Part One – We Are Not What You Think We Are
"And in Lima, Ohio, a man and woman were killed earlier today during what is believed to be a home invasion. Russell Fabray was last seen leaving Gas'N'Go at two o'clock; his wife, Judith, from a grocery story an hour earlier. Police are linking the double homicide to the area's recent surge in breaking and entering – though these appear to be the first fatalities. The victims are survived by their daughters; Quinn and Stacey."
Jessalyn Briggs shuffles the papers on her desk, clearing her throat. The somber expression on her face seems to float off her as she turns towards camera 3.
"Otis-the-Otter finishes today's news headlines as the little critter that could. Abandoned by his mother and found foraging for scraps in the Nelson family's garbage cans, Otis has proven; if you can't teach an old dog new tricks, teach them to an otter! Otis placed second at this year's Ohio Dog Show after last year's well-documented struggle by the Nelson family to allow Otis to be included. Well done Otis, we here at Channel 43 salute you."
"Russell and Judith Fabray were known as upstanding citizens of Lima, a town they loved and a town that today mourns the murdered couple. Just two days ago they were found in their home; Russell had been stabbed over thirty-five times in the torso; Judith was strangled in her own kitchen. Mourners traveled from as far as Massachusetts to pay respects to the couple, initially believed to have been killed in a home invasion gone horribly wrong. Police, however, have denied any links between the murder and the series of burgled homes, and instead are urging anyone with information on the couple's youngest daughter, Quinn Fabray, to come forward."
"The ongoing Fabray murder case deepens as three teenage girls have been reported missing alongside the Fabray's youngest daughter, Quinn. Santana Lopez, Brittany Pierce and Rachel Berry have not been seen since the day of the murder. All but Rachel Berry were well known friends of the Fabrays, and concerned citizens are searching for the missing teenaged girls. Some believe they have fallen victim to a sex trafficking ring of unknown origin. Police are yet to comment on these allegations."
"In tonight's top story: when teenagers kill. It is with a heavy heart that we bring you the following. Parents are warned that some images and themes shown tonight are disturbing in nature and not recommended for those under the age of twelve."
Jessalyn Briggs turns to camera 3.
"Russell and Judith Fabray were once an honest, God fearing couple living a simple life in small town Lima, Ohio. Sources close to the couple say the Fabrays had separated, though were working towards reconciling their marriage. Young at heart, and constantly offering financial support to Lima Protestant Church, tragedy befell them on April sixteenth – just four days before their oldest daughter's birthday."
An image of Stacey Fabray, blonde and smiling, is shown. She is pretty, wholesome, and wears a University of Columbia cheerleading outfit.
Then, one of Judith Fabray – groomed, poised, and smiling at something outside the borders of the photograph.
"Judith Fabray spent the morning of April sixteenth at Lima Protestant Church, before picking up some groceries and heading home. All in all, a normal day for the mother of two teenaged girls."
An image of Russell Fabray – sunglasses, wide smile, and leaning against a boat railing.
"Lima City Bank Manger, Russell Fabray, was well liked and a hard worker. Co-workers report on the day of the murder he seemed agitated, and left work soon after lunch citing illness. Stopping for gas, the attendant has been quoted as saying, 'He were real fidgety. Like he had somewheres important to be and it weren't here.' Neither was seen alive again."
Four images, each holding a teenaged girl. None are smiling.
"Quinn Fabray and her cheerleading peers – Santana Lopez and Brittany Pierce – were last seen leaving William McKinley High School in a vehicle identified as belonging to the fourth missing girl – Rachel Berry. Neighbors report seeing the vehicle parked outside the Fabray house until three-thirty that afternoon. Edna Bellfries told police, 'That car with those girls in just peeled away from the house of those poor people like Satan himself was licking at their heels.' The girls are yet to be found."
Image - A body covered in a white sheet lying on a carpeted floor. Spots of blood have seeped through in areas over the torso.
"Police have confirmed that Russell Fabray was stabbed twenty-seven times in the chest, and sixteen times in the back. Sheriff William Brewster today also confirmed that Russell Fabray was stabbed in the chest by a female, weighing approximately one hundred and ten pounds, and in the back by a second perpetrator with a similar build."
Image – Quinn Fabray in Cheerios cheerleading outfit, smiling at the camera.
"Judith Fabray was strangled by yet a third assailant, also of similar build. Thought at first to be missing, Sheriff Brewster today confirmed that clothing and miscellaneous items are missing from each girl's residence. Their parents have declined to comment.
Jessalyn Briggs stares deeply into the camera.
"We advise that these four girls are dangerous and wanted for murder. If you have any information we strongly urge you to come forward, or call the number on your screen. I repeat, these four teenaged girls may appear harmless, but they are very dangerous. Sheriff Brewster has not offered further evidence on the matter, though he is quoted from a statement released earlier this evening: 'There is no doubt in my mind that these four are heavily involved in the Fabray murder. Do not approach them. If you notice any suspicious looking teenage girls – two brunettes, two blondes – call the police immediately. They're wanted for questioning in this double homicide.'"
"Finn Hudson, is it true that you dated both Quinn Fabray and Rachel Berry?"
"Uh, yeah. I did. Not at the same time or anything, 'cause that'd be weird, or well it'd be kind of hot. But no way would they go for it, they hate each other."
"So there was tension between them?"
"Yeah, you could say that. I mean, they were sort of friends last I – uh, well last I saw them they were going to Rachel's car and I thought – well, I didn't think they were off to –"
Finn pauses, looking deeply disturbed. And slightly constipated.
A well coiffed boy stands in front of a set of lockers, clutching his shoulder bag and smirking into the camera.
"I was in Glee Club with all four of them and I have to say I am not surprised in the least by any of this."
"Did they ever give any outward indication that they were capable of murder?"
"Absolutely, Quinn and Santana were the scariest cheerleaders in the school. Until they joined the Glee Club. Then they were just – you know – it's hard to be afraid of someone who spends so much time singing and dancing. Especially compared to Rachel Berry."
"What of Brittany Pierce? What was her role?"
"Cheerleader, but you know, not all there. Not to say she was stupid, but I mean, she told me I had hands like a baby –"
"And what of the friendship between Rachel Berry and Quinn Fabray?"
"What friendship? Rachel was always desperate for Quinn's attention, and Quinn was just – I mean, Rachel and I teetered on the precipice of friendship too, once, and I am so relieved that fell through I could jump up and praise the Lord. And I'm not religious. But what they did to the Fabrays? Ghastly."
"Yet you said you weren't surprised?"
"Not one bit. If I had to pick any one in this school to commit murder, it would be a tie between Quinn Fabray, Santana Lopez and Rachel Berry. Well, no, my first thought would be that Quinn and Santana would kill Rachel. But if Rachel isn't the victim, she's definitely the one wielding something."
A heavyset girl in a bright purple jacket and leopard print shoes primps herself in front of a piano.
"This is where it happened. Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday we'd sit here and Mr Shue would give us songs to sing, and Quinn was always reading a book or not interested."
"She didn't appear to enjoy Glee Club?"
"Oh, yeah she did when it was a big group number. But in the afternoons it was like she was just here instead of being somewhere else. I mean – okay don't judge me, but I was close to her in sophomore year. She lived at our house because her parents kicked her out and she had nowhere to go, and the poor girl was pregnant with the child of a moron – which she pretended was the child of an even bigger moron –"
"Quinn Fabray was pregnant?"
"You didn't know? Yeah, she was pregnant but gave the baby up for adoption. To Rachel's mom, Shelby."
"Are police aware of this connection?"
"If they ain't, they been living under a bridge or something."
"And during her time at your house, what was Quinn Fabray's behavior like?"
"Like any pregnant mama, and after Beth was born she went back to live with her mom. How did you not know this?"
A scowling boy with a mohawk smokes a cigarette on the school's football field.
"Yeah, I knew them."
"Is it true you fathered a child with Quinn Fabray?"
"What's it to you?"
A man in his late thirties, and a sweater vest, shakes his head. His arms – folded over his chest – squeeze his body tighter every so often. He has tears in his eyes.
"Those girls were – I never would've believed them capable of doing something like this. We joked – I mean the kids joked – that Santana was the devil, and Rachel could be really, really frightening at times. But murder?"
"Were you close to the girls?"
"I thought I was. I really thought I was getting through to those kids, teaching them about having dreams and hopes – was it something I did? Something I didn't say to them?"
"What do you believe the link is between Quinn Fabray and Rachel Berry?"
"Link? They dated the same guy, Finn – actually the same two guys, Finn Hudson and Noah Puckerman – but they hated each other. Absolutely. I never paired them because I thought it would lead to bloodsh – violence of some kind. Though they paired themselves together one week for a song and – did I unite them? Was it because of me they sought each other out and did this?"
"Santana Lopez and Brittany Pierce – were you close to them?"
"I tried to be. God, I tried to be. But they were Sue's, really. Uh, Coach Sylvester. They were Cheerios first, and in Glee Club second. Or that's how I saw it."
A tall woman in a matching tracksuit leans one ass cheek on her desk and glares into the camera.
"I've got one thing to say Fabray, Lopez, and Brittany – sloppy. At least you had the decency to commit murder after quitting my squad before the most important competition of your lives and letting everyone worth a damn down. For that, I no longer condemn your names. Fine. I forgive you. But know this: you would never have had the time to go murder your parents if you'd stayed on my cheerleading squad. It's simple science. Teenagers with rigorous schedules and a daily allowance of four hours sleep don't kill people. They're too tired. I tell people over and over again: don't let teenagers be idle. Idle hands will get you killed. Just ask the Fabrays. Oh, you can't? That's because their extracurricular worthwhile activity avoiding sloppy baby, and equally useless cohorts, killed them."
The boy with the mohawk flicks his cigarette.
"Yeah, so I made out with all of them. What's the big deal? I didn't do this, I didn't know about this. Hell, I hadn't kissed a damn one of them in months. Yeah I'm Beth's dad, but so what? She belongs to someone else."
"Do you have anything you'd say to the girls, if you could?"
"No. Not a damn thing. Except, no wait, I do have one thing. This is to Quinn, Santana and Rachel – I'm smoking because of you. That's all I have to say."
The boy spits, and then crushes the cigarette out before stalking away from the camera.
"Otis is in fine form, that's for sure, he's picked up first place at Iowa's Annual Dog Circuit. Here at Channel 43, we'd like to say again, we salute you little buddy!"
Steven Jergen, Channel 43's late night news host, clears his throat and changes the expression on his face to one of stoicism.
"As the nation mourns the loss of Russell and Judith Fabray, the four teens wanted for one of the most brutal murders Ohio has seen continue to evade police. Tips have been called in from all over the country, though finding the location of these girls is proving a difficult task. Law enforcer Deputy Gerald Harvey is urging citizens to keep on the look out."
"Shocking news has just reached the studio. Three men in their early forties were found dead in a truck stop in south Ohio late last night. Appearing to be stabbed, beaten, and run over by a vehicle no bigger than a car, the men as yet remain unidentified. Concerns for a possible link to the Fabray murder case have yet to be confirmed. In a witness report to police; Dennis Jackson, a truck driver native to Brimfield, Massachusetts, stated seeing two females enter the truck stop as he exited the premises. Unconfirmed sightings report another two females were waiting in a nearby car. Police remind people to exercise extreme caution – these girls may be teenagers, but they are dangerous."
O-O O-O O-O O-O
The sun had set hours ago. They hadn't eaten dinner, nor spoken a word, since they turned left out of Lima. The highway stretched before them like an endless path to –
Well, they weren't sure yet. And they weren't speaking to each other, either.
Brittany Pierce gazed at Santana Lopez with a furrowed brow. She wanted to reach out and touch the girl, she really did. Except, there was dried blood on both of their hands, and she really wanted to wash hers first. The blood was like a barrier between them – she didn't want to touch it, or have it touch Santana. She wanted to be clean first.
Santana Lopez wasn't even aware of the blood on her hands, or Brittany's gaze upon her – for the first time in their long and complicated friendship. She just stared at the window, seeing nothing but a faint outline of her own face superimposed over so much black. She didn't know where they were, but there were no street lights or houses. Just endless country, and endless night.
Rachel Berry sat in the driver's seat, trying desperately to focus on driving the car in a straight line. If she kept driving, they could keep continuing to go somewhere. If she kept driving, and kept them in motion, they wouldn't have to stop, or talk, or think about what they'd done. She was very good at focusing on the task at hand, and even better at ignoring things she didn't want to face.
In the passenger seat, chewing her lip and staring blandly through the windscreen, Quinn Fabray was also covered in blood. Her hands; her clothes; even her neck. Dirty blonde hair fell onto her shoulders – the ends tangled and dark, as if there was blood there too.
They all needed a shower, and a deep restful sleep. They needed a safe haven, and a place to regroup – mentally, and with each other.
But, of course, there was nowhere for them to go. Just forward, into the dark, following a road that took them away from something terrible, and toward something completely unknown.
"We need to get gas."
Rachel's voice was low and soft, though the impact of the sound was like they'd hit something. Quinn jumped slightly, and Santana's gaze snapped to the back of Rachel's head.
Brittany cleared her throat tentatively, unable to stand it any longer.
"I need to wash my hands."
Santana frowned at her own hands, barely able to make them out in the dark of the car.
"We need to –" But she couldn't finish that sentence, because finishing a sentence like that led her mind somewhere she wasn't quite prepared for yet.
"We – we all need to – we aren't safe at a motel, so – I don't know what –" Rachel's grip on the steering wheel tightened, and though she wanted to glance at her passenger, she really just couldn't.
"Let's start with gas." Santana said finally, and like a welcome fifth passenger, silence enveloped them again.
It wasn't exactly ideal, but Quinn scrubbed herself with the gas station window wiper anyway. They'd managed to swipe it – Rachel had gone inside to distract the attendant – and she stood with Santana and Brittany and desperately tried to get clean.
Her and Santana had stripped to their underwear – standing behind the gas station, they were mostly out of sight – because if she had to be in those god awful clothes one more second she was going to vomit. Everywhere.
"I have the bathroom key, if you guys want to –" Rachel appeared around the corner, glancing back at the car, and up and down the highway as if expecting something to jump out at her suddenly.
"N- No, Berry just – can you get me some clothes from the car? I didn't think to – I can't put –" It was the first time she'd spoken since leaving Lima. Her voice felt wrong. God, everything felt wrong.
Rachel just nodded, moving quickly toward the car with her head down.
"And me!" Santana hissed. Her hands were shaking as she scrubbed at them with the squeegee.
Brittany examined her hands – clean, finally – before noticing blood smears on her shirt in the gas station's fluorescent lighting. She whipped her shirt off, fast, and dropped it onto the pile of discarded, bloody clothing between them.
"Me three!" She called out absently, before slamming her hands over her mouth. "Sorry." She mumbled through them, though Quinn and Santana were still too busy trying to clean themselves with the dwindling bucket of water mixed with window cleaner.
Rachel walked back to them, again with her head down, carrying a small bag. She dropped it at the other girl's feet, before dropping down herself to rummage through it. Wordlessly she handed Brittany a towel, and then a sweater after the girl had dried her hands and passed it onto Santana.
"I didn't mean to yell." Brittany said quietly, wearing a carousel horse sweater and looking bashful. It was weird that her friends were quiet, that Rachel was quiet. She didn't like it. She'd rather be told off than for everyone to be so quiet.
"The guy inside is high. On what, I couldn't tell you. So it's okay, Brittany. Yell all you like."
Rachel stood and tried to smile, but not very hard. Barely enough for the corners of her mouth to move.
Santana picked up the bag, reaching in a hand and pulling out a pair of shorts and a tank top.
"At least these are mine." She mumbled, passing the bag to Quinn who had dried herself the best she could.
Quinn barely even glanced at what she'd put on – jeans, and a t-shirt with a cartoon picture of a kitten in a party hat, next to a puppy in the same. The kitten was holding a bone, looking dismayed, and there were scraps of paper all around it. The puppy had its paws raised in the air in happiness.
"That's my shirt! I love that shirt." Brittany exclaimed, smiling for a moment, before remembering why smiling wasn't okay right now.
They walked back to the car in silence.
"Do we have any scissors?" Quinn asked softly, buckling her seatbelt and refusing to look at anyone.
"Glove compartment." Rachel replied, her voice equally as soft, starting the car and pulling away from the gas station.
As they gathered speed on the highway – in clean clothes and with clean hands – Santana gripped Brittany's hand as tightly as she could. They wound the windows down and let some air into the car, which took away the lingering stench of –
Brittany squeezed Santana's hand with equal force – the low, sick feeling in her stomach seeming more bearable, now.
Scattered along the highway behind them were golden strands of hair caked with blood, and the only sound in the car were the scissors snipping away in Quinn's hands.
They didn't sleep the first night. They weren't even tired.
Fifty miles outside of Lima, Rachel retired the wheel to Santana and climbed into the back of her car. Brittany insisted on staying next to the Latina – especially since neither Rachel nor Quinn seemed up to holding hands – and with the road no longer her focal point Rachel found herself staring at Quinn.
Quinn Fabray. Her tormentor for years; her adversary; stealer of boyfriends and serial cheater. God, she'd wanted so desperately to be her friend once. She'd thought if she could befriend her enemy, her enemy would disappear. And of course, they weren't completely dissimilar.
They'd even committed murder together, now.
She struggled not to hyperventilate, furiously breathing through her nose as quietly as she could because there was that horrible word. Murder. She was a murderer.
She would not vomit out of the car window. She would not.
She looked away from Quinn. Thought about Barbra Streisand's career and began to list her films in chronological order because she needed something to focus on. Something familiar. Something not related to her current situation at all.
In the front, Santana found the road ahead strangely calming. What a goddamned hell of a day. This was, really, the worst thing that could ever happen to her. The absolute worst. But Brittany was by her side, and holding her hand, and that was enough to bridge the moments for now.
Quinn was in the back, and that was good too. Her best friends were with her. Everything would be okay. She pushed out every niggling thought trying to force it's way into her head, because they all wanted to point out that, uh, hello they had committed murder and were on the run from the law. She'd never see her family again, or go to college, or become the first Hispanic lesbian female Presid –
Nice try, she thought, pushing them back.
She had her best friends. Nothing else mattered. Nothing. Brittany and Quinn were all she needed.
Oh, and apparently Rachel.
Quinn woke up suddenly, sitting forward and breathing heavily. Her eyes felt like they were pushing themselves out of her face. Her dreams had been – God they were awful, her parents were dead and she'd –
She jerked her head toward the voice, and there was Rachel Berry looking at her with big Bambi eyes. Right, not a dream.
Rachel rubbed Quinn's back until the girl started breathing normally again. It was a strange feeling, too. Every second she wanted to pull her hand away, but it stayed on the blonde's back and rubbed gentle circles until Quinn leaned away from it.
The sun had risen. They were parked off the highway, hidden by trees, both Santana and Brittany still sleeping in the front.
"We should –" Quinn started, but her throat was so dry the words barely made their way out of her mouth.
Rachel stretched, and then gingerly opened her car door and stepped out.
After some cajoling and prodding, the sleepy girls in the front had climbed into the back and fallen asleep cuddled into each other. Quinn took the driver's seat – though Rachel protested – and steered the car back toward the highway.
"We need to get rid of this car." Rachel said after a while, because her brain had finally recovered enough to think things through logically. Plus, Quinn was driving the car so her catatonic state had to be over with enough to broach the subject.
"We need breakfast." Quinn replied, looking out for any signs or turn offs for a town.
"Mmm, I want bacon." Brittany mumbled sleepily from the back, and Santana nuzzled her hair, breathing out words that sounded suspiciously like 'Me gusta'.
They ended up driving through a McDonald's on the side of the highway, and each girl did their best to ignore their fluttering hearts when the staff smiled at them happily. Santana was, again, ignoring the voices in her head telling her a S.W.A.T. team was going to abseil off the roof and arrest her before she could finish her hash browns. Brittany was nervous until she had a sausage, egg and bacon muffin her mouth and then her world was just deliciousness. Never to have Coach's diet again!
Quinn ordered a bacon and egg roll with triple extra bacon and a chocolate thick shake. Murdering her parents had given her a surprising appetite boost – though she conceded that, maybe, the sudden freedom she felt had something to do with it.
Rachel kept her mouth shut and sipped an orange juice because she felt it was an insensitive time to bring up the pointless global slaughter of innocent animals. She preserved, though, a planned speech for a later date, tentatively titled 'Just Because I Have Committed An Act Of Murder Does Not Mean I Am Completely Amoral: A Continued Support For A Vegan Lifestyle.'
She did relent slightly though, and her plain muffin was delicious. It reminded her of childhood. How did McDonald's make all of their food taste the same?
Santana belched, wound down her window, and threw her garbage out onto the highway. Brittany followed suit, and Rachel began spluttering and twisting in her seat to look at them both.
"Are you kidding me? Really, are you kidding? Do you not understand that native wild life are attracted to the salt and grease on your wrappers, and will come closer to the highway in order to obtain it? You just put their lives at risk! Not to mention the future of our planet, I can't believe you're both litterbugs, Quinn you stop this car because we are going back and picking –"
"Jesus fucking Christ, Berry. You're nitpicking the fact we just threw garbage out of a window? Really? A little goddamn perspective –"
"Oh my God, did I just kill innocent animals? San, we have to go back!"
"We're not stopping –"
"It's bad enough that you all just ate the equivalent of an entire pig –"
"Are you calling us pigs?"
"Would you guys just –"
"For fuck's sake, we just murdered Quinn's parents and you're jumping on us for this shit?"
The car went silent as soon as the word 'murder' fell from Santana's lips. She didn't even notice until she'd stopped talking, though her face had paled once she realized.
Rachel winced, because what happened to waiting for a less insensitive time? What was wrong with her? No wonder she'd never had friends, she couldn't keep her frigging mouth shut.
Brittany looked at the back of Quinn's head, fearfully. This was so, so sad.
Quinn's knuckles whitened around the steering wheel. No more pretending.
"Yeah, we really did, didn't we?" She said, finally, and it was like a dam had suddenly burst.
"I am so fucking sor –"
"Quinn, I'm sor –"
"I feel so, so ba –"
"Don't apologize." Quinn snapped, the car jerking slightly to the left as she turned her head to glance at the other passengers. "Don't apologize, because we can't. We can't apologize. And we shouldn't. They were – it happened, and we have to deal with it, and that's it. No apologies, no looking back. Just forward. Always. Got that?"
Santana leant back into her seat, though she nodded when Quinn's eyes met her own in the rear view mirror. Brittany sighed, then she nodded her head too, and Rachel bit her own lip before hesitantly speaking.
"We need to get rid of this car. I fully support the idea to face forwards and deal with the consequences of our actions –"
"I ain't going to jail!"
"Santana, let me finish. The consequences I'm referring to do not involve our incarceration, rather our new life of anonymity. While the police have no doubt clued into our role in this crime – or they will – it is in our best interests to become invisible. This car is registered in my name, and this is the car we used to drive to and from Quinn's house. Someone would have seen us. Therefore, we need to get rid of it, and as soon as we can."
Rachel cleared her throat a little, and twisted in her seat again to look at the girls in the back seat.
"She's right." Quinn said softly, and Santana blinked a few times before squinting her eyes at Rachel.
"So what do you suggest – we walk?"
"Of course not, that would be inefficient and ridiculous. What we need to do is find a different car – one that isn't so easily recognized as belonging to any of us."
Santana sighed, folding her arms.
"Look, I see your point. But right now we can't find a car that can't be traced back to us, because we're seventeen and would have to steal one to get anywhere –"
"Cars are stolen everyday –"
"Seriously, Berry? A car gets stolen this close to Lima the day after a bunch of teenagers kill two people and you think, what, we can just go driving into the sunset without being found?"
"Well, I – I need to think."
"We all need to think."
Quinn's words were the last for a while.
A week ago, Rachel had been contemplating her college preferences and the set list for Nationals.
Santana had struggled with asking Brittany to live off campus with her the following year because while she'd broken it off with the cripple, things were still a little tense between them. They were focusing on friendship, apparently.
Quinn had been doing her best to smile at her friends as they chattered away about colleges and their futures, all the while leaving her college application forms in the bottom drawer of her desk – to be ignored for as long as she could stand.
And Brittany had been feeding ducks and imagining the matching dresses her and Santana would wear when they got married. She couldn't wait to be Michelle Obama.
Now each girl thought of the same thing – how to avoid a life in jail for murder, and become invisible.
"Look, we stay in the Berry mobile and get as far away as we can. No fucking around stealing cars and all that teen-criminal-runaway bullshit," Santana waved her hand dismissively. "They probably ain't even looking for our hot asses, or Berry's, so adding grand theft auto seems like a Finnessa move."
"A – what?" Rachel craned her neck with a deep frown, her rebuttal on the tip of her tongue.
"A dick move, midget."
Rachel was caught between a rock and hard place, for just a moment. Defend her idea of changing cars, or defend the love of her life?
"Firstly, Santana, while I appreciate your point on adding to our list of criminal offences I will remind you that grand theft auto is a step down from murder so your concerns are, frankly, irrelevant. Also, the further from Lima we get, the better, I heartily agree with you there, but soon we'll have the nation looking for us, and – while initially delighted with such a unique choice of automobile for my seventeenth birthday present – a gold VW bug with the license plate 'GLDSTR' is not exactly hard to –"
"She's right. I'm sorry, Santana, I really am. You have no idea how much this pains me but Berry is right." Quinn's voice was soft. How they heard her over Rachel's rant was something none of them could exactly explain – Rachel included – but it was so nice to have Quinn onside that it shut her up. For a moment.
"Secondly, Finn is not a –"
"Yeah, he is."
"Sorry Rachel, but San is so right."
"He broke up with me at a funeral."
"He has his moments, however calling him a –"
"Didn't he break up with you for macking on Puck? And then macked on Quinn while she was with Sam? You know what you call that, Midget? Being a dick."
"She has a point, Berry."
"Santana knows dicks, Rachel. So well."
"I – he was really – look, when he's upset he –"
"Acts like a dick."
Quinn took her right off of the steering wheel and bent her elbow back so the palm of her hand was facing the backseat. Santana surged forward and high fived her without missing a beat. Brittany clapped her hands.
"Regardless, I'd appreciate you not to talk about him that way because –"
"I don't give two jiggly man-boobs what you'd appreciate –"
"How dare you –"
"Oh how dare I what, you little troll. You've got to realize something, okay? This isn't your little precious Glee Club anymore, and I'm not going to shut up and take your crap. You're with us, Berry, or haven't you noticed you're stuck on the run with three people who once took simple utter joy from making your life a living hell. That is, until singing and dancing like a showboat full of homos became the focal point of our teenage lives."
"But San, you are a homo."
"And proud of it, Britts. Lesbians are awesome. However, Man-Hands here needs a wake up call – she doesn't call the shots anymore! There's no captain of fleeing the scene of a murder – and even if there was, I wouldn't vote for her –"
"You know what, Santana? I'll concede that Finn's behavior may appear dickish at times, but at least he isn't a cunt like you."
Quinn's jaw dropped, and she glanced at Rachel's profile quickly. Rachel had her arms folded, and was staring resolutely ahead of her.
Behind them, Santana still had her mouth open as if she was going to say something, though no sound came out.
Brittany blinked, looking between the back of Rachel's head and Santana's shocked face like there was an invisible tennis ball bouncing back and forth between them.
Quinn grit her teeth, trying not to smile, because really. She'd never heard Rachel say a swear word before, and to start with that particular one. At Santana Lopez. She snorted. She couldn't help it. It was hilarious. She chanced a look behind her shoulder at Santana's face, and the snort turned into a full belly laugh.
Rachel looked at Quinn in surprise, keeping her face neutral as she anticipated the Latina's hands to creep around from the backseat and strangle her at any moment.
Quinn kept laughing, and suddenly Santana joined her. Brittany, relief washing over her face, began laughing too.
"What's so funny?" Rachel snapped, struggling to remain as indignant and pissed off as she'd been moments earlier. "What?"
"Your – your – faces – " Quinn spluttered.
"Berry just called me a cunt!" Santana howled from the backseat, and Quinn – shoulders shaking as she kept her eyes trained on the road – bent her arm again for Santana to high five.
"How is calling Santana a rude word funny?"
"Say it again Berry!" Santana called out from the backseat, slumped against the door and laughing.
"Say what exactly?"
"No way will that happen again, S. Getting Miss Virgin two-thousand-and-eleven to say that –"
"I don't see why this matter is so amusing, I've always been an advocate for free speech and besides, it's not like I'm the Christian among us."
"Yeah Berry, 'cause the Christian who killed her parents saying cunt is such a stretch."
"I participated too, so I don't see why –"
"Oh please, we were all there. You didn't do a damn thing."
"I didn't do a – may I remind you who told you that Quinn's mom was in the –"
Quinn's laughter died down immediately.
"I told you we aren't talking about that." She said, quietly, and the laughter from the backseat stopped too.
They were silent, again.
After a few moments, Quinn turned on the indicator to take the exit into Belleville, Illinois. They hadn't talked about stopping, or destinations, and had let Quinn drive, so far, without comment.
"Why are we turning off, Q?" Santana leaned forward, frowning through the windshield.
"We need supplies." Quinn mumbled, and Rachel shifted awkwardly in her seat.
"I don't think that's –" She started, but stopped speaking when Quinn flipped on the radio without warning.
" – caller on the line, Maria, with a story of a broken heart. This next tune goes out to you –"
Without looking, she flipped stations.
" – backstreet's back, alright! –"
"I love that song!" Brittany called out, pouting when Quinn changed stations again.
" – murder of Fabray couple has shocked the residents of Lima, with home security issues on the rise. Police insist people do not open their doors to anyone unfamiliar, and invest in tight security measures. Police urge residents to report any suspicious individuals, and not to approach –"
Quinn turned the radio off.
They all breathed a sigh of relief. They weren't being looked for. Not yet.
"Well that settles it – we keep the car and we get supplies." Santana said triumphantly, nudging her knees into the back of Rachel's chair with a smirk.
"You're such a cunt." Rachel murmured with an eye-roll, and joined in on the resulting laughter, this time.
"We need to ration our money since using credit cards is an absolute no-go, plus we'll need to keep enough to be able to buy petrol –"
"They're not even looking for us." Santana cut in, rolling her eyes and walking off. Brittany and Quinn followed her, and soon Rachel was left standing in the middle of the Belleville Wal-Mart by herself.
"So we need food, but what else were you thinking, Q?"
Quinn absently ran her fingers along the shelf of soup cans, picking up a few and dropping them into the shopping cart they'd picked up after abandoning Rachel.
"Camping gear – Berry's right about motels not being safe."
Santana sighed, before shrugging. "We could stay in one until they start looking for us. If they start looking for us. You heard the radio, they think it was a botched break-in."
Brittany appeared in front of them from another aisle with her arms filled with candy. She dumped it all in the cart, before skipping off again with a bright smile.
"Yeah, we could, but everything leaves a trail Santana. Everything."
Santana huffed, crossing her arms as she perched on the edge of the shopping cart. Quinn added a little more pressure, pushing the cart easily with Santana's added weight on the front.
"I know that, I'm not an idiot. I've watched CSI, I know they find all kinds of shit now. But we're in another state, they're not looking for us, and things are going to get a lot worse soon. We should be comfortable while we can is all I'm saying."
Quinn hummed in acquiescence, adding more canned goods to the cart before turning it into another aisle.
"There's also the limited funds issue."
"Okay, so let me ask you this, Q: we've done something that's like, the worst thing you can do, right?" Santana kept her eyes faced forward as she felt the cart beneath her jerk a little.
"Right." Quinn agreed after a moment, scanning the aisles either side of them for more things they could need. They'd have to get razors, and one of those portable stove top things and – god, gas canisters and tampons and –
"So why are we upholding the laws of a society when we've broken the biggest one?"
Quinn stopped the cart, and Santana hopped off of it, turning around with her eyebrows raised. Quinn's brow furrowed, and she squinted her eyes at the other girl.
"You're saying what exactly?"
"San? San! Quinn! Quinn?"
Brittany's voice called to them from the aisle they'd been in, and Santana smirked at Quinn and yelled, "Aisle twelve, Britts!" before raising her eyebrow.
"What, we rob some place?"
Brittany skipped towards them, yet more candy in her arms, and dropped it all in the cart. She beamed at both of them, leaning over to give them each a peck on the cheek.
"This is really bad, but I'm so glad I'm with you guys." She blinked prettily, then gasped. "I'm going to find Rachel!"
Santana waited until Brittany was gone before shrugging at Quinn.
"I'm just saying we don't have to pussyfoot around price tags and crap because hello, worse comes to worse we get money the old fashioned way. No biggie." She shrugged and Quinn shook her head a little.
"Fine, worse comes to worse we resort to robbery," she bean pushing the cart again when Santana hopped back onto the front. "This just keeps getting better and better."
"On that, are you – you holding up okay?"
It was a touchy subject. Obviously. But Santana cared. She couldn't help it – she'd killed because of it.
Quinn was silent for a while, feeling her eyes burning as she kept adding things to the cart and tried to think of a way to respond.
"I don't know," she said, finally, because she didn't. "Part of me is horrified; part of me's petrified; and part of me is just relieved."
Santana nodded her head, sighing when they ran into Brittany and Rachel at the end of the aisle. Rachel had a cart stocked with tents, sleeping bags, portable stove tops, some pans, toiletries, and what looked like – wigs?
"We're going to play dress ups!" Brittany said excitedly, putting one arm around Rachel and squeezing the smaller girl.
"We'll need disguises, eventually." Rachel supplied, blushing as Brittany kept a hold of her. This was different, this one armed friendship-hugging business.
"Fine." Quinn stated, inwardly impressed with everything Rachel had gotten.
"Let's get the fuck outs of here." Santana reached her hand out to Brittany, who immediately let go of Rachel, and off they sauntered.
"After you." Rachel offered softly, smiling tentatively at Quinn.
Quinn looked at Rachel for a moment, completely expressionless. Then, the smallest hint of a smile crept onto her face, and she inclined her head.
As Rachel watched Quinn walk in front of her, she analyzed the look she'd just been given over and over. It was a look of, what? Companionship? Camaraderie? Respect?
Whatever it was, it made a warmth creep up and over her skin because, finally, her enemy really was gone. Sure, it had taken something awful to get them there but – here they were.
She didn't even balk at the total cost of their belongings, nor when Brittany chose a five CD compilation of songs from the nineties to take with them in the car. The wounds and scar tissue between Quinn and herself – that they'd caused each other – well, maybe they were finally healing.
It was the best metaphor she could think of.
And it was the most important one.