Part 1 –

Traumatic Beginnings:

(Saturday, May 7th) 3:15am:

Quinn was erratic. Her thoughts had all begun to muddle together and form a sea of indecipherable shapes and thoughts. Perhaps that party hadn't been such a great idea, she thought post maturely. She didn't even know why she had bothered to come – she could do without many of these people who she once considered her "friends," the football players and the cheerios who had flocked to her like sheep one year, and then abandoned and ridiculed her the next. She secretly smirked at the fact that they all came scrambling back to her control once she was made Cheerio captain again - it was the worst game one could play; and she was tired of it.

"Quinn?" Quinn's mind snapped back to the present as she re-focused her hazel eyes on the road, gripping the steering wheel tightly as she gazed out of the window, she had almost forgotten the little brunette was even there. Scratch that – she definitely hadn't forgotten, in fact; this particular brunette was the central force behind Quinn's most recent emotional downfall. Rachel Berry would be her incomparable ruin – Quinn had no doubt about it.

She gripped the steering wheel to her car and sighed. "I forgot you were here. Sorry…you're quieter than normal." Rachel turned toward the passenger window and gazed at the stars, hoping to catch a constellation or two; but the sky was too polluted with light and smog, she exhaled. Rachel sagged against the side console of the passenger side and closed her eyelids; feeling the breeze careen softly against her face as they drove.

"I'm just tired… Quinn?" Rachel had looked up then, her head still leaning against the car as she refocused her attention on Quinn as the blonde drove silently through the street. She inclined her head slightly to let the brunette know that she was listening.

"Why did you offer me a ride home from that party? Why did you help me?"

Quinn's eyes grew angry. She had spent the greater majority of her time attempting to calm her nerves, which were static with adrenaline and feral anger. She turned her head a bit more and could still see the puffiness ringing around Rachel's eyes – In all honesty Quinn had gone to that party specifically so that she could keep an eye on Rachel. True she had been invited anyway, but word around the Cheerio circle had let slip that Rachel Berry would be the target of a cruel joke. The fact that Rachel got a personal invitation to tonight's party from Karofsky himself was already a blazon red flag.

(Saturday, May 7th) 12:15am – 2:45am:

Quinn had arrived and, as inconspicuously as she could (which is pretty damn inconspicuous) kept a close eye on Rachel; quickly dumping out cups that were made for her by Azimio or the Cheerio's, offering to take them to the brunette herself, since she was captain – Rachel hadn't even seen a roofie spiked cup once all night, thanks to Quinn. But sometime between the hours of 1:15 and 2:20am, Quinn had lost sight of her. She looked everywhere for the brunette, ignoring Santana and Brittany's quips about being a party pooper. She had to find Rachel, Karofsky and Azimio could not be trusted. It wasn't until almost an hour later that Quinn found her. It took her every ounce of composure she had, not to cry out for the smaller girl.

Rachel had been placed in the garage. The air was thick and stuffy – Quinn saw her almost immediately. She was duct taped to one of the cars in the driveway, while her mouth was simultaneously constrained. And she was covered in paint. The skin around her face had begun to peel and chip, and she reminded Quinn of those old Fresco paintings of Ancient Greece that she had learned about once on a museum trip as a kid– Her heart broke. She let out a barely decipherable sob before pushing her way over to Rachel. The little brunette had opened her eyes then and began to squeal through the tape covering her mouth.

"Shhh, it's ok."

Rachel tensed her body away from Quinn's outstretched fingers as Quinn began to attempt to remove the duct tape. Rachel whimpered as she squirmed away from the head cheerleader, something that sounded like a sob escaped her bound lips as she shook. Quinn's eyes flashed incomprehensibly at Rachel's blatant fear – of her, before they simply became wrought with regret and sadness. Quinn's eyes watered, and glossed over as she held back tears – her voice came out strained and shaky.

"Shhhh, it's ok, don't be afraid. I'm going to get you out of here. Shhh, baby, it's ok."

Rachel's eyes widened as a few tears emerged from her already blotchy face as she whimpered again, this time she didn't recoil as Quinn placed fingers upon binding and quietly released Rachel of her prison. The last piece of tape finally came off - Quinn pulled the tape from across Rachel's face quickly and delicately at the same time, in hopes to prevent pain as much as she could.

"Why are you he-,"

Rachel began to whisper. Quinn shook her head, and grabbed the brunettes paint covered hand.

"I'm taking you home. Come on, my car is parked out back." Rachel nodded silently and followed shakily in Quinn's wake. The congealed paint pealed off her skin as she ambled tepidly forward.

(Saturday, May 7th) 3:15am:

"Why did you offer me a ride home from that party? Why did you help me?"

Quinn could barely look Rachel in the eyes after the small brunette asked her that question. It seemed simple enough, but for Quinn It was everything – Rachel was everything. And she couldn't see her fall apart, because if she fell apart or lost herself, then so would Quinn.

The blonde exhaled as she snuck a glance at Rachel – she was still covered in orange and silver paint, Quinn had placed a towel on her seat so that Rachel wouldn't feel awkward about possibly damaging her interior (even though Quinn could have cared less).

"I… I've been trying to help myself for so long now – I'm not who I used to be. We'll leave it at that for now."

Rachel let out a small smile, despite the crinkle it made when the paint along her mouth and eyes chipped. She couldn't decipher exactly what it was about Quinn's words that had struck a chord within her, but somehow she felt that whatever Quinn was attempting to get across, it was much deeper than her words cared to let on. Rachel turned her gaze out of the window again, she was so struck with all of the emotion of the night that she was bubbling over: with confusion, unease, fear, anger, gratitude, and every thing else that she couldn't quite discern separately. She wiped her eyes quickly at the brim of tears that had begun to well in her eyes; further smearing paint as she sniffled.

Quinn turned her head around then to look at the crying diva seated across from her. She didn't look sad, but rather tired and weary. The blonde almost felt as if all of the emotions in the world linked them together at that very moment. She took a hand off of the steering wheel, keeping the other one in place, and placed it on top of Rachel's paint smeared one, squeezing gently, but with silent purpose.

Rachel looked up from the window and then down at their joined hands. She gave Quinn a watery smile before squeezing right back.

"Rachel, can we be friends?"

(Saturday, May 7th) 3:17pm:

The calm before the storm: Isn't there always a defining moment before the storm when it seems as if the entire world is pulsing with electricity, the calm is eerie, and the sensation is otherworldly. Your body will tense before the danger is there, but there is no stopping it is there? It's coming, it's coming.

(Saturday, May 7th) 3:18pm:

Rachel stared at Quinn for what seemed like hours. Her face looked almost expressionless, her thoughts were probably erratic. Quinn shifted in her seat, uncertain if she was being too forward. Because, why would Rachel Berry want to be friends with her? She tormented the little brunette all throughout high school; it was her "friends" who attacked her tonight. Quinn wasn't a hero; she was an enabler. No matter how genuine her feelings had always been for Rachel, the diva would probably never trust her. She recalled the look of blind fear etched across the brunettes face as Quinn first attempted to help her, and it was heart-breaking. There were numerous reasons for Quinn's actions that night - and too many of them were much deeper than the blonde or the paint covered brunette were ready for. Truthfully, Quinn deserved nothing from Rachel - she didn't deserve friendship, camaraderie or trust for that matter. Most of all trust - and yet here she was, blindly asking for it.

She sighed as she moved to release her hand from the brunette's smaller one - as if scorched. Because Quinn was anything if not receptive, The brunette most not want nothing to do with her, and who could blame her. However, to their mutual surprise, Rachel squeezed the blonde's hand tighter, unwilling to let go.

"You called me Rachel."

Quinn looked up, her brows furrowed but her features showing no emotion, she nodded silently. There was magnetism in the air just then – something passed between the two seventeen year olds in that singular instant.

Quinn felt like the world had stopped, and all that was left was her and Rachel in that moment. Quinn would later think back on that pivotal millisecond and recall that the electricity between them was also slightly unnatural, she would recall how the hairs on the back of her nape had risen as she looked at the brunette across from her. She would remember hearing a faint screech of tires as Rachel answered her again, her smile brilliant and promising, even though both of them knew that the blonde deserved anything but forgiveness.

"Yes, Quinn, I would very much like to be friends with you."

She would recall the pair of blinding white lights that would follow immediately after her breath hitched. And then everything would go black.

(Saturday, May 8th) 3:35pm

There were flashing lights everywhere. Her vision was blurry and scattered. She finally managed to open her eyes to slits and the entire world shifted. Her head spun dangerously, and she fought off the unyielding urge to vomit. There was pain everywhere, it was blinding, and she couldn't move her legs. She could feel hands working at her waist frantically.

"She's conscious!" Someone was yelling next to her ear. She squinted and swallowed back vomit again. Her head felt unnaturally heavy and she whimpered in pain.

"Sweetie, keep your eyes open for me." Quinn opened her eyes as much as she could, her vision was still blurry and erratic, but she could make out a blurry face staring down at her – a woman was looking at her, holding a flashlight, and moving it quickly in front of her dilated pupils.

"W-What happened" Quinn wheezed out. She noticed that her breathing was strained; it was difficult for her to intake enough air, and she felt like she was suffocating. She coughed violently, sending a shuddering pain through her broken body – she was spitting up blood.

"I'll need a chest tube stat." The young woman turned back to Quinn again as she worked meticulously to save her. "I'm an EMT, you were in a car accident. We're helping you as best as we can, where going to get you out of here ok." Quinn nodded weakly, before she was lifted out of her broken car, an oxygen mask was placed over her mouth and she could see the night sky as she was fitted onto a gurney.

"Rachel, where's Rachel?" She was going into shock, her body had tensed and she couldn't register much of anything. "Find her!" She wheezed, despite her constricted airflow before being overcome with nausea again. She started coughing; there was more blood this time. She couldn't fight the sickness that was coming, and she threw up violently. Her oxygen mask was frantically removed, her head buzzed around her, and her eyes slackened. And then she blacked out.

(Saturday May, 7th) 10:42am:

"Hi, are you Mr. and Mr. Berry?"

A small doctor, who stood at about 5'7 had just approached the two fathers in the ER waiting room. He was holding onto a large clipboard, and he looked tired - strained, and weary. The two fathers nodded amid their fear and worry. Hiram clutched Leroy's hand violently as he shook in agony. The doctor scanned over the two of them briefly, perhaps trying to find a familiar face among the crowd of waiting families, he furrowed his brow in confusion.

"By chance, have you seen a Mr. and or Ms. Fabray this morning in the waiting room? I'd like to speak to both families as a unit first, and then separately as I inform you all of your daughters conditions."

Leroy and Hiram shook their heads. The small doctor sighed and beckoned the Berry's to follow him to the waiting room outside of the ICU.

"ICU? Why is our baby in ICU?" Leroy couldn't contain his tears, as the realization that his daughter may not be okay finally descended upon him. Hiram blinked away the emotion behind his eyes and squeezed his husband's hand solemnly. The doctor turned around once they had reached the ICU waiting area, and began to speak.

"I'm Dr. Hayes, the attending physician for both Rachel Berry and Quinn Fabray. The two girls were involved in a major car accident early this morning. From what we've gathered, they were hit by a drunk driver. Neither of the two girls was under the influence of a controlled substance. When your daughter was rescued from the vehicle she was not conscious, and her vitals were dangerously at risk. She went into emergency surgery, and she is now stabilized."

Leroy shook tremulously as the doctor spoke. "What happened to her?"

The doctor sighed inwardly; he hated giving bad news to good people.

"She suffered from minor head trauma, as well as a ruptured spleen as a result of blunt abdominal trauma, she has 3 broken ribs, a fractured wrist and a few serious cuts, and bruises. The ruptured spleen was what required her emergency surgery, and she had major internal bleeding and hemorrhaging as a result. We gave her a transfusion, and now she's in ICU. If things go well, she should be moved within the next 24-32 hours to a private room."

Leroy and Hiram embraced each other and exhaled the breaths that neither one of them realized that they were holding in. Hiram looked up then at the weary doctor. His face was blotchy and his eyes were red-rimmed as he spoke.

"And what about the other girl, Quinn Fabray. Is she ok, are her parents here?"

The doctor looked at the worried parents patiently before replying.

"She's also in ICU, her injuries were also quite severe, we almost lost her in surgery. I can't really give you any more information until we've spoken to her parents. They've been contacted but have yet to arrive here at the hospital."

The two men looked at each other wearily, the thought that a parent would not come to their child's aid in in a time of need was heart-wrenching. They hoped that Quinn would not have to go through her recovery alone. When they waited in the ICU after the doctor left, they wept not only for their daughter, but for Quinn Fabray as well.

(Sunday, May 8th) 10:45pm:

Rachel opened her heavy eyelids warily. Her head felt fuzzy and groggy. Her mouth was dry and her entire body was unbearably sore. She pressed her eyelids together harshly as a few solitary tears escaped and ran down her cheeks onto the pillow beneath her head. What happened? She was in shock. Where was she? She re-opened her eyes and managed to incline her head against the pain, she saw all of the monitors and IV's, she was in a hospital gown, and her arm was in a cast. She panicked. She tried to move and get up but her limbs weren't cooperating properly, she began to sob and sputter as she clutched at her IV's.

Leroy and Hiram Berry were asleep on the lounge chairs that had been placed in the room after Rachel was relocated. Hiram woke up at the noise. He looked and spotted his daughter sobbing against the hospital bed, and he shook Leroy awake. The two fathers rushed to their daughters bedside. Leroy stroking her hair back against her scalp – that always worked in calming their little girl.

Rachel began to calm, her eyes cleared and she saw that her daddy's were standing over her, stroking her hair and shushing her soothingly. "Daddy? Why am I Here?" She was still crying, but her sobs had ebbed to the occasional hiccup or whimper as she looked around the sterilized room.

"You were in a car accident darling. You were pretty banged up, but it's going to be okay now peach."

Rachel turned her head on her pillow and closed her eyes. She didn't remember an accident. The last thing that she could remember was the way Quinn looked after she told her that she wanted to be friends. The blonde smiled at her - and Rachel could've sworn it was more brilliant than anything she'd ever laid witness to. And then suddenly there was a bright light followed by unyielding, un-relenting pain. And now she had woken up - in both physical and emotional shock, the image of Quinn's unforgettable smile pressing against the graininess of her eyelids, like an image scorched to the memory.

Her eyes remained closed, as she began to remember the events leading up to her accident.

"Where is Quinn?" was all she replied before closing off from the world.

A/N: When I first posted this it was early in the morning and so all my time frames were a little off, and I had yet to complete all of my corrections. But here is the newly finished project! I've finally had time to come back to it. I'm really excited for what I have in store for this story - also, don't worry about the time frames - they were mostly used singularly for this chapter mostly as a segue-way but after this and chapter two, it will read less disjointedly. :)