So I have one chapter left of Momentum, but I literally could not start writing it until I got this out of my system.
Finn/Rachel, and their road back to each other.
*Contains some speculation of future episodes, but no known spoilers. Definite spoilers for 2x11 and 2x12.
Odd numbers are from Rachel's perspective; even numbers are from Finn's. Because it takes two people to make a reconciliation. ;)
"These lazy days are way too long,
Like razor blades under your tongue
And the city lights will burn you down,
And build you up,
High above the ground.
If this is all there is, then this is all there can be,
'Cause I don't see a road that leads to you and me."
Streets of Gold
She cries herself to sleep every night for a week after he breaks up with her – officially. She gives up on texting him and stops stalking his Facebook page because honestly, it just hurts too much. He seems fine, from her point of view.
Her dads don't try to get her to come out of her room. They don't tell her to turn down the Barbra Streisand. They just let her mope around for a week because they know about the boy who broke her heart.
She watches Funny Girl about a million times, but even that won't do the trick. Finally, Mercedes and Kurt drag her out of her house and force her to go to the mall. She has an okay time, and for the first time, she knows what it's really like to have friends.
"Thanks," she says when they drop her off back at her house. "I had a great time."
Mercedes gives her a small smile. "You deserve to be happy, Rachel. And you don't need Finn."
Her smile fades, because she knows she does need Finn. She just decides she wouldn't let that take over her life. She puts on a brave face and says, "That's not true yet. But maybe some day, it will be."
Kurt smiles at her.
She's glad to know that he realizes that, for her, it's improvement.
He's dreaded going back to school, but winter break has to end someday, and that day is today.
Everything goes fine until he sees Rachel in the hallway between second and third period. She looks over at him, and her eyes are all sad. Then she quickly looks away.
He feels like someone punched him in the stomach.
He acts like he didn't see her and just keeps walking. He thought time apart would make it easier. It didn't. It's made it ten times worse.
At least the football team is actually doing well.
(That's literally the only thing he has going for him right now.)
Rachel throws open the door to the choir room and immediately spots Puck, who is strumming on his guitar. She strides towards him, sorting through her sheet music.
"I need you to do a number with me to make Finn jealous," she tells him all in one breath, her words tumbling over each other.
Puck looks up. "And what if I say no?"
She rolls her eyes. "Now is not the time for dramatics, Noah. Believe me, I would know." He smirks. "Now would you help me out, please?"
He sighs, holding out his hand.
"I don't know if handholding is really a productive thing to be doing, Noah, especially as Finn holds my heart—"
"Just let me see the sheet music, Berry."
She beams and passes it to him. Winning back Finn will be a piece of cake.
Rachel's so small. He doesn't know how he didn't realize how fragile she is, but now it's all he can focus on as she marches out onto the field in her football uniform.
She beams up at him, and he has to remind himself that she cheated and they're not together anymore, that he shouldn't worry about her, or care. But she looks so adorable in the pads and the jersey and God… those pants.
She starts talking animatedly to Tina and Mercedes, reminding them of the game plan, and although he's not really religious (Grilled Cheesus incident aside), he prays that Rachel will be alright.
He still loves her, after all.
(He just won't admit it, especially not to her.)
The game is over and, amazingly, McKinley has won. Rachel's jumping up and down, waving her pom-poms in the air, and she spots Finn, still out in the field, still clad in his zombie makeup, grinning.
For a moment, she thinks that he's grinning at her. For a moment, she grins back, thinking they'll be okay.
Then she notices he's actually looking at someone to her right. She turns and sees Quinn, staring at Finn, smiling softly.
Rachel looks back at Finn, but he's not looking anymore. She figures she must have imagined it. Finn couldn't like Quinn again, could he? She had lied to him last year, betrayed him. He had yelled that he was done with her in the choir room.
No, Rachel must have imagined it. There is no way Finn would ever want to get back with Quinn Fabray after what she did to him.
No freaking way.
Finn finally gets that kiss from Quinn at the kissing booth. And he sees fireworks. (Literally, behind his eyelids. It's kind of awesome.)
He thought everything would be clear after kissing her: He was never over her; his feelings for Rachel were nothing compared to his feelings for Quinn; etc. Instead, he's just more confused.
Kissing Quinn felt wrong. Exciting, dangerous, but wrong. Her lips didn't mold against his the same way, didn't feel like they were made for him. He saw the fireworks, but he didn't feel the butterflies in the pit of his stomach.
He doesn't know what to think, but then Quinn comes back and whispers for him to meet her in the auditorium, and then she's gone. At first, he tells himself he's not going to go. Is Quinn really the reason things ended so badly with Rachel? Could she fix everything? Were the fireworks real, or were they just something he wanted too badly, so he made them up?
He knows then that he has to go. He has to kiss her at least one more time. Then he'll know for sure.
(Because he can't be still be in love with Rachel. That just hurts too much.)
Quinn must have all the answers.
Rachel fiddles with the necklace that Finn gave her this morning, the one he meant as a Christmas present. She loves it, but at the same time, she hates it.
Because, in a way, in represents the end of them. He gave it to her as a parting gift, but she's not ready to stop fighting for him, for them.
Mercedes told her she needs to let him go. Rachel asked her if she realized who she was talking to. Rachel Berry does not just let things go, especially things that she cares about. And she certainly cares about Finn.
She bites her lip, then undoes the clasp. She lets the necklace slide off into her hands, then she sets it down on her dresser.
She can't wear it if she's going to move on. It'll just be a reminder of him.
Removing the necklace doesn't mean she's over Finn. It just means that she's willing to try. And that's a start.
Finn should've known Rachel would figure out about him and Quinn, and it probably helped that they both happened to get mono.
She asks how kissing Quinn felt, and before he can stop himself (it's probably the damn fever), he mutters, "Fireworks."
"And did you see fireworks when you kissed me?"
He thinks about it, because it wasn't fireworks. It was so much more than that. Kissing Rachel felt like coming home. Kissing Rachel felt like all of his favorite things rolled into one. And kissing Rachel felt like the rest of his life.
But he doesn't know how to (or if he should) say any of that, so he doesn't.
She takes his silence to mean that he didn't feel anything. She says it's good, because now there's nothing here for her. And he knows he should let her believe that, but part of him, the part that still (and always will, it seems) loves her sputters out, "I still–"
He stops. He doesn't want to say he still loves her. He doesn't want to say he still has feelings for Quinn. He doesn't want to say a lot of things that could tell her something either way. So he goes with, "I'm just really confused."
She leaves then, and he flops back down onto the cot. It always seems to come down to Rachel and Quinn. Quinn's pretty awesome when she's not pregnant (thanks a lot, Puck) or yelling, and Rachel's pretty great when she's not in total diva mode or making out with other guys (thanks again, Puck).
He can't think straight, so he succumbs to sleep. Maybe he can figure everything out when his fever finally goes away.
She looks up. "Oh, hey, Rach." She notices her bare neck. "Do some cleaning?"
Rachel's hand goes to her throat. "Oh, um. Yeah. I just… If I'm serious about moving on, I can't have a reminder dangling around my neck."
Mercedes smiles. "Did you wanna ask me something, Rach?"
Rachel nods. "Yeah, I was just wondering if you wanted to do this duet with me for Glee. It's from the monumental musical RENT."
Mercedes scans the sheet music Rachel hands her. "I know this song," she tells her. "Kurt made me watch RENT last summer. Sure, I'll do it with you."
Rachel smiles, telling herself that she didn't pick this song to send a subtle message to Finn; she's already forgotten all about him. She's just doing this song with a friend (which she's so proud to say she has now), and that's it.
She's Rachel Berry. She needs to stop depending on other people. She's going to make it to the top, and she's going to do it all on her own.
She doesn't need anyone. More importantly, she doesn't need Finn Hudson.
"What the hell are you doing, man?"
Finn looks up from his Algebra II (which he's struggling with anyway) to stare at Puck. "Doing my homework?"
Puck rolls his eyes. "You're in the fucking library, Hudson. I didn't even know you knew where the library was."
Finn shrugs. "Rachel used to make me come here with her." He feels a little pang when he says her name, but he ignores it.
Puck sits down across from him. "Anyway, I wasn't asking why you were here. I asked what you were doing." He eyes Finn warily. "I think you know what I'm talking about."
Actually, Finn thinks he does. But he doesn't tell Puck that. "Dude, I have no idea."
Puck sighs. "Do you really love Quinn, dude? Or is she just some hookup? Or some way to… I don't know, get back at Sam for questioning your authority or whatever?"
Finn shuts his Algebra II book. "What's it to you, Puckerman?"
Puck glares at him. "She's the mother of my child. I think I have some sort of right."
Finn can't really argue with that, and he's always had a sinking suspicion that Puck never got over Quinn.
"Anyway," Puck continues, "I just wanted to make sure you know that if you hurt her the second time around, I will personally break your face. Got it?"
Is there going to be a second time around? Finn hadn't really thought about it; he still doesn't know if he loves Quinn, and if he doesn't love her now, did he ever love her? And then there's still Rachel. He tries not to think about her though, because thinking about her makes his chest feel tight and his throat constrict.
"Got it, Hudson?" Puck repeats.
Finn nods. "Totally."
"Also, I don't really know where you stand with Rachel right now, but I think you should handle this thing with Quinn carefully."
Finn stares at him. He feels as if his blood is boiling. "Are you with Rachel now?" he manages to get out.
Puck shakes his head. "No, dude. We're friends. And even if I was interested in her, she's obviously still hung up on you, so that would be a lost cause."
Finn knows it's bad that he feels relief that she still loves him, but he doesn't dwell on it, because Puck keeps talking.
"I'm just saying don't flaunt this thing with Quinn. No matter what Rachel did to you, she doesn't deserve to have you break her heart, again, alright?" Puck doesn't wait for him to answer, just gets up. "I gotta go, but just keep all that in mind, Hudson."
He's gone then, and Finn sits in stunned silence. She doesn't deserve to have you break her heart, again.
He wants to say that Rachel broke his heart first, but he knows that's not true. He broke her heart when he chose Quinn over her the first time. He broke her heart when he broke up with her the first time. He broke her heart when he slept with Santana.
He was in the wrong, too.
How did he not see that until now?
Rachel pushes herself to be the best, now more than ever. She constantly gives Mr. Schue song suggestions for Regionals, and she's even getting better at picking songs that will compliment others' voices as well as her own. She studies rigorously to make sure she'll be in the top ten of her class by the end of her junior year. (Everyone knows senior year doesn't really change anything).
She's even doing ballet again. She had to stop because she was distracted by… other things, but now she's back on track. She even tries out for a few roles in the community theater. (She doesn't get them, but at least she's trying).
She tries to be a good friend, too. She bakes Kurt cookies and sends them in care packages to Dalton. She goes out to the movies with Mercedes. She doesn't talk about herself quite so much. She learns to listen.
She tries to tell herself that she's better off now. She's happy.
(She knows she's lying to herself. She just hopes one day, it'll be true.)
Finn asks Quinn out because he's supposed to. (Actually, he's pretty sure if he doesn't, Puck'll beat him to a pulp.) She dumped Sam a week ago. He wonders if she's been waiting on him.
He goes up to her locker after school and asks if she wants to go to Breadstix that night. She smiles at him, pushing back a strand of her blonde hair, and says she'd love to.
The date goes as expected, with them making small talk over spaghetti. He laughs at the right times and she smiles at the right times, but Finn can't help but think that something's missing.
He forgot how hard talking to Quinn had been before. Conversation didn't just flow like it had with him and Rachel. He actually makes accidental comparisons between the two all night, wishing Quinn's hair were brown, that her eyes were like melted chocolate, that her voice sounded like an angel's.
He's an awful person. He'll stop loving Rachel eventually (he has to), and this is only the first date. He and Quinn had something. They'll get it back.
He just needs to give it time.
Rachel's party is inadvertently Puck's idea. He and Mercedes are over at her house, and he's complaining about how no one is throwing a kegger this weekend – and how can he possibly get wasted if no one's throwing a party?
Rachel smiles, a real smile for the first time in what seems like forever. "Well, my dads are gone this weekend. Maybe I can throw a party."
Mercedes and Puck look at each other, then burst out laughing.
Rachel glares at them. "What's so funny?"
"You have no idea what goes on at a kegger," Mercedes says through her giggles.
Puck nods. "She's totally right. There'll be tons of people, Rachel. And they'll be counting on you to supply the alcohol. And when they consume that alcohol? They won't be clean and considerate guests."
Rachel cross her arms. "I don't care," she insists indignantly. "My dads are away this weekend, and I'm having a party. And that's that."
Puck looks at Mercedes, then shrugs. "I tried."
Finn doesn't know why he let Quinn talk him into going to this party. Oh, wait, yes he does.
"Finn, if we want to maintain our popularity, we have to attend Rachel's party. Surprisingly, it's the place to be tonight. Do you want to stay popular or not, Finn?"
So he goes. He should've known it would be a disaster.
The party's in full swing when they get there, music blasting, people talking, cups in hands. Quinn goes off to "make rounds" (which Finn figures means she walks around to let everyone know that she's there) and he's left to talk to Puck, who's already a little tipsy.
He doesn't see Rachel, which is weird. He figured she'd be all over, frantically trying to keep the house tidy and keep people from acting like idiots. (Not like she'd succeed, but the Rachel he knows – knew – at least would be trying.)
Suddenly, he sees her. She spots Puck, squeals "Noah!", and stumbles over in their direction. She's obviously been drinking. Since when does Rachel drink?
He frantically looks for a place to hide, but there is none. And she's arrived.
"Hey, Rachel," Puck says, amused.
"Isn't this party the best?" Clearly, she doesn't hold her liquor well. She turns to Finn and her eyes widen, as if she didn't see him before. "Finn! Hello!"
He smiles at her nervously. It's the first time they've spoken directly in a month. (It still counts, even if she is drunk.) "Um, hey, Rach. Great party."
She smiles. "Thanks." She looks for confused for a second. "Wait. I'm mad at you. But I can't remember why."
"Oh, uh, I should really be going, actually, to find Quinn—"
Puck shoots him a look, but it's too late. Finn knows he's said the wrong thing.
"That's it!" Rachel announces, snapping her fingers. "I needed to tell you that you are a hypocrite!"
The music stops in between tracks, and half the party is listening now. "Rach, can I talk to you in the kitchen?" Finn asks quietly, grabbing her arm. "You're drunk, and this isn't the time—"
"I'm not drunk!" she insists, yanking her arm away. "And even if I were, this is where I'm going to tell you this, okay?" She takes a deep breath. "You suck."
A couple of people laugh, but Finn doesn't move. He just stares at Rachel. He doesn't even know who she is right now.
"I mean, yeah, I made out with Puck, but I told you about it. And Quinn had sex with Puck and got pregnant and lied to you about it. But you forgive her. I just… I don't get it. How does it make sense?"
"It doesn't," a guy in the corner calls out.
Rachel turns around to beam at him. "Right! Thank you! It doesn't." She turns back to Finn. "You taking her back just made me rethink everything, really. Was I really just not good enough?"
He shakes his head. "Rach, no, that's not it at all."
"Then what is it, Finn?" she asks, and she looks at him so seriously he's forgetting that she's drunk at all.
He starts to answer, then stops. He doesn't know how to answer her because he doesn't know the answer. He looks around desperately for Quinn, but she's nowhere to be seen.
"I wish I could go back, Finn," she continues. "But I can't. If I could take back what I did, I would. But I can't. I wish it just about every single day. But would it even change or anything? Or would we have fallen apart anyway?" Her eyes are full of tears now, and he feels like he's been punched in the gut.
"The only way none of this would've happened is if we'd never fallen in love. Because, no matter what you say, that's what he had." She blinks and a few tears slip down her cheeks. "Every single day, I wake up, and I realize that we're no longer together. And every day, I wish I'd never fallen in love with you."
She's crying in earnest now, and she turns away, wiping at her face.
"Rach," he starts, because he feels he has to say something, but it's no use. She races up the stairs. A few seconds later, he hears a door slam.
Puck sighs, then follows her.
Finn stares after them, his own heat beating loudly and erratically. And he feels awful. He broke her. He broke Rachel Berry.
She may wish she'd never fallen in love with him, but he realizes now that falling in love with her was possibly the best thing that happened to him. She changed him.
Quinn reappears next to him. "What was that all about?" she asks.
"I broke her," he mumbles. "She's broken, and it's my fault."
Quinn sighs and grabs his hand. "C'mon, Finn. I think we've partied enough for one night."
He lets her lead him out of Rachel's house, but he isn't really aware of his surroundings. All he can focus on is the image of Rachel's tearstained face.
Rachel ducks into the bathroom. She doesn't know if she can take one more person calling out, "Great party Friday night, Berry! You sure stuck it to Hudson!" Her memory of what went down is fuzzy, but she remembers enough. She remembers the shocked look on Finn's face, and she remembers the pain in her chest that let her know that her heart was breaking all over again.
She heads over to the sinks and freezes. Quinn glances over at her and gives her a small smile. Rachel debates whether she should bolt or stay and be strong. She takes a deep breath and decides to go with option two. If she really wants to get over Finn, she'll have to put up with his girlfriend.
"Hello, Quinn," she says somewhat stiffly.
"Hi, Rachel," Quinn replies, reapplying her lip gloss. Rachel thinks that's the first time Quinn's ever greeted her without insulting her. "Great party on Friday night."
Rachel sighs. "Look, I know I made a fool out of myself, but could you really not make fun of me right now? This isn't a good day for me, and you're only making it worse."
Quinn blinks in surprise. "I meant it, Rachel. I mean, I wasn't there for the part where… you called out Finn. I was in the kitchen, talking to Mercedes."
Rachel laughs nervously. "Oh. Thanks, then."
Rachel turns to go, then decides she has to get something off her chest. "Why did you decide to date Finn again, if you don't mind me asking?"
She thinks Quinn might just yell at her, tell her it's none of her business, but, to Rachel's surprise, she answers calmly. "Well, I guess you do have a right to know." She looks back at the mirror, but she's still addressing Rachel. "When I was with Finn the first time, it was just because we were supposed to be together. I really liked him, deep down, and he really liked me, but the timing just wasn't right, you know? And now, this is kind of like our second chance, I guess."
"But you lied." It's out of Rachel's mouth before she can stop it, and she's ashamed of the tears that sting her eyes. "You lied and I told the truth, and he can forgive you and not me?"
Quinn looks back at her with a pitied expression. She sighs. "I don't get it, either."
Rachel wipes at her eyes and makes for the door. "Well, thanks, Quinn. For talking to me. And not making fun of me or anything."
Quinn hesitates, then says, "Maybe we can be friends, Rachel. We aren't so different, you and me."
Rachel smiles sadly. "Maybe, when it stops hurting that Finn chose you over me."
She exits the bathroom and braces herself for more comments that are sure to come flying down the hallway.
"Hey, Berry! Great party on Friday!"
"You're still not over Rachel, are you?"
Finn knows that he should lie, should tell Quinn that of course he is, because he's with her now, but he can't muster up the energy. So he just doesn't answer.
"It's okay if you are, you know," Quinn continues. "I just want to know."
Finn nods slowly. "I still love her."
Quinn smiles at him sadly. "I think you and I both know that nothing's going to change that. You've been down and distant ever since Rachel's party, and I may have not been there to witness it, but I've heard from enough people what she said. And I think it's affected you, Finn."
He knows she's right, so he doesn't say anything.
"We shouldn't have tried to rekindle this," she says. "Not when there wasn't really anything to rekindle."
He looks over at her. "I'm sorry," he says.
She gives him a kiss on the cheek, and then she walks away.
He guesses this is goodbye. Then why doesn't he feel anything?
Mercedes, Kurt, and Rachel sit on Rachel's bed, similar to a night about a month ago. Only this time, silence falls over the group.
Mercedes looks between Kurt and Rachel in disbelief. "What is the deal, you two? Last time, I couldn't get you to shut up about your boy toys, and now you have nothing to squeal about?"
Kurt shakes his head.
Mercedes turns to Rachel. "What about you, Miss Diva?"
Rachel sighs. "There's nothing to tell," she admits. "I haven't talked to Finn since the party, and I haven't talked to him sober in about a month." She shrugs. "I've just accepted that we're over, I guess."
"Wait," Kurt says, sitting up. "You're telling me that you're actually over Finn?"
Rachel shakes her head. "I didn't say that. I'm just trying to let go."
Silence falls again.
"What about you and Blaine?" Rachel asks. "I thought that your relationship looked promising."
Kurt rolls his eyes. "Still not there yet."
"Oh," Rachel says quietly.
Kurt sighs, then jumps into his explanation of the latest Warbler number and how Blaine seems to have no free time anymore, and Rachel really just wishes that someone in their group could get their happy ending.
If it's not her, she was betting on Kurt. Now she's thinking about placing her bet on Mercedes. She's the only one without a man who broke her heart, and she's the happiest. Rachel would give anything to have Mercedes' life right now.
She wishes forgetting about Finn could just be a lot easier.
Surprisingly, it's ultimately Holly Holliday that pushes Finn and Rachel back together. She's subbing for the health teacher (who's on maternity leave), and she decides to corner Finn after class one day.
"I noticed you and Rachel were sitting on complete opposite sides of the room," she notes. "And the last time I was here, you two were madly in love. What happened?"
One second Finn's wondering why he should talk to Ms. Holliday of all people about this, but then she cocks her eyebrow at him and it all comes pouring out: Rachel and Puck, the Christmas tree farm, the football game, him and Quinn, Rachel's party, everything. And she just sits there and listens.
When he's finally done, she says, "Well. It seems you two really made a mess of things, huh?"
He sighs. "Yeah, I guess."
"But you still love her?"
"More than anything," he replies. "I've tried, but… I can't stop."
Holly nods. "Well, if you love her, why aren't you chasing her? You said you forgave your girlfriend that got knocked up when you were dating her, right? Then why not forgive Rachel?"
He shakes his head. "It just hurt so much more, when she cheated on me, because she was supposed to be better than that."
"Maybe it just showed that she's only human," Holly suggests.
That makes sense to Finn. He kind of had Rachel on this pedestal, and she fell off, and maybe that's why he had been mad at her: Not because she made out with Puck, but because she wasn't perfect. And he realizes now that being pissed at her for not being perfect is ridiculously dumb.
"But how do I get her back?" he finds himself asking. "She said she wished she never fell in love with me."
Holly's eyes twinkle. "I thought you'd never ask." Finn resists the urge to roll his eyes. "She didn't say that she didn't still love you. And I saw the looks she kept throwing in your direction today. It was heart-breaking." She smiles at him. "Just go to her, say you forgive her, apologize for hurting her the way she hurt you."
"And if she rejects me?" Finn asks.
Holly shrugs. "Just hope for the best. It's all you can do."
Holly nudges him. "Now, go get her, tiger."
He smiles. "I think I will. Thanks, Ms. Holliday."
He heads out the door and off to his second period US History class. He's finally going to go get Rachel back.
Rachel shuts her locker at the end of the day and is surprised to see Finn on the other side.
"Hey," he says, and she can't help but notice he looks a little nervous.
"I'm not going to yell at you again," she tells him. "Although I do stand by the things I said."
He nods. "That's fair. I… I actually came over here to ask you something."
Her heart beats loudly in her chest. She heard that he and Quinn broke up, but she refuses to let hope seep into her bloodstream because he's made it very clear that they're done, and no amount of wishful thinking will change that. It'll actually just hurt more in the long run.
"Trouble with the Spanish homework?" she asks.
"Nope," he replies. "I was wondering if there was any way we could go back to the way things used to be. You know, when it was you and me. I just… I really miss you, Rachel. And you messed up, but I messed up, too." He pauses, and she wonders if this is really happening. "I know you said you wished that you'd never fallen in love with me, but I just hope… I hope I can change your mind. I hope I can be worthy of you."
She can't breathe. He's asking her for forgiveness, and he broke up with Quinn, and he misses her. This is all too much.
"Rach?" he asks, reaching out to touch her shoulder lightly. "Are you okay?"
She finds her voice. "We can't go back," she tells him, and his expression turns sad. "But…" She takes in a deep breath and looks him in the eyes: those brown eyes she's missed so much. "We can go forward, together."
He grins so wide that she swears his face will break in half, and he reaches out to hug her tightly against him. He places feather-light kisses on the top of her scalp. "I love you, Rachel. I never stopped."
A tear slips down her cheek and she pulls away to look up at him. "I love you, too, Finn. I couldn't stop either."
He wipes away her tear with his thumb. He leans in, surveying her for a second, as if for approval. She gives an almost imperceptible nod of her head, and he presses his lips against hers. She feels dizzy and butterflies are in her stomach and she feels home. She's missed kissing Finn. Kissing Finn is perfect.
He pulls away and smiles down at her. "Kissing you is so much better than fireworks," he tells her.
She beams up at him. "Really?"
He nods. "Totally. It's like… coming home, if that makes sense."
She takes his hand as they start walking down the hallway. "I know exactly what you mean."
Getting back together with Rachel isn't all rainbows and butterflies. They agree right at the beginning that if they have an issue, they should talk about it before anyone gets ahead of themselves with stupid revenge plans. They also agree to instate a policy of no lying. Finn hopes it will help provide smooth-sailing in the future. Right now, it just means late night phone calls, talking through their unresolved issues.
"Ithought you picked Santana because she was everything I wasn't," Rachel admits, her voice thick with tears. "I thought that… you liked that. So that's why I was so mean, by making out with Puck. Because I thought you liked that."
Finn sighs, holding the phone closer to his ear. "I didn't pick Santana," he tells her. "She approached me. And I went along with it because imagining you with Jesse just hurt, like hell, and I know it was stupid, and I regretted it afterwards. And I regret it now. Because she wasn't you. It wasn't… it wasn't special at all."
Rachel sniffs. "I'm so sorry, Finn."
"I know," he says. "I am, too. I should've just told you about it. But we… we can't go back now."
"We can't," she agrees. "But I'm glad we're talking about this now." Her end is silent for a few moments, then she moans, "Oh, no! It's two in the morning; I've been prattling on for three hours, Finn! I'm so sorry!"
He laughs lightly. "Rach, it's fine. We need to work through this stuff if we're serious about being together. And I am serious."
"Me, too," she says softly. "Well, good night, Finn. Text me when you get up? Maybe we can do something."
He smiles. "Definitely. Maybe we can go bowling."
"I'd love that."
"Good night, Rach. I love you."
"I love you, too."
He hangs up, and when he goes to sleep, he dreams about Rachel. She's singing, and she looks at him, and she's smiling. So he smiles back. He finally feels whole again.
"Hey, Rachel, can I talk to you for a minute?"
She and Finn both stop to turn and look at Quinn, still sitting in the first row in the choir room. She smiles at them both.
Rachel lets go of Finn's hand. "Sure." She turns to Finn and nudges him. "Go on," she urges. "I'll see you at lunch." He nods and leaves the room, still looking anxious.
"You're back with Finn," Quinn notes. Rachel nods. "Good. You two are good for each other."
Rachel smiles hesitantly and goes over to where Quinn is sitting. "Thanks." She gestures to the seat. "May I?"
Quinn laughs. "Yeah, go ahead."
Rachel sits. "I thought about what you said, that day in the bathroom, about us being friends," she says. "And I wanted to invite you to a sleepover I'm having on Friday. Kurt and Mercedes are coming over, and they agreed that I should invite you as well."
Quinn smiles. "I… I would love that. Thanks."
The warning bell rings.
"You should get back to Finn," Quinn says quietly.
"Probably," Rachel says, but she doesn't make to get up. "You know, I see the way you look at Noah sometimes," she notes. Quinn doesn't say anything, so she adds, "It's the way I look at Finn. You love him, don't you?'
Quinn wipes at her eyes. "It doesn't matter. He probably hates me. I mean, I've barely talked to him all year and… then there's Beth. We had our shot. It didn't work."
Rachel pats her on the arm comfortably. "That's what I thought about Finn and me. And now… everything's good. And I don't think Noah's over you either."
Quinn sniffs and turns to look at her. "You really think so?"
Rachel smirks. "Between you and me? I know so."
The two girls laugh, and the final bell rings.
"Shit," Quinn curses, and Rachel giggles. She didn't think Quinn knew how to curse. "I'm late to history." She gets up and heads to the door, then stops. "I'll definitely be there on Friday."
Rachel beams. "See you then."
The members of New Directions pace back and forth in the green room. Finn notices that Puck's rubbing Quinn's back soothingly, telling her it'll be fine, and he wonders when they started talking again. He decides it's probably none of his business.
Brittany's twirling, practicing her dance moves. Santana and Sam are talking in the corner, and Santana actually looks nervous. Finn wishes he had a camera to capture it on film. Tina and Mercedes are doing runs, and Mike and Artie are going over the choreography one last time. Lauren's eating a last minute burrito.
Finn spots Rachel in the corner, glancing over the sheet music one last time. He smiles and walks toward her.
She looks up at him as he gets closer, and she smiles at him.
"Break a leg," he teases.
"I love you," she replies, giggling.
He hugs her to him and kisses her forward. "I love you, too. And you'll be amazing out there."
"We're going to win this," she informs him.
"I sure hope you're right."
The lights flicker and a bell sounds.
She looks up at him and whispers, "Showtime."
He grins, taking her hand. The members of New Directions file out the doors and head out onto the stage. They take their places, and Finn looks down at his and Rachel's entwined hands. He smiles at her, and she smiles widely back. He knows that whatever happens here today, he'll be a winner. He has Rachel, and that's more than enough.
The curtain rises, and the music starts to play.
"Paved the way on empty roads
Into a gray and gold headstone
And I'm proud to take my angel home
You walk on streets of gold."
Song at the beginning and end is "Streets of Gold" by 3OH!3.
If you'd take the time to review, I'd really appreciate it. (: