Disclaimer: I do not own anything from Glee or 'N SYNC.


"Excellent work, Rachel and Kurt," Mr. Schuester complimented as he came back to the front of the room. His movement cued Rachel to return to her seat, breaking the eye contact that she had with Jesse.

She didn't know what to feel at this point. Her song had to have an impact on him. But why wouldn't he at least give her a sign as to what he was thinking? She needed an answer, whether her plan was a success or a failure. What were Jesse's eyes telling her that she couldn't get?

She noticed that Kurt was giving her a sympathetic glance, and she returned a small smile. He knew what she was feeling right now and seemed to care. Even if it was only so that she wouldn't go back to dating Finn, or so she wouldn't be emotionally unstable for Regionals, she didn't really care. He knew her situation and tried to help her, so she was thankful for whatever his motivations. Maybe he even did it for her, just because. Maybe they were even real friends now, despite his insults on her clothing.

Her gaze switched to the back of Jesse's head. It was a really good thing he sat in front of her. Otherwise, she'd be too obvious turning around to look at him during the whole rehearsal. But, if was sitting in front of him, would he be staring at the back of her head? She could only hope….

"Okay, now moving on to – " Mr. Schuester said, attempting to actually begin the rehearsal practice. At least, he attempted, until he saw another hand raised in the air.

"Jesse?" Mr. Schuester said, surprised. Jesse didn't ever have much to say during Glee rehearsals, he preferred to simply sing everything perfectly to showcase his skills. Whether Jesse acted this way in Vocal Adrenaline practices, Will had no idea. Maybe Jesse realized that his comments wouldn't be accepted very well under the circumstances. Either way, this surprised him a heck of a lot more than Rachel's quest to sing her 'soul-exposing' song.

"Mr. Schuester, I realize I have a lot to make up for since I missed several days of practice during my vacation," Jesse responded politely. "I hate being behind," as if he could ever be behind any of them in skill (except for maybe Rachel), "so I took the liberty of creating a video over vacation that fulfills the assignment Rachel just mentioned."

She loved hearing her name from him. At least he still remembers her and even references her.

"I was hoping," Jesse continued, "that I could present it to everyone today to take care of the requirement." He held up the DVD that he had his video recorded on to prove himself.

Again, Mr. Schuester sighed. Another delay to practice, the video probably contained another 'Run, Joey, Run' reaction. This was one of those days that he absolutely hated high school drama. And now, he couldn't even deny Jesse the opportunity because he'd already allowed Rachel to sing. Actions around Jesse always had to be taken with care, since he had to be acutely aware of how it looked like he was treating him – absolutely no partiality despite his talent due to the Vocal Adrenaline connections. The only thing he could hope for is that Rachel won't have an emotional break down and storm out of practice or have Jesse, Finn, and Puck get into a fight over her. Unfortunately, both extreme scenarios seem incredibly likely.

"Alright, Jesse, go ahead," Mr. Schuester complied, once again taking a seat.

As Jesse set up the equipment to show the video, Rachel's anxiety grew. This video was most likely the response that she had been looking for, the response that he was telling her in his eyes. But this response came before her song; he had already decided before she enacted her plan! And to top it off, he probably did the video with his Vocal Adrenaline friends. What did they tell him? What advice did they give him? Was it in her favor? Did they tell him to dump her? Did they tell him that he's crazy and should come back to where the true performers are at?

And how the heck did he know about the assignment anyway if he was all the way in San Diego?

"I admire your dedication, Jesse, but how did you know about the assignment?" Mr. Schuester asked Jesse as he adjusted the projector screen. Rachel was glad that Mr. Schuester asked, instead of her. She didn't feel like a conversation between her and Jesse would go over smoothly, at least on her end.

"Thankfully one of my fellow members of New Directions informed me," Jesse replied as he continued to arrange the equipment as needed.

Everyone turned to look at Rachel, who was sitting stiffly in her chair. Despite what everyone else thought, she didn't tell Jesse about the assignment. They weren't exactly on speaking terms. However, she did notice the quick glance Jesse sent in Quinn's direction as he moved the projector slightly to the right…

Oh. Well, it made sense, though she wasn't exactly happy about Quinn talking to Jesse. Like, she was actually a little bit angry that they were talking without her present. Quinn and Rachel just always seem to have this tension about boys between them… but if Quinn also wanted Rachel away from Finn (just like Kurt) then Quinn would probably attempt to sway Jesse to forgive Rachel. She'd probably mentioned the assignment as an excellent way to let Rachel know, and since when could Jesse resist expressing himself through song?

Under the circumstances, she couldn't exactly complain about it. Rachel would probably do the same thing herself – if she went through a rough breakup with her ex, she's probably push a prospective girl into another guy's arms too. Hopefully Quinn's help was assistive to her, anyway. If her hypothesis was wrong and Quinn was just trying to make her miserable, well, she might be screwed with her relationship with Jesse.

She'd rather take her logic and the fact that Quinn initiated a conversation about Jesse with her earlier at lunch today a good sign. Though it did make her wonder – what else did Quinn and Jesse talk about?

She glanced over at Mr. Schuester to see what he thought of Jesse's explanation; he looked smug. He's probably proud that one of his Glee kids is actually being nice to Jesse, rather than insulting him – even if everyone assumes it was just Rachel who did it. Well.

At least she'd be given an opportunity to listen to Jesse's amazing voice again, despite the outcome.

After a few more moments, everything was set up to Jesse's approval. Once the equipment was powered up, he popped the DVD in the drive. One of the band members dimmed the lights and Jesse pressed play. He made his way back to his seat where Rachel could watch him. Apparently, unlike what she did, he was just going to let the movie speak for itself.

It was the opening scene, and she could see Jesse standing with four other boys, who she assumed were Vocal Adrenaline members. They were standing in the road on some street in, most likely, San Diego. It wasn't a much trafficked road – there obviously weren't any cars in the street and only few people were seen walking around. Tall, somewhat rundown buildings were on both sides.

The five of them were only wearing jeans and a casual t-shirt, but they were standing in a certain formation. A few people were giving them odd looks, wondering what they were doing like that in the road, but they all looked comfortable. It was the performers in them.

Suddenly, from off-camera, comes music. Rachel's hearing picks out that it's simply a very loud boom box, or maybe blasting from a car stereo nearby. It definitely wasn't a live band. The quality wasn't exceptional, so it most likely was a boom box but the music was still relatively clear. And – wait…is that song what she thinks it is?

"Oh dear Madonna," Kurt moans, clearly recognizing the song. It was just like she thought: 'N SYNC

Rachel barely stopped herself from laughing, but gave a wide smile. She was very glad Jesse wasn't looking at her right now. As soon as the Jesse in the video – clearly the lead of the 'band' – started signing, she instantly picked out the song.

You might've been hurt, babe
That ain't no lie
You've seen them all come and go, oh.

'It's Gonna Be Me,' by 'N SYNC. Oh dear Broadway. She couldn't believe Jesse and a few of his Vocal Adrenaline friends were singing this song and – dare she say it - dancing to this song. It was quite spectacular, because Jesse and Vocal Adrenaline were busting out those old boy band moves without any embarrassment and at all – and they looked good (in Rachel's opinion, anyway).

I remember you told me
That it made you believe in
No man, no cry
Maybe that's why

The others showed relatively shocked expressions. Who knew that Jesse St. James, talent extraordinaire, would belt out a boy band song? Kurt seemed especially horrified. She, however, thought it took incredible courage – and came out incredibly hot too.

She hadn't ever told anyone (especially not Jesse) about her harbored crush for those old boy band songs. It was rather embarrassing, to say the least, especially after seeing Kurt's reactions. But she couldn't help it – they reminded her of when she was younger. Back then, there wasn't all this high school drama, everyone thought she was just cute instead of bossy, and dreams of Broadway didn't include tons of hard work. So, personally, she was adoring this entire video. Especially since this song, if it says what Jesse is intending to say, isn't even close to 'we should break up forever.'

Every little thing I do
Never seems enough for you

Ouch. That stung a bit. Of course, it only echoed some of the last words that he left her with before the impasse of their relationship. She remembered that he mentioned something about how he should be enough for her – that how other people's opinions of her shouldn't matter, because they had each other. Well, she believed he was right, and now, he was proving it to her by potentially embarrassing himself with singing an 'N SYNC song which definitely isn't a popular thing to do at the moment. Clearly he didn't care what others thought of him.

She had to give the other Vocal Adrenaline members credit though. When they joined Jesse in on the chorus, they sounded absolutely amazing together.

You don't wanna lose it again
But I'm not like them

Oh man, hopefully Puck and Finn didn't get too angry about that remark. At least Jesse spoke the truth, though. He definitely wasn't like either Puck of Finn. He was Jesse.

Baby, when you finally,
Get to love somebody
Guess what,
It's gonna be me..

She couldn't stop beaming. This song was definitely for her. And the lyrics were totally Jesse, too. Yes, he's being arrogant, saying that she was definitely going to pick him over anyone else, especially Finn. She already did choose him though, as displayed by her song choice of 'Without You,' so she supposed he was right in his arrogance.

She could tell Finn was getting a bit upset while he listened to the song, and especially when he saw her smile. She didn't really care too much, though, as a Vocal Adrenaline member took over the verse.

You've got no choice, babe
I've got to move on, and you know
There ain't no time to waste
You're just too blind (too blind), to see
But in the end, ya know it's gonna be me

She almost laughed when Jesse jumped in front of the other Vocal Adrenaline member for the line 'it's gonna be me.' She certainly wasn't going for the other guy. He was talented, but not as talented as Jesse was. Only Jesse was going to tell her that he was the one.

You can't deny
So just tell me why
As the group rejoined for the chorus, she wondering about their dance moves on the street. Most of them looked like they came from the original 'N SYNC music video, but she wondered how many of the moves they made up. People were definitely staring at this singing and dancing group of boys, but they didn't seem to care. It helped that they were quite amazing. How long did it take them to practice? Every move was synchronized perfectly, she could hardly believe it.

Every little thing I do
Never seems enough for you
You don't wanna lose it again
But I'm not like them
Baby, when you finally
Get to love somebody (somebody)
Guess what (guess what)
It's gonna be me

Jesse's control over himself was impressive – he didn't turn around to see her reaction at all. Of course, maybe he already knew what she'd say, due to her song. Rachel's eyes widened. He'd already forgiven her before her song for him. He had decided when he was out in San Diego, when he decided this song for his video. Her plan was basically pointless, then, since he'd already forgiven her. Oh well, she was still glad she'd done it; besides, it was a great performance anyway (except that Jesse should've been singing with her instead of Kurt).

It's gonna be me
Oh yeahhhhh...
Suddenly the music slowed down, and they practically froze in position, except for Jesse who continued to sing.

There comes a day
When I'll be the one, you'll see..
It's gonna-gonna-gonna-gonna-gonna

It's gonna be me

Jesse simply belted out that last part out, and Rachel was sure that she was absolutely in love with Jesse. What line did Finn give her? Oh yeah, 'When are you going to realize that he's not into you like I am?' Right. She'd like to see Finn be brave enough to rock out a boy band song in the middle of the street for her. As if.

All that I do
Is not enough for you
Don't wanna lose it
But I'm not like that
When finally (finally)
You get to love
Guess what (guess what)

They didn't just simply dance in the street, either, apparently. The video flashed a few shots were the boys were doing a few moves in an alley, in front of a shop, and a few other random places. How long did they spend on this? How long did Jesse take to do all this for her?

There wasn't a question in her mind that this video was entirely for her and not for Mr. Schuester's assignment at all. Jesse could probably have gotten away without doing the assignment, just like Rachel could have. She and Jesse definitely didn't have any issues expressing themselves in front of an audience, after all. He probably just wanted to show Finn and Puck (okay, so probably just Finn since Puck doesn't really care) that, to quote the song, 'it's gonna be him.'

Every little thing I do
Never seems enough for you (for you babe)
You don't wanna lose it again (don't wanna lose it)
But I'm not like them
Baby, when you finally
Get to love somebody (love..)
Guess what (guess what)
It's gonna be me

Mr. Schuester looked impressed. Very amused, but also impressed. These guys from Vocal Adrenaline were quite good. Their voices blended exceptionally well, with Jesse of course always shining through, and their choreography, while ridiculous at times, was incredibly precise. If this was how well of a performance Jesse and a few of the Vocal Adrenaline guys could put together for a video in just a few days, New Directions definitely needed to get serious on a performance to beat the entire Vocal Adrenaline team.

Every little thing I do (ohh...)
Never seems enough for you
You don't wanna lose it again (don't wanna lose it)
But I'm not like them
Baby, when you finally (baby when you finally)
Get to love somebody
Guess what (guess what)

It's gonna be me.

The last scene ended with Jesse saying 'It's gonna be me' with all the other guys thrown down on the road. Jesse was the only one left standing as the music ended and the video cut out.

Everyone politely clapped (okay, so maybe she was very enthusiastically clapping to make up for Finn's lack of) as another band member restored the lights. Jesse went to reclaim his DVD and put the equipment away.

Rachel couldn't help it, but she felt like swooning. The song was for her, and it was from Jesse. The song just was him. It showcased his talent, his arrogance, and his upbeat personality. Of course she was going to pick Jesse – why the heck wouldn't she?

"Good job, Jesse. I'm surprised you and some of your friends spent some of your break putting that together," Mr. Schuester complimented as he took command of the club again to hopefully start rehearsing. Perhaps it was a good thing that Jesse and his friends put together that video – it gave Will a sense of urgency to perfect some routines after seeing just a bit of Vocal Adrenaline's talent.

He also hoped that this video ended some of the drama that was going on between Rachel and some of the guys. He did feel a bit sympathetic for Finn, though. His version of 'Jessie's Girl,' while quite excellently done, clearly didn't impress Rachel as much as Jesse's video of an 'N SYNC music video.

"Couldn't you have chosen any other selection? Anything but that?" Kurt moaned, clearly scarred after sitting through a boy band song and dance.

Jesse only gave him a smile; he definitely wasn't going to apologize for picking that song. Rachel felt the need to reply for him, since they clearly were once again an item.

"That song is a classic, Kurt, and while I know that it isn't a style you appreciate, some of us immensely enjoyed the selection," she said brightly, with a wide smile. It garnered an eye roll from Kurt and a glare from Finn. Clearly, Finn didn't appreciate the song selection any more than Kurt did. Probably had something more to do with the song's content and meaning rather than the genre, though.

Jesse didn't respond to her comment, but she still felt that he appreciated her effort. This was proven true as when finished putting the equipment back in the corner, he sat down beside her rather than taking his previous seat.

"Did you want a copy?" Jesse softly asked her, holding out the DVD in the case.

Her breath caught in her throat. After so many days of worrying, after so many days of heartbreak, Jesse had forgiven her. He had forgiven her! He created a video with his Vocal Adrenaline friends using a boy band song (that happened to be one of her old favorites) in the streets of San Diego surrounded by people to show her that he had forgiven her. That she should choose him.

And now he was offering her a copy of his performance. Wow.

"I would love one," Rachel said with a large smile when she could finally speak.

As she took the video and practically cradled it to her chest, she was rewarded with a smile from Jesse that she hadn't seen in what felt like years. Finally, she could only think, finally the heartbreak is over.

Mr. Schuester attempted to make progress during the rest of rehearsal, and for some people maybe he did. Rachel wouldn't know, because she was in a haze of bliss from what had happened earlier that practice. She could only concentrate on Jesse, with the occasional glare from Finn interrupting her focus. Fortunately, Mr. Schuester didn't press the issue and just left her alone to daydream. She still sang, of course, so he couldn't really fault her. Even when she wasn't concentrating she still sounded great.

At the end of rehearsal, none of her giddiness had died down. She couldn't wait to talk things over with Jesse, now that she already knew the outcome. Now that she knew that he had forgiven her. She wanted to be with him again, to hang out and chat. She wanted to hear all about his trip to San Diego and his friends from Vocal Adrenaline (after all, clearly they were on her side!). She wanted to tell him how much she missed him, and about her episode of when she almost thought she wouldn't be able to sing anymore.

She was still debating about whether to tell him about Finn singing 'Jessie's Girl' when he was gone. She wasn't sure how he'd react to that…

Jesse walked over to her after ending a conversation with Mercedes where she was telling him that he was great, the video was epic, but to never do that again. Ever. Jesse picked up his bag and put one arm around her waist, and Rachel decided she couldn't any happier (unless they both starred opposite lead roles in a Broadway musical, of course).

"Want to go grab dinner?" Jesse asked her as she smiled up at him.

"Definitely," Rachel answered. As soon as she got home, she must remember to send Quinn an anonymous thank you card. Kurt too, she supposed, though she could probably sign his. She couldn't thank them enough for helping her out with getting Jesse back.

They walked out the choir room together before Jesse stopped them. Finn was there leaning up against the lockers talking to Artie, but was also glaring at Jesse while giving Rachel a beseeching look.

Jesse removed his arm from around Rachel, which she reluctantly allowed. He walked a few steps towards Finn, before stopping. Finn turned all his attention to him, Artie looking slightly nervous about being a potential witness. Rachel didn't want a confrontation, but it probably needed to happen; she could only hope it didn't turn violent.

"So Finn," Jesse started, "I heard about your charade with the song 'Jessie's Girl' while I was absent."

Rachel was surprised. Apparently, Quinn told Jesse more than just that they had an assignment. What did he think when he heard that? How did he think she reacted? Her face turned a little red, hoping he didn't think at the time that she was truly the slut she desperately wanted to portray in her own video. Finn's song had made her uncomfortable, not excited, especially since he made the entire situation quite awkward for her and she didn't appreciate it.

She could feel the tension in the hallway escalate rapidly…she assumed there was a reason that Finn sang that song when Jesse was absent. Most likely, he hoped that Jesse would never find out. It was a bit funny (with the unique sense of humor she has) to Rachel that Quinn was the one who ratted Finn out – most likely to encourage envious feelings in Jesse so that he'd act quickly to take Rachel back. Hopefully Quinn's choice to inform Jesse about 'Jessie's Girl' doesn't have violent consequences that Rachel was about to witness…

"What of it?" Finn confidently replied, though to Rachel's observant eye, appeared a bit nervous. But, while Jesse may have more talent than he does, Finn's a football player and isn't afraid to throw punches, Rachel thought nervously.

"Just a warning between friends," Jesse said with a confident smile, while also probably mocking Finn's song when at the start it says 'Jessie is a friend…,' "don't try it again. Like I said before, 'it's gonna be me.'"

"We'll see," Finn said, holding Jesse's gaze before looking at Rachel.

"Come on, Jesse, let's go," Rachel said quietly, pulling on her once-again-boyfriend's arm. She didn't enjoy hurting Finn, but he needed to know that she's chosen Jesse. Jesse was always there for her (with the exception of the past few days, of course, but that's mostly her fault), and Finn was simply wrong. Jesse is into her just like Finn is. Actually, Jesse is probably more into her than Finn is. After all, you have to have pretty strong feelings for someone to start dancing and singing an 'N SYNC song in the middle of a San Diego road, especially if you have to convince four other friends to do it with you.

She needed to get Jesse out of here before anything turned violent. Neither of the boys was very happy with each other at the moment and the tension was only going to escalate. And while Rachel definitely enjoyed a good 'boys-fighting-over-the-star' scene in movies, she didn't quite want to see a reenactment right now. However, she made sure not to make the critical mistake seen on screen – her face was a mask of indifference to Finn and concern to Jesse. There's no way she was apologizing to Finn for Jesse's actions (a small part of her did enjoy them, after all), and she made doubly sure her eyes lacked all signs of sympathy or apology when looking in Finn's direction.

Jesse wrapped his arm around her waist again, still confidently staring Finn down. "You're right, Rach, let's go," he said. He dropped a quick kiss on her head, gave a quick gloating look to Finn, before they turned to walk out of the school.

"Maybe you should just waive the white flag," Artie recommended to Finn as they both stood there, watching the couple walk away.

"Together they do really work it," Mercedes commented as she walked out the choir room.

Rachel couldn't hear Finn's response, if he did respond, because right at that moment Jesse leaned down to kiss her.