Disclaimer: I own nothing. All belongs to Glee writers and creators. 'Anywhere' belongs to Evanescence.

A/N: Another spur-of-the-moment thing that I hate and I expect much mocking in your reviews. I normally don't like putting in song lyrics, but they're there and the song is available on YouTube. I'm almost done with the next chapter of 'The Choice I Make' so keep an eye out. Peace out, y'all.

Prologue

It's the last day of school, the last meeting of glee. Well, not the last for Mr. Schue or the two juniors, three sophomores, and the freshman who have joined since the beginning of the year. But this is the last for us seniors, thirteen in number, and Schue is letting us have our own special session of glee for our last meet.

No juniors, no sophomores, no freshmen. Just us.

It's hard to believe there were only five at the beginning of this sorry little club—and I wasn't even one of them. But it's nice to know that I asked Brittany and (bullied) Santana to join and that it helped glee survive. I don't know what I would've done without it these past three years.

Mercedes keeps squeezing my hand, telling me without words just how happy and sad she is. We know this is probably the last time we'll see each other for a while except for graduation, so I squeeze back to let her know I'll miss her, too. And I will. She's been more of a sister to me than my real one, and I've appreciated her more than I can say. I hope how I don't let go of her hand as we sit tells her.

Kurt is already crying, and because of that, so is Brittany. She's burying her face in Santana's shoulder, and I know that San wants to cry, too. But, like me, she won't let herself. We're the tough girls of the group, after all, the head cheerleaders and head bitches. We leave the crying to the other girls. And Mr. Schue.

Kurt snuggles into Mercedes, who squeezes my hand one more time before abandoning it to pet his hair. I wait for Mr. Schue to speak, but he seems content to look at us with tears in his eyes, a small smile quirking his lips.

He echoes my thoughts when he finally speaks, "There were only five of you when this club started." His mouth twitches to widen his smile, but stops halfway through. "Now look at you."

I can't help but smile. Yeah, look at us. Nationals winners two years in a row now, eight members stronger than we were three years ago—and that's just in our grade.

My smile fades into an eye roll when I see Sam and Puck both shooting me puppy dog looks. It's been two years since those mistakes, too, and I wish they'd both get a grip. Even Finn has, and he's probably the biggest idiot of all the guys in our club. Save for Mike, maybe.

I see Finn rub Rachel's shoulder and they exchange a small smile. They're just good friends now, and I like it better that way. Rachel looks miserable when she turns away, her lips curved downward and her eyes red—even her brilliant hair seems dulled—and I feel sympathy for her. Who knew that glee would become such a huge part of all of us?

When Mercedes sniffles next to me, I realize I've been staring at Rachel through Mr. Schue's whole speech. I swivel back around, ignoring the blush creeping up my neck.

"…whatever you do in your lives after high school, you'll always remember glee." Mr. Schue smiles brokenly, and there are a few nods of agreement amongst us.

Tina is now sobbing in Artie's lap. Mr. Schue pulls out a handkerchief and no one judges him when he wipes his eyes.

"All right, since this is our last day, I thought I'd let you guys decide what you want to do. So why don't—"

"Mr. Schuester?"

No one is surprised when it's Rachel who raises her hand and interrupts. But, for once, no one is annoyed, either. It'll be the last time we'll be privileged to hear her voice—and I admit to myself it is a privilege—until we go see her on Broadway. I imagine even Santana is secretly pleased with the opportunity.

"Yes, Rachel?" Mr. Schue prompts, but instead of his usual annoyance, there's fondness in his voice.

"Before we go on, would it be all right if I performed a number?" she asks softly.

I'm suddenly struck by how much she's grown in the last three years. I vividly remember her standing as soon as he prompted her and announcing she had a number to sing, rather than asking so politely, mildly, as she's doing now. I don't know why, but I'm proud of her.

"Of course, go ahead," he says, and sits next to Mike.

Rachel takes a moment to get out of her chair, but then she propels herself from it and stands before us. Her outfit today reminds me of Tina's, if less medieval. It's a black dress, as though she's preparing for a funeral, and she has a belt looped around her slim waist. Her legs stretch on forever. Her hair is in a messy bun, as though she strung it up after rolling out of bed and running the brush through it once. It's nice.

She bites her lip before speaking. "I thought a lot about…what I wanted to sing today. I tried to find something perfect for the occasion. I even listened to the 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' soundtrack twice."

There are a couple of giggles, and I smirk, remembering how much she detested that movie at Kurt's sleepover last year.

"But I realized that was useless. There's no song in the world that describes how much I love you all," she says, and her voice cracks. Tina sobs in the silence. "No matter what life hands us, you'll always be a part of me. I just wanted to let you know that before I…go on." She drops her gaze to the floor. "There's someone very important to me, in my life."

My stomach clenches and I'm not sure why, but I reach for Mercedes's hand again. She shoots me a worried glance, but gives her hand over without hesitation.

"Someone I've grown to love more than anything. I know this song is a little outdated, but it's dedicated to you. I know you're scared, baby, but I love you and…." Rachel stops, turning away to rub ferociously at her eyes, and I clench Mercedes's hand tighter so I don't run over and hug the broken girl. She turns back slowly, eyes puffy now. "I'll…I'll let the song speak for itself."

She nods to the band and I recognize the chords they play immediately. I know this song, and just knowing what she's about to do makes me want to sob uncontrollably. She's putting her heart on her sleeve, begging, pleading—and I don't know if she'll be turned down or not.

Rachel locks her chocolate eyes onto her target and I squirm a little as her voice burrs the first words.

"Dear, my love, haven't you wanted to be with me?

And dear, my love, haven't you longed to be free?

I can't keep pretending that I don't even know you

And at sweet night, you are my own"

I shudder at the familiarity in those last words, the adoration and yearning in them. Tina has gone quiet now, and I wonder if she's still crying. As Rachel's desperate plea continues, though, I forget all about the Goth in Artie's arms.

"Take my hand

We're leaving here tonight

There's no need to tell anyone

They'd only hold us down

So by the morning's light

We'll be halfway to anywhere

Where love is more than just your name"

Rachel drops her gaze to the floor again and I feel the loss of that connection resonate through my entire body. But then she wipes her cheeks and lifts her gaze again, eyes filled with tears and voice straining to move past them.

"I have dreamt of a place for you and I

No one knows who we are there

All I want is to give my life only to you

I've dreamt so long, I cannot dream anymore

Let's run away, I'll take you there"

Mercedes chokes out a sob next to me, and it startles me enough to make me hazard a glance around the room. Mercedes, Kurt, and Tina are back to crying, and when I see Brittany's shoulders shake ahead, I know she is, too. Santana kisses the top of her head, and to my shock, there's a tear rolling down her cheek. The boys all look appropriately depressed, and I swear I see Puck wipe his eyes. Finn alternates between frowning sadly at Rachel and glaring at someone else.

My attention goes right back to Rachel when she continues, snaring me with the depths of her eyes and the broken heart she places before all of us.

"There's no need to tell anyone

They'd only hold us down

So by the morning's light

We'll be halfway to anywhere

Where no one needs a reason"

Rachel extends her hand, coming toward us, now physically showing us what she is asking. And who she is asking. I shift in my chair, squeezing Mercedes's hand for comfort, but mostly to keep me from lunging across the room and sweeping Rachel up in my arms to protect her from this heartbreak.

"Forget this life, come with me, don't look back, you're safe now

Unlock your heart, drop your guard, no one's left to stop you

Forget this life, come with me, don't look back, you're safe now

Unlock your heart, drop your guard, no one's left to stop you now"

She blows the note at the last second, but no one cares, least of all me. The guitar wails and she sobs, her hand still extended but untaken. My throat is thick, making it hard to swallow, and I choke on a sob of my own as something holds me back from her.

"We're leaving here tonight

There's no need to tell anyone

They'd only hold us down

So by the morning's light

We'll be halfway to anywhere

Where love is more than just your name."

The song comes to a close, but no one moves; Rachel is our focus, and she's a statue. She doesn't even try to wipe away her tears anymore, just keeps her hand out, offering her heart and soul with that one movement, putting everything on the line. It's the dumbest, bravest, most beautiful thing I've ever seen. And I wonder why I can't move toward her.

"Elizabeth…" Rachel whimpers suddenly.

My gaze shoots to the girl in front of me, the thirteenth member of glee, and I realize that's what's stopping me. This song isn't for me. It would never be for me. I don't know how I got so caught up, but the revelation leaves me breathless, and I sag back into my chair with lifeless limbs as everyone else stares on, waiting for Liz to do something, willing her to.

And it scares me, but I don't know if I want her to say yes or no.

Then Liz takes a deep, shaky breath, not looking at any of us as she says, "Rachel, I…I can't."

Rachel pales as the other girl sobs and then runs from the room, and I want to chase after her and curse her for turning down the best thing that probably ever happened to her, ignoring the fact that none of us even knew they were involved until today. Finn engulfs Rachel in his arms and she weeps and whimpers into his shoulder, and no one else seems to know what to do.

And then Rachel meets my eyes. Her lips set in a thin line—not out of hatred or disgust or anything—but she's resigning herself. I can see it happening and my heart clenches in sympathy.

And I know that if the song had been for me, I wouldn't have said 'no' if my life depended on it.

XXXXXX

I tell Mercedes I'll meet them at the bowling alley later and go off to the bathroom to fix the makeup Rachel completely ruined. She disappeared after we performed 'Don't Stop Believing' one last time, and I wonder if anyone remembered to text her to ask if she wants to join us. I don't want her alone after that, and so I resolve to text her myself when I get to my car.

I'm just wondering why I suddenly care so much when I hear a sniffle as I enter the bathroom. My heart breaks.

Rachel is huddled into the corner, a paper towel clenched between her fists, and her knees tucked against her chest. It's clear she's been crying pretty much since she left.

I walk closer, stopping at the sinks, because then I'm at a loss. We don't fight anymore; I don't make fun of her. But we're not friends, and probably never will be, I reflect sadly. So I don't know what to do, but I know I want to comfort her just as badly as I did when I saw her pouring her heart out to that bitch only to have it torn to shreds.

I don't know if Rachel even knows I'm standing above her, so I smooth out my Cheerios skirt and ask quietly, "Are you okay?"

I'm hit with something so intense I don't know what to do with it when she meets my eyes. I grasp the sink to anchor myself, the wind knocked out of me, and I'm stunned, because I think she's beautiful. I don't know why now, when she's on the dirty bathroom floor with mascara on her puffy cheeks and her red-rimmed eyes are still pouring tears, and when her hair is pulled into this mess and there's a crumpled paper towel gripped tight in her little fists. But she is gorgeous.

And looking at me like I'm an idiot for asking. I nod in acknowledgement of how stupid that was, because I can't do anything else but gasp for breath.

A few moments of silence pass between us before I'm able to put my vocal cords to use again.

"I'm sorry, Rachel."

She drops her gaze to the paper towel and it's easier for me to think. She nods a little, and says so quietly I wouldn't have heard if the acoustics in the bathroom weren't so great, "Thank you."

I wait again, and then I say what I've been wanting to since I realized it was Elizabeth she was singing to. "I didn't know you were together."

Rachel makes a sound between a scoff and a sob. "She didn't want anyone to know."

Again, silence. But this time she's the one to break it.

"Sometimes I think she was just ashamed of me." And again, it's so soft that if it weren't for the acoustics, I wouldn't have heard a word.

It takes me a minute to realize what she's talking about. I guess I've been around Kurt so long that it doesn't occur to me that anyone would be ashamed of being gay. And I bristle thinking of Liz being ashamed of being with Rachel, but I don't say anything for fear of upsetting her more. She probably doesn't want to hear anything bad about her right now, which is why she's in the bathroom instead of with Finn.

"Quinn," Rachel says after such a long time I end up blushing because I've been staring again. She doesn't look at me, though.

"Yes?" I prod gently.

"I'm asking you this…because I know you'll give me an honest answer," she says.

I feel the weight of those words crash down on me like an anvil. The feeling is multiplied when she meets my eyes again and I find it so hard to breathe that I consider looking away, but realize I can't. I nod weakly and she takes a breath.

"Am I really that terrible?" Rachel whimpers, and her voice cracks on the last word. She's already almost crying, as though she's played out my answer in her head.

It takes me a minute again, but then I realize what she's asking. She's asking me if she's that hard to live with that someone had to hide her away and then left her as soon as she opened her heart. She's asking if she's deserved to be treated like shit since the fifth grade. I know the head cheerleader would sneer and say something snarky, and that that's what she's expecting.

But I can't do that. High school is over, and Rachel is beautiful, and she's trusting me in this moment. She's trusting me with her heart and I can't do anything but tell her the truth of what I believe. It slips out before I'm ready for it, but I know it's true as soon as I say it.

"You're perfect."

Rachel's mouth opens, and then it closes again, and I can tell she's struggling between crying and smiling as she settles on staring. I offer what I can—the smallest of smiles, to assure her that I'm not lying, that I've never been more certain of anything in my life.

"Rach, you in—oh."

I whip around, mentally cursing the unceremonious breaking of our connection, and see Finn peering inside. I bite back a sharp remark about how this is the girl's bathroom and, unless he's had a sex change we don't know about, he needs to get the hell out.

"I…didn't mean to interrupt," Finn says, but he creeps further in.

"It's fine," I say at last, and I see Rachel flinch out of the corner of my eye as my voice grows cold and hard again. "I was just leaving."

I march to the door and swing it wider, and he gives me a cursory glance before filing in past me. I make to leave, but something stops me again and I glance back. And Rachel has her tear-filled eyes locked on me as Finn wraps her in his arms, and the wind is knocked out of me again—and this time I'm certain she can see the awe in my expression before I tear myself away.

Outside of graduation, that's the last time I saw Rachel Berry in Lima, Ohio.