Author's Note: Happy Hanukkah to all of my Jewish readers! =)
There was a brief, flickering moment right before sectionals her junior year in which Quinn Fabray contemplated dropping out of glee club. If things like Babygate '09 and Finchelgate '10 were going to keep happening then it really, really wasn't worth the headache to stay in. It had been leaked that Finn slept with Santana the previous school year and then lied to Rachel, repeatedly, about the entire ordeal. It's not like it was a huge secret or anything; anyone Santana approached always gave in. Rachel was just too oblivious to see it.
Quinn obviously stayed in glee club; she and Sam performed the duet that was supposed to be Finn and Rachel's and they got a standing ovation, as did Santana for her solo. She again contemplated quitting after the judges results when she found Sam pressed up against one of the Dalton Warblers with way too much tongue action happening for almost anyone's liking. It's not like she was attracted to him in the first place but she was still pretty pissed; he was good for her reputation and she really didn't want to be labeled as the girl who went from two extremes of getting knocked up and then unknowingly dating a gay guy. They split and created the story that it just wasn't right timing or something like that.
One good thing, Quinn thought at first, was that Rachel was finally quiet in glee club. She didn't interject her over-the-top ideas or demand to have all of the solos. Mostly she just sat in the front row with her eyes cast downward and scuffing her shoes on the linoleum tiles. It was fine for a few days until everyone realized that the silence was creating really awkward tension and no one could get through rehearsal because they'd all become accustomed to being criticized and now everyone was off key and out of step because no one bothered to correct them.
It was suggested at one point that someone go talk to Rachel to pull her out of her misery. Unfortunately, no one really knew what to say beyond, "Sorry your boyfriend slept with the school bicycle." And no one dared to repeat it after Santana almost punched Mercedes for suggesting it.
Quinn didn't intentionally sign up for the job; it was a complete accident. She skipped third period (because, really, any idiot with half a brain could pass Creative Writing without even going to class) and found herself wandering into the auditorium and up on stage. She ran her fingers across the keys of the upright piano and again over the strings of the acoustic guitar on its stand before settling on center stage and pulling out a book.
"Quinn?" A small, raspy voice snapped Quinn's attention from her book to stage left where Rachel was standing with her fingers clasped in front of her and eyes red.
"Am I interrupting?"
Quinn shook her head and held up To Kill a Mockingbird. "Just reading ahead."
"Are you just going to stand there and watch me or do you want to sit down, Berry?"
Rachel timidly shuffled to center stage and sat gracefully in front of Quinn. She wiped her eyes and sniffled a few times before clasping her hands in her lap and looking down at the stage.
"How have you been?" Rachel asked quietly.
"I've been better."
"You're still mad about Finn? It's been like, a week."
"I loved him and all he ever did was lie to me. Forgive me for not immediately bouncing back."
Quinn shrugged and looked back down at her book. If Rachel was going to be a downer then that was her problem.
"I was going to have him meet my family for Hanukkah. He's met my dads, of course, but the remainder of my family is scheduled to be in Lima for the last few days of the holiday and I had planned for an extra guest."
"It was a very large step. The next, of course, being intercour-"
"Whoa," Quinn snapped her head up and held up a silencing hand, "Just…stop. Stop right there and don't say anything else."
There was silence as Quinn went back to her book, looking at the words but not really focusing, and Rachel reached down to pick at the tape peeling up from the stage. Quinn darted up to look at the girl across from her and sighed. Rachel was broken. Completely and utterly broken. Quinn remembered what it was like to be there: the feeling of being alone, of having no one to talk to, no one that seemed to care. Even though Rachel was annoying and harsh, no one deserved to feel alone like that.
Quinn shut her book and tucked it away in her bag.
"Is there like…anything I can do?"
Rachel shrugged. "All I've ever really wanted was a friend, you know?"
"I used to ask my dads for one for Hanukkah and Christmas."
"That's…" 'pathetic' was on the tip of Quinn's tongue but she bit it back. "I used to ask for a unicorn."
"Both mythical beings," Rachel snorted.
"That's not…it's not true."
"I didn't see anyone flock to me in my time of need like they did for you, Quinn. You think I didn't noticed how everyone banded together for you and Finn to present you with a ballad when all I've ever gotten is a half-hearted attempt at revenge against Vocal Adrenaline for egging me? An attempt that was preceded with being told that being humiliated is only allowed by one's own team members?"
There wasn't an argument against that and they both knew it. Quinn could only sigh and reluctantly extend an olive branch.
"I'll do Hanukkah with you."
Rachel's head snapped up and she stared into Quinn's eyes in complete disbelief. Quinn nodded a little to assure the other girl that she was completely serious in her offer. She had almost no idea what Hanukkah was about thanks to her very closed-off Catholic upbringing and Puck's family not really doing much of anything for the holiday while she was living there but she figured that as long as there wasn't a human sacrifice or anything that it couldn't be that hard.
"I…I don't know what to say."
"That's a first."
"This honestly means a lot to me, Quinn. Thank you."
"You're not going to, like, sacrifice me or anything are you?"
"Not until the eighth night."
Quinn's mouth went dry and she pushed away a little before Rachel burst into laughter and went almost limp. The blonde crossed her arms over her chest and scowled, not finding the joke funny in the slightest.
"You should've seen the look on your face, Quinn," Rachel gasped. She giggled a few more times before sitting up and smiling widely. "I haven't laughed that hard in quite some time. I thank you for the entertainment."
"It was quite funny."
"Whatever." The corners of Quinn's mouth twitched and she looked away to try to hide the beginnings of a smile. The bell rang signaling it was time for fourth period and Quinn gathered her things and walked with Rachel off stage to the auditorium doors.
"Hanukkah begins tomorrow at sundown," Rachel said before they parted ways. "You can come home with me after school if you like. It won't be anything formal. We can plan the remainder of the details this afternoon."
Quinn nodded. "Alright. See you later."
Rachel beamed. "See you later, Quinn."