i find shelter in this way
under cover, hide away
can you hear when i say
i have never felt this way
maybe i had said something that was wrong
can i make it better with the lights turned on
maybe i had said something that was wrong
can i make it better with the lights turned on
could i be, was i there
i still want to drown whenever you leave
please teach me gently how to breathe

~shelter. by birdy (cover of the xx version).

(R A C H E L pov)

So, here's the thing.

Junior year was good.

Sure, there were some issues. Finn and you went through a break-up, you lost a few solos, and Santana and Quinn still tried their hardest to ruin your life. But it was, for the most part, still the best year of your life. There were no slushies, you were friends with Kurt and Puck and Mercedes and you met Blaine and he became your friend too. Although you went through several rough patches with Finn, it still worked out for the best and he loved you. The Glee club even gave you a trophy.

You had never felt so accepted.

But things were starting to regress.

It felt kind of like there was some random entity out in the world that had a remote control with absolute power over your life, and he decided to press the rewind button.

And things were starting to spiral out of control.

Kurt was angry at you, Puck was too busy with Beth and Shelby and Quinn to hang out with you, Mercedes left the group because she thought that you were getting all the solos again.

And you don't understand.

Mercedes was the one person that you would have willingly shared a part with, the only other singer that you would have allowed to share in your spotlight. Kurt was just as ambitious as you were, so how could he not understand that you had to, at the very least, try anything and everything to get out of this freaking town?

Finn is the only good thing in your life now, and even he's not enough anymore.

Then, one day, you shatter.

Everything goes wrong in a span of six hours and you can't handle it. You overhear Noah hitting on Shelby of all people, see Finn laughing with Santana and Brittany in the hall. Quinn calls you Manhands when you accidentally walk into her in the hallway and Mercedes and Kurt leave the table when you sit down for lunch. Your fathers are out of town and Blaine can't talk to you because he wants to spend time with Kurt and Mr. Schuster just took away the only solo you had had for three weeks.

And you completely lose it.

You stand up in the middle of Glee, in the middle of the new boy's song, and just walk out the door.

There are voices calling you back, yelling after you, but you pay them no attention and just keep walking, walking, walking, until you're outside.

It's pouring and you're drenched within seconds and you can't tell if the water on your cheeks is rain or tears.

That's where Sam finds you.

He's carrying a bright red umbrella, your favorite color, and he's smiling so bright it's almost like the sun is actually out. His grin dims the closer he gets to you, fading away until a frown is pulling at the edges of his mouth and there's a worried furrow in between his eyebrows.

He walks until he's only an inch away from you, covering you with the umbrella and standing so close that you can feel his body heat. You lean forward unconsciously, so cold that your teeth are chattering.

You hadn't realized how freezing you were until you felt his warmth.

"Rachel?" his voice is a low murmur and you couldn't remember if you had noticed the timber previously, if you had liked the way his low voice thrums through you quite this much before.

"Hello, Samuel," you reply, your once strident voice now almost silent.

He wraps an arm around you unquestioningly and leads you inside, into the empty auditorium.

You pull off your sweater and drop it on the floor, replacing it with the one that Sam offered you.

"Why are you here?" you finally ask, your voice a little louder.

He's still just looking at you, noticing your red-rimmed eyes and the way you've lost weight from all the stress and the bags that are under your eyes from not getting enough sleep. "My dad's job didn't work out," he finally responds, his warm eyes meeting yours, "so we moved back here because my mom knew how much I missed all my friends. How are you?"

You feel like crying again at the question, but instead you take a deep breath and remind yourself that you're Rachel Berry and you've never broken before so you have no reason to now. You muster a small smile and start to catch him up.

"So, Mercedes and Santana have left the group? And they took Brittany too? And your real mother is back? And Quinn wants her kid back?" he's blinking in shock, his lips twisted in confusion. "And Kurt's mad at you and Burt's running against Sue and there's an Irish kid in Glee now? I was only gone for a couple weeks! How did I miss all of this?"

You laugh and answer all his questions, feeling lighter than you have in ages.

You'd never really noticed it before, but Sam had always been the kindest boy in Glee.

The two of you hear the stage doors opening and glance at each other in a moment of perfect clarity. Then the two of you are sprinting towards the door, giggles bubbling up your throat and spilling out of your mouth before you can stop them. Somehow along the way, he's wrapped your hand in his and this feels like something good. Like friendship or companionship or maybe this was how it felt at the beginning with Finn.

Before everything, you remember how it was with Finn. It was laughter and butterflies and sparks, it was denial because he was with Quinn, desire because he could sing like no boy you had ever heard before.

It was easy, before he went back to Quinn, before she was pregnant, before it was Puck's baby and not Finn's. There was a very, very small amount of time in which things were simple.

But that was the greatest feeling in your life.

It felt kind of like hope.

It felt kind of like this moment with Sam.

Like when you sing a song without any mistakes, like when you see someone amazing in a broadway play, like it's the closest to perfect that you'll ever be.

And all you've ever wanted to be is perfect.

So Sam drives you home and you spend the night watching movies and telling jokes until Finn comes over, startling at the sight of Sam.

"Evans? What're you doing here?" he doesn't sound threatening, but he does sound suspicious and you really can't blame him.

After all, he stole Sam's girlfriend.

So there's probably nothing stopping Sam from stealing his.

"Moved back to Lima. How's it going?" Sam retorts, not moving from his relaxed position on the couch next to you.

Finn just blinks.

A/N: So, this formatting is crazy weird guys, like I have no idea how this is actually going to turn out. I think my computer is rebelling because it's been so long since I wrote anything. But anyways. Hopefully this is all right, and you will let me know what you think. I'm planning on a twoshot right now, but if there's a good enough response I might make it a longer story. Also, cast your vote for Sam or Finn! Once again, sorry about the terrible formatting and thank you for reading!

Sorry for the fact that you've gotten this email three times. I had to do some crazy stuff to get my formatting to work. Sorrysorrysorry! One for each notification you've received.

Please still review and let me know what you think about more chapters or if you'd rather just have it be a two shot and which boy you're wanting Rachel to end up with!