"Getting There:" A Finchel One-Shot

He saw the letter sticking out of his locker when he walked out of history class. Sighing heavily, he pulled it out and read the words printed neatly across the envelope, "PLEASE READ—I PROMISE I WON'T BOTHER YOU AGAIN." He tore the envelope open and pulled out a note written on plain lined paper. It was her handwriting, but there were none of the usual flourishes of a Rachel Berry note—no pink ink or perfume-scented paper. Just simple words across a page. He took a deep breath and leaned against his locker as he began to read.

"Dear Finn,

I'm sorry for the fake Christmas trees, for the offer to sing you a song, for our ill-conceived trip to the tree lot. I know it was stupid to think that any of those things would make you want to take me back, but I had to try. When something you love has slipped away from you, you have to fight for it. The more you love it, the harder you fight, and I love you more than I've ever loved anyone or anything. And you especially have to fight when you know you're the cause of the pain and you're the only one who can make it right. But I know that you need space and time to yourself right now to heal from what I've done to you. If it is any consolation, for as much pain as I've caused you, I've caused myself a thousand times more suffering. Living without you is misery, knowing it's my fault just makes it pure hell. But if time is what you need for there to be a glimmer of a chance of you ever forgiving me, you can have all the time in the world.

I need you to know that my giving you space doesn't mean I've given up. I will never give up on us, Finn. I didn't give up when you ran out of the auditorium after our first kiss. I didn't give up when Quinn was pregnant. I didn't give up when you told me you didn't want to be my boyfriend last year. And I won't give up now. Even if you never speak to me again, I will never, ever give up on us. I will never stop fighting in my heart to win back my one true thing.

We're sixteen, Finn, and we make mistakes. We get insecure, we get hurt, and we do impulsive, dumb, mean things without thinking. It would be a shame to let the foolish errors of our youth determine our future. If we could just get past this, Finn, I know that we could have an amazing life together that is so much bigger than the drama that goes on in high school. I know we could make each others' dreams come true. I pray that someday you will find it in your heart to forgive this mess that I've made; that you will once again look at me and see the girl you fell in love with. It's still me, Finn. It's still me.

I love you. I always will.

Rachel"

Finn blinked back tears as he folded up the letter and placed it back in his locker. Of course he loved her, he thought to himself, of course he wanted to take her back. Of course he knew she was right, that there was so much they could do together if he could just get past this.

If only his chest didn't hurt so much when he thought about her with him. If only he could think of all the memories of the great times they'd had without them being overshadowed by that last, horrible moment. If only he could reconcile to himself the girl who loved him so profoundly with the girl who could wound him so badly. If only he could make himself believe that her cheating wasn't about him, but about her hurting, which he knew he was responsible for. If only.

He looked up to catch a glimpse of her across the hall. Their eyes met briefly, she nodded sheepishly in his direction before averting her gaze and letting her tiny frame be swallowed up by the crowd moving through the corridor. For all the pain that throbbed in his chest, the emptiness in the pit of his stomach, he knew he had to keep trying to forgive her. Because when you love something, you have to fight for it. And he loved Rachel Berry more than anything or anyone in the world.