Rating: PG-13 (for one swear word)
Pairings / Characters: unrequited Rachel/Quinn, Kurt, implied Quinn/Sam
Spoilers: S02E04 - Duets
Summary: Rachel does know what it's like.
Rachel catches up with Kurt in the hallway, a few feet away from his locker.
"Hey! I had something I wanted to talk to you about."
Kurt sighs, clutching his U.S. History book tighter to his chest.
"Please not another pregnancy."
He turns to his locker, opening it as Rachel comes to a halt just next to him.
"I … I think that you and I are a little bit more similar than you think." She tells him, looking for all what it's worth almost like a kicked puppy to Kurt.
He reaches for his hairspray and gives her an inquiring look, before spraying his hair.
"That's a terrible thing to say." He states.
He puts his hairspray back in his locker and fully intends do ignore Rachel in whatever little histrionic fit she's about to have. But she actually catches him off guard.
"I know you're lonely."
Kurt stops looking through his locker and slightly turns his head to her, acknowledging that yes, he had heard her. So Rachel soldiers on.
"I can't even imagine how hard it must be to have feelings in High School that you can't act on, for fear of being humiliated, ridiculed or worse." She sighs, and continues in a whisper. "Well, actually, I can."
Kurt's eyes widen as he looks at her. Surely he must've heard that wrong? With all the ruckus going on in a school hallway between two classes, his ears must've deceived him. Surely Rachel Berry, Rachel "I have two gay dads and that is the only reason I know what you're going through" Berry, did not just admit what he understood.
The bell rings and students of all the grades shuffle in their respective classrooms, some running through the hall, trying to get through the doors a split-second before their teachers. Soon it's just the two of them, still standing at Kurt's locker in the now deserted hallway.
"Did you just …" Kurt starts but his mouth turns dry so fast he doesn't actually finishes his sentence.
Rachel smiles faintly.
"I know that it is a terrible cliché. I do. And I'm all about destroying stereotypes, really, I am. Because, honestly, statistically speaking gay parents do not always have gay kids. But this particular pair that shares the surname 'Berry'? Well, they have." She explains to him, leaning against the cool metal of the locker just next to Kurt's with a defeated look in her eyes.
Kurt sighs, closes his locker and mirrors her position. "Who is it?"
Rachel startles. "Pardon me?"
He reaches out to her with one hand, the one not currently jammed between his body and the locker, and explains with a flourish hand motion.
"We may not be close friends, Rachel. Hell, we might not be friends at all." A wounded expression crosses the girl's face. As well as Kurt's. "But I know you long enough to know that there has to be a follow up to your confession. I know that it's a relieving feeling to just tell somebody, anybody, that you're not exactly at the Barbie and Ken spectrum of sexuality. But I sense there's more to this confession. So, spill it."
Rachel is stunned. Her mouth opens and closes a few times, but no words come out. Eventually she slumps against the row of lockers and slides on the floor, her arms enveloping her knees, her face hiding.
"This is all so fucked up." She mutters.
Kurt is surprised at the expletive. He never actually heard her swear. But sensing her mood he decides not to comment on it and joins her on the floor, sitting next to her.
"Tell me about it." He sighs before another thought crosses his mind. "Wait a minute, I thought you and Finn …?"
Rachel's face emerges again. "He knows. He has known for a while. I told him recently. He's a good friend." She concludes and rests her head on the locker behind her. "I told him the real reason why we haven't had sex yet. He's still with me, as a cover up. He's a good guy. You know Finn."
Kurt hums an affirmative before repeating his question. "Who is it?"
When the silence stretches he turns his head to watch her face. From afar it would've appeared that she just looks at the wall of lockers across from them. From his point of view, just a few inches away, he knows that her eyes are out of focus and that she's deep in thought.
He bumps his shoulder against hers, bringing her back to the present.
"God knows I could've needed someone that should've set me straight, so to speak, with the whole crush on Finn last year. So come on, tell me. I pinky-promise not to make fun of you." He says with an attempt at levity, holding up his left hand with all the fingers curled in, except his pinky.
The corners of her mouth twitch and she intertwines her pinky with his.
"It's just, with all the stuff she's been through the last year … and she seems to be really happy with him. She does. Who am I to disrupt this little bubble of happiness she's found? She deserves to be happy. Especially since it was my fault what happened before Sectionals." Rachel ends in a bitter tone, resolutely looking on a spot a few feet across the hall.
Kurt's eyes widen again as realisation of Rachel's object of affection sinks in.
Rachel stands up suddenly, inevitably pulling Kurt upwards with her. Her eyes are misted over and Kurt thinks she's going to fullout cry any second now.
"I know you're lonely, Kurt. I know what it's like. I do." She begins, her voice scratchy as she reaches up with her free hand, the other still intertwined with his, to wipe the tears that threaten to fall away. "But you're not alone. We're going to win Nationals this year. And you know how we're going to do that? Because we have you."
Kurt takes in her shaken appearance. Her desperate attempt to return to normalcy. In an uncharacteristic move, because it's still Rachel Berry and although they may have bonded over their one similarity, they're not friends, although that may be further down the line – but Kurt hates seeing girls cry, any girl, so he envelopes her in a hug.
"That's true." He whispers, holding her close and stroking her hair.
Rachel inhales deeply and continues to mumble in his shoulder. "That's twelve people who love you just for being exactly the way that you are."
He wants to tell her that there are twelve people who love her, too. But he knows that most of their team mates only care for Rachel in a professional way, namely her voice, and not on a personal level. He knows that there are only a handful of people in the choir room that do, maybe even less, and the person she so desperately wants to be a part of this handpicked group is not amongst them. So he just hums and tightens his embrace. He hopes that she understands that it does get better, eventually. The way she grips the front of his shirt makes him hopeful that she gets what he's trying to say her in a non-verbal way.
She takes a shuddering breath before extracting herself from his arms.
"Do you want to sing a duet with me?"
The sudden change of topic catches him off guard. "But the duet competition is over." He says confused.
"I know. I just … I think you will be really happy with my song selection. It's sort of everything that both you and I love." Rachel gives him a small smile. "I thought this one could be for me and you."
He gives her a smile in return. It is her way of offering a friendship to him.
"What are we going to sing?"
She stops in mid-motion, already turned to go to their next destination. Presumably an empty classroom or the auditorium to practise. She turns around in slow-motion, but only far enough so that her eyes can catch his, before she looks away again.
"'Get Happy/Happy Days are here again' by Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland."
He nods and offers her his arm. "Lead the way."
He understands that she needs this more than he does. And not just because she deliberately chose to lose the duet competition their overenthusiastic teacher bestowed upon them.
She needs this to distract herself from the fact that despite the lyrics of the song they're going to sing, happy days are not going to be here for her for a long time.