Disclaimer: Own not. Profit not. Sue not.
AN: Littlewood's Law states that individuals can expect a "miracle" to happen to them at the rate of about one per month. Littlewood defines a miracle as an exceptional event of special significance occurring at a frequency of one in a million.
It would have been considered a 'normal' day in Rachel Berry land.
'Would' being the operative word.
Rachel rolled her eyes at herself as she pondered the various books in front of her. A not-so-closeted Barnes & Noble lover she once again had found herself drawn in from the cold of New York in December to hide. The smell of hot coffee and books was irresistible, as always, and she wondered once again if there was a way to bottle the scent. She'd rolled her eyes because as she'd perused the various book shelves a stray thought had wandered through her mind and it was, honestly, eye roll worthy.
A Berry good day so far, it should be celebrated with a new book purchase!
The fact was, Rachel's social skills weren't exactly up to standard, at least that's what her therapist had said when Rachel had told her she didn't seem to be able to make friends. Finally successful, finally the Rachel Berry - instead of just Rachel (or worse, Rachel ManHands Berry), and she was so happy, except when she wasn't.
It's lonely at the top, was a common thread she chased around in her head. She knew it was cliche, but it was proving true. Because she was, she was lonely and buying books to occupy what precious little free time she had instead of going out with castmates or heaven forbid dating someone.
With a deep sigh, Rachel turned from the 'self-help' section and ambled in the direction of the Starbucks. The delicious aroma promised an escape from her melancholy. If only for a brief moment.
She waited somewhat impatiently in line, eyes casting about the quietly busy store. She smiled to herself at all the parents and kids in the children's section. It was nice to see that some parents still encouraged an interest in reading for fun. Rachel herself had several fond memories of library trips with her father's. She watched as a small blonde girl, hair in pigtails, tugged on her mothers jean clad leg and held a book up for inspection. The woman's grin was bright as she took the proffered item and gushed over the choice, obviously exaggerating her joy but the little girl only beamed up that much brighter at the praise.
Rachel felt the pang in her chest she always did when she saw things like that. She swiftly turned her attention back to her coffee quest.
The warmth of her green tea (because she still couldn't handle coffee) in her hand helped her re-center, she took a cautious sip as she stepped away from the counter and hummed to herself at the smooth taste. It was still a little hot, but soothing, just like it always was, and she knew the warm feeling in her stomach would help when she eventually left the bookstore.
She was trying to decide what genre to go dig through next when it happened.
She froze, because Rachel Berry had a near perfect auditory memory and she knew that voice - she still heard it sometimes, in her dreams and even haunting her waking moments.
"You get heartbroken."
So continued the internal tirade while a chill invaded the pit of her stomach. Flashes of long buried history she'd tried to run from streamed through her mind like her own personal Hulu channel. Her hands released on their own and her tea dropped to the floor with a splat and the hollow sound of her cup bouncing then rolling on the tile. She knew her mouth was open and that her eyes had widened.
Her hands were shaking.
It came out a whisper, a whimper, an utterance of disbelief that begged it all to be some sort of horrible dream. The only other option she could come up with was that Quinn had spent the last few years hunting her down to finally rid the world of one Rachel Berry.
She decided she would have to face this figment (because that's exactly what this was) and hope that she woke up soon, at home in her recliner. So slowly she turned, still terrified of looming doom and death.
In front of her, still impossibly beautiful, Quinn Fabray. In all her annoyingly shiny glory. Blonde hair loose and smooth, hazel eyes just as vibrant, she half expected to see a baby doll dress - or worse, the dreaded Cheerios uniform. But new Quinn was wearing a suit with a light blue button up on underneath.
To her horror the former cheerleader was smiling.
Definitely a nightmare.
"Oh my God!" Quinn yelped and rushed in to give her a hug. "Rachel, I can't believe it!"
Me either, Rachel mused and awkwardly returned the other woman's embrace. "Hello, Quinn."
"Hi," Quinn's smile put the sun to shame, though it fell when she glanced down at the fallen tea cup. "I'm sorry for startling you, could I buy you a new drink? Maybe we could catch up for a bit? I mean, I'm sure you're busy. I see posters for your show all the time but I'd love to have a cup of coffee with you, if you're game?"
Rachel blinked slowly in response to the rapid-fire tirade. She'd always been known for her ability to talk at a million miles per hour, she wasn't used to hearing it from other people. Let alone the blonde haired woman whom she'd once thought was the devil in a cheerleading uniform. "I - uh - yeah, I've got a little bit of time, we could sit over there?" She gestured limply off towards the side of the Starbucks attachment where a few tables were set.
The other woman nodded and jerked her thumb back towards the newly formed line of downtrodden awaiting their dose of happy. "I'll be right there. What were you drinking?"
"Green tea," she answered simply. Swaying slightly she watched Quinn dart off for the back of the line.
It had started off as a normal day.
Her normal day was about to get weirder it seemed.
Situated in the chair closest to the exit in case she needed to make a quick get away (or Santana showed up too) Rachel cupped her hands around her replica cup of tea and stared at her company. Quinn sipped at her venti black coffee and seemed to be ignoring the fact that Rachel was staring, her eyes tracked the people outside the window. Finally the hazel-green eyes drifted back to meet Rachel's gaze over the lip of her cup.
"How have you been, Rachel?"
A simple question, and yet Rachel felt like there was a spotlight on her. "I, well, busy I suppose."
"You must be! I really do see your posters up everywhere. I brag to people that I went to High School with you once upon a time. That's probably really lame of me to say now, after everything. I am proud of you though, you know?"
"Really?" She tried hard to keep the sarcasm out of her voice and almost succeeded. Almost.
"Yes, really. You did it, Rachel. Despite everything, you got your dream and that's a very cool thing. You must be so proud."
Shocked at this new turn, Rachel shook her head and cleared her throat. "I am, most days. When you're younger you don't always think about everything your dream entails."
"I'm not on Broadway, so I can't really imagine what it must be like, but I think I understand what you're getting at."
"In Lima I was special, in New York?" She scoffed and gestured outside at the bustling street. "One of a million hopefuls. Talented hopefuls. It was so much harder than I'd been expecting, I didn't stand out like I thought I would. I had to change and grow up, it sucked. If it weren't for the fact that I've always been determined I'd be a barista still, dreaming of singing on a stage instead of in the shower." She paused, to catch her breath and to decide whether or not to confess the words in her mind. Would it hurt to hear them? She wasn't sure, at all. Cocking her head she shrugged one slim shoulder and barreled right on ahead. "I actually should thank you, all the verbal beatings I learned to take saved me a lot of heartache out here in the real world. I actually think about you a lot, every time something horrible happens to me or is said I revert back to that 16 year old with slushie on her face and I'm stronger for it."
When she looked up again Quinn was wincing.
"Wow. I feel like a complete asshole," She said and reached out to lightly touch the back of Rachel's hand.
Surprised by the contact, again initiated by ice queen Fabray, Rachel felt a little bad for throwing that on the other woman. She'd been nothing but kind thus far. So she laughed to try and ease the tension she'd caused, "I'm sorry, that compliment was full of knuckles wasn't it?"
"Yeah. But I earned it and probably more," Quinn smiled again, but it wasn't nearly as big as her earlier toothy grin. This was sadder and Rachel couldn't help but kick herself again. This is why we don't have friends you big jerk!
"I don't think so," She sighed by way of apology, hoping the blonde would see that she meant it.
She shrugged, "You know, I think about you too."
"Really?" Another surprise, the new version of William McKinley's HBIC seemed to be full of them.
"Yeah. Sometimes I see your hair or your eyes, or even just someone short and I think 'Rachel'. I remember that girl too, the one wearing an owl sweater and cherry slushie." She shifted, and their eyes caught again. The emotion behind those hazel eyes gripped hard at Rachel's heart and squeezed.
Save us! Lighten the mood! Oh god, lighten the mood!
"Ugh. Cherry is the worst," She laughed again and mentally rolled her eyes at herself yet again.
"No way, blue-berry. Seriously, it dyed my skin."
"Well if you weren't see-through pale it wouldn't be a problem," Rachel quirked an eyebrow and pointed at her.
"Hey! Easy on the skin! I'll have you know in certain cultures I'd be worshiped for my porcelain visage," She waved a hand at her own body, and Rachel unconsciously tracked the movement. Her eyes slipped over the power suit, hanging just a second too long at skin exposed by the button up.
"Yes, you're absolutely correct. But not our culture," She snarked back when she remembered how to speak - and breathe.
"Touche," The blonde winked.
She cleared her throat again, "Thank you. So what do you do Quinn? I'm a little behind in conversation points here."
"You keep score? Never mind, of course you do. I work for the FBI."
"Really?" God, was there an echo? "Special Agent Fabray?"
"Special Agent 'in Charge' Fabray - the 'in Charge' part is very important. It's kind of like Captain Jack Sparrow. The Captain is a must, so is 'in Charge'."
She couldn't help but laugh as her mind filled with Quinn as 'Captain Quinn Fabray', complete with hat and heavy eye make-up, minus the beard. "Wow, I don't know what to say, Quinn! How did you - how did it happen? The FBI?"
"Well, I went to Georgetown University, Majored in Psychology, graduated and... I wanted to do something honorable, you know? After spending so much time being power hungry and awful I wanted to do something to help people. I looked into the Military but ended up speaking to an Agent at a bookstore and here I am." She shrugged and tilted her head. "Plus, someone once told me I was the prettiest girl they'd ever met, but I was 'more'. I wanted to live up to that."
"Sounds like a wise person," Rachel squeaked.
"So a selfless, honorable, FBI agent - next you'll be telling me you have a soul or something," She settled her chin on her hand and narrowed her eyes playfully. Damn it, she was being charmed, knew it, and couldn't help it.
Rachel smiled, finally feeling at ease and started to ask another question when Quinn's phone went off. The blonde shot her an apologetic glance and scooped up the blackberry. "Fabray," she said.
'Fabray' Rachel mouthed, amused because she'd always thought people only answered the phone that way in movies. She busied herself with her beverage, wanting to eavesdrop so badly but not wanting to be too obvious about it.
"Alright. No, I'll be right there, I'm just down the block. Make sure to... right, you know that. Thanks, Ryan." Quinn closed out her call and looked up apologetically, "I have to go."
"So I gathered," She smiled at the woman she might always see as HBIC Fabray in a pleated red skirt and gold cross. "That's okay, you've got bad guys to catch."
"Always," She laughed.
"Do you think - " Here she hesitated, unsure of the path her thoughts were leading her down. Never one to do anything by half measures, she charged ahead. "Maybe we could meet up again? It'd be nice to see someone familiar on a regular basis and I have to admit, I have several questions about this new Quinn Fabray."
Quinn's grin nearly (just nearly) knocked her over, "Quinn 2.0 would be more than happy to answer your questions." She stretched one pale hand out across the table and Rachel immediately handed over her phone once she'd located it in her bag. Manicured fingers moved over the touch screen while perfect white teeth held her bottom lip hostage - Rachel was pretty much transfixed. "Here, that's my personal cell number, of course, so please don't be offended if I don't pick up immediately. I promise it's not because I'm avoiding you."
She stood and Rachel followed, only then realizing she wasn't sure why she was standing too. The moment turned uncomfortable, Quinn's eyes seemed to be dancing though, as though she was laughing inside at their mutual oddness. Throwing caution to the wind once more Rachel all but threw herself at the taller woman, pulling her into a quick, tight, hug.
"It was so good to see you, Special Agent in Charge Fabray," She said with a smirk.
"Not as good as it was to see you, Superstar Rachel Berry," Quinn teased right back. She pulled away, a lopsided smile now decorating her stupidly perfect face. "Call me."
"Yes ma'am," Rachel nodded.
Then with a wave Quinn was gone.
Rachel slumped back into her seat and threw back the rest of her tea like a particularly nasty shot of tequila.
What just happened?