A/N: To everyone who has read and commented, in some form or fashion, I thank-you. And now, I would like to introduce you to a little something I call the Break Free epilogue...either that or the Beast of Burden prologue. Whichever you desire... let me know what you think!
Disclaimer: I would like to own something Glee related for either Christmas or my birthday. Okay? K. Thanks!
They had made it through the next two years of high school with ease. They had settled into a routine – they were always Rachel and Noah, or Noah and Rachel, never just Noah and never just Rachel. They arranged their classes together, ate together, sang together, drove together, and practically lived together. After having caught Noah attempting to sneak into the house a dozen different times, Rachel's fathers had conceded that he could sleep there as long as they kept the door open.
She had come to know his mother and his sister well, and helped Noah baby-sit on days when his sister wasn't at a friend's house. He rejoined football and took over as the quarterback. Kurt returned as the star kicker. The glee club grew every year as they claimed more and more titles and popularity. Sue Sylvester fought them harder than ever.
The years had passed and the final exams had been taken. Tonight was graduation and Noah was watching Rachel finish getting ready in her bathroom.
"It's so exciting, isn't it?" she turned to ask him as she secured an earring in place. "Getting to sing the closing song at the ceremony? Just the two of us?"
He smiled back at her – he had convinced Mr. Schue (who had convinced Principal Figgins) to let the two of them close out the graduation ceremony with a duet of "Don't Stop (Believing)." When they concluded the song, the fireworks would be set off behind them.
"It is indeed," he smiled at her, and she crossed the room to give him a peck on the lips. As she turned to go back to the bathroom, he swatted her on the ass. She jumped a little and turned to warn him, "Be good."
She finished getting ready and they proceeded to join the panoply of parents, siblings, extended relatives, and friends at the pre-graduation party that Rachel's dads had thrown for the graduating glee-clubbers.
They chatted and took pictures and ate and drank (well, Noah ate and drank, Rachel only had water, saying she needed to keep her vocal chords clear) and mingled with their friends and their families. Finally, it was time to load into the cars and head over to the football stadium.
Their drive to the school was filled with chatter – they had chosen to drive over with Kurt, Brittany, and Mike. The group was bouncing off the walls of the car and they were laughing and singing as they pulled into the parking lot.
They were herded into the auditorium and separated by letter of the alphabet. Rachel and Noah were soon parted, but both seemed listless without the other by their side.
She felt the ceremony was dragging. Sure, the club's rendition of Green Day's "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" had been amazing to perform, but she was antsy to walk across the stage. As soon as her name was called she heard loud catcalls from beneath the stage, and she knew where Noah was waiting for her.
After she crossed down the stage and took the obligatory graduation pictures, she ducked under the stairs and ran to him. He swept her up into a long kiss, molding her body to his. She sighed and ran her fingers through his hair – it had grown so much in a few years.
She heard the principal call out the last few names, and knew they needed to get to their places. "Go!" she shout-whispered to him, and he ran towards the other side of the stage.
They performed the song as they had done it for the past few years. Sure, it had been Rachel and Finn's song first, but it hadn't had anything to do with Finn in a long time. As they twirled and sang on the stage, she felt, rather than saw, Noah's nervousness.
As she belted the final lyrics to the song and fell into his lap on the stage, she heard the crowd cheer for them, and was moved by their applause. She stood up, but Noah stayed in the kneeling position he had assumed to catch her. Grinning, he pulled a microphone from the position in front of them and held it to his mouth.
"Rachel Berry," Noah began, and she felt the knots begin to form in her stomach. Oh, God, Ohmygod, she thought as she struggled to keep from hyperventilating. "Will you marry me?"