Hi everyone.

I had no intention of ever writing a Glee fanfiction, but I can't help it…after Nationals and Jesse's just utter ADORABLENESS I've been unable to get this piece out of my head.

The thing is I don't mind Finnchel, but not in the 'oh so meant to be we're going to get married and live happily ever after' kind of way. More in a high school puppy love, it means something to you and you'll look back on it in future years with fond memories. But St Berry, well they're for keeps in my heart! They are equals in every way. I think it also helps that I have always and probably always will adore Jesse.

I'd like this to be longer than a one shot, I have a vague idea for a story in my head, but since I am already writing one story I'll see whether I have the time and muse to take this further. I really, really want to because I'd rather Rachel wasn't the One That Got Away, but at least this way they get some proper closure for now.

Disclaimer – I do not own Glee, if I did Rachel and Jesse would defo be endgame.

I also don't own either of the songs. They belong to the incredibly talented Chester See (although for the sake of the story I am going to claim it as a Jesse orginal) and Katy Perry although the version I envision in my head for the Rachel/Jesse arrangement is this one by Chester See and Tiffany Alvord...both can be found on my profile page, please do check them out to get the full effect of the story!

Rachel couldn't quite believe it. She hadn't believed her phone when it rang and the ID stated that it was Carmen Tibideaux calling, she hadn't believed her ears when she heard that she'd actually done it, that Carmen Tibideaux was actually going to accept her into NYDA in the next academic year despite the whole choke incident. It wasn't that Rachel had doubted her talent, or her skill, or the fact that once she heard Rachel at Nationals Carmen Tibideaux would see that she really was destined for stardom – it was just at the end of the day Rachel still knew the odds of her succeeding this year where slim. After Nationals she was expecting Carmen Tibideaux to tell her she was on the short list for the following year and then at least she would be able to start counting down the days to when she would be joining Kurt at NYDA – she figured it would just mean she'd have more time with Finn as man and wife before the big move and Kurt would be able to keep New York warm for her in the extra year.

But this, to be accepted right after graduation, this was beyond what Rachel had realistically hoped for. Yes she liked to dream, and in her dreams her talent and passion won over Carmen, but then also in her dreams she would be playing Eva Peron in Evita by this time next year without ever having to work up through the chorus line….so Rachel knew her dreams happening in the way she liked to imagined they would were really a long shot in reality. Which is why Rachel had been unable to fully comprehend what had just happened.

But Rachel being Rachel wasn't about to show that.

'Oh thank, thank you so much Madame Tibideaux. I knew once you heard what I could that you'd seen that I really am the kind of person you are looking for, and I won't let you down, I promise.'

'Well actually Miss Berry' came a rather coarse reply, 'it wasn't your talent or your so called passion that changed my mind. I'm not saying you're not incredibly talented and that I wasn't impressed by your performance at Nationals – because I was. But then again there are hundreds of people throughout America and indeed the world that have the same dedication, skills and talent that you so persistently argue you possess.'

'Then why offer me a place at NYDA?' Rachel asked in confusion.

'I wasn't planning on doing so….even after I saw you perform at Nationals. I was planning however on allowing you to cut through some of the red tape next year to make you get through to the audition stages more easily. I was also considering maybe putting you on the waiting list in case any students decided to drop out…but then something happened that showed me that perhaps you did have something more than all those other hundreds of thousands of students throughout the world.'

There was a long pause before Rachel said, 'I'm sorry but I am really confused…if it wasn't my performance at Nationals that changed your mind, or my persistence in calling you and chasing you to see me perform, then what did?'

'Your heart Miss Berry and what it clearly managed to invoke in people. If it wasn't that little Asian girl in the yellow dress rushing to your defence when you came to beg me to come and see you perform, then it was that boy chasing me out into the lobby after your performance at Nationals to say that you were without a doubt the most talented person he'd ever met.'

Finn, Rachel thought fondly as her heart swelled with love, it had to have been.

'Usually I wouldn't pay any attention to what some young nobody in puppy love has to say. I mean I have years of experience under my belt, I can spot talent a mile away and it isn't the first time I've had some random person telling me that they know the most talented person in the world.'

'So why listen this time, what was different?' Rachel asked, she was worried that pushing this too much would lead to Carmen changing her mind. But curiosity was eating her alive….what had Finn said exactly, what wonderful words had managed to win over one of the most talented people on Broadway?

'This time I'd seen you perform so I knew you at least had some skill, I was also vaguely aware that the boy in question had some talent – which probably means some part of him wanted to plead his case, to ask for another shot at his audition from two years ago, but he didn't. Instead he came up to me, said I'd told him two years ago when he auditioned for me he showed great promise but that he wasn't there for himself. Instead he was there for Rachel Berry and he then proceeded to tell me that he had no doubt you would be a star one day. And then he just walked away.'

What that didn't make any sense? Finn hadn't auditioned for Carmen Tibideaux two years ago…there was only one person she knew that could possibly have auditions for NYDA two years ago – but it just seemed so extraordinary that Jesse would do that. That he would go up to Carmen Tibideaux and plead her case rather than his and put her dreams above his own.

'Having a heart that makes people care enough to plead your case is a rare thing in this business. Those with the greatest drive and determination tend to be the ones that get ahead in the world of performing arts but they also tend to be those lacking the most in personal relationships – and I can't remember ever before coming across someone with your talent who most of their classmates and peers wouldn't sneer happily at them for failing. I admit that that in itself made me more curious about you, but it also gives you an edge a lot of others with your talent don't have – your heart makes people believe in you. You have people who will come to your aid and speak on your behalf, people who believe in your talent and in you…to be able to capture people's hearts is something every Broadway perform needs, and it is often the hardest thing to learn to do because the majority of stars have spent a long time detaching themselves from friends and heartfelt emotions in order to be able to succeed.'

Rachel could feel the tears behind her eyes as she said thank you and once again assured Carmen Tibideaux that neither she, nor her heart, would let her down.

'I hope not Miss Berry.' She replied, 'because this is the last chance you will get. And it is not me you'll be letting down if you fail again. It is the girl in the yellow dress and the boy who believes so strongly in your talent and it is yourself Miss Berry. I will survive whether you do or do not succeed. I will see you in September.'

'Yes…September.' Rachel muttered as she heard the phone click on the other end and the line go dead.

She sat there in silence for a long time, not quite believing everything she had just heard. She was desperately trying to process it. She had got in, she had done it…and not because of her talent alone, but because of Tina and Jesse? Tina and Jesse of all people….

And because of her heart?

That part she also found hard to process. That she had the shot of a lifetime because people actually cared about her…despite all her selfish tendencies, her annoying habits and her drama queen behaviour her Glee companions still cared for her and saw something more than just her pathological need for fame and stardom, and that overall was what had won her her NYDA place?

The realisation that it was Jesse that had really tipped the scales in her favour was the hardest part to really take in. That he had done for her in a few minutes what no one else had ever done for her pulled at her heart. She knew he teased her before Nationals as a way of flaring up her competitive nature. He knew her, he knew she needed that to make her brilliant – to make her shine on stage. And it had worked. But then he'd gone beyond that, he'd spoken for her and placed all his belief in her…he'd put her above of himself. It was humbling and confusing all at once.

But one thing was for sure, she was going to make sure she repaid him and his belief in her, that she repaid everyone's belief in her. Her dad's unwavering support throughout the years, Mr Shue's constant patience with her and the rest of the group, Finn's utter belief that she was a star and born to shine, Tina's selfless proclamation that she was exceptional, Kurt's unbelievable friendship and understanding, and the rest of the group – there constant forgiveness and the way they looked past her faults and accepted her for who she was, even when she perhaps didn't deserve it. And Jesse, for giving her the greatest gift of all.

She would not mess it up again, come high or high water she was going to prove to them that she had what it took – and when she finally made it she was going to make sure she made it absolutely clear to the whole world that this funny bunch of people, this makeshift family, were the ones that helped to get her there.

Excluding her dads the first three people Rachel told about her NYDA were Kurt, Finn and Mr Shue.

Kurt had probably been the most ecstatic for her, grabbing her hands and jumping around with her to celebrate their achievement. He'd been over the moon that he was no longer going to NYDA or New York alone, and that he'd have Rachel there with him as they'd been planning and as it should be, but more than anything he was happy for her. She'd done it, despite everything she'd still managed to show NYDA that there was something they'd be missing out on if it weren't for Rachel Berry.

Mr Shue had been thrilled, but what really touched him was Rachel's proclamation that it was mainly all down to him that this had happened. She vaguely told him about how it was her 'heart' that had won out for her in the end, although she left out the Jesse detail – as indebted as she was too him, and as much as she wished she could tell people what he had done for her, it wasn't her secret to tell – but she did tell Mr Shue that she wouldn't have become the slightly more caring and selfless person if it wasn't for him. He'd taught her how to be a real team player.

Finn had probably been the least excited out of the three. It wasn't that he wasn't happy for her, she knew he was, but she also knew that he was aware that this would change things again. Now she was going to New York for sure and no matter how pleased for her he was, it came with a bittersweet feeling of change.

Then she'd told all of her Glee club members at a BBQ they were having to mark the end of term. Mr Shue had asked everyone to be quite for a minute while Rachel made an announcement. As she'd got up to speak Rachel couldn't wipe the smile off her face, even though Santana was making jokes at her expense and Brittany seemed too distracted trying to work out how the ice cubes in her drink were star shaped rather than just regular shaped to listen to her.

'I wanted you all to know that I received a phone call two days ago' she started, before searching out Tina's eyes in the crowd and smiling broadly at her, 'from Madame Tibideaux saying I'd got a place at NYDA' her smiled became even wider than it already was as everyone suddenly stopped fidgeting and paid attention to her as she said the next line, 'and I couldn't have done it without any of you. When Madame Tibideaux called me she said she wasn't offering me my place solely because of my talent or my dedication, as millions of other people could easily replace me if that was all it was, but because of my heart and for friends that spoke up for me. I know Tina is a major reason why I got my NYDA place, but you all played a part. I've come to love each and every one of you as crazy as it seems…even you Santana. Truth is you put up with my diva ways, you brought me back down to earth when I got too big headed, you included me in things and you helped me to see that my heart and my emotions are part of what makes me a star, just as much as my dedication and my passion and my sheer determination. So thank you, and know that I'm going to be on Broadway some day and win a Tony award, and when I do the people I'll have to thank will be you and I hope each and every one of you is in the audience to hear it.'

She finished her speech to a round of applause, noting that Quinn, Kurt and Tina had tears in their eyes. And then before any of them really knew it they were all engulfed into a glee group hug,

After they broke apart Rachel grabbed Tina pulling her to a corner to give her her own personal thank you. She told her she'd never be able to fully repay her for convincing her to seek out Carmen Tibideaux herself, or for going with her, or for speaking up for her talent when they got there. But Tina assured her she didn't need repaying; she just needed Rachel to remember her when she was a big star.

'You bet your life on it.' She said as she hugged the younger girl.

About an hour later everyone was leaving to go get pancakes and check out a local band in concert.

'You coming Rach?' Finn asked putting his arm around her.

'Can you give me an hour or so? I'll meet you there…I just have something I need to do first.'

'Sure.' He said leaning down and kissing her, before going to re-join the other.

She took one long deep breath to steady herself. She had one more person to go and see, one more thank you to give, she just had no idea how she could ever truly give it to him….how she could make him see what a truly wonderful thing he'd done for her.

Rachel stood outside the doors leading to the Carmel High Auditorium and tried to steady her beating heart. She knew without a doubt that that was where she'd find him, probably at the piano. He was, if nothing else, her male alter ego.

Although she was nervous about this meeting she knew it had to be done, she would never be able to live with herself if she went to New York knowing what he did for her but never acknowledging that fact to him. So she pulled open the door slowly.

As she predicted he was at the piano playing, singing something she didn't recognise, and he didn't seem to be aware that he was no longer alone. He carried on with the melody.

She couldn't help being struck by how beautiful the lyrics seemed to be as he played.

'Before I close the chapter to your name

There's a couple things I never got to say

Your eyes are wonderful

And your smile is too

Your laughs contagious

And your heart is true

There's beauty in your touch

And your kiss is love – '

'Jesse' she cut across his playing. As much as Rachel wanted to hear more of the beautiful ballad she didn't have that much time, and the longer she stood there listening to him play the more she wondered about what she was really going to say and felt her resolve falling.

He stopped instantly and turned towards her.

'Rachel, what are you doing here?' he questioned.

She smiled and said, 'I got a call a couple of days ago….I got into NYDA.'

For a split second Jesse's face conveyed the pure joy he felt for her, before he plastered back on his game face.

'Oh what and you thought you'd come all the way to Carmel just to share that? Is your life really that void of meaningful relationships Rachel that I'm the person you wanted to share that news with?'

He was a good actor that was for sure, he genuinely seemed to be trying to goad her because of dislike or some other emotion. But Rachel new better, and she was perceptive, she saw the split second look of delight – others might miss it it had come and gone that fast, but she saw it.

'No actually I thought I'd come and thank you.' She replied, totally un-phased by his reaction.

Jesse got up from the piano and walked over to some sheet music on the far corner of the stage, a clever move to keep his back to her, and spoke as he did so, 'Thank me for what? I didn't do anything Rach…in case you missed the bulletin I am not in charge of admissions at NYDA. Although I would agree that your talent was merely mediocre until you met me and I managed to bring a certain amount of polish to your performances. '

Rachel merely rolled her eyes at his back before responding, 'Well it turns out Carmen was impressed by my ability to stir people's emotions. She was particularly struck by the fact that not only did Tina speak for me, but that someone who'd auditioned for her two years ago would chase after her at Nationals to convince her not of his own talent, but of mine.'

'I don't know what you're on about Rachel.' Jesse said, but the way the muscles in his back tensed a little gave him away.

'Jesse' Rachel said stepping forward to put a hand on his back and turn him to face her, 'why won't you just admit that it was you? I know it wasn't anyone else….' She said stubbornly.

'Fine' he finally said, looking into her eyes as he did so, 'it was me.' He admitted

Rachel smiled at him and nodded her head before asking the question that had been bugging her since she found out about what he did.

'Why did you do it Jesse?'

'Because I believe in you and I always have.' He ran his fingers through is hair, a clear sign he was nervous, before he asked 'do you remember when I told you I wanted to make all your dreams come true?'

Rachel nodded wordlessly. It was the kind of thing that is hard to forget.

'Well that was true, and it still is. I was just making sure I did whatever I could to help you achieve those dreams Rachel.'

'Jesse' she said, unsure of how to take his admission. But she stepped forward and hugged him tightly before whispering 'thank you.'

He pulled away and smiled at her ruefully. Rachel looked down, she wasn't sure that asking the next question would be smart, but she had to know.

'Why do you still want to make my dreams come true Jesse, apart from just believing in me?'

'I care about you Rachel and I probably always will and I want you to succeed. Plus if you can't make it than no one can…I need to know you are on your way to stardom or what hope do I have? What hope do any of us have if you can't make it? And I think the world would be missing out if they were denied the talent of Rachel Berry.'

'Jesse…I….I'll always care about you too. I love Finn, I really do, but what there was between the two of us, whether it was real or not, it doesn't really matter because at the end of the day you got me, in a way no one else ever has. What I have with Finn, I know it is real, but what I had with you – that was different to anything I'll ever have again. You'll always understand a part of me that other people don't get and you'll always be with me Jesse, in my heart, whenever I'm on stage performing there will be a little piece of you inside of me making me great. Even after I'm married to Finn' Rachel choked out.

He merely nodded sadly. He hadn't really expected any different. She was marrying Finn, of course she loved him. But still, he'd take what he could get.

'I hope he makes you happy.' He said after a few seconds on silence.

This time it was Rachel's turned to cry and nod. Before she took a long breath and asked, 'so what is next for you? Are you going to coach Vocal Adrenaline for another year?'

Jesse laughed before answering, 'No they asked me too but it's not where my heart is and I've out grown Vocal Adrenaline. I'll always be grateful for what it gave me, but I can't help thinking I'm destined for bigger things.'

'I'm inclined to agree' said Rachel smiling, 'so what's the plan?'

'I'm not sure yet. I'm thinking about London though…you can take Broadway and I'll take the West End–'

'And between us we'll rule theatre land?' Rachel cut over, causing both of them to laugh.

'Something like that.' Jesse said as he put an arm around her.

'Thank you Jesse. Really, what you did for me it was more than anyone else has ever done for me. If there is ever anything I can do for you to repay you, just let me know.'

'Well there is one thing?'


'Sing with me' he said, picking up a piece of sheet music and handing it to her. She smiled sadly as she saw the song, bittersweet indeed she thought as she saw it.

As the ballad started Rachel couldn't help the soulful glances she shot Jesse's way. Yes a part of her would always carry him with her.

Summer after high school, when we first met

We'd make out in your Mustang to Radiohead

And on my 18th Birthday

We got matching tattoos

He smiled at her before he started in on the song too

Grabbed a bunch of blankets

And climbed to the roof

We'd talk about our future

like we had a clue

Never planned that one day

I'd be losing you

And in another life,

I would be your girl

We'd keep for our promises

Be us against the world

And in other life,

I would make you stay

So I don't have to say

You were the one that got away

The one that got away

I was June and you were my Johnny Cash

Never one without the other

We made a pact

Sometimes when I miss you,

I put those records on

Someone said you had your tattoo removed

I saw you downtown singing the blues

It's time to face the music

I'm no longer your muse

And in another life

You would be my girl

We'd keep full our promises

Be us against the world

And in another life,

I would make you stay

So I don't have to say

You were the one that got away

The one that got away

The one

The one

The one

That got away

All this money can't buy me a time machine (Noo)

Can't replace you with a million rings (Noo)

Shoulda told you what you meant to me (Whoa)

Cause now I pay the price

Their eyes met again for the final chorus and Rachel felt something pull tightly in her chest.

And in another life,

I would be your girl (You would be my girl)

We'd keep for our promises

Be us against the world

And in another life,

I would make you stay

So I don't have to say

You were the one that got away

The one that got away

The one (away)

The one

The one

The one that got away

As the final bar of music hummed to a finish Rachel turned to face Jesse, smiling sadly at him.

'Don't be sad Rach' Jesse said, 'You're going to do amazing things and the world doesn't stand a chance. Remember I'm with you…and I promise now no matter where I am or what is going on in my life I won't miss your first opening night on Broadway. No matter what piece of rubbish you are playing the chorus line in. And then I'll be there when you play Eva Peron, Funny Girl and Laurey in Oklahoma. No matter what our history is, I'm rooting for you. And remember you singing 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina' in front of a sold-out crowd is not a fantasy. It's an inevitability.'

Rachel laughed at the memory despite the tears she hadn't realised were falling. And Jesse smiled.

'Come here' he said as he pulled her in for one last hug.

'The one that got away huh?' she whispered as she closed her eyes against the emotions crashing over her.

'Yeah the one that got away.' He whispered back.

She pulled back and looked at him before her eyes met his fiercely.

'A part of me loves you Jesse and it always will.' She whispered before she leaned in and kissed him softly on the lips. Nothing more than that, a chaste, perfect, last kiss.

Before she turned and ran out of the auditorium, tears falling.

Jesse was left standing there with a hand on his lips where she'd kissed them and huge pain in his chest. Rachel was and always would be the only girl he really, truly loved. She was the only thing worth giving up his own opportunities for – and he had no regrets for chasing after Carmen for her. He didn't even regret being so civil to Finn Hudson. If he was who Rachel was going to choose, then he wasn't going to upset her or give Finn the satisfaction of knowing how much it hurt him.

Deep down he thought Rachel was making a mistake with Finn. Of course he did, aside from the fact she was 18 and had such a bright future ahead of her, he knew she would never truly quite reach all her potential if she stayed with him. He would hold her back, unintentionally no doubt, but he still would. But it was Rachel's life and Jesse wanted all her dreams to come true, if marrying Finn Hudson was one of those then it wasn't his place to get in the way of that.

He sighed as he sat back down at the piano and played a couple of the keys absentmindedly, 'the one that got away' he murmured.