DISCLAIMER: I neither own Glee nor the characters. They are the property of Ryan Murphy, his stupid yellow hat, and FOX. This is purely for fun. Enjoy! :)

A/N: I know I'm in the middle of Perfect Couple, but as long as there's a hiatus, I don't see why I can't balance two fics at the same time. Besides, I need an outlet for all this Finchel angst that has been plaguing me for weeks, so I hope you enjoy! Takes place after Special Education and the Christmas episode didn't happen.

Escape

Chapter One

It was too much effort to wake up, he thought, as he yawned widely and stretched out his long limbs on the tiny bed. The alarm was ringing, but to Finn it just blended into the background, and with a flick of his wrist he disposed of the blaring noise. With the sun peeking through his curtains, taunting him with the tortures of another day, he wondered if there was a way he could just stay home. He didn't know if he could handle another afternoon filled with sad eyes, pouty lips and longing stares from across the choir room. Going to school meant another day of facing Rachel, and he didn't know if he had the energy to do it anymore.

He'd tried to ignore her. He'd tried to pretend that she didn't exist and hadn't looked her in the eyes for days. She was always there, though, looming in his periphery, begging him for forgiveness with the eyes he used to lose himself in for hours. Whispering for forgiveness with the lips he used to kiss. The lips that tasted like love and promises and music. The lips that kissed Noah Puckerman.

He didn't know if he could forgive her anymore. Forgiveness was something one earned, and in his messed up head he couldn't decide if it was even worth it anymore.

He'd had two girlfriends and they both cheated on him with the same guy. What hurt more was the fact that Rachel knew how much it would hurt him, and she did it anyway. It was like the girl he'd loved had been taken over by spiteful aliens or something. It was unfathomable to him.

When his heart hammered painfully at the thought of her infidelity, it occurred to him that he was still very much in love with Rachel, which was making this whole experience even worse. It was so easy to fall in love with her, to hold on to the idea that she loved him as well. But how could she love him if she'd used her love against him to cause him pain? What kind of definition of love was that?

Pinching his eyes shut against the sun that had risen over the horizon, he untangled his limbs from the linens and tried to find the willpower to start his day. His cell phone was resting on the nightstand next to his desk instead of on it's charger, and he quickly plugged it in so it could have some juice for the rest of the day. He'd been up late last night talking to Kurt at Dalton, trying to get some brotherly advice in regards to Rachel. Kurt was sympathetic to the issue, as he'd been talking to Rachel as well and heard both sides of the story. When Finn found out that piece of information, he felt a tad betrayed by his step-brother, and hung up on him unceremoniously before passing out from sheer emotional exhaustion.

It wasn't fair, it felt like she was everywhere. He couldn't escape her presence; it felt like Rachel Berry permeated every square inch of his life and there was nowhere to hide from her. Not at school where they were forced to co-exist in the same space. Not at home where her perfume still sometimes lingered in his room and the memories of their make-out sessions pulled at his emotions. He couldn't even talk to his own family about her; his mother had adored Rachel and Kurt and her were now the best of buddies. How was he supposed to get over her when she was everywhere? There was no escape.

His shower lasted longer than it should have; he stood under the hot spray of the water for a long time, willing it to wash away the anger he felt at Rachel, to magically make him forget about her betrayal so he could pull her into his arms again. So he could look into her eyes and not see images of her with Puck or remember her spiteful actions.

Unfortunately, his shower wasn't magical, and he felt even worse when he realized how much he wanted to love her again, but couldn't.

This was going to drive him crazy. He was going to end up in a mental institution if he didn't get away from this pressure. It felt like he was gonna snap at any second and nothing anyone could do would be able to help. When he finally tried to leave his house to make it to school, he froze at the entrance to his room not even able to make it another step.

He couldn't go through with it anymore.

He was done pretending everything was alright.

Nothing was alright.

He felt broken.

At 7:42 am, the time he normally exited his house to make it to school by 8, he took his backpack and dumped out the books all over his bedroom floor, not caring about the mess that he was making at all. Ignoring the scattered sheet music and textbooks from his classes, he started to stuff the backpack full of things he thought he would need: a toothbrush, his shaving kit, his emergency money stash that he'd been saving to buy Rachel a birthday and Christmas/Hanukkah present. She'd once said that December was an expensive month to be Rachel Berry's boyfriend and he'd laughed at it then. When the bag was stuffed with essentials, he grabbed his McKinley football bag and threw in enough clothes to last him a while. Socks, underwear, sweaters, jeans; the works. He was gonna need it.

The last thing he did before leaving his house was rummaging through the kitchen for a pen and paper so he could try to explain to his mother what was going on. The blank page was quickly filled with his shaky scribble, and he tried not to cry when he thought about her reaction to this letter when she found it later tonight. He left his cell phone on top of the note so no one would be able to contact him, and hoped it was a sign to them all that he didn't want to be found. When he got into his car, he pulled onto the highway instead of driving into town to go to school, heading in whichever direction had the least traffic so he wouldn't be tempted to turn around.

At 8:00 am, while the rest of the world was getting ready to start school or work, Finn Hudson was already four towns away, heading west with no intentions of coming back.

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Tapping her fingernails nervously on the hard cover of her binder, Rachel kept looking around the choir room with the intensity of a hawk, waiting for Finn to show up to glee. She was already used to him trying to avoid her in the halls, but for him to miss glee rehearsal because of their issues was just plain irresponsible and unfair to the team. When Mr. Schue showed up and started their morning meeting without Finn, she knew that something wasn't right. It was a nagging feeling that stayed with her all morning, and she couldn't shake the sensation that something was wrong.

It was lonely being Rachel Berry these days. She and Finn had been broken up for a whole week now and she wondered how much longer she was going to have to beg for his forgiveness before he realized how sorry she truly was. If she could have the chance to take it all back, she would have done it in an instant. Unfortunately, there was no way to redo the past. There was no reset button that could magically erase the pain; she knew that only time could heal these kinds of wounds.

If only time moved faster, she thought bitterly as she sat through class after class of useless information that would do nothing to further her future Broadway career. Sometimes she fantasized about dropping out and moving to a Performing Arts high school somewhere. Maybe Cleavland had one, she should really look into it...

By fourth period, she decided that Finn was probably just sick, which made her mind go into overdrive at the possibilities. Should she stop by after school to check in on him? Maybe she should bake him some "get-better-soon" brownies? A million different scenarios played out in her mind, ranging from her being his savior and nursing him back to health, to him throwing the brownies right in her face and slamming the door. Sighing deeply, she knew she should just try to let go of him for a while and give him the space he needed.

Maybe it was for the best.

The rest of the day dragged on for what felt like eons. Perhaps she should call Kurt, and ask him to check up on Finn. Yeah, that was an excellent idea!

During lunch, she poked her head into the choir room to find it empty, and she sat by the piano as she pulled out her bedazzled blackberry and found Kurt's number. Hopefully he had a study period right now; she could really use someone to talk to. When no one picked up, she dejectedly left a message on his voice-mail explaining about Finn and asking him to call her back when he had the chance.

The day continued to drag on at a snail's pace and she caught herself checking the clock every five seconds, waiting for her freedom so she could escape that prison of a school. Without Finn around she was a target again for slushie attacks, and while she'd made it through the afternoon corn syrup-free, there was still enough time after school for a sneak attack.

Thankfully, she made it out of the school un-slushied, and she walked home in the bitter December cold in silence. Her birthday was coming up really soon, and she just knew that her dads were going to buy her a car for her 16th birthday. If only it were next week already. With a sigh, she wished that Finn could celebrate it with her, but she doubted he would forgive her by then. It would be another birthday spent alone, but she was used to it by now.

As she entered the empty house, a buzzing in her pocket alerted Rachel to the phone call she'd been waiting for all day, and she quickly answered her phone before it could go to voice-mail.

"Hello?"

"Rachel? It's Kurt." His voice sounded rushed. "We need to talk."

"I know we do, did you get my message?"

"Yes, I did, and that's the problem." She did not like the way his voice hitched; he was breathing heavily and he sounded worried.

"What are you talking about Kurt?"

"I got your message about Finn and called his cell to see what was up. He didn't answer. I assumed he was feeling really sick if he didn't answer his phone, so I called my dad and asked him to stop by the house and check up on him." There was a pause and Rachel's anxiety grew exponentially. "Rachel, he wasn't there."

"What do you mean he wasn't there?" She tried not to get hysterical right away but sometimes her emotions were too big to control.

"There was a letter," said Kurt, and Rachel struggled to breathe. "He said he needed time away from Lima."

"Because of me?" She asked with a small voice and heard no response. "He ran away?"

"I think so, Rachel. He left his cell phone on the kitchen counter and my dad said his room was a mess. There are things missing from his room. Clothes and stuff. His car is gone too."

Her reaction to the news was so visceral, she felt as if she'd been punched in the stomach. It was unfathomable to her, and she didn't want to believe what she was hearing. She resisted the urge to cover her ears so she couldn't listen to it any more. "Where did he go?"

"No one knows yet. There's no easy way to track him without getting the police involved." Automatically, she decided that calling the cops was out of the question. He would never forgive them if they called the police on him and hunted him down like a criminal. As a single tear leaked out of the corner of her eye, she wiped it away with determination.

"I'm coming to see you." She said as she started to pack her own bags while balancing the phone in her hands. "We have to find him, Kurt. We have to bring him home."

"Rachel, I don't think you're thinking things through rationally right now. I know you're upset, but maybe Finn just needs some time. He will come home soon."

"No! What Finn needs to do is to be a man and face his problems head on instead of running away from them. He can't just leave town and expect me to accept it. We're gonna find him." She gathered everything she thought she needed while she balanced her cell phone on her shoulders and took her father's emergency credit card from their bedroom just in case. They could always pull money out of her college fund for reimbursement. "I'm getting on the first bus to Dalton. I can be there before it gets too late."

"Rachel, you're insane! I. . ." She hung up on Kurt before he could protest any more and gathered her things together before leaving a note for her dads to find, a la Finn Hudson. Hell, if Finn could just pack up his things and try to escape, then she could too. She was going to find him and prove to him how much she loved him by chasing him around the country and bringing him home where he belonged.

With her.

Dragging her rolling suitcase through the dark streets of Lima, she headed for the bus station and got a one way ticket to Westerville. She wasn't coming back without Finn, and she wasn't coming home by bus either.

Arriving in Westerville, Ohio a little after 10pm, she took a nap on the bus to restore some of her energy. She was going to need it after she went through with her plan. She only hoped that Kurt wouldn't be mad at her, even though she could practically hear the argument they were going to have when this was all over.

It would be worth it though, in the end.

Seeing that Dalton was an all boys school, she knew that there was no way she would be allowed on campus, so she called Kurt and had him meet her at the bus station in town. He drove up in his familiar black SUV and they embraced tightly before he started to shake her like a crazy person.

"Rachel, what are you doing here? There's absolutely nothing we can do for Finn right now." She grabbed him by the shoulders to stop him from shaking her.

"That's not true, Kurt. We have to find him." She hesitated a bit before continuing. "I have to find him."

"No one knows where he is, though. He could be three states away by now, who knows what's going on in his head?"

"I do. I know Finn better than anyone, and I know that I can find him. I'm gonna bring him home." Kurt stared at her with something akin to sympathy and she tried to ignore it. This was her fault, all her fault, and she was gonna fix it and bring Finn home. It didn't matter how long it took. She would search coast to coast for Finn if she had to. Thank Goodness he never got a passport.

"Listen, I know you feel bad about this whole thing, but you have to understand that you're only one person, and Finn could be anywhere. Come on," he started to lead her towards his car, "I'm gonna sneak you into my dorm room so you can spend the night here. In the morning, we can start to plan what we're gonna do." He gave her a small, encouraging smile that was tinged with sadness. She could see it in his eyes; he had doubts about Finn coming home.

That's when she decided that he couldn't be a part of her plan. She still needed him for a little while longer though.

"Alright," she said, defeated. "Let's go."

They drove back to Dalton campus in silence. Kurt entered the building through the front doors of his hall and opened up one of the side doors to sneak Rachel in past security. They quickly went into Kurt's room and Rachel was in awe of her surroundings. She wondered if all private school dorm rooms looked like mini-mansions and laid down on the couch in her street clothes while Kurt got ready for bed. When the lights went out for the night, they whispered their good-nights to one another and Rachel feigned sleep while waiting for Kurt's breathing to even out. When it sounded like a light snore, it was time to put her plan into action.

Her bags were still out in Kurt's SUV, so she quietly pulled on her shoes and tiptoed over to Kurt's desk where he left his car keys. He would never be fully supportive of her plan, she realized that now. He might even hinder it, which would be detrimental to her course of action. Kurt was far too rational to bring along, but she still needed the one thing he had that she didn't.

A method of transportation.

For the second time that day, she scribbled out a note of apology and left it on Kurt's desk for him to find when he woke up in the morning. She picked up the keys like they were made of glass, trying to keep them from jingling and making any noise whatsoever. As she tip-toed out of the dorm room and out the back doors of the hall, she knew she was committing a serious felony; Grand Theft Auto wasn't just Finn's favorite video game. She approached the black SUV and unlocked it, wincing at the sharp beeping sound the alarm made in the silence of the night. She entered the vehicle, moving the seat as forward as possible to help her reach the pedals, and turned the key in the ignition as the car roared to life.

Backing up as slowly as possible, she exited the parking lot and headed straight for the highway, ready to start her adventure on the road. She was going to find Finn; no matter what she had to do, she was going to bring him home. Even if he still hated her, she was going to drag him back to Lima if he had to.

She approached the highway exit and was already faced with her first challenge: turn right to go east, or turn left to head west. She pulled over as she began to contemplate her options and already wished that she'd brought Kurt along so she didn't have to make all the decisions by herself. Pulling a coin out of her pocket, she kissed it, letting her lips linger a bit before whispering to herself in the solitude of the car.

"Heads is east, tails is west. Which way will lead me back to Finn?" She flipped the coin and caught it, slapping it on the back of her palm. With a deep breath, she put the coin back in her pocket and pulled onto the road, turning left and heading west into the unknown.

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Salut mes amis!

Rachel is on the hunt for Finn! The chase is on!

Until next time. . .*sings*. . . Don't Stop. . . Reviewing!

Merci Mille Fois