A/N Ratings and disclaimers from Chapter One apply.
I appreciate your reading and your comments. This is mostly Faberry with a dash of Santana and heaping helping of Judy Fabray. Warning up? Not easy going.
[And, as one of my lovely readers has asked? No, the events of last night's Glee episode (which I enjoyed, BTW) will not have any impact on this story. Canon characters and storyline aren't mine. This is only my version of them and YMMV. It's AU and staying that way. And there are geek references to Star Trek Voyager. Sorry. I'm always gonna be SciFi like that.]
As they pulled apart, Rachel said, "Let me take you home and we can talk about it, okay?"
Quinn nodded as she wiped her eyes, "We'll have privacy. Mom's taking her real estate license exam today."
Quinn sniffed and rummaged through her bag, pulled out a tissue and wiped her nose, "Yeah. She's been taking courses. Dad pays alimony but she wants to make her own money."
Rachel started the car, "That should make you very proud of her, Quinn."
"It does, but it also makes me sad a little. We have enough money but I know she wants more so she can do better for me. My father doesn't have to pay child support because I'm emancipated."
Rachel kept her eye on the road but reached over to pat Quinn's leg, "That's what loving parents do, baby. They go the extra mile to provide for their children. I'm proud of her for doing that for you and for her streak of independence. She's still a relatively young woman and she can make a new life for herself. You'll only be at home for another two years and it's good that she's taking the steps not only to help you but to grow into the next part of her life."
Quinn grinned at Rachel's profile, "How'd you get so smart?"
"A steady diet of Lifetime movies."
A stunned pause.
"Oh thank God."
As Rachel placed Quinn's bag on the kitchen table, she said, "I know this is your house but can I get us something to drink?"
"There's some organic carrot apple ginger juice in the fridge."
"Really? That's my favorite!"
Quinn smiled, "I happen to know that. Glasses are in the second cabinet to the left of the fridge."
As Rachel poured the juice into the glasses, she said, "You're the best not-girlfriend ever." She thought about that for a moment then said, "I apologize. That probably sounded incredibly insensitive to your feelings."
"No problem and about the juice? I aim to please, ma'am."
Rachel was visibly relieved that she hadn't hurt the other girl. "And that you do."
They both took a seat after Rachel again helped Quinn elevate her leg.
Quinn sipped at her juice and stared at the table.
Rachel finally broke the silence, "Eyes up, unfairly beautiful girl." Quinn looked up and saw the other girl smiling sweetly at her, "This is the part where you tell me why you were so angry after Glee and why you think you need therapy. In case you missed our bookmark in the conversation."
Quinn rolled her eyes, "Oh, that's right, now I know why I called this meeting. Anyway, you know how hard it is for me to talk about my feelings, don't you?"
"And you know I've been so conditioned by my family and their version of religion that I find it doubly, no feel free to quadruple that, difficult to talk about sexual issues?"
Rachel nodded again.
"Let me preface this by saying that I know, I knowIknowIknow that the tango you did with Brit Brit was pure theater but…when I watched it? Can you please just listen to this next part without interjecting anything? I need to say it all. And some of it won't be nice."
"When I watched it, watched you performing a dance version of sex, I was filled…no—let me use the cliché because it fits—I felt so consumed with rage I couldn't believe it. It literally took my breath away. The idea that you'd give yourself to…"
She shook her head as her face flushed bright red and continued, "I'm telling you this because I want to be honest but I know it's fucked up okay? Just the idea, that visual, that you'd ever be with anyone but me made me want…it made me to hurt you, Rachel."
She took a few panicky breaths through her nose. "And I understand that means I'm possessive…sexually possessive of you at a level that scares me. News flash! I know that's completely wrong and pathological and naturally I wouldn't and won't hurt you because I really love you so much but it…it frightened me that those thoughts popped into my head without my wanting them there. And I forced them down but all I could think about during Glee was getting out into the hall and humiliating and hurting everyone in my path because only that could give me relief. And again, I know it's fucked up. But that's how I deal with insecurity and it has to change. I mean, it has to. I'm completely fucked up emotionally and I need help. I can say this for myself. Even though I felt it, I saw it from a distance today and I kept my mouth shut and tried to get away from you because I was scared I'd say something mean and I sort of did but I didn't do anything to anybody else because I kept my mind on you and what you'd want me to do. But then I suddenly knew that all I wanted to do was tell you and only you, explain myself to you even if it made you hate me for how messed up I am."
She took a few deep breaths and Rachel thought she'd never seen anyone looking so defeated, so deflated.
"Thank you for explaining and I don't hate you, Quinn. Our friendship, the esteem I have for you? They're not one bit diminished. I'm not shocked or frightened or even the least bit weirded-out by what you've just told me. Remember, I've known you for a decade. But, yes baby, you do need help. You may be able to stop your behavior but your feelings will keep coming up unless they're addressed. You need help so you don't have those feelings anymore, so you can have a happier life. And so it's two for two for the Fabray ladies today. I'm proud of you for recognizing what you need and you should be proud of yourself."
Quinn stared at Rachel, "I'm proud of my mom but I'm not proud of myself. For what? I'm completely fucked-up. Yay? Go team go?"
"Very well. You'll work up to pride. Let me ask you this. Do you think your mother will support you in your seeking therapy?"
Quinn thought about it for a long few moments. "I think she will. She's really trying to be more supportive. I mean, I know she'll pay for it if I ask and she shamed my father into paying for my health insurance. But she'll probably want to know why."
"Okay, and what will you tell her?"
"What do you think I should tell her?"
"I think it's your decision."
"I guess…I could tell her it was about adjusting after the divorce and Beth."
"Yes, that's true. You could lie about it."
"You think I should tell her the truth?"
"I think you should tell her what will further a more honest relationship. My two cents."
"But…" Quinn sat with the thought and sighed, "I don't know how to say it, Rachel. How can I say it?"
Rachel bit her lip then said, "Do you want me to help you tell her?"
Quinn looked up hopefully, "Would you?"
Rachel sighed deeply, "Yes. But before you agree to that? Understand if I talk to her about your problem, I'll have to be more pointed with her than with you. When we talk about what you do, we both already know and it's shorthand. As harsh as it sounded when I talked with you, it would have to be a lot more graphic for her to understand what you've been doing. Do you see my point?"
"I do. I think you should do it because I think I'm already choking about thinking about telling her what I've been doing—and you never choke."
"No. I don't. My fathers did a lot of research into the best therapists in Lima dealing with teenage violence and—"
"I don't want to see yours. Conflict of interest."
"Fine—they had the name of a female doctor as well."
"Good. I'd rather talk to a woman."
"And obviously, she'll be gay-friendly so no worries there."
"Right. Gays R Us."
"Something like that." They looked at each other for a few moments before Rachel said, "Quinn, I'm feeling a little trepidation about talking to your mother. I will, of course, but it will sound so…"
"What—like what it actually has been?"
"Yes, and I have visuals but I wouldn't hurt your feelings when you need my support more for anything in the world."
"Yes. Screenshots and photos."
Quinn felt a ripple of horror run over her skin but said, "Maybe I need to hear and see it, Rachel."
"Maybe you do. But the messenger bearing bad news doesn't always want to give it. Do you understand that?"
"I wish I hadn't given you bad news to bear. And that sounded almost like Bad News Bears. I'd never thought of that."
"I prefer the original movie."
"We're aesthetes, Quinn."
"Keep telling yourself that."
"I'll have dad call that woman doctor whose name escapes me and tomorrow we'll talk to your mom, if she's free."
"She'll be free. I'll make sure."
"I'd better go so dad can catch the doctor." Rachel pulled Quinn into a tight hug, "I'm here. I'll be here tomorrow and no matter what I say, I'm going to be trying to help you."
"I know. I love you, Rachel."
Rachel pulled away, "Yes. I believe you."
The lack of reciprocation stung Quinn but she nodded. "Thanks for listening."
"Thank you for talking."
The next day had been weird, and weird and weird. No one on the campus knew what to do with slushies or themselves. The regime was the same but it was different and everyone could feel it. No one knew what was permissible. Quinn enjoyed that. Universal fear.
Santana was on triple high alert. The only person more dear to her than Brittany was Quinn and although she could and had and would happily kick the girl's ass, she saw something was throwing her best friend off her usual game. She felt like her eyes were going to pop out of her head on the lookout for trouble.
They finally met in an empty Cheerios locker room, where Quinn said, "At ease, Mr. Kim, before you sprain something."
"Thanks, Captain Janeway, but no random quote from Star Trek Voyager is making me stand down although I appreciate the thought. And I am so not Harry fucking Kim."
"I know that. You're B'Elanna Torres. More talented, prettier and super-violent." Quinn smirked, "Plus obvs, she was so biracial PR on the show."
"PR? Oh no you didn't! She was a biracial Klingon, bitch."
"Like there's much difference between you and a Klingon?"
Santana blinked, "You know what? That's all sorts of just wrong for you to say out loud but I'll accept it as a compliment."
Quinn shoulder-bumped the girl and grinned, "As intended."
Santana lowered her voice, "Serious up? What's going on?"
"You can make fun of me all you want but I'm going to ask my mom to get me therapy."
Santana sat with that for a few moments and then said, "Good."
"Good? No joking—no laughing at me?"
"Dios mio. I want to kill you every day but don't pretend we're not best friends. You need help Q. You always have. You know why I am what I am and I'm not stopping and can't until we get B out of high school. You can ease off and I'll put the pedal down. We can talk about how it's gonna go but running it now is hurting you wholesale. I mean, I'm just a fucked-up kid who doesn't know how to commit but you're fucked up. No disrespect intended."
"Fine. Good for you. Just get some help if you need it. And…" Santana shook her head as if the thought appalled her but she voiced it, "You know, don't you? I can't be happy unless Britts and you are happy? So fuck the fuck off or whatever but you know what I actually mean."
"I'm not like you. What I feel—it's so bad. It's so bad."
"I know it is."
"Sure. I want to hurt people who hurt Britts or you or me or now the hobbit. You want to hurt the hobbit because you're in love with her. It's 57 kinds of fucked up and you need help. What's the secret there? Although I'd never say that shit to anybody else."
Quinn took a breath to speak and Santana interrupted her, "Do NOT say something sappy we'll both regret. Please? Just get help and know I'm always on your side."
She tapped Quinn on the chest gently, "I have to follow Britts but I'd never leave you, otherwise. I have a feeling we'll all end up together somewhere anyway. All of us plus the midget. Count on it while you're crying, Q. And please don't cry because the only thing that wrecks me more than B crying is you."
The verb that was supposed to go there was gone and Quinn knew Santana had left it off intentionally.
Quinn put her head on Santana's shoulder and the girl wrapped her slender arms around her, "Good for you and for the help our God must surely be sending the light to give you, mi hermosa."
That Santana was quite a bit more religious than she was no secret to Quinn. She always had been very, very Catholic although she'd fought it tooth and nail. That it felt like a blessing for Quinn to have someone so connected on her side was an actual relief. She didn't laugh although she knew how much the thought that bubbled up in her mind would please her friend to think of herself as a favored lieutenant of a sort of mob boss God in the sky. Quinn believed in God. Santana seemed to not just believe but to know God because her life had a greater purpose and a meaning and she'd shown it every day of their lives together. Quinn pulled her closer. Friends like her didn't exist. Except she did. Ipso facto, God existed.
Thank you, God, Quinn thought as she smiled in Santana's arms.
Quinn had told her mother that she and Rachel would like to talk to her for perhaps an hour after school and her mother had readily agreed.
As the girls and Judy had taken seats across from each other, with three glasses of sparkling water ready for the fray, Judy coughed as she looked at the incredibly serious eyes looking into hers.
She mustered what she thought might be a believable chuckle before saying, "Honestly, if all you have to tell me is that Quinn is gay, I hardly think this needs to look like a funeral."
Quinn gaped at her mother, "Why would you think that?"
"Rachel, who has two fathers, needs to help you talk to your mother about something serious? What am I supposed to think?"
Quinn nodded at that sensible putting of two and two together, "That wasn't what we wanted to talk about but before you backpedal, I am gay. Completely and utterly gay."
Judy gulped but nodded and took a sip of water. "I'm not shocked, actually. And all I want is for you to be who you are and happy, sweetheart."
Quinn shook her head, violently, as if she had ear-mites, because she couldn't quite believe it, "How can you say that?"
"That you only want me to be happy?"
Judy looked into her daughter's anguished eyes and said, "Because I'm not your father and I'm no longer an extension of your father. I'm your mother and I love you and if you're gay, I think nothing differently or less of you. Your being gay is something we'll certainly talk about but not like in an 'this is an issue to deal with' way. It's a non-issue to me. Like the color of your hair, although if you dyed it red, I'd have things to say."
"I would too, Judy."
Judy smiled at Rachel.
"What do you need to tell me?"
Rachel took a deep breath. "This has nothing to do with her being gay. This is very serious, Judy, and it's something that Quinn and I have talked about. We've agreed that she needs to seek professional help and she's given me carte blanche to explain it to you."
Judy blanched at this but nodded, "I see, but if I may ask, why you?"
"Because I'm her primary victim. I know more about her problem than anyone—even her, frankly."
"Victim? What do you mean?"
Rachel pulled a notebook and a file from her backpack but didn't open them. "Your daughter is what I suppose one would call a bully. But to call her a bully is like calling Tyrannosaurus Rex a garden lizard. She has bullied everyone in school since first grade but I am and always have been her primary target."
Judy was not particularly surprised, because she'd imagined something like that had gone on between the girls. She was surprised, however, by Quinn's stricken, pale face and Rachel's gentle forthrightness.
"I'd imagine you're imagining something like schoolyard taunts and teasing. Your daughter is craftier and far crueler than that. When I was twelve, I went to a therapist to deal with my anxiety and depression over my school life. You have to understand, Quinn has always been the prettiest and most popular kid in school so she sets the tone. She has quite successfully made me a pariah—a leper—to everyone. Since we were six, anyone who even tried to offer me friendship? She warned them off. I don't have friends. With very infrequent instances, I've lived my life in isolation because she's made it harmful for people to like me."
Judy stared at her daughter, whose lips had become incredibly pale.
"When I went to my therapist at age twelve, he asked me to keep a two week diary of what Quinn said or did to me, as she was my primary antagonist. Understand when I show you this, she's my primary but she made other people happy and willing to hurt me like this. So multiply it by three to five per day."
She pulled out a small black and white notebook and handed it to Judy. "It's pretty self-explanatory—and it's only two weeks."
Judy read the small neat writing that detailed her daughter's treatment of the girl in front of her.
And the woman could scarcely believe her eyes. Multiple times per day abuse of the tiny girl with big brown eyes in front of her.
Once she finished reading, she said, "That's simply appalling."
"It was, Judy. But I now think of that time as our salad days—those golden days before things got really hard."
Now it was Judy's turn to pale.
"When we got to high school, everything changed for the worse."
"I think of this as Cheerio Quinn. Do you know what a slushie facial is?"
"Lucky you. Do you know what a slushie is?"
"Yes—that frozen drink you can get at Quik Trips."
"Exactly. Except at William McKinley, they're weapons. When you walk along at my high school, you can, if you're lucky enough to be singled out by Quinn Fabray, be hit in the face with 40 ounces of frozen corn syrup any day of the week." Rachel opened her file and pushed a few pictures of herself obviously taken in the school bathroom. One purple slushie, one green, one red.
Quinn hadn't seen them before and the muscles in her jaw worked as she kept her composure.
"I'm not particularly interested in documenting my abuse, Judy, but my fathers insisted. A slushie in your face feels exactly like plunging yourself into icy water, which is exquisitely painful much less having it hurled onto you by surprise. It is actually physically painful. Do you understand?"
"As a comparison, if you hit a policeman with a feather pillow, it could quite legitimately legally be considered assault. This is, quite legally and technically, a violent assault against me. I live in fear of them; I dread them but I put up with them. I take two changes of clothing just in case every day. Do you see the beauty in a slushie? If you were just hit and no one could see? That'd be one thing. But you have to walk down the hall with everyone knowing that you're a victim of violence. That's really what they want. The physical pain doesn't matter—they're gunning for the emotional pain. Quinn has thrown exactly one on me. She has sanctioned by commission or omission 157 others since we started high school."
Judy gasped. "No…no." Judy shook her head at her daughter.
"Have you ordered slushies or ignored every one you knew would be thrown on me?"
"How long would it take to stop that happening to me?"
"The ninety seconds it took today."
"Right. That's one part. The physical assaults. Let me show you examples of what your daughter does to me online, which is about the same thing she's done multiple times every single day at school in front of multiple witnesses to further shame me the better. Well, excepting the fact my fathers couldn't take screen shots of what she says at school. These are pretty much illustrative of the whole and I only include what other Cheerios say because need I remind you who their captain is? And remember, this behavior makes me fair game for the whole school. And it's every single day, weekends included."
She pushed page after page of screenshots forward and as Judy perused them, she could scarcely believe how vile and violently nasty her daughter and her friends had been to the small girl sitting across from her. Tears of disbelief began to fill her eyes.
"These are photos of the pornographic graffiti Quinn herself constantly refreshes on our bathroom walls, no matter how often I clean them off."
She pushed them forward and the older woman gasped yet again, shaking her head. She looked at her daughter, who'd lowered her head and was crying silently.
"Quite often, Judy, she or one of her friends corners me in a secluded spot and nearly everyone's bigger than me, as you can probably imagine, and she either verbally humiliates me or threatens me with physical harm."
Rachel looked at Quinn and took her hand, which the girl grabbed onto like a life preserver.
"People think things like this are 'oh well—it's just high school—it happens.' But I ask you Judy. If, let's say, in quote-unquote real life a man isolated your daughter socially, enabled physical assaults against her 158 times, repeatedly told her things like she should kill herself, be sterilized, threatened to burn her clothing and—oh well—there are so many I can't even think of all the permutations of humiliating violence to give you examples of, frankly. Plus encouraged all of his friends to do the same, drew pornographic pictures of her in places everyone could see to humiliate her, and frequently trapped her in secluded places in order to frighten her and encouraged his willing friends to do the same, what's the best possible spin you could put on that behavior?"
Judy's voice was leaden, "I couldn't put any positive spin on that behavior at all."
"I can't either. Quinn is an intelligent, witty, warm, loyal and gentle person I feel honored to call my friend, Judy. But she's also a rapidly escalating compulsively violent abusive predator. I don't use those words lightly. I know what they mean because I've felt them. She's limited herself in what she's willing to do only because of societal pressure. She'd do more, I'm quite sure, if she could get away with it. She has a very serious problem and she needs serious help. Am I right Quinn?"
Judy looked at her daughter—someone she apparently didn't know at all. The girl looked vacant although her tears were flowing, "Completely."
Judy looked at their joined hands, "How can you even touch her?"
Rachel smiled, "Because Quinn is just maladjusted; she's absolutely no sociopath. I truly believe she has only has a compulsivity toward violence borne out of insecurity. At least that's what my therapist said back in the day and I've seen the truth of it. He breeds bullmastiffs and he said that, yes they're protective but that the worst behavioral problem you could face was not an overly aggressive dog but a fear-biting dog. He said it was so easy to know what would set an aggressive dog off but the fear-biter? The insecure and frightened dog? Could and would bite you at any time. They needed more attention and help than simply aggressive dogs. Quinn's a fear-biter, Judy."
"I am so right now going to ignore the fact you just compared me to a fear-biting bullmastiff."
"And I'll so ignore the last ten years."
Quinn grinned, bleary-eyed, at Rachel, "Snap! I got the bargain!"
Rachel smiled at Quinn and said, "Stop crying or I'll cry and you know nobody on Earth looks sadder than me when I cry. I specialize in it and on command. Brittany's a close second admittedly. I think it's the size of my eyes."
"Or like maybe your nose?"
"Judy, may I use violence now that she's brought my nose into question?"
Judy just tried to keep up. She'd just heard a truly horrific exposition of her daughter's deep psychological problems given by the person who'd been most victimized by them and now they were joking together as if it were nothing.
She said, "Quinn's fair game, Rachel."
"You earned it."
Rachel beamed. "I am a GOLDEN GOD."
"The intelligence never stops."
Quinn glared at her.
"You've been crying, baby. Go wash your face. I want to talk to your mother privately."
"What about the word private don't you understand?"
"Fine. But I'm mad."
"Fine. But color me surprised."
As Quinn flounced off and up the stairs to the bathroom, Rachel lowered her voice and spoke very quickly. "I know all of this must be shocking and disappointing to you and I completely understand that. But I have to say something that may seem impertinent for a 16 year old and I sincerely beg your pardon if I offend you with this because I mean no offense or disrespect. But, Judy, at all costs? I have to protect Quinn. She's truly my main concern."
Judy was so astonished by this that she could only nod.
"If I may be so bold to say? Quinn doesn't need more shame or guilt. She really doesn't need them. She's already ashamed and already feels guilty. And to be honest, as disappointed as you might justifiably be with her right now? I'm the injured party. My fathers by proxy have been the injured parties—and for 10 years. And you can see we're all Team Quinn to get her back on track. We want her healthy and happy and I hope that's what you want too."
"Of course that's what I want."
"Judy, I don't know you at all but I know what I know about Quinn. I just feel I have to say don't make this about you or your ex-husband. Quinn needs love and support now, not to hear from you how anything about you or her father having anything to do with her problems. It needs to be all about her. She's hurt. She's hurting. And I feel the need to say that because I went to school with a pregnant, homeless 15 year old child who got her first taste of slushie because her parents made her fair game. She suffered violence because you didn't protect her. No matter what she's done to me in the past, I believe in her, and I will always protect her. My parents will always protect her. She has a place to run. Please don't make her."
"I won't—but it is shocking Rachel. I mean, gay? Who cares? But this violence…I just"
"I know. It'll be okay. She'll be okay. Promise. I'm very determined and she's going to therapy if I have to kick her there."
Judy looked at her for a few moments and finally said, "You're so kind. She's clearly in love with you but you love her, too, don't you?"
"No. I esteem her. Let's play it like that for the time being. Love's not on the table, if you understand me. Can't be."
"You're smarter than I was at your age."
"I'm frankly smarter than I want to be regarding your daughter."
Judy studied Rachel and said, "I think I've met my only future daughter-in-law."
"I know right? Absolutely! Don't tell her!"
Quinn was snuggled in bed hugging a stuffed octopus Brittany had given her named Doubleduplexlegs which, in Brit-speak was massively right.
"Yeah? Finished dissing me with my mom?"
"Is that what you really think I did?"
"No. I'm just—"
"I told you it would be hard baby."
"Yeah…it was and it's no wonder you can't love me, you know? I'm an animal—you said so yourself."
Rachel rolled her eyes. "Quinn? It was an analogy for something really serious. But you've tried to tell me what I can and can't do for 10 years. I do love you. I think that's sort of obvious."
Quinn rocked back and forth for a moment, "Yeah, but only as a friend."
Rachel barked out a laugh, "That's fucking epic, considering, Fabray."
There was a long silence and finally Rachel said, "I know what you're thinking. Hold still. And I mean seriously don't move, okay?"
Rachel leaned in and gave Quinn not a peck and not a lover's kiss but a somewhere in between kiss on her lips.
As she pulled away, she said, "Never tell me what's impossible or possible between us, Quinn. You don't know. I think I do. All things are possible."
A/N That's all I have tonight people. Longest and hardest chapter for this story.