A five year old Rachel Berry sat on her bed, braiding the long blonde hair of a six year old Quinn Fabray, who sat braiding the long black hair of a six year old Santana Lopez who sat braiding the long blonde hair of a six year old Brittany Pierce.

"All done!" Rachel shouted, placing a nice, pink, hair clip on Quinn's head.

"Thanks, Ray." Quinn said with a smile.

Rachel kissed Quinn on the cheek.

"Anytime, Q!" She said brightly.

"Oh, Rachie, Rachie! I wanna braid your hair!" Brittany shouted.

Rachel giggled and ran over to sit in front of Brittany, and sighed when she started to brush her hair. Once she was done she turned towards the mirror and poked her lips out, trying to be seductive. "I'm ready for my close up!" She said in her best "adult" voice.

Santana laughed and thwacked her over the head with a pillow.
"Okay, broadway."

Rachel Berry walked into the choir room and took her seat in the front row. She looks around the room noticing where everyone is sitting. A radiant blonde with hazel eyes sits on the right side of the very back row, awkwardly grapsing hands with her six foot tall boyfriend, who looked like he didn't even know where he was. On the opposite side of the row, a gorgeous dark skinned Latina sits next to a blonde boy with a bieber cut, her tongue shoved in his too-big mouth. In the dead center of the room, directly two seats behind Rachel, a gorgeous leggy blonde with a smile that never stops shining sits on the lap of a wheelchair bound boy, head laying on his shoulder.

Rachel looks to her her left and looks to her right, both seats empty. She wonders how they all got here.

A nine year old Rachel Berry ran out onto the playground, up to her three best friends.

"Guys, guys! Guess what?"

"What?" Santana asked, pushing Brittany on the swings.

"David Karofsky asked me to the ice cream party next month."

Brittany squealed excitedly, but Quinn and Santana frowned.

Rachel took a moment to jump up and down with Brittany, until she saw the looks on her other friends' faces.

"What?" she asked, knowing she wouldn't like what they were saying.

"Ray..." Quinn began.

"He just gave Cindy Freeman a valentine last week." Santana finished.

"So? He got over her." Rachel said defensively. "He likes me now."

"Broadway." Santana said, disapprovingly.

"Come on guys! Just be happy for Rachie!" Brittany said.

"Yeah guys, just be happy for Rachie." Rachel repeated.

"Come on, B, you know we're just looking out for you-" Santana said.

Rachel walked over to her, and grasped her hands, looking her in the eyes.

"Santana, you're only nine months older than me. And Quinn's only 5 months older than me. I don't need you guys to look out for me. I can take care of myself."

There was a moment of silence before both Santana and Quinn nodded, then smiled, and the four girls began to excitedly make plans on what to wear to the party.

Quinn Fabray ran after Rachel, not knowing where she had gone after she ran out of the auditorium. She eventually found her lying in the middle of the football field.

"I'm sorry, Ray. I don't know what came over me, I just-"

"Don't call me Ray." Rachel spat.

Quinn sat next to Rachel, curling her legs beneath her.

"I know it sounded harsh, Ray, Rachel, but I'm really just looking out for you. You don't belong here. Not in Lima, not with Finn. You can do so much better!"

"That's the thing though!" Rachel jumped up, eyes shimmering with unshed tears. "You and Santana. You were always looking out for me. I didn't need it then, and I don't need it now." She began to walk away, but then she turned back. "You guys were always, always trying to protect me. And now you're the two people I need protecting from."

An eleven year old Rachel Berry walked through the mall, one pinky linked with Brittany Pierce, one pinky linked with Quinn Fabray, and Santana Lopez on the other side of Brittany. She chatted and giggled and laughed and shopped. At one point, they had troubles deciding where to go next.

"I know!" Santana said, eyes alight with excitement. "Let's go to... Victoria's Secret." She whispered the last two words.

Quinn wrinkled her nose in distaste. "Ew, San. No. That's gross."

"God, Quinn, don't be such a goody good!"

"Well, maybe if you weren't so bad then-"

Rachel interrupted them, simply saying. "Guys, stop."

They both instantly calmed down at her voice. "Sorry, rach." They said simultaneously. Their heads snapped up towards eachother and they shouted "Jinx! You owe me a soda!"at the same time again, and then burst into a fit of hysterical laughter.

Rachel walked into the choir room only to be ambushed by a one, Brittany Pierce.

"Rachie! You gotta help me." Brittany said seriously.

Rachel sighed heavily. "What is it, Brittany?"

Brittany motioned to behind her where Finn Hudson was holding back Quinn and Sam Evans was holding back Santana and they were both trying to lunge at eachother in fury, snarling insults, ready to have the second throwdown of the year.

"Please, Rachie." Brittany pleaded. "You were the only one who could ever calm them down. The only one to ever keep them from killing eachother. Please." Rachel paused and looked at Brittany, then glanced at her two angry ex-best friends.

"I'm sorry, Brittany. But, It's not my problem anymore." She said, and then walked away.

Fourteen year olds, Santana Lopez, Brittany Pierce, and Quinn Fabray sat on the gym bleachers, feeling awkward and exposed in their soffee shorts and lycra tank tops.

"Where is she? She said she'd be here." Quinn said.

"I don't know!" Santana shouted frantically. "I must have called her about fifty times."

The three girls stood to attention when Sue Sylvester entered the gym.

"Hello, you mediocre mouth-breathers. My name is Sue Sylvester. I only accept the best. When you're a cheerio, you're a cheerio, no ifs ands or buts about it. You're in it for life. Now, if any of you imbeciles aren't the best, or can't handle it, I suggest you get out of my sight."

Santana clutched Brittany's shaking hand and suddenly Rachel rushed into the room.

"I'm so sorry I'm late!" she said. "I usually pride myself on my punctuality but my dad had a flat tire and once we fixed it there was a huge accident on-"

"Get out." Sue said quietly.

Rachel looked up in confusion. "What?" she asked.

"You heard me. I expect the best from my Cheerios. The best do not arrive late. The best are here at least 20 minutes eariler than me, at all times. If you're on time? You're late. Get out."

The three girls standing to the side all dropped their jaws, shocked. Rachel stared in astonishment at the coach, before nodding sadly and walking away, waving to her three friends.

Mr. Schue held a clip board in his hands before he addressed the room quietly.

"Alright, guys, I have a list of how you'll be rooming for Nationals. All the girls: Brittany, Quinn, Santana, Rachel, Tina, Lauren and Mercedes, you will be in one suite. The boys: Finn, Puck, Artie, Mike, and Sam you will be in another. "

Brittany's face lit up in excitement. Maybe with Rachie in the same room as all of them again, they could be friends!

Rachel's hand shot up in the air. "Mr. Schue, my dads will be booking a room at a nearby hotel, will it be okay for me to stay with them?

"Oh, of course Rachel." Mr. Schue said, crossing her name off the list.

Brittany sighed. Well, there goes that plan.

Rachel Berry, Quinn Fabray, Santana Lopez, and Brittany Pierce rested in the shape of a square on a trampoline, looking up at the stars.

"Guys," Rachel began.

"Yeah Ray?" Quinn asked.

"You don't think that since you guys are all Cheerios now, and I'm not, we won't be friends anymore, right?" She asked quietly.

"Of course not, Broadway." Santana said, as if the idea was simply crazy. "Friends forever."

"Yeah, Rachie, besides, there's always next year." Brittany said lightly.

"Right, of course." Rachel said, although she still had some doubts. They basked in the silence for a few moments, comfortable.

"You know, I really want to catch a star." Brittany said suddenly, sitting up, suddenly.

Rachel grinned and sat up with her. "So do it."

"I can't do it without you." Brittany said, offering her hand. Rachel took it and they stood up, jumping high, hands extended to the sky. After a few moments, Quinn and Santana joined them and they all stood jumping and reaching and laughing.

"You guys! I caught one! I caught one!" Brittany said after a particulary high jump. Quinn and Santana looked at her like she was crazy, and after she opened her hand to reveal nothing, they were even more confused.

But not Rachel. Rachel simply looked, smiled, and said, "Yup, Brit, you sure did."

Rachel rushed out onto the football field. She had gone to the game with Tina and Mercedes and she couldn't find her keys, so she must have left them somewhere on the bleachers. She went to where she sat and found a sobbing Brittany where she was sitting.

"Brittany, what's wrong?" Rachel said, moving towards her.

She saw that Brittany was clutching her keys, and holding onto one key chain that said QRBS in pretty pink lettering.

"You- you kept it." Brittany said in astonishment.

Rachel shrugged. "Couldn't figure out how to take it off."
Afrter that comment, Brittany simply sobbed harder, and Rachel went to sit next to her.

"W-what happened to us?" Brittany said through tears. "You used to be Broadway, and Ray, and Rachie and now you're just Rachel and I feel like I don't even know you at all anymore!" Rachel shrugged, because she certainly didn't know, and Brittany continued. "And now Q and San hate eachother, and Santana only wants me if she can have me and... what happend to forever, Rachie? What happened to forever?"

"I don't know, Brit. I really don't." Rachel replied. Brittany laid her head on her shoulder and Rachel rubbed soothing circles on her back until she was done crying. They sat there for a while, in silence, before Brittany slammed the keys down on the cold metal bleachers and jumped up.

"I want to catch the stars." She declared.

Rachel smiled, remembering that one great night before Forever turned into never again, and said "So do it."

Brittany reached out her hand. "I can't do it without you."

Rachel looked at her hand for the moment, then to the sky. She remembered Broadway and Manhands and Ray and Rupaul and Rachie and Treasure Trail and slushies and everything in between. She sighed, shook her head, picked up her keys, and walked away.

"Bye, Rachie."

A/N: So, that was the closest thing I've ever done to angst, even though I'm not sure if it was actually angsty at all. I don't really know if I did any of that justice, but whatever. I kind of hated the ending, but I couldn't think of any other way to close it. SO, tell me what you think!