A/N: Thought of this one night while I was about to fall asleep and had to write the story! It's A/U with Finn never having joined Glee. It's senior year at McKinley and preparations are underway for the winter musical when Finn finds himself getting into trouble. It might remind you a little of one of my favorite movies‼ Warning: Puck is a total asshole in this story. Someone had to be. Finchel all the way :)

And please leave a review so I know how I'm doing! You can even tweet me a review if you'd like (my Twitter name is singntheshower). Thanks so much for reading.

Don't Fall For Me

Thirty seconds. That's how much longer Finn needed to climb out the window without being seen.

Finn knew this whole thing was a completely stupid idea, but he totally did it anyway. And why is that? Oh, right. Because he didn't have the guts to stand up for himself and tell Puck that breaking into the school and stealing all of the toilet paper was a dumb prank. First of all, Finn was pretty sure that breaking in somewhere was illegal, even if you went to school there. And secondly, there were too many bathrooms and too much toilet paper to get in and out quickly.

Which is why Finn got caught trying to squeeze back through the window with the rest of the toilet paper.

Puck didn't get caught because he left Finn high and dry when they heard someone coming. Finn kind of understood since Puck was one incident away from spending some time in jail since he was finally 18.

But still, Finn was starting to regret forgiving Puck for sleeping with his ex-girlfriend, Quinn Fabray, and getting her pregnant during sophomore year. Yeah, it took Finn a while to forgive him, but they had been friends since the fifth grade; he couldn't hate Puck forever.

But as he sat in Mr. Schuester's office after being caught with half of his body out the window, he was convinced that kicking Puck's ass should be payback enough.

Mr. Schu, the Spanish teacher, sat across from Finn, looking like he was trying to think of something to say.

"Um, Buenos Nachos, Mr. Schu," Finn said, trying to break the ice.

Mr. Schu chuckled. "It's Buenos Noches, Finn. But you don't have to speak Spanish to me if you're not in class," he said.

"Cool," Finn said, smirking slightly. "That's all I can remember anyway." Mr. Schu shook his head.

"We need to discuss your punishment, Finn," Mr. Schu said, sitting forward and bringing his hands in front of himself.

Finn scrambled to think of something to say. "Well, can't you just, like, let me off with a warning or something?"

"Sorry, Finn, but it's not that simple. You broke the law tonight by breaking and entering and stealing," Mr. Schu said.

Finn huffed and sat back in the chair. "Fine, but can you just not tell my mom? She'll kill me," he pleaded.

"That depends on if you follow through with your punishment or not," Mr. Schu replied.

"Deal," Finn said quickly. "I'll do it. Whatever it is."

"Well, I'm glad to hear that. And I'd like to welcome you to the Drama Club to work for the winter musical, West Side Story," Mr. Schu said with a smile.

Finn's jaw dropped. "What?" he choked. "I thought you were talking about detention or something like that. I can't work on the musical, Mr. Schu."

"Well, since I'm the one that caught you, I'm the one coming up with the punishment. Unless you want me to inform Figgins of your actions in the morning," Mr. Schu said. Finn huffed and Mr. Schu took that as him giving in. "It won't be too terrible, Finn. We're short on stage crew members as it is and we could really use someone like you. Plus, your brother is trying out tomorrow…"

"Stepbrother," Finn corrected reflexively.

"Sorry, stepbrother. Kurt's trying out tomorrow and this could be a great chance for the two of you to bond over something," Mr. Schu said.

"But what about football?" Finn asked. "We have practice every day."

"Until four thirty. We don't meet for the musical until five," Mr. Schu said with a smile.

Finn thought carefully for a few moments, so as to not offend his teacher. "I don't wanna sound like a total douche, but guys like me can't be in musicals, Mr. Schu. The guys on the football team are usually the ones that make fun of kids that walk around singing show tunes and stuff," he said.

"You're worried about your reputation?" Mr. Schu asked with an eyebrow raised.

"Well… yeah," Finn admitted.

Mr. Schu took a deep breath. "I think it's about time that you stop caring about what people think of you, Finn. You're a senior. You'll be graduating before you know it. Hopefully, you'll get out of this town and do something great with your life. And when you do that, the things people in high school thought about you won't matter," Mr. Schu said. "We could really use you, Finn. And I think being a part of something like this could be good for you."

Finn thought for a moment. He figured it couldn't be that bad, right? He'd be, like, painting sets and stuff and lifting heavy crap. That was kind of a manly thing to do. And if Puck wanted to be an ass about it, he could threaten to tell Figgins that Puck was helping with the prank gone wrong.

Yeah. It won't be so bad.

"I'm in, Mr. Schu," Finn said, nodding.

"I'm glad to see you taking responsibility for your actions, Finn," Mr. Schu said with a smile. "Tryouts for the musical are tomorrow. I'll see you at five and we'll get started."

Finn smiled a tiny smile, not too excited about this punishment. He got up out of the chair. "See you tomorrow, Mr. Schu. And thanks for not calling the cops on me."

Mr. Schu laughed. "I figured you'd be more helpful to us working on the play rather than in jail," he said.

Finn smiled a bit more before walking out of Mr. Schu's office. He couldn't help but feel like Mr. Schu was kind of using him. What was that word?... Oh yeah, blackmail. Finn felt like he was being blackmailed.

But he'd totally rather be blackmailed than be sitting in jail.


One minute. That's how long it took Finn to explain to Puck what happened in Mr. Schuester's office the previous night.

"You've gotta be fucking kidding me!" Puck laughed as they walked off the field after practice the next day.

"I wish I was," Finn mumbled.

"Damn. I'm glad I didn't get busted. I'd rather be in jail than in the damn Drama Club," Puck decided.

"I'm not in the musical, really. I'll just be painting and lifting heavy stuff," Finn said.

"Still. Do you know that all the other guys are gonna give you so much shit for this?" Puck chuckled.

"No they won't since you're not telling them about it," Finn replied.

"And why am I not sharing this funny shit with the team?" Puck asked.

"Let's just say that if you do, I'll tell Mr. Schu that I wasn't alone last night. That's like your tenth strike, right? You still wanna graduate?" Finn asked with a smirk.

"Low blow," Puck complained, punching Finn in the shoulder. "Since when are you such an asshole?"

"I've been friends with you for too long," Finn replied.

"You have a point," Puck stated. "Fine. I won't tell. But I'll still give you shit for it." Finn shook his head in annoyance.

Finn sat in the locker room after all the other guys left, doing homework. Usually "Finn" and "doing homework" weren't in the same sentence unless "isn't" was in between them. But it really hit him that it was senior year and he did want to graduate and get the hell out of Lima. And if that meant he had to do his math homework, he would.

He kept an eye on the clock, not wanting to be late for his punishment with Mr. Schu. Needless to say, he wasn't too happy about it.

At five until five, Finn packed up his backpack, glad that he had actually finished some homework for once. One less thing to worry about today.

He walked to the auditorium and saw Mr. Schu sitting by a table thing with a desk lamp on. Finn walked down the aisle a bit nervously, wondering what was going to happen his first day working on the musical.

"Hey, Mr. Schu," Finn said, stopping next to the table.

"I'm glad you showed, Finn," Mr. Schu said, looking up at him.

"Well, I didn't really have a choice, I guess," Finn said with a shrug. "So what do you want me to do?"

"You've seen West Side Story in English class, correct?" Mr. Schu asked.

Finn thought for a moment. "Parts of it," Finn said, shifting his weight to his other foot awkwardly. "I fell asleep a couple times, honestly."

"I'll be sure to not tell your teacher that," Mr. Schu said with a chuckle. "Well, since you've seen some of it, I think you can start your first day by helping me choose who's going to be in the musical. We don't really have anything else to do for now. The wood for the set pieces won't be delivered until next week."

"Um, okay," Finn replied. He set his backpack down and sat in the chair next to Mr. Schu. "So do I have to be like that mean dude that was on American Idol or something?"

"No, Finn. I can do all the talking if you want. I just want some input on who would be the perfect fit for the parts," Mr. Schu said.

Finn nodded and waited for the first person to come onto the stage.


One hour. That's how long Finn sat there before he started to get incredibly bored.

He sat there while Kurt and Kurt's boyfriend, Blaine, auditioned. They were really good, but most of the other people were either okay or sucked. Finn started doodling on the side of a piece of paper that Mr. Schu had given him to write down his notes. He knew that Kurt wanted the main role of Tony, but Blaine kind of fit the role better. Kurt did write down his other choice for a role and Finn thought he'd be great at it.

The problem was that they still hadn't found the perfect Maria. Someone named Mercedes Jones auditioned. She was great. Like, really good, but she didn't seem to fit the role. Another girl named Tina tried out. She was good, too, but she couldn't quite hit the last note of her audition song. Now, Finn was no professional, but if he could pick out if someone couldn't hit a note, then it must have been obvious.

"Last one. Let's hope she's good," Mr. Schu murmured, his hand covering the microphone.

Finn nodded enthusiastically. They both turned and looked toward the stage when they heard the sound of footsteps walking across the stage. Finn was a little taken aback. He had seen this girl around school, but he didn't remember her being so pretty. She was wearing a simple yellow dress with some black shoes. Her legs were practically endless and Finn couldn't help but stare at them.

"My name is Rachel Berry and I will be auditioning for the role of Maria," she said in a clear, pretty voice. Finn hoped that she sang as prettily as she talked. Her eyes locked with Finn's for a moment and he felt a smile spread across his face automatically. The same happened to Rachel.

"We're ready whenever you are, Rachel," Mr. Schu said into the microphone. She signaled the band to play. Then, she started singing.

Tonight, tonight, it all began tonight…

Those were the only words that Finn registered as he became totally and completely lost in her voice. It was the most incredible voice he'd ever heard in his life. No doubt about it. She changed notes effortlessly, making the song look like it was a piece of cake, which Finn knew it wasn't.

As she sang the song, he even though that she looked perfect while singing the song. This was her role. Almost like she was born to play this part. Hell, it looked and sounded like she was meant to be on stage.

He was finally able to focus on the song once she hit the final note flawlessly.

"That was great, Rachel," Mr. Schu said. "I'll be posting the cast list tomorrow morning. If you get a role, the first meeting starts tomorrow at five."

Rachel smiled widely, making Finn stare. She was just… gorgeous. "Thank you, Mr. Schuester," she said before walking off the stage and walking out the side door.

"What did you think?" Mr. Schu, asked, turning to Finn.

Finn was still staring at the door where Rachel exited. "She was perfect," Finn murmured. Mr. Schu laughed, snapping Finn out of his daze. "For the role, I mean. Perfect for the role."

"I was thinking the same thing," Mr. Schu said with a smile. "Now, I think that our perfect Tony would be…"

Finn and Mr. Schu sat there, looking through their options. Now that he knew what kind of voices they had to work with, Finn was kind of getting a little excited about working on the musical. He wouldn't tell anyone else about that, though.


A minute and a half. That's how long it took Finn to walk from Mr. Schu's office to the bulletin board by the auditorium.

Finn had the final cast list in his hand after Mr. Schuester asked him to post it. He spent the night refusing to tell Kurt who got what role, saying that it wasn't fair if he knew before everyone else. Kurt wasn't too happy about it, but after an hour of Finn refusing to say anything, Kurt stomped out of his room.

He did get some information about Rachel Berry from Kurt though; apparently she and Kurt were friends, which Finn didn't know at all. He also learned from Kurt that she wanted to be on Broadway more than anything. Rachel and Kurt were even going to apply to the same performing arts college in New York, NYADA.

Finn thought she'd have absolutely no problem getting in after seeing her audition for the musical.

There was a small group of people waiting in the hallway where the list was going to be posted. Finn felt kind of powerful, like he was holding their future in his hands or something. Then he remembered that it was just a high school musical. Regardless, he posted the list with a smile and backed away, looking at everyone's reactions.

Kurt looked slightly disappointed that he didn't get the role of Tony, but he congratulated Blaine for getting it. Mercedes and Tina had made it in the play, too. The only people that didn't make it were those who were really, really bad, like this one girl named Sugar.

But seriously, who named their kid Sugar?

Finn stood there and waited for Rachel to show up, wanting to see how she reacted to being cast as Maria. Everyone else except for Blaine and Kurt had already left. They were waiting for Rachel, too.

Finn looked up at the clock in the hallway. He had five minutes until he had to be in class.

"Maybe she's sick or something," Finn said, while leaning against the wall next to Blaine.

"Rachel Berry doesn't get sick," Kurt replied with a smirk.

"Oh," Finn said lamely.

"Why are you so interested anyway? You were asking about her last night and now it's like you're dying to see her now," Kurt said curiously. "You can go to class, you know."

Finn shrugged. "I'm helping with the musical. I feel like I'm a part of it, I guess. I just want to get to know who I'll be working with," Finn explained.

"Are you sure that's all it is?" Kurt asked with a raised eyebrow. Finn didn't respond. "Listen, I love Rachel Berry. I didn't at first, but she kind of grows on you… She's very driven and annoying, but talented… Basically, she's a lot to handle, but once you're her friend, she'll be nothing but kind. Unless you're trying to steal her role, of course," Kurt laughed.

"And why are you telling me this?" Finn asked.

"You were asking me about her a lot last night, Finn. I'm not an idiot," Kurt replied.

"I didn't say you were an idiot, but you're acting like I like her or something," Finn replied quietly.

"Finn, it's painfully obvious when you're-"

They all then looked up as they heard someone running down the hallway toward them.

It was Rachel. Her white sweater was stained in red and she still had bits of ice in her hair. Finn and the others knew the telltale signs of being slushied.

"I cleaned up as best as I could!" she panted before turning to the list. Finn watched with an amused smirk as she clasped her hands to her mouth and squealed, jumping up and down in happiness.

"Are you really that surprised, Rachel?" Blaine asked amusedly.

She stopped jumping and turned toward them with a smile. "Surprised, no. Elated that my talents are finally being appreciated by the individuals in this establishment? Yes!" she squealed excitedly. Finn couldn't help but chuckle.

"Well, Miss Berry, I am honored to have you as the Maria to my Tony," Blaine said with a smile.

"As you should be. I am also very honored to be sharing the stage with you, Mr. Anderson," Rachel replied with that incredible smile that Finn was starting to love seeing. "Now, I hate to cut this celebration short, but as you can see, I still have some slushie that needs to be attended to."

"See you at rehearsal, Rachel," Kurt replied. Rachel waved to all of them, including Finn, before walking back down the hallway.

"Kurt, I think it's safe to say that someone has a crush on our little diva-in-training," Blaine said, looking pointedly at Finn. Kurt's gaze followed his.

"Looks that way, doesn't it?" Kurt replied with an amused smile.

Finn continued staring at Rachel until he lost her in the crowded hallway, unaware of Kurt and Blaine's comments. The ringing of the bell startled him.

With a rushed goodbye, Finn made his way to class.


Two and a half hours. That's how long football practice usually lasted every day.

Finn never in a million years would have admitted this to Puck or anyone else on his football team, but he was really hoping that football practice would pass quickly so he could get to Drama Club. He couldn't explain why, but he wanted to see Rachel again. She was just so pretty and had amazing legs and seemed really happy and had an incredible voice…

But he didn't like her. You couldn't like someone you don't know, right?

He needed to get to know her better. He wanted to know the girl behind the voice.

Then he remembered that she was pretty close to the bottom of the high school food chain. Hell, she had been slushied before school even started.

But did something like that matter?

It shouldn't matter.

And plus, Mr. Schu said that he would be graduating soon and that what other people think shouldn't stop him from doing something.

That was that. He was going to get to know Rachel Berry.

It's not like the football team was going to be at Drama Club meetings anyway.

He got to the auditorium a few minutes early and saw Mr. Schu sitting there with tons of paper in his hands. Some of the other members of the newly formed Drama Club were there as well, sitting in the first few rows of the auditorium seats, waiting for the meeting to start.

"Finn!" Mr. Schu said, spotting Finn. "Here, help me pass these out. Each cast member gets one of the scripts and one copy of all the musical numbers. The stage crew just gets the script to learn the cues."

"Sounds good," Finn said, grabbing some of the huge pile of scripts and music sheets from Mr. Schu. Finn went from person to person, passing out the necessary papers. During this, Kurt, Blaine, and Rachel came in with a few minutes to spare. Finn handed them their scripts and music, smiling at Rachel as he did so. She smiled back timidly, wondering why he was being so nice to her.

"Let's get started," Mr. Schu said, clapping his hands. Finn walked to aisle where Rachel, Kurt, and Blaine were sitting.

"Can I sit here?" he asked Rachel, pointing to the empty seat next to her.

"Sure," Rachel said slightly shyly. First, he was being nice to her and now, out of all the empty seats in the auditorium, he chose to sit by her? He was certainly strange in her opinion.

Finn took his seat and tried to pay attention to Mr. Schu instead of the girl next to him. He wished he could start talking to her, but her focus wouldn't leave Mr. Schu. She was the female lead, after all.

Mr. Schu wanted to work on the large group number first, not needing Blaine and Rachel for this number. Kurt also wasn't needed, so Mr. Schu told them to start running lines.

"He's all mine, Rachel," Kurt said, pulling Blaine away from Rachel.

Rachel glared at him as he walked away before looking back down at her script, flipping through the pages.

"I can run lines with you if you want," Finn said from next to her. Rachel's head snapped up and she looked at Finn in surprise.

"That would be lovely," she said after a moment. "But why?"

Finn shrugged. "You need someone to run lines with. I can't work on the sets until next week, so I don't really have anything to do," he explained.

"Why are you being nice to me?" she asked, still confused.

"Why wouldn't I be nice to you?" he countered.

It was Rachel's turn to shrug. "The members of the football team are usually the ones to slushie me or call me obscene names or draw pornographic images of me, not offer to help me," she stated.

"Well, I'm different from the other guys," Finn said with a small smile. Rachel smiled a little in return.

"I would appreciate your help, Finn. Thank you," she replied. Finn then looked confused.

"How do you know my name?" he asked.

"Everyone knows the name of the quarterback of the football team. And we've had some classes together. And your stepbrother happens to be my closest friend," she replied.

"Oh," Finn said lamely.

"So," Rachel said, looking down at the script. "This looks very close to the original script, except for shorter, of course. Good thing I've been practicing for the part of Maria since I was five."

"You already know the lines?" Finn asked, looking and sounding impressed.

"Of course I do," she replied. "Maria is on my dream list of Broadway roles. I'll still need to run through the script to help myself become familiar with the emotions I must portray again."

"So you know all of the songs, too?" Finn asked with an amused smile.

"Absolutely," Rachel replied, looking at him with a smile.


A week. That's how long Finn had been in Drama Club when he found himself working with Rachel again on her lines.

Sure, being able to use power tools was pretty cool, but Finn preferred hanging out with Rachel. He had already started building the sets with some help from the other stage crew members, but they had to wait until after Mr. Schu was finished using the stage before continuing to work on the larger set pieces again. That gave him some time to help Rachel some more, which he didn't mind in the slightest.

"You're a really good actor, Finn," Rachel commented after they worked through a Tony and Maria scene. "You should have auditioned for a role."

"Thanks, but being in musicals isn't really my thing," he replied.

"Then why in the world are you in Drama Club?" she asked, perplexed.

"Honestly… I got into some trouble. Mr. Schu said I could join Drama Club or get into more trouble," Finn said.

Rachel's face fell. "So you don't really want to be here then," she murmured, looking down at her script so that she didn't have to look at him.

"No," Finn said quickly. "I'm kind of enjoying myself. You're really great, Rachel. I'm actually having fun running lines with you and stuff. And I can't wait to hear you sing again."

"Thank you," she said, looking back up at him with a smile. "It's always nice to have one's talent appreciated." Finn smiled. They sat next to each other, listening to the others running through the "America" number.

"I think this show's gonna kick some ass," Finn said confidently.

"Of course it is. I'm your female lead," Rachel replied with a smile. A moment later, her smile faltered. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that. I'm really trying to work on my selfishness. What I should have said is all of us are going to make this production incredible."

"Don't worry about it, Rach," Finn said. Rachel smiled a little at the nickname. Finn didn't notice. "If I could sing and act like you do, I'd say the same thing. You're going to make it to Broadway. I'm sure of it."

Rachel looked at him with the widest smile. "That really means a lot to me, Finn. Thank you for saying that," she replied.

Finn shrugged. "I'm just being honest," he said nonchalantly.

"Well, you already know what I want to do with my life. What about you? Do you have any colleges picked out or anything yet?" she asked curiously.

Finn thought for a moment. "I just know that I want to get out of Lima. I don't really know what I'm good at yet or what I want to do with my life," Finn said.

"But what about football?" Rachel asked. "I've been to a few games. I don't know what's going on all of the time, but I do know that you've helped us to score points plenty of times." Finn laughed at her phrasing.

"Sure, I'm good, but I know that I'm not quite good enough for a football scholarship," he said. "I've already looked at my stats compared to some college players and mine just aren't that great."

"What else do you like to do?" she asked. "You have to have a dream of some kind, Finn."

"I like playing drums," he said with a smile. "Actually, I love playing drums. And I really like music."

"There is such a thing as a drum or percussion major. You could go to a school that focuses on music if you wanted to," she suggested.

"But why would I go to college to play drums?" Finn asked. "My mom wants me to be something that can actually make money."

"I don't mean to be forward, but it's not your mom's decision. It's your future and you should do what you love doing," she said like it was the simplest thing in the world. Finn looked at her and smiled. She really was different from everyone else.

"I teach drums during the summer. To make more money, you know," Finn said. "I like watching when the kids get something right. They just look so proud of themselves. It's pretty awesome."

Rachel looked into his eyes and he could have sworn that he saw them twinkle. "It sounds like you'd be an amazing music teacher to me," Rachel said. "And there's plenty of scholarships out there for people that want to teach." Finn looked down, thinking about what she said. "You don't have to make a decision now. Just think about it. But can you promise me something?"

Finn looked back up at her. "That depends on what it is…" he replied with a smirk.

"It's not much," Rachel said. "Just promise that you won't let others influence your decision. Do what you want and not what they expect you to do."

"I think I can promise that," he replied, nodding.

"Great," Rachel replied. "And for what it's worth, I'm glad that you got into trouble. It's nice knowing the real Finn Hudson and not the quarterback."

"I'm glad I got in trouble, too," Finn replied with a smile.

Finn might have to actually thank Puck for planning that stupid prank after all.


Thirty minutes. That's how much longer practice was until Mr. Schuester let them go for the night.

Finn personally couldn't wait to hear Rachel sing the song again. She stuck behind with Mr. Schu, discussing something. Finn made himself seem busy, too, telling Kurt and Blaine to go on and leave without him. Kurt and Blaine both gave him funny looks before leaving. Finn honestly didn't care.

He slung his backpack over his shoulder just as Rachel gathered her books.

"Rach," he said, walking up to her.

"Yes?" she replied, looking up at him. He kinda loved how he was so much taller than her. She was just all tiny and cute and stuff.

"Can I walk you to your car?" he asked. Rachel smiled widely.

"I'd like that," she replied. They walked out of the auditorium side by side, both of them smiling a bit.

"What were you talking to Mr. Schu about?" Finn asked.

"Oh, just some ideas I have about the blocking for the 'America' number," she said, shrugging. "I saw this one adaptation of West Side Story and their blocking for the number was stellar, so I recommended that we use some of the moves and positioning. Granted, their Maria was a little pitchy, but it was a good show."

"You'll have to explain pitch to me sometime," Finn said, laughing. "I'm not quite sure what that means."

"Most people have problems detecting the wrong pitch sometimes, but I was graced with perfect pitch, so it's quite easy for me," she replied.

"It's almost like the universe wanted you to be a performer," Finn laughed.

"I never thought of it that way," Rachel replied with a smile.

All too soon, they were at Rachel's silver car.

"I had fun today, Finn," Rachel said. "Thank you for helping me run lines again. And for listening to my incessant rambling."

"I can actually be a good listener when I pay attention," he replied with a smirk. "And I had fun, too." He looked at her and she looked at him. She suddenly felt nervous because of the look she saw in his eyes. Her expression changed from a friendly smile to one of uneasiness.

"Can you promise me something else, Finn?" she asked abruptly.

"That depends on what it is," he said, copying his words from before.

Rachel took a deep breath. "Just… try and promise that you won't fall in love with me," she said quickly, her cheeks reddening with embarrassment. Finn's jaw dropped open in shock.

"Wh-what?" he said, his mind not able to form a coherent thought.

Before she could explain herself, they were interrupted by someone laughing heartily.

"Like that could ever happen, Berry," someone said. Finn turned and Rachel looked up to see Puck there. "Sure, you're hot and shit, but no one in the world can put up with your crazy. Or your animal sweaters."

"Shut up, Noah," Rachel spat.

Puck rolled his eyes. "You really expect anyone to fall for you when you have the comebacks of a four year old?" he asked with a smirk. "And I'm glad to see that you brought other clothes with you. You should thank me for ruining that stupid bunny sweater you were wearing earlier." Rachel glared at him.

"Did you throw a slushie at her?" Finn asked, looking from Rachel's angry face to Puck's sneering one.

"Damn straight," Puck said, sounding proud of himself. Finn felt like punching him.

Finn took a deep breath. "What the hell are you doing here, Puck?" Finn asked.

"I was in the weight room. It takes work to look as good as I do," he said with a smirk. "Did your stupid Drama Club just now get out?"

"It's not stupid," Rachel replied with a glare.

"Tell her how stupid that shit is, Finn," Puck said. "Big fucking waste of time, right?"

Both Puck and Rachel looked at him expectantly, wanting him to side with them over the other.

"Yeah. Big waste of time," Finn mumbled. He peeked at Rachel and she looked hurt. He wished he could take the words back, but Puck was still standing there.

"Looks like it's time for me to go home," Rachel said stiffly. "Wouldn't want to waste your time anymore."

Finn opened his mouth to say something, but no words came out. With a glare, Rachel climbed in her car, slamming the door shut behind her. She started the engine and pulled out of her spot quickly, driving away.

"She's fucking crazy," Puck chuckled as she pulled onto the street. Without saying a word, Finn turned and headed to his truck. "We still on for Call of Duty later?" Puck asked.

"I'm busy," Finn replied over his shoulder. "Got homework."

"Since when do you do homework?" Puck asked.

"Since I actually want to graduate," Finn yelled behind him.

"Whatever. See you tomorrow then," Puck said. Instead of turning around, Finn just raised a hand in a semi-wave. Finn then got into his truck, slamming the door behind him. He drove away in a huff, pissed at himself.


Four hours. That's how much Finn slept that night since his head wouldn't shut up.

The next day, Finn looked for Rachel every time he was in the halls. Even though he was tall, it was pretty hard to spot someone as tiny as her in the crowded hallways. He needed to apologize and explain to her that he didn't mean what he said last night. The only reason he said it was because Puck was standing right there. Puck already said that he wouldn't tell the team, but Finn didn't really feel like listening to Puck laugh at him for being in Drama Club and actually enjoying it.

He had to find Rachel to explain this to her. She had to understand.

Between each class, Finn tried to find Rachel but never could. So, instead of sitting with the football team at lunch, he spotted Kurt and walked toward him.

"Finn! What brings you to this side of the cafeteria?" Kurt asked.

Kurt's table of friends – minus Rachel – looked up at Finn questioningly. Finn leaned toward Kurt and whispered to him.

"Where's Rachel?"

He watched as Kurt rolled his eyes. "Why should it matter to you?" Kurt asked with a frown. Finn guessed that Rachel had told Kurt what he said.

"Because it does. Where is she?" Finn asked, still staying quiet.

Kurt looked at him appraisingly. "She's in the auditorium. Practicing," Kurt said. "You better have an incredible apology planned, Finn. You really hurt her feelings."

Finn stood back up straight. "I'll fix it. Thanks, Kurt," Finn said with a small smile. He turned and left the cafeteria, ignoring Puck yelling for him.

When he entered the auditorium, Finn heard Rachel warming up her incredible voice. He couldn't stop the smile from spreading across his face.

He walked down the aisle, toward the stage where Rachel was sitting. He was almost to the stage when he tripped over his own feet, knocking into one of the auditorium seats. Rachel looked up and saw him catch himself. He steadied himself and looked up at Rachel who looked both surprised and a little angry.

"What are you doing here?" she asked, turning back to the piano.

"I, uh… I came here to apologize for yesterday," Finn said, walking up toward the stage and climbing the steps.

"You can apologize all you want, Finn. However, it would only matter to me if you actually meant what you said," Rachel said, still looking down at the piano.

"And what makes you think I would have spent the entire day trying to find you to apologize if I wasn't going to mean it?" Finn said, stopping at the side of the piano, facing her. He saw Rachel roll her eyes.

"And you also said yesterday that you enjoyed being in Drama Club and yet you denied that you said so when Puck was there. How am I supposed to know when you're telling the truth?" Rachel said, finally looking up at him.

"I'm telling the truth now," Finn said exasperatedly. "I'm having fun in Drama Club. And I also had fun hanging out with you yesterday. I only said that in front of Puck because he would totally give me shit for liking Drama Club."

"So you're acting like you're someone you're not only so you won't get made fun of?" Rachel asked. Finn looked away from her. She already knew his answer. "You can probably tell from last night that I'm made fun of every day just for being the person I am."

"That's stupid," Finn muttered.

"I agree. But you know what? I don't try and pretend that I'm someone else just so that everyone likes me," Rachel said. Finn suddenly felt like he was getting a lecture from his mom.

"It's not that easy, Rach-" Finn began.

"It is easy!" Rachel said loudly, startling both Finn and herself. "Being yourself should be the easiest thing to do. I wouldn't know, but I would think that pretending to be someone else every day is exhausting. Unless you're acting on a stage, of course."

"I don't really see the big deal here," Finn replied, finally looking up at her. "You know that I like being in Drama Club. That's all that matters."

"That's not all that matters," Rachel replied. "I sat here with you yesterday and every day this past week thinking that we could be friends, Finn. I actually saw something good in you. But then as soon as Puck showed up, you shoved me away."

"We can be friends, Rachel!" Finn replied. Rachel was quiet for a few moments before she looked up at him with hope written all over her face.

"You mean, like, secret friends?" she asked, smiling a bit.

Finn smiled in response. "Yeah. That would be awesome," he said enthusiastically. He was then confused when Rachel's smile turned into a glare.

"I refuse to be any kind of a friend with someone who doesn't have the guts to admit to others that we're friends," Rachel spat.

"But Rach-"

"You need to grow up, Finn," Rachel interrupted him. He was shocked to see tears forming in the corners of her eyes. "You need to realize that we're going to be in the real world soon. In the real world, you're going to need real friends, not those Neanderthals who make you pretend to be someone you're not. I could have been a real friend to you. I would never try to change you."

Before Finn could respond, Rachel stood up and marched away from the piano. He watched helplessly as she grabbed her bag and went out the stage door into the hallway. Finn huffed before taking a seat on the piano bench.

He knew that Rachel was right. Everything she said was right.

But Finn was so used to being Mr. Popular and getting what he wanted. High school was easy for him. All the guys wanted to be his friend and all the girls wanted to be his girlfriend. He had plans every weekend and could walk down the hallways without having to worry about being shoved into lockers or having slushies thrown in his face.

But was he really happy?

If he told Puck that he was thinking about teaching music, Puck would probably call him a pussy or some other cruel word. The rest of the football team would probably act the same way. But Rachel? She would be proud of him. She would support him. He hadn't known her that long, but she seemed big on the whole "follow your dreams" thing.

He knew that having a friend like her would be awesome.

Finn stood up quickly and went out the same door that Rachel did. He was surprised to see her leaning against the wall right outside of the auditorium.
"What are you doing?" Finn asked, slightly amused.

"I was going to go back inside in five minutes. I wanted to continue practicing," Rachel explained.

"Then why didn't you just ask me to leave?" Finn asked with a smile.

"Storming out has greater dramatic effect," Rachel murmured, making Finn laugh.

"You're kind of crazy, Rachel Berry," Finn chuckled. Instead of looking amused, Rachel glared at him before turning away from him and stopping down the hallway. "Shit," Finn murmured. This time, however, he followed her.

"Rach, I didn't mean it like that," he said, following her easily. His legs were longer, after all.

"Stop calling me 'Rach'! Nicknames are for friends and we aren't friends," she said over her shoulder, still stomping away.

"Rachel. Please just stop and talk to me," he pleaded. Rachel ignored his request and turned the corner. A determined Finn was right behind her. Finn turned the corner and was surprised to see six of his teammates standing in front of Rachel, including Puck, all holding slushies.

"What are you guys doing?" Finn asked.

"Isn't it obvious?" Puck asked. "Get out of the way, Hudson. It's time for Berry's slushie bath." Finn stepped up to Rachel's side and looked from her worried face to Puck's.

"Puck, why the hell are you doing this?" Finn asked.

Puck shrugged. "She's a loser, Hudson. That's the way it is," he replied.

"Just get out of the way, Finn," Rachel murmured. Finn ignored Rachel's comment.

"She's not a loser," Finn protested. "She's one of the few people that's actually going to get out of this shitty town and do something with her life."

"Now's not the time to start growing a vagina," Puck said. "Move or you'll get it, too."

"You'd really do that?" Finn asked. "I thought we were friends, dude."

"I say we just do it," one of Finn's teammates, Johnny, said. "Hanging out with losers makes you a loser, too."

"Finn and I aren't friends," Rachel protested. She dropped her bag to the floor and shoved Finn as hard as she could; she barely budged him. "Get out of here, Finn!"

"No. I'm done," Finn said in a dark voice. "Just throw the damn slushies already." Puck thought for a moment and then shrugged.

"If that's what you really want," he said. Then, he tossed the frozen beverage at Rachel's face. The five other guys aimed at either Finn or Rachel, covering the both of them in frozen slush.

Finn's eyes were burning so badly from the corn syrup that he didn't even see his teammates walk away. He ran a hand down his face, trying to wipe off some of the slushie so he could try and see.

"Kurt?" he heard Rachel say. He turned and squinted and saw that she was talking into her cell phone. "It was a slushie blitzkrieg… They got Finn, too… Thank you… The bathrooms by the auditorium… Bye." She tucked her phone back in her bag.

"Kurt's on his way. He's going to send Blaine into the locker room to get your things," Rachel explained.

"Cool. Thanks," Finn said, still wiping his eyes.

"Why did you do that?" Rachel asked in a small voice.

"Because you were right," Finn replied. "Obviously those guys weren't really my friends if they could do something like that to me." She surprised Finn by lunging forward and pulling him into a hug.

"I'm sorry," Rachel said into his chest.

"Don't be," Finn said, hugging her back. Moments later, she let go of him. Finn then started grabbing the larger chunks of ice off of his shoulders and throwing them on the floor.

He looked up in time to see Rachel grab a small rag out of her bag and hand it to him. "Thanks," he said, grabbing it. It was quiet for a few moments as the two of them tried to de-ice their hair. "Do you guys have a spot open at the lunch table for me?"

He looked at Rachel the same time she looked at him. "I think we can make room for you," she said with a smile.

"Friends?" Finn asked with a hopeful look on his face.

Rachel smiled more widely. "After that impressive display of chivalry, how can I say no?" she said.

"I'm guessing that's a good thing?" Finn asked.

Rachel nodded. "It's a very good thing," she replied.

Less than five minutes later, Blaine and Kurt came walking down the hallway, both carrying a bag. Finn smiled after seeing Blaine carrying a bright pink bag. He just knew that pink would be Rachel's favorite color. Finn then grabbed his bag from Kurt and with a hurried 'thank you' went into the bathroom. He remembered all the tips for cleaning up slushie that Rachel had told him with they were in the hallway.

By the time Finn was finished, he was late for class. However, that time that he spent cleaning the slushie out of his eyes and hair helped him to think about what he wanted and what really mattered. Finn decided that it was time for a change. He came to this conclusion thanks to a certain petite brunette. He planned on repaying her someday.


Ten minutes. That's how long the Hudson-Hummel family had been eating dinner in a comfortable silence.

Finn was wondering when would be the best time to bring up his decision. Thankfully, he didn't need to since Burt brought up the subject coincidentally.

"How's football practice going? You boys gonna bring the pain again this year?" Burt asked. Finn looked up at him and shrugged.

"I'm, uh, actually thinking of quitting the team," Finn said, looking back down at his plate, moving his peas around.

"What?" Burt said abruptly.

"Finn, honey, that's a big decision to make," Carole said, sounding worried. Finn looked up and saw that even Kurt looked shocked.

"What about college?" Burt asked.

Finn shrugged. "I don't want to play football in college," he said.

"Kid, you gotta think about your future. You can't just throw it away," Burt said.

Finn looked at him. "I'm not throwing away my future by not playing football," he said a little grumpily. "There's other things I can do, you know. And I'm not even that great at football."

"But sweetie, you love football," Carole said.

"It just… it doesn't make me happy anymore. And the guys on the team… they're not really my friends," Finn said quietly. He looked at Kurt, who shot him a look of sympathy.

"Well, what do you want to do then?" Burt asked.

"I'm in the Drama Club now. It's only been going on for, like, a week, but it's actually fun," Finn said. "And I have friends now." He thought of Rachel and smiled a bit.

"What about college?" Carole asked.

"My friend told me that I should do something that makes me happy and I'm happy when I'm playing the drums. And then I remembered how good it feels to teach all those kids during the summer…" Finn looked from his mom to Burt to Kurt. "I want to be a music teacher. I haven't picked any colleges out yet but Rachel told me that there are places that focus on music and I can be, like, a percussion major or something and then teach music in schools…"

Carole looked from Finn to Kurt. "Does he mean Rachel Berry?" she asked.

"The one and only," Kurt confirmed with a smile.

"I know you guys weren't expecting this, but Rachel said that I need to make myself happy over anyone else and I really think this is something that I can be good at," Finn said quickly. It was quiet for a moment.

"Well, I'm proud of you, kid," Burt said with a grin. "It's not what I was expecting, but I'm just glad you picked something, I guess."

"Maybe you can talk Rachel into helping you find a school since she's so influential," Carole said with a smile. She glanced at Kurt and her smile widened.

Finn nodded. "I'm sure she'll help me," he said.

They spent the rest of the dinner talking about their production of West Side Story, something Finn thought would never happen.

He was sitting in his room after dinner, staring at the ceiling instead of playing video games for once.

"Finn, can we talk?" he heard Kurt ask. Finn sat up and scooted up his bed.

"Yeah. Sure," he said, nodding toward his bed. Kurt daintily sat on the end of it. "What's up?" Finn asked.

"Well, first I wanted to warn you that since you're quitting football, you might want to carry around extra changes of clothes with you," Kurt said.

"Why?" Finn asked. Then, he remembered what happened that afternoon. "Oh, yeah. Slushies."

Kurt nodded but was quiet for a few moments. "Are you sure about this, Finn? Sometimes being like me and Rachel sucks," Kurt said.

Finn shrugged. "If you guys can handle it, so can I. I don't want to be on a team with people that aren't really my friends."

"So this has nothing to do with you wanting to get closer to Rachel?" Kurt asked.

Finn huffed. "It's not like that," Finn insisted. Kurt raised his eyebrow in disbelief. "It's not, Kurt. We're friends… I can't explain it, but I've known her for, like, a week and she's already helped me figure out what I want to do with my life. I just like being around her and stuff."

"That's what I wanted to talk to you about," Kurt said. "Rachel's… delicate. When it comes to dating at least. She hasn't had the easiest time with relationships." Finn stared at his comforter, taking in all of what Kurt was saying. "I just don't want you to get close to her and then hurt her. She only has a handful of friends… Well, mostly because she can be irritating."

"I wouldn't hurt her," Finn said in a quiet voice.

"If you did, I would totally disown you as a brother," Kurt said firmly. "Anyway… Just don't expect her to jump into a relationship with you or-"

"Will you stop it?" Finn begged loudly.

"I will not stop it," Kurt replied sharply. "I see the way you look at her, Finn. And you've been asking a lot about her this last week. She's lost faith in the guys at our school, so I don't know if she'd give you a chance anyway."

Finn's head snapped up. "Who has she dated that goes to our school? Do I know him? Is he taller than me?" Finn asked quickly, his eyes narrowing.

Kurt rolled his eyes. "Yeah. You totally don't have a thing for her," Kurt said. Finn glared at him. "And I wouldn't tell you anyway. That's not for me to share."

Finn took a deep breath and sat up straight, looking Kurt straight in the eye. "If I liked Rachel, which I'm not saying I do, I wouldn't treat her the same as the other assholes she might have dated," Finn said firmly. "You know me… But we're friends now and I'm okay with that."

"Just don't push her, Finn," Kurt said. "Rachel is the most stubborn person I've ever met. If she's mad at you, it will take you forever to gain her forgiveness. Or a grand, dramatic gesture… But if she loves you, even as a friend, it will take a lot for her to let you go."

Finn smirked. "You totally just sounded like a fortune cookie," he commented.

"See if I ever give you advice again," Kurt warned, getting up off the bed.

"I was kidding, Kurt," Finn replied. "Thanks."

"Don't say I never do anything for you," Kurt said with a smile as he walked out of the room.

Once Kurt was gone, Finn stretched out on his bed again, thinking about how things were going to change tomorrow.


Ten minutes. That's how long it took Finn to clean out his locker and take Coach Beiste his football gear that he wouldn't need anymore.

The locker room was empty as Finn cleaned his stuff out of his football locker. He came to school early so that the others wouldn't bother him about quitting the team. He had already talked to Coach Beiste and she was surprisingly okay with him quitting after he explained that football wasn't fun anymore. Plus, this totally gave a junior, Sam, the chance to step up and be quarterback. And he was actually really good. Maybe even better than Finn was.

After Finn's things were all cleared out, he went to his locker in the hallway and shoved everything inside.

After shutting the full locker, he remembered that he needed his Spanish book, so he had to pull everything back out again.

He shoved his book into his backpack and decided to go to homeroom early. He turned the corner and saw Rachel standing at her locker.

"Hey, Rach," Finn said with a grin as he walked toward her. Rachel looked slightly surprised but smiled when she saw that it was Finn.

"Good morning, Finn," she said happily. "What brings you here this early?" Finn came to a stop at the locker next to hers and leaned against it.

"I was cleaning out my football locker," he explained. "I quit the team." Rachel's head snapped up and she looked at him questioningly.

"Why did you quit?" she asked.

"A friend of mine told me that I should do things that I wanted to do and not what others expected me to do," Finn said with a smile.

"Well I'm sure this friend of yours didn't mean that you had to make such a drastic and dangerous choice overnight," Rachel said, shaking her head.

"Dangerous?" Finn chuckled.

"Yes. Dangerous," Rachel replied, looking up at him seriously. "Remember the teasing and bullying that Kurt went through last year?" Finn nodded. "I'd really hate to see that happen to someone else because of something I said."

"It wouldn't be your fault if something did happen," Finn said quickly. "Everything you said was right. You can't just give kickass advice and then back out," he teased, making Rachel laugh.

"How are you going to be spending your afternoons then?" Rachel asked.

Finn shrugged. "Maybe do some homework or something. I need to get my grades up," Finn replied.

Rachel looked up at him with a wide smile. "I'm an excellent tutor," she said.

"You would do that?" Finn asked.

"Of course. We're friends, Finn," Rachel replied, making Finn smile. "We can meet in the library right after school and work until Drama Club if you want."

And just like that, Finn now had a reason to see Rachel for at least an extra two hours every day.



Five minutes. That's how much time Finn had been doodling in his notebook in his Spanish class before a smack on the desk made him jump and mess up his goldfish drawing.

Finn looked up to see a pissed-looking Puck standing there.

"Did you seriously quit the fucking team?" Puck asked.

Finn replied with a nod.

"So we throw slushies at you and you act like a little bitch and quit the team?" Puck said with a glare.

"I'm not being a little bitch," Finn spat. "I didn't like playing anymore so I quit. It's as easy as that."

"I call bullshit," Puck replied. "This is because of your stupid little Drama Club, isn't it?"

"No," Finn replied. "I'm not playing football in college, so what's the point?"

"Because we're your teammates and you just fucking left us," Puck replied.

Finn shook his head. "You'll be fine without me. Sam's a good quarterback," Finn replied.

"I thought we were friends, dude," Puck said more quietly.

"Friends don't humiliate each other, Puck. They stand up for one another," Finn replied.

"God, you're turning into such a damn girl," Puck said, rolling his eyes. Finn ignored him. "If this is all because you wanna get in Berry's pants, it's not going to work. Already tried."

"You're lying," Finn accused, glaring at him.

Puck shrugged. "Ask her if you don't believe me," Puck replied. "For the record, her ass really is as great as it looks," he said more quietly, smirking.

"Don't talk about her like that," Finn hissed.

"Whatever, Finnessa," Puck replied. With that, Puck walked away, leaving Finn's mind reeling. He wondered if Rachel could really date Puck, the biggest asshole at McKinley.

Looks like Finn had some digging to do.


Five minutes. That's how long it took Finn to realize that everyone in the school knew that their quarterback had quit the team.

Literally the entire day was awkward for Finn. Everywhere he went, people would stare at him and whisper. His former football teammates weren't quite sure how to deal with the situation. Some of them would nod at Finn; others would glare. Mike was still being nice and even talked to Finn like nothing had happened. The only other person that seemed still cordial was Sam, the guy that was the new quarterback. They had always been buddies. Finn was pretty sure that Sam would have made a better friend than Puck.

Walking into the lunchroom was awkward as well because Finn had to walk right past the table of football players to get to where Rachel, Kurt, and others were sitting. He just kept his head down and walked quickly, avoiding any possible drama.

When he made it to Kurt's table, he breathed a sigh of relief.

"Nice to see you, Finn," Rachel said with a smile. "I saved you a seat," she said, motioning to the spot next to her.

"Thanks, Rach," Finn said with a smirk before sitting down with his tray of food. He looked up and recognized most of the people around the table; they were mostly people that had tried out for the musical.

"Finn, this is Mercedes, Tina, and Artie. You've seen them around Drama Club. You already know Blaine," Kurt said, pointing everyone out. Finn raised a hand and waved a little.
"Hey, guys," he said with a small smile.

"So, word's spread that the Drama Club stole you away from the football team," Kurt said with a laugh.

"Actually, I've been personally blamed for that," Rachel said with a giggle.

"How?" Finn asked.

"Your ex-teammates… well, mostly Noah, seems to think that you and I are now in some sort of relationship and that I offered to sleep with you," Rachel replied, the amused smile not leaving her face.

"Did he seriously say that?" Finn asked, his voice going flat. Rachel looked at him quickly.

"Don't go getting all upset. It's fine. I know that he's just regretting his actions from yesterday and is taking out his frustrations on me," Rachel stated calmly.

"He still shouldn't have said that," Finn muttered.

"It really didn't bother me, Finn. I honestly laughed in his face when he said that," Rachel replied.

"On the bright side, I haven't been slushied yet," Finn said with a small smile.

"That's great, but ninety percent of slushie incidents happen after lunch," Kurt said with a shrug.

Rachel leaned into his side. "Just remember those tips I gave you yesterday. You'll be fine," she said quietly. "But remember to close your eyes in enough time. That's the most important one."

"Thanks, Rach," Finn said with a smirk.


Half an hour. That's how long Finn sat at his new lunch table before he offered to walk Rachel to her locker after lunch under the pretense of asking her what the props of other productions of West Side Story looked like.

In actuality, he just wanted to make sure that no one else said anything to her about him quitting the football team.

"I've seen what you've done with the set pieces so far, Finn. They really look great," Rachel commented.

"Thanks. I just want to make sure nothing looks lame or anything," Finn replied with a shrug.

"Trust me, I'd let you know if it did," Rachel said with a smile. "But it all looks perfect so far." They both turned the corner at the same time and were surprised to see a small group of people converged by the lockers. As they walked closer, Finn realized whose locker it was.

"Isn't that yours?" he asked. He looked down in time to see Rachel nod.

"Excuse me," she said clearly to the group of people in her way. They all looked up at Rachel; some with sympathy and some with smiles. They then cleared a path to her locker.

Rachel gasped when she saw "Hudson's Slut" written on her locker. Finn looked around, trying to figure out who did it.

Rachel reached into her bag and pulled out a tissue, hoping that it would rub right off. She scrubbed and scrubbed with the little tissue, but the words remained.

"I think it's in permanent marker, Rach," Finn murmured. With jerky movements that Finn attributed to her being aggravated, Rachel opened her locker and switched her books out before slamming it shut. She then turned to the group that was still converged around her locker.

"Don't any of you have anything better to do?" she shouted. Some members of the group scurried away. A select few threw dirty looks at Rachel. Rachel huffed before storming down the hallway with Finn at her heels.

"Rach, I'm sorry," Finn said, easily keeping up with her.

"It's not your fault," she huffed. "You're not the one that crudely vandalized school property."

"I can't help but feel like it's my fault a little," Finn replied. "I mean… it was my name on the locker, you know."

"Just stop blaming yourself. For my sanity," Rachel huffed.

"Fine," Finn replied. "Where are we going?" he asked, still following Rachel.

"To see Principal Figgins," Rachel replied. "I refuse to have that demeaning phrase displayed on my locker."

When it was all said and done, Principal Figgins promised that Rachel's locker would be cleaned by the end of the school day. He couldn't really punish anyone without a witness, so the crime would go uncorrected. Finn got to watch Rachel storm out of the room again after Figgins said that. If he wasn't so pissed at whoever did this to Rachel, he would have been amused.


Two and a half hours. That's how long Finn had to wait to see Rachel again in the library after school.

"The janitor is just now getting around to cleaning that filth off of my locker," Rachel said with a sigh as she plopped into the seat in the library. Finn looked up from his math book, glad to see that she was still in the same outfit from before lunch. They both made it through the day without being slushied.

"Good thing the janitor has that good cleaning stuff. I mean, if it can work on some of the crap that we've spilled in the locker room, I'm pretty sure it can take off marker," Finn said with a smirk, making Rachel smile.

"Need any help with that?" she asked, leaning over the table, looking at his work.

"This might be, like, really shocking, but I think I've got it for now. I paid close attention today," Finn said, surprised the words came out of his mouth.

"That's great," Rachel replied enthusiastically. "If you need help, I'm here."

Over the course of their afternoon in the library, Finn began to notice things about Rachel.

For instance, a part of her was always moving. She would either tap her foot or her fingers on the table, almost like she had too much energy that was contained in a tiny space.

Her eyebrows also scrunched up in confusion when she didn't quite understand something.

There were also other times when she would randomly stare into space, like she was thinking about something that was out of her reach. Finn watched her eyes surreptitiously as they unfocused.

She had really pretty eyes.

"I can't believe I'm actually done with my homework," Finn said at four thirty.

"And I now have time to practice for the play over the weekend," Rachel said, smiling down at her English essay.

"It's Thursday, Rach. We still have class tomorrow," Finn replied.

"Oh, I know," she replied with a wave of her hand. "The teachers are kind enough to give me the work's week ahead of time. I like planning ahead."

"Wow. That's some motivation you've got," Finn replied with a chuckle.

"Well, you never know how much time you're going to have to finish something, so I like completing as much as I can," Rachel replied. "And don't worry. I'll still be in here tomorrow if you need help with your homework. I have an essay due in three weeks that I can start."

"Do you ever slow down?" Finn asked as he stuffed his books in his backpack.

"I don't like wasting time," she said simply.

"Well, we've got half an hour until practice. We can head to the auditorium and run your lines some more if you want," Finn offered.

"That would be great," Rachel replied.


An hour and forty five minutes. That's how long Finn and Rachel were in the library before they packed up their stuff to head to rehearsal.

"So, I heard a rumor about you today," Finn said as casually as possible as they walked toward the auditorium.

"It's probably false," Rachel said quickly. "You can't believe anything you hear from the people at this school."

"So you never had a thing with Puck?" Finn asked. Rachel's step faltered for a second.

"Where- Who told you that?" she asked quietly.

"Doesn't matter," Finn said with a shrug. "Is it true?"

"Does it matter?" Rachel asked.

"I'm just curious," Finn said honestly. It was true. The curiosity was killing him.

"It was a brief fling at the beginning of sophomore year," Rachel explained quickly. "It lasted no more than a week at most. And it didn't end pretty."

"What happened?" Finn asked.

"Let's just say that Noah can get a little handsy," Rachel replied. "He was taking things too far too fast. I ended it."

"Oh," Finn replied.

"But then he spread a vicious rumor that he had actually slept with me. Let's just say that people had some very mean things to say to me after that," she said.

"Sorry," Finn said quietly.

"Oh, don't be," Rachel said dismissively. "You obviously didn't know about it."

"That still sucks. People spreading rumors about you, I mean," Finn said. They finally reached the auditorium and Finn pulled the door open for Rachel, earning him a smile.
"I've definitely been through worse," Rachel said, picking up the conversation as they walked down the auditorium aisle. "I would ask you for stories about your exes, but I'm sorry to say that I already know about them."

"Yeah. Not my finest moment," Finn muttered, knowing instantly that she was talking about the whole Quinn and finding out the real baby daddy thing.

"I can honestly say that I felt sorry for you though," Rachel said. "I mean, most people get what they ask for, but you didn't deserve to be lied to like that."

Finn shrugged. "It was almost two years ago, you know? I'm kinda over it," he said.

"That's good to hear. Life's too short to let things drag you down," Rachel said. They made it to the front of the auditorium. Instead of taking a seat on the chairs, Rachel walked over to the center stairs and sat down. Finn took the auditorium seat in front of her.

"Do you always talk like that?" Finn asked.

"Like what?" Rachel replied in confusion.

"I don't know… You're just always talking about not wasting time and life being short and stuff," Finn said. Rachel looked down at her feet before looking back up at Finn.

"But it's true," she said, shrugging one shoulder. "Life is too short. I just like living while I can, you know?"

"You're, what? Like seventeen? Almost eighteen? You've got plenty of time left," Finn said with a smirk.

"You just… you never know," she said with a small smile. Finn then watched as she reached into her pink bag, pulling out her script. "Now, let's practice. My version of Maria must be perfect." With a chuckle, Finn pulled out his spare copy of the script.


Fifteen minutes. That's how long Kurt had to get to practice.

Kurt walked toward the auditorium Monday afternoon and stopped outside of the auditorium door that led to stage right. He froze when he heard a moan.

"Finn, it's not going to fit," he heard a voice that he instantly recognized as Rachel's.

"It has to," he heard Finn grunt in reply.

"I'm telling you, it's too big," Rachel huffed.

"Will you just stop? I know what I'm doing," Finn said.

"Oh, you do this a couple of times and suddenly you're an expert?" Rachel laughed breathlessly. Kurt's eyes widened. They couldn't be talking about sex! He stepped closer to the door, listening intently.

"Well, it's only your first time, so compared to you, I am an expert," Finn replied.

"It's not going to work. It's too big," Rachel replied moments later.

"Will you just let me focus? Please?" Finn asked. It was quiet for a few more moments.

"Finn! Be gentle!" he heard Rachel groan.

"I'm done being gentle," Finn huffed. Kurt's eyes widened even further. His stomach was also starting to twist uncomfortably. Didn't they know that it was almost time for practice?

"Ouch! Finn!" he heard Rachel moan loudly. "See? Now I'm bleeding! I told you to be careful!" With a heave of his stomach, Kurt ran away from the door, unable to listen to anymore.

Inside the auditorium, things were different than they sounded.

"I'm sorry, Rach," Finn said as he handed over a piece of cloth. "The wood beams just snapped into place last time." He was standing over the set piece as Rachel nursed a cut and bloody hand.

"Did you measure it before you tried fitting a piece that was obviously too big?" Rachel asked.

"Of course I measured it," Finn replied. "I did the same thing for the other three pieces."

"But did you measure twice?" Rachel asked.

"What?" Finn replied.

"You know, measure twice, cut once," Rachel said in a sing song voice. "That's the phrase, isn't it?"

Finn chuckled. "Yeah. That's it," he replied. "I'll check it again after practice."

"I can help if you want," she said. "But first, I need to stop at the nurse."

"Is the cut that bad?" Finn asked, stepping closer.

"I'm just a heavy bleeder," Rachel said. "I'll be right back. But if I happen to be late, can you tell Mr. Schu where I went?"

"Sure," Finn said, nodding. He crouched back down by the wooden set piece. "Sorry about your hand."

"It was an accident," Rachel said dismissively. "I'll be right back." Finn watched as she walked out of the room gracefully. Part of him was jealous, wondering why she walked out of the room like she was a bird while he had to lumber around like Frankenstein's monster.


Twenty minutes. That's how long Finn waited for Rachel to come back from the nurse.

By the time practice started, Rachel still wasn't back from the nurse. Finn explained to Mr. Schu what happened, and he understood. He did warn Finn that everyone had to wear safety gloves from now on though.

Finn did notice that Kurt was looking at him very strangely all through the beginning of practice. It was almost like he was glaring while being grossed out at the same time. Very weird.

Mr. Schu was helping the rest of the group run through dance moves when Rachel finally showed up.

"You good to go?" Finn asked, looking down at her heavily bandaged hand.

"Yes. I'm fine," she said with a smile and a nod.

"You two are looking quite chummy," Kurt said as he walked over with Blaine at his side.

"And what do you mean by that?" Rachel asked with a giggle.

"Oh, don't pretend like you don't know what I'm talking about," Kurt said, looking at Rachel with disbelief. "I thought that if you two finally got together that you would at least tell me."

"Wait. Who said we're together?" Finn asked, feeling confused.

"Oh, come on!" Kurt said only loud enough for them to hear. "I heard the two of you before practice."

"Kurt, can you just drop this?" Blaine asked, rolling his eyes.

"You heard the two of us what?" Rachel asked, just as confused as Finn.

Kurt was quiet for a moment. He looked around, making sure no one could overhear.

"I heard you two having sex," he said in a whisper.

Finn's eyes widened and Rachel laughed slightly hysterically.

"Well, if I was having sex then that's news to me," she said quietly.

"Me, too," Finn replied. "I'm pretty sure I'd remember having sex. And I don't remember that at all."

"See, Kurt? I told you," Blaine said, frowning at Kurt.

"Well, then…" Kurt said. "What were the two of you doing that suspiciously sounded like sex?"

"Dude, we were working on the set piece," Finn said.

"I have the injury to prove it," Rachel said, holding up her bandaged hand.

"Oh," Kurt said in a high pitched voice. "So that's what all the 'now I'm bleeding' was about." Finn and Rachel both blushed.

"I just can't believe that you thought I'd have my first time in a public place," Rachel said in a hurried whisper. "I'm not some harlot, Kurt."

Finn looked at Rachel in shock. "You're a virgin?" he asked in surprise. Rachel turned to look at him, her blush increasing.

"I don't see how that's anyone's business by my own," she said quickly. "Now, I'm going to go practice. I suggest the two of you do the same," she said, shooting a glare at Kurt and Blaine. Rachel then turned on her heel and marched away. Finn really loved when she did that.

"Sorry," Kurt murmured.

"Don't worry about it," Finn said with a shrug. "But seriously, dude. Lay off on the whole me and Rachel getting together thing. Not gonna happen." He clapped Kurt on the shoulder before walking away.

"Not yet," Kurt mumbled to himself determinedly.


Five minutes. That's how long it took Finn to convince Rachel that the bowling shoes always smelled funny and that they didn't' look good on anyone, so she had nothing to worry about.

"Are you sure this is safe? I mean, couldn't there be diseases in there or something?" Rachel asked, looking down at the bowling ball with concern.

"Nah," Finn said. "Ball sharing's all part of the fun. Take the pink one."

Almost the entire Drama Club, minus Mr. Schu, was enjoying Friday night at the bowling alley. They had been working on the musical for a month together, and things were really coming along. They had another month until the first show, and everyone was starting to freak out a bit. When Finn mentioned that he usually went bowling to relax, everyone else jumped on board.

When Rachel admitted that she had never been bowling before, Finn offered to pay for her and be her teammate. He wouldn't take no for an answer.

"Now what do I do?" Rachel asked, standing with the bowling ball dangling from her hand.

"Just line up with the lane," Finn said. He gently grabbed her shoulders and helped her move to the center. "Now, just throw it straight." He regretfully let go of Rachel.

They had gotten closer as friends over the last few weeks. It was great. Really great, but Finn just couldn't help but want more. And it seemed like Rachel wanted the same thing sometimes. But then, she'd find something else to change the subject or would constantly invite people into their conversations, almost like she was afraid of being alone with him. But sometimes when she leaned against him while laughing really hard at something goofy Finn said or did, he could just tell that she liked being close to him.

Finn couldn't help but chuckle as he watched Rachel's first throw head right into the gutter. She turned and frowned at him.

"Not bad for a first timer," Finn said with a smirk. "I'm pretty sure the three year old a few lanes down just got a strike though," he teased. Rachel looked offended but smiled. She then walked up to him and shoved him playfully.

"You're so mean to me sometimes," she said, shaking her head.

"Oh, you haven't seen him mean, Rachel," Kurt said from his seat. "You should see him whenever I mention his internet browser history to his mom." Finn turned quickly and glared at Kurt.

"Really, dude? You just had to bring that up, didn't you?" he asked gruffly.

"See?" Kurt said, pointing at Finn's glare. "That's him only being partially mean."

"Leave him alone, Kurt," Rachel chastised.

"I second that," Blaine said from the seat next to Kurt.


An hour and a half. That's how long it took Finn and Rachel to beat everyone else in bowling.

"I can't believe we won," Rachel said from the passenger's seat of Finn's truck.

"It's all because of you, Rach," Finn insisted.

"Oh, please," Rachel replied with a laugh. "I maybe hit seven pins over in one throw at most."

"You still managed to beat Kurt," Finn said.

"Well, that's true. But only because he was distracted by how terribly the shoes looked with his outfit," Rachel said with a smile.

"A win's a win," Finn laughed.

"It really was fun though," Rachel said. "I mean, I've never seen the club get along so well. It was a great idea."

"Thanks," Finn replied with a smirk. He then decided to go for it. Again. "Maybe next time it can just be me and you."

"Finn…" Rachel moaned.

"What did I do?" he asked.

"You know what you did," Rachel said, frowning at him.

"Well, I'm not gonna apologize for wanting to hang out with you, Rachel," Finn said, getting slightly frustrated.

"I'm just… not worth the effort," she said quietly. Finn looked over at her in shock before returning his attention to the road.

"What does that mean?" Finn asked incredulously.

"Nothing… You should just invest your time in someone else," she said with a shrug.

"But I like being around you," Finn insisted.

"And I love being around you, Finn," Rachel said firmly. "I just… I can't be in a relationship." Finn thought for a moment. It didn't take long for him to remember that someone as awesome as Rachel was totally worth waiting for.

"I can be patient," Finn insisted. Rachel groaned but didn't say anything else.

When he dropped her off at her house, she thanked him sweetly, like she always did. Finn watched as she walked into her house, wondering if Rachel knew how patient he really could be.


Two and a half weeks. That's how long it took Finn to realize that he was still kind of… epically failing on the whole "get Rachel to agree to go out with me" plan.

He tried subtly asking her. And then not so subtly asking her. In a moment of desperation, he even went to Kurt and asked for help.

"Just give her time, Finn," was all Kurt had to say. Finn rolled his eyes. At this rate, they'd be graduating before Finn could even get one date with Rachel.

No, it was only the beginning of November. They still had time. When Finn wasn't actively trying to ask Rachel out, she was helping him look for colleges. With Rachel's help in the library on their afternoons together, Finn managed to apply to at least thirty different schools all over the country. He was surprised that there really were actual scholarships out there for people that wanted to teach.

Finn even applied to a couple of colleges in New York. He figured hanging out with Kurt and Rachel in a new city would be kind of cool.

Sure, his grades weren't the best, but they really were improving. And Coach Beiste and Mr. Schu had already written some kickass letters of recommendation. Finn figured that there had to be at least one place that would want to accept him.

Rachel and Kurt had even made it past the first round of auditions for NYADA. Their live auditions were in the spring. Instead of "putting all of their eggs in one basket," as Rachel said, they applied to other colleges in New York as well. To Rachel, being in New York was all that mattered. The rest would fall into place.

At least that's what they hoped.

Finn was getting ready to leave for school when his phone went off.

Sick today. Kurt's getting my work. the message from Rachel read. Moments later, Kurt came into Finn's room.

"Did she tell you?" Kurt asked, looking completely shocked.

"Who, Rachel?" Finn asked. Kurt nodded. "Yeah. She said she's sick."

"I have known Rachel since freshman year. She hasn't so much as sneezed in front of me," Kurt said, still sounding surprised.

"Dude, chill. She's not superwoman. She can get a cold," Finn chuckled.

"It's still just strange," Kurt said. Finn rolled his eyes at Kurt being so overdramatic. It was cute when Rachel did that, but annoying when Kurt did.

Kurt already had plans with Blaine after school, so Finn offered to take Rachel her homework and check on her before Drama Club practice that evening.

"Tell your girlfriend I said hello!" Kurt teased as Finn walked away with Rachel's books in his hands. If Finn's hands weren't full, he would have totally flashed Kurt his middle finger.

Rachel texted Finn that the door was open right before he got to her place. Finn entered the house quietly, not needing to look around since he had been there before. Rachel's dads were actually pretty cool and stuff. Finn had even been over for dinner a few times and even watched a few hockey games with one of Rachel's dads.

He walked up to her room, which he had been in before to practice in. He knocked on her door gently. He had to strain to hear the weak "come in" that Rachel gave.

When he finally did enter the room, his eyes widened at the sight in front of him.

He wasn't trying to be mean, but Rachel looked terrible. She was paler than he'd ever seen her and looked more tired than Finn thought a person ever could. He was surprised that she even had the energy to send a text message.

"How you feelin'?" Finn asked in a quiet voice. He stepped further into her room and set her books down on her desk before taking a seat on the edge of her bed.

"Not so great," she admitted with a weak smile.

"What's wrong with you?" Finn asked. "I mean, this kind of looks worse than a cold, you know."

Rachel shrugged slightly. "It could be pneumonia or something. I'm not sure. My dad's taking me to the doctor's office tomorrow. He couldn't get off work on such short notice today," she said in a weak voice.

"You've been here by yourself?" Finn asked.

"I've just been sleeping. I wouldn't notice if someone was here with me or not," Rachel said with a small smile. Finn nodded.
"Is there anything I can get you?" he asked quietly.

Rachel shook her head. "I'm not feeling very hungry or anything. I'm fine," she insisted. "Can you please apologize to Mr. Schu for me today? I really hate missing practice."

"I'm pretty damn sure he'll understand, Rach. You look like you need some rest," Finn said.

"Is that your way of saying that I look like a mess?" Rachel asked with a small smile.

"You just look sick, Rach," Finn said with a smirk. "And you don't even need to worry about practicing. You already know all of your dance moves and lines and cues and everything. You could probably put on the show tomorrow if you wanted."

"Not feeling like this I couldn't," Rachel said with a small, weak laugh.

"Well, it's Wednesday. If I were you, I'd totally milk it and stay home until Monday," Finn said with a smile.

"Oh, there's no need to milk it. I probably won't feel better until Monday or so," Rachel said sadly.

"I'll bring you your work and stuff. You won't miss too much. I mean, we have the play and then Thanksgiving Break anyway. You don't even really need to study for the end of semester exams until after Thanksgiving. Don't freak out," he said comfortingly. Rachel was quiet for a moment.

"It really means a lot to me that you're here, Finn," Rachel said with a small smile.

"That's what friends are for, Rach," Finn said with a smile.

"Best friends," Rachel corrected. Her eyes then closed slowly. "But don't tell Kurt I said that."

"I won't," Finn chuckled.

"You can go," Rachel said. She gathered her strength and opened her eyes back up. "I'm about to fall asleep and, like I said before, I wouldn't even know if you were here."

Finn shrugged. "I think I'm gonna hang out here until practice if you don't mind," Finn said. He scooted up on Rachel's bed to get more comfortable. He still kept some space between himself and her. Just in case she was contagious, you know.

"I don't mind," Rachel said in a quiet voice. Finn turned his attention to her TV that was playing in the background. He was about to comment on the show that was playing, but then turned to Rachel. She was already sleeping.

Her dad showed up in plenty of time for Finn to make it to practice.

"Thanks for keeping an eye on her, Finn," Hiram said with a smile.

"It's no big deal. I owe her tons anyway," Finn said with a smirk.

With that, Finn left Rachel's house, smiling at how cute she was when she snored just a little bit.


Five days. That's how long it took for Finn to actually see Rachel again.

Rachel ended up staying home sick the rest of the week, only sending Kurt and Finn messages on Friday saying that she wasn't contagious or anything. Finn tried texting her other times during the weekend, just wanting to see if she was okay or needed anything, but she never answered.

He walked into school Monday morning with his Spanish homework ready to be turned in. He didn't have Rachel's help since she was sick, so it might not have been perfect, but he was pretty proud of himself for finishing it.

He was walking down the hallway toward his first class when he spotted her.

Rachel was standing at her locker, moving with unusually slow movements. Her hair was back in a ponytail, which Finn wasn't used to seeing. She was also wearing a normal sweater with no sparkly animal on it.

"Hey, Rach," Finn said with a smile as he walked up to her.

Rachel turned and smiled only slightly. She looked really pale. "Good morning, Finn," she replied. "How was your weekend?"

Finn shrugged. "Decent. I got my Spanish homework done," he said, holding up the paper.

Rachel looked at him guiltily. "Sorry I didn't get to help you with that. I was having a difficult weekend. That's why I didn't really call and talk to anyone," she explained.

"Hey, don't worry about it," Finn said quickly. "You were sick, Rach. I do the same thing when I'm sick. Are you feeling better?"

"I'm definitely better," she said with a small smile. "Maybe not one hundred percent yet, but I'm hopefully on my way to getting better."

"But why'd you come to school if you're still sick?" Finn asked. Finn was confused when he saw anger flash across Rachel's face.

"I'm not going to let being sick control my life, Finn," she snapped. Finn took a step back.

"Uh… Sorry if I pissed you off or something," he said awkwardly. Rachel then took a deep breath and frowned.

"No, I… I shouldn't have said that. I'm sorry. I'm just… The last couple of days have been hard. Sorry," she said. Realizing she had her books ready, she closed her locker and turned to face Finn.

"It's okay," Finn said with a small smile. "I gotta get to class, but text me if you need anything, okay?"

Rachel nodded before reaching up to kiss Finn on the cheek. "You're the sweetest. I really don't deserve a friend like you," she said. Before Finn could respond, Rachel walked off in the opposite direction.

There was that word again. Friend. Sure, it was great being Rachel's friend, but Rachel was the only friend of Finn's that he wanted to kiss and stuff… With a huff, he walked off to class.


Two minutes. That's how long it took Finn to notice that something was off with Rachel.

She was pretty quiet at lunch; she only ate half of her apple and the croutons with her salad. Finn and everyone at the table asked her at least ten times if she was feeling alright. She replied with a quiet and patient "I'm okay" every time.

It was the end of the day when Rachel walked up to Finn in the hallway as he stood at his locker.

"Finn?" she said. He turned to her quickly.

"Hey. What's up?" Finn said.

"I know this is a lot to ask, but my dads drove me to school today since I'm not feeling well. And honestly, I'm kind of tired, so do you think you could take me home so I can take a nap before practice?" she asked with a hopeful look.

"Yeah. Totally," Finn said. "I can just do my work while you sleep and we can go to practice together."

"Thank you so much," she said with a smile. "You really are the sweetest."

"Just doing my job as best friend, I guess," Finn said with a chuckle. He shut his locker. "Let me take your bag." With a smile, she handed her pink bag to him, which he easily slung over his shoulder with his own bag.

The ride to Rachel's was quiet, but not unpleasantly so. Finn could tell that Rachel was spent. She was leaning against the window and breathing deeply. Her house wasn't that far from school, so she couldn't quite fall asleep.

Finn carried her bag into her house and followed her up the stairs. "Are you sure you don't mind if I go to sleep?" she asked as they entered her room.

"You're still sick, Rach. It's really not a big deal," he insisted.

"If you need help with anything, wake me up," she said before sitting on her bed.

"You know I won't," Finn chuckled. "Just go to sleep, Rach." He sat in her desk chair before pulling his backpack open.

Less than five minutes later, just when he was about to ask Rachel where her pencil sharpener was, he realized that she was deeply asleep.


Two hours. That's about how long Rachel slept before Finn woke her up for rehearsal.

"Are you sure you're up for this?" Finn asked worriedly as they walked into the school. Rachel slept for a while but still managed to look more tired than she did before she slept.

"The show opens in two and a half weeks," Rachel replied. "We need to practice." Finn thought she could use more rest, but he knew better than to try and argue with Rachel.

But then he did wish he would have talked her out of practicing as he watched her dance with Blaine. They were in the middle of their number with the set pretty much done and looking awesome. The costumes were still being worked on, but everything else was really coming together.

Except for Rachel, who seemed to be slowly falling apart.

It's not that she wasn't good. Her singing was still spot on and she knew all of the moves. She was just having problems coordinating her movements. Finn was about to yell for Mr. Schu to stop the music when Rachel collapsed.

Finn ran up onto the stage from his spot in the audience, beating everyone else. Blaine was crouched at Rachel's side, but Finn gently grabbed Rachel to cradle her in his lap.

"Give her some space, everyone," Mr. Schu said as he walked onto the stage. Everyone stopped crowding around the collapsed girl and backed up. Finn still held her close. Her breathing was labored and she was even paler than earlier with a light coat of sweat covering her forehead.

"I told her to skip practice today, but she wouldn't listen," Finn said, looking up at Mr. Schu.

"I tried to tell her the same thing in Spanish this afternoon," Mr. Schu replied. "Just, uh… take her off to stage left and wait for her to come around. We'll run another number."

With a nod, Finn steadily got to his feet with Rachel in his arms and carried her off to the side of the stage. As they continued practice on the stage, with Kurt and Blaine shooting worried glances toward Rachel, Finn brushed her bangs away from her head and rocked her gently. He didn't really care how sappy or stupid this looked to everyone else. She needed comforting and he was more than willing to provide it for her.

Mercedes ended up coming over with a bottle of water, telling Finn to make Rachel drink it when she woke up. Finn smiled and nodded, glad to see that Rachel had other friends that cared about her.

He was smiling down at her when he noticed that her eyelids were fluttering.

"Welcome back, sleepyhead," Finn said with a smile when her eyes opened the rest of the way.

"Finn?" she murmured in confusion.

"When I told you to get some more sleep, I didn't mean for you to do it in the middle of practice," he chuckled.

"It wasn't intentional," she said quietly. Finn then helped her try and sit up before handing her the water bottle.

"Mercedes said to drink this or she'll come over here and dump it down your throat herself," he said.

"Well, that was… sweet of her," Rachel said. She unscrewed the lid to the bottle and took a long drink. "I have a feeling that you won't let me get back to practice."

"You thought right," Finn said. "As soon as you're up for it, I'm taking you home. My job with the play's done for the day anyway."

Ten minutes later, Rachel was back in Finn's truck with strict orders from Mr. Schu that she wasn't allowed back at practice until she was feeling better.

Finn offered to walk Rachel into her house, but she declined his offer since her dads were home. She did kiss him on the cheek again before saying goodbye.

Finn drove home with a smile on his face.


Two and a half weeks. That's how long Finn and the rest of the Drama Club had to prepare for the show.

But it was all worth it.

Amazing. Fantastic. Awesome.

These were some of the words that people were using after the premiere of the Drama Club's production of West Side Story. Finn's mom and stepdad even came to the show, proud of Finn, Kurt, Rachel, and Blaine's parts in the play.

Sure, it was cool having people complement his work on the sets and stuff, but he honestly thought that Rachel deserved all of the good compliments.

She was incredible.

Sure, there were still days when she was really tired. And most days her and Finn went to her house so she could take a nap while he did homework, but she pulled everything together and blew everyone away with her part as Maria.

The entire cast and stage crew was given a standing ovation at the end of the play, making Finn blush deeply. He stood next to Rachel as they took their bows. They held each other's hands tightly.

Rachel walked back toward the changing rooms with three different bouquets in her hands. One from her dads, one from Kurt and Blaine, and one from Finn. Finn walked right by her side.

"I can't believe we only perform a few more times and then it's all over," she said quietly.

"Yeah," Finn replied. "It'll be weird not coming to rehearsal anymore."

"Yes, but I'm in talks with Mr. Schu about maybe putting together a concert for the end of the year before everyone graduates," Rachel said. "We've got so many talented people in this school that we need to show off a bit more."

"That also gives you the chance to steal the show again," Finn joked with a smile.

"Hey!" Rachel laughed, shoving Finn' shoulder playfully.

"It's true. You were amazing tonight," Finn said.

"Well, thank you," she said with a shy smile.

"Are you sure you're up to go to Breadstix with everyone?" Finn asked.

"Definitely. I've still got a bit of an adrenaline rush going on. And we need to celebrate our amazing show with our friends and family," Rachel replied.

"Well, I'll probably be putting the set pieces away. Just meet me after you change and we'll go," Finn said as they came to a stop outside of the dressing room. Rachel smiled and nodded at him before walking inside.


Five minutes. That was how long the drive from school to Finn's favorite restaurant was. Breadstix was completely packed as the entire cast, crew, and everyone's families crammed inside to celebrate. Finn sat right by Rachel with their families around them. He tried Rachel's vegan meatballs, which only tasted okay. They were still better than the breadsticks at that place.

Most of the cast wanted to get together for something after dinner, but Rachel politely declined, saying that she was too tired. Finn declined as well, not wanting to go to some party or something without Rachel. They quickly made plans with the group for the next night to go bowling, hoping to bring the pain like they did last time.

Rachel's dads were leaving town after dinner and Finn was quick to offer Rachel a ride home. He didn't notice the smile that his mom and Kurt shared.

"I am totally ready to go to sleep," Rachel said from Finn's passenger seat.

"Adrenaline rush wear off?" Finn asked with a smile.

"It ran off in the middle of dinner," Rachel laughed. It was quiet for a moment when Finn decided to try his luck for the hundredth time in a row.

"We should go do something after bowling tomorrow. Just the two of us," Finn said, peeking over at Rachel. He saw her drop her head into her hands and heard her moan into them. "What?" he asked.

"I really wish you'd stop," she said, looking at him with pleading in her eyes.

"I can't, Rach," he said. "You're just… you're awesome and I really like hanging out with you. I can't not want to be with you."

"I've told you that I can't be in a relationship," she said quietly.

"But you never explained why," Finn said. "Do you not like me or something?"

"Of course I like you, Finn," Rachel said firmly.

"Then what? Is it because of Puck? Or Jesse?" Finn asked. Finn was a little pissed when he heard about Rachel's relationship with Jesse during sophomore year. The dude transferred schools to be with her but ended up egging her in the parking lot. Finn promised that if he ever saw Jesse that he'd rearrange his face.

"It's not because of them," she said. "I just… I can't be a couple with you."

"Can you just tell me why?" Finn asked. "I mean… I get it if you're scared. I'm kinda scared, too, you know? The last relationship that I was in ended really shitty…"

Rachel glared at him. "Not everyone's as terrible as Quinn," she replied.

"I didn't mean that you'd hurt me like she did," Finn said quickly. "It's just that you never know what's gonna happen. I mean, we've both had crappy relationships, but what if this could be something totally awesome? I just wanna try…"

He looked from the road back to Rachel and noticed that her cheeks were shiny.

"What- Are you crying?" he asked.

"No," she said in a broken voice.

"You're supposed to be a good actress," Finn joked. Rachel smiled a little against her will. "Can you just talk to me? Please?"

"Pull over," she said quietly.

"What?" Finn asked. "We'll be at your place in, like, two blocks."

"Just pull over," Rachel said firmly. Finn peeked over at her and saw that she was serious. With a nod, he steered to the side of the road and put the truck into park.

It was eerily silent for half a minute. "So why'd you want me to pull over?" Finn asked.

"You wanted to know why I can't go out with you," she said in a quiet voice.

"Yeah," Finn replied. He turned in his seat and gave her his full attention. He watched with worry as tears started falling more rapidly from her eyes.

"I can't be with you because I'm dying, Finn," she said, her voice sounding muffled. Finn felt his heart stop. She couldn't be serious.

"What are you talking about?" he asked in a small voice.

"I have cancer. Leukemia. I've known since I was in the eighth grade," she said, looking over at him with sadness in her eyes. Finn looked around in disbelief. How could this be possible? Rachel was perfect. How can she be dying?

It was quiet for over a minute when Rachel couldn't stand it anymore. "Will you please say something?" she sobbed. He looked up at her and she could see the sadness and pain in his eyes.

"Why wouldn't you tell me something like this?" he asked, anger lacing his tone.

She looked at him incredulously. "You want to know why?" she was starting to become angry. "Because of that look you're giving me right now. The sadness and… and the pity. Is it crazy for me to want people to look at me like I'm normal?" she shouted into the quiet of the car.

"But this isn't something that you just keep to yourself!" Finn shouted back. "I could help you and be there for you!"

"I didn't tell you because I don't want you treating me any differently! Just like how you were when I was sick and everything! You barely let me carry my backpack on my own, Finn!" she yelled.

"I did that because I wanted to!" Finn shouted. "I just… God! I fucking love you, okay? Everything I did was because I love you!" Finn's chest was heaving and tears were falling down his cheeks.

"I told you not to fall in love with me," Rachel said in a quiet, broken voice.

"It's not like I can help it," Finn laughed incredulously.

"But… but you should love someone who will be there for you all the time!" she cried. "I could die and leave you at any time, Finn, and that's not fair!"

"But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try," Finn replied firmly. He reached out and grabbed her hand, holding it tightly. "I want to be with you, Rachel. Healthy or not. And I can… I'll be there for you. Through all of it. And I… I get why you didn't tell me, okay? But I swear I won't treat you any differently now that I know. We'll still go bowling and you can carry your own backpack and stuff," he said desperately. "Just… please. I need you."

Rachel looked heartbroken. "I just… I can't," she choked. She pulled her hand from Finn's. In the next second, she was climbing out of the truck and walking down the road.

Finn didn't move. He couldn't.

He felt like the world around him just exploded.

Rachel was dying and there was nothing he could do about it.

Sure, he could kick the football team's asses for throwing slushies at her. He could wipe the pornographic pictures of her off the walls in the bathrooms between classes. He could defend her when people called her names.

But he couldn't save her.

Finn couldn't help himself as he curled up in a ball on the seat and cried harder than he ever cried before.


Half an hour. That's how long Finn lay on the seat of his truck and cried.

His phone was ringing and hadn't stopped for the past ten minutes. His eyes were sore from crying so hard and his nose was running like a faucet.

Finn sat up and took a few calming breaths before pulling his cell phone out of his pocket.

"Hello?" he said after answering.
"Finn? Where are you?" Kurt asked. "Carole just called me saying that you weren't home yet. She's worried."

"I'm, uh… I'm by Rachel's house. We had to talk about some things," he said in a quiet voice. Kurt didn't say anything for a moment.

"Finn, have you been crying?" Kurt asked in a surprised voice.

"I'll be alright," he said.

"What happened?" Kurt asked sympathetically.

"I'll talk to you when I get home. I don't really feel like doing it now," Finn said in a huff.

"Okay. Just… drive carefully," Kurt said.

"Yeah. I will. See you at home," Finn said. He then hung up the phone without waiting for a response. Finn leaned his head back against the seat rest and took a few more deep breaths. He then remembered that Rachel had walked home. Without a second thought, he started his truck and drove to her house.

He breathed a sigh of relief when he saw her bedroom light on from his truck. With shaky hands, Finn pulled out his phone.

I love you and I'm not going anywhere.

He sent the message to Rachel before driving home, fighting tears the entire way.


Three minutes. That's how long it took Finn to drive from Rachel's house to his own. Carole could tell that Finn was upset, so she didn't bother him as he went upstairs to his room. Finn fell backwards onto his bed, his mind racing a mile a minute. He thought back to when Rachel was sick a few weeks ago and how terrible she looked. He wondered if that was because of the cancer or something. He didn't know much about cancer, but he knew that people with cancer weren't sick all the time unless it was really bad.

Rachel had been more tired recently, but he wasn't sure if that meant anything bad was happening. After all, she found out, like, four years ago that she had cancer and she was still hanging around. And leukemia was pretty damn serious, but there were tons of survivors out there. And Rachel was totally the strongest and toughest person that he knew. If anyone could fight it, it was her.

After comforting himself, he then started worrying about Rachel. Finn never knew what it felt like to think you were dying. Sure, he'd been drunk and sworn that he was about to die as he threw up into the toilet, but he was never really in danger of doing so. He had all of this freedom to plan his future and everything. Could Rachel do the same?

It's true that she said she'd be on Broadway, but did she really believe that or was she just trying to make everyone else feel better?

She must have been terrified.

Finn knew that he couldn't just stop loving Rachel. He was going to be there for her whether she wanted him to or not.

A sharp knock on Finn's bedroom door made him jump.

"Come in," he said quickly, sitting up. Kurt opened Finn's door just slightly and squeezed into his room, shutting the door behind him. "Mom and Burt sleeping?" Finn asked. Kurt nodded.

"Feel like talking about what happened with Rachel?" Kurt asked, taking a seat on the edge of Finn's bed. Finn shrugged.

"Did she call you or something?" Finn asked.

"She just sent a text saying to ask you to tell me everything. I'm not quite sure what that means…" Kurt said.

Finn opened his mouth, struggling to find the words. It took a few moments before he could actually string a sentence together. "Did you know about Rachel being sick?" he asked in a quiet voice.

"Again?" Kurt asked. "She seemed better tonight though. I mean, I can't believe it took her this long to get over whatever she had, but…"

"That's not what I mean," Finn said quickly. "She doesn't have a cold or anything. She's sick… Like, really sick."

Kurt looked bothered and confused. "I don't know what you mean," he said uneasily.

Finn took a deep breath. "Rachel just told me tonight that she has cancer," Finn said, refusing to meet Kurt's eyes. He heard Kurt's sharp intake of breath. "She's known since eighth grade. She didn't tell us because she didn't want us treating her differently."

"No, that… That can't be true," Kurt sputtered. "She… It just can't be true."

"It is," Finn said in a quiet voice. "I wish it wasn't true, but it is." Finn eventually looked up at Kurt and could see tears in his eyes, too. Finn was really getting sick of seeing tears.

"You okay?" Finn asked after a few moments.

"I just need a minute to absorb this," Kurt said, wiping his eyes. "What do we do?"

Finn shrugged. "I tried telling her that I'd be there for her no matter what and everything. She just keeps pushing me away," he replied.

"What else did the two of you talk about?" Kurt asked.

"I asked her why she didn't want to be with me… She said something like it would be unfair since she doesn't know how long she'd even be around… I don't get it," Finn said helplessly.

"I do," Kurt said. "She loves you, Finn. I can tell. You probably can, too."

"Then why doesn't she want to be with me?" Finn asked, sounding a little like a child.

"Maybe she thinks that getting closer to you like that would make things harder if she…"

"Died," Finn supplied.

"Yeah," Kurt murmured.

"Is it weird that it doesn't matter?" Finn asked, sitting up straighter. "I just, I want to be with her… forever if I can. If I can't have forever… I mean, I'll take what I can get. Is that crazy?" Finn asked, looking up.

Kurt surprised him with a hug. "That's not crazy at all," Kurt said. Finn hugged him back before letting go. "Tell her that. You and I both know that she's stubborn. You just need to get through to her." Finn nodded.

"Are you gonna be okay?" Finn asked. "I know she's like your best friend and everything…"

"I don't think it's quite sunken in yet, you know? But I think that as long as Rachel's okay, I'll be okay," Kurt said. "What about you?"

"I don't think I'm okay right this second, honestly," Finn said quietly. "I know I'm supposed to be, like, a big, strong leader type dude, but I'm scared, man."

"You're human, Finn," Kurt said. "And I wish that I could say that everything's going to be okay, but I don't know that for sure. We just… we need to be there for Rachel. We need to be strong for her." Finn nodded. "Just try and get some sleep. You can talk to her tomorrow."

"You try and get some sleep, too," Finn said. Kurt smiled just a little at Finn before standing up. "Kurt?" Finn said. Kurt turned back around. "You were awesome tonight, dude."

Kurt chuckled. "I appreciate that, but you and I both know that Rachel was the star of the show," he said with a smile. "Goodnight." Kurt then left his room quietly.

Finn checked his phone and frowned when he saw no reply from Rachel. He hoped that she'd get some sleep.

Kurt's words ran through Finn's head as he laid on his bed. He knew that he needed to be strong for Rachel. And even Kurt now, too.

But that didn't stop him from crying himself to sleep.


Three hours. That's how long Finn slept.

The rest of the time, he was awake, thinking about Rachel.

Finn guessed that Kurt talked to his mom at some point since she hugged him tightly when he came down for breakfast the next morning. Kurt was more subdued as well, only giving Finn a small smile. It also looked like Kurt hadn't slept much the night before.

"Are you boys ready for the musical tonight?" Carole asked. Finn shrugged.

"I'm sure it'll be great again," Kurt said with a small smile. The three of them all looked toward the living room when they heard a knock on the door.

"I'll get that. You boys eat," Carole said before getting up and walking out of the kitchen.

Finn and Kurt continued eating their pancakes, both of their minds preoccupied with other things.

Minutes later, Carole walked back into the kitchen, wiping her eyes.

"What's wrong, mom?" Finn asked.

"When you're finished, someone's here to see you," she said with a nod. "I sent them up to your room to wait for you."

"I'm done now," Finn said, his curiosity piqued. He got up and placed his plate in the sink before walking out of the kitchen. He climbed the stairs quickly, wondering who would be by to visit him on a Saturday morning. His door was partially open and he walked inside.

"Rachel?" he said in confusion.

She was sitting right on his bed with a straight face.

"Hi, Finn," she said quietly.

"What, uh… what are you doing here?" he asked.

"I really need to talk to you if that's okay," she said hopefully.

"Yeah. Just let me go brush my teeth real quick," he said. He couldn't talk to Rachel with pancake and morning breath.

Rachel smiled and laughed a little. "I'll be right here," she said.

Finn nodded before walking to the bathroom. He then brushed his teeth more quickly than he ever had before. Two minutes later, he was back in his room. Rachel still sat on his bed, looking the same as when he left. Her eyes were a little red around the edges, almost like she'd been crying for a while. Her hair was in a ponytail again, but this time she had on a sweater with an owl on it, making Finn smile. He closed his door and sat on his bed, facing Rachel.

"Did your dads drop you off?" Finn asked, trying to start the conversation.

"No," Rachel said. "They're still concerned with me driving since I'm still recovering. And my medication makes me feel ill sometimes, so they don't want me driving."

"You walked?" Finn asked, sounding surprised. His house wasn't exactly close to Rachel's.

Rachel shrugged. "It wasn't that bad, actually. It's a nice day," she said.

"So, uh… what did you wanna talk about?" Finn asked.

"First, I need to apologize," she said. "I should have told you sooner about my… health issues. It wasn't right for me to keep that to myself."

"No, I totally get why you did," Finn said quickly. "And Kurt understands, too."

"I know that," Rachel said. "I still feel bad that you found out the way you did. But I need to talk to Kurt after I'm done speaking with you." Finn nodded. "I'm also very sorry for shouting at you last night and walking away. That's not how I should have handled things."

"I'm sorry for yelling, too," Finn said. "I was just… freaking out, you know? I kinda still am, honestly…" Rachel scooted closer to him and grabbed one of his hands with both of her own.

"I'm sorry for that," she said firmly. "But mostly, I'm sorry for turning away from you after you told me you loved me." Finn opened his mouth and closed it again. "You don't have to say anything," she said quickly. "I went home last night after our argument, or whatever you want to call it, and thought about some things. I laid awake most of the night, honestly, just thinking about what you said."

"And?" Finn prompted.

"And I realized that I need to tell you that I love you, too," she said, looking him right in the eyes.

"Really?" Finn said in a small voice. Rachel smiled and nodded.

"I've had a crush on you since I first saw you in the hallway freshman year, Finn," Rachel laughed, making Finn smile. Her face then turned serious moments later. "Before last night, I had convinced myself that you were better off without me. That my cancer was too much of a problem for other people to deal with. I didn't want you spending all of your time worrying about me and trying to take care of me when you could be living your own life."

"And then last night I realized that if the roles were reversed and you were the one that was sick, I'd still want to be with you, too," she said, looking from her lap up to him. She smiled when she saw his smile. "I honestly don't know if I can beat this, you know. I mean, I'm going to try and my white blood cell count is returning back to normal again, but I'm just not sure. But no matter how much time I have left, I want to spend it with you."

With his free hand, Finn reached out and cupped Rachel's cheek. She closed her eyes and leaned into his hand, smiling slightly.

"You are the best thing that's ever happened to me," Finn said firmly. Rachel opened her eyes back up and inched her face closer to Finn's.

"You can kiss me if you want to," she murmured. Finn nodded.

"I want to," Finn replied.

When his lips finally met hers, the rest of the world didn't exist. Her lips were soft and her breath was warm against his mouth. Rachel wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling herself closer against him. Finn did the same with his arms around her waist.

After an immeasurable amount of time, Rachel was the first to pull away, feeling breathless. Finn's breathing was heavy, too, but he certainly wasn't complaining.

"I really hope this means that you'll be my girlfriend," Finn said with a smile.

"I would be delighted," Rachel replied happily. She pulled herself back into his chest for a hug. He hugged her back tightly, loving the feeling of her warm body pressed against his. If he had the choice, he wouldn't let go.


An hour. That's how long Finn and Rachel sat on his bed, holding one another.

Rachel was lying on Finn's chest, playing with the buttons on his shirt.

"So you're not in remission anymore?" he asked.

"No, but as I said before, my white blood cell count is returning to normal. The doctors think it could go back into remission again," she said. "The medication I'm on is working quite well so far. But if it stops working or if I get worse, chemotherapy's the next option."

"Does that hurt?" Finn asked, feeling stupid. He really didn't know much about any of this.

"It's not pleasant," Rachel admitted. "Chemo's what they had to do last time it was really bad. It makes you quite ill. Some people even lose their hair."

"Did you?" Finn asked.

"Thankfully, no. Everyone's different," she said. "But you never know what can happen when things get worse."

"I'll help you through it. All of it," Finn said firmly. Rachel reached up and pressed a kiss to his jaw.

"I know you will," she said quietly.

"How are you feeling now?" Finn asked. His fingers were gently playing with the ends of her hair.

"A little tired," she admitted. "I really should go talk to Kurt now. I imagine he has some questions of his own to ask."

"Do you want me to go with you?" Finn asked. "I can just sit in there for emotional support or something." Rachel giggled lightly.

"I appreciate the offer, but I think it just needs to be him and me in there," she said. "I won't take long, though and then I'm all yours before we need to get ready for the musical."

"Sounds good, babe," Finn said, kissing the top of her head. Rachel smiled widely at the term of endearment. Saying it felt so natural that Finn didn't even notice that he said it. Rachel sat up and climbed off of his bed.

"I'll be back in a little while," she said as she walked to his door.

"Rach?" Finn said.

"Yes?" she asked, turning to face him.

"I love you," Finn said with a smirk. Rachel smiled widely, making Finn's heart skip a beat.

"I love you, too," she replied before walking from the room.


Five minutes. That's how long Finn sat on his bed before deciding that he needed to find something to do while he waited for Rachel to talk to Kurt.

He walked past Kurt's door and heard what sounded like crying. Instead of walking in and seeing what was wrong, he decided to just let Rachel and Kurt have their time alone.

With a heavy heart, he walked down the stairs and sat on the couch next to his mom.

"Where's Rachel?" Carole asked.

"Talking with Kurt," Finn answered. "Well, it sounded more like crying, really."

"Poor thing," Carole said. "How is she?"

Finn shrugged. "She's just tired," Finn said. "She told me that the doctors think she's on her way back into remission or something like that. She's getting better…"

"That's great to hear," Carole said. "We do need to be careful around her though, Finn. If you have so much as a cold, you can't be hanging around her. Her body might not even be able to handle that much."

"Maybe we should all start taking vitamins or something," Finn suggested halfheartedly.

"That's actually a great idea," Carole said. "I can pick some up today." They both then turned their attention to the television which was playing some soap opera that Carole liked to watch.

"So Kurt told you this morning?" Finn asked.

"He did. And I'm really sorry, sweetheart," Carole said.

"Don't feel sorry for me," Finn replied.

"I'm your mother. Of course I'm going to feel sorry for you when someone you care about so much is sick," Carole said softly. Finn then looked down at the ground, unsure how she was going to react to finding out that Finn was now dating his best friend.

"I don't just care about her, mom. I actually love her. Like, for real," Finn admitted in a small voice. He peeked back up at his mom and saw that she was smiling.

"I already knew that, honey," Carole said. "Me and the rest of the world were just waiting on the two of you to make it official. Kurt especially. He's already thinking of color schemes for the wedding." Carole laughed, making Finn smile. He could actually totally picture marrying Rachel someday. She'd look amazing and he'd be the luckiest bastard on the entire planet for marrying someone as awesome as her.

"Are you okay, sweetie?" Carole asked, noticing that Finn was looking off into space. Finn snapped out of his reverie.

"I'm good," he insisted. "Just thinking about the future and stuff."

"I know you're okay right this second, but if you ever need to talk about any of this… If you're scared or worried or angry and you don't want to make Rachel sad, you can talk to me, honey," Carole said. "That's what I'm here for." Finn looked at his mom and smirked. She really was the best mom ever.

"Thanks," he said

Twenty minutes later, after Finn was totally confused as to what the hell was going on during his mom's crazy soap opera, Kurt came walking down the stairs. He sat between Finn and Carole on the couch.

"Rachel fell asleep on my bed after we finished talking," he announced.

"She said she didn't sleep much last night," Finn said. "We should let her sleep for a while. I mean, we've got a show tonight and are supposed to go bowling again."

"We have a while until then," Kurt said. He then turned to Finn and smiled widely. "And she told me about the two of you finally being together. I'm happy for you."

"Thanks, man," Finn said with a grin.

"Do I need to explain the house rules again?" Carole asked.

"I remember, mom," Finn said. "If you're not home, I need permission for her to come over. No sneaking out. And no sex."

"Actually, Burt decided on the ban on sex. I'm the one that's more realistic than that. I was a teenager once," Carole said. "And while I'd prefer that you'd wait, I just want you to be safe. The both of you," she said, looking from Finn to Kurt.

"I know," Finn huffed, rolling his eyes.

"Okay," Kurt replied.

"Good," Carole said. "I'll be sure to make something vegan friendly for Rachel for lunch. That poor girl looks like she's starved."

"That's because she doesn't eat real food," Finn laughed. "I tried this tofu stuff once and it was disgusting."

"It's actually not that bad," Kurt admitted.

"Rachel talked the both of you into trying it?" Carole asked with a smile.

"It's practically impossible to say no to Rachel Berry," Kurt said. Finn nodded vigorously in agreement.


Ten seconds. That's how long it took Finn to realize that dating Rachel Berry was totally and completely awesome.

When they walked into to the school auditorium before the show while holding hands, Mercedes, Tina, and Artie all smiled at them. Even Mr. Schu looked surprised but happy at this latest development.

Finn smiled widely after he kissed Rachel before she went to change into her costume. He loved that he could do that all the time now.

The show was amazing and Rachel was phenomenal again. Rachel was sad that they only had three more shows left, but the standing ovation her and the rest of the cast received did help her to feel better.

And then when she and Finn beat everyone else at the bowling alley again, she forgot why she was even a little sad in the first place.

That first weekend Finn and Rachel were an item was blissful. They spent all of their free time together at Rachel's house, just watching movies. Rachel even baked him some of her awesome banana bread. Finn was also a fan of the hot make-out sessions they had. Rachel's body really was smokin'… And she totally let him grab her ass while she straddled his lap as they kissed.

Best. Girlfriend. Ever.

School would be another story.

Finn had resisted the urge to ask Rachel how she was feeling Monday morning when he picked her up. He knew that if he kept asking her that, she would say that he wasn't treating her like she was normal. So, instead of talking, he just kissed her as soon as she climbed in the car.

"Good morning to you, too," she giggled when he pulled away. "I really could get used to that."

"Awesome. I plan on continuing then," he said with a smirk.

"So, are you ready to make our first public appearance as a couple today?" Rachel asked timidly.

Finn shrugged. "I mean, I'm glad we're dating now, but what everyone at school thinks doesn't really matter, you know?" Finn said.

Rachel smiled. "You're right," she said determinedly. "They don't matter. However, you are now at an even higher risk of being slushied since you're dating the biggest loser in the school."

Finn rolled his eyes. "You're not a loser, Rach," Finn said firmly.

"Not according to everyone else," Rachel murmured.

"Babe, last time I checked, losers didn't get the starring roles in plays or get an audition for a performing arts school in New York City," Finn said with a smile.

Rachel was quiet for a moment. "I guess you have a point," she replied in a small voice, making Finn laugh.

Yeah, so everyone stared as they walked down the hallway holding hands. Literally everyone. Rachel walked with her head held high. She continued shooting Finn glances to make sure that the attention wasn't bothering him, but he just smiled at her reassuringly.

His hand did tighten around hers when they passed Puck and a group of his old football teammates.

The day passed without incident for Finn. Well, except for a tiny moment of conflict in the lunch room when one of the football players tried to trip him as he walked by. Other than that, the day wasn't too bad.

Rachel had to meet with her English teacher after school, so she told Finn to just wait in the truck for her. After twenty minutes of waiting, Bon Jovi's "Livin' On a Prayer" came over the radio and Finn drummed his hands on the steering wheel along to the beat.

Three more songs played on the radio and Finn was still waiting patiently for Rachel to show up. He started to get worried when he finally spotted the tiny brunette walking toward him. But as she got closer, he realized that she was covered in something. And she was crying.

Finn jumped out of the truck and ran toward her, his stomach dropping when he realized that she was covered in eggs.

"Rach w-what happened?" he asked desperately.

"Isn't it obvious?" she cried.

"But who did this?" he asked, frowning at the broken shells and sticky yolk that was covering his girlfriend.

"The football team. They cornered me by the buses," she said, wiping her eyes. "Do you think they know I'm a vegan?" she asked in a broken voice. "If they did, this is so much crueler."

"Get in the truck and I'll be back," he said in a dark voice. He then turned on his heel and started marching toward the school.

"Finn! Where are you going?" Rachel shouted as she followed him. His strides were much wider than hers, so she had to move her legs twice as quickly as he did to catch up. "Stop, Finn!"

"I'm not gonna let them get away with this, Rachel," Finn replied over his shoulder.

"Finn, please!" Rachel begged. "I'm tired, so please just take me home!"

Finn stopped in his tracks and turned to Rachel.

"Baby, please just let me take care of this," he pleaded. She stopped in front of him. The broken look on her face made his heart hurt.

"Finn, I love the fact that you're willing to defend my honor. It's very chivalrous of you," she said with the ghost of a smile. "But you and I both know that retaliation won't get you anywhere." Finn huffed. "Can you please just take me home now? I really need to bathe."

Finn nodded before grabbing her sticky hand and leading her to the truck.

He had to help pick the egg shells out of her hair, but she let him grab her ass again as they kissed as a reward for being the "best boyfriend ever."


Five. That's the number of times that Rachel Berry wore her costume and played the part of Maria in the McKinley auditorium. That's also the number of times that she received standing ovations.

Rachel's dads went to the last performance of West Side Story and surprised Rachel with more flowers. They even recorded the entire performance so they could watch it again. Finn and Rachel sat on her couch after her dads went to bed. Finn talked Rachel into watching the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Well, he watched it while she laid on his chest and played with the buttons on his shirt.

"I'm so glad my dads recorded the performance," she said happily.

"Me, too," Finn said. "The musical's the thing that brought us together, you know?" Rachel peeked up at him and smiled widely.

"Well, that's certainly one aspect of it… But my future children can also now see their mother's first starring role," she said.

Our children, Finn corrected mentally.

"Yeah," Finn agreed.

"And it also allows for people to see my talent even after I'm gone," she said in a quiet voice. Finn's smile dropped from his face. He really hated it when Rachel talked like that – like she was about to die any second.

"Baby, stop," he asked quietly.

"It's true, Finn," she said just as quietly.

"I know, just… I don't like it when you talk like that," he said. "You said you wanted me to treat you the same as everyone else, so can you just… I don't know, not talk about dying all the time? Not everyone else does it."

"But not everyone else has cancer," she replied, sitting up.

"I know that," Finn said in a huff. "I just don't like being reminded about it all the time."

"I can't just not think about it, Finn," Rachel replied, her voice going flat. "I don't have that luxury."

Finn reached out and grabbed her, pulling her back into his chest.

"Look, I'm-" Finn took a deep breath. "Just forget I said anything, okay?" It was quiet for a few moments as Rachel snuggled into his chest.

"I'm sorry," she murmured.

"Don't worry about it," he said before kissing the top of her forehead.

By the end of the movie, Rachel was asleep. Finn carried her up the stairs to her room and set her on her bed gently before kissing her forehead. He then left the house, locking the door with the key that the Berrys kept under the plant on the porch.

After his shower, he climbed in bed before checking his phone and seeing that he had a message from Rachel.

Sweet dreams, Finn. I love you.

He smiled widely.

I love you too. See you in the morning :) he replied.


One month. That's how long Finn and Rachel had been an item.

Finn was pretty much a pro at getting slushied now. If that made any sense.

He rarely got any corn syrup in his eyes, even during the surprise slushie attacks. His mom was complaining that he had a lot of laundry recently, but she bought the really good laundry soap so only a few of his shirts had been completely ruined.

Even though Drama Club didn't meet as much anymore, Finn and Rachel still managed to meet up with their friends after school. The bowling alley was kind of a hangout of theirs, especially on Wednesday nights when everything was half off.

But since Finn didn't have football or regular Drama Club meetings anymore, he started working at the garage for a few hours every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Tips were pretty good and he was starting to save up a bit for money to live on in college.

Plus, he needed the money to get Rachel an awesome Hanukkah present. Sure, they had only been dating for about month by the time the holidays came around, but they'd known each other and been friends longer than that. Plus, he loved her, so he had to get her something she'd love.

Finn knew that she loved Barbra Streisand. But she already owned all of her CDs and movies.

Rachel also loved singing. But she did that all the time.

He also knew that she loved stars. But she already owned every possible item with stars on it.

Well… maybe not everything.

Finn was totally cool with going to all the Hanukkah dinners with Rachel and her dads, but Rachel insisted that they were hours long and incredibly boring. Instead, she was going to be coming to his house for Christmas with his family.

So, the gift he ended up getting her wasn't that expensive or anything, but she said to him that it was always the thought that counts more than anything.

Rachel came to his house with a bag of presents in tow, taking him completely by surprise. She had even baked her banana bread.

Finn ate more banana bread than anything else at dinner.

He was nervous as they sat in the living room for Rachel to pass out everyone's presents. The main gift was upstairs; he wanted to give that to her in private.

She got Burt a pocket knife that Finn was kind of jealous of.

"It has about sixteen different little tools on it. I figure you can use it in the garage for little things here and there. And Finn also told me that you enjoy fishing, so you can use it then as well," Rachel explained happily.

"This is great," Burt said with a chuckle and a smile. "Thank you."

Carole absolutely loved her scarf that Rachel knitted herself. It was purple – which Rachel learned from Kurt was her favorite color.

"No way!" Kurt squealed as he opened the envelope that Rachel gave him.

"What is it?" Finn asked, craning his head to read the piece of paper.

"A year's subscription to Vogue magazine," Kurt said breathlessly. "Miss Berry, you've outdone yourself." Rachel blushed.

"I'm glad you like it," she said with a smile.

Kurt then pulled out her present, which she unwrapped quickly. It was a red dress that she pulled out and held up in front of her.

"Kurt, this is beautiful," she gushed.

"It's vintage," he said with a smile. "I saw it and thought about you."

"Thank you so much," she said before pulling him in for a hug. "Now, it's Finn's turn."

She placed the dress carefully back in the box before reaching in the bag next to her, pulling out a long, skinny box. With a smile, Finn grabbed the box and opened it like an excited child.

His smile widened when he pulled out a new set of drumsticks.

"I had your name engraved on them," Rachel said, pointing to the bottom of the sticks. "I thought it would help you think of me when you play…"

Finn lunged forward and kissed her quickly on the lips, forgetting that his parents were in the room.

"These are so awesome, babe," he said with a smile. "Thanks."

"You're very welcome," she replied.

"Your turn," he said with a smile. This was only the pre-gift, but he knew she'd love it. He grabbed the package from the space next to him on the couch and handed it to her. She unwrapped it excitedly.

Then her jaw dropped.

"How in the world did you get this? It doesn't come out for two weeks!" she said in amazement, looking down at the cover of Barbra Streisand's new autobiography.

"I have connections," Finn said with a shrug.

"Don't let him take all of the credit," Kurt said with a laugh. "He came up with the idea, but Blaine's cousin works at a bookstore and we were able to do a little negotiating."

Rachel kissed Kurt on the cheek and then kissed Finn before hugging the book to her chest.

"I love this," she said with a smile.

When everyone settled down a bit more, Finn brought Rachel up to his room.

"I'm already in the middle of chapter three," Rachel said with a smile as she plopped down onto Finn's bed.

"You've had that book for like half an hour," he said, shaking his head in amusement. "I swear, you're the fastest reader I've ever met." Rachel smiled widely.

"So why'd you bring me up here? I thought you'd want to spend time with your family," she said. Finn sat next to her.

"I've been spending time with them since this morning," he said. "I wanted to give you part two of your gift."

"Finn, you didn't have to get me anything else," she insisted. "This book is plenty. Especially after you went through so much effort to get it for me."

"Well, I think this gift's way cooler," Finn said with a smirk. He reached under his pillow and pulled out the envelope. The bow was a little squished, but Rachel didn't seem like she minded as she opened it quickly.

"You got me a star?" she asked, sounding like she was in awe.

"I knew how much you liked stars, so I figured I'd have one named," he said with a smile.

"But your name's on here," she said in confusion.

"Well, yeah. I named it Finn Hudson 'cause there's already a star named Rachel Berry," he explained. "She's down here on Earth and she's brighter than all the other ones up there. I figured you could look up at the sky and see me looking down on you no matter where you are."

Rachel's eyes softened and tears started forming.

"This is the most amazing gift anyone's ever gotten me," she said in a quiet voice. "I love you so much." Finn smiled and leaned forward.

"I love you more," he murmured before kissing her softly.

"I don't think that's possible," she whispered against his lips. Finn chuckled before kissing her again.

As Finn drove her home that night, he looked over at her and saw her looking out the window, smiling up at the stars.


Fifty minutes. That's how long each class period was at McKinley.

Finn, Rachel, and the rest of McKinley's seniors, were in their last semester of their high school career.

And so far, it was sucking.

Rachel and Finn were in gym class together; Finn chose to take it again as an elective credit. Rachel kept pushing it off until now.

Finn thought it was kind of awesome that he got to see his girlfriend in her tiny gym shorts every day.

Then he realized that Puck and a few of the other members of the football team were taking gym, too – probably to get an easy A so they could raise their GPA and graduate.

Finn was usually worried about Rachel when they had to do a lot of running or something. But even if she was tired, she wouldn't complain.

His girlfriend was a fighter.

But on the days when they played dodge ball, Finn prayed to grilled cheesus that he was on the same team as her.

But, of course, the universe had something against Finn.

He was on the same team as Puck and some of the football players while Rachel was on the other team. Finn couldn't protect her.

And just like always, the gym was a war zone during dodge ball.

He found himself getting distracted during the game, focusing more on if Rachel was getting hit hard or anything. He was kind of glad that she was so tiny; she could avoid the rubber balls more easily than most people could.

But she was definitely target number one as Puck and the other guys all tried to get her out. She tried throwing the ball back. Finn knew that she was hoping that they would catch it so that she could be out.

But they seemed to be not catching the balls she was throwing on purpose.

Rachel was one of the four players left on her team when it happened.

Puck hurled a ball and it hit her square in the thigh. The slap of the ball could be heard throughout the entire gym. The hit took her leg out from under her and she fell hard to the ground, catching herself before her face hit the gym floor.

Finn saw red as he ran toward Puck, tackling him to the ground. Before he could raise his fist and throw a punch, someone pulled Finn off of him.

"Break it up!" Coach Beiste, who was doubling as the gym teacher, yelled.

"Coach! Tell me you saw that hit!" Finn shouted in desperation.

"It's dodge ball, you idiot!" Puck yelled, trying to surge forward. His teammate held him back.

"He's right, Hudson," Coach Beiste said. "It didn't hit Berry in the face. There's nothing I can do about it."

"This isn't a sport. It's bullying," Finn huffed.

"Hit the showers, everyone. Class is over," Coach Beiste yelled to everyone in the gym. Finn's ex-teammate let go of him, but Finn didn't advance on Puck. He didn't want to get suspended.

Instead, he looked across the gym and saw Rachel sitting on the floor, glaring at him. He took a deep breath, knowing he was about to get lectured. Rachel hated it when Finn was violent. Hell, she hated it when he thought about being violent.

"What was that?" Rachel asked as Finn walked closer.

"You know what that was," Finn said quietly.

"Finn, I've told you time and time again that getting revenge solves nothing," Rachel said patiently.

"Helps me feel better," he murmured. Rachel smiled against her will. "Are you okay?" he asked, looking down at her leg. There was a huge, dark red mark on her thigh. Seeing it made Finn mad all over again.

"I'm fine. It just stings a bit," she said. Finn held out his hand and Rachel grabbed it. He gently pulled her to her feet. "Have I mentioned that I hate gym class?" she said, shaking her head.


Three. That's the number of times Finn checked the mail every day, even after the mailman had delivered the mail. He could have forgotten a letter and dropped it off later, you know.

At least that's what Finn thought.

It was around Spring Break when Finn started to get responses back from the colleges that he applied to. He made it into some of them and was rejected by others.

One letter in particular helped to set his future into place. Rachel had gotten her acceptance into NYU last week and now Finn was holding his official acceptance in his hands. He felt like destiny was kinda trying to keep them together or something.

His mom started crying when he told her. Burt smiled and hugged him tightly. Kurt squealed and said that he was going to start looking at apartments for them and Rachel to live in.

Now he just had to tell Rachel the good news.

He drove to her house and knocked on her door excitedly.

"Finn!" she said happily when she opened the door. "I thought tonight was family dinner night at your house."

Finn smiled before reaching forward and grabbing her arms, pulling her in for a kiss. Rachel laughed at his enthusiasm.

"It is, but I have some awesome news and I didn't want to wait to tell you," Finn said excitedly. Rachel ushered him inside and closed the door behind him.

"What is it?" she asked, getting excited herself. Finn reached into his back pocket and pulled out a piece of paper, handing it to her. With shaky hands, she opened it and started reading.

"Oh my God!" she squealed. "This is amazing!" She jumped forward and pulled him in for a tight hug. "I am so proud of you!" Finn laughed and hugged her back tightly. "I didn't even know you applied to NYU," she said.

"Well, I knew it was your second choice, so I applied there, too. And I didn't tell you 'cause I didn't want you to be upset if I didn't get in… And I'm kinda surprised I got in 'cause NYU's kind of a big school, you know?" he explained.

"I told you that you should never doubt yourself," Rachel said with a smile. "I had no idea that you wanted to go to New York that badly."

Finn shrugged. "Well, New York was going to have you there, so I figured it could be an awesome place to live," he said with a smirk. Rachel's smile faltered.

"Finn, that's very sweet, but you can't just decide to go somewhere because that's where I might be," she said. "This is your future. It has to be what you want."

"Baby, it's not like that," Finn said quickly. "I researched the school first. They actually have one of the best music education programs out there. And they even have a special scholarship for music education majors and everything. It's just an added plus that it's where you might be going… Well, that's the best reason to go there, but not the only one. And Kurt told me that he's gonna start looking at apartments for the three of us tonight."

"Are you sure this is what you want?" she asked.

"Yes," Finn said firmly. Rachel nodded before smiling again.

"We really are growing up," she said, sounding emotional. "We'll be moving away from home and living together. It's all real now and not just some dream."

"I know," Finn replied. "I'm kinda excited for it. Are you?"

"Definitely," she agreed with a wide smile. She then pulled him down for another kiss.


One month. That's all the time they had left until they graduated.

Rachel and Kurt both ended up getting into NYADA, which was pretty rare for two kids from a small town in Ohio to do. Finn was all registered and everything to go to NYU in the fall. Kurt found an apartment for them, which they were going to move into two weeks after graduation. It was practically equidistant from the NYU and NYADA campuses and had two bedrooms.

It took Rachel's dads a while to accept the fact that Rachel would be sharing a bedroom with her boyfriend. She reminded them repeatedly that she was no longer a child and that she was more than capable of making responsible decisions. Rachel swore that they were okay with it now, but Finn noticed that her dads glared at him from time to time.

It's not like they were having sex yet anyway. Rachel still insisted that she wasn't quite ready for that step yet. Finn was totally okay with waiting for the actual sex part. But they weren't totally innocent eighteen-year-olds anymore.

Let's just say that Finn was very fond of Rachel's lack of a gag reflex.

And Rachel loved Finn's long fingers.

Plus, Finn loved her totally and completely, so they didn't need to have sex.

But that didn't mean that Finn wasn't looking forward to it.

Rachel made another trip to her doctor last week to check on her white blood cell count again. She was a little upset when they found out that it wasn't quite in remission yet, but she was feeling okay, so she really couldn't complain.

The doctor recommended a new medication that he hoped would help her into remission faster. After weighing the pros and the cons, Rachel decided to try it.

She took her first dose on a Tuesday morning, crossing her fingers that it would help.

By lunchtime, Rachel was starting to feel queasy and develop a headache. She barely touched her salad, but acted like she was feeling okay; she didn't want Finn and the others to worry.

"I have to use the restroom," Rachel said as they walked down the hallway. In all actuality, she was starting to feel dizzy.

"Okay," Finn said. "I'll wait for you." They stopped outside of the girl's bathroom and Finn grabbed Rachel's bag from her.

"Thank you," she said. She stood on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek before walking into the restroom. Before she could even make it to the stall, the room started spinning. Rachel raised a hand to her forehead, rubbing it gently to ease the headache. It was no use.

She was unconscious before she hit the bathroom floor.

Finn leaned against the wall casually, thinking about how he could get past level eleven on Call of Duty.

"Oh," he heard someone say. He turned and saw Quinn walking toward the girls' bathroom. "Hi, Finn," she said with a small smile.

"Hey," Finn replied politely. She then walked into the bathroom. Moments later, Finn jumped when he heard someone yelling

"Somebody help!" he heard coming from the bathroom. Without a second thought, Finn barged into the bathroom. He felt his heart break when he saw Quinn crouched beside an unconscious Rachel.

Finn dropped his and Rachel's bags before rushing to her side.

"Is she breathing?" Finn asked in a panic.

"I think so," Quinn said, sounding afraid. "I'll go find a teacher." She jumped up and ran out of the bathroom. Finn reached a hand out and moved Rachel's hair out of her face.

"Rachel! Can you hear me?" he practically shouted at her. "Baby, come on!" He closed his eyes for a second, trying to remember what people did on all of those doctor shows his mom watched. "Her pulse," he said to himself. He then reached a hand out and touched her neck, looking for her pulse point. It took a little searching, but he eventually found it.

He then panicked a little when he realized that her heart was pounding. The beating feeling in her neck reminded him of how his heart pounded after he got done running during gym class. But she was lying still. That didn't make any sense.

He looked up when he heard someone barge into the bathroom. It was Quinn.

"Did you find a teacher?" Finn asked in a rush.

"I ran into Puck and told him to find someone. He runs faster than me," Quinn explained. She dropped to Rachel's side and placed a hand to her forehead. "She's burning up."

"Why the hell would you trust Puck to find a teacher? He hates Rachel," Finn spat.

"He'll do it. Trust me," Quinn begged. "Was she complaining of being dizzy or anything earlier?"

Finn shook his head quickly. "She didn't say anything at all," Finn replied.

"Is she sick?" Quinn asked.

"Not really," Finn stuttered.

"What do you mean? It's a yes or no question," Quinn said exasperatedly.

"I… I can't tell you," Finn said. He reached out and grabbed Rachel's hand, holding it tightly.

"Yes, you can," Quinn said, sounding like she was getting angry at him. "I need to know what could be wrong so I know if we should call an ambulance, Finn."

Finn took a deep breath. He had to tell her. He didn't have a choice.

"Rachel has cancer," Finn choked out. "Leukemia."

Quinn looked at Finn, shock obvious on her face. Then, it morphed into compassion.

"I'm so sorry," she said softly.

"It doesn't matter. Should we call an ambulance?" he asked, his grip on Rachel's hand tightening.

"I think-"

The bathroom door crashed open. Mr. Schu came running inside with Puck right behind him.

"What happened?" Mr. Schu asked, sounding more calm than Finn felt.

"I came in here and she was already like this," Quinn said breathlessly.

"I called 911 already," Puck said.

Quinn looked up at him. "Thank you," she said firmly.

"Do we know what might have caused this?" Mr. Schu asked. Quinn looked at Finn who nodded. Finn figured that Mr. Schu needed to know.

"Rachel has leukemia," Quinn said quietly.

"Oh my God," Mr. Schu murmured, looking down at Rachel with sympathy. Finn didn't see it, but Puck's eyes widened before a frown formed on his face.

Finn looked down at Rachel, his vision starting to get clouded from tears forming in his eyes.

"She's on her way back into remission again. The doctor just gave her a new medicine… Wait! Do you think that's what did this?" Finn asked, worry lacing his tone.

"I don't know…" Mr. Schu replied.

Two minutes later, they were all asked to move out of the way as the paramedics came into the bathroom. Puck had to literally pull Finn away from Rachel and into the hallway.

"You have to let them do their jobs, Finn," Mr. Schu said, placing a hand on his shoulder.

"I know, I'm just…" Finn couldn't finish his sentence as a sob broke free.

"Do you have her dads' numbers?" Mr. Schu asked. Finn nodded. "Hand me your phone and I'll call them for you." Finn wiped his eyes before grabbing his phone out of his pocket and handing it to his teacher.

The bell then rang, leaving only Finn, Quinn, Puck, and Mr. Schuester in the hallway. Mr. Schu walked away down the hallway with the phone to his ear.

"Thanks, Quinn," Finn said quietly. Quinn looked at Finn and nodded. "You, too," Finn said, looking to Puck. "I know you hate Rachel, but thanks."

"I don't hate her," Puck grumbled. "But you're welcome."

"This doesn't make us friends after everything you've done to us," Finn said. Puck nodded once before looking away.

The bathroom door opened and Finn turned quickly. His heart broke when he saw Rachel lying on the gurney. One of the paramedics was holding up a plastic IV bag as the other paramedic pushed the gurney.

"I'm her boyfriend. I'm coming with you," Finn said firmly.

"Follow us, kid," the one holding the IV said. Finn jogged and followed them to the ambulance.

Mr. Schu came walking over moments later. "Her dads are on their way to the hospital," he announced. "I'm going to call for a substitute and head there myself. I'm sure Rachel's thankful for what the two of you did for her." Quinn and Puck nodded. "The two of you can head to class now."

"Tell Finn to let me know how she is when they know something," Quinn said.

"I will," Mr. Schu said. Quinn then walked down the hallway to her class.

"Mr. Schu, do you think you can take me with you?" Puck asked. Mr. Schu looked surprised but nodded.

"Yeah, sure," he said.


Five minutes. That's how long it took the ambulance to take Rachel from school to the hospital.

To Finn, it felt like a lifetime.

Finn called his mom and Kurt from the hospital phone as soon as they rushed Rachel to the back of the hospital. They both asked him if he was okay, which he totally wasn't.

On the way to the hospital, Rachel had a heart attack in the back of the ambulance. Finn was so on edge that he felt like he was going to pass out. The paramedics stabilized her quickly, but Finn was so scared that he was about to lose her.

Mr. Schu showed up ten minutes after Finn did. He handed Finn his phone back. It wasn't until Finn looked up that he realized that Puck was there, too.

"What are you doing here?" Finn asked in a growl.

"I'm worried about Berry," he said in a quiet voice. Finn laughed darkly.

"You've been making her life hell for years now and all of a sudden you're worried about her?" Finn shouted.

"Finn, calm down," Mr. Schu said comfortingly.

"No! This is the guy that told everyone that he slept with Rachel, slushied her, threw eggs at her, called her names, and did tons of other stupid shit!" he yelled. Mr. Schu was glad that they were the only ones in the waiting room.

"Dude, I'm sorry," Puck said. "I didn't know she was sick…"

"So you're only sorry because she has cancer?" Finn asked. "All of the other people you give hell to could have cancer, too. You gonna stop being an asshole to them?"

"Dude-" Puck started.

"You know, if you're here to apologize, I'm sure Rachel will forgive you when she's better. But I can't. Right now, I can't even look at you," Finn said.

Puck nodded. "I'll be out in the hallway then," he said quietly. Finn glared at Puck as he walked out of the waiting room.

"Finn, I know you're worried, but you really need to try and stay calm," Mr. Schu said.

"I can't stay calm," Finn muttered.

"Then just try and stay strong for Rachel," he said.

"But she's the one that stays strong for me," Finn said in a small voice. Mr. Schu placed a hand on Finn's shoulder and squeezed tightly.

Kurt was the first one to get to the hospital, demanding to know what happened. Finn retold the story and found himself crying again when he told Kurt about Rachel's heart attack. Kurt had tears in his eyes, too.

When Carole and Rachel's dads showed up, Finn couldn't bring himself to explain the story again. He listened with a broken heart as Kurt took over in recounting the story.

Doing this, sitting here as Rachel was in the hospital, was something that Finn had been dreading for months. He felt so useless and helpless as he sat there, unable to do anything for Rachel. He sat with his head in his hands as his mom rubbed his back soothingly. Any other time, it calmed him down. But not now.

All Finn could think about was that Rachel had to be okay. They still had so much to do.

Graduation was in less than a month. Then, they were supposed to move to New York together. Then get married. Then have kids.

See? Tons to do.

Rachel couldn't bail on him.


Three hours and thirty eight minutes. That's how long Finn had been sitting there, waiting for the doctors to tell them something. Anything.

"I'm Doctor Reynolds. Are you all here for Rachel Berry?" a voice said. Finn sat up so quickly he was pretty sure he pulled a muscle in his back.

"Yes," Rachel's dad, Hiram, said. "How is she?"

"Stable now," the doctor said. "We believe that this entire episode was due to the new medication that she started."

"What happened?" Carole asked.

"In a sense, her body rejected the treatment the medicine was meant to provide. She had a fever of 102 that contributed to the heart attack. The reaction might not have been as intense if her immune system wasn't already compromised by the leukemia," the doctor explained. "We were able to get the temperature down and everything. She's sleeping now and could be for a while."

"Are you putting her back on her old medication?" Leroy Berry asked.

"Those are her doctor's orders," he replied.

"What are the results from this? How is her white blood cell count?" Hiram asked.

"I'm afraid her count is a little low, but it's not in the danger zone. There's a good chance she'll make a full recovery from this," Dr. Reynolds said reassuringly.

"And the heart attack?" Carole asked. "Is there anything she needs to do differently now?"

"This does put her at a higher risk of another heart attack as she gets older. Because of this, we would recommend her trying to remain as stress free as possible while maintaining a healthy diet," the doctor replied. "But I wouldn't be worried about another possible heart attack for a while."

"This is probably dumb, but what about gym class?" Finn asked. "We have, like, a month of school left. Should she be running around or anything?"

"Miss Berry probably wouldn't feel up for that for at least another couple of weeks. I would consider her involvement in gym class to be finished," Dr. Reynolds said.

"Well, she does hate gym," Kurt muttered.

Finn took a deep breath, feeling slightly relieved.

She'll be okay.


Twenty minutes. That's how long it took Finn and the others to look around the gift shop. Finn, Kurt, and Mr. Schu bought way more than they probably should have. Flowers, teddy bears, balloons… All of their hands were full as they walked to Rachel's room. Carole laughed after seeing how much they bought. Rachel's dads thanked them for being so kind.

Rachel slept until after eight that night, surprised to see so many people in her room after waking up. Finn rushed to her side as soon as he noticed her eyes were open.

"Hey, baby," he said with a wide smile. "It's so good to see you awake."

"Hey," she replied sleepily with a small smile. He reached down and kissed her on her forehead.

"How are you feeling, princess?" Hiram asked.

"Exhausted," she replied softly.

"You should go back to sleep then, sweetie," Carole said with a smile.

"I appreciate that you're all here, but you don't have to stay," Rachel said. "You've probably been sitting vigil at my bedside for hours. You should all get some rest. I'll still be here in the morning," she joked.

"I'm staying," Finn said firmly. Rachel turned and smiled at him sweetly.

"Thank you," she said quietly.

"Well, it looks like my little diva's in good hands then," Kurt said. He reached down and hugged her gently. "Call me if you need anything."

"I will," Rachel promised.

"Oh, Finn, Puck told me that he brought your and Rachel's bags with him. You left them in the bathroom," Kurt said to his stepbrother.

"Noah's here?" Rachel asked in confusion.

"Yeah," Finn said gruffly. "He helped out earlier by finding Mr. Schu and calling the ambulance. He was worried about you."

Rachel looked surprised. "Oh," she said. "Well, someone please tell him thank you for me."

Rachel's dads, Carole, and Mr. Schu said their goodbyes before leaving. Rachel's eyes were closing already. Finn could only imagine how exhausted she was.

"You seem upset," she said to him quietly. "Do you want to talk about it?"

Finn smiled for her benefit before reaching forward and kissing her forehead.

"It can wait until morning," he insisted. "Get some sleep, babe."

Rachel smiled a little before nodding slightly. "I will. I love you," she said.

Finn's heart swelled. "I love you, too, Rach," he said firmly.


Six hours. That's how long Finn was able to sleep in the hospital chair before his back started hurting.

Rachel slept until eleven the next morning. Finn sat at her bedside the entire time, not wanting to miss her waking up.

"Good morning," she murmured sleepily.

"Hey, baby," Finn said with a wide smile. "Are you feeling better?"

"I'm still very tired," she said honestly.

"Well, you'll have plenty of time to sleep. The doctor wants to keep you another night for observation," Finn said. Rachel groaned.

"I just want to go home," she said in a small voice.

"I know, but I'll be here with you. It won't be so bad," Finn said comfortingly. He reached out and grabbed her hand, squeezing it gently.

"Wait, did you skip school today?" Rachel asked, sounding authoritative.

"It's no big deal, babe. My mom practically insisted that I stay with you," Finn said.

"Well, that's very sweet of her," Rachel said with a small smile.

"Yeah," Finn agreed. "And Kurt told me if I didn't take care of you that he'd turn all of my clothes pink and throw away all of my plaid shirts." Rachel giggled.

"Are you ready to talk about yesterday yet?" Rachel asked, gripping Finn's hand tightly. Finn shrugged. "Finn, I know you were upset yesterday. I know you. Talk to me."

"Just… seeing you passed out in the bathroom… it was like my worst nightmare coming true," he said quietly. "I thought it was the cancer and that I was losing you."

"Baby," Rachel said quietly. She stroked the back of his hand with her thumb.

"I'm okay now since you're okay," he said with a small smile. Rachel returned the smile.

"I know that I can't really promise that I won't go anywhere," she said quietly. "But I can promise that I'm going to try my best to stick around as long as I can."

"I know that," Finn replied. "On the plus side, you're done with gym."

Rachel smiled widely.


Two. That's the number of shows Rachel watched before handing the remote to Finn. Later that day, Puck visited. Rachel asked Finn to leave the room so that they could talk in private. With a warning glare shot at Puck, Finn walked out into the hallway and waited very impatiently.

He was staring at the clock, realizing that he had been sitting in there for twelve minutes when Puck came back out of Rachel's room. Finn stood up quickly and faced his former best friend. Puck looked a little surprised, which confused Finn.

"What did she say?" Finn asked curiously.

"She actually forgave me," Puck said, sounding shocked. Finn nodded. He totally knew that Rachel would forgive him. She didn't have a cruel bone in her body.

Unless you tried to steal a role from her or challenged her to a sing-off, like Kurt did once.

"Think you ever could?" Puck asked. "Forgive me, I mean…"

"Not now," Finn replied quickly. "Maybe eventually. Depends on if you're still a dick to everyone."

"I guess I can deal with that," Puck said. "See you around, man."

"See ya," Finn replied. He then walked around Puck and went into Rachel's room. She was sitting up with a serene smile on her face. Finn sat at the chair by her bed as they watched an old football game that Rachel let Finn turn on the hospital television.

Her dads, Kurt, and his mom all visited during the evening. His mom brought Finn a large cheeseburger and fries and Rachel some vegan stir fry. Rachel's dads brought her a mini DVD player and Rachel's favorite Barbra Streisand movies. With a groan, Finn watched The Way We Were for the fiftieth time since he'd started dating Rachel.


Ten minutes. That's how long Finn and Rachel argued outside of Rachel's house Friday morning before she convinced Finn that she was okay enough to go to school.

She was worried since graduation was coming up that her GPA would be effected.

Finn kept a close eye on her the entire day, even though her only complaint was that she was tired. Finn also noticed throughout the day that no one was bothering Rachel. They didn't hear a single insult as they walked through the halls. They didn't even see any slushies in the hands of the popular kids. Some of the Cheerios even smiled at Rachel while Finn walked her to her math class.

"Today was weird," Finn said as they climbed into the truck.

"Tell me about it," Rachel moaned. "I like the fact that everyone has suddenly turned into decent human beings, but I wish it wasn't due to the fact that everyone knows about me having cancer."

"Well, we only have, like, three weeks of school left," Finn said comfortingly.

"Yeah. Three whole weeks of people looking at me with looks of pity," Rachel replied with a frown.

When they weren't at school, Rachel was helping Finn study for his final exams. The Drama Club wasn't able to put together that end of the year concert, but Rachel was asked to perform a song at graduation. She knew that it was out of pity, but Rachel Berry never turned down a chance to perform. So, between studying and tutoring and practicing, Rachel was exhausted.

Most days, Finn had to force her to take a nap after school. He would sit in her room and stay there while she slept to make sure she wasn't actually studying or something else.

All too soon, finals were over and it was time to graduate.

Rachel opened the ceremony with the song "Here's to Us," completely bringing down the house. She received a standing ovation, with Finn clapping the loudest, which made her smile Finn's favorite smile.

She was in the top ten percent of the class, so she sat up front. Finn did well, but not that well, so he sat in the middle of his classmates.

When Rachel walked across the stage, she met Finn's gaze in the audience and smiled widely. He smiled in return, insanely proud of his incredible girlfriend.

When Finn walked across the stage, he heard Rachel cheering for him even though they were supposed to wait until everyone was finished to clap. Even before he turned and smiled at his mom, he smiled at Rachel. He could see her crying happy tears from the stage.

Rachel reminded him to write his name on the inside of his cap so that he could find it again after they threw them at the end of graduation.

It took him ten minutes to find the right one at the end of the ceremony.

His and Rachel's families ate at Breadstix afterwards, along with what seemed like the rest of McKinley's graduating class.

People continued to come up to Rachel and congratulate her on her song, which made her smile widely every time.

Kurt went out with Blaine later that night, so Finn and Rachel decided to do something together.

Finn took Rachel to her favorite vegan ice cream place before parking his truck in the parking lot of the closest park. His ice cream was gone quickly, and he eyed Rachel's, smiling widely when she told him that she couldn't finish it.

While he ate the rest of Rachel's ice cream, she looked up at the sky calmly.

Finn awkwardly scooted closer to her and wrapped his arms around her waist, resting his chin on her shoulder.

"What are you thinkin' about?" Finn asked quietly.

"How lucky I am," Rachel said in a murmur.

"What do you mean?" Finn asked curiously.

"Well, for one, I have you," she said. Finn smiled before kissing her shoulder. "But I was also told in the eighth grade that I might not graduate high school."

"You never told me that," Finn commented.

"I didn't want to worry you," Rachel replied. "But it was really bad at one point."

"But you graduated," Finn said happily.

"That's part of the reason why I'm so lucky," she replied with a smile. "And now I'm going to New York with the man of my dreams to start making my other dreams come true."


Three days. That's how long Finn, Rachel, and Kurt had until they left Lima and moved into their New York apartment.

Rachel's dad, Hiram, took her to the doctor for her last visit before the move. Finn waited anxiously for Rachel to come over after her appointment with her doctor, wondering about the status of her cancer.

His mom and Burt were working, and Kurt was spending as much time as he could with Blaine before they left, so Finn had the house to himself.

All of his stuff was packed for the move, including his drums, so there was only TV to watch. Finn groaned when he realized nothing was on.

He had just barely dozed off when a knock on the front door made him jump. He walked slowly to the door, feeling drowsy. But when he opened the door and saw a crying Rachel standing there, he suddenly felt wide awake.

"Rach, what's wrong?" he asked quickly, his mind automatically jumping to the worst case scenario. She walked into the house and closed the door behind her. Then, Rachel surprised and confused him by smiling.

"Nothing's wrong," she replied, tears still falling but a wide smile on her face. "I'm in remission, Finn!"

"Are you serious?" he asked with a grin. Rachel nodded fervently before Finn reached forward and pulled her into his arms, hugging her tightly. "This is amazing, baby!"

"I know," Rachel laughed. Finn let go of her and kissed her firmly on the lips. "We should celebrate," she said breathlessly.

"Absolutely," Finn agreed. "Whatever you want to do, we'll do."

"Whatever I want?" she asked with a smile. Finn gulped hard as she ran her hand down his chest. He then nodded his head woodenly. "What if I said I wanted you to make love to me?" she asked in a whisper.

"Are you sure?" he asked.

"I'm totally and completely sure," she said firmly. Finn smiled before reaching down to claim her lips with his. They kissed until Finn was breathing heavily. Then, with a giggle, Rachel grabbed his hand and led him up the stairs to his room.


Two. That's the number of times Finn and Rachel were able to make love before his mom came home from work.

She didn't notice the change that occurred in Finn and Rachel, but they knew that nothing could tear them apart now. They had shared something special.

Finn drove Rachel home that night. Their hands were intertwined as Finn drove slowly and carefully, a smile plastered on his face.

"Do you feel different?" Rachel asked Finn.

Finn smiled. "I'm happier now," he said with a chuckle.

"Of course you are! You just had sex!" Rachel laughed.

"Well, yeah… But it was with you, so it was more awesome than just regular sex with any random person," Finn said. Rachel smiled before reaching across the truck to kiss his cheek. "Do you feel different?" he asked.

"I feel more… complete. More whole," she said. "I've been waiting to share that with you and it was perfect." Finn squeezed her hand. "And we'll be living together in three days and can do it whenever we want," she said simply.

Finn couldn't wait to leave Lima.


Two hours and fifty six minutes. That's how long it took Finn, Rachel, Kurt, and Burt to unpack all of their things from the U-Haul and take them into their new apartment. Burt left after that, kissing Rachel's forehead and hugging all of them with tears in his eyes.

"We should go break in the new bed," Finn whispered into Rachel's ear as she stood in their new kitchen, putting away plates.

"I don't think so," Rachel said in a singsong voice.

"Why not?" Finn pouted.

"We have a lot of things to unpack, that's why," she said.

"Can't we just do it tomorrow?" Finn asked.

"Nope," Rachel replied with a smile. "The sooner you help me unpack, the sooner we'll be able to break in the bed."

Finn unpacked the boxes quickly and got yelled at by Rachel for putting things away randomly.

"We have to have a system, Finn, or we'll lose things," Rachel chided. With a huff, Finn listened to all of Rachel's instructions and put things away correctly.

They weren't finished unpacking everything until one in the morning.

Finn was asleep in the new bed before Rachel got out of the shower.

They made up for it the next night by having sex three times.

Kurt was not happy the next morning. Rachel was very vocal.


Five. That's the number of hours Finn worked each day during the school year at a tire shop owned by one of Burt's friends. If it weren't for the fact that he lived with Rachel, he probably never would have seen her.

Rachel worked as many hours as she could at a little restaurant in town while attending her own classes.

Kurt got a job at a clothing store and was always bringing Rachel and Finn home clothes when his store had a sale.

They were all working and going to school, so stress was through the roof most times. But things were good.


Three. That's the number of times Finn and Rachel had huge fights that ended with Finn sleeping on the couch for multiple nights while in college.

Three. That's the number of times they made up.

It would have been impossible to keep track of the number of tiny fights they had.

Or the number of times they had great make-up sex after their little fights.


Four. That was the number of years Kurt and Rachel spent at NYADA before graduating on a perfect spring day; Finn still had two years before he earned his Master's degree and could start teaching.

The Hudson-Hummel and Berry families all came up for their graduation and took them out to dinner afterwards.

Rachel had three glasses of wine, causing Finn to have to practically carry her into the apartment. Kurt had moved in with Blaine during their sophomore year in college, so Finn and Rachel moved into a smaller apartment that was easier for them to afford.

This small apartment didn't have an elevator, so Finn offered to carry Rachel on his back up the stairs.

Rachel had always been a lightweight when it came to alcohol.

Finn helped her into some pajamas before she laid down. Within five minutes, she was sleeping. Finn grabbed a garbage can and set in on Rachel's side just in case the alcohol was going to come back up. He then climbed into the bed.

Even though she was far from sober and asleep, Rachel still managed to scoot close to Finn. He wrapped his arm around her, like he always did, and was soon sleeping, too.

He was pretty excited when the bed was puke-free in the morning.

Rachel, who had a hangover, wasn't in such a great mood.


Eleven. That's the number of times Rachel auditioned before receiving her first callback.

She told Finn not to get too excited since there were ten other girls going out for the same role. But three days later, when she landed the role, she called Finn while he was in class and left a message, telling him the good news. After checking his messages after one of his classes, Finn rushed home with Rachel's favorite wine and a bouquet of daisies. He hugged her tightly, lifting her off of the ground.

"I'm so proud of you," he gushed as she laughed.

"It's off-Broadway, but at least it's a start," she said with a smile as he set her down.

"Can you tell me what play it is now?" he asked. She refused to tell him, not wanting him to be let down if she didn't get the part.

"West Side Story," she said with a smile. "Rachel Berry will be reprising her high school role of Maria."

Finn smiled widely before picking her up for another bone crushing hug.

That was the play that brought them together, after all.


One. That was the number of interviews Finn had before he landed his first teaching job after graduation.

The principal of the school loved him and was impressed with his final GPA of 3.4 from NYU. Finn couldn't claim all of the glory; Rachel was still an excellent tutor when Finn was having trouble.

He taught music only twice a day, but after Rachel convinced him it would be a great idea, he started a Glee Club.

During his first Glee Club meeting, in which he was surprised to see fourteen people had signed up for, Rachel made a guest appearance. Finn was surprised that people actually recognized her.

One kid that reminded Finn of Kurt had even started crying.

From the first meeting onwards, Finn referred to the kids as his kids. Rachel helped out with musical arrangements and things like that and even made a few more surprise visits to help them get ready for competitions.

They won their first Sectionals competition but lost Regionals that first year.

The next year, with Rachel cheering for them, they won Nationals.


Two. That's the number of Tony Awards that Rachel won.

Sure, her cast might have won awards as a whole, but Rachel earned two Tonys completely on her own.

She won one for the year that West Side Story went from Off-Broadway to Broadway.

She won her second for the role of Wendla in Spring Awakening.

Finn didn't like Spring Awakening. He wasn't too excited about the fact that she had to have fake sex with some random dude on stage, but Rachel reassured him that it was just acting. The real sex they had most nights reassured him, too.

For every Tony Award ceremony, Finn was by Rachel's side, cheering her on. He totally cried when she won both times and didn't deny it when she asked him if he did.


Three. That's the number of seconds it took Rachel to yell "YES!" when Finn finally asked her to marry him.

Within three and a half months, Kurt pulled together an entire wedding.

Finn wasn't really surprised after Rachel told him once that she and Kurt had been planning their wedding since freshman year of college.

When the rabbi finally introduced them as Mr. and Mrs. Hudson, Finn dipped Rachel as he kissed her, causing all of their guests to laugh. Well, except for his mom, who was crying too hard to laugh.

They had their honeymoon in Paris, which Kurt had insisted was the most romantic place for a honeymoon.

It was too bad that they barely left the hotel room.


Four. That was the number of pregnancy tests that Rachel took before she was convinced that she was actually pregnant.

Rachel couldn't find words to explain how happy and excited Finn was when she finally told him.

Even ecstatic sounded like an understatement.

Finn was the perfect supportive husband while Rachel was carrying their child.

He made midnight runs for food she was craving.

He told her that she was beautiful every single day. Even when she insisted that she was a whale.

He helped her shave her legs when she couldn't bend over anymore.

He didn't forget anything when they rushed to the hospital when she finally went into labor.

He held her hand, even when it felt like she was going to break his fingers.

He cried when he finally saw his son for the first time.

Christopher Anthony Hudson.

He was perfect with his mom's olive skin and his dad's dimples.


Two. That was the number of people Finn couldn't live without.

Rachel and Christopher.

That number grew to three when Rachel got pregnant again.

Now he had Rachel, Christopher, and Jonathan.

That number then became four when a daughter joined his two sons.

Rachel, Christopher, Jonathan, and Maria.

His family.


Zero. That was the number of times Rachel's leukemia came out of remission.

Finn Hudson had a lot to be thankful for.

And it all started with a prank gone wrong.



A/N: I really hope you enjoyed this lengthy one-shot. I truly loved writing it. Please leave reviews and tell me what you think‼!