A/N: So I multi-ship like crazy, and I love Finn and Rachel so hard. I thought the only thing missing from the finale was a conversation between them after the kiss and his (completely amazing) I love you. So I wrote this instead of sleeping.
... ... ...
She doesn't go to the hospital.
She hates hospitals.
She hates hospitals, and watching someone else give a baby up for adoption is just too hard right now. She thinks she'd have some kind of strange flashback, one that isn't even hers. To think she identifies with that innocent little baby more than she identifies with its mother is a little terrifying.
And she wants to see Vocal Adrenaline.
She wants to see Jesse.
He's good. They're good. But they're all technicality and harmonies and no emotion whatsoever. He sings the words, but they don't mean anything to him.
Her stomach flutters when she thinks about Faithfully and what those words meant when she sang them, staring at Finn.
She thinks she's dreaming. There's no way he actually said...
But he did. He did say.
This whole day is too much. She doesn't know how to handle it and it's not even over yet.
... ... ...
Maybe she's crying because they lost. Or because two of their members aren't here. Or because her mother doesn't want her, wants a family, but never wanted (doesn't want) her.
She's holding Artie's hand, or he's holding hers, she's not sure. She just knows it's hard to breathe and she thinks her heart is breaking.
She chances a look at Finn, and he looks like she feels. Not for the first time, she just wants him to wrap her up in one of those hugs, tell him to take her home so she can get out of this stupid dress and put her hair up and lay in bed in her pajamas. And probably cry.
... ... ...
They're in their dressing room and she's the first one to do anything. Everyone's just sitting around, shock and disbelief and disappointment on their faces.
She can't take it anymore, or there will be a legitimate reason for everyone to actually call her a diva. She feels like she's two seconds away from breaking something. She's a professional, but if one more person looks at her from the corner of their eye like they're waiting for her to lose her cool, she's going to...lose her cool.
She pulls the headband from her hair, shakes out the ends a little, drops it on the vanity. The sound echoes through the room and everyone looks her way. She walks over to Santana who, Rachel thinks, is taking this just as hard as anyone (she thinks she's underestimated the girl).
"Can you unzip me?" Rachel asks, holding her hair up as she turns around.
Santana doesn't say anything, obliges, and Rachel walks behind the privacy screens in the corner of the room.
She throws her dress on the floor like it's all the fabric's fault.
... ... ...
"Rach," Finn says to her after she's changed into her skirt and shirt. He's still wearing his costume. She doesn't mind much, because she thinks he looks amazing in a tie, not that she's going to tell him any of that.
Then again, he told her he loves her, so maybe she could say something.
"Hi," she says as she zips her garment bag. She's afraid to look at him. How are you supposed to look at someone who's told you they love you?
She's never had it happen before.
(Jesse clearly doesn't count.)
Then she thinks of Jesse, and Shelby, and Vocal Adrenaline, and Jesse's smug look when he hoisted the trophy, and Shelby saying she doesn't want Rachel (not in so many words, but it was there, the air of 'Just let it go, Rachel' to what Shelby said). She thinks of losing, and no more glee, and Quinn, and Noah, and that baby, and...
She doesn't even realize she's crying until Finn's thumb is on her cheek and he's pulling her against him.
"It's okay," he says quietly, his hand running down her back.
She nods against his chest like she might believe him.
She can hear everyone on the other side of the room, talking and gossiping about she and Finn, and she almost (almost) smiles when she thinks maybe it's nice that everyone has something else to focus on, even if it's her love life.
(God, he'd said "I love you.")
... ... ...
"Some people are going back to the hospital," he explains when it's just the two of them, walking down the hall behind the group. Her arms are hugged tightly around herself and he's carrying her bag for her. "I mean, if you want to..."
She shakes her head and looks up at him. "No. I can't."
She doesn't know if he's going to bring up what he said or if she has to.
... ... ...
She thinks he'd understand if she explained why she doesn't want to see the baby.
She doesn't know why she keeps it to herself. Maybe she'll tell him some other time.
... ... ...
"The worst part is we can't even say, 'We'll win it next year'," Finn points out as they sit together on the bus back to Lima.
"I know," she whispers. "I really wanted to win."
"Me too," he says, just as quietly. He turns a little so he can see her better. "But you know you were amazing, right?"
She looks up at him, and she knows that if anyone else overheard this conversation, they'd roll their eyes and tell her she's just being conceited and fishing for compliments. She's not. She just needs to hear it. She needs to know that even if they didn't win, she was still good. Maybe that's the worst part, feeling like she's not good enough. Not good enough to win, or to keep a boyfriend, or to be her mother's daughter.
"Really?" she asks.
He smiles, nods. "Yeah, Rachel. You're...I don't even know what you are." She laughs softly, looks down at her lap again. "But it's really, really good."
She takes his hand, and he doesn't let go the whole way home.
... ... ...
He drives her home from the school, after she's hugged everyone and promised Mr. Schuester that she's okay, that she's just had a long day. He does that thing where he purses his lips and nods, and she almost laughs at the predictability of it all.
"Do you want to come in?" she asks Finn as she toys with the strap of her bag.
He looks to the house, the other car in the driveway. "Is that...okay? It's late, and your dads..."
"It's fine," she insists. "I want you to."
He smiles and cuts the engine, and she doesn't know if he's more nervous or if she is.
Her dads hug them both when they get inside, and Rachel smiles when she sees Finn awkwardly patting her dad's back. He catches her eye and she bites her lip to keep from laughing. She slips into the kitchen to get them something to drink.
"I'm glad you think that was funny," he says, one hand tucked into his pocket. She worries he's mad, so she turns around to face him. "No, I mean it. You smiled. Like, your usual really pretty smile."
She gives him another one.
... ... ...
He loosens his tie once they're in her room. He sits at the edge of her bed as she tucks her garment bag into the back of her closet and puts her shoes away on a shelf. She pulls her hair up into a ponytail and tries to ignore the seriously cute smile on his face.
"What?" she asks.
"I don't think I've ever seen you wear your hair like that," he tells her.
"Oh." She leans back against her dresser with her hands on the surface to keep herself from somehow trying to attach herself to him. "I guess there were a lot of firsts today."
He doesn't understand that, she knows, but he blushes and she thinks maybe they're both thinking of that most important one.
"You said you love me," she says after a moment, because this quiet half-of-a-conversation thing they've been doing since they left the theater is starting to drive her crazy. "I said 'break a leg,' and you said, 'I love you.'"
He purses his lips. "Yeah."
"You said you love me," she repeats, quieter this time. She thinks maybe she said it the first time to give him a chance to take it back if he wanted to. But he's not, so she thinks... "You love me?"
He just nods. She watches his eyes as he does it, and even after everything they've been through, she doesn't think she's ever seen him so vulnerable. He's beautiful, really. And his hair looks really good today.
She's getting off topic.
She doesn't know what else to say, though. Maybe she loves him. She's certainly gone back and forth on it a number of times, and it's always been there in the back of her mind, Finn, Finn, Finn, like a mantra telling her that other boy (those other boys?) wasn't right.
But she doesn't want the first time she says the words to someone to have 'maybe' attached to them in any way.
She hopes that not saying it won't make her lose him again. She feels the tears coming when she realizes that's the absolute last thing she wants.
"No. No, Rachel. God, don't cry," he says desperately. He reaches for her hand to pull her towards him, and she stands between his knees. "I didn't mean to..."
"No," she says, almost laughing. "It's not you, Finn. You're the only thing I'm not crying about."
He smiles at her, runs his thumb over her knuckles, then furrows his brow. "Wait. That's not good."
She laughs. It comes out as these little giggles that have him grinning and weaving their fingers together. "It's good," she insists. "It's really good."
"How good?" he asks. She's gotten better at knowing when he's teasing her and when he's not. He's teasing right now, so she just steps closer and grabs his other hand. "I didn't say it so you'd say it back. I just thought...You know, we were standing there, and we were alone for the first time, since like, forever. And you looked really hot in that dress, and..."
"Finn," she breathes out. She's blushing. She knows she's blushing.
"No. Let me finish," he says quietly, and she just nods. "I was thinking about the words to the song, you know? And I was thinking about some stuff Mr. Schue said about, you know, life or whatever. And it was like...I just had to tell you."
She has no idea how to respond to any of that. The I love you was enough. Now that she's heard the reasons behind it, she's never been more sure of anything than she is that he really means it. It does something funny to her heart and makes her want to do something crazy. She doesn't know what, just something. Standing here in her quiet bedroom with him sitting in front of her doesn't seem like enough right now.
"And you kissed me," he adds after a few moments. She realizes she's probably making him nervous, not saying anything. "On the stairs, with everyone around."
She smiles, laughs a little. "I know," she says. "You were just...You're one of the only people who can actually talk to me and get through to me sometimes. I was so resigned to the fact that everything was over. You were just harsh enough with me to remind me that it's not all about me. You put me in my place, and I realize that's not an easy thing to do." She shrugs one shoulder, then meets his eyes. "And I wanted to."
He gives her one of those amazingly goofy, adorable smiles of his and she pulls her hands from his so she can rest them on his cheeks. She kisses him again, and his hands come up to rest on her hips, and there's something different in the way he's pressing his lips to hers. She wonders if it's all in her head.
If she just thinks it's different, or if it's different because he loves her.
"Thank you," she says quietly once they've parted. "I understand that's an incredibly terrible response to everything you've said to me today, but it's the only thing I can think of."
"Okay," he whispers. He kisses her again, stands and pulls her against him, and she thinks she loves the way his hand covers the entire small of her back. "I should go. My mom..."
Rachel shakes her head, trying to take a step back from him. He holds her in place. "I understand. It's late." She kisses him again and she can feel him smiling against her lips. "I'm glad you came in."
He kisses her cheek, slides his lips down past her ear and along her jaw. "Me too." She lets out a little gasp when he kisses her pulse point, lingering there for a moment. "Okay," he says, pulling away. "I really have to get home."
She laughs a little when he doesn't move away or make any indication that he's leaving. "Finn, go," she giggles.
He groans, kisses her one last time and hugs her. "Can I call you tomorrow?" he asks.
"I don't know," she says, playing with his tie when he pulls away. "That seems like something only a boyfriend would do."
His lips curve into a grin. "I'll call you tomorrow." She throws her arms around his neck so her feet aren't even on the ground, and he's laughing as his arms wrap around her waist to hold her up.
He's her boyfriend. He's her boyfriend and he loves her.
"Sorry," she mumbles against his shoulder. When he sets her on the ground, she bites her lip and he kisses her cheek quickly before heading for the door.
"Hey, Rach?" She turns to him and the look on his face makes her heart flutter like crazy in her chest. "I love you."
She's so wrapped up in thinking about all that means that she doesn't even walk him to the door.
... ... ...
She apologizes to him on the phone the next day, and he just laughs and tells her he can do some things on his own.
Then he tells her it's probably for the best, because the more he looked at her, the harder it was to leave, and she's fallingfallingfalling.
... ... ...
He's the one who takes her hand when Mr. Schuester starts to sing. She rests her head on his shoulder and she feels him let out this content little sigh, then kiss the top of her hair.
She's too happy to even start planning out all the songs that will sound best with them on lead for next year.
... ... ...
It doesn't take her long to realize she loves him, too.
(She thinks she never really stopped.)
It's the first week of summer, and they're in his car on their way to meet up with Tina and Artie for a movie, and Finn is singing along with the classic rock station as he holds her hand. He glances over and gives her a lopsided smile when the song switches from Pride and Joy to Patience.
She's not sure why she realizes it just then, but it doesn't matter, she doesn't think.
He says something about Sour Patch Kids.
She says, "I love you."