A/N: I know I should be working on "Coffee's For Closers", but I'll admit I'm totally stuck. I know where I want to go with it, but not how to get there. This was going to be a scene from that, but it morphed into something else entirely. There's also another story in the works that was supposed to be for Christmas, but I've resolved myself to post it whenever it gets finished, holiday relevancy be damned!

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy this.

In the Car Crash of My Life I've Been the Driver

Her eyes did not blink. They watered at the edges of her vision, but she refused to blink away the oncoming tears. She held her breath for fear it would be shallow if her lungs were left to their own devices, and she willed her hands to still their shaking at her side.

This was a disaster.

"I think you and I both know this isn't…"

She waits for him to finish his sentence, and when the stillness of the cold air doesn't stir, she takes in a chilled breath, deep and solidifying. His eyes dart from a tree to a porch lantern, to the swing on her left, to a spot somewhere over her head. She waits a little longer, hoping he'll finish his thought and clue her in to what it was she was supposed to know.

"Can you say something now?"

She doesn't know what to say to that. To any of it. She's still not sure what they both know, though she thinks it's becoming pretty clear as the seconds tick by. Finally unable to withstand the pressure of the night time silence, she gulps down a deep breath, and opens her mouth to speak; Lord only knows what she'll say.

"I didn't thin—"

"Rachel?" Her eyes snap immediately over his shoulder to the interloper. Her mouth instantly snaps shut, and her words are lost to the evening air, as Finn turns to look at the girl behind him.

"Quinn, we're in the middle of something."

"I… I'm sorry, I just…"

No one seems to be finishing their sentences these days, Rachel thought ruefully. She'd hazard a guess that Quinn wasn't even sure what she had wanted to say anyway. Rather than retreating from an obviously disgruntled Finn, Quinn glides the sliding door shut behind her, before hesitantly stepping in their direction. Her entrance heralds a bit of reality, and Rachel is reminded of exactly where they are.

A house party.

It had been Rachel's first, aside from her own, and had marked the first time the Glee kids and everyone else from McKinley would be partying together. A momentous occasion, if ever there was one, as not a single slushy was sacrificed that night. Rachel had thought this night was going to be her most cherished high-school memory; she should have read the signs. She should have paid a little closer attention.

"Can you give us a second?" His ire had not diminished towards the former cheerleader, but she didn't seem deterred. She glanced at Rachel, trying to catch her gaze. When their eyes did eventually meet, Quinn held the brunette's gaze, silently asking for…

"Do you need anything? I can… get you a drink or something." Their gazes were still stuck to one another, even as Finn heaved an exaggerated sigh.

"We're fine, Quinn, seriously." He whines when he gets frustrated. Rachel supposed that was better than getting belligerent, but no less annoying.

Rachel broke their connection, finally blinking away the moisture from the rims of her eyes and glancing up at the boy in front of her with a watery combination of perplexity and bitterness. When she opened her mouth to speak, she should hardly have been surprised at what she said.

"I'd like an orange juice. With vodka. And I think I'll come with you."

Each sentence felt like a separate thought, but whether Quinn was confused by her or not, it never showed. The furrow of her brow relaxed with marginal recognition, and with only a single backwards glance at Finn, the blonde escorted the brunette off the deck, out of the frigid inky darkness and back into the raucous basement living room from whence they came.

"Holy Christ, Berry, I did not see this coming!"

Though Santana didn't rush to explain exactly what she was referring to, it was pretty evident to the whole of the basement. Rachel Berry was, if she were to put it in her own words, enjoying her inebriated state while in the social company of like-minded individuals. According to everyone else, she was tanked.

Though Santana would be loathed to admit, the dwarf-like diva certainly became more interesting when she was drunk. The Latina could only marginally recall the events of Rachel's party last year, but she certainly did not remember the singer ever getting quite this drunk. Though she had been handsy with a Warbler, she had more or less kept to herself. This Rachel seemed hell bent on showing that Rachel how to have a good time. Much to Santana's snarky amusement, Quinn Fabray was caught in the crosshairs.

The blonde had been nursing a solo cup of cheap beer for the better part of an hour – which made Santana grimace every time she gamely sipped it – but she didn't appear in any rush to catch up to her friends. She seemed determined to stay as sober as possible, and even more annoyingly, seemed equally as determined to babysit the pocket-sized Glee co-captain.

Santana rolled her eyes at the former Cheerio as she once again snagged a newly opened cooler from the smaller brunette's fingers.

"Sorry Juno is trying to infringe on our fun."

The diva seemed perturbed by this fact, reeling around on the blonde to point a finger into her chest. She struggled to find steady purchase on the ground, however, and Santana could see that her former captain was desperately withholding a grin from materializing. Instead she pushed away the offending digit, momentarily distracting Rachel from her anger. She always did recover quickly.

"If one could believe this to be true," she slurred, "Santana Lopez is right. You are infringing on my – our fun!" There were several hoots and hollers of agreement, as it seemed many of the partygoers had turned their attention to the three girls, forming a small circle around them. The mirth in Quinn's eyes dissipated as she shot several revelers a fierce glare.

"Look, Fabray," the brunette said blithely, and Quinn's eyebrows shot straight to her forehead in surprise, "I get that you're lookin' out for me, but…"

"But?" Quinn prompted, anger thickening her voice.

"Well, since Finn decided to change the rules on me," Rachel's voice rose as she addressed the crowd of onlookers, she let out a humourless chuckle, "I'm going to enjoy what little time I have left before I must accept the desolated state of our union."

There were a few murmurs and groans of disagreement, which made both Santana and Quinn roll their eyes at the dramatics of the moment.

"Yes, it's true," Rachel drunkenly bemoaned, "I will retreat to my hallowed Choir room, without my lover, a-a-and – unhand me, Quinn Fabray!"

"No, I think we're done here. I'm taking you home."

"Jesus, Quinn, she's just having fun," Santana interjected. "Let Manhands have one night. She'll finally have something to write in her diary."

Kurt and Tina cracked a chuckle from the periphery of the small circle but choked on the sound when Quinn shot them each a withering glare.

"No, I'm taking her home."

"And your word is law, isn't that right, Preggo?" Quinn only rolled her eyes at the retort, before shuffling the singer towards the spare room to retrieve their coats. Santana only huffed in disgust, watching their retreating forms before shrugging and going in search of her own blonde Cheerio.

When they finally managed to push their way through the crowd, Quinn opened the door to the spare room before pulling a wobbling Rachel in behind her.

"Which one is yours?"

"The peacoat with the missing button. There, underneath that nylon monstrosity."

Quinn scoffed but reached for the appropriate garment, stifling her retort about Rachel's fashion sense before it reached her lips.

She extended it to the diva, but the girl only stuck out her arm, clearly assuming Quinn would put it on for her. Quinn heaved a sigh but didn't comment as she pulled Rachel's arms through the sleeves. She rescued the girl's hair from beneath the collar, and laid it to rest down her back. With a tightened jaw, her fingers twitched at the ends of Rachel's tresses, silently daring.

Rachel turned abruptly and broke the blonde from her reverie. Shaking her head she reached for her own coat, wrestling it on without incident. When she turned back to the brunette to usher her along, the girl was just standing there looking at her, coat lying open unbuttoned.

"I seemed to have… I can't get the buttons to work."

Without another word, Quinn moved to stand in front of Rachel and did up the two rows of buttons. Rachel held her hands away by her shoulders, affording Quinn more room to maneuver the disagreeable fastenings. As Quinn made quick work of the buttons, finally reaching the top two, Rachel let her hands fall to rest atop her companion's own.

Quinn didn't look up, couldn't risk it, but her fingers didn't move a single inch further. Rachel took the initiative and pulled the hands loose of the buttons, before guiding their hands to hang at their sides loosely entwined.

"Thank you, Quinn," she murmured. The noise from outside the ajar door filtered into the blonde's ears like white noise, but the three small words could be heard in sharp relief. She also couldn't help but hear the hitch in Rachel's breath, the rustling of fabric as the brunette took a step forward, or the movement of her throat as it worked over a lump caught inside.

She felt the edges of Rachel's coat hit her jean clad thigh, the sliding of their fingers down at their sides, and the recently moistened lower lip that ghosted at the corner of her mouth. All she had to do was turn her head, and sink into this moment.

She could feel the air charge, like the moment before lightning struck, all the hairs on her arms seemed to rise in anticipation of her moving that. Single. Inch. To the left.

"Has anyone seen Rachel?"

"You don't have to yell, Finnvalid. She's getting her coat."

They jumped apart with only a few seconds to stare guiltily at each other before Finn pushed the door opened the rest of the way, effectively breaking the moment irreparably.

"Rachel, I promised I would take you home, so…"

"Finn, it's fine; I got it. I think you've done enough for tonight," Quinn sneered. Rachel could only try in vain to gulp down air into her lungs; the room instantly felt cramped and crowded. There were too many jackets, and too much Finn. But the alternative was even more enveloping.

"No, it's quite all right, Quinn. It's the least he could do."

Quinn looked stunned, and Rachel only had a moment to register the other girl's crumbling expression before it hardened into stone. She didn't even glance behind her as she left the room. Rachel stared after her, feeling the guilt set in once again. That feeling where she was supposed to know something returned in full force, leaving her just as perplexed as before.

"Okay, then, let's get going."

"You haven't said a word pretty much all night, Rach."

She didn't reply. He tightened his fingers around the steering wheel.

"Anyway, do you get what I'm trying to say?"

"You made a mistake," she returned stoically. He regarded her with a furrowed brow. She didn't seem pleased.

"Yeah, well, after talking with Mike and Puck, I realized, you know, what the hell? It's high school. And so what if you're going to school out of state, you'll be back for holidays and whatever. And so what if we're not forever, I want this for right now. We both do."

She finally snapped out of her silence, her head whipping around to face him.

"Finn, you broke up with me. You realizing you made a mistake a couple of hours later doesn't fix what you did. You can't just… do certain things without there being… consequences or… without hurting other people."

She hit the nail on the head, and felt all the more guilty for it. Her fingers whispered across her lower lip, erupting in the memory of an electrically-charged spare room in a house across town, and the teasing feeling of her mouth grazing the corner of another. And the brief glimpse of dejection before retreat.

"Jesus, Rachel, I made a mistake."

She let out the second humourless chuckle of the night – not a record by any stretch, which was sad in its own right – before opening the vehicle door.

"So did I."