Title: The Heart is a Machine
Pairing: Quinn Fabray/Rachel Berry
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. Just having a little fun.
Summary: AU. Future fic. Quinn Fabray, former Blade Runner, is called back into the force when a group of robots crash land on Earth and go on a killing spree. When a seemingly unique in her own way robot weasels her way into Quinn's life Quinn begins to question what it means to be human.
A/N: A big, big thank you to everyone who's been reading and reviewing this fic. I hope you enjoy the ending!
Even in the face of death, Quinn couldn't help but claw at Sebastian's arms in hopes that she could find purchase. Her attempts were fruitless, manicured nails digging into synthetic skin that failed to even register pain to Sebastian as his eyes shinned in merciless pleasure back down at her. She gasped a strangled breath, once, and didn't breathe again for several seconds.
"You do?" Sebastian asked calmly as if his hands weren't wrapped around her neck, willing the life out of her body. He was referencing his earlier question about her feelings for Rachel, but with rapid oxygen depletion to her brain, Quinn could barely keep up. "Interesting, don't you think?"
Quinn couldn't find it in herself to care about the hypocrisy he found in her feelings for Rachel. Her legs twitched awkwardly below her as the taste of blood continued to coat her tongue. Her vision darkened even more and all she wanted at this point was something else to look at while she died instead of the scowl marring Sebastian's face.
The next thing she heard was the screeching, chilling sound of metal smacking harshly against metal. It sounded like a car crash and for a moment Quinn was lost, thrown back to the night when Timothy crashed into her, the moment that started it all, and she briefly she wondered if she could see Cassandra in her mind's eye.
She sputtered in surprise when something resembling air, sweet beautiful air chased down her lungs as fast as she could inhale uneven breaths followed by coughing up the blood that had probably seeped in her esophagus by now. She whimpered in confusion and fear as she looked around her to what little she could see through her darkened tunnel vision. She heard the faint scuffing of shoes, low grunting from exertion and angled her head upward and to her left to find Rachel wrestling Sebastian to the ground.
Quinn gulped in another breath and attempted to turn over onto her stomach. She belly flopped to look across the roof. Sebastian's face was buried into the concrete at an odd angle with Rachel straddling his back. She had one of his arms twisted behind his back and was holding the other down to the concrete.
Sebastian let out a frustrated huff and turned his head to eye Rachel over his shoulder. "You'd kill your own brother?" He asked gruffly. "For a human?"
Rachel twisted his other hand behind his back and held on to the both of them with one hand. She laid her free hand on the concrete as she regarded Sebastian impassively. "I would do anything for her. Furthermore, you killed my father, so surely you should have seen this coming."
He barked out a dark, humorless chuckle. "A replicant with a heart," he scoffed in wonderment. "And they said we didn't exist."
Rachel had to smile at that.
"This wasn't personal, you know," he continued when she didn't respond. "I just...wanted to live, like any red-blooded human would."
She felt Sebastian twitch awkwardly under her and frowned, concern softening her eyes as her grip on him eased as if she was hurting him. "You don't have much longer, do you?"
He smiled lopsidedly without mirth. His eyes shifted focus from her to a shallow puddle that had settled into a groove in the concrete several feet away. It wiggled every few seconds with a new raindrop. With a sigh, Sebastian closed his eyes and Quinn's heart seized. "Time to die, Rachel."
Rachel's breath hitched at his statement and not but a second later did Sebastian grow limp below her. Quinn watched from several feet away as Rachel leaned closer to press a kiss into his hair. "Rest peacefully, Sebastian," she murmured. Her hand curled into a fist against the concrete and she drew her arm back and jammed her fist into Sebastian's skull.
Quinn gritted her teeth and clenched her eyes shut against the screeching sound that resounded in the night sky and rattled around in her already muddled head. When she opened her eyes again, Rachel was standing and Sebastian's head was bashed in. He looked much like the wooden table in Quinn's kitchen.
Rachel scrutinized Quinn as she approached, and offered an explanation when faced with confusion and mild fear. "Just to be sure that he's really gone."
Just as Quinn was ready to attempt to push up on a knee, she felt a hand wrap around her bicep and another snake around her waist before she was hoisted up like a rag doll. Rachel circled Quinn, assessing her injuries while ripping off a piece of her sweater without thought. Her lips were balled up, her brow resting heavily above her hardened eyes that roamed all over Quinn's face and the damage that had been done to it.
Quinn swayed where she stood in front of Rachel. Her throat felt raw from where Sebastian had squeezed it like a damp dish rag. Her vision was starting to return to normal, but any jerky movement would send her into disorientation again.
Rachel frowned once more at the damage done to Quinn's face before she bent down to drag the fabric in her hand through a puddle of fresh rain water. She squeezed it of excess water then gently pressed it to Quinn's face, wiping away caked blood. She inhaled a deep breath before admitting, "There is a bomb in the building. I've seen it and I can hear it."
Quinn clutched at Rachel's waist when she felt herself tipping forward, and Rachel stepped closer, sturdy as stone, as Quinn fell into her. She placed a kiss to a spot by Quinn's ear that wasn't caked with blood, and mumbled, "We have to leave, Quinn. Right now, okay? I informed Noah and Santana about the bomb after we retired Mike, so they're gone. But I wasn't going to leave without you."
Quinn pulled away at the urgency in Rachel's soft voice, and Rachel caught a pallid, thin wrist in her grip and pulled Quinn back. Dull and weary hazel eyes stared back at her listlessly. Rachel's eyes were lively enough for the both of them as they widened in concern. "Quinn, I think you're concussed." Her grip on Quinn's wrist tightened and she gave a light tug to keep from jostling her more than necessary. "We really have to get out of here." She pulled Quinn through door and wrapped an arm around her waist as she led them down the stairs. "We have less than twenty minutes to make it out of here, Quinn. Do you hear me?"
For the first time in minutes Quinn spoke. It was a rough bark of, "Yes," that immediately sent her into a splitting headache.
Her feet were agile as ever as she glided down the steps with minimal issue. It was her upper half that she needed to wake up. Rachel's sure grip around her waist never slackened in its persistence as they winded through the flights of stairs that Quinn had taken up in her foolishly heroic pursuit of Sebastian. It felt like the steps had tripled in number on the way down and Quinn leaned heavily against Rachel in her exhaustion.
"We're almost there," Rachel managed to whisper against her ear while guiding them both down the stairs. She was the picture of calm right now to Quinn's surprise and she sluggishly voiced as much.
"I need you alive," Rachel explained gruffly. "And I can't—as much as I want to panic and cry and fret over your injuries right now—" Her eyes began to glisten and she buried her lips into her mouth and shook her head.
Quinn just nodded.
They hit even ground in what felt like it took the entire twenty minutes and that the building was going to explode any second now, but Rachel stood quietly for a moment, then informed her that they had precisely fourteen minutes.
And then Rachel started walking—opposite of the exit, and Quinn stood from the wall that she had found herself leaning against to follow her. She assumed her vision had returned to normal, but the building was so dimly lit that she had no idea.
"Where are you going?" Quinn asked, winced and clutched her forehead only to wince again. It seemed silence was the only thing that was going to sooth her aching head.
She began to hear faint crying as they encroached upon a room with light shining from the inside. It only took Quinn a few seconds to realize this was LeRoy's office. She walked in behind Rachel to find Hiram leaning over LeRoy's body, rocking back and forth while feeble sobs wracked his body.
Rachel wrung her hands together as her eyes raked up her father's body. Her movements were careful and confined as if one wrong move would shatter the entire office as she slowly knelt down beside Hiram and placed a hand on LeRoy's leg.
"Hiram, I-I'm so sorry," she whispered in a thick, wet voice with tears coating her every word. She couldn't meet his eyes after nearly taking his life days ago and settled for staring at her father's lifeless body. She puffed out a pained breath and wiped at her eyes, squeezing LeRoy's leg. "But there is a bomb in here and we all need to leave right now." She placed a hand on Hiram's shoulder to gather his attention and he flinched away violently.
His eyes blazed darkly and Quinn stood a little straighter in defense. "I'm not leaving," he gritted out through thick tears dancing down his face. "Leave—you leave me here with him. It's the least you can do."
Rachel leaned forward and finally dragged her eyes up to meet his. "There is no reason why you should both have to die."
"Leave!" Hiram shouted, shoving Rachel away. She barely budged, but received the message loud and clear. She clutched a hand to her chest where he had just shoved her and clasped her fingers surprisingly around a white envelope. She looked at it then back at Hiram. "I have lost everything because of you," he accused with thrashing limbs. "My daughter, my husband—"
"I haven't done anything!" Rachel argued with a rough growl to her voice.
Quinn walked over to the two of them and placed a hand on Rachel's shoulder. "Come on." Her voice was firm and brooked no argument, because she was not about to allow the both of them to explode with this building.
Rachel stood up and looked at Quinn pleadingly. "We can save him."
"He doesn't want to be saved," Quinn told her. "The best we can offer him right now is privacy in his last few moments."
Rachel looked wholly unconvinced but didn't put up a fight when Quinn grabbed her hand and tugged her along. With the very real possibility of not making it out of the building on time weighing heavily on her mind, Quinn found her unsteadiness slipping away to make room for anxiety as she sped up her pace. Rachel kept up effortlessly.
"Okay, which way?" Quinn asked once they were in the dark tunnel once more. Rachel tugged on the hand clasped in hers as she took a sharp right. "And how much time do we have left?"
"Six minutes," she admitted, biting her lip.
"Are you nervous?" Quinn couldn't help but ask as they began running.
Rachel hesitated for a moment then murmured, "Yes."
They ran faster toward a dim light shining from above and Rachel urged Quinn up the ladder first. Quinn bit her lip to stifle the argument on her tongue and simply hiked quickly up the ladder, Rachel's hands hot on her feet as she followed closely behind. They hopped onto the parking deck and stood quickly to walk toward Quinn's car when a giant black SUV pulled out in front of them.
Quinn skidded to a stop in alarm as tinted windows greeted her. The window rolled down just as she was about to start backing up and running in another direction, and a relieved breath whooshed out of her at the sight of Puck in the driver's seat. "Get in."
Quinn and Rachel scrambled into the back seat. "Where's Santana?" Quinn asked with narrowed eyes as she fumbled to put her seat belt on. She had made it past Sebastian and out of the building; there was no way in hell she was about to die via car accident of all things.
Puck's jaw clenched. "Long gone."
"Three minutes and ten seconds," Rachel worriedly called from over Puck's shoulder. She had an impeccable internal clock.
He jammed his foot onto the accelerator in threat to drive it through the floor of the car and the screech of rubber grinding harshly against pavement sounded as Puck sped out of the parking lot. He ran through the security lever and sped out onto the street, closing in on seventy as he drove straight ahead.
Rachel watched the building grow smaller and smaller as they drove away until it was nothing but a tiny dot, exploding; the envelope Hiram had jabbed into her chest was held tightly in her grasp the entire time.
"Quinn, you have to—"
"Every hour, Quinn."
"Every three hours!"
Rachel sighed and grabbed the lamp on the bedside table. She pulled the shade off of it and the entire room became engulfed in a florescent glow. Sam had insisted Quinn could have his bed for the night after Quinn threw a fit and demanded to be released from the hospital. She had a mild concussion like Rachel feared, but the doctor informed her that the first twenty-four hours were the worst and that Quinn would make a quick recovery soon after. Rachel was instructed to wake Quinn every three hours during the night to ensure that she hadn't slipped into a coma and was coherent, but—Rachel pursed her lips. "I just want to be thorough." Her lips were stiff in her conviction to take care of Quinn as she saw fit no matter how cranky Quinn was whenever she woke her up.
Quinn turned over onto her back and threw her arm over her eyes to block out the light. "I just want you to let me sleep," she whined through downturned lips.
Rachel's lips quivered in threat of a sympathetic smile. She stood from the chair she had been sitting on for over four hours to sit down on the bed beside Quinn. Her hand darted out to cup Quinn's cheek—red with indignity—because she honestly couldn't help herself. "Honey, I know you're tired," she murmured warmly.
The soft press of Rachel's warm palm against her cheek made Quinn sigh. "I nearly died; I'm more than tired." Her legs moved restlessly underneath the blankets bunched at her waist and the white night shirt she wore rose with every jerky, agitated movement. She felt worlds better now that she had slept—as much as one could sleep while mildly concussed with Rachel Berry as their nurse. More than anything now she was just bone tired and wanted to sleep for a few hours, or days.
"I know, but—"
"Just let me sleep!" Quinn bellowed in a painful wail.
The door in the corner of the room creaked and Rachel swiftly turned to the intruder to find Puck poking his head inside, rubbing at his eyes. "I see you woke sleeping beauty," he yawned unhappily. "Again." They had all converged at Sam's house for the night and agreed separately that they were all going to spend the night together, unconsciously, in search of companionship after the hellish several hours that they now preferred to put behind them.
"Every hour," Rachel informed him.
"Every three hours!" Quinn argued.
"What's the commotion in here?" another groggy, roughened voice asked. It was Sam, nothing but a frown and a mop of blonde hair over Puck's shoulder. "Is she in pain?"
"No." Rachel frowned. Her hand flitted to land lightly on the side of Quinn's neck she checked for a fever. "But she's being very disagreeable."
Quinn grumbled an expletive, but sighed when Rachel leaned down to press her lips to her temple. "You can go back to sleep," Rachel whispered in her ear. "Clearly you're still in your right mind."
Quinn was gone almost instantly, but fumbled for Rachel's hand as unconsciousness swept through her.
"Rachel, fuck. Cut it out."
"Every hour, Quinn."
Rachel frowned deeply. "You're very cantankerous when you don't get enough sleep."
Quinn cracked an eye open to glower at Rachel who was standing from her seat to lean closer. "Then let me—"
She didn't get to finish her sour statement because Rachel swooped in and demanded Quinn's lips. Incensed, Quinn moved to pull away, but Rachel only followed her until she was pushing a knee onto the bed in order to keep up. Quinn's breath hitched as a warm hand cupped the side of her neck with tender care. Her lips twitched in threat of a smile at the lengths Rachel went to in order to distract her from her agitation at being woken up. She dragged her hands through Rachel's hair and tangled her fingers into the wisps at the nape of her neck.
Rachel leaned closer when faced with Quinn's compliance. She climbed fully onto the bed and settled down on her stomach beside Quinn. With a few more pecks against her lips, Rachel pulled back with a twinkle in her eyes. "Feel better now?"
Quinn hummed, a throaty purr buzzing in her chest. She felt…content—happy, and so very alive despite the threat of a concussion and a gash in her forehead that she desperately hoped wouldn't scar. Her eyes bounced all along Rachel's face, estimating the circumference of her eyes, tracing the line of her draw, running up her sharp cheekbones. Her thumb rubbed along the back of Rachel's neck as the sound of the blood rushing through her head grew louder with nervousness. "I love you," she finally admitted in a whisper-soft voice.
Rachel's eyes glittered like dark gold, melting into softness and a fond quality that shined through at Quinn. She reached out with uncharacteristically shaky fingers to tuck a blonde lock of hair behind Quinn's ear and cup the side of her face. "I love you," she sighed heavily as if the weight of the affection she felt for Quinn pressed down on her vocal cords. She smiled and traced its echo on Quinn's lips. "I think you've earned another two hours of uninterrupted sleep."
Quinn clutched at the side of her head and stared blankly at the T.V. She had been re-bandaged courtesy of Rachel who had researched how to properly dress a head wound because she wouldn't let Sam touch Quinn more than necessary. The painful throbbing had subsided, and Quinn's vision was back to normal. Occasionally she was struck with bouts of dizziness and lightheadedness if she moved too quickly, but she was sure that would all subside soon. For now she was less concerned with her head and more concerned with the news, specifically the three different news channels she was flipping back and forth between that were all covering the explosion of the Schuester Corporation that had occurred just forty-eight hours ago.
News anchors were calling it the doing of a replicant gone mad, the explosion. There were a few deaths from passersby who had no idea that the building was seconds away from exploding; several charred, too burnt to be identified, bodies were found inside, but Quinn knew who they were: Sue, LeRoy, Hiram, Mike, and probably Sebastian.
They were all gone, needlessly really, and Quinn couldn't help but think back to the car accident once again and wonder how differently everyone's lives would have been had Cassandra survived.
"Quinn, you're going to go insane if you keep watching the news," Rachel told her as she walked into the living room. She had two cups of coffee in her hands and handed one to Quinn. "Careful, its scalding." A hint of a teasing smile played over Rachel's lips, and as selfish as a thought it may have been, Quinn was thankful that things turned out the way they did even though several people had died in the years-long aftermath since that one moment.
Quinn stared at the news anchorwoman talking to her as she took a luxurious sip of her coffee. "They've all been retired," she muttered.
Rachel pursed her lips, hesitated, then took a sip of her coffee. "I'll miss them," was all she said.
Quinn sighed at the dip in Rachel's voice, the only indication that she disliked the fact that this was how it ended for her fellow replicants. She rarely spoke on the matter, but it was clear that she had been fond of them, her own kind.
Deciding to change the subject, Quinn grabbed the remote and turned off the television then turned toward Rachel. She placed the coffee mug on Sam's glass table and rubbed her hands together. "Ready to move to Jamaica?"
Rachel grinned giddily, and bit her lip. "I am."
"Whoa, wait, what the hell is this?" They both looked up to find Puck in the archway of the living room. "Jamaica? You're still moving?"
"We still have to hide, Puck," Quinn pointed out.
"From who?" he challenged. "Everyone who knew that Rachel was a replicant died in that explosion. Her file's definitely burnt to ashes by now."
The revelation nearly knocked the wind out of Quinn as she sunk back into the couch. She had never thought of that. Rachel's brow furrowed as she, too, thought over his statement, and Quinn leaned forward to offer up an argument. "But Santana—"
"Quit. She turned in her badge and gun this morning when I went to turn my own in, chucked the deuces to me, and told me this town's gotten weird as hell and that she was moving to Cali with her girl because Brittany scored a touring gig." Puck crossed his arms over his chest and leaned back against the archway. "So—stay here."
"I hate this town, Puck," Quinn told him with a shake of her head. "I'm sorry, but—"
"Then move to another city, hell another state. Just don't go so far away." He sighed and dropped his arms to smack exaggeratedly against his thighs as his shoulders drooped.
"He's going to miss you," Sam supplied as he stepped into the living room and the conversation. He scratched at the beard threatening to sprout out of his chin. "We both will."
Quinn ducked her head to hide the curling of her lips. "Come on, guys. Don't get all sentimental."
"Then take a hint," Puck told her with narrowed eyes. "Just be in the country for goodness sakes."
"You're the one who said you'd go the Bahamas."
"That's like, a pipe dream," he scoffed. "Something you just say because it's a cool idea." He cleared his throat and belatedly muttered, "…But there's no way I could leave you guys."
Quinn looked from the hopeful expression on Sam's face to the much more subdued, macho version on Puck's face, though the tension in his frame told Quinn all she needed to know.
She dragged her eyes to Rachel with a shrug. "What do you want to do?"
"I just want to be with you," Rachel admitted. She cut her eyes to Sam so quickly Quinn almost didn't catch it, and looked at Quinn again. "To me, it does not matter where we go, only that we're together."
Six months later, New York City…
She had kept two packed suitcases under the bed in their new penthouse just in case there was at least one person from Lima, Ohio who would come forward and confess to the fact that Rachel was still alive, and a replicant. Her fear was almost irrational considering, as Puck had told her, there wasn't a living enemy left who would want Rachel dead except Santana who seemed to just want to do what they were all doing, putting the whole case behind them and moving on. Plus, Rachel's file was burned to crisp, ashes that had been swept away by city workers as they attempted to clean the rubble that was once a proud standing building foisted upon the small town of Lima.
When it got to be six months later with no one coming forward about Rachel's existence, Quinn was starting to sleep a little better at night.
Rachel had long ago read the letter in the white envelope Hiram had thrown at her just before the explosion. She had kept it firmly in her grasp for a full two months before she finally gathered up the courage to read it. It was a four page front and back hand written confession from LeRoy. He explained everything to her that Quinn hadn't the heart to. It had all left Rachel feeling "moderately numb, as if someone has arrested my feelings and left me with…nothing," as she had described before she just fell into Quinn's arms and cried out her anger, frustration, and overwhelming sadness.
With every secret out in the open and without the immediate threat of the death of either one of them, Quinn and Rachel were able to begin anew. Quinn had saved thousands of dollars when she moved several hours away from Lima instead of across the world somewhere. She had enrolled into college full time and finally took up those acting classes she had been dying to.
Rachel had tried her hand at odd jobs to see what she liked. In six months she had gone from being a waitress, to a secretary at a low end business, to musical entertainment at a bar where she quickly learned that she absolutely adored singing, or more specifically, the way people reacted to her singing. Since then she had enrolled with Quinn in college strictly because of the show choir that Quinn promised was amazing.
Quinn would sometimes think back to that case, like right now, and wonder just how the hell she slept at night. But the soft, warm press of Rachel's body beside her every night often coaxed away her darker thoughts and lulled her to sleep. Rachel had no qualms about outwardly claiming how much she needed Quinn, but Quinn's need for her was just as fierce, quiet, tucked away in her mind along with the ever present knowledge that Rachel wasn't going anywhere, thankfully.
She felt slim arms wrap around her from behind and a chin rest on her left shoulder. Quinn's grip on the banister of the balcony tightened. It was a crisp morning that was beginning to warm over with the baking sun overhead, too promising of a day for Quinn to wither in these thoughts and she knew Rachel was coming to whisk her away to do who knew what. Rachel thrived in New York like Quinn had never seen her. Every day was an adventure for her and she eagerly took it on.
But this was just Quinn's thinking spot often, where she came to when her thoughts were heavy and her eyes keen…just in case.
Through the thin cloth of her dress, Quinn could feel the evidence of Rachel's nudity press into her shoulder blades. There were some things about Rachel that would never change no matter what her journey to integrating into human society led to, and Quinn was thankful, because Rachel's idiosyncrasies were what made her. A kiss was pressed to the base of her neck that made her shiver as Rachel buried her face there. "Penny for your thoughts?"
Her voice was light and carefree, clashing with Quinn's dark and heavy thoughts, and Quinn slowly turned in Rachel's arms with a quiet smile, knowing who the victor would be.
It all still felt like yesterday sometimes, but Rachel's presence anchored Quinn in the present and kept her pushing toward their future.
Rachel bit her lip, but it did nothing to stifle her smile as she tugged Quinn back into their apartment. "Today is our ice skating date," Rachel purred. "Did you forget?"
Quinn's hands found slim hips that wiggled in threat to slip right through her fingers, and Quinn just clung tighter. She was never letting Rachel go, and knew more than anything that Rachel never intended to let go of her either. "I didn't forget." Quinn quirked an eyebrow. "But clearly you did because you aren't dressed."
Dark eyes twinkled at the challenge that lay behind Quinn's words before Rachel scampered off into their bedroom in search of clothes. Quinn watched her go with a sigh. She casted one more glance to the balcony before following behind Rachel with a growing grin.
There would soon be a day where she would stop looking over her shoulder.
But for now, Quinn was just happy there was no one there when she did.