It's just past midnight when the sound of the phone vibrating against the night stand wakes him from a dead sleep. He hesitates answering it hoping it's just a random drunk text from one of his buddies. But when the vibrations persist he finally rolls over and answers it. The lights shining through his window hurt his eyes so he can't read the caller ID but answers it anyway. If it's midnight and someone is calling it'd better be important. His voice is hoarse as he grumbles, "Hello."
His mind is still clouded with sleep but he hears his brother's voice on the other end of the line. There is no greeting, just a tone of distress and a simple statement.
"You need to come home. Rachel needs you to come home. It's her, dad."
He doesn't need to hear anything else as Kurt tries to explain the situation. He'll be on the first plane out of New York he can get on. It doesn't matter that they're not together and haven't been in a long time. Or that he hasn't actually seen her in almost two years. He's getting on the first plane he can catch because it's Rachel, and he can't not go.
It takes him longer to than he'd have liked but two planes and a rental car later he's back in Ohio. Back in Lima. Back home. Only it's not home and it hasn't been in some time. It's become where he's from, not his home. Home is New York. He used to call that his home with Rachel, but it's been years since she called New York home. But he's never stopped wishing she still would.
He's not good with this kind of thing. The hospital is quiet and smells too sterile. Like they're trying to cover up the scent of sadness, if sadness has a scent he's not entirely sure if it does but if it did a hospital would certainly smell like sadness. He knows this because his only experience being inside hospitals were always bad and this is no exception. He wishes Kurt would answer his damn phone, so Finn would at least know exactly where he was going. But he doesn't so Finn wanders from floor to floor glancing inside waiting rooms until he finally spots her. He sees her through the window of the waiting room before she spots him. She's sitting alone toying with her fingers and he almost doesn't recognize her. She looks different. She's dressed to fancy. Her purple shirt is a bit too low cut and her jeans a little too expensive and she's wearing far too much make up. There's black and eye shadow all around her eyes and her lips they're too red. It's like someone painted a face onto her, but it's still her. It's still Rachel, his Rachel. She's still there he can see it in her eyes. He can't help but wonder how long she's been sitting there alone. He wants to pretend she's alone because she's waiting on him but he knows that's probably not the case. His hands are tucked inside his pockets as he enters into the room and quietly clears his throat to get her attention. Her head snaps up and her eyes go wide almost immediately filling with tears. Before he can even say anything she's sobbing pressing against him. He doesn't say anything. He knows there are no words for this kind of moment. He kinda wants to cry himself but he can't. He's not allowed to cry right now because she needs him to hold her up. So instead he wraps his arms around her and holds her against his chest. This is the first time she's let herself cry and he knows this because well he knows he knows her. He knows her better than anyone else in this world. And when she looks up to him with swollen red eyes and in a single sentence begs him to take her somewhere, anywhere. He just nods and takes her hand because it's Rachel and he can't not take her somewhere.
They go to the park and sit on a blanket out by the lake. They don't talk about her dad. They don't talk about his life in New York. They don't talk about her life in Los Angeles. They don't talk about how he knew or why he's there. They don't talk at all which is so uncharacteristic of his Rachel but he gets it. So they just sit together out by the lake because sometimes all you need is someone to sit with you. So he sits with her because it's Rachel and he can't not sit with her.
Three days later they're sitting together in silence again. Only now she's wearing a black dress and far less make up. Now she looks like his Rachel, not some painted version of her. He pulls his rental car into park and shoots her a silent side glance. He wishes he had something to say. She always knew what to say to make him feel better. Or sometimes make him feel like crap which would then lead to him thinking about it too much and eventually feeling better. But either way he wishes he knew what to say to make her feel better because she's always been able to make him feel better. He knows that's probably because she's always been his best friend even if he hasn't always been hers. He scratches his face then runs his hands down it before one of his hands lands on top of hers. Her eyes close as she grasps his hand and begins to cry again. Now he really wishes he knew what to say because he just can't handle her crying more. It's going to make him cry and now is one of those times when he needs to be strong for her. He remembers the last time he had to do that. It was when she told him she was leaving New York, she was uncertain and scared and he knew it was a bad idea but she needed him to be strong for her. To tell her it was okay to go. He remembers that moment and it's the last thing he wants to think about right now because right now he needs to be strong for her again. The tears are falling from her eyes so hard the waterproof mascara he'd watched her put on is starting to smear and he's honestly not sure what to do. So he leans forward and captures her lips in a kiss. There's hesitation before he feels her respond and sink into the kiss. He's not sure where it comes from, it's been years since he's kissed her but it still feels exactly the same. And she still tastes exactly the same. For the briefest moment it's like they're kids kissing in his cars and nothing ever changed. They break apart and he opens his mouth to explain or apologize, or something because he's not sure what's going to fall out of his mouth. But before he can speak he looks at her. Her eyes are still closed but her chest isn't shaking anymore, and she's not crying. And at least in that moment she seems to have composure. Her eyes slowly open and he watches as she reaches for her purse. His mouth closes because he knows now isn't the time to talk. They silently get out of the car and she takes his hand as they walk into the temple.
She doesn't give any kind of speech at the service. Instead she gets up and begins to sing a song. Finn knows it's not the place but he wants to smile because it's exactly what her dad would want her to do because it's such a Rachel thing to do. Her voice gives him chills and makes his stomach jump. Maybe because it's been too long since he's heard her sing. The song is beautiful and he mouths the words along with her. He knows it because she used to sing it all the time. It was one of her dad's favorites and he would always request her to sing it usually on family nights when they were all just hanging around the house. He was kinda of family back then; he kinda still is family and that's why he knows the song.
Somewhere in the second verse her tears begin to fall and she starts to choke her way through the song. He hates this, he hates that there's nothing he can do to fix her when she's fixed him so many times. He hates that she's hurting and he hates that there's all these eyes on her as she cries. His leg is shaking and all he wants to do is save her, so he clears his throat and even though it's been ages since he's sang he belts out the next line of the song from his seat. Then without a thought he's standing up and singing as he walks down the temple aisle to join her. As he gets next to her he pulls her against his chest and let's her cry as he finishes the song for her. And when the song is finished he carries her back to her seat. He can't take away her pain but he can save her. Because it's Rachel and he can't not save her.
He's standing in the parking lot of the cemetery waiting on her when he calls the studio. He doesn't know when he'll be back so he needs them to postpone all of his recording sessions as long as they can. He doesn't give them too much information. And when they press for a reason all he can think to tell them is it's a family situation and he's needed in Lima for an undefined amount of time. The studio isn't happy with him and he knows this but he can't leave right now. It's Rachel and he can't not be here.
After everyone leaves her family home and her daddy has gone to bed they go back out to the lake. He pulls out the same blanket and again they sit in silence. Only this time he feels like he's waiting for her to say something. Maybe he should say something, maybe she's not talking because she needs him to talk first. So he opens his mouth to speak only to feel her fingers against it quieting him.
"Thank you." She whispers softly as her red eyes meet his and she slowly pulls her fingers from his lips. "I..." She starts and then stops and before his even has time to process it her lips are on his and then gone leaving only a tingle to assure him they were there in the first place. "Thank you." She says softly as she rests her head against his shoulder and they just sit.
In that moment he wants to say so much, but he allows the silence. He won't allow silence forever, but he knows again now isn't the time. So they just sit because sometimes all you need is to just someone to sit with you. And maybe this time all he needs is to sit with her too. And it's Rachel so he can't not sit with her.
They've been coming out to the lake and just sitting together on the damn blanket every night for a week and a half when she finally starts to talk. He fully expects it to be about her dad and the loss she's just experienced, he'd spent the last week and a half prepping himself on what to say when that finally happened. But when she finally starts to talk it's the last thing he ever thought she's say. When she finally starts to talk it's about them.
"I wanted you to tell me not to go." She says as she draws in a shaky breath and turns her body to face him. "I know we weren't together. I know we hadn't been together in years. I know we were friends but I was still in love with you and I wanted you to tell me not to go to L.A. I know it was a childish and selfish mentality but..."
He cuts her words off and reaches under her chin to bring her eyes up to him, "But it's you. It's exactly the kind of thing you would do. And I didn't think about that." He lets out a self loathing laugh as the thought finally occurs to him that if he had thought about it he'd have done exactly as she wanted and this conversation may not even be happening. "I thought you were just coming to me as a friend for advice and I wanted to support you the way you always had me."
"And you did. And it made me love you even for it. And..." He watches as her shoulders slump and her eyes close tight, "And eventually it made me hate myself even more for leaving. When you told me that if L.A. was what was best for my career I should go I was so torn. I didn't want to leave New York; I didn't want to leave you even if we weren't together. But when you told me it was okay... I know I've never told you this but the faith you've always had in me, some days it was all that keep me going. When we're first got here and I saw that there was more to the world than Lima and everyone was just as good as me... Your faith me in me kept me going. So when you told me it was okay to follow that dream out to L.A. I thought it would still be okay. Only in L.A. I didn't have your faith in me. I didn't have you to selfishly use to pull me through day after day, call back after call back. And when things didn't work out the way they were supposed to I was so afraid of letting you down."
"Is that why I've always had to call you first since you left?" He feels his eyebrows narrow and he knows there's confusion in his tone but it all makes sense to him now. She left because she was following her dream but she let him go because the dream didn't come together.
Her head nods and her eyes close again, "I couldn't make it on who I was, and I started trying to become what they wanted me to be and I couldn't tell you that. Not with everything you'd always given me. So it was easier to just let you call. It didn't work anyway. Even trying to be what they wanted I still wasn't what they wanted."
"Why didn't you just come home?" As soon as the question leaves his mouth he knows that she's not going to answer. Or maybe she's already answered. "You're not a dying star." He knows the analogy is bad considering why they're in Lima but it's all he's got that moment. "You're still a star at least to me you are and if my faith in you is worth as much as you say it is then you're still a star. So just come home. You can always come home Rachel." He doesn't mean she can always go back to New York. He means that she can always come back to him and even though he's just said it he's not entirely sure what that means or entails. He only knows he means it. Because it's Rachel and he can't not mean it.
Out of the corner of his eye he sees her watching him as he zips up his bag. He doesn't have a choice anymore he has to go back to New York. The studio needs him, they can't postpone anymore and despite letting himself get lost in her, he knows he still has a life to get back to, or at the least a job to get back to. The silence overcomes them again as they make their way out of Finn's parent's house. It kinda sucks because it's the first time they've been silent since they talked at the park that night. In the week since all of that they've talked about everything. They've talked about her dad dying and how badly that's hurt her and him too. They talked about how he's made himself a home in New York, how he likes working as a session drummer for the music studios there even he got to do some drum work for Jay-Z and that guy was totally a legend so that was awesome. They've talked about how nothing went right for her in L.A. How she got turned away because she didn't fit the bill of what they were looking for, and how that brought out high school insecurity she refused to admit to anyone. And how L.A. just never felt right for the moment she got off her plane there.
Since the night on the lake they've talked about everything except his offer for her to come home. And maybe it was for the best because he's still not sure exactly what he meant when he told her she could always come home, he still just knew he meant it.
Finn glances over his shoulder to make sure she's still following him as he walks out to load his bag into the car. She's still there close beside him, almost too close, almost close enough to make him wonder. Before he's even had a chance to hug her goodbye she's in the cab. It wasn't something he'd expected, for her to go to the airport with him, but he would take it and cherish these last few moments with her.
"So where to?" He asks with a small amount of laughter in his voice. Her visual response to his question is a small and he feels the confusion fill his face.
"Where you're going." She says simply as he feels her hand grasp his.
The confusion on his face transforms into a smile as he realizes what she means. His mouth twists to shows a small half smile. He's not sure what this means for them but it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter because it's Rachel and he can't not love her. He just doesn't know how to.
AN: The title and inspiration for this story come from the song We're Okay by The Rescues (check them out they're amazing. And if you want you can pick up the song here http:/www (dot) sendspace (dot) com/file/gvgyuz just replace the dots and stuff). I've latched onto that song recently and this is what has come out of it. I also have to acknowledge my awesome, amazing, music spouse, dear friend (and rock lately) Jann (Jannp around these parts) because I slightly kinda sort borrowed her style bit (It's not a Single White Female thing I swear!). Also my dear bubble buddy Pea because months ago she told me I must use the final lines of dialogue in a fic (points if you know where those lines comes from because they're totally stolen), so I finally did! There's a million other people I should thank but I hate long A/N when I'm read so there. This is completely unbeta'd so cut me some slack, times are rough!