You Don't Know Her Like I Do
Hey everyone :) So this is my second attempt at a longer one-shot. I kind of got this idea from Boy Meets World (one of my favourite shows from when I was a kid). It's kind of based around the same idea as the Cory and Topanga relationship. Just like most of my stories, this is pretty AU, but it may contain some of the elements from the show. Hope you enjoy, and as always please leave a review :D
Disclaimer: I own nothing. The characters belong to the creators of Glee and Fox. The song I use is called You Don't Know Her Like I Do and it's by Brantley Gilbert.
You don't know her like I do
You'd never understand
You don't know what we've been through
That girl's my best friend
Carole Hudson was walking her nine month old son, Finn, around the park a few short blocks from their apartment in Lima, Ohio. The sun was out and the weather was warm, causing many people to occupy the small, fenced-in area. There were kids climbing the jungle gym, and some throwing a Frisbee around while their parents watched their every move. Carole smiled at the familiarity of it all, being a single mother, she rarely found the time to take her infant son for strolls like these. One of her, and Finn's, favourite things to do was people watch, so she found a bench to sit on and did just that.
After a few minutes she spotted two men walking a stroller, smiling fondly at the occupant of it. She smiled as one of the men bent over the rail and made a strange face at the baby. The other man noticed her looking at them and smiled right back at her, nudging to his friend or partner (she wasn't sure, not that it mattered to her), to walk over.
They approached her shortly thereafter, and held out their hands for her to shake.
"Hello there, couldn't help but notice you and your beautiful little boy here." A tall caucasian man said as she shook his hand. "I'm Hiram, and this is my partner, Leroy."
Carole grinned as she shook the shorter, darker skinned man's hand. "Nice to meet you both, I'm Carole, and this little guy here is my pride and joy, Finn."
The little boy's eyes stared in awe at the two men before him, as they smiled down at him.
"Well he's just precious." Leroy said. "This little star is our Rachel." He pointed down at the tiny baby, who couldn't have been more than a couple of months old. She had large, bright brown eyes, tufts of downy soft dark hair (much like Finn), and a small freckle on her left cheek.
"She's gorgeous." Carole smiled at the baby, who gave her a toothless grin in return. "How old is she?"
"She's just turned 2 months old. She was born December 18th." Hiram explained.
Carole nodded. "Finn was nine months on February 11th."
"Ah, a spring baby." Hiram grinned at the little boy.
Carole laughed. "Yeah, he was a month early though, otherwise he'd have been a summer baby."
Carole couldn't help but notice the way Rachel and Finn were looking at each other, seemingly in awe of the other's presence.
Leroy burst into laughter at the sight of the two. "Looks like our little Rachel has found her first friend."
"That appears to be so." Carole said. She had a weird feeling in the pit of her stomach that this was the start of a lifelong friendship between the two and their families. Little did she know just how right she was.
Two years later…
Carole adjusted the sleeves on her almost-three year olds sweater. Finn was growing like a weed, although he was still considered small for his age, and his clothes were getting far too small for his frame.
"Hold still Finn." Carole chastised the boy, who turned and gave her the biggest pout and puppy dog eyes that she had ever seen.
"But Momma, Rachie is in the sandbox. I wanna pay." Finn said, gesturing over to his best friend.
"You want to play." Carole corrected, trying to get her son to pronounce the letter 'l', which was proving to be a difficult task.
"That what I said." Finn said stubbornly.
Carole sighed and rolled her eyes, laughing to herself. "Fine, go play, but don't leave the sandbox." She warned. "And be gentle with Rachel, she's smaller than you are, although that's hard to believe."
Finn nodded, although she had a feeling he didn't comprehend half of what she said. She spotted Hiram and Leroy walking over to sit next to her. Over the past couple of years, and all the play dates between their children, the three had become best friends.
"Carole." Hiram greeted with a warm grin, as he enveloped her in a hug. "I see Finn couldn't wait to play with Rachel." He laughed as he pointed to the two kids, building some sort of pile in the sand.
"He's been bugging me to get to the park for the past 3 hours." Carole laughed. "He tried getting me out of bed at 6 am. That is not going to happen."
Leroy nodded in understanding and sympathy. "We understand all too well. Rachel is proving to be an early riser. It's something she must have unknowingly inherited from her mother. Neither of us like to be up that early."
The three adults watched as Finn helped Rachel put a pile of sand into the bucket and proceed to dump it out again and repeat the process all over. "Those two are just adorable." Hiram admired. "I really see them being friends for a long time to come."
"That's all you see?" Leroy asked his partner. "I see them getting married. I mean how much more romantic can you get then lifelong friends marrying and starting their own family, growing old and such. It'd be a beautiful story for future generations."
Carole agreed. She secretly hoped the two remained such great friends for a long time to come and then eventually did fall in love. She really did think of Rachel as her daughter, just as the Berrys thought of Finn like a son.
Four years later…first grade
6 Year olds Finn and Rachel were now in 1st grade, and were closer than ever. They spent the majority of their time together. Carole would pick Rachel up before school in the morning, and drop the two off before class. After school, while Carole was working, Rachel's Dads would pick them up and go to their house afterwards. The two kids were rarely ever seen apart, even in class they partnered up with one another. Everything was perfect for them until the arrival of Noah Puckerman.
Noah or "Puck" as he preferred to be called went to temple with Rachel and had recently transferred to Lima Elementary School. He hated Rachel, and pretty well any girl for that matter, and tried to convince the other boys to follow in his footsteps to have nothing to do with any of the girls. He had immediately noticed the friendship between Finn and Rachel and knew he had to put a stop to it.
He started by begging Finn to come play with him at recess, leaving Rachel to play by herself, or occasionally with Tina Cohen-Chang, a little Asian girl who never really spoke a word to anyone, and when she did, she stuttered. The two girls became known as the freaks of the school and it wasn't long before Finn didn't play with Rachel at all, convinced, by Puck, that she contained girl "cooties" and would give her germs to Finn.
Today, however, was the start of a new kind of torment to be inflicted on the girls.
"I don't think I want to do this Puck." Finn whispered to the person who had dubbed himself Finn's new best friend.
"Why not? It's just Berry, everyone knows she's a freak." Puck said with all the reasoning of a 6 six year old.
"But she's my friend." Finn said defensively. "I don't wanna hurt her."
"She's a girl, remember what I said about the cooties? She's got'em worse than anybody." Puck explained. "Trust me I know her, we're in temple together."
"But I've known her my whole life and she's never given me cooties." Finn said.
"That's because she likes you, but soon that'll change and you'll get them too." Puck replied. "So you gonna do it or not?"
Finn sighed, but reluctantly nodded and picked up the pile of sand in his tiny hand, and walked over to Rachel. She smiled up at him, her bright brown eyes shining at the thought that her best friend was coming over to play with her for once. But she frowned when she noticed the sand in his hand. "Finn what are you doing?" She asked.
"This is cuz you have cooties." Finn answered before dumping the contents into her hair, and running away before he could see the tears well in her eyes. Puck followed suit by doing the same to Tina, leaving both girl in hysterical messes as a result.
"So how do you feel?" Puck asked shortly afterwards.
"Bad, I made Rachel cry." Finn said in anguish. "I didn't mean to make her cry."
"Well your one of the boys now, and you're going to be cootie free, so you should be happy." Puck said as he slapped a hand on Finn's back. "Stick with me and you'll be alright. You don't need her anyways."
Finn nodded sadly, although he still felt awful. Little did he know, this was just the beginning of what he would later deem "the lost years".
Six years went by and Rachel and Finn drifted apart, to the point where it was like they were never friends to begin with. They still saw each other regularly at school, but they never really corresponded unless it was Finn dumping sand in Rachel's hair, or making fun of her dresses. Finn was Puck's side kick and they did everything together, much to Carole's dismay. She didn't like her son hanging out with Puck, but there wasn't much she could do. She missed Rachel terribly. She missed her bubbly personality, her sweet and polite nature, and the way she helped Finn. She still saw the girl with her fathers from time to time at the grocery store, or on the street, but she never came by anymore.
Rachel, on the other hand, continued to be considered the school freak, and was made a target on a daily basis. She was teased mercilessly by her fellow peers for her Dads relationship, her clothing, but mostly for her dreams of being a star. People didn't understand her drive, but it was all she knew, and it was what kept her from giving into the insults and torment she encountered at school every day. She really didn't have any friends, besides Tina, but that didn't stop her from wanting to go to school, because she knew that was the only way she was going to get out of this town someday.
Finn and Rachel were now in 7th grade, their second year of Junior high. Things were changing, not just their bodies, but their attitudes towards the other sex as well. Finn was no longer the short, skinny little boy he once was. He now towered over pretty well everyone in school. He was getting to be broad shouldered and was forming muscles, and more and more girls were starting to go after him.
Rachel remained small, tiny even, one of the smallest people in their grade. She was developing a little more, although not as quickly as she was hoping, but it was enough to at least garner a little, albeit, unwanted attention, especially from the school weirdo Jacob Ben-Israel. She was still considered a freak, and was bullied by the popular kids every day, although she was noticing that Finn was never one of her tormentors, and that left her wondering why?
Rachel was just about to close her locker when she felt a presence sneak up behind her. Rolling her eyes, and figuring that it was Jacob, she was ready to retaliate, but she was shocked by who she saw.
"Finn?" She questioned, confused.
"Hey Rach." He smiled at her and said her name like they had never stopped being friends.
Rachel stiffened immediately, not about to let him know what his presence was doing to her. "Don't 'hey Rach' me Finn Hudson, what do you want?"
"I wanted to say hi." Finn said, as if he was forgetting that he had been tormenting her for the past 6 years. "And see how you like 7th grade so far, even if it is the first day."
"Why? What's your angle? Did Puckerman put you up to this? Are you here to toss a slushy in my face like he did this morning?" Rachel aked angrily.
"No, wait hold up, he tossed a slushy at you?" Finn asked, sounding angry himself. "I'll kill him."
"Why would you? And why do you suddenly care? I mean he's your best friend after all." Rachel said sadly.
"I care about you." Finn said softly. "I always have."
"Then why have your been torturing me along with your other Neanderthal buddies for all these years? We were best friends Finn, since we were in diapers, I thought that would have meant something to you." Rachel said, getting tears in her eyes.
"It did, it does." Finn said, wanting to wipe away the tears. "I'm so sorry about all those things that I've done to you. I never wanted to, I swear on my mother's life, and I always tried to convince Puck not to, I even started to refuse to help him. I've just been so confused with my feelings for the last while and I didn't know what to do with it all. I'm so sorry." Finn said. She could see the anguish and guilt in his eyes and she knew he was being sincere. "I really want us to be friends again."
Rachel hesitated, before nodding slowly. "Ok, but you have to earn back my trust Finn, and that is going to take a while."
Finn nodded, ready to do whatever it took. "That's understandable." He assured her. "But you gotta know that I'm never going to do any of those things again, I'm going to protect you from now on."
"I hope your right." Rachel said as she closer her locker door and reluctantly started to walk with him down the hall, towards the exit.
"Rach, you want to come over?" Finn asked. "I'm sure my Mom would love it. She's been dying to see you."
Rachel's smile brightened at the mention of Carole. "I'd love to."
1 year later….8th grade
Finn walked through the halls of the school, taking in the feeling of being an 8th grader, in his final year of junior high. He was at the top of the heap, all the younger kids looked up to him now. It was the beginning of a great year. He had his 2 best friends, Puck and Rachel. Life was good.
Puck and Rachel had even managed to work out their differences and form some sort of odd friendship. They teased each other mercilessly and acted like brother and sister. Finn thought their relationship was odd, but hilarious, especially the fact that Puck's Mom seemed intent that Puck and Rachel should date, given their common Jewish heritage. Puck's response was always "she's like my sister, that's wrong on so many levels."
Finn and Rachel had gotten their friendship back on track the year before, and were now as close as ever. They told each other everything, including things they didn't tell their parents. Finn made a point to protect Rachel from everything bad that could possibly happen to her at school, and slowly but surely she stopped becoming a daily target for the bullies. Rachel paid him back by tutoring him in school, and helping him maintain a solid C average.
"Rach." Finn called upon seeing her in the hallway putting her books into her locker. He approached her and bent over to hug her. "Ready for another great year?"
Rachel grinned at him and nodded enthusiastically. "I just heard the best news. They're putting together a school choir." She beamed. "Finn, we could sing together."
Finn reached up to run a hand through his hair, a nervous habit he had picked up over the years. "Gee, I don't know Rach. I mean me sing…in public?"
"Oh come on Finn, you've got a beautiful voice. I heard you sing that Journey song when we were washing the dishes for your Mom the other night."
"Yeah well that's different, that was in front of you. I don't mind singing in front of you." Finn blushed. "But other people are different."
Rachel sighed, but nodded in understanding. She knew not everyone was as enthusiastic about singing as she was. "Promise you'll at least think about it?" Rachel asked.
Finn nodded in agreement. "Pinky swear, so you know I mean it."
Rachel beamed and hooked her pinky through his. She noticed him looking over her shoulder to something behind her. She turned and rolled her eyes when she noticed Puck making out with a girl up against the locker. Where were all the teachers? This was a junior high school for crying out loud.
"Ugh, honestly Noah is so vulgar. I mean nobody wants to see that." Rachel said, her distaste very evident in her voice.
Finn sighed and nodded, surprised to feel a little bit of jealousy towards his other friend. At least he had kissed a girl.
Rachel noticed Finn's far off look. "What's wrong Finn?"
He shrugged. "Do you ever wonder what it's like?"
"What what is like?" Rachel questioned.
"Kissing. I mean Puck does it all the time, with a ton of different girls, and he seems to enjoy it." Finn said but then blushed crimson when he noticed the expression on Rachel's face. He couldn't quite read it.
Rachel bit her lip in thought. "Honestly, yeah I have thought about it before. It's probably not going to happen to me for a while."
Finn looked at her in surprise. "What makes you say that?"
"I just meant that I'm not like most girls at this school. I'm not blonde or fair skinned, my nose is huge, and I'm not as developed as I'd like to be at this point." Rachel said sadly.
"I think you're pretty." Finn said shyly.
"You do?" Rachel gasped. "But I thought you liked girls like Quinn Fabray."
Finn shook his head, not sure where these feelings were coming from. All he knew was that he was caught up in a moment and he needed to let Rachel know how he felt. "They're too normal for me. I like girls with dark brown hair, tanned golden skin, and a smile that lights up her face.'
Rachel couldn't stop the blush from spreading. "Finn where is this coming from? And where did you get a line like that?" Rachel laughed a little.
"It's not a line." Finn insisted. "It's how I feel. It's how I've always felt Rachel, ever since we were little kids."
"Finn, we are kids. I mean I'm not even 13 yet." Rachel reminded him.
Finn nodded. "I know, but sometimes I just feel so much older than everybody around me. Do you ever feel that way?"
Rachel thought about what he was saying and nodded. "I do sometimes. It's like we have so much more life experience than most people our age."
"That's exactly it." Finn said. He looked deep into her eyes and before he could stop himself, he whispered "you can kiss me if you want to."
Rachel nodded slowly. "I want to." She stepped towards him and kissed his lips gently, breaking away with a gorgeous grin on her face, as she turned and backed him up against the lockers, kissing his lips more deeply, causing him to release a groan.
Finn pulled away from her and smiled, but then did the stupidest thing he could possibly do, he ran away.
Freshmen year of high school
Two months in to his freshman year, and Finn was already feeling the pressure. High school was so much different than Junior High. Classes were harder and longer, and teachers had ridiculous expectations of you. Finn hated the responsibility being placed on his shoulders now. His grades had not suffered yet, but he was also studying twice as hard as he ever had before, thanks to Rachel and her determination to see him succeed.
There were some positives to high school though. There were study halls that Finn used to catch up on the sleep he lost the night before due to his COD tournaments with Puck. He got to pick his classes and their skill level. There was no way he was taking the AP classes that Rachel took. Another big plus was that he had made the football team. Sure he wasn't first string or anything, but it still helped to boost his popularity. He had girls lining up to date him, not that he did a lot of that. He really only had eyes for one girl, although she refused to acknowledge their obviously mutual attraction. Rachel.
Ever since she had kissed him last year, at the start of 8th grade, he had had feelings for his best friend. He ran away after the kiss because he was afraid of the feelings he was experiencing. When he tried to explain it to Rachel, she had simply brushed him off and said it was probably for the best anyways. They were best friends and always would be, a relationship would only complicate things. That didn't stop Finn from wanting to date her, and he still brought it up on a pretty regular basis, usually just in a joking manner, but he knew Rachel could read between the lines.
Finn stared at the poster for the upcoming Halloween Dance. He was determined to get Rachel to be his date. Spotting her walking with Tina down the hall way, he decided that this was his chance.
"Rach, wait up." Finn called to her as he ran after her.
She stopped, and turned around, seeing Finn following her. "Hi Finn, what's going on?"
"Can I talk to you for a sec?" He asked, although it sounded more like a plea.
"Sure." Rachel shrugged, and waved goodbye to Tina. "How can I help you?"
"Uh well you know there's a dance coming up right?" Finn asked.
Rachel nodded. "The Halloween Dance. I can't wait to go, I've already got my costume picked out and everything."
"Right." Finn sighed, and scratched the back of his neck nervously. "Well I was wondering if you wanted to go with me."
Rachel smiled, but then let out a giggle. "I thought we were already going together silly, just like we always do."
Finn nodded. "Yeah, but I wanted to know if we could go together…like together together."
Rachel's eyes widened. "Oh, you mean you want me to be your date?"
Finn nodded. "Yeah… my date."
"I don't know Finn." Rachel hesitated. "We've talked about this before, it would make things weird between us."
"Why would it?" Finn asked. "We would still be best friends, just best friends who did other stuff too, and it's not like we haven't kissed before." He noticed the apprehension written on her face. "Come on, we both know there's something between us, and I really want to explore it, and I know you do to, but you're scared. But we don't know what could happen, it may lead to something great."
Rachel bit her lip. "We could be a part of something special." She realized.
Finn nodded. "Definitely. So will you go as my date, and maybe for some dates afterwards?"
"Are you asking me to be your girlfriend, Finn Hudson?" Rachel questioned.
Finn laughed. "I guess I am. Rachel Barbra Berry, will you be my girlfriend?"
Rachel laughed and nodded as she jumped into his arms. "Yes." She screamed.
Rachel was up in her room listening to her Barbra Streisand Greatest Hits cd. Her Dads were in the kitchen, pondering whether or not to ask her what was bothering her. It's not like she would tell them, they would think it was crazy.
She heard a tap on her window and looked to see Finn sitting on the ledge outside, begging to be let in. She rolled her eyes, and gestured that she didn't want to talk to him right now and for him to go away. Finn shook his head and gestured for her to roll up the window. Knowing he wouldn't leave her alone unless she complied, she let him in.
"What do you want Finn?" Rachel asked.
"We need to talk." Finn insisted.
"About what? You've already said plenty." Rachel said.
"Yeah and that's just it, you haven't said anything." Finn retorted.
"What did you want me to say Finn?" Rachel asked.
"Rachel, I told you I loved you, and you didn't say anything back." Finn said.
Rachel sighed and sat down on the edge of her bed, grabbing her pillow and stuffing it under her chin, as she pouted into it.
"I didn't know how to respond, and I still don't for your information." Rachel admitted. "I mean, come on, we're 15 Finn. What do we know about love?"
"Rach, we've been dating for a year." Finn reminded her.
"We broke up for 3 months." Rachel said.
"Yeah for the stupidest reason ever, something neither of us could even remember. We got back together though because we didn't want to be apart any longer." Finn said as he sat down beside her.
Rachel felt tears of frustration, confusion, and wonder fill her eyes. "I don't even know if I know what love really is. How do you know you love me?"
"I know I've loved you since we were babies. I mean you're the most important person in my life besides my Mom. You're the only girl I see myself marrying and having children with. You're the only girl I ever think about. For that short time I dated Quinn while we were broken up, you're all I thought about. When I kissed her, instead of seeing blonde hair and green eyes, I saw brown hair and chocolate eyes…I saw you. That's how I know what love is." Finn said, seeing Rachel's hesitance and confusion, he decided he needed to give her some time to process his words. "Look, it's a lot to think about, so take some time. I'll see you tomorrow in school."
Just as he was about to climb through the window again, Rachel stopped him. "Finn wait."
Finn stopped and turned around, not expecting her to come flying at him for a hug.
"Thank you." She whispered as she pulled away.
"For what?" Finn asked.
"For helping me realize that I love you too."
Junior year started off great. Finn and Rachel continued to date and were stronger than ever. Their relationship amazed those around them including their parents. People didn't understand how they could be so obviously in love and sure of one another at such a young age. Rachel had even managed to do the impossible and convinced Finn to join the school glee club, and now he was the male lead.
It was now the end of November and the pressure was on. Finn and Rachel, just like all of their peers, were stressing about midterm exams as well as SAT Preparation. The stress was almost unbearable as it was, but was only made worse by some bad news that the couple received.
"I'm moving Finn." Rachel said sadly as she sat on his bed and watched him attempting to finish a math problem. Finn looked up, a look of confusion on his face.
"What?" Finn asked, not sure he had heard her correctly.
Rachel sighed and knelt down beside him and took his hand. "My Dad got a promotion to become a partner at a bigger firm in Cincinnati. We're moving before the end of Winter break so I can start school there in January."
Finn shook his head, refusing to believe her words. "No, you're joking with me right now. There's no way you can be moving."
Rachel nodded her head, trying to get her point across. "It's true. I hate it, but it's the truth."
"But you can't. We've got the SATs coming up, you promised to help me so that I could pass, and get into a good college after next year. We've got Valentine's Day, Winter Formal, Prom, you were supposed to be my date. You can't leave." Finn insisted, turning to her and looking her in the eye.
Rachel shook her head as tears rolled out of her eyes. "I wish it was a lie." Rachel said, letting a small sob escape her lips. "I don't want to leave you. I can't leave you."
Finn took her in his arms and held her tighter than he thought possible. "You're not going to, I promise. No one is taking you away from me."
Sure enough a few weeks later, the inevitable happened. Rachel's Dads packed up and sold their house, and Rachel was forced to leave Finn after a heartfelt goodbye and the promise to write and call each other every day and visit on as many weekends as possible.
Days turned into weeks and Finn found himself lonelier than ever. Not only did he lose his girlfriend when Rachel moved, he lost his best friend, his confidant, and his everything. At the start they had tried to talk as much as it was possible, but soon their lives became too hectic and phone calls went missed, texts were only exchanged a few times a day, and visits became a rarity. Finn was terrified that this meant the end of his relationship with Rachel. His Mom had even suggested that he try dating other girls to get over her, but he just couldn't bring himself to do it.
"Finn it wouldn't hurt to play the field a little." Burt, Finn's new step-dad, encouraged. "Your Mom's right."
Finn shook his head in disbelief. "Why are you trying to force me into something I clearly don't want?"
Carole shook her head. "We're not forcing you to do anything Finn, we're just saying it couldn't hurt to go out a little, be a normal teen for once."
Finn rolled his eyes. "How many times have I told you guys, I'm not a normal teen? I never have been, and never want to be. Is it so wrong that I know who I want to spend the rest of my life with at the age of 16?"
Burt shrugged. "It's not a bad thing, but we just think that you can't really say those things without exploring other paths as well."
Carole nodded. "You know that clichéd saying, 'if you love something let it go, if it comes back it's yours.' Honey, if you love Rachel, let her go, and if after you guys have been apart for a while and experienced other things, and you can still say with all certainty that you want to be together, then you have our blessing."
"You know what? I can't deal with this right now. I've got you guys pressuring me, I've got Kurt and the entire Glee club on my back, and Rachel's not even talking to me. I need to get out of here." Finn reached for his jacket off the back of the couch and opened the front door, only to find someone standing there shivering from the cold winter night.
"Rachel." Finn breathed, getting over his shock as he ushered her in.
"I..I missed you." Rachel said, throwing herself into his arms as her teeth chattered. Finn wrapped his arms around her tightly, attempting to warm her.
"Hi honey." Carole greeted the young girl.
"Rach." Burt smiled slightly at the girl he had come to care a great deal about, both as his stepson's girlfriend, and one of his own son's closest friends. "What are you doing here sweetheart?"
"Do your parents know you're here?" Carole finished.
Rachel shook her head no. "I ran away. I couldn't be without Finn any longer, it was suffocating me."
"Rachel, I'm calling your parents." Carole insisted, reaching for the phone.
"No Mom." Finn shouted. "Can't you see she was miserable in Cincinnati. That's why she's here isn't it." Finn looked down at the tiny girl still curled in his arms, who nodded in return. "If you call her parents, they'll take her away again."
"Well she needs to be with them Finn." Burt said defending his wife.
"Finn, if you went missing like Rachel did, I would want to know where you are as soon as possible. It would worry me sick not to know." Carole said. "Her parents, at the very least deserve to know where she is."
"Finn don't let them take me away, please." She begged.
Finn held her even tighter, and kissed her forehead as Carole made the call. "I'd do anything for you, you know that."
Rachel nodded as she let him lead her to the couch, and they sat down.
Carole came back into the room a few minutes later, Burt following behind. "I talked to your Dads Rachel, they said you can stay here for the night, but that they are going to get Tina's Dad to drive you back to Cincinnati tomorrow morning because he's heading there anyways."
Rachel let out a wail as she burrowed herself into Finn's loving embrace. "Finn, help me."
"I don't know what to do Baby, I want to help but it seems like everyone is against us." Finn whispered into her ear, then turned to his mother. "Mom please, isn't there something you could do?"
Carole shook her head. "My hands are tied Finn."
Finn and Rachel both wept, although Finn did so silently, trying to be strong for his girl. That night they barely slept a wink, Rachel eventually sneaking into Finn's room and finally falling asleep in his arms, waking up early the following morning to head back to the guest room.
The doorbell rang the next morning and Carole answered it to find Tina's Dad, Peter, there. "Mr. Cohen –Chang." Carole greeted the man.
"Mrs. Hummel, I am here for Rachel." The man explained, and smiled reassuringly over to the young girl. "Her fathers called me last night and explained the situation."
Carole nodded. "It's so unfortunate. I mean we all love Rachel, she's like the daughter we never had, but the situation is what it is."
Peter nodded. "Be that as it may, I talked to the Berrys and told them, nicely of course, how irresponsible they had been."
Rachel and Finn looked up at the Asian man in shock, wondering where he was going with this.
Burt nodded. "I understand completely, Carole and I feel the same way. I mean Rachel is a 16 year old girl in her junior year of high school. She has her friends here, everything she has ever known. To force her to leave all that at this point of her life is not right in my books."
Peter nodded in agreement. "That is precisely what I have told the Berrys, and they have agreed to let Rachel stay with our family for the remainder of her high school career, so long as she wants to of course, and with the condition that she go to Cincinnati every other weekend to see them."
Rachel's jaw dropped as she grabbed Finn's arm, afraid it was too good to be true.
"Seriously?" Finn exclaimed. "She's staying?"
Peter nodded. "It looks like."
Rachel beamed as she ran over and hugged her friend's Dad, a man she had come to admire over the years for his generosity. "Thank you Mr. Cohen-Chang."
"Rachel, you've been Tina's closest friend for so long, please call me Peter."
Rachel nodded. "Peter." She repeated.
Finn rushed over to shake the man's hand. "Thank you sir."
Peter smiled at him. "You're very welcome Finn, we will be discussing some house rules in the future, though I am sure your friend Mike will tell you."
Finn nodded in understanding. "Yes sir. I will respect anything you say."
Peter nodded and shook Finn's hand again, before turning to Rachel. "Alright then Miss. Berry, how about I take everything over to our place and Tina will help you set up."
Rachel nodded, as she turned and beamed at Finn, Burt and Carole. She left, giving Finn a goodbye hug and kiss.
As soon as she got outside she squealed in happiness. "I'm staying!"
Their last year of high school had finally come and the pressure was on to find a good college to get into. Rachel had her heart set on 2 schools, both in New York. One was her dream school, NYADA, the other a close second which was Tisch. Both schools would allow her to earn a degree in Musical Theater, and both schools were proven to look good on resumes for potential Broadway Stars. NYADA had just a smidge of a higher success rate of getting to Broadway.
Finn, on the other hand, was stressing about finding a good school. He knew he wanted, and needed to be in New York with Rachel. There was no way any other alternative would be an option, much to the dismay of his parents. He wasn't letting Rachel go for anything. The problem was he was having trouble coming up with potential career choices, and with his grades, he also knew his chances of getting into one of the better New York schools was slim.
By the time February came, Finn knew he had to make a choice. It wasn't just about him though. He knew Rachel was his future, and he had to have her support. Whatever he did, would eventually affect her as well if and when they did get married.
"Finn, what are we doing here?" Rachel asked looking around, noticing they were in the library, not somewhere Finn typically frequented.
"I have to show you something." Finn said as he held her hand, and guided her through aisles and aisles of books, eventually leading to the computer section. He sat down at a computer and pulled out a seat for her.
He logged into the computer and pulled up a website.
"The Actor's Studio?" Rachel questioned curiously.
"Rach, I've put a lot of thought into this and I think I finally figured out what I want to do with my life. Well, I've kind of always known, but I was afraid to admit it, until you taught me that I shouldn't be afraid." Finn said.
Rachel nodded, encouraging him to go on with a smile.
"If it's still ok with you, as we long ago agreed, I want to go to New York with you. I applied to The Actor's Studio and I got in. Baby, I want to be an actor." Finn said, having trouble reading her expression.
Rachel's face immediately broke out into a huge grin as she enveloped him in a bear hug. "I think that's perfect for you." She assured him. "You will fit right in and someday you will be an amazing actor, you already are. I'm so proud and happy for you."
Finn's nervous smile brightened and he hugged her tighter, pulling her into his lap for a proper kiss. She pulled away moments later and held his face in her hands, beaming from ear to ear. "You're my hero, you know that right."
Finn just smiled softly at her and whispered "you're mine."
Three months later graduation time finally came. After throwing their caps into the air, Finn pulled Rachel to him and whispered in her ear "marry me."
Rachel pulled away, giving him a strange look, not sure what to say.
"What?" She asked just to be sure she had heard correctly.
"I said Marry Me." Finn said. "I know it's not a big romantic proposal, but honestly the timing just seems to be right. We're going to New York, we're going to live together, we already know we're going to spend the rest of our lives together, why not make it official?"
"I..I don't know what to say." Rachel said pulling away from him slightly. "It's just so sudden, I mean we just graduated."
"I know, and I'm not saying we have to get married tomorrow or even a year from now, I just want to know that you're mine for real and forever."
"Finn you should already know that, there's no other guy for me." Rachel said. "But being that this is something I have been dreaming of since I was a little girl, and being that this has been the best day of my life, what would make this even better would be to say yes."
Finn's eyes twinkled with unshed tears as he asked "that's a yes?"
Rachel nodded. "That's a yes."
Freshman year of college
"This is it." Rachel grinned as she walked into their new apartment in New York City. "Home sweet home."
"Finally." Finn said as he set the last box down. "Can we relax a bit now Babe? I'm tired from lifting all day…not just our stuff but Kurt's too."
"I heard that." Kurt's voice said coming from the bathroom of the medium sized 3 bedroom apartment. "And I resent that, you carried two of my boxes."
"Yeah both huge, and both labelled 'hair care supplies.'" Finn shot back causing his step-brother to groan in response. "Santana carried her own crap, why couldn't you do the same."
"I'll have you know, half of what I carried mostly belonged to you and Rachel." Kurt retorted, walking out to join them in the small living room area. "The couch, the tv, the arm chairs."
"He's right, Finn." Rachel said placing a hand on his arm.
Finn rolled his eyes. "Yeah I know, I'm just giving him a hard time. What else are brothers good for?"
"Hey Frankenteen, how about you and Babyface quit your bitch fight and help me put together my bed. I helped Berry with yours already." Santana called from her bedroom.
Finn sighed and looked at his tiny fiancée. "Rach, I told you to wait for Kurt and I before you assembled that thing."
Rachel shrugged. "You were busy carrying boxes and I'm stronger than I look, so is Santana for that matter."
"Still." Finn said. "Leave the heavy stuff for me. The last thing we need is for you to break a bone the week before you start NYADA."
Rachel nodded giving in. "Fine, you go help Santana and Kurt and I will make dinner in our new kitchen."
Later that night the four of them sat down to eat dinner, ready to make a toast to the year ahead.
"To me kicking butt on the SAT and getting into NYU." Santana said raising her glass. "And to finding a decent place to live, even if it was with 3 of the people I'd least expected to ever live with."
Kurt laughed. "Amen to that." He picked up his glass and clinked it with hers. "To starting NYADA with my best friend and our freshman year of college."
Rachel followed suit. "To moving in with great friends, my amazing fiancée and to finally following my dreams."
Finally Finn finished with "to an amazing year ahead, filled with reaching for our dreams, pain in the ass long nights of studying, planning our wedding." He gestured to Rachel. "And of course to whatever comes next."
"Here here." They all cheered as they clinked their glasses together.
Summer before Sophmore year of College
"Nervous?" Santana asked Rachel as she helped her one last time with her veil.
Rachel shook her head. "Actually I'm the opposite, I've never felt more confident about anything in my entire life. It feels like my entire life has led to this moment."
Santana smiled. "Well you and Finn have been together since you were babies…or at least that's what he likes to say."
Rachel laughed. "I think that's what makes me so confident. The fact that Finn and I have known and been together for so long, it kind of feels like we're already married. The wedding is just a formality."
"Well you both sure act like you're married." Santana smirked, knowing it would irk Rachel just like it always did.
"We do not." Rachel huffed, turning to her friend and maid of honor.
"Please, you finish each other's sentences and have fights over the pettiest things all the time. Face it Berry, you've been 'married' to Hudson since high school." Santana laughed and Rachel blushed.
"Remind me why I picked you to be my maid of honor?" Rachel joked.
"Because Tina is the size of a house right now and you love me." Santana replied, adjust her dress around her chest area for the thousandth time.
"Right." Rachel shook her head. "Will you do me a favor, please Tana? I need you to go check on Finn, makes sure he's almost done. I'm ready."
Santana nodded and surprisingly followed her orders with no argument.
Twenty minutes later, Finn was finally waiting at the altar beside the Rabi. They had decided to have a traditional Jewish wedding. The only thing Finn really cared about was getting to write his own vows, and Rachel hadn't objected at all.
The crowd rose as Rachel walked down the aisle in a beautiful floor length gown. It was strapless with a gold sash tied around the middle, and it was accompanied by golden accents as well, including Rachel's ever present gold Star necklace that Finn had given her in junior year of high school.
Finn's mouth opened just slightly as he tried to form words to describe the beauty in front of him. He came to the conclusion that there wasn't a great enough word in the English language to describe Rachel, so he simply took her hand and whispered "you're beautiful" in her ear.
Rachel's eyes twinkled like the stars and she smiled back at him. "You look very handsome."
He led her to the altar and they ceremony proceeded.
Finally they got to the part where they would say their vows. It had been decided that Rachel would go first, because Finn, ever the gentleman, would only settle for the age old saying "ladies first".
"Finn, from the beginning, for as long as I can remember, you've been there for me. Through all the milestones of my life, good and bad, there you are." Rachel smiled at him, as she noticed a tear spring from his eye. "People have always told us that we're too young to know what love really is, but when I look at you, and we're together, I know that that couldn't be farther from the truth. For me, the definition of love is you, it always has been and it always will be."
Finn blinked through the tears, that he was not ashamed to let loose for once in his life. "Rachel, I've never been the guy who understood a lot of things. I'm pretty simple, as most here can vouch for. The only thing that I've ever been sure about, and that has always made sense to me is my feelings for you, and your feelings for me. That's all I've ever cared to know and understand. I love you, you love me and that's all that matters."
The ceremony continued and within just a few minutes, after the placement of the rings, they were finally announced husband and wife.
"Can you believe we've made it this far?" Finn asked his wife as they danced their first dance as a married couple.
Rachel laughed and nodded. "I can, and you know what that is?"
Finn shook his head. "Why?"
"Because, I always knew that someday this would happen. From the day I kissed you against the locker in junior high, I knew it was you who I would marry."
Finn smiled as he kissed her forehead. "Well you've always said you were a little on the psychic side."