A/N: This was a long time coming. I'm sorry for the wait, but life got in the way, and writer's block really does suck doesn't it? Either way, I'm glad that those of you who choose to read, have continued on this journey with me. It means the world, your'e all amazing.

TSL


PART TWO: JUNE OF 1994

CHAPTER ELEVEN:

RING AROUND THE ROSEY, AND ALL THINGS SWEET

1


It's really only a few minutes of intense staring. Brown doe-like eyes fixed on the intertwined hands of a group of children running around the airport lounge giggling and singing. Rachel would be annoyed by the disturbance on any other normal morning, but she can't be bothered by the cacophony—not today. Instead she watches them from behind Chanel sunglasses and a large obscure woven hat. Her face is covered in shadow, and the dark obscurity of remorse.

"Ring around the rosey,

A pocket full of Posies!"

This isn't the first song that the children have initiated, but it's definitely the first that gives the small studious brunette ample pause. She can feel the stirrings of something deep and bitter roiling from the depths of her esophagus as she watches them. Three young girls and a boy, hands locked in a circular embrace as they spin and twirl – oblivious to the real meaning behind the words that they sing, just as most children inevitably are.

"Ashes! Ashes!

We all fall down!"

Rachel watches them all fall down to the carpeted floor in states of giggles and labored breaths, hands sticky from jolly ranchers and candies, eyes bright. And she isn't sure what it is that compels her to sit up – to make her presence more known – but she can't stop herself from calling out to the children playing a few feet away. Her voice is unrecognizable, bitter and distant in its cadence – so unlike the Rachel Berry she's grown to become.

"Don't sing that song, it's terribly unhappy."

The little boy is the closest to her, his head whipping around – that smile falling into a confused frown as he stares at the beautifully frightening stranger a few seats over.

"No it isn't." One of the girls this time, the oldest in their group. She has an air of defiance to her tone, her eyebrows furrowed in a challenge – she reminds Rachel of a blonde that she knew once, a blonde that she'll be seeing much sooner than she could have ever anticipated. Her thumb circles the screen of her cell phone rhythmically, remembering the words that once appeared there, written by skillful hands and long fingers, blonde hair and hazel eyes.

"Oh no, but it is…it calls to things that none of you couldn't possibly begin to understand."

The little boy's brows flutter, his frown turning into that of a confused grimace. His mouth opens, and a question falls out from between his lips before he has the wherewithal to stop it.

"What things?" He whispers. His blue eyes widen at his candor, but the words have already been said, and the strange lady with the big bug glasses is smiling at him now – but he thinks that he'd rather not see those teeth. He thinks that she reminds him of the creepy crawlies that he runs from in his nightmares.

"Oliver!" The eldest girl reprimands, she knows that he should not have dug for answers, and Rachel sighs deeply from her seat – the carbon dioxide of the exhale hitting every form of bronchi on its way out.

"You want to know what I've seen? When I was not much older than you are now, I was a haunted girl. The werewolves and demons that you dream about and flit over at night, I've seen them. Every one. The song you've all been singing is nothing more than an omen of death from a time long gone; A curse, sung by schoolchildren. And in all honesty Oliver, I'd rather you three not fucking sing it anymore."

Rachel pauses as her lips cease to move, her fingers rising up to brush against the red of her lips in a quiet gasp. The haze over her eyes fading away, as a slow tear falls to the floor between her feet. The children, eyes wide – saunter backwards, running away from her. From Rachel Berry, Broadway star. She can feel the shadows of their fingers on her as they point her out to their previously occupied parents. She can feel cool gazes penetrating her bubble of self-deprecation and it burns so vividly, she can feel the scalding marks against her flesh. Searing her insides from within…a heady burn. And all she can do as she sulks lower and lower into her airline lounge seat, is repeat a steady mantra as her plane is prepped for boarding just outside one of the large opaque windows…

"I didn't mean it, I didn't mean it…I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Leave me alone…please.

One word.

Please.

Please.

2


Just south of Waymarket Boulevard, sits a gray stone building with a red awning. Large windows frame the front and side wall, and from the sidewalk – looking in – the familiar trail of a dance bar. Mirrors can be seen reflecting the outside sequence of mundane events. And from beneath the center fluorescent lights, just in the epicenter of the gleaming wooden floor sits Rachel Berry. Dark navy leotard with pink Soffe shorts, hair held up in a loose childish bun. There's a concentration about her fingers right now as she sits perched Indian style, her back arched as she bends over a small notebook. The fingers of her right hand clench as she furiously writes across the margins. Every so often her brown eyes look up and out of the dance studio windows at the falling afternoon sun. When she brings her gaze back down to the paper – her shorthand quickens, every time. Suddenly a few soft footfalls sound by the open doorway, and Rachel pauses, looking up. Mrs. Callahan the dance teaches is leant against the doorframe, hands crossed over her chest. She has a sweet smile on her face, but her eyes are set.

"It's 4 o'clock Rachel." She says softly. The brunette nods frantically, grabbing for her belongings in a hurry. The dance studio closes at 3 on Sundays, and Rachel feels terrible that she's kept Mrs. Callahan waiting on her for the better part of an hour.

"I'm sorry Mrs. Callahan, I didn't realize it had gotten so late." Rachel scurries to her feet, her leotard hanging loosely off of one shoulder, as her eyes lay wide and remorseful. Mrs. Callahan can see the furious writing littering the pages of Rachel's notebook, which she holds close to her chest. She studies it intently for a moment, the letters swimming together.

"What are you writing? I thought school had retired for the summer." Mrs. Callahan has a warm smile on her face, amused by her own try for jest. Rachel manages a soft smile in return, but she holds onto the notebook that much more tightly, her fingers digging into the metal rings of the binding.

"It's nothing, just…ideas, recipes…stuff like that."

"Sounds like fun."

"Mmmhmm" Rachel intones. She grabs for her backpack and loops it over her free shoulder quickly, stuffing her notebook and pencils inside. "I should be going now Mrs. Callahan, thank you for letting me stay late tonight."

Mrs. Callahan nods from the doorway, watching intently as Rachel Berry walks calmly out of the dance studio – head held high, but at an odd angle, as if aimed toward the ceiling. Looking for answers perhaps. Either way, Mrs. Callahan blows out a cool breath – Rachel Berry has always been wiser than her years – perhaps overly so.

She's not sure if that's such a good quality.

Something about that girl…

The lights flicker in the early evening, and Mrs. Callahan jumps – she almost swears she sees someone lurking in a far corner of the deserted studio…orange hair, silver and white suite, pom poms. But she shakes her head once, and the image is gone – a figment of her overactive imagination, not enough sleep in the last few nights. She locks the door behind her with a soft click and a twist of her master key – and as she walks away, frothy laughter bubbles from beneath the crack.

She doesn't hear it.

3


Small fingers twiddle with the cord of a heart shaped phone. Digits hover over the buttons while dark eyes rove over the listings in the Lima Township phone book.

Bullfink

Bynum.

Byrd.

Fabray... The first of the letter F's. Rachel bites her lip as she recounts the phone number, entering it into her Susan Frank phone with determination. The line rings once, twice, before the voice of a gruff man comes through.

"Russell Fabray." There's a lilt to his tone, and had Rachel been just a little bit older, perhaps she would have noticed the unmistakable slur of his vowels; maybe the lilt of alcohol gracing his speech.

"Hello Mr. Fabray, my name is Rachel Berry, is Quinn home?"

"Rachel, who?"

"B-Berry, Sir. Rachel Berry."

"Our family doesn't fraternize with the 'offspring' of the two town faggots." Rachel's lips fall open as the words of rebuttal lodge in her throat, she's young – she's still not quite used to the sting of un-acceptance, it's something she'll grow to acquiesce as time passes – but today, right now…the words settle like a leaden weight at the pitfall of her tiny stomach, and she clears her throat- her lips parted.

"I…um, I'll go now." Her breath tickles the air as she breathes deeply, her fingers not moving, the phone still clutched to her ear as the beginnings of tears form at the corners of her large brown eyes. And then there's another voice on the phone, it's the sound of a separate line being picked up, the soft cadence of a young girl – there's a tussle between the Fabray voices, one rough and calloused - the other young and while not innocent…definitely kinder.

"Daddy!"

"Why are the Berry's trying to contact you Lucy Quinn?"

"Dance classes…" It's a throwaway answer, and Rachel knows it, but she holds onto her silence as the two Fabray's continue their diatribe.

"Dance?"

"We take dance class together Daddy, we have a recital coming up this summer."

"Since when did you start taking dance?" His question is not one of anger, but more one of regret. Rachel is sure she can almost hear it in his tone; The anger in his voice dropping softly.

"Since May, but it's not like you and Mom would know, is it?"

Russell Fabray audibly sighs, the sounds of ice clinking together ring into the receiver, and Rachel holds her breath as the line stays quiet for a few long moments. When Russell finally does respond, it's from the depths of a man almost completely defeated.

"I don't like this Lucy Quinn."

"Neither do I, can you get off the phone now?"

There's a click, and then Quinn sighs, something long and dark; altogether weary and more haunted than anything else.

"Quinn?"

"Hi, Rachel…you called?"

"I did."

"Sorry about Russell…he didn't mean what he said…" Quinn's voice gets smaller and smaller the longer she takes to finish that sentence, and Rachel frowns from within the confines of her own room – defeat does nothing for girls like Quinn Fabray – absolutely nothing.

"Yes he did, but it's okay." She answers softly. "I wasn't calling to talk to him anyway, I wanted to talk to you." There's a breath and a palpable pause on the line.

"What about?"

"Do you…do you like Barbra Streisand? … Well there's a screening at the old State movie theater this weekend of 'The Way We Were' and I thought that maybe you'd care to join me?"

It's a few simple words, composed of syllables and consonants and vowels all strung together. And yet somehow their utterance is enough to redden Rachel's cheeks and wrinkle the creases of her brows. She bites her lip, as her nose crinkles – waiting for an answer.

"Who's Barbra Streisand?"

And in just a few moments, Rachel Berry almost loses her composure, her mouth widening and her lips moving at a rapid fire pace, if only to educate Quinn Fabray on the Broadway deprivation she so obviously suffered growing up. And what Rachel Berry is remiss to know, is that while her voice to others is quite eccentric and grating – Quinn Fabray is sat in her very own bedroom, phone in the crook of her ear, and the calmest smile she's ever had in a long time gracing her pale face…a matching tint of red along her cheekbones, and a long overdue bubbling of mirth just beneath the surface.

"That sounds nice Rachel."

And Rachel Berry sighs.

Her eyes closing as her lips part in a beaming smile.

She owes everything to Barbra…

Everything.

4


The State Theater on Harrison is fairly empty. All summer long they play older movies, and hold screenings for classic directors and Hollywood actors and actresses, which in reality only appeals to the older Lima population. And like most Saturdays at the State Theater, Rachel Berry finds herself a few rows shy of the middle, a few seats ahead of Mr. Earle the elderly doorman at the Lima Regional Hotel. She turns her head and spots Mrs. Waverly, her old Drama Teacher and she swallows thickly, her palms resting pristinely atop her thighs.

"So, when does this thing start?"

Quinn Fabray. She's sitting just to Rachel's right, wearing a pair of overalls with sunflowers embellished on the front pocket. Her blouse has one singular button, and a frilly collar with matching sleeves. Her hair is tied up in a neat ponytail, held in place by a thin purple flower hair clip. The bag of popcorn sits in her lap as she leans over to catch Rachel's attention making the brunette jump out of her seat.

"Oh sorry, I didn't mean to startle you."

Rachel's cheeks flush, and she smiles softly – shaking her head back and forth. Quinn points down to the popcorn in Rachel's lap with an inquisitive eyebrow raise and Rachel hands the kernels over, her lashes falling to brush against her skin. The movie plays in the background, black and white with somber music. She stares between Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford, tears nearly brimming the edges of her eyes as her heart plummets. She feels the emotion almost like a second skin, and she can't help herself when her right hand seeks out Quinn's left in the darkened theater. Quinn's hands are still oily from the popcorn, and she should have wiped them…but Rachel doesn't mind. She just needs the reassurance; warm and steady against the coolness of her own skin. She feels hazel eyes turn to look at her, and she knows Quinn is staring…. she doesn't mind though, she allows the corners of her lips to tilt up in a shy smile, and she squeezes pale fingers between her own with a soft bite to her bottom lip.

It's another hour, two? Before the movie ends, and when it does, and the lights come back on with a hum, the two of them just sit there in the chilled movie theater. Mr. Earle smiles and waves as he passes them on his way toward the EXIT, Mrs. Waverly pats Rachel once on the shoulder. The brunette finally turns to look at her companion, blonde hair still locked up in a pristine ponytail – and it's to find Quinn staring straight ahead at the darkened screen, their hands still clasped together between them.

"Did you enjoy the movie, Quinn?"

Quinn hums, lowering her head. After a moment, she turns to stare at Rachel – their eyes locking together as the blonde smiles softly.

"I did…thanks for inviting me."

"It was my pleasure, of course." Rachel can't help herself, and she starts playing with the foreign fingers tangled against their own. She brushes against them softly, her eyes brighten and her chest jumbles. After a moment of silence she finally sits up and stands, Quinn follows suit – and the two of them exit the empty theater hand in hand with a wave from Mr. Gold the theater manager on the way out. They make their way down the street as the sun peeks behind the clouds overhead.

"Do you have any brothers or sisters?" Quinn asks.

"No. It's just me and my fathers." Quinn looks over at Rachel and nods.

"Like me…it's just me and my parents now too." Rachel smiles softly and squeezes Quinn's hand again as she pulls her down Redding Lane – their gait leisurely and slow.

"I know."

The sun dips and weaves between the clouds floating up in the sky, encasing the two of them in moments of shade and cool stillness as they make their way towards Waymarket – Quinn says nothing as she's pulled along by Rachel, the two of them arriving shortly at the awning of a large gray stone building. The windows wide and covered in black curtains, Quinn stares at some Graffiti on the sidewalk as they approach the locked glass doors.

"What are we doing here?" Quinn asks quietly. She stands, feet together as Rachel shrugs her shoulders and leads her to the back basement window of the building. It's small – if it were any bigger an adult could potentially break in through the open crack, today however…it's Rachel Berry and Quinn Fabray, shimmying themselves through the glass and falling together to the floor below.

"I didn't think you were the kinda person to do stuff like this." Quinn breaths, her breath panting out as she catches her breath from their fall.

"A lot of people don't bother to get to know me well enough to find out." Quinn nods and bites her lip, following Rachel through the darkened basement of her dance studio.

"I'm starting to." They weave up a small flight of stairs and arrive at a narrow hallway. The lights are off, and Rachel flips the switch as they pass by Mrs. Callahan's darkened office, heading for the main studio. Rachel opens the door and ushers Quinn inside before following suit, and locking the handle behind them. They're suddenly surrounded by mirrors, the windows covered in curtains as Rachel bounces on the tip-toes of her feet before laughing and falling in a heap onto the hardwood floor. She smiles as she stares up at Quinn who is watching her curiously, a few wisps of blonde hair having fallen out from her ponytail since leaving the movie theater. They stare at each other for a long moment, silence between them as brown eyes blink sleepily. Rachel's just about to pull Quinn down to the floor with her so that they can make hardwood floor angels before she hears something. Music, it's faint and choppy – but her brows scrunch as she fixates on it.

"Do you hear that music?"

"What music?"

"I don't know…come here." And then Rachel's getting up on light feet to unlock the door and disappear around the corner. Quinn follows curiously, and now that they're both in the hallway again, the music has definitely grown louder. Rachel follows it around a bend, and sees the door to Dance Studio #3 hanging ajar. She steps inside, and when she does she smiles – Quinn is behind her. They walk into the lit studio, and lay eyes on a young boy, no older than the two of them… in the middle of an impassioned routine. He slides across the floor and arches his feet and his back with the beat of the music wafting out of the stereo in the corner. There's no denying that he's simply amazing, despite the lack of refined training that Rachel can tell he's never received. The boy jumps and backflips in the air and Rachel gasps – he must have heard her because as soon as he catches his balance he freezes, eyes wide and legs itching to run.

"Wait! Don't go." She calls to him. She turns to look between herself and Quinn, and the blonde is speechless as she stares. The boy – lanky, with short jet- black hair stops and catches his breath, his chest pounding in and out.

"Are you a student at the Dance studio?" Rachel inquires softly, even though she already knows the answer to the question she's asking.

"Yes." The boy answers defiantly, his eyes travelling between Quinn and Rachel.

"Don't lie…I'm not going to tell on you. We broke in too." The boy's eyes narrow as the defiance in his stance slackens.

"You're a great dancer…the best kid I've seen in Lima even." The boy doesn't answer. And for once it's Quinn who steps forward, her mouth in a hard line, her eyes inquisitive. For the better part of the afternoon she's been quiet and reserved…cute even, if Rachel were to admit it to herself. But now, the seedlings of control that originally attracted the brunette to Quinn are pouring off of the small blonde in waves. The Fabray authoritative nature, the need for control, Rachel mentally steps back, letting Quinn take over naturally.

"What's your name?" She asks, her hazel eyes fierce, yet kind.

"Mike."

"Chang?" The boy nods once.

"Your dad owns the Thrift Store over by the supermarket doesn't he?" Mike nods, his shoulders falling – all of the tension ebbing away.

"I'm Quinn Fabray and this is Rachel Berry." The blonde says, pointing between the two of them as Rachel watches, eyes wide and amused.

"Hello." Mike responds, it's quiet and deep – and suddenly the music feels loud in the stillness of the empty studio. Quinn smiles softly.

"Will you finish dancing? I…we'll keep quiet." And for the first time since they intruded, the dark haired boy lets a small smile seep through. He waits for Quinn and Rachel to take their seats on the floor before he completely looses himself to the music once more. Rachel allows her head to fall back to the floor, her gaze turned to nimble, slender limbs as they fall into New York B-boy poses and pop techniques. She smiles before turning around to face the blonde laying next to her. Hazel eyes are trained on her, and she gasps at being the center of such a fixated gaze.

"I've had a lot of fun today…more fun than I've had in a while" Quinn whispers, the beat of the music thrumming through their bodies as they lie next to one another, Rachel nods and smiles before her gaze turns serious. Always having had the capability of flipping emotions in a heartbeat – she firmly settles on something serious.

"You don't have enough fun, Quinn – all you do is hang around Santana and Brittany all of the time, that has to be exhausting." Rachel says on a winded exhale, Quinn laughs despite the gravity of the large brown eyes weighing down on her.

"They aren't so bad really. And I pinky promise Santana doesn't hate you. She just acts like that because…well, I'm not sure…but if she really hated you, you'd know it."

"I just…you're so much better than that. You're good.

"And Santana and Brittany aren't? We're all in this for the same thing aren't we? We're all scared…. but we're together in this."

Rachel bites her lip and closes her eyes, blowing out a long breath as she finds Quinn's hand again and clenches on to it.

"I hope so."

They sit like that for another few minutes, in silence as the tap, tap of Mike's shoes against the floor thrum and pound. His footfalls are light and soothing, and Rachel finds a quiet solace him, and in his need for something greater – in his need for the arts, no matter the cost. He's a quiet boy she's reasoned – but she rather thinks they need someone like him in their group, that they'd be better off for it. They need someone else with his sort of passion, a quiet beacon in the darkest nights of terror and chaos. She's already decided it, she's inviting him to their spot at the old library tomorrow, she's inducting him into a world that perhaps he has yet to come across, and one that he may hate her for introducing to him. But they need him.

They need him.

They need him.

5


"Did you hear that?" Mike whispers, his feet have stopped moving.

Tap.

Tap.

T…

"Hear what?" Quinn whispers in return, her eyes opening as she sits up from the floor. Mike is staring at the closed doorway, his head tilted, his eyebrows scrunched together. They all stare between one another as the silence drags on lifeless and viscous in texture.

"It sounded like…footsteps." Mike whispers again as he jumps over to turn off the music coming from his stereo. They all lean in closer together now, ears prickling.

"I don't hear any -" Rachel starts. But then she does, and a frog catches in her throat. They're close…. they're heavy…. they're dark. Not at all light as footsteps should be in a place like this. They're slow and unbalanced. Strange.

"I thought you said this place was closed today?" Quinn whispers, her eyes wide, she hears them too.

"It is." Mike and Rachel answer in quiet unison. The footsteps have stopped, their sounds still ricocheting off of the walls even though they've faltered in step. Rachel hurries and grabs the only piece of furniture in the room – a wooden chair, and she hurries to prop it up against the closed door. Quinn understands, and hurries to help her, their small fingers working quickly.

"Why are you guys doing that?

"Shhh!" Quinn starts.

Tap…

Tap…

Stomp…

Draaaaaaag….

STOMP.

STOMP.

KNOCK.

KNOOOOOOCK.

The door bangs on its hinges as a strong force fights against it from the other side. The lights in the studio flicker like static, and fry, bursting the bulbs and engulfing the three of them in darkness. Quinn is at the door, holding tightly onto the handle as her eyes well up with tears. The knob twists against her hands, burning them as she fights for her grip. Rachel tries to help, but together they're no use against whatever's behind that door. And from the corner of the room Mike Chang looks on with widened eyes, a trickle of urine trailing down his jean clad leg to pool on the polished floor. Because this isn't a janitor come to kick them out for trespassing, no…this is someone else.

This is something else.

"Mike help us please!" Rachel cries from the doorway. The force has pushed the door off of its hinges, and a dark laughter bubbles from the cracks beyond the wood. Quinn loses purchase and falls backward, Rachel follows, and the two girls stare transfixed as the door is thrown aside to reveal Mrs. Callahan, Rachel's dance instructor. Her eyes are dark and sallow; her skin grayed…the beginning signs of gangrenous tissue show along her fingers and calves as she takes one thick step after another into the dance studio.

"Staying after hours again I see, Rachel…"

"Mrs. Callahan?" Rachel whimpers, her arms working quickly as she scampers across the floor, pulling a trembling Quinn with her.

"Tsk tsk…we can't have little girls like you disobeying the rules." Mrs. Callahan's eyes roll to the side as blood begins to fall from her right nostril in a cascade, it drips down her lips and chin to the floor…staining her teeth as she smiles.

"You must be punished, Rachel Berry…he wants to meet you."

Quinn watches in horror as a slender gangrenous hand comes down around her leg and pulls, dragging her forward towards the darkened hallway, towards her impending death. She smells the rot and decayed tissue of the woman's flesh and she screams as fingernails dig into her leg through the denim of her overalls. From behind her Rachel pulls her by the wrists. A stalemate between them, and like a tide rolling in on the roils of a hurricane, Mrs. Callahan's smile falls, her teeth elongate and widen – pointed spears cutting through the flesh of her very own lips as she grins. The nails on her hands grow and sharpen, digging rivulets into the blonde's skin as she drags.

"Come Rachel…the more the merrier on this merry go round." It snarls. And Quinn is on the precipice of consciousness as the gashes in her leg deepen with the tightening hold of sharpened fingers and nails around her calf. Blood pools along the floor as Mrs. Calloway inches her out of Rachel's grip.

"Mike, please!" Rachel cries, over and over like a mantra.

Like a soliloquy.

Her voice falling over every vowel and consonant beautifully, as if she were singing a song…

"Mike…."

"I can't hold her, please help me." And suddenly the boy with urine dripping down his leg shakes off the paralysis. He looks up and he sees the demon woman at the door, the blood pooling in her hands as she drags Quinn toward the darkened doorway. And Rachel cries, large tears and thick sweat soaking her bangs to the skin of her forehead as she attempts to hold on to Quinn's wrists. And Mike sees nothing but white, but peace as he finds his stereo system. As he turns it on, blasting the music of Run DMC and Wu Tang as his feet move to familiar rhythms. The music infuses every fiber of his being as runs head on for the creature at the doorway, his Nike's squeaking against the floor polish as he jumps into the air on a front flip. His leg connects with bone and skin, and when he lands he sees It clutching at a broken jaw. Sharpened fangs falling haphazardly within a new forming pool of blood – the eyes sharpen as it lunges. But Mike weaves again, pin wheeling on the floor and hitting it again and again in the face with the force of his resolve. And as each connection of his foot makes contact, another bone breaks, more blood spills. And in a whirlwind the gangrenous body before them collapses into a pull of pulp and rotting organs, blood and gangrenous tissue. He sprints away and kicks at one of the studio windows, breaking through it. He motions for Rachel, and together they grab Quinn, dragging her through with the little amount of adrenaline the two of them have left.

They pull themselves through the splintered glass, as they fall in a heap to the sidewalk below. The sun still heavy in the sky, the passing of cars and pedestrians oblivious to the pounding of their hearts, to the blood streaked along their clothes…the fear in their eyes. A mother walking her children spots them and slows her gait, a scowl on her face as she approaches.

"Are you three behind this act of vandalism? Rest assured, Mrs. Callahan will be the first to hear of the three culprits spotted red-handed just outside of her studio!" Rachel's tears have yet to dry and she shakes her head, holding back the need to be sick on the pavement. This woman…she can't see…she can't see the blood? The open gashes on Quinn's leg…? She can't see?

"Ma'am, we…we didn't break in, we need a Doctor or something, she's bleeding!" Mike cries, his hair pointed in wild ways, his eyes frantic.

"No one's bleeding. Are you three on drugs too!? The nerve, the thought!"

Rachel's tears are real now, as they fall. She looks down at Quinn, the blonde whimpering as her eyes flutter. And as the three of them sit like sitting ducks in the Lima sun, she knows that this battle will never be easy. She looks between the three of them and she realizes that the adults will never understand their plight. They're children locked in a Merry-go-Round, with no means to an end, nowhere to run. And like a light cutting out after a blown fuse, she falls to the ground as her mind goes blank, passing out on the hot pavement, right alongside beautiful, beautiful Quinn Fabray.

Their fingertips still intertwined.