Disclaimer: I do not own Glee. If anyone thinks that I do then they are sadly mistaken.
Rating: M because I hate messing with ratings so just go for the highest possible.
A/N: Firstly, I make no promises to actually keep going with this. I just wanted to get this out of my head so that I could work on something else. This is sort of set up as a series of oneshots looking at Quinn's and Rachel's lives the present mixed in with the past. So technically, I think it's should all be considered a future fic...kind of. So anyway, yes read. Enjoy. Carry on. Nothing to see here.
JUST VISITING (Present Day)
She didn't hate New York, because really who could hate New York, but she wasn't in love with the city either. It was her antithesis. It was loud and bright. It wasn't layered in superficiality like Los Angeles…at least not the same kind of superficiality, the kind that she had conquered years ago when she was a teenager. New York was East Coast and she was West.
No, she didn't hate New York. She just hated visiting.
It's cold and she pulls her coat tighter towards her body as she enters her final destination. It's early, way too early especially considering her flight had landed only two hours before. She's almost too tired to even remember where it is she has flown from. She's been on the go for the last month promoting her latest endeavor. This is the final leg of her media tour and she's equal parts relieved and irritated that her last stop has to be New York.
As she enters the studio, she's greeted by some members of the talk show's crew. They guide her to her dressing room and rattle off information to her, which she hardly bothers to pay attention to. These interviews are all the same. Once introductions are finished, she's left alone in the dressing room and she finds the nearest cushioned surface and then sits down.
She takes a few deep breaths knowing that at any moment the crew of people that will make her look Hollywood Fabulous will be knocking on her door. This was the only silence she'd be given for the next couple of hours. She thinks about glancing at her mobile phone to see what new messages she has, she even considers updating her status on Twitter. She can tell all her millions of follows that she is in a dressing room prepping to do yet another interview.
In the end, she decides against moving at all. She sits and waits, wishing she could just sleep, but it isn't time for sleep. It's time for her to work. Personal time would just have to come later. The knock she has been waiting for comes and within moments she's thrust back into the swirl of her life.
She transforms into the star she's supposed to be and before she realizes it's time, she's walking onto the stage with a crowd applauding her arrival. She takes her designated seat between the female hosts and smiles pleasantly.
"Thank you so much for being here," the woman on her right greets. "We're so glad to have you back."
"Thank you for having me." She smiles and rests her hands on her lap as she crosses her ankles.
"So, I know you must already be hearing the word Oscar about your portrayal of Eclipse in Dream Massacre, which I think is much deserved," the host to her left says.
"Thanks," she gives an uncomfortable smile.
"I don't think anyone expected this of you, based on your previous roles. So, tell me how did you even get involved in this project? What made you want to be Eclipse?"
"Oh, well Ann and I are good friends and she basically just told me she wanted me to do this movie with her," she answers, pushing her hair behind her ear.
"Ann Sanders, the director?" The same host fills in.
"Yes, Ann Sanders." She confirms.
"So you just did it?" The host furthest to her left asks.
"Yeah, pretty much," she smiles again self-deprecatingly.
"So what did you think when you finally realized what you were getting into? Because everyone must of thought this was a pretty far out idea. Musicals are usually…happier." The same host follows up.
"Well," she draws out the word. "I really didn't think about it. I trusted Ann to do her thing and didn't worry about what other people were saying."
"So, just to give some of the viewers an idea of what we're talking about," the host furthest to her right breaks in, "why don't you tell us a little bit about Death Massacre and your character Eclipse?"
"Oh, yeah, okay." She laughs softly. "So, um, the movie is about a girl who escapes to these sort of fantasy dream worlds while she's on drugs and each world represents some past or future event in her life."
"And it's told through song," the thus far silent host adds.
"Yes," she laughs again as she nods her head. "It's told through song."
"But not just any songs," the same host adds as she looks down at the blue note card she's holding in her hand. "You sing songs by Rob Zombie, Disturbed, Korn…some pretty interesting stuff."
"I was really excited about it. It's so rare that women are given the opportunity to sing that genre." She steers the conversation away from being controversial. "It was all pretty awesome."
"Well you are fantastic in it. It's an amazing film." The host nearest her left turns back to the camera. The interview is over, cut short because the first segment took too long. "Up next we have the cast of the hit Broadway Musical Live Feed singing Apocalypse."
The crew signs that they are on commercial and once again she is thanked by the hosts and then ushered off stage. She resists going back to the dressing room and instead requests to sit in the front so that she can watch the next segment. They find her a chair, and with seconds to spare she is seated and watching as the next guests are introduced.
"In what critics have said is this generation's RENT, please welcome to the stage the cast of Live Feed singing the hit Apocalypse."
The audience applauds and she applauds with them. The cast of the Broadway show begin performing and a short three minutes later the song ends and the lead member of the cast is brought to the front. She's breathing hard from her recent performance and is asked a few mundane questions before the talk show's time slot is over.
She gets up as soon as the show is over, not wanting to get stopped by any of the audience members who might have wanted to talk to her. She thanks the crew for everything and hurries back stage and to her dressing room. She steps out of her clothes and changes into something more casual.
She's just finished de-glamming herself when there's a soft knock on her dressing room door. "Come in," she says softly not bothering to turn towards it.
The door is softly pushed open and seconds later just as softly pushed closed. "So…"
She turns around towards the voice, recognizing it immediately. "So…" she replies with a smirk on her face.
"We knew this would happen sooner or later. The longer we avoided it, the higher the probability was becoming we'd eventually end up in this very situation. I have once again proven, on live television no less, that I am in fact possess the superior talent."
She rolls her eyes. "You're something else, Berry." She's not being dismissive. She's actually feeling a little nostalgic.
"Yes, well." It's said jokingly. "It has been a pleasure to see you again, Quinn. I hope you aren't too overwrought."
Quinn's smirk doesn't disappear. "Would you like to have dinner, Rachel?"
"When?" Rachel asks, maybe a little too earnestly.
"Well," Quinn looks around hoping to find a clock somewhere. She sees nothing. "How about now?"
"Now?" Rachel asks seeking clarification.
Quinn shrugs. "Now. It's got to be dinnertime somewhere in the world, right?"
Rachel smiles. "I'll meet you in a few minutes." She turns and then leaves Quinn alone. Quinn shakes her head, not quite prepared for whatever it is that is going to become of her day, but she doesn't shy away from uncertainty. She thrives on living out life wholly unprepared.
Of course she had known that Rachel Berry was going to be a guest on the same show. It hadn't come as a surprise. Nor had it been a surprise that Rachel had the gumption to seek Quinn out and gloat about her performance.
Quinn turned towards the mirror. She looked at her reflection and laughed, because her life was full of ironic humor. She delved into her memories of high school and thought about Brian Ryan and how he had told Glee Club how unrealistic their dreams were. Sadly, he had been right. Most of her fellow Glee members were still living in Lima, Ohio spinning the wheel on the cycle their parents had laid out before them.
She and Berry had each been one of the lucky few to break away. Quinn had run away to school in Berkeley with her father's guilt money and Rachel had chased down her dream in New York. They hadn't kept in touch, but once Quinn found herself acting in small indie films she had begun to meet people who knew Rachel Berry. Even while inhabiting different coasts, their social circle was relatively small, and as they got more successful the circle kept growing smaller and smaller. It eventually had shrunk enough that they had been at the same concert to see a mutual friend performing in New York: Emilie Nguyen.
At the end of her show, Emilie had invited both Rachel and Quinn on stage for an impromptu jam session. It had been the first time Rachel and Quinn had sung together since high school. It had felt good, comfortable. They had gone out after the concert, well… they had gone out a lot after the concert. They talked about Glee and how unlikely they thought it was that they would ever see each other again.
Quinn had never previously voiced her interest in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry, but that was only because she hadn't had an interest. She had fallen into the profession when she had taken an English Composition class with an aspiring director, and had offered her acting talents for free. One web series later and she was suddenly in the business.
Rachel, conversely, had earned her success through effort and unrelenting determination. She auditioned for everything and never gave up until someone turned a 'no' into a 'yes'. She doggedly perfected her talents and bent the world into submission.
Still, despite how different life had been for them, Quinn couldn't step off the path that led her back to Rachel and apparently Rachel couldn't either. They became cordial and cordiality turned into friendship. They kept one another grounded, or as grounded as they could manage with Rachel's ego getting in the way and Quinn's occasional bouts of superiority, because they reminded each other of their imperfections and insecurities.
It was disarming to have a person around who had been around when dreams were really only wishes made by blowing out the candle on a birthday cake. They had known each other as they suffered through stifling puberty and suffocating self-discovery. They were constants in world that offered little long term security.
There was another knock and Quinn turned towards the door expecting Rachel's return. She was surprised when instead of the Broadway sensation, one of the hosts walked in.
"I just wanted to apologize about cutting your segment so short," the host offers.
"Don't worry about it," Quinn waves away any concern. "I understand."
The host nods. "Good." She suddenly looks nervous, her eyes darting around the room, but she eventually settles on Quinn. "I was also wondering if perhaps you would want to go out sometime?"
Quinn's taken aback. She hadn't been expecting this. Although, she wasn't completely surprised either. She had gone to lunch with the co-host the last time she had been on the show. It was a casual meal that Quinn has taken as more of a friendly outing rather than a romantic one.
She opened her mouth to reply, but was saved from it when Rachel re-entered claiming that she was ready to leave. She stops at the sight of Victoria and looks to Quinn for answers.
"Rachel," Victoria greets, "you did a really good job today. I hear you're going on tour soon?"
Quinn dislikes small talk, but she's accustomed to it so plays along. "She is," she answers for Rachel as she reaches out and pulls Rachel nearer. "She's like a rock star now."
Rachel rolls her eyes, but laughs anyway. "Quinn exaggerates. I am going on tour with the show. We're bringing Broadway to the masses."
"The plebeians of Middle America must also get their chance to bask in her greatness," Quinn playfully interprets.
"You two know each other?" Victoria ventures to guess, though some might call it stating the obvious.
"We're off record, right?" Quinn asks unnecessarily.
Victoria's blue eyes widen. "Of course."
"We're engaged," Quinn replies her tone gravely serious.
"W-what?" Victoria sputters. "I had no…"
Rachel hits Quinn's side. "Nevermind her," she tells the other woman. "She gets an unhealthy pleasure out of tormenting others. Apparently, it's not something everyone outgrows."
"Oh," Victoria looks confused unsure of what to believe now. "So you aren't engaged?"
"No," Rachel grins. "We're married," she deadpans.
Quinn laughs. Victoria is still looking at them with questioning eyes.
"I'm sorry, Victoria," Rachel eventually apologizes. "Unfortunately, when Quinn and I are together we tend to enjoy havoc." She looks up at Quinn. "The world was probably safer with us on separate coasts."
"Probably," Quinn agrees and then turns her attention to Victoria. "But, honestly, Rachel and I are married."
"If Janet Jackson could keep her marriage secret for thirteen years, why can't we keep ours secret for now?" Rachel leans into Quinn.
"But why?" Victoria asks, her eyes bouncing between the two women standing in front of her.
There's a story behind every decision, every choice. Quinn and Rachel had theirs, and neither of them felt a pull to confide their reasoning now. It wasn't Victoria's business to know why they carried on their lives without publicly acknowledging their relationship. Even if they did explain, they both doubted Victoria would really understand. It was hard to get people to understand the secrets Rachel and Quinn shared and why exactly they had them at all.
"This is ours," Rachel halfheartedly explains, and then her attention turns back to Quinn. "Are you ready?"
"Always," Quinn replies.
"Thank you for having us," Rachel tells Victoria. "We'll hopefully see you in the future." She grabs hold of Quinn's hand and then pulls the taller woman out of the door with her.
They make their way out of the studio and then down to the street. Quinn pulled her coat closer to her body. She didn't hate New York, she reminded herself. She just hated visiting.
Quinn was in New York because she needed to escape Los Angeles. She had just finished filming yet another film in which she played a cheerleader, and consequently she was feeling a little void of culture. If her friend Emilie hadn't offered a reprieve then Quinn was convinced she would have given up being an actor altogether. She was tired of playing the same part in every film she was hired to do. Yes, she physically fit the profile of the bitchy cheerleader but that was a role she already played out in her youth and didn't like being destined to repeat. She was trying to propel her life forward. Though, she did enjoy getting occasional emails detailing the flaws in her performances from one internationally ranked Cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester.
Quinn always replied to every email her former cheerleading coach sent to her, realizing that Sue was telling her how proud she was of Quinn in her own very special little way. Quinn couldn't help but wonder what her coach would say about the film she had just finished filming. It was a little different than the rest, but still typecast her in the role, but at least this time she was able to be a superhero, Supergirl to be exact. It was set to release next summer as one of the big blockbusters backed by hundreds of millions of studios' dollars.
"You're late," Emilie said as Quinn entered backstage.
Quinn smiled. "Am I ever on time?"
"Punctuality is important." Quinn turned towards the familiar voice, having a feeling that the world shrunk ten sizes that day, and plopped her into the very place she needed to be at the exact time she needed to be there.
"Rachel Berry!" She shrieked surprised, and before she could control herself, she was moving across the room and wrapping Rachel up in a firm embrace. "It's been forever."
"You two know each other?" Emilie asked surprised.
Quinn pulled out of the embrace, embarrassed that Rachel's familiar presence flooded her mind with happy emotions she hadn't expected to come. "We went to high school together," Rachel replied, making sure to further distance herself from Quinn. "We weren't friends."
Emilie looked at the two disbelievingly.
"We weren't," Quinn agreed. "I terrorized Rachel for the better part of two years."
"You say that as if you're proud of your past behavior," Rachel pointed out with a raised brow.
"I've apologized for it," Quinn defended herself. "Can't we have our bygones?"
Rachel huffed dramatically. "Fine. How have you been, Quinn? I hear you've recently finished filming what promises to be yet another subpar movie?"
"Rachel," Emilie stepped in. "Be nice."
Quinn rested her hands on her hips. "And I hear you're still in that little Broadway production about witches or something."
"Quinn," Emilie moved to stand between them.
Rachel stepped around Emilie. "Have you anything else to say for yourself, Quinn Fabray?"
Quinn shook her head in slight disbelief. "It's really good to see you again, Rachel. It's like seeing the best parts of home again without actually having to be tainted with Lima."
Rachel finally smiled and took another step closer to Quinn. "You're impossible, Quinn." She rolled her eyes and then the two women were hugging again while Emilie looked on completely confused.
When they pulled apart, Rachel shrugged and offered Emilie a brief explanation of, "This is how our relationship works."
They had never quite managed to be friends in high school, but they hadn't remained adversarial either. They had found some type of peace agreement in their adolescence and hadn't broken the treaty. They had in fact staunchly adhered to it despite any consequence that arose from such an unbalanced union between the wonderful Quin Fabray and the freak Rachel Berry.
"You're both impossible." Emilie stepped away from them now that she was sure they weren't going to fight out past hurts that took place under the lovely guise of teenage rage. "Go take your seats up front. I'm supposed to be starting soon."
Rachel nodded, grabbed Quinn's arm and then guided them to the front. They sat together in a dark corner, hunched over a small table. Rachel started talking first, mostly about the shows she had been in and the one she was currently helping to produce. Quinn listened, knowing it wouldn't be her turn to speak for a while.
Eventually, the concert started and they both intently listened to Emilie's bluesy voice filter throughout the bar. They quietly sang along to the songs they knew and swayed with the crowd when people began dancing.
"Okay, so I really have a treat for all of you tonight," Emilie told the crowd as her last song finished. "I invited two of my friends here tonight, you might have heard of them."
Quinn and Rachel looked at each other, each knowing what to expect from their mutual friend.
Emilie pointed to the two in the crowd, "Rachel Berry and Quinn Fabray everybody!" The crowd applauded. "Do you think we could talk them into coming up here to sing one more song?"
Rachel beamed at the attention of course, and made her way to the stage with Quinn's hand firmly ensconced in her own. She waved to the throng of people surrounding them and then bumped shoulders with Quinn.
Quinn sighed, but waved to the crowd as well. Emilie started playing the beginnings of a song on her guitar and on cue Rachel began singing the lead. Quinn shook her head, but started singing along anyway. Their hands remained joined as one song turned into another and then another.
The crowd had their phones held up high as they took photos and video footage of the two celebrities' concert. They continued singing and Emilie graciously demoted herself to lead guitarist without any vocals attached. She let Quinn and Rachel have the spotlight seeing the same thing that everyone else in the crowd realized: Quinn Fabray and Rachel Berry were meant to make beautiful music together.
The night wore on and eventually had to end. Emilie thanked everyone for coming out and even publicly forgave Quinn and Rachel for stealing away her show. They laughed about it, and Quinn and Rachel left the stage. They made their way through the crowd, having promised to meet up with Emilie later.
Rachel, once again, held onto to Quinn's hand as she guided her former classmate through wonderful New York. They stopped at an all-night vegan restaurant Rachel had stumbled upon during her first year in college. They then walked along Broadway and even managed to get into the theatre Rachel had been performing in. They went to every spot Rachel could think of and every spot Quinn had wondered about.
Before either of them had realized, three days had gone by, and the bubble they lived in had burst. Quinn needed to return to Los Angeles and Rachel needed to get back to work.
Rachel went with Quinn to the airport. They held hands in the taxi and hugged ferociously when it was time for Quinn to step away.
"I'm glad I came," Quinn confessed as her arms stayed wrapped around Rachel's body. "I think I needed this."
"Yeah," Rachel agreed as she settled into the crook of Quinn's neck.
"God," Quinn groaned. "I hate New York."
Rachel slowly pulled away. "Why?" She asked genuinely confused. She had thought Quinn had a wonderful time roaming the city with her.
"I didn't hate it until now, until this very moment." Quinn pulled further away from Rachel, forcing her eyes to remain untainted by tears.
Rachel's gaze filled with understanding. "I'm flattered. I would have never thought us sharing a moment like this would ever be a possibility for us. I had imagined our reunion would be in Lima with the rest of our former classmates who would be trying to decide which one of us to envy more."
Quinn chuckled. "You're something else, Berry."
"Nevertheless," Rachel continued, "I'm glad we were afforded this opportunity. I fear that if our reunion had happened in Lima then we would have relapsed into the caricatures we created in our adolescence."
Quinn raised a brow. "I don't know if they were complete caricatures," she pointed out. "You don't seem to be completely out of character."
Rachel's eyes sparkled. "Are you implying I'm the same girl you knew in high school?"
"And what if I am?" Quinn challenged.
Rachel didn't verbally reply. Instead, she closed the gap they had allowed to develop between them and gently pressed her lips against Quinn's. They languidly kissed, each choosing not to rush a moment that was already speeding by them too quickly.
"I hate New York," Quinn whispered as their lips separated.
Rachel place a kiss on Quinn's cheek and then said, "You don't hate New York; you just hate visiting."
"Touché," Quinn conceded. "So when are you coming to Los Angeles?"
Rachel smiled, obviously glad at the offer Quinn was extending. "Are you suggesting we set up another rendezvous where we can each act completely out of character?"
"Yes," Quinn easily replied. "You're exactly what I want." For anyone else the confession might have been too much too soon, but neither woman could bring themselves to start suddenly feeling uncomfortable. They had gotten past uncomfortable when they were in high school and had decided to continue playing the roles their Lima lives had handed out to them.
But, they had escaped Lima and everything seemed to be just right now. They had grown up and grown past the things that were so idiotically important to them when they were sixteen. Of course they were out of character now, Quinn thought it would be more than pathetic if she spoke the same, acted the same, and was the same girl that had been locked away in Lima, Ohio fearing the lifelong sentence of mediocrity.
"I could get there in a couple of weeks," Rachel offered. "I'll take time away." It was a huge concession, Quinn realized, but she had come to suddenly expect this sort of thing from Rachel now.
Quinn leaned over and pressed soft lips to Rachel's forehead. "Good," she whispered as she pulled away. "I'll see you in two weeks." She smiled and looked into Rachel's watery brown eyes. "But right now, I hate New York more than anything."
They pulled apart then, splitting not only their physical distance but an emotion one as well, because realistically Rachel did live in New York and Quinn lived in Los Angeles. Rachel had been nominated for a Tony Award for her theatre debut and Hasboro was making little figurines of Quinn as Supergirl. There was a very real possibility that this would be it for them. There was nothing tying them together other than a few days spent in each other's company and a past full of spotty acquaintanceship.
"I'll see you in two weeks," Rachel confirmed, deciding to not let her doubts kill their last moments. "And remember, you just hate visiting."
Their lips touched once again, but then it was all over and Rachel was left alone in the cab and Quinn was running off to catch her flight.