Okay I know I promised HP one shots and more romance but for some reasons that may or may not be obvious this refused to not be written, hence it has been posted before the first part of my next super sweet romantic express train! Having said that please bear in mind that this story is sensitive in nature containing a re telling (though not graphic) of abuse that will if you are so inclined perhaps trigger something, so please do not read if this includes you. Secondly this story NEEDED to be written, if you feel my style or characterisation is off then by all means flame me, if it regards content please don't presume that I am writing it for a reaction, I'm writing it in the hopes that if there is anyone out there in Quinn's position they may think twice about doing something stupid. That's the warning done so carry on my amigos!

BROKEN BEAT & SCARRED

She didn't belong there, idly she wondered if she ever had, looking down into the amber liquid at the bottom of the red plastic cup Quinn Fabray wondered if fall down drunk was drunk enough to forget…and remembered that no, it wasn't. Sighing internally she realised she had no idea what the hell the music they were listening to was, come to think of it she didn't even know what the hell she was drinking.

Blowing out a slow breath she downed the last of what turned out to be beer in her cup and took another look around this 'happy gathering' that Puck had decided to throw together before their senior year started. Well, actually it was a combination of Kurt and Puck, even now the thought of those two conspiring to put together this little shindig was enough to make her at least think about smiling.

Puck always held an end of holiday's party, or a start of holiday's party…actually any excuse for a party and Puck was there, but it just so happened that this time there was another reason on top of the usual last minute blow out. Sam's dad had found work but it was in another state so they were combining the end of summer vacation party with Sam's going away party. Despite the very messy and unpleasant way she and the blonde haired geek had ended she bore the guy no ill will and was glad his father had found work, it helped that she loved his brother and sister so much, they were such good kids and as hard as it would be to see them leave she knew it was to give them a better future. She had said her own goodbyes to them and to Sam earlier that day when the two had taken the youngsters to the ice cream parlour.

Yeah. she thought dully, if she had been able to lie, or to be more accurate if she had been capable of maintaining a lie she could have been happy with Sam, but no,…no yet again she had thought that she could find the missing spark in her life by going backwards and not forwards, and there was definitely nothing more backwards than Finn Hudson.

Forcing a smile as she passed several of her friends, Quinn made her way to the kitchen, despite the fact the alcohol tasted like shit it did at least help to make certain things almost bearable. Her lips quirked in an almost genuine smile as she saw Brittany and Santana together on one of the sofa's, heads bent close together in intense conversation. The Latina had made a conscious effort to stay sober that night so she could finally talk to the blonde she loved and hopefully sort herself out.

Quinn envied her that, whatever else was going on in Santana's life she had someone who loved her, someone who cared that she was happy, that she felt protected…someone who made her feel like she mattered. Swallowing down the lump in her throat with a good mouthful of bourbon the blonde pulled a face and glanced back into the main sitting room where the party was finally winding down.

Santana wasn't the only one who was secure in the knowledge that someone cared, as she looked amongst her glee friends Quinn found herself blinking back those ever present and fucking annoying tears, blindly she found and poured the contents of the nearest bottle into her cup. After draining it again she felt able to look back into the room, only to have everything she already feared confirmed.

Santana and Brittany were now holding hands, smiling shyly at one another and talking so quietly she doubted even those sat next to them could hear. The couple sat next to them were Blaine and Kurt, also annoyingly happy with hands intertwined, the smaller boy was curled against the former warbler's chest contentedly as they both sang along to the song currently playing on the stereo, it took Quinn a minute to place the tune and she almost laughed when she did.

"Fucking Jar of Hearts again…fuck my life."

Muttering in bitter amusement she shook her head to herself and looked round the room for the rest of the gleeks positions. Puck was dancing with Lauren, they were actually really cute together and it made her happy that Puck the man whore had finally found someone that made him reveal his true self. Lauren was a lot more than she portrayed herself to be as well, she and Quinn had struck up an odd friendship after the prom debacle and it had given the blonde a better insight into the wrestler.

Mike and Tina were playing Pucks old N64 in one corner, laughing and shoving each other playfully during a round of super Smash Brothers, it looked like they might just go the distance, unlike poor old Mercedes and Sam. Their romance had been short lived but they were amicable about the break up and as tonight was their last night together they were being over the top with the PDA's.

Even Artie had a girlfriend now, some girl he'd met at computer camp or wherever it was he went for the whole of summer, still, at least the whole mess with him, Brit and San would now be sorted out without too much romantic heartbreak. They were an odd bunch but they all fit will together, they made sense in some obscure Da Vinci code like way. Mostly thanks to Rachel Fucking Berry and Finn cunting Hudson.

She felt her grip tighten and was glad the cup was plastic and not glass as it gave way under the growing pressure of her fingers. Discarding it in the trash she turned to regard the two self appointed Glee Captain's and felt the familiar wave of irritation, affection and pure rage. Those two always rattled her the wrong way, and for very different reasons.

Finn was a grade A fuckwit, seriously, the guy spent all his time wanting what he couldn't have! One minute he wanted Rachel, then he wanted Quinn, then he wanted Rachel again…basically he was an over aged child that only ever wanted someone or something when someone else had it. He never did the right thing, unless pushed into it by the rest of the group that is, a prime example being when Kurt was being bullied. The rest of the club got into a smack down over it but he wouldn't risk his popularity, then when everyone fawned over the others for being brave he made a grand gesture at his mom's wedding and everyone forgot he was such a prick in the first place.

Same as his hypocrisy over lying to Rachel about sleeping with Santana, sure, Rachel making the moves on Puck hadn't been the best move but for Finn to dump her because of it after his bald face lying was yet another prime example of his charmed life. Basically he acted like a dick, then made up for it, flashed his dopey grin and kicked at the floor with his 'aw shucks' impression and got away with everything. Even Rachel whom Quinn had always (begrudgingly) believed to be highly intelligent fell for it every time!

Rachel…there was another of Quinn's problems, probably her main one in fact. She smiled to herself bitterly as she recalled the awkward and somewhat emotional conversation she had had with Santana as they got ready to come to the party…

"Fabray would you get out of the damn bathroom already! Some of us might actually have the prospect of romance tonight and need to get our sexy on!"

Snorting slightly the blonde girl exited the bathroom and decided to finish towel drying her hair in the bedroom so the Latina would hopefully stop whining.

"I didn't even want to go in the first place if you remember, I never did like these parties, the only reason I'm going is because it's Sam's leaving party…so don't bitch at me just because I need to shower."

Rolling her eyes Santana carried on the conversation from in front of the bathroom mirror, leaving the door open, Quinn leant on the doorframe to look at her friend via the mirror as they talked.

"I don't see what the big issue is Q, maybe you can get yourself a little action as well, loosen up finally."

Making sure the way her gaze shot to the floor seemed casual enough, the blonde shrugged a shoulder.

"I don't want any 'action' San, I'm happy with things the way they are. Just because I came out doesn't mean I have to jump on anything in a skirt."

Smirking Santana raised an eyebrow.

"Not even on Berry? Come on Q you've wanted to get up on that for like the last three years, she's totally homo friendly you should just go for it…God knows anything would be an improvement over Finncompetent."

Smiling reluctantly at that Quinn nevertheless shook her head.

"Berry is happy with the giant douche so leave her to it…besides I'm not, exactly in a good place to be with anyone right now."

She could see her friend frowning at her and mentally crossed her fingers that the Latina wouldn't ask, yes she was her best friend but this would be too much, she couldn't tell her this…she couldn't tell anyone, it was her burden, her fault and she had to deal with it…somehow, she just sometimes felt she couldn't, sometimes she was so tired…so damn tired and all she wanted to do was…

She snapped her eyes up to meet the uncharacteristically soft ones of her best friend and found herself swallowing, Santana must have seen it in her eyes, the reluctance to talk, because she averted her own and nodded ever so slightly, letting it be…for now at least.

"Well, you can be my private but very invisible support tonight then? And if it goes wrong you can help pull me out of a trash can when I get drunk and fall in one."

Quinn didn't have to try as much as she thought she would to smile at Santana, despite everything the girl was a good friend, and it was why Quinn would never dump her own worries on the Cheerio's Captain, it was why she would never tell Rachel how she felt, why she knew she would be alone for the rest of her life, why she'd made peace with that fact, despite the pain it caused.

Now however, well now she didn't feel so good about that decision, the fact everyone else around her was happy, that they all had someone…well that was something she normally tried to find a vicarious pleasure in. Telling herself that to see her friends happy would cause her to be happy, at least that was how it usually worked but not tonight, tonight all she could feel was the overwhelming pain and helplessness, the all too familiar anger she couldn't control. Looking down she realised she was white knuckling the edge of the kitchen table and she forced herself to blow out a relaxing breath and try and release her hold, when she finally did she could feel the shakes coming on again, the shakes and the sweats, it was too hot in here damn it!

Fumbling with her accursed shaking hands, Quinn tried to look for a bottle of something, anything that was full and that she could take with her. Remembering Puck's favourite hiding place she opened up the washing machine drum and sure enough nestled amongst the towels and sport socks was an almost full bottle of Tequila. Standing up with the bottle she started when she saw Rachel standing literally in front of her.

"Jesus fucking Christ Berry! What is your damage!"

Flinching at the harsh language and also a little from the alcohol fumes on the blondes breath, Rachel leant back and grimaced.

"There's no need for foul language Quinn, I was merely coming to check on you, I haven't seen you much tonight, and when I looked in the kitchen just now…you didn't seem very well."

The real note of concern in her voice should have should have been comforting, an audible cue for Quinn to unload whatever it was she had on her mind, sure they weren't best friends but they had gotten along better recently, despite Finn tanking the competition to get back in the brunette's good books after dumping the blonde.

Instead it had the opposite effect and Quinn felt herself getting angrier as she unscrewed the cap of the tequila and barked out a harsh laugh.

"Get lost Berry, shouldn't you be working on your other very special pet project!"

Her tone was so biting she even surprised herself, she almost apologised at the hurt look on the brunette's face but instead she took a long swallow from the bottle and deliberately looked away. Rachel wrung her hands together nervously, she didn't know exactly what was wrong but she could see something in the blondes eyes that worried her, worried her a lot.

"Quinn I realise you may still harbour some ill feeling towards me due to my relationship with Finn and if you don't wish to talk to me that is fine…but please do not insult him."

A fist slammed heavily into the top of the heavy oak table, due to the volume of the music in the sitting room the noise was contained to the kitchen luckily. It was still loud enough to make Rachel jump and she physically recoiled from the look on Quinn's face.

"You are so…God Rachel! what is wrong with you, that guy has been nothing but an ass to you from day one, he's used you, never defended you, slept with someone else and lied to you about it and yet every fucking time you forgive him! Every. Fucking. Time!"

The last three words were all punctuated by the blondes fist impacting the table and the brunette knew for a fact that Quinn was probably entirely unaware of the fact the skin on her knuckles had split from the force of the blows. Swallowing nervously she opened her mouth to try and calm the obviously distraught ex cheerleader when Finn wandered in and frowned as he slipped his arm round her shoulders. He was oblivious to the possible emotional scars he may be re opening and Rachel looked at him reprovingly as he spoke blithely.

"What's going on babe?"

Huffing out a breath Rachel nonetheless mustered a small smile and tried to disengage his arm without being obvious about it.

"Nothing, I'm fine just having a talk with Quinn, it's okay I got this."

He frowned as though he couldn't understand the comment and chanced a glance to Quinn who scowled at him and muttered something, narrowing his eyes he muttered.

"Just leave her alone, she's a frigging mess Rach, you cant help her."

Rachel looked at him aghast and Quinn just chuckled and placed her battered hand over her chest in mock surprise.

"Goodness Finn, are you saying you disapprove of me…colour me so not fucking surprised! Besides which you got no need to worry, Berry will spend all her time stroking your very small ego."

He lunged forward angrily and when Rachel lay a restraining hand on his arm he jabbed a finger in the blondes direction speaking harshly.

"Fuck you Quinn, you're just bitter and twisted because no one in their right mind wants to be paired up with you! You're like a fucking curse you know that? People get near you and you ruin them…you're going to end up dying somewhere alone where no one is going to give a shit about you!"

Rachel wondered when exactly this conversation had gotten out of hand and she swallowed and regrouped mentally, trying to formulate a reply to calm things before Quinn exploded and redecorated Pucks kitchen in a new shade called hint of Finn. The expected explosion never came however, instead the blonde picked up the bottle of Tequila and glancing between Finn and Rachel headed for the back entrance, her quiet reply almost lost in the closing of the door behind her.

"I know."

For a moment both Rachel and Finn looked at the door and then the tall boy sighed before he gently rubbed Rachel's shoulders.

"Come on babe…let's go sit down with the others, don't let her ruin the party."

Whirling round the brunette glared at him for a long moment.

"Finn Hudson, I cant believe you're suggesting we ignore that! Quinn is hurt, she needs medical attention, not to mention that in her state she could end up anywhere with anyone…she shouldn't be alone out there like that!"

Frowning heavily the footballer shoved his hands into his pockets and hunched his shoulders as he glanced into the living room where the rest of the Glee club were now sat around playing a very intoxicated game of Twister.

"But babe…it's the last Friday before we go back to High School and the guys are talking about a Goldeneye marathon…"

Some of Quinn's very pointed criticisms of Finn came back to the forefront of Rachel's mind as she listened to the boy's slightly whiny tone and pouting lips, but surely he wouldn't leave Quinn out there like that…well okay they didn't have the best past but if she were to go she was confident he would go with her.

"Well I cant relax knowing she's out there hurting Finn, I have to go and find her but if you really don't want to you don't have to come with me."

Expecting him to smile his goofy smile and nod in agreement before going to get their coats she was shocked into silence when he leant down and gave her a brief hug.

"Thanks Rach, you're the best, call me if you need like…a ride when you find her or something okay?"

Kissing her briefly he literally bounced back into the sitting room and she heard him call dibs on the second N64 controller for Goldeneye. Shaking her head in angry disbelief she grabbed the nearest jacket from the chair backs in front of her and slinging it on headed out after the very drunk and for some reason very angry ex cheerleader.

Quinn wasn't sure where she was, or where she was going, it was nearly three in the morning and Lima was not exactly the jumpingest joint in town even at the best of times. Pausing to swallow another mouthful of Tequila she put her hand into her jeans pocket to grab her phone and swore angrily as her raw knuckles scraped against the rough denim, with the wisdom of the drunk she roared angrily and slammed the hand into the brick wall she was leaning on…but that hurt even more so she did it until it stopped hurting, or maybe it hurt too much, she was too drunk to notice which one of those options it was.

Swaying on her feet she hummed under her breath and realised she was down by the creek, on the bridge above it actually. It wasn't a creek really, more of a stream and the bridge was a good fifty feet above it, setting the Tequila bottle very carefully on the low wall of the bridge she then clambered onto it clumsily, almost child like. Once she had her feet back under her she picked up the bottle again and took another swallow as she contemplated the height. It might not kill her but depending on how she fell it was more than likely that it would, or at least fuck her up enough that she could switch off for a while…check out…turn off, however you wanted to phrase it.

She took a few more swallows of the bitter drink and wiped her mouth on the back of her good hand, not much left now…she'd wait till it was finished at least. It's not that she wanted to die so much as she couldn't see a way to live, not the way things were at the moment anyway. She had thought (hoped) that maybe the fact she had finally admitted to being gay would offer her some sort of solace…something she could anchor herself to but it didn't. As a personal milestone it was great, but it didn't change the fact that she was broken…actually no, not broken, shattered was the more appropriate word.

Glancing down at her battered hand she realised that it was still bleeding and with a dazed smirk she glanced at the road and realised she'd left a trail of crimson in her wake.

"Like Hansel and Gretel…cept they got nabbed by a witch, dun think I'm gonna be gotted by a witch, but s'cool."

Nodding to herself she took another long swallow and then ran a hand down her face roughly.

It was odd how you could look at someone and never know…sure, to some degree it could be argued that everyone was broken, it was a sad fact of life that everyone would have their own personal milestones to overcome and she was crippled with the shame of hers. Not shame at what had happened to her, it happened to lots of kids…but shame that she couldn't handle it, that the fine layer of control she had tried to maintain on everything had finally snapped. And now she couldn't bear to look at herself, not without seeing what had happened, what she was too weak to prevent happening.

Blinking away the tears for what felt like the millionth time since her mind had imploded on her she fumbled her I phone out of her pocket and scrolled through the music selection…she knew what she wanted to listen to, an appropriate ending song, as it were. Smirking bitterly she realised that it was music no one would ever suspect her of listening to, if they cared enough to look that was. For months she'd been withdrawing, sitting at the back of Glee club and reading to herself…and no one had noticed not even Santana, though to be fair to her the Latina had her own drama going on. It was to be expected really she supposed. Sniffing she chuckled wryly as she managed to find the song she wanted and press play, as the angry guitar riffs and blistering drum beat pounded out of the tiny speakers she felt her eyes close and muscles relax in direct contrast to the tone of the song.

You rise, you fall, you're down then you rise againWhat don't kill ya make ya more strongYou rise, you fall, you're down then you rise againWhat don't kill ya make ya more strong

She felt her before she saw her and some of the tension left her shoulders before sighing heavily and taking another long swallow of the golden liquid with a wince.

"What are you doing here Berry?"Rise, fall, down, rise againWhat don't kill ya make ya more strongRise, fall, down, rise againWhat don't kill ya make ya more strong

Rachel had been expecting Quinn to be angry, but this…quiet emotionless Quinn worried her, she'd actually have preferred the blonde to be ranting, she opened her mouth to speak then tuned into the song blasting out from the I phone.Through black days, through black nightsThrough pitch black insidesBreaking your teeth on the hard life coming(Show your scars)Cutting your feet on the hard earth running(Show your scars)Breaking your life, broken, beat and scarredBut we die hard

Rachel wasn't a fan of Metallica but even she couldn't argue that James Hetfield had one of the most distinctive voices she had ever heard. This song, sadly, told her more about Quinn's state of mind than the dead tone in the blondes voice did.The dawn, the death, the fight to the final breathWhat don't kill ya make ya more strongThe dawn, the death, the fight to the final breathWhat don't kill ya make ya more strong

Swallowing hard the brunette diva walked closer to the wall, slowly though as she didn't want to startle the girl. She had to handle this carefully, very carefully! Dawn, death, fight, final breathWhat don't kill ya make ya more strongDawn, death, fight, final breathWhat don't kill ya make ya more strong

Quinn glanced to the side where Rachel was leaning very carefully against the wall, the brunette was trying her best not to look worried and the ex cheerleader found herself smiling sadly as she spoke.

"You shouldn't be here Rachel, I didn't want an audience…you should be with the others, you're like them."They scratch me, they scrape meThey cut and rape me

Frowning in confusion Rachel swallowed and spoke carefully.

"Quinn…you are too, you're a part of the Glee club, I know we don't always act like a family, and maybe we're a bit dysfunctional but we care…I definitely care!"Breaking your teeth on the hard life coming(Show your scars)Cutting your feet on the hard earth running(Show your scars)Breaking your life, broken, beat and scarredBut we die hard

Laughing in a sad bitter way Quinn drained the last of the Tequila and stepping very clumsily but closer to the edge she held the bottle out over the creek by it's neck and raised an eyebrow at Rachel.

"No Rachel, I'm not like them…I'm like this Tequila bottle, empty."

Letting it go she waited till it half splashed half shattered on the outcropping of rock , she turned to Rachel again weaving on her feet as she added.

"And shattered."Breaking your teeth on the hard life coming(Show your scars)Cutting your feet on the hard earth running(Show your scars)Bleeding your soul in a hard luck story(Show your scars)Spilling your blood in the hot sun's glory(Show your scars)Breaking your life, broken, beat and scarred

Even without knowing why Quinn was like this the brunette was near tears and she found herself fighting to keep the emotion out of her voice as she swallowed and spoke quietly.

"Quinn please…talk to me, whatever it is I can help you, I promise…I know you had a bad year last year and it might seem that things are at their lowest ebb but you have people that care about you. I know going back to school may be a worry because of your recent revelations concerning your sexuality but with Santana and the bully whips you know nothing will happen, plus the Glee club will have your back."

We die hardWe die hardWe die hard

As the last notes of the song died out Quinn released a shaky breath and then a small laugh, it started as a small laugh but it soon grew and she was weaving dangerously on the bridge, her manic laughter mixed with tears and sobs. Rachel felt her own heart twist with the pain she could hear in the ex cheerleaders voice and she decided to take a risk. Stepping up onto the wall she stood behind the taller girl and reaching out pulled her back and into her arms.

"I got you Quinn…I got you, whatever it is, I can help I swear I can…just let me, please God let me help you!"

For the first time in the longest time the blonde felt herself in someone else's embrace, someone who seemed to care and someone who she could relax with, someone she trusted. As stupid as it sounded even something as simple as a hug had become a mountain she had to climb. She found she froze up whenever her mother tried to comfort her. Even her niece and nephew for God's sake, her sister had visited the weekend before and she had inadvertently upset the kids by going rigid at the contact, and it wasn't like she could explain why…no one knew, why should she share the pain, the more people that knew the more people would have to deal with the guilt and emotional baggage that would weight them down. She had to cope on her own…except she couldn't anymore, and that was the worst part, she was hardly sleeping, she had panic attacks at the stupidest times and she couldn't control her own emotions when outside of her comfort zones.

And now Rachel Berry, the girl she had recently been able to admit to herself that she felt more than platonic affection for, was offering her a lifeline. God knew she needed it but Quinn couldn't, she couldn't drop this bomb onto the one person she cared about the most. Swallowing she closed her eyes but allowed the little diva to keep hold of her, for the moment at least.

"Rachel…you don't know what you're asking for. I cant…wont let it drag you down as well, it cant hurt anyone else, I wont let it."

She felt the slim yet surprisingly strong arms squeeze her for a moment before Rachel sighed into the back of her neck shakily and let her tears soak into the collar of Quinn's shirt before she spoke.

"Whatever it is you cant handle it alone, not anymore…you were going to kill yourself for crying out loud, your hand is all kinds of messed up that even my complex vocabulary cant wrap itself around…I need to get you to the E.R."

Glancing down at the remains of the shattered Tequila bottle on the rock Quinn felt the tears she had so far managed to keep at bay start to slide down her face.

"I…Rachel please don't make me, I don't want you to see me like this, like I really am, I'm supposed to be the strong one, working behind the scenes to make things better, this isn't supposed to sink me like this!"

Keeping the blonde tightly against her chest, Rachel glanced down and knew that the fall would severely mess them up if not kill them…but she wouldn't let Quinn do it, she couldn't and she was beginning to wish she had taken the blonde aside when she first noticed her pulling away. But Quinn had always been a private person and so it was hard to tell if her distancing was part of her naturally withdrawn demeanour or something else. Now she knew it was something else, something apparently emotionally crippling for the blonde and she was scared at what she might hear but she wanted to hear nonetheless, she wanted to be there for her, more than she ever suspected she would.

"Let me put it this way Quinn, I'm sticking to you whatever so either we go over together…in which case Broadway will be robbed of it's future biggest star, or we get off the bridge and you let me look after you, you take a chance and talk to me, the choice is yours."

Drawing in a big breath Rachel could feel Quinn's athletic frame shaking, either from nerves or because the cold was finally getting to her, either way the diva kept hold of the blonde and waited patiently for her to make her decision, she really hoped she wasn't going to die tonight, or end up in the hospital but she couldn't walk away. After a long tense moment she felt Quinn go slack against her and let out one desperate sob before speaking hoarsely.

"Why Rach…why do you care?"

The question carried a desperation that took the brunette's breath away for a moment and she rested her head against Quinn's neck again for a long moment before speaking carefully. She didn't want to lie to her but she didn't want to scare her off or drive her away either.

"Because I do care about you Quinn, I always have…even when we supposedly hated each other and I constantly smelled like a fruit cocktail of iced beverages, I cared. I know there's more to you than you let anyone see and I know that whatever it is you can get help, and I'll be with you for as long as you want me to be."

There was a moments silence and Quinn shifted her gaze to the barely there trickling water under the bridge before speaking softly.

"Finn wont like you hanging around me so much…in fact he'll hate it, because this isn't something that is going to go away Rach, it's something I have to try and find a way to live with and can you honestly tell me that months or even years from now you're not going to get pissed off when I ring you at three in the morning because of a bad dream or because I cant stop crying?"

The blondes hands had fallen slightly and were lightly clasped over the brunettes that were holding tightly to her waist, smiling sadly Rachel loosened her hold with one of them and threaded her fingers with Quinn's healthy ones before replying.

"If Finn Hudson cant understand then quite frankly he can go…piss up a rope!"

At the very foreign curse words falling from the diva's lips Quinn emitted the first real laugh she had had for what felt like months.

"Rachel Berry…you just swore!"

Smiling against the warm skin of the ex cheerleaders neck Rachel shrugged.

"If it will help I can try and swear some more?"

Sighing heavily Quinn turned within the closed and comforting arms of her unlikely hero before looking into the concerned brown eyes properly for the first time that evening.

"Rachel, I know that you want to help me and I…almost want to trust you but things could get awkward, I already harbour more than pla…ple…uh, friendly feelings for you and if anything this would only make them um…more."

The blonde frowned at her lack of elegance but a bottle of Tequila will tend to do that to you, pinching the bridge of her nose hard she reopened her eyes and sighed.

"You probably didn't need to know that, I just wanted to be fair to you and not lie, cos I'm so damn sick of lying Rach."

Weaving on her feet she was glad Rachel was there to hold up and didn't even realise that they were moving until she felt her feet hit the tarmac again. Frowning she looked up and around before hissing in discomfort as Rachel took hold of her battered hand. After a moment the diva winced in sympathetic pain.

"Let's take this one thing at a time huh? How about you let me take you home and see to that hand. Then we can sit down and talk, okay?"

Quinn was beginning to feel the emotional crash coming on, it always happened when she got this bad, she'd get close to the edge and then stop, although she was pretty damn certain that if Rachel hadn't come along tonight she wouldn't have. Now the exhaustion was coming on and she found herself leaning heavily on the brunette, Rachel considered ringing Finn for that lift he had half heartedly offered her but changed her mind and decided to walk as she only lived a few blocks away, that and the fact that she doubted Quinn would want the footballer to see her like this, especially after their altercation earlier. Rachel knew this was going to be the first of many conversations the two of them would have but if it kept Quinn from doing something stupidly permanent then she was happy to do it. She also decided that she would rather concentrate on helping Quinn than question her own motives for willingly dropping everything, including her burgeoning relationship with Finn, to be there for the girl.

The progress back to Rachel's house was slow but steady, Quinn was obviously still very drunk but as the alcohol wore off the pain from her hand was starting to register and by the time they reached the little diva's plain but warm house the blonde was actually shaking with pained shudders. Carefully Rachel helped Quinn into the house and set her gently down on the sofa before rushing off to grab her father's medical bag. Although she hated it when they went away she also couldn't help but be grateful this time, whatever was weighing the girl down was obviously something that she wouldn't be comfortable sharing with just anyone, Rachel just kept her mental fingers crossed that Quinn would at least open up to her.

For her part Quinn wasn't sure where she was or why, she vaguely remembered standing on the old bridge, thinking that soon she'd be able to just stop thinking, stop fighting and finally start resting. Some people would consider her approach to be cowardly, but then those 'some people' were probably commenting from the outside in, thinking they knew how she felt and thought and that she should just fight. What amused and yet despaired her about that comment was that they assumed she hadn't been fighting in the first place, did they really assume that these things just happened one day and that you finally decided to do something about them? No, no they did not just happen…it was a truth you lived with every day, and on some days every second of every minute of every hour you were fighting, to get up, to eat, to fucking give a damn about the fact you were still around. Sighing loudly she ran her good hand through her untidy locks and forced the internal monologue to calm down because no, no one did know, but that was because she had never told anyone. She focused suddenly as Rachel came back in with a proper medical bag and Quinn raised the infamous eyebrow as she looked over it.

"Rachel, if you are about to utter the phrase 'trust me I'm a Doctor' I may have to laugh at you."

Staring back at her for a minute the diva tilted her head to one side and taking in the mild but genuine amusement on the intoxicated blondes face she found herself smiling back.

"I would never claim such a falsehood Quinn Fabray, I thought you knew me better than that by now. I am however fully qualified as a first-aider and that hand needs attention…more than I can give if I'm being honest but as you refuse to see a surgeon at the E.R I will do my best to patch you up."

Frowning slightly the blonde looked down at her hand and then her eyes widened as she took in the state of her right hand before chewing on her lower lip. The skin was totally scraped away from the base of the fingers and the first knuckles, she had to swallow slightly as she could see white showing through and hoped idly that it wasn't bone. Also her hand didn't seem to want to move very well and she finally took in Rachel's very worried gaze as she prepared the iodine and cotton swabs.

"Oh…"

Sighing Rachel nodded back sombrely.

"Quinn, honey this is going to hurt, and as I don't have anything to numb it with, nor would my fathers approve of me using it even if I did…do you want me to carry on, do you want something to grab onto with your good hand?"

Swallowing nervously and wishing she either had more Tequila or was sober enough to take one of her sedatives she just nodded and clumsily reached up to wrap her good hand into the material of Rachel's polo shirt on the right side before nodding wordlessly. Letting out her own wary sigh the brunette placed Quinn's hand over a small bowl and uncorked the bottle of iodine, without pausing too long (because she knew the thought of causing pain to the blonde in any way would stay her hand) she poured it over the open wounds. She felt the material of her polo shirt bunching sharply into the blondes tightly fisted hand as she gasped in pain.

Glancing up briefly she saw the blonde had her eyes tight shut and was clenching her jaw, before she could question herself, she picked up the tweezers and started to pick out the specks of dirt and debris that had gotten caught in the torn flesh. It was a slow and careful job but she moved as swiftly as she could ignoring the muted grunts of pain from above her or the trembling from the tall athletic frame that was taut with pain as she worked. Soon she took another quick look and realised she was had gotten out as much as she could with the equipment available to her, inhaling a deep breath she tipped up the bottle of iodine once more, washing out the cleared areas of flesh before dabbing them dry. She was alarmed when Quinn went slack underneath her but a quick check of her pulse revealed she had merely passed out. After bandaging the wounds Rachel headed into the kitchen to clean herself up and put on a pot of coffee, she had a feeling it was going to be a long night and that she might need it.

It wasn't even an hour later that Quinn literally sat bolt upright on the sofa with both hands gripping the edges of the cushions around her, a cry stuck in her throat at the familiar fear upon waking anywhere other than her own room. The cry that wasn't stuck in her throat however, was the one of pain that she emitted when she flexed, or tried to flex, her injured hand. At the yelp of pain Rachel came rushing in dressed in her pyjamas ( shorts and a T-Shirt that were covered in moons and stars which the blonde immediately associated with Lucky Charms) and frowned in concern.

"Quinn, I'm sorry I meant to be here when you woke up, I thought you would sleep longer…how are you feeling?"

Watching carefully as she tracked the brunette's progress from the doorway , Quinn rummaged through the Tequila soaked shards of her memory in an effort to recall what had led her here, sadly it was all too easy to recall. She swivelled herself into a seated position as she blew out a long breath and supported her head in her good hand, leaning forward to rest her elbow on her knee.

"I…feel like I could really do with an aspirin and something to drink, then I guess I owe you an explanation."

Smiling softly the brunette lay a gentle hand on her tentative friends shoulder before speaking quietly.

"I'll get what you need as well as a sandwich, I'm sorry but you are far too thin Fabray and I dread to think when or even if you ate earlier today. So sit tight and try and relax for a few moments okay?"

For once Quinn didn't feel trapped by the presence of another person, and despite the care Rachel was offering freely to her she didn't feel like a burden or a fuck up. Finding herself smiling back, weakly but genuinely, she nodded and managed to relax her muscles enough to sit back on the sofa, bizarrely she found her eyes closing in relative comfort. At least she assumed it was comfort but she wasn't sure as it had been so long since she had felt anything like it, at least not genuinely. But the warm cosy atmosphere in the house and the background noise of Rachel singing along softly to the radio all made her feel as though someone did actually give a shit about her. She hoped so because honestly she didn't think she'd given a shit about herself in a long time.

After a while the brunette came back in with a toasted sandwich and a huge mug of black coffee, Quinn grimaced as she wasn't a fan of the coffee bean but she did recognise it would help clear her head for the talk she found herself wanting to have with the little diva. After everything the girl had done for her tonight it was the least she could do, it helped that although she was more clear headed than before she still had enough alcohol in her to make her brave enough to let someone else in on her secret.

"The sandwich is cheese but it is vegan friendly cheese I'm afraid so I hope you find it palatable, and on the bright side at least it's not tofu?"

Smiling brightly Rachel proffered the tray and with only a small amount of reluctance the blonde accepted it. The painkillers were swallowed first along with a surprisingly mellow mouthful of coffee, she raised an impressed eyebrow at the lack of bitter aftertaste and Rachel tilted her head questioningly.

"The coffee's actually really nice, normally I only go for a latte but this is really smooth stuff."

Scrunching her nose up in a delighted smile the brunette shrugged.

"You should come round more often, you'd be surprised at what I can manage to put together Fabray."

Smirking back and shaking her head slightly Quinn set about devouring the sandwich which went down so much easier than she thought it would. After finishing it and the coffee she sat back wiping her mouth and appreciating the powerful painkillers that were sweeping through her system, they were certainly not your average Advil that was for sure, not that she was complaining. She glanced up and watched as Rachel took away the empty tray then returned and sat next to her, she didn't say anything and Quinn found herself toying with the threads of a rip in her jeans and wondering how it got there, the distraction was only brief however and she finally spoke, trying to make her voice lighter than the emotions weighing her down.

"Okay…I suppose you want some kind of an explanation huh?"

Rachel smiled but it was tinged with sadness this time and she reached out for the athletes good hand running her thumb gently over the knuckles for a few moments before speaking.

"Quinn, you don't have to tell me anything you don't want to, I'm not going to pressure you. I know whatever it is though is dragging you further and further down every day and what I am offering you is a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen to you…and arms to hold you and if necessary to pull you back from the brink when you need it. Because whatever you think Quinn Fabray you are worth a lot to some people."

The blonde regarded her carefully for a long moment, she wondered if maybe Rachel was one of those people who cared a lot, but then Rachel cared for everyone, it was part of who she was. Eventually Quinn resumed talking quietly.

"I…admit that maybe having someone else that knows would be good but…it's not something you can casually drop on someone Rach, it's a heavy burden, one I never wanted and as willing as you are, if I do tell you then at times I'm going to feel guilty for laying some of it on you. I may try and push you away even, I wont mean it but sometimes I don't know how else to act. Do you still not mind me telling you?"

Rachel took a deep breath and for a long moment looked into the conflicted emotions swirling through pained hazel eyes before squeezing the hand she held between hers and nodding decisively.

"I'm here for you, through thick and thin, whatever happens I'll be here Quinn, that's a promise."

She felt Quinn relax under her hands and even smile slightly at the words she knew the athlete would never admit she needed to hear. After a long moment and a very deep and assumedly cleansing breath the blonde found her grip on the little diva's hand tightening as she began to speak, stiltedly at first.

"When I was little, say from about the age of five upwards we would always go away for two weeks in the summer holiday's. it was mostly a work thing, at least for dad that is because his work always arranged it. They rented like twenty different bungalows in this holiday park, we were never the only ones there but we were maybe the largest group. It was kinda nice, a lot of kids to play with and because the adults were always so busy there was never an issue of Dad telling me who was and who wasn't acceptable to talk to."

She paused for a moment and chewed on her lower lip, the situation with her dad was a whole other ball game, one that was loosely related to the main problem and one they could revisit at a later date maybe.

"So while the adults spent the two weeks drinking, socialising and patting each other on their backs for their wonderful business acumen, the kids would spend their days by the lake or one of the many play parks the complex had. There was this one older boy who was always hanging around but not part of our group, he was kind of creepy and so we all stayed away from him, he just had that…vibe I guess you'd call it. It wasn't too bad as one parent or the other would always accompany us to the park so though the guy hung around on the fringes he was an annoyance we could forget about."

Hearing the tone in her voice tightening slightly, Quinn paused to clear her throat and felt inordinately grateful as Rachel squeezed the hand she was still clinging to before asking gently if the blonde wanted a glass of water. Grateful for the brief moment she needed to compose herself she forced a weak smile as she nodded. It only took those few moments of time alone for the blonde to regain enough of her composure to continue when the brunette returned and handed her a bottle of mineral water, after a quick sip Quinn set the bottle down and carried on.

"The night before the first weekend was always party night, one for the kids and one for the adults, the kids one finished at like nine and we all went to bed feeling sick from too much candy and cider, the one drink our parents would allow a select few of us to have. Needless to say the adults drank substantially more than that, so the next morning when the kids had finished breakfast they wanted to go to the park as always. None of the adults wanted to come with us so eventually my father pulled me aside and said I should look after them, that I was nearly ten and more than capable of doing so."

Pausing again she took another deep swallow of the water and was grateful for Rachel's silence. She needed to get this out, and fast before she changed her mind, god knows that when she sobered up she would never raise the subject again consciously for fear of rejection from the one person who had come to mean the most to her.

"So, feeling pretty proud of myself and my abilities I did just that, took the kids to the park to play. It was fine for the first few hours then the weird guy turned up again so I got the kids to stay together in one place as one group, even now I don't know why it just felt safest to do that. But one little boy, Nathan, fell and managed to skim his knee enough to make him howl and in that second I was with him and the crowd of kids around him…it only took like three minutes to calm him down, the fact the boys thought it was cool to have a war wound helped, you know what boys of that age are like. When I knew he was okay I turned around and the weird kid was knelt down in front of Fiona…she was like one of the youngest there, barely five if I remember correctly, and as I watched he moved in to kiss her, like…properly kiss her."

Quinn saw the diva swallow out of the corner of her eye but she didn't back away or offer comment, she merely shifted a little closer and squeezed the athletes hand in hers comfortingly.

"I saw red, I mean it was my responsibility to look after those kids and because I slipped up, even if only for one second, that son of a bitch freak was perving on a little girl. I did what seemed to be the sensible thing at the time and tackled the guy, head down and rammed into him sending him flying. All seemed okay until he stood up…I figured he was maybe sixteen, seventeen and definitely stronger than me. He looked at me like…I don't know like maybe he was shocked, then angry and he grabbed my arm, I remember that…that I opened my mouth to scream, weird how I remember that but I do. He sort of looked at me and, I don't know I guess it was a smile but it was a messed up one and he pulled me closer before saying that if I did anything stupid he would come back and get any one of those kids and I couldn't stop him because I couldn't watch them all the time."

At this point Rachel was almost having to chew her own lips to stop herself from commenting, but she would remain silent for now. Even though she had a very, very bad feeling she knew where this was heading, all she could do was keep running her thumb over the shaking knuckles of the blondes hand and let her tell it in her own time.

"I didn't know what to do, I guess I should have run…or yelled or…done anything other than what I actually did, which was nothing. I let him pull me through the gap in the wire fence, behind it was a huge tree, I don't know what sort it was, just a big ass tree that I used to climb. Anyway he…it wasn't bad at first, not…well I mean it was…he uh. Well he was angry so he hit me, a few times, but I mean he wouldn't just like hit me. He'd give me options like three blows to the face or double the amount of kicks to the chest or stomach. I would have to choose and then ask him politely for whichever one it was I would choose."

Pausing slightly Quinn could feel the tension in Rachel as the girl held herself back from the embrace she wanted to pull the blonde into. Swallowing on a dry throat the athlete took a long pull from the water bottle and cleared her throat before carrying on. Consciously un focusing her eye's to stare at something that didn't exist anymore except in her head as she continued the recitation.

"So…I chose whichever one wouldn't show, because then I wouldn't have to explain my bruises and cuts, and if he got found out then he'd go after the little kids so…I took what I had to. Like I said it was okay for the first few days, then he brought someone else along to also let them hit me. My choices widened to include various parts of my body and different wounds from either of them, again it hurt but I could take it because I had to. I used to hope, pray even that my parents would spot something…anything so that they would guess and stop it, I knew I couldn't tell because he knew who I was and where I stayed when we went there, I know that because he followed me home once and I…there was no one home, guess they were at another families house and I remember him standing at the end of the garden path just looking into the house. I'd never experienced terror before you see, but I did then."

In direct contrast to her almost emotionless words Rachel could feel the trembling in Quinn's well defined muscles, and behind the unfocused steady gaze she could see the emotions swirling like a hurricane in hazel eyes. Before she could say or do anything however, the blonde forged on.

"It went on for the rest of the holiday, but I put up with it knowing we would be gone soon…until we weren't. Dad had accepted an invitation from his boss to stay out there for the rest of the summer with him and his extended family. I still didn't say anything, I mean I couldn't really as Fiona was my dad's bosses kid, she would still be there and at risk. Eventually…well, eventually hitting wasn't enough for the guy anymore, and his little assistant turned into a lookout while he changed his attentions from brutal to um to what I guess he saw as affection. My memory gets sort of hazy around this time and I remember bits and pieces, like the bark of that tree pressing painfully into the back of my head as he forced his way into my mouth. The pain in my groin, his fingers taking my virginity away from me without my saying a damn thing to stop him!"

There was a flash of anger in her voice and a spark of a fire so hot it would incinerate sparked behind her eyes, taking a deep breath Quinn tried to stop the shaking and the sudden feeling that her skin was just wrong, that she shouldn't be in it, it itched and prickled because it wasn't,…wasn't her. Couldn't be her.

"I…my underwear had blood in it, I thought maybe that was clue enough back then, that it would be the thing that would make my parents realise that something was going on and that I was too damn weak and pathetic to fight it without someone's help. But there was nothing…no moment of realisation just my mom asking if I had started my period's."

She paused in her monologue and barked out a sharp laugh before snapping her mouth closed and shrugging ever so slightly, to convey the attitude that it didn't matter.

"So…now you know, I'm a screw up, nothing more than a broken shell really, I was doing a really good job of trying to keep things together. I was enough of a bitch that no one but those I allowed would approach me. I took everything that a normal girl would want to have, a normal straight Christian girl with a quarterback boyfriend, homecoming Queen crown and proud parents. But we all know how that turned out don't we…in an attempt to try and feel normal, try and feel anything I slept with Noah and hurt three people, I hurt Finn because I cheated and lied to him about it, I hurt Puck because I slept with him knowing that I didn't and never could like him in that way. And I ruined the life of a child before it even started by giving her away so she'll grow up thinking she was nothing more than a fucking mistake."

Her voice was rising with her own feelings of self loathing and pain.

"And that was just the tip of the iceberg Rachel, I made your life miserable because I wanted to hate you, I wanted someone to hurt as much as I was so I acted like him and tried to tear you down. I hated how comfortable you were with yourself, that nothing shook your belief in what you could do, in what you would be and achieve. Then I hurt Sam, a perfectly nice guy, and then you again…I couldn't hold on to Finn and it was you I hit…when it should have been me."

She was completely unaware of the tears coursing down her cheeks as she continued to talk, to literally spill her guts to the little diva.

"I'm nothing Rachel, I don't have anything or anyone and I don't deserve to, you were right to never let me pull you down, you were right to open Finn's eyes to my lies. You are better even than him though, you need to achieve your dreams Rach and we both know there's no way Finn has the smarts to last through college. I don't even know where or when I'm going to go because I don't see my future, I cant envision one because I don't have one. You wanted me to tell you what was wrong and that's it, my whole life is a fucking lie, because I'm nothing more than a broken useless coward. You can tell everyone if you want, it's your right after I made you so miserable."

Finally exhausted and out of words the blonde slumped back in her seat and swallowed the last of the water before closing her eyes and waiting for the moment Rachel would yell at her, tell her how disgusting she was and that she had ten seconds to get out. She was unaware of the brown eyes that were spilling over with as many if not more tears than she had shed herself. There was indeed a lot that Rachel wanted to say, some of it angry beyond a doubt, but none of it, not one damn word of the volcanic vocal eruption brewing in the little diva's throat was disparaging about the ex cheerleader.

Trying her hardest to swallow down the pain and anger in her voice Rachel picked her words with care, she needed to get through to the broken girl, no, broken woman in front of her. Let her know that despite her years of torturous secret keeping and self reprisals she was still worth something, worth everything to some people…more so now with the truth being revealed. Finally feeling she had her emotions under a semblance of control Rachel cleared her throat and released one hand from Quinn's to wipe at her own eyes as she spoke.

"Quinn…I don't hate you, I never hated you because I knew that there was something that was eating you up inside. But I wish to God I had been wrong, just this once, that you had never had to go through something like that, you didn't deserve that, no one does."

At the surprised blink of hazel eyes the brunette almost broke down again, why would anyone think that they had invited this sort of treatment upon themselves? Especially someone who under the circumstances did the bravest thing she could, the only thing she thought she could. Taking a deep breath Rachel risked touching the emotionally drained blonde and slid an arm round her shoulders.

"I want you to listen to me and listen carefully Quinn because you know how I like my long winded speeches and how I hate to have to reiterate my very concise points when I have already articulated them perfectly at least once."

She used the long winded words on purpose hoping (correctly) that it would get a smile, it was a small one when it arrived but it was there and she mentally patted herself on the back.

"You were a kid yourself Quinn, a kid not even in double digits yet who was presented with an impossible choice, allow someone else to be hurt or step in, and I'm telling you right now that most nine year old kids would have let it happen, not through cowardice but because they were afraid. You didn't let it happen, you stepped in and because of it you saved a little girl too young to know what danger she was truly in. I could never hate you for that, not in a million years…I actually love you for it."

Hazel eyes widened in disbelief and just for a very, very brief moment hope. It was gone as fast as it appeared and Quinn looked away for a long moment, the little diva decided to press on without giving the blonde a reason to question her assertions.

"I know I can repeat this for a million times and it wont mean a damn thing to you until you choose to believe it, so that's exactly what I intend to do, I'll be at your side for as long as it takes for you to look in the mirror and see the same amazingly brave, courageous and wonderful woman I see when I look at you."

Quinn wiped her overflowing eyes with the back of her sleeve and tried her hardest to contain her tears. Crying was a release, it allowed her to feel, just for a little while, some kind of clarity within her own mind, a few hours where some of the stain on her soul felt just that bit cleaner…which is why she fought it, she didn't feel she deserved to feel clean after what had happened, even if it was only for a moment. Rachel wasn't stupid however and taking Quinn's chin gently between her thumb and forefinger she slowly turned the blondes gaze until conflicted hazel eyes were locked with compassionate brown ones.

"Don't…please don't fight your tears Quinn, you need to cry if only to feel a little release. And don't you dare tell me you don't deserve it because I'm here to tell you that none of what happened was your fault. You were placed into a position of responsibility that should never in a million years have been yours, and when the worst happened you surpassed that role. And I know you don't believe me but you did! For the simple reason that the adults in your life failed you, word it how you want but they failed you honey, and they would have failed Fiona if you hadn't stepped in when you did."

At those words, words Quinn had hoped were true but worried were not, she started to break apart, the thin shell she had been reconstructing ever since Beth's birth, that had stood up to Finn's abandonment of her, her mothers continued drunken disinterest in her began to crumble under one little diva's powerful emotionally fuelled words. Gripping her good hand in the front of the Lucky Charms pyjama top the ex cheerleader wept into the shoulder of her former nemesis. Years worth of anger, resentment, pain, self recrimination and sorrow poured out in loud almost frantic sobs, throughout the earth shattering breakdown Rachel just held her close, rubbing her back and whispering soothing words as she encouraged the blonde to finally start letting go. Almost an hour and a half later the sobs finally subsided into the occasional sniffle and smiling gently Rachel ducked her head to catch the red rimmed and bloodshot hazel eyes.

"Hey…you feel any better, even a little bit?"

Sitting up slowly but still not relinquishing her hold on the brunette Quinn was surprised to find that yes, she did feel…lighter, things still hurt, she was realistic enough to know she would live with a certain amount of hurt for the rest of her life but it no longer felt as though she was being crushed underneath it. Smiling in bewilderment she lay her bandaged hand on Rachel's shoulder and nodded.

"I, um yeah I sort of do…and I'm also hungry for some reason."

Rachel bounced happily in her seat with a grin as she said those words, Quinn raised an eyebrow in amusement and as the brunette shoved at her shoulder playfully she even found herself giggling.

"Well that is a good thing because I have more vegan cheese toasties with your name on them!"

Rolling her eyes at the brunette she nonetheless allowed herself to be led into the kitchen where she was placed on a kitchen stool and watched tiredly as the little diva bustled around the kitchen in a blur of stars and moons. At one point Quinn felt her concentration wavering, her mind trying to drag her back down into things she would rather not think about, all it took was one gentle squeeze of her shoulder and she was looking into concerned brown eyes again, once their gaze was locked Rachel smiled and with a flourish presented her with a plate of sandwiches, each of which had a Q on the top fashioned from strands of melted cheese. The simple action caused the athletes heart to swell and she found herself grinning as she ate, hungrier than she had felt in a long time. Once she was done Rachel took her hand.

"Now you need to get some rest before the hangover kicks in, and I hope you will excuse my laziness but the guest bed isn't made up so…would you mind sharing?"

Quinn had been wracking her brains with a way to ask because she didn't want to sleep on her own, not tonight, not after bringing everything back to the forefront of her mind. She knew if she did she would dream and those dreams would be nightmares, exhaling she shook her head shyly.

"Actually…I was going to ask you, I mean I know I admitted earlier that I like you but…I promise this isn't about that, it's just that sometimes I just want someone to hold me, to feel like someone cares?"

Rachel smiled back pushing aside her own conflicted emotions about her offer of bed sharing. Right now she was here for Quinn…the rest they would sort out later, after she helped the blonde to find out who she was in the aftermath of the emotional tsunami that had obviously been battering her soul for nearly a decade. She loaned the ex cheerleader a pair of black pyjamas with white flying pigs on them, as she had hoped it made the blonde smile and they settled into the bed together, Rachel pulling Quinn gently closer, offering the comforting embrace she realised now that the athlete had been craving for years. They lay in quiet for a long while until the brunette spoke softly.

"I want you to promise me something Quinn?"

There was a small exhale of air then the blonde spoke quietly.

"What?"

Wondering how to word things without risking chasing the blonde off, Rachel took in a cautious breath and ran one hand through the ruffled blonde locks.

"I want you to go to the hospital in the morning to have your hand looked at, and I want you to talk to a counsellor, I know my father will know the name of a good one that can help you with this sort of thing, and if I ask him he wont ask questions."

She felt Quinn stiffen reflexively under her hands and Rachel chewed her lip unconsciously, holding her breath as she waited for an answer. When it eventually came she was surprised.

"Will you come with me…I…I know you're right but it's hard to ask for help Rach, even when you know that it's your only option. So I guess if you promise to come with me then I will promise to do it, I just don't know if I can do it alone which sounds…"

She was cut off abruptly as Rachel placed her fingers gently over the blondes lips.

"You never have to ask me Quinn, from now on I'm by your side whenever you need, and sometimes when you don't think you do, when you want someone to hold you just come over, I wont ask questions. When you need a shoulder to cry on I'm there with both of mine and when you feel like you cant face school, or whatever it is you ring me and I'll take you wherever you will feel safe, that's my promise to you Quinn Fabray, my unbreakable oath."

At the quiet but passion enthused words Quinn relaxed against the brunette again and nodded her head against the shoulder she was resting on.

"Then it's a deal Berry, you're stuck with me. But I mean…what about Finn, he wont like it."

She heard Rachel hum thoughtfully for a long moment and prepared herself for a revised version of Rachel's oath. Instead she felt the brunette shrug and at the three words the little diva uttered she was glad she was too tired to sit up in surprise.

"You're more important."

So many questions swam through the blondes head but fatigue and the start of a monster hangover were dragging her closer and closer to unconsciousness so with a stifled yawn she muttered.

"Hey Rach…tell me something about you no one else knows? a secret, nothing major just something that only I will know about you."

Quinn's eyes were drifting closed as she felt Rachel's lips curve into a smile against her temple before the brunette whispered conspiratorially.

"Everyone thinks Red is my favourite colour…but it's actually pink, which is terribly girly I know."

Her smile grew as she heard Quinn's tired chuckle and she couldn't help herself as she placed a soft kiss at the athletes temple.

"Sweet dreams Quinn."

The blonde hummed tiredly in response, words beyond her exhausted brain at this point, but it was the first night in a long time that she slept properly.

The next few weeks were rocky as Rachel helped Quinn to get the help she would need, they both knew it would be far from easy to get to a point that could be seen as 'well' but the day Quinn walked through the doors of WMHS wearing clothes she had chosen herself and her hair dyed Rachel's secret favourite colour, they both knew that she would get there someday, and that Rachel would be at her side when she did.

Not my next epic multi part story I know and perhaps a little indulgent on my part but it just wanted to be written before it would let me move on to my next romance, it is more angst than anything else and if you must flame me for it please be gentle, and of course bear in mind I did warn you before you started reading! Next post however will be the start of something so sickeningly sweet you will need to spend a bundle on dental care products, I promise! xx