Disclaimer: I own nothing. Also, feminist!tina was a real thing. Leave me in my denial and welcomed ignorance.


POSTMORTEM

Kurt loved Rachel. She was unquestionably his best friend, and when she hurt, he hurt.

It had been weeks since she returned from her brief outing to New York. It had been weeks since Finn left town for boot camp. And it had been weeks since Rachel had left her home like a normal, living human being. She had spent this time lying around in bed sulking, crying, and waiting for Finn to call her. Kurt had spent this time taking on the brunt of these emotions as well. Frankly, he needed a break. So he called in some reinforcements.

Quinn was first.

On Monday morning she had been let into the Berry home by Rachel's fathers before they left for work. (Kurt had filled the men in on everything. They were quite thankful.) It wasn't like Rachel not to greet her guests, but at the same time, Quinn supposes it should be expected. After all, when Quinn did get to Rachel's room, the girl was (still) doing nothing but lying in bed, shutting out the sunlight.

"Rachel?" She called from the doorway. There was no response, acknowledgement, or any indication that Rachel had heard her at all. She'd rather be welcomed than just barge in but fine. Kurt had prepped her for this.

First the covers were to go. Next it was the pillows. When Rachel had nothing left to hide under, she simply turned over and snuggled into herself. Quinn stood back, hands on hips.

"I'll flip the mattress next if I have to."

"Go ahead." Rachel answered listlessly into her bed. Quinn dropped her arms to her side and slouched in her stance. She could try a different approach.

She sat down on the edge of Rachel's bed while the other girl now had no choice but to scoot and roll over. See. At least now she was looking at Quinn.

"Kurt's worried about you. He says you haven't left your room in a while, and since that you actually smell, I don't find that hard to believe." Rachel just glared, prompting Quinn to stand back up and strain herself to pull Rachel into a sitting position right along with her. "Come on. You shower while I make breakfast." She was more serious now as she continued on with actual concern. "He also says you haven't been eating." Nothing. "Okay." She dropped Rachel's arm.

Quinn looked around and spotted her targets. Photos of Finn or Finn and Rachel together were taped up to her mirror and tacked up to her walls. There was a hooded sweatshirt hanging on her elliptical that was definitely his. The engagement ring sat in its opened box on top of Rachel's dresser surrounded by candles, as if it was being enshrined. She was sure there were other mementos hiding about, but these were a good place to start.

Rachel watched as Quinn strutted around her room as if she had any permission at all and began removing the—hey, wait!

"What are you doing?" Rachel panicked as she flew over to Quinn and began pulling her possessions out of the blonde's hands.

"Oh look, you're out of bed." She smirked, completely ignoring Rachel's anxiety.

"You can't just start-start rearranging…These are Finn's…"

Quinn looked on in sympathy now as Rachel was suddenly on the verge of tears. God, Rachel really was a mess. And all over Finn Hudson. She shook her head.

"The girls and I have agreed to spend the week getting you to go back to being some sort of a person. You get one of us a day." Quinn paused before adding softly, "I know it's hard, but it's time to start moving on, Rachel. Finn has. He's not even in Lima anymore."

"Well maybe I don't want to move on." Rachel tacked one of the photos back up. "Maybe I want to try and find out why I lost my fiancé."

"Well tough." Quinn ripped the picture right back down again. Rachel huffed in response. "Because in a couple months from now you won't even be here. You'll be starting this wonderful new life in New York, and the last thing you'll need is to still be hung up on your ex-boyfriend."

"Fiancé." She was quick to correct.

"Look, I'm not saying forget about Finn and just stop hurting overnight, but this isn't going to change, Rachel. He's not going to realize he made a mistake and come back to pick up where you left off. He's already started his new life." She leaned forward a bit in search of any type of eye contact. She needed to make sure Rachel was listening. "And it wasn't a mistake."

In Rachel's humble opinion, this was all very mean. Mostly because a part of her agreed and knew what Quinn was saying to be correct. This was her last summer at home before her life lost all familiarity. She needed to mend some of her heart in order to prepare for that change. Today was the start of the third week since Finn had broken up with her, and at some point, she did at least need to start leaving her room again.

"I'm not throwing anything away." Rachel relented quietly.

Quinn expected this compromise. Besides, this was just step one anyway. Being surrounded by constant reminders of her relationship with Finn wasn't going to help anyone.

"Then we'll put it in a shoe box, and you can store it away somewhere until you're ready to go through it all again."

"And doing this helped you with your breakups?" She turned and asked her innocently.

Quinn frowned. Truthfully, Quinn had never done this with her breakups or quasi breakups. What Quinn hid away were the important and painful things that she had no desire to deal with. But she had gotten better this year at taking them out little by little. Most of them anyway. Not that she was going to tell Rachel any of this of course.

Instead, Quinn gave a muted nod before pointing to Rachel's bathroom door. "Now go shower."


Brittany seriously hoped Rachel was a little happier like Quinn said she would be 'cause miserable people were way less fun. Brittany has found that they had a tendency to infect the people around them like an emotional flu. And no one wanted an emotional flu. Tylenol couldn't treat those types of body aches. She'd know too since she looked it up. Actually, she has yet to find any cure for those at all. But she was working on it. Hopefully today could maybe play into her research.

Unfortunately for Brittany, it was clear when Rachel answered her door (still, yay for progress) that she was a lot less happy today than she was described as being yesterday. Although it occurred to her now that Quinn may have been doing that lying thing of hers. Man, her immune system better be up for this.

"Hey, 'sup." She decided to do this particular greeting with a comedic approach.

"Brittany, it's nice to see you." Rachel smiled at her as she welcomed her in, but Brittany was pretty sure it was one of those smiles people give only to be polite. It wasn't a happy smile so there go any other lighthearted remedies since they clearly weren't going to work.

"Yeah…" Brittany trailed off as they now stood somewhat awkwardly, and she seriously hoped the entire day didn't go like this. "So I don't really know what to do here, and Quinn tried to give me ideas on what we could spend the day doing but I didn't listen because Quinn's really boring so I figured I'd come up with something better on my own. I haven't yet but thinking about it right now, one of the only things I like about you is your original songs."

She frowned. "Oh."

"And I mean I'm the only one in glee who's better at writing songs than you so maybe we could do that together. Like maybe we can even mash up our songs up or something. Maybe 'My Headband In My Cup.'" She paused to smile at her own thought process. "Wow I'm totally brilliant."

"Well, um, that's sounds fun, Brittany, but-"

Brittany ignored her as she walked around Rachel and took a seat on the living room sofa. "I was wondering why we didn't do original songs this year since it seemed to be so important last year and we supposedly couldn't win Nationals without them even though we did win this year without them. But then maybe New Directions just forgot about original songs too. Have you ever noticed how forgetful glee is?"

Rachel slowly sat down on her couch as she tried to answer Brittany's rather random question. "No, I can't say that I have."

"It's scary. Like I think someone should really start taking water samples or maybe look into those pens from Men In Black. Because like aliens and the government are shady as fuck. I don't know why anyone would ever combine them."

"Brittany…" Rachel trailed off like people tend to do if they have something difficult they want to say to her which of course never makes any sense since it would probably just be easier to say whatever it was the normal way. "I appreciate the offer, but I really don't want to write any songs today."

"Why not?"

"Because songs like 'My Headband' or 'Only Child' weren't good."

"They were way more fun than your other stuff. I still have no idea what 'Get It Right' was even about." Rachel didn't seem to like this response but seriously. If she was supposed to be getting everything right for a change after she moved on from Finn and actually had Brittany dress like her to get the school to love her or something, then why was she dedicating that song to Finn since he was what kept making her get it wrong? Talk about contradictory.

"'Get It Right' was an emotional balled that had resonance. 'My Headband' and 'Only Child' w-were juvenile, and I don't even know why I sang them for glee since Finn initially didn't like them and told me such."

"Well Finn also liked the song he wrote so he's probably not the best example to use here."

"I just don't want to write, okay? I thought you guys were coming over to help me. This won't help. Writing about the end of my relationship with Finn won't help. And my songs are only good when they're dealing with my emotions. Maybe one day I'll go on to channel them into a bestselling album that wins me six Grammys like Adele but not today. I'm sorry, but it was an effort even to leave my bed and get dressed to let you in. I can't think about my pain long enough to write about it."

"I thought all you were doing was thinking about your pain?"

Rachel didn't seem to hear this and just kept on going. "It actually hurts to breath. Do you know what that feels like? Every part of me aches." Yeah yeah emotional flu. Maybe Brittany should save her the trouble and explain that she's already caught up on this. "I'm tired all the time because I can't stop crying. I've gone through all my good makeup." Brittany didn't want to be rude and say anything, but Rachel really didn't need to point that out since it showed. "I don't want to eat. I've begun-"

"It's a breakup, Rachel." Brittany finally cut her off because really, it had been five minutes and she already had enough of this. Not that she was even Rachel's biggest fan on a normal day. "They suck, okay? Like everyone knows that, but we've all had them. You're not special." Rachel frowned here as if Brittany was lying or something which please. "And you know what? We'll all probably have more of them too. Because like we're baby-adults right now. And I know the guys all think they learned how to be men, whatever that means, and that Quinn thinks she's old enough to wear blazers because she got into Yale and that Puck probably thinks sleeping with your mom wasn't super gross and that you think whatever you're feeling right now will be the biggest hardship of your life, but none of that is true." She slouched back a bit because Rachel seemed like she could use a softer Brittany. "Look, I'm just saying it could be worse. I mean like when I found out I wasn't graduating with you guys and that Santana would be moving away, it hurt and I cried. But then I realized I'll have a whole 'nother year with glee and maybe even meet some new people." She shrugged. "You know what they say: When life gives you lemons, keep them because some people don't even have fruit at all. Which is totally unhealthy by the way. There's actually like this whole pyramid you have to eat. I don't get it, though. Personally I think an oval would probably be easier to eat."

It wasn't exactly her fault that she burst into tears in this moment. Rachel simply didn't have any control over her emotions lately. And well just look at Brittany. The poor girl had a zero GPA, was most likely going to lose her girlfriend to distance, and had to go back to McKinley for another year. No one should have to spend extra time at McKinley. And worse, glee was losing its most talented members on top of it. Rachel at least had it better than that, and that was definitely something.

Brittany moved forward on the couch, alarmed. "Why are you crying? I didn't want to make you cry by saying all that. Stop. It's okay." She pat Rachel on the shoulder. "Um, I could be wrong. Maybe this is the crappiest you'll ever feel."

"No." Rachel shook her head with an actual smile which was a good sign so Brittany calmed down. "Thank you, Brittany. A-and you're right. I mean all things considered, it was actually a-a healthy breakup. Finn and I don't resent each other, and we didn't even stop loving each other. We just wanted better futures for ourselves. I should take the lemons life gives me and use them to make lemonade."

"Okay, but you're going to need way more to make lemonade."


Mercedes was going to be the one to get Rachel out of her house. Even if she had to drag her out by the hair to do so. Rachel hasn't left her home in weeks, and that's just not healthy for anyone if you were to ask her. A little shopping never hurt nobody, and sometimes a change in wardrobe did the body and soul good. Rachel was just gonna have to deal with it.

"Hey." Mercedes greeted Rachel with a sad smile as she stepped into the girl's house. "Plan on staying out of bed today?"

Rachel looked down, a tad embarrassed of what her friends were saying about her to each other. She probably did look a mess. "Yes."

"Good then get your butt dressed. We're going out."

"Out?"

"Yeah, you know, outdoors. In the light." Mercedes joked. Rachel merely rolled her eyes in response. She was not a hermit, thank you very much.

"Out where?"

"I thought we'd do some purge shopping." She grinned. "Little by little, I'm going to get you ready for that big city of yours, Rachel Berry. It's time to add some color to your life. You've been doing drab and matronly for far too long now. Even your animal sweaters and knee socks were better than whatever you were going for this year."

"It sounds like I'm in trouble." Rachel joked.

"You better believe it. So," she began to change the subject to the more pressing issues at hand, "how are you doing? Really? I'd apologize and say you're probably sick of having to answer, but something tells me Brittany and Quinn didn't necessarily ask at great length. Don't get me wrong. I love them both, but they're not always the best conversationalists." She chuckled.

It was true but, "you don't give them enough credit." Rachel laughed with her as they took a seat in the living room to talk. There was no need to leave immediately. Rachel still had to eat breakfast first anyway. "But I'm better than I was a couple of days ago as I'm sure you've heard."

"Maybe."

Rachel nodded as she continued because Mercedes really did seem to want to talk to her about this which hadn't actually been the case so far. Her dads had given her hugs, but it was also clear that they were relieved she wouldn't be getting married any time soon. And Kurt had offered to talk but given that he was Finn's brother, she had felt an added pressure on what position she may be putting him in.

"It hurts. And I know no one understands that or entirely believes me when I say how much because they think I'm just being my dramatic self, and because everyone in glee would poke fun at us or make fake gagging noises when we kissed and probably thought we were nuts for getting engaged, but I did love him. Do love him, so much. You know, it doesn't feel like a first love but a forever type of love and I just…I don't know what to do now. Nothing makes sense."

Mercedes pulled a Kleenex package out of her purse and passed it over. Rachel gave a tearful chuckle as she removed a piece because of course she was crying again.

"Things will make sense again. You just need to give it some time." Mercedes assured her as Rachel wiped under her eyes.

She shook her head as she looked down to the tissue she was now crumpling. "It feels like this is never going away. I have this-this hole now where something is just missing. It's like I'm incomplete without him. How am I supposed to start next year without him? I'm lost. "

"Okay now it's time to stop that nonsense and listen to me." Rachel shot her one of her wounded looks. Mercedes ignored this. "You were a complete person before Finn. An annoying, solo-stealing person. You may have let him in on your dreams, but they're still yours, Rachel. I'm sure it'd be nice to have him by your side, but you don't need him to be. You have always been prepared for New York. And I know that because I had to sit through multiple PowerPoints on the subject sophomore year." She reminded for good measure. "You seem to forget that there was even a time period in glee that existed without Finn Hudson."

"Barely."

"Hey, he can try but he'll never be able to sit down and rock any boats." Mercedes wiggled her brow, causing Rachel to laugh for a moment. "I know it's not the same, because no two relationships are, but I understand how breakups can change you or at least change what you thought you knew. I never wanted to be someone who cheats because that's just not who I am, but I still did. I hated having to break Shane's heart. I never felt so guilty in my life. And that probably didn't matter or seem like a big deal to everyone else either because he wasn't in glee with us or anything, but it was to me."

"Mercedes, I'm sorry-"

Mercedes held up her hand, shaking Rachel off. "That's not why I brought this up. My point is, is that I've been there. Maybe in a different way, but I have. And I'm here to tell you that all that pain and guilt or whatever it is you're feeling does go away eventually. I didn't think it would either. But I got past it and was able to allow myself to move on and get back together with Sam to the point where I'm actually happy again. And you'll be able to do the same." She smiled. "You're going to be okay, Rachel."

Rachel returned the smile and nodded, trying to believe it. Maybe she could get Mercedes to tell her this daily.


After yesterday's excursion with Mercedes, Rachel was finally looking forward to one of her friends coming over. She had a good time for a change and hadn't cried once after pair left her house and went in and out of stores and dressing rooms. Maybe whoever came over today would enjoy helping her organize all of her new, socially acceptable purchases!

But soon the hours continued to tick by and no one came to her door, causing Rachel's mood to drop again. She tried not to be selfish about this. Her friends were taking time out of their own summers to support her in her heartache, and perhaps some type of emergency had come up for one of them. They might even need help of their own.

Still, texting would have been the decent thing to do.

Finally, Santana ended up arriving in the afternoon. Rachel almost had the right mind not to let her in as it would potentially give her a lesson in being punctual.

"I was starting to think no one was coming over today."

"Yeah well I like you enough to help you get back to a functioning level but not enough to spend the whole day with you. Plus, you'll have to get used to being alone again eventually." Rachel shot her a glare. "Besides, we probably shouldn't spend the entire day doing what I have planned." Santana finished explaining, magically pulling a bottle out of her purse. Seriously, the bag didn't look big enough to encase that.

Rachel frowned as she looked over the tequila label. "You're plan is to get me drunk?"

"Us, pipsqueak, not you." She corrected. "It's a part of every memorable breakup, and I'm not doing ice cream. I have no idea what type of fat expectations Louisville has for its cheer squad so I'm not eating anything on the diabetic reject menu this summer."

"Santana, I'm not getting drunk with you." And really, couldn't this be on a rejected diabetes menu?

"I promise not to draw on your face." Rachel opened her mouth, but Santana just sighed tiredly and kept going. "Or commit any other bodily harm slash adjustments against you. Whatever."

"My dads are going to be home from work in a few hours and-"

"Oh so what? What are they gonna do, ground you? You don't leave your house anymore anyway." Santana ignored any lame response Rachel was going to come up with and walked through a couple of halls and rooms before finally finding the kitchen. Thankfully daddies Berry weren't as tightly wound as their daughter and kept shot glasses. Honestly, how they got stuck with Rachel was beyond her.

Rachel's nerve got her to her kitchen just in time to find Santana pouring two shots as she sat at the counter.

"Come on. I'm not going to drink alone. That would just be sad." Rachel sat down across from her, shaking her head as Santana downed her glass. The other girl was all too happy to nudge Rachel's closer to her. Rachel just glared again before following suit. "See. The world didn't end."

She grimaced before clicking her glass back down. "You're a horrible influence on people."

"And don't you forget it." Santana smirked for a moment. "Seriously, though, this is the cure to end all cures because like haircuts don't work and hating the world doesn't work and something needs to get you to stop crying. You shouldn't be crying over Finn when he's gone."

"So you're saying I should wait until he gets back?"

"What? No." She snapped, a bit disgusted by this display. "Look, I have a disclaimer for today. I am here to do nothing but point out Finncompetent Dudson's never-ending flaws. You know, I've been pretty good this year not to say as much shit about people because I've actually been happy, shut up, so I've held a lot of this back. But not today, Berry. Because today I'm going to curse that gaseous smarmy fucker so much that I'm sure he'll feel back pain all the way down in whatever southern state he ran off to like the immature coward he is, always has been, and always will be."

"Joining the military is hardly an act of cowardice, Santana." Rachel snapped right back.

"Oh please. Let me break it down for you. When you ask your high school girlfriend to marry you because you realize she'll actually be successful while you'll do literally nothing of value in your life and then string her along by telling her you're going to get married only to dump her on her sorry ass and then also have the nerve to not even stick around or talk to her afterward, well then guess what? You're a fucking douche bag. And, Rachel, even you deserve better than that."

She sighed. "I'm not angry at him, Santana."

"Great. Then I'll be angry enough for the both of us."

"Well I'm not comfortable with this either."

"You're not supposed to be. But everyone has that friend who says horrible things about their friend's exes. I'm that friend for you. You don't have to agree with any of it, you just need to hear it. Because honestly, you have Finn up on such a high pedestal that I don't even think you realize how awful he can be and has been for you. Remember how annoying it was back when you only thought about yourself and tried to make everything revolve around you? Yeah. It became about a thousand times more annoying when you began doing that with Finn instead. Not to mention completely pathetic." She added. "I mean, Jesus, it took him dumping you to actually get you back to following the dreams you had before you even met him and his double D hump. He has this coming." She leaned back to sit up straight before taking a breath. "Now. Let's talk about how your asshole of an ex outed me to the entire school. Because so far I've refused to say anything about that since I am a fucking saint. And then we can talk about how he tried to yank Quinn out her wheelchair."

"What?"

"Mmmhmm, that's right." Santana nodded sagely before refilling their glasses.


Tina arrived at Rachel's fully prepared for a relaxful day. Santana had texted her last night explaining this would be best. It had been what Tina had planned for all along so no harm, no foul.

"I brought movies." Tina smiled as soon as Rachel opened the door.

"Oh good because I sort of have a headache and feel like dying." Rachel quipped, partially anyway, as she quickly ushered Tina inside and away from the light.

"Yeah, I heard." She laughed. "So did you really let Santana post on facebook what Finn calls his, um, little Finn?"

Rachel blanched. "I'm going to kill her."

"Well I don't know for sure. I only know what Mike told me."

"Oh my god. I'm never drinking again." She swore to herself and shook off any residual embarrassment. Hopefully, Santana wouldn't toss out any more surprises for her to deal with. "Come on. Our basement theatre system is better suited for a movie day."

Rachel turned on the lights and let Tina head downstairs first to set down her things. They briefly made the required snacks and beverages movie days called for in the basement kitchen before Rachel was ready to put in the first title.

"Um, Tina, what kind of movies are these?" None of them looked like they came with a budget, and despite Rachel's vast film library, these were mostly unknown to her.

"Empowering, revengeful ones. Every film there is about women somehow overpowering men. Because men are jerks. Big fat stupid jerks."

"Oh. Well Santana actually did a fairly good job yesterday of pointing out how awful boys –Finn– can be, and while I now agree in some instances, I don't really need to watch these to feel better. We could do something else if you'd like."

"No, this is actually for me. I just figured you may appreciate it as well. Trust me, Rachel. This is something I want to do. You won't be forcing me to take part in anything."

"Okay. Then let's go for it." Rachel put the first film in, and they took their seats. "So any particular reason you feel that men are jerks today? Did Mike do something?"

"Not exactly. But…don't you ever feel like guys get away with everything?" Tina situated herself into being more comfortable before hitting her stride. "Even in modern society they're completely favored over women and have advantages and luxuries we don't have. It's disgusting. Equality shouldn't be something anyone needs to fight for. It should just be a given. Sexism and double standards run rapid in our culture. And whether they mean to be or not, I'm pretty sure every guy I've met has sexist tendencies."

Sometimes it even bordered on plain misogyny, and these recent inquiries honestly weren't working for Tina. She had been building on this for about a month or so now, and it has become rather clear to her that some changes were going to have to be made. Changes she wanted to make for next year. And while she definitely wanted to eventually make them, they were going to be difficult. Maybe even hurtful depending on how her own relationship works out. She didn't want to be another Finn and Rachel, but she didn't want to be the girl who internally wishes her own handsome boyfriend would propose to her in high school due to naïvely thinking it was romantic either. Hopefully, Mike would grow to appreciate the new her in the coming weeks because he certainly needed to make some changes as well.

"It's weird because most of the problems I had with Artie were because he could do and say some questionable things, but I never realized that Mike does a lot of the same stuff. He's just quieter when doing it, and I've been with him for so long now that I think I'm just oblivious to these things. Little things like him getting mad when Sam put his arm around my shoulder or letting me know if he doesn't like it when I'm off on my own doing things completely separate from him. And then I go along with it because, hey, everyone annoys the person they're dating once in a while, right? I guess being in a relationship can really mess with you without realizing it."

"Yeah." Rachel sighed.

"Oh I'm sorry. I didn't mean to insinuate…Actually, I want to thank you."

"Thank me? For what?"

"Well if I'm going to be glee's female lead next year, then I thought it'd be best to work on getting some type of edge. You know, I'm not always good at finding my voice and speaking up, and I'll need that quality to be a capable leader. So sticking up for myself against the occasional oppression of men and Schuester seemed like a good place to start. I want to be able to speak up for the things I care about. That's my goal. And that's what the Rachel Berry I was introduced to did. As of now, this is me following your lead." She laughed. "Who knows, maybe if I had done this years ago, I could have taken you down."

"Not a chance." Rachel tried to keep her grin to a respectable size. She always liked compliments and this was something Tina obviously felt very passionately about so she was taking it in the highest regard. Of course she was ignoring that Tina was speaking about who she used to be rather than who she currently was but not important at the moment. Besides, she had suddenly and surprisingly felt that spark of drive she was once known for, and only now did she realize that that had been missing for far too long. She definitely needed to make a point to spend more time with Tina. Maybe she could even give her lessons on how to lead glee as only Rachel Barbra Berry could. "So beyond empowering women, what's this movie about anyway?"

"Oh, um, a vagina has teeth, and it bites off guys' junk." Tina explained rather offhandedly, prompting Rachel to practically get whiplash as she turned to the other girl in shock.

Okay, so maybe not too much time with Tina.


"Rachel, can you come down here please. You have visitors..." Her father's voice carried upstairs, complete with a tune of course.

Rachel frowned. It was Saturday night, and she was already in lounge wear. She hadn't seen anyone but her fathers all day and hadn't expected to either since Tina informed her that her one-on-one healing days ended yesterday unless she had some sort of relapse and needed an intervention. Yet as she jogged down her stairs, there stood all of her companions from the week with Sugar. And they were definitely not in lounge wear.

"What are you guys all doing here? I didn't think anyone was coming by today."

"We're taking you out." Tina explained.

"Not to get drunk." Santana spoke specifically to the Berrymen. She probably wasn't their favorite person right now, and the look Leroy shot her only further proved this point. It wasn't like she was even lying, though. She had no desire to get drunk with Rachel Berry again for a very very long time. Like maybe at their high school reunion, but then and only then.

"Sugar got us a limo for the night and evvvverything." Mercedes drawled, laughing as she informed Rachel.

"And it smells like jellybeans." Brittany added because, well, it did. And obviously she now knew what the Hogwarts Express smelled like. One step closer to getting past those wizard hiding charms really. Rachel probably wasn't interested in her findings, though, since she looked over to Sugar for an actual explanation on the limo.

"Yeah, I wanted to help, but I don't like sad people so I don't go near them. Especially alone." They were like rabid dogs to Sugar. It just didn't seem wise. "Paying for a girls' night out just seemed so much easier. Plus, you guys can all help me figure out how to win over Artie."

Quinn frowned. "What happened to Rory?"

"He got sent back to Ireland."

"Really?" Brittany asked and received six equally baffled looks.

Santana shook it off first, due mostly to practice, before looking back to Rachel. "Look, just go put something on that won't make us want to look away from you all night."

Rachel nodded too used to Santana's jibes to even acknowledge them at the moment. "Where are we going?"

"It's a surprise. Age appropriate, though." Tina added on, once again for the expense of Rachel's parents.

"Right." Sugar grinned. No one seemed convinced.

Rachel looked to her dads for permission. They did their eye communication thing for a moment before coming to a decision.

"Go, go. You only live once." Hiram waved to the stairs.

"But try not to live too much." Leroy immediately added.

Rachel squealed before tossing her arms around her dads' shoulder for a Berry family hug. Then she was darting back upstairs to get dressed. Once she felt she was ready, the group was finally ready to go.

"So. What's the final report I can send back to Kurt?" Quinn asked Rachel as they walked down the driveway while the rest of the girls filed into the back of the limo.

"Well I don't think my week is technically over yet." Rachel playfully tilted her head from side to side before continuing on in a more serious fashion. "I like having friends."

It probably shouldn't have been able to explain everything, but it sadly did.

"Even Santana?"

Rachel laughed. "Even Santana."

"I know I just heard my name." Santana shouted from the open door. "If you two losers don't hurry its up, we're going to spend all of Sugar's mafia money without you."

"For the last time, it's not mafia money!" Sugar's screech filtered out. Santana simply rolled her eyes before scooting back so Rachel and Quinn could finally get their asses in gear. Their driver for the night shut the door behind them, and they were off to whatever it was that Sugar had planned. Rachel just hoped the evening entailed some type of performing for she finally felt like singing again. It had been far too long.

END