i've never done one of these split-POV pieces before, so bear with me please. also, spoilers for 4x03 and 4x04! thanks for reading, i donut own glee, dedicated to my pal rachel!


i.

He isn't even mad anymore, you know? Like, yeah, he loves her so much he let her go and she cheated on him or whatever, and he was mad for so long, but now, he just misses her. And not this new version of her, either, 'cause he knows Rachel and she's – she's not Rachel. Not like this.

And, fuck, when he first saw her he thought he'd never been so happy his entire life, 'cause she'd been standing there all pretty and smiling but in a second he'd realized how different she'd looked. Like, thin and wearing all this makeup and her mouth all shiny, and fuck, he doesn't even know the guy she'd been hooking up with but he'd wanted to puke as soon as he'd seen him. Maybe he deserves it, for leaving her, for not marrying her, but – god. He'd both been surprised and not surprised at all.

See, he knows Rachel. He knows that when she doesn't get her way she throws tantrums, and he knows as soon as she tells him she can't do it anymore this is her throwing the biggest tantrum of her life. And it sucks that she wants him and can't have him because he wants her and can't have her and it's not like they're in love with anyone else or anything, just – it's just circumstance that's keeping them apart.

ii.

Brody gets boring, fast. He really only has three conversation topics that he tires out in the span of a week and a half and she's already dodging his mouth, his phone calls, him. She wishes she could say she'd felt anything for him other than a mild attraction and a way to project all the negative feelings swimming inside of her on something other than herself.

She's so, so sick of it all, of New York, NYADA, her apartment, Kurt, herself. She hates it all, and she doesn't know what to do about it other than become someone to love, to desire. She knows Finn loves her, desires her, but he's gone and the chances of their reunion are so slim that if she even thinks about it long enough she'll absolutely lose it.

It's funny, because in knowing him as well as she does it's so, so easy to hurt him, and she's not proud of it, but she does. He deserves better than her, because she's going to be wildly famous and have no time for anyone but herself. How is it fair to let him be subject to that? To her future where the most important person will only be herself? And when she dies, she'll be alone, with her Awards surrounding her, satisfied only in her career.

Brody is always around these days, and really, his gild wore off seconds into kissing him, and not just because of Finn's impromptu knock on the door, but because kissing him felt good for maybe half a second and then just felt overwhelmingly wrong, and that, she supposes, is because she already knows whose mouth is made for her own, and she always will know it, no matter how she tries to hide from it, to hide it from him.

Brody calls her, asks her to dinner, and she's so over it she calls if off right then and there. She thinks she needs to spend some time alone and tells Brody, as cliché as it is, that it's not him, it's her.

He calls her trite, immature. A little girl using clichés to make herself feel better. Honestly, though, she's used to the clichés. She loves clichés.

iii.

He has sex with another girl he meets in a bar outside Lima. He gets drunk and fucks her and goes back home and sleeps through his alarm. And, you know, his mom just looks at him when he stumbles through the kitchen at one in the afternoon like he's nothing, like she's so disappointed, and what the fuck is that about? He's trying, really, honestly.

Sometimes he just misses her so much he just needs to let it out, and it's not like he plans on becoming an alcoholic or just fucking random chicks ever again, he just…he needed an outlet, and she's got Brody, anyway. She doesn't care about him anymore, she's made that clear.

Anyway. He actually really likes directing the glee club and filling in for Mr. Schuester and it keeps him so busy his thoughts only find Rachel really late at night, 'cause that's when he misses her most. He's glad she's in New York, really. He can't regret helping her get there – and he hopes she won't either – but he wishes he'd been smarter about his methodology. Like, telling her, or visiting her in the summer, not just leaving her there alone. So, yeah, he made some mistakes, but she's gonna be super famous and he can't be unhappy with that.

He's ignoring Kurt, for the record. He knows Kurt's got something to do with Rachel's makeover, and he thinks she looks hot, really, he just – it's too much too soon, and he doesn't want her to lose herself in the midst of it all.

Honestly, he can't wait until they find themselves so they can get back together. Because he knows it's inevitable, no matter how many girls he fucks or boys she kisses, their hearts will always be bound. Tethered, you know?

iv.

Rachel begins to hate New York in the winter. Hates the way the wind blows between the buildings, hates how cold her hands get when she's trying to carry a coffee in one hand and light a cigarette in the other.

That's new, the smoking. A girl in her acting class had offered her one on a walk back to the subway and she'd taken it, inhaled a little too hard and wound up coughing for hours, unable to get the feeling out of her lungs. But she's a perfectionist through and through – that's something not even New York can change – and she wants to be able to do everything, so she buys a pack and there isn't any looking back from there.

She's not addicted. It just makes things easier, inhale, exhale, blue smoke polluting the air around her. It's what she wants. It's New York.

Really. She's starting to hate New York, hates the loft she shares in Bushwick with Kurt, starts to hate all her clothes, her hair, her makeup. Herself, but that's old news. New York used to be the city of opportunities, and now it's a trap, and she longs so very much for the boy she'd left behind.

Brody is still an issue in that he refuses to leave her alone. She'd never thought she'd be so eager to go home for winter break, but she has a calendar in the kitchen area with numbers and crossed out dates. Kurt is staying in the city, working through the holidays, and he doesn't seem to mind. He adores the city, and maybe that's because this city means everything to him. She's certain that without Finn, she'd be in the same boat – that is to say, without ever having loved him or been loved by him, but everything is so much cheaper when he's gone.

The last time she asked Kurt about Finn, he was seeing some girl, or something. It's not…it's not something she's overly upset about, considering. But it still hurts, thinking of him cuddling another girl close to him, the idea of him being intimate with another person makes her feel like every single piece of her inside is breaking away, and she knows it's all her fault, that soon he'll love this girl, or a different girl, and one day he'll marry her and live out the life she was supposed to share with him with another girl.

She's trying to accept that, because New York Rachel is so much more passive and smokes instead of actually dealing with her problems, and she thinks that Lima Rachel would shake her head in dismay. She's changed so much and so quickly, too, and she doesn't know how to reconcile the two Rachels within.

Lima looks exactly the same, just blanketed in snow, and that's comforting. What's more comforting is her triumphant return to her home, to her dads who welcome her back with open arms. Her room is so, so familiar, but completely unfamiliar at the same time, but settling back in is seamless.

She hasn't been home since before the breakup, so there are still pictures of Finn all over her room, and she doesn't even bother taking them down. She wants to feel as close to that girl he loved as possible.

It's so bad of her, but she doesn't plan on visiting him. She's not sure he wants her to, even, considering how she's hurt him.

v.

He runs into her at the grocery store. Like, honest to god runs into her and he's so surprised it's actually her and not one of those dreams that's been haunting him these days. Anyway, he legitimately knocks her to the ground, and she must be exiting because the blue bag she's holding spills onto the floor and his apologies spill from his lips a mile a minute until her hand brushes against his when they both reach for the pack of cigarettes.

"You smoke now?"

She looks at him and meets his eyes and nods once, curtly, and he's always been so good at reading her but he can't tell if it's fear or disdain in her eyes.

"That's very New York of you," he says, and her mouth cracks a little in a smile. He wonders where the girl with the easy smile went, if the big city's swallowed her up or if she's just hiding. He thinks it must be the latter.

"Really," she agrees and he helps her to her feet and doesn't miss the easy way his palm presses against hers or how quickly she folds her own hands together. "How – how are you?"

He doesn't want this to be hard and fuck, he's really not mad anymore. He's so over being mad and angry all the time, 'cause he's an adult, now, even if he feels like a kid sometimes, he's got all these responsibilities. So he shrugs. "All right. Thinking of getting an apartment."

She's wearing one of those hats she's so fond of and this navy and white polka dotted skirt that he remembers she wore the first time he touched her down there, and she doesn't look at all like that stranger he met in New York but more like the girl he loves (because it'll never be past tense). He knows he's staring too long because her cheeks turn all pink. He has to clench his fist so he won't go caressing her skin or something freaky.

"You look good," he says, because he doesn't think he told her that last time. She licks her lips and he wonders if she still tastes the same, even with the nicotine and all the change. He wonders if he'll ever find out.

"Thank you," she says and her cheeks are even redder. "You do, too. Really…um, fit. You cut your hair again."

He scrunches his nose. "I like it this length, you know?" She nods. "Yours is brown again."

Last time he saw her, it had these blonde ends and he thought those were pretty, too, but he loves her more as a brunette, he thinks.

There's a beep and she glances at her phone and scowls a little. "I've gotta go, Finn. It was – it was really, really good to see you."

He can't let her just leave without doing something, so he puts both his hands on her cheeks and kisses her hard. It's so fast and she only just starts responding when he pulls away and her brow is puckered in confusion but he thinks she might be staring at him like she used to, and that makes his heart feel so light.

Maybe if they were still in high school, she'd say something, but instead she just smiles so sweetly at him and slips out of his arms.

vi.

She's about to call him when her screen lights up with his name. She's back in the city, and it all looks a little brighter to her, and she decides it's sort of nice to be back. She's packed her suitcase with her most favorite sweaters and dresses that she'd sent home at the beginning of the year, and wearing them is like coming home without actually coming home.

It's all about moderation, you know? Being home in Lima, kissing Finn…it's all making her want to bring through the best parts of herself, figure out a way to coincide New York Rachel with Lima Rachel, and she knows it'll be a lifelong process but – she isn't feeling so down anymore.

Still. He deserves better. That doesn't mean she doesn't at least get to be his friend, so when he calls, she answers happily.

They don't talk about anything significant, just work and school and did you hear about this or did you see that episode of Breaking Bad? She's always loved just talking to Finn, and everything feels so dreamlike – nightmarish – when she doesn't have him to confide in.

She laughs at something he says, and she's forgotten how funny he is, and when she sobers they fall into silence. Maybe this is the time to say goodbye, hang-up and call again next week, or next month, whenever she's got a free second.

"Rachel," he says, and she's always admired Finn's easy ability to slip so much meaning into only her name. "Fuck, I miss you."

"I do, too," and she hopes he knows she misses him, and her, and what was between them. And she's still got that optimistic, false hope that he'll settle for her someday. "Do you – will we ever be happy again?"

His silence stretches into minutes, and she lights a cigarette, curled on the fire escape. Finally, he answers, "Yeah. I know we will. But – but not…in the future. You shattered me, Rachel. Absolutely. And you're – you're different."

"Bad different?"

"Different. Just different." She hears his breath and she inhales a lungful of smoke. "I'm not…mad. Anymore. Like, I was, you know? So fucking mad at you. But now I'm disappointed, and it sucks 'cause you know I think the world of you. It still hurts, and I know – I know you're hurting too. But I'm not giving up on the idea of us."

She bites her lip. It still feels like every seam inside of her is coming undone, but she's learning. "Okay, Finn."

"Okay. I, um…" He won't say it, but the idea of what comes next echoes in his silence, and hers, too. "I'll call you soon. Bye."

vii.

Most of the time, he's so busy, working three jobs – coaching the glee club, managing the tire shop, and mowing lawns, now that it's spring – he can barely even think about the dilemma with Rachel, let alone talk to her about it. Their phone calls are few and far between, but he's gotten so good at stalking her on Facebook and Twitter she may as well put out a restraining order on him.

But she seems happy. She's got friends besides Kurt and her tweets aren't so sad and ironic all the time. He wants her to be happy, because he's happy. He's starting to think he really likes helping people, like so much so that he researches the police and fire academies until his eyes cross from the information.

He decides on being a paramedic, and maybe some day he'll get a degree, but he's not sure school is for him. And yeah, so what if he applies for jobs in New York City? He's drawn to the lights and the buzz and the idealism that permeates the city's entire atmosphere.

But he can't just, like…live in New York alone, you know? And no way is he living with Rachel. That'll ruin all their progress, they'll fall back into old habits – fucking everywhere – and he wants it to be good, this time. Everlasting.

So, he drives to Lima Heights and knocks on Santana's door, because she still wants to be a singer, and he needs a roommate.

"Fuck no," Santana responds. "Nope."

"Why not?"

"You think I wanna listen to you bitch and moan about Berry giving it up to some hotshot actor in New York for the foreseeable future? No thanks. I'd rather live with Lady Face and his mutt."

"Don't talk about her like that."

Santana sighs. "Look, Tubbs. We all know what's gonna happen. You're gonna court your little elfin princess, fall right back into that disgusting form of love, start fucking everywhere, and then I'll be out of a roommate. Because you two will be married in, oh, probably a year. That's my bet."

"So? Live with Kurt. Santana, please. I'll buy you beer, or something. I look twenty one."

"Yeah, you do look over twenty one – more like forty one." He rolls his eyes. "All right, you had me at buying me things. But I'm not giving you relationship advice."

viii.

It's become almost easy for her, this whole New York thing, and that may be a testament to her talents as an actress, or maybe she's growing up – she's not so sure. She doesn't talk to Finn much these days (conflicting schedules) and she stayed in New York for the summer instead of heading back to Lima, and she's been working and taking summer classes – she plans to graduate a year early – and, well. Dating.

He has been too, for the record. She's been stalking him on Facebook and she's seen the girls that post little hearts on his wall or the pictures of him with girls hanging on him and she's not even sure where he's meeting these girls. But she wants him to be happy, and he has to be happy without her. Because she's starting to come to terms with the fact that he'll be most likely be marrying one of those girls, or hell, even Quinn.

So, she's been dating too, and they talked once or twice and talked a little about it, shyly, and he hadn't freaked out and she hadn't freaked out, and it's been fine.

She gets home from her first day of classes just before four in the afternoon, and she hears a bit of a ruckus coming from the apartment and just assumes Kurt's invited some of his colleagues and friends from Vogue over for drinks. They're not even twenty yet, and already their lives have become so adult.

New York still doesn't feel like home, for the record. Most days, she can be happy, but it's a slippery slope. She wants to love it here, wants to thrive, but she's falling short and feels so much like a fish out of water. But she's gotten better at coping, because she'll always have singing, and now she's working at this little café and she's got cigarettes and she feels so out of her own body when she smokes, but it's a habit, now. She likes it, even.

She hears laughter as soon as she pushes through the door and nearly faints. Finn, Santana and Kurt, all sitting on the sofa, bottles of beer in their hands. Well, Kurt has a glass of wine they'd gotten from one of Kurt's coworkers.

"Um – hi?"

Finn's head had turned the moment he heard her key in the lock, and she can feel her cheeks warming under his scrutinizing gaze. Within moments, he's onto his feet and he's hugging her like he hasn't in so long. It's frantic, it's warm, it's I'm so happy to see you.

Her heart thrums and her chest constricts and she's feeling new muscles under a new tee shirt, and he's never looked like this before – she's never seen him look like this before – and she pulls away before she starts, like, crying onto his shirt.

She hates this damn loft. There's no privacy but for the bathroom, so she excuses herself and breaks down in there. She's gotten really good at weeping silently.

There's a knock and the door opens (there's no lock – another strike against this place) and Finn slips in, smiling sheepishly.

"Hey," he says softly. "You've been crying."

"Yes." She wipes at her eyes, grabs the washcloth that hangs on the wall and presses it against her swollen cheeks.

"Because of me?" She nods, and his mouth does that thing where it relaxes and his eyes furrow and he looks so hurt and she's always hated that look – will always hate that look – and she needs him to know it's not…not his fault.

"Not like that," she says, her voice arching a little with the desperation she's feeling. "Finn, please."

"Explain, then." She stands up from sitting on the toilet and perches on the countertop, quirks her finger at him and he leans against the wall opposite her.

She thinks if this were a different life, she'd put her hands on his arms and keep him close. But instead fiddles with the hem of her shorts and doesn't meet his gaze, and she's just organizing her thoughts, but the silence gets to be too much. "Finn…I just – it's all hitting me, now. We're – we're strangers, now. And I hate that."

He sighs heavily. "I do, too. But it's – it's supposed to be like this, I think. We're supposed to just…just let the universe guide us back together."

She doesn't tell him she's not good enough, because he just got here, and she doesn't know how long he's staying. "I'm sorry for being so dramatic," she tells him and hops off the counter, stumbles a little into his chest.

"Don't apologize for being who you are."

"Thanks, Mr. Glee Club Director," she teases, and he rolls his eyes.

"I think we should talk," he tells her. "Seriously talk."

"About what?"

"Us."

"Finn…" She sighs. "I don't…I can't be in a relationship with you."

He blinks slowly and sets his jaw. She knows telling him he can't do something only encourages him more, but she hopes he follows her advice, this time. Or whatever. Because yes, she wants him, loves him (still), and she always will. But she'll never forget that awful weekend last fall and how breaking his heart made her feel, and he just – he deserves better than her.

"Why?"

"Because, Finn. You're – I don't even – we're strangers." She sighs shakily. "Please, Finn. Can't we just be friends?"

He doesn't look mad. "Okay, Rachel. Whatever you want."

ix.

Being friends with Rachel, now, is easy. He learns so much about her just in being her friend, like all this new music she listens to, and where she likes to buy records from, and how she likes her tea. And yeah, it's all stuff he could learn as her boyfriend, but he's looking forward to the day she realizes she's fallen in love with him as an adult, the day they're no longer strangers.

Because he's so, so certain they're meant to be. That they've finally found their dreams and are working on being adults and they're always gonna fuck up, and she's still so different, but somehow the same in certain regards, and fuck. He just wants her, all the time, and he knows they were dating other people for a while, but he just…as soon as he'd gotten to New York had thrown himself into the police academy and Rachel.

She's so – so perfect. Still. Perfectly imperfect, you know? She's totally messed up, and she thinks he can't tell, or doesn't want to hear about it all, but he wants to, because he wants to explore every single aspect about this new adult version of Rachel Berry. It makes him happy, sometimes, when she acts like a diva, or lectures him, or corrects him – stuff that used to bother him before become parts of her that he loves, and he starts to get bothered by other things.

Like the cigarettes, and the sarcasm, and the makeup. He's trying to be a good guy (and boyfriend candidate) and he'd never tell her what to do, so he keeps them mostly to himself. Besides, it's her life, her body. And he knows things he does bug her, too.

They're practically dating, you know? Like she'll call him crying at least once a week, and they meet for dinner every month and one cold October night they hang out, just them, in his apartment while Santana's out with some hot girl she met at the bar last weekend. It's dark and they're sharing a blanket and her toes brush against his ankle and they don't even say anything, but they make out for, like, two hours on the couch and they don't talk about it the next time.

It's so, so easy to be with her. Seamless, really. It took him a year to forgive her, and he plans on spending this next year convincing her to date him. But she's weird about emotional stuff, now, which is completely inverted from their relationship in high school.

"Rachel," he says one afternoon when he's walking her back to the loft after a coffee (non) date.

"Hmm?" She's smiling and these days she seems so happy, and he's so, so happy she's happy, because he knows she was unhappy for so long – and not just because of their breakup. Like, not talking to her is fucking weird, broken up or not.

"You wanna get dinner some time?"

"Um, well, considering I am a human who – "

"Listen, Sarcastic Susan. I mean, like a date."

"Oh." She blinks. "No."

"Excuse me?"

"I don't want to go on a date with you," she says like she wasn't completely in love with him for three years.

"Yes, you do."

"Uh, no, no I do not."

"And why, exactly, is that?"

"Because," her voice is all simple and matter of fact, "you're my friend, and I don't want to ruin our friendship."

x.

She really does hate hurting him, you know, though it may seem that she delights in it. It's better for him this way, really, it is. He's better off without her loving him, and though she doesn't hate herself anymore, she still knows Finn deserves better than a girl who cheated on him two times.

But she forgot about one simple matter in this whole refusal to date Finn mess she's gotten into, and that's how her own heart comes into play. Because falling in love with Finn has always been so easy for her, and she can't believe she forgot how easily he is to love, to adore.

He's so good, and amazing and perfect and hot and –

Anyways. She's tried to keep him from falling in love with her, too, but she can just tell that he's right back to where he was when they were fifteen and naïve and too young for all the sad things that happened to them.

New York feels so much more like home now that he's here. And maybe she's on her way to believing in him, in them, that they'll last, even though she's convinced he deserves better than her – maybe she should give in. She's good at giving into him, and Finn is good at refusing to give up. He sends her flowers and flirtatious messages on every social networking platform, visits her for dinner, touches the small of her back.

He creates this tension between them that bends and snaps, taut like a tether, until one night he's at her house for dinner and she's complaining about her new Pointe shoes and he pulls her legs into his lap and starts massaging them.

Massaging her feet, and then his hands work up her legs until they're massaging her thighs.

"Finn," she breathes, staring at his hands on her legs, and she's sick of it all, of not being with him, of feeling sorry for herself, so she bursts forward and kisses him hard.

She feels his mouth curving into a smile beneath her lips and she ignores him, continues kissing him and she puts his hands so they slip under her shirt. She doesn't know if she's ever done that before with him, but she likes feeling his hands there, calloused against the smooth skin of her stomach. He groans and he's always been so good at kissing but now it feels so much better, like fine-tuned or whatever and she really just – really missed him.

And that, of course, explains the breakdown she has when they pull apart for air.

xi.

When he wakes up, she's no longer beside him. He's worried about her, you know? They'd kissed for like, ten minutes and then she'd started sobbing and wouldn't say anything and asked if he wanted to have sex, and he did and she did and so they had sex and she'd cried and fallen asleep and like it's the weirdest sequence of events probably ever.

Anyway, after, he'd curved his body around hers, rubbed her back and fallen asleep as soon as her breath had evened out and now he's awake and it's the middle of the night (morning?) and she's missing.

He's got this instinctual feeling that she's on the fire escape, smoking, and he joins her.

"S'cold," he mumbles, glad he'd grabbed a sweater, and she's just wearing this plaid blanket wrapped around her shoulders and her underwear, cigarette between two fingers.

She nods and sucks in a breath and blows out this blue smoke, and fuck if he isn't totally attracted to it, and he hates that a little bit.

"I'm so sorry," Rachel says suddenly, "For everything. Last year. I just – I was so lost without you, and had spent so much of that time feeling ugly, and unattractive, and he made me feel sexy and desirable for the first time in a long time and – and I'm sorry."

"I forgive you," he says, 'cause he doesn't think he said that before. "I've – it's been…I can't not forgive you, if that makes sense. You're always sexy, baby girl. And I'm – I'm sorry I made you think otherwise. You know that wasn't my intent."

She takes a drag from her cigarette and exhales slowly. "I do. Now, at least." She pushes out this little sigh and looks up at the sky. He wonders if she's searching for stars. "I really…why do you still want me?"

"What?"

"Why do you want me?" She sounds curious, but honestly. "I've broken your heart a million times, and – "

He kisses her, because that's bullshit. "We've broken each other's hearts, Rachel," he says, and puts his hands on her cheeks. "Often. And we're gonna keep doing that, but you know what? It's worth it."

"Finn…"

"Don't…don't talk about this deserving nonsense. Because – because we do deserve one another, because we're soul mates. And this thing between us, it's this like, fucking old love or whatever. You know? Like…it's ancient. And I know cause I feel it right here," he puts her hand over his heart, "and you feel it, too. I know you do, because I know you, and you can grow up all you want, smoke as many cigarettes as you please, but that's never gonna change this."

He always sees right through her. "Okay, Finn. Okay."

She kisses him, this time.

xii.

He was her first love, and then her third love, and now he's her final love. The slip into their relationship is easy, and it's both like picking up where they left off and starting all over again. They're twenty when he tells her he loves her in so many words, casually, and she feels like she could cry, and she does, because she loves him so much, and it's been the longest, worst journey, but that's what growing up is, isn't it?

She's grown into their love like she grew into the reindeer sweater her grandma knitted her when she was ten.

A part of her still hates New York, but says yes to Finn's proposal when she's twenty-one and a half, and the ring is an antique, different from the one he gave her when they were eighteen, but she wears that one around her neck, a permanent reminder of the love they had, and the love they have.

Santana bitches about them being obnoxious all the time, and Rachel supposes she understands. After all, the three of them share an apartment because Santana's waiting to find the perfect apartment to move into and Kurt's living with Blaine (finally) and sometimes she and Finn'll be having sex and Santana will pound on their door and complain in Spanish.

She catches herself sometimes, reaching for a pack of cigarettes in her purse, looking to inhale and exhale smoke, but she's given it up so she can work on being her very best self. She hates so much that she lost herself for so long, hates that she'd confused sex with acceptance, hates that she took so long to find her way back to Finn.

But he's always so supportive, and she supports him, too, and they really do just adore one another. She's never been so confident and she thanks him, and herself, every single day.

"I love New York," he tells her, swinging their hands between them as they walk. She doesn't really agree. She'll always associate New York with those bad things that first year, the hatred, the loss, but she's starting to love it, like how pretty Central Park is in the fall, or the buzz of a city filled with so many dreams.

"It's growing on me," she says and he kisses the top of her head. He knows how she'd hated New York, because they have this actual total honesty policy, now. And it works so, so well, and she's never felt more in love with Finn in her entire life.

"I love you. And being with you. Wherever that may take us." He kisses her again, on the mouth this time, because they're in line for Starbucks.

"Me, too." He pulls her against his side, twirls her ring around her finger, and the queue shifts and they're in front of the barista now.

Finn barks out his order as he always does – so accustomed to wearing the suit of a New Yorker – and her order, too, and she's too busy staring at their hands intertwined to realize that the barista is Brody.

"Wait, Rachel?"

Her head snaps up. "Oh, my god. Brody." Finn's fingers squeeze hers and release them and then he's wrapping his arm around her shoulders.

So, so territorial. "Nice to see you," Finn says, smiling tightly. He's wearing his police uniform and shits so his shoulders are straight. Really, if he weren't so cute she'd be annoyed.

"You, too. Good to see you guys back together," and then he smiles and finishes their order and it's done.

"That was easy," Finn says – boasts, more like – and she kisses him on the cheek. She wants to say something, but rolls her eyes.

"Finn, he was never even a threat in the first place."

"I know," he says and winks and leans in and kisses her right on the mouth.