Author's Note: Because this is what needs to happen. Please Ryan Murphy. Please? By the way, I don't own this show or the characters in it. :)
Spoilers for Wheels and Ballad, specifically. Possibly for other episodes as well. Takes place pre-series, in the current show time line, and in the future.
Artie Abrams had a crush on Quinn Fabray.
From the first time she tripped and fell in front of him, skinning her knees and looking up at him with round, brown eyes filled with tears. His seven year old heart had thumped loudly in his chest as he offered her a hand.
"You okay?" he asked, as she slipped her delicate hand into his and allowed him to help her stand.
"Um, my knees hurt," she responded, glancing down at her red kneecaps. "Mom says I can be so clumsy." A tittering laugh exited her perfect lips, sounding awkward and embarrassed to his ears.
"Maybe you should go see the nurse?" he suggested, coloring as he realized that she still had a firm grip on his hand. "You're new. Um, I could…take you there?" He waited on bated breath…
…until she smiled, bright eyes and white teeth flashing at him. She was beautiful. "That would be nice of you."
Ten minutes later, he was outside the nurse's office, waiting for her to exit. Rubbing his hands on his pants, hoping that the sweat on his palms wouldn't stain his black slacks. Finally, she exited, one hand nervously tugging on her braid. Two huge white band aids covered her knees, hiding her injury away from the world. As they exited the room, Artie blurted out, "My name's Artie."
"I'm Quinn," she breathed softly, pausing in the hallway. "Thank you for…being so nice to me." And then she kissed him on the cheek, softly, gently, hardly creating any pressure at all with her lips. He watched her run away, skidding to a stop in front of Santana Lopez and Brittany…well, he had never learned her last name. That's when he knew that Quinn would never again talk to him. At least not while they both attended schools in Lima, Ohio.
But it didn't matter because he knew that, one day, he was going to marry her.
- - - - - -
Artie Abrams thought he might like Tina Cohen-Chang.
Not because she was different, with her dark hair and dark eyes and dark clothes, but because on her second day at a new school she did something for Artie that no one else had.
After group assemblies, which happened once a month in middle school, the jocks, more often than not, gathered around their favorite targets and did something to make their lives miserable, just for kicks. The three who usually found themselves on the other end of the cruel pranks were Rachel Berry, Kurt Hummel and Artie Abrams, whose wheelchair bound status made it difficult to run away or fight back. He didn't know why Rachel or Kurt took it. Or why the three of them didn't brand together. But they never did. That particular day, after listening to the Principal drone on and on about Quinn Fabray's stellar job at raising money in the school fund raiser, in which Artie had mostly gazed at Quinn's face and wondered what their children would look like (because, yeah, he had never quit liking her, despite his better judgment and the way she continually ignored him), the jocks had asked Artie if he felt like a swirlie or would he like something new?
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Rachel darting from side to side but it was to no avail. Puck ended up dousing her in barbeque sauce anyway. Him and Finn slapped hands, right after Puck put the vat down, in a barbaric celebratory manner, then headed out of the gym, leaving Kurt to his fate with the hockey hulks, who it appeared had chosen swirlie, as the group of guys was headed toward the bathroom.
Before he could answer the question posed him, he heard the sound of metal against metal. Glancing down, he saw that the boys had connected his chair to the bleachers, via a metal chain. Guffawing like the big, dumb jocks they were, they left him there. All alone. Unable to move.
And that's when he saw her, standing still as a statue, watching him against the wall. She probably wouldn't help him. No one ever did.
In typical fashion, she left and he sighed, hanging his head. But after a few minutes, he heard footsteps and lifted his head, to see her approaching. With garden shears in her hand. It took a lot of effort on her part but, eventually, she had broken the metal chain and he was free. Adjusting his glasses, he looked at her face. "Um, Tina, right?"
"Y-yes," she stuttered, blushing.
That's right. She stuttered. A lot. It was kind of cute. "Artie."
He watched her walk away, leaving the garden shears and metal chain behind, and he thought, for the first time since Quinn Fabray, that he might like someone.
- - - - - -
Artie Abrams might have still had some feelings for Quinn Fabray.
Even though he knew he shouldn't. Even though she largely ignored his very existence. Even though, on numerous occasions, she had laughed as Puck, Finn and gang had tried to damage his spirit (which, he might add, they had never been able to accomplish, no matter how many times they put him a port-o-pottie, then tipped it over).
But when she glanced back at him and asked him if he would be okay with his dad driving him, rather than getting a special bus, where he could associate with all the members of Glee as it should be, his heart dropped into his stomach. Their eyes met for a half second and he recalled when a sweet seven year old had innocently pecked his cheek and he had fallen hard. But that was a thing of the past…except he knew that it wasn't. She still made him feel things.
At that moment, he just felt awful. He wanted her to care, a little. To remember the moment that he had somehow isolated as being the most wonderful and special moment of his life, only tied, maybe, with when Tina had cut that chain.
A little sigh fell from his lips as everyone left the classroom and a pain in his heart started when she didn't even look back. He shouldn't have expected her to anyway.
Later, when everyone presented him with the money and smiled like they understood, Quinn caught his eye and tilted her head to the side. He wasn't sure what it meant, if it meant anything at all, but as they were all leaving, she put a hand on his shoulder and said, "I'm glad you're coming with us. It wouldn't have been the same without you."
It was like he couldn't escape her or his feelings for her.
- - - - - -
Artie Abrams knew that he liked Tina Cohen-Chang.
Especially when she kissed him in the hallway that afternoon. And he knew that he liked even though he was angry at her for misleading him all those years. As soon as he rolled around the corner, out of her view, he halted and brought a hand to his still tingling lips.
He wasn't sure how long he sat in that position, because he may have lost all ability to think or move or function, but when Tina came hurdling around the corner, crashing into the back of his chair, he assumed it hadn't been that long.
"Artie," she exhaled, relief all over her face. "You're still here! I just need to…to explain."
Slumped in his chair, he regarded her for several moments before speaking. "No, you don't. I understand. I guess…I just was surprised to find that we didn't share something special, something I thought that we did. I guess I…overreacted."
Hope illuminated her face and she leaned over, as if she might him kiss again. As a guy who preferred girls, he probably should've just let her. He was sure he would've enjoyed it. Instead, he did the more honorable thing.
"I'm still upset that you lied though, Tina. And I don't think I'm ready to advance our relationship at this point. Can we just be friends?"
The corners of her mouth drooped as she nodded. "I'd rather be your friend, Artie, than not have you in my life at all."
Biting down hard on his bottom lip, he nodded, then quickly went on. "For now, Tina. I mean…I think I just need-"
"Time," she finished for him, brightening a bit. "I get it, Artie." Bending at the waist once more, she gave him a quick hug, then left him alone.
So he needed time but he had never mentioned just how much he needed… Would two seconds be enough? Shaking his head, he realized that he was the one with a problem and he needed to sort things out.
Even if he could still feel her lips on his and desperately wanted them to be on his again.
- - - - - -
Artie Abrams thought he was over Quinn Fabray.
That's what he thought. But he was wrong. Not that he hadn't been wrong before. His dreams about Tina (which hadn't all been when he was asleep…mostly hadn't been when he was asleep) had led him to believe that the long crush on Quinn was over and done.
Yet the name he pulled from the hat was Quinn's and the partly amused smile on his face and Mr. Schuester's use of the word "fate" and the crazy palpitations of his heart led him to the conclusion that he did indeed still have some feelings for Quinn embedded within.
He ignored Tina's sad glance as she sat next to him and did her best to avoid Mike's eyes on her. As soon as Mr. Schuester ended the meeting, Artie pushed his chair as fast as he could to Quinn's side.
"Oh, hey Artie," said Finn, grinning and giving Artie a high five, which reminded Artie of the time that Puck and Finn had high fived after pouring barbeque sauce all over Rachel. Oh, how times had changed.
"Um, hey guys." His eyes rested on Quinn, who was smiling down at him expectantly, like she knew what he was about to…sputter. "Um, Qu-Quinn, do you want t-to hang out and, you know, ch-choose a ballad to sing together?" He felt like such an idiot but her grin was somewhat of a reward.
"Sure. Right now? Because I see Kurt headed this way, for Finn…"
Finn curled his lip when he spotted Kurt coming. "This should be…fun. And, hey, Artie, man, don't forget Quinn's my girlfriend."
Gulping, Artie chuckled awkwardly as Quinn giggled, as if Finn's fake warning was absurd, pushing her giant of a boyfriend in Kurt's direction. "Do you want to head outside?" Quinn asked, tilting her head so that her hair fell over her shoulder. "And talk about song options?"
"Sure," he readily agreed, prepared to roll himself out when she circled around and placed her hands on the bars that stuck out of the back of the chair. "Um, do you have any ideas?"
For awhile, she was silent, then he heard her mumble, "Love is a Battlefield?"
It may or may not have been for his ears but he told her, "We could do that. I mean, I know it's originally sung by a girl and I'm a guy but Mr. Schue likes us to put our own twists on things so…" He was babbling and her soft laughter made him blush. "I just mean…I wouldn't be opposed to it."
So that's what the plan was, to sing Love is a Battlfield to each other in front of all their friends…until Tina and Mercedes came up with the brilliant plan of singing to Finn and Quinn. Which, really, Artie had to admit was thoughtful.
And he did get to sing to Quinn, anyway, watching as happiness danced behind her eyes, accompanied by some moistness.
He sang his heart out to her, as if it was just him and her. Because that would never really happen.
- - - - - -
Artie Abrams was finally going on a date with Tine Cohen-Chang.
That's why he put on extra deodorant. And extra cologne. To make sure that, in all his nervousness, he didn't sweat and then she smelled him and then the date was ruined… Although, the date could be ruined in other ways too. He cringed just thinking about it.
All that faded away when he answered the door and saw her standing there, wearing a black skirt and black boots, with a minimal amount of make up, looking gorgeous.
"Tina, you look, I mean, wow," he stammered, shutting his door behind him.
"Thanks." Tugging at the dark purple skirt she had chosen for the night, she appeared as uncomfortable as he felt. Typical for first dates, probably. It was an assumption on both their parts, since he had never been on a first date before and her only first date had been with Puck in eighth grade, and that had been a prank. "Um, so what did you have in mind?"
In all honesty, he wasn't quite sure. Asking Tina out at all had been kind of like taking a chance, since she had been hanging out with Mike so often recently. He had feared he was going to lose her to "other asian" and Mercedes comments about how Mike and Tina were getting so very close (wink wink, nudge nudge, yes Artie knew that Mercedes was directing that gossip his way), so he had just asked her. At his mention of Mike, she had wrinkled her nose and asked, "Why would Mike care? He's my cousin."
The news had sort of astounded him, since he had never heard anything about it before (apparently, so he learned later, their mom's, sisters from birth, had been in some sort of feud about the proper way to boil noodles) and he knew that Mercedes had just been meddling where she didn't belong. Not that he minded because it all had lead to him finally asking Tina on a date. Which would've been amazing but he was at a loss for ideas of what they could do. Puck had suggested a nice make out spot while Finn had told him the bowling alley. He had vetoed both, since he didn't want to take Tina to make out on their first date, no many how times Puck assured him she would be impressed, and he couldn't really bowl, so… He had nothing in mind. "What do you want to do?"
She stifled a giggled as they ambled down the sidewalk together. "You don't have anything planned, do you?"
It kind of hurt but it was the truth. "No," he admitted, shoulders slumping. "I just asked you out, without any…I don't know, ideas, plans. I just wanted to be with you."
Since he wasn't looking at her, he didn't see the way she bit at her top lip and pulled at her long hair, a slow spreading smile on her face. "Maybe we could see a movie," she said, after a long silence.
It seemed like a good place to go on a first date so that's where they ended up.
At one point, he stretched his arm around her, resting it against her shoulder. After that, they both grinned into the darkness.
- - - - - - -
Artie Abrams found a friend in Quinn Fabray.
It was surprising, really. Just when everything felt like it was crashing down around him and Glee club, Quinn was there, as if it was her natural place, to be beside him, comforting him quietly.
Teen drama started it all, just like with the Puck/Quinn/Finn situation from the previous year, when their chances at placing first in Sectionals had almost been destroyed. This time, the triangle belonged to Tina/Matt/Mercedes. The two girls, former best friends forever, were having more than just a minor disagreement about the boy they both claimed to love. Artie tried not to let the fact that his ex, for only three months, was claiming to love another buy bring him any pain. But it did. A lot of pain.
Especially when Tina declared to Mercedes, before the last club meeting prior to Sectionals '10, that Matt was the only boy she had ever loved. Matt had crept out, before the two went to fisticuffs over him, and Rachel and Kurt had quickly leapt up to separate the two before, once again, they could duke it out over the supposed love of their lives. Who never spoke. Seriously. Artie had never, not even once, heard Matt utter a syllable.
Pretty soon, he thought he was alone. Dejected and alone. He wished that he could use his legs because he really wanted to kick the floor.
When a voice cleared, he lifted his head. Standing across the room, bathed in the light from a window, looking like an angel, stood Quinn. Her head was at an angle and he read pity in her eyes.
"Well, this just…sucks." His voice sounded odd to his own ears, choked.
In a second, Quinn was at his side, her cool hand on his forearm. "I'm sorry, Artie," was all she said.
It was all she needed to say.
- - - - - -
Artie Abrams was in love with Tina Cohen-Chang.
Without a doubt. And he was going to tell her so, at Senior Prom. He wasn't sure she'd reciprocate, especially since her most recent relationship, with Puck, of all people, had only been over for about a month. It had seemed to end rather pleasantly on both sides (Tina told them that Puck had even let her keep his old, ratty Eagles shirt) so he was hoping that his declaration at Prom wouldn't be too jarring for her. All he knew was that he had to tell her how he felt before she went away and he was stuck in Lima forever without her. She needed to know.
When he told Quinn, she smiled at him encouragingly (and a little sadly?) and helped him plot the whole thing. It was nice, having her as a friend. Something he would never have believed would ever happen. But it had; the two of them had a strong bond. He was the only one she talked to about baby Drizzle, about what it was like to miscarry, about how many tears she had cried, about how many nightmares she had about that lost child. It was privileged information that he promised to carry to his grave, just as she had vowed never to tell about the fantasies he had where he was dancing (not in his wheelchair) to N'Sync songs. And he trusted her. If anyone ever found out… He could almost hear Puck's taunting laughter and Mike and Matt's commentary and see Kurt rolling his eyes while Mercedes just shook her head at his secret love for boy bands from the nineties. Quinn didn't judge him, not like she once would've.
And so, due to his love for Tina, he found himself, dressed in a tuxedo that Quinn had picked out, on the stage with a microphone in his hand, at Senior Prom. "Hey everyone," he said, his voice cracking. "Um, so you might be asking yourself, 'What is Artie Abrams doing on stage?' I know, I know, you're hoping to hear me sing something, right? Unfortunately, that's not why I'm here, but hey, maybe we could do karaoke later?" He cleared his throat as his eyes searched the room, finally landing on her, wearing, what else, a black strapless dress, her long hair flowing down her back. "I want to have no regrets when I leave this place so here goes nothing. Well, everything actually, 'cause I'm putting it all on the line." Inhaling, he let out the next words in a giant whoosh of an exhale. "Tina Cohen-Chang, I love you."
In the movies, the girl felt the same way and let the guy know with a passionate kiss. In Artie's life, the girl exited the building, after her jaw fell and the truth that she didn't feel the same way entered her eyes.
Nothing had ever hurt so much.
He dropped the microphone to the stage, the sound of it's impact reverberating around the room, and raced off the stage, pushing his wheels as hard as he could. Quinn was waiting for him, tears in her eyes. "Artie…"
"I need to talk to her," he said, not wanting her sympathy at that moment.
She was outside, leaning against a bench. When she saw him, her bottom lip jutted out. "Artie, I wish that I…I mean, I don't…"
He came to a stop beside her and reached out to touch the bench, as if the wooden planks would somehow lessen his sorrow. "I know, Tina. I guess I shouldn't have-"
"No, it was incredibly romantic and if I-"
"-done it but I just care so much-"
"-felt the same, I would-"
"-about you that I didn't really-"
At the same time, they both stopped, each rather breathless, then burst into laughter.
"Artie," Tina whispered, once they had both ceased giggling. "I love you too, but just not in that way."
Closing his hand over hers, he gave a squeeze. "It's okay, Tee. I'm glad that you still want to be my friend after that public humiliation."
"I'll always want to be your friend, Artie," she assured, before dropping a kiss to his cheek. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I promised Finn I would dance with him before the night was through, and even though his date might not approve, I plan on keeping the promise."
His fingers brushed against the area where her lips had just been.
A hand on his shoulder startled him but he didn't need to move to know who it was. "How about you come inside and dance with a friend?" she asked, her voice light.
"You know what? I think I'd like that."
So for the rest of the night, Quinn rested her head on his shoulder and he tried to keep his gaze anywhere but on Tina.
- - - - - -
Artie Abrams was getting married to Quinn Fabray.
In, like, five minutes.
The fact that the day had come, at last, was something that sort of took him off guard. Not in a bad way though. In a totally good, marrying the hottest woman alive who he loved with all his hear kind of way.
Thinking about her decision to change her last name from Fabray to Abrams, thereby becoming Quinn Abrams, he smiled. Felt almost giddy.
Interrupting his moment of solace, Puck, his best man, poked his head in. "You're sure you want to do this? 'Cause my girl is getting ideas but if you bolt, I think she'll probably be okay with not getting married in the near future. Or she'll end up dumping me because all men are scum." Puck made a face at his, as usual, screwed up logic. "Uh, you know what-"
"Never mind?" Artie guessed, shaking his head. "Is everything ready?"
"They're all set for you. To give up your life as a single guy and all those chicks."
Artie arched an eyebrow. "What, so I can be like you?" He paused then grinned at his friend. "Oh, wait," he went on, snapping his fingers. "You're totally whipped by your girlfriend. So not like you at all."
Scowling, Puck started to leave, calling over his shoulder, "Just get out here soon, Wheels."
And soon, he was there, standing (metaphorically speaking, of course) before a Reverend ("And God, Artie, remember that," he could hear Quinn saying in his brain), watching as Quinn walked down the aisle.
His heart was in his throat as her father placed her hand in his. Gulping down so many emotions, he looked up at her.
Tears stung at the corner of his eyes because she was breathtakingly beautiful and soon she was going to be his wife.
He still couldn't believe that it was actually happening, that they had found each other when it seemed impossible that they ever would, with social statuses, significant other-stumbling blocks and a multitude of other things that had barred the way to true happiness with each other.
To say he felt blessed would be an understatement.
A tear ran down her cheek as the ceremony began and by the time they got to the "I do's" she was crying (and so was he).
It was only when the Reverend declared that he could kiss the bride that he remembered a seven year old boy being so sure he would one day marry Quinn Fabray. He had been right.
And then all thoughts were washed away as she kissed him.