n/a: Wars have always been a tough matter for me to deal with, and I had a dream about a story like this a few months ago. I figured it would do me some good writing it with Finn and Rachel in it. Enjoy.
Disclaimer: do not own
Warnings: English is not my native language and I don't have a beta so please be nice. Also, this fic is M-rated for a reason. As much as I believe everybody loves some Finchel smut, I can't help but warn this is at least NC-17. Nothing too explicit, but I'm paranoid.
In chronological order, but the last "drabble" will be a flashback.
These Ties that Bind
She knows her husband's coming back to war.
When he tells her he'll go for the first time, she yells, throws the nearest lamp on his head, cries, grips the sheets and even swears she will leave him if he goes, but he's Finn for God's sake and she would never do anything like that to him. As the pain, tears and hurt go down to the drain when she's taking a bath, the feeling of acceptance starts to soak in, as it always do, but there's still a small piece of her heart which's begging for her to tell him how she feels.
Since Finn Hudson went for the first time, five years ago, to Iraq, they weren't even married. They got engaged before he left, and he promised her he needed to do this just for a year, and then, they would finally buy that house near Central Park they love so much, get married and start a family. She believes him, after all, she's Rachel, he's Finn and they always win.
But then, right after they consummate their marriage, he goes again. He tells her, "just one more year". Again, she believes him. She waits. She even prays.
Then, he comes back, and goes again. And back, and once more. And now, for the fifth time, he promises her it's the last. It's like an addiction. He loves her, she knows he does. He's the same Finn, tethered to her and to his other lady, the war. The feminine shadow of his father. Everything she couldn't give him. And it's actually ironic how she always make sure they have unprotected and passionate sex before he leaves her; she's always walking hand to hand with the possibility of his death, so she figures a son or daughter may give her a tiny piece of him in case his Lady War takes him away forever, but until now, it didn't seem to work; his seed never grew inside of her, and in the other hand, she's thankful that she wasn't going to be a mom to a child who would possibly never meet its father.
She gets used to it. Using his money and due to his pleas through letters, she doesn't wait, and buys the house near Central Park all by herself. When he comes home, they make love in every single room, as if they were making sure she could smell him after he was out again. She spends her afternoons alone in the park, feeding pigeons and singing show tunes for herself. But then she remembers that kind of nights, the nights when they had to love each other before war took him away.
And it's one of those nights all over again.
He's lying underneath the blankets as she follows him, undressed. And she does her best not to cry when he enters her. All the mixed feelings, pleasure, angst, hurt, love and unsaid words seem to stay between their sweaty bodies. They moan each other's names, eyes rolling to the back of their heads as he asks huskily for her to let go. And she does. Again, and again, and again, and he follows her.
Her eyes beg him not to push out of her, and he doesn't. He knows her too well. He knows it makes her feel him until he grew soft inside her, and by that time, she was already asleep. But the next day wasn't a usual one. He was going away, so he figured she wouldn't pass out until he did.
"Finn?" Rachel's nails are drawing imaginary paths in his bare chest, her womanhood still embracing him and her hair spread through him, her scent marked in his brain. "When you leave tomorrow morning, don't say goodbye."
Finn's body shivers when Rachel basically begged him not to wake her the next morning.
Rachel bit her lower lip, the speech she had prepared the day before vanishing in her mind, a speech full of I beg you not to go and of please don't leave me again, or even it hurts too much, Finn, you have to understand, but neither of those words came out of her mouth. Instead, their lips met in sync until the taste of each other's was strong enough.
"Rach?" Finn's childish voice came out as a whisper.
She looked up at him with glossy eyes.
"Will you sing me a song?" He asked, suddenly feeling like a jerk, as taking off lyrics of her mouth was too tiring for her, even though she loved to sing.
"Which song do you want?"
"Anything you chose, baby" Finn's hands tangled in her hair and he felt Rachel's heartbeat increasing. After all those years, she still got chills when he called her his baby. She cleaned her throat and begun a sweet lullaby, which he never heard before.
Rachel's chest tightened as she ran her hands through his hair, wetting the skin of his chest with salty tears. Finally, she gave in; it wasn't even her own voice singing anymore, it was simply a mess of sobs and sniffs, but he didn't seem to mind.
Hell, he always felt guilty for leaving her with his dumb excuse, but at that very moment, Rachel seemed even tinier and more fragile than ever. The words she was humming were internal pleas, he could hear them, but it was a point of no turning back.
She only stopped singing when she fell asleep on top of him.
"I love you, Rachel" With those last words, Finn closed his eyes, kissing the top of her head and embracing the night himself.
He didn't say goodbye.
Rachel hated watching the news. She thanked God everyday Finn wasn't a news man, so he never really cared about turning on the TV at night at the same time. Unfortunately, war changed a lot of things, and since when Finn went for the first time, Rachel watched the daily news rigorously, waiting for something, anything that she could relate to Iraq, which means, to him.
It's been exactly one month since he left for the fifth time – the last, he says – when she hears they cut off the communication by letters since the soldiers are changing places and strategies quickly, week by week and day by day. She curls herself in a ball on the couch, because deep inside she believed the only way she could survive his absence was reading the passion though his rudimental – yet sweet – calligraphy. Now, he wouldn't receive her letters. Now, he wouldn't answer her letters. Now, he would never know how she felt.
And it was all the damn war's fault.
Kurt's voice seemed very far away when he spoke, the giant silver spoon dancing with the butter inside the frying pan. Rachel shook her head, making herself stop thinking about all the sand, the bullets, the soldiers' uniforms, and above all, a particularly tall man she called her husband.
Rachel knew she had to be thankful; Kurt offered to make her some company since she had locked herself from the rest of the world – Blaine and Kurt – and they would spend the afternoon and night watching movies (most of them musicals) and eating ice cream. She didn't want to face it, but since Finn left, she couldn't even bring herself to eat properly; according to her friends, she lost at least five pounds, but she didn't seem to mind.
As she faced the refrigerator from her own kitchen once more, trying to drift off to another reality, the smell of the fried cauliflower entering her nose as it twitched, the scent going down to her esophagus and stabbing her stomach.
"Rachel, are you –
She burst out the kitchen, rushing to the lavatory, gagging violently as the apple she ate for breakfast went down the toilet; sitting on the blue tiles, she coughed loudly, trying to get rid of the terrible sensation of the peristaltic movements down her throat. It didn't take long before Kurt appeared on the door, his blue eyes filled with worry and the silver spoon in his gloved covered hand.
"I threw up." Rachel declared, as if it wasn't noticeable.
"Well, then I better say goodbye to that cauliflower. I just accidentally burn it anyway." Kurt shrugged, making Rachel's lips turn into an attempt of a smile. "Have you eaten anything unusual lately?
"No" Rachel got up from the floor, her legs shaky. "Crap, it's the third time this month. I think I'll never buy the same milk again."
"You better not. Now, what should we watch first? I think we should start with Moulin Rouge, and then Chicago, and then…" Kurt stopped himself as soon as Rachel left the lavatory. He looked at her from feet to face and took a deep breath. "Rachel."
"Rachel." He said slowly.
"What? You're scaring me, you creep" Rachel complained as she opened the living room's window to breathe some of the fresh air.
"Rachel, look at me."
She obeyed. "Do I look that ugly, Kurt?"
"Are you late?"
"Late for what?" Rachel's eyes glanced at the clock immediately. She was Rachel Hudson. She was never late. It was impossible.
"Your period, Rachel. Are you late?"
Rachel bit the insides of her mouth, making a mental calendar in her head. When she made sure her Math was correct, she almost gasped at her own saliva. No, it couldn't be. She would have noticed if she spent two months without her period. No, no, no.
"Are you insinuating that I might be –?
"Wait. Come down. Let's sit." Kurt dragged her to the couch and they both took deep breaths holding hands. To the slight possibility of him being an uncle in the future, Kurt couldn't possibly absolve oxygen right. "When was the last time you and Finn…You know… spent the night together?
Rachel froze at the mention of his name. She remembered that night, exactly two months ago, when she sang a lullaby to his sleep, and he left with no goodbyes the next morning, as she wished – and regret. As always, they loved each other with passion, with nothing between them but love. Therefore, Kurt was right. A tiny ball of light appeared in her head. Could she be?
"Two months ago, before he left" She said, her hands sweating with expectation.
"No more questions" Kurt got up quickly. "I'll be back from the drugstore in five. Drink all the ice tea you can."
Rachel watched Kurt grabbing her keys and getting out of the house. Once again, her mind drifted off to somewhere else; somewhere Finn was there with her instead of Kurt, as one of her hands traveled to her still flat belly.
It all happened too fast.
In one minute, she was peeing in a dozen of sticks, fighting with the urge to let her heart go completely. It all seemed way better in her plans: she would be prepared, and strong, and most of all, happy. But now? It all felt damn apart. She couldn't even eat straight and how come she would handle a baby?
An hour later, she faced all the dozen sticks with her Kurt by her side. She didn't tell him, but at that very moment, she pretended it was Finn's big hand she was squeezing instead of her best friend's, she pretended it was Finn's huge hazel eyes she was staring into, and mostly, she pretended Finn was there, just there, covering her face, her nose, her cheeks, her neck, her arms and finally, her belly with kisses, telling how much she loved her and the baby who was about to come into their lives.
She was really pregnant, but neither of that happened.
"I'm having a baby" Rachel whispered, tears streaming down her face as both of her hands rubbed her belly over and over again, as she was doing it for Finn, who was absent, and for herself. "I'm having a baby."
She mentally thanked Kurt for his silence. She didn't need someone yelling with her in happiness and glow. Her heart seemed to glow, but the feeling couldn't soak in. Her body was full with peace, and somehow, the love she felt for Finn doubled and became stronger; one of the immediate consequences of that fact was a heart ache she bearded sobbing.
Rachel Hudson went to the OBGYN for the first time one week after she peed in a dozen of sticks.
It was getting exhausting thinking about the thousands of things Finn and she would be doing if he was there, and she even blamed her lack of courage; maybe, if she just told him that huge speech she wrote before he went, he would be there at that very moment, holding her hand tight and looking at the screen hopefully.
She was alone.
She shivered when the noise begun out of nowhere.
"This is it" Dr. Altman pointed to a white spot on the screen, which seemed to beat in sync with the random noise.
Rachel ignored the strong pains in her chest and observed the spot, curious and in shock; when she felt something wetting her face she was 'bout to ask where was all that water coming from, until she realized it were her own tears.
Just for a second, a million thoughts bombed into her mind. All the possible phrases her husband would say with watery eyes flew through her head: Oh my God Rach can we have a picture?; Rachel, we're gonna be a family; Rachel, I love you so much. I love you both. For the second time in the day, she hit herself mentally. He wasn't there, but she was feeling all those phrases echoing through hers – and the baby's – heart.
Carole screams so loud she thinks she's gonna be deaf.
She decides to fly to Lima to tell the news to her closest friends and family. She knew all of them were aware with Finn being away and unable of hearing the news, so they were too kind – and careful. Obviously, neither of them wanted to speak the wrong words. Even her dads spent two hours crying without even managing to breathe straight.
But Carole? Rachel didn't expect that kind of reaction from her at all.
"I'm so, so proud of you, Rachel" Carole sobs into her neck, and she knows she doesn't mean it only for her. She's proud of her, for being strong. She's proud of the baby, in a certain way, and above all, she's proud of her baby, Finn. And she hopes he can hear her wherever he is.
"Thank you, Carole" Rachel hiccups, closing her eyes and enjoying the few seconds with the mother she never had.
There's a piece of hazelnut pie inside the refrigerator. Just one single, big, brown, fat piece of pie. It's been there since three days back, when Rachel Hudson heard on the TV news they were sending most of the soldiers from the War on Terror back home.
Her very first reaction was walking slowly to the kitchen, picking up a cooking book and looking through its pages, her fingertips brushing gently in the fibers of the paper.
She finds the recipe and bakes the pie. It's Finn's favorite since he was sixteen, so looking at the book was just a formality; the beautiful, huge pie stays on the fridge for one day, and then one more, with a tiny USA flag on the top of it.
Then, she cries. She cries a lot because – shit – there's a huge possibility he's coming home earlier. Her husband. The man she hadn't spoke with for the last five months. The man who would be able to return before and love her, and tell her I love you Rachel, and then, looking at her slightly swollen belly, I love you both. He would be a part of her first pregnancy. He would be present when his son or daughter was born. He would be just Finn, for God's sake, the man she married five years ago, the man she loved since what it seems like forever.
On the 4th of July, the soldiers selected to come home arrive at Washington.
She watches the ceremony through TV. Finn's not there between the fifty men.
There's just one piece hazelnut pie inside the refrigerator – since she had pregnant cravings and ate it all leaving a big slice especially for Finn. She holds the plate in her hands, observing the tiny USA flag she put on it for a while, and then throws it on the sink.
Rachel Hudson finishes eating the huge piece of hazelnut pie by herself as the fireworks from the national holiday worked as the soundtrack of her sorrow.
She's having a baby girl.
Somehow, she thinks the story is repeating itself. Finn's father left for war and didn't come back, leaving Carole pregnant. Carole had a boy. A boy who was now a man, a man in the very same war himself. Now, she, Rachel Hudson, was carrying that man's daughter, and the feeling which wouldn't let her sleep for hours, the feeling her Finn would never meet their child, grew bigger with her belly.
Again, she tried to keep herself alive.
Santana was surprisingly helpful with the nursery; sometimes, it even annoyed Carole that the Latina was doing most of the job instead of her, painting the walls pink, helping Rachel buying a beautiful crib, gorgeous baby clothes and a good stroller.
Right after they leave a baby shop near a bakery next to Finn and Rachel's house around the Central Park, the two friends are walking down the street, Rachel using a pink hoodie, her seven month belly swallowed underneath it. Her feet are sore and she knows it'll bring something intense into their conversation but still, she asks the question.
"San, why are you being so thoughtful? I appreciate your help and I love your company, but it's so sudden. I –
"It's all about you, Berry, can't you see?" Santana offered her friend a sweet smile. "I was worried. When I lost Brittany, and believe me, I know it's not the same but, when I did… Well, I couldn't let you go through the same."
Rachel knows Santana didn't mean it, but she feels a hundred imaginary knifes stabbing her heart over and over again. It's like an automatic mechanism of tears: her eyes are quick on expulsing the salty water out of them.
The Latina is crying, too. Rachel knows her case is a hundred times worse: Brittany wasn't dead; some random guy the blonde met in New York was now her husband, but since Rachel is Rachel, she always believed the pain of being rejected was the worse above them all.
"I understand" She sniffles and turns away a bit, ashamed. "Do you think he's dead, San?"
Santana feels the node in her throat threatening to break. It's painful seeing a cheerful person like Rachel Berry doing the most stupid question in the whole wide world. She understands why she's asking it, though. Therefore, her answer is direct. "No"
Her answer's not enough. Rachel's still looking away, pretending to admire the white roses decorating her front garden.
"Listen, Berry… You and I both know how these things work, alright?" She sighed. "When a man dies on the army, those motherfuckers still have the decency to send one of themselves to tell you your husband is dead. So no, Rachel, I don't believe Finn is dead."
The tiny woman is biting her lower lip so hard she can taste the blood meeting her tongue.
"C'mere, Rachel" Santana pulls one of her hands and hugs her so close and so tight she's actually afraid of pressuring the baby bump. Finally, Rachel's muscles seemed to relax under Santana's touch.
"He's not dead" Rachel whispered in her friend's neck. "He's not dead."
All the Latina can do is nod. She lost too much, already.
The doorbell rang on a Sunday morning.
Doorbells don't usually ring on Sunday mornings, but, well, since she was already up, Rachel climbed out of the sheets and rubbed the sleep out of her eyes, her mood over the heels and her heart burning, back hurting and feet sore.
She opens the door.
For a second, she thinks she sees two men from the army standing in front of her, a necklace in one of the man's hand and the other holding a letter. Her heart skips a beat.
"Hello, miss! My name is Molly Albuquerque. I'm from the Saint Angela's Pre School and I'm saving money to buy my very own first bike. Would you like me to help me buying some of these delicious coconut flavored cookies?"
Rachel shakes her head, reaching for her purse inside the house immediately, dizzy.
"Give me two boxes" She hands the girl some one dollar bills and the little blonde smiles back at her, obeying.
"Thank you very much, miss!"
In another situation, Rachel would've been nicer, but the image of the soldiers walking through her front garden was glued inside her head. She let one of her free hands rub her belly gently.
She cried for two hours. Coconut flavored cookies were Finn's favorites.
She decides to name her child Allie.
It's a Greek name, and it means Truth or a trustable person. Due the circumstances, she thinks it fits, somehow. She doesn't tell her friends, Carole or her dads, but aside from the name's meaning, she only chose it because of Finn. When they got married, they used to spend the night in their backyard, leaning in a blanket and talking about the family they would have soon. Little did they know it would take more four years and he wouldn't be really there, but still, she remembers.
He tells her, if they had a boy, he'd name him Christopher, after his dad. She understands. It's actually a little cliché, but his eyes sparkle in such a lovely way, she agrees.
And then, when she starts talking about baby girls, and Barbra Streisand, and Elphaba from Wicked or Maria from West Side Story, he cuts her off with a chuckle, telling her that's no way they're calling any of their kids anything related to Broadway. When she slaps his arms playfully and asks him with a smirk what was his brilliant idea, he tells her he would name their girl Allie.
When she's almost completing eight months of pregnancy, she's sewing the baby girl's name in cross stitch when the needle sticks her thumb.
She almost forgets about the blood when the baby kicks. A rush of thoughts about Finn comes to her mind.
It hurts a little bit.
Then, it's fine. Eventually, it stops bleeding.
When she goes into labor, Blaine's singing to My Fair Lady out loud. Kurt's out in a business trip and Rachel figured his husband would fill the empty hole in her chest – at least, a part of it. They're lying on her bed when she feels a warm liquid sticking between her legs.
He doesn't stop.
"Blaine." Her voice is more urgent.
"Oh my God, c'mon Rach, we love this scene, there comes Audrey and –
"BLAINE! Shut the hell up and take me to the hospital. My water just broke."
He rolls out of bed and she can't breathe. Literally.
Cause it's so not supposed to be this way.
There isn't a word created by a God, a Demon or a human being which could explain the amount of pain she goes through.
Since she can't blame her husband – he's not there – or anybody else, because she doesn't even have the proper words to scream, she obeys and just pushes. It seems like it's been forever since it started and judging by the look on the doctor's face, her baby wasn't coming out so soon.
But then, it does, with the most sweet and loud cry, so similar to a symphony she's even amused by how it pleases her ears. After a couple of seconds –which seemed like years – of excruciating wait, a nurse finally hands her the pink bundle dressed in more pink.
There isn't a word created by a God, a Demon or a human being which could explain the amount of love she feels when she sees Allie's little face for the first time. Her tiny hands are moving a little bit and her eyes open and close, but there's still something she could feel even if she was fast asleep.
She looks like her.
Again, she imagines the possible phrases Finn would tell her if he was right there, kissing her sweaty temple and crouching to take a peek at that precious human being they both created with an amount of passion.
Then, he's right there with her, whispering all of those things. She's so beautiful, Rachel; She looks like you, baby; She has your lungs, have you heard how loud she is! ; I love you, Rachel. So, so much. And it sounds so real, suddenly, she's holding Allie's tiny hand stronger and actually feeling Finn's smooth lips against her forehead –
When her fantasy vanishes, it's just her and her daughter against the world.
Rachel watches Carole nuzzling Allie closer, a smile crossing her face.
"She looks like you, dear" Carole announces and Rachel nods in agreement, pride tightening her chest as Allie yawns and goes back to sleep immediately. "How's everything going?"
The brunette takes the question into much thought. How is everything going? Well, she had a one week old daughter to look after completely alone. She was exhausted and it's only been 7 days since the birth. She spends the little time she had to herself crying over her wedding photo album. She thinks about bullets. She thinks about war. She thinks about Finn. She thinks about her daughter, how she had to be strong for that little piece of her, and she could not afford breaking down at that moment, being the source of food and love keeping the baby alive. She couldn't afford imagining what Finn would do in every single situation in her life. She couldn't afford even thinking about what a great father Finn would be.
But she still answers.
"I'm tired, but mostly, really happy" She admits. "This baby girl turned my world upside down"
Carole nods, because well, as Rachel thinks, she understands what she means.
"You know, Rachel" Carole petted Allie's hair sweetly. "Fear is the heart of love."
Turns out Carole really understood what she meant.
The doorbell rang on a Sunday morning.
But before, when she woke up that very same Sunday, it was because her daughter's whimpers were coming out from the baby monitor by her nightstand. Rachel takes a deep breath, glancing slightly at the empty pillow by her side. She fights the urge to crouch to it and smell it until his scent is in her brain once more, but it's been so long.
Exactly eleven months since he left.
"What's wrong, sweetie?" She picked up Allie from her crib gently, closing the door from the pink nursery and sitting on the rocking chair carefully, stroking her daughter's hair in her little head as unbuttoning her blouse. "Don't cry, I'm here with you"
Breastfeeding was basically the only thing Allie demands from her, besides changing diapers and eventual baths. The girl was really an angel, a silent, almost always sleeping angel, with Rachel's deep chocolate-colored eyes and dark hair. She watches her daughter's lips closing and opening around her nipple, the pleasant pink walls giving her sensations of a quiet and peaceful morning…
And then the annoying buzz gets to her ears.
She thanks God Allie was fast asleep, otherwise, she would probably start crying again. Putting her daughter back to the crib and closing her bra, Rachel slowly got down the stairs and made sure her appearance was at least acceptable. Surprisingly, she had been really fast into losing all the baby weight and getting back on the Vegan diet.
She didn't bother to look into the peephole.
The first thing her eyes spot is the camouflage from the Army. All green, mixing up with the snow and the dry trees behind it. Her mind cracks as it tries to register what is happening, but it all seems to fail over and over again.
And she's the only thing he can think about since he steps out of the airplane which flew directly to New York. Other people are too busy caring about their own lives to notice the tall man dressed on his soldier clothes. He rushes to get a cab, and a hundred thoughts fly through his mind, almost making him spit tears; he never thought he would miss Rachel's letters that badly, but Rachel. Just Rachel. Her body, her hair, her neck, her arms, her legs, her lips, her eyes, damn, her everything. For the first time since always, he's not thinking about sleeping with her. He thinks about stepping inside the house and never getting out. To burn everything from the past, all the faded promises and spoken words – as long she doesn't forget how much he loves her.
The white roses they planted exactly eleven months ago grew bigger, making their way to contrast with the house's blue walls. He smells the winter, all the Central Parks dry trees behind him as his index finger presses the doorbell hesitantly.
She opens the door.
Her dark hair is longer, but she still has her bangs. Her gorgeous, deep, chocolate-pool eyes are shiny and the eyelids around them, slightly red. Her long eyelashes make him think as she was some sort of princess, as he knows she is. And her lips. Her pink, swollen and smooth lips, turning to the tiniest surprised expression along with her eyebrows and eyes.
"Hi" He blurts out.
It's the only thing he manages to say, at first.
She doesn't answer. He founds she needs more.
"Hi, Rach. I'm home" He tries.
Then, finally, when she opens her trembling arms, eyes spilling out an ocean of a thousand tears, calling him and, somehow, singing without any words coming out. Singing for him to catch her. Catch me, Finn. No, cross that. Not catch. She's begging for him to hold her.
When he closes the door with a loud noise and falls onto her embrace, her legs immediately involving his waist and arms, his neck; their lips meet hungrily, and he regrets, because in all those days, he forgot how good it was to kiss her. And they kiss. They kiss for what it seems an eternity, and her tongue tastes like strawberries, whipped cream and well, Rachel. And her tears and sobs mix with her taste, giving their passion a salty and angst he wasn't expecting. Her hands are playing with his hair in that familiar spot in his calf, and his hands find her ass and their tongues battle in sync and harmony; he can stay that way forever, after all, all they needed was each other, their own kisses, their moans, their embraces and their tears of joy, of a long time apart, of a lost era, indeed.
"It was the last time" He manages to breathe out. There was no way, even if it took him by surprise, he would return to hell, to war, and leave her again. No more letters. No more pain. No more fear. Just them, Finn and Rachel against the world, as it was supposed to be.
"I love you, baby" She cries harder, kissing his mouth, his neck, his eyebrows, anything. "I love you, I love you, I love you, and don't you ever leave me again."
His heart breaks at least a billion times at her words. "I won't. It was the last time." He repeats, because hell, he'll do it again if she needs him to.
She rests her head in the crook of his neck, her breathing steady and her legs still surrounding his waist. "It's been so long…" She trails off, her head pounding. She feels like the Gods were holding her smashed heart in their hands now, playing with her feelings, Morpheus making her dream with the reunion she wanted for so long, her Finn right there, telling her he would never go to War again, she suddenly forgets the man holding her didn't even knew he had a child.
It's all too surreal.
The room beside theirs used to be full of empty boxes.
She grabs his hand, pulling him up and climbing the stairs in front of him. She knows he's sure they're spending the next hours looking into the other's eyes, making love and swearing more, even crying, talking until their tongues fall, then making love again, and cover each other with hickeys to make sure they're still each others, as it's supposed to be.
But then, she leads them to the small room next to theirs, and her hands sweat hesitantly as she opens its door.
He's confused. His eyes search the room, struggling with the pink color of its walls and the sweet smell; both weren't there when he left. Also, they didn't have a crib. Or a rocking chair. Or a stroller. Or a mobile attached to the crib. And especially, they didn't have a baby. At least, not when he left.
She guides him towards the little crib and picks up the awoken baby naturally, holding her little head closer to her chest, kissing her hair and whispering something he could not hear.
Then, it finally hits him.
"Do you want to hold her, Finn?" Rachel asks innocently. She's crying again, rocking the baby's body up and down gently.
When he answers, he's not thinking. "Yes."
For a moment, after feeling the baby's warmth against his hands, he contemplates it with a look as if she was made of gold. And she is, literally.
There wasn't a word created by a God, a Demon or a human being which could explain how beautiful he found her; so, so beautiful – and tiny. He figured her bones were made of porcelain, since her skin is so milky. Also, he figured her eyes were made of chocolate, then, just like he ever suspected Rachel's were. And her hair, so straight and soft. Her little mouth reminded him of a tiny strawberry, which ones in the boxes everybody wanted to eat.
He was about to ask where the hell all that water was coming from – was it raining and his daughter's room had gutters? Unacceptable! – until he realizes what is wetting his face are tears. Again.
Because he lost Rachel's first gestation. He lost the pregnancy cravings, the mood swings, the baby shopping, the doctor appointments, the ultrasounds, the awesome pregnant sex, the birth day, the look on Rachel's – and his – face when they saw that little human being for the first time.
He missed it all.
But she was beautiful.
Since there isn't a word to express everything he's feeling, there's only a way to say it.
"She looks like you"
Rachel's crying again.
Then, he's, more than ever, sure he'll never, ever leave again.
The baby's head is leaning on his chest as he observes her tiny back rising up and down from her breathing. A slight of drool is coming out of her pink lips, leaving a trail down his camouflaged uniform, but he doesn't care. He doesn't care about anything but them. Rachel and her.
It hurts to ask, but he has to know.
"What's her name?"
He should've known.
"Her name's Allie" Rachel politely answers, a huge smile crossing her face and his at the same time. He remembers that night two years ago, when they first bought the house, looking at the stars and discussing baby names. If he only knew how bitter things would have turn into…
They stand in silence.
"How old is she?"
She knows what he wants to ask.
"She's yours, Finn." She declares, the node in her throat threatening to break. "I haven't slept with anybody since… well, since forever." Her cheeks flushed pink. "I know since all that stuff in high school really got you, so right after she was born I asked for a paternity test just in case you wanted to –
"No" He shushed her. He isn't a monster. Paternity is the last thing crossing his mind. He knows it. He knows Allie's his. He knows Allie is theirs. There's no doubt at all. "I love her, Rachel."
He's surprised as it comes out as a loud sob, tears streaming down his face as he kissed Allie's little head for what it seems a hundred times.
He may have missed it all. He did, really. He wasn't there for his wife's first pregnancy, for her first doctor appointment, for the first ultrasound, for the baby shopping or pregnancy cravings, but still, he was there now.
"Daddy's home, baby girl." Rachel tells Allie with a squeal.
Yeah, he was home.
And he wasn't going anywhere.
It takes him three hours to put Allie back on her crib.
She doesn't wake up, though. She just lies there, breathing in and out, one of her hands holding his shirt possessively as he strokes her hair gently; still afraid of her porcelain bones breaking or milky skin melting. Even after he finally puts her down on the crib, he stares at her for a few more minutes before wrapping his arms around Rachel and taking her to their room.
They do make love. For hours, hours and hours.
She cries, they collapse together. They talk, they make love again, they collapse. She cries again. They glance at the baby monitor together for what it seems centuries. They talk again. He holds her as close as he can. She cries. They glance at the baby monitor again. Make love.
At almost dawn, they sleep.
Two hours later, they hear Allie crying through the baby monitor they've stared for so long.
He wakes up.
And it takes him three hours to put his daughter back on her crib once more, since he couldn't take his eyes off her.
He knows he's never coming back to war.
As he sees Rachel nuzzling Allie closer, singing her a sweet lullaby – in fact, the same she sang to him before he went for the last time – spinning her around the room in an attempt to make her giggle, and failing, he just damn knows no one would have the heart to leave such two perfect things.
As weeks went by and everything seems to get back to normal – whatever normal is, because they don't really know, he's sure he made it. Accomplished whatever he was fighting for back in Iraq, fighting for him, his dad, honor, and fighting for Rachel. Hell, he even fought for Allie; even though he didn't even knew she existed by then. He fought for all the unwritten letters.
"I made it!" Rachel screamed in joy as Allie giggled hard, the melody of her laugh contaminating the whole garden as the flowers seemed to sing with them. "She's giggling, Finn!"
He's never coming back to war.
They were just married.
That couple, the over the hills in love with each other, nuzzling each others close, naked in a king size bed with Egyptian cotton sheets and kissing every single 5 seconds. Rachel has her dark hair spread all over her face, her brown eyes huge and her skin sweaty from all the hours of love making with barely stopping.
She was more beautiful than ever to him.
At that moment, he knew it.
"You know, Rach" He smiled shyly down at her. "We're gonna last."
"We are?" She answers innocently.
"Yeah" He chuckles when she rolls on top of him, peppering his chest with what seemed the tiniest kisses in the world.
"Good." It's the last thing she says before disappearing in the middle of the blankets, leaving him full of expectation and joy.
They were totally going to last.
Because, these ties that bind them?
It's seems like they've been there all along.
n/a: So, please give me your opinion! It won't hurt and it will make me happy. I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I loved writing it ;)