|The World Through New Eyes
Author: ALittleLion PM
AU. Quinn Fabray wants so badly to be normal, but her lost memories, strange circumstances, and no recollection of who or what she is keeps holding her back. When she meets Rachel Berry, Quinn gets that breath of fresh air she's been waiting for.Rated: Fiction M - English - Fantasy/Romance - Rachel B. & Quinn F. - Chapters: 19 - Words: 81,169 - Reviews: 384 - Favs: 325 - Follows: 574 - Updated: 07-06-12 - Published: 07-12-11 - id: 7174737
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: I couldn't leave it alone. I said no more stories until "Concrete Jungle" was finished, but I just couldn't leave this alone. It's a little weird, a little different, and (hopefully) strange enough to grab your attention. Also, I don't own anything related to the "Glee" universe except the crazy ideas involving the characters that invade my subconscious mind while I'm sleeping. But I do hope you enjoy my insanity.
Finally, the memories are all starting to come back.
They've made their return slowly, piece by piece to give me necessary direction.
For months, a voice has been my only guide and only friend.
It tells me to run. To run fast and run far, and to never, ever look back.
In dreams, that's what I remember the most.
Running. I'm never certain what I'm running from, but I can't stop, and I don't stop.
I set up shop in a small town called Lima, Ohio about six months ago. The voice directed me to a bank account registered under my crafted pseudonym. I had all the answers I needed to get enough money to pay a first and last month's deposit on a small apartment, and then managed to enroll myself in school.
The voice created my back story, the lie I would tell over and over to my new classmates and acquaintances.
Orphaned. Left inheritance money by an old widow who took care of me when she passed.
No family. No friends.
According to the voice, my name is Quinn Fabray.
I know enough to know that it's not my real name. But, since I don't remember my real name, Quinn will have to do.
Quinn is all I know.
My created story, the falsehoods of my origin - they are all I have.
I pulled into the parking lot of McKinley High School and took a moment to watch eager, smiling faces descend upon the building. They waved at old friends, they embraced, they played catch on the lawn. Boys tackled each other, couples kissed each other hello. This was the place where I was supposed to learn.
I wasn't sure what knowledge McKinley High School had to offer me.
I didn't have the answers anymore.
The voice had been silent for days.
My head throbbed, causing a dull ache to start on both sides of my head at the temples. I leaned forward, closing my eyes and hoping there would be some momentary reprieve.
I forced my eyes to open, gripped the steering wheel one last time, then exited my vehicle. I grabbed my backpack out of the back seat and shifted it over my shoulder. I brushed slightly sweaty palms against the denim of my jeans and swallowed.
I forced my feet to move forward.
But all I wanted to do was run away.
I wanted to run fast, run far, and never look back.
I wanted to run and never, ever stop.
I wanted the voice to give me directions, to tell me how to act. What to say. How to be. I felt lost, unsure of everything I was about to face.
But Quinn kept walking.
She walked toward the other students, moved past their embraces and laughter, their calls to one another in joyous greeting. She moved past the green, well-manicured lawn, up concrete stairs, and took me inside the building. I clutched my backpack strap tighter, feeling the sweat continue racing to my palms. It wasn't that warm outside, and air conditioning kept the building cool, but my blood felt like it was boiling.
I could feel my heartbeat in my temples, and closed my eyes. Quinn kept walking, and led me to my locker safely. I opened my eyes and fumbled in my pockets for a small scrap of paper where I had written down my locker combination.
I entered the numbers, spinning the lock with almost practiced ease, and heard it click open. I released the lock, opened the door, and set my books inside. I organized it; notebooks on one side, pencils, pens, and other writing supplies on the top shelf, books on the other side. I tucked my backpack behind everything, grabbed my Spanish book, one notebook, a pen, and shut my locker.
I turned around, and Quinn found herself looking into steely brown eyes. I looked lowered, to the person's mouth. It smirked, and those eyes continued to stare past me. It was unsettling.
My head felt like it could explode.
No matter what, you must always remember your manners.
The voice had given me that piece of advice, rules to live by.
Rules to make it easier to survive in Lima, Ohio. To survive my new existence.
"Is there something I can help you with?" I politely asked.
"What's up, new girl?" the brunette asked. The smirk never left her face, and I took a step backward, resting against the cool metal of my locker. I tried not to look like I was intimated. But I was.
I hadn't been prepared for this type of interaction. I was blank.
"I was organizing my locker, preparing for my first class," I replied.
Honesty. That was a good, practical start.
"Yeah, I almost never go to class," the brunette said. The smirk faded slightly, and I felt her size me up, her eyes sweeping from head to toe. Then she finally settled back on my face. I wondered if it would be considered rude to do the same. To size her up.
I chanced it and did the same. She was lean, but appeared to be strong. She was likely an athlete. Her skin was bronze, tanned, probably more a symbol of her ethnic heritage than being out in the sun, although it could have very well been a mixture of both. Her eyes, although they were warm in color, were not warm in concept. When I looked into them, I felt a chill race down my spine.
"You are a student here, though?" I asked. I didn't know attending class was optional for students.
"Yeah, I'm a Junior. But enough about me. I want to know about you, new girl," she continued. Her voice was smooth, but husky. Something about it made me wary, raised my suspicion. I wanted to run.
Quinn wouldn't move.
"There really isn't much to know about me," I said, hoping that a small smile of my own would disarm her. I wanted her off my scent. Immediately.
"Everybody's got a story, sweetheart," she purred. She got closer, and placed a hand next to my head on the neighboring locker. "I'm done askin' nicely."
I had been prepared for this. Well prepared. I had answers for this line of questioning.
"My name is Quinn Fabray, no middle name. I moved here from Boston. The woman I was staying with died and left me enough money to pay for school and live comfortably on my own. At least for a little while. I'm an orphan, I don't remember my parents. I don't have any family, and I haven't made any friends yet. Would you like to be my friend?"
"I didn't want to hear your fucking sob story," she groaned. "Jesus. What are you, some kind of alien or something?"
She removed her hand from the locker next to me quickly and took a step back.
"I'm not an alien," I replied.
At least, I was pretty sure I wasn't. The voice had never explained my biological origin. Real or fake.
The brunette continued to step back, and shook her head.
"Fuckin' freak," she grumbled, then started walking away. I watched her, and saw her meet up with a blonde-haired girl with bright blue eyes and a beautiful smile. This seemed to cheer her up a little, and she laced her pinky with the other girl's before they disappeared around a corner together. Out of sight. The relief hit me instantly.
I shook my head and held my books tight to my chest. I walked down the hallway, finding it difficult to maneuver through so many bodies, so many humans, all of them seemingly oblivious to my existence, not stopping to make room for me to pass. Quinn developed an air of confidence, and pushed her way through the crowd, not in a violent way, but in a commanding way that assured she made it safely to her destination.
I just went along for the ride.
I found the classroom and entered, finding that I was the only person in the classroom. I had arrived even before the teacher. I looked around, then up at the clock, realizing that I was a good ten minutes early. Everyone else likely had better things to do with their ten minutes before class. They had friends to talk to, co-workers to discuss lesson plans with, perhaps. It was the first day back to school, and I felt certain that most people weren't eager to start things so quickly. They would take every last second they had to their advantage.
But not me. I had no one.
I had the company of an empty room.
My headache shifted to a comfortable, dull ache that didn't bother me, but still held fast to its existence. I closed my eyes again, leaving them shut until I sensed movement.
I sensed it before I heard it, and I didn't hear movement until at least thirty seconds after the initial sensor went off in my head.
How peculiar. I opened my eyes and looked up, at the door, in wait.
A man strolled in, carrying a stylish leather book bag across his chest. He set it down on the desk and pulled out a few supplies; whiteboard pens, erasers, papers, then finally looked up. He adjusted his tie and offered me a kind smile.
"Oh," he said, "I didn't expect anyone else to be in here. And so early!"
"I can leave," I offered.
I hoped he wouldn't take me up on this offer. After all, I had nowhere else to go. I supposed that I could find a quiet place to hide, a corner or another empty classroom, but it wouldn't be very safe to be strewn amongst the masses, waiting for another person like the girl outside my locker to come at me with an intimidating smirk and curse words.
Quinn felt brave, ready for the challenge.
I still wanted to run.
"No, stay. I'm Mr. Schuester. Are you new here?" he asked.
"Yes. My name is Quinn Fabray," I replied politely.
He looked down at one of the papers on his desk, then smiled and scribbled something on the sheet.
"Well, Quinn, you are on my attendance roster. That's a good sign. At least you were in the right place, huh?"
"It was on my schedule. The classroom," I said softly.
He laughed nervously, and smiled again.
"It was a joke."
I forced a smile. I didn't find it to be a very funny joke.
Remember your manners.
"So," Mr. Schuester continued, obviously trying to strike up a conversation. Perhaps to make me comfortable. It was a welcome change, even if he was overly enthusiastic. "Where are you from?"
"I'm from Boston," I said. "The woman I was staying with died and left me enough money to pay for school and live comfortably on my own. At least for a little while. I'm an orphan, I don't remember my parents. I don't have any family, and I haven't made any friends yet."
He made a face and nodded.
"That's..." he said, then exhaled heavily. "That's... rough. I'm sorry. But no worries! Lima is a great town, and I'm sure you'll make lots of friends here at McKinley."
"I met one person this morning," I replied. "She was very unfriendly."
"I'm sorry to hear that," Mr. Schuester said. "Well, tell you what. Here."
He walked over to my desk, and handed me a slip of paper with a room number and a name.
Ms. Emma Pillsbury.
"She's the school counselor. Really great. If you're having any... difficult with adjusting or, with, you know... with anything, you could go see her. She's not pushy, a great listener. Could be just what you need."
"Thank you," I replied. My temple started to throb again. I must have winced, because my teacher's face shifted to one of concern.
"Are you all right?" he asked thoughtfully.
"Just a little bit of a headache," I lied. "It could be because of first day nerves."
"I'm sure McKinley is different than your last school, but all high schools have similarities, and once you figure out how to thrive here, I'm sure you'll be great," he said kindly. I nodded, because there were no other words to be said.
There was no other high school.
At least, not that I remember.
My past was shrouded in some sort of cloud, some haze that I couldn't remember in greater details than what the voice told me, and what I saw in dreams and in 15-second flashes and chunks that happened randomly. There had been no memory of friends, or school, or family, or anything to that subject, so I assumed that none existed.
I didn't know what that meant, to lack that sort of foundation. It made me wonder where I came from, when there seemed to be nothing. I was seventeen years old. There had been seventeen years behind me, as far as I knew, and I remembered about twenty minutes of it.
The first bell rang, and Mr. Schuester moved to the white board, writing down a few words that were unfamiliar to me. They certainly weren't in English. Other students came trickling in, and everyone picked seats. No one had chosen seats next to me, at least not yet.
A group of boys came in, tossing what I suspected was a football carelessly to each other, not bothering to have any mind or courtesy for the students they might be putting in danger. Mr. Schuester was quick to discipline them, extending his hand and taking the ball. He placed it on the table in front of him and then continued to write on the board.
The boys all took their seats, forming a cluster near the back, and continued chatting loudly. I tried to listen in, but after a while, their combined voices and habitual talking over one another became something akin to white noise, and I had to tune it out. I ducked my head down, noticing that my ears were starting to ring, and felt the throbbing in my temple again. My heartbeat quickened, and I felt the coppery tang of blood form in my throat, almost as if I had bitten my own tongue. I raked my tongue along the roof of my mouth; no blood had been drawn, but my breathing was shallow, and the coppery taste remained.
Just then, a girl strolled in through the doors. Her hair was also brown, like the girl who confronted me outside my locker, and bounced on her shoulders as she walked. I smiled when I noticed the dolphin on her black sweater, outlined in white and complimented nicely by a checkered skirt and black shoes. Her hair was pulled back with a black headband, but small strands fell out, framing her delicate features. She had a smile plastered on her face and clutched her books to her chest as she looked for a seat. Everyone adjusted, shooting her glares and frowns, unfriendly and cold. Her smile faded, and her eyes continued to wander until it landed on the seat next to me.
Her eyes caught mine and I felt my heartbeat increase yet again. I looked everywhere but at her for as long as I could, and when I could no longer look away, I found that she was still looking in my direction. Quinn offered her a smile, and she smiled back, then traveled the short distance to the seat that was still unoccupied, until she sat down. She placed her books in the center of the desk and opened her notebook to a clean page, then uncapped her pen.
I kept looking forward.
I didn't know the protocol. Again, I was at a loss.
I wasn't sure how to communicate, and was feeling even less confident after what seemed to be a negative event earlier.
But this girl seemed friendly, and also perhaps like a bit of an outsider. And that, if nothing else, I could definitely understand.
"Thank you," she whispered.
I turned to meet her, and saw that she was regarding me with warmth and grace. Her kindness spoke volumes, just as the gentility of her voice did.
"For what?" I asked, not quite understanding what exactly I had done to be awarded her gratitude.
"Nobody ever really saves me a spot or even lets me sit near them," she replied. "It's like elementary school, when everybody had 'cooties,' but mine didn't go away. Thanks for not being like the rest of them."
"Cooties?" I asked.
Was that a sickness? I wasn't sure. It didn't sound pleasant.
"Yeah, you know... the imaginary disease that you get in grade school when you're unpopular. It gives people an excuse not to be around you? Or to make you feel terrible for occupying in their space?"
She paused. I still said nothing.
"I guess nobody had cooties where you come from. You're new, right?" the girl asked. I nodded. "I thought you were new. Where are you from, anyway?"
I don't know. All I have are lies.
I remembered the voice. I remembered my story. I had it prepared, ready to unleash, ready to explain. I had to keep things air-tight, unbreakable. But somehow, even my most rehearsed speech was unhelpful to me.
I couldn't talk to this girl.
"Really? I've never been to Boston. But I've heard it's really pretty there. Do you miss it?" she asked.
"No," I said simply.
How can you miss something you don't even remember?
"You're kind of shy, aren't you? Well, that's okay. I won't make you talk if you don't want to. Maybe you'd feel better if we exchanged names! That's kind of an icebreaker, isn't it? I'm Rachel. Rachel Berry."
"My name is Quinn Fabray. No middle name."
"Huh. Well, it's nice to meet you, Quinn Fabray," Rachel Berry replied. She extended her hand, then looked at me expectantly. I knew what that meant, and I joined our hands, shaking hers gently. I felt my muscles tense, seize, and suddenly felt very warm. I pulled away quickly and folded my hands on top of my desk.
I didn't want to touch her anymore.
Remember your manners.
"I'm sorry. You're just very warm," I explained.
It was an odd reply, but it was honest... mostly honest at least, and didn't seem to faze her.
"I've been told that I have a very welcoming personality," she said with another smile. "I could probably be Lima's official one-woman Welcoming Committee if I didn't already have so many extracurricular activities occupying my schedule."
"Do you play sports?" I asked.
It was a common activity, from what I'd read. I thought about taking up a few sports, if it would give me some outlet to help me create a place for myself among the masses. So much was missing from my life, from what I could remember, and I didn't want to miss things any longer. I wanted to make a name for myself. I wanted to be somebody. Even if that somebody was formed by a voice in my head and wasn't really me. As far as I knew, at least.
"I haven't the build for most sports," Rachel explained. "Too small. It works for me in some ways. I excel at dance. I suppose that is considered a sport by those with an above average intelligence quotient."
Maybe I could learn to dance.
"I might learn sports," I said.
Rachel laughed softly and smiled even wider.
"I don't know that you learn sports, Quinn. I think there's a natural aptitude, just like with most physical activities, and then you hone your skills. Or like with singing. I'm a singer. I had the natural aptitude, and have devoted my life to honing my skills to pitch-perfect excellence."
"I like music."
"Doesn't everyone? Music is the key to the soul. The window to the spirit. Without music, life is just... droll and... colorless," Rachel said passionately.
The bell rang, and I jumped a little. Rachel's hand found my shoulder, and her heat ripped through the shirt I was wearing. My heartbeat picked up again, and I felt uncomfortable. She must have sensed it, because she removed her hand and took to looking at me. I think she was concerned.
"I'm okay," I said. How could I tell her that her touch made me feel like I was being burned alive? That certainly wasn't polite, after all.
"Hola, clase. As most of you know, I'm Mr. Schuester, and unless you're in the wrong place, this is Dos Espanol. I'm just going to take roll, and then we can get started on today's lesson."
"Mr. Schue is really great," Rachel whispered, leaning across the aisle slightly. "He's also the teacher for Glee Club, which is my number one activity."
"You belong to a club devoted to happiness? No wonder you're so nice."
Rachel laughed, then used her hand to muffle the sound when she realized that it was bordering on being a disruption.
"No, Glee Club is about singing," Rachel explained. "Well, performance. We sing and dance, and we perform the numbers we work on after school. In competition. It's a lot of fun. You should join!"
"Why don't they call it Singing Club, then?" I asked. Rachel bit down on her bottom lip and stared at me.
"You're funny, Quinn. I like you," she said decisively.
"Rachel Berry?" Mr. Schuester asked, looking around the room for a moment. Rachel sat straight up in her chair and raised her hand up in the air.
"Present, Mr. Schue," she chirped. "And also, hola."
"Hola, Rachel," Mr. Schuester replied. He moved on to the next name, and another student answer. Rachel turned back to me.
"Come to Glee Club. We meet after class, at 3:30. In the choir room."
"I don't sing," I said.
"Have you ever tried?"
I tried to remember. I searched my memories, frantically, one right after another. I needed to get an answer, but couldn't find one. Had I ever tried to sing? Had I ever enjoyed singing? Apparently you couldn't just learn it, you had to possess some foundation before. What if I didn't? I couldn't remember ever singing, ever knowing how, ever trying.
No. No, I hadn't.
"Well, you can try for me," Rachel insisted. "I'm excellent. I'll teach you. I could give you lessons."
"For pay?" I asked.
"No, because I like you, and because you let me sit by you, even thought I could totally have cooties. And you could be susceptible, since you don't even know what they are."
"Are they lethal?" I asked seriously.
Maybe that was why she set my skin on fire. I had surely contracted some lethal disease from this slightly eccentric, personable, strangely beautiful girl and perhaps soon, things like the voice, my directions, and even running wouldn't matter.
"They don't exist, Quinn," Rachel said, her facial expression serious instead of jovial as usual. "I was kidding. It was a joke."
"Oh," I replied. I quickly forced a laugh.
"Quinn Fabray?" Mr. Schuester called out, shocking me to attention and forcing me to almost tumble out of my chair. I sat up straight, remembering what Rachel had done and mimicking her perfectly.
"Freak," one of the other students jeered from the back. "Look guys, they're flocking together."
I narrowed my eyes and glared at him. I felt my temple throb, pulsing behind my eyes and causing a bright, bright light to pulse just off to the distance. He watched me, curious for a moment, then suddenly twisted in his seat and raised his hands in defeat. I recognized the sign of surrender, but did not let up. He looked pained, uncomfortable... weak.
"Holy shit, lay off with the crazy eyes, Carrie," he commented. "Cut it out!"
His voice raised in pitch, from threat to panic, and I smiled slowly. Menacingly. He shifted again, and started to look like he was developing slight physical pain. My temple throbbed harder, and then I felt Rachel's hand on my shoulder. I closed my eyes and shook my head, and heard silence.
Everyone around me was silent. I looked back at my taunter and tilted my head to the side. He smiled out of fear, out of trepidation, and his hands were still raised in surrender.
"Sorry. Jesus, I'm sorry," he said quietly, his words mumbled. He turned to his friends, all of whom were staring open-mouthed, in shock.
I didn't know what happened, but nobody said a thing to me, or to Rachel after my incident. Rachel's hand was still on my shoulder, and it started to burn again. I shifted away, but offered an apologetic smile as a buffer, hoping she wouldn't think my consistent shrugging her away was rude.
"Quinn, are you okay?"
"I'm fine," I assured her with a whisper. "Why?"
"Because..." Rachel said, her voice meek and showcasing a slight tremble. "It almost looked like you wanted to kill him."
"No!" I said emphatically. I couldn't let her think I was a monster. Even if I was a monster. Maybe I was a monster, but I didn't want her to hate me. To stay away from me. To think I had those cooties, whatever they were.
I had a chance to make a friend. I had a chance to be somebody. I needed to be normal.
"No, I wasn't going to do anything bad. I was just trying to be intimidating. I don't think it's right for them to bully people," I explained as Mr. Schuester called the last few names. Rachel smiled again and nodded, seemingly pleased with my little lie.
It was a lie.
Because in that moment... I think I could have killed him.
I think I wanted to.
Reviews? Comments? Suggestions? I'd love to hear from you. So drop me a line, and I'll get back to the ol' writing machine.