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Chapter Thirty-nine: And Then The Mighty Oak falls and Crushes

Everything In Its Path (true story).

Rachel lay on top of her covers, still fully dressed even though she'd rather be in bed fast asleep and waited for five minutes after her phone beeped to signal a voice mail before picking it up from her nightstand.

Her eyes were so red-raw it was hard to even focus on pressing the right little buttons. Already sore from the tears that had fallen at lunch time, she'd aggravated them further with several crying jags that evening and really, it was probably risking permanent damage to her eyesight to listen to a message that was only going to make her cry again, no matter what was said in it.

However, she'd already come to terms with the fact that Quinn Fabray robbed her of all sense, so she listened to it anyway.

Afterwards, she placed her phone back in its spot on her nightstand and curled up on her side, the tears she was expecting soaking Grumpy Bear's furry hide. Thirty seconds later she started loudly cursing everything from her parents to Barbra Streisand to Quinn-effing-Fabray and, lurching up, threw Grumpy across the room with all her might before collapsing back down and burying her face in her arms as she bawled her heart out.


Quinn's phone lay in the centre of her bed. She'd given up staring at it, waiting for a response. She needed to get ready for bed at some point. She'd decided against a shower but had made it as far as changing into the Wee Willie Winkie night gown Rachel had borrowed the weekend before when she became distracted by thoughts as equally as pressing as Rachel.

It was her eye catching her Calander that had done it. Below the picture of the little kitten poking its head out of a watering can – she wasn't even a cat person, but her parents had bought it for her – were the days of the month and one of them was shaded completely in red. It was innocuous enough if you weren't the one to do the shading, but Quinn had been, and the day was tomorrow.

It had been creeping up on her, faster and faster, and Puck and Rachel and Finn and even Santana and Brittany had tried to help, but none of them could.

Unless was there time for Puck to knock over a liquor store?

She pulled a letter out of the date diary she kept on her desk. Stupid place to keep it, was she trying to get caught? Maybe she was, she didn't even know at this point. Santana's words about how she couldn't hide this forever came back louder than before, topped by Rachel saying pretty much the same thing. They both had a point, but neither of them was the ones in this situation and neither of them had parents like hers!

She stared at the letter, the high numbers and the harsh words and all of the red printer ink that had been used. Final demands were colourful if nothing else.

What was she going to do?

There was a soft tap at her door and then it was opening. In her panic she dropped the letter and it floated to the floor just inches from her mother's feet.

She was scrambling to retrieve it even as she snapped out, "What do you want? I'm about to go to bed."

Her Mom had been looking down at the piece of paper, but then she met Quinn's gaze with a stern, "Don't take that tone with me, young lady."

"Sorry." Doctor's letter finally back in her hand she turned to not-so-subtly shove it in a desk drawer. "I'm tired. Did you need something?"

Her Mom took a second, probably deciding whether to mention the letter or not. She clearly decided not and sat down on the edge of her bed. "We need to have a talk, Quinnie."

She went cold, "I'm really tired, Mom."

"This won't take long." She patted the bed beside her. "Please take a seat."

Quinn did as she was told but kept her eyes trained on her knees. "What's wrong?"

"Well . . . did you have a nice time with Santana and Brittany tonight?"

"Yes," she said cautiously. "We actually seem to get on better now I'm not on the Cheerios. It's good."

"That's nice. And they're your best friends, yes?"

"I guess."

"It's important to have best friends like that, they help you through the rough patches of growing up."

She nodded, almost certain that her mom's eyes had strayed to the draw hiding her final demand before she looked back at her.

"But you have to choose your friends wisely. It's easy, especially at your age, to fall in with the wrong crowd."

"Okay," she said neutrally, already seeing where this was going.

"You need to make sure your friends are . . . in line with your own moral needs."

"Mom, what are you not saying?"

"I think you should leave the Glee club."

"No!"

"They're obviously a bad influence on you, Quinnie!"

"They're not! Mom, do you have any idea how long it took me to make my first friend?"

"Yes, of course I do. You were a late bloomer socially, but that's no excuse to associate with . . . with . . ."

"With what?"

"Riffraff!"

Quinn laughed harshly. "You don't even know any of them!"

"I know more than you think. Noah Puckerman is a Jewish hound; all of the PTA mothers have warned me about him. And Tina Cohen-Chang is a devil worshipper!" Quinn started laughing again but her mom was deadly serious. "And Mercedes Jones is - and that Hummel boy is far too effeminate and . . . and . . ."

She couldn't take it anymore. "And Rachel? What's Rachel, Mom?"

"You know as well as I do what Rachel is. Don't get me wrong, Quinnie, I do admire your tolerance, but its putting unnecessary pressure on you at a vulnerable age and . . ."

"You don't think my faith is strong enough to handle it, is that it?"

"I never said that. Rachel Berry is more than you should have to deal with, however. Are you aware she tried to call you today?"

"Yes. I was with her at the time." Quinn's heart was beating too hard in her chest, but she was angry enough she didn't care. "I thought I'd lost my phone and she was trying to help me find it. I don't see why that's such a problem."

"It's a problem because Rachel is not the kind of her person you should be spending your time with, Quinn! It's dangerous. And if you can't see that from your point of view, imagine what it's doing to her. You're leading her on, Quinnie, by tolerating this crush she has, and it will blow up in your face and devastate her at the same time."

Thanks for the newsflash but it was a little late. "Mom, I'm not quitting Glee unless you expressly forbid me to go anymore."

"We would . . ."

Quinn spoke over her mother for perhaps the first time since she was taught better. "I didn't have a single friend until we moved to Lima and even then I only had two, and, to be totally honest, even though their supposed to be my best friends, I don't know how much Santana and Brittany really think of me or how much I can trust them because the Cheerios fosters such an attitude of competition that we were all constantly trying to out-do each other in every way we could.

"But with Glee? I only joined two months ago and already I have twelve people – including Santana and Brittany now – who I know are my friends, who I know I can trust to look out for me and have my back, within that club. You honestly can't ask me to give that up."

"But Rachel . . .?"

"Is one of them," she said flatly.

"But she has . . . unnatural desires for you, Quinnie!"

"I don't care!" she exploded, standing up again. "She's my best friend!"

Her Mom licked nervously at her lips and looked down at the carpet before hesitantly asking, "Lucy, what are you . . . implying?"

'Fuck!' "Nothing!" Her voice sounded too high to her own ears. "I'm not implying that! We're just friends, Mom, I promise!"

"But her feelings . . ."

"Aren't an issue. She's never . . . we haven't . . . they don't affect our friendship. She knows I'm not like that." She was trembling now and God, she hoped it wasn't visible. "I'm not gay."

"Okay." Her Mom stood from the bed and straightened out her skirt. "All the same, I think its best if we keep this conversation between ourselves." Quinn couldn't agree more. "And you'll re-join the Celibacy club tomorrow."

"I, uh, don't know if, um, that will be . . ."

"As far as your father and I are concerned, Lucy, you will be re-joining the Celibacy club tomorrow, do you understand?"

She thought she did. "Yes. Okay."

"Okay, goodnight, Quinnie. Sleep well."

She didn't answer and a few seconds later the door closed, leaving her alone.

Falling back onto her bed, gulping to get air into her fear-tightened chest, she let the tears fall unhindered and reached for her phone. The call went to voice mail again, so she left a fumbled text instead.

My Mom knows. Almost everything. I need to talk to you.

Her phone vibrated almost immediately.

I'm sorry, but I'm not allowed to talk to you Quinn.

Ignore my father! I don't care what he thinks or what he told you!

I'm not obeying YOUR father. I'm obeying mine.

She took a few seconds to register that, wiping the back of her wrist across her eyes to relieve enough of the blurriness to re-read the screen.

What do you mean?

Your father called my dad and threatened to involve the school and the police if I didn't stop harassing you. My Daddy is very adamant that I comply.

Oh, God, she'd screwed everything up. It had only been a little white lie to keep her Daddy from asking too many questions and now . . . Would he really call the police over this? She didn't even have to search for the answer, of course he would. If it was a boy doing what she had thoughtlessly accused Rachel of her Daddy would have gone to his house and physically strong-armed him all the way to the police station – with several of his church friends along to help if the boy happened to be built like Azimo Adams.

The fact that he was giving Rachel a warning before going straight to whatever authorities dealt with unrequited teenage crushes, was both a relief and extremely curious. Surely, he would treat such unwanted, unGodly, attention even more seriously than that of a horny teenage boy – in his eyes this wasn't just a sin against his family, it was a sin against nature, a sin against God! – unless . . . unless he didn't want to draw attention to the attention.

Making a formal complaint or filing a harassment claim or whatever he'd threatened to do made this public knowledge. Not initially perhaps, confidentiality laws probably applied somewhere, but this was Lima, and everybody was somebody's brother or cousin or aunt or boss or neighbour or baby-sitter or paperboy. Gossip had a habit of getting around town faster than the newspaper the paperboy delivered and Russell Fabray even setting foot in the Lima Police Department for anything more than the annual charity Policeman's Ball was the biggest of hypothetical front-page news.

It still didn't make sense of why he wanted to keep it quiet though. Her Daddy was one of the most important men in their church community, a pillar of moral strength and a natural leader. So why wasn't he using this to lead the crusade against gay people? Wouldn't Rachel make the perfect poster child for what the 'gays' were doing to the fabric of America? They could even hit two birds with one Berry, well three Berry's: Gay parents raise gay kids, check! Gay kids preying on the good, Christian girls of America and not taking no for an answer, check!

Oh God, she could have done so much damage with that one little lie. No wonder Rachel's Dads were insisting she stayed the hell away. Quinn didn't blame them for being so strict about this. They had to protect Rachel and themselves from this shitstorm she'd brought hovering over their heads. What could they be thinking of her now? They'd welcomed her into their home, regardless of who her father was, and had treated her as nothing but Rachel's friend, despite knowing some details of her treatment of Rachel in the past. They'd given her a chance to start fresh with them and she'd thrown it back in their faces, albeit without meaning too. They had to be bracing for the impact right now, expecting exactly the persecution she'd just envisioned and probably a whole bunch of other worst-case scenarios that she was just too young and naïve to picture.

It still didn't explain why they were all in a state of limbo though, just waiting for it to happen. Why was her Daddy stalling? Why wasn't he making a fuss about this? What did he have to gain by keeping this quiet?

'All the same, I think its best if we keep this conversation between ourselves. And you'll re-join the Celibacy club tomorrow.' Quinn sat up, staring at the door as if her mom was standing in the doorway saying the words to her again. 'As far as your father and I are concerned, Lucy, you will be re-joining the Celibacy club tomorrow, do you understand?'

Oh, now she understood just fine. Her Mom wasn't the only one who thought she knew what was going on. Her Dad must have looked at her call log after Rachel had phoned and seen how long the duration of most of their calls were – far longer than it took to say: I'm not interested, leave me alone! Or, oh crap! What if he'd checked her messages? Some of them were . . . well, some of them were enough to make her blush, all of them made it clear they were at least friends.

This was making her feel light-headed and dizzy and she slipped to her knees beside her bed before she fainted forward and knocked herself out on the floor – although being unconscious right now wasn't unappealing. She braced her elbows on the bed, but she wasn't down there to pray, this was one situation where she couldn't imagine praying helping at all – she needed definite answers from an outside source, not her Saviour pushing her to find the answers within herself – but it was a comfortable, familiar position to freak out in.

She held her phone between her hands, staring at Rachel's last message, still on the unlit screen, and wondered what this meant for them. If her Daddy was keeping this between their two families instead of making it a public matter, it was because he feared he wouldn't be able to put himself on the 'right' side of the scandal that would follow. If he couldn't protect their family from the same fate he would happily bestow on the Berry's, it seemed, he would take what private measures he could and then bury his head as deep in the sand as possible.

It made him such a hypocrite and he obviously didn't know her as well as he should do if he thought a few rumours were all it would take to make her stand up and come out. Jeez, if that were the case, she'd be out at school already. No, he'd made an oversight here, because if there was one thing that would have made her run from Rachel faster than a speeding sub-atomic particle it would be the thought of the whole of Lima finding out that she was a lesbian. She wasn't anywhere near ready for that life-changer, she really wasn't sure if she ever would be. It was more interesting though, that her dad didn't seem willing to risk the great Fabray name being in any way linked to homosexuality. It was a valid concern from his intolerant point of view, because who knew what might get said about her if he went after the Berry's? Everyone knew there was no smoke without fire and nobody believed it better than the fine, upstanding men and women of Lima!

Quinn was still feeling light-headed, and sick that her dad could be so ashamed of her for even being friends with Rachel, but there was a gleam back in her eye because this? This was a loophole that was begging to be exploited.

With trembling fingers, she texted back:

I'm sorry, Rachel, I never meant to get you or your parents in trouble, but we don't have to stop! My Dad is never going to take this any further in case the truth comes out.

It was a few minutes before Rachel answered, and Quinn opened the message eagerly, expecting a reply as jubilant as she suddenly felt again, because they could overcome this setback, just like they had all the rest. Her parents were not keeping her from Rachel, nothing was if she had any control over it.

The one thing she didn't have any control over, obviously, was Rachel.

After much careful thought, and many tears, I think it is probably for the best that we adhere to our parents' request. I can't be your friend anymore, Quinn. I'm sorry.

What? No! This was totally fixable. Rachel just wasn't listening. Maybe she was scared or . . . or just not used to bucking her dads' authority; not that Quinn was an expert at it, she'd never had to be until today. They could learn together.

Rach, don't give up on us, okay? We can get through this. We're not the first teenagers in history to be together against our parents' wishes!

We're NOT Romeo and Juliet, Quinn!

It was worse than a slap in the face, because it was Rachel saying it. Rachel who had romanticised that stupid play to what was probably an unhealthy degree. Rachel who had originally cast the two of them in those roles with such affection and excitement in her eyes that Quinn hadn't known whether to hug her or barf.

She didn't know what to reply with, but her phone buzzed again before she had a chance to anyway.

I apologize if that was harsh. You have no idea how much I wish we were. Obviously without us dying at the end. But I believe in signs, Quinn, I always have and every sign I've seen recently has pointed away from you.

Her phone buzzed again before she could even react to that one way or another.

I wish they didn't. I want to be with you, as a friend or more, but the universe is clearly against us. You leaving your phone at home today and me calling it foolishly without thought is just the last in the long line of proof that what we have is too complicated for us to handle. I think we are star-crossed lovers, Quinn, but maybe our stars just crossed too soon.

Quinn didn't believe in signs. If she, had she'd still Lucy-the-loser, destined to a life of getting picked on and walked over. No, she believed in taking what you were given and doing whatever it took to make it better. It was why even though Rachel's words were a big, fat sign that Quinn should call her a coward and tell her to go to hell, she kept pushing.

But we can still be friends now, right? That's not complicated. And then we can cross stars when we're twenty-five like we planned anyway.

You don't think our friendship is complicated? It is for me, Quinn, very complicated.

It was for her too. More complicated than the hardest Cheerio routine she'd ever had to master, more complicated than switching identities from Lucy to Quinn, more complicated than learning how to be Finn's (anyone's) girlfriend, more complicated than figuring out how to deal with this life growing inside of her. Rachel was harder than all of that, it was why she was so important!

Her phone buzzed again: And not to sound melodramatic, but that's my final word on the matter.

A tear fell on the screen of her phone and Quinn wiped it away. It left a smear that felt like a sign.

You promised you'd always be there.

I'm truly sorry, Quinn. I have to stop texting now. Take care, please. xx

Quinn sent one last text: /3

And then turned off her phone. Folding her hands in front of her nose, she closed her eyes and prayed, for strength, for guidance, for sympathy. Nothing came, not even barely helpful platitudes or her own thoughts spoken in Jesus' voice. Her head and heart were equally empty; she couldn't even summon up the resentment to hate Rachel-freaking-Berry for doing this to her.

She'd once thought they could do anything, overcome anything, as long as they were in it together.

It had never occurred to her to ask if Rachel felt the same way.


Rachel knocked softly on her dads' bedroom door. She knew they were still awake because light shone from beneath it, but she didn't normally disturb them at this time of night unless it was an emergency.

This felt like an emergency.

She pushed the door open when her Daddy called, "Come in."

It was the first time she'd seen them since dinner and she wasn't really sure what to expect from them, or what to say about why she was barging in on their afterhours private time like this.

Her Daddy was plumping his pillow in readiness to lay down and her dad was sat up against the headboard, glasses sliding down his nose as he turned the page in the latest James Patterson thriller, but they both looked up as she entered and were instantly concerned when they saw the unstoppable tears rolling down her cheeks.

"What's up, Baby Girl?"

"Q-Quinn just texted." They shared a look. "And . . . and we exchanged messages for a while. I'm sorry."

"Don't be silly!" Her Daddy patted the bed beside him. "Come here."

Her Dad got out to let her slip into the middle and then set his book aside before climbing back in. "What did she say?"

Rachel settled her head on her Daddy's muscular arm and pulled the covers up to her chin. "That we should ignore you all and continue to be friends. She-she didn't mean any disrespect," she added quickly. "She just thinks our friendship is . . . worth the disobedience."

"I see," her dad said, "And what do you think?"

Rachel didn't answer for a long time, because how could she truthfully without upsetting them.

As was almost always the case, they could see right through her and her Daddy softly pressed, "Rach, just tell us the truth. We're not going to be upset with you."

That brought on a fresh wave of tears. "That she's right, but it's not as simple as she wants it to be."

"Why?" her dad asked, handing her some Kleenex.

Because she had a boyfriend. Because she had a baby on the way. Because Quinn could talk about them getting through stuff together easily enough but wouldn't actually commit to them being 'together' the way Rachel wanted. None of those were friendly concerns though.

"We just have different ideas of friendship, I guess," she snivelled. "I-I told her we couldn't be friends anymore."

Her Dads asked more questions, but she just didn't have any more answers. She'd done the hardest thing she'd ever had to do and knowing it was the right thing didn't stop her tears from falling harder or stop the heartache from being a real, physical pain that tightened her chest until she was gasping for breath.

Their questions eventually drifted into murmurs about how everything would be okay, and Quinn would understand, and everything would be clearer tomorrow.

Eventually her dad got back out of bed to fetch her a glass of water from the bathroom and when she'd gulped down the entire contents, she felt a little calmer. Getting back in and turning the light out, he pulled the covers up to her chin again, tucking her in, and curled an arm tight around her waist, making her feel snuggled and safe, and her Daddy stroked her hair back from her forehead like he had whenever she'd been sad as a small child.

Sooner than she expected she fell asleep in her parents' bed, for the first time since she was ten and had had that nightmare about the cow family, Mr. and Mr. McMoo, roasting her for their daughter Daisy's Sunday lunch.

Tonight's nightmares were worse, Quinn standing over her, crying, vial of poison held to her lips, saying over and over: You promised you'd always be there!