a/n: so, I'm trying something a little different here. Second person? Let me know what you guys think. As before, I do not own Glee or its characters in the slightest. This is also unbeta-ed, and it's five o'clock in the morning. There are bound to be mistakes. Sorry in advance!
You are seven years old when you fall in love with her. Seven years old and absolutely certain that love is just another term for friendship – nothing more, nothing less – but vaguely aware that something about her makes your fingers tingle. It's never happened before, not in the four years that you've known her, and yet…the bubbles in the pit of your stomach feel as though they have been there since the moment of your birth. They feel at home, they feel natural, and for the longest time, you cannot for the life of you, figure out why.
At seven years old, you have no idea how breaking a classmate's wrist can change your entire outlook on life so drastically, and you won't figure it out until high school, when everything else in your life starts to fall into place.
She upsets you, which is nothing new. Even at such a young age, little Quinn Fabray has a sharp, wicked tongue that takes pleasure in snatching your legs out from under you. You are used to it, as is everyone else she turns her attention to, but you can only be so patient. Your temper floats directly beneath the surface of your skin, not under multiple layers of protection like the other kids. Not like Finn, who is too stupid to recognize the insults that come his way. Not like Santana, who idolizes the blonde so much that she chooses to ignore them.
Not like anyone.
You are Puck, and a hothead, and everyone knows it, even her. She should know that her comment about your father's drinking habits would set you off. Call you stupid; call you ugly, you could care less. But insult your father, your hero? There is a line, and she crosses it.
All you do is push her, a little shove at the park after school, nothing horrid. You don't tackle her, punch her, or kick her when she is down (perhaps you might if she were Finn), but she is a girl and fragile. You aren't surprised that her wrist snaps awkwardly when she hits the ground, or that tears immediately cloud her beautiful green eyes. In fact, you, the little boy with the black heart, stand stoically above her trembling figure, expression passive and blank as her lips quiver and her good arm clutches the other. It isn't until her mother stalks over – face vicious and staring directly at you – that it happens. She pulls her daughter up, shushing her and whispering an insincere "you'll be fine" before she tries to usher the little girl to the car. But Quinn has other plans.
Despite choking on tears, despite the pain she is undoubtedly feeling, she turns in your direction and glares. It is instantly the most terrifying thing you have ever seen in your life, even more so than that movie about a kid flying into a dream world on a bed. Why your mother thought you'd enjoy it, you don't know, but in a split second, you wish you were watching it instead of standing paralyzed as Quinn Fabray stalks toward you with that look on her face.
She closes the gap between you, rears her leg back, and kicks you square in the shin.
Your leg immediately buckles at the impact, tears spring to your own eyes as you clutch your rapidly bruising limb, and for the first time in a very long time, you feel guilty. Not for hurting her (girls should be tougher, okay?), but because her mother is dragging her away by the shoulder scolding her for retaliating. It doesn't make any sense to you. Your dad always tells you that if someone hits you, you hit back no matter the situation. If someone breaks a bone of yours, you'll return the favor because it's only fair.
You watch the blonde duo walk away with a choked breath, the pain in your leg still stinging angrily, but the tears stop falling (not that you'd ever admit they fell in the first place). She's staring at you over her shoulder, chest heaving slightly, lips still shaking, but through the tears, there is a fire in her gaze that grasps a hold of yours. Suddenly, butterflies tickle the walls of your stomach and your breath catches in your throat, all because she refused to go down without a fight.
You decide that's why you like her. You want to be her friend because she isn't like the other girls; she's willing to kick back. Quinn Fabray takes matters into her own hands, even though the look on her mom's face is enough to even cripple the bravest person you know (you).
There's no fear in her eyes. Pain, sure. But fear? You're just two kids with nothing to be scared of, and to you, it makes perfect sense that you should be friends.
And aren't friends supposed to be in love?
You injure her on a Friday and don't expect to see her until the next Monday at school, so when your mom shuffles you into the family hatchback and announces rather vaguely that you're going to make amends, you're fairly surprised. Not completely shocked, since you noticed her answer a phone call earlier in the day looking rather exasperated, and while there are numerous situations that could cause such a reaction, the most recent is of your own doing.
You aren't even sure she knows about the incident, since it was your dad that accompanied you to the park and he didn't seem to think it was a big deal in the slightest ("They're kids, for fuck's sake. Let them fight."). However, you can't be sure of that theory; your parents start yelling – mostly your father – so you escape to the back yard to kick the soccer ball around, even though the welt on your multi-colored shin throbs every time you do.
Hell, you aren't quite sure what amends are, but if it means you get to see Quinn like you think it does, you'll try. There's a small part of you that thinks you're supposed to ask her to be you friend. You didn't have to ask Finn, but he's a guy, your brother. It's different with girls.
At least that's what you've heard.
The drive to the Fabray's house takes about fifteen minutes (fifteen long minutes), but you forget about the uncomfortable tension that accompanied it the second you pull into their driveway and the shadow of the house looms over your small self. In reality, it isn't much larger than yours, but the difference in quality is striking. They have a lawn that is nearly the perfect shade of green (yours is rather brown), a small garden with roses, tulips, and daffodils (at least you pretend that's what they are; you don't know one flower from another), and a beautifully cobbled pathway that leads to an arching wooden door (the pathway at your house has more cracks than you have hairs on your head).
You are convinced, in that moment, that you've arrived at a castle. An American version. Or an Ohio version. You aren't sure, but you know it's got to be one.
Which makes Quinn a Princess.
You're too in awe of the place to notice your mother's despondent look as the pair of you slowly make your way to the front door. If you did, you'd know exactly what it meant; she, too, was not fond of Mrs. Fabray. The woman in question answers the ringing doorbell with an overly gracious smile smothering her features, and you are immediately reminded why you dislike her so much; she is as fake as any one person could possibly be. She greets your mother with a quick hug, two pecks to the cheek, and invites her inside with a hint of pity lacing her voice.
You, on the other hand, frown as you pass by; an expression she returns by glaring at you as if you're a rotting corpse intent on tarnishing her perfectly polished wooden floors or bleeding on the cream colored carpet. You want to be a man and tell her off, but your resolve crumbles under her gaze, leaving you hurrying after your mother so you can hide behind her if the need arises. There are few things in life that truly frighten you – nothing, if you're completely honest – but that…woman comes pretty damn close.
But you've got to suck it up, because if you and Quinn are going to be friends, you'll have to stand up to her at some point. If she can, so can you.
The inside of the Fabray household is just as well mannered as the outside, but less visually impressive to your seven year old self. Frankly, it's boring. There aren't any awesome posters like at your house, and you have the urge to break one of those horribly ugly crucifixes on the wall, though you manage to refrain. Somehow, you don't think the hawk circling your head would appreciate that very much.
You follow your mom into the kitchen where Quinn is sitting at the island, one hand enclosed with a thick, white cast, the other scribbling idly on a paper of sorts. She doesn't look too upset, as far as you can tell, which is definitely a good thing, but seeing a cast on her arm releases the floodgates on the guilt that you thought you'd gotten rid of the day before.
You were wrong.
With your stomach once again full of those nagging bubbles, you have to suppress the instinct to run out the door as fast as you can. All the eagerness you felt in marching into her house and demanding that you be friends has disappeared, leaving the guilt to seep in and eat away at your insides. This is exactly why you never care enough to be guilty. It's uncomfortable.
Her mother notices your eyes on daughter's cast and prompts rather nastily, "We're just lucky it wasn't her right hand." Her lips are pressed together, corners curled upward smugly as she waits for your reaction, for your reprimanding, but it doesn't come. Your mother counters with something about you being a boy and not aware of the strength differences, but you aren't really paying attention. With their attention focused solely on the debate about to erupt, you manage to wander over to Quinn and her stack of papers, intent on proposing your new relationship.
A friendship. Not like…marriage or anything. You have to be in your fifties for that. At least.
Before you can puff out your chest and make your demand, she swivels in her chair, nose high in a near perfect impression of her mother, and announces, rather bluntly, that she forgives you. To say it catches you off-guard is an understatement, because in your haste to present the argument for a friendship, apologizing has slipped your mind completely. "Okay," you respond, relieved, yet worried at the same time. Fact is, you aren't one for sorries in the first place, so she'll just have to live with accepting one before it was offered. It's all she'll get.
She stares at you for a moment, brow slightly furrowed, before rolling her eyes and turning back to her work. You can tell its homework because of all the numbers on the page; although why she's doing homework on a Saturday with a broken wrist is something that you can't fathom in the slightest. You don't want to interrupt her, but your ride doesn't seem to be anywhere near finished with her conversation, and there's no way in hell you're going to wander around the house. The urge to break something expensive has already been quelled once, but you don't trust yourself enough to do it a second time. And you're ninety-nine percent sure that Mrs. Fabray would know if you did something, merely by breathing the same air as you.
"Why white?" you asked instead, head nodding slightly in the direction of the cast.
"My mom said it goes better with my outfits," she responds, without removing her gaze from the paper in front of her. You suppose it makes sense, although that's a really stupid thing to make sense about. You would've picked blue. Or maybe red, because everyone would think that your arm was bleeding really badly all the time. Though you suppose that since she's a girl, she might not go for that kind of reasoning.
"That's boring," you state, fingers idly pinching one of the chairs beside you. She turns her attention to you, this time more curious than annoyed, and seems to consider what you've said. "I mean…you could at least draw a dinosaur on it or something."
You're prepared to unveil the nasty bruise on your leg, but your mother hurries over and quickly ushers you out the door, while Mrs. Fabray mutters something about her daughter finishing her studies. Before you know it, you're in the car, and the opportunity to ask for Quinn's friendship has been missed completely. It's okay though. You'll see her on Monday, so you can talk to her then.
The day arrives, but it doesn't progress like you plan. Her attitude towards you hasn't changed in the slightest. No more hatred, no more admiration, just the same old Quinn. The little girl with the surprisingly icy demeanor is undeterred by the thick cast on her arm, and actually seems to revel in the attention that it brings her. She even seems to enjoy informing her admirers that they aren't allowed to write on it, because it has to stay pristine or else.
Or else what, no one dares to ask.
You are unnecessarily grouchy that day, although why that is, you have no idea. You suppose it has something to do with the fact that you should have another friend right now, one besides Finn. You like Finn, sure, only problem is, he's still upset that his dad didn't come back from the war. You understand and all – you'd be pretty beat up if your pop never came home one day – but that was like six months ago. Too long to still be moping. He's just…not fun to hang out with anymore.
But Quinn is…smart. Yeah, she's angry a lot of the time, but you're kindred souls. You feel connected to her for no particular reason, and the fact that she still chooses to ignore you doesn't sit well in your stomach.
It takes to the end of the week for you to realize that there's a tiny drawing on her cast, in perhaps the most inconspicuous spot.
But all that does is confuse you even more.