It was the end of a long Friday in the tire shop. A particularly bad flu bug was working its way through the staff, and Finn, who for some reason remained unscathed, was working late, finishing up some of the slack.

The monotonous work left his mind free to ponder ideas for New Directions. Ever since Rachel's phone call, ideas had been cascading around in his mind. He was surprised how much better he actually felt now that his "no-contact" rule was no longer in effect: it still hurt that she seemed to sound more okay with their breakup than he was, but it was a relief to know that their core friendship remained intact, that she cared about him regardless of whether or not they were still together. But before he could distract himself by returning to his idea of recruiting the jazz band horn section for some Chicago numbers, a wave of emotional pain flowed through him at the realization that they weren't together, that she wasn't his Rachel anymore, even though his heart still clung to the idea she would always, and forever be, his. It forced him to pause working for a moment; his very soul just hurt right then. Damn it. Good thing nobody else was there.

A familiar voice startled him. "You're thinking about her, aren't you?"

Finn whipped around. Santana Lopez was lounging in the doorway. As always, she looked gorgeous, dressed in nice jeans and purple silk shirt.

"Hey, Santana." He smiled, genuinely glad to see her.

"Hey, Frankenteen."

"Yeah, reality just hit me," he explained sheepishly, "Like it does every now and then." She watched as Finn finished snapping the hubcap back on, and lowered the car. He wiped his hands. "What brings you back to Lima? I thought you were heading back to Louisville after New York."

"I want you to have dinner with me," Santana said. His brows furrowed.

"All right. Is everything okay? Is Rachel okay?" He panicked.

She laughed. "Jesus, Finn, don't you think Kurt would have contacted you if something was wrong?"

He paused, then laughed too. "I guess so…"

She walked up to him and gave him a hug.

"Come have dinner. I want to tell you what I saw and heard, and what I think. "

He didn't understand. "You came all this way just to tell me what you think about Rachel and me?"

"While we were there she opened up, and said some things that she was feeling that I think you need to know."

"About this Brody guy?" He couldn't help that.

Santana just patted his shoulder. "Come on, Lurch, let's get you cleaned up first." They drove to his house.

"My mom and Burt are in DC, " Finn said as they walked in, and he motioned up to his room. Santana had never seen Finn's room before, and looked around appreciatively.

"This is a grown-up's room," she said, nodding, "Even if he does still live at home." But she winked and he laughed. She stopped at his nightstand. "I always liked this picture of you two." It was taken the summer before senior year, at the Glee picnic at the lake. They were squared off, with mock scowls, as if in a boxing match, shaking their food at each other, Finn with a hot dog and Rachel with a piece of broccoli dipped in ranch dressing. Wacky. Sweet. It was the only picture of her in the room.

"I put the rest of them away."

Santana sat on his bed and watched him gather his clothes and disappear into the bathroom. How he must hurt, she thought sympathetically, even if most of it was self-inflicted. He did seem to look better than the last time she saw him, only a month or so ago, after the shocking loss at Sectionals. Rachel said they tossed out the no-contact rule. Santana wondered if that was part of the reason, grinning to herself and thinking about Rachel's butt-dialing ploy. She had burst into giggles telling Santana and Quinn the story.

The water was still running. Santana got up and entered the bathroom to check her makeup. The mirror wasn't very steamy, and when she was done, she turned just as the shower shut off and Finn stepped out, reaching for his towel on the rack. She chuckled, not turning away as he merely shook his head, grumbling good-naturedly about a guy and his privacy.

"It's not like I haven't seen Little Finn before", she snorted, glad to see him in a lighter mood. The scar on his thigh was red and angry still. She let him dry off in privacy.

The memory of the night they spent together hung over them, but without evoking the anger or shame it once did. Instead, now that they were no longer enemies, that night gave them more a sense of easy, relaxed intimacy. For some strange reason, it enabled them to be honest with each other.

Finn emerged wearing boxers, and Santana perused her email while he got dressed. He chose a black v-neck pullover and jeans, with a black blazer he bought after Rachel had given it an admiring look in a window once, but which she had never seen him wear. Santana gave his ensemble an approving once-over as he sat on the bed next to her and tied his shoes. He looked like a man now, instead of a goofy kid.

"You clean up nice these days, Frankenteen," she said softly.

He looked her over as well. "And you're still drop-dead gorgeous."

"I am, aren't I?" she laughed.

He drove her to a nice restaurant near a golf course, out of town. "We look too good for goddamned Breadstix", he growled, and Santana roared with laughter at this new Finn. He confessed he had taken Rachel there once as a special treat, because he heard they had an excellent vegan menu. "I had steak," he said, "And it was good."

In the parking lot Finn opened Santana's door, and offered her his arm.

"Damn, Hudson," she said, as she took it, grateful for his support, given her ridiculous heels, "If you had been like this before I came out..." And both of them laughed, knowing who was responsible for the overall change in him, and remembering Rachel's penchant for walking arm-in-arm. It struck Santana, then, just how big a shadow that little girl cast.

She ordered steak, medium rare. So did he. They sipped water, waiting.

"How is she?" he opened, finally.

She felt deeply for him, then. Hell, for both of them. It still amazed her how almost everything had broken down so quickly.

"She's doing well, school-wise, but you know that. Except for that bitch of a dance instructor. And she loves living with Kurt." Santana was stalling, and he knew it. She clasped her hands on the table and looked down. "Emotionally, she's a mess."

Finn looked surprised. "What do you mean? She sounded like she was handling the breakup just fine." And he couldn't help adding, with a tinge of bitterness, "She didn't seem to have a problem moving on."

He wasn't prepared for her anger.

"Oh, spare me the whining, Lurch!" she hissed, sitting back in her chair and giving him a withering look. "Do you really think she just dropped you like you were nothing and moved on to the first swinging dick she came across? Have you no respect for her at all? Madre de Dios! I'm beginning to think she was right when she said she was afraid you didn't really love her, after all."

"Rachel never said that," he scoffed, and immediately recoiled at Santana's murderous look.

Their meals arrived, and, fortunately for Finn, prevented a Santana Lima Heights tirade. He could almost see her counting to ten under her breath, waiting for the server to leave. But instead of saying anything, she began cutting her steak. They both ate in silence for a few minutes. Then she suddenly put down her knife and fork. Her voice was low, quiet, but trembling with suppressed fury.

"Okay, listen up, Finn, 'cause I'm only going to say this once. This is what Rachel told Quinn and me, and if you choose not to believe it, well…it's your funeral, considering how much you say you love her. " She stabbed a piece of steak, and started waving it as she spoke.

"Isn't it true that when you proposed to her, she was initially reluctant? Didn't she tell you that she thought getting married so young was crazy?"

"Uh, yeah." Finn first looked uncomfortable, then defensive. "But she accepted, didn't she?"

"When she thought you were the only thing good left in her life, right? Didn't she basically say that? And you let her accept, knowing full well it was for the wrong reasons? "

"Yes. I was messed up too, though. It had nothing to do with whether or not I loved her."

"And you dropped your California plans on her suddenly, in the hall, then had the gall to tell her the conversation about your lives had been one-sided, even though she had been open and honest from the beginning about where she stood regarding New York?"

He didn't answer.

"And when she decided to defer her acceptance to NYADA (not reject her acceptance, mind you), doubts began to occur about the marriage? Didn't you tell her you had been crying over this before the train station stunt, yet didn't tell her, for some reason. Oh wait—let me guess—because you didn't want to hurt her? Or make her mad, like when you lied about fucking me?"

"Fuck you, Santana," he snarled back. "I waited so she wouldn't follow me."

"Oh. Okay. So you waited to tell her until she had no choice. She asked if you were breaking up with her, and got some bullshit Harlequin romance answer about setting her free as a response. Not only that, you were joining the fucking army, to boot! Then you shoved her on a train, shocked and humiliated, in front of all of her friends."

Santana paused, grimly, then asked, "Do I have it right so far?"

Finn swallowed hard, but remained defiant. "Go on, finish."

"Four months of silence. Even convicts get to communicate more regularly than that. Berry isn't an idiot, Finn. What was she supposed to do? Wait for you, whenever you finally, graciously, decided to communicate with her, or show up? She is alone in New York, attending a cutthroat school, and she's been set free, and a good-looking guy actually pays attention to her. Was she supposed to take that 'setting her free' bullshit at face value, or did you really mean she was free only to work on her dream, but stay away from guys until you decided it was time she could?"

She realized she had struck a nerve there, and eased up a bit.

"You know, all of that was bad enough, but do you know what truly hurt her? " He shook his head.

"What really hurt her was, after she forgave you all that other crap, and just wanted to start again in New York, you turned down the opportunity to sing the duet with her, and didn't appear to respond when she sang for you. 'That was the moment I truly didn't feel special anymore,' she said. And she had a good reason not to want to talk to you about why she was crying that night of the Grease performance. But you wouldn't take no for an answer and jumped to the conclusion she had already moved on. A wrong conclusion, mind you. How special do you think that made her feel, that you couldn't even give her the benefit of the doubt?"

"And you didn't make love to her, Finn, good grief. You know how she feels about that with you." She lifted a finger, as if to cut off any immediate response from him. "And no, she hasn't slept with him yet."

He had to look away then. Just the thought of Brody with her made the jealousy swell up from inside.

She paused, gauging him, debating whether or not to say any more. But he seemed interested in hearing it out to the end. Even so, she eased off still more, because this would really, really hurt. Her face softened, and she reached out, surprising him by taking his hands in hers across the table.

"Finn," she said, "When you slipped away in New York, Rachel saw it as abandoning her a second time. It nearly broke her." It was difficult to continue with the tightness in her throat from the memory of Rachel's stricken expression. "She said it made you even with her mother."

Santana held tightly onto Finn's hands as the realization took hold. He shook his head slowly, tears brimming, gleaming brightly in the restaurant lighting.

"I never thought…" he whispered, "…never, ever. Oh my God, what have I done?"

It was difficult for her to sit there without crying herself. How could two people so obviously, overwhelmingly in love, manage to wound each other so, so, deeply?

He surprised her by pulling himself together. Sitting up, and taking a deep breath, he asked, "What can I do to fix this?"

"Well, the one thing I wouldn't do," Santana replied honestly, " is obsess over Brokeback Boy, especially with her, because she really isn't moving on with him." He chuckled, making her smile. She looked him in the eyes directly. "Finn, she loves you. But you hurt her terribly, and that kind of shit takes time to heal."

"Did I ever do anything right in this whole mess?" Finn wondered, more to himself.

"Of course you did, you idiot," she chastened him gently. "You chose her, chose her over Quinn and everyone else, remember?"

He closed his eyes, trying to hold back the tears, and nodded.

"But it's not enough, is it?"

"How can it be? You've been making critical decisions in her life that she needs experience making for herself. Brody is one of them. " She tipped his chin up . "Lurch, Brody is too much like her to last. And there's something off about him, I can feel it."

"What if he hurts her?"

Santana smiled slowly and sat back, taking a sip of her drink. "If he hurts her, she'll be in control, Finn, and she'll cut the skeezy fucker loose. She's been hurt before, and survived. Our girl Berry is tough. Hell, you and I should know, we helped make her that way, after all."

He gave a curt laugh in agreement. She leaned forward again, earnestly.

"Don't make Brody the heart of the matter, Finn. Make you and Rachel the heart of the matter, even as you work on yourself. Because it's what you want. It's what she wants as well, I just know it. Then live happily ever after and make me godmother to the first Finchel baby, dammit."

"Who knew you were a closet Finchel fan," he laughed, then got up and pulled Santana from her chair into a massive bear hug.

"Thanks," he murmured, "Thanks for the hope."

"You're welcome, Frankenteen. What's for dessert?"


Kurt brought in the mail when he came home from class that afternoon. Rachel could see he was attempting to remain solemn as he handed her a small package.

It was from Finn.

She was surprised; up to this point, their only breaking of the "no-contact' rule had been a couple of newsy phone calls. This was a major expansion of the truce. Inside was a compact disc and a note that read:

Dear Rachel,

Hi! I hope you are well, and still kicking NYADA's ass. You know how proud I am of you.

Santana visited me last week, and told me about her talk with you and Quinn. She told me everything, and made me realize just how much I hurt you.

I have thought a lot about it, and even though we aren't together, I have to say how sorry I am for not making you feel special, especially when I was in New York. And I never wanted to make you think I was like your mother, but I did, and I'm on my knees now begging your forgiveness for that.

Santana said you had a good reason for not telling me why you were crying in the hallway. She didn't tell me what that reason was, and I don't want to know, especially since she said I jumped to the wrong conclusion anyway. I just need to tell you I was just jealous of Brody. And the more I think about it, jealousy over him was behind a lot of my douchey (is that a word?) behavior in New York.

I was thinking about jealousy, and how I made you cry and not feel special, and this idea came to me. Even though we aren't together anymore, I can't bear the thought of you not feeling special in my eyes, because that just isn't, I don't know, natural. So I hope you accept this recording of me singing a song (that's Brad on piano! I found him working the coffee bar at the Lima Bean and somehow talked him into playing.)

I hope this makes you feel special again.



She sat on the couch and played the song, basking in his warm voice singing one of John Lennon's most beautiful, but heartbreaking songs:

I was dreaming of the past

And my heart was beating fast

I began to lose control

I began to lose control

I didn't mean to hurt you

I'm sorry that I made you cry

Oh no, I didn't want to hurt you

I'm just a jealous guy

I was feeling insecure

You might not love me anymore

I was shivering inside

I was shivering inside

I didn't mean to hurt you

I'm sorry that I made you cry

Oh no, I didn't want to hurt you

I'm just a jealous guy

I was trying to catch your eyes

Thought that you was trying to hide

I was swallowing my pain

I was swallowing my pain

I didn't mean to hurt you

I'm sorry that I made you cry

Oh no, I didn't want to hurt you

I'm just a jealous guy

Kurt found her on the couch, smiling and crying at the same time, clutching his note to her chest. Brody was supposed to be coming over for dinner; he might need to bring his A-game from now on, Kurt thought, wishing his brother a high-five.

A/N: lyrics are from "Jealous Guy", by John Lennon. Also, this is only a one-shot.