Author's Note: I honestly started writing this, and it ended completely different than I planned. Shelby and Puck share custody of Beth. If Glee were mine, Schue would have found Puck in the shower instead of Finn and Finn would have been egged instead of Rachel in 'Funk'.
Summary: Rachel disappears after 'Journey'. Eight years down the road, Jesse St. James gets married.
Timeline: Future fic, mentions 'Funk' and 'Journey'.
my wildest dreams could not foresee
Every time something happens, either good or bad, Finn Hudson's first impulse is to run to his high school girlfriend, Rachel Berry. Even eight years after their brief relationship – its end is his fault – he still wants to share everything with her, every single thing that he thinks would please her to know.
But he hasn't had any news from her ever since that fateful day that Vocal Adrenaline (and Rachel's douchy, sorry excuse of an ex-boyfriend Jesse St. James) took the Regionals' trophy home to Carmel and they were left behind, stunned at the fact that they hadn't even placed, crushed by the realization that, came the new school year, New Directions would no longer exist.
Rachel quietly filed for transference – a closed one that no one but Principal Figgins had access to – and secretly packed her bags. In the night between Regionals and the first day of summer, she left Lima behind, with no explanation whatsoever to Finn (who was hoping they could rekindle their relationship after her breakup with St. James), her best friends Puck and Santana or any other member of New Directions. Only her parents knew where she was, and they weren't telling.
Eight years later, everyone moved on. Puck and Santana are now Mr. and Mrs. Puckerman, raising two kids (Jackie and Daniel) in New York City. Quinn and Sam (who joined New Directions when it's given a surprising second chance after Rachel's departure) are living the newlywed life in Los Angeles. Kurt and Blaine are in Italy. Brittany and Mike tour the world as choreographers for the greatest stars (they're now on a tour with Beyoncé). Matt is a doctor in Miami. Tina and Artie work in Seattle. Sunshine (Rachel's replacement as female lead) is a superstar at her home country. Mercedes is a reality star in San Diego.
He's the only one still in Lima. He works as a teacher with Mr. Schue and Mrs. Schue (formerly known as Miss P) and devotes all his free time to trying to find Rachel. Puck and Santana had for years tried to get him to give up, but they were the ones to give up, on him. He's obsessed with the one that ran away.
It's a sad life, if you ask any of his former team mates. His drive to find Rachel slowly pushed everyone away – mostly because Finn is still furious that no one tried to locate Rachel. Her parents left Ohio a year after she disappeared. San and Puck went to college in California. The rest of them never truly cared and were satisfied that Rachel's parents knew where she was, and that she was alive and well.
Finn is still in love with the Rachel he remembers from high school and is certain that only when she's with him is that he will truly be at peace.
It's with great pleasure and limitless joy that Broadway it couple Jesse St. James and Rachel Caroline share with the world that they're now Mr. and Mrs. St. James. Their wedding took place at April 13th, 2018, at New York City Plaza Hotel, with thirty close friends and family in attendance. No further detail or wedding photo will be revealed.
Quinn frowns at the statement on her e-mail inbox. It's from Jesse St. James' rep. St. James is now a powerhouse of Broadway and has been taking Hollywood by storm. He's praised as someone hard working, dedicated, driven and crazy talented, also madly in love with the woman he has been dating since his freshman year in college. Apparently, in Jesse St. James, the man, there is no trace of Jesse St. James, the boy who cracked an egg on Rachel Berry's hair even knowing she's a vegan.
She finds it funny that Jesse's new wife – his girlfriend for the last eight years – shares the same name of his ex-girlfriend. Rachel Caroline is a Broadway diva, but she's a recluse. Her contracts have a clause where they forbid pictures from being taken of her during her performances. She has three Tony awards to her name but never once does she go receive them. In fact, if it weren't for the rave reviews of smitten theatre critics about her talent and versatility, one would believe Rachel Caroline doesn't exist.
She logs in the Getty Images account of the newspaper she works as a celebrity journalist and types 'St. James wedding' in the search bar. Pictures of Jesse St. James the day after the wedding pop up on her screen, a thick golden wedding ring on his finger and his arm around a small brunette whose long, sleek hair prevents her face from being seen. In her left hand there are a large diamond ring and a white gold wedding ring, and Quinn squints as she looks closely at the picture – is that a baby bump peeking from underneath her flowy plum top?
Curiosity now piqued, she browses through the pictures of her search in Getty Images. Pictures of the guests arriving are shown, a few Broadway performers – Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs she recognizes, also Lea Michele and Jon Groff, Jenna Ushkowitz too – and some Hollywood royalty – George Clooney, who starred on a yet-unreleased movie with St. James, is there with longtime partner Elisabetta Canalis. But Quinn's jaw drops to the floor as she recognizes Santana Lopez and Noah Puckerman on a snapshot, with daughter Jackie and son Daniel and a little blonde girl she doesn't know who is. What is the Puckerman family doing at the wedding ceremony of two Broadway celebrities?
She reaches for her phone and slowly dials Finn's number. "Finn? It's Quinn. I have some news…"
Noah Puckerman is having breakfast with his family – wife Santana Lopez and three children, daughters Beth (from a previous relationship) and Jackie (Jacqueline Marie) and son Daniel, when his phone rings. He curses quietly when Finn's name flashes on his ID, and makes San a gesture for her to watch the kids. She nods and he takes the call. "Yo, man, what's up?" He asks casually, while Santana takes over caring for her two children and her husband's older daughter.
"Not much. Look, Q called me and said you went to St. Jerk wedding? Since when are you guys close enough for you to be a guest?" Puck sighs because of course that's why his old friend called – Jesse St. James' wedding to his recluse, longtime, Broadway diva girlfriend has been featured on all the media outlets, including that picture of him with the new wife which prompted speculation of a baby on the way.
"San is his wife's lawyer. They're pretty tight. She was maid of honor in the wedding". Puck explains, and it's not a lie because his hot wife of five years was in the bridal party. Puck was best man but Finn doesn't need to know that. Jesse and babe were very strict: the less details the people from their past knew, the better.
"I see. And did you ask him if he had any news from Rach?"
"Fuck, man, not this again. I fucking told you: move the fuck on already. It's been eight years. Carole isn't getting any younger and you're the only one who can give her and Burt grandbabies". He's impatient and pissed because his friend is like a dog with a fucking bone when it comes to Rachel's disappearance. "Look, I have to go; San and the kids want to go out. Talk to you later, dude". He hangs up and stares at San, who has sent the kids to shower and get dressed and is now frowning.
"Word of the wedding reached Lima?" She asks, and he nods, rubbing his forehead.
"Yeah… Fuck, Rach should just show up next to St. James already and get it over with it", he grumbles, and Santana sighs.
"I know…" She frowns and then a sneaky smile curves her lips. Puck looks at it and laughs.
"What's up on that devilish mind of yours, woman?" He asks.
"Rachel Caroline will pull an Angelina Jolie on this year's Tony", she states with a smirk. She pulls her cell phone and after a moment says, "Call Hummel. Tell him to find the tightest, most formfitting dress he can so we put baby St. Berry on display. And tell him to send it stat if he doesn't want to lose his precious 'Idina and me' picture".
Puck laughs and presses his wife close to him, a glow of admiration in his eyes. "I fucking love you when you pull stunts like this, Mrs. Puckerman".
She smiles and kisses him, and he can tell she's excited for the aftermath of finally revealing Broadway's best kept secret: who is Rachel Caroline?
Quinn calls a week later with more news from the St. James wedding. By now she's sure Jesse St. James has made Rachel Berry his wife after eight years of dating (and that she ran away to California to be with him). The wedding song was 'As Long As You're Mine', sung by Idina Menzel herself and Taye Diggs. The first dance as husband and wife was to 'Hello', sung by the bride and the groom themselves, and they both were crying by the time they were finished – and apparently everyone else was too. Her personalized vows mentioned something about them recognizing themselves in each other from the moment they met. His mentioned Sondheim and Madonna and how thankful he was that she allowed him in all her secrets.
Finn refuses to believe her. "It's not Rachel", he says firmly, even though the wedding has Rachel and Jesse's combined flair for dramatics and epic romance written all over it. "Rachel would never marry Jesse St. James after he broke an egg on her head. Of that I'm certain".
"Finn-" she begins, prepped to put her biggest card on the table (a picture of Shelby Corcoran, radiantly glowing and looking all mother-of-the-bride-ish), but he cuts her off.
She is trembling with fear and nerves inside the limo, because since she first began making her name she has been keeping the lowest profile in the Big White Way. She and Jesse agreed it would prevent people from their past to ask a bunch of questions they didn't want to answer (namely – Finn Hudson pounding on her door demanding to know why she bailed all those years ago), but somehow it became more of a burden than a relief.
So here she is – after three years winning Tonys, she will walk her first red carpet, his arm firmly around her waist, her blossoming belly in proud display in the pale golden dress which adheres to her body like a second skin, courtesy of Kurt. He feels her tense and places an arm on the naked small of her back. "It'll all be okay, I promise", he whispers, and she smiles at him uncertainly. The driver parks their limo and he squeezes her hand before he slides out of the limo into the bright sun. He holds out his hand for her once he's done waving and his eyes are firm and gentle and reassuring. She breathes deeply and settles her slim hand against his. She hears the collective gasp from the media and the reporters and the paparazzi and the fans and puts her best show face on.
She feels the eyes of everyone zeroing in her expanding belly and rests her hand in Jesse's back. The flashes pop from around them, all registering the love and intimacy and happiness exuded by the newlyweds. They work the red carpet like the pros they are and, when they meet Santana and Puck inside, Rachel thanks her quietly for the advice.
Rachel Caroline and Jesse St. James, Broadway's hottest couple, is the buzz of the 2018th Tony Awards' red carpet. They both win – her as Best Actress, him as Best Actor – and she goes first to collect her prize. She's smiling and tearing up as she receives her trophy from the hands of Sienna Miller. "Wow! It's amazing to be up here! Uh… Thank you for my fathers, my mother, my best friends Noah and Santana, my fashion guru Kurt and everyone who has been believing in me for the last three and a half years. But I'd never be here if it weren't for my new husband. Jesse, for eight years we've been together and I can honestly say I began living the day we met in that music store in Lima, Ohio. You're everything I ever wanted and I'm thankful every day for having you and our baby girl in my life. I love you. Thanks again".
She's crying by the end of her speech, and he's crying by the time she comes to sit down next at him, and they share a moment, because they know this is their safe haven before the questions from people from their past and their present start coming. When he is announced as Best Actor she's the one smiling the brightest, clapping the loudest and looking the proudest. He receives his award from the hand of Neil Patrick Harris and his eyes zero on his wife. "Thank you for everyone who believed in me, and Rachel, my wife, thank you the most. You saved me from an arid life, from the emptiness and loneliness that comes from being at the top alone. For eight years now you've been my world and I'm so thankful that you've decided to follow me to California all those years ago. I love you with my heart, my mind and my soul and I promise you you'll never regret every decision you've ever made concerning us".
He comes to sit next to her and she's crying and smiling too, and she puts his hand on her belly, where he can feel their baby daughter kicking up a storm inside her belly. "She started jumping around as soon as she heard your voice", she giggles softly and he smiles brightly. "We love you as much as you love us", she whispers, and he can't thank his lucky stars enough for her impulsive decision to leave everything behind so they can start anew in California.
From PEOPLE ONLINE
Jesse St. James and Rachel Caroline Step Out Together
2018 Tony Awards red carpet was the occasion chosen by newlyweds – and obviously expectant parents – Jesse St. James and Rachel Caroline to make their first appearance together as a couple.
St. James and his bride were married last week at a private ceremony on Plaza Hotel after dating for eight years and since last night they had never been publicly seen together – in fact, the actress, who is taking her hubby's last name and will now go by Rachel St. James, had never been seen outside theatre.
Both won top honors in their categories, and thanked each other on their accepting speeches, also revealing they're having a little girl. "I'm due on the summer. We're still nitpicking names. He's very, very picky", the actress told Ryan Seacrest.
Finn wakes up that morning to pictures of a gloriously pregnant Rachel walking on the red carpet, wrapped in the arms of the one man he would have sworn she'd rather not see. His jaw drops as he rubs his eyes disbelievingly. On his TV Rachel is smiling lovingly at Jesse, laughing and looking in his eyes as he whispers something at her, his hand resting at the proudly displayed swell underneath the pale golden fabric of her dress.
His hand grips his phone and he dials Puck's number. His friend picks up on the first ring and he screams, "You fucking bastard! You knew, didn't you? I always knew you were a fucked up traitor!"
Puck's voice is hard and dangerous. "Shut the fuck up, Hudson. Everyone has been telling you for years to just move the fuck on already, but you stubbornly refused to listen. You've created this fucked-up little fantasy of how you would find Rachel and you guys would settle down for life in Lima, but the one thing that seems to have slipped your mind is that Rachel was never a Lima loser. She was famous for going after what she wanted and when she left us all behind she was doing exactly that. She was going after who she wanted – Jesse St. James. She took matters in her own hands and shifted her whole life around and it paid off in spades for her. Jesse is crazy about her and never once did he break up with her to find his inner rock star", Puck's voice is scathing and Finn flinches. "Other than the whole funkification episode he never screwed things up with Rachel and even that he made sure she knew he did it after succumbing to peer pressure".
"I'm going to New York", Finn decides.
"You're free to come. But if you get anywhere near Rachel, know that San will file a restraining order against you. Face it, Finn: Rachel would have reached out for you if she wanted to. If she didn't it means she doesn't want you in her life. Move the fuck on, man. Find a girlfriend, get married, have a bunch of kids. Leave Rachel in the past. You don't know adult Rachel and, frankly, the fact that she is best friends with Satan Puckerman should be warning enough that you won't like it. Talk to you later, man".
He hangs up and stares sadly at the smiling couple on the screen. His fingers run along Rachel's glowing face, and his voice is thick with tears when he says, "Goodbye".