Hey guys! So, another story in the Emma Hudson series :) I couldn't stay away from these characters. This one will have a lot of Finchel in it too. One of the main focuses will be Finn leading the Gold Stars when Rachel can't for medical reasons, as well as the Hudson family dealing with Rachel's medical issues. This covers Emma, Ryan, Nick and Ava's junior year of high school, the only year of their high school career I haven't covered yet. Sarah is in seventh grade at Roxbury Middle School, and Grant is at kindergarten at Cambridge Elementary. Zoe is two years old. Other Gleeks will be appearing throughout the story.

Hope you enjoy the first chapter and review if you want me to continue.

Chapter 1: Back Pain

Rachel heard the alarm buzz and looked at the clock. She needed to get to school, Sectionals were coming up in a few weeks. But she didn't want to go. Her back was hurting like crazy. It had been hurting for weeks and she felt herself getting tired if she stood for too long. She'd sat down when teaching whenever possible, and she showed the kids the dance moves she wanted them to do on YouTube rather than doing them herself. The kids were also preparing for their first school musical in decades, and she'd sat on the stage when they practiced so she didn't have to walk around.

Finn came into the bedroom. "Are you okay, Rach?"

Rachel looked up at her husband. "Yeah, I'm fine."

"Are you sure?" Finn asked. "You've been in bed a lot lately."

"I'm just tired," Rachel said.

Finn gave Rachel a look and left the room. Rachel didn't want to worry Finn. She thought carefully - what could possibly be causing this back pain? She hadn't fallen down recently or anything like that.

Rachel wasn't really sure when this pain started. She did know that she wanted to be well enough to take the Gold Stars to Sectionals. She'd missed them last year when they were in New York. She also knew that she wanted to be there for opening night of the musical in a few days. The Gold Stars were producing "The Sound of Music," in which Ava was playing Maria Von Trapp, Ryan was playing the captain, Emma was playing Liesl and Nick was playing Rolf. Rachel had also had elementary and middle school kids play the two youngest Von Trapp children, and Sarah was playing the second youngest, Marta.

Rachel forced herself out of bed by pulling herself out of bed with the rail, then hobbled down the stairs, still clinging to the railing. She saw Finn with the kids at the breakfast table.

"Are you all right, Mom?" Emma asked.

Rachel gave her daughter a small smile. She knew there was rarely fooling Emma. "Yeah, I'm fine, honey. I just had trouble sleeping last night."

Finn raised his eyebrows and looked at Rachel. Rachel looked back at Finn, telling him to not let the kids know something was up.

"Want me to drop Grant off at Cambridge and Zoe off at day care on my way to Roxbury?" Finn asked Rachel.

"Yeah, I'd appreciate it," Rachel said.

"You know that I'm giving Ava a ride to school today, right?" Ryan asked.

"Yeah," Rachel said. "Emma, do you think you could go with Ryan and Ava? I don't feel like driving today."

"Sure," Emma said, looking suspicious.

Finn gave Rachel another look. "Want me to drop you at the high school?"

"Yeah, if it's not too much trouble," Rachel said.

Finn shook his head. "No trouble." Rachel knew that Finn wouldn't ask Rachel what was up since Sarah would be in the car anyway, but she really didn't feel up to driving.

Finn, Rachel, Sarah, Grant and Zoe left the house to leave for school and work. Finn dropped Grant off at Cambridge first, then asked Sarah to take Zoe inside when they got to the day care.

"Are you sure you're okay?" Finn asked Rachel.

Rachel didn't want to worry Finn. Ever since Jack had been sick, she tried her best not to worry Finn and the kids. "My back's been bothering me lately."

Finn looked concerned. "What's wrong?"

"Well, I don't know how it happened, but sometimes it feels like someone threw something at it and that they just keep throwing stuff," Rachel said.

"Is that why you've been getting up late and going to bed early?" Finn asked.

Rachel looked down. "Yeah."

Finn took his wife's hands. "Rachel, I'm calling the doctor and making an appointment. You should get an x-ray."

"I'm sure I'm fine," Rachel said.

"Rach, ever since that incident your freshman year of college, your back has been sensitive," Finn said. "I'm calling a doctor." Ever since that infamous incident, Finn had become increasingly protective of Rachel.

Rachel saw Sarah coming out of the building. "Let's not talk about this around her. It's probably no big deal."

Finn sighed as Sarah got in the car. He dropped Rachel off directly in front of the high school and texted her about an hour later to say he'd made a doctor's appointment for her next week.

x

"I just hope our mom's okay," Ryan said to Emma as they sat down for lunch with Nick and Ava.

"What's wrong?" Ava asked.

"She's been tired lately a lot lately," Emma said. "And she didn't want to drive to school today."

"I hope she's okay," Nick said.

"Yeah, so do I," Ava added.

"Last night she went to bed before Sarah did," Ryan said.

"Seriously?" Nick asked.

Emma hadn't remembered that until now. "Yeah."

"Maybe she's just stressed, with the musical opening in a few days and Sectionals in a few weeks," Nick suggested.

"We won Sectionals without much trouble last time she was leading us," Emma said.

"Well, as little trouble as there was without the four of us leading," Ryan said as the four of them laughed.

"And with Grant in school, that probably adds some stress," Ava said.

"But it's the same school that Ryan and Sarah and I went to," Emma said. She hoped nothing was too wrong with her mom.

x

"Okay, guys, you sounded great, I don't think we need to run over it again today," Rachel said. The cast of the school musical had just finished running through it, but they'd booked the auditorium for enough time to run through it twice.

"But Mrs. Hudson, opening night is in a few days!" one of the boys called.

"A few days, exactly," Rachel said. "We can run through it again tomorrow, maybe twice."

Emma was beginning to get worried about her mom. She noticed she was holding on to the chair to stand up. "Are you sure?"

"Yes, Emma, I'm sure," Rachel said. "And I also happen to know that you guys have classes, and many of you have sports, to deal with. We'll practice again tomorrow."

Emma exchanged worried looks with Nick, Ryan, Ava and Sarah. She went over to her mom. "Mom, are you sure you're okay?"

"Sweetheart, I'm fine," Rachel said, still gripping on to the chair. "But would you mind carrying the music books?"

Emma looked at Ryan. "Of course I can." She picked up the books as she left with her mom, brother and sister.

x

A few days later, Finn, Rachel, Grant and Zoe sat in the stands for opening night of The Sound of Music. The chairs in the auditorium were uncomfortable, but Rachel couldn't help but be proud of her kids and the other kids in the Gold Stars as she watched the performance. She'd managed to direct this, even though her back was killing her. Nick and Emma were on the stage now for their duet, and she knew that if it was anything like their past duets or how they'd sounded in practice, they'd sound amazing.

Nick: You wait, little girl, on an empty stage
For fate to turn the light on
Your life, little girl, is an empty page
That men will want to write on
Emma: To write on
Nick: You are sixteen going on seventeen
Baby, it's time to think
Better beware, be canny and careful
Baby, you're on the brink
You are sixteen going on seventeen
Fellows will fall in line
Eager young lads and rogues and cads
Will offer you food and wine
Totally unprepared are you
To face a world of men
Timid and shy and scared are you
Of things beyond your ken
You need someone older an wiser
Telling you what to do
I am seventeen going on eighteen
I'll take care of you
Emma: I am sixteen going on seventeen
I know that I'm naive
Fellows I meet may tell me I'm sweet
And willingly I believe
I am sixteen going on seventeen
Innocent as a rose
Bachelor dandies, drinkers of brandies
What do I know of those
Totally unprepared am I
To face a world of men
Timid and shy and scared am I
Of things beyond my ken
I need someone older and wiser
Telling me what to do
You are seventeen going on eighteen
I'll depend on you

Finn smiled at Rachel at the end of the duet. Even though their characters' romance didn't work out in the play, Rachel knew that the only couples that could do a duet in the same category as Nick and Emma were herself and Finn and Ryan and Ava.

Ryan and Ava's duet came later on in the play, and Finn reached out to take Rachel's hand as their son and his girlfriend performed.

Ava: Perhaps I had a wicked childhood
Perhaps I had a miserable youth
But somewhere in my wicked miserable past
I must have had a moment of truth
For here you are
Standing there
Loving me
Whether or not you should
So somewhere in my youth
Or childhood
I must have done something good
Nothing comes from nothing
Nothing ever could
So somewhere in my youth or childhood
I must have done something good
Ryan: Here you are standing here
Loving me
Whether or not you should
Ava: So somewhere in my youth or childhood
I must have done something good
Both: Nothing comes from nothing
Nothing ever could
Ava: So some where in my youth or child
Ryan: or childhood
Ava: I must have done something
Both: Something good

"I'm so proud of you," Finn whispered to Rachel as Ryan and Ava finished. "And of them."

Rachel smiled at Finn. The rest of the musical went well, but Rachel found it difficult to stand for the applause at the end. This could possibly be the best show choir Rachel had in all her years at Heights.

After the crowd began to leave, Rachel felt the pain in her back getting worse. As she walked with Finn to go get the kids, it felt like a force was pulling her down. Then she fell, while hearing mixed up words from Finn and Grant.

SONGS: "Sixteen Going On Seventeen" from The Sound of Music (performed by Nick Dougherty and Emma Hudson) and "Something Good" from The Sound of Music (performed by Ryan Hudson and Ava Crispin)

Chapter 2: The Finchel family waits to hear what's going on with Rachel at the hospital.