This was commissioned of me by vondrunkaton:
How about Rachel's dejection after the Maria fiasco in Asian F? After Finn tells her he doesn't know if he's voting for her and leaves her forlorn in the hallway, Quinn offers comfort.
Rachel stands there, lockers at her back, unable to move because for the first time in her life she's not automatically propelled to the next level.
Yes, she's playing Maria. But not because she gave the most amazing performance the directors had ever seen. She's good enough to win the role by default, but not enough tot stand out, to shine like she has every other time. Which is why she needs to take on the challenge of class president. She needs to prove herself, show that she's someone who stands out above the rest, who can make change and pave the way for herself and those who come after her. She just doesn't know what that change is, because she hasn't thought that far ahead.
Rachel Berry is an outstanding performer. She knows her voice is better than most. She's aware that she has a grasp on the dramatic that's beyond the majority of her peers.
Improvisation, though. It's not her strongest suit.
And when there's a hand on her arm, dragging her away from the lockers and toward the bathrooms, Rachel has to force herself away from the haze of introspection and focus on the form that's now pushing her through the door of the girls' room.
Rachel isn't aware that she'd been in a position where she needed to be... welcomed. "I'm sorry?" She blinks and realizes she must have started crying during her-
"That pity party you were throwing yourself out there was a prime slushie target."
"I wasn't..." The tears are still wet in her eyes. To her credit, though, they hadn't begun to fall.
"You need to get a grip on this." Quinn briefly disappears into one of the stalls and returns with a handful of tissue. "Close your eyes."
"Are you going to slap me?"
"What? No, I'm not going to slap you. Just... close your eyes and relax."
Rachel does as she's told, though the relaxing part of the request is more difficult to accomplish. Instead of a hand meeting her cheek at high velocity, she feels the tissue dab at her damp eyes. She wonders if the Skanks are lurking, if this is a trap. But she knows Quinn's done with them, that she's back in New Directions. That still doesn't explain what's happening, right now.
"Who are you voting for?"
Rachel's eyes open back up. "Oh."
"Will you hold still?" Quinn pushes Rachel back against the sink in an attempt to keep her in one place. There's an eyeliner pencil in her hand. "I'm voting for Brittany because I like what she plans to do. All I know about you is that you're running. If you're going to jump into politics, you can't just make it up as you go, you have to prepare. Look up."
Rachel complies, keenly aware of the pencil's close proximity to her eyeball. "Is that what you did for prom queen?" Maybe that wasn't the ideal question to ask if she didn't want her eyes poked out.
But Quinn replies with a resigned, "Yeah."
"Why aren't you running for president?"
"I'm serious, you're smart and pretty and people still do what you say, even without Ch-"
"I'm nothing and the kind of people who listen to me now aren't the voting type." She's surprisingly gently as she applies the eyeliner. "Plus, if I ran, it would just split the vote."
Rachel hadn't considered that. All she wanted was to win, to have something on her transcript. "I can't just give up, though."
"So, don't. Convince people that you're the right one."
"What if I don't win?"
"Cut your hair and start smoking," Quinn deadpans.
"You didn't do that because you lost prom queen, did you?"
"No, I did it because I lost hope in humanity." Quinn drops the pencil back in her make-up case. "Or, I tried. You made it difficult. As usual. Do you want to do your own mascara?" She holds out the silver tube.
"You're not supposed to share eye make up. I saw a thing on Dateline."
"Kind of a little late for that."
Rachel takes the mascara and turns to face the mirror. Her reflection reports that Quinn hasn't drawn anything bizarre on her face during their time alone. "Thank you," she says, once she's finished.
The bell rings and now that the make-up session is finished it seems like there's nothing left to say.
"I guess I'll see you in glee."
"Yeah." Quinn steps to the mirror to quickly check her own make-up, but as Rachel turns for the door, she says, "The stupidest thing you can do is just give up on it."
It's the best advice she's been given all day, maybe even all week. "Same applies to you, Quinn." She's not sure what the other girl's plans actually are, but she's positive Quinn could use the encouragement.
"Get out of here before the Skanks show up to dish out swirlies." But Quinn's smiling, just a little.