A/N: This is an extended version of Begin Again. It is going to use all of the songs off of the Red album as a chapter theme. Begin Again can still stand on its own and will fit seamlessly into this story as well.
This begins with the scene where Quinn gave Rachel the train tickets and will continue throughout college and beyond.
It will loosely follow season four in the first few chapters and then it will veer off into its own story because there will be some time jumps; and in some of the chapters I will be able to fill in some of the time jumps with what happened via flashbacks. I hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Glee, Taylor Swift, or any of her songs.
Chapter 1: The Lucky One
Graduation was a little less than a week away and Rachel was reflecting on the last four years and all of the things she had accomplished. She thought about when she was at the beginning of her high school career and to where she is now… and she smiled.
She was proud of Finn and her relationship with him; and of course she was proud of her national championship winning glee club. But she hadn't been lying when she told Quinn at prom that becoming friends with her was her greatest accomplishment.
She was going to miss Quinn.
And that thought alone was something she never thought would enter her mind.
Sure three years ago when Quinn was new to town with a made up name- well mostly made up- she never thought they'd be friends. Especially when she accidentally stole her boyfriend.
But she was just so envious.
Quinn made everything look like a dream. Everybody loves pretty, everybody loves cool and Quinn had it all. And then she joined the glee club and Rachel thought it would be the worst thing to ever happen to her.
But it wasn't.
It was the best thing to ever happen to her.
And over all these years she and Quinn fought against each other… they fought for each other and without even realizing it they were building a friendship.
A real one.
A lasting one.
She knew she would always keep in touch with Finn and probably Kurt as well but everyone else in glee club she wasn't so sure about; but Quinn…
She wanted that to last.
She needed it to last.
They had become real friends, true friends… the kind of friends that saved each other. The kind that give and- sometimes- take the best advice. The kind of friends that when all the bluster and high school b.s. is stripped away is real… with real feelings and real love.
She was going to miss Quinn the most.
And the thought of losing her was terrifying to Rachel; and if someone would've asked her why the thought of losing touch with Quinn was so scary she wouldn't have an answer. There were no words to explain or describe her complex relationship with Quinn Fabray.
Just that it was one of the most important things in her life.
Quinn had the tickets in her hand, she just needed to find Rachel and give them to her; but she was worried.
What if Rachel saw right through it?
What if she could tell?
Rachel always thought that Quinn was the lucky one.
But Quinn needed her to know that just wasn't true… and Rachel always had been and would always be the lucky one.
Rachel's secrets never ended up splashed on the news front page.
Everyone always thought that Quinn had the looks, the body, the boys… and so on. But she never felt pretty, she just felt used.
Her looks and her body were something she worked for; and it was hard work to be that shallow… and the boys- Quinn laughed to herself at that thought- she certainly never wanted the boys either.
But no one could ever know that.
She had a reputation to uphold after all.
She always knew that Rachel had what it took to get the hell out, and she told her so that fateful day in the auditorium when she said that Rachel didn't belong there; but she thought she herself never would get out. She chose a rose garden over Madison Square… she settled.
But what she didn't know back then was that after getting to know the annoying, but amazing person Rachel was is that she too had what it took to get out of Lima… she didn't have to settle for the life that she thought she was supposed to have. And it was Rachel's constant need to remind her of how good, and special, and better than their small town environment she actually was for her to finally believe it herself.
And the road was a rocky one but she got there. She had been accepted to Yale.
She was also getting the hell out- she thought with a wicked grin.
And Rachel was a big part of that… so it was no wonder why she fell so hard for the girl… and now, now it was time to get it right.
She found Rachel in the bathroom; the place where they had some of their most profound moments so she couldn't help but smile at how perfect the setting was. In the story of Rachel and Quinn this bathroom was holy ground.
She leaned against the wall and looked inside; Rachel was fixing her hair in the mirror and it reminded her of one of the first times she ever spoke to the girl. It was in this same bathroom and Rachel was fixing her hair then too. But back then Quinn walked over with her bitch attitude in place and said something mean to her now best friend… this time would be different.
Quinn tried to hide the hearts in her eyes as she looked at the girl who went from being her nemesis, to her fellow glee club member, to tentative friend, to real friend, to best friend... to crush, to the unrequited love of Quinn's love, and her whole word- and she smiled.
It sure had been a long road.
And maybe- just maybe- she was the lucky one after all.
"Hey," Quinn said with her smitten grin as she stepped fully into the room.
"Hey," Rachel greeted with an equally bright and very warm smile.
"This freshman just gave me a hug and told me to never change… poor thing is too young to realize that change can be so good… to think if we didn't change we would've never been friends," Rachel's smiled widened.
"It's still so weird having you call me a friend," Rachel said and Quinn stepped closer, she leaned against the sink and met those beautiful brown eyes.
"My name may have been up in lights around here, so to speak," Quinn said with a smile. "But Rachel, you're the one who got it right."
"You did too," and to that Quinn rolled her eyes. "You just don't see it because you have conditioned yourself to believe that you didn't deserve to get it right."
"You're right," she agreed and Rachel's smile returned. "But you changed that."
"Yeah you… no one else ever cared, or reached out to me the way you did, over and over again… and the way you still do," Rachel couldn't help but blush at those sweet words. "Here," she handed her an envelope that Rachel didn't even notice she had clutched in her hand until now. Rachel's eyes were surprised as she took the envelope that Quinn was offering.
"A Metro North pass from New York to New Haven," she saw Rachel's expression change as the girl melted. "I got one for me into New York," Quinn knew that Rachel wanted to thank her but she needed to finish. "You know… everybody keeps talking about staying in touch and I want to make sure that we do."
"Thank you," she could see tears in Rachel's eyes as the girl threw herself at her and enveloped her in a tight hug. "Thank you Quinn… this is so perfect," Quinn could feel Rachel's breath on her neck and she needed this hug to end or she would do something stupid.
And ruin their friendship… so with great reluctance Quinn stepped out of the hug.
"You're welcome," was all she said before leaving Rachel alone in the bathroom again.
It was a week ago since the last real conversation that Quinn and Rachel had.
Tonight was Puck's graduation party and she wanted to find Rachel and talk to her about what happened last week and apologize for the awkward way she left but as soon as she walked in; she saw Rachel in the living room with Finn and the moment she saw them she panicked and found an empty room. It was early… the party had just begun, she had plenty of time.
She was sitting alone; and as she sat thinking, all she could think about was missed opportunities and chances that she gave away. All the times she could have told Rachel how she felt instead of being mean to her. She thought about all the times she could have tried to at least be friends with her and if she had done it sooner; maybe they would've been friends sooner. Maybe she could've had more time to tell her the truth; and it just pissed her off that Finn was lucky enough to get her.
But Finn did something no one else did… he took a chance on Rachel Berry, he took a chance on his popularity, he just took a chance and Quinn was regretting that she never did and she shook those thought away. "Rachel isn't gay anyway," she said quietly to herself. She had no idea that standing in the doorway leaning against it with her arms crossed was Santana.
And as Santana stood watching Quinn she knew the girl had regrets, and she felt for her. She knew how she felt because she almost gave up Brittany the same way. And she wanted to make Quinn know that she understood and was on her side… while she still had the chance. She entered the room and she turned her sad, sullen, and feeling sorry for Quinn face into her bitch face knowing that Quinn would respond better to that.
"Hey tubbers," she called as she joined Quinn on the couch she was sitting on; as she did this she saw that Quinn just rolled her eyes at her words.
"What do you want Santana?"
"Aw, c'mon Q… after all we've been through, you don't want to hang out with me for a minute?"
"Sure Santana, I wouldn't mind hanging out with you, I'm just preparing myself for the bitchiness that's about to happen."
"Yeah well," she paused to chuckle. "You do know me best, don'tcha Q?"
"What do you want Santana?" Quinn repeated. There was no malice or anger in her tone; she just seemed drained, and tired of fighting.
"Look," Santana took a long pause as she thought about her words. "School's over, we did it… we graduated."
"Yeah," Quinn's voice was annoyed and she waved her hands at Santana as if to say get to the point. Santana could see Quinn's head bitch glare from where she was sitting and she smiled internally. Quinn had always been such a poser but it was okay because she identified.
Because they were the same.
"Are you going to let her go, Quinn?" Santana asked bluntly and out of the blue.
"Le-Let who go?" Quinn stammered.
"C'mon, you know damn well who I'm talking about… are you gonna let him have her?"
"Let him have her," Quinn repeated Santana's question in a tone of disbelief. "He already has her," she finished defeated. Quinn had admitted the truth without really admitting it and again Santana smiled internally.
"He has her by default Quinn… Rachel thinks she has no other options… if only she knew."
"Look, Santana… it's over, she's happy, and I gave up on that idea a while ago," she lied. She had given up… before her accident, but something always kept her hanging on.
"Yeah and then you got hit by a fucking truck for your effort."
"Look… do you need to be hit by another truck, metaphorically speaking? Before you get it," Santana continued. "It was a sign Quinn… if you believe in all that bullshit, it means that Rachel wasn't meant to marry Finn, she was meant to be with you, and maybe you should fucking do something about it. Instead of sitting on your ass and letting her get away."
"What am I supposed to do Santana?"
"Fight for her!" She shouted. "God, fuck! Don't give up."
"She doesn't want me… if there was anything to fight for I would, but Rachel has never wanted me."
"Dude, that's where you're wrong," Santana exhaled loudly. "Rachel has only ever wanted you… she seeks out your opinion, she wants your approval, Quinn, Quinn, Quinn, Quinn, Quinn… did you know that she once asked Finn what it felt like to kiss you?"
"How do you know that?"
"I have my ways," Santana said but Quinn just stared at her until she told her. "Becky Jackson… that little bitch spy," Quinn giggled but not more than a second later her face was serious again.
"Santana look…" there was a very long moment of silence before Quinn spoke again. "I'm over her."
"Yeah it sure sounds like it," Santana replied quickly and Quinn let out an audible sigh, took a deep breath, and tried to figure out what to say next because she was right… Santana was right… but how could she take that chance.
It was hard enough trying to stop Rachel's wedding, it was hard enough trying to convince Rachel to not have sex with him, it was hard enough already.
"Quinn," Santana cut into her thoughts. "Why did you get Coach to give glee club a full page in the yearbook sophomore year, if not for Rachel?"
"How did you know about that?" Quinn was again surprised.
"Spies Quinn… pay a-fucking-tention, I don't like repeating myself," this time Quinn laughed at her friend and Santana got serious again. "Why'd you do that?"
"Because I love her Santana… always have, always will."
"Okay… and now that you're finally willing to admit that to yourself are you ever going to admit it to Rachel?"
"Probably not… anyway it's too late."
"Look Quinn, I'm not going to keep beating this dead horse. But I am going to say to you that it's never too late… even if she marries Finn and has a dozen little Finchel babies… ugh," she grossed herself out at the thought. "As long as you are both here on this Earth and breathing and alive it's not too late… so get off your ass and go get the girl, or you know go to Yale and regret never talking to her and never taking a chance… let Finn be the lucky one," with that Santana left leaving Quinn alone with her thoughts.
She wanted to do it, she just couldn't. She didn't know how. She never knew how. Rachel always took all logic and reasoning away and she just never knew what to do.
"I have to do it," she said to herself.
And she got to her feet in search of Rachel.
Rachel walked out onto the porch to get some air and she saw Kurt sitting on the top step.
"What are you doing out here?" Rachel asked as she sat down next to him.
"I was just thinking," he said and then there was a moment of silence between them as they both sat reflecting on their four years at McKinley High and how much had changed over those years. Kurt looked over at Rachel with a small smile on his face before he spoke.
"Hey…did you ever think you and I would be at a party like this?" She shook her head no with a smile. "I know a lot of people give you shit Rachel about… you know, being a loser or whatever but we're all losers we just… we didn't wear it as well as you did," she looked at him like he was crazy.
"What?" She asked with her brows furrowed and a confused expression.
"All I mean is that, everyone called you a loser but you didn't care. You didn't care what people thought of you, you never did. The rest of us did… we tried to find ways to be in the cool clubs and… you were just you. You know, you were Rachel Berry this star with a dream. And even though I'm a little bitter about not getting into NYADA, I'm happy for you Rachel and I just wanted you to know that."
"Thanks Kurt," she patted his forearm lovingly. "And I think you should try again… you know they do the mid-semester auditions and I really think you should do it."
"Nah… I'm not good enough."
"But you are," Rachel cut him off. "Everybody here is; they just don't know it. And yeah everybody treated me like I was a loser; but it was only because they felt like losers themselves. Everyone who lives in Lima feels like a loser but we aren't… we all have the talent to get out."
"But you're the one who's doing it, Rachel Berry… and I am so proud of you."
"Thanks Kurt," there was a pause before Rachel continued. "And please do me a favor," Kurt met her eyes again. "Take care of Finn… at least for as long as you're here."
"I will," he promised and she smiled at him. Rachel draped one arm over his shoulder and took a few moments to be a kid… for just a little longer. After a few moments, she spoke. "C'mon Kurt, this is supposed to be a party let's stop being moody and depressing," she got to her feet. "Let's go have some fun."
"You're right… let's do this," he also got to his feet and they went inside.
Quinn was done hiding, she was done panicking, it was time… she just needed to find Rachel and fix things before she was gone and she couldn't put it off any longer.
After searching for Rachel for several minutes she found her in the kitchen with Puck.
"C'mon Rachel," he pleaded. "Please… just one," she continued to shake her head no. "Just take one shot… please?"
"No," she told him adamantly and Quinn who had just entered the kitchen followed closely by Santana was proud of her.
"You're no fun," Puck whined before he downed the shot himself.
"Hey," Quinn's voice called and both Rachel and Puck's heads whipped around to see her. "C-Can I talk to you?"
"Sure, what's up?" Puck answered.
"Not you ass face," Santana cut in for her as Quinn never took her eyes off of Rachel.
"Me?" Rachel questioned as she pointed to herself. Quinn nodded with a playful smile as her heart pounded, and her mind went crazy.
God she's so cute.
"Y-Yeah… I uh," Quinn stopped what she was saying because she didn't want anyone else to know her business. "C-Can we go somewhere more… private?"
"Wank-ugh," Santana began but Quinn slugged her.
"Sure," was Rachel's answer as she ignored Santana completely. Quinn turned to leave and Rachel followed closely behind her.
Santana turned to Puck and an evil grin crept across her mouth.
"They're going to go fuck on your bed Puckerman."
"I wish," he scoffed and poured two more shots.
"Quinn wishes," Santana whispered.
"Oh nothing," Santana was still grinning when she stepped closer and Puck handed her a shot.
Upstairs Quinn walked into Puck's room and Rachel followed closing the door behind herself.
Rachel was trying to figure out what was going on and she was trying to be patient as Quinn slowly started to pace the room wringing her hands nervously.
"Q-Quinn," Rachel stammered. Quinn finally stopped pacing and met her eyes. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah," Quinn said with a loud exhale. "I just…" she trailed off and there was a short silence before Quinn spoke again. "I'm nervous."
"Look Rachel," there was another pause before Quinn continued and Rachel could tell that something was definitely on her mind. "I know you think; you know... because of our social status or whatever high school dictates with the rules… I know you think that I don't like you or that I'm the lucky one but-"
"But we've passed all that and we're friends now," Rachel cut in.
"No I know but… I feel like I need to tell you that… I know I seem like I'm pretty lucky. You know the pretty and popular girl, head cheerleader who used to date the quarterback of the football team," Rachel smiled at that because Finn sure had been one of the road blocks in their friendship… several times in fact.
"Rach, I didn't mean it like that… like I get it, you and Finn fell in love, it's not like you can control it." Rachel had no idea what Quinn just said because hearing the sound of Quinn call her Rach, did something to her stomach; and she couldn't understand why she all of a sudden felt that way. But she quickly shook the feeling off and tried to focus back in on what Quinn was saying to her.
"I just wanted you to know," Quinn continued. "I mean, I just want you to know that on the outside throughout this high school… mess. I may have looked like I was the lucky one, who had it all right?" Rachel smiled, she wasn't sure what Quinn was getting at but didn't interrupt. "Rachel…you were the lucky one, you've known since day one what you wanted out of this life and you never let anyone tell you different. Even if that meant making people mad. And I know I gave you the train ticket because I want to keep in touch and I really, really want to keep in touch Rachel so I hope you use it… I plan to."
"I will," Rachel promised.
"But I also wanted to give you this," she handed Rachel a small package.
"What's this?" Rachel wondered as she took the gift.
"It's just a little something to remind you who you are… on those days when you don't feel like yourself," Quinn said with a shrug.
"B-But you already gave me the train ticket and-"
"And I expect you to use it," Quinn cut in and Rachel's smile widened.
"I expect you to do the same," and they shared a moment of eye contact before Rachel broke it. "But seriously Quinn, this is too much."
"Just open it," Quinn demanded with a giggle; seeing and hearing Quinn giggle made Rachel's heart fill with joy. It was nice to see Quinn happy.
If only she knew the act that Quinn was putting on.
Quinn watched as Rachel tore into the small package and she felt butterflies in her stomach when she saw Rachel's eyes widen and her smile become brighter.
"Quinn," she cooed as she looked over the pack of gold star stickers. "This is just the sweetest thing," she looked up and met those beautiful eyes. "You are so sweet… thank you," Quinn shrugged again.
"Yeah well," she trailed off as she could feel her face blushing. "I just wanted to remind you that you're not the only one who thinks you are a star," Rachel's mouth spread into one if her Rachel Berry beaming smiles. "I've always known that you had what it takes to get the hell out of here and do amazing things with your life."
"Thank you Quinn," Rachel said before nearly throwing herself at the girl and hugging her tightly. Quinn wrapped her arms around the only person she had ever loved and held her. She knew that this was probably one of the last times… if not the last time she would ever get to feel this close to Rachel. To hold her like this… to feel her, to smell her perfume, to…
"You're lucky too Quinn," Rachel whispered in her ear, Quinn felt chill bumps spread throughout her body; and she forgot her whole thought process.
"Not as lucky as Finn," she whispered to herself.
"Huh?" Rachel asked as she pulled back just enough to look at Quinn.
"Oh… I-I said um… not as lucky as you," Quinn lied as she finally got her senses back and Rachel arched her eyebrows.
"Oh… I just thought you said…" she trailed off and leaned closer. She suddenly felt an overwhelming urge to press her lips against Quinn's and she had no idea where these feelings were coming from.
Where the hell did that come from?- she thought- why am I feeling like this?
"Rach," Quinn called trying to snap Rachel out of wherever her mind was, but it didn't work; Rachel continued to stare at her with a fire in her eyes that was turning Quinn on. "Rach," she tried again.
This time Rachel heard her and she shook her head clear of whatever that just was.
"Where were you just now?"
"It-It was nothing… never mind," Rachel said and then she felt it again. The pull of Quinn… the urge to lean forward and…
And then suddenly Rachel was leaning in for a kiss.
A KISS… no way! – Quinn's thoughts went rampant- but she looks like… Oh god, oh god, okay Quinn you've got this.
And just as Quinn prepared herself for the moment she had long dreamt about; Finn's voice changed everything.
"Rach… you in here?" And Quinn felt Rachel's warmth leave her. She didn't want to but knew she had to… so she opened her eyes to see Rachel turn toward Finn just as he entered the room.
"Hey Finn," she greeted as she stepped closer to him and tucked her arm behind him.
And Quinn almost threw up in her mouth.
"Hey babe," he said and again Quinn had to choke it back. "What's- What's going on?" He looked back and forth between the two girls.
"We were just," Rachel stammered as she looked at Quinn, and then she smiled. "Quinn just wanted to um…" Rachel's words trailed off when she met those incredible eyes again.
"I just wanted to give her a little something," Quinn cut in to help get Rachel off of the hook. She saw Rachel smile, nod, and show the stickers to Finn; he smiled as well.
"Oh wow that was so nice," he said and Quinn had heard enough.
"Yeah well," she stepped toward them. "I just wanted Rachel to know that I care about her," she may have been talking to Finn but she certainly wasn't looking at him. "And I believe in her," her eyes were locked on Rachel's as she spoke. "And that it's always been her," she blurted out and her eyes went wide, as did Rachel's; but Quinn quickly recovered.
"She's always been the lucky one," she winked at Rachel, took another step, then walked around them, and to the open door.
Once she was gone, Rachel felt Finn rubbing her back and she shook her clouded mind clear once more before she looked up at him.
"That was so nice of her," he said.
"Yeah," she agreed as he pulled her into a hug and all Rachel could think about was that she almost kissed Quinn Fabray.
Out in the hall, Quinn leaned against the wall and all she could think about was that she was almost kissed by Rachel Berry.
And then she felt sad.
Because she knew almost was as close as she'd ever get.
This was it, this was her last chance.
After this moment in time Rachel would be a friend whom she only saw once in a while rather than every day. This would be the last time the only person she ever trusted, the only person she ever believed in… the only person she ever loved… this would be the last time she'd see her in a while and she was already missing her.
This also would've been the moment to stand up and tell Rachel once and for all how she really felt.
She has tried to show her many times over the years; by getting Sue to give glee club a full page in the yearbook, by having Karofsky and Azimio slushied after they did it to Rachel, by being ready and willing to settle for Finn so that Rachel wouldn't, and even by trying to stop the girl from marrying the idiot.
And most recently by giving her train tickets with a promise to keep in touch, and the gold star stickers so that in the bright lights of New York City, Rachel would never forget that she was meant to be there and born to be a star.
But showing her wouldn't be enough.
It never had been.
She needed to tell her… and she needed to do it now.
A slight poke to her back was a nudge from Santana which told her that Santana knew it too.
But then Finn was kissing Rachel and she was getting on the train… and before Quinn could find her voice it was too late.
"Oh… Quinn?" Rachel's voice called out.
"Y-Yeah," she stammered as Rachel waved her over and her feet were blindly walking her forward before her mind had a chance to catch up.
Before she knew it she was within inches of the girl; with those sparkling big brown eyes looking up at her and Quinn fought every instinct she had to lean down and kiss her.
But that was a fight she was good at fighting.
"Come here," Rachel said sweetly and Quinn sighed quietly as her mind went crazy.
I'm standing six inches away from her, how much closer does she want me?
Oh- as her thoughts went to another- more naughty- place. But before her inner thoughts could battle anymore Rachel was hugging her and Quinn sighed again.
Contentedly, this time.
She loved her… she loved how she smelled, her height, her voice, her eyes, how they fit so perfectly together, how made for each other they were.
God why can't she see it?- her thoughts were back- why does she need me to say it?
Why does she always need me to say it?
And then Rachel was talking again and Quinn was telling her mind to shut the hell up.
"I think we're both lucky Quinn," she whispered into her ear before she pulled out of the hug and met her eyes. "Because we love each other," Quinn's heart melted and then Rachel was gone.
And it was over.
She had… once again… missed her chance.
"Let me tell you now, you're the lucky one."
-Taylor Swift; The Lucky One