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Making Angels Cry

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It was the space of five minutes between Spanish and Art. Rachel was walking down the hall, humming along to a tune in her head. Her eyes were out of focus, staring blankly through the concrete floor of McKinley and out into her own, mental Broadway stage.

Her attention is snatched up by someone crying out in surprise. Her head snaps up to see Quinn stumble to the side, someone having shouldered her as they walked by - perhaps on purpose, or just by mistake.

It takes a second for Rachel to notice the piece of paper fluttering from Quinn's bag, and by the time she gets it and calls out her name, the blonde is gone.


They say curiosity killed the cat. By that proverb, Rachel should be dead many times by now. She'll be seeing Quinn in Glee, and decides to give it to her then. In her hands, she begins to unfold the note. If it seems like something very personal, Rachel will just fold it back up and not read further. She tells herself Quinn won't mind - they're friends. It's their senior year - their year to get it right.

After mentally justifying it to herself, Rachel unfolds the paper and begins to read.

Things to do before I graduate:

1. Buy Beth birthday presents for each year I'll be gone.

2. Learn to ride (horses).

3. Celebrate Halloween.

4. Write a song.

5. Catch a random bus and see where I end up.

6. See a movie in another language

7. Go to an art gallery.

8. Dress up and go to a home open and pretend to be rich.

9. Climb a tree.

She doesn't know why, but some - most - of the entries make Rachel smile. The note must be new, because none of the entries are crossed off. She reads it over to herself in art until the teacher tells her to focus.

By the time that period is over and she is walking to Glee, Rachel has made up her mind: she is going to help Quinn Fabray tick everything off her list, because they're friends now and that's what friends do.


"Quinn!" When she turns around, the blonde looks anxious. Instantly her eyes focus in on Rachel - on the note in her hand. The paper is standard, college rule, the top and bottom edges torn where it had been ripped out. Could be anything. But they both know what it is. "You dropped this earlier."

"Thank you, Rachel." She says, taking it from her outstretched hand.

Quinn turns back to take her seat in Glee, up the back near Brittany and Santana who are already cuddling in place, but Rachel catches her arm. "I want to help you."

Quinn smiles uncertainly. "Help me?"

"Your list." Rachel says, releasing her elbow belatedly. Quinn watches her hand retract. "I want to help you finish it."

Quinn bites her lip the way Rachel knows. It means she doesn't want to laugh, but she will anyway, and - right on cue - Quinn laughs. "Alright. We'll do it."

They sit side by side in Glee, making plans under their breath.


They do Halloween first because it's late October already and it makes sense. If not now, then when?

"I'd like to be Little Red Riding Hood." Quinn announces, fingering a swatch of red fabric in the store. Rachel's playing with thick, faux-fur next to her.

"That would be cute." Rachel says, riffling through the furs. "If you do that, I could be the wolf."

Things should be awkward between them, but somehow they're blissfully not. Quinn smiles and talks with her like they're old friends, like they were meant to be like this from the get go, outside influence just got in the way.

Neither are very good at sewing, but Rachel's dads have a machine upstairs. They collect their purchases and take them home - folds of red and grey furs, white and black and a tiny square of baby pink for the inside of Rachel's ears.

"So you've never celebrated Halloween?" Rachel asks as she tries pinning the fabric onto Quinn's body. She stands there like a mannequin, trying not to move, arms out.

Quinn shakes her head as best she can without disrupting Rachel's work. "My Mum used to say it was a devil night. We stayed in." She only jumps once during her speech, yelping when Rachel accidentally pins her side.

"Sorry." Rachel manages around the pins in her mouth. "It's fun."

Quinn hums as the cloak comes together around her shoulders.

They spend the whole afternoon sitting on the floor of Rachel's activities room, learning how to thread the machine and picking out stitches that went in the wrong place. There's hot glue everywhere as they construct Rachel's ears awkwardly with cardboard, fingers stuck together and burnt in some places. There's two return trips to the store for extra fabric when they run out, either due to mistakes or simply not purchasing enough. On one trip they deliberate, and then commit to a book of patterns because the cloak they made at first just looks like a hemmed piece of fabric tied around Quinn's neck.

When it's all done, though, it's worth it.

The costumes aren't good - they both know that. Quinn's dress doesn't fit her too well, and the hood falls down into her eyes. She clasps a basket in front of her body, trying to be innocent with red obscuring her view. Rachel gave up on a full costume, wearing ears, a tail, and an old black dress modified with chunks of fur.

They're the oldest kids out trick or treating and they don't get much candy. It's a cold night and they walk with their shoulders brushing to try and preserve body heat. They make it around the block before deciding the night would be better spent in Rachel's living room, eating what they did get from the night out.

There are a few strips of fabric left behind on the floor when they get home. Quinn picks up some of the fur, Rachel a slip of red. "So you can prove we did it." And she places them both into Quinn's basket. Beside the fabric is the note, and a handful of assorted sweets.

They put in a B-grade horror and eat most, but not all, of their candy. Once the movie is over, the night done, they remove their costumes.

Before they go to sleep, Quinn crosses off number three.


Rachel's dads are active in the art world, and their chance to check out an art gallery arises sooner than expected.

It's a fancy event. There are waiters strolling around with canapes: samosas and cheese platters and cucumber cups with salmon tartare and Quinn and Rachel try them all. Most of them taste awful, they agree in whispers. The art is much the same. Abstract. There is a huge splatter of red on a yellow canvas, and the price tag below is obscenely high.

They look at all the paintings quickly, trying to stand around and critique the art but not wanting to laugh in front of all of Lima's classiest.

Instead they go and sit on the steps outside the building, Rachel drawing elaborate art in the dirt with a stick. Quinn takes two brochures from a stand, handing one to Rachel and keeping one for herself. "It was nice to see it."

"Never again." Rachel comments, as she draws two stick figures in the dirt, holding hands.

Quinn crosses off number seven.


They go see a French romance film. There are subtitles, but listening to the words is soothing, in a strange way. As a joke, Rachel yawns and settles one arm across Quinn's shoulders. They giggle amongst themselves in the empty theatre, but Rachel doesn't move it.

When they leave, they vow to do it again, each grabbing a timetable for the cinema.

Quinn crosses off number six.


After the film they decide to tackle number five. It's a split second decision as a bus pulls into the street they're on. Rachel grabs Quinn's arm and runs towards the nearest bus stop, waving her arm to hail the bus driver. Quinn follows along behind, each motion pulling on their joined arms.

Once they make it to the stop, bus rolling to a stop beside them, Quinn is doubled over, trying to catch her breath. "It wasn't that bad." Rachel says, laughing a tad breathlessly.

"Yeah." Quinn manages, smiling up at her. "I'm just a bit out of practice." She says, straightening to follow Rachel onto the bus.

They purchase a two zone ticket each, and ask the driver to alert them when they have to get off the bus. The man regards them warily, but lets them go.

The bumps of the bus makes Quinn's line through number five jump up, and they figure they should work on number four, just for the sake of it.

They end up in a cafe downtown, a small, overpriced place. They get lunch and settle in the big armchairs in the corner to write Quinn's song.


Rachel doesn't realise it's been so long since she started helping Quinn with her list. It's gone through autumn and winter, and now they're breaking through into spring. It hasn't just been the list they're spending time on, but other things: Glee and schoolwork and just friend things. Rachel never really had friends. Not friends who texted her asking to hang out at random times, or ones who wanted to go do things with her with any sort of frequency. Quinn being in her presence outside of school twice, three times a week... that was normal.

She realises as they sit in the coffee shop, composing music together. Quinn lookers paler than normal and her hand shakes a little as she writes down the lyrics on a napkin, and Rachel knows it's because she has a cold, just out of the tail end of winter. The cough has been lingering for a while, though it still makes Rachel jump every time.

Quinn has her tongue between her teeth as she finishes scrawling down some lines. "It's only two verses and a chorus." She says, voice hoarse from the cold. "Do you mind singing it for me?" Quinn hands the paper over sheepishly, keeping her eyes trained on the top of the table.

Rachel reads over the words once to ensure she has them all before beginning to sing. The coffee shop is mostly empty, and the song is short enough that it doesn't bother the occupants.

Quite the opposite, in fact - the waitress claps when she's finished and brings them both a coffee each. One girl typing on her laptop pauses to watch them both. Quinn is smiling so bright it lights up her face, and now she looks like the girl Rachel remembers, tanned from afternoon Cheerio's practice, muscle visible but not obscene. "It's beautiful." Rachel says.

"It's for you." Quinn says, crossing off number four fully as they start on their free coffee.


"I've always wanted to learn to ride." Rachel says, in reference to number two.

Quinn's mother drops them down at a stable ten minutes out of town. They've both paid for an hour lesson and then a trail ride alone within the confines of the large property.

The lady teaching them brings them to a row of stalls - "All beginner mounts" she states happily, and lets them both choose.

Rachel picks a horse a bit on the short side, skewbald and overly friendly. Quinn's choice is taller - a grey mare, who quietly nuzzles her shoulder seeking treats.

They saddle up and mount. They both require the use of a stepping stool to get onto their horses, the creatures standing just out of their reach. Rachel mounts first, not the most athletic girl, swinging her leg in a wide arc to settle comfortably in the saddle. It takes Quinn three tries to mount, her grip on the saddle slipping the first two times. Rachel smiles, but does not laugh, taking in the endearing flush that covers her cheeks.

In the ring Rachel takes a while to find her footing, the stirrups pulled up high to accommodate her shorter legs. Her horse is bouncy, breaking into a trot more often than he should, and Rachel is flung around on his back with him. Quinn's mare, on the other hand, wants to do nothing more than saunter around the arena.

The instructor gets them walking in a circle, then trotting. It takes most of the lesson to get down a rising trot. Rachel struggles a little, whereas Quinn seems to be a natural. "You should have done this before. You're really good." Rachel calls to her. It steals Quinn's attention away and she loses her timing, sliding in the saddle until she reins her horse back in to a walk, breathless from the exertion.

Rachel decides that she'd rather keep her (the horse's) feet (hooves) on the ground, so she stands off to one side as Quinn jumps. It's a tiny bar, and the horse more steps over it than jumps, but she does it, and she's glowing - grinning from ear to ear.

The trail ride is better for them both. They get to walk together, following the blue trail (for beginners), talking about things only the trees and horses know. "I once had a dream that I ran away from home. Dyed my hair and just travelled around the country." Quinn announces, pulling sharply on her reins to drag her horse away from eating the grass. She's had to do so enough times on the short ride that sweat is starting to bead on her forehead - horses are surprisingly strong, Rachel noticed. Luckily hers is not so compelled to eat everything.

"Did you ever think of going through with it?" Rachel asks, head tilted to the side, curious.

Quinn is quiet for a moment. The only sound is the dull thud of hooves on the dirt trail. "Not really. I can't imagine leaving Lima."

"Isn't that what your list is for?"

"Yeah." Quinn smiles, wistfully, as they turn and head back for the barn.

The instructor comes out to meet them. Just as they're about to dismount, a thought hits Rachel. "Could you take a photo of us?" She fumbles around in her pocket for her phone, leaning down to pass it to the lady. She lines the horses up, and counts them down from three.

Quinn takes Rachel's hand and smiles broadly, crossing off number two on her list once she's back on solid ground again.


They put on their finest clothes. It's a Sunday afternoon, warm with the promise of so much: graduation, the coming summer, college. Quinn does her makeup artfully, having to stop several times to allow for the cough that has plagued her since winter. She does the same for Rachel, deliberating long over which shade to use for her lipstick. She settles on a bright red and a toned down eye, which matches the sleek black dress Rachel's wearing. Quinn's got a white sundress on, though dresses it up with a designer print scarf and sleek wedges.

The house is two-storeys: pool and spa, theatre, games room, bedrooms and bathrooms galore. Quinn pushes her sunglasses up onto her head, messing up her hair in the most elegant way. She takes an information sheet about the house, looking over it with a critical eye. Rachel hangs on her arm.

"This would be lovely for when we're in the area, don't you think?" Quinn doesn't put on an accent, but pronounces her words fully and slowly, giving her an air of affluence.

"Mm, it's beautiful." Rachel observes, letting Quinn direct her around the house.

A realtor approaches them both. "Might I help you, ladies?" He asks, hands folded neatly in front of his body.

Quinn smiles. "No thank you. We're simply browsing." She manages to put the man down gracefully, and Rachel wonders how she's perfected such technique.

"Thank you." Rachel notes, tilting her body closer to Quinn's.

"My pleasure. Let me know if there's anything I can do." He nods his head and then disappears to go address another couple inspecting the property.

Quinn pulls Rachel upstairs and they inspect the master bedroom. It's nearly the size of Rachel's first floor, the walk-in closet easily bigger than most bedrooms. "We can holiday here once my run on Broadway is over." She says, twirling in the huge closet, on the verge of laughter.

Reclaiming her hand, Quinn pulls Rachel onto the bed. They flop down onto it, the mattress big enough to contain them three times over. Rachel laughs now, standing up and pulling Quinn with her so they can jump on it, just a couple times.

The agent must have heard their shrieks, because they were quickly sent off the property.

Breathless with laughter, Quinn marks off number eight and they walk home.


It's one of their last chances to see Beth before they move away for college. Quinn mentions she's heading to Yale at the start of summer, and that's that. Rachel agrees to go with her. But first - gifts.

Quinn turns a trip to the mall into a weekend expedition. Everything has to be perfect. "Your degree is four years, isn't it?" Rachel asks from where she's been tasked with pushing the trolley. It's full of everything: clothing, toys, books, colouring pencils and markers, pillows for her bed, a stack of dvds from her favourite television show, a tiny car propelled by her feet, a toaster that imprints love hearts on the bread as it cooks, a miniature gumball machine... there's enough stuff there to last her for the rest of her life.

"Yeah." Quinn answers, turning around and dumping cds into the pile - nursery rhymes and audiobooks and fun songs that kids can dance along to. "Why?" And without waiting for an answer she's nearly scaling a shelf, reaching with one hand to get a tiny foam couch down.

"You've bought her, like..." Rachel waves one arm at the trolley - not the first they've filled so far, either. She wonders where Quinn got all her money. Life savings, apparently. "... enough gifts to last a lifetime. And then some."

Quinn sighs, looking down. "I just don't want her forgetting me."

Rachel hugs Quinn and then helps her on her quest for a leopard print beanbag. Through all the shopping, Rachel ends up with a receipt spanning nearly a mile (okay, not really), and Quinn ticks off one happily.


Graduation comes with a mixed sense of trepidation and promise.

Rachel doesn't want to see Quinn go. They've gotten so close lately that spending each day together isn't abnormal. They graduate, surname mandating they go several people away from each other. Rachel graduates with the arts award, Quinn with a consistency medal.

"There's one thing left on your list." Rachel says, confronting Quinn outside of the hall. "Is it too late?"

Quinn smiles and looks down. "Today is graduation. It's not over yet."

They find a tree outside the school. "And you've never climbed one before?" Rachel asks, about as incredulous as she had been on hearing Quinn hadn't celebrated Halloween.

She shook her head. "Never wanted to. Looks dangerous." Quinn says, eyeing up the thick trunk.

"It's easy." Rachel says. She's not an outdoorsy person, but everyone (except Quinn) knows how to climb a tree. She kicks off her shoes, leaving them cradled between two thick roots. She grabs one limb and begins to drag herself up into the tree. "Follow where I go." Rachel says, picking the path with the thickest, most supportive branches.

Quinn tries. She gets three branches up, panting slightly but smiling as she sits down. "I think I'm fine here." She announces, positioning herself with her back against the trunk. Rachel looks down, and then delicately picks her way back to where Quinn is.

In their graduation gowns it's a tad inelegant, but they make do. "I got you a graduation gift." Rachel says, one foot propped up against the trunk, facing Quinn. She hands her a small box.

Quinn opens it up, revealing a tiny necklace nestled within. There's a heart-shaped locket resting against the foam backing. She opens it up, fingers shaking a little. Inside is a picture of Quinn herself. "Rachel...?"

"It's for Beth." Rachel explains, looking abashed. "It's not like she could ever forget you, but this should help."

Quinn slides it into her pocket, pulling out the note in its wake and marking off number nine awkwardly against the tree.

"That's it." She says, staring at it, almost as if she hadn't expected it to be so easy.

Rachel smiles, but there's a sadness there. "Thank you for letting me help. It was fun."

"Thank you for helping." Quinn says, and leans forward to kiss Rachel's cheek. "Now help me down."


Rachel doesn't hear from Quinn after she leaves for Yale. In fact, the summer passes by with nothing. Rachel doesn't know where Quinn is, so she can't get in touch with her, and no one else she knows is any help. Even Brittany and Santana are clueless about her whereabouts, and if Quinn didn't tell them - didn't tell her - where could she be?

Her answer comes the first week of semester. Rachel's just set up her room at NYADA, an odd sadness still haunting her from all the way in Lima.

She gets mail.

The letter did not give any indication who it was from: the address was in Lima, and so Rachel naturally assumed it was a friend from school. When she opened it, however, she was faced with three things: a formal letter, a piece of crumpled paper taped together, and an A4 sheet with words written in pink pen on them. Rachel picked the letter first, smoothing it out in her hands before reading it.

Miss Berry,

It is with great sorrow that we are sending you this letter to inform you that patient Lucy Quinn Fabray has passed on. The time of death was 2:56am on the 13th of September. As per her last will and testament we are sending to you this letter and particular personal effects. Unfortunately we are unable to give you any information on funeral arrangements, but if you would like to call Lima Memorial Hospital we can put you in contact with someone who can assist you.

Our deepest sympathies.

For a minute, Rachel did not breath. It was a joke - it had to be. She felt tears begin to well up in her eyes, blurring the text on the page as she tried to read it through again - find the punchline.

There was none.

She placed the letter on the bed and checked the second piece of paper. Quinn had written it. Even though the lines were slanted, her hand evidently jittery, there was something so her about it. The ink was pink and glittery, and Rachel laughed at the message.

I love you Rachel Barbara Berry forever and always.

She laughed because there was nothing else to do. She laughed because she had this well of emotion inside of her, and there was nothing she could do about it. It came out strangled, broken down by sobs wretched straight from the depths of her soul.

The paper fell from her hands, leaving only the taped together, crumpled note in her lap. Rachel didn't think her hands could perform such a fine movement without tearing the already fragile sheet, but she managed.

Most of the list she recognised, but two chunks of paper had been taped in place: one on the top, one on the bottom.

Things to do before I die:

And it was scribbled out, torn from the paper. Now it was stuck back in place, above the list Rachel had found, all those months ago, all the way at the start of senior year.

Things to do before I graduate:

1. Buy Beth birthday presents for each year I'll be gone.

2. Learn to ride (horses).

3. Celebrate Halloween.

4. Write a song.

5. Catch a random bus and see where I end up.

6. See a movie in another language

7. Go to an art gallery.

8. Dress up and go to a home open and pretend to be rich.

9. Climb a tree.

The nine things Rachel had helped Quinn achieve. On the pin-board above her bed were souvenirs: a receipt from the store Quinn had bought every gift for Beth from, a photo of the two of them on horseback (looking both uneasy and happy), a strip of fabric from Quinn's Halloween costume and a handful of (likely out of date) candy, handwritten lyrics to Quinn's song (never recorded), ticket stubs from the bus they'd caught, a timetable for the cinema they'd been to (January 2012), a brochure from the art gallery, the details of the house they'd inspected (later sold for over $800,000), and one dried out leaf from the tree they'd climbed.

Rachel stared at them all, sitting innocently above her bed, as if everything was right and normal in the world but it wasn't. Not without Quinn. Nothing would ever be good and right in the world, Rachel realised. Not without her smile, not without her wonderful, enchanting laugh, not without the way she looked at Rachel with those eyes that went on forever and never even showed any sadness for what was coming because Quinn knew. She knew and she never let on that something wasn't right. She'd never given any indication. And now Rachel would never get to say her goodbye, never tell Quinn how much fun she'd had that year, how she longed to be back in Lima just so that they could do it all again, year after year. She wouldn't mind being stuck in that world forever - the world that held Quinn Fabray.

Belatedly Rachel realised there was another entry on the list, taped back on.

10. Tell Rachel I love her.

And that was scribbled out with the same sparkling pink pen as before, the paper broken where Quinn must have pressed too hard.

Rachel got up slowly, not trusting her legs, all three sheets of paper in hand. She picked three pins out of the cork and, trembling, tacked them up on the board. All ten things Quinn Fabray had wanted to do before graduation - before death -, gathered together in one place.

With shaking hands, Rachel picked up a pen and piece of paper off of her desk and began to write:

Things to do everyday before I die:

Love Quinn Fabray.

And through her tears she crosses it off.