A/N: So I've been reading Glee fanfiction nonstop ever since I became a full-on Gleek about two months back, and I became immediately hooked on the adorable relationship deemed "Finchel" - I mean, honestly, who hasn't?

I don't do a whole lot of writing for fanfiction, but this idea just randomly came when I was reading this blog that challenged you to focus on only two characters and use at MOST, five lines of dialogue...in a half hour. I feel like I totally cheated and completely missed the point of the challenge, but this was pretty fun nonetheless. I'm extending the fun to anyone else who wants to join, too! (: It's totally out of my comfort zone to write like this (little dialogue, third person, short time limit), but what the hey! I'm a rebel!

I guess this is pretty AU (thanks to fanfiction, I now know what that means!). I didn't think about any background information while writing it, and I don't really know if it's necessary. I don't even know if Glee Club exists in this demented universe! Basically, Finn and Rachel are best friends, and a romantic relationship is still unfamiliar ground for the two. Of course though, being Finn and Rachel, there are still those romantic tendencies...*sigh*

I feel like I should stop talking, but I'm a little nervous about the feedback for this. Comments would be appreciated! While this is a really random one-shot, I might be able to get a story out of it if you guys were intrigued at all. Anyway, enough of me! More finchel!

"In small proportions we just beauties see, and in short measures life may perfect be" – Ben Jonson

Rachel never felt it necessary to be "normal".

While all the rest of her peers were drinking and smoking and flirting and "sexting" (whatever that was), Rachel found more mature and productive ways to manage her time. She knew she was talented; she told herself so every morning in the mirror, and repeated it like a mantra in her head as she awaited the glory days of stardom. Why should she waste her youthful years like the rest of the kids in this town, content with sitting idly by while life flitted right on past? That was not Rachel Berry, and she would never be afraid to defy those silly little norms. Stereotypes were nasty, dirty things, and never would she allow herself to fall under their spells.

So yes, maybe Rachel Berry was anything but normal. But after all, what did being normal even entail? Throwing her carefully established morals to the curb and acting irresponsible and impulsive? Playing that ludicrous game of "Follow the Leader" and giving up all the rights her forefathers fought blood and tears for? Frankly, these things seemed foolish and boorishly juvenile, adjectives never used to define the level-headed Rachel Berry.

They could, however, adorn the name Finn Hudson.

Somewhere between "Lima loser" and "rock bottom", Finn was dangerously stuck. Rachel felt metaphors were a fact of life, and Finn was truly holding onto the final straw, dangling over a pit so deep even Rachel couldn't help him out. She was scared for him, and Rachel was not accustomed to fear.

Finn was a follower with the potential to be a leader. He didn't necessarily smoke pot every night or get wasted every weekend (his words, not hers), but he would tag along because being different seemed like being an outcast, and he didn't want to think about all the shit that happened at home with his dad and how heartbroken his mom was and how much pressure was on him to take care of his family. He didn't want to be like everyone else, but he didn't know how else to be. Rachel made it look so easy, like walking with her head up high and her eyes straight ahead was effortless as people laughed and sniggered behind her back. She kept telling him to just follow her lead, to pretend that they were all just jealous, but he could never adopt that fierce confidence. He just didn't have it in him.

Lately things had been getting bad, really bad. With school out for the summer and no teachers or responsibilities breathing down his back, Finn had let himself go, to such a degree that he honestly could not remember how or why he woke up last weekend lying in a canoe in the middle of Puck's pool. The saddest part? He didn't even care – he just rowed himself over to the ladder and climbed down, stumbling home and ignoring the screams he heard his mother tossing at his closed bedroom door as he let sleep consume him once again.

To say that Rachel was worried would be the understatement of the century. Rachel Berry did everything better than everyone else, and her distress was enough to give those Apocalypse-fearing neighbors of hers a run for their money.

She took care of Finn a lot. She would let him in to stay over if he was too drunk to go home, or would pick him up from a party if he was high and couldn't even drive – she was always being a friend to him, until she did some extensive therapy research and stumbled across the term "enabler". When she tossed the term and its meaning at him late one night, he'd grumbled something incoherent and just curled up tighter to her bright pink blanket.

It was a futile attempt.

Finn never mentioned these low moments, and often times he would sneak out early in the morning out of embarrassment and cowardice. Rachel was too good to him, too good for him, and he dreaded the day she figured all that out and left him high and dry. She was a smart girl, and it was bound to happen someday soon.

One morning after Rachel had responded to a two-AM phone call from a slightly slurring Finn, she decided that enough was enough. Fuming when he stumbled into her car, passed out against her window and drooling down the glass, Rachel heaved the sleeping Finn from the passenger's seat and struggled to move under his massive frame. He may have hit the pavement once or twice, but she knew he wouldn't remember. Besides, it made her feel better...

That night she shed five minutes worth of tears for her plummeting best friend – she always allotted specific amounts of time for her tasks, and mourning was certainly one of them – and the next morning she woke up extra early, sitting cross-legged on her bed and waiting for Finn to wake.

When he did, she quietly let out her frustrations. She told him of the worry and suppressed resentments she was feeling over his constant, hazardous lifestyle. She desperately revealed her dislike for this person that he had become, and pleaded with him to remember who he had once been before he gave his identity to the "herd". She begged him to listen to her when she told him how good a person he was, about how he could be somebody and show that he was more than just this sad, teenage boy. He had such wonderful potential, she insisted, if only he would just embrace it. She finally whispered that he couldn't do this anymore, that he needed to get himself together and show that he was better than this, because she couldn't, wouldn't, enable this behavior any longer.

Finn became angry. He didn't need this. Bitterly he questioned how Rachel knew anything about who he was and what he could become. He was a nobody, a Lima loser, and if Rachel was so high and mighty, why did she waste her time trying to clean up after scum like him? Sure, she believed in him, but sometimes it did less to inspire him than it did to overwhelm him when he couldn't live up to her expectations. Maybe he just didn't have it in him to be great. Maybe he was doomed to this life of nothingness for good, and maybe there was no good way out. Maybe Rachel Berry was destined for greatness, but Finn Hudson sure wasn't.

Rachel accepted his outburst quietly, sadly soaking in his unfeeling eyes and sharp, bitter tongue, before giving her short, strong defense – that she knew who he was, and what he was capable of accomplishing. She hated that only she could see it, and sooner or later, he was going to have to see it for himself, because she couldn't be the sole person in his cheering section anymore.

Finn dropped his head in shame, refusing to meet Rachel's pitiful stares, and climbed out her window, thanking her for her "hospitality", as she'd put it, and promising not to hold her back anymore. The rest of the weekend was miserable for both, and when Sunday night came, neither had slept more than a wink. Finn found it strange to sleep in his own bed, and Rachel felt oddly lonely with only her own heartbeats lulling her to sleep.

The hours seemed to blend endlessly, but at some point that morning, Rachel tossed in her bed, only to hear soft pink-pinks on her bedroom window. Tired and annoyed, she opened the window only to see Finn standing just below, clad in green plaid pajama bottoms and his characteristic white undershirt. Her heart slumped just slightly, missing the sight of her best friend (her clean, sensible best friend) more than she actually knew. Maybe she had taken advantage of his presence in the past…

She let him in and he silently stood in front of her, scuffing his feet on her carpet and making no attempt to say a word. She smelled no trace of his bad habits on him, only the fresh scent of his light body wash and a sweet flowery one she couldn't trace. He met her eyes and she wordlessly placed a comforting hand on his arm, choosing not to comment on his rosy red cheeks and weary eyes, accentuated by deep, purple circles underneath. She smiled non-judgingly and walked over to retrieve his blanket and pillow from her neatly organized closet, tossing them his way, along with one more soft smile, before plopping back on her bed and flicking off the light switch of the lamp. After a few, silent minutes, she heard the rustling of a blanket and knew Finn had turned on his side, facing her. She felt his eyes on her, and despite the blackness that clouded her vision, she could feel his chocolate brown eyes begging for her forgiveness.

"Rach?" he asked, and she faced the sound, her pulse threatening to shoot her heart from her chest. She hated how strangely her body was reacting to this familiar scene.

She knew what he was saying, and she knew how hard it would be for him to voice the words. She let his silence envelop her just for a moment, hearing what he so desperately wanted but knowingly couldn't proclaim. He just…couldn't.

She sighed, a tired but content sound. "I know," she whispered into the dark. "I'm sorry, too."

Without her sense of sight her other senses seemed to be on high alert. She could practically taste the tension lift from the air and hear the contented release of the breath Finn most likely hadn't consciously known he was holding. She could smell his scent waft past her as he assumedly relaxed onto his back, his favorite sleeping position since she could remember. She could practically touch the wondrous smile that most definitely flitted to his face, his ease a tangible substance to her. She was just…in tuned to him, like no other before. It was just…different, and she never worried over questioning why.

She just was.

Before her eyes fell shut under the heavy weight of sleep, she heard a tired, smiling voice drift up from the floor beneath her.

"Goodnight, Rach," and she allowed the sound to lull her into her dreams.

When she awoke the next morning to find the blanket and pillow folded haphazardly on her carpet, and her bedroom window cracked just enough to weasel out, her heart felt oddly heavier. She had thought things were okay…

Sighing dejectedly, she heaved herself off her bed and made her way to the bedding, about to return them to their spot in the closet just to be knowingly pulled out again the following night. She sighed again over the predictability of it all. As she reached the sheets, however, two new objects caught her attention, and she took a second to absorb them and catch her stuttered breathing before reaching down and taking them in her hands. Plopping backwards on the floor, she stared at the two inoffensive items as if she couldn't understand what they were. She understood what they were alright, it was just…

What did they mean?

The first was a small, gentle, pink lily, weightless in her hands but pressing heavily down on her chest. She immediately linked the smell to that flowery one she'd detected the night before, and wondered what Finn had meant by bringing it along. She turned the thing around and around between her fingers, inspecting it like it held all the answers to these new, jumbling questions in her mind. She lifted it to her nose once, inhaling, and found that she'd discovered a new favorite scent. And her same favorite boy who'd given it to her.

Resting daintily on her lap was a folded piece of construction paper, bright yellow with silver glitter flakes floating down off the edges. She recognized the scrap paper from that silly art project she brought home from the summer camp she helped to run. That she was forced into making a "My favorite thing about the summer is…" card as well seemed a little ridiculous to her, but she was nothing if not a sucker for making those adorable children happy. Scrawled across the front was her name in big, brick letters, underlined in green and blue marker. She unfolded it carefully, wondering what could be hidden behind but also terrifyingly afraid to find out. Why was her heart going into cardiac arrest all of a sudden? This couldn't be normal, or healthy…

She watched as a few more sparkles fluttered off the paper and opened the card, her eyes meeting these small, harmless words that seriously threatened the regularity of her heartbeats for good. There were bunches of crossed out words and messy scribbles, even an x-ed out smiley face that she couldn't help but chuckle at.

At the very bottom of the paper though, were the words,

"I'm sorry. And thank you."

He signed it with a sloppy "Finn", his penmanship always casual and untailored, just like him. Her face broke out into an all-out, cheesy, school girl grin, and she didn't care one bit. She just brought that flower to her nose once more and stared longingly at those five simple words.

For a nobody, her best friend sure was a charmer.