Creature #1: Nessie
Quinn sat on the shore of Loch Ness. She was situated on top of one of the larger rocks that covered the beach. Her bare feet pressed flat against the smooth, cold surfaces of the pebbles in front of her. Cool air blew off of the loch, whipping the hair that had fallen from her messy bun all around her face. She drew the folds of her jacket more securely around her chest, attempting to ward off the chill. And still, her eyes refused to look away from the mostly calm, undisturbed waters of the loch. Her camera sat to her right, next to her thigh – untouched, and with an entirely blank memory card to show for her time.
Ever since Quinn was a little girl, something about the unknown had been thrilling to her. She would watch the History Channel for hours at a time, her young intellect absorbing all manner of alien sightings and supposed hoaxes and even fancying flights of wishful thinking. But there was always one area of study that had fascinated Quinn far above and beyond all others: cryptozoology.
Her family, of course, had been shocked and appalled when she double-majored in zoology and anthropology. They didn't understand what the hell she could possibly accomplish with such 'foolhardy disciplines' as her father had called them. 'Go to Columbia, Quinnie,' he had said. 'I know people on the admissions committee. We'll have you in law school in no time. No time at all'. But Quinn had passed on her father's offer, obviously.
She put herself through undergrad – and then through a doctoral program. But Quinn pursued these levels of higher education not because she really believed in what she had been doing, but because she hoped that having the PhD title after Fabray would lend some credence to her future discoveries. Because some people called it pseudoscience, but Quinn called it truth. And someday, she would prove the existence of legendary creatures such as Chupacabra and Bigfoot – and when she did, her father could shove his foolhardy law degree down his throat.
The waters rippled against the shore. A few pieces of driftwood occasionally became lodged in the rocks, dropped there by the receding waves as they departed. Quinn didn't look down as she reached to pick up her camera – even the briefest moment of looking away could mean a missed glimpse, and Quinn wasn't willing to risk that. She brought the lens to her eye, peeking through the zoom and eagerly scanning from right to left across the loch and towards the horizon where the sun was swiftly setting.
As Quinn's camera shifted completely across the landscape, ending up on Quinn's far left, she noticed a figure in her sights. It wasn't a lake monster – as was obviously Quinn's first instinct to assume – but another woman. She had a pair of binoculars held up to her eyes and, as Quinn watched, lowered them to hang from her neck as she turned and began walking along the beach.
Unknowingly, it seemed, the stranger was walking in Quinn's direction. However, her eyes never left the choppy lake waters. The wind was blowing harder now, and Quinn failed to suppress a giggle as the lady's hat suddenly flew off of her head. Quinn heard the faint echo of a shriek carried towards her on the wind as she watched the woman turn and run after the hat, but after only a few yards, it quickly became apparent that her chase was a lost cause. The hat was long gone.
Quinn could almost picture the pout on the other woman's face as she turned back around, stomping her foot petulantly before continuing on her previous path. Quinn smiled. Before long, the woman again seemed to simply be taking a leisurely stroll along the shore of the loch, her eyes fixated on the shifting waters. As she got closer, Quinn could discern that the woman had dark hair, seemed to be a bit on the short side of things, and was wearing khaki shorts and a burgundy pullover. Good thing it's nearly summer, Quinn thought, or else she'd be freezing that cute little ass off.
The woman continued to get closer to Quinn, and Quinn had become so distracted by the way the other woman carried herself that she hadn't realized that it had been several minutes since she herself had even glanced in the direction of the water. The sun would be setting soon, and this was her last night here. This was her last chance – until next year, of course – that Quinn could catch a glimpse of the Loch Ness monster. She came every year and would stay for two weeks, doing little more than eating the occasional meal provided by her lovely, longtime friend Patsy, sleeping, and gazing out at the water from various vantage points. This particular stretch of beach had always been Quinn's favorite, so she saved it for last every year.
It turned out that Quinn was not the only one distracted. Before she could so much as call out a warning, the other woman had tripped on a piece of driftwood that she had been walking straight at for the past several minutes, at least. Her arms flailed dramatically in front of her, and Quinn could have sworn the lady was suddenly in slow motion as she flew through the air, entirely off the ground for a moment before landing with an unflattering thud amidst the rock and sand of the beach.
Wincing to herself, Quinn quickly hopped up off of her rock and slipped her shoes on, swinging her camera's strap over her neck and heading quickly towards the damsel in distress. She leapt easily from rock to rock, never missing a step or slipping on the slick, wet surface of the stones as she got closer to where the waves were breaking on the shore.
As she reached the woman, Quinn couldn't help but smile. She had rolled over onto her back and was lying in a spread eagle position, limbs extended far out from her sides. She was breathing rather heavily as she suddenly started to chuckle to herself. Quinn was very worried that she had hit her head on a rock.
"Hey, are you ok?" Quinn questioned once she was only a couple of feet from the sprawled out figure. Quinn raised her eyebrow as she hopped across the woman's legs and bent down with her hands on her knees.
The woman tilted her head to the side, glancing quizzically at Quinn with a goofy grin forming on her face. She reached down and lifted her binoculars to her eyes, pointing them in Quinn's direction and adjusting the focus briefly. Quinn blushed. The woman lowered the binoculars and said, "Yep! My binoculars are still functioning. All is right in the world!" She stuck her hand out abruptly, her grin turning into a full-fledged beaming smile, "Hello, by the way! My name is Rachel, Rachel Berry!"
Quinn couldn't help but smile and laugh incredulously at the sight of Rachel, Rachel Berry sticking her hand up towards Quinn's face, still lying flat out against the rocks of the shore of Loch Ness. Never before had Quinn experienced such a strange encounter – and she was in the business of strange encounters. Chuckling, Quinn took the offered hand and shook it. "Hi, Rachel Berry. It's nice to meet you. My name is Quinn Fabray." She almost said PhD at the end of her name, but suppressed the instinctive – and oftentimes awkward – urge. This Rachel Berry character didn't seem like the kind of person to be impressed by titles.
"Yes, it's nice to meet you as well, Quinn Fabray!" Rachel said with a dopey grin, still shaking Quinn's hand.
Quinn chuckled again. It seemed as if Rachel always talked in exclamations. "Are you hurt?" Quinn questioned.
Rachel released Quinn's hand – which caused Quinn to suddenly feel all sorts of cold and empty – and began patting herself down. First her wrists and then her chest (Quinn giggled) and then her hips and thighs before she held her legs straight up in the air and wiggled her ankles around. "Nope!" she exclaimed. "Everything seems to be in working order! Mind helping me up?"
"No problem," Quinn replied, again taking the girl's hand in her own and helping to leverage her into a standing position. Immediately, Quinn noticed that the girl was quite a bit shorter than she was. But her eyes and her smile and her perfect skin at this close range were frigging dangerous. Quinn licked her lips.
"I would ask you what brings you out here, but seeing as you're a fellow American, I'm sure it's not the rolling Scottish highlands." Rachel smiled, and Quinn melted. But just a little bit.
"You're right, it's definitely not the highlands. Though those are quite lovely this time of year."
Rachel beamed some more as her eyes continued to bore into Quinn's. Quinn would have found it disconcerting if it hadn't actually been so terribly comforting. Neither girl had glanced at the waves in several minutes now. "Nessie hasn't made herself known tonight, unfortunately," Rachel said, sighing wistfully. She patted her binoculars and said, "What I wouldn't give for a sighting!"
Quinn's eyebrows furrowed as she briefly checked Rachel out – NO – as she… As she looked Rachel over, searching for a camera. "Why don't you have a camera?" Quinn asked.
Now it was Rachel's turn to look confused. "Why on earth would I need a camera?" she answered the question with one of her own.
"What do you mean, why on earth would you need a camera? If you see her, wouldn't you want proof?"
"I don't need proof!" Rachel smiled again. "I would just like to see."
She said it so simply that Quinn momentarily didn't know what to say at all. She was – quite literally – speechless. "Huh," she eloquently managed eventually.
Suddenly, there was a loud thump and giggling from several paces away from where they stood. Where the beach of rocks ended and rolling, beautiful grass began, there suddenly came the sound of giggling and general bouts of merriment.
"What… did you hear that?" Rachel questioned. She looked frightened, and she was clutching at her binoculars as if prepared to use them as a weapon at the slightest notice.
Quinn rolled her eyes at the noises. It was their last day here, after all. She probably shouldn't be too hard on them…
"Yes," she moaned dramatically, "I heard it." She swung her head back around to Rachel from where she had been staring at the grassy knoll. "That's actually uhhh… Well, that's my documentary crew." She felt bashful saying the words documentary crew to Rachel, the girl who had just explained that she was looking for the Loch Ness monster but had no intentions of taking a picture once she caught sight of her.
"You don't say…" Rachel muttered under her breath as her eyes slowly shifted from the direction of the giggling and back towards Quinn. But Quinn was more than a little relieved when she saw only mirth in Rachel's eyes and not judgment. "Documentary crew, eh? How long do you plan on being here to get a good glimpse of Nessie?"
Quinn sighed and glanced once more out towards the water. It was practically twilight now, and it wouldn't be until sometime around midnight when the moon was high in the sky that more optimal sightings could potentially take place. "Two weeks, but today is our last day. I'll probably stay out until the moon is gone. I think capturing the creature in the moonlight would be crazy beautiful," she said as she turned back to stare down into Rachel's eyes.
"You're right," Rachel said. "A midnight sighting of Nessie would be pretty spectacular!" Her eyes shifted again towards the location of the previous giggles – now moans and pants and other exceedingly awkward sounds including one woman moaning out 'Ohhh, baby!' before more moans and such. "Uhh, shall we walk along the beach a little further? I feel as if we should give…" Rachel trailed off, not knowing the names – or the number, really – of Quinn's crew.
"Brittany and Santana," Quinn supplied.
"Right, Brittany and Santana. We should probably give them some privacy."
"Puh-lease, they practically kicked me out of our bathroom last night so they could have shower sex. I don't owe them anything." But Quinn's words were deceived by the smile on her face, and she had already started walking along the beach with Rachel anyway.
They talked as they walked, and Quinn found the last fading rays of the setting sun to cast the most stunning glow on Rachel's face that she had ever seen. Rachel, she soon discovered, was capable of talking a mile a minute and was very fond of not watching where she was going. Several times, Quinn had to stop her from stepping in a crack or tripping on more driftwood. A couple of times, she even had to reach out and wrap her arms around Rachel's slender waist when the girl took a misstep. And those moments where Quinn's arms were around the other woman were the most difficult – because Quinn found herself not really wanting to let go.
Finally, they reached what seemed to be a decent vantage point. The beach had sloped upwards, and there was a rather large boulder at its peak. As Rachel hurried forward to scramble up the side of the boulder to take a seat, Quinn's eyes widened and she fretfully moved closer to catch Rachel when she would inevitably fall. Which she did. Twice.
Ten minutes later, they were both sitting atop the boulder. Rachel's knees were drawn up to her chest, and Quinn thought she looked utterly adorable with her binoculars pressed to her face, even though there wasn't anything to see yet – it would be a couple of hours before the moon was at its highest, and only then would they really have good visibility. But she didn't say that to Rachel, because she didn't want to interrupt the other girl's story about her struggles with airport security in New York City on her way here.
"…And I just couldn't get them to understand! I really just think the attractive female TSA officer wanted to pat me down. So I guess that's understandable, she can't really be blamed…"
Quinn expected to hear some tone of playfulness in Rachel's voice at those words, but she was instead completely serious and straight-faced, dropping her binoculars back down around her neck where they rested against her thighs. She turned her head, cocking it slightly to the side with a sweet smile on her lips before asking, "Any airport horror stories, Quinn?" Quinn just shook her head, eyes sparkling. "Well, I wish I were so lucky as you, my friend!"
Silence eventually settled around them, broken intermittently by the sounds of insects or frogs or even once by the playful shouts of Brittany and Santana a little way down the beach where Quinn and Rachel had left them. Occasionally, they would ask each other questions, learning more about each other little by little.
By an hour or so after midnight – with the moon at its highest point in the sky, glancing brilliantly off the waters of Loch Ness – Quinn and Rachel were so engrossed in each other that they never saw the telescopic-like neck and head of Nessie protrude from the water.
Brittany and Santana had snuck up behind the girls on their boulder, and they jumped out with shared 'Boo!'s, startling the others and causing Rachel to scream at the top of her lungs.
Nessie's head swiveled in the moonlight to stare momentarily at the shore before huffing air out of her nostrils in a seemingly irritated gesture before diving back down. Humans, she thought as she submerged fully under the calm surface of the water. Can't live with 'em, pass the beer nuts… And then she was gone.
The night passed quickly and was full of introductions and stories and laughter and rare moments of silence, broken only by the waves lapping against the shore. Quinn tried not to let her smile completely overtake her face as Rachel scooted closer to her for warmth at one point, their thighs pressing together and sending delicious tingles all over her body. Eventually, however, Quinn looked down at her watch and immediately became distraught at the time. They had to leave in an hour if they ever wanted to catch their flight on time. And they couldn't afford to miss it.
Rachel noticed the look on Quinn's face. "You have to leave soon," she said, and it wasn't a question.
Quinn nodded. "Yeah, we have to go home." She couldn't bring herself to say much more. But the words were there, unspoken – 'I don't want to leave you. What if I never see you again?'
Santana and Brittany had already headed back to Patsy's where their stuff needed to be packed when Rachel suddenly set her shining eyes and brilliant smile on Quinn. "We'll see each other again, Quinn, I'm sure! The universe has this funny way of making things such as this work out."
"Things such as this?" Quinn asked, unable to keep the curiosity from her voice.
"Epic love in the making, Quinn! Epic. Love."
The plane circled low as it made its initial ascent away from Scotland, and Quinn caught a glimpse of the huge lake she knew was Loch Ness. She grinned as she pictured a stunning brunette full of hope and smiles and optimism walking along the beach. As the plane evened out and Quinn lost sight of the waters below, she hoped that, if nothing else, Rachel would watch her step a little better from now on.
A/N: So this is going to be a relatively short multi-chapter story, each chapter being a dedication to Quinn's exploration as she searches for various cryptids (don't worry, I had to wiki it, too). I have seven cryptids picked out in addition to Nessie, so they will be written eventually (and that also means seven more chapters)! This is (obviously, I hope) going to be primarily Faberry with a side helping of Brittana (primarily Horny!Brittana, secondarily Obnoxious!Brittana). Hope you enjoyed!