They get married on a sunny August afternoon in the backyard of her dads' country club. It's different this time. Better, of course, since they're high school graduates and heading to New York in two weeks' time, and their parents aren't falsely supporting them anymore. It's perfect, this time, with robins humming a quiet tune that floats over the melody of the piano and strings as they play the first processional, and Kurt, Santana, Tina, and Mercedes walk down the aisle.

She loops her arms with her dads'. The musicians begin to play the bridal procession. She smiles, Daddy murmurs under his breath, "are you absolutely sure, princess," and she nods because she's so, so sure of this, of him (she's not so sure about her future, but that's a story for another day – too sad for this day especially) and of them and they begin to walk.

Finn's smile as she processes down the aisle to him is slow, but maybe the best smile that's ever fit his lips. His hands don't shake when he slips them into hers before the altar, nor do hers, and she wants to lean up and kiss him, but she can't. He's got tears in her eyes and she's got them, too, because she's been dreaming of this day since she was fifteen years old and he saved her glee club with an old Journey song.

It's nice that everyone is rooting for them, finally, and the cheers erupt when the rabbi pronounces them man and wife, and you may kiss the bride, and oh, does Finn kiss her, dips her with his hands strong on her waist and she feels him smile and when they pull away, she's breathless with the idea that she's all he wants.

She's always been a girl who wants it all, the sun, the moon, and the stars. She'd thought, briefly, that she could have it all: Finn, friends, Broadway. But she thinks for right now, she'll take two of the three and work on Broadway later.

She feels starry-eyed with first love fulfilled as Finn swings her into his arms and carries her into the hotel room, laughing as he settles above her on the bed, his fingers tickling her sides ever so slightly. He kisses her neck, his tongue slipping out just slightly, and he pulls away to stare at her.

"I like this dress," he tells her, running his hands over her stomach, "I like it a lot."

"If you like it so much," she giggles, "why don't you marry it?"

He rolls his eyes but laughs and kisses her, sucks a little on her bottom lip, and he pulls away and kisses her a moment later with his mouth open. She sighs, loops her arms around his neck, and pulls him close to her, inhaling to his exhaling, and they stand and undress, her wedding dress hung prettily over the bathroom door, and she can barely stare at it for a moment before Finn turns her face back to his, hands grasping her cheeks and his tongue slips against hers, and he tastes like champagne and wedding cake and she's never loved him more than when his fingers trace down her spine, raising goose bumps all over her bare skin, and press her against the bed.

It's slow from there. The unclasping of her pretty lace bra, Finn's mouth on her breasts. His thumbs hooking on the sides of her panties and pulling them down her legs, his lips on hers, her heart singing a symphony when he tells her he loves her just before he pushes into her, and they've done this a million times, but it's just as special as always. She kisses him and squeezes her eyes shut and says his name in between heated presses of their mouths, groans it and pants it and can't find any words at all when his hips press against hers one last time, dancing precariously on the edge, and suddenly she plummets – or shoots into the sky, really, and he brushes her hair back when she comes back down and smiles sweetly at her.

It's easy from there. She curls beneath his arm and squeezes his wrist. His eyelids are heavy, drooping, but he stays awake with her for hours, talking and talking and talking, and he's telling her a random story – one she's probably asked to hear again – when she succumbs to the exhaustion that hugs her eyes.

She tells him that they'll go on their honeymoon later, when they've graduated and have no money. He kisses her and tickles her sides, says, okay, baby, and opens another box to unpack. Kurt's singing Celine in the next room, and usually, she would request that Finn sing a duet with her, but she doesn't feel much like singing today.

"You look sort of sad," he says, glancing up from the stack of animal sweaters he's pulling out of the box, and his brow pinches in worry but his lips hold a nostalgic smile.

She shrugs and looks down. Unfolds a tee shirt from her box. It's Finn's. He shuffles towards her, knees sliding against the hardwood floor, and he grasps her face in his hands. "Finn," she sighs.

"I know what'll cheer you up," he says, and after a moment of searching, plugs in their speakers and hooks up his phone to the jack.

Her lips twitch as the familiar music begins playing and can't help but sing along with the chorus, "Night in the city looks pretty," and he beams, smile so bright she can't help but smile with him, and he tugs her to her feet and twirls her and pulls her back, and she crashes into his chest clumsily this time. He swoops down and kisses her softly, and when she curls her fingers around his collar and pulls him closer, he moves away.

"We've gotta finish packing, sweetheart," he says, and she sighs, falling dramatically to the floor.

She's still sad, though. This is a sadness not even Joni Mitchell can cure. She thought she knew gloom when she and Finn broke up the first time, or when she watched him crawl back to Quinn, or when she ran unexpectedly into Jesse's arms only to receive an egg smashed into her hair. Real desolation, she thought, was her mother telling her she didn't want her anymore, that it was too late to even bother, and to watch her sneak back into her life and be concerned only with the biological parents of her baby, meanwhile, Rachel flounced about in the corner, desperately hopping around to get her attention.

But this despondency is unlike anything else. She's never had her dream crushed and shattered so completely. Finn says it'll be okay. She'll find her way, after all, she's nearly got star molded into her name. Doubt is not her forte, but listening to Kurt practice his scales in the next room while she's trying to unpack her husband's clothes just feels wrong.

Finn must know his singing interlude didn't help, but he does put his Joni play list on a loop, and she sighs as she sinks into Blue and unpacks, unable to keep the frown from her lips.

To contribute to the partnership between her and Finn and Kurt, she gets a job as a barista in the Starbucks across the street. It's a fine job, just a little boring. But all rising stars have to do some menial work.

She starts to audition, because even if NYADA doesn't want her, others must. She's got the voice of a generation. That's what the note from the judge on the Nationals evaluation sheet said, remembers the way New Directions had nodded when Mr. Schuester read it out loud, remembers Finn's fingers squeezing her shoulder as she flushed with pride.

So she needs to find that quality and hold onto it. Kurt got into NYADA with a song that was surprising, so she needs to find that song, needs to back away from Funny Girl until she's cast as Fanny, needs to find that spark that Kurt fought with, the spark that won.

When Finn comes home from class to find her singing in their bedroom, he just steps into the room, kisses her, and heads into the kitchen. She needs to find that song, but after thumbing through her repertoire, finds nothing suitable.

"Finn!" She yells. He doesn't answer. Rolling her eyes, she walks into the living room to find him passed out on the couch, and usually, she is irked by his tendency to nap in the late afternoons, but he looks so cute squished on the couch, mouth hung open.

She sits on his lap, which wakes him up, and he smiles sleepily at her. "You need something, baby girl?"

Her cheeks flush with color, and she leans down and kisses him. He's smiling when she pulls away, still lying down, and she's perched on his lap, hands balancing against his chest. "I need to pick a good audition song."

He rests his hands on her hips and squints at her. "A good audition song, huh?"

She nods, and he sits up, keeping her in place. "A new one."

"Better than Don't Rain on My Parade? And My Man?" He picks up her hand and slips his fingers between hers. She nods again. "Maybe we should see a show."

Kurt did buy them tickets to see Wicked, so they choose that show. She's never ever seen it live, but, of course, knows the story and the music like the back of her hand. She dresses up for once, wears her favorite dress, and Finn brings her flowers and takes her to dinner and she feels so glamorous and beautiful and – and grown up, especially as Finn loops his arm through hers on their walk to the theatre.

She can't stop talking as they sit in the third row – Kurt must really love them – and Finn plays idly with her fingers. He must love her, too, Finn, to voluntarily see a Broadway musical with his wife when he could be at a bar with his college friends. Her heart warms with a fierce love for Finn, and she leans over in her seat and kisses him.

Her fingers lace with his as the lights dim, and he squeezes her hand as the curtain slowly rises.

When it's over, she has tears drying on her cheeks, but more importantly, a new audition song. She tells Finn as they make their way back, tiredly, to their apartment. She's so glad it's a Friday night and they don't have to worry about classes or her work, they can sleep in and lounge around all day and he can help her expand her breathing range with abundant kisses.

Santana calls, wants to meet for dinner, asks to meet just with her. She kisses Finn on the head, tells him her plans, and he kisses her on the mouth before she leaves. "Have fun, baby," he says, and squeezes her wrist as she goes.

Santana meets her at the restaurant that's only three blocks away, looking even more beautiful than the last time she saw her, and counting back on her fingers, it must have been before Christmas. She didn't get to spend more than a few days in Lima before work called her back, citing some sort of influenza epidemic, and she missed out on all the reunions.

"Saw your husband at Christmas," Santana says, ordering a bottle of wine with a convincing fake ID. "Seems happy."

Rachel smiles, idly twirling her rings around her finger. "He is."

She squints, eyes narrowing in that soul-piercing way Santana's always had, and she frowns. "You're not, though."

"I am," she assures, "with Finn, at least."

"But you wants your Broadway and you wants it now," Santana smiles. "I understand that. Freshman gen-ed glasses really grate on you when all you want is your job. 'Specially in a city like this."

"Mhmm." Her finger traces the lip of her water glass. "I wouldn't quite empathize with you, but I see your point."

Santana covers Rachel's hand with her own. "Berry."

"It's Berry-Hudson, now," she muses.

"Still partly Berry." She quirks her lips. "Chin up, doll. You'll have your chance to shine – all the best stars do."

It's awful, but hearing that from someone who isn't her husband – who isn't Finn – is all the more assuring. Finn compliments her so often it doesn't feel real anymore, just a part of his husbandly duty, but hearing it from Santana, who's hated her for most of the time they've known each other, is refreshing.

She smiles a little shakily. "I certainly hope so."

The night she gets her first role is in Finn's second week of his sophomore year, but he's home (for once) when she gets the call and they scream and shout and dance around the apartment, and he presses her against the wall and kisses her till her lungs nearly burst from lack of air, and he's slipping his hands beneath her tank top when Kurt explodes into the apartment.

"Gross," he wrinkles his nose. On a dime, though, his expression morphs into one of pure and complete joy, and soon the three of them are celebrating together, sharing a bottle of Merlot that Finn bought especially for this occasion months ago.

It sort of takes her breath away, his belief in her after all this time. She's flushing with alcohol when she curls against his body, warm and lean beside her on the couch, and Kurt's long passed out in his bed.

He's playing with her hair, combing his fingers from the top to the bottom, weaving and unweaving it; finally, she presses against the broad plane of his chest and kisses him. His lips are soft, sweet, and she pulls away after gently brushing her mouth on his, and he keeps her close to him, lips still centimeters away, and she wonders if he can feel the flutter of her eyelashes on the apple of his cheek. Her eyes pinpoint on the spattering of freckles that rest on his nose, he's still got some of his coloring from the summer, and she always thought people got uglier with age, but not Finn, if anything, he's all the more handsome now, confident in his body, finally. She hopes she has something to do with that.

She shifts half a centimeter and she's kissing him again, perched on his chest. Their kisses range from chaste pecks on the mouth to long kisses, her tongue slipping easily and brushing against the seam of his mouth, sharing their breaths between them. They don't move but for their lips and their hands, Rachel's toes curling around Finn's calves, Finn squeezing her hips and sliding his fingers up her shirt, the steadiness of their chests expanding and contracting in syncopation with a shared heart drumming one rhythm.

"Love you, baby girl," he murmurs, close enough for her to taste his words as they swim from his lips. She nuzzles her forehead against his, smacks a kiss against his cheek.

"Love you," because she does, with all her heart inflated and swollen with absolute love for her husband, brain hazy from one glass too many of wine and Finn scoops her into his arms and carries her into bed.

It's not the celebration she'd envisioned, no fancy dinner parties or gowns, but it's perfect because it's hers.

He loves her so much, he tells her, kissing her after her very first show. She flushes as he presses a bouquet of stargazers into her hand and kisses her again, chastely, of course. "Honey, you were…more than incredible. Astounding."

She smiles, thanks him, gets a little choked up remembering his hand on her shoulder telling her don't screw this up and kisses him again for supporting her through all these years.

When she's nominated for a Tony, he's the first person to congratulate her, and when she wins, he kisses her on the cheek and helps her up, presses his fingers against the small of her back as he guides her up to give her speech.

She's emotional, a little teary-eyed but she closes the speech thanking her Finn, meets his eyes in the crowd, and he blows her a kiss, then puts his hand on his heart.

They start fighting. It's little things, first, trivial arguments that are soothed with a hug and a kiss. But things are shifting, between them and professionally. Finn's cast in a Shakespeare festival and is busy researching and reading and reading and reading his lines, and Rachel is busy with her newfound fame that's skyrocketed since winning her Tony.

The tension escalates. She misses their fifth anniversary. He cancels date night (she nearly did anyway). He didn't record the newest episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County. She doesn't meet him and Kurt for lunch with no explanation. Little things and big things, but they all exist in the vein of one thing: they're growing apart.

He's genuinely surprised when she comes home early one day, but glances up from his computer and smiles nonetheless. His unease hides in the quirk of his mouth, cheeks smooth with no dimples, and her heart squeezes when she bends to kiss his head and he doesn't grab her wrist to keep her close.

"Hi, Finn," she tells him softly, "understudy night. Do you want me to make dinner?"

What a foreign concept it is, eating dinner together. They've spent four years eating dinners together, and this year is different, this alien year that's carried her far away from her husband.

"That'd be nice," he responds, and she smiles widely and squeals a little.

Hope blooms in these dark corners, nights where he lets her rest her feet on his knees across the dinner table and drinks from her mug of coffee, and kisses her before she falls asleep. When she wakes up in the middle of the night, mind hazy from dreams, he's curled around her, one arm wrapped completely around her with its fingers laced in hers. She snuggles against him, feels his chest warm and muscled against her back and sighs happily.

She misses his opening night. When she comes home, apologetic and guilty, he brushes her off with a shrug that tells her that he's more hurt than he's willing to let on. She curls beside him in bed, but he doesn't reach for her, and he's not in bed when she wakes up the next morning.

Things don't change between them, even with her apologetic bouquet of flowers at his show the next night. She skips a performance for him, doesn't he know how monumental that is for her? But he just smiles and hugs her and doesn't hold her and kisses her hairline and tells her to not wait up. She's helpless, watching her marriage burst into flames and it's all her fault. Finn's done nothing but love and support her from the time she was fifteen and she's always let him down.

She waits up. He comes in drunk. They fight. He sleeps on the couch.

"Happy birthday," she whispers in his ear, straddling his hips and pressing her fingers against his chest. They've been existing in a tense limbo for what feels like forever. She's wearing her favorite dress, today, because she knows it's Finn's favorite, too, and she's got plans for them to go to his favorite restaurant for lunch and then they're having a party at the apartment in the evening. "Finn, baby, wake up."

He shifts a little and his eyes pop open in surprise at her weight on his body. "Rachel?"

She leans in and kisses him impulsively. "Happy birthday!"

"Don't you have work?"

"I took off." She smiles, bites her lip. "I have a whole day planned for us, Finn — "

"Rachel, I just want to relax."

"But — "

"Rachel." Her heart starts to pound, and suddenly, it feels like her entire world is blurring and melting around her. Like she's losing everything (she is). "Honestly. I just want to relax, enjoy my day off, maybe drink some beers or go to the bar with the guys but I don't really want to do whatever bullshit you've got planned."

She freezes, mouth falling open, and her heart caves in on itself. She's always thought she just…knew Finn, understood how he felt at all times but she's never known him to snap at her like that. She climbs off of him. "Oh. Okay. It's your birthday, you can — you can do whatever."

"Rachel, wait," he tries to grasp her wrist, but she doesn't let him.

"No, no, Finn. I'll save you from my bullshit." She turns and walks out of the room and into the kitchen, where she'd made breakfast for them — she'd even cooked him some bacon, which goes against both her vegetarianism and her faith.

"Rachel, please. 'M sorry."

She doesn't turn around. "It's fine," she says hollowly. "It's your birthday, after all."

He presses his hand against her shoulder, turning her. "Still. Shouldn't've snapped at you. Sorry. Really." He licks his lips. "Wh — what d'you have planned?"

She stares. "Nothing, now."

"Rach, please." He reaches for her, but she curves her body away from his.

"No, Finn." He sets his jaw. "Honestly, I'm sorry. Sorry for trying to salvage something you clearly do not want to be salvaged. Don't you see how – how hard I'm trying, here?"


"No, Finn." She shakes her head. "There's breakfast on the table. Um, I – I planned you a party. I can cancel."

"Don't," he says lowly. "Please."

"Okay. Okay."

She thinks this is probably the end of everything. Her marriage, her…sanity. Finn's always kept her sane, her anchor. Now she's losing him, like the tether that binds their hearts is getting thinner and thinner, and his heart is farther than ever from hers.

"There's – there's bacon. On the counter." He stares at her for a long time. "I'm going to – to – "

She turns on her heel and locks herself in the bathroom.

Finn doesn't try any sort of elaborate schemes to get her back like she hopes. They sink further into their state of non-talking. She hates it. Hates that she's become so unsure on just how to fix things. They share the same bed, but he doesn't curl beside her anymore. She doesn't wake up with his arms wrapped around her.

One night, she's home from work with a sore throat. Too much singing, Santana jokes when she calls her just 'cause. Finn's not home, but he's been busy with his show, so she isn't very surprised.

But ten o'clock comes, and then eleven, and before she knows it, it's three in the morning and Finn's nowhere to be found. His things are still in their bedroom, clothes still hung on hangers in the closet and shoes lined up neatly beside hers on the closet floor. She needs a cat. Or a dog. Or maybe a kid. Or maybe she just really needs her Finn, wherever he is. She supposes that if he were injured, she would know. Right? They'd call her. She's still his wife, no matter how their relationship has dissolved.

She falls asleep to nightmares of various ways Finn could leave her, through death, divorce, kidnap – and when she wakes up to the sun, the bed is still empty. She feels her eyes sting on the verge of tears as she slips out of bed and brushes her teeth. Her throat is still sore. Her heart still aches. Finn is still missing. Do you put out missing person reports for husbands who leave you?

Regardless of her sore throat (she hasn't even tried talking yet), she still plans on going to work, and stands in front of her closet for ten minutes before she can't stop staring at Finn's shoes in a line and imagines them gone, with the pictures on the mantle and his shirts in her drawer. She tries to imagine the apartment without him, tries to picture new furniture not stained with his presence, but she can't.

She can't imagine her life without him. And she doesn't want to, either.

The bed looms behind her, big, white, empty. Finn-less. Her rings weigh on her hand and her heart, and she can't believe she's ruined things. Again. The edges of her eyes that sting with tears overflow with them, now, and she wants to crumple to the ground, a la nearly every romantic comedy heroine, but she has to get ready for work.

The door bursts open. Finn. "Rachel?" She spins and faces him, and okay, she's really crying, and his brow pinches in concern. "Rach, baby, what's wrong?"

"Finn," she croaks, and he's got her in his arms two moments later and she hates crying like this, hates falling apart, but she can't help herself.

"Shh," he murmurs, squeezing her tight in his arms, "s'okay, Rachel."

"Please don't leave me," she murmurs, voice laced with tears and still hoarse. "Please, Finn."

"Shh," he murmurs, unwinding one arm to swipe his thumb beneath her eyelid. "Baby, baby, baby, no, no. I'll never ever leave you. I'm so sorry."

She curls closer to him and he tightens his grip. She nuzzles her forehead against his cheek, seeking the comfort only Finn can offer. "Finn," she whispers, "can we – can we go back?"

He moans and presses his mouth against her temple, recoiling immediately. "Baby girl, you're burning up."


He picks her up and stands, jerking back the covers on the bed. "You've got a fever," he murmurs, tucking the blankets around her. "I'll call the theater."

They find their way back, through many conversations that end in kissing, or sometimes, shouting that dissolves into Finn pinning Rachel to the bed and kissing her 'til she can't breathe.

She takes a break from the show. He asks her if she is completely sure about a million times, and she tells him yes I'm sure about a million times before he believes her. Finn teaches drama and the like at a high school, and they're – they're good. Perfect, even.

Until Kurt calls, tells them they've finally been approved for adoption and they'll be parents soon. She cries when Kurt tells her, because she's so happy for him, and a little because she wants that. She's been with Finn since she was fifteen, really, and ever since, she's imagined their children, with amber doe eyes and dark brown hair, freckles spattered across their ivory colored skin, and when Finn's kissing her all over and brushing his fingers between her legs, she arches her back and presses her chest against his, and whispers in her mouth that she really wants a baby.

His smile is wide and so very Finn. His bottom lip is swollen, rose pink, and she leans in and kisses it softly, presses her teeth a little against it, then kisses the slope of his nose, over and over, kisses every single freckle, and then kisses his mouth one more time.

"Love you so much, Rachel," he mumbles into her ear. "So much."

She squeezes his shoulders, rubbing her thumb against his clavicle. "I love you back."

Her heart brims with him, the sweet, crooked curve of his smile that's enraptured her since the very first day she saw him, the way his eyes warm when he sees her, or the feel of his body beneath her fingertips.

Finn threads his fingers with hers and twirls her in the kitchen, singing and laughing as the radio blares in the background, stove warming the cool apartment, and suddenly she grasps onto his bicep a little tighter than usual. Her head is spinning and not just from the motion, but she feels like she's going to faint.

"Finn, I – " He catches her and the next point in time she's even aware of is his face looming over hers, pinched with worry.

"Oh, thank god," he mumbles, hugging her against him immediately.

"What happened?"

"You fainted," Finn explains. "I was so worried."

He's got his hand against the back of her head, the other wound around her waist, cradling her against him. She turns her head and kisses his jaw softly. "Must've been too hot."

"I called your doctor."

"How long was I out?"

"Like, two minutes." She glares at him.

"Babe, you've been feeling so sick lately. Just taking care of my girl."

She sighs and kisses him. "Thank you, Finn."

"Well," the doctor begins, pushing open the door, "you're pregnant."


"Yep." He smiles. "Mrs. Berry-Hudson, you are most certainly pregnant."

There's a thud. Finn fainted. She rolls her eyes and snaps her fingers. "C'mon, princess," she teases, leaning over the side of the table. "Wake up."

His cheeks flush as soon as he comes to, and stands quickly, and despite the furious blush that's coloring his cheek, he's grinning. "Sorry."

She kisses him right on the mouth.

Lily likes to ask Rachel how she can marry someone like Daddy, who is "a stinkin' boy." Rachel just laughs, pinches her freckle-spattered cheeks and tells her she was bribed.

Finn's in their bedroom, but apt at eavesdropping, and gasps appropriately. "You were not bribed, nor dared." He appears, suddenly, and tickles her sides. "Your daddy was a stud, Lil."

"Yeah, right."

"You were a stud. She's wondering why I'm still with you, old man."

"You're not that much younger than me, sweetheart," he defends, taking her hand in his. "Don't be that girl."

Lily yawns, and Rachel glances at the clock that hangs on Lily's bedroom walls. "Okay, sweet pea. Time for bed."

She nods her dark head, eyelids falling closed as soon as Rachel and Finn tuck her in and kiss her little cheeks, and as they're leaving, she's struck with the astounding similarities in her husband and daughter.

Sighing and leaning against Finn, she tells him, "Your daughter looks nothing like me."

They climb into bed and cuddle beneath the covers. He slips his hand under her shirt, trailing along the flat plane. "This one will. I've got a feeling."

"That tonight's gonna be a good night?"

Laughing, he pushes her shirt all the way off. "Most definitely."

i don't know omg glee is not mine, thanks to joni mitchell for the lyrics inside and regina spektor for the song title

and also dedicated to my soul mate rachel love ya