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Rachel Berry smiled brightly at the crowd, waving enthusiastically. She did everything enthusiastically and it was that energy, that drive that got her where she was today. She walked the red carpet and continued to wave, continued to smile. She had honest to goodness fans besides her parents and Santana. People had actually paid their hard earned money to see he perform. And for doing it, she was nominated for a Tony award. She was in heaven.
So she smiled, and she waved, and she walked. The entire affair was a high for her. She was a fan herself of many of the people she was seeing. She had finally met her idol and she would always treasure that moment. Barbara had told her "Good Luck." It must have worked because she won. Rachel Berry was a Tony award winner.
She doesn't remember much of the accident. Doesn't remember the truck that clipped the limo she was in, or the way the front of the car was smashed and crumpled in. She knows it happened, but she doesn't remember the moment of impact. Luckily she is not hurt, the safety features in the car protected her from the impact. Its the way the frame twisted and warped that causes the most harm to her. The doors won't open.
The car is a smoking, smoldering wreck and the doors won't open. Smoke fills the car and Rachel Berry is concerned with being burned alive. She is grateful when rescue workers are able to cut her out of the wreckage before that happens. They take her to the hospital after nearly twenty-five minutes of being trapped in the smoking ruins of the car. She hears the diagnosis then. Minor abrasions, no permanent scars. No broken bones, only minor bruising. She should consider herself lucky. And she does.
A week later, she feels her throat still constricting, it's still scratchy. She tries singing but doesn't want to push it. So she rests. Rachel Berry rests for a month before going for a check up. Then, then, she hears the news. Smoke damage. Toxic fumes. Permanent damage to soft tissue. Irreversible. Rachel Berry will never sing again. Her career, just starting it's climb a month and a half ago, is over. Her voice cracks and scratches now when she tries to sing notes that once came so easy to her. She speaks fine, but when she tries to sing she can feel it. The damage, the scaring. At 26 years old, Rachel Berry has to find a new life plan. And nothing she has done in her life has prepared her for the possibility that it will have nothing to do with singing.
"You're thinking about it, aren't you?" Santana asked, looking at her best friend in the mirror.
Rachel caught her eye and smiled softly. "I just never thought I would be here."
Santana smiled. "Neither did I, but you are. And either way, you have millions of fans."
Rachel nodded. "Yes, but how long until that changes?" she sighed. "What makes me qualified to run the country? To set foreign policy, to be a world leader? What makes my words more important that someone else's? How in the world did this happen?" Rachel starts to panic a bit.
Santana smirks. "Seriously? You're Rachel Berry. Do you not remember high school, or College...either time?"
Rachel shakes her head.
"You are a natural leader, Rachel. The voters saw something in you that made them believe in you." Santana said, moving behind her and holding her gaze in the mirror. "They believed in you, the least you can do is trust in their judgment and believe in yourself as much."
Rachel nodded. As usual, Santana was right. She was right when she told Rachel to go for her Broadway dreams a year early, making the last year of Rachel's college career VERY hectic but oh so worth it. She was right when she told Rachel to go back to school and join her in the political scene.
"The pay is pretty decent and you might actually help me make a difference."
Santana was a Senator for the state of Ohio. She was an incumbent seat for the last 22 years. Rachel joined her and was a Senator after she graduated from Columbia with a Master's in Political Science. She and Santana were quite the duo. They had each others backs and everyone in the Senate knew, if you wanted Ohio's vote on something you would need to have both of their approvals. Because if they ever disagreed, the vote was a 'no'. They would get together and hash out what differences they had and FULLY explained their differing opinions until they could come to a consensus. It made for a very prosperous partnership for Ohio, but a very slow moving law-making process as many delegates wanted nothing to do with the amount of times it sometimes took for the two to agree.
When Santana finally convinced Rachel to throw her political hat into the ring for the Presidential Ballot, she made it clear that she would stay on as a Senator, rather than run Rachel's campaign. She would support her friend, but she didn't want the job Rachel offered. This was a great disappointment to Rachel, who wanted the woman to be her Chief of Staff. But Santana refused.
"It would look like you were playing favorites in office. You should give it to the person the most qualified, not just to your friends."
Of course, Santana was right again. A friend of theirs from Ohio, who ran for Governor and lost, was chosen to be Rachel's VP candidate. He was charming, handsome and held many of the political beliefs that Rachel did. So when Rachel won the Primary elections, and she named Blaine Anderson as her running mate, everyone was shocked because no one had really heard of him.
And now here she was. President of the United States. And she was, thus far, not impressed. Her work began the night she found out she won. She had an entire staff to select, twenty-six not including all of those under them. She also had to catch up with foreign policy, domestic issues, currently proposed bills hoping to become laws and a myriad of other things that simply HAD to be done before she could sleep again.
Shaking herself out of her reverie Rachel smiled at Santana. "Thank you for being here for this." she said softly.
Santana shrugged. "You are not just my President, you are my best friend. And if they aren't able to do their job in keeping you safe, the I will go ALL Lima Heights on their asses." she growled, smirking at Rachel.
Rachel Berry was getting ready to meet the detail that would be assigned to her for the next four years. A sharp knock on the door before it opened made Rachel turn and smile at the young man she saw there. He was smartly dressed and returned her smile. He was a fan before politics and was also her assistant before politics. She decided that he should keep his position through it all and he was her personal assistant as President.
"They're all here, Madam President." he said, grinning at her.
"Thank you Kurt." Rachel said, checking herself in the mirror again.
"Oh just go. You're gorgeous." Santana rolled her eyes at Rachel.
Rachel stood and headed out of the small room into a much larger one. Normally, the President just had their detail assigned to them and only took the time to get to know the ones closest to them. But Rachel was different. She wanted to know them all. After all, they were tasked with keeping her alive above everything else, even above their own lives. The very least she could do was get to know their names. So she walked down the line asking names, shaking hands and smiling her best Rachel Berry smile. She came near the end of the line when she faltered. She looked up and saw the most beautiful hazel eyes she had ever seen.
"Hi." she said simply, still staring intensely. "Uh...I'm Rachel. Rachel Berry." she shook her head and reached out for the woman's hand.
"Agent Quinn Fabray." Quinn replied, a miniscule smirk tugging at the corner of her mouth.
"I'm glad to have you here." Rachel said suddenly, stopping the procession behind her in it's tracks. The procession consisted of Kurt, dutifully taking down the names of everyone Rachel shook hands with. Santana, silently measuring up each of the agents in the line. Rachel would usually just shake their hand, get their name and move on.
Kurt glanced back at Santana with an amused smile on his face. Santana shook her head subtly and Kurt went back to scratching in his binder.
"Do you know where you will be assigned?" Rachel asked.
"Not yet, Ma'am." Quinn replied softly, shifting her gaze quickly to her left and right before settling back on Rachel. "That is later today."
Rachel only nodded, still staring into Quinn's eyes. She glanced down and realized she was still holding onto Quinn's hand. She quickly let it go, smiling nervously. "Well, I look forward to seeing you around the office." she said as she turned to walk to the next agent. Kurt followed her, but Santana stopped.
She stared at Quinn, glanced back to Rachel and then back at Quinn. She turned and faced the blonde fully, cocking her head to the side.
Quinn widened her stance marginally in response to Santana's challenge and cocked one eyebrow.
Santana stared at Quinn for a second and smiled. "Ok." she said simply, nodding in approval as she turned and headed back to catch up with Rachel.
Oh dammit, Fabray! Way to challenge the President's best friend! What the HELL were you thinking? Quinn silently berated herself. Not even the first day and she had already screwed up. This is going to be a long four years...
Rachel, Kurt and Santana headed out of the meeting and into an adjoining office. Rachel had a few minutes before her next meeting so she stopped and waited for the inevitable.
Kurt was the one who finally broke the silence when Santana shut the door. "And what was that?" he asked.
Rachel shook her head. "I don't know...she was just so..." she shook her head, looking at Santana for a little help.
"Hot?" Santana offered. She was happily married, but she had eyes. And Quinn Fabray was HOT. There was just no denying it.
Rachel scowled. "No!" she started to protest. "Well, yes she is...but that's not what I...I mean..." she stammered, turning red. "Dammit Santana!" she stomped her foot at Santana who simply smirked.
"You uh...want me to find out where she is going to be assigned?" Kurt offered, holding up his book and trying his best not to smirk. The two women had been this way since he first met them.
Rachel broke eye contact with Santana and nodded sharply at Kurt. "Yes. Thank you Kurt."
Kurt smiled and made a note in his book.
"I just...you know, I'm just curious." Rachel tried to play it off.
"Of course." Kurt said, trying his damnedest to try to sound completely professional despite the laughter that was threatening to spill out of him. "We have a meeting with the Joint Chief's next." he supplied, giving Rachel and out.
"Thank you Kurt." Rachel nodded, spinning and opening the door. She was simply going to the next meeting.
Santana thought it looked more like a storm-out. She smiled softly. She hadn't seen one of those in years, and she would deny it to her dying day but she kind of missed them.