This wasn't originally supposed to be the ending. I had planned a second story arc, one that would have (I realized recently) been far less interesting than this first one. Seeing as how that is my least favorite experience when reading fanfiction, I decided to bring it to a close while it's still fresh. I never even expected it to be this long, truthfully. The idea came to me as a five part story, but the encouragement of you lovely reviewers gave me more inspiration than five chapters could adequately hold. Thank you so much for reading, and I appreciate you sticking with this story until the end.

Chapter 14 - Rachel Berry Is Better Than That, Lifetime

The thing about Puck was that he could keep his cool in a heat wave. That was sort of his thing. Well, one of them. There were also cougars and football and beating up mouth breathers, but mostly he was proud of the fact that he didn't freak out about anything. But ever since he started dating Rachel, that was getting harder and harder to maintain. Because dating Rachel meant pleasing Rachel, and pleasing Rachel meant doing really weird things and doing them so well that she wouldn't hate him for random reasons later. But even that was okay, because he could tell himself and anyone who asked that he was just doing it to get some tail. Even though he knew that he actually sort of liked her, and maybe the pressure was worth it.

But this was different.

This was flat out freaking out. Not because he wanted to get laid, not because he thought it might make Rachel happy if he looked like he cared about shit, but because Rachel could legitimately be in a whole shitload of trouble. No, scratch that, she was almost definitely in a whole shitload of trouble, and he couldn't fucking find her anywhere.

He started knocking on peoples' doors, but that always went bad because he'd be saying things like, "how do you not notice a girl screaming for help outside? What the fuck is wrong with you?" and that always got out of hand and he really didn't need anyone else to call the police on him since he was pretty sure they had better things to do.

Plus, he called the police, but they knew his voice and kept telling him that he was full of shit, which sucked, because he finally had to understand that whole Boy Who Cried Wolf story, only in this case it was Jackass Who Cried Emergency.

They promised to send someone down to him when they could spare the manpower, but they were already stretched pretty thin, which wasn't comforting at all, because he started wondering if like, they found her body or some shit and were doing all that crime scene stuff and that was why they were all understaffed and shit. And that was making him really nervous, because he always sort of had an overactive imagination but especially since dating Rachel since she was way into hypothetical situations about absolutely everything imaginable.

And he knew that it was probably the wrong thing to do, but he called Quinn anyway. Because while Rachel was all buzzing energy and constant action, Quinn was calm and just bitchy enough to make him angry so he'd want to be calm to prove to her that he could be. She would tell him exactly what to do. She would tell him he was stupid for overlooking some crucial detail or whatever. He needed that. Because Quinn was possibly even more of a brick wall made of stone cold ice than he was (but he'd never admit that. Ever. Not to anyone).

"What?" she snapped (finally, after like a million and a half rings), her voice loud like she was putting her mouth right up against the speaker or something. If he wasn't so fucking terrified (and he was too damn scared to even try and toughen up his internal monologue. That was how bad it was) he would have made some comment about it. Something about nagging or…whatever.

"Quinn, it's me. Something fucked up happened with Rachel.

"You sound serious. Is this actually serious, or is she rubbing off on you with her craziness? Please tell me she's just rubbing off on you."

"No! This is actually serious! She was walking home, and we were on the phone, and then something happened and I heard her screaming, so I started driving down her route and I saw her bag on the ground, but there's no one around. There's blood and shit, too, but…I don't know where she is. I don't know what she wants me to do. I've called the police, but they're not taking me seriously. Should I call them again, or just keep looking for her? Or start calling the other glee kids? What the fuck am I supposed to do about this?"

"Of course you call the police! Puckerman, you hang up the phone with me this instant and call the police. Tell them everything. When you finish talking to them, you call me right back. I mean it."

Puck wasn't exactly the kind of person who liked being ordered around. Authority was like, the last thing he needed in his life. He was the kind of person who sort of went around defying authority for really shitty reasons. That was probably why parents and teachers and old people all hated him. He was supposed to think that they were right all the time, but he didn't. He thought that people got stupid as they got older, and they got stupid as they got more power over more people. But hearing Quinn tell him what to do in that Sue Sylvester tone of hers really snapped things into focus. And he hung up the phone having a much better idea of what to do.

Except, it didn't actually make him feel any less like throwing up or beating the shit out of any guy with a decent resemblance to Karofsky or Linder. And it didn't make him feel that much less lost, like he was in a town full of crazy people and trying to get them all to stop doing crazy shit. And it didn't make him any less worried for Rachel, because even though Rachel was the craziest of them all and he would trust her to take care of herself any other day, he still couldn't shake the feeling that maybe this was the one time she actually needed him. And maybe he let her down just like he let down everybody else.

So maybe his fingers were shaking so bad that it took him three tries to dial nine-one-one. So what?

Rachel was crying as they sat in the waiting room. Big, gulping sobs as she clutched her brave savior's shirt and wept about her ordeal to anyone who would listen. Due to the irrepressible volume of her voice, her audience spanned the entire waiting room and the nurse's station. But honestly, Rachel did not need to cry. She was really too tired to put any effort into it at all. She was only crying because she didn't want to answer any more questions.

The nurse had been so nice when she wandered over in her rather adorable scrubs (Rachel was never a fan of Garfield, but she appreciated the whimsy behind putting a cartoon character on clothing worn by people who dealt mostly in blood and vomit). Rachel really tried her best to answer all the questions that she could. But the nurse had also been wildly impatient, and resisted Rachel's attempts to tell the whole story. To really rehash the week's events so that the nurse (and Rachel's savior) could really understand the trauma that she had undergone. She did not want the impression to get out that this was an isolated incident. She wanted them to know that this was something that needed to stop because it had been going on for far too long.

She also maybe wanted them to know that her attack wasn't just a consequence of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. She wanted to let them know that there was every possibility that her nightmare wasn't over.

But the nurse was not interested in any of that. She wanted to know things that Rachel didn't know the answer to, like her mother's medical history, or her father's medical history, or whether she was allergic to a long list of random and difficult to pronounce medications. So Rachel had strategically burst into tears. When her tears spurred the nurse to see if they could find Rachel a room a little quicker, Rachel had cried harder. And had cried for fifteen more minutes, just to make sure that the nurse wouldn't be coming back.

Taking another surreptitious peak at the nurse's station, Rachel didn't see her anywhere nearby. Either it was taking quite a while to get that room, or the nurse was staying away out of annoyance Which was just as well, really. Rachel didn't want a room anyway. She wanted to go to sleep in her own bed, possibly with a baseball bat clutched in her arms, just in case. And if the police force could be bothered to spare a few men to sit parked outside her house in case of emergency, then that certainly would not hinder her sleeping patterns.

She made sure to remember to slowly curb her crying, so as not to draw a lot of suspicion to herself. She gradually sat up straighter in her chair, turned her sobs to sniffles to hiccups, and finally dabbed at the corners of her eyes with a tissue.

Turning to face her savior (she still didn't know the woman's name, and wasn't entirely sure how to ask for it at this juncture without seeming incredibly rude), she put on her best watery and reluctant smile, tilting her head to one side.

"Thank you so much for sitting here with me," she said quietly. "My fathers should be here soon. Well, they should be here now. I can't imagine what's keeping them. But it's good to have someone with me. I would hate to be alone right now."

"It's my pleasure, sweetheart. You shouldn't have to go through this. Especially not alone. Is there anyone else you want to call? I can let you use my phone."

"Oh, I couldn't possibly…"

"I insist."

But then the nurse reappeared and took Rachel's wet (and now bloody) towel away from her head, cheerfully announcing that they found a room for her. Rachel quickly wrote down Noah's home number and instructed her savior to call and tell Noah's mother what happened. She wasn't sure how much he heard on the phone, but she was sure that he would be worried (she hoped that he was worried, anyway, as horrible as that sounded. Because he most certainly had something to be worried about for a little while there).

The nurse finally pulled her away with a good deal more force than was really necessary, helping Rachel down the hall and into a tiny room with two beds. The other bed contained a thankfully sleeping elder woman and no visitors.

She knew it was possibly selfish, but she really wanted to be alone. Except for her fathers and maybe Noah and perhaps a friend or two from Glee club because she most certainly wanted to tell her story to people who would have nothing but sympathy for her and wouldn't try to interrupt with questions about her medical history.

When the police (finally) showed up to talk to Puck, they groaned and rolled their eyes like 'oh great, this kid again' or whatever. Which was totally stupid, because Puck hadn't actually done anything too fucked up since he joined Glee club, and he definitely hadn't seen them since then. And, okay, so he sort of brought the whole bad-rap-with-the-po-po thing on himself, with being a bad kid and all, but he was trying to make that go away, and he had a legitimate emergency going on. So it wasn't like he was 'abusing police reforces' or whatever that asshole cop said when he got out of the car. And, anyway, after a few minutes (and after telling his story sixty-two times or something) they finally started listening and called in for info.

"So this girl. What's her name?" asked Officer Dickcheese (his real name was Officer Hunter, but Puck had hated him even before he'd started doubting the existence of Puck's in-distress damsel, so Dickcheese was gonna have to do).

"Rachel Berry. She lives, I don't know, somewhere near here. I've been driving around this neighborhood for-fucking-ever and it's like a fucking maze."

Dickcheese held up a finger and disappeared over to the car again, leaving Puck with his partner. And Puck was really too tired to even assign a stupid nickname to him, so Puck stuck him with Officer Douchebag. Because he totally was. And it completely didn't matter that Officer Douchebag actually hadn't spoken a word yet. He was just douching the place up.

And so maybe Puck was a little on edge, but that didn't make the cops any less stupid.

"Hey, Puckerman," said Dickcheese after listening to his super frustratingly quiet radio for a little bit. "It's your lucky day. Rachel Berry? She's fine."

Puck totally did not let out a sigh of relief, and it definitely wasn't embarrassing to do it in front of those cops. Not even a little.

When Rachel's fathers arrived at the hospital, she was surprised by the force of her completely unplanned tears. She'd thought that her emotions were all under control, but just seeing their faces pushed her over the edge. And they were no less emotional than she, which made it all the more easy to break down in front of them. They were all but encouraging it with their red eyes and their horrified grasping at her and hugging her.

She had always known that her fathers loved her more than anything else in the world. She was their angel. She was their pride and joy and nothing she ever did could make them stop loving her. But in that exact moment, despite having been attacked and put through an ordeal that she firmly believed no girl should ever have to suffer through at the hands of a juvenile delinquent who was hardly worth the oxygen it took to speak his name, in that exact moment she realized that she had never felt more loved and more secure in her love in her life.

Because no matter what happened to her, whether it be murder by the side of the road or international stardom by the age of twenty-one, she would have them. She would have their love, and that was all that ever needed to matter. Everything else was just a bonus (admittedly, she knew that this solitude would not last, and her unquenchable thirst for recognition would resume once she left the sanctuary of the hospital room, but it was lovely while it lasted).

"I just love you so much," she explained through her tears, trying to let them know that she wasn't crying because she was afraid, but because she wasn't. Because she realized that she didn't need to be afraid. Everything was okay as long as her fathers were there.

She knew that some her age would say that she needed to grow out of the impulse to run to her fathers with every little problem that she encountered, but Rachel personally hoped that she would never grow up that much. Ever.

"We love you too, baby," Dad said, smoothing her hair back from her face. "Have you talked to the police yet?"

"Yes, of course. They were informed of my imminent arrival and were waiting for me here to take my statement. But I don't know how much good it's going to do. I've watched so many Lifetime movies, and I know that court cases rarely go well for the women embroiled in he-said-she-said debates! I can't deal with that kind of shame and humiliation! I refuse to let the court tell me that I should not have been afraid, because I should have been afraid…"

"Sweetie, you're not making much sense anymore," Daddy pointed out gently, because he was always the one who tried to calm her down if she was starting to build up too much momentum. Rachel tried to open her mouth and argue that she did make sense, but she was really very exhausted. Her fear had filled her with adrenaline, and the relief that she felt upon seeing her fathers had drained it from her body and left it empty. She was a hollow, soulless shell. But in a completely positive way. She felt like she was filled with helium. Like she could float away. But she was still worried about leaving the atmosphere of the earth and running out of gas to keep her floating and landing in a tree or popping in a jet engine (it wasn't a perfect analogy, but Rachel thought it was pretty close). She wanted to just close her eyes and let everything go, but she couldn't. Because that would mean losing the tenuous grasp she had on the situation. That would mean giving up control.

She hated giving up control. Especially at that precise moment, for obvious reasons.

She wanted to not worry, but she couldn't not worry. If she didn't worry, then there would be no one worrying. Of course, her fathers would worry, and the policemen and her lawyer would probably be worrying about it, but their level of worrying and analysis of the particular situation wasn't exactly up to par with hers. The detectives and their graduate degrees in criminology were nothing, she felt, compared to her singular sense of…wrongness (a better word escaped her at the moment. Her head felt as if it were trying to float away from her body.)

She was so tired, and all she wanted to do was sleep, but her mind fought her body in every possible way. She would not go gently into that good night's sleep without a solid crack at winning, at least until she was sure that she would at least be granted a restraining order if not a metal spike with Linder's head on it.

Or until her body won. That was, of course, the other option. But only a fool would bet against Rachel Berry when she set her mind to something.

"What does our lawyer say? You should go talk to the police. Ask them about statistics. Ask them about strategies for handling this in court, all right? You need to ask them, Daddy. Or else I'm going to be just another Lifetime movie with an utterly disappointing ending, and I would rather die than let myself be fodder for a cheaply produced Friday night premiere starring some flavor of the week television actress! I would rather die."

She tried to impress upon him the utmost seriousness of this request, and to his credit he did leave the room to find the officers, but not before he chuckled and patted her on the head. She would have been annoyed had the gesture not filled her with great dancing butterflies of warmth and sunshine.

Puck walked into the hospital (which actually meant that he ran), and the nurses all looked at him like he was the person version of that feeling you get when you have a word in the back of your brain and it just does not want to move up front. Puck figured they were all looking at him like that because they weren't used to seeing him with a shirt on and without blood everywhere. He and the hospital were pretty good friends, because Puck got into fights like normal teenagers got into arguments with their parents. Some of the nurses even knew him by name, which was cool, but they were always the ones working during the day, so he didn't see anyone he recognized.

He was about to head over to the desk and ask where Rachel was, but then he spotted her Dad following after and talking to one of the doctors.

"Hey! Mr. Berry!" he shouted, getting about a thousand dirty looks in response. Whatever. Mr. Berry heard him, anyway, and turned around and waved him over, so Puck sort of inwardly was all 'fuck you guys' about it.

"Hi, Noah," Dad said with a tired smile. "She's right in there."

He pointed to a room like three feet down the hall, and Puck sort of smiled a little before booking it, because he didn't want Rachel to give him shit later for being rude or something. Because she totally would. She would also totally pretend not to care that he was so worried about her, or she would say something like 'oh, Noah, I was fine!', but he knew she'd secretly be happy about it.

And the fact that he knew her that much already was beginning to scare the shit out of him a little. But he'd deal with that later, because first he had to deal with what was right in front of him: Rachel was hurt. And Linder was fucking dead.

"Rachel?" he said quietly as he stuck his head around the corner and saw that her eyes were closed. At the sound of his voice, they popped open and looked all normal and crazy, and she sat up and smiled at him. He was so fucking relieved, because he didn't know if he could deal with a Rachel who was all crying and shit. He needed the Rachel who was all intense about everything and ready to throw down with Linder the second she was out of her hospital bed.

But then he stepped into the room, and sort of looked closer without even realizing it, and then he saw that she was faking everything. He wasn't exactly surprised. But he was a little bummed, because dealing with shit wasn't exactly his strong suit. Not when it came to emotions, anyway. He knew that if he said the wrong thing, it could turn into a disaster. That was his experience with Quinn and Santana, anyway. And he didn't know if he was in his mind enough to be logical and rational and whatever. Because mostly he just wanted to beat Linder to death with his bare hands or whatever, and he was pretty sure that Rachel wouldn't be okay with that. Not when she was recovering, anyway. She deserved someone who would be able to handle it without freaking out. She didn't deserve him and his goddamn emotional block.

But if she realized that she was too good for him, she didn't exactly act like it. Well, no more than usual, anyway.

"Noah! I'm so sorry I never called! I meant to, but then the nurse came and got me, and I've been rather distracted…I told the woman who brought me here to call your home phone, but I'm uncertain that she actually did…"

"It's okay. I was, uh, I called the police and stuff, and they told me where you were once they talked to the other police or…something. I don't know. It took them long enough. Jesus."

"Oh, Noah, that's very admirable of you! Especially given how much you dislike the Lima police force. I'm utterly flattered."

"Well I wasn't just gonna not call them. I had to call them like five times, though. They didn't believe it was a real emergency at first. Whatever. Fuck them, anyway. I, uh, I saw your dad in the hallway and he pointed me in. He looked all…serious. Is everything okay?"

"Noah, I was just attacked. Of course everything is not okay."

"Well, yeah, yeah. Obviously. I meant, like, you know, are you gonna be okay?"

"Oh! Yes, of course! I hit my head quite hard, but I've miraculously escaped without a concussion."

"Shit," Puck said, brushing his fingers over the bloodied bandage on her forehead. "It already bled through. Do you want me to get a nurse or something?"

"No, I'm fine. But thank you."

Rachel smiled at him, and Puck sort of forced a smile back, even though he felt like he was going to explode with all the anger inside him. What gave Linder the right to hurt Rachel like that? Puck knew he wasn't exactly the saint of niceness or whatever, but looking at Rachel in that hospital bed, he was completely unable to see how anyone would be able to hurt her like that. And it wasn't just because she was a chick, and it wasn't just because he liked her and thought that maybe he even loved her a little (not like, in a stupid way. Just in a way). It was because she was a person, and she was nice, and she hadn't done anything wrong to anyone.

"I'm going to kill him," he said matter-of-factly. And he wanted to. For that moment, he wanted to kill Linder. Like, he wouldn't even feel bad about it. But Rachel leaned forward and grabbed his hands and held them like what she was going to say was really important. And, sure, that was kind of how she always talked, like everything was super important even though most of the time it really wasn't, but he was sort of feeling all intense too, so he was a little bit into it.

"Noah, for now let's focus on being grateful that I was not more seriously injured. I was able to overpower him for just long enough to get away, and I intend on focusing on that for the foreseeable future. I have already given my statement to the police, and I believe they'll want to speak with you as well, given that you've been witness to some of Linder's prior attempts to unsettle me. The detective I spoke with says that he's not entirely sure we will get a conviction, but he has recommended applying for a restraining order, which will at least allow us to perhaps achieve some sense of…"

Puck wasn't really sure what the hell she said after that, because he basically only heard that part about maybe not getting a conviction. And that was not fucking okay. That was the least okay thing in the entire world.

"Wait, hold up, what do you mean they might not be able to get a conviction?"

"Well, of course they are examining the area in which the attack took place, but the detective said that it's possible there will be no hard enough evidence to prove that Linder actually assaulted me, or attempted to rape me."

"He attempted to what you?"

"I know. It was horrid."

And then she just sort of crumbled. Like she was tired of trying to keep acting like she was okay when she was definitely not okay. It was actually really…sad. And not like how he usually thought people were 'sad', like pathetic. This was sad like how Where the Red Fern Grows was sad. It made him almost feel like crying a little, only he felt more like punching people instead because his dad always said that crying was useless, and even though his dad was a huge prick, he was at least right about that.

But Rachel was crying, and even though it would be way less embarrassing to tell her to man up and get dressed so they could go grab some knives and cut that little bastard to pieces, he didn't want to. He wanted to just hug her while she cried, and he wasn't even going to do it to be a perv like he usually would. He just wanted her to feel less awful. And if he couldn't stab Linder right in the fucking face, then this was probably the next best thing. He felt (and it was totally fucking weird, so he would never admit it to anyone. Ever) like if he could just hug her tight enough with his arms, everything that was wrong with her would just stop existing. Like she would feel so comforted by his presence that she would stop being upset. It was stupid. It was so stupid. But there it was.

So he moved his chair closer and let her ooze all over him with tears and snot and whatever. And he was okay with it (well he tried to be okay with it, but he didn't think it was physically possible to be okay with snot), and he didn't mind when like ten minutes passed and she was still crying. And he didn't mind when her dads walked in and started trying to bear hug them (okay, he minded a little. He had very specific personal space rules, and they definitely excluded group hugs from his list of 'things that are okay'). Mostly he was just too glad that Rachel was okay to actually care about most of the things that he would usually care about. Thinking that she was in serious trouble was like finding out that Quinn was pregnant, only scarier. It was like this full-force impact. Like something hit him and it was just a face full of shit. Crazy as hell. And now it was over. Now she was okay. And he was going to do everything in his power to make sure that she stayed that way.

He was pretty vaguely aware that he'd had that idea before. But this time, he meant it.

Rachel did not for one moment doubt that Puck was entirely sincere when he said that he wanted to be with her as much as possible in the days following her assault. But when she was released from the hospital the following afternoon and found him sitting in the dining room with her Daddy when she and her Dad walked through the door, she was a bit overcome with emotions. She hadn't doubted it, of course, but it was quite a different experience altogether to actually have it occur. Hypotheticals were her specialty. She was good at imagining various situations that could potentially arise. Actually living those experiences was something that seldom happened to her.

So she kissed Noah on the lips and thanked him sincerely.

"You didn't have to," she said, hoping to convey with her tone that she was happy that he chose to, despite the fact that it was technically unnecessary. Noah just smiled and shrugged and looked incredibly embarrassed, which was adorable in a way that she didn't know was possible. She was almost breathless, because she had never felt so much concern leveled in her direction before (and she was very aware that one of her most talked about flaws was her constant need for attention, so the sheer force of the positive attention she was receiving was obviously quite powerful). Between the three men in the room, she was overflowing with glowing feelings of contentment.

"It's not like I have anything better to do," Noah said sullenly, but he smiled. Rachel kissed him again, because she was pretty sure that the moment warranted it. And this time it was not a result of her limitless knowledge of television and movie tropes, but because she wanted to.

"My fathers said that you could sleep on the couch as long as you want, although I feel obligated to give you the disclaimer and reiterate that it is not strictly necessary.

"Babe, I'm looking forward to the moment where I get to bash Linder's head in with a baseball bat. I wouldn't leave for all the free ice cream and weed in the world."

"Touching sentiment," Rachel said, but she was smiling, because she really did feel it was quite touching. Despite the part about illegal substances. Truth was, she hadn't experienced many moments in her short life when she felt that someone cared so deeply about her and was so concerned for her that they were willing to go above and beyond the typically required set of actions for such a circumstance. Her fathers, of course, and her grandparents. They were expected to react with concern and consternation when she was hurt. They were expected to spend sleepless nights worrying about her. That was what movies and television shows and Broadway plays told her, anyway, and there had been no reason to doubt them so far.

But Noah? Above everything else, Noah was supposed to be unattached. He was supposed to be uncomplicated. In the grand plan for the future biopic of her life, Noah would be the love interest of the first segment who is invariably replaced due to some horrible misdeed or change in personality. That had been the arrangement from the beginning. But things had changed all too suddenly. It wasn't just the attack, either. Her feelings for Noah had been evolving since their original union, and now she realized that she would be genuinely distressed were he to ever disappear fully from her life.

And no matter what happened to them in the future, there was no way that she would ever be able to forget the worry that had been on his face when he saw her lying in that hospital bed. She would never be able to forget the relief. The sigh, the smile, the way he ran his fingers through his hair and did a double take like he wasn't quite sure she was actually there.

Noah had become a part of her story, more quickly than she ever could have expected. When she told the tale of her assault, when she recounted the details of how afraid she felt and how she wasn't sure she would survive, she would always have to tell the story of after. Of the brave boy who shed off every skin he had learned to develop in order to feel desperation and concern and fear and all the things he had conditioned himself not to feel anymore.

Rachel knew that there was every possibility that she and Noah would not last. She knew that there was every possibility that they would end before they ever really began. It was high school, and things like that tended to happen. But still, as she looked at him that night, she knew that she would never quite hate him. She never could. No matter what.

She stood on her toes and kissed the corner of his mouth gently, her legs trembling. She was exhausted, she was running on residual adrenaline, but she wanted him to know that she appreciated him.

"Thank you, Noah," she whispered into his ear. "For everything. I'm not entirely sure what I've done to deserve you, but I'm glad that you've stayed. You didn't have to. This wasn't part of our agreement."

"I think the agreement changed," Noah said. And he didn't sound concerned or at all afraid that she might not reciprocate, but Rachel liked to think that he was. And, of course, she was planning on including that tidbit in her future recollections as well. Not that the verbal picture she would have to paint of Noah's heroism would have to be edited all too much. It was nearly perfect as it was.

"I think it has," she whispered. And then they just stared at one another, because although they were both aware that things were different, neither was really sure how to start laying the new ground rules. And there was still the matter of the paternity of Quinn's baby, and Rachel's remaining affections for Finn. These were things that did not have easy solutions.

But that was all right, because they could take as long as they needed to figure it out. In that one moment, it felt like they had all the time in the world.

Of course, there was also the impending case against Linder and Karofsky. And Rachel's imminent confrontation of the other glee kids who had so heartlessly abandoned her in one of her hours of need. And naturally Rachel was already planning on committing the story to paper (the ultimate goal being to have her published short story or novel made into a film). But she had not counted on one very interesting detail. Because Rachel had expected entirely to have some effect on Noah's habits (she was relentless), but she had not expected any of his to cross over into her life.

But one habit most inescapably had. And so, standing in her living room, she decided that she could always put off worrying until tomorrow.