Disclaimer: I own nothing. All belongs to Glee writers and creators.
A/N: This has nothing to do with the 'Huh'/'Weird' verse, but it has everything to do with last night's episode. Which inspired this. (Sort of Faberry if you squint, I guess.)
Spoilers: 2x11; I wouldn't read if you haven't seen the whole thing.
Up Against the Wall
Who said that it's better to have loved and lost?
I wish that I had never loved at all
-Boys Like Girls
Sam didn't know what he wanted to do more: kill Finn or confront Quinn. He was leaning toward the former, because after his girlfriend reached up and planted her plump, delicious lips against her ex-boyfriend's, all the guy could do was stand there. He didn't push her away. Sam saw him kiss her back. He knew he'd been kind of a d-bag to Finn this week, but he didn't think it warranted the guy stabbing him in the back like this.
He was just fucking standing there, like his mind had just gotten blown, and part of Sam understood how he felt. He felt it every time Quinn kissed him, too. Like the entire world had just fallen out from under him and the only thing that mattered was a little blonde angel. Right now Sam couldn't decide if that halo was there to hide horns or not.
Part of Sam just wanted to kill Finn, understanding be damned. He felt like he'd just been sucker punched. Like someone had literally grabbed him by the heart, shoved him into a wall, and then ripped it out. He couldn't breathe, and his heartlessness was making him cold and murderous, and he knew he couldn't go after Quinn right now for that exact reason. He still cared about her despite the betrayal he'd just witnessed.
He hated her all the more because of it.
He could feel his fists clenching and unclenching, like a pulse, at his sides, as he watched Finn touch his fingers to his lips and smile. And he wanted to make him feel what he was feeling right now. Like someone ripped his heart from his chest, like he was going to die because he couldn't breathe.
Some small part of Sam, however, managed to make him turn around. Somehow, he was facing the other way, and he marched away from the scene, fists bunching up and muscles screaming for release on something. He wanted to pummel something until it bled and scream until his throat was raw, because it felt like that was the only way to get this murderer out of his system. To get the pain out of his stomach that was making him want to throw up.
He flinched at the acid on his tongue, swallowing it fruitlessly down as his steps quickened him. He didn't know where he was going; he was a blind man in his mad march away from that scene where his girlfriend, his angel, turned out to be a wolf in sheep's clothing. And his 'buddy' turned out to be just as backstabbing as the rest of the damn glee club. No wonder no one liked anyone in this club. They were a bunch of manipulative, cruel, cheating, lying assholes!
He didn't realize what happened until he heard the gasp and clatter of the blinder hitting the wall. White papers flew out from it in a whoosh, fluttering over the room like snow. Actually, no. They were more like doves, or swans, landing gracefully in the water. Winged angels.
Sam winced and ground his teeth, his fists clenching again as he looked at the minor destruction he'd wreaked on the choir room.
"Sam?" a voice said softly, and it was familiar yet…his eyes widened in realization.
Rachel gazed at him cautiously from the other side of the piano, her brown eyes flickering toward the mess of papers and the binder with a flash of fear and back to him with concern and warmth in her eyes. The look she was giving him reminded him of this dumb thing he saw on some nature channel once. There was this mother wolf that was splitting up a couple of the puppies when they got too rough with the runt. The way she was taking care of the runt, looking at him…it was just like Rachel was right now.
"Are you all right?" she asked gently, and he realized why her voice sounded so foreign, even though it was obviously familiar.
He'd never heard her speak so quietly before. He liked it.
He tried to calm himself when he saw her glance anxiously toward the papers again. He didn't want to scare her, because this really wasn't her fault. He knew he could've blamed her. If she had only not cheated with Puck, then Finn would still be tied down and maybe he would've pushed Quinn away. Maybe Quinn wouldn't have done it at all. But Sam didn't blame Rachel, because who knew? Maybe they still would've given in to temptation. And then Rachel would've been truly betrayed, too. Again, really. He had more in common with Rachel than he'd realized.
Sam swallowed heavily, realizing he hadn't spoken in some time. "I'm okay."
It felt like his ears were plugged, like his voice was weird. Rachel frowned dubiously, but nodded, accepting his answer. Sam ventured nearer to his kindred spirit as she went back to reading over some sheet music. She made notations in pencil. She always did that, he noticed. Once she practically shrieked at him for using pen. He realized why, later, when he had to make a change and it ended up getting so messed up he had to ask Mr. Schue for a new copy altogether.
Sam's lip quirked a little. He felt himself calming down, and he didn't know if it was because of the memory, because of Rachel's presence, or simply because of not wanting to scare her. She glanced at him when he came into her line of vision, offered him a soft smile that made his heart beat a little slower, made his fists stop clenching so tight. He came as near as he dared, because he'd decided it was those last two things together. His conscience making it impossible to stay angry, to frighten her, and the quietness of her aura right now.
Though even in her silence, Sam noted she wasn't exactly calm. Always moving a little bit. When she was just reading instead of notating, her brown eyes flickered over the page at a rapid pace and her thumb swept across the edge of the page. Almost like she was petting it. He wondered if this was in place of the way her knee would bounce when she sat, or if it was something he just didn't notice before. He wondered where her energy came from. This constant buzzing of her body, like she just couldn't sit still. So busy, like she didn't want to waste a minute of life.
It was so opposite of him. He was so laid back. He had all the time in the world. And yet, this was…it felt nice, being around Rachel's energetic company. Quinn always said it was annoying how she was always on the move, couldn't just sit down and stop, just feel for a minute. Then again, she seemed to hate everything about Rachel.
Sam tilted his head at the brunette. He didn't really see why. He knew Rachel had told Finn that Puck was the father. He could see where Quinn would be pissed about that, but that didn't seem to be where it came from. Most of the time, Sam felt like Quinn just wanted to ignore Rachel, wanted her to disappear, for some reason. Like if she pretended she didn't exist…well, he wasn't sure what the goal was. He just knew that's what it seemed like.
Come to think of it, he didn't really know the reason Quinn did anything she did. Part of what attracted him to her: the mystery. Now that this had happened, it had lost its charm, he reflected with a tightened fist.
Quinn seemed independent, almost godlike. Above everyone. She certainly looked like a goddess. She made decisions by herself, without talking to him. She didn't like to talk about herself either. She didn't really reveal anything about herself to anyone, even when she did talk. It was all about observing the other person, finding their weaknesses, coaxing out the information she wanted. Sam didn't know anything about her.
Her back and forth with the Cheerios thing, he never could have predicted. He may have defended her decision, but he thought she would stick with glee. It was something they could do together, and one thing he did know about her was that she did love glee club. He never saw her smile more than when they were in that room, singing and dancing.
Rachel sighed irritably, erasing a mark on the page furiously, and Sam's eyes narrowed. Rachel…Rachel knew exactly what Quinn was going to do. Immediately, without thought.
'Well, obviously Quinn is going to choose the Cheerios.'
'Hold on, that's not fair; you don't know what she's gonna do.'
That's what Finn said. Sam shoved off the anger boiling in his gut at the thought of his 'friend,' instead focusing his eyes, ears—everything—on Rachel.
"You knew Quinn would pick the Cheerios," he said flatly.
She met his eyes, frowning in uncertainty. "Yes?"
Her confusion might've been endearing, he didn't know. He wanted more information.
"How?" he prodded.
Rachel's brow knit, her thumb ceased stroking the page, and her head tilted back. He waited impatiently, fidgeting with the edge of the piano while she looked for the answer on the ceiling. Then she finally sighed and looked back to him, shrugging.
"Glee club is important to Quinn; don't get me wrong. The support we give, the freedom it gives her, it truly means a lot. Glee club offers her something that's rare for her to find: real happiness," she explained calmly, and Sam leaned over, soaking in every word, like he'd found the key to the Garden of Eden. "But the Cheerios offer an even greater prize: peace. If she's popular, she has everything she wants. Teacher's respect, free passes on poor behavior, rule of the student body, proud parents, and most importantly, she won't look as alone as she truly feels. Not to mention, those chunks of her life she lost last year are back together, for the most part, and she can go on pretending that the emptiness she feels means nothing. With the Cheerios, she has a different kind of freedom, the kind she craves, and the kind she knows how to handle. The kind that doesn't scare her."
Sam could only gape, for several moments, while Rachel merely dipped her chin and returned to her sheet music. He noted absently that she picked up right where she left off, as though that speech took her no effort whatsoever. Like she was just speaking of the weather, or singing. Yeah, singing was a better analogy. Something she knew, inside and out, like it was embedded in her soul. She just knew it.
He scrabbled for more. "But she came back to glee. She chose us in the end."
"Santana and Brittany came with her, no?" she replied, a little smile on her face. "The three best Cheerios dropped out at the last second, leaving the squad too flustered and frenzied to perform well. She knew they would lose, their popularity would go down, and that would save her from a complete downward spiral." She paused thoughtfully. "However, I wonder what she intends to do to fill the gap."
He frowned. "What do you mean?"
She sighed. "Well, she's saved her popularity for the most part, but the Cheerios offered her protection she no longer has, and the uniform itself represented her return to greatness. Without it, a chunk has fallen out of what she has so carefully put back together. She's going to be looking for something to patch back into place to make up for it."
Sam stared. Finn. That was what she was patching back up. As long as she had the Cheerios, she didn't really need the whole package she had last year—the captain and quarterback of the football team. Without the Cheerios…it was goodbye, Sam. He wasn't good enough anymore. If he wanted to be, he'd have to get that captaincy, and there was no way that would happen with the Golden Boy of McKinley hanging about.
He shook his head ruefully at the girl across from him. So much more alike than they thought. They would always be second best—to Finn and Quinn—no matter how they tried, no matter what they did.
He didn't know how to feel, knowing his relationship was probably on the verge of ending. Except grateful for Rachel, for her unintentional warning of what was ahead. Now he just had to decide what to do with that knowledge. Let the relationship die, let Quinn have the control like she always wanted? Or take the hatchet to it himself, take control because of her betrayal? He didn't know at this point, and he felt too…exhausted to figure it out.
A clearing throat distracted him. "Would you like help picking those up?" Rachel asked, her voice bright and cheerful again as she tilted her head toward the mess he'd made.
He glanced over himself and almost snorted at what his rage had done. It was going to take forever to sort his algebra notes back out. He cracked a grin at his kindred spirit, not its usual power or anything, but it still made her brighten right up.
She abandoned her sheet music and pencil, and they walked together to the spread of white papers, hurriedly snatching them together. Sam almost laughed when he saw that she was carefully stacking them in her lap, placing them right side up and everything while he just dumped them in a pile. The girl was pretty cool when she wasn't shrieking or fighting with people over dumb stuff, he thought. She really just seemed like…lonely. Like she could use a friend.
And she really deserved one, he thought. He smiled a little at her, and when she smiled back widely upon catching his gaze, he again had to wonder why Quinn hated her so much. So he asked. Rachel was the font of all Quinn knowledge, after all.
"Why does Quinn hate you so much?"
Rachel's smile fell, and the sight immediately made him want to apologize, but she took a breath like she was going to speak. She bit her lip and averted her eyes, sliding another two papers neatly into her lap before she gave in to his questioning gaze.
"She doesn't hate me so much as she fears me," she murmured.
Sam's brow crinkled, and he opened his mouth to further question her, but he only got so far as 'what' before she cut him off with a blinding smile.
"Why don't we straighten these out during lunch today? We can eat in here, so no one would have to see you with me, and it really looks like you could use the help," she said wryly, and he chuckled weakly.
"Yeah. Yeah, thanks."
They exchanged another quiet smile, and as Sam shuffled his papers into a neater pile, he thought that maybe, with his kindred spirit around, things wouldn't be too bad.