"Noah!" She laughs and holds onto her hat as they run down the sidewalk, her hand held securely in his, her shorter legs fighting to keep up with his much longer stride. "Where are you taking me?"
He looks back at her with a grin. “You’ll see.”
She hops over a few hot dog wrappers and says, “Noah…”
"It’s a surprise, okay?"
"You got me a gift, didn’t you?" Her voice is plaintive as she says, "But we agreed we weren’t going to buy anything for each other."
They had. New York was an incredibly expensive place to live, and they’d quickly realized that if they wanted to keep pursuing their dreams and keep a roof over their heads, cards and flowers and dinners out (not to mention video games and slushies and cable TV) just weren’t in the budget.
He squeezes her hand. “Well, it’s a good thing I didn’t buy you anything then.”
Rachel’s protest dies on her lips when she catches Noah checking his watch earnestly as they run through the lower passageway of Bethesda Terrace. (She has a feeling the running might be her fault, actually. But if you don’t tell a girl where you’re taking her, how can you expect her to choose between her little black skirt or her sailor dress?) She squeezes his hand and he squeezes back, throwing her a big smile over his shoulder.
When they make it through the arches and the music starts, Rachel looks around at all of the people in front of her and gasps. They’re dancing along to the song in rows, weaving in and out of one another, and standing among them, his guitar in his hands, is Noah, playing the chords and smiling at her as he sings along to an oh-so familiar song.
Where it began, I can’t begin to knowing, but then I know it’s growing strong.
When they reach the chorus and the mob sings Bum Bum Bum at the top of their lungs, hands waving in the air, Rachel laughs, tears in her eyes.
When they finish with a loud cheer, the members of the mob go about their separate ways, and Noah slings his guitar onto his back, stuffs his hands in the pockets of his jeans, and walks up to her with a smile.
"A flash mob?"
He looks down at her, and traces her cheek with his thumb. “Yeah, well…it’s kinda our thing.”
It is. There was, of course, the Nose Job Intervention flash mob - the flash mob that started it all - but that was followed by the Rachel Berry is Finally Legal flash mob - a celebration of her eighteenth birthday - and the Rachel Berry Needs to be Saved from Herself flash mob, which Rachel feels needs little explanation and wishes she hadn’t needed in the first place.
They don’t talk about the last one much.
He cups her face with his hand. “Yeah.”
She turns her face into his hand, closing her eyes briefly. “I’m sorry I almost made us late.”
"S’okay." He grins. "You’re nuts, but you’re mine."
"Happy Valentine’s Day, Rach."