A/N: Prompt from tumblr. Finally. Shoutout to Mara (Childliketendencies) for convincing me to post this, even though I didn't think it was good enough to be an actual one-shot =P


He's about to drift off, his head hanging low, eyes drooping as his body slides just slightly lower on the couch. The sharp jab on his side jolts him wide awake, and he almost lets out his favorite curse, until his brain reminds him of where he is and the little girl currently huddled against him.

"Finn," Emily whines, staring up at him accusingly. "You were sleeping."

"I wasn't," he says quickly, shooting her a wide, innocent smile. "I was just resting my eyes."

Emily rolls her eyes (she's a sharp one, this kid) before she buries her head into his shirt. He chuckles, looking at the TV screen to see Barbie and what's-her-name walking down what is meant to be a spooky old corridor. Finn stifles a sigh, refraining the urge to roll his eyes. He curses the day Mattel decided that making movies on Halloween Barbie was ever a good idea, because of course Emily would want to watch this ("It's Barbie, Finn!"), and of course she would be terrified, because this girl has a tendency to be spooked by her own shadow.

"You know Ems, you don't have to watch this-"

"It's Barbie Finn," she mumbles into his shirt.

"I know, I know. But it's not worth getting scared over-"

"Mommy always say that we have to do the thing that scares us," she says, peeking up from his side. He shakes his head, grinning. Now, she decides to listen? What happened to that spirit when he was trying to get her to sleep with the lights off? She's missing probably half the movie, because every time ghost Barbie comes out she gasps and sticks her head into his side even though of course, ghost Barbie isn't even mean or anything like that. It's just that her soul or whatever is trapped by the bad wizard and she just wants Barbie and what's-her-name to set her free or something.

But Emily spends half the time hiding her face anyway, and even though he barely paid attention, he's pretty sure he knows what happened more than she does. Seriously, the girl is the easiest seven year old in the world to scare.

"I think it's safe to look now," he says dryly when it turns out that ghost Barbie isn't even a ghost, she was just an apparition for psychic Barbie (Seriously, who the hell came up with this crap?), and now there's a big musical number, and those are always her favourite parts. Emily finally shifts away from him, her grim face brightening when the song starts. He's just grateful that there's only five minutes of this stupid movie left. Generally, the kid has pretty decent taste thanks to him. She could quote any one of Buttercup's lines from The Princess Bride (even though she's terrified of the shrieking eels. But what kid wouldn't be?), and she's totally a Pixar fan, which is like ten times better than Disney (except for the Lion King, duh). Sometimes he's forced to watch musicals with her (courtesy of her mother), but they're starting to grow on him. It's really only the Barbie movies that he can't stand.

Finn's been taking care of her for about a year now, and he's a professional, but if he had to play favorites, the Berrys will definitely come first, no question. Okay so he's only had two other clients before this. The first kid, Sean had been awesome, but Katherine, the next one, was a nightmare so she hardly counts. That's not to say that he isn't a consummate professional. He's only been babysitting since he was old enough to realize that desperate parents pay a lot of money for good service. Plus, he's just always been good with kids. It's the reason why he majored in child development in the first place. Working as a manny to pay off his college loan has its perks, the main one being that he doesn't have to worry about a roof over his head. But there's a major downside too. And especially with the Berrys, he realizes that he's fallen into the trap of becoming too attached.

It makes leaving just that much harder.

"Dude," he says when the credits start to roll. "It's nine. You're supposed to be in your pajamas by now. C'mon," he orders, standing and pulling her up with him. Emily grumbles as usual about being seven years old and being old enough to stay up until ten at least.

"Even if that's true," he answers as he pulls her towards her room, "You're gonna have to take it up with your mom. I don't want to get in trouble."

"It's not like she'll even be home until late anyway," she mumbles. He frowns, watching as she stomps towards her drawer to pull out a pair of pajamas.

"What's wrong squirt?"

"I'm not a squirt," she tells him witheringly. He holds up his hands in mock defense. Emily's reaching that age where she thinks all boys are disgusting (except him, of course) and refuses to be associated with any terms relating to them.

"My apologies dear princess. What's up Em?"

She's sitting on the edge of her small bed, her pajamas in her hands, which she's currently balling viciously in her fists. He takes a seat next to her, patiently waiting. Her dramatic tendencies have been growing with her age, she's almost as bad as her mom these days (Although he's pretty sure there's no one in existence who can beat Rachel Berry in that department).

"She's on a date with Jesse." She says the name like she's talking about smelly cheese or something, and he can't say that he doesn't share the same opinion himself.

"Aren't you supposed to call him Mr St. James?" he says instead, only half teasing. Emily turns to look at him with an expression that could only be described as please, and he chuckles, ruffling her hair.

"He's nice though, isn't he?" he says in a neutral tone.

"He's a goob."

"Emily Sophia Berry. You know your mom will have a fit if she hears you say things like that."

"But he is. I don't like him. He's always messing up my hair and calling me Emilia. That's not even my name," she says sourly.

"You love it when people play with your hair."

"Well I don't like it when he does it," she snaps in annoyance.

"Well," Finn says carefully, taking pains to keep his voice neutral as she looks at him, nose scrunched. "Your mom does. I guess he makes her happy. You want her to be happy, right?"

"Yeah. But I just-" She looks up at him hesitantly and he shoots her an encouraging smile. "We already have you."

He really hopes his face doesn't give him away.

"That's- it's different."

"Why?"

"Well, your mom and I don't have that kind of relationship Em. We're- I'm your nanny."

"So?" she demands. He looks at her a little helplessly. That's kind of a good question, one he's been wondering himself.

"Look, Emily. This is adult stuff, you know? Things aren't as simple as you think it is." That's such a cop out answer, and she knows it too, judging by the completely unsatisfied look on her face. Before she has the chance to argue, Finn pretends to look at his watch.

"It's almost 9.30. Do you want me to lose my job or something?" he jokes, nudging her playfully. "Get ready for bed, kid."

She rolls her eyes as he stands and starts to leave. He reaches the door and stops, turning around to catch her still grumbling to herself as she stands up. She really is the spitting image of her mom. He can't really look at her without thinking of Rachel, and he sees Emily in almost all of Rachel's traits. He smiles wryly to himself, stepping out and closing the door behind him.

The first rule about being a nanny according to Finn Hudson is to never get in too deep that you can't climb back out.

He honestly can't remember the exact moment when he broke it.

Xxx

He's sitting on the couch, staring intently at the football game playing on the screen, pretending that he's not really straining his ears to listen for any movements from the front door. He hears the click of her keys and jumps, giving himself away.

Smooth Finn, very smooth.

He purposefully ignores the click of her heels, listening intently as she moves from the doorway to the living room.

"Oh you're still up," she says, and that's his cue to turn around, pretending like she's caught him unaware.

"Oh," he starts, like he's surprised to see her, like he wasn't waiting. "Hey, you're home early. What time is it?"

It's ten thirty. He knows that it's ten thirty because his eyes have been straying towards the clock on the mantelpiece every ten minutes (Rachel's converted the fireplace into a place for the TV, and it's actually kind of cool even though Jesse didn't like it). She checks the watch on her wrist, one hand unbuttoning her coat, before looking up with a smile on her face.

"It's ten thirty."

"Ah. Great date?" he asks nonchalantly, noting the slight frown on her face as she looks away.

"It was wonderful. Jesse took me to see a very top secret rehearsal of his latest play," she says nonchalantly as she kicks off her shoes. He watches, smiling quietly when she shrinks by about five inches as she stretches out her feet before joining him on the couch.

"You were on a date and he took you to his work?" he asks wryly, shuffling to the edge of the couch to give her more room. Rachel turns to give him a withering look before she reaches up to free her hair from the bun it was in, and he keeps his eyes trained on the linebacker on the TV screen, barely seeing the man getting knocked down by three other players from the opposing team.

She's wearing a nice dress. It's her little black number, the one that she saves for special occasions, like the premier of her favorite Broadway show or the Tony awards (Or his birthday). He's trying not to notice the way the hem stops above her thighs, how it rides up when she pulls the pin from her hair. His eyes are still trained firmly on the screen.

"It's a real Broadway show Finn. "

"Yeah, his Broadway show."

"Stop it," she snaps, annoyed.

"What?"

"You know what."

"I don't know what you're talking about," he mutters, pointedly ignoring the pout on her face and her defensive stance with her arms crossed.

"We promised we weren't going to do this," she says quietly. There's a sudden ire that's growing beneath his skin as she says this, because she's acting like he's being unreasonable, but he's been plenty reasonable. She's the one not making any sense.

"I don't remember ever being given the chance to promise anything," he says testily. She lets out the loudest, most dramatic sigh that she could muster and he rolls his eyes.

"Well then respect my wishes, please."

"Fine. Whatever."

The tension in the room is amplified by the silence that falls between them, the only sound coming from the sports commentator on TV. He doesn't even know what's happening by this point, but out of the corner of his eyes he sees her wincing when someone gets jumped to the ground on the offense line. Usually she begs him to change the channel when she's around, but she says nothing tonight.

"How's Emily tonight?"

"Fine. We watched that new Barbie movie, the one with the haunted house."

"Finn, you didn't! She'll be having nightmares for weeks."

"You know there's no stopping her once she sets her mind on something. She's stubborn, just like you."

He didn't even realize the jab until the words leave his mouth, but he sees her stiffening immediately.

Screw it. Emily's words keep playing over and over in his mind, and he can't shake that look on her face when she said that they had him. She looked so sure of herself, like he's theirs forever or something. But it's true. Every single word that came out of that little girl's mouth was true. They do have him, hook, line and sinker.

Rachel, she has him, and she knows it. And he's just done.

"She hates him, you know," he says as he picks up the remote to switch off the TV.

"Finn-"

"She thinks he's a goob."

"Stop teaching my child-"

"And really," he continues, chuckling derisively as he turns towards her, ignoring her words. "Can you blame the kid? The guy is a douchebag."

"He's just- he's not used to children-"

"Rachel, he forced Emily to use chopsticks for Chinese takeout last week. Like literally, he wouldn't hand her a spoon-"

"He was trying to inject some culture-"

"I mean who does that? And those little digs he thinks are so funny? Like, doing the women's work again Finn? I see you're quite the homemaker," he says mockingly, throwing his arms in the air as he speaks in a higher register. Finn rolls his eyes, glaring at the tiny woman in front of him. "What is this? The fifties? And I'm sorry, if I don't take advice on how to be a 'real man' from a guy who spends half his salary on hair care products," he finishes, breathing hard from speaking everything in one long breath. She's refusing to look at him, playing with the hem of her dress instead. He waits for her to say something, waits for her to go on the defense, tear him down so that he'll know his place.

"He feels threatened by you," she finally says instead.

Yeah, Rachel. No duh.

"And why would he possibly feel that?" he asks sarcastically. He's turned towards her fully by now, and they're facing each other, merely inches apart. He sees the turmoil running through her features, her large brown eyes wide as she stares up at him. Leaning closer just seems to be the right thing to do.

"What are you doing with him?" he murmurs, taking her hand. He hears her sharp intake of breath, the slight shake of her head.

"Finn-"

"I can't, Rachel, okay?" he says, the exhaustion that he feels is mirrored in his voice. "I can't pretend anymore. I suck at it. I suck at lying. Hell, that's why parents love me, okay? I can't even lie and tell them that I didn't slip their kid an extra cookie for dinner, and you want me to lie about my feelings? I'm not like you, I'm not good at it. I don't want to be good at it."

Her hand slackens in his grip, an almost smile gracing her face at his declaration and it emboldens him. Leaning even closer, he uses his free hand to pull her jaw gently towards him. "Look at me and tell me this isn't killing you too."

His words are gentle, almost tender and for a moment he can see her considering. She pulls away from him then, shaking her head as she looks away.

"I can't," she tells him, her voice strangled. She looks at him like she's pleading for him to drop this, but he can't. He thought he could, he thought he could put that night, put them, out of his mind. That lasted for about a week. Until she came around to Emily's piano recital about a month ago with Jesse St. James in tow. It took one meaningful look from her at his bewildered face, and Emily's obvious dislike at the other man's presence, for him to understand how she'd be playing this.

Avoidance and denial. She's annoyingly good at it.

"Why?" he challenges, standing up with her, refusing to budge.

"Finn," she says airily, but he knows she's faking it, as she grabs her purse off the coffee table and slings it over one shoulder. She looks up at him and smiles wryly. "I'm your employer"

She's being condescending, and he hates that. Well, two can play at that game.

"You paid me to be your nanny Rach. You didn't pay me to sleep with you," he answers dryly. She flinches at this, glaring at him as she glances furtively towards Emily's bedroom. He rolls his eyes again. She knows very well that her daughter sleeps like a log. He trails after her into her bedroom, refusing to go away.

"I'm too old for you-"

"By two fucking years-"

"And this is supposed to be a professional working relationship Finn."

He scoffs at that while she glares at him.

"Oh so now we're professional?" he asks sarcastically when she continues her brisk walk. "What happened to that when I was fixing the kitchen sink?"

"Look, Finn," she says, stopping short in front of the bed as she whirls to face him. Her face softens as she approaches him, placing one hand gently on his chest as she looks up.

"We have a good thing going, okay?" she tells him slowly, looking up almost as if she's willing him to understand. "I don't want to mess this up. God I've- I've messed so many relationships up before this. Love- love complicates things, okay? And I- if this doesn't work out- I just, I can't mess this up."

The hand she has on his chest feels heavy on his heart. She quiets, gazing up at him meaningfully as her fingers curl into his shirt, and he knows she's being honest.

"You mean too much," she whispers, closing her eyes when his hand comes up to cup her cheek. "We just- this is enough. You, me, and Emily. This is enough."

She leans into his touch, and he feels his heart stuttering at the serious turn this conversation has taken. This was what he asked for, wasn't it? Her honesty. It was what he wanted, and she gave it to him.

It's not enough.

"I'm leaving," he blurts out. Her eyes snap open and she looks up at him, the startled look on her face mirroring his. That wasn't supposed to come out this way.

"What?" she breathes. Now it's his turn to look away, dropping his hand.

"I just got a job offer, from Emily's school actually. They need a new counsellor. The old one had a mental breakdown or something, and Sandra, you know, Em's class teacher? She gave them my resume, and I got a job offer."

"I-" She doesn't say another word as she continues to stare at him.

"This was never going to be a permanent thing," he tells her. "You knew that."

"But you didn't take that last offer-"

"You're right, you know?" he says quietly. "We're just getting a little too comfortable with this routine, and I was- this is a job," he says. "And I've been fooling myself into thinking that it's something more, but you're right, Rachel. It's not. I'm just an employee, and it's time to go."

"No," she says, panicked, as she tightens her hold on his shirt. "You can't leave."

"Rachel," he says softly. "This isn't real. You, me, and Emily. What we have isn't real, and you can't pretend that it is. You can't pretend like we're a family when we're not. You can't- Em called me her dad the other day, you know? I overheard her talking to one of the girls in her class. She said that the man who's always picking her up after school is her dad and that he 'works from home'. We just- we're getting too comfortable about this, like it's real, but it's not. You're right, you're paying me to look after your kid, and I love her to death, but I'm getting paid for this Rach. It's not enough. It's not enough for any of us."

"Finn-"

"I've already looked up a few girls for my replacement. I have their numbers and everything, and I know some of them pretty well from school, and they're all kick-ass with kids so Emily's going to love whoever you end up choosing-"

"Stop it," she says loudly, covering his mouth with the palm of her hand. Her skin is soft against his lips and he stops talking, looking down at the disconcerted look on her face. "You- you're leaving me?" she asks quietly.

He wraps his fingers around her wrist, gently pulling her hand away from him, their fingers interlocking .

"How can I leave you if you were never mine to begin with?" he jokes quietly. "I'm just quitting my job, that's all."

Xxx

To say that the next few days have been awkward would be a gross understatement. He woke up the morning after to find her already up and running and Emily dressed for school, sitting on the kitchen counter as Rachel was fixing her breakfast. It began okay, with Emily teasing him about making her late, but his eyes met Rachel's as they both laughed, and the abrupt way they had sobered was an immediate reminder of what happened the night before.

They're not really talking to one another. Other than basic polite conversation needed to get through the day, they barely even look at each other, and he knows that Emily is starting to notice it too. Theirs isn't exactly a quiet house. There was this determined expression she had on her face as Rachel was getting ready for another date. When her mom had shrugged on her coat, kissed her goodnight and proceeded to walk out the door without even a glance in Finn's direction (he was also determinedly studying the structure of their coat rack), he saw Emily's hawk eyes swerving from Rachel back to him, a curious look on her face.

"What's going on?" she demands as she closes the door.

"I don't know what you're talking about," he says nonchalantly as he makes his way out of the doorway and into the kitchen. "It's your turn on the dishes tonight kid," he continues, pushing the small stool Rachel got for her with his foot towards the kitchen sink. She's always been a small child, but she doesn't really even need it anymore and bitches every time he pulls it out, but like, he gets attached, you know? Kids just grow up too fast sometimes.

"Finn," she says, rolling her eyes when she sees it. "I'm seven years old."

That's her explanation for everything these days. I'm seven Finn, you don't need to always hold my hand when we're not crossing the street anymore. I'm seven Finn, I can watch scary movies now. I'm seven Finn, I can stay up late. I'm seven Finn, you can't call me squirt anymore 'cause I'm tall now. It's her go-to for everything, basically, and he lets her get away with it way too much.

"I know you are," he shoots back when she rolls her eyes and proceeds to put on her apron before turning on the tap. He stands next to her with a drying cloth and it's comfortable silence as the sound of running water accompanies their teamwork.

For about 2 plates and half a glass.

"Finn," she says softly as she rinses the glass in her hand before handing it to him and he braces himself.

"Hmm?"

"Are you and mom fighting?" She says the words almost like she's afraid of the answer, and there's this little twist in his stomach when he catches the frown on her face. This mess between him and Rachel wasn't supposed to include her, and now he gets the feeling she'll come out of this hurt and confused, and it's the last thing he wants.

"Nope," he answers ineffectually. He turns to her and forces himself to grin playfully, flicking the cloth in her direction. But Emily won't be deterred. She barely smiles, going back to the dishes and he deflates.

"So she's just mad at you then?" she asks.

"What makes you say that?" he asks curiously. She shrugs her shoulders.

"You're both acting funny."

"Maybe a little," he admits.

"What'd you do?"

"What makes you think I did anything?" he asks, a little insulted. Technically, they both did something.

"Well if you didn't do anything, then she wouldn't be mad at you," she reasons, looking at him like he'd just asked the most obvious question in the world.

"I'm a little mad at her too," he tells her, annoyed.

"So you are fighting," she deduces simply, handing him a spatula. He takes it from her, mouth open as she leaves him momentarily speechless.

"I- It's complicated," he stutters out, prepared to receive the obligatory withering look that always accompanies this non-explanation. She certainly doesn't disappoint.

"Please, Finn. I'm-"

"Seven. Yes, I know Em. Look, don't worry okay? It's nothing," he says lightly, nudging her as he dries the last of the utensils.

"Audra's parents fight all the time," Emily says, ignoring him. "They even fight in front of me sometimes, but then they always make up, so I guess it's okay."

He watches quietly as she hangs the apron over a chair and makes her way to the living room where her homework is waiting on the coffee table. Emily makes a face before opening her math book, looking up at him.

"I hate balancing equations," she complains, wrinkling her nose. He smiles, lips pulling upward on his right side as he walks over to her and sits on the couch.

"Em," he starts, voice gentle. "You know it's not the same thing right? Your mom and I, and Audra's parents, it's not the same thing. I'm your nanny, and your mom's my boss."

"I know," she says, eyes diligently focused on the work in front of her. He relaxes, leaning back against the couch. He reaches for the magazine he left on the couch earlier, turning to the page he'd bookmarked.

"We're different," she says suddenly. He looks up to find her smiling at him. "We're family, but we're just different from other families. Right?"

"Emily," he says slowly, dragging out her name as he tries to find something to say. She grins.

"Hey Finn. Let's go to the zoo this weekend, okay? And mom can't bring Jesse," she says, wrinkling her nose in distaste. He can't figure out the right thing to say. In the end he just smiles, nodding slightly.

"Sure Em," he says quietly. She beams at him, sighing dramatically as she looks down at her work again. He stifles his own sigh, leaning his head back along the head of the couch and closing his eyes tight when he feels the vein on his forehead throbbing. He's an idiot.

Never get attached.

It's always the kid that gets hurt the most.

Xxx

He feels her, his jaw leaning in to the touch of her soft fingers, seconds before his brain fully comprehends what's happening. Slowly, his eyes blink open and he finds himself staring into familiar, warm brown eyes. She's leaning over him, so close that all he needs is to lean forwards for their lips to touch.

"Rachel?" he murmurs, still in a state of confusion when he sees her lips curling upwards at the sound of her name.

"Hi," she whispers, and her voice clears up his mind as he straightens up, cringing at the creak in his neck. He fell asleep on the couch. Rachel has stepped away from him, and he sees that she's still standing in her coat, her heels still strapped to her feet.

"Emily," he says, wide awake now, when he suddenly remembers the child.

"She's asleep," Rachel tells him, still standing slightly guarded by the couch. "I came home to find both of you on the couch."

"I'm sorry," he mutters, grabbing the back of his head as he avoids her eye contact. "I must have dozed off while she was doing her homework. She wasn't even ready for bed yet."

"She was in her pajamas actually," Rachel says helpfully. His head snaps up towards her at that, surprised.

"She was?"

"She must have gotten ready by herself," Rachel continues with a slight smile. "She's a big girl now. After all she's-"

"Seven years old," he says with her. They share a rueful smile before he looks away again, the combination of heartache and guilt every time he looks her in the face overwhelming him.

"I carried her to bed," she tells him uselessly. "She didn't even blink once."

"In those heels?" he jokes weakly. They're five inches tall. All her heels are.

"I've had a lot of experience in balancing myself," she shoots back, grinning. He turns away again when he remembers her stumbling into him, her small frame knocking the breath out of him that night, how that had led to a series of escalating events that brought them into the mess they're in now. He nods his head, chuckling half-heartedly before he stands. They've spoken more to each in the last ten minutes than they have in the last five days, and now he remembers exactly why this was in the first place. Just being around her hurts more than he could have ever bargained for. Trying to have a conversation is just like self-imposed torture.

"Well," he says, standing. "I guess it's time for me to turn in. Goodnight Rachel."

His strides are short and brisk as he makes a beeline for his room before she could respond. He's almost home free, just a few steps left when her fingers latch on to his wrist, curving themselves around him like a chokehold. He freezes on the spot, eyes closing shut.

"Finn," she says quietly. He feels her thumb brushing against his wrist, pushing against his skin above his jumping pulse. "It's- it's ten thirty."

He waits for her to continue, but she doesn't, her fingers still wrapped tightly over his skin as she waits for a response. What the hell is he supposed to say to that?

"You're home early," he says lightly. "Bad date?"

"He took me to Blue Hill for dinner."

"Sounds fancy," he answers tersely, pulling his hand away.

"It was."

"Hmm. Look, I'm really beat, so-"

"I think it was during the appetizers when I said it."

"Said what?" he asks, slightly annoyed by her cryptic behavior, and even more with the fact that he's falling for it anyway. She's quiet for an infinitesimal amount of seconds, and he's almost certain she's just stringing him along by now.

"That I was- am- in love with someone else. He wasn't very happy with the news, as you can imagine. I took the cab home."

He's not sure if he's still breathing. His feet certainly aren't working as he feels her shifting closer. She's moving up towards him, and when he opens his eyes she's there, her face unreadable as her gaze bore into his.

"Rachel," he whispers, breath still stuck somewhere in his throat. "What are you doing?"

She looks hesitant for a minute, before determination colors her eyes and she moves closer.

"I was- I figured something out today," she says softly. She looks up at him through her lashes, a strained smile on her face when he says nothing. "Don't you what to know what it is?" she finally asks.

"What?" he asks, his tone coming out a little too rough for his liking. Rachel is staring at him, dread filling every crevice of her strong features. She closes her eyes, breathing in deep once before she opens them again.

"I was scared," she confesses. "I am scared, with you. Because I want it too much. Finn, it wasn't supposed to be like this-"

"I know-"

"Hiring you, having a nanny was supposed to mean that I'll have more time to myself, more time to- to be a single mom and still have a life, you know? To go out and meet people and-" She stops, huffing a breath, almost like she's annoyed.

"It's not supposed to make me not want to leave. You're not supposed to make me feel like this. It's not supposed to make me wish this could be forever."

"Rachel-"

"I'm terrified, okay? Because with you. Finn, when I'm with you I want everything too much. And the thought of letting go and letting myself fall always feels just a little too risky. But that fear?" she says, looking up at him earnestly, holding on to his wrist like her life depends on it. "That's how I know this is real."

He's too blown away to really say anything, but when she moves closer, he finds his feet shuffling forward, and when she finally releases her hold on his wrist, his freed hand loops around her waist on reflex. Her breath hitches, and it feels like they're on the cusp of something huge, something that's tilting his world the right side up.

"I want to be with you," she tells him, and he releases a shuddering breath as he feels the weight on his back lifting. She lets out a burst of nervous laughter at the dumbfounded look on his face. Her eyes are vulnerable, but she steels herself, waiting for him to find his words. There's a neon sign hanging over her head saying 'Don't hurt me, I break easy' and he knows this. He's spent the better part of an entire year learning her, educating himself on all her idiosyncrasies, he knows how fragile she really is. He won't.

"When I'm with you," he says quietly, pulling her closer, holding his breath. "I want everything."

The smile spreading across her face is the most illuminating thing he has ever seen, and it pulls a grin out of him and she leans up. He leans down, meeting her halfway.

"Yeah?" she whispers, her breath fanning his face.

"All of you," he nods, brushing his lips against hers. She sighs, her hands fisting the fabric around his shoulders as she sinks into it, pressing her mouth just a little bit harder against his. It's electrifying, just like he remembers. It's like magic. His lips move to her cheek, trailing a line of kisses from the side of her face to the curve of her ear. "I want it all."

She's trembling against him and he holds her closer, until there's little to no space between them, his free hand cupping the back of her head, fingers winding themselves around the strands of her hair when their feelings begin to intensify. He feels her teeth grazing against the bottom of his lips and this feels familiar, it feels perfect, this part is the easiest to fall back to.

"Not just the sex?" she asks breathlessly when she pulls back. Her tone is teasing, but her eyes have darkened considerably and she's stepping backwards, walking back towards his room as he follows her almost subconsciously.

"The sex is a part of it," he answers in a husky voice as he trails after her. "A very big part of it."

"I noticed," she tells him as she lets her eyes roam over him, all of him, her tone playful. She turns to close the door behind them and he wonders when it was exactly that the mood shifted. The rising temperature in the room is making him antsy when he finally catches up to her, trapping her against the closed door.

"So what are we gonna do about that?" he murmurs, pulling her up before he pins her to the surface. He knows that there's a shit-eating grin on his face, but hell if he cares, because there's definitely one on hers too. The air between them is filled with static charge, and there's a knowing smirk on her face that he would be all too happy to wipe off.

"One condition Hudson," she whispers, leaning up close to his ear while she wraps her legs around his waist.

"Condom?" he asks, catching the side of her throat with his teeth, breathing in the scent of her heated skin. That had been a problem the last time too, although they worked around it (Or rather, through it). Her laughter is strangled with a moan when his hand begins to wander over familiar territory.

"No. I'm not telling Emily that you're ditching us. You are."

He pulls back, grimacing while she looks back at him primly.

"Way to be a buzzkill Rach," he complains, annoyed, while she wraps her arms around his neck. She shrugs.

"I'm not the one who wants to move on to greener pastures," she tells him pointedly. So she's still a little pissed about that, huh?

"You're okay with it though. Right?" he asks her quietly. She sighs, smiling in resignation as she plays with the hair at the back of his head.

"I can't say I'm jumping for joy, but it's a good opportunity for you Finn, of course I'm okay with it. Just as long as you promise not to let any other single moms get their paws on you," she finishes darkly.

"Possessive aren't we?" he murmurs with a smirk, leaning forwards to kiss her again.

"I'm just saying. You're ours, Hudson." He grins when she growls the words out, all too happy to let her prove it.

"She'll be fine with it, right?"

"Have you met my daughter?" she asks wryly. He groans, leaning forward to rest his head on her shoulder.

"The last time she was pissed at me, she gave me the silent treatment for four entire hours."

"Times that by about three and you're good."

He frowns, thinking of that baby face and how he could never stand it when it starts to crumble. This weekend's going to be a bitch. Rachel is shaking against him and he looks up in confusion to find her silently laughing, mirth shining in her eyes.

"Finn Hudson," she says teasingly. "Are you scared of my sweet little seven year old?"

"Terrified," he answers honestly.

"All the more reason you should do it," she answers, leaning forward to kiss his cheek.

"Do the thing that scares you, right?" he says, shooting her a meaningful smile. She nods, grinning.

"Exactly. Parenting 101, dad."

She winces at the surprised look on his face.

"Too soon?" she asks cautiously. Dad. He tries the word on for size, slowly turning it in his mind. He remembers Emily's words about him being a stay-at-home dad and smiles to himself. He shakes his head, finally pushing their weight off the door. Turning, his hold on her is firm as he makes his way to the bed. He knows she's anxious by the way she's squirming in his arms.

"When I said everything," he whispers quietly, sitting on the edge of the mattress as she straddles him. He kisses her again, slow and long, the heat burning against their skin. He's breathless when he pulls away and she rests her forehead against his, her short bursts of exhales mingling with his. "I meant it."


A/N: It got a little angsty there. Wouldn't have expected that from Manny!Finn. LOL