally fucking is, because he's a slob and Santana's no better. They flip a coin every night to see whether they're going to do dishes or not, and it's landed on heads a lot lately, so – there's a stack of dirty shit in the sink that dates back to at least Monday.

He wonders if maybe he could just grab a plastic bag, shove all that stuff in there and then put it in the closet. That actually doesn't seem like a bad idea, and he's wondering if he has a bag that's big enough, when Rachel says,

"Oh, please – like I haven't seen your messy apartment before?"

This is true. And she also knows about the coin flipping thing, and Finn sort of forgot for a moment that just because he's in love with Rachel, that doesn't mean that they're on any sort of blank, new page. She still knows practically everything about him – including his talent for avoiding housework at all possible costs.

She says she's on her way over and Finn says that's cool, and he spends the next twenty minutes shoving as many dirty dishes as he possibly can in the cabinet underneath the kitchen sink. He's just brushing some crumbs off from the kitchen table and onto the floor when he hears a knock at the door, and he quickly grabs the beer bottles that are on the table and puts them underneath it.

He probably should've changed his shirt or something, because it looks like there might be a spaghetti stain on this one, but it's not like he has the time now. So he grabs a hoodie off from the back of the couch, slips it on and tries to open the door at the same time.

It's not as suave of a moment as he wanted it to be. His head actually gets stuck and he tries to wave with the arm that's still trying to work its way through the sleeve. Rachel has to end up tugging the sweater down the rest of the way, her hands landing on his hips.

"I see we still haven't mastered dressing yet," she says, teasing, and she runs one of her hands from his hip up to his chest, pats him there a couple times. Her nails are painted bright cherry red and Finn has to remind himself to breathe.

He smiles down at her and says something about how his mom worked a lot when he was younger and it's a joke that doesn't even make complete sense, but Rachel's laughing and he likes that – even if she's laughing at him and not really with him.

She takes a step away from him and takes off her beret, holds it in her hands for a moment. "Okay if I put this on the couch?" she asks, moving over to the living room before he can say otherwise.

(It's not like she'd be able to use their coat tree, anyway. Santana uses it as a drying rack for their clothes.)

Rachel puts her hat on the top of the couch, shrugs out of her pea-coat and folds it in half before placing that on the couch, too. She's wearing this white fuzzy sweater that looks softer than hell, and a flouncy black skirt that makes her legs look so impossibly long.

She turns her head then, catches him staring and he can feel his face getting all flushed red and he says that it's hot in here and that maybe he should go grab them a couple beers or something.

He doesn't wait for a response, just turns on his heels and heads down the little hallway to the kitchen. When he opens the fridge, he sort of contemplates for like a half a second whether he should just close the fridge door on his head, but – no. He's twenty-one years old. He can handle a little (massive, life altering) crush on a girl without turning into a complete weirdo.


He grabs two beers and is turning around to head back into the living room when he hears Rachel saying hello.

She's standing into the doorway in the kitchen, leaning against the doorframe, and Finn has this uncomfortable feeling like she's about to say something that he really doesn't want her to say. Because she's got this look on her face, like she's thinking super hard about something, and like, yeah, the creative writing assignment's annoying but it would definitely not be causing her this much stress.

After a moment, she smiles at him again, biting at the bottom of her lip. She twists a finger around her necklace for a second, before walking across the kitchen to where he's standing. He just hands her a beer, because he's not entirely sure what he should be doing or saying right now. And he thinks that maybe he should try to start talking about the assignment, so she doesn't think that he's turning into some sort of crazy, mute guy or something.

But then she takes a sip of her beer, stands on her tip toes, and kisses him on the cheek. Her lip gloss is sticky against his cheek and her hair smells like flowers and Finn's glad that he has such a good hold on his beer bottle right now, otherwise it'd be crashing to the floor.

She pulls away, still standing on her tip toes. She's got on these black boots that make her a little taller than usual, but not tall enough to look Finn in the face without angling her head up. There's something kind of – kind of hot about that, and he has to look down at their shoes so that she can't see the ridiculous smile that's spreading across his face.

Because maybe she's not in love with him or anything, but in all their years of friendship, she's never done anything like this before.

When he looks at her after a couple seconds, she's staring at him, her eyes wide and her mouth hanging open just a little. He pushes at her chin with the tip of his finger, and she laughs, closing her mouth.

"I – that's not what I came in here to do," she says, sounding like she's admitting some sort of deep, dark, forbidden secret. "I just wanted to make sure that we're – that we're alright, all things considered."

All things considered, meaning, his psycho voicemail from the other night. But Rachel's too proper, too composed to mention something like that. She wouldn't embarrass him outright by bringing it up directly, and so she's sidestepping it, and Finn finds himself having to look down at their shoes again.

His heart's not completely broken or anything, but it feels a little bruised.

He tells her, "I know – it's fine, seriously, don't even mention it." (Honestly, please, don't mention it again.) "Let's just start working on the paper now."

Rachel nods and she takes another drink of her beer before setting the bottle down on the kitchen counter. She's peering at him now, with her arms folded across her chest, and because she's Rachel and she kind of doesn't know ever when to let things go, she says,

"Do you really not want me to mention it ever again?"

This conversation is making him want to ram his head into a wall and he's not sure if she's trying to talk in circles or if it just comes naturally. He doesn't really want to continue with this whole topic, but he bites the bullet and says,

"I don't know. I just thought it was something you should know. I thought it and I wanted to say it, so I did, and now you know."

He picks at the label on his beer bottle and he says, "So we can work on the paper now, okay?"

Finn's usually not this pathetic, honestly. But it's the kind of thing where he was with his last girl for so long that he's forgotten how to interact with any other girl outside of the friend area. And he does like Rachel, seriously, he's pretty sure he's beyond in love with her – but if she's not in love with him, it's not like he wants to lose her friendship over this.

She's one of his friends. That means something to him. He doesn't want that to end just because he got too drunk on whiskey last night and couldn't keep his feelings to himself.

(He's going to one of the best universities in the country, is learning acting skills from some of the best talent around – but sometimes he feels like he couldn't act his way out of a cardboard box.)

She's grabbing onto his hips again, her fingers digging into the skin right above his jeans, her thumbs pressing into his bones. And then she's kissing him, kissing him, kissing him. Her lips are moving against his, her tongue's moving against his, her body's moving against his, and he thinks that he's probably dreaming but he's not totally sure, and he's kind of freaking out because this weekend is going to be the damn death of him.

He asks what she's doing and she says that she's not entirely sure.

"You're my friend," she says, and she sounds confused, unsure, but she doesn't move away. She repeats herself, and he runs his fingers through her hair, cups the back of her head in his hands.

"I love you," he says, whispers, breathes. She swallows his words and he says them again, so quietly that he's sure she won't be able to hear.

They don't work on the paper that night.


Finn thinks Quinn's damaged him or something, like she's fucked him up in the relationship department for life. It's not her fault – if she didn't love him anymore, then that's that, he can't exactly hate her for changing her mind. But you spend so long with someone, so fucking long, and you start to think that you have your life figured out. When it's taken away seemingly in the blink of an eye, it just. It kind of does something to a person.

It's been a while since the break up and he still can't bring himself to look at her page on Facebook, text her to say what's up. It's not that he wants to be with her, or that he wants their relationship back. It's just that he still can't believe that it's actually gone, if that makes any sense at all.

And so right now, as he's standing outside of Rachel's apartment, waiting for her to open the door – he's got this strange, twisting feeling in his stomach, like everything about this night is about to go wrong. Because he doesn't mean to sound stupid or sappy or whatever, but it's not like he's had the greatest luck with relationships in the past.

He's got this bouquet of flowers in his hand, and he thinks that he's holding onto it so tightly that the stems are going to snap in half. And before he can check to make sure that didn't happen, the door swings open, and Rachel's standing there – looking absolutely beautiful, of course, because that's how these things work.

Finn clears his throat and he tries to smile, but his face feels too tight all of a sudden, like there's not enough skin to stretch over his bones.

Rachel doesn't notice, or maybe she's too nice to say anything; or, she's too distracted by the flowers that are being choked in Finn's death-vise grip.

She lets out this happy little noise and she motions for him to come into her apartment, shuts the door behind him. He hands her the flowers and he hopes to hell that she doesn't notice how sweaty his palms are, even though he's pretty sure that there's no way that she couldn't.

She just smiles at him, though, and says that sunflowers are her favorite. He follows her into the kitchen, as she starts to arrange the flowers in a big pitcher.

"I know," Finn tells her. "I remember, your dads bought them for you at our last performance."

They were Sandy and Danny in this small production of Grease that one of their acting classes put on. Finn's not sure if he totally managed the role all that well, but Rachel was awesome. She always is, though; ever since they started at NYADA, she's been Finn's favorite person to work with.

And she always says the same thing about him, too, even though he messes up his lines at least once during every performance.

Glancing up at him, she says, lightly, "You have a very good memory."

She messes with a couple of the flowers, moves them back and forth a bit before deeming the arrangement perfect. She looks at him for affirmation, and he nods and fumbles with his words, because honestly – what does he know about flowers, you know? But Rachel looks happy and that's all he really cares about, so he says it again, that they look great.

Grabbing a towel from the counter, she wipes her hands off and then looks over at him before looking down at herself. "I wasn't sure where we were going to dinner, so – I wasn't sure exactly what to wear. I tried to make sure that it was applicable to most of the restaurants around here," she tells him, gesturing to her red dress. It looks like wool or something, all scratchy and stuff, and she bends down to pull at a loose thread around the hem.

She's super particular about the details of basically anything and everything, so it doesn't surprise him that she's particular about how she's dressed on their first date.

(First date, God, the fact that he's having a first date with Rachel Berry is blowing his mind. Last week he was chilling on her couch in sweatpants and a sweatshirt, drinking a beer with Blaine and pretending to pay attention as Rachel worked on a monologue. And now he's taking her to dinner and they're probably going to have sex tonight and - is it normal for a relationship to shift so quickly, suddenly, with no preamble?)

"Are you alright?" Rachel asks, and Finn snaps out of it, nods, quickly.

"Yeah, fine – sorry, just thinking about stuff."

She gives him a small smile, looks at the flowers once more before looking at her watch. "Should we be going now?" she asks, tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear. She looks nervous and that makes Finn feel better, almost; to know that he's not alone with that feeling.

He nods and says yes and Rachel starts to move to put on her coat when there's this weird feeling that suddenly overcomes him. And he probably shouldn't do this but now that the thought's in his head, he can't stop it. So Finn suddenly says,


Rachel looks up at him, frowns, asks, "Is something wrong?"

He shakes his head and he tells her, "You look – you look really pretty tonight."

She doesn't say anything, doesn't make a move to respond; just watches him, because she knows him, and she knows that he has more to say. He bites at his bottom lip, nods at her and says,

"Just – you know, I don't know where this is going exactly or what we're doing here, but. If this doesn't work out, then I just want you to know that you really are beautiful. And I've thought that for a super long time now and you should know that."

He gets the feeling that Rachel's not told that all that often. That she's beautiful, pretty, funny as hell, and one of the nicest people around. He can't remember the last time he heard about her going on any sort of date, and the excuse she gives is always because she's never met someone who can handle an intensity quite like hers. And that's cool and all, and it's a solid excuse, but Finn thinks that the real reason she hasn't gone on a date is because she's never – she doesn't trust people with her feelings, doesn't trust that someone's not going to break her heart.

Finn understands that. He gets it, he knows how it is because he's had his heart broken before, too. And he's not sure how to get that across to Rachel, that she can trust him, that she can trust him not to do the same thing that the guy before him did. He figures though, that this date and stuff – maybe it's a decent start.

(He's not going to kid himself and it's not like he thinks she's in love with him or anything, but he thinks that she could someday be, and that's good enough for him right now.)

"You're a funny guy, Finn Hudson," Rachel says finally.

He's not sure what to say to that, so he thanks her, and she smiles and says,

"You're welcome."

She puts on her coat and she walks over, zips up his jacket for him and lets her palms linger on his chest. She smells like flowers, just like she did the other night, and when she presses her lips against his cheek, the sticky feeling her lip gloss leaves almost feels familiar.

When they've kissed on stage before, it's never felt like this. The matte lipstick she wears then doesn't feel like how her lip gloss does now, and the feeling that's rushing through his veins doesn't come close to any of those feelings he pretends to feel in front of the crowd.

"You look very handsome," she tells him, and then, "I've always thought that about you, too. I just could never find a proper way to put it into words – not when you were with her."

Finn nods and says, "I know."

Offering her his arm, he adds, "But we don't have to talk about that stuff now."

She smiles and agrees, and doesn't let go of his arm until they've reached the restaurant.


She's a really good kisser. He kind of always had a feeling she would be – but it's one thing to kiss a person on stage, another thing to kiss a person in real life. On stage, it's all chaste kisses, no tongue, sixth grade stuff. But when she's kissing him like she is right now, it's like she's putting her entire self into the action.

Her hands are tightening on the front of his shirt and one of her legs slips in between his. She pulls at him, pulls him up, pulls him so that he's hovering over her with his weight resting on his forearms and his breath hot on her face.

He's afraid that it smells like onions or something and he tells her that because he's drunk, and thinking before speaking has never been a talent of his, even when sober.

She laughs and says that even if it did, the bottle of wine he just drank would surely cover it up somewhat.

"Yeah, maybe," he says, and he bites at her bottom lip gently, teasing. She lets out this soft little sigh and she pulls him closer. He gets nervous because he doesn't want to like, squish her or anything, and he tries to pull away.

They had this problem the other night, when they were hooking up at his apartment. It's not that he doesn't love to be close to her – it's just that she's so small and he's so big, and their limbs have a hard time lining up sometimes, figuring out where to go.

And as much as Rachel insists that she likes feeling him on top of her, Finn's positive that she enjoys feeling air inside of her lungs more.

He tells her that and she smiles at him, says something about how that's terribly sweet of him, how,

"Ridiculously sweet that is."

Finn blushes because he's not trying to be sweet he's just trying to be logical or whatever. Rachel reaches up and she cups his cheeks with her hands, presses a kiss against his lips.

It's still weird, to see her do that, to see her coming closer, to know that she's kissing him because she wants to and not because she's required to.

You know something? He's never fallen in love with a friend before but even more than that, he's never fallen in love with someone like Rachel before. He wants to tell her that, wants to tell her everything he's thinking and feeling, but at the same time, whenever he opens his mouth to try to, he stops. Because – this is crazy.

It's all just kinda crazy and new and, yeah, this whole thing started because he word vomited into her answering machine but – he hasn't been around the dating world much but he knows, because Santana's told him, that telling a girl that you love her repeatedly before you've hit the one month mark is kind of psychotic.

So he holds that part back the best he can. He doesn't tell her that he loves her even though he's positive that she can see it in his face, feel it in his touch.

He drags his hands down her sides, pushes them up underneath her pajama top. She's wearing these matching snowman pajamas that are bright blue and white, with big buttons running up the middle of the shirt.

He undoes them, slowly, one by one, pressing a kiss to each new inch of skin that he uncovers.

He makes a stupid joke about going where no man has gone before, but then catches himself and says something about going where no man has been in a while, and then he realizes that it's pretty fucking stupid to assume something like that.

"Stop thinking so much," she tells him, running a hand over his head, her fingernails scratching at his scalp.

Looking up at her, he nods, and then goes back to unbuttoning her shirt. She's wearing this lacy blue bra that has a bow in the middle, and it's so perfectly Rachel Berry and then he thinks that's really weird, to think that about someone's underwear – that it looks like them. Because he can almost guarantee that when Rachel saw his boxers last weekend, she wasn't thinking that the green plaid he was wearing matched his soul or whatever.

At least, he hopes to hell that she didn't think that.

She tells him that it looks like he's thinking too hard again, and Finn laughs and says he can't help it, that she makes him sort of nervous.

"Just think about that time last year when I saw you get sick at Blaine's party," Rachel suggests and Finn says that doesn't make him any less nervous, it just makes him feel embarrassed. And not turned on anymore, at all.

She shifts and that sort of pushes her boobs right up into his hands and he says that it's going to be difficult to get her bra off with her lying down like this. She gives him this small smile and tells him to get off her so that she can roll over.

(He swears to God, he hasn't been this fucking hard since he was thirteen years old.)

He sits back on his heels and she turns over, slips off her pajama top and lets it fall onto the floor before lying back on her stomach. She folds her arms underneath her head, lays her head down so that she can still sort of see him over her shoulder.

There's a small birthmark on her back, right in the middle of her spine, and Finn leans forward so that he can kiss it, so he can press his lips against her skin. He lets his hands slide underneath her, holding onto her stomach, his thumbs slipping against the sides of her hips. And he kisses from the base of her spine on up, and he can feel the goosebumps skittering across her back.

He thinks that the second time you have sex with someone is almost more nerve-wracking than the first. The first time, it's just all these crazy emotions flying through you; hurried, anxious motions offsetting any possible nerves. The second time, though – you know what's going to happen. You know how she looks when she falls apart. And you sure as hell know how it feels when she makes you fall apart.

Finn feels more nervous because he wants to get her there, wants her to get him there, now that they've been there together once before.

He kisses the back of her neck and she bites at her lip when he kisses the tip of her ear.

"Blaine wants to know why it took us this long to – to get together like this," Rachel says, and she sounds breathless even though nothing's even happened yet.

Finn smiles against her hair, and he rolls her back over, touches the tip of his nose to hers. Her brown eyes look crazy huge when he's staring at her like this, and she says that sometimes she wonders the same thing as Blaine.

He tries to think of an explanation, a reason, but he can't.

He was hung up on someone else, and she was hung up on life.

"Maybe it just happened the way it's supposed to," Finn tells her, reaching a hand in between them, tucking his fingers underneath her pajamas, underneath her underwear.

She closes her eyes as he touches her, as he pushes one finger, two fingers inside her, brushes his thumb against her. She sighs quietly, and she tightens her legs around his hand, almost imperceptibly so.

He wishes he could look down to see what he's doing; watch his fingers, his hand, as he pushes and pulls in time with the way she's ever so slightly pushing and pulling her hips. But he's watching her eyes, watching as they lose focus, and he seriously can't look away.

He leans down and kisses her on the cheek and she tells him that she'd rather they come together than her come alone.

Can't really argue with that.

She grabs at his pants, pulls them down, laughs when they get caught around his ankles. And he does the same with her, tosses her pajama bottoms onto the floor next to her shirt, laughs when she asks if they look like they're going to be wrinkled.

Later that night, when she's sleeping, he pulls her close and whispers he loves her. A few minutes later, he pretends to be asleep when he hears her whisper that she loves him, too.


Blaine is to Rachel as Santana is to Finn – two halves of a whole kind of thing. Blaine and Rachel have been friends for almost as long as Santana and Finn have been friends, and they all just kind of lucked out, that they all get along as well as they do.

Well, okay. Sometimes Rachel and Santana don't exactly get along, because calling each other hobbits and whores isn't the best way to go about a friendship. But they tolerate each other, for Finn and Blaine's sake, and for the most part, the four of them are the tightest out of their whole class at NYADA.

(That whole freaky, competitive thing the school fosters doesn't exactly do wonders for friendships, you know?)

Santana says that she's nervous that things are going to change now because of Finn and Rachel doing – well, whatever Finn and Rachel are doing. She doesn't say she's nervous, exactly; she says she's angry, but Finn knows her, and he knows what her anger is usually a cover for.

Not that he'd ever, ever, tell her that.

"This is going to turn into some stupid, fucking Yoko Ono thing," she tells him, leaning over and grabbing a handful of Cheetos. She pops them into her mouth, one by one, and says, "I thought she'd just ignore you when you told her you loved her. I didn't think she'd actually like, go for that schmaltzy bull shit."

She lets out a loud groan and adds, "I thought it was bad enough when you broke up with Quinn and you played Halo for a week straight without showering."

"Call of Duty."

"What?" she asks, and she sounds exasperated and he doesn't mean to antagonize her but there's a huge difference between Halo and Call of Duty, and she should really know the difference by now.

They've been friends for how long?

"Call of Duty. I played Call of Duty for a week straight, not Halo," he mumbles, and he looks down at the ground because he so doesn't want to see the look that he knows she's giving him right now.

"I honestly don't give a shit about what you were playing," Santana says, in her most serious of serious tones of voices. "What I do give a shit about is the fact that during our final year in college, you and Rachel decide to eff up our whole – our whole dynamic thing we had going on here."

Finn frowns.

Santana continues.

"What if you guys decide to stop hooking up, okay? What then? Senior showcase is in two months, Finn, and if you and Rachel end this thing, you're going to be a complete wreck. You'll probably end up falling off the stage and into the pit crew, crying as you stuff Cheetos and other equally fattening, disgusting foods into your mouth."

She looks down at the bowl of Cheetos and she lets out another groan, pushes the bowl away from her.

"I mean." Finn doesn't even know what to say to that, to be honest. "You're being kinda harsh."

He tries to say that as nicely as possible because they're at Blaine and Rachel's apartment right now, but that doesn't mean anything. If Santana feels like she has something to say, she'll say it anywhere, anytime, regardless of who's listening.

And Rachel and Blaine are definitely listening, because the kitchen's only a few feet away from the living room, and Finn and Santana came in here to get some more guacamole about ten minutes ago.

Rachel respects his space and everything, but the girl's also nosy as hell. The second the five minute mark passed, Finn would bet anything that she and Blaine slipped out of the living room and into the hallway to listen in on his and Santana's fight.




Santana opens her mouth to retort, but before she can utter a word, Rachel walks into the kitchen. Finn gives her a smile, and then looks over at Santana, motions towards the guacamole.

"You were about to take that out to the living room, right?" he asks pointedly.

Santana rolls his eyes, says, "Yes, master," in a fantastically horrible impression of Igor, and then dramatically limps out of the kitchen.

Glancing over at Rachel, Finn shrugs, apologetically. "Can't really control her," he says, leaning back against the kitchen island.

She laughs and says, "I thought you'd given up on trying." Walking towards him, she comes to a halt right before him, standing in between his legs.

There's a lock of hair that keeps flopping down into her eyes, and Finn tucks it back behind her ear. Her hair's all curly today, frizzy. They were at school for the majority of the afternoon, working on this piece for one of their classes, and so she didn't straighten it or whatever, like she usually does.

She smiles up at him. "It's crazy, I know," she says, touching her hair briefly.

"Nah," Finn says. "Cute."

Rachel tells him that one day he's not going to find every single little thing she does cute. "And that's okay," she says, "but you should really just be aware that the day is coming where that's going to happen. It's unavoidable, really. The allure of passionate love can only be maintained for so long before it settles into a ho-hum, every day sort of love."

Clears her throat.

Looks down at her feet.

Blushes so brightly that Finn thinks she just might turn into a tomato.

And she says, of course, "Not that we're in the passionate love state yet – you know."

He says that he considers himself warned, wraps his arms around her waist and pulls her closer, drops a kiss onto the top of her head.

She wraps her arms around his waist, too, so they're molded together like a weird pretzel. And she tells him that his dancing is getting a lot better, that he only stepped on her feet three times today during rehearsal.

"I think one of those times you were stepping on mine," he laughs, hoisting her up a little so her feet are barely touching the ground. She lets out this quiet squeal, quickly grabbing him around the neck.

"You're going to drop me," she says, straining, trying to get her feet back on solid ground. Finn just holds her tighter, lifts her up a little more.

"That was like, one time," he tells her, and he starts to sing a couple of lines from the song they were working on, swinging her back and forth in time.

She wraps her legs around his as best as she can, digs her fingers into the back of his shoulders, as he moves them around the kitchen, bumping into the table a couple of times just to be a dick.

Because even though she's complaining right now, as loudly as she can, he knows that she thinks it's funny.

"More like twice, Finn Hudson, and the last time I could've sworn almost concussed me."

He brushes his nose against hers and tells her to stop being such a drama queen. She kisses the tip of his nose before informing him that a drama queen is what she is, it's what's in her very blood, and that if he didn't know that already about her that they're going to have a very big problem in the future.

"I know," he says, and he twirls her around again once more before setting her back down on the ground.

She holds onto his shoulders and she says that he's possibly the best worst dancer she's ever met in her entire life. He's not sure if that's a total compliment or what, but he's going to take it as one, anyway.

Walking over to the table and popping a Cheeto in her mouth, she tells him, "These things are absolutely horrible for you, Finn."

But that doesn't stop her from taking another one. She smiles and kisses him, wipes her dusty fingers on the front of his sweater.

"Better on your shirt than mine," she giggles, and he kisses her again.

"I love you," he says, and then, because he's a pussy and the idea of turning this moment into something heavy is not at all what he wants to do right now, "in that shirt. It's – it's good you didn't get Cheeto gunk on it."

Rachel gives him a small smile, and says, "I love you in that shirt, too."


Here's the story of how Finn accidentally breaks Rachel's face:

His sneakers have a hole in them and she declares them officially dead. And it all just sort of spirals from there.

Because he protests. Quietly, at first, but then a little more loudly, because he's had these shoes since he was a senior in high school – and that means they're only like, what, four years old? That's not that bad, and besides, the soles of them are still in super good shape.

Also, the shoes are white, and most of his socks are white, so really – will people seriously be able to tell that there's a hole there?

She gives him this wide-eyed, 'you're crazy' look, but Finn still thinks he has a solid argument.

"You are so ridiculously cheap," Rachel informs him, as if this is news to the world. She tosses her hands up in the air, flops back down on the couch, as if she can't bear one more minute of this conversation.

Finn frowns.

He doesn't think he's cheap. That's pretty harsh, especially coming from Rachel, who's coupon binder (binder, people) is three inches wide and filled to the brim, in chronological order.

He just thinks these shoes have a ton of wear left in them and that it's stupid to spend seventy dollars on a new pair of sneakers when these ones can still last him a few more months. It's not like he's exactly rolling in cash, you know? New York's expensive. He and Santana can only handle Ramen noodles a few nights a week before they're back to calling their usual Chinese take-out place.

Trying to tell Rachel this, though, is akin to talking to a brick wall. The girl can be stubborn when she wants to be, and Finn usually loves that about her but it's not the best trait when it's aimed directly at him.

"I just want to go to the movies," Finn says finally, and he's pouting now, which usually works on Rachel when all else fails. And he does honestly want to go to the movies, too – they haven't been on a real date in what feels like forever, because she's been so wrapped up in school, and Finn's been so wrapped up in avoiding school.

(Finals take their toll on people in different ways.)

"So do I," she tells him. "I'd love to go to the movies with my guy, who knows how to properly dress himself in clothes and sneakers that don't have large, gaping holes in them."

She folds her arms across her chest, settles back into the couch.

"It's nice, really, it is, that your unfaltering loyalty extends even to your shoes," she continues, being only mildly sarcastic. "But this situation is getting a bit – sad."

She leans over to where he's sitting on the other side of the couch, bends down, pokes at his sneaker with her index finger. "Honestly, Finn," she mutters, picking at a loose thread. "Besides looking like a homeless person, these shoes are also probably so unhygienic – I can't. I can't handle them."

He sighs. "I'm not getting out of this, am I?" he asks, in a rhetorical sort of fashion. (He's just gotten the difference down, for real this time, between rhetorical and redundant, and he thinks he should write his ninth grade English teacher an apology note for it having taken so long.)

Rachel shakes her head, no. "The idea of your feet festering in those germ ridden shoes for a minute more than absolutely necessary makes me want to vomit."

Gross. Eloquently worded, of course, because it's Rachel. But still. Gross.

Finn leans across the couch, presses his lips against her cheek. She blushes, bites at her lip. She tells him, softly, that she's not trying to be rude or critical.

It just happens naturally, and Finn kisses her again because she doesn't need to apologize for being herself. And it's not like she actually hurt his feelings, like that one time freshman year when she said that a zombie could manage a dance routine better than him.

That was just overly harsh for a leading lady to say to her leading man, the day before a huge performance.

He tells her that if they find the shoes quickly enough, they can still make the five o'clock movie. Rachel says something about him being overly ambitious, which is cute of her, really, it is – to think that Finn's going to spend more than twenty minutes looking at a pair of sneakers is hysterical.

Grabbing her coat off from the back of the couch, he helps her into it and then brushes another kiss against her lips.

"You smell like blueberries," he tells her, running a hand over her head, ruffling her hair.

She pretends to be annoyed, but looks up at him with her eyes all shining bright and wide. So he does it again, tangles his fingers in her hair before pulling her up onto her tip toes to give him a kiss.

"You're going to make me throw my back out one of these days," she says, laughing and hitting him on the chest to make him back away from her.

He wants to say something dirty and he so, so easily could. But he really does want to see that movie, and he knows that Rachel's being serious about not going on a date with him until he gets new sneakers.

So he holds back the words that so desperately want to escape but Rachel smiles at him in this way that makes him know that she's absolutely aware of what he's thinking.

She's good like that. She knows him like that.

It's cool, right – dating one of your best friends?

Finn grins at her and she whispers something totally filthy in his hear as he ties the laces on his shoes a little tighter, and he blushes and tries not to smile so widely that his face cracks in half.

Santana wanders into the room, hung over and maybe still buzzed, and groans when she sees them, covers her eyes with her hands.

"Your relationship is nauseating," she mumbles, stumbling into the kitchen.

"You still being hung over at four o'clock in the afternoon is nauseating," Rachel chirps.

Loudly. Really, really loudly, and Finn's surprised that Santana doesn't try to throw a coffee mug at her.

She ignores her, though, just glares at Finn before shuffling off back into her room, coffee mug safe in hand.

Rachel smiles. "We should bring her back some popcorn, from the movies."

Finn nods as he zips up his coat. "Yeah, sure."

Honestly, he'll bring Santana back an entire bag of popcorn and a huge diet Coke if it just means that he and Rachel actually make it to the movies today.

He's pulling on his gloves and what happens next isn't totally his fault, but it kind of is, and years from now, looking back on this moment, Rachel will never let him say otherwise.

Because he's not watching what he's doing, not really, because his gloves are too tight and it's always super hard to try to get them on and doing anything else at the same time. But he's Finn and he doesn't always think things through, so he figures that opening the door and getting the gloves on at the same time isn't that big of a deal.

And maybe for anyone else on this entire planet, it wouldn't be a big deal. But again – he's Finn. So he's not completely focused on what's going on around him, or like, where Rachel is in approximation to him, and when he tries opening the door and shimmying the one glove on at the same time –

He ends up opening the door on Rachel's face. Like, whacking the door on Rachel's face, full force, because the door's light and it's crazy how little effort it takes to get that thing to swing back.

But it's not light enough to avoid doing any damage, and so he hears this crack and he's not even sure what the door hit at first because – hello, again, these damn gloves – but then he hears a little cry and then a huge cry, and that's when he turns around and sees Niagara Falls levels of blood gushing out of his girlfriend's nose.

Her hands are clutching her face, and her white mittens are all smeared with blood. Finn just stands there for about five seconds, stock still, because he's not the best with blood and he's especially not good with blood that's coming out of Rachel's face, making her look like some sort of mutant alien creature.

He's trying not to faint, he really is, but if she moves her hands off from her face he's almost positive that he's going down.

She's crying and saying his name and he says that he's sorry and he knows he should be moving to get her ice or something but he really, he honest to God, doesn't think he can move without falling over. The blood's starting to drip down her chin now and he thinks that he might be sick.

He steels himself and he says to himself, out loud, to get a grip, as Rachel's hysterical crying stutters down to a slow and quiet whimper.

Her fuzzy mittens are so huge that most of her face is covered, besides her eyes. And they're bright and wide, like they were a couple minutes ago, except now they're that light brown color they always turn whenever she's crying and super upset.

Breathing in and out, loudly, he says, "Let me see, baby."

He's trying to be brave and shit and he's stupid and he shouldn't be doing that, but he also needs to make sure that her nose hasn't fallen off.

Senior showcase is right around the corner, okay? And if her nose isn't working for it, it's not just Rachel who's going to kill him. Also taking on that role will be her parents, teachers, friends, cousins, neighbors, anyone she's ever met in her entire life, etc.

Slowly, Rachel starts to lower her hands from her face, and her eyes squeeze shut and her chin's all wobbly, and Finn grabs onto her shoulder as he looks down at her nose.

It's all puffy and stuff and the blood's still making its way down her face and Finn has never been so sure in his life that he's going to vomit. So he quickly grabs her hands, puts them back up towards her face.

"Doctor," he says, and his head's all static-y and he can't even fucking see straight; he looks up the ceiling so he doesn't have to look at her and he says, "You need a doctor."

"Obviously," she says, her voice sounding all thick and garbled, and she tells him to, "Get Santana," in a very nice manner, considering that he just smashed her face in and almost puked all over her coat.

Finn practically trips over himself as he walks over to Santana's bedroom, pushing open her door without knocking. She's snoring on her bed, all splayed out like a polar bear, and he climbs onto the bed, pushes her shoulder back and forth to wake her up.

"What the fuck, Finn?"

"I almost killed Rachel."

"I told you she could be annoying. But did you listen? No. Go away."

"Seriously – I'm being serious. I seriously almost killed her. You gotta help me."

Santana opens one eye and lets out a deep breath. "Fine." She grabs her sweatpants off from the end of her bed, pulls them on and throws a sweatshirt on over her sports bra. "That girl better be hovering between life and death, I swear to God, Finn."

He nods and she starts to walk out of the room, turns around and looks at him. He's still on the bed, holding onto her pillow.

"Aren't you coming with me?"

"It's – bloody," he says, and Santana looks at him, alarmed.

"You're not joking?" she asks, and doesn't wait for an answer before rushing out the room and down the hallway.

Finn follows after her, slowly, and when he gets back to the front hallway, Santana's sitting on the floor with Rachel. There's a washcloth that Rachel's holding to her face, a frozen bag of peas underneath it.

Santana glares at him.

Finn says he's sorry.

The blood's dry on her face now, no longer dripping, and Finn bends down so that he can be at eye-level with her. She looks just - so horribly fucking sad, and it's breaking his heart. He tells her that he's sure the doctor will be able to give her some pain medicine and that he'll be able to get her nose set back to normal.

He says, again, that he's so sorry and that he'll make sure to never – you know, hit her in the face with a door again.

She doesn't say anything for a moment, just holds the bag of peas to her face, stares down at his feet.

"We won't be able to get your new sneakers today," she says, defeated.

That would be the thing that Rachel Berry's worried about right now. His shoes.

Finn squeezes her hand with his. "I'll just buy some online, okay? Once we get you to the doctor's and you're all good to go, I'll buy them. I'll even let you pick – whatever ones you want."

He's afraid he's going to end up with hot pink sneakers, but he thinks that he almost deserves that.

(That area underneath her eyes is already starting to bruise, and Finn's never felt like a bigger ass, ever, in his entire life.)

She smiles, as best she can anyway, and says that sounds like a plan. "And you need to buy me a new pair of mittens."

"Yeah – definitely," he says, and he says, just in case it wasn't totally obvious or written all over his face, "I love you. I love you so much, Rachel. And I'm so, so sorry for um – breaking your face."

Rachel just lets out this blubbery sort of sigh and Finn wipes the tears from her face as gently as he can.


The thing that people don't really get about Rachel sometimes is that she's never – she's never not Rachel.

That doesn't make sense.

It's hard to explain and Finn's never the best with words, but it's like – okay. Some people, they have this persona, you know? They act one way in public, around people, and then they act a totally different way at home. Like maybe they're all shy in one scenario, but totally outgoing in another.

But Rachel's not like that. Honestly, in all the time that Finn's known her, she's really never been like that. She's just herself, one hundred percent, all the time. There was this one time their sophomore year, where she acted all tongue-tied around this big shot Broadway director for two minutes or so.

But then it's like a flip switched and she got a hold of herself. She proceeded to spend the next half hour monopolizing the guy's time, telling him how he absolutely needed to consider casting Rachel in his next musical, and that he would never, ever, find another actress of her caliber and range again in his lifetime.

(That's like, a straight, verbatim quote. Seriously.)

The people in their classes always give Finn this look whenever Rachel starts to go off on one of her rants during the middle of rehearsal. Like, good luck, buddy, hope she's easier on you than she is on us.

And Finn always gives them this agreeing smile and stuff, because it's easier to do that than disagree, but – he's totally lying. He absolutely is, because Rachel's just as high strung when they're hanging out alone as she is when they're working together in class.

She's so ambitious and so – so motivated, and Finn's pretty sure that feelings like that can't just turn off like a light switch, whenever she's in the mood. He wouldn't really want that to happen, either. Because then Rachel wouldn't be Rachel.

He sounds stupid when he's trying to explain it. He sounds stupid when he talks about her.

He knows all that, but it doesn't stop him from trying to do so anyway.

Santana tells him that she's getting that nauseous feeling again, and melodramatically walks back up to the bar.

Finn tosses a napkin at her back and she turns around, gives him a playful glare that would scare anyone else out of their mind.

He smiles at her, waves, and says to grab him another beer.

"Don't you have a girlfriend to do your errands now?" Santana asks, holding her hands up innocently, before turning back around and making her way to the bar.

He gets a little drunk that night, but not too drunk, and calls Rachel around midnight to see if she's still awake. She is, and says that she can buzz him up if he comes over to her apartment right now, but she's extremely sleepy and if he waits too long, she's not going to be awake.

"I'm serious this time, Finn," she says, and he holds the phone in between his ear and his shoulder, shrugs his way into his coat as quickly as possible.

"I know."

"I'm going to be asleep in a half hour. Dead asleep. And if you try to call me after a half hour, to say that you're outside my apartment and want to be let in, I'll be extremely annoyed."

His girl's very serious about her nighttime routine.

"Got it. Asleep, annoyed, dead to the world in half an hour." He grabs his glass, finishes off the rest of his beer. "I'll be there in twenty."

He takes the phone away from his ear for a moment, looks at Santana. "You okay?"

She nods, lifts up her own glass. "Puck should be bored with the girl he's talking to in about, oh, five seconds. He'll come over to keep me company."

Finn nods, gives her a hug that she begrudgingly accepts, and pulls his hood over his head as he steps outside. It's snowing tonight – freezing, actually – and he asks Rachel if she can turn the heat up in her apartment.

She's silent for a minute and Finn tells her he's not trying to be dirty, he's being serious.

"It's cold. I can't feel my feet," he says and then, quickly, "I'm not wearing my new sneakers," because she thinks that there's something horrific about wearing brand new shoes during a snow storm. She's complained to him enough about this for him to just let her win the battle for now.

(He has to wear the shoes at some point. They can't stay brand new forever.)

He makes it to Rachel's apartment in record time, shakes his arms out maybe a little too wildly once he makes it inside. She takes a step away from him as he brushes the snow off from his shoulders, shakes his hood off from his head.

"You're getting my hallway all muddy," she says, and Finn tells her he'll Swiffer in the morning. She looks happy after that, and her grin grows impossibly wide when Finn also lines his shoes up neatly on the welcome mat.

Little things. It's the little things that keep her happy.

He holds his arms out once his coat has been placed on the coat tree, and Rachel backs away, giggling.

"No – definitely not. You're probably freezing and I'm all warm and toasty."

She's in a onesie pajama that has big bunnies all over it, and has probably been watching musicals underneath about five blankets all night.

Definitely toasty and warm, and Finn moves quickly, takes a couple steps towards her and wraps her up in his arms before she can protest anymore. Careful of her face, though, because it turns out that bruises from a broken nose take a while to dissipate and he honestly – he really can't imagine what would happen to him if he even accidentally brushed against her nose right now.

She lets out a squeal, wraps her legs around his waist and throws her arms around his neck.

"You are freezing," she says, pulling away so that she can look him in the face. "You should've taken a cab. You could've gotten frostbite, Finn!"

She's trying to sound admonishing, but it's difficult to take her seriously given her current state of dress.

Finn pats her bottom, and she says, rather indignantly,

"Don't coddle me, Finn Hudson. You know I'm right about this!"

He nods and says, "I know, baby," and brushes a kiss against her cheek.

His lips are cold and she shivers dramatically as he walks them to her room. Normally he'd toss her on the bed (he's done it a couple times over the past month or so, and she always says that it annoys her, but it can't annoy her that badly if she laughs every time) but he really is paranoid about knocking her nose.

So he just sort of puts her down on the bed kind of awkwardly, before climbing up on there with her.

His socks are all wet and stuff and he knows that she's going to complain about him getting the sheets dirty in about two and a half seconds, so he makes quick work of his clothes and then slides under the blankets.

Rachel stares at him. In awe or in disbelief, Finn's not so sure.

"Such a boy," Rachel says, as she reaches to grab his jeans and shirt. She hops off the bed, carefully hangs the clothing on hangers in her closet, making sure to push all her clothes away from them. "If you just left these crumpled on my bed, they'd never dry out, you know."

He's twenty one years old and yeah, maybe not the brightest guy in the world, but he does understand that much.

Smiling at her, he says, "Thanks," and pulls over and pulls the duvet up around his ears. "Turned the heat up?"

Rachel nods as she gets back into bed, shivers when she presses her feet against his legs.

"Only a little, though, otherwise Blaine would kill me. Heat's too expensive."

"Frostbite would probably end up being more expensive."

She kisses the tip of his nose. "Remind me to tell him that argument in the morning."

And then she shivers again, pushes herself closer to Finn and slips her hands underneath the elastic of his boxers. She's silent for a moment, but then she's sort of grabbing at him and while's he's definitely not going to say no to what she's suggesting, he wants to make sure that they're on the same page. So he looks at her and grins, says,

"Yeah?" because she's got this thing sometimes where she doesn't like having sex too late at night – something about throwing off her circadian rhythm, whatever the hell that means – and so usually they just end up doing it in the morning before work or school.

But she's nodding and looks all happy, whispers back, "Yeah," before kissing him again on his nose.

He starts pulling at the buttons on her pajamas, nudges at her to get her to sit up so he can pull it off from her shoulders. And when she's finally free of that damn onesie pajama, and she's sliding so that she's lying on top of him, she tells him that she loves him.

Quietly. Simply. No bloody noses, no Cheetos, no drunken phone calls involved.

She just says it like it's something that she's been thinking about for a very long time. And Finn tells her that he loves her, too.


You have always worn your flaws upon your sleeve,

and I have always buried them deep beneath the ground

Dig them up; let's finish what we've started

Dig them up, so nothing's left untouched