a/n: After the most recent episode on The Kurt Show, I wanted to write something that got into Finn's head a little more than the show has lately. (That said, I did actually really enjoy this week's episode-I flailed about like a crazy fangirl when Finn sang to Kurt-I just wish they wouldn't try to do so many plotlines at once, because I think every plotline suffers for it.) This will be made AU after next week's episode, I'm sure, but I had to get the plot bunny out of my head :) Title and lyrics are from "On the Radio" by Regina Spektor.

Also - Finn's a little hard on himself in this, especially in regards to his intelligence. I try to nudge him towards the light of self-esteem with help from Rachel, though. Anyway, you've been warned.

This is how it works:

You're young until you're not,

You love until you don't,

You try until you can't.

You laugh until you cry,

You cry until you laugh,

And everyone must breathe,

Until their dying breath.

No, this is how it works:

You peer inside yourself,

You take the things you like,

And try to love the things you took.

And then you take that love you made,

And stick it into some,

Someone else's heart,

Pumping someone else's blood.


He doesn't know what shocks him more.

Is it that she's so talented, that she has such an absolutely awesome voice? Or is it that she looks at him and says with such earnest honesty that he's talented? He's pretty sure his mom's the only other person who's ever thought he's worth anything. Sure, he's good at football, probably one of the best at McKinley, but it's McKinley, so that's not saying much.

She's kinda freaky, Rachel Berry. And, he's not gonna lie, when he's lying on his bed with his hand down his pants, he's totally shocked to have her face appear in his head. She smiles that crazy, intense smile, she tells him he's talented, he thinks about what's under that tiny skirt, and he lasts about thirty seconds. Yeah, he knows he should think of Quinn when he jerks off, but he can't help it.

There's just something about Rachel Berry.

He tries not to think about her like that, especially after Quinn drops the baby bomb. But it's impossible not to think of Rachel like that when he spends so much time with her, and it's impossible not to spend so much time with her, 'cause he just likes spending time with her.

Nobody's ever wanted to go bowling with him before, you know.


His mom always says that intelligence isn't the only measure of a person.

He's pretty sure that's the mom way of saying you're stupid. He knows he's stupid, okay? He does. FOIL in Algebra just doesn't make sense, no matter how many times it's explained, and the more he reads Faulkner the less he understands. Seriously, though, Faulkner, really? What the hell, dude — they teach you the period on, like, day two of kindergarten.

Anyway, it's not Finn's fault that's he stupid. He can't, like, magically just be smart. And sleeping on your textbook, by the way, does not work. Puck's a big, fat, lying asswipe. See, Finn tries really hard to be as smart as he can, but school is boring, and he has to worry about football and Quinn and being cool. Plus, where're brains gonna get him anyway?

When Rachel asks him about the future, about what he wants from life and what his ambitions are, all he can do is blink stupidly at her. But, actually, that's one of the times he's not being stupid. She's just being crazy. Why does somebody his age have to think about the future and ambitions and all that stuff? He can't even fathom maybe thinking about it all.

He has enough to think about now, thanks.

So it kind of bugs him that Rachel plants those thoughts in his head. And it really bugs him that it actually makes him really want to be better. Like, it's totally cool that she thinks he's talented and he can have a future and he can . . . do all this stuff. But it puts all these expectations on him. He knows he disappoints her all the time, and he hurts her, but she keeps coming back for more, keeps trusting him, and he doesn't get it.

He doesn't get it, but that's why he likes her. 'Cause she obviously likes him, so she's gonna be nice to him, and she's not gonna try to play games or to manipulate him. She's Rachel Berry, and she's better than all that, and she knows it. She's cool and confident and . . . and, dammit, he's sixteen. He can't explain it all. He's a teenage boy, and she's a really hot girl who thinks he's awesome.

Why does it have to be complicated?

High school isn't supposed to be this hard.

(Maybe it's not complicated. Maybe he's just too stupid to understand it all.)


When the truth comes out, the anger overwhelms him.

He's angry at Puck, angry at Quinn, angry at every fucking member of Glee, and angry at his own stupid self. Really, Rachel's the only person he can turn to in all of it.

He sits with her on the ride back from sectionals and they share her earbuds and listen to her ipod, and it's simple. He can forget about his shitty life for a little while. And then when he's forced to face it, she's still there. The initial anger fades with sectionals, and then comes the overwhelming heartbreak.

He feels like such a girl to call it that, but that's what it is.

Rachel sticks around through it all. He throws his textbook across the room, and Rachel flinches but doesn't leave; she only rubs his shoulder comfortingly when he starts to cry. He stalks out of Glee club, unable to look at Puck and Quinn, and she follows after and brings his backpack to him. He calls her in the middle of the night and she talks with him for two hours. She lies on his bed and he cries into her stomach, because he doesn't want to make his mom deal with this, and he can't deal with it alone.

She's warm and soft and smells really good, and she shushes him and rubs his back.

It starts to change when winter break comes.

The sadness starts to give way to anger again, this seething, black anger that makes him tremble with the force of it. And he's still sad, and he still feels like an idiot, and it's all swirling around in his gut and leaving him confused and nearly sick with the feelings. She's sitting on his bed and he's pacing the room, and it just explodes out of him.

"I mean, how stupid could I have been?" he demands.

"You're not stupid," Rachel says softly.

"I'm an idiot!" he roars. "Sperm travels better in hot water? That's crap! Anybody else would have known that's crap!"

"Finn," she says, and she stands from the bed. But he's not in the mood for her soft words.

"Why am I this stupid? My mom's not an idiot. Nobody I know is this stupid. Why am I the one who actually believes his girlfriend —"

"Because you're amazing!" Rachel exclaims, and her shout startles him into silence. She looks at him with desperate eyes. "How can you not see that, Finn? You're such an amazing person with such an amazing heart. You would never do anything so awful, and that's why you couldn't see past their lies. You're amazing, and that's why you couldn't imagine that your best friend and girlfriend would cheat on you and then lie about the pregnancy.

"You're such a sweet and loving boyfriend, and such a good and loyal friend, and they're the idiots for ever taking you for granted. Don't you see it?" There are tears in her eyes, and she just means it, he knows.

He can't help himself. He kisses her. He wraps his hands around her arms and presses his mouth to hers. She's shocked, but she sinks into him a little, and he steers her back to the bed. Her lips open under him, and, God, she tastes so good, and he needs this. He runs his hand through her hair and crushes her to him and just kisses her.

When they break apart, Rachel looks so happy.

Finn's still angry. It's like the anger owns him.


He thinks about it so many times before Quinn is pregnant, and even afterward. He thinks about if he were to date Rachel. In his head, it's always pretty simple. But when it finally happens, he doesn't even know how it happens, and it's not even close to simple.

He calls her house, one of her dad picks up, and he hears the man shout across the room, "Rachel, sweetheart, your boyfriend's on the phone!" Finn's taken aback, but when he asks Rachel, she timidly says that well, isn't he? He can't lose her. She's all he has left. So he says yes, of course.

She wants to go to dinner, but, fuck, she suggests this place Quinn likes, and he ends up faking sickness and leaving the date really early. It's totally lame, but he just can't handle that place. Then Rachel offers to go bowling, and he loves bowling, but the last time they went bowling, he was shamelessly using her for Quinn because seriously, fuck, he can't go bowling with her.

They return to school, and the sadness and anger just give way to this desperate need to make it all go away. He wants to go back to the start of the school year, back to before he was a laughing stalk, a confirmed moron, and he had a super-cool girlfriend and an awesome best friend, and . . . and Rachel just doesn't get that.

Rachel's so happy, he can see it, like she thinks he's moved on now that he's with her. He doesn't know how to tell her it's not like that, so he just doesn't. Maybe someone smarter than him would be able to make sense of it all and, like, just handle it better, but he's stupid, remember? He doesn't know how to say that to Rachel, because she can't seem to grasp the stupid factor.

He just wants . . . he wants . . . he wants to be a rockstar, like Mr. Schue says. Finn was cool once, and he can be again. He can be even cooler. And he can put all this crap behind him. It's the only way.

He comes clean to Rachel. He hates to hurt her, he really does, 'cause she was his lifeline for so long. But now she's tied up in all that, and he just wants to forget. He can't handle any more cat calendars or embarrassing t-shirts, not when he's still neck deep in a shitty life. She just doesn't get that.

(But as she walks away, he wonders if maybe she does get that, get him, and he's the one who doesn't get anything.)


The night after his date with Santana and Brittany, he lies in bed and realises it.

He doesn't feel sad or angry or determined to forget. He feels like, for the first time since sectionals, he finally knows what he wants. He doesn't want to go back to the way it was at the beginning of the year, 'cause the truth is that the beginning of the year sucked. He wasn't even all that happy. He doesn't want to cry anymore or to scream anymore or to be upset anymore.

And he finally knows that he doesn't have to be.

He just wants to be with Rachel for real.

He's ready now. He wasn't before, but he is now, and he can see it. He just needed some time away from her, from all of it, to realise what he should've known from day one. He was slow on the uptake, but he got his act together eventually.

Maybe that's why Rachel kept giving him chance after chance 'cause she's always known he'd finally put the pieces together and appreciate her like she deserves. She is, after all, the one person who actually puts any stock in the idea that he has brains.

It's time to move on, like she thought he had. He has to get her back.

He thinks it'll be easy.

It isn't.

But the fact that she doesn't just fall back into his arms, it makes him realise all the more that he really does want to be with her. 'Cause he's failed her, and the way that makes his stomach drop, that feeling that has to be the kind of feeling you only get when you like-like someone. Right?

So, yeah, basically, he finally shows her how dumb he is, and he hurts her doing it, too, and then he realises just how much he likes her. Great timing, self. Like, honestly, it hurts to see Quinn with Puck, but it makes his blood boil to see Jesse throw an arm around Rachel's shoulders like he owns her.

Still, Finn might not be the sharpest crayon in the box, but he doesn't give up that easy.

(That's not the right metaphor. He can't think of the right one. He'll ask Rachel.)


It's not supposed to go like this.

He's supposed to beat his hands against his chest and scream "Yes!" really loudly, 'cause he just had sex — real sex with a girl. It's supposed to be awesome and amazing and he's supposed to tell everybody 'cause he had sex.

All he wants to do is cry, though.

What kind of pansy-ass high school boy is he?

But it should've meant something. People like Puck, people who think sex with anybody is great they're the stupid ones, not Finn. How come nobody ever told him that before?

(And why did he ever, ever break-up with Rachel? Sex with her would totally have brought chest-beating and yes-screaming.)


He misses the attention.

He misses the smiles that were for him, the look in her eyes like she thinks he's so amazing, and . . . and nobody's ever looked at him like that before. He can't take that she looks at Jesse St. Dickweed like that now. What did Jesse ever do to deserve that?

(Okay, so maybe Finn didn't do much either, but that's not the point.)

He tells Jesse he'll back off, but, honestly, he's just trying to show Rachel what a nice guy he is, 'cause he knows she likes that about him. And he sees it in her gaze, when he says he liked her there's some part of her that still likes him. He has a chance. He can win her back. He just has to play to his strengths. He has to be a nice guy.

Unfortunately, making plans to win back his girl isn't really one of his strengths. So, none of it really works. He loses Rachel, inch by inch, until they're just two people in Glee. He doesn't know how to fix it. He thinks about what he could say to make it all work. But he's pretty sure he knows what would happen if he actually did try to talk to her about it all.

It'd go something like this:

Rachel: Hi, Finn. I'm smart and talented and sneaky hot and just talking to me makes your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth and your jeans feel really tight. What do you want to talk about?

Finn: Rachel, get the fuck away from Jesse St. Jackass. You're mine. Let's go sing together like we used to and then you can have sex with me, not him.

Rachel: *stomp* and *gasp* and *slap* (not necessarily in that order)

Not even Finn's stupid enough to make that conversation a reality.

So she slips through his fingers, just like that, and he doesn't know how to stop her.


It isn't a big revelation or anything.

It actually happens in biology.

Rachel's leaning over the lab, wearing her lab goggles even though Mr. Greene said goggles weren't necessary today, and bossing around her lab partner, some mousy-haired boy that Finn doesn't know. And Finn stares at her and just knows.

He's in love with her. That's the feeling in his chest.

She's still seeing Jesse St. Shithead, but sitting in biology, Finn feels kinda . . . relieved. He can finally put a word to everything to missing the crazy, to wanting to be better for her, to everything. He knows that feeling in his chest when he glances at the cat calendar shoved in the back of his locker.

"Mr. Greene!" Rachel cries, storming across the room. "I demand a new lab partner! My current partner is incompetent!"

It's love.

But, well, what's he supposed to do now?


She kisses him.

Why does she kiss him? How does he make her do it again?

She kisses him.

She kisses him.

She kisses him.

What has he done to deserve this? What has he done right? He wants to keep doing it. Somebody, quick, tell him what he needs to do. He's not gonna mess this up again!


It's probably the sort of thing that people plan.

Puck would have charmed her with a song or something like that and talked about hot Jews. Jesse would have written some hoighty-toighty poem and talked about how two people with their talent just belong together. But Finn just looks at her, and he thinks of the sweet kiss she gave him earlier, and he tells her.

"I love you."

He's pretty sure it's the smartest thing he's ever done.


Here's a news flash: movies are not real life.

'Cause in movies, the underdogs always win. And New Directions is the underdog. And they lost. They lost. The club'll be disbanded, and everything they've done this year will just be gone.

They file onto the bus quietly. Finn sits down and scoots to the window. Rachel hesitates for a moment, which kinda freaks him out, but then she sits beside him. He grabs her hand and she laces her fingers with his. He has to stop himself from actually grinning. They lost. This is so bad. He's probably gonna get really upset about it when he's back at home all alone. Here now with Rachel, though, knowing that they're finally together . . . that's something to be happy about, right?

She sighs a little, but she leans into him. He can't hide his grin, then, and Artie gives him the nod, like he was rooting for Rachel and Finn, too, and Finn tells himself maybe it'll all be okay. Maybe the club'll somehow manage to survive this. It's not stupid to hope for that, is it?


Some times, Rachel makes him feel like a jerk.

And it's his fault, which makes him feel like an even bigger jerk.

It's like this. When the bus pulls back into the McKinley parking lot, he heads to his car and she heads to her dads, but he smiles at her as her hand slowly pulls from his, and he thinks everything is gonna be great. When he calls her on Sunday, though, and asks if maybe she wants to go out next weekend, she doesn't say anything. "Rach?" He starts to panic.

"Do you do you really want to go out with me?"

He's confused. "Yeah," he says. "'Cause I love you, and everything." Has she forgotten already? Didn't it mean something to her? He swallows thickly.

"Oh," she says quietly. "I thought you meant that you loved me as a friend. You are my best friend, you know."

"You're my best friend, too," he says quickly, his palms starting to sweat, because he thought it would be easier than this. How can she have misunderstood? "But I meant it, like, for real. I want to go out with you. I'm, like, in love with you. That's it. I'm in love with you, Rachel."

It's quiet again. "Rachel?"

"Finn Hudson, I would be honoured to go out with you on Friday night!" She sounds so suddenly breathless and bubbly and happy and thrilled and like Rachel Barbara Berry.

Atta boy, Hudson.

But it still doesn't get easy. Glee club is saved. He and Rachel go out, and it's really cool. He can hold her hand whenever he wants, and, even better, he can kiss her whenever he want. She's his girlfriend. It's like she forgets it, though. Like, she doubts it.

Again and again, all summer long, there are these little hints. Maybe hints is the wrong word. He can just tell, can see, that she's scared no, terrified that any second he's gonna break up with her.

When they're making out and his hands start to travel south, she stops him and then looks at him with these large, nervous eyes, like any minute he's going to yell at her or throw up his hands and exclaim I'm done with you! Why? When they run into some people on the football team, she shrinks into him a little, and keeps her head bowed, which is completely weird. Rachel Berry isn't the shrink-into-the-background-and-keep-her-head-bowed kinda person.

"Why'd you do that?" he finally asks one time when they're leaving the mall. "Hide from them like that, I mean? If they try to beat up on you, Rach, I'll stop them."

She shrugs. "I just didn't want to draw attention to myself," she says.

"But you love attention."

"I just . . ." She won't look at him. "I just thought maybe it'd be easier for you if your girlfriend weren't so crazy." She climbs into the car and away from him before he can say anything. It doesn't matter. He doesn't know what to say.

Well, he does. He should tell her that she's the one being stupid now, 'cause he likes the crazy. And she's more important than being cool, she has to know that. He loves her, dammit! But even though he knows what he should say, he doesn't know how to say it. That's kind of a big problem for him, actually. Plus, this insecurity, this idea that he'll drop her at any second, well, it's not hard to figure out where it's from. He did that to her. (That's the jerk part.)

So he just climbs into the car and doesn't whine when she wants to listen to NPR.

He won't listen to NPR for just anybody she knows that, right?


He calls her out on it.

It's okay to want to be a star, but she can't go sending people to crack houses. He does stupid shit, too, and she calls him out on it, and she makes him a better person because of it. He wants to do the same for her. She helps him act like a leader and treat people right and believe in himself. He likes to think that maybe he helps her give people a little more leeway, a little more sympathy.

But it's not like she doesn't give people sympathy. She's still one of the nicest people he knows, even if she can be really mean about star stuff. He thinks maybe she's only mean about that stuff 'cause it's so important to her. Like, all her goodness some times gets covered up by her need for stardom, her need for perfection.

Maybe that's 'cause she's spent so long being taunted and bullied for her personality, though. Maybe the bedazzled, star-stickered armour of bossiness she wears around is a self-defense mechanism.

It's confusing, really, when he tries to analyse it all, so he doesn't let himself think about it too much.

When she tells him he's inspired her to be a better person, he kinda wants to puff his chest out in pride. He can't help but tease her, though, that it's not entirely selfless. The truth is that if she were to change completely, if she were to give away solos and bite her tongue and all that, he'd jump off a cliff (or just be really upset).

He doesn't want her sending girls to crack houses, but he still wants her to be the girl he fell in love with, the one who's sweet and kind and believes in him, and, yeah, the one who knows what she wants and goes for it.

He's not the sharpest tool in the shed (thanks, Rachel), but he knows a good thing when he sees it.


He tries not to remember his whole . . . thing with Santana.

He tries even harder not to remember that he lied to Rachel about it.

At first, he tells himself it's okay, because she's had sex, too, and they were apart then, anyway, and now they're together and it'll all be okay. He'll come clean, and maybe she'll be hurt that he lied, but . . . it'll be okay. He starts to realise something, though.

She's kind of a prude.

He wants to ask her how she could have sex with Jesse after only a few weeks with the jackass, but months with Finn isn't long enough. The more he thinks about it, the more he thinks maybe she didn't have sex with Jesse. He sees how wide her eyes go when his hands climb up her thighs, and he sees how pink she turns when he goes hard against her leg. This is all so new to her.

And it would be a Rachel thing to do, wouldn't it, to lie about something like that?

He's happy at the idea, but then he's really not happy, 'cause what's she gonna say when she finds out that he slept with Santana? She's already insecure about them, even after all this time he knows despite how well she tries to hide it. To think that she's still a virgin and he went and lost it to a cheerleader who treats her like shit. . . .

He convinces himself it'll still be okay, because if she did lie about sleeping with Jesse, then they both lied, so they're, like, even, right? Right. Right. No worries. It's smooth sailing for Finn after that. Until, that is, she admits the truth and then, worse, looks at him with those big, soft, adoring eyes and talks about how they've saved it and can have their first time together.

He knows it the moment she turns away from him and says that she lied.

He. Is. So. Screwed.

She can't ever find out.


But Santana might tell her.

So Finn has to beat the cheerleader to the punch.

He has to tell Rachel. She deserves to know, and she'll look past it, because he loves her and that will be good enough for her. He made a stupid mistake, okay? But they weren't together and he regrets it so much and she's the one he's with now and always wants to be with and . . . and, please, God, let that be enough.

He tries to tell her one day after school.

Before he can even start, though, she sits him down on her bed and tells him to close his eyes. "Okay," he says obdiently. He waits. He wonders what she's doing. He wonders what his mom's gonna make for dinner.

"Open them," Rachel says.

He does. And she's standing there in nothing but her underwear and bra, and they're pink and lacy and they match, and she's looking at him like she thinks he hung the moon or something. She steps closer to him and places her hands on her shoulders. "I love you," she whispers.

He manages to croak her name before she kisses him, and then she's climbing onto him, and he rolls her over so she's lying on the bed beneath him, and, holy shit, how'd he get nestled between her thighs like that? His mind goes fuzzy and her hands are running through his hair one second and then dragging his hands to the straps of her bra the next second.

Once he has a soft, warm, naked breast in his hand, he knows he's not gonna tell her today.

They round third base. He almost wishes they'd talked instead.


The guys are all in the dressing room, getting pumped up, laughing, joking, throwing hotel basket fruit at each other, when someone knocks on the door.

"Come in!" Sam shouts.

It's Rachel. Something's wrong. Finn stands in alarm. She's staring at the ground, and she looks as if she's caving in on herself. "You okay, Berry?" Puck asks slowly. The whole room has gone cold.

Her voice trembles. "Can I speak to Finn, please?"

Finn goes to her quickly. He tries to take her hand, but she swiftly walks out of the room, and he's left merely to follow. "What's the matter?" he asks as they step into the hallway. Her hair and make-up is all done up, and she looks gorgeous. In a few minutes, they'll be up on stage. What's happened? "Has something happened?"

"I want you to be completely honest with me," she says, and she's staring at the wall.

"Of course," he assures, reaching for her hand again.

But she folds her arms over her chest. "Did you sleep with Santana?" Her eyes finally jump to meet his gaze, and it's written so clearly in her face: she wants him to deny it. Maybe he should. She'd believe him over Santana any day. Jesse or Puck or Sam they'd all deny it.

Finn can't think on his feet that fast, though, so he just sort of stands there, and she takes in a sharp breath, murmuring, "oh, God."

"It meant nothing," he says quickly.

She only backs away from him. "Then why'd you lie about it?" she whispers, her voice broken. "Are you do you like her?"

"No! I like you! I'm in love with you! I lied 'cause I just wanted to forget it even happened!" She has to believe him.

She's started to cry. Shit.

"Rachel, I'm not good with talking about stuff and and I don't know how to do all this relationship stuff, but I know that you're it for me, and even when other stuff is going on with with football or Kurt or my mom and Burt or — you're still the most important thing in my life and — please, Rachel!"

She doesn't say anything. Nothing happens. They stand there, and he should do something, anything, but what? How can he make this right?

She wipes her eyes. "We have to perform soon," she says, "and I have to fix my make-up. We'll talk more later."

"Okay," he says, his breath coming shallow. He wills her to look at him again. It doesn't work. "But you're not please don't leave me, Rachel." He wants so much to reach out and touch her. But it'll break his heart if she pulls back from him. Maybe if he just keeps talking "I know it was stupid. I know I'm stupid. I know —"

"Don't," she interrupts. "You know I don't like it when you talk that way about yourself. What you did was stupid, and immature, and . . . but you are not stupid." She's hugging herself, and she still won't look at him, but he clings to the very fact that she hasn't torn him to pieces yet. "We'll talk," she says.

He nods.

She leaves.


They perform at Sectionals.

All he can think about is Rachel, and he pours his heart as he sings to her. That's what he's best at, really, singing to Rachel. It's the only time he can really say everything he doesn't know how to put into his own words. Afterward, he grabs her hand as they start to announce the winner, and she doesn't pull away.

When they win, she turns into him and presses her face into his chest, and he clutches her tightly.

They're herded off the stage, surrounded by clapping parents and a thrilled Mr. Schue, and then everyone starts crowding around Kurt. But Finn makes sure he keeps a hold on Rachel's hand. That's something else he's good at her tiny hand fits perfectly into his, and he can hold it like it's his life (like she's his life).

He doesn't know when she became everything. He knows somewhere along the line she went from the crazy girl who made his heart beat faster for reasons he couldn't explain to the girl he loved. But this? This feeling that she's all that matters, that he can't breath properly when she's not nearby where did that come from?

It doesn't much matter.

He's not gonna question it. Knowing is enough.

"Go," Quinn says suddenly to Rachel, nodding at the door backstage. "And remember what I said." She glances momentarily at Finn and then heads towards Sam. Finn isn't sure what that means, but he follows Rachel out into the chilly night. They sit down on the back steps.

It's quiet for a long time.

"What did Quinn mean?" he finally asks. "What'd she say?"

"She said . . . the only reason that Santana even told me the truth is that she's jealous. She wants to be loved like . . . you love me." The words come out slowly and softly. "Quinn says she knows, because some times she's a little jealous, too."

Before she can wipe her eyes, Finn reaches out and brushes the few tears away with his thumb. Her own hand comes up to hold his to her cheek. "I told you that I'm not ever going to break up with you," she says softly. "And I meant it. We'll get past this." She musters the smallest of smiles.

His heart is in his throat.

He leans forward to kiss her and she turns slightly so the kiss lands on her cheek. But she's still there with him, and her hand is still in his, and she's not going to leave him, right? She avoids his gaze. So he kisses her cheek again, and then her temple, and then her forehead, and then even the tip of her nose.

She finally laughs a little at the butterfly kisses, then surges forward so she's nearly cradled in his lap. She presses her face into his neck, and he wraps his arms tightly around her tiny body. "I love you," he says, burying his face in her hair. "I'll love you forever."


It isn't easy.

Things are awkward between them, and the trust he's spent so long building has tumbled down. But they stay together, and that's what matters. He'll win back her trust. They'll make it work.

He takes her out one night, like on a real date at this fancy restaurant. He's pretty sure it's going really good, but then they realise Santana's there, too, with Brittany, Puck, and Artie. Santana spots them, leans in to say something to Brittany with this look on her face, and Rachel barely says a word for the rest of the meal. Finn kinda of wants to punch Santana.

As they head to the parking lot, Rachel turns to him and speaks in an small, vulnerable voice. "Do you think Santana's pretty?"

"No," he answers quickly. He stops her and makes her face him. He'll do this right. "Her nose is too small," he says. Rachel stares for a moment and then starts to smile. He leans down and kisses her. "C'mon," he says, pulling away, "we'll be late for the movie."

"Actually," she replies, "I was thinking maybe we could do something else."

They go bowling.

Nobody's ever wanted to go bowling with him before, you know.

And he knows, as he they sit in the back seat of his car and he grips her waist and tastes the bowling alley nachos on her tongue, that nobody's ever made him feel like this before, either. Maybe it's complicated, maybe Glee is complicated and they're complicated and high school is complicated. He's smart enough to know how to handle it, though.

He'll just love her, and the rest the rest will follow.


And walking arm in arm,

You hope it don't get harmed.

But even if it does,

You'll just do it all again.

And on the radio,

You hear, 'November Rain.'

That solo's awful long,

But it's a good refrain.

You listen to it twice,

'Cause the DJ is asleep. . . .