The Friend May Be Imaginary... But the Feelings Are Real
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters from glee.
AN: Have absolutely no idea where this came from…
Anyway, it's AU, future-fic, and pretty much explains itself as it goes along I hope!
Just something a little light-hearted :)
Firstly, Quinn studies Emma's office.
Emma waits patiently. They all do this; look around, their eyes moving as slow as possible as they survey the obsessively neat room.
She often wonders whether they are planning escape routes. One day, she sat on the other side of the desk after Santana Lopez had spent a particularly long time staring up at the top window and tried to work out if there was a way of forging an exit there.
She was thinking about this for quite a while before she realised that there was in fact a box of condoms on the very top of the top shelf and that Santana was probably merely memorising this position in case of emergencies.
She straightens the stack of paper on the left hand side of her desk as Quinn turns her attention to the array of pamphlets in front of her.
When she starts to align the photo frame on the right hand side of her desk, Quinn starts to speak.
"Yeah… I don't think any of these pamphlets are going to help my friend".
She starts to get up to leave, gathering her bag under her arm.
Emma is momentarily distracted by the attraction to the fine leatherwork.
"Uh… Quinn? I can try and help… if you want? I don't just give out pamphlets".
Quinn looks momentarily confused, and then recovers quickly.
"It's not for me", she says, slowly sitting down again. "It's for my friend".
Emma nods seriously, because no one seems to realise that she has heard that before more times than she can count.
"Well it's very thoughtful of you to visit me on their behalf", she says, and she has perfected the level of seriousness to use in this statement to lull them into a sense of security.
Which it is anyway- she is bound to confidentiality.
"Okay", Quinn says, gathering up the courage to start talking. "Okay".
There's a short silence, just long enough for Emma to know she needs prompting.
"So what has your friend told you about their problem?" She asks, casually crossing her legs in her chair. She leans forward just enough to look genuinely interested, but not enough for it to feel like an interrogation.
"Erm… unrequited love", she replies vaguely.
"Inappropriate unrequited love", she continues.
"Okay… Did they develop the idea of inappropriate? Perhaps they are in love with someone currently in a relationship already?"
"Worse than that".
It took a minute for Quinn to find the courage to look back into Emma's eyes.
"And my friend was very emphatic that this was not just a Rachel Berry episode".
Emma raised her eyebrows questioningly.
"It would take more like a heart transplant to get over…"
Finally, realisation dawns on her.
Quinn is in love with/has a huge crush on Will Schuester.
She can obviously empathise with the blond. She has been there.
Quinn looks terrified at the thought that Emma may have been able to read between the lines, so she quickly reassures her of her ignorance.
"What's 'worse than that'?" She asks gently.
Quinn thinks for a minute.
"My friend", she says, pausing to emphasise. "Is in love with a teacher".
Emma delays a little, and in her head she scolds her friend for being so attractive, hastily stopping herself from blurting out with some stupid question about the hotness rating on a scale of 1 to very hot of his reading glasses.
"How long has this been going on for?"
She silently praises herself for such a choice of question. It digs a little deeper without scaring the poor girl off.
Quinn pulls at the fraying edges of her denim skirt, her lips moving soundlessly as she calculates in her head.
Emma takes a dainty sip from her cup of water.
She manages to swallow without choking, though she can't prevent the awkward expression at the sudden influx of water.
"Sorry Quinn, stomach cramps… erm, 17 months did you say? My- that is a long time".
"Yes it is", she replies, with a touch of sarcasm. "A painfully long time", she realises how personal that sounds and quickly adds "I would have thought".
"Love is a strong word", she says airily, as though commenting on the weather.
Quinn frowns slightly.
"What do you mean?"
Before she can start talking, Quinn asks another question.
"How do you know you love your husband?"
"Is it the fact that whenever you see him you just want to run up to him and kiss him all over? Do you get butterflies whenever he so much as looks at you? Does every other man in the world make you realise you can't want anyone else?"
She has more reasons, Emma can tell, and she's quietly shocked at how accurately this young woman has described the connection she feels to Carl.
She's never really thought of Quinn beyond just another member of glee club, but there is so much more to her than she could ever have imagined.
Quinn shuffles about a bit in her chair, and Emma notices a slight mistiness in her eyes.
"I thought you were still dating Sam Evans?" Emma asks softly, then freezes with instant regret.
However, Quinn seems to feel this is the right moment to delve even deeper into her despair.
"We were the prom king and queen last month- did you know that?"
She shakes her head, taking another sip of water.
There is definitely not a pamphlet on how to fall out of love. She knows because she looked everywhere for one all those years ago.
But it's at the utter look of defeat on Quinn's face that she realises Quinn is deeper now than she ever was. And she doesn't know if she can help her.
"We were", she continues, looking out of the window to half watch someone walk briskly down the corridor.
"I should feel happy".
"But you're not", Emma prompts, as her eyes fill up again.
There was a long silence, and Emma watches patiently as Quinn undergoes an internal battle.
"Should I just tell him?" She asks timidly. "Should I tell him and get knocked down just like Rachel Berry? At least then, I could stop kidding myself?"
Emma considers this for a long while.
"Would you like me to talk to him? He may be able to help… Maybe if you talk to him about it you could get some kind of closure?"
She's out on a limb here, but Quinn's face lights up with hope.
"That's a good idea".
Emma smiles; pleased.
"Okay, well… I'll do that then…"
"Thanks Mrs Howell".
Emma gives a professional nod of acceptance.
"You're welcome Quinn".
She steps out into the corridor, and the room is filled with more knowledge that cannot venture out of those four walls.
Finally, almost two weeks later she finds the opportunity to take Will aside and breach the subject as she promised Quinn she would.
She's about to approach him and ask him if she can speak to him in private when he grabs her arm and pulls her not so gently outside the staffroom, biting an apple with an intense fierceness that borders between frustration and anger.
"Em… Can I talk to you in private?"
She's shocked at the coincidence, but his frown prevents her from smiling at it.
"Of course… My office?"
He nods, distractedly she thinks.
"Are you okay?"
She begins walking, and he's right beside her, increasing her pace with his anxious steps.
"I haven't seen you in a while", she comments.
It was two weeks ago in fact. He had come over to her and Carl's apartment to watch the football, and she had cooked chicken casserole.
It was a brilliant chicken casserole, even if she says so herself.
He paces a few steps before sitting down, and even then he doesn't sit properly in the chair- more perched on the edge.
"It's just got ridiculous you know?" He asks after a while.
She doesn't know. She has absolutely no idea what he is talking about. She waits, interested, for the next imparted wisdom.
"At first I thought I just felt ridiculously lonely… what with you getting married, and me not having a date for…ever".
He crosses and uncrosses his legs.
Suddenly, his tone completely changes and he looks her straight in the eye.
"Did you hear the kids' rendition of 'Your Song'?" He asks brightly, "If you haven't- you should pop by the choir room later- I think it's the best A Cappella version I've ever heard!"
She nods, slightly amused.
"That's not what you wanted to talk to me about", she points out, obviously. "You know you can tell me anything".
He makes a face.
"This pushes it", he says, grimacing.
"Okay", he sighs.
She smiles encouragingly.
"Okay. Right. Well. Okay… say, hypothetically, a teacher knows they are in love with a student…"
Her eyes widen.
"Oh my", she says.
He groans theatrically. "I know… totally see through… But it's terrible- it's not even a crush- it's not even a sick fantasy… I want to take her to the movie theatre, pretend to yawn, and reach round to put my arm around her!"
"It's not okay!" he exclaims, panicking slightly now. "It would be okay if this was the first time I've thought about this! I've lost count of how many times I have imagined kissing her! I've lost count of how many times I've imagined… Anyway, it's been too many times to count".
"For how long?" Emma asks, twirling her hair at her fingertips.
"Oh… I don't know… just under a year?"
"A year?" she repeats, faintly.
She wants him to be happy. She wants him to find someone like Carl. Except a woman. Obviously.
"Can I ask who?"
She bites her lip, worried she has gone too far.
But he seems to want to get this off his chest once and for all.
"Quinn Fabray", he says miserably.
She gasps, but she could almost see that coming.
"I'm in love with Quinn Fabray", he says sadly.
"In love?" she questions.
"A whole year", he says, in way of confirmation. He looks around furtively, just in case someone has crept into her office without either of them noticing. "I can't… I can't…" He sighs again, and tries again, "I can't… finish without picturing her. She doesn't even have to be doing anything remotely provocative. And it's driving me insane!"
"Driving you insane?" she echoes, stalling as she tries to simultaneously draw up a list of reasons why she shouldn't be thinking about matchmaking the two.
She can't actually think of any when his face looks like that; all forlorn and love-struck.
"Yes. I would love to get to know her. But then I would just fall even deeper in love with her, I just know it".
"Do you have any pamphlets on this kinda thing?" he asks hopefully. "Are there certain steps you're supposed to take to fall out of love with someone?"
Now it's her turn to sigh.
"No pamphlets", she replies, "But I can offer you the teacher handbook".
She wants him to be happy, so she can't be the one to encourage him to risk his job.
He stands up abruptly. "That's just it!"
He sounds so triumphant; she doesn't understand what he means.
"What's just it?"
"That's just how I know I love her!"
She's still not sure but she makes some kind of humming agreement anyway, because he seems to be about to expand on that point.
"I don't care about losing my job if losing my job means I can date Quinn Fabray", he accentuates every word.
And then he sits down again.
"Oh Will", she says sympathetically.
"And even when she graduates soonish… I could never even… She'd never feel the same way I'm sure… She's still dating that baby-faced blond for goodness sake!"
"They broke up last week".
She nods, and he rubs his temples harshly.
She swallows to avoid dispelling those lines on his face by simply telling him how desperately in love with him the object of his affections is.
He sits there in contemplative silence until the bell rings.
"I'll let you know as soon as I think of something", Emma promises.
And now her head hurts too.
3 days later and operation Red Eagle is underway. (Okat so maybe she watched too many crime thrillers at the weekend).
She sits quietly in her office, not moving in case she spooks them.
She can see them in the corridor, Will has just spilled a few droplets of water from his plastic cup onto Quinn's scarf.
Quinn's looking up at him through her long eyelashes as he apologises profusely, his fingertips stretching out to catch those offending droplets.
They linger there, and slowly, reluctantly, smooth down her scarf.
Emma can practically hear the sexual tension sparking between them.
She gives him a little smile, and he speaks sternly to a footballer who brushes roughly past her. Her smile widens.
Quinn nods slightly and reaches for the door handle to her office.
Will frowns again, but still almost trips over his own feet in his rush to hold the door open for her.
Emma waits until they are both sitting down opposite her, noticing how neither of them moved the chairs from where she had carefully positioned them, just close enough for their legs to graze if they happened to move forward at any point in the conversation.
Her eyes widen in innocence as glares of daggers strike her from each of them.
Folding her hands in her lap carefully she looks from one to the other.
She sees the way Quinn's eyes flicker longingly over the man sitting next to her.
She sees the way Will's eyes, filled with helpless devotion slide sadly over the young woman to his right.
She unfolds her hands and reaches into her top drawer for the appropriate pamphlet.
She pushes it across the desk towards them and speaks all in a rush, because she suddenly realises just how much rides on whether or not she has made the right decision.
"Okay… So… Will- you have an unstoppable desire to find out if you kisses will bring back Quinn's stunning smile...and Quinn, you have the constant urge to sing Busted's 'What I go to School For' and lick squirty cream off Will's chest…"
She takes a breath.
They both look understandably shell shocked, and she stands.
"Now, I am going to leave you safely away from prying eyes and ears for the next lesson, which you both have free, and you should talk about this".
With a final firm nod, she hurriedly leaves, abandoning the 'how to keep secrets' pamphlet on the desk and her unsuspecting victims to fate.
Of course, having made such a rash decision, she is going to watch the consequences, and has spent a while that morning arranging the blinds of her office in a certain way so that it is nearly impossible to see into it except in one particular spot.
She sits there, on the conveniently placed chair, and the corridors are deserted during the lesson but she has some paperwork just in case anyone walks past.
And she watches them talk.
It surprises her at how little awkwardness seems to precede their seemingly long and animated discussion.
She notices how Will is shaking his knee slightly and how Quinn is pulling at her necklace.
Then, no doubt from this, Quinn's necklace drops to the floor.
He picks it up quickly, and then they both stand.
Emma can imagine the quickened breathing as he moves smoothly behind her, his fingertips ghosting the curve of her neck.
Even from the distance, she can see Quinn's eyelids fluttering.
He finally touches her, his fingertips just flittering across the back of her neck as he fastens the necklace.
She steps backwards against him, and Quinn can't see but Emma can, the stupid grin Will gets as she does.
He whispers something in her ear.
She feels like there should be some kind of sappy love song playing in the background, with the overlay of their soft flirtatious exchange and breathy laughs.
Emma's so happy he has finally found someone to be all sweet and romantic with.
She can picture them sneaking into his apartment to cuddle on his couch and watch movies together and sing along in harmony to the soundtrack.
And she doesn't feel it's too harmful when there's only 3 months until Quinn graduates, and she already knows Quinn's likely to choose Ohio State for college, and only now realises this was probably mostly because she wants to be physically near Will, even when she didn't think she could be emotionally.
Then someone walks past in the corridor, and she deftly shuffles the paper on her lap and pretends to search for something.
The coast is clear again in a few short moments.
She realises she is smiling almost as much as the new couple.
She's going to have to go back in there soon, hopefully they will have at least exchanged phone numbers, and if not she can always suggest they do before they leave because, bless him, Will has never been that great at that kind of thing.
She supresses a giggle.
Because she can't see all that well now, as they are still standing up, but she can see that Will's lips are slanted over Quinn's, and his hands are firmly on her hips. He reaches one hand up to cup her cheek, his thumb tracing her cheekbone, gazing into her eyes.
She knows his eyes are welling up, and she is suddenly aware that she is intruding on their beautiful private moment together.
Quinn rocks forwards onto her tiptoes, brushing her lips to the side of his mouth, and their lips melt together in a credit-rolling worthy tender kiss.
They shift slightly as the kiss deepens, and Emma's eyes widen at the discovery that Quinn's hands are sliding up Will's chest underneath his shirt.
Well… That all happened very quickly.
She sits back in the seat, resigning herself for the wait until the very end of the lesson.
With one last grin at Will and Quinn; because that right there is why she became a guidance counsellor and not a weather girl.
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