Hi, remember me? Lol. Yes, I should be banned from writing fan fiction, and you know I'm both embarrassed and sorry about another gargantuan delay between posts. I won't go into the reason why this update has taken so long, but just know that there are reasons, and I was never not going to finish it. I HATE unfinished fan fiction, and I won't let that happen to any of my fics. But better I write this now than when I'm ninety, right? Lol. So where were we… oh yeah, Rachel's letter that sent Finn to Georgia without her. I hope you like this chapter :). #FinchelForever

Rachel stood trembling in the darkness, the boy wearing the headset beaming at her from the other side of the stage as she waited for the sound of her name. A sound she still couldn't quite believe.

"Rachel Berry!"

The words were her trigger to step back into the spotlight; the audience's energy swelling in a crescendo of claps and cheers, some faces high above the rest as they stood in a standing ovation.

Exhilaration engulfed Rachel's body as she hurried back to center stage and took her first bow for the evening; her cast mates clapping in a line behind her before they stepped forward so she could lead them in a group bow. It was the same process every night, yet the smile it brought to Rachel's face never dimmed – a smile sparked by an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment, and appreciation, and relief that she was finally here. She'd made it. She was where she belonged.

The atmosphere of excitement always lingered, as the cast and crew's energy buzzed through the stage and dressing rooms long after the show had finished. Actors and singers took makeup off; stagehands swept stray glitter away; new team members flirted with each other, high on their first chance at an off-Broadway musical. And Rachel thanked everyone for their kind compliments as they squeezed her small shoulder for another job well done as she headed back to her dressing room.

And it was usually there when the first trickle of sadness would seep into her chest; the comforting theatre hum beginning to quieten as the audience departed with their loved ones, as cast and crew headed to pizza and wine, leaving Rachel where she was. Alone again.

Except, tonight was different. Nearly a year of performing this challenging role – winning the hearts of critics, and attracting whispers of a part on the real Broadway – and yet each day had been colored with a constant and consuming thought: she was one day closer. One day nearer to the date she'd once scribbled in tear-stained ink long before it would actually come to pass. The date that had preoccupied her mind more than any other for the past five years; obliterating all birthdays, Hanukahs, Thanksgivings – even the date her agent had signed her right out of theatre school, or the date of her first audition, or the date she was cast as the lead role in this amazing show. This other date was the one she'd never been able to get out of her head.

She had never intended the date to hijack her thoughts and plans the way it had. She'd imagined it to be something she'd think about closer to the time… a way to leave the past behind for awhile, but to leave the door open.

But leaving the door open had closed others. There had been many suitors who'd come knocking in the five years that had passed. The surfer boys on the Australian beaches where she'd laid in the hot sun five years ago, huge sunglasses masking her tears as she was forced to face what she'd done and lost. The older man with the long hair who played opposite her in her first community theatre show in Brisbane. The kid who'd auditioned with her for theatre school when she'd finally turned up in New York with nothing but a suitcase, encouraged by the praise she'd received during the community musical. And, then, her classmate as she'd spent the next three years singing, dancing, and acting her way to the top of her class. They'd become intimate, and she'd come the closest to loving him. But not close enough.

Because, through every date, every kiss, every night in another man's bed, Rachel had never once been able to unlock herself from the grip of that one date. The possibility. The wondering, about were he was and what he was like. Whether he still thought of her. Whether the imagining of her face could still make his heart pound like it was running a marathon, as his did for her.

Whether he would be there.

And, now, as she wiped mascara from her thick lashes, the moment of truth had finally arrived. Tomorrow morning, at eleven o'clock, Rachel would go to the Bow Bridge. As she looked at herself in the mirror, her eyes wide with the anguish of a scared little girl, she took a deep breath and whispered what she hadn't in years.

I am Rachel Barbra Berry. I am magnificent.

And, tomorrow, I am going to find out my future.

Finn Hudson hitched his duffel bag over his shoulder as he stepped into the arrival lounge, butterflies agitating his stomach in a familiar churn that had been slowly building inside him for months. He wandered into the sea of strange faces, bodies hugging, waiting eyes wide with anticipation, voices shouting – he didn't even know there were this many people in the world, let alone in one airport.

He managed to find his way to the airport shuttle service, relieved when the driver nodded as he offered his hotel name. He'd booked the hotel online, randomly choosing it out of hundreds close to Central Park, hoping it was at least clean and quiet. He'd already decided that if New York City was half as noisy as JFK airport, he might even shorten his stay and leave tomorrow afternoon. He hadn't even known how many days to book for, the decision making him feel a little ill as he'd sat staring at the screen. In the end he'd just booked for one night, given he had stuff to get back to at home and couldn't really afford more. He wasn't really that interested in seeing the sights, and he had no idea whether Rachel would even be there, even though the betting man inside him had already put all his money on the side that she wouldn't.

It had been too long. Five years had been so long. Her face as he'd last seen it felt like a lifetime ago: her tiny hands cupping his cheeks in the dark of the night, her lips flushed with the heat of love as she'd kissed him one last time. Looking back, he was so grateful that he'd got on that plane to Georgia. If he hadn't, he shuddered to think about what might have happened to him. He'd been barely able to function for the first few weeks he was there, but then college had began and he'd thrown himself in to a new social circle, making friends quickly and hooking in to as many distractions as he could. Except girls. He'd never seen so many in one place, some of them deliberately parading half naked in front of him at parties, but he'd been physically unable to respond for the first few years. Instead, he'd focused hard on the subjects he liked, and guided his studies toward children's theatre directing of all things, which had made him happier than he'd been in a long time. And before he knew it he was dating again, the first girl he'd kissed throwing him for a loop when the feelings he thought he'd drowned suddenly rushed back to the surface, cruelly reminding him that he still wasn't over her, as much as he wanted to be. As much as he should be. The last girl he wanted to be hung up on was Rachel Berry after what she'd done to him.

Yet he'd always found himself looking for her when he was back in Lima, even though he knew he shouldn't. He'd even spotted Hiram Berry through the supermarket window one afternoon, the sight making his stomach hit the pavement, but he didn't have the balls to ask him how she was, or whether she'd been back to town. In many ways, he didn't want to know anything about her life. There was too much of a risk that he'd accidentally hear something he didn't want to know.

And now, five years had passed, and Finn was still in Georgia, finding it hard to leave all the friends he'd made, even though Puck was still trying to talk him into going to LA. But he had a good life going down there; he'd done some odd jobs since graduating, kicking around, before finally setting up his own kids' community theatre group after his close friend Angie had managed to get him some funding. It wasn't until the night she told him that he'd finally kissed her, the immediacy of her response confirming what he'd suspected the entire time they'd been friends.

That had only happened a few months ago, and now, here he was, leaving his theatre kids in her hands for the weekend while he went to New York, of all places. He hadn't told Angie why he was going – he figured it wasn't worth the argument. He'd just told her he was going to see an old friend, knowing that she wasn't really in a position to question him too much over it anyway, since they hadn't yet confirmed they were in a committed relationship. He still didn't feel ready for that conversation, but he knew it was coming. There was only so long a sweet girl like Angie would hold on, and he didn't want to lose her.

As Finn's eyes absorbed the city's staggering enormity, the shuttle bus seemingly stopping at every hotel in town but his, his chest tightened with the grip of uncertainty about his decision to even come. But, deep down, he knew what the real reason was, and how important it was to him. He needed to see it. He needed to see the bridge empty of her beautiful face as the hour passed by, giving himself the final closure he needed. He needed to know for sure that she'd moved on. He needed to close the door.

His hotel was one of the last stops, and he was relieved to see it was actually kind of nice as he checked out the glimpses of Central Park from his window. He didn't really know what to do that night, so he wandered around the Upper West Side, nearly wearing his shoes into the ground before he finally found the café from Seinfeld, smirking to himself as he sat down and ordered a toasted cheese sandwich, the service just as terrible as it was in the show. He laughed about it to Angie on the phone while he had a beer at a bar near his hotel, guiding the rest of the conversation toward the theatre kids, not wanting to get into anything more personal given the reason he was in New York. When he started feeling more weird about the whole thing, he hung up and watched strangers striding past as he finished his beer, the sight of a girl running with long dark hair sucking all the air from his body as it hit him again like a gunshot right to the heart. He was really here. He was in New York to see Rachel.

His fingers shook as he pulled the crumpled paper from his pocket, reading the words again that he could now almost say by heart:

I want nothing more than to be with you. That has not changed, and I know that will continue to not change for an exceptionally long time – if ever.

Words that then shifted to:

I am a grown woman. I want different things to you.

He didn't know what the hell she'd wanted back then, other than to be as far away from him as possible. Her letter had said so many different and confusing things. And, now, so much time had passed. Surely she'd found someone else by now. A smart, sweet, and sexy little thing like her. It was almost deranged to think that she hadn't been snapped up by now. It was impossible.

Finn paid the check, his thoughts starting to sink his mood as he headed back to his hotel. He fell asleep easier than he thought he would, but when he woke up the butterfly storm in his stomach had been upgraded to a hurricane. His heart pumped at twice its normal speed as he got ready, wondering if he should shave. He fingered the light scruff, figuring that since he finally had a tan from the Georgia summer he may as well leave it, worried he'd find pinky white skin underneath that would look weird. As he changed into a pair of worn denim jeans and a dark brown t-shirt, he caught himself in the mirror, leaving his thick hair messed up, because that's the way she used to like it.

Dude, what are you even doing? Dressing for her? She's not even gonna be there, asshat.

He tried to shut out his annoying thoughts as he waited out the last few minutes he had chatting to Angie, this time letting the phone call turn a little cheeky when she mentioned she was on her way to the shower. He needed to remind himself who he was, and what his life was now, and the people who had been there for him for the past five years when she had been nowhere.

And when Finn finally stepped into Central Park, the sky a brilliant blue that was tauntingly perfect, he had to take deep breaths to stop his heart rate from accelerating all over again. But it was hard. He felt like he was queuing up for the scariest rollercoaster at Cedar Point as he followed the signs that pointed toward Bow Bridge, wondering if it was too late to turn back. When he finally spotted it, he felt choked with relief that she wasn't already standing there waiting for him, suddenly realizing that sight might have given him an actual heart attack.

He strolled on to the bridge, glad there were plenty of people around to fill the silence. He checked his watch and saw it was 11:07am, slight alarm pinching his chest as he leaned against the barrier and tried to appreciate the surroundings. It hit him how stunningly beautiful it was; how perfect for her in a way. He turned around and rested against the barrier on his forearms, nervous sweat pooling at the back of his neck. A flash of dark hair made his head flick around, before he realized it was a different girl passing by, a man blowing huge bubbles following behind. Finn looked at his watch again. By now it was after 11:30am, his chest starting to constrict a little with irritation. He'd promised himself he wouldn't let her get to him again, but now that he was here, a few hundred bucks down on the flight and hotel, he was starting to feel like the whipped, idiotic Finn from five years ago. He thought about leaving, but he needed to wait the hour out. He had to be sure.

By 11:53am Finn knew she wasn't coming. He felt something pooling in his eyes that he damn well hoped wasn't a tear as he gripped the railing tightly, trying to let the stillness of the water below calm the escalating feeling of disappointment in his stomach.

It's over, dude. It's been over for five years now. You didn't come here to get back together. You don't even want to, anyway. Rachel is in the past. You only came here to say goodbye. To close the door, once and for all. So do it, Finn. Close the fucking door.

Finn took a deep breath in as he pulled back from the railing, swallowing the bitterness in his throat as he turned toward that balloon blower who was still taking up half the freaking bridge. He pushed past him as the man turned to blow a huge balloon in his path, Finn raising his hand to swipe it away before the girl stepped right through it.

The girl with the shiny dark hair swept up off her face, her tiny figure enveloped in a bright blue dress, her glistening eyes focused right on him, the shock of recognition stopping him in his tracks.

"Finn!" she called, her voice shaky as she rushed at him. "You're here, I can't believe it – I couldn't get a cab!" Her voice was light and musical… he'd forgotten. Perfume from five years ago swept him right back like a time machine as she flung her tiny arms around him, all the breath escaping his body as he just stood there, unable to move. She pulled back, feeling his lack of response.

She wiped her eyes as he looked down at her, finding it hard to speak. He just couldn't believe what he was seeing. It was really her. It was Rachel freaking Berry. Standing right in front of him. What the hell?

"You came," Rachel repeated through a wobbly voice as she waved tears away from her eyes, trying to stop him from seeing.

Finn tried to say something, but all he could do was stammer like an idiot. "Sorry... I'm think I'm just… shocked right now."

"Because I'm here?" Rachel's sweet face crinkled with surprise. Neither of them noticed any of the people that were passing by them. All they could look at was each other, Finn's mouth still dropped half open.

"I guess," he answered huskily, finally breaking their eye contact to look at his watch. It was just after noon. He felt like he was in the twilight zone.

"I promise, I was trying to get here on time." Finn had forgotten how fast Rachel could talk. "But I live way downtown, and I couldn't find a taxi. I was having a panic attack! Thank goodness I got here before..." She tried to take in his scruffy face, his messy hair, his cute clothes, but it was all too much... she almost had to look away. He looked even better than she could have remembered. He was achingly handsome.

"Wait... You live here?" Finn's eyes widened with surprise.

Rachel just nodded, a lump constricting her throat. "I do now. For several years, actually... Finn, you came," she said again, like she could barely believe it.

Finn just nodded at her, trying to hide the hurt from his face. Frustrating, annoying hurt that he couldn't even understand. Why did it bother him so much to hear her talk about her life that had happened without him?

"Wow, New York, that's great," he said tightly. "I mean, if it's what you want. I'm happy for you."

"Thank you," Rachel answered softly, still in awe that the real Finn was standing right in front of her. "It is what I want. It's… exactly where I should be." She stepped closer to him, her voice trembling. "Finn, there's so much to tell you."

He took a step back, hearing the tension in his voice. "It's okay, you don't have to."

"What do you mean?" Her face was too pretty. He could barely look at it.

"I mean, you don't have to tell me everything you've been up to," answered Finn. He tried to lighten his face, but failed. "It's great to see you here, Rachel… happy. That's enough for me."

Rachel's face dropped, trying to understand. "Finn, what you are talking about? You came all the way here just to… to say hi?" She couldn't work out what was happening. All she could think about was hugging him for a thousand years, but he was just standing there.

Finn tried to look at her, but seeing those beautiful eyes was too hard. Those eyes that once stared so deeply into his, when... It was making him feel like he was about to have a panic attack.

"No," he answered, his throat thick. "I just came to see if you would be here."

Rachel just started up at him.

"And h-here I am," she stammered. "So what now?"

"Whoa, way to put the pressure on." He stepped back.

"I'm not trying to pressure you, Finn," Rachel continued quickly. "I'm just a little confused because you came here today to meet me, and I thought that we agreed that if both of us were here–"

His face twisted. "We agreed?"

"No, I, you know what I mean," Rachel fumbled, suddenly becoming aware of all the nosy tourists surrounding them. "Can we just take a walk and talk?"

"No, we can't." The stiffness in Finn's voice sounded strange even to him. "I'm kind curious now as to what you think we agreed to." He crossed his arms over his chest. "That if we both came to this Rachel-decided bridge, on this Rachel-decided date, at this Rachel-decided time, that we'd suddenly be back together or something? Is that what you saw in that little head of yours?"

Tears slid from Rachel's eyes as she looked down. "You're angry." She shook her head at herself. "I should have known."

"I'm not angry," Finn protested, hearing how much his tone said the opposite. But he didn't want to be angry. He hadn't planned on being angry. He hadn't even planned on her being here. But, now, suddenly she was standing right in front of him again with that perfect little body, in that perfect little dress, with that perfect hair and that perfect face, telling him that she'd had this other life in New York that he knew nothing about. It made him want to kick something.

Rachel just nodded, but her face was falling faster than a landslide.

"Fuck," Finn breathed as he stepped closer to her. He was being an epic asshat. "I'm sorry, okay? It's just... it's really weird seeing you after all this time."

Rachel nodded again, fumbling for a tissue in her handbag. "I know." She blew her nose. "I've waited for this day for so long, Finn, and now that it's here… this is not how I imagined it." Her voice broke at the last part, a stream of quiet tears beginning their flow. No one made her cry like Finn did. It seemed that nothing had changed in that respect.

"Why don't we take a walk like you said," Finn said softly, unable to bear the sight of her tears. "Or get a coffee or something."

Rachel's face lit up. "There's actually an excellent coffee place just up the street. Barbra Streisand was there just last week."

Finn tried to find his smile as he put his hands in his pockets. "Show me."

The walk to the café was awkward, but at least they didn't argue. They didn't say much of anything at all for the first few minutes, Finn still trying to get over her frustrating beauty. She was even prettier than he remembered, if that was even possible. Sure she looked a little older, but it was in a good way. Her skin was glowing, her hair gleamed in the sun, her legs were almost too painful to look at, but her eyes were exactly the same as the last time he'd looked into them and felt burning love scar his heart forever. Trying to snap himself out of it, he asked her about New York, but stayed away from anything to do with her life there. Instead, he asked her things like how cold the winters were, and whether the people were rude or friendly. She was still gushing about the Italian restaurants when they arrived at the café, both of them relieved that they finally had napkins and water glasses to fumble with.

"You drink coffee now?" Rachel asked with a small smile, as the server walked away with their order.

Finn smiled. "I'm not a kid anymore, Rachel."

Rachel just chuckled softly, both of them still bewildered by the sight of the other sitting across the table. The handsomeness of Finn's matured face almost made Rachel sick with fear about losing sight of it again.

"So where are you living then, Finn?" she asked, her voice still a little unsteady.

Finn cleared his throat. "Actually, I'm still in Georgia."

Rachel couldn't stop the smile that almost brought tears. "So you went? To Georgia?"

"Of course," he said tightly as he began fingering the label on his water bottle. "You didn't know that?"

Rachel shook her head. "I had no idea. Of course, I was hoping very much, but no, I didn't know."

"So you haven't seen anyone from Lima then?"

"Well, my dads, of course, who visit me every year… and Will and Emma, when they made a social call once. But I don't talk to them about… the students." She cleared her throat.

Finn swallowed hard at Emma's name. The last time he'd seen her was when he was at his absolute worst. He was still embarrassed about how he'd acted.

"Yeah, so I did go to Georgia," he continued, trying not to think about that nightmare day. "And I did my degree, and I'm still there. Working. It's nice… I like it."

"What degree? What work?" Rachel took a sip of her coffee that had arrived.

Finn sighed, unsure of how he felt about Rachel of all people quizzing him about his life.

"Uh, my degree is in arts education, and I'm working as a theatre company director, actually. A kids' theatre company."

Rachel's mouth dropped open. "You're kidding!" Finn just shook his head at her, wondering if he should be offended. "I work in the theatre, too," Rachel explained. "Except adult theatre, in my case."

Finn just nodded. He knew he should ask her to tell him more about it, but instead he just looked at the people at the next table, hating himself for being such an ass.

"Well that's really fantastic, Finn," Rachel continued softly. "I always knew you were going to do something of exceptional brilliance. I had no doubt. I do hope I can hear more about it."

"I wouldn't call it exceptional brilliance," Finn just mumbled into his coffee, still unable to look at her as the conversation turned awkwardly silent. It was becoming super obvious to him that she was the one who was fine to see him, and to sit chatting over coffee like nothing had happened, and he was the one who couldn't handle it. She was going to go back to her perfect theatre life in New York – whatever that meant – and he was going to go back to Georgia feeling like a great big bag of shit. He shouldn't have come.

"I'm really glad you came," Rachel said under her breath, like she'd heard his thoughts.

He looked back at her, her eyes focused on his with something he hadn't seen in such a long time. Something deep. Something he'd seen many times before.

"I didn't come for that, Rachel," he said softly, his voice cracking a little.

She looked at him with surprise before her face finally fell, her hand coming up to hide her pain as Finn watched her, his chest burning. He hadn't expected any of this. All of this was the last thing he'd expected.

"Yes, I can see that," Rachel eventually whispered, her dark eyes pooling again as she stared at her napkin.

Finn stirred the spoon in his coffee, suddenly feeling too sick to drink it.

"So why did you come, then?" Rachel asked as her head flicked back up, her saddened eyes searching his.

Finn looked away for a long moment, unsure if he even knew what the reason was, before he finally answered her.


Rachel just nodded at him, more helpless tears arriving despite her attempts to stop them.

"To be honest, Rachel, I didn't even think you'd be here," he continued. She looked up at him with genuine shock. "I thought I would come and see that you weren't here, and that it would finally make me realize that you've moved on. That you were right. That it wasn't meant to be." His voice was becoming breathless like hers.

"But, Finn, I am here," Rachel pleaded as she leaned forward. Her voice was high and emotional as she shook her head. "I haven't moved on."

Finn pressed his fingers into the corners of his eyes as he shook his head.

"You honestly want to go back, Rachel? Five years. Like nothing happened."

She shook her head furiously. "Of course, not, Finn. That was never what I wanted. I wanted…" Her voice trailed off as she gestured at him. "Look at you. You're a man, Finn. And I don't even know anything about your life right now, but I do know that you went to college, and that you're a director, and that you look… you look amazing, Finn." He looked back at her, his face softening. "Don't you see?" Rachel continued, her face eclipsed with emotion. "We're the same now. We're both adults. That's what I wanted. Finn, five years ago I was your high school teacher. It wasn't the right time. But now–"

"Rachel, just stop!" Finn cut in, trying to hide the growing frustration in his face. He leaned forward, not wanting the room to hear him. "Can't you hear what you're saying? It's still all about you, Rachel. What you want. What's right for you. What you think of me… what timing is right for you."

Rachel brushed her eyes with her knuckles. "You're right. I'm sorry. I'm trying so hard to be less selfish, Finn. But I honestly did what I thought was the best thing for both of us. You must believe that, Finn."

"You left me standing on an empty porch, Rachel!" The couple sitting next to them looked at him with alarm, but he didn't care. "I thought you were going to walk out your door and get on a plane with me, and instead all I got was a fucking note! Do you have any idea what that felt like?" His voice was shaking. "You knew you were leaving, Rachel. You planned your whole escape behind my back."

"It wasn't an esca–"

"–You had time to work your shit out first. I had no idea what was coming… you were just… gone. Poof. Like you fucking died."

Rachel started crying into her napkin, her shoulders shuddering silently as Finn put a hand across his face, his fingers shaking.

Eventually he leaned forward, wanting so badly to touch her trembling skin it made his hand hurt.

"Rachel, I… I didn't come here to attack you. I'm sorry."

She tried to compose herself, but shock and anxiety had her hijacked from head to toe. She hadn't expected any of this.

"But, now that you are here, maybe this is my chance to tell you what I think," Finn continued through a husky voice. "To say my piece about what happened. About what should have happened to us."

Rachel looked back at him, tears seeping into the corners of her mouth.

"You were right," Finn said with a helpless shrug. "After what you did, Rachel, I would love to sit here and tell you how wrong you were, but I can't." He shook his head. "You were right. Georgia, college… it wasn't the place for you." Images of teenage girls pouring beer over each other's chests in bikinis flashed in his mind. "You wouldn't have liked it. You would've felt stuck. And I think that, sooner or later, maybe that would have taken its toll on us." As Rachel nodded at him with reluctant agreement, he wondered if that last part were really true. He would always wonder that.

"But I'm glad you're here now," Finn continued, his voice weak. "Because if I can't tell you that you were wrong to do what you did, at least I can tell you that you were right. Because you never gave me that chance, Rachel. You never gave me the chance to agree with you. To make the decision together."

"But would you have, Finn?" Rachel challenged, her wavering voice becoming more firm. "Would you have really agreed with me then, the way you do now? If I had told you that I really didn't think it was the right thing to come with you, but that it was the right thing for you to go to college alone, would you have let me go?"

"I might have."

"You wouldn't have."

"But I might–"

" –You wouldn't have."

Finn stared back at Rachel for a long time, flashbacks shooting across his mind like falling stars. The boy who nearly failed history because all he could do was stare at his teacher like she was the most incredible thing he'd ever seen. The girl who watched his football game from the stands as his secret date before letting him make mind-bending love to her in the boys' locker room. The boy who'd nearly punched his math teacher because he'd had his hands on Rachel at the prom. The girl who first told him she loved him on a windy bench in Lake Erin. The girl he hadn't even wanted to be away from for a second, let alone a year.

He shook his head with a deep sigh. "I guess you're right again, Rachel. No... I wouldn't have let you go."

Rachel's face crumpled again as they just sat there at a complete impasse, both of them unable to speak, their coffees long turned cold. But, eventually, Rachel broke the silence, her voice breaking.

"So I did all this to save us, and it destroyed us anyway." She looked up at Finn, her eyes still teary. "Because you can't forgive me."

Finn's fingers squeezed tightly around his mug.

"It's not that I don't forgive you. It's just that… I have a new life, Rachel, far away from here… friends… a job, a…" His voice trailed off, Rachel catching the pinkness in his cheeks.

"A what, Finn?" He looked at the floor, wanting to fall through it. "Finn… d-do you have a girlfriend?"

The time it took for Finn to look Rachel in the eye made her chest crush into a thousand pieces. She knew she had no right to claim him in any way, but the thought of any girl having her hands on Finn made her want to throw up.

"She's not my girlfriend," Finn said softly.

"But she's your something?" Rachel's voice was barely a whisper.

Finn exhaled heavily, looking down. "She's my something."

Rachel began nodding vigorously again, before she reached into her handbag, fumbling for more tissues.

"Rachel, she's… it's not…"

"It's okay, Finn. Do you know what?" She tried to return some cheeriness to her face, but her voice was still all over the place. "You're right. It was a terrible plan to think that we could just see each other again and come back together like two lovers in a movie scene. The fact is, we're strangers to each other now, and we need to know more about each other before we can decide whether we still belong in each other's lives... as f-friends... if that's all we can be." Finn could see how hard Rachel was trying, but her voice was cracking.

"I'll begin," she said matter-o-factly, as she wiped her bangs from her face. Suddenly Finn felt like he was looking at the determined Rachel Berry he once knew, the image making his heart hurt. "Finn, after I left Lima, I traveled to Australia." His brows nearly hit his hairline with surprise. "I have a cousin who lives there, and I went to stay with her for several months. America was simply… too upsetting. And Georgia was too close. Too easy to reach from any destination." Finn tried to stop his heart from bleeding with every word, but it was nearly impossible. "And while I was there, I became involved in some community theatre. When I performed in a local musical, I enjoyed it so much, and I received such excellent feedback, that I decided it was time to pursue my dream. So I moved to New York, became accepted to a good theatre school, and achieved a degree in musical theatre." Finn pressed his chin into his fingertips, unable to stop the smile on his face. "And, then, I completed about a year of auditioning, never once giving up, Finn, before I finally won the lead role in an off-Broadway musical. Which is where I am now. Performing every night. That's the short version, anyway. Believe me, there is a long version."

Finn just stared back at her, unable to believe his ears, but at the same time knowing it couldn't have gone any other way. The girl who had once sung to him so freaking awesomely in a karaoke bar in Lake Erin. She'd done it. She'd become a New York star. His heart felt like it was going to burst right out of his chest.

"I'm so proud of you, Rachel."

"Thank you," she mumbled softly, her eyes in her lap.

"You deserve to be happy." Finn tried to keep his voice strong, but it was hard. "You deserve the greatest happiness in the world."

Another tear slid down Rachel's cheek, the image of her sitting there seeming so lonely all of a sudden. And then it hit Finn… all of Rachel's friends, her family, were all back in Lima. New York was such a freaking huge city. Filled with nothing but strange faces. She was so alone. His girl was so alone.

"Do you have a good life here?" Finn asked softly, his hand reaching to touch hers. "Friends?"

Rachel could barely move, her skin trembling at his unexpected touch. A hand she was once allowed to touch so freely.

"I have a few friends. There have been several… boys. Only one that was remotely serious."

Finn pulled his hand away from hers, his face clouding over as her startling words took a moment to sink in. He'd asked her about friends, and now she was talking about some boyfriend. Rachel had had a boyfriend.

Rachel had meant her comment to be reassuring… to explain that she'd barely been able to let anyone get close to her in five years. But, as Finn ran his hands through his hair as he leaned back in his chair, she could see he'd taken it quite differently. A look crossed his face that she hadn't seen since she'd once told him about the two men she'd been with before him… a conversation they'd had at her house in the days leading up to prom. It was a look of complete and pure jealousy.

And that was when Rachel knew.

Finn still loved her.

Rachel unlocked the door to her apartment, her fingers shaking with nervousness about what he might think of the inside. She stepped in first, her eyes suddenly swamped by an ocean of childish pink, wishing she'd thought about perhaps investing in a beige rug or a navy lamp.

"Cute place," Finn smiled as he stepped behind her, his body so close it made her neck hot. "It's very you."

"It's a respectable price," she explained, justifying its modest size. "I'm so sorry about your hand," she said again, her thousandth apology since the coffee shop still seeming not enough. "I'll get the cream."

"It's fine," Finn reassured, as he watched her pull a stool across her kitchen, her tiny body stepping onto it as she reached for a high cabinet. "Wait, I'll get it," he called as he rushed behind her and reached up, their fingers brushing together as he pulled the door open, an easy reach from his height.

Rachel found it hard to breathe as Finn's body brushed lightly against hers as he pulled her medicine box down, using his good hand to help her off the stool as he chuckled at it.

"Do you have a portable one of those?" he smirked. "I guess little Rachel Berry needs to stand on a stool just to buy a subway ticket."

Rachel gave him a little whack before she opened her medicine box and searched for her burn cream, her cheeks smiling. As soon as things had turned uncomfortable in the café when she'd mentioned her last boyfriend, their server had stood over them offering a fresh pot of coffee. Rachel had been so alarmed she'd reached around and accidently knocked the steaming pot from the server's hand, freshly made coffee spilling across Finn's hand. He'd insisted it was fine – that it was just coffee – but the puckering redness of his skin and creases on his forehead had made her quickly pay the check and look for a drugstore. When all they could find was a queue of empty cabs, she got a sudden idea to just take him to her place instead. She not only had burn cream after her recent attempt at making cinnamon bun pie, but they could talk more, and without nosy New Yorkers listening.

Finn winced a little as Rachel painted the cream across his hand, holding it steady with her small fingers.

"The New York coffee is weirdly hot," he commented, like the city was just an odd place.

"It is in that establishment," Rachel agreed, her fingers tingling at the feel of his hand. "Perhaps I won't go back there again. Even for a chance to see Barbra."

"You really know this city like the back of your hand, don't you?" Finn smiled.

"You mean the back of your hand," Rachel smirked, shaking his hand gently to explain her feeble joke.

"Well, you always did like my hands," Finn answered cheekily, remembering the many times she'd said that to him… often before she kissed them with that incredible mouth of hers.

"I do like your hands," Rachel corrected shyly as she finished applying the cream. "I like your hands very much."

Finn took a step back as she put the lid back on the cream, the space between them suddenly feeling too close.

"So you live alone?" he asked, both of them moving to her crochet-covered sofa to sit, Rachel curling her legs up opposite him. She winced at the sight of the latest book she was reading still on the table, hoping Finn wouldn't notice the title: When the Heart Waits: How to move on without having to move to the Himalayas.

She just nodded. "Unless you count–"

"Chairman Meow!" Finn grinned as a cat suddenly appeared out of nowhere and jumped on Rachel's lap. Seeing him again made Finn's head spin.

"Finn, this is Trouble!" Rachel corrected with a grin, like he should remember. "Chairman Meow would never come to me like this. He's probably in the bedroom."

Finn just laughed, the sudden thought of Rachel's bedroom making his face turn hot.

"Actually, would you like a tour?" Rachel asked as she leaned forward to get up.

"No, it's ok," Finn said quickly. "I'm sure your place is great." Finn somehow wasn't ready to see Rachel's bedroom. He could still remember when she wouldn't even let him inside her bedroom in Lima. The thought brought the butterfly storm back to his stomach.

"Would you like a coffee?" Rachel asked nervously.

"I think I'm OK," Finn chuckled as he held up his injured hand.

"Oh my goodness, I forgot the cinnamon bun pie!" she exclaimed as he jumped up, Trouble scampering away.

Finn watched her rush back into her kitchen and put together a plate of pie, every twist and bend of her little body in that dress making him stare, even though he knew he shouldn't. He wondered if he should tell her her dress was a little see-through.

For awhile they just sat there and chatted as they nibbled at pie, the tense atmosphere softening to something more comfortable and safe. They talked more about Rachel's show, Finn's company, and what Australia and Georgia were like. When Finn's stomach began rumbling despite the pie, they realized it was long after lunch time, and Rachel asked if he wanted to grab a famous New York pizza somewhere nearby.

"Sounds awesome," he answered, as they both stood up, both of them much more relaxed.

"I'll just grab my coat; it's a bit cooler out today that I thought," Rachel said as Finn reached for Trouble, giving his old friend a cuddle. The sight made her chest burn as she went into her room, fumbling through her coats for something relatively light. But it wasn't until her fingers accidentally brushed along the thick red fabric that she even thought of showing it to him.

"Finn!" she called, her smile audible in her voice. "I have something to show you."

"Yeah?" He gave Trouble a little kiss before gently placing him back on the floor.

Rachel pulled the enormous jacket over her shoulders, giggling softly at herself in the mirror before she stepped back into her living room.

"How does this coat look with my outfit?" she asked, trying to keep her face serious.

Finn's mouth dropped open for a second, memories rushing at him like a tsunami. It was his school letterman jacket. The one he'd been wearing when… the one he gave to her when…

"You kept it?" His voice was thin with shock.

"Are you angry?" Rachel asked, her eyes widening suddenly.

"Angry? Why would I be angry?"

Rachel quickly pulled the jacket off her shoulders, handing it to Finn. She'd kept one of the most important mementoes of his childhood without even thinking. His face when he'd seen it had said it all. What in Emily Dickinson's name had she even been thinking.

Finn's long fingers clutched the fabric that could tell so many stories. Beautiful, private, sexy stories. Stories he hadn't thought about in such a long time.

"I'm sorry I kept it," Rachel said softly. "I should have left it for you, with the… I'm so sorry."

Finn's face flicked up at her, his expression hardening a little. "You mean with the note? No, you shouldn't have left this, too, Rachel. I think the note was enough."

She stepped toward him. "Are you upset?" she asked softly. Things had been going so well.

"Sorry," Finn answered with irritation at himself. "I'm just a bit weirded out by seeing this... I mean, seeing that you still have this."

Rachel stood next to him as he held the jacket up, its condition still perfect.

"You thought I would throw it away?"

"I dunno, I just… that's a big thing to keep, Rachel. My jacket in your wardrobe."

"Does that make me a prowler?" Rachel laughed softly, trying to lighten the mood.

Finn's eyes brightened at her smile. "I think you mean stalker."

"Yes, stalker," Rachel laughed.

"Kind of, I guess," Finn joked lightly as he pulled the jacket over his t-shirt. Apart from being a little tight over his more muscular arms, it still fit well.

Rachel took a step back as Finn turned to face her, somehow not prepared for the sight of him smiling at her with those dimples in that jacket that held too many memories. He was more mature, more built, and more rugged, yet he was suddenly the same boy who'd sat at the back of her history class goofing off with Puck. He was the boy she'd fallen in love with.

"Remind you of anyone?" Finn smiled, trying to put on a pretend teenage boy face as his eyes gleamed.

Rachel actually had to look away, her cheeks becoming hot. "Finn, stop."

"What?" he asked huskily as he stepped closer to her. "Is Ms. Berry going to punish me again? For not doing my homework?"

Rachel's eyes flashed up at him, his game throwing her completely off center.

"That's not funny, Finn."

"I don't suppose you've got a ruler lying anywhere do you? I've got to draw a–"

"Finn!" Rachel cried as she held her hand out for him to stop.

"What?" he laughed, reaching out to hold her wrist with affection, his face a picture of innocence as he made a small pout.

But Rachel just wriggled out of his grip as she stepped away from him. "You're making jokes about something that was very important to me." She wished she could just play along, to keep the mood light, but what he was doing was having the opposite effect. It was making her feel awful.

Finn's face dropped with surprise as she moved to sit on the sofa, her face turned away as she brushed a tear from under her eye.

Still such a child, Rachel Barbra. Always crying in front of Finn Hudson. Finn Hudson is your cry whisperer.

"Rachel, are you crying?" he asked as he moved to sit down next to her.

"No, I'm not," she answered shakily as she continued to look away.

For a few moments they just sat there, Finn sighing heavily with his hands on his knees as Rachel made tiny sniffles.

"I'm sorry," he said finally, his voice soft. "I was just playing… I didn't meant to upset you."

Rachel wiped her eyes again, turning back toward him but still unable to look at him in the eye.

"It's quite alright," she managed, so embarrassed about her behavior. "I'm trying hard, Finn. I really am."

"Trying hard at what?" Finn's arm brushed against hers, his jacket cool against her bare skin.

Rachel could only look at him for a moment. "Trying hard to just be... friends," she explained shakily. "And, believe me, I know how I lucky I am to even have that… that you even came to meet me at all is a miracle, Finn. But it's difficult," she added, her voice cracking. "This isn't why I came today, Finn. I came for…" She looked down. "It's hard for me, Finn. So when you joke about our past, it… it doesn't help."

Finn just sat there in silence, a crowd of emotions gathering again inside his body.

"It was important to me, too," he eventually breathed, his voice tight. "Our past." He looked straight ahead, his eyes falling on Trouble that was still sitting there, watching them. "It was the best thing that ever happened to me, Rachel."

She looked up at him, seeing the thin layer of wetness that had formed in his eyes as he still looked straight ahead.

"And I know I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for you," Finn continued, swallowing hard. "So thank you.' He looked back at her, both their gleaming eyes locking together. "Thank you for sending me to Georgia. I mean, I still think the way you did it sucks. But it changed my life, Rachel. For the better. So I should thank you."

Rachel just rubbed her lips together, caught somewhere between being glad about what she'd done, and horrified at the same time. Here she was, still single, with no children, wanting Finn Hudson with every piece of her heart like nothing had changed. What had she really achieved?

"Finn, you're an amazing man," she could only answer through her own quivering lips. "Everything you have ever achieved, and will achieve, is because of you. You don't have to thank me for anything."

Finn nodded, even though he didn't quite believe her. Maybe she would never understand the impact she'd had on his life. Maybe that was for him to always know and not her.

"And you know that you are the reason I am where I am today," Rachel continued, her words catching him by surprise. "Finn, you were the one who told me to sing," she said as she looked back at him, her voice barely a whisper. "You were the one who told me you thought I could be... something more. I'd always tried to tell myself that for years, but you were the one who made me believe it."

Both their brows were creased with emotion, yet they managed to smile at each other.

"So I guess we were good for each other then?" He placed his hand that wasn't hurt on top of hers.

"We were," Rachel answered, her tiny palm turning over to meet his as she laced their fingers together before she could stop herself.

Finn's heart started hammering as he looked down at their entwined fingers, his fingers squeezing hers even tighter, despite his head telling him to pull away.

And before he knew it he could feel her sweet breath as she lifted her face up to his, their misty eyes meeting, their mouths suddenly a whisper apart.

"Rachel, no," Finn breathed, but she was already kissing him, the unexpected taste of her lips making his heart race as he cupped her face with both of his hands, pulling her in to him with a sudden and unbearable need.

Rachel moaned softly as his lips played with hers with light moans, kissing them and guiding them open before his tongue finally slid into her mouth, both of them crying out softly. Finn's breath intensified as their mouths met in a passionate and complete make-out, their faces locked tightly together as his fingers found her hair and gently tugged her backward until his body fell forward over hers.

Before they knew it Rachel was lying on her back, her hands gripping Finn's skin wildly through his jacket as he kissed her with the hunger of a starved man. His tongue swirled against hers, licking and sucking, as his jeans tightened with an intolerable hardness. Rachel slid her hands down to the ass she hadn't stop thinking about for five years, digging her fingers into it as her legs parted under his, his painfully suppressed erection immediately finding the center between as he moaned and impatiently pushed himself hard against her.

"Finn," Rachel breathed, unable to believe what was happening as his ravenous mouth licked and sucked at her all over, around her mouth, and down her cheek and chin until he reached her neck, painting it with wetness as he ate it up like ice cream. He was feasting on her like he'd been starved of her for five years, and every lick and stroke was only making him want more.

Rachel could feel wetness seeping from her center as she pulled his body hard against hers, wanting him so badly she could barely see straight. His mouth and hands were all over her now – his fingers cupping her soft breasts as he moaned softly at the feeling, pulling back to look at the two mouthwatering globes, this time not having to force his eyes to look away, as he fumbled to find the zipper for her dress. Rachel sat up to help him, Finn's mouth finding hers again and kissing her with an erotic and deep wetness as Rachel undid the back of her dress, her fingers shaking almost uncontrollably.

Finn pulled the soft blue fabric past Rachel's shoulders as her breasts fell into his stare, her soft pink bra peeled away by Finn's fingers as he found her nipples, brushing them against the erect little buds and squeezing them as both of them moaned into each other's mouths. His fingers could barely believe what they were feeling as he rolled them over her little hardened nipples, gently tugging, and squeezing, and caressing, wanting to taste them.

Finn's dick was so hard he could barely stand it as he slid down and took one of Rachel's nipples in his mouth, sucking on and savouring its incredible taste that only made him hungrier for her. Rachel tugged at Finn's thick hair, her whole body almost convulsing with desire as he continued sucking and lapping at her hard nipples like they were his last meal on earth, every stroke of his tongue making them more red and puckered.

Eventually, Rachel pulled Finn's face back up with her hands, needing his hardness back against her again as their eyes met, both their eyes dark and dilated with need as they kissed again deeply, their mouths in complete unison, their tongues fighting for more of each other.

"Rachel," Finn breathed, his eyes cloudy with arousal, as she pulled off his jacket. "I don't know if we should–"

But Rachel just silenced him with her tongue as she wrapped her legs around him, more of her wetness spilling through her panties as her center hungered for the feeling of fullness and completeness that only Finn could provide. He could only moan against her mouth as Rachel began fumbling with the button on his jeans, pulling them off, all the blood in his body rushing south to support his rock hard erection as she slid her tongue all over his hot neck. Rachel slid her hands across his tight boxers before she found their center, Finn crying out softly as she slid the palm of her hand right up the long, thick length, his excitement bleeding through the fabric and finding Rachel's fingers as she brought them to her mouth.

Finn could only breathe Rachel's name helplessly as she pulled his boxers right off, his hot nakedness falling into her hand as she gripped him tightly, relishing the touch of what she'd been deprived of for five years as he kissed her with a ferocious hunger.

"My Finn," Rachel breathed as she looked down at his perfect shape, her hands caressing him as he lay powerless to her touch, his heart pounding as Rachel squeezed and stroked and pleasured him like he was her favorite toy. Finn moaned, barely able to breathe as she nearly brought him to edge of coming with every stoke, trying so hard to hold on to the powerful feeling he'd forgotten for so long.

Rachel couldn't quite let go of him, yet Finn managed to pull the rest of her dress down, spending time tasting as much of her sweet skin as he could reach before his fingers finally found the softness of her inner thighs. He knew he should probably stop, but he just couldn't, every stroke of pleasure she gave his naked length luring his fingers closer to where they were begging to be. Rachel's whimper only encouraged him more as he ran the tip of his finger along the inside edge of her panties, the pink fabric darkened in the center with her arousal, the sight making his mouth water. He wanted to taste her, his tongue falling to the front of his mouth in readiness. There were so many things he wanted to say to her, things he wanted to do, punishments he wanted to apply for all the horrendous hurt she had caused him; he wanted to eat her up and take her whole, and pound every bad thing she'd done out of her, but right now he was too stunned silent by the exquisite agony of having her this way again. He could feel the urging burning between his legs as he gently pulled her panties to the side, the glistening arousal of her pinkness bleeding against his fingers, lubricating them, as he began brushing them softly up and down, Rachel's body curling in desire. Within seconds Finn had peeled her wet panties all the way off, her legs opening under him as he coated his fingers in her wetness, circling her hardened clit with his thumb, sweat dripping from his brow as he felt the little nub that needed to be sucked on so badly. His tongue was ready to lick her senseless, but instead, he felt Rachel pulling him back on top of her, her hand sliding up and down his hardness, as Finn sunk his fingers deep inside her, both of them moaning as his mouth returned to hers. He began sliding his fingers in and out and of her soaked center, first slow and deliberate and deep, and then quickening his pace as she began crying out. No girl had ever been able to turn Finn on the way Rachel did, and before long his thick length was brushing against her center, needing to be inside its wet warmth, unable to stay away any longer.

Rachel didn't want to tell Finn she had a contraceptive implant in her arm, worried about any jealously it might inspire, despite the fact that she'd so seldom needed it. Instead, she just lifted her hips up and guided him to her entrance, the incredible feeling overcoming his ability to ask her about protection, as wrong as he knew that was. When he finally slid himself into her they both moaned so loudly it made them shake, Finn's hips pressing hard against hers as he pushed himself all the way inside and stopped. Their hands interlaced as their eyes locked together, the sensation spilling intoxicating memories into their joined bodies. And at that moment he couldn't believe where he was. Buried deep inside the woman he had wanted for so long… Rachel's Berry's exquisite softness all over him... all around him. The feeling was so good it was almost unendurable, both their husky cries and grunts filling the room as he began taking her hard and deep, his tongue wetting her glistening skin as Rachel scratched deep lines across his back with her fingers.

They didn't know much time had past before Finn finally stopped his relentless pounding, sitting up and positioning Rachel's sexy little body over his so he could hammer himself deeper into her as she straddled him, her hair now loose from its pins and cascading down her back. She was so hot, and sexy, and wet, and fuckable, and loveable; he could barely stand it. He felt so much more mature since the last time he'd taken her this way; his strong arms holding her steady as she began to come over his muscular hips, her breathless twists of ecstasy the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen.

But Rachel wasn't done until Finn was, and she quickly stood up and pulled his hand to guide him to the closest wall. She turned around to place her palms flat against it, her perfect little ass making Finn's mouth water as the sight hardened his dick even more.

"Rachel," he could only breathe as he gently kicked her legs apart with his knees and slid himself back inside her wet center, his hands gliding down her tiny arms until his palms were on top of hers. With his chest against her back, he held her against the wall and took her deep, Rachel's face turning to the side so their wet mouths could meet again, their tongues sliding and swirling together as they moaned, wishing they could stop time. But it was her loud cries of his name that finally made Finn erupt like a volcano, his entire body releasing years of heartbreak inside her as his face fell against her shuddering back.

They slid their soaked bodies down the wall and hugged each other tightly, Finn trying to stop the storm of shame that was already brewing deep inside his chest.

Less than half an hour had passed before Rachel was handing Finn a plate of toast, her blue dress back covering the body that was still trembling with after-shocks, her swollen center making it a little hard to walk.

She slid right next to Finn on the sofa, her face falling affectionally against his t-shirt as they ate their toast. Her stomach fluttered when he placed a soft kiss on her temple, but she wondered if she was imagining the growing unease in the room as the conversation became strangely stilted. They managed as much small talk as they could before Finn finally looked at his watch, leaning forward with a heavy sigh as Rachel felt a flicker of alarm.

He turned to look back at her, his face red as he rested it in the palm of his hand.

"I suppose I better go," he mumbled, his mind a sudden whirlwind of Georgia, and Angie, and the theatre kids. He suddenly felt a million miles from his real life. What the fuck had he just done.

Rachel's face pinched with surprise. "You have to go?"

Finn just nodded as he sighed heavily, pulling his shoes on with slow and reluctant movements.

"I guess I better get back to my hotel." His voice was becoming husky. "You know, to shower and stuff."

Rachel just watched him tying up his shoelaces, trying hard not to think the worst.

"You can shower here," she offered, her voice small.

"Thanks, but I've got all my stuff at the hotel." He scratched the back of his neck uncomfortably as he stood up.

"Finn," Rachel said as she looked up at him. "Are you seriously leaving?" Her eyes moved to the wall where they'd just made love no less than an hour ago. "Right now?"

He looked down at her, swallowing tightly.

"I gotta go, Rachel," he answered, his stomach churning with growing unease. He shouldn't have done this. He'd made the wrong decision. He should have fucking controlled himself. If he was another dude right now he'd punch himself in his freaking face.

Rachel's eyes began blurring with shock, unable to understand.

"But… will I see you later? How long are you here for? What happens now?" She knew she shouldn't be barraging him with all these questions, but after what had just happened, surely that meant–

"My flight leaves at ten tomorrow," Finn answered, his handsome face bleak.

"You're leaving tomorrow? Ten in the morning, or at night?"

"The morning." He couldn't quite look at her.

Rachel just sat there, her forehead falling into her hands, unable to believe what was happening.

"So you're just going to leave." It was an accusation more than a question.

"Rachel, what did you expect?" Finn's voice was beginning to rise with agitation at himself and his stupid actions. "You live here. You gave me no choice about the place, the time, the date... but everything seemed to be pretty convenient for you. So I did the best I could, okay? I could only come for the weekend. I do have a life, you know."

"You know I don't mean that," Rachel cried as she stood up. "I know you can't just move to New York on the spot."

"Move to what?" he turned back at her like she was insane. "You think I'm just gonna pack up and move to New York for you? I'm not that guy anymore, Rachel, I've grown up."

"And what guy are you now, Finn?" Rachel snapped, crossing her shaking arms over her chest. "Are you the type of man who… who makes love to a girl and then… and then l-leaves the next minute? What kind of man is that, Finn? Did you get what you came for, then? Are you satisfied, Finn?"

It ripped Finn's heart out to see her shaking with tears again, all because he couldn't just come here and do what he came here to do. He couldn't close the fucking door. He'd done the opposite. The unthinkable.

"No I'm not satisfied," Finn argued, his voice heavy with the weight of shame. "I can't seem to ever be happy when you're in my life, Rachel. It's always like this." He closed the space between them, grabbing her trembling shoulders as she looked up at him. "And I'm sorry. I'm so sorry about what I just did." His face crumpled with a disgrace that made him feel physically ill. "But this is it, Rachel. This is the end of the road. I never came here to get back together with you. I shouldn't have done what I just did." He forced himself to continue over her crying, even though each sound was breaking his heart all over again, making it hard to speak. "I love you, Rachel, I do. I love you so much and I can't stop. I hate that I love you. Because I can't get back together with you like you want. I don't trust you. You want everything to be your way, always. And I can't live like that. You're just gonna change your mind again like you always do, and find another excuse to break my heart."

Rachel put her hands over his that were still holding her shoulders, her fingers stroking his.

"Finn, please," she sobbed. "Please give me another chance."

Finn pulled her shuddering body into his chest, their hearts pounding together as he hugged the woman he loved more than was good for him. And now that she couldn't see his face as he pressed it into her shoulder, he could finally let go, tears seeping into her dress as he let himself cry again for Rachel Berry. One more cry. Just one more.

"I love you so much," Finn said through a broken voice as he gently pulled away. His fingers gently pulled her quivering chin up to look at him, their eyes holding helplessly together as he brushed her tears away. "But you break me. And I can't be broken anymore," he whispered. "I came here to say goodbye, Rachel. And I thought I'd have to say it to an empty bridge." He wiped tears from his eyes with his knuckles. "But I guess I gotta say it to you in person. Congratulations on your amazing success – I really mean that. Barbra's got nothing on you."

Rachel could barely see through her tears as Finn Hudson headed for her door, his shaking fingers gripping the handle as he turned and looked at her one last time.

"Goodbye, Rachel," he whispered shakily, before his fingers pulled the door closed behind him. And Rachel Berry finally dropped to her floor and wept.

Well that reunion went well, didn't it? LOL. I'm sorry… I just couldn't do the dramatic movie scene bridge reunion. Even though this fic probably involves more crying and angst than I would personally put up with, it needs to feel at least somewhat realistic to me. And so much time has passed... it's not that easy. Finn has been very, very hurt. And Rachel has directed this entire relationship from the start, as good as her intentions have been, and I think Finn has had enough (as much as he loves her). I think people do fall into bed together who are that hung up on each other, but it doesn't mean all is forgiven. Rachel has made some fatal choices, and she has just paid a terrible price. And poor Finn – it was so wrong of him, but he just lost control and was unable to resist. He is a man, after all. But, rest assured, this is not the end. There will be one more chapter. Hold on! Haha. And please review… your reviews make my day, and inspire all the writing that I do! I am grateful for all of them. THANK YOU. xxx