So the hiatus is over, I did my twenty-one ficlets and all... but I didn't want to stop ;) So I'm not! I want to see how long I can keep this up, one every day, so off we go :)
Quinn & Rachel
Follow up to "Divergence"
Quinn had grown forgetful recently. It just got to be that there would be things that would come about and distract her and she'd go off having forgotten something.
On that day, the distraction had been Rachel, intercepting her at her locker. She had not been in the mood to deal with her and, as a result, she'd left her locker, forgetting a notebook she needed.
As she turned on her heel and made her way back to her locker, she saw Rachel was just walking away from it. She didn't see Quinn. And Quinn, she saw something fall from the pages of Rachel's notebook and land on the ground by the lockers. Seeing Rachel hadn't noticed, Quinn slowly approached, looking up to see Rachel was out of sight. She reached down and picked up the upside down photo, reading the words inscribed.
"The All-Mighty Sunshine Girls."
Not yet turning it over, a vague memory of… something, she wasn't sure what, came to her. She frowned and finally turned over the rectangle, now seeing it was a photo.
The frown faded into surprise as she immediately recognized the blonde girl in the blue tutu, grinning back at her. It was her, very little, no more than four or five years old.
She looked to the other girl in the picture, the brunette in the red tutu. Her eyes lifted briefly to the hall down which Rachel had disappeared. The smile was unmistakeable.
Why did Rachel have a picture – a picture they were both in, looking very much like two girls who – unlike their present counterparts – were simply the best of friends.
Looking at the picture, it wasn't a memory she felt, it was the remnant of one, an emotion tied to nothing she could recall. She remembered tutus, overwhelming giddiness… she did not recall events, and she absolutely did not remember Rachel being involved.
The words had started something though. She knew them, but she didn't know why she knew them or how. For the moment, those questions were not as important as the task she now had to accomplish.
She had to get the picture back into Rachel's notebook without her seeing, and before she realized it was gone… she didn't want her to come and start to ask her about it.
She wouldn't cross paths with Rachel in a class until after lunch. This left her to babysit the photo until then. It was inside one of her books, but it might as well have been right in front of her… She couldn't stop thinking about it. She teased up the cover of the book with her finger, drawing the picture closer.
'Don't be sad…' the squeaky little girl voice echoed in her mind.
"Goodbye clouds, hello sunshine…" her own voice filled in, an escaping whisper.
She snapped the book shut, coming back to herself just as the teacher asked that she be quiet. She nodded apologetically, wishing she hadn't just whispered the words, because she feared they would break the dam, open the floodgates. She didn't need to know.
Time ticked along, and finally it was lunch. Her appetite hadn't been the greatest these days, but still she ate her way through her lunch, concentrating on it so that perhaps she wouldn't think of… the other thing.
The more she tried not to think about it of course, the more she could see flashes in her head… twirling tutus, flicking fingers… smiles, happy smiles…
She was remembering, somehow, if only barely… and yet her mind seemed to refuse the fact that Rachel was apparently part of this memory. She had photographic evidence, and yet her mind would not confirm it.
She and Rachel had never gotten along, not as far as she remembered. Now it appeared there was something farther than she could remember. Was that supposed to change everything all of a sudden? One picture and some blurry memories from when they were four years old didn't overrule who they were now, who they had become.
One thing did still bother her though. If what she was seeing and remembering was true… how was it that they had both changed so much? If they were such good friends, why weren't they anymore? Did she feel loss for it? No.. not really…
Rachel had shown kindness to her, she couldn't deny that. No matter what had happened between them, Rachel had extended a hand to her when she'd needed someone there to support her. Quinn hadn't taken that hand with a great amount of enthusiasm, but she hadn't slapped it away either.
She stared at her hands on the table, and another memory came to her… the sunshine hands. Her hands joined almost on their own, like muscle memory.
Rachel would present her hand, palm out and fingers splayed out. Quinn would press her own hand against Rachel's, palm to palm only facing the other way, creating with all ten wriggling fingers a crown of sun rays. It was used for "extreme need of sunshine."
She pulled her hands apart as the bell rang and she had to head to class. When she entered the classroom, her eyes quickly found Rachel, talking with Tina. Quinn looked down to her book, which held the picture. How was she supposed to get it in Rachel's notebook without her noticing?
Quinn sat one row over and one desk behind Rachel. If she would just leave her desk very briefly, with the notebook still on her desk, Quinn could just keep moving… but the whole plan hinged on the need for Rachel to get up and go. She could have waited for the next chance, Glee practice, but it was too risky… too many people, and a good chance she wouldn't have her noteb…
She heard a chair move and she looked… a chance… Rachel got up to go and throw something out. Class hadn't started yet – this was perfect. She pulled the photo from her textbook as she got up.
She knew maybe it wasn't fair for her to hold on to this without telling Rachel. She didn't know why she had the picture with her, in school. Was she going to show her? Was this why she'd approached her before? She wasn't going to give her the chance to bait her with this… she needed to decide if she ever wanted this to be 'real' again, for them both to remember. Would it change them? Did she want it to?
Maybe… But now wasn't the time.
Approaching Rachel's desk, she took a breath and reached to hold the notebook open with her left hand, the better to slide the photo in with her right. The moment it was in, she let go of the cover and moved on. Now all she had to do was circle back and return to her desk.
Only when she finally looked up ahead, to make her way back, she came to a stop, froze.
Rachel stood at the head of the desk row, looking back at her. It didn't take much to know she'd seen her put the photo back. Neither would move. When they finally did move, it was as class started. Quinn let out a breath. She was safe… for now.