After Sectionals, Rory, Sugar and Harmony met up at Harmony’s house. They hadn’t been able to spend a lot of time together since they arrived in September. They had been too busy setting up their new identities. Harmony was pacing back and forth in her living room, ranting as Sugar and Rory listened patiently.
“She didn’t even perform! I came back in time to meet her and hoped I could see her doing what Ma always said she did best and I didn’t even get to see her perform!” She looked pointedly at her friends. “She cheated! I still don’t understand it, that wasn’t supposed to happen! Us being here is changing things. We were supposed to change the future not their present.” She nearly stomped her foot but settled for a pout before collapsing on the couch and allowing Sugar to wrap her arms around her.
“We are changing things, but isn’t that what we wanted? I mean, who cares as long as it saves her life in the end? Right?” Rory asked with compassion.
“And Harmony, she made a mistake but she did it out of loyalty to a friend. Either one of us would have done the same. It doesn’t make her a bad person.” Sugar tried to comfort her girlfriend as she held her closer.
Harmony sighed. “It’s just, I always heard so many stories about how amazing she is and how perfect and…”
Sugar smiled, kissed the top of Harmony’s head and replied. “She is a great person, everyone in glee adores her. You should transfer to McKinley and get to know her.”
Harmony sat up quickly, looking hopefully into Sugar’s eyes. “Could I? I thought we had to wait?”
“We gave Quinn her first letter, and she and Rachel seemed friendly when we were singing in the auditorium earlier.” Rory offered.
“Let’s just give Quinn another letter, push things a little faster.” Sugar suggested.
“How?” Harmony asked with a raised eyebrow that looked eerily like Quinn’s.
“I’ll drop it in Quinn’s mailbox on my way home tonight.” Rory said with a smile. “And Puck’s having a New Year’s Eve party, so we have to get you into our group before then so you can join us.”
“Rachel’s birthday is next week; I want to spend time with her…somehow.” Harmony said, sadness lacing her words.
“I’ll have to find a way to get the glee kids to throw a party; we can work to get Quinn and Rachel closer…which means we also have to find a way to break Finn and Rachel up.” Sugar said excitedly, she always loved scheming which she knew she inherited from her Mami Santana.
She was good at scheming too, she leaked the information about Santana being a lesbian so her Mami would finally be out and proud and she and her Mom Brittany could be happy and together. She also hoped that in doing so, she’d break up Finn and Rachel but Finn stepped up and actually made Santana feel better so she had some more planning to do.
From Brittany she inherited her love of parties, and so she was going to help plan Rachel’s 18th birthday party. First she had to become best friends with the girl, should be easy enough right?
The next day in school, Quinn approached Rachel at her locker. “Morning Rach!”
The brunette looked at the blonde and smiled brightly. “Good morning Quinn!”
“So, I was wondering…since we’re sort of friends.” She said with a smile. “Wanna grab some coffee after glee today?”
“I’d love to, Quinn.”
Quinn stayed standing in front of Rachel, unable to will herself to leave.
“Quinn?” Rachel asked with concern as she leaned forward and placed a hand on the girl’s shoulder. “Are you okay?”
The blonde snapped out of her own thoughts and smiled at the brunette. She rested her hand on top of Rachel’s. “I’m fine, Rachel.”
“How’s the Yale application going?”
“Already sent it in.”
Rachel nodded. “And you’re nervous? You shouldn’t be, you’re very smart and I’m sure whatever you wrote in your essay will show that you have been through adversity and came out better on the other side.”
Quinn felt a tug at her heart; she forced a smile even though all she wanted to do was confess her soul to the brunette. Rachel must have been able to sense Quinn’s internal struggle.
“I’m going to hug you now, okay?” Rachel asked in a soft tone, Quinn only nodded before Rachel’s arms wrapped around her.
Quinn took a deep, shaky breath as Rachel’s arms encompassed her waist. They felt stronger than they looked, and having the brunette hold her felt perfect. She inhaled the scent of the girl’s shampoo but tried not to seem too creepy about it. Finally, before Rachel could pull away, she wrapped her arms around the smaller girl’s neck and pulled her closer.
Rory and Sugar noticed the embrace from down the hall. They took a photo with their phones and the girl shot Harmony a text with the picture attached.
Quinn sat next to Rachel in glee as they chatted about their upcoming plans. Sugar listened intently as the two girls in front of her discussed going to the Lima Bean. After glee, Sugar approached Rachel. Quinn stayed behind to listen to the interaction.
“Rachel, now that we’re in glee together I was hoping that you could give me some singing lessons?”
Rachel beamed at Sugar’s enthusiasm to better herself. “Of course! We can focus on practicing during the break, if you’re free.”
“Sounds great, I’ll give you my number.” Sugar replied as she and Rachel exchanged cell phone numbers.
Sugar happily skipped out of the room, Rachel smiled before going to retrieve her book bag and sheet music. But when she turned around, she saw that Quinn was still in the room.
“Oh, Quinn! You didn’t have to stay behind. We could have met there.”
“I thought we decided on you riding with me?” Quinn raised an eyebrow.
Rachel’s whole face lit up. Quinn grinned in response. The blonde grabbed Rachel’s book bag and threw it over her own shoulder. “I got this, so you lead the way.”
Rachel walked out of the room, as Quinn followed behind. They stopped by their lockers and grabbed their books. Then Quinn led the brunette out to her car. She was still carrying Rachel’s stuff, so she set everything in the backseat before opening the door for Rachel.
“Thank you, Quinn.” Rachel smiled as she climbed into the car; Quinn hurried around to the other side.
The blonde shifted into drive and drove out of the parking lot. Rachel broke the silence immediately. “I always wondered what it’d be like to be friends with you.”
Quinn smirked. “Really?”
“Yes, I always wanted us to be friends, in case you forgot I offered you my friendship several times…and don’t even apologize Quinn, it’s all been forgiven.”
“Why did I forgive you?”
Quinn rolled her eyes. “You forgave me because you’re you, and you’re amazing. I was wondering why you wanted to be my friend.”
Rachel ducked her head shyly, and then looked out the window. “You always seemed regal.”
Quinn chuckled sardonically. “High school royalty. You were being shallow…”
Quinn glanced at Rachel, the brunette refused to meet her eyes. She sighed. “Well, I guess I have been called the Ice Queen.”
Rachel turned toward Quinn quickly, resting her hand on the blonde’s. “It wasn’t that either. I never saw you as an Ice Queen. You aren’t heartless Quinn, I always figured that you felt too much and you were just trying to protect yourself.”
Quinn swallowed thickly, blinking her eyes because tears were threatening to fall. She refused to look at the brunette.
“I just thought that maybe I could be the one to displace that mask of yours.” Rachel said quietly as she turned back toward the window.
The rest of the drive was in silence, but Rachel’s hand never moved from atop Quinn’s. And the blonde was reveling in the touch.
When they got to their destination, Quinn opened the door for Rachel and took her hand to help her out of the car. It was completely unnecessary to do so, but neither girl said anything about it. Quinn also held the door of the Lima Bean open for Rachel, the brunette smiled shyly. Once they were inside, Quinn dismissed herself to go to the bathroom. She needed to regroup. The drive there had been intense, at least for her. She was taking deep breaths.
After giving herself a peptalk, she walked back out of the bathroom and looked for Rachel. The brunette was sitting at a table and waved her over.
“I got you a caramel latte, with whip cream and cinnamon.” Rachel said as she slid the drink across the table. “You ordered it before when we were all here together a while back.”
Quinn looked into Rachel’s warm, brown eyes. She opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out.
“Did I remember wrong?” Rachel asked worriedly.
Quinn shook her head, and grabbed the drink. “No, this is perfect.” She replied before taking a drink to reassure the girl.
“Wait…Quinn, that’s hot!” Rachel tried to warn the blonde, but it was too late.
Quinn’s eyes widened as she sat the drink down quickly. Her mouth was on fire. She swallowed several times, but it didn’t help at all.
Rachel had leapt from her seat and approached the counter to order milk and some ice water. She brought them back to Quinn.
“I heard that milk helps with soothing, though this is soy so I don’t know if that affects the outcome, so if you prefer the water I brought that too, though I suggest you at least try the milk first.”
Quinn nodded as she took the milk and sipped on it. It seemed to help a little, so she gulped it. She chugged the entire glass to Rachel’s amusement. The brunette tilted her head and watched as Quinn swallowed the remaining mouthful.
“I feel like an idiot.” Quinn choked out. The milk took away the severity of the burn but her mouth still hurt so much.
Rachel shook her head with a smile. “You’re not an idiot Quinn.”
The petite diva sat down again, looking compassionately across the table at the blonde. “Did the milk help at all?”
Quinn grinned and nodded. “Yes, thank you.”
They sat in silence for a few minutes, until Quinn spoke again. “So, you’re giving Sugar singing lessons?” She asked with a raised eyebrow. “Do you even think it’d help?”
“Practice always helps Quinn, you have improved so much since you first joined glee.” Rachel’s face morphed into an unreadable expression before she rushed to continue. “I am so sorry, that was meant as a compliment. I hope you don’t take offense…”
Quinn reached across the table and grabbed the brunette’s hands in her own. “I understood what you meant, Rach. And I’m not offended.” She smiled. “So you think I’m improving?”
“Oh, Quinn! I love your voice, when we sang our duet together, it was beautiful.” Rachel rolled her eyes at Quinn’s smirk. “And not just because I was singing too.”
Quinn laughed, causing the brunette to smile brightly. “I like the sound of your laugh; I hope to hear it more often. I really am glad you seem to be happier now Quinn.”
The laughing stopped, but Quinn’s smile was still on her face. The blonde watched Rachel intently. She was silent while she let the brunette continue. “Have I told you how proud I am of your performance at Sectional’s? You all stepped up and it was really spectacular.”
Quinn’s eyes narrowed as she studied the brunette. Then she finally broke her silence. “You actually sound sincere.”
Rachel’s eyebrows furrowed. “Of course I’m sincere. People see you a certain way Quinn, and people see me a certain way too. I’m not as selfish as everyone thinks I am. You are all my friends and although I would have loved to be up there with you, I was proud of how amazing the performance was.”
“I don’t think you’re selfish…all the time.” She added with a smirk, causing the brunette to crack a smile.
They stopped talking as they enjoyed a comfortable silence; Rachel was sipping at her drink while Quinn stuck to the ice water. They were startled by the arrival of someone stopping next to their table. “Hello?” The unfamiliar voice sounded nervous.
Rachel and Quinn both glanced up at the intruder. “Harmony?” Rachel greeted warily when she saw the girl standing in front of them.
Quinn’s eyes went wide. “H-H-Harmony?”
“Quinn, this is Harmony. I’m sure you recognize her from Sectionals.” She turned toward the standing brunette again. “Which you were fantastic at by the way. You are really talented.”
Harmony smiled genuinely. “Thank you.”
Rachel slid over in her booth. “Would you like to join us?”
Harmony was sitting beside Rachel instantly. She never took her eyes off the brunette; likewise Quinn never took her eyes off of Harmony.
“I was hoping to have competed against you directly.” Harmony said to Rachel.
Rachel took a deep breath. As she released it slowly, she spoke. “I made a few mistakes, for which I was rightfully punished.”
Harmony grinned at the answer, and nodded in understanding. She turned her attention on Quinn only to lock eyes with the intensity of her hazel gaze. “You were great up there.”
Quinn nodded with a smile. “Thank you. So were you.” She finally turned toward Rachel briefly before her eyes settled back on Harmony’s. “How do you and Rachel know each other?”
“We met at the NYADA mixer at the beginning of the year.” Harmony answered easily.
“Actually, her performance at said mixer caused Kurt and I to have a mini meltdown in my car.”
Harmony and Quinn both snapped their eyes toward the brunette. “What?” Quinn asked.
Rachel shrugged. “You guys were so amazing…you were so amazing.” She shifted uncomfortably. “It made us realize for the first time that we might not be as good as we thought we were. We are good for Lima but were worried that we weren’t good enough for anything outside of Lima. That’s why we became obsessed with the play and running for president. We thought we needed something better to offer than just our voices.”
Harmony’s words died in her throat as her breathing became labored. Quinn recovered a bit more quickly. “Rachel Barbara Berry! You are more than enough…and talented enough to succeed outside of Lima. I thought I told you that you don’t belong here.”
Rachel giggled uncomfortably. “I assumed that was your way of pushing me away so that you could have Finn.”
“Guess you don’t know me as well as you thought you did.” Quinn smiled slyly, catching the look on Harmony’s face. She frowned. “Are you okay?”
Harmony peeled her eyes away from Rachel and looked at Quinn. “Hmmm?”
“Are you okay?” Quinn repeated.
“Yeah, it’s just…” She turned back to Rachel. “That’s why? Everything you’ve done this year…it’s because of me?”
Rachel nodded briefly. “I guess you could say that.”
Harmony shook away any negative thoughts that had lingered as she realized why Rachel was different than the stories she always heard. She looked from Rachel to Quinn and back again. “I actually should get going. It was nice talking to you, Rachel…Quinn.”
Rachel leaned forward as Harmony climbed out of the booth. “But, I hope I didn’t scare you away.”
Harmony laughed out loud, tears stinging her eyes. “Absolutely not. I just have somewhere I need to be.”
“Harmony, I was wondering if I could talk to you for a minute?” Quinn asked as she stood up.
They walked away from the table. “How the hell are you here? I’m not crazy right, but you…you’re…”
Harmony studied her. “You’re not crazy, Quinn. I am who you think I am.”
“You…well, the you I know…found out a way that maybe we can stop Rachel from dying in the future. We came back to help you.”
Harmony smiled. “I’ll explain it all later, how about I stop over tonight and we can talk?”
“But you think it’s possible? I mean, it has to be because you’re here.”
“We’ve already changed so much, look what I made Rachel do. She would never have cheated otherwise.”
“I’ll see you later.” Harmony replied with one last glance at Rachel before she started to walk away. She stopped and turned back toward Quinn. “How did you know?”
“The name could have been a coincidence, but I’d always remember your eyes.” The blonde said with an almost proud looking smile. Harmony barely smiled in return as she nodded and walked away.
Quinn returned to where Rachel was sitting.
“Is she really, okay Quinn? Because she left so quickly.”
“She’s fine Rachel.” Quinn said sitting back down.
“She’s different than I thought she’d be.” Rachel said matter-of-factly.
A blonde eyebrow rose. “How so?”
“She talented, like really talented, and when I first met her I thought she was scary. Intimidating even. Like you actually.” Rachel smirked.
“But she’s actually quite nice.”
Quinn smiled. She could tell by the idol worship in Harmony’s eyes that the girl loved the idea of Rachel. She vowed right then that Harmony would get to actually know the girl rather than the image of her. And she hoped that Harmony was right and they could save Rachel, because the more she was allowing herself to know the brunette the more she was sincerely falling for her. She sighed as she shook her head slightly. Things were bound to get interesting…
Disclaimer: I don’t own glee, Lima Bean, Yale or NYADA