you know this is about the third time I've reposted this? and well I'm far too lazy to go through and repost it on LJ at this moment in time and there are a few people over at my tumblr who actually like this, so, here you go! this is like my first fanfic for finn and rachel ever, I think? okay. PLEASE REVIEW
He collides into something soft, and like, really small and it occurs to him that something is someone and he feels a hot blush burn his cheeks. "Oh, fuck, I'm so sorry, lemme help you with that!"
He kneels on the ground and helps gather the supplies and it's a girl, like all the stuff is pink and the hands that knock into his are decidedly feminine and god, she's actually, like, so hot with dark hair and dark eyes and pretty teeth and he's never seen her and there's a dog on her sweater and a star on a chain around her throat.
"You're the new girl, aren't you?"
"My name is Rachel Berry." Her smile beams.
"D'you – d'you need someone to show you 'round?" She looks kinda lost and McKinley's a confusing school. It took him two months 'till he felt completely comfortable. Sometimes he still can't find room 220.
She laughs a little and he thinks he must've stupidly said that out loud. "Yes, Finn Hudson," she says, and she looks up at him and that smile is so pretty, "I would love for you to show me around."
He spends the entire morning showing her around, meets her at the end of her classes and when it comes time for lunch, he leads her to the back corner of the cafeteria, by the windows.
"Why are you being so nice to me?"
"What do you mean?"
"People just don't like me," she says, and her voice is small.
"Well, Rachel Berry, I don't know where you're from, but here in Lima, we football players are taught to be respectful to everyone or we're off the team. Y'know how every town's got their 'thing'? In this town, football's all we've got."
She swallows and nods. "New York City."
Laughing, she clarifies, "That's where I'm from."
They become fast friends. He walks with her all around school, eats lunch with her in their corner, spends Saturday nights watching movies with her instead of drinking with the team. He even drives her to school, some days.
Sometimes, he feels, like, really winded around her. Like his heart beats too fast for his lungs or something and he doesn't really like things he doesn't understand – does anyone – so he pretends he doesn't notice how it feels like he's wound himself so taut inside her, like every muscle in his body squeezes and thrums all for her.
He's kinda stressed, what with being a junior and the starting quarterback and all and like, football players are expected to have perfect grades and Lima wants him to take them to state this year, and he's just really feeling the pressure.
One evening, Finn asks Rachel over for dinner, and she immediately hits it off with his stepbrother, Kurt. He's glad, 'cause Rachel's awesome and people at school have been nice to her but don't seem to click with her the way he has. He still wants him all to himself, as happy as he is that she's got new friends.
Regardless, there are more positives than negatives to this whole Rachel and Kurt friendship thing. Rachel's happy, and she's at his house, like, all the time, now. Sleepovers mean Finn gets to see Rachel in her pajamas and in the morning, and now that she's friends with Kurt, she goes to every football game, first row, wearing his jersey.
It's like they're dating without the whole kissing and hand holding and commitment thing. He's not sure if he likes it, though, because he really likes her, and he wants to be the one to make her smile all the time.
"I'm going to be a star, you know," she tells him one late Saturday night in early October. "I'm going to be on Broadway."
"I believe it," he responds. He's heard her sing. She's fucking amazing, and the first time he heard her sing, he cried (he won't admit it to anyone but her). He props himself up on his side and runs his hand down her arm. "Hey, Rach?"
"Wanna go to homecoming with me?"
The homecoming game is packed. Rachel's completely decked out in red and white, all thanks to Finn's begging and Kurt's fashion expertise. She stands in the front row, leaning against a railing, shouting Finn's name along with the entire town of Lima. Finn truly is Lima's star; everybody loves him.
Out of nowhere, a big player on the other team charges at Finn and ploughs him to the ground. Rachel freezes and squeezes Kurt's arm. "No," she whispers, eyes trained on the scene before her. Finn's lying on his back on the field, and he hasn't gotten up. "Please get up."
There's a hushed murmur throughout the crowd as they watch Finn on the field. Kurt eases his fingers into Rachel's and holds her hand tightly, and she feels like her entire life flashes in front of her eyes. She's watched ESPN with her daddy. She knows how dangerous football can be. One bad tackle and you could never walk again. Her eyes fall shut, keeping back tears, because they're not dating—it's not her position to be broken up.
But then, people begin to cheer and Kurt's squeezing her hand and jumping up and down excitedly, and her eyes snap open to see Finn walking off the field with the help of the coach and Puck.
"Thank God," she whispers, lifting her hand and waving as he turns around to find her.
"Good Lord, Rach," he breathes as soon as she opens the door, "you look gorgeous." She doesn't respond, because immediately, she throws her arms around his neck. He holds her lightly, and his ribs hurt from being sacked last night, but really, he's so glad to hold her here.
"I was so scared," she whispers, "what would I do without my best friend?"
His chest swells a little at the endearment and just presses his mouth against the top of her head. "Don't worry, I don't plan on leaving you for a long time."
"Good," she says, and after a moment, pulls away, face brightening. "Come meet my dads!"
"Sorry to say this is the last dance of the night," the DJ announces, and begins playing a song that sounds a lot like Lifehouse. Finn shrugs, grabs Rachel's hand, and pulls her onto the dance floor.
"Lucky me, I get to dance with the homecoming king," she mumbles as he grasps her waist and pulls her close.
"Oh, be quiet," he murmurs, resting his chin on her head, "you've been dancing with him all night."
"You're right," she responds, sliding her hands up his chest and circling his neck. He can't see her face, she's so small and her face is pressed into his chest, but he's pretty sure she's smiling.
He squeezes her sides and he feels that clawing in his stomach making its way up his body, and god, she's so beautiful, and he didn't know he could feel this way about a girl, and all he wants to do is lean down and kiss her, because he knows she wouldn't mind.
And just as he's leaning down, he changes course and kisses her cheek instead, feels the skin warm and blushing beneath his lips, decides to give her a little more time to adjust to Lima, as much as he may want to, it's just – it's better to wait.
Things just sort of shift between him and Rachel. Like, during lunch in the cafeteria, she presses her thigh against his and she's always wearing these short skirts and dresses so it's like her bare skin pressed against the denim of his jeans. They sit at the table with the football players and the cheerleaders and everyone's real nice to Rachel since she's his girl.
One day in particular, Rachel's having a steady conversation with Santana Lopez; she moves her hand and rests it on top of his thigh. He's surprised, honestly, and he glances at her out of the corner of his eye but she doesn't look at him, just continues her conversation and squeezes his thigh. He thinks that maybe the corner of her mouth turns up just a little and that makes his whole heart fly.
Stealthily, he moves his hand and covers hers. He feels her fingers intertwine with his, and oh, his heart wants to burst, and this is the happiest he's ever been.
"So, are you and Berry dating?" Puck asks, slamming his locker shut. "I knew you'd get all up on that as soon as I heard—"
"No, dude, we're not."
"You, like, put your arm around her and cuddle and shit."
"We're just friends, man. I'm trying to focus on winning this game so we can go onto the championships, and I think you should do the same."
He slams his locker shut, this time, and then Coach Beiste storms in with her pre-game pep talk. He can feel the adrenaline running through him, and already, he can hear the boisterous crowd screaming in the stands. As the team is running out, Coach stops him, places a hand on his shoulder and says, "Finn, I know you've got this. You're going to be great."
Coach isn't one to share words of encouragement, so he takes in the compliment and runs out of the locker room, finally catching up with the team. He glances into the stands for just a minute, and wishes he could pick out Rachel's face among the fans, but he knows he can't.
The team gathers, and with one last pep talk, the game begins.
Finn hears it, like, he actually hears the bone snap. He almost has to run over to the side of the field and vomit, because, oh, god, Sam Evans' bone is sticking out of its skin and he has to look away. He turns away and looks up at the night sky, studies the way his breath is illuminated against the outline of the darkness, anything to get his focus off Sam, and the bone, and the game. They're winning, actually winning, and he knows he can do this, but his receiver just got hit, hard, and god, now they have to put in an underclassman who's probably not even ready.
The paramedics carry Sam off the field, and he hears Coach murmuring lowly with the assistant coach, "…gonna be permanent damage. Gonna need to put Michaels in."
Michaels is good, Finn thinks, a good receiver and Finn's seen him at practice, he's fine, good at what he does (not as good as Sam, but Finn can't think about that right now). He gathers the team into a circle and kneels down, imploring the guys to join him in a prayer, not even a prayer, a word to God, or whatever God these people believe in, a word of hope, to look out for Sam.
"Whether or not you're playing tonight," Finn starts, "we're all on this team, together. What happened tonight was no one's fault, it wasn't planned, yet here we are, at the," he pauses, thinking of a Rachel-word, "cusp of victory. Let's do it for our town, hell—let's do it for Sam."
They pour their hearts into the rest of the game. The Astroturf is getting slippery with dew, and his shoes aren't making much traction, but the score is 21-20, with the Titans losing, and this is his last shot, he thinks as the team lines up. His last shot to prove something to this god-forsaken cow town, to prove to himself, to everyone, that Finn Hudson, yeah, he's worth something, so he calls the play, catches the ball seamlessly, and with eyes wide open, throws it in a perfect arc down the field.
Time freezes as the ball flies through the air, ticking slowly by as the cheers of the crowd melt into one word, his name, Finn, Finn, Finn, slowly and quickly, and then when the ball begins to fall, time speeds up, and before he knows it, the ball is captured in Puck's hands and, god, who knew Puck could run that fast? And before he can even really comprehend anything at all, Puck's screaming, "touchdown," at the top of his lungs and everyone is screaming and crowding around Finn and they've won, they've won, they've won. Everyone is cheering and screaming and Finn feels so light, so happy, so—perfect, he's never felt anything better in his entire life.
Which is wrong, he'll come to find, so many things will make him feel even better than this moment, but in the here and now, Finn is completely happy.
He feels her before he sees her, and then hears her as her turns around to face her. Suddenly, though, she's leaping into his arms, curling her arms around his neck and wrapping her legs around his waist. He catches her steadily, the force of her nearly knocking him to the ground, and he just kisses her, because it's all he can think to do. She twists her fingers into his hair, pulling him close, and he can feel the coolness of her tongue as she slides it into his mouth.
He tugs her closer, still, somehow, and she breaks away for a breath and he stares into her eyes before bringing her face down back to his. He can't stop kissing her, can't stop that feeling in his chest from bubbling up his esophagus and groaning her name, over and over and over, until it becomes one syllable, one meaning and god, this is the most perfect night.
Somehow, Rachel manages to untangle herself from around his body and just leans into him, and then he remembers—oh, yeah, Sam, the poor guy, laying in a hospital bed and not celebrating with his team. He proposes another moment of silence for their friend, cause even if it was just a leg injury, he hit his head pretty hard, and Finn knows for sure that this turf? Yeah, it's pretty hard, and he knows that's what the helmet is for, but sometimes, you get a concussion despite the helmet. (A small part of him knows it was more than just a leg injury, knows it could mean the end of Sam's football career, but the optimist Rachel instilled in him tells him otherwise.)
He bends on one knee between Puckerman and Mike Chang, slinging his arms around his teammates, and he feels Rachel's hand on his back, her cheek pressed against his head for one moment before she lifts it, but her hand stays there, splayed across the center of his back.
Moments later, he stands up, and pulls Rachel against him and just kisses her in the middle of the football field, stadium lights shining down on them.
He tangles his fingers with hers later that night in his bed, listening as the sky unleashes its fury on the earth. Ironic that it hasn't started raining until right now, when he's lying in his bed comfortably with the most beautiful girl in the world. It's nearly five am, and her dads think she's sleeping over Kurt's (which she technically is), and he's just listening to the pattering of rain against the roof and the even silence between her breaths. She's asleep, curled into his body, and he's never felt more comfortable in his entire life.
He admires the way her leg fits between his, the way her hair rests over her shoulders as she sleeps. He's so big and she's just so little. There are so many things Finn doesn't understand these days, like why bad things happen to good people and how to tell a girl how you feel about her and paleontology, but one thing Finn does know is that this feeling? No matter how complex it is, he knows it's the best feeling in the world.
Rachel certainly sings a lot. She sings in the car, in her bedroom, even in the janitor's closet when they're making out between sixth and seventh period. She sings when they visit Sam, lying in his hospital bed, unable to walk due to the damage done to his legs.
She sits close to him on those days, when they go to visit Sam after school, because she knows more than anyone how much it kills him that something so bad happened to his teammate.
Sam's a nice guy though, not bitter at all, just upset at the hand he's been dealt, and he's still exercising some sort of faith. Finn doesn't know if he believes in any god, now. He tells Rachel this one Saturday night (date night), as they sit across from each other at the town deli. She's drinking coffee and he's got a Coke in front of him, and it's getting late, but their parents don't mind—what kinda trouble can a kid get up to in Lima, anyways?
She doesn't say anything, just grabs his wrist and runs her thumb over it before intertwining their fingers and sliding her foot up his calf. Physical comfort eases him more than anything, and he smiles at her slightly. There's that feeling again, that burning, thrumming one, snaking up his chest and landing on his tongue, and before he can think, his voice says, "I love you."
He can't take it back, because that would be a lie, and he established a no lies policy with Rachel a month into dating. She's a little shocked, at first, and just stares at him, searching his face before a big smile tugs at her lips and she answers, "I love you, too."
The weekend before Thanksgiving is the Championship game. It's pretty late in the year for the game; he can see his breath puffing out before him as he steps onto the field. The roaring of the crowd never gets tiring, and the team gets into a circle, and after a moment of silence, begins cheering.
He looks into the stands, and this time, he can see Rachel and her big sign with his name on it. He stretches out a hand to her, presses his index and middle fingers against his lips and holds out his hand once more. He doesn't wait to see her smile.
For a long time after they win, things are perfect. He's got the girl, the respect, hell, he's even got the grades.
Until a week after Thanksgiving break, the hockey players start messing with people. At McKinley, no one really cares about the hockey team, which creates tension across the herd of athletes. And, with the football team's win, the players are given even more benefits, which, of course, the hockey team envies.
To retaliate, the hockey team starts pushing around kids, bullying them. People let things like that go around McKinley, like roughing up a kid helps them grow up or something.
After first period one day in early December, Finn's down the hall watching the hockey team captain, Dave Karofsky, push Kurt into a locker. Finn feels his fists clench, and he wants to storm down there, needs to punch Karofsky and teach him a little something about respect, but then he falters and there's so many people around and by the time he makes it to Kurt, Karofsky's long gone.
It gets worse, naturally. The slushie machine provides Karofsky with a weapon unlike any other. Finn doesn't do anything to stop him, no one does. A week after the incident with Kurt, Rachel storms up to Finn during their free period.
"Hi, baby," he says as she approaches.
"Finn," she begins, and shit, he knows she's gonna tell him off for something or other, "Finn, you're a leader in this school. Everyone – everyone looks up to you and I think that if you stand up to Karofsky, everyone else will."
"Rachel," he sighs, "don't you get it? He can't be stopped, okay? Even if I said something to him, he won't do anything to change."
She stares up at him with hard, brown eyes. "I've never been so disappointed in you before."
He's coming out of physics when he sees Karofsky toss a slushie in his girlfriend's face, and the way her lips quiver before her entire face crumbles breaks his heart, and this, this, is the last straw. The only way to break through to Karofsky is with violence, so Finn jogs over to him and shoves him into a locker.
"I'm sick of this bullshit, Karofsky, how about you be a man for once and stop bullying everyone just cause you're bitter that your team sucks?" With one last shove, Finn wraps his arm around Rachel's shoulders and herds her into the locker room.
The aftermath of another summer storm leaves the air in Rachel's room hot and heavy, despite the blasting air conditioner. He supposes that maybe they shouldn't have the windows open and attempts to get out of bed, but she only tugs him closer, burrowing further into his shoulder. His hand slides down her arm, tickling the bare skin.
He's sweating, he's so hot, and her warm body beside him isn't doing anything to relieve him of this heat, so he rolls out of bed and slams the windows shut. He winces at the noise and turns back towards the bed. She stirs a little as he climbs back in and tugs her close, curling her fingers against his bare chest. "What time is it?" She mumbles.
"Nearly three am," he responds, "go back to sleep, baby."
She nods and squeezes her eyes shut, and her breath evens out, but before she completely commits to sleep, she murmurs, "Tonight was perfect. Love you."
He smiles slightly and presses his cheek against her head. "Yeah, I know. Love you more."
She's asleep, now.
Her toes curl against his thigh, and she's so completely minute beside him. The evening settles around them, sky bleeding pink and red as crickets begin their nightly symphony. She's wearing one of her typical summer dresses, and it's steadily rising up her thigh with each circle of his index finger on her leg.
"Finn," she laughs softly, "that tickles." He doesn't apologize, but stops, resting his hand on the spot instead. "What are your goals for this year?"
"Get recruited, win another state championship, keep the best girl in the world by my – " She interrupts him with a brief kiss, and he can feel her grin against his lips. "And what about you? What's your goal?"
"Well, as you know, I've been preparing for my Julliard and NYU auditions this past month, so naturally, I intend to apply there and, hopefully, I'll get in. If not, the University of Cincinnati has a wonderful conservatory, and I could go to New York when I graduate college."
He rolls a little and pulls her on top of him, sweeping his hand through her hair. "Ohio State has a good program, too," he says, "and it's likely I'll get recruited there…"
"I will look into it, promise," she hooks her pinky with his, "you know, the University of Michigan has a pretty good – Finn!" She squeals as he turns them again and tickles her sides.
"No Michigan for you," he laughs, "I'm not stopping until you agree."
She nods, tears of laughter filling her eyes, and he swoops down and kisses her, planting his hands on the ground beside her head. Stars explode across his closed eyelids, and he swears that the entire world disappears around them. And he loves this, loves how her fingers grasp the base of his neck, as her lips mold against his, loves the music he can hear in his head, because his girl brings out the music in everything.
He really likes game days 'cause Rachel wears his practice jersey to school. Kurt, of course, mocks her for it, but she just pushes him and rolls her eyes. Finn only pulls her close and kisses her head, because, yeah, it's a little cheesy, but all the girls with boyfriends on the team do it, plus, he feels so special seeing the number five on her chest.
Rachel and Kurt have been spending a lot of their time together this year, preparing for their impending auditions at Julliard, NYU and the University of Cincinnati. He's taken to driving them home after school this year as well, and he still, like, wants her all to himself but he likes how she and Kurt make fun of each other.
Some days, after football practice, Finn meets them in the auditorium to drive them home. And then, of course, he's subjected to a free concert. He'll never get tired of hearing Rachel sing, of seeing the way she pours every ounce of feeling into the music. He's never been into artistic expression besides the drums, but Rachel inspires him to open his mouth in the shower and belt out 'Can't Fight This Feeling'.
The Lima Star wants to interview him after he takes McKinley to their second state championship. It's the first time in fifteen years that McKinley has won anything, well, sixteen, now, and the entire town knows him—he's Finn Hudson, golden boy.
The interview ends at six thirty on a Friday evening and Rachel is supposed to call him, but before he knows it, it's eight o'clock and he hasn't heard from Rachel at all. She's usually prompt and always willing to hang out with him, which was the plan tonight, but she isn't answering. He calls her like a million times but she doesn't pick up. Kurt hasn't seen her, he even calls Quinn, Santana and Brittany wondering if Rachel's with them.
Finally, at eight forty-five he drives to the Berry's house and finds it completely dark and he's so worried, now, so he knocks on the door only for it to swing open. The house is eerily silent, but if he strains his ears a little, he can hear faint music that sounds like Funny Girl, and god, at least he knows she's okay.
He climbs the stairs, reaches her door, and pushes it open. Rachel's curled on her side on the bed, envelope clutched in her hands. He pries it from her fingers and frowns as his eyes scan the page. We're sorry…Juilliard Admissions Office.
"Oh, baby," he whispers, sitting beside her and pushing his hand through her hair, "I'm so sorry."
She curls a little into his lap and splays her fingers across his leg, fingernails scratching patterns into the denim. "I'm not good enough," she murmurs into the skin of his neck, and he tightens his hold on her.
"You are," he vows, "god, you are."
He wants to be with her, like, for forever, so when the time comes to decide their future, he's adamant in how much he wants to do long distance. She'll be in New York, at NYU, of course, and he'll be in Columbus playing for the Buckeyes and he's so excited to be playing for Ohio State, really, truly, he is, just – he's really really gonna miss Rachel.
Rachel's so proud of him, she tells him the night of graduation when they're lying in the grass in his front yard. He tells her right back how proud he is, and leans over and presses his mouth right against hers.
"Do you think we'll make it?"
He smiles, and kisses her again. "I know we will."
He curves his body around hers, pressing her closer to him on the too-small twin bed. Her long, dark hair spills over her shoulders and her fingers curl over his chest, grasping the material of his t-shirt. Suddenly, she stirs, stretching and yawning. Her eyes turn to his and she smiles sleepily, eyelids falling closed again.
"Baby," he murmurs throatily, "you gotta wake up." He gives her a small, sad smile as her brow furrows and her eyes open. She pouts as she tugs the plaid comforter around her and sits up, running a hand through her hair.
"What time is it?"
"Almost eight," he responds ruefully, casting his eyes down to his hands, still resting on her thighs. "You need to get on the road."
"I know," she sighs, and her eyes well with tears. "I don't want to leave."
He sits up and wraps her in his arms, "I know, baby, I know."
"Hi, Finn," she says softly into the phone, "It's me, again. Just calling because—because I need to talk to you, and you haven't picked up all day. Or all week, really. So call me back. Love you."
She doesn't remember how many messages she's left him at this point—all she knows is that it's a high number, and he hasn't responded once, no text, no phone call. Eventually, he texts her, "I can't do this anymore. I'm sorry."
And just like that, it's over.
She cuts her hair and drops out of NYU and auditions for an Off-Broadway musical and she's certain she's surprised that the world revolves without Finn, but she thinks that must be growing up, and she misses him, really, but – he broke up with her.
Plus, she's extraordinarily busy, what with the musical and all her new friends and sometimes she's so, so lonely, but Kurt always comes over for some tea and conversation and it makes the sting of missing Finn hurt a little less.
Her phone rings on a late Saturday evening when she's curled up on the couch, passed out in the middle of watching Breakfast at Tiffany's, but the insistent ringing of her cell phone rouses her. "'Lo?"
"Hey," his voice, low and coarse, mumbles over the phone.
"Finn?" She sits up, curling her knees against her chest, holding the phone like a lifeline to her ear.
"I really miss you," he slurs, and she can imagine the dopey smile on his lips, because if she knows someone, she knows Finn Hudson, and right now, she knows he is completely drunk. "Like, a lot. Can you come home now? I love you so much."
"Finn," she says softly, nearly whining his name, and she feels her heart shatter all over again, "You're drunk. You don't—you don't mean this. I'm hanging up now."
She doesn't hear his comeback, as she already has the phone closed, off, and hidden in her couch cushions, effectively blocking out this conversation and pushing it to the back of her mind.
In July, a Broadway theater picks up the musical, and she is well on her way to receiving her first Tony. The director seems to doubt her superb abilities and threatens to replace her a dozen times, so she's forced to work even harder than most of the cast.
If she has to do one more step-ball change, she thinks she's going to explode, so she excuses herself from rehearsal and steps out into the muggy weather, which doubles her body temperature, but at least it's quiet out here.
She often thinks of Finn on days like these, the hot, still, humid air makes her think of his body pressing into hers on her mattress, his hands warm on her body, and so, so gentle, and she watches all of his games from her living room, sees him win and lose and she wishes she were there, for him to press his mouth against his fingers and send it out to her. Sometimes, she thinks she sees him lift his hand to his mouth only to drop it halfway, and she wonders if that means he's thinking of her.
Naturally, she's been on dates. She's gone out with boys and kissed boys, and nearly slept with one, but it hasn't felt quite right.
Somehow, Finn manages to keep his spot in her tattered heart.
She gets a whole three weeks off for Hanukah and Christmas, so she decides to fly home and visit her dads for once. She's missed them, missed Lima.
The drama queen inside her had planned on surprising them and just entering the house, but upon arriving at home, she'd found the house locked and empty, her parents vacationing in the Virgin Islands. Her plans these days always seem to backfire, much to her chagrin.
Lima is oddly peaceful, and when the snow starts to fall and blanket the ground, it's truly lovely outside. In New York, all the snow melts into slush on the side of the road, and most drivers are unapologetic when they drive through it and soak you from head to toe. She curls in front of the fireplace, ever grateful that her dads installed an electric fireplace instead of one that burns wood, and looks over her script, as she is apt to do these days.
Her firm conviction is that, no matter the field, there is always room for improvement. She stands, about to perfect each jerky blocking motion that she's highlighted in her script, when someone bangs on the door. She freezes as the incessant knocking nearly overcomes the soft music coming from her speakers. Groaning, she pads over to the door, her feet making quiet tapping noises against the hardwood floor as she moves.
She pulls the door open carelessly and nearly falls over in shock when the person banging on her door reveals himself to be Finn Hudson, completely caked with mud and snow, absolutely freezing. Her maternal nature takes over as she ushers him into the house and up the stairs, small limbs forcing him into the shower and turning the knob until it's on all the way. About five minutes into it, his teeth stop chattering and he uncrosses his thick arms to peel off layer and layer of clothing until he's standing in front of her in her shower, naked but for his boxers that are doing very little to hide what he so affectionately dubs his business.
Unexpectedly, he jerks her into the shower with him, and she tosses off her clothes until she, too, is left in her underwear. His eyes bore into hers intensely, and before she can even think, his lips crush against hers insistently. Her fingers thread into his wet hair as his tongue probes her mouth, and her heart squeezes with the sweet relief of having Finn hold her close again.
His rough, wet fingers slide over the skin of her hips, somehow tugging her even closer, and he releases a soft groan when her fingers run along the waistband of his boxers. But when his lips bite down softly on hers and the water runs cold, she snaps out of her Finn-induced stupor, and pulls out of his arms, and the shower, completely.
Later, they sit in front of the fireplace, not talking, but curled into blankets and each other. The power has long since gone out, as well as the heat, and they have no choice but to sit close to one another to stay warm.
He keeps trailing kisses down her neck and shoulders, twirling her hair between his fingers, and trying to start conversations, but she stops him. Finally, he whispers a soft—so soft she nearly thinks that she's imagined it—"I love you," into her ear, and she shoves him away.
"Finn," she hisses and sits up primly.
"What?" He explodes. "Is there someone else?"
This is the perfect window to get him out of her heart, "Yes. There is."
Determination crosses his features before she knows it, and he draws her close to him. "I know that I should respect that, especially considering that I broke up with you initially, but…Rachel, no one will ever love you like I love you."
"Finn," she sighs.
"And I'm fairly certain that no one could love me like you do."
Without waiting for her response, he grabs her face and closes his mouth over hers. She lets him kiss her, lets him lower her to the ground, as the downy white blanket falls around them like the snow outside. His fingers find the hem of her tee shirt and lift it. One of her hands reaches up to clasp his as his lips kiss up and down her collarbone, leaving small bite marks in their wake.
"Do you want to?" His mouth moves over her skin, and she can't find the words to respond and manages only a nod.
The numbness in his right arm wakes him up the next morning. His eyes shoot open, he's alarmed for a second, and then he smirks salaciously when he remembers the night before, and why Rachel is curled up on her side, using his arm as a pillow.
She cuddles closer to him, stirring slightly, and her eyes pop open when he kisses her on the mouth.
"We can't do this," she says when they break apart. "Be together like this."
"Why's that?" He murmurs throatily and leans in for another kiss.
"No," she says, and her eyes, embarrassingly, fill with tears, "no, you broke up with me, remember? Over a text. So now you don't get to do that anymore."
"Rach," he says quietly, "you know I didn't mean to hurt you – I just couldn't find my place in your future, and god, you were so lonely and I just – I just wanted you to be happy, and that didn't necessarily include me and I knew you were, like, two steps from moving to Ohio and all I've ever wanted for you is – "
"My future is not up to you, Finn Hudson, and if I had wanted to come to Ohio, you should have respected that instead of breaking my heart."
"I'm sorry," he apologizes, and repeats and repeats as he presses kisses all over her face. "You know I love you."
"I do," she whispers as her tears ebb, "I know. Still, Finn, as much as we love each other, I can't—we can't be together. You don't even know where you'll be leaving when you graduate, Finn, and to promise me forever if you don't mean it isn't fair. If we're really—really soul mates, like you say, then fate will work things out."
She kisses him one last time, and rolls out of his arms.
Kurt sends her a text message in mid-March that reads, "guess who's coming to your show tonight." She doesn't answer and places her phone back on the counter in her dressing room. She's going on in less than five minutes and doesn't have time to play Kurt's guessing game, besides, it's completely obvious that Kurt is coming to her show, otherwise, he wouldn't have texted her at all.
She knows there's a second option, but she buries that deep inside and ignores it completely.
The stage feels a little different tonight, like this performance really means something, more so than her previous performances have, at least. In a way, she feels it's her best performance as well—she really becomes her character and pours emotion into her in a manner in which she has never before. She receives four standing ovations, one for each of her solos, and naturally, her bow at the end. Her fingers wave out to the crowd and she feels so happy she could just float off into the sky.
Once she's changed out of her costume and makeup, she wants to find Kurt, so she heads into the theater lobby and searches for his face. But a tap on her back distracts her, and she finds herself swept up in a hug with none other than Finn Hudson. His arms are strong around her body as he hugs her tight, and God, she's missed him since Christmas.
And, like always, his lips fall on hers, but delicately this time, and his hands brush her hair behind her ears. "You are phenomenal," he says when they break apart. "Jesus, Rachel. I knew you were good, but you even had me crying."
She laughs and hugs him again. "I'm so glad you came—did you come with Kurt?"
"Kurt?" He shakes his head. "Nah, I came alone. I'm on spring break, you know, and I figured what better way to spend my week than in New York City with the girl I love, so, care to show me your apartment?"
"Finn, what are we doing?" She inquires breathlessly, later, when they're tangled beneath her bed sheets. "I told you — "
"I'm not giving up on us," he ascertains, "I'm never going to give up. You can make up as many boyfriends as you want, Rachel, but I will never stop loving you."
"You can't promise that," she retorts. "People always say that about their high school sweethearts, but it's because you haven't tried other people, Finn. You only know what it's like to be in a relationship with me."
"I don't want to be in a relationship with anyone else, Rachel! I just want you."
"You can't have me."
"Oh, I beg to differ." His hands wander around her naked torso, drawing circles on her abdomen as he reminds her, "It seems that I can have you, just as you can have me. You're my soul mate. I know it, right here."
He puts his hand on his chest, aiming for his heart. Rachel sits up slightly and moves his hand. "Your heart is on the other side of your chest, silly."
"That isn't the point, Rach, and you know it. You're deflecting." She sighs.
"I don't want to get back together only for you to shatter me again," she says quietly, running her fingers over each other. "You nearly killed me."
He closes his eyes for a moment and grasps her hands. "I know I did, Rach. I know it. And I will spend the rest of my life making it up to you, only if you let me in. We could have it all, baby, don't you see?"
She lets out a quiet huff, because he's right. They could be so happy. "Okay, Finn. As long as we take it slow. And by slow I mean we're not officially dating until I say so."
He grins, hugs her, and then presses her into the mattress with a kiss.
He sends her a hopeful text message the morning of the draft and signs it with his love. She ignores it, but doesn't ignore the clock as it ticks closer and closer to the hour of the program, and she finds herself curling up on the couch to watch.
She squeezes her pillow to her chest when he appears on the camera, and each team begins to make their picks — Detroit, Cleveland, San Francisco — and he isn't picked yet. She sinks a little further into her sofa, eyes falling closed for a long minute.
They pop open, of course, when she hears his name and her heart palpitates wildly when hears his name called as the first pick for the Jets. She shoots up in her seat, watching as he shakes hands with random PR reps and gets a Jets jersey placed in his hands and a hat shoved onto his head.
He grins and steps up to the podium, shaking his hand firmly with the coach, says a few words, and makes eye contact with the camera, lifts his hand to his lips and holds his hand out to the camera, which sends her heartbeat into overdrive.
"Did you see the draft?" He inquires, a smug tone infiltrating his voice. "D'you think you've got room for me in your apartment?"
She rolls her eyes and flops onto her back, curling her down comforter around her. "I don't know, Finn…"
"Do you think we should get a new place, then, baby? I've waited so long to finally be with you, and I'm not going to let anything come between us. I'm coming to New York next week to finalize some things and we can go apartment hunting. Love you."
She sighs, but a small smile tugs at her lips. "Love you, too."
"Don't hang that there!"
"What? Why the hell not?"
"Finn! What did I say about cursing in the house?"
"…Oh. Well, could you try to not do that?"
"You are so difficult!"
He rolls his eyes and puts the picture frame down on the neatly made bed. "C'mere." She crosses her arms and shakes her head. "Rachel Barbra Berry, come here right now."
Groaning, she steps into his outstretched arms and rests her forehead against his. "I'm sorry I'm so cranky," she apologizes.
"Honestly, I've been trying to push your buttons all day. And, baby, can we stop unpacking? We've been pulling sh-stuff out of those boxes all day long. I'm exhausted."
"Poor baby," she murmurs and pushes her bottom lip out. She climbs onto the bed beside him and curls close to his body, threading her fingers through his hair. His eyes can barely stay open.
But before his breathing evens out, he squeezes her side softly and whispers a quiet, "I love you," into her ear.
She smiles against the skin of his shoulder, "I'm so happy you came here, Finn."
His response is a hum against her hair.
"Finn!" She yells, "Finn, get out of the shower and get in here right now! They're about to announce the nominees! Finn!"
"I'm right here, Rachel," he responds. He jerks her out of the chair and tugs her onto his lap. She squeezes his thigh nervously, already feeling the fluttering butterflies in her stomach. What if she doesn't get nominated? She's been leading this show for three years, and while her co-star has been nominated, as well as the show (neither won), she has yet to receive her nomination.
The web cast flickers on, tearing her from her thoughts. Her fingernails dig into Finn's jean clad thigh as the announcer reads the nominees for best musical, best play, and so on, and finally, her category. "…And Rachel Berry…"
She squeals excitedly. Somehow, she winds up on her feet, and then off them as Finn twirls her around. Her entire body feels like it's fizzling with bubbles.
"You're drunk," he says softly, intertwining his fingers with hers atop the table. She smiles sweetly at him.
"Nah," she yawns. The smile doesn't fall from her lips as she nuzzles her face against his bicep. "Just tired."
He laughs and brushes a stray curl from her forehead. "I think you're mostly drunk, baby. I've seen you like this a hundred times, and I know that you're either an affectionate or a sleepy drunk." He chuckles quietly, "Not that you don't deserve it."
"I did win a Tony Award," she responds serenely. "Hey, Finn?"
"Will you marry me?"
"When you're sober," he teases, and squeezes her nose, "I'll consider it. And hey, shouldn't I be asking you?"
Her eyes flutter closed as she mumbles, "Oh, Finn, it's a progressive world we live in."
"Alright, sleepyhead, let's head home. You're exhausted."
Of course, he's considered marrying her since he was eighteen, but now the idea is much more tangible – he's an adult, now, with his own paycheck living with his high school sweetheart in the big city. He can afford to take care of her, hell; she can afford to take care of herself, if she so chooses. But he hopes she'll let him take care of her.
Life seems to plow right on, and before he knows it, it's already training season and then the start of his second season as a Jet. It doesn't surprise him that Rachel's got her own suite and everything, and she goes to every game she's able to attend.
In October he officially buys her ring, and he begins to plan it secretly. But as he's come to learn, even the best-laid plans are meant for a little upheaval.
She bursts through the apartment, ranting angrily about the director, and how she's carried him to the top and he's really going to treat her like this?
"Rach, calm down."
"No!" And she begins on another rant.
"Baby, please." He kisses her on the mouth as a means of persuasion, and smiles as she nods.
"Fine," she concedes. "Distract me!"
He leads her to the couch, and before he even knows what he's doing, he drops to one knee. The words just tumble out of his mouth, "Will you marry me?"
He wishes it were more romantic for her. He wishes he could have shown her exactly what she means to him, but it's too late now, and he just grins at her as she stares at the ring nestled in the velvet box. She flings her arms around him, sending him nearly crashing into the glass coffee table. He'd imagined that she would have screamed her response, but instead, she just kisses him and whispers it into his mouth.
"Do you want babies?"
"With you?" She shoves his arm.
"Well, yeah." A strange smile forms on his lips at the thought. "Obviously."
"As many as we end up making."
"Girls or boys?"
"I can't wait to marry you."
He grasps her hand and squeezes it. "I can't wait to marry you."
"I do," he says firmly, and that's it, he's signed his life over to Rachel Berry—or Hudson, now—completely. He dips her and kisses her on the mouth, garnering cheers from their friends and family. His arm winds around her waist as he crushes the glass, and they are officially announced as Mr. and Mrs. Finn Hudson.
As they walk down the aisle together, this time, he leans over and kisses her ear. "Are you happy?"
"The happiest I've ever been."
"I promise I'll only make you happier."
He kisses her again. "Yeah."
"Honey?" He calls when he arrives home from practice, freshly showered with a flower in his hand. "Rach, where are you?"
Her muffled response floats in from the bedroom, and he pushes the door open. "Hi."
"What's wrong?" She's curled on her side, arms crisscrossed over her stomach, pouting.
He slides into bed beside her and holds her close. "What's wrong?"
"I woke up with a migraine, and then I threw up, and then I fell asleep here and just woke up," she huffs. If there's one thing she hates, it's being sick, and missing a performance.
"Have you called the theater?"
"No," she tries to sit up, but he tugs her back down, "because I'm going to work."
"Baby, you had a migraine. That's pretty serious, and I'm pretty positive you still feel awful, so just take it easy with your deadbeat husband tonight."
"You're not a deadbeat quite yet," she teases. "And fine. Only because I don't want to risk getting sicker, or something." She pauses for a moment, settles on the pillows. "Hey, Finn? Do you think you could rub my back?"
He doesn't answer, just turns her over and begins kneading the muscles of her back, smiling at the little sighs and groans that fall from her mouth. He leans down and kisses her shoulder, because he can't quite resist that particular stretch of skin, and nips the skin there lightly. She squeals his name and elbows his abdomen in warning, so he stops, and continues massaging her.
"Finn, stop," she says quickly, and bolts off of the bed and into the bathroom. He can hear her retching from their bedroom.
"You need to see a doctor," he reminds her. His big hand pushes back the hair on her forehead, feeling for a fever. "You feel warm."
She mumbles something in coherent in response, rolling onto her side. It's the fifth day in a row she's woken up needing to vomit, and he's becoming incredibly concerned, cause, honestly, he doesn't want to lose her.
"I'll go now," she says, and attempts to get out of bed without him.
"No, I'll take you. Thankfully, I already scheduled you an appointment."
She is silent, for once, on the ride to the doctor's office. The traffic, as always, is terrible, but he's not really thinking about that, he's just focusing on his wife and her current state of illness.
He honestly can't lose her. He's had her since he was seventeen, and he can't imagine a life without her. Before, soul mates had seemed a stupid concept, but now, he understands what Plato was writing about in his Symposium. He knows he's found his, because he feels this sort of tether attaching them, and he knows she feels it, too. Somehow, he can always sense her.
After a few questions, the doctor diagnoses her with mono—but takes blood to be sure. "We'll call you with the results later this afternoon," she says as she leads her out, "and if your husband begins to feel ill, bring him in." She nods sullenly and walks straight into Finn's comforting arms.
"What's the diagnosis?" He asks as they walk out of the doctor's office.
"She thinks it's mono," Rachel wails. "She's going to call later to confirm."
He wraps his arm around her shoulder and pulls her close. "Don't worry, baby," he soothes, "it's probably not mono."
Still, he forces her to lie in bed for the rest of the day, and steps out to run various errands, like grocery shopping (which he hates), and picking up a dress of Rachel's from a tailor. He gets home in the late afternoon, the time just before evening falls, and calls out her name.
The bedroom door is cracked open, and he slips inside to check on her, only to find her sitting in the middle of the bed, eyes glued to the television and—crying.
"You okay, baby?" She nods and motions for him to join her, still crying, of course, and he glances at the television screen as he climbs into bed beside her. "You're crying watching Toddlers and Tiaras, Rach?"
"Finn," she sighs as he swipes his finger beneath her eyes, and smiles softly at him, "Finn. The doctor called and—"
"Do you have mono?" She shakes her head. "Oh, man, what else could you have, baby? Is it serious?"
"Just that," she says coolly, a peculiar smile crooking her lips, "Very serious. A lifelong commitment, I'm thinking."
"Lifelong? Babe, is it terminal?"
"Something like that."
He feels his entire world crumble around him and even feels tears pricking at the corner of his eyes. "I can't lose you, Rachel. Please."
"Oh, Finn," she murmurs, "you're not going to lose me, you'll just gain a mini-me."
Suddenly, it all clicks into place, and his crumbled world rebuilds itself in a much happier, lighter atmosphere, and there are rockets and crescendos, and "You're pregnant" spews from his lips in an ecstatic shout. She nods and he squeezes her close, hopping off the bed to twirl her around, 'cause, god, this is the happiest he's ever been in his entire life.
"Well, Mr. and Mrs. Hudson, are you ready to see Baby Hudson for the first time?" He squeezes Rachel's hand and brings it to his lips as Rachel pulls her shirt up to reveal her still-flat abdomen.
She winces as the gel spreads over it, and he kisses her hand again and again. They're in this together, just like he told her. And then, he's swept away when the sound of the heartbeat fills the room.
Rachel looks at him and laughs slightly, tears falling from her eyes, and this all hits him that it's real, a manifestation of them, after two years of marriage and so many years together. In a way, it feels like he's been waiting for this moment from the very moment he bumped into her in the hallway all those years ago.
It all happens so fast, for some reason. Before he knows it, they're telling their families and celebrating with them, and then Rachel's suddenly showing. The first morning she notices, she has a break down and curls up in the corner of the bathtub, basking in self-pity.
It takes him the better part of the day to convince her that her changing body is beautiful. He's glad her pregnancy is occurring as the football season ends, because when he has to go away for the weekend, she has a big fit.
Eventually, though, around the fifth month (right when she really starts showing, as a matter of fact), she completely mellows out and starts doing yoga, or some sort of method to keeping fit, and she relaxes.
Honestly, he couldn't be happier—he can't imagine his happiness ever surmounting this.
He lied. Months later, as their baby finally comes into the world, his happiness is insurmountable (or so he thinks).
One day, he'll discover that each little happiness is no more insurmountable than the next; that this life builds off of each and every happiness. Nonetheless, when he lies beside Rachel in the crammed hospital bed the day after their son, Christopher Hiram Hudson, is born, he again, thinks he'll never be happier.
But then, Christopher opens his eyes and turns his red, scrunched up face to his and sneezes, and then grasps Finn's finger, and before he knows it, every little thing Chris does gives him immeasurable amounts of happiness. He cheers with Rachel when he learns to sit up on his own, and twirls her around when he starts crawling, the video camera lying on the floor as he crawls back and forth.
When Chris grabs Rachel's hands and pulls himself to his feet, he turns away and brushes away tears. Rachel pulls him close and squeals, letting her tears fall into his little plaid shirt, and he bats at her face.
"Mama," he says, squeezing her cheeks, and then Rachel's even more of a mess—first word, and first steps? Or rather, first coherent syllables? He crouches down beside her and wraps his arm around her, sending her knocking into his chest as Chris toddles around, landing heavily on his behind and flailing his arms around. He's such a round child for so young, chubby like Rachel as a baby, and it makes him smile. Chris is alarmingly similar to his father, nearly a carbon copy but for Rachel's eyes and dark, messy hair.
"We're old," Rachel pouts on the eve of their son's first day of preschool. "Our kid's already in school, and soon, he'll be off to college, and then—"
"Baby," he silences her and pulls her close, his nose brushing against hers as their legs tangle together on the bed, "we can always have another one."
"I know," she sighs, "but Chris is just so—"
"I'm pretty sure any kid of ours is gonna be pretty perfect, sweetheart. C'mon, what do you say?"
Sighing playfully, "Fine, if we must. Let's try for a little girl this time, though, I'm sick of trucks and planes and robots."
"Yeah," he responds, "I really want to play dress up."
She rolls her eyes and places her hand on his cheek, bringing his lips down to hers. "I love you, Finn," she says in between kisses, "and I'm so glad you ran into me."
"Yeah," he murmurs throatily, "me, too."