A/N: This story is finished! I have one more chapter left to add to it, so expect that sometime tomorrow, and if not tomorrow than by the end of the week. Gosh, been so busy with the new school year at college and moving in/out – I've been totally slacking on my stories. Will have updates for WB, Trauma, and Come Back Here by this weekend, so sorry to keep you all waiting! Please don't hold it against me lol,
I love all of your comments and words of support for what I've written so far – so thank you all so much now, enjoy, there will be more to come. Camping Faberry!
3 - TSoL
Rachel stepped off of the chilling coach bus and frowned up at the murderous clouds overshadowing her. She carried her bags with difficulty as she made her way down the steps, frowning as she felt a cool hand shove her from behind – prompting her to lose her balance and careen down towards the dirt road below, her penny loafers skidding in the mud as she barely landed on two feet.
"Move it hobbit! Coming through."
Santana smirked as she descended the stairs behind the smaller brunette – her scowl imminent and unremorseful as she passed by Rachel, smirking as she watched the brunette fawn over her dropped belongings weakly. Rachel disregarded her – the fact that their entire Glee Club had ben relegated to this camping trip had already rendered the diva in a foul mood. She wouldn't let Santana or any of the others faze her more than need be.
She watched as all the others made their way down to the dirt road, followed up by Mr. Schue and Coach Beiste holding up the rear – holding their clipboards and smiling out at their surrounding vegetation and forestry.
"We made it! This is going to be a great trip everyone – I know it seems unnecessary now, but camping is one of those great outdoor bonding experiences, and I think it's something that we really need as a collective team – to build teamwork and camaraderie!"
No one was paying attention. Rachel sighed as she watched her fellow Glee Clubbers curse and whine under their collective breath at Mr. Schue's enthusiasm. Camping was a terrible idea. Actually terrible – when she turned to look back up after sequestering her fallen items it was to see Puck and Finn sitting against a tree forlornly, and a scowling Santana. Tina was leaning against the overlarge bus along with Kurt and Mercedes while Mike and Artie flanked the headlights. She paused as she skirted over Quinn – the blonde ex- cheerio was sitting, propped up atop her large WMHS duffel bag with her legs crossed, she was deathly immersed in a book, and her eyes were somewhere else entirely – and suddenly the blonde was looking up with fluted eyebrows – her mouth morphed into a disgusted grimace as she flicked through the pages and looked up towards the darkening sky.
Rachel followed the blonde's gaze – and frowned herself as she felt a cold droplet punctuate her cheek – as it fell down her skin another came to take it's place – and that's when she could her Mercedes' cry for help – the other diva's outburst was wild and accusatory, and completely directed at Mr. Schue.
"Oh HELL no Mr. Schuester. I am not about to get all Crocodile Dundee in this rain. I know I AIN'T the only one who felt those drops of water. I paid entirely too much for this weave."
Mr. Schuester smiled apologetically at his students as he collected his camping pack and led the way down the road towards the campsite with Coach Beiste in tow.
"I'm sorry Mercedes, but that's the point of nature! It's wild and beautiful and unpredictable - you'll learn to love it by the end of the week, I promise."
The diva scowled as they all followed behind their chaperones, covering their heads with their sleeves as they tried to hurry out of the impending rain. Rachel inwardly cringed at the booming of thunder that wasn't far off in the distance. She could already tell this was going to be a great trip.
/ - /
Rachel struggled as she tried to put the stakes into her wuthering tent. The rain was still misty and so she had time – but only minutes before the impending downpour. Why she had been sequestered into a tent all by herself she didn't know, but as she huffed against the dirt and the canvas of her tent she ran over the sleeping groups in her mind.
Lauren, Tina – Tent #1
Mercedes. Brittany – Tent #5
Santana, Quinn – Tent #6
Rachel – Tent #4
Puck, Artie, Sam – Tent #2
Finn, Kurt, Mike – Tent #3
They had been positioned in groups by tent number and tent size by Coach Beiste, and initially the thought of being given the only single person tent in the Club was enthralling, but now as Rachel tried to get herself together, the thought of being alone frightened her. She looked over her shoulder at the adjacent lots as she watched her peers work together on their tents. She could see Mr. Schuester helping out the boys on the boys side of their campsite – Coach Beiste was doing the same by the girls, and now she was making her way over to the tiny, grumpy brunette.
"Hey Rachel – you're the only one who doesn't have their tent up, everybody else is almost done, I figured I'd bring you over some help while I go look for Brittany – poor girl wandered off somewhere talking about a rainbow and leprechauns. If that isn't the toast to my broccoli I don't know what is."
Rachel furrowed her eyebrows in confusion – Coach Beiste never seemed to make much sense. But before she could dwell on that thought she was confronted by sensibly adorned feet blocking her immediate field of vision; she looked up quickly to stare into the eyes of Quinn Fabray – the blonde looked sweaty and tired, but somehow managed to pull it off with grace and classic ethereal beauty, Rachel shook her head.
"Jeez Berry, why isn't your tent up yet? Can't you feel the rain, you know this isn't a leisure event don't you?"
"I'm sorry Quinn that I happen to be sanctioned by myself, against my choice or judgment. It's not my fault that I have no idea how to pitch a tent, and that no one has even offered to help until now – and even so, Coach Beiste forced you over here."
Rachel watched as the blonde sighed audibly, clearly showing her annoyance – but to her surprise Quinn didn't retaliate, she watched curiously as the blonde lowered herself to the ground and commenced to help Rachel stake and align her pathetic tent. The brunette watched curiously for a few moments as Quinn worked in silence before being snapped out of her thoughts.
"Oh wonderful, sit back and watch Quinn do all of the work. Get your ass over here Berry and help – or I'm leaving."
Rachel nodded wordlessly and watched Quinn's quick hands – copying her every move as the two girls worked their way around the tent purposefully.
After twenty minutes of staking, snapping, and bending her tent into place – a sweaty Rachel grinned at her success, she placed her small hands on her hips and sighed at a work well done. She cornered Quinn out of the corner of her eye – the blonde too had a wistful look on her face before turning to Rachel – her eyebrow quirking up as thunder boomed against the tumultuous sky above them, the storm was much closer now.
"You put a tarp underneath this thing, didn't you Berry?"
Rachel crinkled her eyebrows in confusion. Tarp? What tarp? She thought – and that's when she remembered – just before beginning to pitch their tents Coach Beiste and Mr. Schue had been adamant about using the tarps in their tent bags because of the storm tonight – but in all of her confusion she had forgotten, and now she was panicked. But she couldn't let Quinn know she had been totally foolish in her initial tent planning.
"I –I, of course I did Quinn. Mr. Schuester and Coach Beiste were both adamant about flooding tent safety and how to take the necessary precauti -"
"Can they diatribe Rachel… I get it. You have a tarp."
Rachel shut her mouth quickly and nodded, staring down now at her muddy penny loafers. She inwardly groaned – they would be irreparable, and when she looked up again Quinn was staring up at the storm clouds – Rachel was reminded instantly of the way the blonde's eyes looked so captivated when she was reading her book after descending from the bus – her eyes were the exact same now, except she blinked profusely at the falling raindrops as she looked up above them. - she looked wistful and ethereal, and Rachel was again captivated, and confused by her own captivation.
"What were you reading earlier?"
The blonde looked back down and turned to Rachel – her eyes were clear as day, and it was refreshing to be caught into their gaze. Rachel gulped unknowingly – unsure as to why she was suddenly so compelled to ask. She blushed out of embarrassment.
"I'm sorry – I didn't mean to pry. I caught you reading a book earlier today after we all got off the bus – you looked like you were thoroughly enjoying it, I'm just being curious. But forget I asked."
"Robert Frost, a collection of poetry."
Rachel widened her eyes in ill – kept surprise at the blonde's taste in literature, it was far from what the brunette had anticipated, and more of an answer than she had even expected.
"Oh….I didn't know you enjoyed reading poetry Quinn."
The blonde averted her gaze and let her hands fall into the pockets of her WMHS zip up before sighing out of her nose and wiping her hair behind her ear.
"We aren't friends, how could you? … the rain is starting to really come down now Rachel, you should hurry up and get your things inside your tent."
And with those last words the blonde ex-cheerio was gone, heading back quickly to seek out Santana so they could get the rest of their belongings inside of their shared tent before the rain started. Rachel stared back at her, and watched her go with curious eyes. And it wasn't until an hour later when Rachel was tucked inside of her sleeping bag with her iPod and sheet music set before her, and the rain pounding rhythmically against the walls of her tiny tent that she would realize something profound – Quinn Fabray had called her Rachel. Twice.
/ - /
Damn. It. All. To. Hell.
Rachel woke up to discover that her tent was severely flooded. Her sleeping bag and clothes were drenched as she heard the thunderous booming outside, followed by bright flashes of lightning and rain. She shivered against the cold as rain pelted her tent and seeped under the soil – flooding out her tarp less tent. She was scavenging for her belongings, desperately hoping to salvage them from the creeping water - she yelped as she shivered and kneeled in two-inch deep inundation. One glance in her compact mirror and she screamed – she looked like a drowned Chihuahua.
And in minutes there were sodden footsteps approaching the entrance to her tent. She yelped in excitement at her potential saviors and opened the flap to find Coach Beiste and Mr. Schuester standing under an overlarge umbrella in large yellow ponchos and rain boots with concerned looks on their faces.
"Rachel, are you alright?
She could hear Mr. Schue's muffled voice yell through the call of thunder. She flopped through the water and answered him as she floundered.
"Mr. Schuester, does it look like I'm okay? My tent is flooded, I look like a drowned rat, I'm freezing, it's 3 o'clock in the morning, and my sheet music is ruined."
"It's Ok Rachel, alright grab your things, and we'll relocate you to another tent for the night – and we'll deal with this one in the morning."
She heard one of them say, she couldn't tell who it was, Beiste or Schuester but she quickly grabbed her bags and hurried out of her pathetic, flooded tent and into the rain. Coach Beiste tucked her under her umbrella and walked her briskly over to another one of the girl's tents. Rachel watched helplessly as Coach Beiste entered the tent - the brunette could hear talking and soon she was ushered inside and given a warm towel and a blanket. When she looked up to see whose tent she was relegated to for the night, she was surprised to see that it was one Quinn Fabray.
She could tell that the blonde was royally pissed off – but she couldn't be upset now at the blonde's anger - she was simply overjoyed to be out of the rain and out of her soaked sleeping bag. Within seconds Beiste was gone, and now Rachel was left to her own devices – which consisted of shivering in her wet pajamas and sweats while covered in a towel and staring directly at a sleepy, irritated blonde – who happened to be staring back.
"What happened to the tarp Berry?"
Rachel squinted at the reversion back to her last name – it confused her that she actually felt at a loss to the fact that Quinn hadn't called her Rachel. She shrugged her shoulders and huddled up into a ball again – shivering in her drenched clothes. Rachel looked around the larger tent and her eyes fell on an empty sleeping bag directly adjacent to Quinn's own and she turned back to Quinn with confusion etched in her features.
"I thought - where's Santana?"
The blonde shrugged her shoulders – in those few minutes much of the irritation had run out of Quinn's posture and tone, and Rachel could tell that she was reverting back to feigned indifference.
"Snuck out at lights out tonight – hell if I know. But knowing San, she probably won't be back until morning, if at all. Take her sleeping bag – you look like you need it."
Rachel had begun to oblige, but soon shook her head once her shivering started up again – her teeth rattled with the cold as she looked over her drenched sweat bottoms and pajama shirt – she felt like crying – all of her clothes were wet and un-wearable. She felt at a total loss. She looked up with watering eyes around the dark tent and jumped when she felt warm hands envelop her pajama top.
"What is – What?"
And then she could smell Quinn Fabray's signature shampoo around her, and she became aware that the blonde had moved forward and was now beckoning her to remove her top.
"Ugh…seriously L Word, don't get the wrong idea – you just reminded me of those lame infomercials of children starving in Africa and Cambodia with that withered, sad, pathetic look on your face. Take off your clothes, I have something warm you can wear for the night."
Rachel nodded in the darkness and lifted her arms over her head, letting the blonde do as she pleased. She felt a warm, soft t-shirt descend over her now bare arms and torso (she was still wearing her bra of course) and relief flooded her. And then Quinn was helping her out of her drenched sweatpants, and into new dry ones. Rachel sighed and melted into the dry, warm fabric - she felt the need to hug the blonde for her hospitality (could you give hospitality in a tent?) but refrained, simply settling for a warm thank you before snuggling up into the empty unused sleeping bag that Santana had left behind.
She heard Quinn mutter a small "you're welcome" before climbing into her own sleeping bag right next to Rachel. The small brunette closed her eyes then and fell asleep quickly to the sound of rainfall and to the smell of Quinn Fabray on her body.
/ - /
The next day had been terrible. Aside from the good news that her tent had been dried out after being set out in the blazing sun all day long before being sequestered to air out by the campfire that night during s'mores.
The night before had been somewhat surreal for the brunette – she had woken up curled up into Santana Lopez's sleeping bag and surrounded by Quinn Fabray both figuratively and literally. She had awoken practically on top of the blonde – who at the time had still been asleep. But Rachel couldn't help but feel awkward at the subconscious invasion – she twitched at the close proximity of their faces, and the way their sleeping bag enveloped bodies molded together throughout the night - Quinn managed to look effortlessly beautiful at all hours of the day apparently, concluded Rachel as she sat herself up and sagged into her palms.
Nonetheless, once the blonde had awoken – she was not a morning person apparently –Rachel had to contain her giggles at the blonde's unmanaged bed hair as she meandered around the tent – she spent her early morning efforts trying to find clothing for the diva to wear since all of her clothes were still drenched. And that is how Rachel ended up on a daylong hiking adventure wearing yoga pants and one of Quinn's many WMHS Cheerio hoodies.
The hike had become the bane of Rachel Berry's existence. She did not hike. And by the end of it she had to be carried by Brittany down the mountain because she was so exhausted. By the time dinner rolled around – Rachel was even grumpier. She grimaced at the display of the simple taco/burrito dinner, willing herself not to gag at the ground beef as it warmed and cooked on the small kerosene burner. Let's just say that Rachel was left to her own lettuce, and tomato taco/burrito devices.
One good thing that came of the night before, was that Santana was none the wiser. The Latina had never come back that night, and was oddly caught sneaking out of Tent #5 (Mercedes and Brittany) at the early hours of the morning by Rachel's wandering eyes. Curious to say the least – somehow, the little diva had an inkling that Santana would never really be returning to her original living arrangements.
And so, after shared s'mores and songs at campfire – Rachel was once again assisted by Coach Beiste and Mike Chang with her newly dried out tent; she remembered the tarp this time and once all was said and done, she curled up into her now dry sleeping bag and laid back against the fabric pillow. She was still wearing Quinn's sweatshirt, and for some reason simply couldn't find the will to pull it off. She had to secretly admit to herself that she had grown strangely fond of it over the course of the day – it smelled strongly of Quinn, and her shampoo, apricot and vanilla maybe? She wasn't so sure, but all she knew is that it was warm and soft – and better than any of the sweatshirts she had.
And so she fell asleep – her senses lulled by the smell of one blonde ex- cheerio as her eyes fluttered to a close.
And not soon after, she was being rustled awake by someone rattling at the zipper of her tent – she bolted upright and her eyes widened in panic at the unwelcome intrusion at this time of night.
"I have a rape whistle!"
And then she could hear someone sighing exasperatedly on the other side of the entrance, and Rachel physically calmed and exhaled – even with the blatant berate-ment of her late night "attacker."
And then the front flap was pulled down to reveal a very tired looking Quinn – who was now entering Rachel's small one- person tent, sleeping bag and pillow in tow. Rachel opened her mouth to question the blonde's arrival but could only gape in wonder and confusion as she watched the ex- captain re-close the flap and then re-position her sleeping bag and pillow on the floor before climbing in and cuddling up with a book that seemed to come out of nowhere. After a few minutes of awkward gawking, the brunette finally found the strength to form words amidst the darkness – save Quinn's tiny book light.
"What are you doing here? You can't just barge into people's tents unwarranted Quinn Fabray, you almost gave me a heart attack!"
She watched the blonde - Quinn did nothing as she flipped the pages of her novel. Rachel tried a different approach then, she scooted closer to the blonde in her sleeping bag and looked up at her, noticing that the book was the same Robert Frost anthology that she had mentioned the day before.
"Will you read some of that to me?"
Quinn looked up then and turned her hazel eyes onto the brunette's barely visible ones in the dark and nodded almost imperceptibly – and then Rachel's tent was filled with the sound of Quinn Fabray's voice as she ghosted and melted over the words written clear as day on the pages.
"LOVERS, forget your love,
And list to the love of these,
She a window flower,
And he a winter breeze.
When the frosty window veil
Was melted down at noon,
And the cagèd yellow bird
Hung over her in tune,
He marked her through the pane,
He could not help but mark,
And only passed her by,
To come again at dark.
He was a winter wind,
Concerned with ice and snow,
Dead weeds and unmated birds,
And little of love could know.
But he sighed upon the sill,
He gave the sash a shake,
As witness all within
Who lay that night awake.
Perchance he half prevailed
To win her for the flight
From the firelit looking-glass
And warm stove-window light.
But the flower leaned aside
And thought of naught to say,
And morning found the breeze
A hundred miles away."
The brunette had closed her eyes as the poem cascaded around her, and she was too sad to hear the end of it, as Quinn's voice finally tapered off into silence.
"That was beautiful – he was always a lovely poet."
Quinn nodded in the darkness before flipping the page in her book light. Rachel watched her curiously as her eyes grew heavy – she was still confused as to why Quinn Fabray was here in her tent, because in the words of the blonde, they weren't friends, and one freezing night and the pitying gifting of warm clothes was not enough to erase that. And so Rachel watched silently, looking for an answer amidst the bizarre.
"I couldn't sleep."
Rachel nodded as she closed her eyes – their sleeping bags were strikingly close again, but the brunette was too tired for it to matter. Her eyes drooped closed as she tried to listen to the blonde despite her sleep overcoming her.
"I thought I heard something outside of my tent – it freaked me out, and San's gone again. Yours was the only tent I thought I could go to where I could at least get some sort of privacy. – so don't flatter yourself Berr – Rachel."
She nodded in her state of half consciousness as she curled further into her sleeping bag – wrapped up in Quinn's overlarge sweatshirt. She smiled unknowingly as she drifted off to sleep just as the blonde was shutting off her book light and preparing for bed. The last thing Rachel remembered was Quinn crawling down into her own sleeping bag and cuddling up directly against Rachel's sleeping bag - reveling in their shared warmth, away from the world.