It's really long again! I just can't help it.

If you do manage to read through all of this, I hope that you like it. Oh and to those who read my last fanfic, yes is was inspired by Diana's quote :)


Finn struggles with his shoulder bag, the bulk of it slamming against his leg as he tries to walk with his crouches. It's only been a week and his skill with them hasn't improved at all. He throws a twenty to the cab driver before heading down his familiar drive way, the one that he's been missing for the past few months.

But college kind of sucks when it comes to work and he could barely find a free day, never mind time to go back to Lima to see his family. He phones his mom, never Burt because even though he's been married to his mom for three years now, it's still pretty awkward to talk on the phone. And his mom fills in the conversation for him. Normally, it's "when are you coming back Finn?" or "surely you could take a break from your busy schedule." He's always answer with the same thing, that he's sure to come back for the next break. A year of that and she finally stopped asking.

Just when he's returning.

Now, it isn't really his choice. You see, he had an accident – a pretty nasty one, and his knee is busted up. So, in addition to not being able to play football at college, he can't even walk properly. His tutor suggested a few months at home would help him heal better, but that's the last thing that Finn wanted.

After weeks of whining and moaning, he was literally dragged onto that plane and brought here. It isn't that he's not happy to be back because he totally misses his mom's cookies and how Burt sometimes gets tickets to local games and takes him there. It's just that he misses the fast-paced life of college and, at home, everything is the complete opposite.

Like right not for example; he hasn't seen a single car go past on his typical suburban street, other than the cab that brought him here. There's no one about. Not even any kids in the street. The closing thing to exciting here is a cat trying to steal a fish from the pond next door.

He fumbles around with his keys and, once he's done, is pretty annoyed when he realises that the door is already open. It's strange though, Finn thinks, as normally nobody is in the house on a Monday at this time.

As he steps –or more hobbles – inside, he's met with silence. Shrugging, he doesn't leave time to think about it and starts his treacherous climb up the stairs to his room. At least is Columbus they had elevators to get his around. He feels like maybe it's going to be tiring as he continuously treks back and forth up this particular mountain.

Once up, breathing a little hard, and he's really glad that nobody is around to witness this, he starts down the hall. Everything is pretty much the way that he last saw it. All the embarrassing kid pictures hung on the wall for every family guest to see on their way to the bathroom. The decoration hasn't changed. He half expected his mom and Burt to completely renovate the whole house after he and Kurt, his older brother, had left, but everything remains identical to the house he lived in just over a year ago.

He kicks his door open, not really having any free hands, and lets out a sound that is barely human.

His room is pink! Well, it's pink and there's some purple and a little bit of yellow but that doesn't matter. Is this some kind of sick joke? Is it revenge for not visiting his parents enough?

Finn moves deeper into the colourful chaos, eyes wide and scared as he absorbs the bright colour and all that comes with it. Not only are the walls different, but all his stuff is gone. No bed that's too small for him, or boring brown dressers, or drum kit. And definitely no Xbox. He drops himself onto the bed, partly from exhaustion, but the main reason being shock.

His hands move over the flowery duvet and he almost chokes on the sweet smell of perfume. A weird monkey teddy is sat on the pillows, just staring at him.

This is all a dream, isn't it?

He pinches himself. Shit – he's awake. Oh no. He panics. What's he going to do? He can't sleep in here! No sane person would be able to sleep with kittens staring at them from the walls.

Getting himself stable on the crutches, he moves over to the white dresser, opening the top drawer to find something that definitely doesn't belong to him. Panties. He almost passes out at the sight. "What the fuck?" he asks loudly, picking up a pair and staring at the gold star pattern across them. This has gone too far enough.


His head snaps at the sound of his voice, only to see his Burt staring at him incredulously. He wonders why, because he still needs to know what the hell happened in his room, but then he realises that he's essentially holding someone else's underwear. A girl's to be exact. Throwing them back hastily, he turns to face Burt, anger clear on his face.

"What did you do to my room?"

He watches as Burt finishes making a coffee for them both before joining him at the kitchen table, the place where most family meetings had been called since before he remembers. After he'd managed to get down the stairs, still just as pissed, he's sat down and refused to move until Burt told him everything.

To the man's credit, that's exactly what he did, taking the shock in his stride.

"So, you fostered some girl?" he asks with a raised eyebrow as he takes the mug from Burt, immediately dropping a sugar cube into the bitter concoction.

"Yes," he says, the chair scraping against the floor as he pulls it out, "she's called Rachel and she's been living here for almost six months."

Finn groans at the length of time, knowing that it's a little more permanent than he originally thought, "And she's the reason that my room looks like a care bear exploded?"

Burt rolls his eyes, leaning back and almost smiling in amusement at his step-son, "you know, it's her room now." When it hits him, it kind of hurts to realise that this is his fault, seeing as he never returned as much as he should have, and now they've got him a replacement. Some little foster girl.

"Then where am I supposed to sleep?" he asks, pointing to his cast leg, "I'm staying here for four months because of this and I don't have anywhere to sleep!"

The man grins, "there's always Kurt's old room."

"No!" he points at him, shaking his head vigorously, "no, no – certainly not. I can't sleep in there. One, Kurt would kill me. Like, with his bare hands. Two, I'd rather sleep in the pink nuclear bomb room than with Kurt's French designer crap."

"Sorry kid," he shrugs, "it's that or the couch. Rachel isn't changing rooms with you just so that you can be more comfortable. No," he reiterated, "you've had a comfortable life and up until a few years ago she's been in terrible conditions, so she comes first."

Finn has just enough time to roll his eyes before the front door opens and his mom walks into with Rachel. He doesn't even bother facing them and sulks further into his seat.

"Burt, we're back," Carole calls, obviously struggling with some bags.

The man sends him a warning glare, making sure that he isn't rude to Rachel, and goes into the hall to join them. "Hey," he hears him say, "you two ladies have fun?"

His mom's voice rises as they near the kitchen and he turns, freezing when he sees the girl standing next to her. From the décor of the room and general way that Burt had described her, he's expects a child of no more than twelve or thirteen.

But he's definitely not looking at some little girl.

The first things he notices is that her skirt is short, really short, which completely exposes her impossibly long legs that that his eyes follow for miles. When he does move up to her face, staring into her wide brown eyes, he's pretty sure that he loses all capacity to think for a few seconds. They hold in a trance so easily and he doesn't even care. He blinks, taking a moment to absorb the rest of her appearance. She wears a yellow beret style hat on her head, covering her softly curled brown hair. His eyes flicker to her full lips and larger nose that he's sure would only fit her.

"Hi," he breathes, feeling momentarily light headed.

She doesn't reply; only sends a look over her shoulder to Carole asking for her to explain who this boy is in the kitchen.

Carole beams at the sight of him, "Finny! Oh, look at you. Look at your leg." She makes a few oohs and aahs, capturing him in a tight hug and peppering his face with kisses. It only makes matters worse when he finds the girl giggling at his misfortune. Burt steps up behind the girl, placing a hand on her shoulder, "Rachel, this is Carole's son, Finn. He's going to be staying here for a little while."

She nods, sending a tiny wave his way but she doesn't speak. It kind of bugs him. He was to know what her voice is like, already imagining that it must match her appearance so of course it's going to be soft and sweet and one of a kind.

Burt clears his throat, "err, Rachel, why don't you go and put the things you bought today away in your room and just give us ten minute alone, okay?"

With a blinding smile, she picks up the rest of the bags that Carole had dropped upon having seen Finn and shoots up the stairs with the most enthusiasm Finn has ever seen.

"How long are you staying?" Carole hugs him again, almost squealing with excitement.

"Err…until my leg heals up," he says, "I'll help around the house and stuff if you want to, you know, make up for the money and everything."

"Nonsense. You're hurt so we're going to look after you," she smiles fondly, "and Rachel is wonderful with the cleaning so you don't even have to worry about that."

Finn frowns, "how come I didn't know that you'd fostered some kid?"

She looks conflicted, her lips tight as she thinks of the right answer. "Well, for once, she's seventeen and hardly a child," she points out, hands on hip, "but that doesn't matter. I told that that we were considering it. It's not my fault that you never came home or don't listen to me on the phone."

"I do too listen!"

"Clearly not," she shoots back. "Look, Finn," Carole offers him a smile, gently rubbing his shoulders, "she's just as much a part of this family as you are now, so try to be nice. Hopefully you'll get to see what a lovely young lady she is."

He grumbles a response, beginning to stand up, "I'm err, gonna go and unpack in… Kurt's room." There's definitely a bitterness in his voice, but clearly his mom doesn't pick up on it as she's too excited to see her "baby boy home."

Just as he's about to go upstairs, Burt catches up with him, "Finn son, a word?"

"Yeah, sure." He moves back, resting his weight equally so that his arms don't hurt too much.

"Rachel is…" he begins, unable to keep the frown off of his face, "she's very delicate Finn, and she scares easily so just, try and be gentle around her." He places a hand on her shoulder, "and she doesn't like to talk in front of strangers so don't be alarmed if she doesn't reply to you, okay? You have to earn her trust."

His eyebrows furrow together, "so she's like a mute?"

Burt sighs, "She can talk. She could talk for America if given the chance, but her childhood – I think that it left her wary of strangers. Just be patient and she'll be fine."

"Got it," he salutes Burt, "anything else?"

"Welcome back," the man adds with the hint of a smirk, "you mom's making your favourite for dinner, so be sure to thank her later."

He grins, "no problem. I've really gotta go and unpack though."

"Right," Burt smiles though it slips as he eyes the crutches, "you don't need any help, do you?" He awkwardly stands next to Finn now, scratching his head.

"I'm fine," he puts the man at ease, quickly getting on the first step, "See? I've gotta practice anyway. May as well get started now."

With a pat on the back, Burt leaves him attempting the climb the stairs again. It's not that it's that difficult, it's just a time consuming effort. He groans when he remembers that his stuff is in his – Rachel's – room and begins in the direction to collect it, his heart fluttering at the thought of seeing her again.

When he reaches it, he debates just walking in because up until half an hour ago, this room did belong to him, but eventually succumbs and knocks a couple of times.

There are a few quiet noises behind the door and it finally opens to Rachel giving him a small smile. Standing a mere foot away from her, he realises how tiny she is and she has to crane her neck to look up at him.

"I – um – left my bag in here," he points to the large bag on the floor, contrasting with everything in her room, "I was just getting it."

She moves back and allows space for him to get his stuff, leaning against her computer desk as she watches his every move. Finn tries to bend down but, with the crutches, it's much more difficult. Everything is much harder to do lately.

He tries forcing all of his weight onto the left one and slowly bending down with the other loose yet it just falls from his arm and he loses his balance completely. A small pair of hands catches him before he falls and he finds himself staring into those deep brown eyes again. Rachel looks more than nervous at their close proximity, her pupils darting about as she avoids eye contact herself. Once he's stable, she picks up the discarded crutch and sets it in place for him. "But my…" he begins, stopping when she throws the bag over her own shoulder and hurries out of the room.

Finn knows that he can't catch up with her, so he doesn't even bother. Just as he's about to enter Kurt's room, she walks out, head ducked low and pace lightning fast.

"Hey," he catches her arm, forcing her to stop, "thanks."

As she does finally return a gaze into his eyes, her are pained and sad. It almost looks like she's trying her hardest to speak to him through her eyes yet he wishes that she'd just speak.

But she doesn't.

She shakes her head and retreats to her room, to the safe pink walls, and Finn can only watch with a frown as she does.

He wakes up late or later than he would have liked, but there isn't an alarm in Kurt's room so he had to depend on his body clock which, from many college parties, is royally fucked.

So, at almost twelve, he trudges down the stairs noisily and wanders into the kitchen only to find Rachel scribbling down furiously in a pink, polka dot notebook (typical!) and occasionally have a spoonful of some cereal.

"Where's mom and Burt?" he asks, trying to stretch although it's difficult with his busted up knee.

Her head shoots up at the sound of his voice and, for a minute, she looks terrified before she realises that it is him, visibly relaxing. Sitting up straight in her chair, she points to the note board that his mom keeps in order to remind the family of important matters. Scrawled across in her curly handwriting are the words "visiting my sister for the day. Be back at seven. Order some food for you and Rachel."

Great. Now he's stuck with Rachel all Sunday. It would help if she actually talks, but he's got absolutely nothing to work with.

With a sigh, he sits down next to her, frowning as she scoots a little bit away, though not as subtly as she thinks. He leans on his arms, staring at the way her hand moves whilst she writing, the small gold star that's attached to the top shooting back and forth with the speed. "What're you doing?" he muses, a playful smile on his lips.

She looks at him with guarded eyes before picking up the other book from beside her and showing him the front cover.

"Ah, calculus," he says and she nods politely, getting back to her work. Just when she thinks it'll be quiet again… "I sucked at math. Pretty much everything really…" She drops her pen in annoyance, her lips curving downwards in disapproval as he continues to interrupt her train of thought. "Well, not football. That's why I'm doing it at college, but now that I screwed up my knee…" He peers down at the bandages appendage and, for a moment, he sees a flash of sympathy across her face before it hardens again.

He speedily gets out of the chair, only using one crutch as it's practically a few feet that he has to travel. Once he's made himself some toast, he stuffs it into his mouth and sits at the table once more, hoisting his leg up onto one of the free chairs. Rachel eyes it momentarily, shaking her head softly and pushing some stray hair behind her ear.

Greedily, he eats all of his toast in record speed and wipes his hands on his T-shirt. He considers maybe going for a shower, but knows that it'll be a fight getting in with his leg and he had one last night anyway, so it's not like it's been days.

With a sigh, Finn gets up and decides to head into the living room where it'd be easy to spend the majority of the day.

And that's exactly what he does. He watches some TV, plays a few video games and just idly thinks to himself from the same position for hours. He's really glad that they've got a bathroom downstairs 'cause he hates the time wasted from travelling up and down all day.

He doesn't hear a peep out of Rachel, not even the slightest movement. And he knows that she's quiet and stuff, but it almost scares him. Finn begins to wonder why she doesn't talk. Is it like this with everyone, or is it just him that triggers such a closed off response? Burt said that she talks a lot with them, yet he's impatiently waiting for the time when she feels comfortable enough to do it with him.

At six, he heads into kitchen and picks up the money that had been left on the shelf for them. Picking up the phone, he quickly dials for the nearest pizza place. He doesn't even notice the way that Rachel is staring at him with wide, panicked eyes. "Hey, can I get a large pepperoni pizza?" he asks, holding the phone against his ear with no hands as he listens to the other end, "cool, thanks man." Once he's put the phone back, almost dropping it to the floor, he turns to Rachel, whose bottom lip is wobbling dangerously as she stares at him. "Whoa, what's wrong? Are you okay?"

And the she promptly bursts into tears, dropping her face in her hands and sobbing into them loudly. To say Finn is freaked out is an understatement. What the hell had he done?

"Rachel," he moves closer to her, "come on, you don't need to cry." He awkwardly pats her shoulder, trying not to be offended when she flinches away from him. Her cries only increase in volume and quantity.

Needless to say, he has his mother on the phone a few minutes later. "She won't stop mom! I don't know what to do," he's so consumed with worry that his words come out uttered as one big mess. He rubs a hand over his face before running it through his hair and eyeing the weeping girl from the doorway. "I'm begging you, just help me."

"What did you do?" Carole tries to understand Rachel's latest breakdown.

"I don't know!" he says, clearly annoyed, "I just ordered us a pizza and then she started crying. I didn't even say anything to her." Guiltily, he peers in her direction again, pained to see the girl so upset, "can you just come home and calm her down?"

On the other end of the phone, his mother sighs, "we're over an hour away." She pauses once more, "just tell me exactly what you did. What kind of pizza did you order?"

"Pepperoni," he frowns, hearing another sigh, "is that bad?"

"No, no," she quickly reassures him, "it's not your fault. You didn't know… but – I don't know – she panics when she someone tries to give her meat. On the first night she stayed here, I made roast chicken and she locked herself in her room for two days."

His heart sinks as he wonders how somebody could get so emotional over a little bit of meat but, looking at Rachel, they clearly can. "I'll sort it out mom, 'kay?" Now that he knows why, maybe he can think of a solution…

Once he's got Carole off the phone, he instantly calls back the pizza place and changes their order before going to join Rachel in the living room where she's curled up in a ball of the couch. He sits down beside her, seeing her inch away, just like she had in the kitchen.

"Rachel," he whispers because he's scared that speaking at a normal level will frighten her even more and that's the last thing that he needs. She makes a strangled sound into the pillow she's clutching and he wants nothing more than to reach out and comfort her. "I got them to change the pizza so, you know, there's no meat." She freezes, pulling down the pillow to reveal her red, puffy eyes and broken face.

"I'm really sorry," he tells her honestly, "I just didn't know. I thought everyone liked pepperoni." He chuckles a little to himself, "and mom didn't warn me or anything. But it won't happen again, I promise." When she doesn't seem to believe him, he holds up his pinkie to her, "pinkie promise? 'cause if I break that, then you have the right to be horrible to me for the rest of my life." She cracks a small smile and – he's never seen anything more beautiful. Eventually she lifts up her own pinkie, tiny in comparison to his and links them together. When their hands fall apart, she glances down shyly at her feet and he's pretty sure that she's going to hide behind the pillow again.

"So," he asks, "do you forgive me?"

Her eyes flicker to him again and she offers a tiny nod, her brown eyes almost glistening. He gives a clear sigh of relief and leans back on the couch, sitting awkwardly with his leg hanging off.

Rachel is staring at it again, looking curious as she bites her lip. He wonders when he's actually going to hear some words from her.

A few days later and he gains a completely empty house, so he has the excuse to do nothing all day. He does catch up on some college work but, other than that, he rests his sore knee.

So he's surprised when the front door practically bursts open and Rachel runs inside, clearly crying to herself. He hates hearing her cry – it's like listening to a sad puppy whine. He scrambles up onto his crutches and tries to figure out where she is.

His heart falls when he notices the trail of purple slush leading into the downstairs bathroom, "oh no." With as much speed as he can muster, he reaches the door and knocks on it slowly. There's a loud slam and he's pretty sure that she's just thrown something, but he decides to brave it anyway. He knows how bad a slushy can get.

Once inside, he sees the full damage. "Rachel," he says softly, taking in her drenched clothes and trembling body. This is the work of more than one slushy.

Holding herself tightly, she sits against the bathtub, almost whimpering. She keeps blinking, probably from the corn syrup in her eyes.

"Here," he starts to move toward her when she doesn't show any more resistance and sits himself on the toilet. He grabs a towel and wets it with warm water from the sink before beckoning her forward. At first, she hesitates, still struggling with the shock of her day, but eventually moves nearer him and ends up kneeling on floor, waiting for him to do something.

Finn reaches out a large hand and ever so gently takes hold of her face, his eyes concentrating as he brings the towel nearer. She flinches naturally and he makes soothing noises, "it's just me." He offers a smile, "You need to get this stuff out of your eyes. It's pretty horrible."

She nods, letting him keep her in place and trying to remind herself that he's not going to hurt her. He dabs the damp towel in her eyes, taking so much care that she finds it shocking. She ignores the pain, only having time to notice him.

With a sad smile, he speaks, "is this the first time that this has happened?"

She nods and Finn tries not to let his frustration show at the fact that she won't be telling him which idiots did this to her any time soon. He wipes more of the purple stain from her face, the slushy stuck to her tanned skin in this thick, sticky layer. "I'm really sorry," he says, like it's his fault, "some people are douches."

Rachel gives a very quick nod in agreement, her jaw setting, and he allows himself to chuckle. When he runs out of things to say, they return to a comfortable silence as he holds her chin and continues to clean her face. It's with much pity that he realises there are still fresh tears rolling down her cheeks and he wipes them away too. "You shouldn't cry, you know?" Her watery eyes snap up to him, "'cause you're better than them, all of them. And you shouldn't let them get to you."

Staring up at him with an emotion he can't quite read, her lip quivers as the threat of more tears wait.

Finn hates seeing her cry.

Releasing the grip of her face, he slides his big arms around her and pulls the small, broken girl into a tight hug. She's stiff at first, unsure and cautious, but then he feels her relax into his arms and rest her face against his chest.

They stay like that for at least five minutes, as Finn happily comforts her. She smells sweet, like flowers and the slushy that had been thrown at her and her hair keeps sticking to under his chin, but he doesn't care. It's progress. He's earning her trust, just like Burt told him to do. When they pull apart, she looks super confused yet Finn doesn't dwell on it too much and gets himself onto his crutches. "If I were you, I'd have a shower. Slushy makes you pretty uncomfortable. I'll errr – I'll be in the living room."

She nods as always, biting her lower lip. Finn is too far away to hear her small "thank you."

He doesn't know whether to tell him mom about the incident, though ends up spilling it all out anyway, his concern for Rachel rocketing to a new level. It's been a week since the incident and she spends most of her time hidden away in her room and he just hopes that she isn't doing anything dangerous. Finn isn't quite sure where his interest in her well-being had showed up from, as he thought that he was angry, since she basically stole his room. Well, no, not really. How was she supposed to know?

For some reason, he can't find it in his heart to be angry at her. It's really only sadness that he feels when she doesn't even have the courage to talk in front of him. Is he doing something wrong?

He's sat in the living room, trying to finish his English essay, when his mom calls him into the kitchen. "Finn," she breathes, a little flustered, "can you just finish off dinner for me? I need to pick up some things from the store."

He eyes the half chopped vegetables and simmering pan, "can I not just go to the store instead?" If he makes dinner, it probably won't be edible.

Carole narrows her eyes, "the last time I asked you to go to the store, you came back with everything but what I needed Now to mention that you can't drive." She points to the vegetables, "look, all you got to do is finish cutting these and then fry them, and then stack them up in the layers. I've already made the sauce. Finn, this is really simple."

"I'll still manage to screw it up," he mumbles.

"Please, I'll be as quick as possible. Ask Rachel to help you if you can't do it." In reply, he only scoffs and moves over to the counter slowly. Carole smiles, "thanks honey. I'll be back soon." She picks up her handbag and is out of the room speedily.

With a sigh, Finn starts to messily chop up some peppers, all the shapes irregular and messy. He puts them into the pan, turning the heat on full and listening as it sizzles loudly before he starts on the onion. He feels his eyes watery as the vapours hit them and wipes them with his sleeve, sniffling loudly.

The other things are still frying away and he panics when he thinks that he can smell burning. He hears footsteps behind him and then, a second later, the sound of the cooking decreases. Finn turns to see Rachel at the oven, standing on her tiptoes to peer at the peppers, which he's pretty sure that he's ruined.

With an honest smile, he says, "I'm not very good at cooking."

Her lips curve upwards as she sends a toothy smile herself and she nods in agreement, causing Finn to blush. He returns to the onion, struggling with cutting the slippery object. "Here, let me do that," he jumps when hears someone speak, his hand slipping and cutting his thumb.

"Fuck!" he curses, observing the rather heavy bleeding.

"Oh," she squeaks, her face contorted with guilt as she leads him over to the sink without the aid of his crutch and turns on the cold water, forcing his hand beneath it. He initially flinches but, with her warm hand on his arm, he finds himself relaxed.

Finn only stares at her, his mouth gaping open. "Y-you spoke."

She blushes, moving over to the counter so that she can finish dinner whilst he cleans up his cut. Rachel nods, keeping her eyes off of him.

He visibly deflates, "please don't go back to the silent treatment again." He stumbles over the words, "you h-have a really pretty voice."

She freezes and he feels like he's watching in slow motion as she cranes her neck to see him, her eyes filled with sudden warmth and she gives a hopeful smile, "really?"

Clearing his throat, he nods, "yeah. I don't know why you don't talk and stuff 'cause if I had your voice I'd, like, talk all the time and – but it'd be weird if I had your voice 'cause you're a girl and I'm a guy and … what were we talking about?"

Rachel giggles and boy is it a wonderful sound. She carries on stirring the vegetables, licking her lips as she does so. She delicately layers the foods into the dish and sprinkles on some cheese before returning to him. The bleeding has stopped, yet the surrounding area is still red and angry.

She winces, "I'm sorry for, you know, startling you."

He nods and smiles dumbly because he's pretty sure that's the most words she's ever said to him and her voice is pretty. No, wait, it's beautiful. He thinks that maybe he appreciates it more as it's so rare when he actually hears it.

"It's fine," he turns off the cold water, wrapping his thumb in some kitchen towel, "I just wasn't expecting you to say anything…" He peers away, "Burt said that you didn't talk to him and Mom for months. I was willing to wait."

Rachel shrugs, her voice timid and quiet, "I'm working on it. It's just… hard." She pauses thoughtfully, "you make is kinda of easy though."

"Yeah?" he asks.

She smiles in return, opening the oven and placing the lasagne inside. "Where's Carole?" she asks, taking his crutches over to him.

They move into the living room together, sitting down on the plush couch. "She went to the store, hence why I almost destroyed dinner." The room falls into a stiff silence, until he questions her about something that's been bugging him for days, "you know the day that I came back and you had just put my bag in Kurt's room, and we passed on the hallway?"

Rachel, with wide eyes, gives a simple nod, the tip of her tongue sticking out.

"Were you going to say something to me?"

The girl tenses and he wonders whether he's trekked into dangerous territory again, but then she takes a deep breath and gives him a deep look into his curious eyes. "I-I was going to apologise." Rachel looks torn, her forehead creased as she speaks, "because I basically stole your room. If I would have known that you'd be so upset, I would have just … slept on the couch or something."

His heart sinks in the guilt. "Rachel, as much as it kills me to say, it's your room now. It has been ever since you moved here and my mom and Burt love you, so I guess that it'll stay that way." For a moment, her head drops and she looks like she doesn't believe him words. "You are staying here, right? I mean, I know that you're fostered, but don't you stay in care until you're eighteen or something?"

"Yes," she whispers, her eyes watery, "it's just that I've been moved around so much that I never really think I'll find a permanent home. I mean, this is the longest that I've been in one place in about five years."

"You're serious?"

She sniffles loudly, "hmm huh." Her fingers are almost shaking, "and Carole and Burt are so good to me. I-I'm convinced that one day I'll wake up and be back at the children's house."

"Hey," he says softly, rubbing her back as she starts to cry to herself. He's surprised when her body falls against his, reminding him of their hug in the bathroom a few days prior. "It's fine. You're here and you're safe. Just please…don't cry."

Rachel laughs through her tears, "you really don't like crying girls, do you?"

"I'm not very good at consoling people."

"Well," she gives a knowing smile, "I think that you're very good at it."

"You'd be the first," he mutters, thinking of all the past girls he'd tried to help. Apparently Rachel is the only one that has any faith in him.

As the front door opens, the two jump apart, Rachel blushing furiously. Into the room walks Burt, still in his overalls from work. He takes off his cap, rubbing his forehead when he notices them together, "hey guys, what're you doing?"

Finn thinks, "just – erm, talking. We're talking." He looks to Rachel for confirmation and she nods eagerly, wearing a painfully large grin.

"Talking," Burt repeats, eyeing them suspiciously. The last time he checked, she hadn't spoken to Finn yet, or even in front of him.

"We made dinner," Rachel offers, much to his and Finn's surprise, though Finn just smiles proudly at her.

Burt's eyebrows rise as he peers at Finn, who plasters a smile onto his face. "Yeah, well Rachel did, 'cause I kinda cut my hand so…yeah." The older man nods before heading upstairs to get changed before dinner. Finn finds Rachel peering at his cut. She holds out her hands, "let me see."

Carefully, he places his wounded hand between her fingers, wincing when she brushes her index finger over the cut. "Sorry," she says sheepishly, "you should really put some antiseptic on that. We don't want your thumb falling off."

"Huh?" he's so preoccupied thinking about how they're holding hands, sort of, that he barely listens to her words.

She smiles slyly, standing up and tugging on his arm, "come on, I'll sort it out for you."

He ends up sitting next to her in the backseat of the car as the family drives to the new them park that just opened upstate. After hearing that Rachel had never been to one, Burt announced that they were leaving first thing the next morning, as early as possible to avoid the traffic, and for them all to be well rested.

Burt and Carole discuss the day before them in the front, whilst Finn's eyes move over to the sleeping girl in the back. Her face is squashed up against the seat and he's pretty sure that she's drooling, but he just chuckles to himself.

Finn is pretty excited himself. Of course, there's not really much that he can go on, with his crutches and all, but maybe they'll let him on a few rollercoasters and he can go in the arcades too.

Ten minutes later, the car comes to a halt in the surprisingly empty parking lot, though it is around eight in the morning, so it's to be expected. He leans over, shaking the small brunette awake, "hey Rach. We're here." She sleepily opens her eyes, mumbling some incoherent words. "Come on," he laughs when her eyes are near closing again.

Like a tired child, she rubs them slowly and yawns. Peering outside, she gasps at the sight of the large rides, "they're so big."

"Yeah," he laughs, opening his door and going to get out, "but we've gotta hurry up before it gets too busy."

With a large grin, that he's been seeing a lot of lately, she hurries from the car and comes to his side to join him .She feels Carole wrap her arms around her shoulder, "are you excited?"

"Yes!" she squeals, practically bouncing up and down with anticipation. After Burt's locked up the car, the four head towards the entrance and Finn can't help but feel happy as he sees Rachel skipping ahead of them, her behaviour much less mature for her seventeen years.

By the time they actually get inside, he thinks that she's on the verge of passing out. She smiles at the wrist band, the one that allows her into every ride at the park, and bites her lip as she considers what to go on first.

Her eyes fall onto the tallest rollercoaster. "I wanna go on that!" she claps her hands together excitedly.

"Don't you want to start on something smaller?" Carole asks carefully, worry swimming in her eyes.

She shakes her head firmly and points to it again. The two adults share a look whilst Rachel turns her pleading eyes on Finn. "Sorry," he says, "they won't let me on that with my leg like this." She pouts at this news, looking disappointed before turning to the ride.

Burt takes pity on the girl, "I'll take you. Come on." She sends a smile in his direction and starts to drag him toward the ride, "meet us here," he says to Carole and Finn.

"See you in a bit," she waves, going to sit down on the nearest benches so that Finn can rest. "I'm glad that you're back," she envelopes him in a hug, "I missed spending time with you."

"Yeah, me too."

"You're just saying that," she smirks, "because I cook all your meals and still do your laundry."

Finn rolls his eyes, "mom, I may not need you like I did as a kid, but I love going places with you…even if you do embarrass me."

She chuckles, "it's my job, baby." They watch as the crowd goes, excited children running back and forth. The sun is high, giving off lots of heat on the warm July morning and he tugs on his shirt to get a little cooler. "So," Carole begins, "how do you like Rachel?"

He feels nervous at the mention of her name, his heart beat quickening when he thinks of the brunette. "Yeah," he says nervously, "she's awesome. And nice and stuff."

"Hmm," his mother smiles, "good. I'd hate for her to have to leave. She's like my daughter." He pulls a face when his mom says that because, if she considers Rachel a daughter, then does he have to think of her as a sister? That doesn't go down well with him.

"So, she staying then," he asks, "until she's eighteen?"

Carole nods, "Finn, that girl is staying for as long as she wants. She's part of the family."

Twenty minutes later and Burt returns with a queasy looking Rachel. "She threw up," he says, "I didn't think that she had it in her. The rollercoaster was pretty big for a first timer."

She forces out a smile, though is swaying a little on her feet, her eyes more dazed than usual. Before they go on anymore rides, Finn decides to take her to the arcades to recuperate whilst his parents go for some lunch.

"What do you want to do first?" he follows her, his legs swinging back and forth. Rachel places a finger to her lips thoughtfully, a tiny smile hidden behind it. There are loads of games for them to play, accompanied with bright lights and loud, catchy music, but she only seems to notice one thing. He catches the stare that she is giving the grabbing machine in the far corner, her mouth wide as she stares in awe. "You wanna play that?"

Rachel nods, hurrying over to it and waiting with little patience for him to get there. He hands over a dollar, watching as she eagerly puts it in the slot and starts to navigate the claw at the top of the machine. On her first attempt, she completely misses, pouting again when she doesn't win a prize. She gives an indignant huff before manoeuvring the handle once more to try for the same toy. Her dollars' worth is up quickly and she turns to him with sad eyes.

He sighs, handing over another dollar. Finn has a feeling that this is going to be expensive.

After she's spent over ten dollars on it, he feels the need to step forward and take charge. "Which one do you want?" he looks at the toys, all of which characters from Toy Story 3. The pair had seen the film only a few days ago and Rachel loved it, having not seen it beforehand.

She points to the Lotso bear, the pink teddy smiling back at them. "Watch and learn," he says cockily, chuckling when she raises her eyebrow at him.

Like her, he completely misses first time, "I'm just a little rusty," he gives her a lopsided smile, "I'll get it now." As promised, he manages to catch the bear, jumping when Rachel squeals loudly behind him and bends down to take it from the machine.

"Thank you, thank you!" she repeats, kissing the bear on the top of its head.

"It's nothing," he's suddenly a lot shier. When she stands on her toes, dragging him down her a tight hug, his grin only brightens. Finn could sure get used to this.

Kurt comes home from New York a couple of weeks later, bearing gifts for everyone, including a Wicked Soundtrack for Rachel. Yet, it kinda of shocks him when she stops talking once more and he finds himself yearning to hear her voice again.

"Hmm, so do you like it here Rachel?" Kurt asks as they eat their dinner that night. The brunette stares up at him before nodding quickly and taking another mouthful of peas. Kurt knew of Rachel though this is the first time they've really met each other. Finn knows that they'll get along, if only she drops her worries and starts speaking again.

To his credit, Kurt isn't fazed by her silence, "I hope that you like the CD I got for you. It's the original cast recording."

She smiles and nods again and Finn notices his brother becoming slightly deflated.

It doesn't improve at all through the night and Kurt leaves for bed in a huff. At midnight, Finn hears footsteps coming down the stairs and blinks when somebody turns on the lamp beside the couch he's trying to sleep on. "Hey," he recognises Rachel's timid voice.

"Hi," he hurries to sit up, though is unable to move his leg by himself.

She sits next to him, patting her lap, "you can put your leg there, if it hurts your knee to sit any other way…" With a grateful smile, he lifts it up, supporting the cast, and places it over her lap. "How did you do this?" she asks curiously, running her hands over the white plaster.

"I got tackled by this beast of a player," he tells her, though not caring to remember more than that, "and I was out for, like, ten minutes."

"Was it painful?" she winces.

Finn nods gravely, "yeah, it was. But it's fine now. I'm just sick of not being able to walk around." She nods in understanding, letting out a yawn. "You tired?" he leans back against the soft pillows of the couch.

"A little," she shrugs, "but…I dunno. I can't really sleep. I'm feeling a bit on edge."

"Does that happen a lot?"

She looks down sadly, wringing her hands together as she tries to think of a way to explain it without sounding completely messed up. Instead, she settles for keeping it simple, "sometimes. I struggle sleeping." Finn wants to ask why, yet he feels like he's intruding on her life if he does. She looks so vulnerable in her pink checked pyjamas and with her hair in small pigtails, but he knows that she probably doesn't want his pity.

"Why did you come downstairs?" he questions, lips pursed.

"I was going to offer you my bed, since Kurt took yours."

Finn laughs, "he took his own back. I don't have a bedroom here anymore." He thinks that maybe he deserves it after all those months of practically neglecting his family.

The brunette gives a defeated sigh, "I am sorry, you know. If it wasn't for me, you'd still have your tiny bed and cowboy wallpaper and – "

"You saw that?" he cringes.

Blushing lightly, she giggles, "yeah, I thought that it was a twelve year old's room."

"Funnily enough, that's what I thought when I saw the way that you'd redecorated it," he grins, nudging her side.

"Hey," she defends herself, "I'd never been able to choose what my room looked like, so I may have gone slightly overboard." Rachel shrugs smirking, "anyway, it's an improvement as to what it was." He scrunches up his nose, shaking his head in disagreement. "Oh, shut up," she mumbles, "I know that I'm right." She yawns again, this time it last longer.

Finn, being the older and more responsible one, decides to lay down the lay, "right, bedtime, come on kid."

She scoffs, "I'm two years younger than you. I'm going to be a senior in a few months!"

"You're still a baby to me," he chuckles, surprised when she sticks out her tongue at him.

Eventually, they fall into a silence and she stares at the ground, clear conflict on her tired face, "can I sleep with you?"

He's pretty sure that his heart skips a beat and he's nodding dumbly before he pulls the cover over the both of them. "Goodnight," he mumbles.


"No, stop. Go away!"

He wakes up groggily at around four, hearing someone talking.

"Stop doing this. Please."

Finn blinks, realising that it's Rachel who's speaking and he can feel someone shifting against him. Once his eyes have adjusted to the dark, he can see the small brunette writhing back and forth, her eyes scrunches closed.

"Please, leave me alone," she begs.

He gently reaches to shake her awake, finding that she'd been using him as a pillow through the night, "Rach, wake up."

"No!" she screeches when he touches her, "don't. Stop touching me."

"Rachel," he says with concern, increasing his grip on her. He's unsure why but, even in her sleep, she freaks and starts throwing her fists through the air, managing to catch his face and knock him onto the floor. His knee hits it first and he howls out in pain as the rest of his body follows. She shoots up from the couch, her eyes wide and fearful before she sobs, almost howling in anguish.

The hallway light turns on and they both turn to find Kurt, Carole and Burt standing in the doorway. Carole and Kurt rush over to Rachel, attempting to comfort the frightened girl whilst Burt helps him onto a spare chair.

He looks into his eyes, daring the boy to lie, "what happened?"

Finn searches for words – any words – but comes up short. "I-I…"

"Please say that you didn't try anything with her."

"What? No!" he replies, offended that Burt thinks he would do such a thing. "She wanted to sleep down here, so we just both went to sleep and then she started screaming and stuff and she punched me in the face." He rubs his sore jaw, "and I fell off the couch."

Burt gives him a straight look, "you're telling me that she knocked you off of the couch?"

"Yeah, she's stronger than she looks." He worriedly glances over at the distraught girl in his mother's arms. Her breathing is erratic and she can barely control her sobs.

"Come on," Carole helps her up, "let's get you back to bed."

All Finn can do is watch as they usher her from the room. She turns to look over her shoulder, her sore eyes locking onto his and she mouths "I'm sorry." Her bottom lip quivers some more and she is unable to control her breathing.

He's barely aware of the pain in his knee as he's just begging that Rachel's okay.

He arrives back from his early morning appointment at the doctor's to find the house surprisingly full. Burt is going through some papers for the auto shop whilst Kurt is sitting in the living room with some curly haired guy. He goes to find Rachel, wanting to talk to her about last night.

Apparently, she's barely spoken to anyone all morning and he's more on alert than ever. He just feels the need to protect this small girl from everything that could possibly hurt her, whether in reality or her subconscious – he is always going to save her from the pain, or so he hopes.

He can already tell that she's in her room, judging by the Broadway soundtrack blasting from inside. Finn doesn't bother to knock as she's used to him just walking straight in by now already. He has been here for just over a month. When he enters, she shoots straight up, giving a clear sigh of relief when she realises that it's him. "Finn," she begins, moving her eyes down to his leg, "I-I feel terrible about last night. I'm such a bad person."

"Nah," he waves it off, "I just fell. I'm clumsy like that." He moves over to her bed, waiting for her to invite him to sit on it. She pats the space next to her like always and he smiles, "I'm more worried about you."

"Me?" she peers at him through her long dark lashes, "why're you worried about me?"

He bites his lip, trying to think of an answer that she isn't going to take the wrong way. "I just…I don't like to see you hurt and," he pauses, "last night you were – it was scary, Rach."

Rachel's head hangs low as she stares at the floor, clearly upset.

"A-and I don't think that you're some messed up foster kid or anything," he stutters, "I want you to know that you don't have to be scared."

"I know," she smiles sadly, "and you're all made that message so clear. However, it's not as easy as I'd like it to be. I can't just erase my past. It's a part of me and it always will be and, even as memories fade over time, I still have scars to bring them back."

He freezes, completely tongue-tied. Somebody gave her scars? The anger surges within him and he wants to find whoever did this, rip them into a thousand pieces and feel all of the pain that she had.

Finn takes hold of her hand, fingers brushing over her perfect skin, "what scars do you have?"

The girl hesitates. "I-I've never shown them to anyone before."

"It's okay," he mumbles, "I won't tell. I just…I want to see – please?"

With a sigh, she lifts her shirt to expose her bare stomach and Finn gulps at the large expanse of tanned skin to his view. Before he can even enjoy the rare moment, he sees the nasty looking scars around her hips and another just over her belly button. There are also some circular ones, all dotted close together and appearing more like a pattern than angry scars.

"Those," she points to them, "are from the cigarettes. I don't remember much about that but they used to be much worse than they are now." Her fingers slide over her skin to a few longer, pinker scars that look like they were pretty deep, "these are from when I "fell" through a glass door. The other… I don't know which is which."

"Why would somebody do that?" he whispers, staring at her in shock. She's trying to keep back the tears as she shows him her past, her heritage, and he hates seeing her struggle. "Oh, Rach." As per usual, they fall into the comfortable position of Finn offering comfort and Rachel leaning into him, neither concerned about personal space at all. He can hear her breathing softly; he feels the warmth through his shirt. Blinking to be rid of his tears, he squeezes her tiny body.

"That's what your nightmare was about then?"

She nods, "yes. It was about my fathers."

He's never going to let anybody hurt her again.

Before they know it, it's the summer vacation and they're soaking up what the sun has to offer this year, though Finn wishes that he didn't have to deal with this itchy, stuffy cast at the end of July. He sits in the back yard, lying on the cool grass with his crutches to one side on him and his legs stretched out, his right leg practically baking in the cast.

Rachel returns on his other side, carrying two glasses of pink lemonade which she and Carole made earlier that morning. He sits up, naturally leaning into her as he takes the glass and sips at the sweet drink. "Hmm, this is good," he smiles, glad that it brings such a refreshing relief to his body. However, Rachel's leg brushes past his and the heat returns, much to his embarrassment.

She tugs on the shirt that she's wearing – his shirt – over her bathing suit. Finn thinks that she must be boiling because he's not wearing a shirt and the heat is practically killing him. Still, he understands he reluctance to show off her body whilst wearing a bikini, even if his parents don't.

"I really like it here," she says decisively as she stares at the slow moving clouds in the sky, "Lima is nothing to some people I don't think that I could be without it."

"Hmm," he agrees, placing his drink on the tray placed just above their heads and returning to lying in the sun. She sighs contently, running a hand through her loose hair and closing her eyes as the sun heats her face. Finn watches, completely entranced by how the perfect angle of light almost makes her skin glow, its bronze colour shimmering with so much raw beauty that he forgets how to breathe for a second. "Rachel," he chokes on her name, sitting up again and hoping that his beating heart doesn't give up on him, "you're really special."

She blinks. "Finn – I'm anything but special."

He catches hold of her chin, just like he had when he'd cleaned the slushy from her face, yet this time there is no reason for him to do it. Well, maybe one. "You're so beautiful."

The girl blushes, though is unable to tear her eyes from his intense gaze and she feels shivers when his breath hits her face from their close proximity. She can see the freckles on his face, emphasised as summer rolled in, and the dimples in his cheeks. She's so busy looking at those that she doesn't realise when his lips touch hers.

She only feels it.

It's unlike anything either has experienced before. Their mouths mould into one as each throws all their emotion into the simple display of love. Her arms move up to wrap around his neck, holding him as close to her as physically possible whilst his slides up her skin to support the small of her back. Her lips are sweet and soft and everything that he imagined they would be. With his other, he's caresses the side of her face. "Beautiful," he repeats when they break apart and, for a moment, he thinks that she might actually believe it too.

He likes to kiss her. The excitement and thrill of the touch of her skin is almost too much sometimes and he has to slow them down, but he'll never get tired of it. He drives them up to the lake near his house, where he knows nobody will ever see them 'cause he's kinda paranoid that Burt'll be pissed if he finds out that he's been making out with Rachel for over a week now.

Sometimes, his hands slip under her clothes and she'll freeze and snap at him, pushing him away. They always make up though. He's convinced that they just weren't meant to be apart.

A few days later and they get a visit from the social worker assigned to Rachel's case, a redheaded woman called Emma. She's all smiles and enthusiasm, but Rachel doesn't seem to mind. As a matter of fact, it looks like it cheers her up.

The meeting is standard really, asking about her wellbeing and is she eating properly and sleeping well and so on and so forth.

"I just have one more question," Emma says, not bothering to look down to her notepad that she's been scribbling in for the past hour like with the other questions, "are you happy here?"

Finn doesn't really worry about her answer because he can just tell – of course she's happy here. Why wouldn't she be? To his surprise, his mom and Burt share a worried exchange and the man takes Carole's hand in his, reassuring her. He almost feels like he's intruding, just staring, so he turns his attention back to Rachel who is looking right at him, her eyes heavy with something he can't quite read. "Yes," she says, "I'm very happy."

The two adults relax. Emma grins. The whole room is a lot less tense.

And, as that happens, the two teenagers only have eyes for each other. Rachel offers a small smile and he beams in return. She knows what he's trying to say – he's happy too.

"I'll sing for you," she announces one day, "if you like." Rachel carries on walking along the long tree trunk, using it as an excuse to not look at him. From where he's sitting, bandaged knee against a trunk itself, he smiles.

"I'd love that."

Rachel grins and daintily skips forward to sit beside him, her skirt fluttering prettily as she does so. She clasps her small hands together, placing her index fingers against her thick lips as she tries to think of what song to sing. "Ahh!" she exclaims, "okay, here we go."

"Is this a dream? / If it is / Please don't wake me from this high / I'd become comfortable numb / Until you opened up my eyes / To what it's like / When everything's right / I can't believe." Her chocolate eyes remain on his, face serious as she speaks, as if she needs him to understand the message that she's trying to convey. She takes hold of his hand as she sings the next few lines and the single touch sends sparks though his body.

"You found me / When no one else was looking / How did you know just where I would be? / Yeah, you broke through / All of my confusion / The up and the downs / And you still didn't leave / I guess that you saw what nobody could see / You found me / You found me…"

Finn blinks at the sheer magnificence of her voice. Her emotion breaks through easily and yet she retains so much control over the hauntingly beautiful acoustic that he can only stare in awe.

As she finishes, she shyly bites her lip, "so…what did you think?"

He makes a shocked sound. Doesn't she know how good she is? "Rachel, that was… it was – fuck, it was amazing!"

She giggles, not bothering to reprimand his bad language, instead blushing at his compliment. Finn wraps his arms around his girl because that's what she is and he'll argue that until the rest of their lives are up. No one can take her away. Not her social worker or her parents. She belongs to his family.

And he tells her this because it's a matter of great important. Rachel beams and goes in for another kiss because their kisses are totally awesome like that.

He's been out of college for two months now he receives some letters about enrolling for some of the classes that he had last year because he's pretty sure that he failed most of them. As he reads through each letter, the heavy thought of leaving Rachel weighs on his heart and he thinks that maybe, just maybe, he could stay here and find a job – he could take night classes or something.

The teenager sighs and reclined further into Kurt's bed. How disappointed will his mom be if he doesn't return to college? He remembers how excited she's been when he was accepted and he knows that it would kill her if he threw it all away to be with some girl, even if that girl is Rachel. And, as perfect as his sort of girlfriend is, he knows that he'll be giving upon himself if he doesn't return in the fall. All he'd ever wanted was to make his mom proud and he can't go back on that, no matter what his feelings.

He's sure that it's past midnight, so he's startled to hear loud noises from Rachel's room. Throwing on a shirt and stuffing the letter beneath the pillow, he hurries to make sure that she's okay.

As he'd expected, she appears to be having another nightmare, her brow furrowed as she shouts at the horrors of her past. Finn sits himself on the bed, his crutches on the floor and gently places a hand on her arm, though not too close so that she punches him again.

At his touch, she shoots up in bed, her voice quivering when she says, "Finn."

"I'm here," he whispers in the dark, letting her fall into his outstretched arms.

During times like this, he wonders why he'd ever want to leave Lima again, why he'd want to leave such a special person in his life until he realises that he barely knows this sobbing girl and he had a life before her. That life is still waiting for him to return. "It was so horrible," Rachel whimpers into his chest, clinging onto his for dear life. Finn strokes her hair, whispering words of encouragement. He knows that he's got to savour every moment with her.

Stir. Add eggs. Stir. Eat some of the mix. Stir some more.

"Finn!" she scolds him, a playful smirk on her lips, "don't eat all of the dough. We need at least a dozen cookies."

He ignores her, scooping some more up onto his finger and eating. "But it's really good." In her annoyance, she throws the dish towel at his, the material covering his face. He hears her giggles and snatches the object off of him so that he can see again, "you're so immature."

Rachel raises her eyebrow, "you were wearing that dish towel as a cape before. I saw you."

Blushing furiously, he shakes his head, "no, I wasn't!"

"You were," she insists, grinning widely at him and stepping forward to remove the bowl from his hungry grasp, "now are we going to finish these or not?"

"I'm still hungry," he whines, "can I just eat this batch and then we can make some more?" He eyes her hopefully, nodding his head in an attempt to get her to agree. Rachel sighs and crosses her arms, setting a hard gaze his way.

"Finn, you'll get ill from raw batter."

He rolls his eyes, "look, have you actually ever tried it before?"

Biting her lip, she shakes her head slowly. She tends to get embarrassed when she admits that she hasn't experienced what he thinks most people have and he knows that there wasn't much in the care home that she lived in, but it makes him feel guilty for highlighting it, especially when he meant it in a joking way.

With a soft smile, he dips his finger into the bowl and gathers a large amount of the cookie dough on. "You wanna try it?"

She searches for an excuse, but comes up empty. Tentatively, she eyes the dough, then Finn, and then back to it again. Rachel takes a deep breath and places her lips around his finger, sucking off all of the sweet dough. She doesn't notice when his pupils dilate and tries to hide his general crotch area. "Hmm," she smiles, "that is good. But no more." She wiggles her finger at him in warning before sending a large grin his way and going in search of the baking trays.

Finn takes the golden opportunity to calm down his racy thoughts and concentrate on baking. That's all they're doing … making cookies together. His eyes move to her, rummaging through the cupboard and all he can stare at is her ass in those jeans that she's wearing. It's a rarity that she wears something like jeans but it accents her butt perfectly. He quickly tries to distract himself by eating again.

When she returns, she rolls her eyes at him, "that's it! You're not getting any cookies."

"What?" his eyes bulge, a mouthful of dough still there, "no cookies?"

"I warned you," she teases, beginning to scoop out the mixture onto the trays. Finn grins, pulling her in for a surprise kiss, both their mouths sweet from the dough. As they pull back, he notices some of it remaining on her upper lip and gently gets rid of it for her, with his tongue. She makes this cute little squeak when his tongue hits her lip. He sucks and nibbles the skin, leaving her staring at him with wide, dazed eyes.

Finn smirks, "let's finish baking them. We haven't got all day."

"Can I sign your cast?" she asks out of the blue as they watch a Lord of the rings marathon. He'd rather be making out but she insists that she needs to see them at least once in her life and she'd rather he be there to enjoy it with her.

He shrugs, "go ahead. But just – don't cover it in pink. I'm still a guy, you know?"

Rachel giggles, finding a sharpie on the side and beginning to write her name, doodling pictures along with it. He peers over, smiling at the musical notes that she's drawn. "Aren't you gonna put your last name?"

She freezes, "I – I don't know what my last name is."


Her sad eyes turn to him, "the police never caught my dads and I was too young to remember. That's why they can't find them. They don't even know what they're called." She wraps her arms around herself, hugging her body. "When they found me, I'd been living on the street for a month."

Taking his hand in hers, he offers a sympathetic smile. "At least you're safe now."

She nods, wiping her eyes. "Yes –thank you Finn." She stares at the floor, "and it's not like I don't have a last name. I just…don't know it."

"So," he thinks, "you're just Rachel?"

"They give me the last name of whoever fosters me, so right now I'm Rachel Hummel." Finn pulls a face, causing her to laugh, "it's not that bad. Once this Irish family fostered me and I was Rachel Flanagan."

Unable to stop himself, he bursts out into laughter, the name sounding utterly ridiculous to him. She blushes, though giggles alongside him.

As it subsides, he finds her staring at him with a knowing smile, her cheeks still pink. "What's your last name?"


"Like the river?"

He nods, "yup, it's better than Hummel."

Rachel smiles in agreement before he hears her whisper to herself. "Rachel Hudson."

"Do you know what you want to do when you grow up?" he asks, inwardly cringing at the term "grow up", as if she is a child or something. She doesn't seem to notice. Whilst he waits for a response, he practices his walking – or more limping – back and forth in her room.

She's lay on her bed, a book in her hands and she peers over the top when he speaks, "what?"

"Like," he comes to sit on her bed, right between her Lotso bear and Manny the stuffed monkey, "after High School?"

"I'm not sure," she says, sounding surprised herself, "I've never really thought about it. To be honest, I really cared more about fitting in at my new houses."

He nods, lying down on the small bed next to her and there's barely enough room for the both of them but they make it work. "I know," he says, "but you've been here for nine months…" And he suspects that she isn't going to leave now, if he has anything to say about it.

Tilting her head to the side, she places down the book on her bedside table and moves so that her body is facing his, "you could send still send me back to the care home." She adds a little shrug, like it's no big deal, but her sad eyes betray her. "You might not want me in a few months." The way that she says it, he's not sure whether she's talking about the family in general or just him. Her shoulders are slumped, head hanging down and he knows that, even after staying here for so long, she worries that it'll all end eventually.

Finn smiles, "you're not leaving, got it?" He waits for her to not, giving the girl his sternest look. She giggles, her eyes shining. "So," he starts again, "what do you think you'd like to do after High School?"

"I don't know," she rolls onto her, her feet in the air as she swings them back and forth, "I always wanted to be a vet or a nurse as a kid." She becomes upright as she remembers something, "there was this family that I stayed with – the Fabray's – and their daughter would take singing, dancing and acting lessons, not that it helped much, but I remember," she smiles, "I spent the whole six weeks there wishing that I could do that. I could perform."

A wide grin spreads across her face, "can you imagine? Singing my heart out every night to packed audiences – using my past to give me an emotional advantage." Dramatically, the girl sighs, "yet I don't even know where to begin. I mean, I have a good voice but it's not trained and I've never taken a dance class in my life." She pauses, turning straight to him, "I mean, it just seems impossible."

Finn's face is thoughtful and he turns to her with a sly smile, "I don't know about dancing, but I know a good place where any performer starts." Leaving a dramatic pause, he finally says, "New York!"

Her eyes widen in curiosity and that's how they end up spending the rest of the afternoon googling all about New York colleges and theatres. He's never seen Rachel so excited before.

"And that's the last one," he says proudly as he wraps the final blanket over their makeshift den that covers most of the room, mismatches patters askew on the "ceiling" of it. Rachel grins when she stands back to appreciate their work – it's taken them over two hours - and she turns to him giddily.

"Can we go in?" She doesn't give him time to reply as she's already crawling inside, carrying two flashlights in her hands. Finn turns off the lamp beside him and goes to join her, struggling to get in without banging his knee. Once inside, she sits him on the bed of pillows, grinning. "It's perfect." Her face is illuminated from beneath by the flashlights, giving an eerie feeling. "I always wanted to do this as a kid but, you know, I couldn't."

Wrapping his arm around her, he places a kiss to her cheek. "It's okay. Everyone deserves to make at least one den in their life."

She beams, curling into his warm side.

"You know," he smirks, "no one's going to be back until tomorrow."

"Hmm," she nods, not understanding what he's getting at. He stares at her, eyes intense, leaning forward for a kiss which she happily reciprocates. Then he starts to get handsy, his fingertips roaming her body greedily. His own body finds its way on top of her, almost pinning her down. He's so consumed in his own lust that he doesn't realise when Rachel freezes with fear.

He starts kissing her neck, sucking and nibbling the skin whilst she scrunches her eyes closed. "Finn."

"Oh Rachel," he moans, his hand over her breast.

She panics, sitting up straight and accidentally banging her forehead into his chin. "Ow, fuck!" he groans, holding the pained area. "Why did you do that?" he shouts at her.

When she lets out a tiny whimper, he finally sees the fear in her eyes. She's rocking back and forth, tears in her eyes.

"Rach," he whispers, crawling over to her. "Please, look at me." She doesn't even look like she's listening and she mumbles words to herself. Finn places a hand on her arm and immediately regrets it when she back away like he'd just burnt her. "I'm so sorry," he tells her, heart heavy, "I didn't think. God, I'm so stupid."

Her bottom lip quivers and she makes another noise of fear as he gets close again. "Forgive me."

She gulps, her voice frightened, "please don't do that again." She blinks back tears, "for a minute there, all could think about was my fathers."

"I won't," he says quickly, "I promise. Rach, I'm so sorry. Can we just…go to sleep or something?"

Rachel hesitates and he wonders whether he's just undone all the progress that she's made. But she slowly nods and waits for him to lie down before she does the same. "Y-you can hold me," she says, "if you want to. Just…not too tight."

And so he does, his arms loosely around her waist as they slip into a slumber.

Emma, her social worker, returns a few days after that. She taps her fingers against the arm of the couch as they wait for Rachel to come back from the bathroom.

She gives them a bright smile, straightening out her soft yellow pencil skirt. "I must say," she begins, "there's been as significant difference in Rachel these past months. Its' refreshing to see someone bounce back from such a terrible past."

Carole nods, "Rachel is very important to our family. We just want to see her happy." She squeezes Burt's knee and the man instantly slips his arm around her waist. The door opens and all the heads turn to Rachel, who quickly comes to sit beside Finn again. He gently pats her shoulder before leaning back in the armchair.

The redhead across from them clears her throat, "well, Rachel, there's actually some…erm," she tucks some hair behind her ear, "big news that you need to know." Finn feels Rachel tense beside him.

"You're not taking me back, are you?"

Emma's eyes widen, if possible and she shakes her head. "Of course not sweetie. But, they – the police that is – they think that they've found your fathers." He hears her breathing, the same kind that she does when she panics. "But they need you to clarify." She gasps and he goes to comfort her.

However, he's not ready for when her eyes roll back and her body falls limply onto his lap.

Finn watches with sympathy as the young girl wanders around the house like a ghost, no emotion in her usually bright eyes. Ever since she was told she'd have to see her fathers again, she's just closed off from everyone, including him.

When he sees her go out into the garden, he just feels inclined to follow her and heads out after her, wincing when his speed causing a quick burst of pain to run up and down his knee. He stops, leaning against the doorframe and wincing. "Finn," he hears her soft voice behind him, "are you okay?"

"Fine," he says through clenched teeth.

"W-where are you crutches?" she whispers, stepping closer to the boy, "you need them." He tries to spin his body around, miscalculating the angle and slipping backwards, "Oh!" As with the first day they met, she is there to catch him, her tiny arms wrapped around his chest to hold him up.

"Thank you," he smiles, "you're good at that."

Her laugh is a little forced but at least it's something. Even though he doesn't need much help, she refuses to leave his side as she takes him into living room. "So, I'm going to the police station today," she tells him, eyes unsure.

"Oh, do you want me to come with you – for like moral support and stuff?"

She nods, reaching out for his hand, "I don't think that I'd be able to go without you."

"I'll come then. I promise. I've got to keep you safe, right?"

"Pinkie promise?" she holds up her little finger. Finn grins, copying the action and curling his around it. Her eyes desperately search his face before she pulls him down for a kiss, begging for comfort. It's the first time they've kissed in over a week – ever since the incident in their den

Carole walks into the room as soon as their lips part, fast enough for them not to be caught. The older woman warily looks at Rachel, "are you ready to go?"

The brunette nods, making sure that she has firm hold of Finn before following Carole. "Everything's going to be fine," he whispers to her, "I'm right here."

He doesn't let go of her hand for anything.

Not during the way there, or as they stand behind the one-way mirror waiting for the men to be brought in. She cries into his shoulder after she clarified that they are in fact her fathers.

Finn stares at them, never having felt more hate for two human beings. The first is the smaller one, who looks at the mirror as though he knows they're behind it, watching them. He wears circular glasses and a terrible sneer, his not very well looked after teeth showing, bared against them. His skin is sickly pale, in stark contrast to the man beside him, who's probably more Finn's height. Unlike the other, his body is all muscle and he can understand why Rachel is downright scared to even look.

He doesn't feel remotely sorry for them as the officers drag them out of the room.

An officer steps into the room, placing a sympathetic hand on Rachel's shoulder, "thank you. You've been very strong."

She nods through her tears, though continues to cling onto Finn, not that he's complaining. The man smiles, "we're managed to match their records and we have everything that we need. These two guys are going down for practically every crime there is. You can sleep safe knowing that they're be rotting away for the rest of their lives."

"Yes," she agrees, casting her eyes over to the room where they just were. Finn hugs her shaking body, whispering encouragements to the girl.

"And," the officer begins, "with these new records, the state can track your mother if, of course, you're interested in meeting her."

"My mother?" she breathes. Never in her life had she expected to meet the woman who once carried her. Did she love her? Did she ever think about what happened to her little girl? Were there any suspicions that the men she gave her to were monsters?

He gives her a sympathetic smile, "we'll give the information to your social worker. It's your choice as to whether any further actions will happen. Of course, your mother will be informed of everything and she'll get into contact with Miss Pillsbury." He holds out his hand for her to shake, "thank you so much, Miss Berry."

Her face scrunches up in confusion, "Berry?"

"Yes," he confirms, "they're Hiram and Leroy Berry so you're legally Rachel Berry."

Rachel nods blankly, letting herself be led out of the room with slow, sombre steps. Needless to say, she isn't going to be keeping her real last name.

Finn punches into the pillow, muffling his cries of anger and despair. He's so upset.

Why could somebody – anybody – hurt another person like that? So much that, from only one look, they're unable to even enjoy themselves. How can you corrupt a person's happiness so much that you don't even need to be in the same town as them to make them cry?

Seeing Rachel, his Rachel, so broken and confused – it makes him want to cry himself.

He hits the wall beside him, not caring that his fists hurt. "I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!" he screams, throwing his first into the pillow again for good measure.

The door squeaks open and he hides his tear stained face away from Rachel, because he knows that it's her standing in his doorway.

"I heard you shouting," she says plainly, "what's wrong Finn?"

Seething, he turns to look at the girl, whose wide eyes are staring back with fear. Is he scaring her?


He sits up, looking straight at her. "I hate them Rachel. I hate them so much." He shakes his head, unable to hide his fury.

She sighs, hurrying over to sit next to him. Rachel pulls his head against her chest and he doesn't even care that his height makes it difficult – it's just nice to have her there, "don't waste your energy Finn. They're my memories to hate. Don't burden yourself with this, please."

"But they hurt you," he cries, his face scrunched up in mental pain.

"Shh," she strokes his hair, "they can't me anymore Finn. They're dirt, nothing – scum. Hating them is just pointless."

"Rachel," he takes hold of her hands, "I'm so angry at them. H-how could they do that to you?"

"It's all in the past. I'm safe…with you."

She smiles to herself, knowing that the words are true. For once, she's the one comforting him.

He yawns when he gets back from his shift at the auto shop. Now that he can practically walk again, it's easier to help with many things and he takes up a few days a week working with his step-dad. Yet, when he steps into the living room, he finds a woman who he's never met before staring straight back at him.

"Hello?" his eyes widen and he frowns, looking around to make sure that he's in the right house.

The woman smile back, "hi, you must be Finn." He blinks, unsure as to how she knows his name. She smiles, something that looks oddly familiar. Come to think of it, she does kinda like –well…Rachel. The eyes, the same brown hair and the way in which she carries herself. The girl on his mind appears in the doorway, carrying a tray with some mugs on it.

She looks happier than he's seen he in a while. When her eyes fall on him, she freezes, "Finn," the girl walks over to them, placing the drinks down on the table, "Finn, this is Shelby. She's… she's my birth mother."

"Nice to meet you," he gives her a shy smile and a wave.

"Shelby," Rachel beams, "this is Finn. He's my, ermm … well – he's my Finn." He chuckles, bright eyes almost smiling at the girl.

Shelby notices the exchange and smiles for daughter, glad that she's had someone through all this.

"I'll just leave you two to talk," he says, slowly walking out of the room. Just as he's about to leave, he grins at Rachel and sends her a thumbs up.

He helps Burt with the burgers at the annual "Hummel house BBQ", though he finds himself watching Rachel like a hawk. He enlists Kurt's help to keep her occupied yet he knows that there's only so much that she can listen to his brother talk about fashion.

"So, you and Rachel are close, huh?" Burt asks, taking a swig of his beer and hitting Finn with this really scary look.

"Err… I guess you could say that."

The older man smiles, "it's okay. You don't need to lie to me." He flips over some patties, "you like her then?"

No, no, of course not, "more than anything."

And then he states what Finn already knows but has been neglecting to think about, "you're going back to college in a few weeks. And you can't take her with you." Boy, did he wish that he could. That she was pocket-sized and he could carry his pocket-sized Rachel around with him for the rest of his life.

"I know," he replies, trying to concentrate on cooking the food rather than the beautiful brunette sitting by the pool.

They could try the long distance thing and he thinks that, maybe, if they tried as hard as they could, it has the slimmest of chances of working out, yet a higher chance of a nasty, painful breakup. And he doesn't want that. He wants her to be happy –certainly not hurt by the likes of him. He doesn't know if they're even dating anyway. They kiss and share thoughts, secrets, memories… They watch movies and sing along to the radio. If he's in a good mood, he'll help her bake cookies and, when he's tired, she'll help him out at the auto shop.

They just live their lives. Finn lives it with her or, more rightly, he lives through her. She can make him laugh and cry – be annoyed and excited. Rachel makes him feel. She doesn't even have to do anything as just the thought of her sets his heart racing.

Finn has never felt like this and it scares the hell out of him.

He catches Burt giving him a knowing look, "go over to her. Maybe she feels the same way."

The teenager doesn't even bother to wonder how Burt is aware of his feelings with so much ease but that doesn't matter. All that does matters is her.

With a small, nervous smile to Burt, he starts to head over to the pool, ducking when a ball thrown by some of the younger members of the party almost hits him in the face. She's already noticed him, grinning and waving.

"Hi," he says softly, standing beside her, "good party, huh?"

"It is," she agrees, "I really like your family."

He shrugs, "it's mostly Kurt's. My side of the family is pretty small." Rachel nods, her finger running over the edge of her red cup.

Finn finally gains some more courage, "look, I – "

"Finn! Rachel! Look out!" Kurt screeches and they turn around just in for the ball to hit Finn square in the chest. The force of it pushes him backwards, his feet teetering precariously close over the edge of the pool. Rachel, with some defiant force, attempts to bring him back up and only ends up joining him as he falls into the pool.

She breaks through the surface first, frightened because she has no idea how to swim. It's only when a strong pair of arms wraps around her that she can relax. "You okay?" he laughs, his head bobbing up and down into the water.

Rachel pouts, "my dress is ruined."

He grins, slowly helping her out of the pool where there is a group of guilty looking fourteen years olds ready to apologise. "Don't sweat it," he waves it off, "we're fine." To Rachel, he smiles and laces their fingers together, "let's get dried off."

Five minutes later and they're in her room as he helps to dry her hair, though he can't keep his eyes off her shiny, smooth skin. His fingertips brush over her shoulder before he begins to trace patterns along them, soothing the skin.

To his complete and utter surprise, she says something he never would have expected, "mhmm, Finn, more."

Licking his lips, he runs a hand through her hair and leans forward to initiate a kiss, Rachel meeting him half way. Her hands squeeze his neck and her tongue begs for entrance. Without thinking, his hand slips to her chest where she only makes the slightest hesitation. But, looking into her eyes, he can see that she wants this too. Her pupils are enlarged black circles swimming with desire.

With gentle fingers, he takes hold of her small breast, groaning at the feel of it. It's the perfect fit. Beneath hooded eyes, she smiles at him and slowly descends onto the bed, pulling him on top of her.

For a moment, Rachel looks scared but then he caresses her face and whispers, "it's just me." She nods her head firmly, the trust in her eyes almost too much. He repeats the same thing as he slides into her nods minutes later. "I love you," he kisses her neck in the heat of the moment, "I love you so much."

It's only when she's asleep afterwards that he realises she didn't say it back.

He reads through his letter again. The deadline for enrolling into new classes is the end of the week and Finn is just staring at the paper like he's waiting for a miracle to happen. Maybe he is. It'd take a miracle for Rachel to understand why he's leaving her.

They've spent almost five months together and he knows that he's gained a best friend, a confidant in life. Yet he wants her to be much more. Rachel could be the one that he calls when he's had a really awesome day or she could be the girl who he can share his problems with.

They could be so much.

And, at the same time, it could all fall apart. Everything.

All of their hard work for nothing and Finn just doesn't think that he can stand to watch that happen. He doesn't want to watch Rachel break down before him, knowing that he's the blame. He promised her that he'd never hurt her and he wants to keep it.

It's for the best then … that he leaves.

He tries to remind himself that as he calls the college.

"You're leaving?" she storms up to him in the auto shop, anger seeping from every pour.

He drops down his drill and turns to face her. "I'm going back to college. The new Semester starts next week."

Rachel grits her teeth, "what about me? You're just going to leave me."

"Rach, it's not like tha – "

"Then what's it like?" she demands her know, her voice high and scary, "because you can't just kiss me and have sex with me and then just leave!" He scans around the room to make sure that nobody heard her and sighs in relief when he realises that they're alone.

Finn sighs, "please, try to understand. This is the better option in the long haul." Her tear filled eyes stare back and him and he tries to remember his point. "I love you Rachel, but we can't be together."

"Why not?"

"Because," he takes hold of her hand, "you're in High School and we're going to be miles apart."

"You didn't seem to have a problem with me being in High School when we were making out. What changed?"

He rolls his eyes, "can we not focus on my second point? I don't want to be anywhere but with you Rachel yet I need to go back to college. I can't be stuck here for the rest of my life. I wanna get out of here."

"We could leave together!" she argues, pointing between them both. "We could live with each other and –"

"Rachel," he cuts her off, "if we start dating, I'm going to up screwing you over just like every other person has in your life. I'm trying to help you!

"By breaking my heart."

He scoffs, "yea right, you don't even love me."

"Love you? Finn Hudson, I live and breathe for you. I worship the ground that you walk on. How dare you say that I don't love you!" Her eyes are wild, anger prominent as she hisses her words at him.

But Finn's silent, staring at her with shock. "You love me?"

She shakes her head, crying into her hands, "of course I do! If I didn't, would I really have had sex with you? It's called making love for a reason."

"I love you too," he blurts out.

Rachel folds her arms, eyeing him, "you already told me, which is why I'm wondering why the hell you're considering going back to college without even asking me out. Do you really have such little faith is us? Is it me? I must be doing something wrong. Is my love not enough?" She wipes at her tears, trying to hide away any weaknesses.

He tries to gulp down the lump in his throat, "I'm so sorry. I just… I don't want to disappoint you."

"You'd never do that," she whispers honestly, reaching out for his hand, "Finn, we could be anything if we wanted. Just you and I. The world is out there waiting for us."

He holds back the urge to kiss her senseless. Here she is, telling him that she wants to be with him, regardless of whether he's the best boyfriend of not. She's willing to take on all of the hurt and pain just to be with him. "Rachel," he smiles, "you're right. Oh God, of course you're right!" He wants to hit himself for being so stupid, "why am I giving up on this? You're fucking perfect."

The brunette laugh, happiness shining on her face. "So," she starts, "are we together or…"

He answers by pulling her into a deep kiss.

Yes, this is the right choice. He loves this girl and nothing will ever change that.

"So, this is me," he announces as the boarding call for his plane comes on. She stands sadly in the back as Carole and Burt say their goodbyes.

"And don't wait too long to come back," Carole kisses his cheek, "it's been wonderful having you here." He grins, eyes catching Rachel's. He definitely has a reason to return.

When it comes to Rachel's turn, she doesn't let him get a word in before she's caught his lips in a sweet kiss. Burt raises his eyebrow whilst Carole squeals from excitement. Rachel, however, doesn't notice, "stay safe, eat well, study hard and, you know, miss me a little."

He laughs, "I'll miss you a lot. Who else is going to wake me up by singing?"

Rachel wraps her small arms around him in as hug, "thank you Finn. I know that you will disagree but I think it's a good thing that you hurt your knee because we got to spend five wonderful months together."

"I'm inclined to agree," he smirks, "I guess that I'll have to return soon. Even if I don't have a room."

Her eyes become much darker and she leans forward to whisper, "you can always share with me."

Now he's not going to argue with that.

The final call comes and he says goodbye quickly before walking away, "I'll call you when I land," he promises, "love you!"

Rachel blushes at so many people having heard it and he beams proudly at her. He's planning on doing that more often.

If you made it this far, I applaud you!


I'm always welcome to suggestions to so if you want anything, I'll most likely be happy to write it :)

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