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The One That Got Away

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The One That Got Away (Alternate Faberry Ending)

They're holding hands, swinging their linked hands between them as they walk along the sidewalk, like they're together, more than friends maybe. Not linked pinkies but clasped hands, fingers curled and intertwined and Quinn just cannot understand what could have happened to result in Rachel and Santana walking together like they're a couple.

She's not sure what to do next when she sees them duck into Toad's Place, the flyer still clutched in her own hand and the feeling like she's again been left behind. However, this time, she knows that it's her own damned fault for feeling like that. When she had seen the flyer at the record store in Boston, she took it as a sign.

'Rachel Berry performing for one night only in New Haven's Historic Toad's Place'.

Quinn had asked her to, promised to be in the front row when it happened and she had to take that as a sign because God knows she's been trying to make sense of everything even if it was more just trying to ignore most of it until it got to a point where she couldn't because every brunette she came across reminded her of Rachel.

And if she was being brutally honest, she couldn't not think of her, how she tasted, the feel of her as she opened herself up to Quinn, that look in her eyes that reflected so many different emotions that still resonate within her. It was too much to bear and yet something that she secretly craved because it made her feel.

It made her realize what she had been missing all along, love and longing and that singular knowledge that someone actually loved her that much. Or at least used to. She had a chance, definitely more than one and she just never took it and now, it would seem like she was too damn late.

4 Years Ago

She's never not come to any of Puck's parties. Initially as a form of rebellion because God knows Russell hated the fact that he could never call Puck's mom just to check up on his daughter because Puck's mom didn't go to his church but to Temple instead.

Then it became tradition for the Glee Club to unwind after a competition, to let loose and maybe mingle with the jocks and cheerleaders that didn't take the lines of hierarchy as seriously as some of the others did.

And there was just no way that she wouldn't make it to the last Senior party of the year, especially when she knew that she would have maybe that one last chance to talk to Rachel, to make plans, to maybe put herself out there since they were both going to be in the same state.

Quinn convinces herself that it's no different than her letting Santana know that she expects her to call and not only because she needed answers to her psychology exam. But maybe it was different because she's actually written a note, not only her dorm address but possible dates when they could meet up and the bus and train schedules for New Haven.

It wasn't in any way weird and even if it was, they were friends and Quinn felt the need to ensure that their friendship didn't die.

Only when she did finally have that talk with Rachel, some pop song blaring in the background and Rachel's eyes on anything except on her, she just couldn't give her the note. Rachel said all the right words, she just couldn't look at her or look at her damn chair and maybe Quinn realized it was just timing and she needed to get out of the chair so that when she did finally reach out, Rachel could actually look at her when she replied. And at least there was still the promise to meet up. And by then, she's sure she'll be ready for Rachel Berry.

3 Years Ago

It scares her how fast she goes from euphoria to sheer terror once she opens her eyes and noticed the tiny brunette curled into her side. It's irrational but the fear gripping her senses is so overwhelming that she actually has trouble pulling in a breath and knows that she needs to get out of there because she was going to fall apart and it would ruin any chance of continuing whatever had just occurred between her and Rachel.

So Quinn eases herself out of bed, only stopping when she hears Rachel moan a bit before tucking her hand under her chin. She looks beautiful and miraculous and what they shared yesterday was exactly what she had wanted even if she could never admit it out loud. Except she does not know what next and that uncertainty, that knowledge that she's so far from where she ever thought she'd end up, that frightens her beyond belief.

She pulls on her clothes and tells herself that she's really just going for coffee, the caffeine a necessity to wake her up and maybe bring back that soy latte for Rachel. There's a small coffee shop about fifteen minutes away that specializes in organic produce and makes the best chai latte she's ever had.

Only, when she comes back carrying the takeaway cup, she still cannot bring herself to enter her building. Instead, she sits in the foyer of the building opposite, the beverage getting cold in her hand but the terror gripping her heart not really dissipating in any way or form.

Her eyes begin to tear when she sees Rachel walk tentatively down the stairs, her hands clutching the front of her shirt where Quinn knows some of her buttons are missing. And what hurts is she can see Rachel crying as well as the brunette swipes at her tears before buttoning her coat, still looking around, probably hoping to spot her.

And Rachel actually stands by her building for a good twenty minutes looking this way and that, her hopeful expression eventually morphing into disappointment and finally settling on hurt and betrayed. Like she'd been used and thrown aside and she finally realized that Quinn wasn't going to show up. Quinn felt it then, that sharp stab of pain as Rachel's face crumpled, her tears not ebbing as she realized her predicament. That final look before she started running towards the bus depot would stay with Quinn for the longest time.

2 Years Ago

"Have you talked to her?" Quinn pours more than she should into the glass before holding it out to Santana, the amber liquid sloshing over the side but disappearing down Santana's throat as soon as she grabbed hold of the glass.

Quinn takes a swig herself from the bottle before going back to search for the book Santana was asking to borrow. Only she knows that there's more to the conversation than just the need to borrow a psych textbook. She can hear the undercurrent of desperation and anger in Santana's voice and can see that she's teetering so close to the edge. It's a replay of high school each time she had broken up with Britt or they had a fight.

"Who?" Yet the Latina seemed hell bent on making Quinn drag it out of her as she feigned ignorance to Quinn's question, even if the both of them knew that there really was only one her that pervaded Santana's thoughts.

"She calls me every two weeks or so…." It had been the impetus to reach out to Santana. Listening to Brittany talk about her fiancée and still ask about Santana hoping that the Latina was ok. It made Quinn feel like the worse friend ever because she didn't know if Santana was ok or not and if she knew of Britt's own engagement.

So calling her and demanding she come to New Haven was necessary as was pushing her now to let out whatever anger or grief she was bottling inside. Santana grabs the bottle from her hand and fills her glass, downing that shot before pouring herself another until Quinn's hand still hers.

"Do something or move on but don't keep it inside." Such easy cheap advice to give even if she herself could never take it as she recalls brown hair and brown eyes and that feeling like she's falling that ends abruptly because she's still alone and too damned scared to do anything about it.

"How can she love someone else?" Santana thinks it's an impossibility for her to think of anyone else the way she thought of Brittany. The girl had been her life, she was the reason she woke up in the morning. She had been the reason why she stayed in God Forsaken Lima instead of leaving the first chance she got.

"Maybe…" Quinn thinks that saying it may actually make it true or maybe it's still wishful thinking but it's her only avenue, "Maybe, you can too? There has to be more than one person for us out there. I mean I thought I loved Finn for God's sake and even Puck and Sam…maybe. I did love them. For that time, I did. So there can't be just one …"

The desperation in Quinn's voice is palpable and Santana thinks that she's trying to convince herself just as much as Quinn's trying to convince her. "Right?" Quinn looks at her, desperation shining through.

And Santana thinks of tapered fingers encircling her wrist, that one kiss that she does still think about because it had been sudden yet so natural in the scheme of things and it had felt right. She still has that damned piece of paper too, tucked in her passport in her dresser.

"Maybe."

1 Year Ago

She managed to get Rachel's address from Mercedes but does not do anything about it until she realizes that they will all be moving on and this was maybe her last chance to make amends or to reach out or to finally give into what she knows she really wants deep inside if only she could just maybe admit it out loud to the one person whom she needed to tell.

It's one of those dreary days in New York, wind and rain mixed with the cold and she can't seem to stay warm even if Jim's arms are around her. She knows he wants to move forward with their relationship and has been incredibly patient with her, giving her space and accepting that she wanted to just be friends first. His insistence on accompanying her to New York to show her his view of the city was sweet even if all she really wants to do is just see Rachel.

"So whose address is this?"

Quinn really does not know how to describe Rachel. 'friend, lover maybe.' All she knows is that she needs to see if she's finally brave enough to take that one step forward. She does not answer Jim and is relieved to see him distracted by the guide book in his hand as he stands on the corner to get his bearings and Quinn stares across the street at Rachel's building.

On any other clear day, it would be obvious that she's there for a reason. But the rain is coming down in sheets and she's hunched into her jacket, just looking at that one window that she just knows is Rachel's because it has that treble cleft stuck on the window pane.

She swears she actually sees Rachel staring back at her and she does not look away as she closes her eyes to take a breath and finally take a step. Only she feels Jim's hand grab at hers, pulling her around even as he dips his head to catch her lips.

It catches her by surprise and when she pushes at his chest, her eyes going up to the window, she doesn't see anyone there and loses whatever courage she thought she had.

#$#$#$#$

"When does Brittany's flight get in?" Rachel fiddles with the sound equipment. Not really knowing anything but she can't really keep still so she twiddles the knobs on the speakers pretending she knows what she's doing even as Santana looks at her from the chair she's sitting in and rolls her eyes.

"In an hour or so and she'll pick up a car and drive over. You know you're going to break that and I'm pretty sure whatever they're paying you.." Her eyes looking over the premises before surmising that Rachel was doing this for something or someone and not for the money, "it's not going to cover that."

"I can still send her the invite." She knows that Quinn's in Boston and that Rachel's stubborn and scared in equal measure. They apparently had a lot more in common that she could ever imagine. And because of that, it had been Rachel who bridged the gap for her with Birtt.

She had reached out and when she found out that not only had Brittany broken off her engagement but was miserable and it had been so easy for her to talk about Santana and push the Latina into admitting that she missed Brittany too and it was never too late for the both of them. All they needed was really the time apart to realize that they were meant to be. Distance and stupidity was easy to bridge.

Pride took a bit longer but with Rachel always pushing, it was easy to just admit that she never stopped loving Brittany and for the blonde to admit that LA was great in all aspects except for one. Santana wasn't there and therefore, she didn't think it was that great. And calls turned into weekends together which turned into her asking Brittany to move in with her.

It had taken four months to convince her during which time Rachel had bombarded Brittany with enough Dance job offers and opportunities to convince her that New York and Santana needed her a whole hell of a lot more than LA would.

It made Santana feel beholden, it made her want to kick Quinn's ass even if Rachel kept telling her that it didn't matter anymore and the reason she needed to do this one performance was her need for closure.

Her own dreams were slowly taking shape. It had been her graduation song that caught the attention of a record producer who actually offered Rachel a contract resulting in her six songs EP actually making it on the iTunes chart, not breaking the top twenty but doing well enough such that she's been getting gigs and offers, though the only one that made her smile was the one from Toad's place.

She's still fidgeting with the knobs when she hears the door open and wonders if Brittany's early and she'd have to make herself scarce because she knows that Santana wants to welcome her in their own special way. Which more often than not meant very public displays of affection and having sex in said public places that Rachel envies but would never admit to.

But when she looks up, the greeting dies on her lips because it's not Brittany standing there but Quinn. Quinn looking beautiful and real and there and she finally figures that the fact that Santana's been having sex and she hasn't in the past year finally has resulted in her losing her mind and hallucinating. She blindly reaches out to the Latina only to hear that voice.

"Rachel."

She's dreamt of this moment, she truly has which is why she just can't believe it's true as she turns on her heel and rushes out the back, her hands shaking as she tries to unlock the back door only to feel Santana's arms encircling her from behind, her chin resting on her shoulder, her voice, sure and true in her ear.

"I didn't call her. I wanted to. And the fact that she's here…Well I could kick her ass for you or…or you could go back in there and listen to what she has to say." And Rachel takes a deep breath, finally accepting that she's not crazy or dreaming.

"What if…"But Rachel feels like she's lost that ability to take that leap. That she's put herself out there so many times and it didn't work and maybe it was time to grow up and accept that it never would.

She feels Santana's hands tighten around her waist, "You won't know for sure until you try and…if it doesn't..I'll kick her…" Santana doesn't get to finish the sentence as Rachel turns around and buries her head in her chest, hugging her with all her might before she takes that one last deep breath and walks back towards the front stage.

#$#$#$#$#

There are times where words are necessary, where things need to be said out loud and reiterated because that was the only way a bridge could form and relationships could mend. There are times where the right words make all the difference in the world and each word, each inflection allows for an understanding to form and to forge a new beginning.

In this instance though, the second Quinn sees Rachel walk back into the room, she doesn't think of saying all those beautiful words she's been rehearsing in her head or even just that all-encompassing sorry. She just acts, driven by need and instinct, finally recognizing that she's been missing the better part of herself and she has this one chance to finally be whole.

She pulls on Rachel's coat, her hands fitting around the brunette even as she bends forward and kisses her. Fitting together like they were meant to, the kiss so long coming that even if it's a foregone conclusion to a story that started in Lima perhaps, it is still necessary. As Quinn tightens her hold on Rachel and Rachel finally gets kissed by the girl.

The End