DISCLAIMER: I neither own Glee nor the characters. They are the property of Ryan Murphy and FOX. This is purely for fun. Enjoy!
A/N: Alright kids! Welcome to the epilogue for Dreamers! I hope everyone enjoyed the story, and thank you for all your support this summer. Enjoy the finale.
The cool October wind blew softly in the small bedroom, creating a chill in the air that started to lift Rachel out of her deep slumber as she pulled a pillow over her eyes to block out the light. An annoyed groan escaped her lips as she turned over to get comfortable again before a shrill scream filled the tiny room. A louder groan escaped her lips this time, before the shrill cry stopped immediately. Cracking open one eye in the brightness of the room, she saw her husband attending to the source of the screaming.
Her eight week old daughter, Aria.
"Shhh, Aria Naomi Hudson, you don't want to wake up Mommy, she was up all night feeding you, you little stinker." She had to smile to herself when Finn started to coo softly, giving the baby a bottle she had prepared the night before. The only thing she wanted to do was sleep all day long, but Finn wouldn't be around for much longer and the baby was already up, so she begrudgingly wiped the sleep out of her eyes and started to stretch languidly on the bed. Finn spotted her movements under the blankets and sat on the corner of the bed with the baby in his arms. She sat up and crawled to the edge of the bed, placing a soft kiss on the child's head and a more passionate one on the lips of her husband.
"How's my girl today?" She whispered to her daughter while she enjoyed her breakfast and took the tiny baby from Finn so he could get ready for work. She was out on Maternity leave until the Winter Holidays, so she was playing housewife while Finn coached the glee club solo. It was hard to see him run the group without her, but she would be back eventually, and the coaching duo of Mr. and Mrs. Hudson would be back in action. Carole and her dads were already begging to babysit their granddaughter, and Rachel was itching to get back to work.
But for now, she could get used to the whole "housewife" thing. Aria took up all of her time, really, and she was enjoying the bits of free time she had for herself that were spread throughout the day. She still helped Finn transpose music and they went over song choices and choreography together, but she missed the hands-on aspect of coaching. She missed her kids and the dynamic of working side-by-side with Finn. But her daughter was worth every second away from glee club. Her eyes never left the tiny face as Finn got ready haphazardly around her.
"Rach, have you seen my keys?"
"Next to the TV." She said without looking up.
"Where's my bag?"
"In the hall closet."
Finn came into the bedroom again after a few minutes, his keys in his hands and his bag over his shoulder. "What would I do without you?"
She shrugged playfully and lifted the baby to her shoulder to burp her. "I wonder the same things myself sometimes." She said with an amused, yet detached voice and Finn pulled his two girls close to him and placed a kiss on each of their foreheads.
"I will see you ladies later tonight." He reached for his daughter and Rachel placed her in his arms. "You be a good girl for Mommy, Ari."
Rachel fixed him a dirty look. "Its Aria. We had a deal, I chose the first name and you got the middle one."
"Yes, and I'm sure great-granny Naomi is ecstatic about her middle name, but that doesn't mean she can't have a nickname. Ari is cute."
"And so is Finny, but you don't see me screaming it from the roof of the school."
"You better not, Rach. You never had a problem with me calling you that."
She winced, knowing he'd caught her double standard. "That was different."
"Oh yeah, how?"
She shrugged her shoulders, knowing that her argument was now moot. "It just was."
"Uh-huh." He said with a smile, turning back to his daughter. "You have fun with Mommy today, Ari, and I'll see you tonight." Rachel stuck her tongue out at him while she took back the baby, and Finn reached over to place a wet, sloppy kiss on her lips, making her giggle while she bounced the baby in her arms.
"Bye, Daddy." Rachel picked up one of Aria's tiny hands to wave at Finn while he left the house. He shot her a wink and her favorite crooked smile and she wondered idly how one look could make her legs turn into jelly when she was supposed to be a mature, rational, parental, adult.
She carried the baby to her bassinet while she started to do some random chores around the house. Putting on her favorite compilation of Broadway's greatest hits, she sang around the house while she did some light cleaning. The apartment wasn't large, but she was happy with the layout and the way they had decorated it. Finn had gotten his entire collection of her old playbills framed, and they now adorned the walls of the living room and the kitchen, creating a beautiful collage of all her past work. She might not be a Broadway star, but now she was the star of the family, and to her it was enough. She might never perform again in her life, but she was truly, genuinely happy; something she had never felt during her time in New York. And she owed it all to Finn and their daughter, for bringing her happiness in a world where it felt like part of your soul died with every year that passed.
Sometimes she still thought about it; performing and being a star. She still watched the Tony's every year, even though it was almost like a form of torture. This year she was about seven months pregnant when the Tony's had aired, and Finn almost banned her from watching it ever again after all the crying she'd done. But it was cathartic in a way. She'd missed that life, and the opportunities she could have had, but in a weird way it felt like everything had turned out perfectly. Sure, it would have been fabulous to have been a great Broadway star, adored by millions, but then she wouldn't have Finn. She wouldn't have Aria.
And that was a life she didn't even want to imagine. She would rather be their star than be "loved" by a million faceless fans.
The day passed by slowly and by noon, Rachel was bored beyond belief. She decided to take a little trip with her daughter, and she gathered her baby bag and placed Aria in the car-seat. Weaving throughout the streets of Lima, she made her way over to the high school so she could surprise not only Finn, but her students who she'd missed like crazy. She prepped the stroller and rolled the baby onto school grounds, pausing to talk to faculty members who recognized her and spent way too long making dumb faces at her kid. When the math teacher started blowing raspberries everywhere, she almost ran straight to the choir room to escape them.
She poked her head into the choir room, where Finn and the kids were practicing during their lunch period. She took a second to appraise them from the hallway, and she was more than happy to see how much they'd progressed since last spring. She wished that she could be a part of it, but Finn was doing fine on his own. After another minute she quietly wheeled the stroller into the choir room and was spotted immediately by the kids. She shared a sneaky smile with Finn from across the room while the kids rushed to greet her.
"You brought the baby!"
"She is so cute!"
"Can I hold her?"
"No!" Both Finn and Rachel replied firmly to the question and the kids all gathered around to gawk at the tiny infant who was sleeping and thus oblivious to the ruckus surrounding her. Finn came over and placed a chaste kiss on her forehead while the kids continued to make goo-goo noises at the baby.
"This is a surprise! What are you doing here?"
"Oh nothing, I was just bored and I wanted something to do. I thought the kids might want to see the baby that they've been obsessed with since last year, and I missed everyone."
"Well I'm glad you came." He turned to the kids. "Alright guys, why don't we show Mrs. Hudson what we've been working on?"
"Yeah!" The kids all got into position while Rachel sat down by the piano and watched the kids run through their latest number. She was more than a little impressed and clapped like a fool when they were finished. They were going to win regionals this year, she could feel it.
The bell was about to ring, ending their lunch period, and Finn had to teach so she knew she had to get going. Waving goodbye to her students, she couldn't wait to get back to work in the spring. But Aria came first and she brought the baby back home to the safety of their little apartment.
She was exhausted after she had fed the baby and put her down for another nap. It was already the late afternoon, and Finn would be home soon, but she couldn't help it. She collapsed onto her bed and started to doze off lightly, succumbing to the fatigue that had been fogging her thoughts all day. Before she fell into her light nap, she thought about Finn, and Aria, and their family, and how sometimes your dreams really did come true.
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The small cramped car weaved it's way through traffic on the I-80, merging onto the I-95 and Rachel woke from her light nap to see a road sign that indicated they were barely 50 miles away from their destination.
New York was so close she could taste it.
Finn was still driving, and she maneuvered herself around so she could sneak a peek at him through her periphery. He looked like he was concentrating very hard at something, and it wasn't until a black sedan cut them off suddenly when she realized why he looked so tense.
The closer they got to New York, the crazier the drivers were.
Finn beeped his horn at the speeding black sedan, swearing loudly and hitting his fist on the steering wheel. She placed a soothing hand on his shoulder and she saw him look at her from his peripheral vision, eyes still focused on the road.
"Hey babe, how was your nap?"
"It was okay. I'm still tired though. And I think those mosquitoes made a feast out of me." While sleeping under the stars had sounded like a romantic idea, they had woken up that morning covered in bug bites, even though they had soaked the perimeter in bug spray. And they hadn't gotten much sleep out of it anyway, because making love all night long under the stars sounded much more romantic than sleeping. She idly scratched a bite on her leg and made a mental note to stop by a pharmacy for some itch cream. Finn's light chuckle filled the car and she joined him. "How much longer do you think we have until we get to New York?"
"Maybe another hour and a half. We're in Jersey right now, and this traffic is terrible. Am I going to have to get used to this?"
"We both will, silly! We're starting a new life! Finn and Rachel against the world, remember?"
A smirk pulled up the corner of his lips and she could hear the amusement in his tone. "How could I forget?"
They sat in traffic for a long time, much longer than the projected hour and a half. They crept through traffic slowly, even though the signs for bridges and tunnels and tolls were becoming more and more frequent. After a while, Rachel leaned forward and started searching through radio stations, trying to find something to fill up the silence besides honking horns and screeching tires.
"This is 101.9 WRXP, New York's Rock Alternative and here's a little rock ballad to get you through traffic. . ." The announcer's voice filled the car and Rachel sat back, knowing that Finn would probably like anything they played on this station. She was more offended that New York, capital of the musical theater community, didn't have a station dedicated solely to show-tunes. But when the opening chords of a very familiar song started to pump through the speakers, she was pleasantly surprised.
"Just a small town girl, livin' in a lonely world. She took the midnight train goin' anywhere. . . " She closed her eyes and let Steve Perry's voice wash over her, filling her with nostalgia and memories of high school. By the second verse, she was lost in her own little universe, and she felt Finn poking her on her arm. Turning to him, she was surprised to find him giving her a confused look.
"What is it?"
"Are you okay?" She heard worry in his tone and she straightened herself out, shrugging her shoulders and smiling lightly.
"Yeah, I'm great. Why?"
"Because you're not singing." He made it sound like a grave offense and she needed further elaboration as to why he was so confused.
"Rachel. This is Don't Stop Believin'. This is, like, our song. Why aren't you singing?"
She had to stifle a laugh. He was looking at her like she was a crazy person, or a Rachel-impostor, simply because she wasn't singing along with the music. She shook her head and tried to explain.
"Well, Finn, this song has been a part of our repertoire since the very beginning. We've heard it numerous times and I can't even remember how many times we've rehearsed it and performed it. But when was the last time you really just sat back and listened to the words? It's not even a song to us anymore, it's more like an anthem now."
"An anthem, huh?" She felt her boyfriend's eyes sweeping over her as she awkwardly scratched her itchy bug bites. "I like the sound of that." His lips stretched out into a smile that made it impossible to resist smiling herself, and the music of Journey filled up the car again while the traffic started to loosen up. They continued driving east toward the city, and before the chorus hit, they could see the New York skyline in the distance, filling Rachel with a deep sense of accomplishment.
They were here. They made it. All of their dreams were coming true. And as they continued driving, towards their future, towards their dreams, their anthem was playing in the background, willing them to keep going, making sure they never looked back.
As long as they had their dreams, they would never stop believing.
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Salut mes amis!
The Saga is over! I hope you all enjoyed Dreamers! Thank you all for your support in this story. And a special shout-out to blues_stilllife and nomesters for all your support and love! Hope you liked the baby's name!
Merci Mille Fois