Things for Quinn Fabray had changed dramatically.
Last year she made McKinley history—becoming the first freshman ever to become Cheerios captain. There'd been a freak accident at summer cheer camp involving Kayla Douglas—Senior and captain for two years—and a missed catch on a simple basket toss. She ended up breaking her collarbone in three places, which left her out of competition for the entire year, in a ridiculous upper body cast and very devastated.
It also left Sue utterly displeased.
In an unprecedented move, the tyrannical coach named the blonde head cheerleader. She said Quinn held the most potential of anyone on the squad and had a Sue Sylvester flare about her. She also said it was because Quinn didn't vomit after every practice—an extraordinary feat for anyone.
That was the thing that set it all into motion.
She met Finn at a Cheerios/Football party that summer. Sure he was kind of dense, but he was sweet and cute and did what she asked (or told, depending on the day) him to. He was about to take over as quarterback in the fall too; it was perfect.
Had someone told her that day that she'd end up: sleeping with and getting pregnant by Puck, joining Glee and actually enjoying it, making a deal with Terri Schuester, having a slushie facial every day, getting kicked off the Cheerios, getting kicked out of her house and being dumped by Finn, she'd take away their drink and tell them to lay off any and all forms of the devil's juice.
If someone had told her that day that she'd end up being friends and also living with Rachel Berry, she'd have died on the spot.
Yet there she was: eight and a half months pregnant, no longer a Cheerio, no quarterback boyfriend, proud member of New Directions…and living with Rachel Berry.
It was late one night. Quinn lay in bed and just stared out the window. There was a thunderstorm raging outside and she couldn't sleep. The rain wasn't the cause; she just couldn't shut her brain off.
The clock read 11:30 when she gave up and slipped out into the hall. She padded towards Rachel's room and paused for a moment to listen. There was no sound from the other side so she crept in.
The blonde took a second to enjoy the silence. It wasn't that she couldn't stand the sound of the brunette's voice, quite the opposite these days. She's just always appreciated the times that make her speechless or peaceful. And the sound of a room with easy, level breathing—as opposed to loud, obnoxious snoring—and nothing but thunder and raindrops pelting the window held a serene feeling to it.
Quinn took a seat on the edge of the other girl's bed and gently shook her shoulder.
There was no response so she tried again.
The dark haired girl's brow furrowed slightly and she groaned a little. Quinn kept trying.
"Rachel, wake up."
She groaned and mumbled and turned onto her stomach, not fully getting there because of Quinn's presence, and whimpered a little into her pillow.
"Whfts oing ah?"
"Get up, Berry. We have to go."
Rachel shot up on her hands, eyes bugged out.
"What is it? Is it the baby?! Do we really need to get hot towels like Noah said?! Where are my dads? Did you wake them up yet? Why are you just sitting there? We ha-"
"Rachel," Quinn laughed quietly. "Calm down, I'm not going into labor."
"Oh," she breathed out a sigh of relief. "Then where are we going? It's not time for school."
"The park. I can't sleep and going to the park seems like a good way to help."
Rachel stared dubiously at the other girl, but quickly resigned when she saw the pout starting to form.
The park was only three blocks away, but Quinn was in no condition to walk so they jumped into Rachel's car.
Rachel had the sense to grab her raincoat and one of her dad's for Quinn, but the blonde wasn't interested. She'd sat looking out the window for all of thirty seconds before bolting—well, what can be considered bolting for a very pregnant girl; though she was still pretty spry. The singer attributed it to the Cheerios training.
Quinn had walked towards the swings and just stood there with her head back and arms spread wide. She seemed peaceful; more peaceful than the brunette had seen her in months. It wasn't until the now soaked blonde looked back to the car that she realized there was something else going on.
She grabbed the yellow raincoat—it might've been May, but it wasn't summer yet—and headed over to her friend.
"Quinn!" Rachel yelled over the thunder. "Put this on. You'll catch cold and your immune system is already compromised with the baby. I know you're almost to your due date, but any illness could be detrimental to both of your well beings!"
The former cheerleader ignored the shorter girl's urgings and did a little spin.
"Quinn, I really think you shou-"
She was cut off by Quinn as she tossed the raincoat on a large rock next to the swing set and grabbed her hands, doing some strange hybrid of the Twist and two stepping.
Rachel resisted a little, slightly concerned. She didn't mind having a carefree time, even in the rain, but this was weird…even for someone with raging pregnancy hormones.
She took hold of the blonde's upper arms and looked—really looked—at her. A sadness she'd only seen twice before shone through and it tore at Rachel's heart.
"What's going on?"
"I just want to dance, Rachel. I want to dance in the rain!"
Quinn tried to pull away but Rachel held tight and brought her closer.
"Tell me what's going on. I know something's wrong, Fabray. I'm very perceptive of these things, especially since we've gotten to know each other so well. Not to mention my sixth sense."
She was quiet for a short while, head down; Rachel could feel her trembling. She knew it wasn't just from the slight chill.
"Quinn, you're sha-"
"I'm scared, Rach." Quinn touched her stomach gently and brought her line of sight back to Rachel's; tears mixed with raindrops as they spilled from her eyes and the sky. "I'm scared of what's going to happen after I have her. When she's in here, I know what's happening. I know she's safe. I just- I'm so-"
The taller girl's legs gave out and Rachel wrapped her arm around her just before she hit the ground. She led them over to the rock and draped the raincoat around her and sat her down.
Pushing the hair that was stuck across Quinn's face out of the way, Rachel put on her seriously determined look and cupped her chin tenderly.
"You listen to me, alright? We did all that research and extensive interviewing as well as the thorough background checks. That little girl is going to be so well cared for. Short of putting her in a bubble or a high security facility, she couldn't be safer." Quinn sighed a little and bit her lip. "I know California is a long way from here, but we've exchanged information and they're going to send you updates every few months. I swear to you on any and all of my future Tony awards that everything will work out."
A beautiful smile broke out on Quinn's face and she lightly laughed.
"That's a pretty lofty promise, Berry."
"And one I didn't make lightly," Rachel retorted with a smirk. "You'll feel better once you've slept. Let's go back to the house and get you into the shower and warm and dry clothes, huh?"
She helped the blonde off the rock she was on, joined their hands and started back to the car.
Quinn remained rooted and tugged Rachel back around. "I have to do something first…"
She was silenced by Quinn's lips on hers.
Their first kiss wasn't perfect by any standards. It was awkward—the baby prevented any real close contact and the former cheerleader couldn't help replay that scene at the track from Juno—and a little rough and too much this, not enough that.
It worked though; it worked well. It was very Quinn and Rachel and kind of summed up their relationship to that point.
As they pulled away, the blonde hummed happily and continued her dancing while the shorter girl watched, bemused.
If she weren't pregnant and they were downtown instead of in the park, Rachel was sure Quinn would've channeled Gene Kelly.
The stunning young ingénue was right though; Quinn unquestionably felt better in the morning.
Two years later and Quinn still had trouble comprehending everything that'd gone on.
A few weeks after she gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl and had a very emotional parting, her father called asking that she return home. He sounded contrite and made several apology speeches. She took them with a grain of salt—alcoholics could be great liars—but returned to her parents' house. There was no way she'd ever be able to call it home after living with the Berry's. Rachel's dads had even offered her the guest room she'd been calling hers after Madison was born.
New Directions was still together despite Sue's continued efforts of sabotage. They even had a few new members join, even with the subpar social standing. Students gave them less flak since they had more victories than the football and hockey teams had in the past five years.
Finn and Brittany had a short lived thing during junior year, but their split was quick and amicable.
Her relationship with Rachel was tumultuous, but that was expected with two very bull headed females in the mix. They spent the first six months claiming they were still only friends, but Kurt and Santana's ridiculously good gaydar (and penchant for gossip) had them outed them to their friends.
Two years later and they were back in the park, in the middle of the night, during a thunderstorm. Only now they were a few weeks away from graduating McKinley and finally getting out of Lima.
"Why do we always come here when there's a monsoon happening?" the soon-to-be Juilliard freshman asked.
"In my defense, I didn't know it was going to rain. I'm not a meteorologist!"
There were heavy, dark clouds in the sky all day, but they hadn't opened up until ten minutes prior.
The girls were huddled under a tree for at least a little shelter from the rain as neither of them had thought to grab an umbrella. They'd been there for around an hour, just playing on the slides and swings, grasping at whatever small pieces of their childhood they could.
Logistically they knew the rain wouldn't clear up anytime soon. They'd been caught in storms enough times to learn and judge how long they would last. They also knew that camping out under a tree was not feasible. It would be a long walk back to the Berry house alright.
She knew full well she'd be soaked anyway, so the brunette dragged Quinn out from under the tree and proceeded to jump in puddles and spin in countless circles. The blonde watched and laughed and joined in and laughed some more.
In all their cavorting about, they'd ended up next to one of the fire pits. Rachel climbed up on the stone pit wall and pulled Quinn's arms to wrap around her waist. She slid the hair sticking to the other girl's face behind her ears, then cupped her cheeks and smiled.
She loved moments like this. Not being soaked to the bone, but just being alone with her girlfriend, seeing her with no make up and no walls up.
The brunette smoothed her thumbs over flushed skin, rain still pouring down around them, and gave what Quinn felt was the most gentle kiss she'd ever had. It was very innocent; no tongue, just lips.
Rachel always tasted like warm vanilla and the blonde always found the added flavor of rain made it that much better.
Without opening her eyes, she knew Rachel had that self satisfied half smirk half smile on her face—the one she got when she nailed something she'd been working on for a long time.
Wow, Quinn thought. That sounded really dirty.
When hazel eyes met deep brown—confirming that she did indeed have that look plastered on—she felt content, home.
"I've always wondered what it was like to be the taller person in the kiss," Rachel said.
Quinn smirked and chuckled.
"And was it everything you ever dreamed?"
A loud clap of thunder rolled overhead and they both glanced up fleetingly.
The naturally tanned girl returned her attention to her girlfriend. "Not really. I found it to be quite overrated. I suppose being taller gives the sense of having control in the situation, but I believe being the shorter of the two holds more power. I mean think about it, if you're shorter you get to make the other person lean down-"
"-which means you have less physical strain put on you because you don't have to-"
"-crane your neck as much. And that can be really troublesome years from now."
"Rachel!" Quinn yelled and tapped the girl's butt in an extra effort to get her attention.
She pulled Rachel down—half afraid of the girl slipping and hurting herself—and dragged her all the way back to her house.