Title: here, there, everywhere.

Chapter title: and when I kiss your soul.

Fandom/Pairing: Glee; Jesse St. James/Rachel Berry.

Disclaimer: 'Glee' and all the characters you recognize belong to Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan and Brad Falchuk; also, FOX. Chapter title is taken from Gavin deGraw's song 'More Than Anyone'. The song is 'Follow Through', also by deGraw.

Timeline: Rewrite to 'Funeral', season two's 21st episode.

here, there, everywhere

#39: and when I kiss your soul

Trust Jesse to convince Mr. Schue to have auditions for the solos in Nationals. Rachel had to shake her head slightly; that was typical Jesse, after all.

Rachel wasn't worried at all about these so-called auditions. In fact, since Jesse had returned to her life, she had never felt more secure and self-confident. As she waited for her name to be called and with half an ear listened to Jesse's criticism of Mercedes' performance (as always, he was correct in his opinions), she realized that Jesse always had that effect on her, back to that time last year when they were dating.

Thinking about her past relationship with Jesse made her think about their new, second attempt at being together. She was, understandably, cautious, but since his return Jesse had been behaving like a gentleman, showing how truly regretful he was about his hidden agenda and reasoning to approach her. In fact, that had been the topic of a long conversation between the two of them, after the Finn-induced disaster that was her prom.

As she mused about her choice for audition piece, she suddenly felt it was inadequate at best. While Barbra's 'My Man' was one of her favorite songs from her idol and role model, it didn't accurately portray what she was feeling at the moment. It was too sad, too heartbroken, too hurt. And she was nothing of those things. Not anymore. Once again, that was one of the effects of having Jesse back in her life.

Picking up her iPod from her purse in order to browse through her song selections, she pressed 'random'. Popping one earphone in her inner ear, she relaxed against the wall by the curtains, eyes closed. The soft sound of a guitar reached her ears, her whole being focusing on the song and ignoring Mercedes' furious complains at her boyfriend-wannabe.

As she heard the song, a small smile curved her lips as she recognized it. It was one of Noah's additions to her musical library, an indie pop singer whose lyrics seemed to always strike a chord within her. Suddenly inspired by the song, and with Jesse's earnest face still in her mind's eye, she ripped her earphone out and rushed backstage, frantically searching for Noah.


Having been forced, by Schue, to sit through Jones', Lopez's and Hummel's disastrous performances (honestly, when was the man going to learn that Rachel was his star and thus unquestionably deserving of every solo?), Jesse couldn't help but feel a spark of excitement and curiosity as he saw the next name in his list of candidates for potential soloists.

Rachel Berry.

A small, tender smile curled his lips as he ran his fingertip discretely over the name. She was so dear to him, so precious. He was still astonished she had found in herself to forgive him after his awful actions towards her the previous year, but, then again, she wasn't entirely innocent as she herself admitted during one of their long conversations.

They both had made mistakes, they both had hurt each other (and themselves). But they both had learnt from said mistakes, they both had grown and now they weren't the same arrogant asshole and desperate diva they had been when they first got together. He liked to think they had a fairer shot this time around, with no secrets, no rivalries and no Shelby hanging over them, threatening to tear them apart.

Sure, they still had Finn. But Rachel was… different, somehow, towards the talentless male lead who once doubled as her boyfriend (and then callously threw away such honor). This time around, she seemed determined to make it work with him, keeping Finn firmly on the friend zone no matter how blatantly the beanstalk wanted her back. Rachel herself had told him that it had hurt and offended her when Finn had tried to forbid her from going to prom with Jesse, when Rachel was being extremely respectful and supportive of his renewed relationship with Quinn, no matter how much it hurt her.

While it sparked his irritation that even when they weren't together Rachel still hurt over Finn, Jesse had chosen to focus on the positive point: when forced by her jealous ex to choose, for the first time in quite some time, Rachel had chosen him, not the spoiled big baby that was Finnbecile. That only served to feed his hopes that this time they were playing for keeps, the oaf be damned.

Looking up from his notes, he turned a fresh page and smiled expectantly as Rachel made her way to the stage… with Puck, and his guitar, in tow. Frowning in confusion, he turned the mike on and used it to address her. "Hi, Rachel."

"Hey, Jesse," she smiled back, warmly, and he could tell by the way she was nearly bouncing on her heels that she was extremely excited for the performance that lay ahead. "Mr. Schue," she added, as an afterthought, not even glancing towards her choir director.

The consultant bit back the urge to chuckle and sat back on his chair. "Ready when you are, Ms. Berry."

Grinning, Rachel looked at Puck and nodded subtly; smirking and shaking his head slightly, he began to softly strum his guitar.

Oh, this is the start of something good, don't you agree?

I haven't felt like this in so many moons, you know what I mean?

And we can build through this destruction

As we are standing on our feet

Jesse, Schue and the New Directioners began to blink in slightly stunned disbelief at Rachel's unexpected choice for audition piece. All of them were expecting her to choose something from Barbra, maybe Celine, perhaps Beyoncé if she really wanted to go for shock value – not the indie pop singer that was more Tina's style than hers.

However, as the lyrics began to sink in, and noticing the way her eyes never moved from his, Jesse began to understand, and felt a thrill. One of the things that had hurt him during their first trial at a relationship was the fact that she had never openly sang to him in front of her peers. Yes, when they were alone she was more than willing to serenade him, but never had she done it during the several glee rehearsals they had attended together in his brief stint as a McKinley student.

So, since you wanna be with me

You have to follow through, with every word you say

And I – all I really want is you, for you to stick around

I'll see you everyday, but you have to follow through

You have to follow through

Scattered around the seats of the April Rhodes Theatre, the members of New Directions couldn't help but shoot a stunned glance at their clearly replaced leader. Finn, blind to everything that wasn't Rachel's sassy, flirty performance onstage, had to clench his fist with all his control to keep himself from storming out in true Rachel Berry style.

It wasn't fair, he fumed, unaware of Quinn's glare aimed at him. How was it that, even after all his fuck-ups, St. James still had Rachel's heart in a way that Finn himself hadn't ever felt he had, after all the months they had spent together, trying to make it work?

Finn was slightly slow and some might even call him dumb (Santana, for instance, was one who had no trouble saying it to his face), but he wasn't blind. He saw that since Jesse's return there was no lingering sadness in Rachel's eyes, no flash of longing appearing in her face before being replaced by a composed and neutral expression. Rachel was truly, honestly, genuinely happy, and it pissed Finn off that it had been St. James to make her that way.

These reeling emotions, they just keep me alive – they keep me in tune.

Oh, look what I'm holding, here in my fire

This is for you

Am I too obvious to preach it?

You're so hypnotic on my heart.

Sitting side by side, Lauren Zizes, Santana, Brittany and Kurt were having similar, but diverse reactions to Rachel's unexpected song. While Brittany was giggling uncontrollably, Rachel's actions striking a chord in her hopelessly romantic heart, Zizes and Santana were smirking, looking smugly at Finn, feeling somewhat vindicated and surprisingly proud of Rachel for standing up for herself and indirectly telling Finn to shove it by serenading the one man who had always been Finn's greatest rival to her heart.

Kurt, however, was so excited he felt like bouncing like Brittany in a sugar high on his seat. He couldn't help but think Rachel was – finally, at long last! – bouncing back to her dramatic diva ways, and he couldn't say he was unhappy with that. While it was true that she had matured greatly in the last few months, it was also true that somewhere down that path she had lost a big part of what made her so special and unique, and Kurt always secretly thought it had happened because of her desperate wish to fit herself in the Cheerio-shaped hole that Finn had shoved her in when they started dating.

By singing an unexpected but romantic song, Rachel had somehow gotten back to being Rachel Berry, diva in training that they all secretly loved and admired. His mind inadvertently flashed back to the last time Rachel had surprised them with a song none of them had expected them to even know existed – unsurprisingly, Jesse was also in her life back then, if not actively, then making his way to her. 'Follow Through' was no 'Gives You Hell', but it was amusing, fun and empowering all the same.

The words you say to me are unlike anything that's ever been said

And what you do to me is unlike anything that's ever been

Am I too obvious to preach it?

You're so hypnotic to my heart

William Schuester couldn't help but feel uneasy and impressed. He was uneasy, obviously, because his female lead, a minor student, was singing what was clearly a love song to his show choir consultant, and, while Jesse St. James was no teacher at McKinley, his job helping New Directions prepare to Nationals was close enough for it to cause some awkwardness if it ever came to light that he and Rachel were interested in each other.

However, at the same time, he was terribly impressed. While Rachel was, unquestionably, the best singer he had in his roster, up until then he had no idea just how powerful her voice really was. Yes, Rachel was versatile, her repertoire going from showtunes to power ballads to songs that were part of any recent Top 40 list, but somehow this performance was unlike everything he had ever seen from her. There was an honesty, a rawness, a power that made Schue for the first time consider what Rachel and Jesse had been saying all along.

Yes, New Directions had other talented singers – no student of his would shame them if forced to sing. But Rachel was different, unique. Rachel was her music, her craft, really, in a way that the others, Kurt included, weren't. Sure, she had other concerns, being the dramatic teenager that she was. But, when it came down to it, if forced to give up singing the other members of his choir would do just fine.

Rachel, however, would do whatever she had to in order to make sure she was heard. And Schue couldn't help the involuntary thought that they were incredibly lucky that Rachel had never even considered leaving McKinley for Carmel, especially after Jesse entered her life.

So, since you wanna be with me

You have to follow through, with every word you say

And I – all I really want is you, for you to stick around

I'll see you everyday, but you have to follow through

You have to follow through

You have to follow through

Oh, this is the start of something good, don't you agree?

Applause exploded as Rachel wrapped up her song, and with a pleased flush to her cheeks she took her bows. Pushing a stray lock from her eyes, she focused on Jesse with a stunning smile, joy exuding from her in waves as she waited for his critique.

"Flawless, Rachel," he said, grinning back at her. "But, I feel compelled to ask… Were you thinking of someone in particular when you sang that song?"

Rachel's eyes softened, a tender light filling them as she concentrated in Jesse and Jesse only. "Yes," she breathed, her voice amplified by the mike in front of her. "Yes, I was."