Author's Note: This was in my head and I had to get it out. It's my attempt to assimilate my brain to Lucy Quinn Fabray. Spoilers up to Born This Way. It's mostly Quinn-centric but there's a little bit of Faberry - of course.
Disclaimer: I don't own Glee or the characters, just like to play with them.
The Girl In The Mirror
Quinn (yes, Quinn, damn it!) Fabray pulled on her sweater and tugged the edges together to cover the t-shirt emblazed with the thing that she was most insecure about, and still hadn't quite accepted—despite having turned herself into a walking billboard to advertise her given name, and the body image that she'd hoped to shed along with those extra seventy pounds. She wasn't Lucy Caboosey anymore, but sometimes she felt like she might as well be. For all of the work that she'd done—exercise and diet to lose weight, contacts to lose the glasses, skincare products to get rid of her acne, nose job—she was still destined to be just another Lima loser. Yeah, she'd been the popular head cheerleader, and undisputed queen of McKinley for part of freshman and sophomore year, but then she'd thrown it all away, thanks to the same old insecurities. And then she'd done it again to impress a guy who was obviously still in love with Rachel freaking Berry, Jewish nose and all.
She glanced unhappily across the stage at everyone, including her boyfriend, surrounding Rachel with big smiles as they told her how glad they were that she'd decided against the nose job, and Quinn felt even worse for being the sole person—besides Santana—to actually encourage the girl to go through with the procedure. Then again, even Santana had apparently shown up at Rachel's Barbravention, and told her to own her nose and screw what anyone else said.
It wasn't that Quinn thought that Rachel really needed a nose job—it was just that until last week, Quinn had believed that Rachel didn't think she needed a nose job, and it was kind of a relief for the blonde to find out that she wasn't alone—that Rachel was insecure about her looks, too, despite all of her bravado and egotistical overconfidence. She liked knowing that Rachel envied her and wanted to be more like her. Hell, she loved knowing that—it's why she always went out of her way to make the diva jealous whenever possible. Why should Quinn have to be the only one feeling this way?
She was a horrible, insecure, messed-up person, and she was perfectly aware of the fact. What she'd told Lauren about loving herself enough to make improvements had been true, to a certain extent. She'd just left out a few details.
Once upon a time, she was perfectly happy to be Lucy Q. Fabray. She was smart, and quiet, and devoted to her religion and her daddy, who made her feel like a princess. Maybe she still had a little baby fat, and was a touch nearsighted, but she hadn't really cared. She just buried he nose in countless books, and slipped off into a fantasy world where she really was the princess her daddy claimed her to be. Then she'd gotten older, and she'd started to notice how…perfect…her big sister was. Ashley Fabray was rail thin, with a creamy, clear complexion, and their mother's dainty nose, while Lucy had inherited her father's more prominent profile. Daddy called Ashley his little angel, and everyone knew that an angel was better than a princess. He was always praising Ashley for being an honor student, and for volunteering at their church, and participating in so many scholastic clubs. He was proud that she was a cheerleader, and welcomed all of her many, many, equally perfect friends into their house with a kind smile. Ashley was homecoming queen and prom queen three years in a row, and their mother was so proud because her oldest daughter was following in her footsteps.
When ten-year old Lucy Quinn Fabray looked in the mirror, she couldn't help comparing herself to Ashley, and always coming up lacking. She hated being second best, and had been too young and immature to realize that Ashley would always be first at everything simply because she was older. Lucy had just wanted to be better than her sister, and she hated that she couldn't seem to make that happen. Emotions weren't something that Fabrays really knew how to express, so she'd ended up literally eating them, and baby fat eventually turned into chubby fat until thirteen-year old Lucy couldn't even bare to look in a mirror at all, and chants ofLucy Caboosey followed her through the hallways of her middle school.
She'd never been any good at blocking out the taunts or turning the other cheek. Every cruel word was a dagger cutting into her fragile self-esteem. The message was clear—she was a loser and she didn't fit in. She tried changing little things at first, like the way she dressed, and the style of her glasses, and even the color of her mousy blonde hair, but nothing ever changed the teasing and taunting at school, or the feelings of inadequacy at home. Fabrays weren't supposed to be anything less than perfect, and Lucy was so, so far from perfect. She hated her body, and her life, and she cried herself to sleep every night until her sister, of all people, had come home from college and straight out told Lucy that if she wanted things to be better she had to make them better—that there was nothing wrong with her that couldn't be fixed. She was Lucy Quinn Fabray and she could do anything she wanted.
And what she wanted was to be prettier, smarter, and more popular than her sister. Lucy always had been competitive.
So she stopped eating her feelings, and channeled them into exercise, and dance, and sports, until her body was fully her own again. The braces came off, and the contacts went in, and she switched her hair color back to a more vibrant version of her natural blonde. By the end of the eighth grade, the only thing left that she didn't like when she looked in the mirror was the nose that was too big for her now thinner face, and daddy happily paid for that to be fixed. His transfer to Lima that summer was a pure gift from God that Lucy Quinn (soon to be just Quinn) went down on her knees and thanked Him for, because it meant that she could start over completely in a school where no one would remember Lucy, and that's exactly what she did.
She registered at William McKinley High School as Quinn Fabray, tried out for the cheerios on the first day of school, and made the squad. She felt the thrill of pride as every head turned to stare at her with appreciation when she sauntered down the hall in her brand new uniform. Five different boys asked her out in the first week alone, and she turned them all down—she was still a little gun shy about the new Quinn, and still just as serious about her religion as Lucy ever had been—but knowing that she was wanted was such a rush. Her life was totally in her control, and she'd already started making plans to be head cheerleader, and homecoming queen, and prom queen by her sophomore year at the latest, sooner if she could manage, because that would make her better than her sister, and the first step to accomplishing all of that was to find the perfect, popular boyfriend.
It actually took Quinn a few months to get completely acclimated to the school, and to find out who was considered hot, and who most definitely was not, and while a few names kept popping up at the top of the (freshman) hot list—namely Santana Lopez, Noah Puckerman, and Finn Hudson, the one person she couldn't really pigeonhole was Rachel freaking Berry.
As a new freshman, Rachel wasn't yet the target that she would later become. Santana called the girl a freak because she dressed like a toddler, never shut up about herself, and had two gay dads. Puck thought she was a hot, Jewish babe whose ass he'd totally tap if she could just shut the fuck up for two minutes. The general consensus around school had been that Rachel was nice to look at, but way too annoying to actually talk to, so everyone generally just ignored her. That wasn't to say that Rachel was content to ever allow herself to be ignored. Quinn had two classes with the girl, and quickly discovered that annoying didn't begin to describe her, but it was the nice to look at part of the description that had really bothered her.
Rachel Berry was too short, with a big nose, a bigger mouth (literally, huge lips) and a body that had the kind of curves that some might call a little generous, but were mostly just sexy. Even though she totally dressed atrociously, she still walked the halls with a big smile on her face, and a bounce in her step, and every guy that passed her turned to check out her ass and legs. And it pissed Quinn the hell off, because nobody had ever checked out Lucy Caboosey's ass unless they were calling it fat, and nobody ever said that Lucy was sneaky hot, and nobody ever complained about listening to Lucy's grating speaking voice only to turn around and nearly have an orgasm listening to her sing. So Rachel Berry got right under Quinn's skin, and irritated her until she couldn't help but scratch the itch, because it just wasn't fair that Rachel was really more of a loser than Lucy ever had been, but still managed to be perfectly content with her appearance, and so persistently overconfident.
One would think that with everything Quinn had gone through at her old school, she would have been more sympathetic to the so-called losers and geeks at McKinley. One would, of course, be completely wrong. As soon as she became one of the chosen ones, and tasted the power that came from that position, she was completely addicted. Only the strong survived in high school, and she knew that being sympathetic to anyone would just be seen as a weakness. Quinn Fabray was not weak. She had a goal in sight, and no one would stand in her way—especially not Rachel Berry, who was just begging to have a bull's-eye pinned to her fugly sweaters.
So the name-calling started. Freak and troll and fag spawn hadn't seemed to faze Rachel when Neanderthals like Dave Karofsky, or bitches like Santana uttered them, but the first time Man Hands had tumbled out of Quinn's mouth during an AP Biology lab, she'd watched Rachel glance down self-consciously at her hands, and rub at them all through the rest of class. RuPaul, Treasure Trail, Tranny—all of them had made the girl flinch, and Quinn was never certain whether it was because of the constant digs at her femininity, or the fact that the previously quiet blonde cheerio had said them with a sneer after having been perfectly civil to Rachel for almost three months. Admittedly, it was cruel, but Quinn couldn't seem to stop herself, and she still wasn't completely certain why she'd focused on Rachel with an intensity almost bordering on obsession. There were certainly other girls at McKinley who reminded her more closely of Lucy, but Rachel bore the brunt of her attacks until the whole school had moved the girl firmly to the top of the loser list, while Quinn stepped all over her on the way to the top of the hot list. And then the slushies started.
Unfortunately for Quinn, Rachel's ability to let insults and frozen drinks slide off of her was irrepressible, and she continued to walk into school every morning with the same welcoming smile, and the same bounce in her step. Quinn had been, and still was, so jealous of Rachel Berry for her seemingly never-ending supply of sunshine and rainbows, and it only got worse as time went on, because Quinn had to hear Rachel sing and realize how deeply it affected her. Then she had to watch Finn fall in love with the girl, and through it all, Rachel never stopped being so annoyingly nice to Quinn despite their adversarial relationship. The girl was just so frustrating. Every attempt to tear her down only seemed to make her stronger, while Quinn's perfect façade crumbled a little more with every effort to raise herself up. Even now, she had to witness Rachel's insecurities disappear with a few kind words from her friends—most of whom genuinely seemed to like her despite their repeated protests to the contrary—and her confidence was back in full force.
Meanwhile, Quinn's own insecurities were still festering deep inside. Beneath her skin, she was still that chubby little girl, recoiling from every cruel insult hurled her way, and soaking up every little compliment like a sponge. She loved attention from boys because she'd never had any before she was fifteen and started high school, but the minute she felt that attention slipping away from her, she immediately imagined it was because she wasn't good enough, or pretty enough, or kind enough.
She'd been a controlling bitch with Finn the first time they'd dated, wanting the popular boyfriend that she could easily manipulate into a mostly chaste relationship because she hadn't really wanted him at all, and then she'd wondered why his eyes had strayed to a short brunette. She'd led Puck on all the time because she'd loved hearing how sexy and hot she was, even though she hadn't really wanted him either, and then wondered why he'd thought it would be okay to get her drunk, and take advantage of her on one of her fat days.
She'd been so terrified of becoming Lucy again that she'd all but guaranteed that she would, trusting Puck to make her feel beautiful, and desirable, and ending up pregnant at sixteen, and fatter than ever before. Actually, being Lucy again would have been preferable to what she'd gone through last year. At least Lucy had her daddy's love and support. Quinn hadn't even had a house to live in. And she'd proven how much Lucy was still a part of her, because she'd nearly had a meltdown after her first and only slushie, and had spiraled further down into misery from there. She'd been completely unable to deal with the looks and the names that came with losing her status and her figure.
Losing her family was harder.
Giving up her baby… She couldn't think about that now, or she'd break completely.
But how could she have ever been a mother when she couldn't even be herself?
Quinn Fabray wasn't supposed to fall from grace, but she most certainly had. And it was Lucy who sat in the choir room, basking in the joy that came from singing, and dancing, and not having to be always on guard with her every emotion, Lucy, who stayed in glee, even when Quinn had regained her spot on the cheerios and pushed Santana to the bottom of the pyramid. Lucy, who kept giving in to all of Rachel Berry's crazy requests, even when Quinn wanted to hate the girl for being everything that she couldn't be as Lucy Quinn Fabray.
It was Lucy who had really liked Sam Evan's geekiness, and the fact that he'd been a kindred spirit, transferring schools and starting over with a new image just as she secretly had done. Quinn had wanted a second chance at a popular boyfriend, and a run at prom queen. It had been win-win—until it wasn't.
Quinn never could be satisfied with second best.
Finn was her first love, and the winning quarterback, and Quinn just couldn't resist the temptation. She should have been on top now, but she was still coming up short, only this time she was standing in Rachel Berry's shadow. Finn claimed to love Quinn, but she knew he didn't fully trust her, and he wasn't over Rachel. She'd been ignoring that little fact because she wanted to be prom queen, and she needed Finn to make that happen, but it was getting harder to pretend—especially when she and Rachel were almost…friends now. Quinn had a lot of almost friends.
Deep down, all she really wanted was just one friend that she could call true.
Her eyes drifted across the stage, automatically seeking out the brunette, and lingering as the girl chatted happily with Kurt. Everyone else was beginning to scatter for the night, laughing together as they disappeared out of the auditorium. Quinn sighed as she watched Finn approach her with his dopey grin. "Hey, you ready to go?" he asked, wrapping an arm around her.
"Almost," she murmured absently. "I'll meet you outside, okay? I just want to talk to Kurt about something." He frowned a little, looking skeptical, but nodded and leaned down to give her a quick kiss before leaving her alone. Drawing in a shaky breath, Quinn made her way over to the two divas, not failing to notice how their conversation stopped abruptly the moment they saw her approach.
Kurt raised an eyebrow—silently judging her for her multitude of sins, both real and imagined—and Quinn raised hers in challenge before promptly turning her back on the boy and addressing Rachel. "Hey, can I talk to you for a minute?"
Rachel sighed and nodded, flashing a smile to Kurt and reaching out to squeeze his shoulder. "Thanks, Kurt. I'll see you tomorrow."
He returned her smile, chirped out, "Later, sweetie," and disappeared from the stage.
Rachel crossed her arms, and turned her full attention to Quinn, and the blonde felt that familiar little twist in her belly that she always seemed to notice whenever she looked directly into those expressive brown eyes. "What did you want to talk about, Quinn?"
She sucked her lower lip between her teeth, and nibbled on it briefly as she formed her words. She really hadn't thought this through very well, she just knew that she wanted to say something to Rachel about her decision. "I'm…ah…I'm glad that you decided not to have the nose job," she rushed out, internally groaning at how completely lame and inadequate that sounded.
Rachel nodded again, offering up a tight smile. "Thank you, Quinn." After a few tense minutes of silence, she asked, "Was that all?"
Quinn sighed, and shook her head, wondering why Rachel always had to make these moments so difficult for her. The girl was clearly disappointed in her for being a big fat (fucking, literally) fraud all these years.
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you about…mine."
"Why didn't you?"
"Are you seriously asking me that?" she drawled, allowing her sweater to gape open, and gesturing to the writing on her t-shirt. "I'm a complete fake, Rachel. You wanted to have my nose, and it isn't even mine!"
"You know, Quinn," Rachel began carefully, "putting aside the obvious displeasure that I feel at the realization of your hypocrisy, and the cliché of the bully who was bullied that you willingly embraced," she ignored Quinn's annoyed frown and rambled on, "I don't begrudge you for your decision to improve yourself. Nose job not withstanding, you should actually be very proud of your remarkable transformation. I can fully appreciate the amount of discipline it takes for one to maintain a healthy and fit body, and I also understand the importance of a thorough skincare regime, as I myself adhere to both religiously."
Rachel offered a somewhat sheepish smile as Quinn digested what she'd just heard—she was honestly having a problem getting past the words proud, remarkable, and appreciate.
"And after my recent crisis of confidence," the girl continued conversationally, "I can appreciate the desire to feel comfortable with one's appearance. You have nothing to be ashamed of, Quinn, except perhaps your past uncharitable behavior towards those in this school who have not been as fortunate as you, but even in that, you've been much…nicer since last year. I'm actually very grateful that you came with me to my appointment, and offered your support. You're the only person who didn't try to talk me out of having the procedure."
"And your grateful for that?" Quinn asked incredulously, purposely choosing to ignore all of the girl's digs at her past bitchy behavior.
Rachel shrugged. "You didn't really try to convince me to have it, either. You just accepted that it was something that I needed to decide for myself, and I appreciate that you let me do that."
Quinn wrapped her arms around her middle, and glanced at her feet. Rachel made it sound like she was being supportive, but really she was just being selfish, and secretly feeling superior to the girl. "I should have told you that you didn't need to fix your nose, Rachel," she insisted, looking back up to meet that dark, knowing gaze once again, "because you really don't. You just wouldn't be Rachel Berry if you changed one thing about yourself," she admitted quietly. It was the best she could do, because there was no way she could ever admit out loud that she maybe thought that Rachel was kind of beautiful exactly the way she was.
"I just…you've always seemed so damned comfortable with your appearance, and when you admitted that maybe you weren't, I was…glad. It felt good knowing that I wasn't the only one who wanted to be…prettier, or something. But I should have told you the truth, because you deserved to know that I went through the same thing you were going through. I should have told you that changing the way you look might change how other people see you, but it doesn't necessarily make you feel better about yourself on the inside," she finished on a whisper. "Believe me, I know."
It was probably the hardest thing she'd ever had to say after the words 'I'm pregnant.' Quinn may have made herself over on the outside, and she was still glad that she'd done it, but inside she would always be Lucy—and trying to smother that part of herself had only made her uglier.
She felt a sudden warmth on her forearm, and glanced down to see a soft, tan hand gently resting over her own pale skin. The twisting in her belly increased, and her eyes darted back up to Rachel's face. The girl was looking at her in a way that she'd never seen before. "You're so much more than your appearance, Quinn." Rachel's hand fell away, but her eyes remained focused intently on the blonde. "And you're so incredibly wrong if you think that all you can ever be is a prom queen, forever stuck in Lima." Quinn caught her breath at the vehemence of Rachel's assertion, and the fire flashing in her eyes.
"My goodness," she continued, "the sheer drive and discipline it took to reinvent yourself at so young an age! And then again after your pregnancy! I'm convinced that you can probably do anything that you set your mind to, and frankly, I'm very disappointed that you're even thinking of settling for some mundane life as a real estate agent."
Quinn choked on a sob, pressing a hand to her mouth, and blinking back the sudden tears pooling in her eyes. "I'm not settling," she insisted weakly. "I'm accepting."
"Why ever would you start doing that now?" Rachel demanded. "You are a fighter, Quinn Fabray. You told me that being beautiful makes you assume that people will give you whatever you want, but I know that's not entirely true. No one has ever given you anything that you didn't take by force. You've always been able to make things happen, Quinn. You don't belong in this town any more than I do. If you were determined enough to change the way you look, your attitude, and even your name—which, by the way, I find extremely excessive, yet oddly appropriate, because you really do not look anything like a Lucy—what were your parents even thinking?" she rambled on adorably, causing Quinn to snort out a tearful laugh, "but I digress—of everyone in this school, with the obvious exception of myself, you are the one that I would pick to claw your way out of Lima, and become a raging success at whatever dream you choose to pursue."
"You amaze me," Quinn murmured without thinking, stunned by Rachel's words, and the honest emotion behind them. How could this girl believe in her so completely after everything she'd put her through?
A soft smile curled up the corners of full pink lips. "The feeling is entirely mutual." She finally broke eye contact, glancing down to button up her coat, and Quinn felt a tension that she hadn't even been fully aware of start to melt away. When Rachel looked up again, her eyes were sparkling and her face practically glowed. "Every heroine needs a worthy antagonist, Quinn. Don't disappoint me."
As the blonde watched the girl walk away—hazel eyes unconsciously dropping to roam over legs and ass—she realized with sudden clarity that Lucy Quinn Fabray had no intention of ever disappointing Rachel Berry. They were inextricably connected. They still had prom to get through, and Nationals in New York, and it was anyone's guess what would happen with Finn, and their constant back and forth, but one thing was certain—Quinn Fabray got what she wanted. And she did not want to be stuck in Lima for the rest of her life, wondering what might have been. She was going to start making things happen again, and Rachel Berry would never know what hit her.