21 Guns

Summary: He loved her…and that was why he had to let her go. She loved him…and that was why she had to let him. As years go by they start to realize…did the pain weigh out the pride?


Do you know what's worth fighting for?
When it's not worth dying for?
Does it take your breath away
And you feel yourself suffocating?


The second he got on the plane, he knew that he'd made a huge mistake. Scratch that; the second that he'd taken the cold egg in the palm of his hand and shattered it onto the head of the most beautiful girl in existence he'd made the biggest mistake of his life. He'd known that it was a colossal mistake the moment he'd even let it cross his mind but his hand, as if on autopilot, palmed the egg and pressed it into her forehead, as he winced while the egg yolk ran down her face. He'd never known what it was like to experience pure unadulterated heartbreak until that moment, and he'd been surprised at how much it had actually hurt. When they'd preformed Another One Bites the Dust in the McKinley theatre he'd thought that he would be able to do it, that he'd be able to sever their relationship without feeling at thing in the icy cavern that he liked to imagine housed the heart that he'd never allowed himself to use.

He had been wrong…so wrong. When he'd seen the devastated and broken look etched into her face as he sang and dance with the rest of the members of Vocal Adrenaline all he could feel was a sense of wrongness, that he wasn't supposed to be up there with the team that had once been considered his family. He wasn't sure exactly when it had happened, but Rachel Berry had managed to carve through the ice and unthaw the heart he hadn't realized still existed. The absence of her in his life caused it to break day after day as he realized that the only reason she was gone and out of his life was purely because of him…and he would have to live with that for the rest of his life. Whenever he even dared to think about Rachel he could feel his insides clench as his breathing doubled and he had to fight to remain alert and aware of his surroundings. He knew that what he was experiencing was some sort of panic attack but he refused to give in to them, because he knew that when he finally did do so he would never be able to recover from it.

He could still remember the last conversation they'd had, which would probably also be the last one they would ever have.

It was almost four in the morning, and Jesse St. James was inebriated for the first time in his entire life. Being a member of an award winning show choir meant that there was no time for gallivanting and indulging in illicit activities, as your body needed to be in perfect condition if it were to work properly. He was a full believer of this and it was the sole reason why he'd never gone out to celebrate with any of his team mates after any wins at competitions. However after their win at Regional's the victory felt almost bittersweet so when Andrea asked him if he was coming to the party he couldn't help but agree. They were all staying at the Cheshire Inn, as well as all other competing glee clubs were, and he honestly couldn't think of any reason why he shouldn't have a fun time with his teammates, they had won after all...hadn't they?

The team might have won, but he couldn't help but feel like he personally had lost.

He'd been backstage right before New Directions had gone on to perform, much to the chagrin of every single member of his own team who had been searching for him frantically downstairs, and he had seen the interaction that had occurred between one Finn Hudson and…Rachel. He had seen the lumbering oaf approach her and tell her that he loved her, and he had seen the look on Rachel's face when she had fully processed it. It was the look that she had often directed his way, and it hurt him to see her extend it towards anyone besides himself. He wanted to rush out there and grab her in his arms, vow to never hurt her again, and kiss her senseless but the music cued and they started their performance…and he knew it was over for him. If there was one thing he knew about Rachel Berry, it was that singing was like her own personal Kryptonite. She pretty much fell in love with anyone who ever did a duet with her, and with her own lingering feelings for Finn from the past, he knew it wouldn't be long before she ended up reuniting with the boor. He'd turned away from the sight before him as Shelby rounded the corner, yelling at him about deserting his team moments before they were to go on. He hadn't even heard a word she'd said, because all he could focus on was the fact that Rachel was singing a love song…and it wasn't with him.

And then finally it had been their turn to go on, and their first two numbers had gone off without a hitch. By the time their third number arrived, Bohemian Rhapsody, he found that he was finally starting to feel a little bit like the Jesse St. James he'd been before meeting Rachel, before all of the drama had gone down. He'd stepped out and started to sing and he'd finally felt the passion for performing that he'd been missing, and he felt confident that the performance was going to go off well…until he saw her standing at the back of the theatre watching him with a guarded expression on her face. He almost forgot to go into the next part of the song until Carmen gave him a slight push in the back, and he remembered that the show had to go on…even if everything inside of him was screaming for him to acquiesce, stop performance and beg Rachel to forgive him. As he sang the last lines of the song he watched her face fall as she fled the auditorium, nearly causing him to trip over his own feet as he watched her go. He could feel his show face starting to crack and he was glad that it was the end of the song because he wasn't sure if the moisture on his face was perspiration, or tears.

They rushed off stage as an ensemble but once back stage he had to get away from his peers, his lungs crying out as he gasped for breath. He felt like he was suffocating, but he found that even when he got outside into the fresh air his lungs didn't feel any better. He was suffocating under his own emotions…and he didn't know how to fix it.


Does the pain weigh out the pride?
And you look for a place to hide?
Did someone break your heart inside?
You're in ruins


After what felt like an eternity he'd calmed himself down enough to go back inside, where everyone was gearing up backstage to head back on stage to hear the results of the competition. He knew that he should be feeling the thrills of competition and the backlash of performing but all he felt was numbness, and the same suffocating feeling that had started to overcome him the minute he'd seen Rachel standing at the back of the theatre. They assembled on stage and when he saw her grasp Frankenteen's hand in her own, he felt his heart shatter in his chest. He'd known that they were probably going to get together eventually but to see it right in front of his eyes, so soon? It was horrifying and it took every single fiber of his being to remain standing on that stage as he waited for the results to be revealed. They exchanged a look right before the winning team was called and he wondered if she could see the pain that he felt on the inside, did she feel it too? Had their relationship meant anything to her or had it just been a way to pass the time before getting back with the blundering buffoon attached to her side. When they were announced as the winners he went through the motions, hugging his teammates and their coach, but all he could think about was the devastated look on Rachel's face…and how he always seemed to be the cause of it.

Those thoughts rushing around in his mind were the ones that convinced him that going to the party would be a good idea.

When he'd gotten to the party, set up in Andrea and Carmen's hotel room that they were sharing, he'd headed straight towards the counter which had been lined with several alcoholic beverages in bottles. He grabbed the one closest too hm and popped off the top, taking a large drink. He winced as it went down his throat, but he found that the suffocating feeling actually dissipated for a second when the liquor had hit his throat. He also found that after the second or third bottle, he could almost forget the look on Rachel's face when he'd crushed her dreams and the egg…all in one swift movement. Almost. He wasn't sure how much, or even what, he'd drank but after a little awhile he could feel his motor skills dwindling as he tried to focus long enough to have a conversation with the blonde headed vocalist from Aural Intensity. He found that conversing was becoming too difficult so he managed to stumble his way across the room, only almost falling twice, to say goodbye to Giselle before beginning the trek back to his room on the next floor up. At that point he'd had way too much to drink and his memories were starting to become the only thing he could focus on, especially all the images of the good times he'd had with Rachel when they'd been dating. All he could think about was the way her smile brightened up a room and how her luscious locks had looked all sprayed out on the pillow as he hovered above her and kissed her neck.

He had to see her, at least one more time.

When he'd been in the lobby he'd heard some of the girls talking about the blonde ex-cheerleader and how she'd been rushed to the hospital to have her baby. He'd also heard the one who used to have a Mohawk asking Rachel what room they were in so he could go get her bag, and he specifically remembered her telling him that she was in Room 223. It seemed almost like fate, considering Andrea was in room 213, as her room wouldn't take a whole lot of effort to get to. He would've wanted to make the effort to go see her but he wasn't sure if his inebriated self would be able to climb the stairs or handle a ride in the elevator, so he was thankful that he didn't have to test it. He had temporarily forgotten that his room was 412. He managed to stumble his way down the hall until he rested before Rachel's door, barley managing to muster up the strength to knock before his legs gave out on him and he slumped to the floor in front of her door. He resisted the urge to giggle and lay his head back against the doorframe, receiving a shock when she opened the door and he fell backwards into her hotel room.

"What the hell?" She cursed, barley jumping out of the way as Jesse St. James fell into her room.

"Sorry." He managed to mumble, rubbing the back of his head as he could practically feel a bump forming. "I fell?"

"I see that." She said coldly, refusing to meet eye contact with him. He giggled a little bit at this and she froze before turning to look at him, eyes widening when she realized what state he was in. "Are you drunk?"

"I don't know…I've never been drunk before." He said honestly, surprising even himself. "Is this what drunk looks like?"

"I,,,ugh." She said as she ran a hand through her hair, looking like she'd rather be anywhere else than there dealing with him. He tried to get to his feet but he couldn't catch his footing and he slid to the ground again, sighing.

"Rachel…" he slurred loudly, catching the attention of the people from across the hall. "I need to talk to youuu!" He vaguely recognized the two girls and he opened his mouth to say something as he waved enthusiastically at them, but Rachel slapped a hand across his mouth, muffling his words. She smiled tightly at the girls across the hall and pulled him into the room the rest of the way, quickly shutting the door behind them.


"Shut. Up." She hissed, backing away from him as she started to pace in the room. "I only let you come in because I couldn't have you causing a spectacle in the hallway, anyone could have seen you!"

"I don't care." He said with a pout, sticking his lip out as he looked at her with the saddest face he could muster. "I needed to see you, consequences be damned!"

"Yeah, you say that now…wait until your sober and have another chance to crush my heart." She said bitterly as she turned away from him. He tried to get up into a standing position but it was harder than he remembered, so he ended up falling back to the floor as he crawled over towards her.

"I'm soooo sorry." He slurred, grabbing onto her leg. She looked horrified and he his brain couldn't really comprehend why, although when he went over it later in his head he would understand why. Jesse St. James never got down on his hands and knees and begged for anything or anyone, it was simply unheard of…yet there he was in front of Rachel Berry, begging for mercy.

"I didn't want to do it. I had to. They made me." He said petulantly, staring up at her with wide eyes. "I didn't want to hurt you, I love you. You have to believe me, please believe me!"


"No, wait. I have more to say. I'm sorry I didn't you the tell truth…I mean I'm sorry I didn't truth you the tell…ah shit." He stopped talking and ran a hand through his curly locks, frustrated tears creeping up in the corner of his eyes. He knew that this was probably the one opportunity he would have to talk to Rachel and his stupid drunken self was blowing it, and he was powerless to stop it. "I mean, I'm sorry I didn't tell you…the truth."

"What even is the truth, Jesse?" She asked quietly, moving to sit on the edge of the bed. He let go of her leg and pushed himself into a sitting position as he looked up at her, noting that she looked as if she'd been crying. Her eyes were puffy red and her hair looked like she'd been running her hands through it for hours…and she'd never looked more beautiful. He told her this and she deflected it, asking him the same question again. He paused to think about his answer for a few moments before deciding that she deserved the truth, even if he wasn't used to dishing it out.

"I saw you in the music store." He started slowly, trying to organize his thoughts. "You were spectacular at your Sectional's and I knew that I had to know you, know your talent." He slurred, trying his best to keep his words coherent. "We'd be magnificent together, you and I. I knew it even then." He saw her face break a little at this and he took a deep breath before continuing. "After our date I told Shelby, about it. She said it couldn't continue, and I got angry…and then she told me she was your mother."


"She was your mother…I mean, seriously, what even are the chances of that?" He asked as his voice rose in octave as he got more and more excited. "I mean seriously? Of all the luck? I had to go and fall for Coach Corcoran's daughter?"

"I'm sorry it was so unpleasant for you." She said coldly, turning away from him and looking towards the wall.

"No, no, no." He said quickly, tugging her closer towards himself as he managed to pick himself up off the floor and get onto the bed. He turned her face towards his and he gently wiped away the stray tear that had trickled down her cheek. "She's the closest thing I have to a mother…that's why I couldn't say no, couldn't tell her I wouldn't do it. I had to do it, no matter how I felt about you. No matter how much I wanted you, how much I wanted to win your heart and have you love me, like no one else had ever loved me before." He trailed off at this, getting lost in his own thoughts.

"Did you know, no one's ever said they loved me…until you?" Rachel opened her mind to reply but he kept speaking, more to himself than to her. "No one ever loved Jesse; Jesse was always just in the way. Mom and Dad never wanted Jesse, so they went away." That was a rhyme my cousin taught me when I was six…and it's stuck with me my entire life. When you told me you loved me I knew that I couldn't be with you, because it would ruin your life. I'm like a sickness, Rachel." He said as his eyes pleaded with her, willing her to understand. "I bring everybody down; I'm a black hole of despair. If you get too close, you get sucked in. I couldn't suck you in; I couldn't be the one to break your soul."

"You broke my heart…" She whispered, looking him in the eyes.

"But I knew you'd recover." He said passionately, grasping her hand in his. "I knew that over time you'd come to realize that what we had, flawed as it was, was true…that my feelings for you were real. I'm no good, Rachel." He said as his voice broke on the last sentence, cursing himself for being weak. "You have to see…I did this for you!"

"You never even gave me a choice!" She spat out, recoiling away from him. "You never let me decide if it was what I wanted, you made my decision for me. How is that even fair, Jesse?"

"I couldn't bring you down with me…you're too good." He said softly, refusing to meet her eyes as he staggered to his feet and managed to make it to the door, turning around for one last parting glance before he walked out of her life forever.

Unfortunately life didn't work that way, so when he saw the devastated look of pain etched upon her face he didn't turn around and walk away…he passed out cold on the floor.

When he woke up a few hours later, after violently throwing up multiple times in the bucket next to his head, he saw the note on the table that she'd left for him.

Checkout's at 10.

It was then that he knew that he'd lost her…if he'd ever even really had her in the first place.


When you're at the end of the road
And you lost all sense of control
And your thoughts have taken their toll
When your mind breaks the spirit of your soul


It was with a heavy heart and a sense of falsity that Rachel Berry went through with her morning routine, getting up and hitting the elliptical. She felt like a shadow of her former self, and even running on her elliptical and imagining herself as a huge star someday in the future wasn't helping. All she could think about were the words that had been exchanged between her and Jesse the night after Regional's and it was impossible to even believe that he was no longer around. She'd never returned any of his phone calls after that fateful night and when he'd come to the house she'd had her fathers lie and say she was out with Finn, something that she knew would upset him. She knew that the situation deserved some sort of closure but whenever she thought about it too much she felt herself starting to crack at the seams, so she pushed it away and started to focus on other things as best as she could. If there was one thing Rachel Berry liked to have in her life it was control, and she hated feeling like there were any situations that were completely out of her control. Her relationship with Jesse, and how it ended, had chilled her to the bones because she hadn't seen in coming, it had come out of the blue and she hadn't seen in coming, hadn't been able to control her reaction. It seemed like all she could do was replay the moment over and over again in her head, the moment she'd realized that their relationship may have been just one big lie.

She'd gotten a text from an unknown number asking her to assemble her glee club and meet in the auditorium. Normally she would question any kind of unknown communication but she was in a good mood, surprisingly enough. She and Jesse had spent the entire weekend together and in the heat of the moment she'd confessed to him that she thought she was falling in love with him. He hadn't said it back but she had a feeling that he wasn't the type of guy who was used to expressing his feelings in that way, he was more likely to sing about it, so she hadn't questioned his motives or the fact that he hadn't called her back the entire next day. She pushed her thoughts of Jesse out of her mind and went to find her other glee club members, smiling when she heard them talking about the fact that now, due to the fact that Jesse was in with them, they actually stood a really good chance of winning at Regional's. She gathered them all in the auditorium and was shocked when she saw multiple people crowded at the back of the stage, all dressed in blue and black. It didn't take her more than a second to realize that it was Vocal Adrenaline, and she was almost surprised that she hadn't seen them sooner. She had expected a sing off of some sort after they'd found out that Jesse had jumped ship, but she was especially surprised to see Jesse standing up there with them wearing one of the offending identical outfits.

"Jesse? What are you doing up there with them?" She'd asked hesitantly, cursing herself mentally when she heard her voice crack on the last note. It was obvious what he was doing up there, what was more pressing was why he was up there.

"I've transferred back to Carmel High, Rachel." He said tightly, not sounding a thing like the Jesse she'd come to know and love over the past few months. "I'm sorry that it's come to this but you guys were awful to me. You never accepted me; you never listened to my clearly superior ideas—"

She couldn't believe what he was saying, because it didn't make sense. Not once had he ever said anything of the likes to her before and he was the kind of guy who wouldn't remain silent about his opinions, he was a pretty opinionated guy. She found it completely surreal to hear him saying these things now, of all times, but she was saved from having to say anything when Finn stepped forward and said what was on everyone else's minds.

"Why are you here in our auditorium?"

"The blogs and chat rooms say that were finished, and that you guys are ripe to topple us. We just wanted to show you a little something we came up with a few days ago, to see if you agree with that assessment."

She couldn't do anything but stare as he spoke slowly and coldly, not a tinge of the warmth that she'd come to expect from him when he spoke. The boy up there might have looked like Jesse, but he was acting like a complete stranger. As he broke into the performance all she could focus on was the bitch trailing her hands down Jesse's back, Giselle she thought her name was, as he shot fierce looks in the direction of his former teammates. She could tell almost immediately that he was putting on a show, trying to hurt them the way that they'd hurt him (supposedly) as Vocal Adrenaline launched into intricate choreography that would make the choreographers of So You Think You Can Dace gasp. When he slid across the floor she couldn't help but notice how attractive he was, until they got to the line of the song that cut her the most as he looked right at her.

"How you do think I'm going to get along without you when you're gone?"

When he sang the lyrics he looked straight at her, and they cut into her heart. They were doing the song just to hurt her and the team, and she felt her heart start to break as she realized that this was it…this was the end of their relationship. Finally the song came to a close and the members of Vocal Adrenaline trickled out, finally leaving just Jesse and New Directions. Rachel felt him looking at her as he gulped and walked away from her, causing her to blink and look down at her feet. She refused to give him the satisfaction of knowing that he'd hurt her, made her cry. He never turned around once…and that was when Rachel realized it had all been a lie.

He hadn't remained silent when she'd said I love you because he was afraid to express his emotions, but because he was playing her and really felt nothing towards her.

And that hurt more than any pain she'd ever experienced before in her entire life.


Your faith walks on broken glass
And the hangover doesn't pass
Nothing's ever built to last
You're in ruins


When he'd come to her in her hotel room she'd wanted nothing more than to shove him out on his ass and curse him for ever coming into her life, but she'd found herself unable to do so as she pulled him into the room and closed the door behind her. He was drunk and wasn't making a whole lot of sense but she managed to get the truth out of him even if it wasn't exactly what she'd wanted to hear. She couldn't believe all of the horrible things he thought about himself, it was unreal to even think about. He tried to convince her that he was like a disease and that he'd pushed her away to save her from him but didn't he get it…it wasn't his decision to make?

She wasn't the fragile little doll people seemed to think she was, she was capable of making her own decisions. Therefore she made the decision not to give him the chance to hurt her again, and she walked out of his life before he got the chance to try to push her out some more. She still wasn't sure if the decision she'd made was the right one but she resolved herself to live with it, because it was her life now and her life just happened to be Jesse St. James free. Which was a good thing…right?

She shook the thoughts from her mind and continued getting ready for the day, only pausing in the slightest when she recalled the conversation she'd had with Finn in her mind almost a week after Regional's was over…

"Hey, Rachel." Finn had said enthusiastically, sliding into the chair next to her in the cafeteria as everyone sitting around them froze, forks midway to their mouth as they stared at the two. Rachel herself was also pretty shocked considering not once had Finn ever willingly sat with her at lunch time, even when they'd briefly dated earlier in the year. She gave him a way glance before setting her fork down and turning to look over at him.

"Hello, Finn…" She said warily, wondering where this conversation was headed.

"I was wondering if you want to go bowling with me." He asked with a goofy smile on his face, a smile that seemed less endearing than it once would have. A few months ago she would have killed to have Finn asking her out on a real date in front of everyone at school but now it seemed almost bittersweet, because no matter what Finn did he would never be the love of her life. She knew it was ridiculous but she couldn't help but feel that Jesse had been her soul mate, and that the drawbacks of being a star meant that you didn't always get to be with your soul mate. She smiled weakly at him and managed to muster up an unenthusiastic yes as he grinned, kissed her on the cheek, and settled into a conversation with Artie about some kind of video game. Rachel could feel everyone's eyes on her and it proved to be too much for her. Without any explanation she got up from the table and headed towards the garbage can, throwing her practically untouched salad away, as she hastily made her way out of the cafeteria.

It was ridiculous for her to be upset, she thought idly as she made her way down the halls with tears threatening to burst from her eyes, because it wasn't like she was betraying anybody by accepting a date with Finn.

Nobody but herself, anyway.

She managed to hold it together until finally the last bell rang, and it was time for her to meet Finn for their bowling excapade. She'd received a text from the other teen last period asking her to meet him by his van when the bell rang so she reluctantly made her way there, only hesitating in the slightest when she reached the outside door leading into the parking lot.

"You don't have to do it, you know." A voice piped up from behind her, causing her to turn around slowly and face the other person. Kurt smiled genuinely at her and she felt her face crumple as she finally allowed the tears to fall, wrapping her arms around the other boy as he did his best to comfort her. She pulled away after a minute of so and dried her eyes as she smiled weakly.

"It's him, isn't it?" Kurt asked, giving her a perceptive look. She just shrugged, knowing that denial was not going to work in this situation and Kurt smiled tentatively at her before patting her arm affectionately.

"I know it's difficult…and I know you aren't going to want to hear this, but maybe you should give him another chance to explain?"

"No offence Kurt, but why should I? He broke my heart."

"I heard through the grape vine that our little songbird had a little too much Smirnoff and made his way to your room. If he hadn't cared about you, he wouldn't have sought you out ma Cherie." Kurt said wisely. "From the way you were just crying its obvious that you still care for him, and from what I heard he still has a thing for you…maybe you two should talk about it before you try to jump into something that you really, deep down, don't want to do?"

"I c-can't." She managed to utter out through her tears, cursing herself for not being strong enough to quell them. "Thank you for the advice, but right now…I think this is what I have to do." He nodded and gave her one last hug before she exited the safe confines of the school and made her way to Finn's van where he was waiting for her. If he noticed her tear stained cheeks and puffy eyes he neglected to say anything as they rode to the bowling alley in silence. Once there she started to cheer up a bit as they started to play but she realized in that moment that what was between herself and Finn would never go past friendship, and she owed it to him to tell him as such.

"Finn, I think we need to talk." She said hesitantly as they sat across from each other at one of the tables, both drinking milkshakes. "I just need to be honest with you…about everything…" She trailed off, not knowing where to start, but he saved her from having to say anything.

"Rach, I know that you don't love me, well the way that I love you." He said earnestly, smiling dopily at her. "I'm okay with that though, because you're a great girl and, well, I cant wait."

"Finn…you don't understand…" she said slowly, not sure if he was really comprehending the situation. "It's not that I'm in love or not in love with you, it's just that I'm not quite…over him." She could sense that Finn was angered by her words but he swallowed thickly before playing idly with the straw in his milkshake.

"I want to be angry." He said slowly, as if he was shocked at his own words. "But I'm going to be mature or whatever this time, because I kind of get where you're coming from. Especially with the Quinn situation, since that's kind of part of the reason we broke up the first time." She nodded and motioned for him to continue. "Basically I wasn't ready to be in a relationship, cuz I still loved her, but then over time I stopped…which will probably happen with you and Jesse, right?"

She found herself nodding along but she couldn't help but wonder if it was true…if she'd ever really be able to truly get over her feelings for Jesse.


Did you try to live on your own
When you burned down the house and home?


He got out of the taxi and looked up at the large brick building, feeling a pit of despair gathering in his stomach as he paid the driver and grabbed his luggage out of the trunk. As he pushed his suitcase up the stairs he couldn't get past the feeling for impending doom that had settled upon him, screaming that he had made the wrong decision. He went to the front desk and got his room assignment, pocketing the key as he made his way up the stairs and towards his room. He turned the key and opened the door, taking in the empty room as he felt his belongings slide out of his arms and onto the floor. He felt his entire body start to shake as his emotions overcame him and he found himself slipping to the ground, arms wrapping around his knees as he finally allowed himself to cry for everything that had gone so horribly.

It had taken seeing a blank room to make him realize how blank and lonely his life now was.

He squinted his eyes shut and did his best to compose himself before pulling his cell phone out and dialing a familiar number, hoping that for once she'd actually answer his call. The phone rang and rang until it hit her voicemail and he cursed, throwing the phone against the wall and watching as it showered into multiple pieces

Just like his heart had many months ago.


Did you stand too close to the fire
Like a liar looking for forgiveness from a stone?


She saw the incoming call on her screen light up and she wondered, for the thousandth time, if she'd made the right decision in shutting him out of her life and not allowing him a chance to right the wrongs he'd done. She stared at the screen for so long that the call was dropped, and it was then that she decided that she needed to talk to him, to hear his voice. It had been so long since she'd seen or heard from him that she could barely remember the way his eyes had sparkled whenever they sang together, or the way his laugh echoed throughout the room whenever he chose to laugh. His laugh wasn't something she had gotten to experience very many times but the few times he had laughed…well, she'd thought it was quite possibly the most beautiful sound she'd ever heard in her entire life.

She had to hear his voice, even if it was just to say goodbye…so she dialed his number.

The number you have reached is not answering. Please hang up and try your call again.

She did try her call again, every day for the next two weeks…but all she received was silence.

He wasn't picking up her calls…he had moved on…

She had waited too long and now it was too late, she would never got to hear him laugh, or sing, or even just talk about anything. She would never get to see the sun hit his face, the way his eyes brightened up when anything by Our Lady Peace came on the radio, or see him sing along to every single high school musical song (which he still denied ever liking).

It was too late…and he was gone.


When it's time to live and let die
And you can't get another try
Something inside this heart has died
You're in ruins


He never thought he'd see the day that he'd actually be unsuccessful at something, so when he received a D in his performing arts class at UCLA he was shocked to say the least. He'd gone to speak to the professor about it, wondering how someone of his caliber could receive such a grade, and he had received a response that he hadn't been expecting.

"Jesse, you're a promising student…but there's no emotion."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, when you perform…it's like you're not there. You've left your passion and your feelings at the door and your presence on stage is purely robotic." The teacher said warmly, not wanting to insult the gifted boy. "It's no secret that you're talented, but talent isn't the only thing that makes one a star…it's their heart."

Jesse had barely managed to nod and blurt out a thank you before racing out of the room and into the cool crisp air, panting in exhaustion as he collapsed onto the ground underneath a willow tree. He'd never imagined what would happen if he wasn't cut out to be a performer, and he realized in that moment that everything he'd given up, everything he'd denied himself, was almost a moot point. He'd been afraid of letting Rachel Berry in all of those years ago because she'd made him feel something, something that he hadn't even known existed…and he'd pushed her away to keep her safe from himself before he brought out the bad in her. But maybe…maybe she'd been the one that had brought out the good in him? Maybe she'd been the sunlight in his life, and how he was drowning in darkness without her. He may have brought his drive and his determination to UCLA with him, but his passion and his heart were back in Lima, Ohio…with Rachel Berry.

The girl he loved more than life itself…that he'd pushed away.


When Rachel woke up the day before graduation, the only thing on her mind was getting her diploma and heading out on the first bus to New York so that the rest of her life could begin. Since her sophomore year, when everything had fallen apart so hideously, she'd slowly been pushing away the people in her life that meant the most to her in order to focus on her dreams of becoming a star. She knew in her heart that Jesse had been her soul mate, the one person in her life that she'd ever consider giving everything up for, and his absence made her heart grow cold…and what he'd feared would happen to her with his presence happened in his absence. She went it alone and by the time senior year rolled around, she wasn't even involved with glee club anymore. She loved singing but when she was in the choir room all she could think about was the look on his face when he'd walked out on her during Total Eclipse of the Heart, and the way he'd looked at her that day in the auditorium when he's shattered her heart into a thousand pieces. She found that she didn't even blame him for it anymore, because ultimately it had strengthened her into the person she'd become today…and it had given her more drive and passion to throw into her career, which she planned to start directly after graduation.

When she received her diploma and walked off the stage she was prepared to hop on the next bus or flight out of dodge…until she saw him sitting in the bleachers, staring at her with an unreadable expression on his face. She walked in his direction and he got up and headed in hers, meeting her half way as they exchanged a silent gaze that smoke more than their words ever could.

In that moment it didn't matter that she'd triple cast him in the Run Joey Run video, that he'd smashed an egg on her forehead, that they'd both hurt each other beyond imagination, or anything else. All that mattered in that moment was the two of them, and the fact that after two years of separation they were face to face once more…and all suddenly felt right.


One, 21 guns


"You never called." She said softly, stepping closer to him.

"I broke my phone." He answered, running a hand through his curls. She wrapped her arms around his neck and embraced him as he wound his hands around her waist, dragging her as close to him as humanly possible.


Lay down your arms, give up the fight


"I'm failing." He said suddenly, looking into her eyes as he smiled for what seemed like the first time in years as he gazed into her eyes. "They said I've got no heart…you know why?"

"Why?" she whispered, gazing into his eyes as their faces grew closer, lips barley inches apart

"…because I left it here, with you."


One, 21 guns
Throw up your arms into the sky, you and I


"It's not going to be easy." She said quietly, leaning in every so slightly so that her lips grazed his. "I've forgotten what it's like to let somebody in."

"That's okay." He whispered in reply, leaning in to capture her lips with his own. "We've got a life time to figure it out."