Summay: Oneshot. Her mouth fell open but Quinn wasn't sure if it had been her shrill scream or Santana's or a mix of both of theirs matched with the screech of tires and the crunch of metal and something else – something that shouldn't have crunched.
Disclaimer: No ownage of the Glee
AN: Read it, review it, favourite it, enjoy it.
Dance With Me
Quinn's school bag and books banged harshly on the floor and she darted across the dorm suite for the blaring stereo. Her finger found the power button shutting off the bouncing music before she hit her knees beside Brittany who was sprawled awkwardly on the floor.
"Brittany!" She breathed, looking the length of her body.
Her arms were up above her with her head, face hidden in the lean muscle of her bicep. Her hips were turned oddly to the left while her legs laid limp and bent in an angle that Quinn knew would not be comfortable if she were in that position.
"Britt," Quinn took in a deep breath when she saw her eyes shift beneath her lids. "Brittany, what happened? Are you okay?" She reached across to turn Brittany's face from where it looked like she was smothering in her flesh.
"Stop." Brittany yanked her chin out of Quinn's fingers without opening her eyes. Quinn tried again but Brittany strained her neck to get away from her touch. "Quinn, no. I'm fine."
"Are you hurt?"
"I said I was fine." It came out on a harsh note that didn't match Brittany's tone but more of their third roommate.
"Why are you on the floor?"
Something like a laugh and a sob came from Brittany's throat and she turned on her side so that her torso matched the angle of her hips. Quinn watched her push to a sitting position and grab onto the arm of the chair against the wall. Brittany winced as her left arm pulled her up. Quinn wondered why she wasn't using her right, but the darkening bruise on her shoulder gave it away.
"I'm okay," She tried to offer a reassuring smile, but her furrowed brow against the ache in her shoulder wouldn't allow it.
Brittany moved to draw Quinn's gaze from her bruise and covered it up with a pale hand. She brought her eyes up to meet a conflicted blue pair that begged her to leave it alone – that she was fine. Quinn couldn't shake it though. She couldn't shake it and she never could shake it every time she looked down at Brittany's long, once powerful legs.
She often wondered if she hadn't waved if things would've been different.
The timing had been off.
If she would've turned away from Santana loudly munching on chips in the front seat a moment earlier and noticed Brittany coming down the road up to the school on her bike, maybe it could've been avoided. Or if she would've taken that sip of her iced coffee instead of deciding against it before climbing out of the front seat, she would've witnessed a less disturbing sight.
But she had sneered at Santana and looked over her Starbucks cup and stepped out of the car and caught sight of Brittany. Her arm had extended and her waving hand caught her attention and all was lost.
Her mouth fell open but Quinn wasn't sure if it had been her shrill scream or Santana's or a mix of both of theirs matched with the screech of tires and the crunch of metal and something else – something that shouldn't have crunched.
The timing had been extremely off.
The injury itself hadn't been too bad. The worse the doctors had told them after the accident was that Brittany might not be able to dance as much and often as she did, but she'd still be able to. But that optimism that kept all of them in high spirits through the week and a half Brittany was confined in a bed unable to move fizzled out. Spinal shock had done more damage than anticipated.
Dance therapy was what the doctors suggested once Brittany was out of her back brace and able to walk around on her own for longer than two minutes before the damaged nerves in her lower spine forced her off her feet or into a walker or – and she hated the thing – a wheelchair.
But they tried. She and Santana both tried and tried to keep Brittany on her feet but her legs wouldn't work the way she wanted them too and her back shot such searing pain down her spine and into her limbs so strong she was reduced to tears on the floor.
Brittany never danced again.
Brittany never tried to dance again.
"You know you shouldn't…" Quinn's words faded at the look Brittany was giving her through thin lashes.
It was a mix of hurt and annoyance and an emotion too strong and too close to her that Quinn could not fully understand, but it clenched at her stomach and made her want to cry. It was sort of the way she felt when she was kicked off the Cheerios. It was a feeling of loss, like her life had been stripped of her and she was thrown into the middle of an ocean with only a holey boat and one paddle to hold her up. But Brittany…
Quinn sighed and shut the door to their dorm suite, kicking her books out of the way not minding to pick them up just yet. She wished Santana was back from Peyton. She was better with Brittany than she was. But she had been gone three days on some law trip with her class and everyday Quinn saw the waning in Brittany's mood.
"B," She walked up to her, hand hovering over the bruise on her shoulder. Brittany flickered her eyes from the hand, to her shoulder then away.
"It's just a bruise,"
"You could've really hurt yourself."
"My legs are already broken,"
"They're not broken, Britt."
Brittany rolled her eyes away, refusing to take the zip lock bag of ice Quinn had just made for her. Quinn ignored her stubborn attitude and pressed it lightly to the bruise. Brittany sucked in a breath but didn't fight her off. Brittany was never one to be to push someone away. The whole attitude she was giving did not fit her.
They sat in silence for some time with Quinn standing over her holding the ice pack to her skin and Brittany staring off in the distance with her mind on things Quinn didn't know. What she did want to know was why Brittany was trying to dance.
"Santana's off solving crime and stuff,"
The sound of Brittany's voice piercing the silence caused Quinn to jump. She hid it by stepping back and placing the bag on the end table beside the chair where it sweated a puddle of water onto the wood.
Brittany continued. "And you're trying to be a real state or something."
"Real estate agent," Quinn found herself correcting.
She regretted it when she saw Brittany's weak mask fall completely. A pained expression that didn't suit her in the least tugged the corners of her lips down and made her gorgeous pools of blue glossy with tears that didn't fall. It wasn't a new expression. Quinn had caught glimpses of it every once in a while when Santana would be sitting with her legs tucked under the coffee table buried in law books or when Quinn was studying furiously for her Intro to business class. But every time one of them blinked up at her, the look shifted and a smile replaced the fine line that was her lips.
Quinn drew her bottom lip into her mouth, her head dropping to the floor in shame. How had she not figured it before? There she and Santana were working at the things that they wanted to do and on their careers and Brittany-
She scanned over Brittany's legs again. They were limp and thrown in front of her carelessly. Those legs were still supposed to be carrying her across a dance floor and striding past dancers that could not compare in talents to the flawless and graceful Brittany S. Peirce.
"Quinn?" Brittany's eyes bore into hers. "I can't do like you and San." Quinn felt her heart drop. Brittany bit onto the side of her bottom lip. "I can't dance anymore."
Quinn had already know this. She had accepted it after months of trying. She and Santana had spoken it to each other on long nights with papers and coffee to keep them awake. But not once had they said it to Brittany and not once did Brittany admit it. Maybe to herself but never out loud.
Quinn didn't like it.
"Yes you can, Britt." She said with a hardest in her voice. If she could walk a little bit, she could dance.
Furrowed brow, she stared at Brittany, demanding with her eyes that the defeated contort on her face and the hopelessness clouding her joyful spirit to go away.
Quinn left her side to flip the stereo back on. Some wordless music that was a mix of strings and electronic hype came shrilling through the speakers. She recognized the mix as one of the songs on Brittany's old dance routine CDs and surfed through the songs until she found the slow one Brittany had done a slow lyrical dance to not but a few months before the accident.
Taking a deep breath, she walked back to Brittany and grabbed her hands from where they hung off the ends of the arms of the chair.
Brittany was shaking her head as Quinn tugged at her hands willing her out of the chair and to a stand in front of her. A painful wince shot across Brittany's face and Quinn felt her knees sag as she caught Brittany beneath the arms to hold her up.
"I've got you," Quinn swallowed the strain in her voice, tugging at one of Brittany's arms to get it over her shoulder followed by the other.
She wasn't very strong and the height difference though not too great was a bit of an issue, but Quinn managed to balance their weight enough to keep them both from crashing to the floor.
Stringing her arms around Brittany's waist, she looked up to see the uncertainty on her face, but there was a blaze of determination twisted into it. "Dance with me?"
"Quinn," Brittany blinked and the confidence slipped away like water. She moved one her of legs only for it to buckle. Quinn pushed her back up. "Quinn, I can't."
"Weren't you trying before I got here?"
She nodded sheepishly. "But I fell,"
"I'm not going to let you fall this time. Hey," Brittany buried her face into the crook of Quinn's neck. "B, look at me," she felt her shake her head, but her head slowly came back up to face her. "You can still dance, Britt."
She tighten her arms around Brittany's thin waist and waited a moment until she felt the perfect balance between them where Brittany was holding as much of herself up as she could while Quinn took up the slack. Then she moved.
She leaned them to one side guiding them just a fraction to the left.
Brittany held tightly onto her breath as Quinn rocked them just barely the other way then backed up so Brittany had to take a step to keep up.
She gasped and Quinn froze, arms tensing to anticipate a fall that didn't come.
"Go again," She breathed, arms clenching tight around Quinn's neck. "Go again,"
Quinn smiled and eased them into another step then another. They were out of tempo even with how slow it was, but it didn't matter because they were dancing – Brittany was dancing.
Eight more beats passed by and they hadn't moved more than a foot and Quinn's arms were aching under the weight, but she kept on going because there was a smile finding its way back onto Brittany's lips and a brightness seeping back into her face that Quinn hadn't noticed hadn't truly been there for so long.
"You're dancing, B,"
There was a hitch and Quinn wasn't strong enough to catch her. They went tumbling to the floor, hitting the smooth wood in a tangled mess. Brittany's hands flattened on either side of Quinn's head to keep herself from crushing her but they didn't hold long when Brittany's face pinched and her arms buckled with the jolting ache that zipped through her nerves.
"B?" Quinn wiggled beneath them trying to see Brittany's face because all she could feel were her stomach muscled and chest clenching against her like she was crying.
"Brittany, I'm sorry I…" There was a sniffle by her ear and Quinn rung her into a hug, smoothing a hand up and down her back.
They had tried before and failed. There had been no sense in trying again, Quinn scolded herself. It had been stupid to try and get her hopes up again. Even if she had some use of her legs still, Brittany would never shine like she had.
"Quinn," She heard Brittany say into her shoulder through a tiny sniffle, but her tone didn't sound pained.
Brittany's chest expanded with a deep breath against hers then hollowed out entirely with words whispered from her lips, "I was dancing."
Perfect teeth poked from behind Quinn's lips as she held Brittany tighter still, ignoring the weight forcing her into the floor and harsh way the wood was attacking the back of her head and shoulders.
"Yeah, B," Quinn let out. "You were dancing."
"I was dancing," She repeated then took another deep breath. "Wait until Santana sees me."