Author's note: This idea has been with me for years, even before Glee. The problem was, I didn't have characters to put with it. When Brittany and Santana popped up, I suddenly found the perfect pair for this. I really hesitated putting this up, but if I get enough feedback, I'll certainly continue.
Quinn and Rachel happened to be in town the same day. Both of them brought flowers, Quinn brought white daisies and Rachel brought pink roses. When they saw each other at the entrance, they flashed each other a surprised look followed by a quick smile.
"Hey. I didn't know you were going to be here." Quinn said.
"Yeah, it's crazy, isn't it?" Rachel replied. "Are you here for..."
"Yeah." Quinn cut her off before she could say anymore. The two walked along side each other down the stone path, passing a fountain before continuing to speak.
"What brings you back to Lima?" Quinn asked.
"Oh, you know...it's..." Rachel trailed off.
"The anniversary." Quinn finished. Rachel smiled sadly at the ground, trying so hard not to tear up.
"It's been, what, five years since then?"
"Yeah. Five years." Quinn replied. "How's Finn doing?"
"Finn's going for his masters. He has a huge assignment due otherwise he would be here." Rachel stated. "We finally got an apartment together once he got his teaching fellowship." Quinn smiled at the thought.
"I never thought Finn would even get past college."
"He's really passionate about education. Something about following in Mr. Shuester's footsteps, I guess." Rachel explained.
"And you're still on Broadway?"
"Off-Broadway, for now at least. But I'm going to audition for a new piece by Schwartz. I'm going for the lead." Rachel flashed a hopeful grin in Quinn's direction.
"I hope you get it. You were the best singer out of all of us." Quinn touched her shoulder gently and the brunette welcomed the warmth of her fingers. It was such a cold day out, nothing surprising given that it was November but it was perhaps this day in particular that made it especially bitter.
"Oh, you know, out being a rock star and all that. He's on tour right now. Last I heard he was somewhere in Tennessee. He sends postcards every now and then and I get to call him during the evenings if he isn't busy with a gig."
"Sounds like he's doing well." Rachel said. "I mean, it was always his dream to..." Quinn stopped in midstep, causing Rachel to stumble forward a little. "Quinn?" Quinn had gone an unhealthy pale and her mouth dropped. Rachel had never seen a look so scared and so surprised on the blonde's face before. She followed her gaze forward and nearly dropped her flowers when she saw what the blonde was so focused on.
"Oh my god." Rachel whispered. "It can't be..."
A woman in a tan trench coat stood about a hundred feet ahead with her back facing the two of them. Her hair was about shoulder length and she held a bouquet of yellow daisies in her arms, cradled like it was a child. She knelt down and put the flowers on the soft grass in front of the tomb stone. She rested her head against the tomb stone and put one hand on it. Quinn heard her whisper something.
"I've missed you..." The woman said.
"Quinn..." Rachel grabbed her arm. "Quinn...that's..."
"Shut up...I know." Quinn hissed. She thought back to a conversation she had with Puck two days ago.
It was 3 in the morning when Puck called her. She looked at her cellphone angrily.
"What?" She demanded, putting the phone to her ear.
"Quinn. I saw her." He said urgently.
"Her?" Quinn asked.
"Quinn, I saw her. She's here. I talked with her for all of three seconds. Quinn, she's alive and she's well." Quinn suddenly got a lot more awake.
"Are you serious? We haven't seen or heard from her in years." Quinn hissed.
"I think she's going back to Lima. She acted like she didn't even know who I was. She just said 'I don't know who you're talking about' and left. But I know it was her. She hasn't changed since...since then." Quinn felt her blood run cold. Puck's words trickled in syllable by syllable and she closed her eyes to absorb it all.
"Are you sure?" She demanded.
"I overheard her talking with the bartender asking how long it took to get from here to Lima."
"Oh my god."
"Q, you need to get on a plane to Lima right now. If she's going back, this could be our only chance." Quinn turned on her laptop and booked the soonest flight she could find, despite the fact that it cost a good fortune for being so last minute and business class too. But money was the last thing on her mind. A thousand thoughts flew through her brain and she tried to sort through them all.
We haven't seen her since she ran away.
What the hell has she been doing? Does she know we've been worried sick about her?
Why is she coming back to Lima after all this time away?
Should I call the others? Oh god...I don't even know what to say to her on the off chance I see her there.
And then Quinn realized what it was that was bringing her back to Lima and she dropped her cellphone. Puck on the other end kept saying "hello" but Quinn pressed the red button. She let her head fall into her hands and she cried while the website registered her flight.
The impossible was happening right now. That same girl that vanished so many years ago was kneeling in front of the gravestone. Quinn took a few steps forward, not sure what to say and all too afraid that saying anything at all would scare her away again.
"We need to think about this. Oh god. Oh god." Rachel whispered.
"Now is not the time to be freaking out, Berry." Quinn snapped.
"You two are about as subtle as a locomotive." The woman chuckled, standing up. "You think I couldn't hear you from a mile away, mouth breathers?" She turned around. Quinn held her breath and planted her feet firmly into the ground, prepared to stop the woman if she tried to make a break for it. The woman in front of her noticed her stance.
"Relax." She said, putting up her hand. "I'm not going anywhere. I trust Puck told you about his little meeting with me?"
"Where have you been these past few years?" Rachel asked. The woman shrugged.
"Physically? Everywhere. Emotionally? With her." She jerked a thumb back at the gravestone. "Still am." She added sadly. Rachel fought the urge to hug her. She could tell that it wouldn't have done any good. Quinn on the other hand walked right over to her, put the flowers down beside the yellow daisies and slapped her hard. Her cold hand left a quickly reddening mark on the other woman's cheek.
"You act like nothing has happened." Quinn yelled.
"Quinn!" Rachel exclaimed. The woman smirked.
"You left us four years and nine months ago, precisely three months after it happened. You left all of us, floundering at nationals, worried to death about where you were, what you were doing, if you had..." Quinn trailed off.
"Died?" The woman finished. "Like I said, emotionally, I'm with her."
"Don't give me that." Quinn's eyes narrowed dangerously. "We all lost her, ok?"
"You didn't lose her like I did!" The woman shouted, then as if startled by her own anger, clasped a hand over her mouth and turned away. "You didn't...you didn't love her like I did."
"I'm sorry..." Quinn touched her shoulder.
"Just...just go. Leave your flowers and go."
"No. I want us to talk. I don't want you disappearing again without telling us anything. You're our friend and I'd rather go to hell than let you do that to us again." Quinn demanded.
"Please, just talk to us. You owe us that much. Let's just go for coffee...and after that...you can do whatever you want." Rachel pleaded. Quinn whipped around. She was not going to be satisfied with just that but Rachel looked at her with eyes that said, "let's take it slow..."
"Fine. Just coffee." The woman replied. "But give me a minute here, ok?" Quinn looked at her skeptically. "I promise I won't run off. If you're worried, my car is out front, the blue one, ok? I won't run away." Quinn nodded and turned around. Rachel walked up and put her flowers to the left of the others. She gave the woman a sad smile and hugged her, despite her earlier conclusion. To her surprise, the woman didn't push her away and Rachel took it as an acceptance. Together, the two walked back to the entrance. As soon as they disappeared from view, the woman turned back around. She stuck her hand in her pockets and knelt down again.
"Hey." She whispered, tracing the letters on the grave. "I'm sorry I didn't visit for so long. It's me, B. It's Santana."