Rating: R for a couple of unfortunate implications
Summary: In some lives, Rachel and Quinn met but they never seem to be able to get it right. (Title taken from Vienna Teng’s “In Another Life”)
Author’s Note: All the main twos are Quinn and Rachel. It’s usually obvious who is who, but if it isn’t I’ll leave it up to your interpretation. (I have to say, I desperately want to write more pirate!Faberry, but with a female captain and yes they’re not always American. Why would they be?) I was going to do more than two previous lives but my muse gave up the ghost and left me for a stripper half way through so...
Beta: The wonderful captainklaine!
~2011 : March~
“Why are you being so mean?”
Rachel’s voice is cracking, her heart feels like it’s breaking. Nothing feels right, nothing has for a long time. Quinn’s chair scrapes backwards as she stands up and it sounds like a gunshot ringing out to finish Rachel off. Quinn approaches slowly.
“Do you want to know how this story plays out?” she says, once she’s right in front of Rachel. “I get Finn, you get heartbroken, and then Finn and I stay here and start a family.”
Rachel looks up at her. She wants to shout, to rail to rage, but she doesn’t. She listens because she knows that this is the truth. It may be the painful, heartbreaking truth, but it’s the truth. “I’ll become a successful real estate agent, and Finn will take over Kurt’s dad’s tire shop.” She meets Quinn’s eyes and Quinn is all but crying. “You don’t belong here, Rachel, and you can’t hate me for helping to send you on your way.”
“No,” says Rachel. “I’m not giving up on Finn. It’s not over between us.” It feels wrong, the words itching against her tongue.
“Yes, it is!” shouts Quinn. “You’re so frustrating, and that is why you can’t write a good song... Because you live in this little schoolgirl fantasy of life.”
Tears prick in Rachel’s eyes but she still doesn’t retaliate. She could say so many hurtful things, but why bother? Quinn is right and what Rachel wants to say is just spite and she has no desire to hurt Quinn. “Rachel, if you keep looking for that happy ending, then you are never going to get it right.”
It’s true. Deep down in her heart, Rachel knows it’s true. She knows that she should step away because she’s only going to get hurt. She’ll have to choose with Finn, love or her dream, but it doesn’t make it hurt any less.
“So we’re done with that,” says Quinn, “and why don’t we just return to our work, okay?” She looks as upset as Rachel does and she doesn’t know why.
“No,” she says, voice breaking. “I think I’m gonna write this song on my own.” She doesn’t catch Quinn’s heartbroken look as she runs away.
~1894 : June~
“Get your hands off me you lecherous retch!” exclaims Rebecca Straus as she’s dragged, kicking and screaming, from the merchant vessel she was travelling on and is shoved to the deck of a pirate ship.
“Quite a mouth on ‘er, boys,” says the pirate behind her. He grins even as she tries to get up, her skirts getting in the way. Another shoves her back down and she squeals when she hits the deck. “What say we give it a try?”
Her blood runs cold, but before the panic can really set in a man steps onto the deck. His hat implies he’s the captain and he looks her over for a moment before he says to the crew, “We’ve talked about this, boys. We don’t do that. Come with me, girl.”
Rebecca scrambles to her feet and all but runs into his cabin. It may be no safer than out there, but she prefers her chances with one man instead of several.
She shuts the cabin door behind her and leans against it, chest rising and falling inside her corset as she tries to calm herself down and think rationally. “I have done no wrong by you,” she says. “Why do you detain me so?”
The Captain grins as he pours wine into two glasses. “You’re the daughter of a wealthy man and will make good ransom,” he says. He offers her a glass and she accepts it, looking at it suspiciously. “It’s not poisoned,” he assures her.
“Do you have a name?” she says.
The Captain smiles. “Captain Reach,” he says. “And you are Rebecca Straus?”
Rebecca cautiously sips her wine. “You know that,” she says.
“I do.” The Captain sits down at the table. For a pirate Captain, he’s surprisingly polite as he gestures for her to sit too and offers her a piece of bread. “You will be given simple clothing and chores. If you do as instructed and carry out the chores to the best of your ability you will not be harmed and will be returned to your father unharmed.”
“And if I resist?” says Rebecca.
The Captain turns, locks their eyes and says, “You will be returned to your father alive.”
Rebecca sips the wine and bites into the lump of bread. It’s dry and sticks in her throat, but the wine washes it down nicely. It’s a nice vintage, not something she expected on a pirate ship.
“What kind of chores?” asks Rebecca after a moment. “And how much for the ransom?”
“Simple cleaning duties. Don’t worry, we’re not going to make you climb the mast yet. And two thousand pounds for the ransom.”
Rebecca chokes on her wine. “My father will never pay that!” she exclaims.
“Then, I suppose we’re going to have you with us a while, aren’t we?”
~1894 : November~
Rebecca is surprised at how fast time passes on a ship. She sleeps in the Captain’s quarters, away from the rest of the crew who, apparently, the Captain doesn’t trust, and she works to earn her keep. She finds it unfair, considering she’s there against her will, but after a while she starts to stop caring. With the exception of a few of the more rowdy men, the crew are mostly civil to her and she even makes a few friends. The Captain provides her with clothes that aren’t entirely objectionable, in fact they’re quite fancy, and she finds she gets on well with him.
“What’s your story?” she asks him one day from her hammock.
He looks across at her. “What do you mean?”
“Your story... You know what clothes I won’t mind wearing, you know what English ladies talk about, your taste in wine isn’t as horrific as I would expect...”
“I was a ‘Proper English Gentleman’ once,” the Captain says, staring at the ceiling, his face illuminated by a single candle beside him. She can hear the air quotes in his voice. “But my father and brothers expected too much from me... They expected me to be Christian and perfect and marry a perfect English Lady, so I left. It wasn’t for me.”
“You turned to a life of piracy?” says Rebecca. “Why?”
“Why not?” The Captain grins. She can see his metal teeth glinting in the light from the candle. “It’s freedom. I do what I want. We all do what we want. I don’t believe there is a better life than that, do you?”
“No,” she says. “No, I don’t.”
He turns, grins at her. “Why, Miss Straus,” he says, “are you getting attached to our little crew of miscreants?”
“Rebecca,” she says, quietly. “You can call me Rebecca.”
Silence falls for a moment before she says, “What if I were to want to stay?” she says. “What if... What if you retracted the ransom? No one has paid it. We... could say you killed me. I could stay... be free. I wouldn’t even want a share of the haul. I could learn to fight... I do chores...”
“You would want to stay?” says the Captain.
She nods. “Yes.”
~1895 : May~
“You’re learning quickly,” the Captain says, one day, over a meal. “You can almost hold your own in a fight.”
Rebecca laughs. “I could do with some more practice,” she says, “but I’m getting there.” She bites into bread, all dainty precision of earlier months long gone, replaced with need for food and a burning desire to stop being hungry.
The Captain reaches across the table, places his hand on top of hers. “You’re doing very well, Rebecca,” he says.
She blushes and doesn’t pull her hand away. “Thanks to you,” she says.
He grins, this grin that makes her knees turn to jelly. When did she start feeling this way towards him? When?
“Captain,” she starts, but the door bursts open at that moment and she quickly pulls her hand away.
“Captain! We’re being boarded! It’s the King’s men!”
They’re out of the door in an instant, pulling their cutlasses and barrelling onto the deck.
“It’s my father,” says Rebecca with a gasp. “How did he...”
“Doesn’t matter now,” says the Captain, pulling his sword.
“You can’t!” She catches his hand. “He’s my father!”
“He will kill every one of us, and you if he finds out you have turned pirate,” says the Captain.
The crew have already all but been detained, the ship swarmed with the men from the King’s navy, lead by Commodore Straus. “You should have accepted my money,” he tells the Captain, “but instead you killed my daughter.”
Rebecca pulls her bandana off and steps forward. “I’m not dead, father!”
“Rebecca!” Straus turns to the Captain, looking angrier now than before. “What did you do to my daughter?”
“Nothing yet.” The Captain grins a toothy grin, his metal teeth glinting in the sunlight. The implications are clear and Rebecca can’t help but think... well, that she wants that. Whatever that is.
“Grab them!” the Commodore shouts and before they can fight back, sailors have leapt from the mast and landed behind the two of them.
One grabs Rebecca, forces her to her knees and removes her sword from her possession and the other kicks the Captain in the back of the head. Despite that, as he falls down he shouts, “Don’t hurt her!”
“Captain!” she shouts as she’s dragged away by the sailors and that’s the last thing he sees before he blacks out.
~1895 : June~
Rebecca reaches through the bars of the cell the Captain is held in and grabs his hands. They’re cold despite the June weather. “I’m so sorry,” she says, through tears. “I’ve tried to come and see you before now but... they wouldn’t let me until today. Oh, god, I’m so sorry. This is all my fault.”
The Captain shakes his head and leans against the bars. “Of all the things this is, your fault is not one of them. I should never have kidnapped you.” He meets her eyes. “But I’m glad I did.”
“You’re going to be executed today!” Rebecca exclaims. “How is that right? How... how can you not regret everything?”
He smiles. “I’ll never regret hearing you sing.”
Rebecca laughs through her tears. “It’s so silly, though.”
He reaches out through the bars and cups her face, wiping her tears away with his thumb. “Sing for me,” he says, “from the crowd when they hang me today. Sing.”
“We could have...” Rebecca swallows. “We would have, wouldn’t we? You feel the same way?”
He smiles. “I thought that was obvious,” he says. “I will go to my death loving you.”
Chains jangle. “Time to go, Captain Reach,” says a guard as he approaches. He pulls Rebecca back from the bars, even as she cries.
“Never give up on your singing,” the Captain tells her, as they shackle his hands. He smiles at her as they walk him out and she just sobs.
By the time they hang him, she’s composed herself enough to sing and her voice flows over him as he drops through the hatch.
~1923 : February~
“You look beautiful, darling,” says Harold Talbot as he guides his wife over to a table in their nearby speakeasy. The music washes over her as she sits down, folding her fur into her lap. “I hear Katherine King is performing tonight. I know how much you like her.”
Rita Talbot looks up at the stage in time for the lights to dim and for a woman to step out. She’s beautiful, wearing a ruby dress and standing, confident enough in her abilities that she needs no one else to stand with her. Rita smiles softly. “I do,” she says.
Katherine’s eyes find Rita’s in the crowd and she smiles back as she begins to sing.
The evening goes by slowly. Alcohol is consumed and at some point during the night, Harold Talbot drifts away to talk to a business associate. Rita’s been sat alone for a while before a young man comes over to her and hands her a note. “Miss King would like to meet you backstage, Ma’am.”
Rita smiles and stands from her table. “Will you please inform my husband as to where I’ve gone?” she says and the boy nods and scurries off. They’re well enough known that he knows exactly who her husband is.
She walks backstage keeping her head held high. She doesn’t rush or hurry or sacrifice any dignity to get there faster, no matter how much she wants to, and when she opens the door she finds Katherine sitting at her dressing table, powdering her nose.
Rita steps in and closes the door behind her, leaning against the wood, almost using it as a prop.
Katherine meets Rita’s eyes in the mirror. “I didn’t see you at my performance yesterday,” she says.
“I was at church,” says Rita.
“Were you praying for the strength to come?”
Rita shakes her head and looks away. “Not to.”
Katherine stands and steps towards her. “Your god won’t help you with that,” she says, gently. “He knows happiness is more important than anything else.”
“No, he doesn’t. He has forsaken me for my sin and I cannot blame him.” Rita reaches out, takes Katherine’s hand and links their fingers, finally meeting the other woman’s eyes. “But still I come.”
Katherine kisses her and they stand for a while, losing themselves in each other’s touches and kisses, but then Rita pulls her face away and turns to the door, leaning her forehead against it. “I cannot return after tonight,” she whispers.
A warm hand settles on her shoulder. “Why not?” Katherine doesn’t seem angry or upset, more resigned, as though she always saw this coming.
“I am...” Rita swallows. “I am with child. It is one thing to sin for myself, but another to sin for both of us.”
Katherine turns her gently around. “You will still attend my performances,” she says. It’s not a question and Rita nods. “Then we must make the most of this evening, for it will never happen again.”
Rita nods her agreement as she wraps her arms around Katherine. “I love you,” she whispers.
Katherine kisses her again. “I love you too,” she whispers against her lips.
~1923 : October~
“Telegram for you, Miss King.”
Katherine accepts the telegram, surprised. It’s no secret that she isn’t the most popular person in the area. She struggles to contain her dreams, stamping on anyone who gets in her way, and because of that she has barely any friends.
YOUR PRESENCE IS REQUESTED BY MR HAROLD TALBOT AT ST. PETER’S HOSPITAL, BROOKLYN. COME IMMEDIATELY.
Her eyes blur as she stares at the telegram. “Bobby!” she shouts and the boy stops in the doorway, half way out.
“Yes, Miss King?”
“Cancel tonight’s show and summon a cab,” she says.
“Yes, Miss King.”
It takes far too long to get to the hospital in Katherine’s opinion and when she gets there she finds Harold waiting for her. “Mister Talbot,” she says. “You called for me?”
He nods, looking uncomfortable. “My wife is fond of you,” he says. “I don’t know what happened between the two of you in the past months, but... I believe she would want you with her at the end.”
Katherine’s stomach sinks to her feet. “At... the end?”
“Last door on the left.” Harold gestures, hands Katherine a cigarette but she’s too distracted to smoke. He lights his own and she hurries down the hall and into the room.
Rita looks small. She’s lying on the bed, breathing shallow, and Katherine falls to her knees beside her, grabbing at her hand like a lifeline. “Rita,” she whispers.
Rita tilts her head, focuses her eyes on the lady beside her. “Katherine,” she says. She smiles. “My baby is beautiful. They took her away but...”
“Shh.” Katherine strokes a hand over Rita’s hair. “Don’t speak,” she says.
“I have to say this,” says Rita. She clutches Katherine’s hand with a surprising amount of strength. “You are the only one I have ever loved.”
Rita ignores the tears rolling down her cheeks and nods. “And I you,” she says. “Don’t leave me.”
Katherine smiles. “I’m happy,” she says. “You’re with me again. Keep an eye on my baby, okay? Make sure she has a good life.”
Nodding, Rita says, “I will,” she promises. “I love you. I will.”
Katherine’s eyes close. “I’ll see you again,” she says.
When they find her three hours later, Rita has cried herself to sleep on top of the body of her love.
~2015 : July~
Quinn looks up from the bench she’s sitting on, take-out coffee mug in hand and smiles. “Hey,” she says.
Rachel sits beside her, offers her a bagel and Quinn accepts it with a smile. “Thanks,” she says.
“How was seeing Beth?” asks Rachel, quietly.
“You were there,” says Quinn.
“Yeah, b-but... You hide your emotions so well when we’re around other people.”
Quinn sighs, bites into her bagel and ignores Rachel for a moment. Then, she says, “I needed it. To see her, I mean. I needed to know she was okay. I knew she was okay, I did, but... to see her being okay is...” She shakes her head.
“I understand.” Rachel smiles. “I do.”
“Thank you, Rachel,” says Quinn. “For encouraging me to go see her. I needed it. Thank you.”
Neither of them speak for a long moment and then Rachel blurts, “Do you want to get married?”
Quinn looks at her in surprise. “Wh-What?!”
“You and me. I mean... New York... it has gay marriage now and... and we could get married. You and me.”
“I...” Quinn stares at her. “Rachel, we fought for almost ten years before we started sleeping together and then...”
“I know.” Rachel turns around and Quinn puts her bagel and coffee down, turning to look instead. “Quinn, I feel like we’ve run a marathon and kept missing each other on the way.”
“We’ve hardly...” Quinn shivers.
“I’ve always been a little psychic but you feel it too, don’t you?” says Rachel.
Quinn shakes her head. “I don’t know what I feel, Rachel,” she says. “Except that I love you.” She inhales slowly, then says, with a smile, “Let’s do it.”
Rachel grins. “Really?” she says.
“Yes,” says Quinn.
Rachel leaps at her, lands straddling her lap and kisses her. Both girls squeal as the bench tips backwards and they roll onto the grass together, laughing. “We made it, Rachel,” Quinn says, brushing Rachel’s hair back from her face, looking almost reverently at her.
“We did,” says Rachel, breathlessly.
“We’re here. New York!”
Rachel smiles. “That too,” she says.
Rachel Berry’s always been a little psychic, but no one ever believed her. It’s just as well, really.