A/N: I still have too many feelings.
Title drawn from 'Stolen' by Dashboard Confessional because ZOMG how does that not fit right now?
"I don't want to hear anymore of this nonsense, Jesse St. James," Rachel growled out as she stomped away from his highness toward the safety of her locker, books tucked close to her chest.
The man-diva was following at a leisurely pace that, not for the first time, had her cursing her short stature. It was entirely unfair for him to be keeping up when she was walking at this rate.
His voice echoed the lazy stroll of his steps as he drawled, drawing out the 'u', "It's true."
"It is not!" she insisted, whirling on her heel when she finally arrived at her safe haven and glowering harshly up at him. "You can blabber on about it all you want, but I will never believe it. There is no way that the iconic musical episode of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' that literally changed the landscape of television as we know it was a precursor to Joss Whedon's belated decision in the comics to turn Buffy into a bisexual!"
With that, she dismissed him with a cold shoulder and instantly began flipping the switch to her locker. Jesse only chuckled, folding his arms as he leaned casually up against the metal compartments next to her.
"Rachel, I know you're more observant than this. Just take a look at the camera angles in—"
"I'm not listening to this rubbish," she blew out exasperatedly, shoving her books haphazardly into the open locker before bracing a hand on it to face him and insist, once and for all, "Buffy's bisexuality was planned after the show had already ended. Even Sarah Michelle Gellar had no idea of that facet of the character. However, if you want to argue that Willow's sexuality was hinted at pre-season four, we can have that discussion, though I still maintain that her attraction to the male side of the species makes her more of a bisexual than anything else. In fact, I would go so far as to argue that she was merely gay for Tara."
Jesse opened his mouth, brow crinkling as though he had a major problem with her reasoning, and Rachel braced herself for a debate the likes of Einstein would envy, but the words never came. Instead, his glittering eyes flickered away for a moment before landing back on her, breath blowing out and a smirk lifting the corner of his mouth. Rachel fidgeted uncomfortably, frowning.
"What? You know as well as I do that it's entirely possible for a mostly straight woman to happen to find one other woman so beautiful and ambitious and alluring and intelligent and—"
A throat cleared and Rachel froze when she realized that it came from neither herself nor the practically giddy boy in front of her. No, it came from directly behind her, from a rather…familiar height. Giving Jesse a pleading stare, she gradually turned to meet her fate and, sure enough, found the hazel eyes, quirked brow, and amused smirk of one Quinn Fabray.
It made the diva feel marginally better that there was a slight pink tint to her porcelain cheeks, the sole indication that she was not the only one embarrassed by this entire situation. She smiled anxiously.
"Quinn!" Even she winced at the squeakiness of her own voice. "Wh-what a pleasant surprise," she added, lowering her tone considerably.
That sweet, genuine smile curled Quinn's pink lips and Rachel swallowed heavily at the fluttering in her chest that only grew stronger when blonde eyelashes batted shyly over sparkling hazel eyes. Her voice was indescribably soft when she replied, "Hey. Rachel." She cleared her throat, speaking louder when she said, "Jesse."
Rachel angled herself to look back at her partner in crime, finding that unbearably large smirk back on his face. He cracked a brief grin at her and she glared as he pushed off the locker, tossing a nod in the blonde's direction.
"Quinn, always a pleasure to see your alluring se—oomf!"
Rachel beamed her biggest, fakest smile up at a wide-eyed Quinn, pretending she hadn't just elbowed Jesse hard in the stomach as she said brightly, "Is there something we can do for you?"
The 'we' was most definitely a device to inform her 'new best friend' that he was not to leave her side right now. This was the first time she'd really interacted with Quinn other than brief smiles since the prom, and more importantly, since her conversation with Jesse in the auditorium. She didn't know if she could handle being entirely alone with her just yet, even if they were in a hallway filled with people.
She could only hope Jesse would take the hint and not be a jerk. For the second time in only a matter of minutes. Why was he her new best friend again? Oh, yes, because he told her he was….
She hastily shook her head of her thoughts and focused on the beautiful girl in front of her, who was looking at Jesse rather uncomfortably at the moment. Rachel glanced back to make sure he wasn't making any obscene gestures or the like (not that she would normally expect that behavior out of him, but he was still a boy) before returning her innocent eyes to Quinn, whose gaze had again moved, this time to the floor.
"Um. Yeah, I just…I kind of zoned out in History earlier and I was wondering if maybe I could borrow your notes?" she managed eventually, uncertainty written across her face as she finally met Rachel's eyes again. A nervous chuckle escaped her. "You know how it is, with Mr. Caulkin's, like, fifty minute lectures and…."
"Monotone voice complete with lisp? Yeah, I understand," Rachel cut in with a smile, turning back to her locker to dig out the requested notebook. "Lucky for you, I actually managed to keep my eyes and ears open today, so here you go." She handed it over and Quinn took it with a smile of thanks.
The three of them stood there for a moment, Jesse watching Quinn with a smirk, Rachel watching Quinn with a smile, and Quinn watching the floor with a great deal of discomfort. She bit her lip and Rachel nearly smacked herself in the forehead. Of course!
"Oh, and you can just give it back to me in glee later or whenever we happen to catch each other. It's no rush or anything," she assured her, and Quinn smiled again.
Again, an awkward silence settled between them and while Rachel certainly didn't mind the opportunity to gaze at Quinn uninterrupted—even though she could practically feel Jesse's smirk—she was a little confused as to what exactly was going on with the blonde, seeing as all she was doing was standing there rocking on her heels every once in a while and glancing at Jesse occasionally. Before she could figure it out, Quinn's shoulders dropped and she sighed and managed to get out, "So…I guess I'll just—"
Before she was rudely interrupted by the man-diva behind the diva.
"Kurt!" Rachel jumped visibly, as did the boy striding purposefully down the hall before whirling on his heels and watching in surprise as Jesse brushed past his best friend with a squeeze of her shoulder and went to join him on his walk to lunch. "Wait up, I'll walk with you. I have a few solo selections to discuss with you."
Rachel's mouth dropped open in shock at his very sudden abandonment, fighting the urge to yell 'traitor' after him and stick her tongue out to boot. But seeing as the secret object of her secret affections to everyone but Jesse was standing directly in front of her, she chose the more ladylike route of closing her mouth, glaring forcefully at his back (maybe she'd manage to make his neck itch for the rest of the day), and smiling uneasily at Quinn before turning back to her locker.
"Well," she mumbled, but whatever else she'd been about to say choked up and died in her throat when Quinn stepped closer, just enough that Rachel could smell her citrus perfume.
"Hey, um." Her gaze flickered instantly to Quinn's hazel eyes, which darted about the hallway anxiously, never happy with a target, it seemed. She took a bracing breath and Rachel held her own as she awaited whatever words would breeze past that perfect pair of lips. What was she going to say? Was she going to tell her to back off Finn again despite the fact that it had been him chasing after her for duets these days? Was she going to tell her to keep what happened in the bathroom on the hush? Not that much had happened, but Quinn had opened up, showed her vulnerable side, and it wouldn't be surprising to find her hurrying to patch it back up, mend the crack in the wall, despite those sweet smiles she'd been giving Rachel the past couple of days.
"I'm not good at this, but…I just wanted to thank you. For…you know, prom," she murmured, eyes trained firmly on their shoes, only about a foot or so apart. She licked her lips nervously, ultimately biting the lower until the pink skin pulled free, and it was only then that Rachel realized Quinn's hazel eyes were finally meeting hers.
She cleared her throat, flushing pink as she said quietly, "I meant every word, you know. You are so much more than just your looks."
Quinn's smile strengthened briefly. "I'm not sure I really believe it yet, but…it helps to hear that."
"I'm glad. You deserve to be happy, Quinn," she said sincerely, smiling widely.
Rachel panicked when the smile dropped and Quinn shifted again, gaze drifting off to who-knows-where as she answered quietly, "Thank you, but…I've realized over the past couple years that happiness is sort of a passing thing."
"It shouldn't be. Particularly for someone like you," she replied firmly, and nearly kicked herself when Quinn's gaze went sharp as she looked at her again, eyebrow raised and on the defensive. Rachel squirmed, fidgeting with her locker door.
"Someone like me?" she scoffed, puzzled, and the diva felt her cheeks go even redder when she lost even more control of her mouth.
"Yes, I mean, you just have so much to offer, I…."
Rachel cleared her throat and swiftly turned her attention to the contents of her locker, cutting herself from saying anything more embarrassing than what she had just blurted. She blindly stuffed a couple of books in her arms to keep up the charade that there had actually been a point to this, nearly jumping to the ceiling when the warning bell rang. She only hoped Kurt and Mercedes had saved her a seat, since Jesse made a habit of ditching them to eat out.
She faced Quinn with red cheeks, only to have her breath stolen away by the remarkably bright, heartwarming smile on the blonde's face—it was quite possibly the most authentic one Rachel had ever seen on her face, even reaching her eyes with their delighted sparkle. Apparently she'd only caught the tail end, however, because it faded ever so slightly into one of those small, still genuine, smiles she had been showing her ever since prom. And then Quinn took a shaky breath.
"Well, um. I'll-I'll see you later. Thanks for the notes," she offered, and Rachel nodded wordlessly. Mostly because her breath was still somewhere in Cuernavaca and didn't look to be coming back anytime soon. That and she was just about on the verge of a heart attack from the palpitations going on in her chest.
Basically, Quinn Fabray was going to be the death of her, and it was all Jesse St. James' fault.
Stupid denial crusher.