special thanks to jess and all her lovely comments as i sent her snippet after snippet of this piece.

glee is not mine


i.

She answers their ad because she's desperate. Her lease is reaching its end, and the ad was well worded enough for her standards. Plus, Jesse 'wants to take it slow' now, and refuses to move in with her or let her move in with him, he doesn't even want her to crash at his place for a few days. She resorts to sleeping on Kurt's couch until she finds the ad on craigslist, and now, here she is.

Her knuckles rap three times on the wooden door, and a medium height man with a ridiculous hairstyle answers. "You answerin' the ad?"

"Yes, I am," she beams, sticking out her hand in greeting, "My name is Rachel Berry."

He looks at her hand and then back to her face, a salacious smirk pulling at the corner of his lips. "Nice to meet you. The name's Puck. C'mon in."

"Puck?" She furrows her brow. "As in the fairy from A Midsummer Night's Dream?"

He freezes. "I ain't no fairy. Puck as in Puckerman, Puckerman as in Noah Puckerman."

"Oh." Deliberating for a few moments, she says, "I hope you don't mind my calling you Noah." Nicknames are a bit of a nuisance for her, she doesn't quite understand the significance of shortening something like a name.

"No one's called me Noah since I was a kid, so, if you could refrain from that, it'd be great. Yo, Finn! Santana!" He bellows, voice echoing off the high ceilings. She takes a moment to observe her surroundings, big windows, hardwood floors, clean, beige walls—she wants to live here.

From the back of the apartment emerges a thin Latina woman, followed by a tall, dark haired man.

"I'm Finn," the man says, and he really is tall, with warm eyes and dark hair, and quite possibly the sweetest half smile she's ever seen. She bites her bottom lip as he slips his hand into hers, shaking it in greeting—no, she reminds herself, you still have Jesse!

The woman steps forward and offers no handshake in greeting. "Did you just hatch yesterday?"

Rachel furrows her brow. "I'm twenty-four."

"Hmm. Baby," she surmises. "Anyway, I'm Santana. Been looking to even the gender playing field 'round here."

"Yeah," Puck agrees, "ever since Quinn—"

"Don't," Finn warns, sending a harsh glare Puck's way. Pucks holds up his arms in surrender, but shoots Finn an apologetic look nonetheless.

"So, dwarf, tell us about yourself. What do you do?"

"Well, um, I've lived in New York my entire life, and I'm an actress. I don't stay up late and I cook really well, and I really like cleaning."

"You like cleaning? You're in."

"Dude, shouldn't we, like, talk about this?" Finn asks. "No offense. You're just a stranger."

She shrugs. "None taken." Santana eyes her curiously then turns her dark eyes to Puck.

They share a heated gaze and look to Rachel and say, in unison, "You're in."

ii.

Finn is by far the quietest of her new roommates—though she doesn't really know how he's supposed to be heard when Puck and Santana are constantly competing for everything with one another. Most nights, she hangs out with Santana and Puck before leaving for work. Finn, on the other hand, relocates to his bedroom (shared with Puck) as soon as he gets home. She hasn't spoken two words to him since the day she moved in, and is it a crime for wanting to get to know him?

Jesse comes over for dinner one night, which is a disaster. Santana and Puck openly mock him, and Jesse is very sensitive. As soon as they're finished eating, she puts their plates in the sink, and leads him into her bedroom. "I'm so sorry," she says, cupping his face in her hands. "They're just so used to teasing me I think they forget that other people aren't as used to it."

Jesse sighs and glances behind her, furrowing his brow and then focuses back on her. "You have a visitor."

She tears herself from Jesse's arms to find Finn standing, dumbstruck, in the doorway. "Just wanted to tell you your laundry's done," he mumbles, and stomps away.

"Hmmph." She turns back to Jesse and shrugs. "He must have had a bad day. He's not always like that."

"Regardless," Jesse waves her off, "I don't want you living here. I won't allow it."

"Won't allow—? Thanks for controlling me, Dad."

"Rachel," he hisses, "don't be ridiculous. I'm just looking out for you. That Flint was just very conspicuously checking you out."

"He was just admiring my dress," she explains, shaking her head, "Finn is the kind of man who appreciates cat printed dresses."

"Yeah, I'm sure he appreciated your cat—"

"What did you just say? Jesse, I think it's time for you to leave."

Finn chooses this moment to knock back on her door, yelling, "Rachel, really! Could you please get your crap out of the dryer?"

She glares at Jesse, and then Finn, and shoos Jesse out of the apartment, completely ready to turn on Finn, but he just gives her a long, sad look, amber eyes wide and pleading. "I'll take care of it!" She exclaims, because now she's a little more than agitated. He nods, looks her up and down one last time, and disappears into his bedroom.

iii.

She winds up drunk one night, weeks later. The four of them have formed a friendship—well, but for Finn, who does not like her one ounce. She can't quite put her finger on why. He seemed kind enough that first day, if a little brisk—understandably so. But lately, he avoids her at all costs, which concerns her. She prefers people be up front with her, especially when living with her.

Still, she is completely drunk, and when she's drunk, she is quite apt to snuggling with anyone. First, she sets her hazy eyes on Santana, sitting beside her in the booth at their favorite bar, but Santana pushes her off after a few minutes. Puck does the same, though he invites her to snuggle naked, which she nearly agrees to before Santana slaps him upside the head. The two of them hop out of the booth to dance, or get more beer, or something her foggy mind doesn't quite comprehend.

Crossing her arms over her chest, she pushes her bottom lip out, pouting through and through. Finn sits across from her, warm eyes trained on the glass bottle of his beer as he lifts it and puts it to his lips. His movements fascinate her. He operates in such an odd manner, and she doesn't quite comprehend it. His hands are big (his entire body is, really), but they're gentle.

"You are an anomaly," she blurts out, and he cracks a slight smile.

"I have no idea what that means. But I'm going to thank you, anyways."

She narrows her eyes at him, lips pursing, and the next words pour like silk from her lips, "Will you let me snuggle with you?"

He laughs, a real laugh, and she really likes the way his eyes close. But once his laughter quells, he cocks his head at her very slightly, and she doesn't know if he's drunk like she is or even drunk at all, but after a few minutes' deliberation, nods his head infinitesimally.

She slides out of the booth and slips into his side, tucking herself beneath his arm. It's cold in the bar, odd for early October, she thinks (or maybe not), but Finn's arms are warm. Her fingers twist the fabric of his shirt, and she hasn't been so comfortable in a long time. Somehow, their legs press against one another, and his hand falls onto her thigh. "You're comfy," she murmurs, "thanks for snuggling."

He doesn't answer her (not surprising). It really irks her, though, that he's so unwilling to talk to her but lets her snuggle with him. How does that even out?

She wants to bring up his deep-rooted issues with her, but one look up at his troubled face represses that desire very quickly. In fact, she should pull out of his embrace altogether, but when she starts to squirm, Finn's arms somehow tighten, as if he doesn't want her to move—so she doesn't.

She props her head up on his shoulder and stares at the sharp curve of his jaw. "Take me home, Finny."

With a sharp look her way, he jerks her out of the booth and waves to Puck and Santana, immersed in something in the center of the smoky bar. "All right, c'mon," he says quietly, and she stops in her spot.

"Did you just talk to me?"

He rolls his eyes and continues pulling her behind him, marching towards their apartment just a few blocks away. His lips are pursed, set of his brow angry as he drags her away from the bar. She stumbles a little over a crack in the pavement, sending her careening into his back. He manages to catch her, spinning around at last second, barely catching her 'round the waist.

Her tongue darts out of her mouth to lick her chapped lips as she stares up at him, drunk and starry eyed, and her small hands grasp the lapels of his coat and pull his forehead to hers. He doesn't pull away, just meets her eyes and steadies himself by grasping her shoulders. "What are we doing?"

She shuts her eyes at the feel of his breath on her lips and takes a deep breath, "Snuggling."

He smiles and pulls away, and tucks her into his side with the excuse, "Can't let you trip again, can I?"

It's the most she's heard him say so far, but it certainly is beautiful.

iv.

She wakes up with a pounding headache, curled into a ball beneath her covers. The door swings open and a weight settles onto the bed beside her, a hand tugs the blanket away from her eyes. "Oh, you're up."

"F-Finn?" She sits up very slowly, keeping in mind her head, and squinting at him through tired eyes. Her eyes glance down at her chest and she pales at the unfamiliar tee shirt she's adorning.

"Oh, that's mine," Finn explains, handing her a glass of water and aspirin. "When we got home last night you declared we were snuggle partners and demanded I give you my undershirt so you'd have something to snuggle with when we weren't together." He's smiling.

"I can't believe I let myself drink that much. I didn't call Jesse, did I?"

A shadow crosses his face, and he shakes his head, curt answer falling from his lips, "No."

Her brow furrows, puzzled at his strange change of expression. "Finn, are you—"

"Look, Rachel, I've got a lot of stuff to do," he mutters, and lumbers out the door.

v.

She is going to figure out Finn Hudson if it's the last thing she does. When he's not home, she peeks into his and Noah's bedroom only to find his half mostly bare, but for a bed and drum set in the corner. No posters or photographs of family members—nothing.

"He is so frustrating," she tells Kurt over coffee one morning weeks after her drunken snuggle session with Finn. "Most of the time he spends in the apartment is time spent ignoring me, when I've barely spoken to him!"

"Maybe he likes you."

She rolls her eyes. "No, he knows I'm dating Jesse. Maybe I remind him of his ex, Quinn. After badgering Noah for a good two days I found out that she and Finn dated and it was a nasty breakup."

"Maybe," Kurt says reluctantly. "Regardless, give him space."

"But—"

"Rachel Barbra Berry, do not push the boy!"

"Fine, fine. At least until—" His warning glare stops her short.

vi.

A cough wakes her up in the middle of the night, prompting her out of her bed and into the kitchen to grab herself a glass of water. Her throat feels heavy, and when she tries humming, the sound barely escapes her throat. With horror, she realizes that she has lost her voice. She turns; ready to bury herself beneath her covers, when she hears a soft noise coming from the living room. Straining her ears, she detects the soft strumming of a guitar and assumes the player is Noah.

But Noah is completely committed to electric guitar, and her musically apt ears know that the strumming belongs to an acoustic guitar. Her curiosity propels her forward, though by process of elimination, she knows just who it is. The soft footsteps thankfully don't alert him to her presence, but her weight settling beside him on the couch does.

She half expects him to tell her to get away, leave, go back to bed, but he just glances up at her with a bittersweet smile and goes back to playing, very softly. Her exhaustion gets to her eventually, and she finds her head resting on his bicep, succumbing very slowly into sleep fueled by his quiet music.

The next morning, her voice is still absent (a little scratchy if forced), so she takes the day off of work. She hates not working, feels completely wasted when a day is spent lounging on the couch. But that is where she finds herself that next morning, with Finn as her company.

"You had a fever last night," he explains, balancing on the edge of the couch beside her. His big hand rests on her forehead, brushing her thick bangs away, feeling for a fever naturally. "And I tend to take Thursdays off, so I'm here to take care of you."

She squints at him and turns onto her side, wishing she could ask him her questions, but as luck would have it, Finn only seems to like her when she's unable to speak. Ironic.

He runs his hand along her face one more time and rises, disappearing into the kitchen. Minutes later, she hears the kettle whistling, and Finn appears, cup of tea in hand. He sets it on the coffee table in front of her alongside a pen and pad of paper.

Her fingers grasp for the pen and paper first, hastily scrawling out, why do you ignore me, and handing it to him.

He bites his lip as he reads it. "Can I answer that another time?"

No.

He laughs slightly, and she's never heard him laugh (at least not when she's been sober). She decides then and there that she really quite enjoys that sound. "I like you, Rachel," he begins, "I really do. But whenever I get too attached to someone, they wind up leaving me for something, or someone, better. For me, it's best to not get attached."

She blinks and stares at him, leaning against the couch, actually opening up to her. She bites her bottom lip and puts her hand on his thigh in a show of physical comfort. "I want to be your friend, Rachel."

She grasps for the pad of paper and scribbles, I'd really like that.

vii.

He finds her curled under her covers weeks later, some loud Barbra Streisand song blaring from the speakers on her nightstand. He crawls into bed beside her and pulls the cover over his head.

"What are we doing?" He whispers. She jumps and rolls onto her side, completely shocked at his appearance. Her cheeks are streaked with tears, rims of her eyes red, but she laughs a little anyway.

"J-Jesse broke up with me," she whispers, and her face crumbles as the words echo in her mind. Broke up. Over. "Four years and he just ended it!"

"Oh, Rach," he murmurs softly. She curls into a ball, facing him this time and letting him pull her close. Her fingers twist and pull the fabric of his dress shirt, and he kicks off his shoes. They make a soft thumping noise as they fall onto the floor.

"How did you do it?"

"Do what?"

"Get over Quinn."

He freezes. "What are you—what're you talking about?" She closes her eyes, sniffles, and sits up. The air is freezing in her bedroom, and with a glance at the clock, she realizes that she's been under there for nearly two hours.

"Finn, I know you and Quinn dated and had a nasty—"

"Rachel, you don't know a thing about any of that! Why would you go snooping in other people's business?"

In a huff of anger, he storms out of his room, and hours later, she can still hear him banging on his drums, despite Santana's many, many attempts to get him to stop. His shoes still sit at the base of her bed, and she refuses to give them back until he starts talking to her again.

viii.

Her back leans against the wooden door of his bedroom, waiting anxiously for him to come out, since he refuses to let her (or anyone but Puck) in. "You have to be the single most frustrating man in the entire world!" She yells. "You are so—"

The door swings open and she falls backwards, hitting her head hard on the hardwood floor in his room. "Oh, jeez, I'm so sorry, Rach," he says gently, bending down and helping her up. She ignores the way her heart thrums at the tenderness in his voice, reminding herself that he has wronged her. He guides her to sit on his bed, big hand on the small of her back. "Sit," he instructs softly.

She does as he asks, and his fingers begin probing the back of her head, looking for blood presumably. "Why do you do this?"

"Do what?" Satisfied that there is no blood, he sits beside her on the bed, nearly six inches of space between their thighs.

"Act so cold one second and in the next act like you—"

"Like I what?" He challenges, and his tone has changed imperceptibly. But she still picks up on it.

"Like that! Just two seconds ago you were so sweet and now you're being so curt. Why, Finn? What did I do to hurt you?"

"Rachel, you stuck your nose in my business when I have made it very clear that that subject is to never be brought up. Nonetheless, as a human being as well as your roommate and friend, I care about you."

"Clearly, you don't, or you wouldn't be tormenting me like this!"

"Tormenting?" He lifts an eyebrow. "Rachel, I hardly think avoiding you for a few weeks is tormenting in any way. You need to respect boundaries and should have waited until I was ready to tell you about Quinn on my own terms."

She sighs, defeated, and grasps his hand in hers. She is an affectionate person by nature, with friends or boyfriends. "I'm sorry, Finn. You're right. But next time you get angry at me, please, just…tell me."

His eyes bore into hers, and then he nods slightly. "Okay. You're right." She beams and throws her arms around him. He smiles against her shoulder and after a moment, pushes her away. "So, let's get you to the hospital."

"What—why?"

"You could very well have a concussion," he explains.

"No, no, that won't be necessary. I'll just sit on the couch and relax."

He frowns. "Fine. But I'm not leaving your side."

Hours later, she finds herself splayed out on the couch, half her body atop Finn's as they watch another episode of whatever they can get on Netflix. "Finn," she whines, "I'm bored."

"Well, this show doesn't really get good till the third season. Just wait."

"Finn, we're barely halfway through season one!" She sits up and pouts at him. "Please, Finn, talk to me about something."

"Like what?" He meets her eyes, and understands, releasing a low sigh. "Only if you tell me about Jesse. Quinn and I were high school sweethearts, and after graduation, she followed me out here while I went to school. She didn't get in anywhere, nor did she go to any of the community colleges, just sat around the apartment all day. Eventually, though, I was graduating and she was still not going to school—thankfully she got a job at a restaurant—and I think we started to resent each other.

"But I loved her, god, I thought she was everything, so I didn't illustrate any sort of contempt toward her. I've got this knight mentality, I like to protect the girls I—" he glances at her sharply, and coughs, "the girls I am close to. Anyways, we didn't communicate any of our issues, and then I started to become a successful sports broadcaster, and she was jealous of my success and we started fighting, and eventually, she started cheating on me with my best friend from high school, Sam, and she moved out four months ago but likes to wreak havoc on my life every few weeks."

Her hand slips into his, squeezing the big fingers comfortingly. "Oh, Finn," she sighs, "You don't deserve any of that."

"Yeah," he mutters thickly, "everyone leaves me. She left me, my dad left me, Sam left me and exchanged me for Quinn, hell, I'm sure my mom'll leave me one of these days."

"Stop, Finn," she scolds softly, and scoots closer to him on the couch. "Quinn was stupid for leaving a great guy like you. Sam was a shitty best friend, and your mother would never leave you, because I don't even have to know her to know that she's proud of you. I've seen the pictures on your phone, Finn. You're a momma's boy."

He laughs and squeezes her side. "Rachel, you're the absolute sweetest girl I've ever met."

She presses her face into his arm, hiding her smile. "You're pretty sweet, too, Finn—when you're not avoiding me, that is."

"Tell me 'bout Jesse," he urges gently.

"What do you want to know? We met in college, started dating immediately, but he would never commit to me. You'd think my boyfriend would have asked me to move in with him and split a lease, but nope, I had to find my own place. Not that I regret it one bit—I love it here, and I think he was jealous of the time I've been spending with you and Noah and Santana."

"You do spend a great deal of time at our apartment," he teases. She laughs, and leans her head on his bicep comfortably. "Don't fall asleep on me."

"Hmm," she hums, "I won't, promise, just let me rest my eyes for five minutes…"

ix.

They spend most weekends curled up on the couch watching movies or whatever television show he assures her is great (none of them ever are). Noah and Santana are, as always, absent—Rachel has a theory that they're doing it, and Finn laughs and dispels that theory. "I'll prove you wrong," she tells him, laughing as he rolls his eyes. "You'll see."

One evening, she walks in from work to hear shouting echoing down the hallway. The neighbors' heads poke out of their doors and she waves at them, a hot blush spiraling up her cheeks.

The door is unlocked, and she pushes it open just as Finn shouts, "I can't fucking believe you'd do this to me!"

Santana stands between them, trying to keep Finn from killing Noah apparently. "What's going on?" Rachel shouts as she slips her heels off and hangs her coat. Santana is clearly failing at keeping Finn restrained, as Noah has a bruise forming already on his eyes.

"Fucking asshole," Finn exclaims.

"Finn," she says softly, placing her hand on his bicep and grasping his fist gently, clasping their fingers together. His face softens immediately at her touch. "C'mon."

Santana grabs Puck's hand and leads him into the bathroom as Rachel takes Finn into her bedroom. He pulls her down onto the bed beside him. She curls beside him, hooking her foot behind his calf. "What was that all about?"

Finn closes his eyes and breathes in very, very slowly, before releasing it and mumbling, "Quinn didn't cheat with Sam, she cheated with fucking Puckerman."

"I thought she moved in with Sam, though?" He shakes his head.

"Nope, she made up all that bullshit and fucking Puck went along with it."

She runs her hand along his arm slowly, feeling the muscles tense and release beneath her fingers. All tension leaves his face after a moment, and he rolls on top of her, burying his face in the crook of her neck. "You're the best girl, uh, ever," he murmurs, lips sliding over the skin there.

She shivers slightly and slips her fingers into his hair as his lips, ever so gently, press against her neck. He lifts his head slightly, eyes wide and glassy, staring at her as if he's reached an epiphany. She breathes in and smiles slightly at him and his lips' proximity. "Hey," he whispers, "you wanna get outta here?"

"Yeah," she responds, fingers curling around the collar of his sweater. He grins and sits up completely, twining their fingers together, and pulling her off the bed.

"Let's go."

x.

Finn is a handsy drunk. While she likes to snuggle and occasionally kiss, Finn likes to feel and grope and stick his tongue down throats (not that she'd let him). He tells her all of this, of course, on their way back to the apartment, because he is not only handsy, but also very, very honest. He stops them midway through their journey and places both hands on her cheeks. "God," he mutters, "you're fucking cute y'know? Like really fucking adorable."

He squeezes the sides of her face and kisses her forehead, letting his lips linger there for so long she can't imagine ever forgetting the feel of them. "Alright, Finn, let's get you home."

"Can I sleep in your room tonight?" He asks, glassy eyes warm and pleading. "Don't wanna stay with Fuck tonight."

Giggling, she nods, "If by Fuck you mean Noah, of course."

He grunts and drops his arm around her. "It's pretty fuckin' hot when you swear. Like Jesus."

She laughs and squeezes his side, wrapping her arm around him. He's very fluid when he's drunk, and she's a little worried that he'll topple over, so she hooks her arms very firmly around him. "Promise to snuggle?" He asks softly.

"Don't I always?"

He passes out as soon as his head hits the pillow. She laughs at the sight of him, over six feet tall, curled into a ball on her bed. She ignores the fluttering of her heart that wants him in her bed everyday. She can't get involved with her roommate—one of her roommates. Especially when he is, quite clearly, not over his ex yet.

Still, she undresses and gets ready for bed very quickly, and tucks herself in beside him. He must be half asleep, as he wraps his arms around her waist and drags her close to him, letting his lips fall onto her bare shoulder very, very gently.

xi.

Muted sunlight pours through the window of her bedroom, urging her eyes open. They crack open before fluttering shut. She's so warm; she doesn't really want to move, but squirms around anyway. Something heavy rests atop her waist, large fingers on her hip, and then she remembers: Finn.

"Baby," he murmurs gruffly, "more sleep."

She freezes, but he doesn't seem to notice his slip of tongue. His fingers squeeze her hip slightly before releasing her. "Let's get breakfast," she suggests. "C'mon, Finn, please."

He grunts and sits up slowly, glaring at her. "I have a hangover."

"The fresh air will do you good!"

xii.

He swings her onto his back on the way home, because it starts pouring rain and she's wearing brand new heels and he doesn't want them to get ruined. Luckily, she wore a rain jacket and puts the hood up, while Finn is stuck only in a hoodie that gets soaked halfway through the walk home.

"We need to pull over," Finn laughs, ducking into a bookstore. He's got raindrops in his eyelashes, and his sweatshirt is completely soaked through. Still, though, he smiles down at her in a way that makes her catch her breath.

She smiles back and wraps her arms around his neck, very slowly standing on her tiptoes to hug him. She feels his grin on her shoulder as his arms clasp around her waist. "Thank you, Finn."

"Anything for you. Do you mind waiting here 'till the storm passes? I don't want to get pneumonia."

She nods and doesn't even react as he grabs her hand and leads her around the store. "Do you want a coffee?"

"No, thank you. Do you mind if I look around while you get yours?" He shakes his head and slowly releases her fingers, one by one, and doesn't take his eyes off her as she walks away.

xiii.

"Berry," Santana exclaims when they arrive home hours later, "Hudson? Where have you kids been? Did you leave together?"

"We got breakfast," Finn clarifies as he helps Rachel out of her coat. "I'm going to shower."

She nods and flops onto the couch beside Santana, who is watching some Bravo reality show marathon. But Santana keeps staring at her instead of the television, eventually causing Rachel to snap, "What in the world are you staring at?"

"Are you fucking Hudson?"

"No."

"You sure? Puck said he wasn't in his bed last night and he certainly wasn't in mine or the couch, so yours is the last option."

"We're friends," she stresses, though she wishes differently. "I could ask you the same for Noah."

Santana squints at her and relents, though Rachel surmises that it is only because of Finn's emergence from his bedroom. He sits beside her, naturally pulls her into his side and rests his head on top of hers.

"Friends my ass," Santana mumbles, rises from the couch, and disappears into her room.

"What were you and San talking about?"

"Nothing!" Rachel squeaks, "Nothing at all!"

"I beg to differ," he murmurs, lifting his hand and tracing the rising blush on her cheeks.

"Finn," she whines.

"Fine, fine," he concedes, "one of these days, you will tell me."

"Not likely."

"Oh, I think it is very likely."

"I disagree."

"Well, it's not up to you, it's up to me."

"How are my secrets your discretion?"

"They just are. I know how to get them out of you."

"No, you don't—" He turns toward her, widening his eyes and pushing out his bottom lip. "Fine, you do, but wait till I'm ready."

"When you're ready," he agrees.

xiv.

Finn starts pushing the boundaries of their friendship even more. He almost constantly touches her, and spends his nights in her room, cuddled beside her on the bed. He hogs the covers, which she thinks is a ploy to get her closer (not that she minds). One night when they're sleeping, limbs tangled together, she realizes that she actually loves him. Like, honestly, truly, completely loves him, and if she thought she loved Jesse, she was certainly wrong.

After her realization, she avoids alcohol like the plague. She doesn't want to let her feelings slip and scare Finn off, so she decides to quell the feelings as best as she can. It's hard, though, as they spend all of their time together when they're not working. Thursdays quickly become her favorite day of the week, more precious than Saturday and Sunday, which are split between Santana, Kurt, Noah and Finn. Thursdays are Finn and Rachel days.

He comes to her shows, sometimes, and after the first one, he held her close and told her, quite honestly, that he cried like a baby the entire time. Some nights she stays up late and listens to his steady breathing beside her, other nights she falls asleep before he even gets ready for bed.

"It's like we're married," Finn mumbles tiredly one Friday night. "Like, we could totally have gone out and partied with Santana and Puck, but we stayed in and watched television and it's almost ten and you're half asleep. We're like an old married couple, y'know?"

"Mhmm," she mumbles sleepily, eyes falling closed momentarily before flickering open. Married.

He kisses her temple softly, and that's almost the last straw for her. "What are you doing?" She exclaims, sitting up quickly, removing herself from his embrace. "What are we doing?"

"I—we—I," he stutters, mouth falling open. She jumps up from the couch, pacing back and forth in the living room.

"We need to stop this fucked up thing, Finn, it's not okay. We're—we're not—"

He's standing up, now. His propinquity makes her breath catch in her throat. Very softly, he lifts his hand to her cheek. She opens her mouth to protest, but he silences her by kissing her on the mouth. She lets out a surprised, oh! into his mouth, but her hands grasp his neck anyway.

His other hand grasps her waist, pressing her closer into his body. They kiss, shrouded in darkness, and it's almost like the world around them fades to black. It's more than fireworks, more than a spark, more than blood rushing in her ears; kissing him is like tasting the sky, like hanging between constellations and drinking in the music of the universe. They break away moments later but don't completely pull away from one another. Her name falls from his lips very softly, and she'd be happy if he were the only person to call her that ever again.

"Rach," he repeats in a quiet breath, and her distaste for nicknames dissipates in that one syllable. He leads her into her bedroom, pressing her into the downy white comforter, lips falling onto hers again. He kisses her again and again, kisses her between her eyes and beneath her collarbone, murmurs her name against her navel and kisses the spot, and leans up and kisses her lips once more.

He brings her up to rest against the mountain of pillows and pulls his lips from her skin, smiling shyly at the dazed look in her eye. "You're beautiful," he murmurs, his face an inch from hers. He kisses her again, just 'cause he can.

"Mmhph," she mumbles into his mouth.

"I love you. Like," he breaks away from her completely and sits beside her against the pillows, "I'm completely in love with you, I mean."

"I love you, too," she responds softly, and he glances at her meaningfully.

"Yeah?"

She nods, "Yeah," and she pulls his lips back to hers.

xv.

"I knew you would wind up boning her," Santana proclaims at breakfast the next morning. It's a rare occasion that they all spend a morning together, but it is nice when they do, especially since Noah and Finn have reconciled.

"W-uh-what?"

"Rachel, you can fill him in."

"Santana guessed that we were…involved, or that we would be, long before we ever did anything."

Finn hums and leans over and kisses Rachel instead of responding. "Ew," Noah says, "could you get your sickly sweet selves out of the fuckin' kitchen?"

"No," Rachel responds.

"Really, you two are even more fucking gross now that you've boned," Santana adds. "Like, now instead of all the cuddling, you're making out."

"We've been up for less than an hour and in the kitchen for, like, ten minutes," Finn protests.

"And you've kissed her like, eighty times. You weren't like that with Quinn," she notes.

"I didn't love Quinn like I love Rachel."

Rachel smiles to herself and eats her breakfast nonchalantly. Noah kicks her under the table and grins at her genuinely.

xvi.

"If you want the truth," Finn says, later, "I should tell you that I've had…feelings for you since the day you moved in."

"Finn, it's almost been a year."

"I know," he murmurs. "I just…you were with Jesse, then you broke up, and I wanted to ensure you were completely over him before I tried anything."

"Sweet of you to do."

He smiles and kisses her.

xvii.

They've been dating a year when Kurt sends her an email with a house listing on it. It's a real house, with two floors and more than one bathroom and three bedrooms. It's perfect. She bites her lip as she looks at the pictures, and, while she loves living with Noah and Santana and Finn, it'd be nice to get some semblance of privacy.

She snaps her laptop closed when Finn walks into the room. "Hey," he says, a little taken aback by the slam of her laptop. "You okay?"

"Yup."

"Were you watching porn?"

"Nope."

"Rachel, we agreed we'd be honest with each other."

She closes her eyes and releases a sigh, muttering, "It was a real estate listing."

Finn steps back, away from the bed (away from her) and furrows his brow. "Oh." She can hear the hurt emanating in her voice, and she rises to her knees.

"No, Finn, it's not—where are you going?"

"I've—I've got some stuff to do," he mutters.

"Finn, come back, please. Finn. I love you, please!" He storms away from her and out of the bedroom, and she hops off the bed, determined to chase after him. "Don't walk away, Finn!"

He does anyway, stomping out of the apartment and subsequently down the stairs, and she follows him, calling out to him, and she knows he won't doesn't hear her call out, and doesn't turn around, so she gives up chasing him.

xviii.

"Baby," he murmurs softly, crawling into bed and curling around her. "Wake up, please, honey."

"No."

"Please."

"You're not supposed to leave when things get hard, Finn. You're supposed to talk to me about it."

"You're supposed to be the only one who doesn't leave."

"I don't want to leave you. I won't, in fact," she says, turning to face him, an angry set to her brow. "Finn, I love you. I don't give up on the people I love."

"I'm sorry," he murmurs, pressing his face into her neck. He leans up and kisses her jaw line. "I panicked."

"Yes, you did."

"Forgive me?"

She sighs, twirling a bit of his hair in her fingers, "Always."

xix.

They find a tree in Central Park and call it theirs. They spend a lot of time there, leaning against one another and reading. Other times, talking, and a lot of the time, kissing. After their fight, he takes her there and they lie beneath it. He eases his fingers into her left hand, running his fingers along each one of hers.

"I'm sorry."

"I forgive you." She rests her head on top of his chest, and he lifts his free hand to run over her long, dark hair.

"We've been together a long time, right?"

"If a year is long," she affirms, fingers tracing constellations between the freckles on his nose.

"Will you marry me?"

"Is this because of yesterday? You don't have to commit yet, Finn, I know you love me."

"I've had this ring for six weeks. Please, baby, marry me?"

She takes a moment to stare at the ring, the pretty diamond reflecting the sunlight, and it's like a movie scene and she can nearly imagine the overdramatic violins' crescendo in the background as she nods wordlessly.

"I love you, y'know?" He says later, admiring the ring on her finger as they lie in their bed intertwined.

"Mhm. I know. About that house," she begins, and shushes him when he tries to interrupt, "I was looking at it for the both of us. Wanna see it?"

"'Course I do."

xx.

Finn's arm slips around her waist, lips falling to her temple as she lifts her hand and raps three times on the wooden door. A perky real estate agent answers, grinning happily, "Are you answering the listing?"

"Yup," Finn answers, squeezing her side happily. "I'm Finn Hudson, and this is my-my wife, Rachel."

"Nice to meet you. I'm May. C'mon in."


review, pls?