Disclaimer: I own nothing. All belongs to Glee writers and creators.
A/N: This was actually the very first Faberry fic I ever started writing, but I was too embarrassed to post it. But some evil bitch troll I know who will not be named dared me to (you know who you are) so in your face. ;) I'm closest to posting a new chapter of 'Color Me Confused', if anyone is wondering. As far as this one, I'm not continuing it unless there is sufficient interest—and I understand if there isn't, because this isn't the greatest piece of work I've ever done.
Will was out of options. Sue had stolen all of his kids save for three, which might not have been a problem if it was, say, Kurt, Mercedes, and Puck. Or Mike, Tina, and Artie. Or even Santana, Brittany, and Matt. But no. She had left him with one of—scratch that—the worst combination imaginable: Quinn, Finn, and Rachel.
It was bad enough that Finn and Quinn were dating and she was pregnant. That relationship brought a level of awkwardness to every performance that, fortunately, could be drowned out by the presence of the other ten glee clubbers. With only one, it would be overwhelmingly obvious in its existence. It was also bad enough that Finn and Rachel clearly shared a bond of some sort. That also brought some tension to performances that Will could occasionally harness, and it worked for a song like this. But the worst part was Quinn and Rachel.
They didn't even get along outside of their competition for Finn's affections. Once, he'd tried to pair them for an assignment and Quinn argued with him for thirty minutes before he made it clear there was no switching for anyone. And then Rachel came to him outside of glee and asked him to let her change partners. He'd given in eventually, since he couldn't have Rachel the drama queen and Quinn the queen bee angry with him. He would never sleep again.
Will had thought things were getting better between them. For a brief while, they seemed almost civil, even. It wasn't like he saw them hanging out together in the hallways or anything, but when Quinn came in for glee, Rachel would acknowledge her with a nod. And even though Quinn rolled her eyes, she nodded back. But things had recently taken a dive for the worse, and he wasn't sure why, but he knew there was absolutely no way he could do 'No Air' with them as his only remaining girls and Finn his only remaining boy.
"Because they'll kill each other," he told Emma, shaking his head. "And Sue knows it. That's why she's taken away all my kids except for them."
It was the last class of the day, and on Tuesdays, this was his planning hour. But he really needed Emma's counsel on this one, even if it did pain him to be around her now that she was engaged to someone else. He just didn't know what else to do, and she'd always been his voice of reason.
"Well, they've worked together before, haven't they?" she asked curiously. "They did that mash-up, and that was pretty close contact. Maybe they can pull this off."
Will smiled pityingly at her. She just had no idea.
"Trust me, they can't. Especially not with Finn in the middle of it," he replied. He sighed in frustration. "I just don't know what to do."
"Maybe you should pick a different song; one that will involve all three of them. But a less…competitive one," she suggested brightly.
"I can't. There's no way we'd be ready in time with a different song. And I can't split the female lead. Rachel would go ballistic and it would only make things worse competition-wise. Believe me, you don't want to see those two with their claws out."
He shook his head of the image of the two at each other's throats. They were both a bit intimidating when they were mad, and he shuddered to think of how bad it would be when they were adults. He pitied the men they ended up with—they wouldn't win one argument.
"And I can't agree to Sue's ultimatum and stoop to her level like that. I won't. I'm out of options, and that's exactly what she wanted," he grumbled, tearing at his hair.
"Have you tried getting one of the other kids to come back to your group?"
Will sighed. "I can't get anyone from the original group Sue picked, and Brittany would be no help. I tried talking to Puck, but he kept talking about some kind of rainbow tent or…I didn't really understand him." He paused. "Although he did keep asking if Rachel being Jewish offended me."
Emma smiled in amusement. "I guess you're going to have to do the number with just them, Will." He sighed, so she added, "Why don't you sit them down and talk to them about it? I'm sure they'll understand once you explain you don't have any other options."
"They're teenagers, Emma," he said flatly.
"Yes, I know, but Quinn and Rachel and…Finn—to some extent, at least—have shown they can be very mature when the situation calls for it," she said encouragingly. "Just try talking to them. They'll understand."
He sighed heavily again, glancing at his watch. "I hope you're right. I'd better go. They're…probably waiting."
Emma smiled at him and he tried his best to offer one back, although he was sure it came out a little stiff. He supposed this was why Sue was getting to him so badly. Every other part of his life was being controlled for him, and glee was the one place he'd felt like he was the one calling the shots. It was stable and safe, a place to let loose. Now she'd taken over that, too.
Just like Ken had taken over his relationship with Emma; and Terri had taken over his relationship with his baby. And Kendra had taken over his relationship with Terri. Will was sick of it, really. And he knew it was selfish, but he wanted to be able to enjoy being around Emma without having to worry about Ken getting jealous or angry with him. In fact, he was scared that was going to happen. That he would lose his friendship with Ken, too.
It wasn't like they were that close, or anything, but Ken was one of his only guy friends, and one of his only allies on the staff as far as glee club went. He always made sure the football players had time to fit both in, and Will never had to worry about him attempting sabotage or anything like that. He would hate to lose that safety zone.
Will's thoughts on the rest of his life came to a halt when he arrived at the choir room door. And then he heaved an exasperated sigh. Finn was nowhere in sight, but Quinn and Rachel were there. On exact opposite sides of the room. Rachel had her iPod ear buds in, and she was currently scrolling for another song while she sat with her feet up on another chair. Quinn was texting.
"Good afternoon, ladies," he said as he entered, pulling the sheet music out of his briefcase.
Quinn glanced up and then turned back to her phone without ceasing her typing. Rachel had evidently found a song and didn't hear him, as evidenced by the fact that she was now head-bopping and mouthing the words.
Will took a deep breath and said, louder, "Hello, girls!"
Rachel jumped and tugged her headphones out of her ears, then smiled brightly at him. Quinn rolled her eyes at the brunette. Or maybe it was at him. He wasn't really sure, because she said, "Heard you the first time."
"Good afternoon, Mr. Schuester," Rachel said politely.
Well, at least they were just ignoring each other. Instead of tearing each other's hair out. Will leaned against the piano and glanced at the clock.
"Well, as soon as Finn gets here, we'll get started. Until then, you girls can just relax," he assured them, smiling.
And that was when it happened. Every last bit of control he'd thought he had over his life was gone in an instant. He didn't know what it was at first, because it just seemed so simple. All Quinn did was shut her phone and slip it in her backpack. Nothing earth-shattering. But then she said it, and that's when it was over.
"Finn's not coming," she informed him flatly.
Will could only stare at her, his throat drying up. There was no way that was possible. Life was unfair, but it wasn't that unfair. It would've been bad with the three of them singing together, yes, but…now they couldn't sing at all. Sue had won.
Quinn was looking at him like he had three heads. She even deigned to exchange a disturbed glance with Rachel, who seemed to share her opinion.
"Mr. Schuester, are you okay?" the brunette asked after another moment of silence.
He choked on his words before they got out, "He…he's what?"
"Not. Coming," Quinn repeated, frowning. "He has the flu."
"He does?" Rachel demanded, alarmed. "He just said he was sick in his text. Is he okay?"
"He has the flu," she said again, more irritably this time. "How do you think he is?"
The diva glared, and Will was too far in shock to even attempt to prevent the impending argument.
"I realize the implications of having a flu," she snapped back. "I was merely inquiring as to how well he is, taking into consideration the fact that he's sick. For instance, is he vomiting? If he's already gotten through that stage, then we can hope to see him soon, but if he hasn't, then he'll probably be a lot worse before he gets better and we shouldn't expect him to return to school possibly well into next week. I—"
"Oh, my God, do you ever stop talking, Urkel?" Quinn groaned through her teeth.
"Just because I'm well-versed in the English language and express myself in—"
The cheerleader feigned sleeping.
"Okay, both of you, stop!" Will blurted at last, rubbing his face.
They both snapped to attention. Sort of. They still shot each other the odd glare, but mostly they were looking at him.
"If Finn isn't coming…." He sighed and rubbed his forehead. "Then we can't do the number."
Rachel gasped. "Why not?"
"Because Sue somehow convinced Brittany and Puck that they aren't being treated fairly—" Rachel glowered at Quinn, who pretended she didn't notice "—and I was going to spend today running over new choreography that would accommodate the three of you. But without our male lead, we can't rehearse at all, which means we won't be ready in time to do it."
"Can't we just do a new song?" Quinn asked, scowling.
"It'll never be ready in time," he said, shaking his head.
Rachel looked heartbroken, and Will felt a pang of sympathy for her. They'd both really been looking forward to doing this song—and to besting Sue at last—and now there was no possible way to do it. Quinn didn't seem to agree with this bleak outlook.
"So…why can't we just do it?" she inquired, confused.
"Well, it's a duet," he replied, frowning. "It would kind of lose its punch if only the female lead sang it." Rachel was nodding in agreement.
"I have a voice," Quinn snapped, and when his brow furrowed, she said, "Duet means two people. There are two people sitting right here, both of whom can sing."
Will glanced at Rachel, who was frowning at Quinn.
"Well, Quinn, it's a male part," he said uncomfortably.
That was a mistake. The cheerleader bristled and her eyes narrowed on him, and her voice was low when she spoke.
"You think because I'm a girl I can't sing it?"
He swallowed. "I-it's not that I think you aren't capable of singing it, Quinn. It's just that it's a…it's a part for a guy, and you're definitely not one."
"Great, so now you're being sexist!" she exclaimed, throwing her hands up.
"That's not what I meant! I just don't think you would be comfortable singing such a—"
"Don't tell me what I'd be comfortable with!"
Will abruptly decided that the pregnancy hormones must be making an appearance, because he just couldn't see Quinn lashing out so irrationally and fighting so hard to sing this song with Rachel otherwise. She could hardly stand being in the same room with her—just look at the way they were sitting when he came in.
"I'm sorry. I'm just thinking about how you feel, that's all. And this is a very romantic song, Quinn. I just think it's best to have a male in the male lead."
Quinn looked ready to explode. "Oh, really?" she growled.
Rachel was staring wide-eyed at her, but she didn't break the silence. Quinn suddenly shot to her feet, glaring boldly at Will.
"Fine!" She slung her backpack over her shoulder and marched toward the door, but first she snatched Rachel's wrist and yanked her into a standing position, grumbling all the while, "Fine. We'll see. Come on, Rachel."
And then she stormed out. Rachel stood there staring after her, and Will shared in her shock. He shrugged helplessly when she looked to him for guidance, because he really didn't know what to do either.
"BERRY, HERE. NOW!" they heard, and Rachel grabbed her backpack and bolted for the door, tripping over her feet in her hurry to obey.
Will stared after them, completely dumbfounded.
With the exception of their argument yesterday, Rachel had never seen Quinn this angry. Not in person, anyway. She'd heard tales of Quinn's wrath a time or two, but usually the cheerleader was cool as a cucumber. She'd get irritated, sure. Roll her eyes, definitely. But she never got angry. Evidently the feminist issue was a touchy one with her.
Frankly, after Quinn said the thing about Mr. Schue being sexist, Rachel expected her to use it as an excuse to move them to Ms. Sylvester's group, too. Now she wasn't sure what Quinn was going to do, and it was a little scary. She kept muttering angrily under her breath and all of her movements were jerky, and Rachel practically had to run to keep up with her as they left the building. She wouldn't have bothered, except that Quinn kept glancing over her shoulder, as though to make sure she was still there. And Rachel had a feeling she didn't want to ditch Quinn when she was hell bent on storming out with her. No matter how weird it was.
When they made it to Quinn's car, the cheerleader unlocked it and threw her backpack in the backseat before she went to get in. Rachel wasn't sure what she was supposed to do at this juncture. Getting in the car seemed like a bad idea. For one thing, if Rachel even tried to talk to her in the hallway, she would have a slushie facial to look forward to. Who knew what Quinn would do if she dared to get in her car? And second, it didn't seem like such a good idea to get in a car with someone who was clearly so pissed off. But, on the other hand, Quinn seemed to want her to follow. And Rachel did not want to tangle with her right now.
So Rachel just stood there awkwardly until Quinn noticed, and then the blonde narrowed her eyes and barked, "Get in."
She fumbled with the car door and plopped in the seat, strapping herself in immediately when the cheerleader did. She tossed her backpack to the floor in front of her and then the car jerked forward and Quinn peeled out of the parking lot. Rachel gripped her seat so tight her knuckles were going white, but the cheerleader either didn't notice or didn't care that she was being a little reckless and crazy.
Rachel briefly wondered if that's what happened back there. Had Mr. Schuester not wanting Quinn to sing the part made her snap? It would make sense for her to have a nervous breakdown. She was pregnant and couldn't tell her coach or her parents. Her life was completely out of her control right now, which meant she was under a lot of stress. So maybe she had simply cracked under the pressure. It was understandable.
Or maybe it was the pregnancy hormones. She wasn't that far along in her pregnancy, but it was quite possible they were starting to drive her a little batty.
Either way, Rachel was extremely uncomfortable. And she wasn't sure Quinn should be driving while under the influence of insanity or hormones. Rachel gripped the seat a little tighter and glanced at the cheerleader, who was focused intently on the road ahead.
"Quinn, may I be frank with you?" she asked nervously.
She shot her a withering glare. "When aren't you?"
"Valid point," she allowed, then cleared her throat. "You're kind of scaring me right now."
Quinn scoffed. That was the extent of her reaction. Rachel swallowed.
"Where are we going? And please tell me there are no dumpsters involved. I'd rather not—" she yelped when the car swerved and Quinn jerked it to a stop in the driveway of a perfect little suburban house.
Rachel clung to her door, but the cheerleader was already moving. She whipped her seatbelt off, shut off the engine, and snatched her backpack before she hopped out of the car. The brunette figured she should at least try to keep up, so she scrambled to do the same, and Quinn hit the automatic locker when she heard the door slam. Rachel trotted to catch up to her.
"What are we doing? What's—"
Quinn snatched her wrist again and snarled, "We're doing the damn song."
And she proceeded to drag a shell-shocked Rachel into her house.