Actions

Work Header

if i could find a souvenir just to prove the world was here

Work Text:

 

Tina gets news tweets sent to her phone. Otherwise, they probably wouldn't have heard about it until after they're done cramming three months' worth of rehearsing for Sectionals into a two-hour-long marathon dance session.

"Tina, would you put that away, please?" Mr. Schue asks, once he finally looks up and notices her staring at her phone instead of working on nailing the fancy footwork of the choreography.

It's as if Tina doesn't hear him. "Fuck," she says, and there's a moment where her thumbs fly over the keypad, followed by some rapid scanning of words. "Shit."

"Babe, what is it?" Mike asks, but Schuester speaks over him:

"Tina, that is hardly appropriate language," Mr. Schue begins. He opens his mouth to say more, but falls silent when Tina stalks over to the TV, generally reserved for morning announcements, and turns it on to CNN. She turns up the volume just as Wolf Blitzer says "…scientists and astronomers report that they do not know how something of this magnitude was missed by observation, but short of a miracle, it will strike Earth, somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico, at approximately 9:30 am tomorrow morning." He looks very sad. "Now, I recommend you all go and spend the night with your loved ones. I know I will."

"What's going on?" Artie asks Tina, as Wolf Blitzer stands up slowly and walks, heavily, off the set of The Situation Room.

"There's a very large meteor," she says. "Its trajectory was either hidden by the Geminid shower or changed after hitting the shower. It's coming here."

"Wait, what?" It's Quinn speaking. She's fingering the filigree crucifix around her neck. "Oh God. What does this -"

"They're saying," Tina interrupts, "that it's big enough to wipe out all life on Earth."

"I don't believe any of this," Artie says. "It – it's impossible. It could never…" he trails off, shaking his head, frowning intently.

Everyone is quiet for a little while, until Rachel walks into the room, saying, "Did everyone hear the news? I was driving over here to get a folder I forgot in my locker and it was on the radio and... I really just wanted to see you guys again." Her cheeks are wet, her eyes rimmed red. Finn immediately walks over to her and hugs her tight, and they split off and go to the corner of the room. He sits down; she sits in his lap.

"I'm calling Mercedes," Kurt says. He's paler than Tina has ever seen him before. "I don't care about the competition – if there's even going to be a competition – I want her, and Brittany and Santana, here with us."

CNN is, by now, just running a loop of text across the screen with information: when the meteor was spotted, the degree of certainty with which it will hit the earth. Comparisons to major extinction events in the past – maybe some things will survive, the text is now saying. Maybe if it's something that lives deep in the ocean, it might not die. Maybe some lichens in Alaska will keep hanging onto their rocks. Maybe.

Artie's phone beeps. He grabs it and reads the text as quickly as possible, then groans. "Kanye tweeted," he says, then reads: "THE APOCALYPSE ISN'T GONNA GET ME DOWN. BUILDIN A BUNKER FOR ME AND MY PEOPLE."

"Well," Quinn says, shakily. "You know it's serious if Kanye West tweets it."

Normally, Tina would laugh at that. Now, though, if the world is truly ending, she mostly wants to go off away from everyone and be with Mike and her parents.

She stays quiet, but when the Troubletones come in, she goes to hug Mercedes.

"Has Rachel sung her end-of-the-world song yet?" Santana asks, but her voice wavers too much to be truly cutting.

"Surprising though it may seem, I don't actually have a song ready for the apocalypse," Rachel calls from her corner of the room. "Though there is one that really says what I'm feeling right now. It's not entirely applicable, not at all, but what is?"

Santana frowns, but she doesn't say anything. Tina thinks she understands: she's torn between just going off with the people who matter most to her and waiting for the end, and wanting everything to go on just the way they usually would, at least for a while.

Mr. Schue looks even more lost than Tina feels, but he ultimately waves Rachel up.

She shakes her head. "I'd rather just sit here," she says, nervously, and grips Finn's hand before humming a line Tina vaguely recognizes, then singing – a lot more softly, a lot less precisely than she usually would: "I'm sorry for everything I've said, and for everything I've forgot to say too. When things get so complicated, I stumble at best, muddle through. I wish that our lives could be simple – I don't want the world, only you. I wish that I could tell you this face to face, but there's never the time, never the place, so this letter will have to do. I love you."

She looks up at everyone. "I – I love you guys, and… I just wish we had more time than this, but… please just know that I truly care for all of you."

Finn hugs her tight against him, and, surprisingly, Quinn goes over to squeeze Rachel's shoulder. It opens the gates, and Tina heads over at the same time as Mercedes and Kurt, and then everyone, even Artie, is crowding around and holding onto each other for dear life.

+++

Quinn bursts into Shelby's office. "I'm sorry," she gasps. "I'm sorry for everything, truly I am. Only – can I see Beth, please? One last time?"

Shelby looks at her seriously. "Quinn –"

"Before you say anything," Quinn interrupts. "I don't want to be anywhere else. I don't want to try and track down my dad. I don't want to be with my mom; she's probably halfway through a bottle of Caol Ila right now." She takes a deep breath. "I just want to see my daughter one last time, before everything – well. You know." She looks up at Shelby, earnest, sobbing. "I just want to try and convince myself that God isn't punishing me for –"

"Quinn," Shelby says, and she stands up and reaches out and hugs Quinn. "God isn't punishing you. I promise." She pauses. "Did you drive here today, or do you need a ride?"

Quinn shudders with relief. "I didn't." She did, but she doesn't want to be alone right now. Even if it's with Shelby.

And when they get to Shelby's apartment, Quinn holds Beth. After about ten minutes, Beth stops crying, and Quinn and Shelby just take turns holding her, well into the night.

+++

"I have to go home. To Kentucky," Sam says. He's staring off into the distance. He looks like his best friend died, which – well, really, it's not at all surprising, all things considered.

Mercedes understands, she really does. That doesn't mean she likes it. "But that's even closer to the Gulf."

"But it's my family," he says. "Stevie and Stacey and Mom and Dad – I need to be with them. I can get there before Stacey's bedtime if I go right now." He looks up at Mercedes. His eyes are glistening. "Mercedes – I wish –"

"I know," Mercedes says, because she does. A part of her still loves Sam. If it weren't for Shane… but. She loves Shane. He's sweet and strong and makes her feel beautiful – plus, his future - or at least the next four years of his life - they're all laid out and planned. It's nice to know.

Except that doesn't really mean squat when the world is ending in less than sixteen hours.

"Drive safe," she tells Sam. "Text me when you get home."

He doesn't protest, even though she knows that the request is stupid, all things considered, so she reaches up and kisses him once, her lips barely brushing against his. When she pulls away, he's smiling sadly. "I loved you, you know. Still do."

That's it: Mercedes starts sobbing. "If this all blows over," she says, even though she knows it won't. "You'll come back?"

"Wild horses couldn't keep me away from you," he promises. He ducks his head – Mercedes can tell that it's to hide his tears – and pulls her into a tight hug before dashing out of the room.

He didn't actually say goodbye.

Mercedes wishes she could see that as hope.

+++

When they finally extricate themselves, Mike takes Tina to his house and they lose themselves in each other, slowly making love.

"Stay with me tonight," he asks her, tucking a hank of her hair behind her ear after they're dressed again, cuddling on his couch with some music playing quietly in the background.

"Only if my parents can come, too," she says, and she knows she doesn't need to wait for his nod to reach for her phone and call them and ask them to come over.

Mike's dad beats them home, and Tina is suddenly anxious that something will blow up, but astonishingly, nothing happens. His hair looks positively wrecked, and as soon as he sees Mike, he draws himself up and says, "Son... I don't know what to say."

Mike stares at him, then stands, and Tina is privy to a very awkward hug.

Her parents get there at the same time as Mike's mom, and even though Mike and Tina's parent's aren't super close, they make nice enough for their kids, playing board games for hours and not commenting when Mike and Tina steal kisses every so often.

+++

Kurt kisses Blaine goodbye in the McKinley parking lot. It's not enough. He wants more than this brief press of lips on lips, the tiniest slip of tongue. He wants the rest of the year and maybe even longer to figure Blaine, and their relationship, out. He doesn't want to be saying goodbye, probably forever, in a high school parking lot. He loves Blaine. He wants to keep loving him.

But he doesn't want Blaine to come with him to see his mom. That's private. That's something only Kurt's dad gets to see. And Kurt wants his mommy so badly right now, more than he has at any point since her funeral.

So he kisses Blaine. He doesn't ask Blaine to call him to say goodnight. He just says, "I love you so much," and drives away. He's not crying yet. He doesn't intend to go out crying.

At the cemetery, he sits at the base of his mom's stone. "Mom," he says. "The world is literally ending right now. I just wish you could be here with me and dad. I wish –" he cuts himself off. He's not going to cry. Not for something as stupid as a meteor.

He's quiet for a little while, feeling the grit of the stone, the cold of the wind on his cheeks. "I don't believe in a heaven, mom," he says, finally. "But if there is one… I guess I'll be seeing you soon."

He sits until the sun goes down and the cold chases him into the Nav and then on home.

+++

When Puck gets home, the house stinks of gas. He finds his mother and his sister on the floor in the kitchen. His mother's left a note: I refuse to let something I cannot control get the better of me again.

So he goes off to Hudson's house, because he misses his best bro – sure, they're on good terms, but it's just not the same as it used to be – and there's literally no better time to rebuild those bridges than now. It's not like he'll ever get the chance again.

Finn gets back from doing whatever he does with Rachel about five minutes after Puck gets to his house. Puck knows that he looks like a wreck, but he just lifts an eyebrow at Finn and says, "Mario Kart? On your Wii? I'm really not feeling Left 4 Dead right now, bro."

"What are you – never mind," Finn says. He stares at Puck for a minute longer, then slings an arm around his shoulders. "Load it up, will you? I'm going to go get something."

He comes back with his mom and a photograph of his dad by the time Mario Kart is up and running. Burt and Kurt eventually both come in, Burt from somewhere in the house, Kurt from – presumably being with Blaine.

Kurt looks livid. "They're rioting downtown," he says, voice tight. "They broke one of my sideview mirrors."

"Well, at least it doesn't matter at this point, huh," Puck says, before he can stop himself, and Kurt glares at him for a full minute before finally deflating.

"Give me a wiimote," Kurt says.

 Puck never explains why he's at their house. He's pretty sure Carole's guessed – she knows his mom. She's seen Puck's face. She whispers something to Burt, who closes his eyes and nods. He and Carole go to make dinner, a huge feast full of all the things Burt can't really eat, and they eat it in front of the tv, all five of them. The only channel playing anything at this point is the Disney channel, which is playing reruns of Hannah Montana. Puck finds this entirely too appropriate. They just watch comedies until they're too tired to keep their eyes open anymore.

+++

"Everyone's going to feel really stupid," Brittany says. "If this turns out to be a joke, that is."

"I know, honey," Santana says, kissing her fully.

"Do you think it's a joke?"

Santana considers the question carefully. "I believe that it's really happening," she says, because it's true. She doesn't want to believe it, she really doesn't, but it makes too little sense for it to actually be not real.

"Okay," Brittany says. She stands up, pulling her underwear back up as she does so, then hooking her bra back on. "Santana – do you mind if I go to pet Lord Tubbington tonight?"

Santana feels like her heart is breaking, just a little bit, but she shakes her head. "I love you," she says, fiercely. "Be safe."

Brittany just nods and lets herself out the door. Santana lays in bed, wide awake, until her room starts brightening.

She can't be cooped up in here if the world's ending, so she gets up, gets dressed, and gets out to face the day.

+++

Rachel Barbara Berry wakes up early on the morning of the apocalypse. She starts out her usual morning routine, just because… well. She wants to hold onto her life for as long as she can.

But the elliptical isn't reassuring like it usually is, and she finds herself kissing her dads goodbye and going for a run.

She runs past stores with broken windows and empty shelves. She runs past smoldering ruins. She's glad, now, that she didn't go out last night. People with nothing left to lose riot big. They're all gone now, though. She hopes they're with people who love them.

She really should be back home, eating breakfast with her dads and maybe calling Finn up and asking him to come over so she can hold him at the very end of everything, but the rhythmic beat of her feet on the pavement is soothing.

Rachel runs until she can't run anymore, by which point she's all the way downtown, in front of the Chase building: the closest thing that Lima, Ohio has to a skyscraper. The lock on the door is obviously broken, so she pushes in and climbs up the stairs. If she can't be the star performer of the day, well. At least she'll have front-row seats.

The thing is, she completely expects the roof to be devoid of all people. But Santana's up there, sitting on a concrete block hugging her arms tight around her legs and looking completely lost.

"Sorry," Rachel blurts. "I didn't realize you'd be up here. I'll just –"

"Berry," Santana says, unfolding slightly. "Now – now's not the time to – oh, just come here." She pats the space next to her.

Rachel doesn't ask where Brittany is. She doesn't ask where Santana's father and mother and brothers are. She knows that Santana could just as easily ask her the same things about Finn, about her dads. And Rachel just – well. Watching the people she loves most in the world die with her… she can't fathom it. She refuses to fathom it.

The world is ending in – gosh, it's only twenty minutes now, if the scientists are right. But the end of the world is no excuse to get messy, so Rachel wipes off the concrete with her hand before sitting down next to Santana.

They don't say anything, just stare south over the building spreading out in front of them. McKinley is barely visible in the distance. The park where Rachel gave her first impromptu public performance, at the age of three from the top of the tallest structure on the playground, is just over there. Belatedly, Rachel realizes that it's too sunny for rain, that the wetness on her cheeks is from tears, streaming silently down her face. A quick glance over at Santana reveals that she, too, is crying.

So Rachel reaches over and slips her hand into Santana's. Santana's hand immediately tightens around hers. A part of Rachel wishes, for the poetry of the moment, that Santana would apologize for bullying her so much so long ago, but most of her is honestly glad that her last minutes won't be taken up by the past.

The sky brightens, suddenly. There's a flash of light that's closer and brighter than the sun. It's followed by a gorgeous spread of colors all across the horizon.

"It's so beautiful," Rachel says, quietly.

She can barely hear Santana's equally quiet "Yes, it is" over the sudden roaring in her ears.

And then: nothing.