Disclaimer: I own nothing. All belongs to Glee writers and creators.
Under normal circumstances, Quinn kind of secretly loved the holiday season. The lights, the music, the bells, the hot chocolate, the sweets - the cinnamon rolls - it always seemed to make up for the blistering cold winds and the sopping wet socks inside defective boots. But this year was different. Actually, if Quinn was being honest, the past two years had been different. Last year, she'd been pregnant and homeless and boyfriendless and cheerleaderless. This year, she wasn't pregnant or homeless, thank God, but stupid Finn had convinced her to quit the Cheerios and stupid herself had agreed to break up with Sam.
It was amicable, of course, and mutual. He wanted to pursue Mercedes and Quinn knew Mercedes liked Sam, too, and she wanted Mercedes to be happy. Still, the holidays weren't the same without Sam following her like a puppy dog. And to make things that much worse, Mr. Schuester had had the brilliant idea, thirteen school days before they'd be off for Christmas break, to have Secret Santa. Twelve fun-filled days of buying presents for some other asshole from glee who she probably didn't know or care even a little bit about.
At the very least, Mr. Schuester stipulated, "They can be homemade gifts, you don't have to buy them, and trinkets will do - but I do want them to be meaningful. Let's show each other how much we care."
"So are we supposed to break into each other's lockers?" Santana prompted.
"Why - oh. No, I have stockings for each of you, and I'll be scheduling each of you to come to bring your presents to me at different times throughout the day, and then we'll open them up at the end." He picked up a clipboard. "Matter of fact, Santana, you'll be dropping yours off early after your Cheerios practice - "
"We're not on the Cheerios anymore," Quinn hissed.
"Oh." He scratched his neck. "Sorry, hold on then…"
She sighed when he looked on the verge of a nervous breakdown. "We can come in early, anyway."
"Great! Then Santana, you'll come in at 6:15 am; Quinn, you're at 6 on the dot; Artie, 7 am…" He went on down the list, scheduling them between classes and around lunchtime until all of them were squeezed in, and then he pulled out that stupid top hat. "All right, now if everyone's got their time right, let's pick names. Artie, why don't you come up first?"
Artie rolled up to the front, plucked out a card, and smiled at his selection before he gave it to Mr. Schuester, who nodded and marked it down on his clipboard before waving up Brittany. And so it went, one by one, Brittany looking excited - not that that was much of an indication of who she had, she would've been excited if it had said the Grinch - Finn looking constipated - not really a surprise, either - Lauren looking bored - no surprise. Mercedes peered at her card with a contemplative expression, already thinking of ideas, Quinn was sure. Mike nodded and smiled at his, not as pleased-looking as if he had grabbed Tina's name out, but not particularly displeased, either. Puck just shrugged at his card and flicked it at Mr. Schuester's head. Perhaps he was as annoyed by this assignment as Quinn. Possibly. It was difficult to achieve this level of annoyance for anyone else.
Next it was her turn, however, so she dragged herself up out of her chair and grabbed the first card her fingers touched. And wished she hadn't. Rachel freaking Berry. Of course. Just her luck. What the hell was Quinn supposed to get for her? And why did Christmas suddenly hate her? It took everything she had not to groan and sneer, instead passively handing over the card to Mr. Schuester and then promptly taking her seat, folding her arms to pout for a while.
Rachel, really? Quinn could've bought for anyone else in the room, mostly, but Rachel?
The stupid annoying midget who had stolen her boyfriend. The little brunette was prancing up to the hat, plucking out a card. She looked at it with raised eyebrows at first, but they smoothed out into a smile as she passed it back to Mr. Schuester. Quinn's own eyebrow arched upward.
What the hell was she supposed to get for Rachel Berry? Rachel didn't even like anything besides music. Although...on the other hand, that made her ridiculously easy, Quinn pondered. Sheet music could be downloaded and printed from the internet for free, and even if she had to spend like a buck or two, it wasn't a big deal. Quinn smiled to herself. Perfect. Cheap. Easy.
Santana cackled at her card - Quinn had missed Sam's reaction, evidently - and Tina was practically quaking in her boots when she picked out the last card. Probably had Santana, or Lauren. Not that it mattered.
Quinn didn't particularly care who had picked out her name; after all, all she cared about was scraping through this newest insanity of Mr. Schuester's without being scolded for her lack of effort. So when she had finished her homework after dinner that night, she scanned through a Google search for some sheet music from Funny Girl, printed it off, stuffed it in her backpack, and plopped into bed to get some reading done. There. No one could argue she wasn't being thoughtful. Rachel liked music, she liked Funny Girl. Easy and cheap.
Mr. Schuester didn't seem to agree with Quinn's assessment of the situation, if the look on his face when she handed over the sheet music Monday morning was any indication. But he didn't say anything, so she went back to her studies without concerning herself too much about it until the end of the day and glee arrived. Mr. Schuester had the stockings all lined up at the front of the room and, once everyone was settled, he waved them all up at once.
Quinn strolled lazily up to her stocking and sat last as well, sliding her fingers underneath the tape of a neatly wrapped package. It was fairly small in size - a mere trinket, like Mr. Schuester had said, she was sure. But once she had the flap open, she found a pair of red earmuffs, the new kind that wrapped around the back of your head and looped around your ears, the kind you could use for workouts in the cold weather. That was actually kind of...thoughtful.
And there was a note, which read, 'To keep you warm and snug this winter - and to muffle the idiots you're constantly surrounded by! -SS'
If Quinn wasn't mistaken, there was a bit of an impish tone in that note. But she kind of liked it, and a little smirk crossed her lips as she slid on the earmuffs. A perfect fit.
It made her feel perhaps a little bit guilty when she looked over at Rachel, the little brunette watching Finn trying on his Ohio State football jersey and Brittany jingling a feather cat toy and Lauren glowering at a packet of diet pills and Tina looking uncertainly at a bracelet with spikes and Sam flipping through a comic book and so on and so forth - with just a few little sheets of paper in her lap.
At least, guilty enough to go out and shop for a little something after she finished her homework that evening.