Wow, I can't believe the summer's already over for Finchel! Thanks to everyone for all your nice reviews! I aprreciate them. This time the author's note is at the bottom of the chapter. So be sure to share your speculations.

And my question for all of you - should I write another fanfic after I post the final chapter of this one? I'd like to, but there don't seem to be many Finchel fans out there and if people don't review, it makes me think no one is reading. Plus there have been the mean comments. If you think I should write another fanfic or enjoyed this one, let me know. Even if you don't have a fanfic account, you can still leave comments.

Enjoy this chapter and don't forget to review :)

Chapter 17: Going Home

The last camper had gone home yesterday morning at around 9:30 a.m. Tomorrow morning the counselors would be leaving. Yesterday and today had been devoted to cleaning the camp, though at four in the afternoon, Will and Emma had let them stop so they could get ready for the staff banquet. Right now, Rachel was in the original pre camp cabin with Quinn, Brittany and Santana, getting ready for the banquet. The four girls were in their dresses they'd gotten in DC. Rachel's was mint green with gold sparkles on it, Quinn's was ice blue with shoulder bows, Brittany's was white with pink flowers, and Santana's was pink with navy with red polka dots. The four girls had decided to gather in the cabin so they could get ready without the boys examining them and critiquing them. Plus Rachel wanted to surprise Finn, this was the prettiest he'd see her all summer.

Santana turned to Rachel. "Hey Rachel, want me to do your hair?"

"Oh, and can I do your makeup?" Brittany asked.

Rachel touched her waves self consciously. She'd never really done anything with her hair different and she never wore makeup at home. Ever. Not even for choir competitions. But again, this was the summer of firsts. "Sure," Rachel said with a smile. Her three friends were already doing each others', she might as well let them do hers too. Plus all of them had very natural makeup.

"You'll look stunning when we're done, trust me," Quinn said.

"Guys, this is a banquet, not a dance," Rachel laughed. "Seeing as I've never been to a dance though..."

"Well then we need to make an extra effort you look nice for Finn!" Santana said, getting out the flat iron.

"I'll miss him," Rachel sighed. "And you guys, too."

"I'll miss you guys more, trust me," Santana said. "The four of us have become besties."

"It's crazy," Quinn said. "It only makes sense that we get ready for the banquet in the same place we met for the first time."

"Even if we don't come back next year, the four of us will need to hang out at some point," Rachel said. "Maybe the three of you could come to New York sometime."

"I'd love to go to New York and see the Golden Gate Bridge!" Brittany shouted.

"Uh, Britt, that's in San Francisco," Santana said. By now, Rachel and Quinn had caught on to the fact that Brittany was rather ditzy.

"What about Central Park and the Statue of Liberty?" Brittany asked.

"Now THOSE are in New York," Rachel said smiling.

"I'd really like to go to Times Square," Santana said.

"And I want to see the Empire State Building," Quinn added.

"When you guys come visit, I'll take you to all those places!" Rachel said. There wasn't even a date set and already she couldn't wait for her three best girl friends to come visit her in New York.

"Okay, Rachel, I think we're done," Brittany said.

Rachel went into the bathroom and looked in the mirror. The girls hadn't done her makeup overdone like so many girls at her school wore theirs, it just blended with her skin. Her hair was straight and came to the middle of her back and had two gold barrettes in it.

"You're hot, admit it," Quinn laughed.

"So are the three of you!" Rachel laughed. Before the girls left, she grabbed her bag with the gifts she'd gotten her friends. Well, the gifts she'd sent money for her mom to buy for her friends. She couldn't find a time to go shopping for gifts for them without being seen. She'd gotten a gift for each person from their original group from pre camp. The banquet would be the perfect time to give the gifts.

The ride to the restaurant from camp was pretty quiet. The restaurant was near the Maryland-Pennsylvania border and a long drive, but supposedly they had good deals. Finn had told Rachel how beautiful she looked as soon as he saw her, but he said she even looked beautiful when she was muddy and sweaty at camp. This was why she loved him.

The meal was one of the best Rachel had ever had, a multi course meal that you might have at a wedding. Shrimp for an appetizer, then salad for the second course, then steak with asparagus for the entree, then ice cream cake for dessert. During the dinner, the group just enjoyed chatting amongst themselves, as Rachel struggled to ignore the fact that this may well be her last night with Finn.

After dessert it was time for the staff recognitions and awards. All the unit counselors got marshmallow sticks, journals and a framed photo of the whole staff. Then it was time for special recognitions. After a few special recognitions, Will called for Finn and Rachel.

"Finn and Rachel began this summer at camp as shy individuals who had never been to camp before. We put them both with the CITs the first week and hoped they'd be up to the challenge. Well, the CITs were a challenge, as Finn and Rachel struggled to deal with a mentally ill camper, along with ten stable, easy to manage campers who could have easily been neglected. Finn and Rachel not only dealt with the mentally ill camper well but they trained the ten other CITs to be ten of the best CITs we've seen. And they did this alone, two first year counselors, because the CIT director was asked to exit due to inappropriate behavior. Thank you, Finn. Thank you, Rachel. You have truly been amazing."

Rachel fought back tears as she hugged Finn tightly. "I love you Finny!"

"I love you too Rach," Finn said. The two of them went up to accept their bags with special gifts. Rachel looked in hers to see a scented candle and a mug with "Camp Potomac Ledge" on it.

When all the staff recognitions were over, Will asked if any of the staff members wanted to speak about their experiences this summer. Rachel wanted to, but Finn beat her to wanting to say a few words.

"Wow, where do I begin?" Finn said. "I can swear that I was probably more shy and nervous than anyone here when I walked into these doors on the first day of precamp. Back home, I'm the shy person at school who keeps to himself, doesn't talk unless someone talks to him first and hides as much about himself as possible. Maybe that's what motivated me to come to camp this summer. I went on the internet looking for a job at a camp in hopes that I could break out of my shell. I found this one and that was that. I was coming here. On opening day my heart was beating a million miles an hour as I pulled into the parking lot. But when I met the boys in my cabin, my nerves left immediately. I could be myself with them and they accepted me, they encouraged me. I didn't have to hold in who I was anymore because here at camp, people liked me, my weirdness was accepted, it was encouraged. Never once this summer did I feel like a loser. Not even when I had difficult campers. There were difficult campers who sometimes made me think, 'Why did I take this job?' There were the days when it was above 100 degrees and there were the nights where I got almost no sleep. But the way the campers admired me and trusted me and looked up to me and the friendships I formed with the other counselors made everything worth it. And I found Rachel this summer - she's absolutely incredible and I love her with everything I have. So I would like to say thank you to everyone in this room and to the campers who aren't here, but had a positive impact. This summer has forever changed the person I am and strive to be."

Again, Rachel felt like crying as Finn returned to his seat. She gave him a hug before she said a few words of her own. She doubted she could follow up what Finn said, but still, she wanted to say something.

"I don't think I can live up to what Finn just said, but hey, I can try," Rachel said. "What an incredible summer this has been. So many good memories, so many amazing people. I've formed close friendships, fallen in love and had campers who were boosts of self esteem. I doubt my campers remember some of the most significant moments of my summer. The time I passed out from heat exhaustion and had to go to the hospital, and my campers ran up to me when I got back telling me how much they missed me all day. On my birthday, when I went to wake up a cabin and ALL the girls in the cabin jumped from behind a bed and shouted "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" Seeing how excited girls were when I gave them Silly Bands at the end of the week. Having a camper tell me on the last night of resident camp that I was the sweetest, nicest counselor she'd ever had and she wished I was her big sister. What sticks with me most of all from working at camp is the bond I formed with the staff. I discovered after a few weeks that there were people there I could talk to about just about anything. Maybe it's because we were all in a new situation, so we opened up to each other. I consider some of the people I met at camp some of the my best friends! My summer at Camp Potomac Ledge is something I will cherish forever."

Rachel struggled not to cry as she went back to join Finn at the table. "What do you mean you didn't think you could follow me?" Finn whispered. "Your speech was way better."

Rachel gave Finn a kiss on the cheek. "Yours was better!"

Finn laughed and shook his head. "Yours was."

Rachel decided not to argue with Finn, instead she just leaned her head on his shoulder as she listened to other staff members speak about their experiences. As the evening died down, she gave the gifts she'd asked her mom to buy her original camp buddies out. Earrings with their birthstones for Quinn, Santana and Brittany, a Wicked autographed playbill for Kurt, an NYU jacket for Blaine, an Avatar poster for Sam, a Wii game from his favorite Wii genre for Puck and custom drumsticks engraved with "I'm forever yours, faithfully" for Finn. Picking out these gifts had been fun and everyone loved what she'd selected. The drumsticks she'd gotten Finn were engraved with the line from the song they'd sang together. He told her every time he used the drumsticks he'd think of her and the amazing summer they had together. Still she couldn't help but worry: was this the end? Neither of them said that it was, but neither had said that it wasn't.

She decided to put this out of her mind and just enjoy the rest of the night with her friends.

x

The next morning was rather sad. The camp was totally packed up for next summer. Those taking a bus to the airport to fly home left first, and Quinn, Santana, Brittany, Puck, Sam and Blaine all left on that bus. Rachel almost cried when saying goodbye to the three best girlfriends she had ever had. Depending whether her parents or Finn's arrived first, when they were separated, she'd be a wreck. Right now, they just sat on the bench in the parking lot with Kurt. Rachel was leaning Finn's shoulder and he had his arm around her. Before Rachel was ready, her parents' car pulled into the parking lot. She couldn't leave Finn.

"It's been a good summer, hasn't it?" Rachel said, turning to Finn.

"The best," Finn agreed.

"I'm going to put the pictures of us together in my room when I get home," Rachel said, squeezing Finn's hand.

"Rachel?" Rachel turned to see her parents standing there.

"Hi, Mom. Hi, Dad. Hi, Daddy," Rachel said. "Just to let you know, I want my stuff shipped here and to stay here forever."

"I'm glad you enjoyed your summer," Leroy said. "We really need to get back to New York now, though."

Rachel sighed. "Guess I have to at some point." She gave Kurt a hug. "You'll come so we can go to Broadway shows together, right Kurt?"

"Wouldn't miss it for anything!" Kurt said. "I'll truly miss you, Rachel. You're one of a kind. There's no one like you."

"I'll miss you, too," Rachel said, hugging Kurt again before she turned to Finn.

"We'll stay in touch, won't we?" Rachel asked.

Finn nodded and smiled. "Of course we will!"

Fighting back tears, Rachel put her arms around Finn. "I love you."

"I love you too," Finn said, giving Rachel a kiss on the cheek.

Rachel stood on her tiptoes to kiss Finn before heading for her dads' car. She looked out the back window as they drove away.

x

So I'm leaving you on a cliffhanger. Don't worry, what happened to Finchel will be revealed in the next chapter! The next chapter will be the last one and will show Finchel a year in the future. Will it be together or apart? You'll just have to find out! And what about Quick and Klaine? Did they end up becoming couples? We'll find out in the final chapter, which should be up in a few days!