When Rachel said that she'd prefer if Quinn didn't attend she didn't mean it, not really. Quinn's attendance was the most important thing for the 'tiny Jewish teenager' as the blonde so eloquently put it. There was no one else that she needed there more, not even Finn. Yes, it may seem a bit ridiculous that Rachel needed her new best friend at her wedding more than her husband to be but that's simply how it was.
Quinn was important to her; her friendship was important to her. And it may sound stupid but Rachel the moment that she solidified her friendship with Quinn to be her crowning achievement in high school; not getting the lead in the school musical, not their impending Nationals victory, not her guaranteed spot as salutatorian (Rachel knew Quinn would be valedictorian) not even getting the star quarterback as her boyfriend and soon to be husband.
She wanted her there, needed her there. Rachel wanted Quinn to be happy for her, but she obviously wasn't. She was angry, disappointed, hurt and if Rachel were honest with herself she'd say that she sensed a bit of jealousy from the former cheerleader. But she quickly pushed those thoughts aside. Quinn couldn't still have feelings for Finn; they barely even talked since he dumped her after that funeral.
Rachel has a fleeting thought of sorrow for the blonde. Quinn hasn't been in a serious relationship since that day, and Rachel can only think that maybe she's forgotten that feeling; that feeling of being in love. But she can't start feeling sympathetic for Quinn. Not now, not when she's still upset with her.
She doesn't know why she thought that Quinn would actually go along with this. The former Cheerio stated her objections to the engagement the second the singer told her about it, and since then hasn't show the slightest sign that she'd change her mind. She even openly voiced her opinions to the entire Glee Club, even if she disguised it as a speech aimed at everyone.
The entire time hazel eyes bore into chocolate brown ones. She looked at no one else, save for Rachel. And the words, they made Rachel's heart ache. She wanted to scream, to say this was a lie because they didn't love her she did. They weren't there for her when she needed them, she was. They pushed her concerns and worries aside because they couldn't see how much see needed them, needed someone.
Quinn was always good at hiding her emotions; only Rachel could see through her façade. But at that moment so much of it was pouring out, that no matter how much Quinn try people would see. Rachel knew that Kurt had caught onto something and Finn's glance kept shifting between his current and ex-girlfriend. Rachel couldn't handle it, despite her preparations for being in the spotlight on a Broadway stage she handle look Quinn was giving her.
She looked down to avoid Quinn's gaze; a gaze that Rachel could only describe as one you save for a lover. It was a preposterous idea, one she quickly dismissed. She forgot about it and just hoped that Quinn would change her mind.
Later on her hopes seemed to be answered when Quinn participated in a singing telegram during Valentine's Day; one that Finn didn't even remember ordering (Rachel would later learn that he hadn't). But that couldn't really be seen as support as Rachel had yet to tell Quinn of her answer, nor did the blonde actually participate in the singing.
Quinn wouldn't come. It was a fact that Rachel would just have to accept. And so it surprised her when Quinn approached her after their victory at Regionals. The two hadn't spoken since the bridal shop. She looked beautiful in her newly obtained Cheerios uniform, but also vulnerable, so unlike what most people were accustomed to when looking at Quinn Fabray. But Rachel was used to this side of Quinn; a side that was almost guaranteed to make an appearance whenever the two girls were alone. She had seen it more than most, possibly more than anyone.
When Quinn starts to talk Rachel can't really find her voice. There's something in those hazel eyes that's always been there when they have these intimate moments. Rachel's noticed it there before, but it's never been this intense except for her little speech after her performance during 'Michael Week'. Once again her mind indulged itself in the fantasy that Quinn might love her… might love her back.
Rachel didn't love Quinn, at least not like that, she loved Finn. She kept her mouth shut to prevent herself from voicing out such ludicrous thoughts. But that didn't stop her heart from breaking at the sight of Quinn fighting back tears as Rachel honestly answered her questions. And then Quinn did something she didn't expect. She changed her mind.
They hugged. Rachel felt tears in her own eyes, but she didn't know what they were for; happiness that her friendship with Quinn remained intact, or sorrow for the knowledge that she very likely just broke Quinn's heart. Rachel holds onto her tightly, conveying through actions, the words that she so desperately needs to tell Quinn. What those words are, she doesn't know, but she hopes that it's enough.
But as she waits for her, she feels that it wasn't. They only have a few minutes left before their slot is up and Finn is getting irritated. He's pushing her. "It's now or never." But she can't, not without Quinn. Not without knowing that Quinn is okay with this. Not without knowing that she didn't break her heart. They're texting, and she's waiting and then Quinn doesn't text back. Rachel wonders if she pushed Quinn too far.
Rachel can't go through with it. They miss their slot. They fight. They argue. Finn yells. It takes some time but the boys, with some help from Santana, calm him down. She wonders if they might be over. It's when they're about to leave that a phone starts to ring. Quinn's been in an accident.
Rachel doesn't think twice. She hopes into her care and drives off in the direction that Quinn would have used. She knows that Quinn's in the hospital by now, but she doesn't even consider going to there. She drives towards Quinn's house as though she can do something, as though she can get there in time, as though she can save her. She can't. There's nothing she can do and she know that when she gets there, all that'll be left will be the wreckage. Her heart stops when she sees it; the unrecognizable scrap of metal which was once Quinn tiny red car. She sobs in her seat; the image of Quinn's mangled body inside red chunk of metal burned into her mind.
The way that the driver's side is bent inward tells Rachel that Quinn shouldn't have survived, couldn't have survived. Her wedding dress is ruined; covered in tears. The thought of Quinn being dead is enough to make Rachel feel like she is as well. But she can't let herself think like that. Quinn's a fighter. And just like Quinn knew that Rachel was a shining star amongst all of them, Rachel knew that Quinn was the strongest one amongst all of them. She checks her phone. She has several missed texts and calls, but none of them matter since none of them come from Quinn.
It's later on that she learns that Quinn is okay, or at least she's alive. She's lying in a hospital bed, unconscious. Her injuries are bad and the doctor's say that if she wakes up she'll have to be in a wheelchair. Rachel forgets about the 'if' because she knows it's a 'when'. She and Finn make up and start talking plans about postponing their wedding until later on in the year.
She doesn't want to, not when a friend (is Quinn just a friend?) has just been in a horrible accident. But it helps her keep her mind off things; off Quinn. She visits her every day after school. She tries not to cry, but it's hard not to when she sees the IV in Quinn's arm or the damaged done to Quinn's still beautiful face. Rachel holds Quinn's lifeless hand as she sings to her, quietly of course. It helps; at least she thinks it does. On more than one occasion she felt Quinn squeeze back.
Rachel's there when Quinn finally wakes up. She hugs her in an instant, forgoing the fact that the blonde is surely still in pain. "Ow," Quinn winces as wrap around her middle. Rachel pulls back and hates herself more for causing Quinn even more pain.
"I'm sorry, I'll go," is her weak apology.
"No," Quinn stops her. "I want you here. Just be gentle." They hug again, this time with Rachel wrapping her arms around Quinn's shoulders and Quinn wrapping hers around Rachel waist. Rachel cries and Quinn soothingly rubs her back. She knows that this is wrong, and that she should be comforting Quinn but she can't. Right now she's weak; right now she needs Quinn.
Rachel was some time to gather her strength before Quinn gets back to school, but all of that falters when she sees Quinn rolling down the hall. She cries again, partly because she's happy to see Quinn without the bruises, cuts and bandages, but mostly she cries because it's heartbreaking to see Quinn in that wheelchair.
She can't talk to her or even be around her without the guilt weighing down on her. Even when Quinn makes her promise to stop blaming herself, Rachel can't help but continue. Rachel tries to go with Quinn for her physical therapy, but it hurts too much so she stops after a few sessions. She tells her that she's too busy preparing for NYADA to attend, but she knows that that's a lie. Rachel can hardly focus on NYADA, not when she remembers that Quinn got into Yale and how that was almost taken away from her due to the crash.
The fact that Quinn looks like she's completely fine, like she didn't just get broken, doesn't help. In retrospect, Rachel sees that she too was broken, and just couldn't see through Quinn's act like she normally could. Rachel puts on a smile and just like Quinn, acts like everything is fine. They both know it's not, but neither will talk about it.
Rachel tries to refocus on her wedding and on NYADA. Her efforts go to waste when she chokes on her audition. Finn and Kurt think it was due to the latter's spectacular performance. Rachel knows better. The song she sings has very specific memories.
Sectionals, sophomore year.
It marked a few firsts for her, a few good and one bad. It was the first time Rachel did something to hurt Quinn, as well as the first time Quinn showed that she didn't hate Rachel. And… maybe, just maybe it was the first time that Quinn showed that she loved Rachel. Or at the very least the first time Rachel was present when Quinn showed such feelings. She couldn't focus and ruined her chance.
She tried to her hand to be Prom Queen after. She didn't get nominated. Quinn did. She felt happy for her. Quinn deserved that much, at least. But then she found out that she was running with Finn. Rachel was mad, jealous even, but not at whom she thought she would be. Being mad at Finn made sense, but being jealous of him… she's couldn't be.
Rachel couldn't go to Prom, not if she had to watch Quinn dance with Finn. He came by though and brought her there. She should have felt better, being at Prom with her boyfriend. She had to look for Quinn. They had a talk. Rachel tried to say the things that were building inside of her but all she could muster was, "Do you not know what you mean to me?" It was a question she couldn't answer herself. She didn't say it, and maybe that was for the best.
She did end up winning Prom Queen. It didn't feel as special as she thought it would be; probably because she didn't feel like she earned it, or maybe because she wasn't sure if she wanted to share this moment with Finn.
Rachel felt, knew, that Quinn had something to do with this. Santana would later, much later, confirm her suspicions. Rachel thanked Quinn, but refused to keep the tiara. She crowned Quinn, and they shared a dance to make up for the one that Rachel had, in her opinion, stolen.
The metro ticket, which Quinn purchases for them, all but solidifies Rachel's assumptions that the taller girl loves her. But she ends up saying something about thinking that Quinn would have ended up with Puck. She's afraid. There are too many variables to consider when dealing with Quinn; there's no telling if she truly does love her. Finn is safer; she knows that he'll always come back to her.
But then he breaks up with her and sends her off on a train to New York.
She's distraught. Now Rachel's lost Finn and ignored any possibility of being with Quinn. She cries, as is the case with most things that have anything to do with Quinn. But when she gets there, to New York, she feels… something. She remembers something else that Quinn said, "You don't belong here, Rachel, and you can't be mad at me for helping to send you on your way."
At the time Rachel thought that was Quinn's way of justifying her actions, the same way Rachel justified telling Finn how he wasn't the father of Quinn's baby. But Rachel was being selfish, only thinking about herself and not about how her actions would affect Quinn. Quinn had resigned to stay in Ohio so that Rachel could move on and live her life. She hadn't seen it then and it was only during this past year that she started to see how much Quinn cared… cares.
Which takes us to now; Rachel's back in Lima after being in New York for a few weeks. She's on the train alone since she had her dads go back first; Rachel wanted to get used to living without them. When she gets off at the station Quinn's waiting for her, Quinn and only Quinn. She's holding a teddy bear.
"Hey, I missed you!" she says, pulling Rachel into a hug which ends up trapping the stuffed animal in between their bodies. Rachel tentatively hugs Quinn back. She's nervous but she needs to do this before she loses her nerve.
"Yeah, I missed you too." Her reply is weak and she knows it. It doesn't have half the enthusiasm that Quinn's had and Rachel knows that the blonde is bound to notice. Quinn pulls back, worry etched across her face.
"Nothing… just, I've been thinking…"
"Us." Her answer earns her an eyebrow raise and she wonders if she's been reading into things too much recently. But Quinn asks her to elaborate so she does, "I've been thinking about our relationship," she feels odd using the word but as Quinn seems to be unfazed, Rachel continues on, "And I need to ask you something."
"Okay, anything." She says it, but her tones hints at a good bit of hesitance.
"What was the real reason you didn't want me to get married?" Quinn is taken aback, but is quick to regain her composure. If Rachel hadn't been preparing her whole life for Broadway she probably wouldn't have noticed. Quinn opens her mouth to speak, but Rachel cuts her off. "The truth Quinn, please," she pleads with her best pout. Quinn's biting her tongue and now Rachel knows that she's been lying. "I won't judge," she assures, still not willing to take that step.
"I can't," is all the answer Rachel gets as Quinn holds tightly onto the teddy bear.
"Quinn, I mean it. I won't-"
"I can't Rachel! I can't… at least not now."
It's less than Rachel hoped for, but it's more than she expected.
It's a few months later. Rachel and Quinn are doing quite well in their first year at college. Rachel has all but forgotten about her idle fantasies of Quinn harboring a secret crush on her for all these years. It's her birthday and her roommate is out getting a cake, vegan of course. Quinn said she'd come by, but she's not there yet and hasn't been responding to Rachel's texts. Rachel fights the urge to jump to conclusions.
Despite dismissing the potential of being with Quinn, Rachel is still very good friends with her. Best friends. And as much as she tries to deny it, Rachel depends on Quinn more than she'd like, but it wouldn't be too bad if they were together. Okay, so maybe those feelings aren't gone yet. Rachel just refuses to believe in fairy tale endings anymore. Quinn taught her as much.
There's a knock on the door, and Rachel numbly goes up to open it. She only sees Quinn for a second before the blonde's pink lips are no her. The initial kiss is soft. The second is needy and lustful, tongues dancing in each other's mouths. Someone moans. Rachel doesn't know who, nor does she care. She has Quinn, that's all that matters.
AN: I hoped you enjoyed, but I do apologize if the ending is a bit weak. I'm working on like... 2 or 3 hours of sleep without caffeine and I just kinda got tired near the end. Also if you haven't seen the cut Faberry scene, go see it now! It's beautiful! Tear-jerking! Heart-breaking! Quinn Fabray is Perfect!