Their voices had blended, soaring over the crowded auditorium, and the New Directions shined, Rachel Berry standing right where she belong, right in the center of it. Out in the crowd, her fathers had beamed and the BRATs had been making nuisances of themselves in their jubilation.
But it all came down to this, this one final decision from the judges. Quinn was off to the hospital, giving birth to the most beautiful, delightful little girl and Noah had gone with her, but Matt was clutching one of Rachel’s hands and Brittany the other and Rachel was certain she’d been crazy when she gave all of this up, when she’d stopped dreaming.
“And the winner is…” Coach Sylvester said, drawing it out because she liked to make people suffer. “God help us all, the misshapen miscreants of New Directions.”
And Rachel’s head about burst from her shoulders in her joy, Matt picking her up and swinging her around and everyone was screaming and laughing and crying all at once, their gigantic trophy proffered to them by a recalcitrant Coach Sylvester, although she had a strangely proud gleam in her eye.
And the buzz continued off the stage, where parents and friends had rushed to meet them. The BRATs descended on Rachel and they were nearly as exuberant as New Directions.
Rachel pulled back from hugging Dawn, a quiet bubble seeming to pop up around them suddenly, and she asked, when she glimpsed something colorful under her sleeve, “Dawn, what’s that?”
Dawn pushed it up to reveal a shooting star made up of a trail of smaller stars in varying shades of purple that changed to blue and led to a single bright blue start on the top, wrapping around her bicep.
“It’s your dream,” Dawn said quietly. “And a wish. Most of the girls, they heard Destiny and gave up their Dreams. I don’t want you to ever do that. So this is a shooting star because dreams should rise, not fall.”
Rachel teared up as she swiped a finger over the marking. “You shouldn’t have done anything so permanent, Dawn.”
Dawn rolled her eyes, letting her sleeve fall back down. “Oh, please, do you really think Buffy’s going to let me get a permanent tattoo? It’s magical. It’ll fade, eventually. Probably about the time you stand on a Broadway stage for the first time.”
Rachel flung herself at Dawn again and they clung until Matt came over and said, “Hey, hey, hands off the girlfriend.”
And Rachel pulled away laughing and let herself be swept away Danny and Mercedes as Matt dipped Dawn into a steamy kiss that had Kurt snapping, “Oh, for the love of God and good times! Get a room!” and everybody laughed.
Because right now was perfect and the future was looking up, too. Sometimes, Dreams did
give way to Destiny. But not always. Especially not with friends like hers.