A/N: Well, here it is guys. Once again, thank you so much for reading. I know some of you really wanted a lot of Melody in this, but the story really wasn't about Melody. I have decided, though that I may write some Melody centered one-shots. If anyone has any ideas, please inbox me! I can also be found on twitter littlee0618.
As always, I don't own anyone who appears on gLee. They are all owned by Ryan Murphy & Company. I do own Caleb, Melody and the plot.
"Love is how you stay alive, even after your gone" - Cory Monteith. RIP Frankenteen.
When she was a little girl, Rachel never dreamed in a million years that she would meet the love of her life at just 16 years old. Never mind that the man of her dreams would be the star quarterback of the football team. She was never popular during those formative years, more of a fly on the wall rather than a willing participant. She'd always been the last one picked in gym class and constantly teased for the simple fact that she had two dads, instead of a mother and a father like most of her peers.
But it had worked out for her.
She got the man, and still had him even after all of these years. 22 years was a really long time to devote yourself to someone. But when you love someone as much as she loved Finn, 22 years wasn't long enough.
She loved him so much and she knew that he loved her just as much, if not more. They loved each other without fault, with their whole beings and after everything they had been through in the entire 16 years of marriage they were still standing. She sometimes had to pinch herself that she had been so lucky. A weaker man would have walked away when the going got tough. A weaker woman would have succumbed to the darkness. But they were stronger, together and that was how they had gotten through everything. That's why they were still standing here today.
She stood on her back porch, enjoying the early morning peace and quiet. She leaned on the banister and held her coffee mug in her hands. She took in the backyard in which she was standing in, her backyard. And it was all set up for the little party they were going to have this afternoon. Al of their closest friends and family were coming over this afternoon. It was Labor Day, and they were having one last hoorah before the next school year was ushered in.
Her thoughts were broken when she heard the back door open and close behind her. She didn't turn around, the heavy footsteps telling her exactly who it was. She felt a pair of big strong arms wrap around her.
"What are you doing out here?" Finn whispered into her neck. He moved her long brown over her shoulder and placed a soft kiss on the crook of her neck.
"Just enjoying the peace" She smiled. She leaned back into him as his arms wrapped around her tighter. She always felt safest when she was in his arms. Always. "I just wanted a few minutes, calm before the storm so to speak" He kissed her neck.
"Kids still sleeping?" He nodded against her. "I hope Caleb's alright today, he was really cranky last night when we got back from Target."
"He'll be fine." He ran his hands up and down her arms. "You know how he gets when he's out after his bedtime. Don't worry about it."
"I do worry." She sighed.
"That's what makes us love you so much" He grinned. She returned the smile.
The last two years had been a different kind of journey for Finn, Rachel and their kids. Since moving back to Ohio over a year and a half ago, life had changed dramatically for all of them. While things had changed for the better, Rachel still struggled to find her footing some days. Life in Ohio was quieter, a slower pace then what they had been used to in New York. But slow was good for them right now Things had been so difficult over the past few years for them, that the quiet was welcomed. Finn had fallen right into step with his new job at the middle school, even taking on an added job of coaching the basketball team. Rachel loved to watch him thrive, and teaching and inspiring is what her fabulous husband did best. Melody had adjusted as well as she could. It had taken her a few weeks to get into the groove, but really thrived on seeing her grandparents much more often than she was used to. She especially loved the dates she got to have with her beloved Poppy once a week. It was something special that now she looked forward to. It was those very dates that helped her overcome her sadness of leaving all her friends behind in New York City. Not that that was a good substitute for her friends. But she had managed to make friends at her new school, she was always very sociable that way, ever since she was an infant. She had been her bubbly little girl from the very beginning. Her family bouncing back and charging into life almost fearlessly reassured Rachel on a daily basis that they had made the right decision. They had needed a new start. They had needed to close the chapter they had been struggling with, and a new home even though it was in a different state had been just what the doctor ordered. She herself had struggled the first few weeks and she did still struggle often. It was a different kind of life here, and finding new therapists and doctors for herself had proven to be a little challenging - given the small community of Lima. But once she had established those supports for herself, things began to fall into place. She felt happier here, more at peace and calmer than ever before. She'd never felt more at peace than she had the last year and a half. Caleb was growing bigger by the moment, and at 2 years old had almost fully caught up to the milestones he had been behind on when he was born. He was a fussy toddler, overly attached to Rachel which often hindered her when she needed to get something done. But given all they had been through just to have him in their lives, she sucked it up some days and just loved on him. It was his smiles and laughter that made her feel like it had all been worthwhile in the end. He was the spitting image of Finn, dimples and all.
"When do you and Melody go to get your nails done?" Finn asked softly, pulling her out of her thoughts again.
"I made an appointment for 11. Being a Saturday I figured they would be busy" She took a the last sip of her coffee.
"Sounds good." He kissed her cheek once more.
Rachel smiled as she came to a stop light, turning to look at her 10 year old daughter beside her. Melody was bopping and dancing along to the music on the radio and giggled when she saw her mother was looking at her.
"What?" She giggled, continuing to bop along.
"Nothing. You're just adorable." She blushed and turned away from her mother.
"Thanks Mommy" She grinned.
It was moments like this that she enjoyed the most with Melody. She tried her hardest to provide her with one on one time as often as she could. Rachel still felt bad about all the time she had missed with Melody, when she was locked in her own self-absorbed world filled with sadness. As she waited for the light to change, she couldn't help but feel her heart swell with happiness as Melody bopped along to the song on the radio. Her little girl never ceased to amaze her in many different ways.
They arrived at the nail salon before the next song had a chance to come on. Rachel nodded at the attendant, giving her name for the reservation before joining Melody at the wall to pick out a colour for her nails. Rachel was going to get a simple French manicure on both her fingers and toes, Melody needed to pick a colour for her nails.
"What colour should I get Mommy?" Melody turned to look at Rachel.
"Well, your dress for this afternoon is a nice light blue colour. Maybe pink?" Melody screwed up her nose. She wasn't quite the girly girl Rachel had always expected her daughter to be. She was very much her own person, and Rachel loved that. Rachel chuckled. "What about yellow?"
Melody bit her lip, turning her attention to the array of nail polish in front of her. After a few minutes, she picked out three yellow nail polishes and turned to Rachel before making a final decision.
"Which one Mommy? I can't decide!" Rachel smiled and picked out two of the three colours that Melody had in her hand, leaving the final choice up to her. When she'd picked one, they sat down and waited for their names to be called.
"Did you have a good time with Poppy last night?" She asked as she turned herself away from her phone which had been buzzing. It was just Finn asking about something for the party this afternoon. Burt had taken Melody out for their usual Poppy/Granddaughter date. Rachel loved the relationship they had. Burt and Carol loved Melody and Caleb to bits, they were the only grandchildren as Kurt and Blaine had yet to decide if they were going to have children or not. They doted on each of them like nothing she'd ever seen before but she didn't mind one bit. Her children were loved and that's all that mattered to her.
"Yeah" Melody smiled, kicking her feet back and forth. "We went to the putt putt place by their house. I beat him." Rachel laughed. If there was one thing that Melody loved, it was a good competition. That was something she had picked up from spending so much time with Burt. "I won so Poppy had to take me to get ice cream."She grinned.
"I bet you did" Rachel smiled.
Before they had time to talk about anything else, their names were called and they were brought over to where they would get their pedicures done. Rachel had to laugh as she watched Melody, this was only the second time she was getting a pedicure done and Rachel could tell she still didn't know what to do. Melody had incredibly ticklish feet, something that she had inherited from Finn. Rachel laughed as she watched her. Did she ever mention her favourite thing was spending one on one time with her gorgeous daughter? Melody had a busy schedule during the week, between school, piano and basketball practices that kept her busy until at least dinner time during the week, if not later. Saturday's were usually her day for gymnastics, but today she was taking a break. Rachel often felt like she didn't see her daughter enough, and she only imagined that that would get worse as the years went on. Melody was growing up in front of her very eyes, and while she was excited to see what the future held she was a bit sad because she also felt like time was flying by at the speed of light. She wished she could press pause, some days. That was one of the reasons she'd been so adamant about their move to Ohio. She'd hoped it would provide them with more opportunity to spend time together. And for the most part, it had. She watched as Melody adamantly told the technician painting her toes about the colour of her dress, and the fact that her favourite Uncle, Uncle Puck was coming to the party this afternoon. Rachel had to laugh at her daughter's enthusiasm for Puck. They'd been seeing a lot more of him and Quinn lately as they had relocated to Ohio as well. Melody had hit it off with Puck immensely, as he was one of her basketball coaches. When she wasn't at home or busy with after school activities, she was often over at the Puckerman household. While their older daughter Beth was quite a few years older than Melody, Carina was just a year older than her and they often invited her over for pool parties and sleepovers.
When they were finished at the nail salon, Rachel took them home. When they arrived, Melody ran in ahead of her to show her nails to Finn and to change into her dress for the party. She'd been chomping at the bit to wear it since they both it two weeks ago. When Rachel walked in, she was greeted by her father-in-law who was holding her son in a football hold.
"Mama!" Caleb called as soon as he saw her. Rachel chuckled and took the baby from Burt.
"This one was trying to get into the cake Carol was finishing in the kitchen. I was in charge of wrangling him until Finn could take him to get ready." The older man chuckled, tickling the baby under his chin. He giggled and swatted at his grandfather.
"Where is Finn?"
"Upstairs, getting dressed." Burt smiled.
"Patty time Mama?" Caleb asked, looking up at her with wide eyes. He placed his chubby hands on her cheeks and turned her face to look at him. Rachel laughed.
"Very soon. Can you stay with Poppy while Mama gets dressed and helps Melody?"
Caleb looked at her and attempted to wrap his arms around her neck. Burt helped her peel him away from Rachel. When he started to pout, Rachel felt her heart break a little. But she had to get ready, as their guests would be here soon.
She made her way up the stairs just as she heard Caleb really get upset downstairs. She knew he was in good hands with Burt, but it still hurt to hear him cry for her. But she needed to get ready too. She poked her head in her own bedroom and was met with a topless Finn standing in the middle of their bedroom. She whistled as she walked into the bedroom a little. Finn turned around to see her there, a smirk gracing his face. He walked over to meet her there. He pulled her flush against her, her hands going around his neck.
"Hey there pretty lady" He smiled, looking down at her. He placed a soft kiss on her lips.
"Well hello there handsome" She grinned.
"How was the nail salon?" She smiled up at him again.
"It was nice. Got to talk to Melody a lot." She smiled. "How was it here?"
He sighed. "Mom and Burt got here a little after you left and Mom kind of took over the food."
"Yeah, I saw that. It seems like they've got everything handled down there."
He nodded. He pulled her close to him again and placed a kiss on the crook of her neck. "You ready for this?"
They weren't just having a regular, labor day party. Today actually marked their 16th wedding anniversary and they were going to be renewing their vows in front of their family and their closest friends. They'd decided a few months ago, that now that things from their move had settled completely this would be a way of laying roots down in Ohio with their new family. It was also another way they were choosing to recognize the beginning of a new chapter in their lives.
"I have something for you" He said after a few silent seconds. He ran his hands down her arms as he looked at her. "Well, more to show you..."
They'd decided that, since they were getting each other new wedding bands that they wouldn't get each other anything else for their anniversary. She gave him a funny look. He untangled her arms from around his neck and gently turned around. She gasped, when she saw the ink that now decorated her husband's back.
"Can I touch it?" She whispered, her hand still on her mouth.
"Gently" He whispered.
They were tattoos memorializing their two living children, with their birth dates matched with a footprint from each child. She touched them gently, going over each footprint. Melody's was so much bigger than Caleb's footprint. There was also an infinity symbol, with her name and their wedding date weaved into it. Both tattoos, while separate, worked well together and basically told the story of their living lives.
"When did you get this done?" She was completely puzzled. She would have noticed something like this, they were both pretty big and took up a large chunk of his left shoulder blade.
"Last night, while you were out at Target with Caleb and Melody was with Burt." He said turning to look at her. "I've been working with the artist for a few weeks, on my lunch hours." He took her hands in his. "Are you mad?"
She curled her fingers around his. "I'm the furthest thing from mad. I just wish I had known you were going and I would have come with you" She smiled. "I love them." She bit her lip gently and looked up at him.
He smiled at her. "I'm glad." He smiled and wrapped his arms around her waist again. She kissed him, before taking one more look at his new ink. She left the room to go and see to Melody and how she was fairing with her dress.
All their friends and family had come. Everyone who had been an integral part to their story both past and present. As she stood at the back of the makeshift aisle with her dads on each of her arms, she smiled as she watched Melody walk down the aisle towards Finn, with Caleb's hand in hers. Caleb adored his big sister, even if sometimes it didn't seem reciprocated. But when it came down to it, much like with his parents, the moment Caleb asked for Melody to do something for him, she did it even with a huff. The one thing that she deeply regretted, and it was stupid to even consider it a regret because it was something beyond her control, was the age difference between Melody and Caleb. But at the same time, it also had its benefits and just watching them walk down the aisle together was telling enough. Melody was the best big sister.
As she made her way down the aisle towards Finn she grinned, as her eyes met his. They weren't as dressed up as they were on their wedding day. Finn was dressed in a nice pair of black dress pants with a blue button up dress shirt with the sleeves pushed up. They were in the midst of a bit of an Indian summer, so the weather was nice. She was wearing a white dress with cap sleeves and a lace overlay that came to just above her knees, white flip flops on her feet. When she reached him, she grinned. Both of her father's kissed her cheeks before sitting down in their seats.
"You look gorgeous" He whispered to her.
"You're pretty handsome yourself" She smiled. He took her hand as they both faced the officiant before them.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, we are here today because many years ago these two people fell in love. And in those many years that have come to pass, one thing has stood the test of time. How much they love each other" He spoke to the crowd that had come to witness the ceremony. Their closest friends and family had all congregated in a show of support and love. "And they stand here before you and have asked you to witness as they recommit themselves to each other and to their family. They have asked you all here today, to be a part of this ceremony because all of you have had a hand, no matter how small or how large, in their love story. Now, both have chosen to write their own vows. Finn, if you will..."
Finn turned to look intently at Rachel. He smiled softly, raising a hand to touch her cheek and move the hair that was falling in her face.
"Rach..." He said softly. He chuckled a little bit as he looked at her. "I really had a hard time trying to get this down on paper. I decided to just start at the beginning and hope for the best." He chuckled. "When I first saw you 22 years ago, walking down the hallway with your books clutched to your chest I knew at that moment that I was done for. One look in those beautiful brown eyes and I was sold. I knew that I had to get to know you, had to just talk to you. And when I got to know you, I fell so deeply in love with you, everything about you was enchanting to me and I wanted nothing more than to just love you. I fell completely head over heels for you. And now, after all this time I am still so in love with you, and I know now that that is something that is never going to change. You were it for me then, and you're it for me now. The last 16 years have been one hell of a ride but I honestly couldn't imagine anyone else to go through this journey with. Sure, not everything has been easy we've seen our fair share of heartache, but we've also seen our fair share of successes. We've had a good life Rachel Barbra Hudson, and I cannot wait for whatever is coming for us next. I can't wait to see what is going to become of our little, perfect family. I know it can only go up from here. And I know that as long as you're beside me, we can conquer anything. No matter what it is, good, bad or ugly."
He wiped her tears as they rolled down her cheeks. She laughed uncomfortably as she sniffed.
"I guess it's my turn. I should have gone first, not sure how I'm going to top that." She blew out a breath and looked at her handsome husband.
"I made a decision 22 years ago, to let you in. I was a pretty guarded teenager back then, someone who just tried to fly under the radar. But you made me come alive. You brought me to life and showed me what it really meant to be loved, to live and to love someone else. You saved me with your kindness, your compassion and above all else your love. You've shown me exactly what it meant to be loved by another person so unconditionally. You've given me an extraordinary life Finn Christopher Hudson, one filled with dozens of ups and downs and in betweens but it's our life. It's our life and I wouldn't change anything about it because then it wouldn't be distinctly ours. I can't thank you enough for showing me the world and then some. Without you, I wouldn't have our beautiful little girl Melody" She paused and pointed to her where she sat. "or our handsome little man Caleb" The toddler squealed and pointed wildly at his parents. She laughed when she saw Melody roll her eyes at her brother. Ah, to be 10. "Without you I wouldn't know what it meant to be loved so wholly and to love so unconditionally. I love you so much Finn, and I cannot wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us". She sniffed as he ran his thumb along her cheek much like he had after he had finished his vows. He gave her a small smile.
"May we have the rings?" Melody got up from where she was sitting beside her Poppy and carefully walked up to where her parents were and held the pillow up to them.
They exchanged new wedding bands with the promise of 'I do' before the officiate proclaimed them husband and wife again. Finn smiled and leaned in and placed a kiss on her lips. She was Mrs. Finn Hudson, again.
"I love you" she whispered against his lips.
"I love you too"
When they pulled away, both Melody and Caleb came running to them. Melody wrapped her arms around Finn's waist while Caleb reached up to Rachel to be picked up.
"Finn and Rachel would like to invite you to gather around as they complete a family unity ornament. You've just seen them recommit themselves to each other, and through the sand ceremony they've chosen to recommit themselves to their family. The pink sand will represent Melody, while the purple sand will represent Rachel. White sand will represent Finn while the light blue sand will represent Caleb. As they all pour them in together all the colours will mix together, blending effortlessly. The product will best represent their family as a whole and the commitment they have to each other as all of the sand grains mix together, never to be separated or divided." Finn and Rachel smiled at each other. The four of them poured the sand into the large vase they had chosen. Melody helped pour Caleb's in while she did her own, as he got bored with it after a few seconds. When it was finished, the four colours had blended perfectly in the vase.
"See...this is us" Finn whispered into her ear, gesturing to the vase in front of them. Rachel looked up at him as Caleb played with her hair as he leaned his head on her shoulder. He leaned over and gently placed a kiss on her lips while wrapping his arm around her waist.
"Forever" She whispered against his lips. His eyes shined down at hers.
"Forever" He repeated before kissing her softly again.