Disclaimer: Characters and show do not belong to me.

It's the first day of summer vacation when they hangout together, alone, for the first time since New York. They're not like, together-together yet, but they're pretty much together.

It's one of those unbearably hot summer days and he doesn't much feel like doing anything, so they just lay on his bed, watching movie after movie for hours. She tells him he can pick the movies, so obviously, he picks The Hangover first, because what's better than that? But then to make up for it, he picks out The Notebook from his mom's collection of DVDs because he's pretty much sure Rachel will like, walk out or something if he picks another "crude and pointless movie." Plus, he's always sort of had a soft spot for that movie (and no, that doesn't automatically give him a vagina regardless of what Puck says).

She cries throughout the whole thing, basically, and he starts to apologize for picking that movie because like, he doesn't want her to cry or anything. But she just shakes her head, and tells him that she loves that it, but more importantly, she loves him.

Then, while he's trying to pick yet another movie for their little marathon, she runs into the kitchen and comes out five minutes later with two glasses full of lemonade.

"It's my secret recipe." She says, smiling rather largely and he has to physically hold himself back from throwing her onto his bed and kissing her senseless right there and then.

She sets the two glasses on the side table, and walks over to the shelf where he puts all of his favorite movies. She looks at them all thoroughly, and he's pretty sure he's in for another chick flick, when she sets her hands on Rocky (it's pretty much his favorite movie of like, ever) and pulls it out, setting it right next to the glasses of lemonade.

"We can watch Rocky next; I know it's your favorite. But first …" She says, walking up to him and locking her tiny hands around his neck before kissing his lips with a little bit of edge. "I thought we could so some of this?"

He pulls her down to his bed obligingly, his lips securely attached to hers because really, what his girl wants, his girl gets.

It's only been two weeks since summer vacation started and he's just beginning to get used to the whole "Play video-games all night, sleep all day routine" when Rachel comes over, a stern look on her face.

"Finn, this behavior of yours is absolutely unacceptable."

He looks over at her from the beanie-bag he's sprawled on, rubbing the sleepiness from his eyes. He pulls her hand, tugging at it until she falls into his lap. "What are you talking about, babe?"

"Finn, you stay up until ungodly hours of the night playing this dumb Call of Force game with Noah,"

"Call of Duty, babe." He tries to correct her, but she goes on, simply ignoring him.

"And then you wake up at 3 pm, get right back on this beanie-bag and play again! You need to do something else, something productive!" She pauses for a second to look at him and he gets a bad feeling in the pit of him stomach. "Which is why" she starts slowly, "I've signed you up to volunteer at the local community theatre for the rest of this month!"

"What? Rachel that's not –"

She looks at him hard, and gives him what Mercedes would call "the stink eye" before letting out a little huff and he stops talking mid-sentence.

"Oh, would you stop looking at me like I killed your dog or something? I'm just asking you to come with me to the theatre for a couple of hours every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You can play your dumb Call of Force game on all the other days."

He doesn't even bother telling her it's Call of Duty, not Call of Force this time as he lets the information process in his head.

"Wait … you'll be coming with me?"

She rolls her eyes, "Of course, Finn. I mean, I'll be volunteering every day because I want to get as much experience as I can get but you only have to come three days a week."

He stops to think for a minute.

"You know Rach … I can think of a couple of things we can do backstage."

He watches her face freeze in confusion before turning bright red. "Finn Hudson! We will be doing no such things back stage! The stage is a holy, holy place!"

He's about to say something in rebuttal about how if that stage is a "holy place" then wouldn't the stage at school be a "holy place" too? … 'cuz like, they've definitely done stuff there before, but instead just pulls her closer, bringing his lips to hers.

"I'll go everyday too, Rach. With you." He says. "I want to get experience, too. I'm gonna need it if I'm gonna try to keep up with you, right?"

He's about to regret the promise he's just made because well … that probably means he'll have to start waking up early again, and he'll have a lot less time to play COD and stuff.

But then he sees her smile as she nods, looking at him like he's hung the moon or something. And right then and there, he realizes that it's worth it. Hell, he'd wake up at 7 am for the rest of the summer if it'd make her smile like that.

But then again … "Babe, please tell me we won't have to wake up at like, 7 or anything?"

So, volunteering isn't as bad as he had thought it would be. He doesn't have to wake up at 7, actually. Instead, Rachel texts him at 9:30 to wake him and he always makes sure he's standing outside her house by 10.

She always does this little skip-hop thing to his pick-up truck which never fails to make him smile, his heart doing a little skip-hop thing of its own.

He opens the door for and helps her into the seat before kissing her.

"Good morning, beautiful" he murmurs against her lips before making his way back to the driver's side of the truck.

She reaches into the brown bag she's holding in her hand, feeding him a piece of the corn muffin she's baked for him once he's got the car in drive.

"You know … you don't know have to bake me food every morning. I'm sure it gets annoying after a while." Because honestly, if he had to even pour cereal and milk in a bowl for someone other than himself every morning, he'd be irritated. So, he has to wonder how she has the patience to bake him something new every day.

"I love baking for you. I mean, I could stop if you want -"

He takes advantage of the red light he's stopped at and kisses her instead of letting her finish her sentence.

"I love you." He says before nibbling at another piece of muffin she's holding in her fingertips.

So yeah, volunteering really isn't as bad as he thought it would be 'cuz like, Rachel always makes everything better.

Did he mention that she even lets him make-out with her when they have a few minutes to spare (with some boob action at times, might he add)?

Yeah, volunteering really isn't as bad as he thought it would be.

It's been a while since all of Glee Club's hung out together, so on a random Friday night, Finn sends out a mass text to everyone telling them to meet up at his house early the next day. "Bring bathing suits" being his only real indication as to what they'll be doing.

Rachel's hesitant at first, though. "Finn, what if they all still hate us for ruining Nationals for them?"

He holds the phone close to his ear as he climbs into his bed, because yeah, he now has a habit of being in bed by 12.

"Rach, really, I think they're over it. I mean, no one said anything at our final Glee Club meeting. And no one has said anything since."

He hears silence on the other end and lets out a tiny sigh.

"Listen, if anyone and I mean anyone says anything to you, you just let me know, okay? You don't even have to say anything, just – just give me a look, or something. And I'll take care of it, alright?"

She quietly whispers her goodnight to him after, and he's pretty sure she's still not convinced, so he texts her, "I love you" just in case, because he knows that always makes her feel better.

He goes to sleep before she can text him back, but he supposes it's kind of a good thing the next morning because there's nothing really better than waking up to a text message from your girlfriend telling you that she loves you, too.

Except that she's not really his actual girlfriend. At least not yet. Yeah, he's gotta fix that.

Everyone shows up at his house that morning, including Quinn, he notes, surprised.

They all pack into his and Puck's trucks and head off to a lake nearby where the two used to hangout as kids. It's always been his favorite spot in all of like, Ohio and he's really excited to show it to Rach, though he can't believe he didn't show it to her last summer.

He has to laugh at the bag she brings along because she's stuffed everything in this planet in that little thing. When they get to the beach, she pulls out towels, sunscreen, magazines, two novels, snacks and an extra change of clothes for the both of them. He's convinced she's Mary Poppins. Or Hermoine Granger. Whatever.

He tells her that later, and she laughs like it's the greatest thing she's ever heard.

That's another thing he loves about Rachel; that he can tell her all the random, weird thoughts that go in and out of his mind all day because she never judges him for it the way Quinn did. Instead, she laughs or agrees with him; she makes him feel like the things he says are actually worthwhile. Plus, she says that she finds the things he says "endearing" and he's pretty sure that's a good thing.

He's lying on one of her towels, letting the sun hit his face when he hears her sit down beside him, her breathe ragged. He lifts his head, watching her chest heave in her tiny blue and white polka dot bikini before pulling her down next to him.

"What were you up to, babe?" He mumbles into her hair, taking a sniff of her intoxicating strawberry shampoo that he can never get enough of.

She lies down next to him, grabbing his arm to slide under her head. "I was playing volley ball with the girls."

He kisses her temple, "You still think they all hate us?"

She simply shakes her head before pulling herself closer to him, dropping a kiss on his chest before closing her eyes.

Rachel was right about them all being a part of something special, he thinks before shutting his own eyes as well, because regardless of the shit they put each other through, they're all there for each other in the end.

She comes over for dinner one Sunday night after running into his mom at the grocery store. His room's a mess, and had they made the plans ahead of time he totally would have cleaned up a little bit … probably. But he didn't, so at the moment his room basically looks like a tornado's hit it.

"Finn, how do you live like this?" She says, throwing a pile of his clothes from his bed to the floor, trying to find some room to sit.

"Uh, well … during the day, I throw all my clothes and stuff on my bed. And at night, I throw it all onto the floor. And then in the morning, it goes back up on my bed."

He stops talking when he sees the look on her face; it's the same one she gave him when he told her that he wouldn't mind having a pet elephant, because he wouldn't have to take it on walks, it would take him. Her eyes are trying to look at him like he's crazy, but her smile gives her away.

"Come on, Finn. I'll help you clean up."

He tries to stop her and tell her she doesn't have to but really, you can't stop Rachel Berry from doing something once she's determined.

He's standing at his closet, hanging up the clothes she passes to him from the floor when he hears her breathe hitch. He turns around to check if she saw a spider or something when he feels his blood go cold.

His eyes grow wide as he meets her tearful ones and all his brain can think is shit shit shit shit. SHIT. Because she wasn't supposed to find that box. That damn box that he should've thrown out ages ago.

"Finn … what-what is this?" She's pulling out a blue boutonniere, a sonogram and old pictures of him and Quinn from an old cardboard box, the tears she's been holding captive now freely trickling down her face.

She's getting up, grabbing her purse with one hand, the door knob with the other and all he can still think of is shitshitshit. Shit.


He grabs her by the arm before she can make it out of the door. He has to explain, he has to tell her why he's kept that box of Quinn's old stuff under his bed.

"Rachel, stop. Just listen to me for a second."

"No, Finn." She screams louder than he's ever heard her. "Just … just stop. I should have known. I should have known I was just a rebound for you, from Quinn."

And then she runs, and he can hear her feet pounding on the stairs before he hears the door slam but he's too dumbfounded to move. Rebound? Her? God, for someone so smart she make really, really stupid assumptions sometimes.

He calls. She doesn't pick up. So he calls again. And then again, and again and again until her voicemail is full and his thumbs are too sore to dial.

It's one o clock now and he's sure she's sleeping by now but he jumps out of his bed anyway and starts to head down the stairs, tiptoeing so that he doesn't wake up his mom or Burt, 'cuz he's pretty sure they wouldn't be thrilled with the idea of him sneaking out in the middle of the night to see Rachel.

He's outside of her house in five minutes and is a little disappointed when he sees the light in her room off, though he was expecting it.

He calls her again once more before resorting to the whole 'throwing pebbles at your lover's window' thing because really, at this point, what has he got to lose?

Five minutes, and he's guessing fifteen pebbles later, Rachel finally shows up at her window.

"Finn?" She hisses, and he tries to hold back a laugh because her hair's sticking up in all crazy directions and she's rubbing her eyes like crazy, undoubtedly trying to figure out if he's there in reality or if she's dreaming it.

"Rach, will you please come downstairs?"

"Finn, if me not picking up the twenty seven times you called wasn't enough of a hint; I am in no mood to talk to you right now. I already know what you have to say, and I think it's cruel that you would come all the way here at this hour of the night to tell me that you really love Quinn, not me. It's unfair, really–"

"Rach, will you just shut up and come downstairs already? I just … you need to hear me out, okay?"

He can tell by the look on her face that she isn't budging (trust him to fall in love with the world's most stubborn girl) so he tries another tactic. "Rach, please? I'm begging you – just, just give me five minutes. That's all?"

And when begging doesn't work, he takes yet another approach. "Rachel, look. I'm not going home without talking to you. So you either come down here, or I'm just going to have to climb up this tree to get to you. And there's no promising that I'll actually make it up there, or that I'll even be alive in the end because, well, as we all know, I'm not the most graceful or balanced person."

Success. He sees her bite her lip in consideration before shutting the window and turning around.

Thirty seconds later she's standing in front of him, hands on her hips in typical Rachel Berry fashion.

"Rachel, that-that box full of Quinn's old stuff, it didn't-"

"You don't have to explain, Finn. I-I get it. You'll always love Quinn, and I'll always be a rebound. I just –"

"God, Rachel! Will you ever just stop for one second and hear me out?" He explodes. He regrets it a second later when she sees the scared look in her eyes.

He softens his eyes and voice, bringing his hand to her face. "Rach, that box full of Quinn's stuff … I only kept it as a reminder. Of how badly I messed it up with you. I mean, twice I wasted my time in a relationship that meant nothing to me when I could've been with you. When – when all I wanted was to be with you because despite what you think, you're my first love, Rach."

"But … but Quinn?"

"Quinn was my first girlfriend, yeah. But not my first love. I didn't feel for her what I've felt for you from the second I heard you sing – like, no matter what, I'd always be drawn to you. Like, regardless of what we do, or where we are, we'd be tethered to one another."

Now, he knows he's not really good with words or anything; like, he's not eloquent or poetic. But the tears in her eyes and the smile on her face basically tells him that he doesn't really need to be; just verbalizing the way he feels inside will always be good enough for the girl standing in front of him.

"You're my first love too, Finn. My only love." She wraps her tiny fingers around his neck, getting on her tippy toes to bring her lips to his.

"Will you be my girlfriend?"

She breaks away from him, a confused look masking her face.

"Okay, this isn't how I was planning to do it but …Look, I just … every other time we've been together, we've kind of just, you know, gotten together without any sort of formal … anything. But this time, I thought I'd like, ask you out all nice and stuff because you deserve it. But us … right now … It just feels right. So will you be my girlfriend?"

She lets out a little squeal and he has to cover her mouth with his hand, reminding her that her dads are still asleep.

"Of course, Finn! Of course I'll be your girlfriend."

"Good," he chuckles, bringing his face closer to hers. "I wasn't really gonna take no for an answer anyway."

They go bowling one night because it's August now, and they no longer have to wake up early to volunteer (even though he knows waking up at 9:30 isn't really all that early … but during summer vacation, it sure as hell feels like it).

Kurt and Blaine join him, and it's cool because he really likes Blaine (or at least he started to, once he got over the fact that he hooked up with Rachel that one time).

They get pizza and Rachel hugs him every time she gets a strike or a spare (which really isn't all that often) and it all reminds him of his first date with Rachel. If you could call it that.

He's pretty sure it reminds her of it too when she pulls him over to the corner while Blaine and Kurt are arguing over something random and kisses him so hard he has to ask her if she's feeling okay.

"I'm perfect. Just being here reminds me of how much I love you." He's about to tell her he loves her much more, because well, it's the truth and sometimes he feels like she forgets it when Kurt yells out to her, telling her it's her turn.

Its two games later when they all decide their fingers are in too much agony to play another game and head to the Hudmel household instead.

They're all sitting on the floor of their living room, looking at Kurt's pictures from their New York trip when Kurt all but explodes. "I just love New York so much. I'm literally counting down the days until I can move there!"

Finn lets out a tiny snort as he watches Rachel's eyes almost bulge out. "Me too, Kurt! I just, I belong there, you know? I can't wait until we're living there."

She turns around to kiss him, and he knows she's not just speaking to his stepbrother, but him, too.

They go to the state fair one night with Sam and Mercedes because apparently, they're like, a 'thing' now.

Rachel begs him to go on the Ferris Wheel as soon as they get there, and he just follows her as she skips towards the line for the ride. He notes the way she stops hesitantly at the Cotton Candy line before marching on to the Ferris Wheel, and tells her to wait for him on-line for the Ferris Wheel while he goes to use the bathroom.

He joins her on line six minutes later, hiding cotton candy behind his back.

"What took you so long in the bathroom, Finn? I almost thought I'd have to go on the Ferris Wheel by myself!"

He pulls the cotton candy from behind his back and feeds her piece before smiling largely at her.

"How'd you know I wanted cotton candy?" She squeals as he feeds her another chunk.

"Oh please, babe. You looked at that stand the way Kurt looked at my brownie that day he decided he was on a no-carb and no-sugar diet!"

She laughs at him, intertwining her fingers with his as they step into the cart, her fingers clutching onto his tighter and tighter as the wheel begins to turn, lifting them further away from the ground.

They're stopped at the top when she turns to kiss him, "I've always wanted to kiss someone while at the top of a Ferris Wheel. It really feels like you're at the top of the world, you know?"

"Come here, you cheese-ball." He says, taking hold of her tiny hand in his large hands before kissing her, enjoying the taste of cotton candy on her lips.

She breaks apart once their moving again and looks out at the rest of the fair, taking in the lights and rides.

"Look, I found Mercedes and Sam!" She says, pointing at the two who are sitting on the swings ride, laughing as they try to grab the others hand as they're swings drift farther from each other.

He hears Rachel giggle from his side, "Do you think we're as nauseatingly cute as them?"

"Oh, babe, I think we're worse." He says, bringing her in for another kiss before feeding her another giant chunk of cotton candy.

He's talking to his mom one day when he realizes, Burt does a lot of romantic things for her. Like, he'll just bring home flowers randomly. Or he'll cook her favorite meal for dinner and set up some candles so that they can enjoy it together, alone.

He stops to think of something cute or romantic he's done for Rachel, and he's little disappointed when his mind draws a blank.

So, he Googles "romantic things to do with your girlfriend in the summer" and he gets some weird suggestions like, "Undress her" and "Watch her while she sleeps." Yeah, Rachel wouldn't really be into either one of those.

But then, one sticks out to him. Take her out on a picnic and watch the sunset together. Yeah, it's cheesy and stuff, but it's also kind of perfect because Rachel loves picnics and she loves sunsets. Why didn't he think of that earlier?

He packs a basket he's borrowed from his mom with all of her favorite food, which is really a bunch of vegan food he doesn't really intend on eating, and a burger and some Cheetos from himself. He even makes some lemonade for them because he's finally figured out her secret recipe (she adds a hint of mint and some salt in it. Sounds weird, tastes great.)

But then she calls him, and tells him she's sick and that she can't make it today. She doesn't really have much of a voice when she calls and his hope deflates by the time he hangs up the phone.

But then, another idea comes to his mind and he drops by her favorite Vegan restaurant, picking up that soup she likes so much (and he must admit, it's the one vegan food he likes as well) before driving to her house.

He waits outside her door, basket full of food in one hand, a few of Rachel's favorite movies in the other and rings the doorbell a few times.

Rachel opens the door with a confused look etched on her face, one hand clutching a tissue paper box.

"Finn, what are you doing here?" She sniffles, bringing a tissue paper to her nose before she sneezes.

"I come with movies, soup, and other food." He says, walking into her kitchen, dropping off all that he's holding in his hands onto the kitchen counter before turning around, "and kisses." He turns around to meet her lips with his.

He walks into her living room minutes later and sets up his "picnic" on the floor, popping in Funny Girl into the DVD player.

"Finn, what's all this about?" Rachel asks, wrapping her arms around his waist as he sits next to her on the floor.

"Well, I just wanted to do something romantic for you, you know? So I planned this picnic and stuff but then you got sick. So I figured I'd just bring the picnic to you."

Finn opens the basket and finds the soup. He opens the lid, letting it cool off before spooning some into Rachel's mouth.

"Did I get the right soup?"

He looks up at Rachel when she doesn't answer him for a minute, and catches her giving him a weird look.

"What? Do I like, have food on me or something? Is it orange? I was eating Cheetos in the car and I thought I got it all off of my face before I got out of the car…"

She shakes her head, still giving him that weird look. "Did you know you're the best boy friend in the world?"

He just smiles at her because really, his heart is kind of exploding from her words and he feels like a little school girl so he figures it's best if he just keeps his mouth shut.

He's never really been told he's the "best" at anything. His first coming from Rachel just makes it that much better.

He takes Rachel back to his favorite lake once more before the summer ends. They don't do much; just lie by the water and talk, mostly. But he has to admit, it's probably been his favorite day from the entire summer.

They end the night in his pick-up truck; Rachel covers the bottom with blankets, leaving just one to cover their bodies. He holds her close, drawing patterns on her stomach with his fingers as they stare up at the stars.

"Thanks for this summer, Finn." She says quietly, pulling herself closer to his body.

"Why do you say it like that, Rach?"

She hauls herself up on one arm and turns to look at him. "What do you mean? I was simply thanking you. This has been the best summer of my life, and I have you to thank for that."

He smiles, kissing her forehead. "Yeah, but why do you say it like that? Like it's the last one we have or something. We're going to have tons more like this one, Rachel. Summers that'll put this one to shame – especially when we're in New York City."

He watches as her eyes grow shiny, a cloud of confusion and doubt hanging over her head. "How do you know that, Finn? What if we're just destined to be a great high school couple and that's it. What if we don't have a future? What if we don't even make it through high school? What if all the drama rips us apart again, like last year?"

Her voice cracks as he scoops her back into his arms, "Because, Rachel, I promise you that I'm never going to break up with you. And, I know that I've made that promise before but I-I promise, this time I'm keeping it. Being without you made me realize that I don't just want you in my life, I need you. You're my everything, Rach. And I know you have big dreams; I love that about you. And I'm willing to follow you anywhere. If you're doing Broadway in New York or shooting a movie in Zimbabwe or recording an album in LA – I'll be there, as long as you'll have me."

"I love you, Finn Hudson." She whispers, her voice raspy as she clings to his side, leaving a trail of kisses along his jaw.

"I love you more, babe." He says, capturing her lips with his before she can protest.

Eh. Not too happy with it but whatever. I love happy, summer Finchel. They make me happy :) Hope you guys liked it, though!

Reviews are always always always greatly appreciated. (That's an understatement, really.)