Okay. Let me preface this by saying this is all spec. I do not know what happens or in what order. I am basing this on my nutty head and the NYC pics. Some of this is probably spec from others as well and if it's yours, you're brilliant and thank you for contributing to this.

I got this idea last night and was so happy when it was still in my head this morning.

Enjoy.

.xo.

No mother ever wants to see her child hurting and Carole Hudson is no exception to that rule. She considers herself lucky that Finn never really knew his father. He never gets to know the wonderful, loving, happy man that was Christopher Hudson. Sometimes she feels a pang of guilt for feeling that way but then she reminds herself that because he didn't know his father he doesn't know the pain of losing him.

She dates losers after Chris; she knows it and most of the time she does it purposely. She thinks Christopher was the perfect man and in some twisted way, she thinks it was her fault that he was killed. She thinks if he'd had another wife at home, a smarter wife, thinner, more beautiful, that God would have brought him home safely. She doesn't think she can do it alone but she doesn't want to give anyone else the opportunity to raise the boy that would never truly be theirs.

She blames God a lot for making her fall in love with the most wonderful man in the world and then taking him away almost as soon as she had given birth to their son.

So when she meets Burt (okay, so when Kurt kind of shoves her and Burt together), she thinks for the first time that her son will have the father-figure he needs to grow into the man she knows he is supposed to be.

(She never counts Will Schuester as a man for Finn to look up to because he's pretty messed up himself and if she wanted her son to see dysfunctional all he had to do was look at their family photos – a young mother and baby son with a folded up American Flag or an urn that didn't even contain her husband's ashes. And she's pretty sure Will was no help at all during the brief period when Finn thought he would be a teenage father with no hopes of ever getting out of the black hole that is Lima, Ohio. )

She watches as her son grows and flourishes (after he finally accepts that she and Burt are going to be together regardless of how uncomfortable or reluctant he feels to let another man fill the dad-sized hole in his life) and finally, for the first time, she thinks he's on the right track.

And then she watches the end of his relationship with Rachel and watches as he slowly but surely falls back in "love" with Quinn Fabray.

She understands, she really does, that the way he and Quinn ended was less than ideal because the only closure he got was a kicked chair and a few punches for his best friend. She finds closure important because she never got it with Chris and that's okay because he was ripped from her with no chance of him ever coming back but Finn has to see Quinn every day.

So she knows he needs closure.

She also knows he needs to be up front with Rachel about it and frowns at him every time he says he's going to Quinn's but if Rachel calls to tell her he's out running errands. (She briefly wonders if "running errands" is a euphemism but realizes her son, while wonderful, is no Einstein and probably wouldn't be able to come up with a euphemism like that to save his life.)


She's not surprised when he comes home one night and he's smiling and happy and chattering on and on about Rachel and she's sure the next words out of his mouth are going to be, "And so I broke up with Quinn and Rachel and me and Rach are back together" but he doesn't. He tells her Rachel wants to write original songs and he's the only one who agrees with her and that he told her so.

And she asks him how the rest of the club responded when he agreed with her he just hangs his head and tells her he told her after, when they were alone in the hallway, and then heads to his room.

She feels bad for dampening his mood but she can tell her son is still in love with Rachel, even if he doesn't know it, and she's more than willing to help him see the light. Without telling him. Because she wants him to figure it out on his own.

She just hopes he doesn't take too long.


And then he starts coming home grumpier than ever, blowing off dinner and baseball games and Kurt and just going to his room.

Kurt tries to ask him if he's excited for prom and her beautiful, loving, wonderful son tells his brother to "shut the hell up" and leaves the dinner table without finishing and without asking to be excused. She hears his door slam a minute later and turns to her step-son to see if he's okay and finds him shaking with soundless chuckles.

"What's that about?" she asks as Burt's eyes wander to the stairs and the direction of Finn's room.

"Looks like Fuinnland is about to close," he snorts before commenting on how much he likes the veggie casserole she made for dinner that night.

She can't help but wonder what Fuinnland is and why she's never heard of it before.


When he comes in a few weeks later with Rachel rushing behind him and they head for his room, she literally runs to the bottom of the stairs and screams for them to come back down immediately.

They do and say they have just been out together (she internally cheers) and that they're pretty sure that both Quinn and Kurt are cheaters.

"Cheaters?" she asks in confusion. "What do you mean?"

The kids share a look and Rachel asks politely if they can have a few moments to discuss it in private in order to digest what they'd seen and then they would explain later.

She's helpless to do anything but agree because she finds it hard to deny Rachel anything. She wonders how her son manages to do it.

She doesn't get an explanation but she watches as her son walks Rachel to the door and hugs her before she says she'll ask Sam to the prom the next day and he forces a smile and waves to her back and closes the door.

She also watches as he clenches his fists and closes his eyes before leaning his back against the door and hitting his head a few times.

"Finn?" she calls quietly.

"It's nothing," he mumbles in reply before shucking his vest and heading upstairs again.

She brushes it off because clearly he's still with Quinn and apparently Rachel is interested in that Sam kid with the bad hair and unknown past and not for the first time she wonders how long it's going to take for them to get back together because their love-square has turned into a love-pentagon and at the center of it all is her son and Rachel Berry and she's positive that everyone will be happier if the two of them eliminate the other three corners and just get back together again.

She knows Rachel cheated with Puck and she knows how much it hurt Finn and she has to physically stop herself from reminding him that when he first met Rachel he cheated on Quinn with her.

The part that gets her the most, however, is that him cheating on Quinn was worse than Rachel cheating on him because he cheated both physically and emotionally.

Not that she'd ever point this out to him.


The night of prom she watches as he stares at the corsage he bought Quinn for a moment before yelling for Kurt to hurry up.

"You look so handsome," she tells him as she smoothes her hands over his lapels. "So much like your father."

He gives her Chris' lopsided grin and thanks her before taking a deep breath, glancing at the corsage again and then to the stairs. "I'm sure even Quinn is ready by now!"

"Hold your horses, Finn!" gets hollered from Kurt's room. "Mercedes and Rachel are having a minor crisis!"

"They're here?" he calls back and she understands exactly why he's male lead – boy can project.

"It's called Skype, you idiot!"

"What's the problem?" he asks loudly.

"Jesse's there and trying to tell them that Sam's Mercedes' date and that he's taking Rachel!"

She scrunches her brow before she hears a strange noise and has to quickly liberate the corsage from her son's hands. "You didn't tell me Jesse was back," she says softly.

"I try to pretend he's not," Finn replies as he once again screams for Kurt.

After they get out the door she sits heavily on the couch and wonders how tonight's going to play out.


No more than three hours later he's walking back in the door with an ice pack on his hand and a frustrated Rachel on his heels.

"… cannot believe you'd do something so rash and unnecessary, Finn Hudson! How dare you. We weren't there as a couple and, as I seem to recall, you don't exactly have any kind of right to tell me who I can and cannot have accompany me to social activities."

"Drop it, Rach," her son huffs out as he heads for the kitchen. He drops the ice pack on the counter and loosens his tie with his good hand.

"I will not! Do you realize what you did tonight?"

"Yeah," he chuckles. "I got dumped."

"Which was entirely your fault, by the way!" she tells him unrepentantly, hands on her hips. "So don't even think of trying to place the blame on me. It's not my fault!"

"It's entirely you fault," he shouts back as he rounds on her. "If you hadn't gone with Jesse …"

"I went with Sam, Mercedes and Jesse!"

"…then none of this would have happened!"

"Oh please," she scoffs and Carole has to hold in her chuckle as the tiny spitfire advances on her son. "You're the one who attacked him. With no right at all to do so, I'd like to remind you."

"Can you just drop it?"

"You got kicked out of prom, Finn. Quinn is furious …"

"… don't really care …"

"And Jesse may have a broken nose!"

"Finn!" Carole gaps as she jumps from the couch. "You hit someone. Again?"

"He was sayin' stuff," her son replies, head hung and a wince on his face as she takes his bruised and slightly bloody hand in her own. "Couldn't let him get away with it."

"I'm sure whatever he said wasn't enough to make you physically attack him, Finn!" Rachel huffs.

"Can we just say it was and let it go?"

"No," Rachel and Carole answer at the same time.

"Please?"

"Finn," she warns. "Out with it."

"He said he was taking you to a hotel so you could get intimately reacquainted," he spits at Rachel. "You said you didn't sleep with him!"

"I didn't!"

"Then why would he say that to me?"

"Why is it affecting you so much?" she shoots back angrily, her mouth gaping open as soon as the words are out. She figures Rachel didn't mean to voice that question.

There's no sound in the house aside from Finn's harsh breathing as he stares into Rachel's wide, questioning eyes. She hears Rachel suck in a breath but cannot move her gaze from the caged-animal look in her son's eyes.

The only thing he does is whisper Rachel's name before she shakes her head and runs out the door, tears shimmering in her eyes.

"Did you win King?" she asks softly as she maneuvers her son to the sink so she can clean off his hand.

"I don't know. Probably not. We, uh, we left before …"

She smiles and gently runs the warm water over his injuries. "Finn?"

"Yeah?"

"You still love her?"

He raises his eyes to meet hers and she doesn't even need him to answer. He pulls his hand away and heads to the stairs, a whispered "good night" floating to her before she hears the creak of the third step and then the slight snick of his door closing.


He's surly and introverted for the next few days, only smiling when he sees his brother prancing around the house with his tiara on his head.

Nationals is coming up and she's volunteered to go with the group and she thinks he's happy about that because he'll have most of his family with him and she won't be spending most of the time with Rachel like she knows Kurt will. She tells him the week before and he hugs her, thanks her and then goes to his room.

"Rachel won't talk to him," Kurt tells her when she asks why Finn's acting the way he is. "He's been making a real effort to have a conversation with her and she's using Puck as a bodyguard or something. So you can imagine his feelings on that particular union. However, I'm fairly certain he's attempting to concoct a plan to get back in her good graces in New York. If we can still go," he adds with a frown. "We're still a little short on funds and I'm pretty sure not even some of Puck's special cupcakes will raise enough money."

"Everything will work out," she promises, thinking that if she and Burt had the money they would put it up. She then feels angry with Judy Fabray for not offering herself.


When Sue Sylvester's sister dies, the once-heartless coach pays for the club to go to New York. When Finn comes in and tells her, she wonders if Kurt was right and exactly what her son cooked up for the brunette in the city she knows the younger girl loves.


On their first free day, Finn and Rachel disappear for the entire day and she thinks it's a good sign until she sees Noah and some of the other boys leaving with an accordion. She convinces herself she doesn't want to know what exactly he's doing with it. Nor does she want to know where he got it.

That night she finds Kurt and Rachel, beautiful blue dress now wrinkles, curled up in her bed, tears pouring from Rachel's eyes as she clings to Kurt and sobs out the events of the day. Mercedes is on the other side of the room with a frown on her face and her fingers moving wildly across the keyboard of her cell phone.

She speaks of a romantic rendezvous on Bow Bridge in Central Park, of flowers and formal wear, a walk in the rain where the other boys followed them playing the accordion and singing Bella Notte from Lady and the Tramp and then of dinner at a fancy restaurant and meeting Patti LuPone (at which point both Mercedes and Kurt squeal).

She tells them how when they were on the bridge he told her "no pressure" and then after dinner he tried to kiss her and she told him no and walked away. How sad she is that she left him standing in the road, probably thinking she didn't love him anymore.

"I do," she cries harder, fingers digging into Kurt's shirt. "But he and Quinn just broke up and the last time that happened and we got together it was too soon and he wasn't ready and he broke up with almost immediately. I can't go through that again. I can't."

"I know," her step-son shushes as he rubs her back. "It's okay."

"It's not," she cries and reaches out for Mercedes.

The other girl moves over to the bed and Rachel turns and buries her head in Mercedes' neck so Carole motions for Kurt to follow her out of the room.

"Wanna go talk to Finn?" he asks her as soon as they're in the hallway.

She simply nods and they head off in search of her wayward son.


When they find him, he's sitting in the lobby of their hotel with Noah, their heads bent together in whispered conversation.

"… didn't work," Finn pushes out painfully. "I tried to kiss her and she wouldn't let me."

"Dude, you tried your best. From what you said, you did everything we talked about. Maybe it's time to let go. Because you and I both know that even when you were with Q you were still in love with Berry."

"I …" Finn starts but looks up to see Kurt and her standing there. "Hey."

"Should I …?" Puck asks as he gestures over his shoulder towards the elevators.

"No," Kurt says definitively. "It appears you helped with Phase One of the Rachel and Finn Reunification Project … which I just fabulously named right now … and you have every right to be in on Phase Two. You did well with the Barbra-vention. It's time to take your talents pro now, Puckerman."

"Ffff …" he starts before glancing at her before amending, "Heck yeah."

"Excellent," Kurt replies before clapping his hands together and suggesting they all go up to the boys' room where there will be privacy.

They have Finn retell the story just to make sure Rachel wasn't too Rachel about it, but he tells it the same, including the "no pressure" and the almost-kiss. Her heart breaks for her son because she knows he finally gets it. But she's also proud of Rachel. She knows her baby's good-looking and he's never really had to work for a girl before. Sure, he's made attempts but it was mostly his girlfriends' efforts that brought them together.

She likes that Rachel is hesitant. It makes her think of herself and Chris and she hopes it works out the same way. (Without the dying, of course.)

"I just … it's cool if she isn't ready or something," Finn says softly to the room after he's done retelling the story. "I just want her to know that I wanna be with her and I'm gonna wait for her and everything."

Kurt arches a brow and smirks at her and she feels her stomach flip a little. Her step-son clearly thinks Finn has something brewing in his mind, again, and she can't wait to see how the boys talk it out.

"So it's okay with you if you're not together right away?" he asks as he shares a look with Noah.

"Well," Finn answers with a scrunched brow. "I mean, obviously I want to be with her. I love her, you know? But as long as I can tell her somehow that I know we're meant to be together, I'll be okay. Like, as long as she's in my life, as long as she knows that we're gonna be together … it's cool for right now to be apart."

Noah arches a brow and leans back to grab his guitar. He starts strumming and Kurt nods along and Finn starts tapping out a rhythm on his knees as if they'd all played this tune a million times though she knows they haven't.

Noah nods at Finn and he starts singing under his breath and then he says – sings – the most beautiful thing she's ever heard come from his mouth, "You can come and go, baby, as you please. But please, baby, stay with me. Always."

Everyone in the room goes silent. Carole feels tears building in her eyes and doesn't want the boys to see her let them fall so she heads to the small bathroom.

She's so proud of Finn. He's grown into a wonderful young man who's slowly learning the exact right thing to say, where Rachel's concerned at least. And now she's getting the chance to watch him write music – write music – for the girl he loves and she just wishes Burt was there to share this moment with her. She feels a brief pang of guilt for not wishing it was Chris but she stamps it down and smiles before walking back into the room to hear the boys harmonizing and adding lyrics.

"Oh my God!" Noah cries out as he nearly drops his guitar. "Dudes. Best idea ever."

"What's that, Puckerman?" Kurt asks flatly, as if he doesn't expect it to be a good idea. (Knowing Noah, it probably won't be.)

"You're taking Berry to that jewelry place tomorrow, right?" he asks.

Kurt sighs in a manner in which she knows means he's about to lecture the mohawked boy and she forces herself to step in. "We're going for breakfast and then Kurt and Rachel are going to Tiffany's ,yes."

Noah turns his gaze to Finn. "Best. Idea. Ever."

"Not following, dude," Finn responds.

"Give 'er a little teaser. Write down that stuff about coming and going or whatever and have Kurt give it to her as a secret admirer thing or something."

"Almost there, Puckerman," Kurt smiles. "But I have a better idea."


When the kids show up at the rehearsal space the next night, Rachel is gushing to the other girls about how someone left a note for her with the most beautiful words and a set of keys, which are a metaphor. ("And metaphors are important.") She says she doesn't know what the keys are for but Noah looks guilty so she knows he procured them from somewhere she'd rather not know.

They run through their show and at the end Kurt, Noah and Finn share a look and the former grabs Rachel and pulls her from the room and Finn proposes his song and he and Noah play it through and then beg and plead for none of them to tell Rachel.

Quinn looks angry but, other than that (and Lauren's bored expression) everyone seems to be on board. Will looks out at her and she smiles and shrugs. He laughs a little and asks how exactly they think they're going to keep it from Rachel.

"Hummel just took her to Sachs," Puck snorts. "And we're not leaving here until it's perfect."

"Since when are you the conductor of the Finchel Express?" Santana asks.

"Since I said so, Lopez. So shut it. You in or out?"

"In," she shrugs. When everyone turns to look at her she rolls her eyes. "What? It's not like it's not gonna happen anyway." She rolls her shoulders and looks away. "I just wanna be able to say I got them back together."

Everyone laughs and they run through the song, Finn's eyes closing every few lines as he sings to the girl who isn't there.

It takes a little more than two hours but there's no choreography so it's simply learning the harmonies and Finn teaching John the beats on the drums.

It's set to be Puck, Kurt and Finn center stage singing, Puck on his guitar, and as the song progresses everyone else comes on as well as backup. Everyone but Rachel.

She thinks Will's going to have to hold Rachel down and gag her so she doesn't flip out back stage at the change of program.


The next day she can tell her son is nervous for more than one reason. Vocal Adrenaline goes on before them and, like the soul-less automatons they are, perform flawlessly. A few more schools from Maine, Missouri and Illinois go on and she starts wondering if Will should actually let the kids go ahead with the plan. Yes, she wants her son to be happy but this song was written two nights ago and rehearsed for the first time last night. It's not flawless and it doesn't have Rachel in it and they all know they need her voice to even come close to winning.

But the boys go out and start the song, "It's called Always and it's the most honest thing I'll ever say" Finn explains, and her sons sound amazing, all three of them (because yes, she still considers Noah to be one of her boys regardless of the last year), and she feels her heart swell with pride at their bravery. Especially Finn's.

He keeps glancing backstage and she wishes more than anything that she could see Rachel's face.

When the song ends she sees Rachel fly from behind the curtain and into Finn's arms and she knows they just lost the competition because of that but she doesn't think anyone's going to mind because she sees and hears them laughing and clapping and she knows Rachel's crying but none of that matters because her kids did so well and Finn's kissing Rachel and all is right in the world.

She hears Kurt scream, "Everything is Finchel and nothing hurts" and she has to agree. She pulls out her phone and calls Burt, quickly telling him she loves him and they'll talk later because the kids are getting ready to do their set.

They perform well and no one misses their marks but there are forty seven clubs competing and this is only their second year. When they come in fifth, she smiles proudly, if not completely in shock. She stands and claps and hoots and hollers like the embarrassing mother she is but no one in the club is paying attention because Finn is accepting the small trophy. He hoists it once before passing it to Puck and pulling Rachel into his arms and kissing her, once again, on stage in New York.

She mentally makes a note to start saving some money for him since New York isn't a cheap place to live and she knows this is where he'll be preparing to move in a year.

Because this is where Rachel Berry will be. She refuses to think of it as losing a son because she knows someday soon – but not too soon she hopes – she'll be gaining a daughter.

She thinks of Chris and of Burt and smiles.

.xo.

Thanks so much to Amy and Laura who held my hand through this … and to my new friend Annika for being so excited to read it!