A/N: Hey all. Here's my Faberry Week participation. It's going to eventually encompass all of the Faberry week prompts this week. P.S. It's un-beta'ed so I apologize in advance for any and all mistakes.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
Quinn Fabray has always been the silent type – and although her slightly antagonistic demeanor has diminished in the years since Beth, the silence has remained. Not entirely of course, the girl's not mute; but there's a calming air about her. Those hazel eyes always buried within the pages of some book. Her mind constantly a thousand miles away, reaching into the clouds – the silence is haunting as much as it is a relief – it has never given her the confidence she once needed to believe in herself, to believe in others. It held her tongue whilst her family crumbled apart, it didn't speak the words traipsing across her heart – the pain at the mistake a young Rachel Berry was undoubtedly making. The silence never told her she was good enough. And now that she's done something with her life, succeeded, with some small ounce of success – she won't let it drown her. She'll revel in its lack of power. She's already begun to build burned bridges, starting with one - golden like the sun, its trail ending in New York City. She shifts her new Chevrolet Traverse into first gear, the rings on her fingers glinting in the Connecticut sun and her eyes following the signs to New York – the clouds parting, her radio blasting, engulfing her within a world of colors and sounds.
"Quinn! You've made it!" Rachel Berry sees that new-ish Traverse pull up curbside, and she runs down the stairs and through the lobby of Ailey Hall, her Nike's skipping across the carpet and tiling until she's out in the city sun, breathing in air and gasoline, hot dog carts and people. She really does love New York, more than she could have ever imagined. And if Finn Hudson ever did something right by her—it was letting her go. It was letting her go. She strides over to the familiar blonde, leaning up against a black Chevy, all jean clad legs and bright smiles – she meets her halfway between curb and sidewalk – somewhere in between. And if there's something Rachel Berry will never again take for granted, it's those legs. Moving back and forth, only the slightest limp in her gait if you're looking for it. And it's perfect…it's perfect.
"I did. It wasn't a bad drive at all." New York has been good to Rachel Berry in many more ways than one, Quinn thinks as she holds her. Arms folding around a small waist, nose falling to rest around brown hair pulled up into a ponytail.
"Got your bags? Your dorm room checked out?" Quinn asks, she can't help the slight husk that falls after each word. She clears her throat, stepping back, gathering both some space and her wits.
"As you are aware Quinn, I am always prompt…my bags are waiting in the lobby."
Quinn smiles, following Rachel inside, admiring the paintings on the walls of the lobby – even though she's already seen them a few times over – those Metro passes having been put to good use. The atmosphere is rife with the activity that befalls dorm room move outs and end of the year goodbyes. Her eyes follow Rachel's line of sight as she waves goodbye to a short brunette with freckles and dark green eyes, a smile on her face.
"Happy summer, Melanie." Her voice floating musically across the emptying lobby.
"Thanks, Rachel. Don't get too bored in Ohio while we're gone, Skype me, Okay?"
Rachel smiles from next to Quinn, nodding her head fiercely before running up and crushing the girl in a firm hug. By the time she returns, there are the faintest traces of tears in her eyes. Quinn averts her gaze, instead focusing on grabbing Rachel's bags and boxes, carrying them outside to the waiting car. After not too long, Rachel follows, and soon the two find themselves closing the trunk and strapping themselves in for the long haul; nothing but road and highway looming within their immediate horizon.
"Ready to hit the road, Berry?"
"As I'll ever be, Quinn."
Quinn smiles, shifting once again into first; and as they depart New York City, heading Southwest for Kentucky – the sun doesn't forget to shine brightly on them from above through the clear sunroof. And once again, the need for silence is all but forgotten as the humming trills of Rachel's voice take over the small cabin.
Santana Lopez is probably more eager than she'd ever care to admit about going back home to Lima. She'd kill you before she'd say anything, but there's a girl waiting for her there that she hasn't seen in months and it's killing her. She pushes her aviators up and over her nose, letting the humid heat settle over her shoulders. One thing she's happy with out here, is the fact that she doesn't have to wear that stupid fucking Cheerio outfit all the goddamn time. Of course she traded it in for another Cheerleading Uniform, those Sylvester rules don't apply – and so for her end of the year "bustin' outta this joint" attire, she's settled on something much more "loose-fitting" if you will. Santana also can't say that she's excited for this road trip – she heard Fabray mentioning planning a trip back to Lima with Berry because it was economical, and she couldn't pass up the free ride, or the supreme opportunity to cock-block Fabray. Girl needs to be just fuck Berry already and be done with it, it's turned into a drag if you ask her.
"There she is, Quinn!" Rachel beams from the passenger seat. She motions to the familiar form of Santana Lopez, sitting down on the curb outside of her dorm room with a candy cane in her mouth and aviators on. She's wearing the smallest pair of shorts Rachel's ever seen, and nothing more than a wife beater on top. She's sweaty, Kentucky is hot. And Rachel isn't quite sure how long she's been sitting out here waiting for you in the heat. But one thing's for sure…Santana Lopez has always been a knockout, despite the attitude. Rachel gulps quickly, turning her head away to smile shyly at Quinn, a flush to her cheeks as she clears her throat. Their Chevy pulls up curbside, and Quinn smiles back as she gets out of the car, running over to embrace Santana over by the sidewalk, all dark and blonde hair entangled within the embrace.
"Get out here, hobbit. you know you missed Auntie 'Tana too." Santana barks from over one of Quinn's shoulders. And Rachel can't help but smile, not realizing just how much she's missed that biting tongue. She jolts out of the car, ponytail swishing in the breeze as she skips over to the darker haired brunette, smiling shyly before wrapping her up in a squeezing hug.
"Hello to you too, Santana."
The car ride is anything but quiet as they make their way out of Louisville, the trunk and back seat much more full than it was when they entered the sweltering city. Quinn hits the AC just as she reaches for her Ray Bans, pulling them swiftly down and over her eyes as she merges onto the highway, headed for Indiana.
"You bitches missed the shit out of me, admit it."
Quinn rolls her eyes from behind her shades, catching Rachel doing the same from across the console. She bites her lip, hiding a smile, neither one of you doing the snarky occupant of the backseat the pleasure of answering.
"Fuck you too."
Quinn husks out a laugh, and turns her head slightly when she sees Rachel turn to look at her with a bashful smile on her face – something dazed and altogether goofy, all hot skin and dark brown eyes.
"Hey." Rachel whispers.
"Hey." Quinn mutters in return – just before a honk breaks the connection just as a car merges drastically into their lane; causing Quinn to swerve slightly out of the way. From the backseat Santana Lopez snickers inconspicuously into her palm – unheard, and almost entirely forgotten.
It's been a long drive, through Pennsylvania and part of Ohio even before they arrived in Kentucky, and Quinn can feel her eyes drooping as she maneuvers the car just outside of Lousiville. They're supposed to be heading North, a straight shot through Cincinnati and upward – but somehow she's let Rachel convince her to take a break, the three of them stopping somewhere near Lexington at a BBQ joint. Quinn wonders why Rachel would have picked a place like this when she can't eat meat, but she sees her asking questions and observing the pictures on the wall like this is her favorite place in the world – and Quinn can't help but smile. Rachel ends up ordering a wild berry salad with raspberry vinaigrette and fresh rolls, whilst Santana and Quinn settle for short ribs and brisket. And as they all eat, Quinn can't help but smile softly as Rachel engages them both in light conversation, her bare knee brushing up against a jean clad thigh from underneath the table. Santana Lopez is none the wiser, but the drive through Pennsylvania and Southern Ohio before getting to Louisville, had been rife with an electricity unexplainable. The space between them loud, despite the silence – soft brushes of hands as Quinn shifted the gear stick, shy smiles too and fro in between rest stops - Bright eyes lingering on the other as they entered new state lines. And with Santana now in tow, things haven't changed much, despite the change in scenery.
And it is with that in mind that Quinn convinces Rachel to follow her outside and into her Traverse out along the side of the road – the two of them having left Santana at the motel, asleep in her bed. The night is bright and luminous in Lexington, the stars brilliant. And whilst the two them recline in the front and passenger seats and stare up through the open sunroof at the stars – Quinn can't help her hand from intertwining with the small one next to it. Neither can she help her lips from crossing the distance between them in the dark. Things like this…can't always be helped, she supposes.
And everything is bright. Everything is loud.
Rachel won't be the one to speak the words, but she can tell that something's wrong. She had awoken that morning alongside Quinn, in her Chevy. Dew sticking to her skin from the open sunroof, the sound of cows and horses in the far off distance awakening her in the early morning – the two of them hadn't meant to stay out for that long, and with a shy smile, she'd tapped Quinn on the shoulder, kissing her nose. The two of them had woken up in a haze of bubbly eyes and tender brushes of skin and heat, and Rachel wonders now – how they had waited for so long. She probably would have planned a road trip a long time ago if she'd known that Quinn Fabray's heart would be the outcome. But at the moment that's neither here nor there, because once they arrived back at the Motel, it was to find a heaving Santana – all angry scared eyes, wielding a baseball bat over the dead body of the Motel Attendant, Steve. Blood splattered all over her SpongeBob boxer briefs.
Rachel had screamed of course, running for the body, trying to save the dying man – only to realize that he wasn't really man at all, all dead skin and purple veins. Yellowed eyes and hollowed cheeks. She remembers the thought as it passed through her addled brain – that something, was not right.
"That fucker attacked me! I opened the door, b-b-because…and he…and I." It's all hyper-ventilations and breath, and pounding heartbeats in their motel room, which now smells like the copper infusion of blood and hemoglobin. And Rachel's pretty sure that Quinn is about to call the police…until she sees her. Ambling up from the side railing outside of the door, the maid – all pale skin, and young dead eyes. A limp in that unnatural gait. And this time it's Quinn who snatches the bat out of Santana's hands, just as the young woman makes a lunge for Rachel's calf, sprawling herself across the carpet in a wide arc.
The baseball bat makes contact with a resounding crunch. And this time it's Rachel who has to splutter around a face full of blood splatter.
And that is how the three of them have ended up in Indiana. Fleeing something far more permanent than circumstance.
They managed to scout a police station outside of Lexington…deserted. They dialed the 911 hotline only to get static, and when Rachel turned on the television in an abandoned office space just outside of Lexington, it was to see the griping news of something, having taken course just over the last few days, spreading West. A virus, located in origin just outside of Fiji, spreading like wildfire across the globe in a mutiny of outbreaks. The words contamination, and evacuate are abundant…
Santana throws up on the side of the road.
Quinn isn't far behind.