A/N: I'm officially in love with Plaid and Tight Jeans Rachel and Quinn's Hair (which the second one is nothing new, but this episode…aaahhh…zee hair). So…I hope you like how completely insane this went toward the end. Definitely not following canon in the least anymore. Also, I know some people wanted me to do Samchel, and I aim to please, but…I'm sorry, my heart belongs to Faberry. I just couldn't do it. There will, however, be tons of Samchel friendship in this one.

Spoilers: 2x13

Hero/Heroine

You caught me off-guard

Now I'm running and screaming

Boys Like Girls

Finn was right. Rachel didn't know why, but over the past few weeks of flying solo, being on her own, she had felt more herself than she had in months. Perhaps this was why all the greats made it alone, as Mercedes had said. A relationship complicates and changes things, takes your focus away from what's important for you to succeed. Or at least that's what her relationship with Finn had done to her.

Finn made her feel good about herself in the worst way possible. She had him, which meant she didn't need anything else in the world. He was on her side, why should she bother caring about others? She'd forgotten how good it felt to do that. Forgotten how nice it was to sing with other people and not only raise them up, but listen to them praise you. And not just because you were too talented for them not to recognize it, but because you actually brought them to their feet and made them feel something.

Being with Finn had erased those lessons in her head. Or…maybe they had just been thrown out, and only now in singing with Mercedes and having friends and feeling genuinely good about herself—not just because she had something she wanted, but because she had people around her who understood her and wanted to be around her and lifted her up—were those lessons being dug back out and polished back to their original shine. And it made her feel good.

Better than hearing 'I love you' before a performance.

"I bet you're pleased as punch right now."

Rachel whipped on her heel, though she was unsurprised when she was met with a cocked eyebrow and blazing hazel eyes. Quinn was furious, and the brunette knew exactly why. Yet again, things hadn't gone her way, and she had but one person to blame for that. Perhaps two, actually, considering Santana's constant intrusions into people's love lives.

Sometimes Rachel wondered if Santana was really to blame for all the trouble she caused, though. Sure, she pressed buttons, stirred pots, etc. But if there were no weaknesses to be found in a relationship, nothing with which to cause trouble, then the Latina wouldn't be able to act as a catalyst. All Santana really did was bring the relationship to a swifter destruction.

But anyway, as to Quinn, she had only herself to blame for what had occurred between herself, Sam, and Finn. Which meant, of course, that she had to take it out on her favorite punching bag, the reason she always did whatever she had done. Rachel sighed in preparation for battle; Quinn was nearly impossible to communicate with when she was in one of these temper tantrums.

"And why would that be?" the brunette prompted lightly, and the blonde rolled her eyes.

"Oh, please, like things didn't turn out exactly the way you wanted them to? Again?" she snapped, crossing her arms over the carousel horse on her chest.

Rachel fought a snicker at the reminder that Quinn was clad in a style she had so often sneered at. Not that she had ever actually disliked it, rather finding it cute, but she still wouldn't have been caught dead in it before.

"I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about." Lie. But Quinn needed to say it aloud, voice those wicked thoughts running around inside so Rachel could expel them with a flick of the wrist.

"Don't play stupid," she snarled, advancing on her in all her restless energy, anger crackling off of her and impaling the brunette through fiery eyes. This was when she most reminded Rachel of a wildcat: gorgeous, dangerous, and completely unpredictable. "Santana snatched up Sam just when I was about to commit to him, leaving me sprawled on my ass and Finn free for you to snare, and we both know he has too much pride to come back to me knowing that I wanted Sam over him."

"I have no interest in reentering into a relationship with Finn," Rachel said plainly, and Quinn's step faltered. She scoffed in disbelief, recovering from her mistake. She was close enough for the brunette to see her swallow. "It clearly only leads to disaster; we're much better off as friends. And I believe you have Santana to blame for Sam's abrupt departure from your arms, not myself."

"Like you wouldn't stoop low enough to put her up to it," she retorted sardonically, probing for more of that sweet confirmation she'd just been given. "You just couldn't stand the fact that both Sam and Finn wanted me and not you."

Her hands went to her hips, uncovering her heaving chest, and the brunette paused to survey the blonde, a small smile lifting up the corners of her mouth. That chest was rising and falling rapidly beneath the sweater, her skin flushed a slightly darker shade than normal, her tongue peeking out to swipe over dry lips while dark hazel eyes flickered over their prey, widening a little in eagerness for a long-awaited reply. So beautiful.

Rachel's smile went full-blown, teasing and playful. "You're absolutely right—about part of it. I didn't like that they wanted you. However, you're incorrect in assuming I would put Santana up to the task of stealing Sam out from underneath you, when I could've simply done the job myself, as I did with Finn."

Quinn's eyes narrowed instantly, boring into hers, as though she could divine the implication of her words if she only stared long enough. The brunette smirked lazily, idly wondering if she was putting herself among the nominees for the Sadist of the Year Award with this interaction alone. Stringing the blonde along, making her wonder which way her words should be taken, teasing and taunting at something that was most definitely there, but the ex-cheerleader would never act on.

Rachel turned her body just enough to spark more words from the blonde, knowing that now that she had her talking, she would keep probing until she found out what she wanted.

"Well then, tell me, O Wise One," Quinn snarked, stepping to closer to block the brunette's progress away from her. She swallowed. "Why did Santana do it then?"

She shrugged. "I have no idea."

Her eyebrow lifted higher on her forehead, raising Rachel's temperature with it. She ghosted her hands along her own arms, rubbing down goose bumps that had suddenly sprung up, and folded her arms to make the motion look complete.

"Oh, come on. You seem to think you're a freaking guru when it comes to everyone else," Quinn taunted, shifting closer again. "You must have some inkling about why she did it."

"Santana's motivations are a complete mystery to me," Rachel retorted, and she was further aggravated to find that she indeed sounded irritated by Quinn's words. She was, of course (she most certainly did not think she knew everything about everyone; she wasn't that conceited). But there was no need to let the blonde know that. "You're the only one I know like that."

There was a hitch of breath and then silence. Rachel avoided her gaze with all her might, tightening her jaw and chastising herself for getting so far carried away in her irritation. It was always her downfall, making her reveal too much—making her say things that were going to alienate Quinn more than ever before.

"You don't know me," Quinn snapped suddenly, and if the brunette hadn't heard the wavering of her voice, she would've thought she was genuinely angry at the insinuation. "You don't know anything about me."

Rachel bristled. She couldn't help it. The result would've been the same had anyone else made the statement, and even coming from a source that had every right to dispute her claim…it was insulting. If there were two things the diva knew—really knew, in her heart, down to her soul—it was singing and Quinn Fabray. She didn't understand it most of the time, had even been annoyed by it the first time, when she realized no one else was understanding why Quinn was refusing to go onstage and perform a recital their third grade class had been rehearsing for weeks.

It wasn't that she was unprepared or had real stage fright like the rest of them. She was scared people were going to throw tomatoes at her like in the cartoons. Simple as that.

So hearing this, even from Quinn's lips…. It was as though someone had told Rachel she was tone deaf.

Her head snapped up and her brown eyes narrowed on the visibly shaken blonde, who leaned backward at the intense gaze she was being locked under.

"I don't? Really?" She took a brave step forward, and Quinn backed accordingly. "So you don't avoid using red lipstick because you think it makes you like a vampire groupie, when in all actuality it just makes you look even more alluring than you already are? You don't steer clear of hugging or touching other people because you're afraid it makes you look weak? You didn't start pulling away from Mercedes because you felt she was too close to finding the real you? You don't think about joining clubs outside of glee just to avoid having to go home? You didn't decide you want Sam over Finn because he has spent the last week acting as shameless and confident and unafraid as I do every day?"

Quinn looked like a kitten being backed into a corner. Her eyes kept flickering all over the hallway, looking for an escape she just couldn't seem to find, trapped under chocolate eyes and a merciless voice. Her skin had gone pale, as though a chill had settled over her in place of the heat she felt earlier, and her breaths came in short pants, like she just couldn't suck in enough oxygen. It was a sharp contrast to the fierce, angry wildcat she had presented before, and Rachel knew she hated feeling this weak, but she couldn't seem to stop herself from pressing on.

She took a breath, and the blonde forced a scoff that ripped out of her throat in a way that sounded almost painful. As though she was choking on it.

"You're insane," she said, voice trembling wildly. She tripped backward a couple of steps, and the brunette followed before she could stop herself.

"I'm scaring you, aren't I?" she asked morosely, and hesitantly reached to grab a pale hand in her own. She was tentative about it, only brushing her fingers against the soft flesh, but Quinn instantly froze. "I don't mean to," she continued in a whisper, wrapping her digits around her hand more firmly, tucking them into the crook her palm created. "I can't help knowing you, Quinn. I can't explain it. I just do. Like I know that…if I kissed you right now—" the blonde's breathing stopped entirely, and the brunette's eyes darted from her slightly parted lips to her wide, questioning, hopeful hazel gaze "—you wouldn't stop me.

"And…new Rachel, she would ignore that, you know? Because Finn Hudson and Broadway are the only things that are supposed to matter. It would be easier for you, I know." She smiled sympathetically at the shell-shocked girl, sobering when her gaze traveled back down to beautifully pink lips. "But old Rachel, she wouldn't be able to resist. She wouldn't be able to stop herself from doing something about what's between us right now. What's between us every time we don't make a point of ignoring it." She bit her lip, leaning ever closer, into the frozen ex-cheerleader's space. She sucked in a breath. "And she's back."

And with that, Rachel's lips were on Quinn's, and heat flooded to her core with such rapidity she went lightheaded. Either that or it was the touch of those soft lips to hers, she couldn't tell. All she knew was that 'fireworks' didn't even begin to describe this feeling, and yet again Finn Hudson needed a vocabulary lesson. She had never felt more on fire for another person, never wanted to feel another person's skin so badly, never thought she might faint from an overload of pleasure—just smelling their scent and feeling their unmoving lips and their body heat against her own.

She was going to end it there, pull away, not continue to force herself on the other girl. It had only lasted a few seconds, but it was enough heaven for her to wait. A little taste to hold her over. Quinn had other plans.

The blonde whimpered against her lips, as though she was fighting some inner pain and had been burnt, and in the next second, Rachel felt fingers and nails gripping at the back of her neck and pulling her upward into a mouth that was crashing down, and what had begun as something so innocent and chaste turned lustful and desperate. Quinn worked at her mouth frantically, urging her to open up to her and trying everything in the process—nipping at her lip and then soothing it with her tongue, whimpering pleadingly, and all the while burrowing her hands into brunette locks and holding her there. As if she had plans to be somewhere else.

She was behaving like a starving animal, desperate and begging for more than the crumb she'd been given, and Rachel was overwhelmed by how much she was wanted in that moment. She braced her hands on Quinn's sides, needing the solid physical anchor in all this passion, squeezing her legs together because this demanding yet beseeching, fervent yet gentle kiss from this beautifully dangerous, treacherously gorgeous woman was turning her on beyond belief, and she needed release and needed to lock her knees just to stay standing.

She opened up her mouth at last, and Quinn dove in as though she was afraid that at any moment Rachel would change her mind and take it back, and then she slowed—just the tiniest bit—remaining frantic, but working more carefully to draw moans of pleasure from the singer's throat, massaging her tongue and dragging her hands from her neck to her cheeks, taking plenty of chocolate hair with her and effectively messing up the carefully straightened do. And it was only when their lips parted enough for the brunette to whimper, a weak, "Oh, God" filling the hallway, that it came to an abrupt ending.

Rachel's shoulders were shoved and her back impacted roughly with the lockers, and she doubled over to pant in recovery—both from the kiss and the dizzying trip she had just taken. She clutched her stomach, chancing a glance up at the blonde who—she looked a mess. Her lips were red, swollen, her skin paler than ever, her hair was snarled and mussed from the hands that were buried in it, clutching her head as tears streaked down her cheeks. The brunette felt like crying herself, in sympathy for the pain in those hazel eyes, in guilt and shame for causing it so soon. Before she was ready.

"You…you sick pervert," Quinn choked out, trying to sound angry and only managing frightened. "What did you do to me?" Her shaking fingers ghosted over her lips and her breaths shortened. "You stay away from me. Hear me? Do you? Stay away, you freaking dyke, you sicko!" She was screeching by this point, and Rachel stayed in place against the lockers, trying not to let it show—just how much she wanted to throw up, that is. "I'm not gay!" She sobbed then, and started repeating it like a mantra. "I'm not gay, I'm not gay, I'm not, I'm not, I'm not, I'm not."

She wasn't even looking at Rachel anymore, just staring into space at some unseen phantom who must've been saying, 'you are, you are, you are', and crying—so hard she was barely getting the words out—and clutching at chunks of her hair and the brunette couldn't take seeing her like this. Haunted and broken like a record, and she had caused it. She shamefully, cautiously leaned forward, reaching for her hand, but Quinn must've caught sight of the movement and whirled on her, her eyes wide and ablaze and—not Quinn. Fiery, yes, but hateful. Her hazel eyes weren't hateful. Ever.

Rachel rocked back against the lockers in shock and alarm and shame, because she'd done that.

"Don't fucking touch me, bitch!" the blonde roared, and though she was still a safe few feet away, Rachel cowered. "Didn't you hear me? Don't ever touch me! Stay the fuck away from me! I hate you!"

It was the brunette's turn to sob, and she didn't hold back, because Quinn really did hate her in this moment. And she deserved every bit of it. She wanted to hold back for the blonde's sake, just because it wasn't her right to cry, but the tears flowed and she couldn't seem to stem them once it began. But she didn't move toward her again. She stayed glued to the lockers and took the verbal abuse she'd provoked.

Quinn wiped her sleeve roughly across her nose, backing away and pointing accusingly at her with a shaking hand, her eyes still wide with fury. "You sick, sick bi—"

"Hey!"

Both girls jumped at the intrusion in their once-private bubble, and Rachel didn't know whether to be relieved or not when she spied Sam running toward them. He was glaring at Quinn as he slid in front of the brunette, making a wall of himself and protecting her from the hate seething off the other girl.

"Don't talk to her like that, Quinn," he said harshly, and Rachel winced with each syllable, because this was so not what the blonde needed right now. And she wanted to say something, to defend her, but she couldn't. For the first time in her life, her vocal cords weren't producing sound. It was horrifying. "Why don't you just back off and go calm down, all right?"

"Why don't you just get her the fuck out of my sight?" she snarled back, and Sam lowered his raised hands when Rachel heard the sound of fabric sliding against metal.

He shook his blond head. "Fine. Just stay over there," he warned.

He turned on his heel after a moment confirming that the blonde would stay put, and then his expression of anger melted into concern and a little confusion. But like the good guy he was, he didn't let the confusion take over. Instead he surged forward and pressed a gentle hand to Rachel's shoulder, looking her over for injuries before prompting softly, "You all right?"

She couldn't speak. Not one sound passed between her lips. All she could do was nod, and Sam smiled tenderly at her before ushering her with a soft 'come on', and for a moment, Rachel could see Quinn. The blonde had plastered herself to the opposite lockers, looking wild and unkempt and like a caged wildcat now. So frightened, yet still beautiful.

She caught Rachel looking at her and instantly went on the defensive, yelling, "Get her away from me!"

Sam quickened his pace and the brunette ducked beneath the safety of his strong arm, ignoring his expression of adorable confusion in favor of inhaling the scent of his cologne on his hoodie. Quinn needed someone right now, but her presence would only make things worse, much as she hated to leave her like this. And she did. It was making her feel sick, and only Sam's arm around her was keeping her upright and mobile, and when they hit the parking lot, even that wasn't enough.

Rachel's knees buckled and she sobbed. It hitched when Sam caught her and lowered them both to the ground, holding her and stroking her hair and pressing a light kiss to the top of her head while she clutched at his sweater and sobbed away the pain and regret and guilt of what she had just done to Quinn.

And in that moment, she hated herself, too.

XXXXXX

Brittany sauntered down the vacant hallways in her brand new Rachel wear, feeling a bit like the toddler she once was in the clothes and the empty school. Somehow it felt bigger when no one was in it, and that was why she bothered to hang around after school. Well, and her mom worked late sometimes, so she had to wait for her to pick her up.

But really. She liked the feeling of being a child again: carefree, happy. Something her friends never seemed to be.

She frowned when she remembered what Santana used to tell her when she asked why she and Q were always sad now. She didn't remember when it started. She just knew that one day it seemed like they stopped smiling and joking. And they never wanted to play anymore. And suddenly they were just so serious all the time, and it made Brittany sad with and for them.

So she would ask, and San would smile and squeeze her hand and say, "I'm happy when I'm with you, B."

That always cheered her up until she realized that…well, who was Q happy with? It usually ended up going to the back of her mind, because Q was really, what was the word? Self-sufficient. That's exactly what she was, so Brittany didn't often think about it.

But when she turned the corner to find her blonde counterpart crumpled on the floor and bawling her eyes out, it was at the front of her mind. And it was all she could think about.

She hurried to her friend's side and kneeled next to her, looking to make sure there was no blood anywhere as she asked anxiously, "Q? Quinn? Are you okay?"

Q's blonde head lifted from the cushion of her arms, and her sad pretty eyes were filled with tears as she looked up at Brittany and whimpered defiantly, "I'm not gay. I'm not." And then grabbed her around the waist and started crying again.

Brittany could only blink as she thought about what her friend just said, her hand already moving to stroke her back and hair without really thinking about it. And she realized that that's why Q was so sad all the time. Brittany thought she knew all this time. She would've told her if she thought she didn't, and now—things were going to be really rough for poor Q.

She sighed and stroked her head gently. "Oh, my Quinn."

XXXXXX

A/N: I don't think I've ever legitimately done 'Afraid to be Gay Fabray' before. Let me know how I did.