Author's Note: Had to write it. Not part of Don't Blink.
Disclaimer: Don't own Glee, if I did…yeah, Rachel Berry. 'Nuff said.
It isn't happily ever after.
Not even close.
Rachel Hudson works in a restaurant in New York, waiting tables, while her husband drives a cab and occasionally auditions for roles on the stage and small screen. He's gotten a few commercials and a bit part as a dead body on a crime drama, but mostly he gets rejected—told to lose a few pounds, or that he's too tall, or too clumsy, or that he doesn't emote well. Rachel always tells him that those people are wrong, and that he's perfect just the way he is—he just needs to keep trying for that big break. She knows it's coming. So she irons his shirts, and runs lines with him, and circles every open audition in the newspaper, and makes certain that he shows up to every one of them on time.
Makes certain he wakes up on time, makes certain he gets to work on time, makes certain he has money in his wallet, makes certain that his taxes get paid…
Rachel Hudson never makes it on Broadway. She sits in dozens of rooms with hundreds of girls—pretty and talented and willing to make the right compromises to get ahead—but sitting in rooms and singing to walls doesn't pay the bills, and someone has to. Rachel learns to be the realist—taught with sharp words, and easy dismissals, and so many honeys, you're just not what we're looking for. She regrets not getting the nose job in high school when her fathers would have paid for it. Now she just can't afford it. Finn used to tell her that she was perfect just the way she is. He doesn't anymore. Now he just asks what's for dinner.
Asks where his wallet is, asks if the laundry is done, asks her to call the dentist because his tooth hurts, asks her to get him a beer…
Rachel Hudson stops going on her own auditions when she gets pregnant. She's happy, so happy—crying all the time, but it's only the hormones. She wishes she'd been nicer to Quinn Fabray in high school. Pregnancy is hard. Motherhood is hard—harder when her husband takes the role of the fun parent and leaves her to play the heavy—but she loves her son. He's a miniature Finn. She loves her husband, and their perfect little family, but some days she's so exhausted from taking care of the both of them that she just wants to cry. The bills pile up. She cooks dinner, and cleans the kitchen, and pours herself a glass of wine, and falls asleep on a chair watching a worn out copy of Funny Girl. She dreams of sophomore year of high school.
Of Sectionals, of singing the house down, of Don't Rain On My Parade, of promise and potential…
Rachel Hudson finally sees her husband on screen in a starring role. Unfortunately for her, it's a video on YouTube of an illicit liaison with a blonde in the back of his cab. The woman reminds Rachel of Quinn Fabray, but she isn't, because Quinn is in Los Angeles, living out her dreams while the last of Rachel's—the one that she'd sacrificed all of the others to hold—breathes its last breath. Finn is fired from his job, and he cries, and pleads, and promises never again. He begs for forgiveness.
For compassion, for understanding, for absolution, for a second chance (third chance, fourth chance, fifth…)
Rachel Hudson fakes a smile and takes her husband back. This is all she has now, and what is she without him? She cooks dinner, and cleans the kitchen, and sends her husband out to get his own beer, and kisses her son goodnight, and presses play on her worn copy of Funny Girl. She pours herself a glass of wine, and takes a few pills to take off the edge, and falls asleep on the chair. She's just so exhausted.
Quinn Fabray doesn't cry at Rachel Hudson's funeral.
She can't. Rachel Hudson is a stranger to her—an empty shell that just happened to look like a girl she'd once admired, maybe even loved. Rachel Hudson was beaten down by life; her self-worth and happiness so twisted and tied up in her husband and his dreams that she stopped chasing after her own.
Quinn Fabray glares at Finn Hudson, but lets him grieve in peace. He's a lost little boy—always has been and always will be. She smiles kindly at Rachel's son, tells him how handsome he is, whispers to him to never give up on his dreams, and that his mommy is looking down at him from heaven now. She doesn't care that Rachel was Jewish.
Quinn cried her tears at eighteen—when Rachel Berry ceased to exist in the world. She runs a hand lovingly over the cold, granite monument, before she's on her way. The stars shine a little less brightly that night.
It isn't happily ever after.
It's just an ending.