Disclaimer: I own nothing. All belongs to Glee writers and creators.

A/N: I want an idea of who wants to see more on this. Rating will go up to 'M' if it's continued.

Title from: 'I Don't Wanna Love Her' by Brinck

Grounded

The small numbers on Rachel's cell phone seemed oddly active tonight. They kept moving in her vision, and it looked like the '6' and '9' had switched. Or maybe that was an '8.'

Screw it, she would just press a button and hope it was the '2' she was searching for. She never knew why she put Noah Puckerman in as number two on her speed dial, even above her dads. Maybe it was how close he lived. Or maybe it was just for occasions like this. When she was broken beyond repair, and he was the only one who cared enough to fix her.

Her head felt heavy with these thoughts, so she shook them off as quickly as she could—everything was moving so slowly, and the room was tilting. She gripped the corner of the wall tight as she lifted the phone to her ear, lurching against it and trying her best not to let her weight heave her too far forward. The wall was feeling nice, she guessed, because it caught her, just as a gruff voice spoke in her ear.

"Hello?"

"Noah," she mumbled. "Noah! Noooaaah." She never realized how fun his name was to say. So many vowels in a row. She giggled.

"Rachel? A-are you drunk?" His voice lowered an octave in concern.

"Yes!" she chirped, quickly recalling her reason for calling. "And y-y-you said that when I am deeerunk, I should call YOU!"

"Shit. Rach."

She cackled. "Shit. Did you know in England they say 'shite'? Shite." She snorted. "They're so weird. Who says they're pissed when they're not angry? I'm PISSED!"

"Ow," he mumbled weakly.

She latched onto his voice, remembering yet again her reason for dialing him. "So yeah, you said to call you and you would come pick me up and I could stay with yooouuu," she sang, bouncing on the balls of her feet until she realized that the wall was having trouble holding her up when she did that. She patted it in apology.

"Uh, Rachel, I've kind of got…someone staying with me right now," he said softly, apologetically. "But I'll—"

Suddenly she was incensed, and she gripped the phone as hard as she could in vengeance. "Yeah? Well, fuck you, Noah Puckerman! Or is she gonna do it for you? Fine, just fuck your bimbo of the night and forget about it, cause there was a LOVELY blonde lady in there who said she would take me home so I don't need you, you big, flat-faced…man!"

There really was a blonde lady. The woman came up to her after her…tenth drink? She wasn't sure, but she knew she was eyeing her the way people eyed when they wanted someone in bed, and she knew she was grabby. Her thighs had been touched a lot, even when she allowed the woman to steer her to the dance floor and grind into her for a while. She knew she was only even allowing her to touch her because she was blonde.

She knew that when she wasn't pretending, the woman's touch made her want to puke.

So she went back to the bar, and drank with her until she offered a ride 'home.' She said she had to pee, and after she did, she called Noah. Who was talking all panicked.

"Th-there's a woman? Listen, Rach, don't do it. I'm begging you. Just…just tell me where you are and I'll come get you and you can stay the night. Just please don't do something you'll regret," he begged. His voice was shaking.

She blinked blearily. The blonde lady was sipping drinks at the bar; she could see her around the corner. Maybe it was a different blonde lady, but she was pretty sure the woman was wearing those heels. Maybe.

"Rachel? Rach!"

She jumped, fumbling with the phone in her hands as she switched it to her other ear. "What?"

"Where are you?" Noah gritted out anxiously.

She looked around, smiling fondly at the wall. "A bar. It's smelly, but I…I really like…beer."

"No, you don't," he said tiredly.

Again, she was furious with him. "YES, I DO! It's foamy and it makes the ouch go bye!"

He chuckled, rough and dry in his throat. "Right. I'm sure it does." She didn't think he meant that, and she scrunched up her nose angrily at him. "Look, what bar are you at?"

"Ummm." She was trying to remember, she really was, but she got distracted by the pleasant buzzing in her lips when she said that. "Ummmmm."

"Rachel, please!" he barked, and she felt her body jolt again.

"The…the one with the…the dance floor and it's…all blue and stuff," she mumbled, looking distractedly at the dancing crowd and all the drinking people. She licked her lips at the sight of a foaming beer.

"Thank God, I know the place. Okay, don't—just don't move, all right? I'm coming to get you," Noah said reassuringly. She nodded absently, watching a man with a mustache drink his beer, foam sticking to his bristly upper lip. "Rachel? Please…just please tell me you won't move. You won't…" He sighed, lowering his voice considerably. "You won't go with that woman."

"Sure," she said.

He heaved a breath of relief. "Okay, I'm coming right now."

And then the dial tone sounded in her ear and she frowned at the phone, annoyed. She hit what button looked like it would make that stop and went back to watching other people partake in beer. She wanted some more so badly, but she couldn't reach any from here, and Noah said not to move. So she sighed, folded her arms, and waited, patting the wall in a gesture of thanks.

XXXXXX

By the time Noah found her planted against the wall in the back hallway leading to the bathrooms, Rachel's mind was beginning to come out of its alcoholic haze. And she hated every second of it. She scowled at the mohawked man as he sighed with relief upon finding her, uttering a soft 'thank God' as he pulled her into an unrequited hug. When he pulled back, it was with a wry frown.

"Buzz starting to wear off, is it?" he asked, and she sneered.

"Fuck you," was all she spat before pushing off the wall and leading the way out of the bar, shoving him off ruthlessly when he tried to take her elbow upon an unfortunate misstep. It was just a stupid crack in the floor. She was fine.

The escape from the bar was surprisingly refreshing, the cool air hitting her face and freezing her body from the warm hum it had held, the breeze whispering across her aching ears and soothing the drums from the damage the loud music pounding inside had done. But she still wanted some damn beer. Seeing as Noah wasn't about to let that happen, she simply leaned against the car while he opened her door, plopped into the leather seat, and glared at him the whole time he got into his own and started the engine, rolling down the windows before he backed out.

He didn't turn on the radio, thank the good Lord.

Eventually she got bored of glaring at her friend, anger wearing off to pure misery, and she reclined, letting the open frame of the window cradle her aching head and the cold wind to act as an ice pack and pain reliever for the time being. There would be time enough for popping pills and puking at Noah's apartment. Now she simply closed her eyes and let nature ease her physical ailments. The night air was definitely a pleasant change from the sweat and smoke and sex smell of the bar. It didn't make her feel so nauseated.

They didn't speak the entire half hour ride to his apartment complex, nor on the way up to the building, or in the elevator, or even as they walked down the hall. It was only when Noah pushed open the door for her and she rushed in that the inevitable had come.

"How much did you have?" he asked sternly, and she rubbed her forehead as she tossed her purse lazily to the couch.

"Oh, I don't know. Maybe two."

He scoffed. "You suck at lying."

"I meant barrels," she quipped, and he smirked at her despite himself, shrugging off his jacket to hang in the coat closet.

The smirk dropped when he approached, hands on his hips. "Just beer?"

"Couple of tequila shots. What does it matter?"

"How often has this been happening, Rach?"

"I don't know, the nights have kind of been blurring together for me," she snapped, irritated with his calm interrogation.

He sighed heavily. "This isn't good for you."

"I don't care."

"I care, and I know someone else who does, too," he said darkly.

She laughed harshly, the nauseated feeling suddenly returning full force. "Oh, yeah, I'm sure she cares a whole hell of a fucking lot."

He didn't falter. "She does."

"Well, I don't," she snarled, gripping her head. "Can we stop with the fucking inquisition now? I need some aspirin."

"Since when do you swear so goddamn much?" he grumbled, even as he marched off to the kitchen and dug through the drawers, measuring out a few pills for her and fending her off when she tried to snatch them.

"Just give me the—I can do it myself, Fuckerman!" she growled, and he glared her down until she threw up her hands and held her palm out for the pills, which he didn't hand over. "What? Gimme!"

"Not until you answer me one question."

"My head is pounding, Puckerman, just give me the fucking pills!"

"You mentioned there was a woman who offered to…take you home," he said, a nervous tinge to his voice as he peered at the brunette so focused on the pills in his fist.

"Yeah, so what? She's not the only one. Give them!"

He blanched. "Have you ever…uh…?"

Brown eyes snapped to a new focus—his face—and he gulped at the undisguised rage burning in them, at the way Rachel's expression went from furious to icy cold, her mouth set in a thin line. Her voice was chilling when she said, as evenly as she could when her hand was physically shaking with the force of her anger, "How…could you ever say that to me?"

His jaw flapped for a moment before she was suddenly roaring at him, "How could you ask that, huh? Tell me! Is it because you're just that fucking stupid, or because you don't know me at all? I hope for your sake it's the former, because God, I could kill you right now!" He gulped, because at this moment he believed it. "Even so, even as stupid as you are, how could you ever think for one second that anyone else could ever be anything to me?"

The tension in the room diffused a bit, the energy no longer so crackling as her expression crumbled and her brown eyes filled with tears that Noah was helpless to stop, her voice going small and cracking as she said, "Because God help me…it's still all about her."

Noah nodded his understanding, lowering his gaze in shame, and Rachel sucked in a bracing breath, the pills entirely forgotten, but the moment of recomposing didn't last as long as it should've, because the silence was broken by a soft, whimpered, "Rachel…."

The room was instantly chilly, because Rachel's spine went stiff and her eyes wide with fury and shock as she gazed at a shame-faced Noah, who said weakly, because there was no point to his reprimand now, "I told you to stay in the room."

There was no answer to his scolding, only more of that deafening silence as Rachel ever so slowly turned on her heel and took in the sight of her ex peeking timidly around the corner into the kitchen. Quinn looked like hell, though probably not as bad as Rachel herself looked. There were bags under her puffy, red eyes, her clothing and hair unkempt and rumpled, her beautiful face strained with the weight of too many tears.

Rachel trained her gaze down on the floor, though she didn't lower her head—because she just couldn't look at either one of them—and directed her cold remark to Noah. "This is the 'someone' who's staying with you?"

He struggled for a moment, exchanging a glance with the broken blonde staring at her ex helplessly and hopefully. "Yeah."

Rachel didn't say anything. She just walked straight out of the kitchen and back into the living room, and Noah hurried after her as fast as he could, spurred by the cries of the now sobbing girl behind him, begging Rachel to stay.

"Rachel, Rachel, please don't go," Quinn whimpered as the girl snatched her purse and strutted toward the door, and Noah completely forgot about the pills in his hand as he slammed the door shut under her hand. Rachel's eyes were furious as they took him in, but he didn't budge.

"Let me out," she hissed.

"No. You're not going now. Not while you're jumping to conclusions, and not in the condition you're in," he barked right back.

"Let me the fuck out!"

"Rae…please?"

Rachel froze, eyes clenching shut in pain, where only Noah could see, and then meeting his own ferociously, branding him with her hate. He set his jaw, and she reluctantly turned away, still not looking directly at Quinn. The fact that she turned around was enough for her, though, and Noah caught her smiling weakly in some strange form of triumph. He chose to stay between Rachel and the door nonetheless. The girl was still a flight risk.

"So? What do you want to say, Noah?" she snapped, purse strap still up on her shoulder. "You seem to think you can correct my conclusions, which you know nothing about, so let's hear it."

"Quinn has been staying here for the past week," he said simply, and Rachel's body was immediately humming with unleashed fury. "But not how you're thinking."

"What am I thinking? Enlighten me," she spat mockingly.

"Would you just shut up?" He groaned, running his hand over his short hair. "God, you're so fucking angry these days you won't even listen." She glared, with no impact. "She didn't want to be alone in that apartment, and I'm the nearest person, so I told her she was welcome. Especially since you've been AWOL since—"

"Don't."

He chose to respect this specific request, seeing as both girls winced when he nearly blurted it out. Quinn soon returned to gazing hungrily at her ex, perfectly content to allow Noah to explain it all while she drank in the presence of the pained girl. It was probably for the best. Rachel gathered herself, breathing in and out, trying to ease the pain in her system. When he felt she was ready for more, he spoke.

"So yeah, she's here, and I'm here for her—as a friend. Nothing more. I—"

"Never," Quinn suddenly whispered eagerly, a light entering her dim eyes when Rachel's intense gaze snapped from the floor to her. The blonde took a steadying breath. "Nobody but—"

The moment was broken with Rachel's gaze, Quinn deflating as soon as her harsh voice hit the air, addressing Noah instead. "Why didn't you tell me? I would've found some other place to stay."

"Because you were so fucking wasted you were talking like a toddler. I wasn't just gonna leave you to fend for yourself. And…I was afraid when you…mentioned that woman…"

Quinn whimpered quietly and Rachel glowered at him darkly. He scuffed his shoe on the carpet.

"Hey, look, I get it now," he deflected, raising his hands defensively. "But like I said, you were wasted. I didn't know what you would do. I just knew if I didn't do something to stop it, both of you would've gotten hurt and I would friggin' hate myself."

Rachel tensed, grinding her jaw, and Noah saw it coming before she even moved. He blocked off the way to the door instantly, and she pulled up short, glaring at him.

"Move, Noah. I'm fine now, thanks for giving me a place to recover, even if you never did give me the stupid pills, and I can take care of myself from here," she said evenly.

"You're not going anywhere," he said firmly. "You're still not in any condition to be doing anything but getting some rest."

"I'll go," Quinn whispered, already stepping toward the bedroom.

"No," he shouted after her. "Neither of you are leaving."

"Don't be ridiculous," Rachel scoffed, sneering at him.

"I'm not kidding."

She leaned in a little closer, hissing, "Have I not made it clear that I don't want to see her?"

The small gasp from across the room made it clear that she hadn't been quiet enough, and for the sixth day in a row, Noah had to watch silent tears stream down Quinn's cheeks. He glared down at Rachel and slapped his palm against the wall, making both girls jump.

"That's fucking it. I'm sick of this shit," he growled. "Okay, yeah, Quinn, you've got security issues. You think everyone you love's going to leave you, I didn't help any. I get that. But get the fuck over it. Look at what it's done to you both. You're doing some self-fulfilling prophecy or some shit. And Rachel, yeah, it must've hurt so fucking bad when she said no, when she questioned your relationship for like the billionth time or whatever. I can't even imagine the pain. But you need to realize that Quinn's got that set of issues and they got nothing to do with you. You need to be helping her through them, not making them worse. And you're both morons. You both love each other, you're both clearly miserable without each other, and you're not leaving this fucking apartment until you've worked this shit out."

"What?" Rachel instantly hissed, coming out of the contemplative stupor he had put her in with his speech.

Quinn's eyes went wide, but she said nothing, only worrying her lip and looking concernedly at Rachel.

"That's right. I don't care how long it takes, even if I have to lock you in this apartment together, I will do it," Noah growled, glaring Rachel down. "Now, I am fucking tired, so I'm going to bed. I don't give a shit how you do sleeping arrangements, but you know there's only the one bed, and I've got the couch, and if either one of you tries to sneak out, well…you know how light I sleep."

Rachel couldn't even protest. She was too furious and shocked to speak, for the second time that evening, but she was the first of the two girls to break down under Noah's determined stare. A huff so big it might've blown down the apartment escaped her and she whirled on her heel and stormed off to the bedroom in a fury, leaving an uncertain Quinn in her wake. He might've been gentler with her, but he really was too dead tired to deal with their drama, and so all he did was glare and jerk his head and Quinn was padding cautiously toward the bedroom after her ex, looking ready to bolt at the slightest negative noise.

Noah heaved a sigh. He only hoped this would work—and faster than the way they'd been 'fixing it' before.