Here we go with my new story idea, just to let ya'll know though it's going to be very, very AU lol, basically Rachel is still a diva but lonely and a bit of an outright bitch. Quinn, Santana and Karofsky (Hey, I like the guy okay, very underused and misrepresented as a character if you ask me) are siblings through fostering and this story will feature different characters from the last story, some are the same but I'm including Bieste, Will and Sue as fairly key characters this time around, but fear not our four girls will still be there! This is more of a slow burner and comes from my obsession with ice skating and hockey, my OC's in this aren't really OC's as those familiar with my cop show obsession will quickly work out lol. I hope you like and apologise if you don't because after the heaviness that was BB&S I needed more fluffy romance, let me know what you like or don't like amigo's and enjoy the ride! xxx
'Skating On Thin Ice Fabray!'
Part One: "A change would do you good"
Coach Schuster watched the rapidly spinning figures in front of him with a mix of trepidation and resignation. Things had been so promising at the start of the session, Rachel had managed a whole three sentences before she'd made a bitchy comment regarding the boy's somewhat adequate lips, and to his credit her new tentative skating partner Sam Evans had taken it in his stride, merely shrugging it off and concentrating on the job he was there to do. As sad as it was that was the best response he had ever had from his temperamental protégé, if only her attitude was as perfect as her skating!
The synchronised scratch spin was coming to an end, or at least it should be. Rachel however was obviously testing the 'fresh meat' and instead of beginning to decrease speed in preparation to exit the spin she was maintaining the pace. Next to her Sam faltered as he hadn't expected the move to be extended like this, as a consequence, instead of exiting the spin smoothly he stumbled, caught his toe pick and ended up face first on the ice of the Berry's private rink. Will Schuster closed his eyes in resignation as he watched his last hope crash out of contention for the role of Rachel's skating partner.
Having made her point the petite brunette screeched to a devastatingly abrupt stop, the toe pick of her left skate digging in sharply and sending a spray of icy flakes onto Sam's face where he remained in place still panting from his mishap. Will looked wearily up as Rachel raised a dark eyebrow and pointedly placing her hands on her hips spoke in a voice colder than the rink.
"Is that it? I mean we're done yes? Because really Coach…this guy wont cut it and you are as aware of that fact as I am."
Turning to regard the out of breath blonde as he picked himself up from the ice she mustered a semblance of a smile and shrugged, speaking to him while managing to not actually look at or truly see him.
"Bye, thanks for auditioning."
Without stopping to acknowledge a reply she skated smoothly over to what she deemed her quiet corner, an area of the rink where she had a large easy chair set up with a mini fridge of refreshments and a blanket and cushions. Will sighed internally and with mounting resignation he patted Sam on the shoulder with an apologetic smile.
"Sorry Sam, but thanks for making the trip out here, and for what it's worth you are a talented skater. This just wasn't your day to find a perfect partner but there will be one out there, all you gotta do is get yourself out there and refine your technique."
Finding the sting of Rachel's rejection was soothed by the older man's words Sam smiled slightly and shook the coach's hand.
"Thanks Coach, it means a lot maybe I'll see you on the ice one day?"
With a last flash of that grin the kid turned and skated off to get his gear together, Will watched him change into his sneakers and grab his kit bag up before heading outside to no doubt pack what few belongings he had unpacked in his guest chalet and head back home to Oregon. Rachel, in direct contrast, didn't look up even once and in fact sighed in irritation as the boy closed the door behind him. Will flexed his jaw and running his hands through his hair couldn't quite quell the irritation in his voice as he walked across the ice with the ease of a lifetime coach.
"Rachel, you do realise he was your last chance don't you! There's no one else left even willing to try out to be your damn partner, no matter how much money of your fathers I offer to throw at them!"
Slamming her copy of Hound of the Baskervilles closed with a scowl the brunette skater looked up.
"That is hardly my problem, it's yours! My fathers pay you a lot of money to do what you do and right now they are paying you to get me trained up to Olympic standard and more importantly to find me a partner who's willing to keep up with me."
Throwing his hands up in exasperation Will resisted the urge to shake the girl, instead he took a deep breath and tried (albeit without much hope) to reason with her.
"Rachel…no one is arguing with your talent or your drive and determination to succeed, but you aren't a singles skater! You're a pairs skater and right now you don't have a partner and you have found fault with every single guy I've brought here in the past three months!"
Brown eyes rolled in irritation that equalled the coaches as Rachel reorganised the blankets around her with an impatient huff.
"Coach Schuster it would help if any one of those supposed 'perfect' partners you had brought me had an ounce of talent!"
Getting riled up even more as the seconds ticked by Will paced in front of his talented but particular student and tried to get her to see the impossibility of the situation she was putting him, and indeed herself, in.
"Every one of those boys were award winning skaters, and all of them were talented and willing to work the long hours you stipulated!"
Throwing her blanket aside Rachel stood up, secretly glad that she left her skates on as it brought her eye to eye with the older man.
"Oh really? Puckerman?"
Sighing audibly the coach ran both hands down his face and closed his eyes for a moment before grudgingly admitting to his one honest mistake.
"Puckerman was an award winner yes, admittedly his…sleazy attitude wasn't what I anticipated but you didn't have to kick him in the balls."
Sniffing haughtily Rachel flipped her perfect dark locks over her shoulder and cocking her hip placed one hand on the raised one and began to count off her coach's many 'mistakes' at least as she saw them.
"Cabot, by no stretch of the imagination strong enough!, Benson, no drive!, Novak, about as much speed over the ice as my Grandmother!…do I really need to go on?"
Will looked at Rachel's flashing eyes and allowing some of his frustration with the girl to finally leak into his voice he snapped.
"There is no one else now! Not one single skater, not even in the minor competitions is willing to skate with you, you have a reputation as a diva and a bitch Rachel Berry, so unless you have any more bright ideas on how to find yourself a partner you're looking at a very premature end to your dreams!"
For a moment there was a flash of emotion in the petite girls eyes, something akin to shame, maybe panic, it was too brief however for him to properly identify and it was the cool calm and implacable Rachel Berry that replied.
"That's your job, not mine…so I suggest you start thinking of how to overcome this obstacle before I'm not the only one whose career comes to an abrupt end!"
As threats go it was about as subtle as a sledgehammer and Will watched in stunned silence as the girl picked up her book and headed for the exit into the house. Once there she paused and swivelled on her toe pick to add a parting shot.
"And for your information William, when I'm standing on that podium with a gold medal round my neck it wont matter to me how many people think I'm a bitch!"
With that she left the rink and Will found himself alone, letting out a frustrated growl he thanked God that he had dinner with his fellow coach and good friend Shannon that night. He had a feeling he would need a few good beer's in him before he faced Rachel's fathers with the news that their daughter had blown her last chance, especially as he knew they wouldn't accept his explanation any more than Rachel had.
As the door closed behind her Rachel felt the tears gather behind her eyelids and taking a deep breath she clenched her jaw hard and forced them back down, refusing to cry, refusing to admit there was anything wrong. It wasn't her fault if her stupid coach kept picking loser's she almost felt like ringing her fathers to tell them to cancel the man's weekend off. After all why should he have time off when he was obviously trying to sabotage her career and keep her from the greatness she was destined for. Pushing herself forcefully away from the door she unlaced her skates carefully and changed into a pair of sweats and running shoes. Whenever she felt things getting too heavy for her to deal with, she would run, it wasn't as freeing as skating but there was something about the pounding of her feet on the hard packed earth of the forest that surrounded her family home that just cleared the cobwebs and helped calm the unrest in her soul. As usual her thoughts tumbled through her mind as she ran, this time they were mostly focused on her fathers and Finn.
Her fathers were both loving men but they were ludicrously busy. They had met at Hudson University where they were both studying business and had soon realised they shared a passion for home grown and organic food, Hiram, her dad, was a vegan as was Rachel herself, and Leroy her daddy was a meat eater, between them they covered all areas of organic food and had started up a small business selling free range and organic produce. As the trend to eat healthier turned into a popular lifestyle touted by several celebrities the business grew and grew until it finally went global, they had three U.S based offices and now they had three in Europe as well and were looking to break into the far east next. They had always wanted a child and with the help of a surrogate Rachel was born, this happened a year before the business had literally exploded and so as beloved and wanted as she was she had found herself growing up more under the care of a nanny and skating coach than a family.
Not that she felt herself to have been unduly handicapped by this, she just couldn't help but miss the warm family atmosphere that she saw her few friends had. So she ended up withdrawing and spending more time on her own, she agreed to be home schooled so she could concentrate on her skating career and so she would always be around when her fathers could find the time to take a break from work. She had met Finn at one of her fathers business oriented new years parties and his shy goofy attitude had drawn her towards him as he was the only one there who looked as out of place as she felt. It took another year or so and then he proposed to her, she was delighted to accept and Hiram and Leroy arranged for him to be at the head of the team that opened up the London branch of 'Berry Organic' it was all very…organised. Pushing her maudlin thoughts to the back of her mind Rachel noticed she'd completed her usual circuit and saw the walls of the steam room in sight, a good steam would loosen her up nicely.
Then she could sit back, settling into the hot tub with a decent glass of cabernet and crack open the new biography of Dickens she had received that morning, she would wait up until midnight and then give her nightly call to Finn to see how he was doing in London, after that she would settle down in bed with her book and close out the world until the next morning. Hopefully by that time Schuster would have actually earned his not insubstantial wage and found her a competent partner. She wanted to skate, she was good at it she knew she was! but ever since she crashed spectacularly out of the last international competition when that douche bag St James dropped her, she had been questioning her motives as to why she carried on, especially when she hadn't even been enjoying it recently.
Pausing to swallow the familiar lump of pain in her throat Rachel toyed with the idea of cooking but as much as she used to enjoy it, cooking when she was alone was far from a joy and just reminded her how solitary her life had become these past few years. She had a loving family, that was without argument, loving yes but also very absent. The same went for Finn, he was a great guy and an attentive boyfriend…well okay maybe not attentive, but he tried and she was fairly certain he genuinely loved her which was the most important thing. Sadly as he decided to follow her fathers advice and go into the field of business he wasn't here anymore either.
So tonight it was her and her friend Mr Dickens, but that was fine, she could live with that and if it left a hole in her somewhere that nothing seemed to quite seal over she would just pretend. Eventually everything would be enough, her fathers would retire, she would win her gold medal, Finn would marry her and take a job closer to home and things would finally be the way they were meant to be…eventually…
Several hours later Will was substantially more relaxed as he sat in an alcove of the spit and sawdust style bar/restaurant that he usually met Shannon in. He was working on his second beer and with Garth on the Jukebox and the smell of grilled steaks wafting around him he finally felt some of the tension easing away. It would be easier if he could hate Rachel, because then he could walk away from her and her fathers and take a job elsewhere, somewhere that might give him less heartburn and headaches. But he didn't hate her, he loved her like the daughter he had never had, and when she let her guard down he saw how truly alone the girl felt…which is why he knew he would never leave voluntarily, his emotional ties and the fact that if he ever did find her a skating partner she could work with then the two of them would potentially be legendary.
He was approaching the bottom of his second bottle of beer when he felt the hearty slap on his back and looked up into the grinning face of his best friend Shannon Bieste, he never called her that though, she may have been built along sturdy rather than feminine lines but to him she was always Shannon the Cannon, the girl he grew up with and the one who brought him his first pair of skates aged six. Grinning he stood up and wrapped his arms round her in a hug before the two of them sat down.
"Jesus Will, you look like crap! All that high living finally getting to you?"
Groaning dramatically the coach let his head hit the table lightly once before he drained the last of his beer and sighed.
"Far from it…partner number 38 just bit the dust and I'm out of ideas."
Wincing in sympathy Shannon motioned to the bartender and raised two fingers for two more beers.
"I never understand why you chose figure skating over ice hockey Billy, I mean let's face it, at least with ice hockey you only ever have to worry about getting through a game without a fight breaking out, plus there's always people willing to play."
Grunting in agreement he smiled his thanks to the bartender as the full bottles were placed on the table, pausing to blow out a long breath he sat back in his seat and shrugged.
"She's a good kid just…hard to get to know, and damn is she talented. The problem is I'm going to have to start getting creative about where to look for partners now…not to mention it's going to take one stubborn and fiery son of a bitch to get them to stick it out with Rachel long enough to put a routine together."
Shannon took a long pull of her beer and smiled faintly at the description as an image immediately came to mind of her sometimes co coach, now that was someone who met the criteria of stubborn and fiery as well as upping it with a heavy dose of attitude and confidence. Just a shame two women couldn't skate together, or at least she was fairly certain they couldn't.
"Cant help you with that one Will, none of my guys have even the barest hint of grace, let alone style or I'd let you take your pick."
Shaking his head slightly Will just shrugged.
"I guess I'll have to try looking overseas but that causes issues with skating for the states, but we do however have nearly two years so it's possible we could get someone over here and repatriate them…the annoying thing is I know the right partner is out there somewhere Shannon, I can just feel it!"
They paused their conversation for a while as the waiter came to take their order, not that he needed to bother as they had the same thing every time but it was procedure after all, it was as he was walking away that Shannon spoke up with what at first appeared to be a throwaway comment…but would end up being a lifeline to both Will Schuster and Rachel Berry.
"Shame Berry cant skate with another woman, because Fabray is pretty much the personification of greased lightning on the ice, Hell of an attitude but essentially a good kid…well I say kid cos she's younger than me, but you know what I mean."
She looked away from the ball game on the set above the bar and back to Will to find him staring back at her with a thoughtful look on his face.
"Tell me more about her, I mean if she's that good wouldn't she have been picked already, as a hockey player I mean?"
Sighing sadly, Shannon nodded and toyed with the beer bottle in her hands as she thought about the angry young teen who'd first joined her hockey team nearly ten years ago.
"Foster kid, don't know her full back story so much as she rarely says anything about it but I knew from the first moment she hit the ice she had the makings of a pro, both myself and her foster parents, one who's a cop, the other a fire officer I think, tried to keep her on a short leash but she has a temper. A bad temper and when she and her sister, again fostered rather than by birth, well, when they lose it they get into trouble, long story short she has a criminal record and two short jail terms behind her."
She paused to take a swallow of beer but carried on when she saw Will's interested look.
"You know what the rules and regs are like around organised sport these days, especially team sports and with her temper and attitude no team will sign her. But damn can she skate, on ice and tear up the asphalt on rollerblades. She sometimes helps me coach the ice hockey team and has her own street hockey league…in fact, they're playing tonight so if you'd like we could always go check them out after we eat?"
Will grinned and clinked his bottle with his old friends.
"Right now Shannon I'm looking for a miracle and they always say you find them in the most unlikely places right?"
Laughing she swirled the last mouthful round in the bottom of the bottle and clinked it to Will's in a toast before downing it.
"Here's to unlikely miracles Schuster!"
"Get your damn ass in gear Fabray, some of us have work to get to!"
Santanna Lopez scowled as she checked her watch for what felt like the thirtieth time in the last hour, she loved her foster sister, she really did, but right now she could cheerfully strangle the blonde. To her left their brother Dave Karofsky (again fostered) just shook his head with a fond smile as he continued to work on smoothing the wood of the doorframe on the latest extension he was adding to their modest bungalow.
"Watch the language San, you know mom hates it when you swear."
His low gentle voice had the same soothing effect on her it always had and she rolled her eyes.
"Well if you could hurry up with that extension then we would have more than one bathroom, shouldn't you be going to pick mom up from the Physiotherapist anyway?"
It was the tall boys turn to check his watch again and he shook his head slightly before going back to evening out the wood carefully.
"No, I think ma is picking her up…they're having a dinner to 'talk things over'. I hope they work it out, this house isn't the same without both of them arguing over the TV remote and yelling at Quinn for leaving her laundry all over the house."
Smiling in silent agreement the Latina reached up and patted his shoulder gently.
"I know bro, I know…they still love each other so that's something, they just have to figure out how to work through Mom's shooting."
At his words they both found themselves remembering the day a little over a year ago that they got the phone call about the incident. Their mom, the woman who had fostered them all and nurtured them was a Detective with the Philadelphia Homicide department, though after a chance encounter with a witness she had become an expert on the divisions many cold cases and her clearance rate on cold jobs had made the department a minor celebrity within the law enforcement world. Unfortunately people who believed they had gotten away with murder felt no inclination to step away from their comfortable lives and as a result were often more calculating and violent than the perpetrators of recent crimes. As a result Detective Lily Rush had found herself at the wrong end of a gunshot, luckily it hadn't killed her, or at least it hadn't killed her yet.
The bullet was lodged dangerously close to her spine and the surgeons refused to operate without the patients consent (Which was vehemently not given) as there was a good sixty percent risk of paralysis in the extraction process. As things stood she would eventually be paralysed anyway as the bullet was moving slowly but inexorably closer to the spinal cord. It may take years but eventually it would work it's way in and that would be the end of that. She had to have a chair to get around as it was, regular physiotherapy to keep her in shape and regular checkups as well as daily tests and charts to track the progress of the bullet or thinking in more negative terms, any loss of feelings or reaction times.
The emotional fallout however had been far more destructive, Quinn, who was the youngest of the three siblings had regressed into her annoying eighteen year old self in the vain and ridiculous hope that it would bring their foster parents closer together to try and handle her. Their ma, a fire officer named Sofia Curtis had been the one to bear the brunt of it all as Lily slowly but gradually pushed her wife away, it was all out of some lame notion that she didn't want to have to be dependant on anyone, least of all someone who was as dedicated and active as she was before the shooting. She thought she was doing the right thing, Sofia very vocally told her otherwise. On top it if they argued about whether or not Lily should risk having the operation done to remove it before it moved too far in towards the spinal cord. It got more and more emotional with yelling, tears and even thrown crockery, but eventually Sofia had agreed to move out and give Lily some space while they worked through things, so far it hadn't gone well.
Dave had turned his attentions to remodelling the house to accommodate a wheelchair in every room so that their mom wouldn't feel as though she was a burden to any of them, in that way he had been lucky because he could funnel all his frustration and anxiety into the work. Santana as the oldest by three months did her best to keep the family together and more importantly to keep Quinn in line. The three kids had shelved their own plans without another word and set about helping to adapt the whole house, Dave was an experienced and excellent handyman who had turned his skills to a wide range of areas, including electronics, plumbing, decorating, masonry…whatever they needed he would learn.
Santana had always been an excellent cook, she had gained an apprenticeship to one of the more prestigious restaurants in the city but had passed it up after the accident and chose to tell her mom and her ma that she didn't get it. Instead she took over the cooking for the household making sure that every meal was specifically designed to meet all of their mom's needs. On top of that she held down a job at the local bar, both serving behind the bar and cooking up the best chicken wings in fifty states (or so the bar's owner claimed, all San knew was that it kept the bar full and the tips jar overflowing). Quinn, for her part, worked every shift she could at the Video Game store her best friend owned as well as making a little extra money betting on her hockey games, illegally of course but it's not like she kept the money…speaking of which…
"How much money have we got in the kitty now anyways? I added my tip money last night and I know Q had a few hundred after her last game."
Dave nodded and smiled slightly as he pulled his phone out and going into the notes section checked the latest total.
"We're up to nineteen thousand and three hundred and twenty six bucks. So…we're like a twentieth of the way there, at least?"
San forced a smile and nodded back as she gave the hopeful look that Dave was looking for, when he looked over to his work again however it dropped. Yes they had saved a lot but they only had a few more months before their window of opportunity was closed. After the shooting they had done some research (and after a midnight raid on the hospital where they photocopied their mom's medical records and sent them off) they discovered there was an operation available by a very highly specialised clinic that said they could remove the bullet without risk of paralysis.
However the cost of the operation was just under a quarter of a million dollars, the three siblings had made a pact to do whatever they could to save up and get the operation done, whether their mom wanted it or not. So as much as they loved her and their ma they had lied to both of them and arranged their lives to stay where they were and pay for the operation no matter how long it took. Santana and Quinn had briefly considered stealing it, they had even gone so far as to plan a robbery before they realised it would go against everything that Lily and Sofia had taught them. And so saving and working honestly they were doing their best but it was slow going, especially as they only had a certain window of time in which to have the operation done before the bullet moved too far for even the expert to attempt the removal.
Santana's gaze snapped to the right as she heard the door to the bathroom open finally and she rolled her eyes as Quinn eventually emerged from the steam filled room, the blonde girl was running a towel through her short cropped hair and smirked at Santana as she raised her eyebrow.
"Keep your goddamn pants on Satan, I gotta make sure I'm looking good for the match never know when that sugar momma is gonna come along for me to live off of."
She winked and then abruptly winced as Santana grabbed her arm and pulling her back towards her touched a finger to the bruise still developing on the shorter girls right cheek.
"Christ Q what'd you do this time! Can you not go one day without getting in some trouble or other?"
Sighing Quinn gently took Santana's hand and removed it from her face.
"It's not how it looks okay? Well…okay maybe it is but this time I swear it wasn't my fault San! "
Making a sound of disgust the Latina dropped her hand and wondered yet again why her blonde counterpart couldn't at least keep it in her pants while they worked towards their mom's operation.
"Jesus Christ Fabray, we are never gonna save enough cash to get the operation done if you end up getting your ass thrown in jail again for fighting or worse! I mean who the hell do you think the police will believe if one of your so called conquests turns on you when you get caught hmm? Do you think for one moment that a wife or fiancé caught with your hand in their pants is going to agree when you say it's consensual, of course they're fucking not…who was it this time?"
Reaching up to rub the back of her neck with a certain degree of shame Quinn sighed and glanced to Dave, their brother was a gentle giant really and as he gave her a half smile she found herself smiling back, whereas Santana lectured he only had to give her his disappointed look and she would fold like a cheap card table.
"I…was finishing up a shift at the store and Mike had to leave early so I was closing for him. He usually gives Siobhan a ride home but as he couldn't I said I would, she invited me in for a drink and…one thing led to another, would probably have led to yet another as well if her boyfriend hadn't come home."
Santana in an effort to ignore her sisters cocky smirk, took a calming breath and closed her eyes for a long moment before speaking in even tones.
"Siobhan as in the eighteen year old high school student! Who is living with that lunk head mechanic? The same lunk head mechanic you drink with every weekend? And what part of that situation did you think would end well!"
Running her hands down her face Quinn shrugged one shoulder and wondered not for the first time why she had such bad impulse control, then again in her defence Siobhan was like really hot, on a supermodel scale. Knowing however that Santana would give her a matching bruise if she didn't at least act contrite she met her sisters eyes.
"I'm sorry okay! It's not like I'm gonna do it again…besides she does this one thing with…"
Clapping her hands over her ears the Latina headed into the bathroom angrily slamming the door behind her. Grinning in triumph Quinn headed for her bedroom door to run some gel through her hair and make sure her kit bag was ready, she looked up and jumped slightly at the concerned look on her brothers face as he leant on her doorframe.
"Q…I wish you wouldn't do stuff like that you know, it's not really you and I don't know why you gotta pretend it is."
His words were quiet as usual and carried with them a weight that made Quinn's knees feel weak, he rarely offered lectures to either of his siblings preferring to reserve his judgement, so when he did speak it tended to make more of an impact. The blonde threw her roller blades into the bag and collected her sticks up as she spoke.
"Dave…I just need ways to blow off steam, and as we're trying not to do anything illegal this is the safest way to do that. We need to get mom that operation so she and ma will stop arguing constantly…you remember how it used to be, we were like a slightly dysfunctional Walton's but it was nice. If we can fix things then you can set up your business, San can go on to culinary greatness and…I…can feel free to screw up without letting you down, it's win, win all round."
She could feel his eyes on her as she laced her basketball boots and as she grabbed her kit bag up she decided that waiting outside was the best idea, she didn't want to be forced to look at her life the way her siblings did. She just wanted to live it, but Dave wouldn't budge from the doorway so she sighed dropped her bag and looked up at him in exasperation.
"I messed up okay, and I don't mean to sound so blasé because I'm not, but unlike you two my only skill is sports and I cant go pro with them through my own faults…maybe I act out more than I should."
She trailed off not quite sure or ready to admit why she was regressing nearly a decade, at the age of twenty five the rebellious phase should really have worn itself out. Dave just smiled sadly and pulled her into a hug as he murmured.
"Ma isn't going to come back just to yell at you, you know that right? Her and mom have to work this thing out on their own and you having an early mid life crisis isn't going to push them to doing it any sooner."
Chuckling into her brothers brawny shoulder Quinn let herself enjoy the hug for just a moment more before she pulled away, it turned out to be perfect timing as Santana emerged from the bathroom in her uniform.
"Come on, let's make a move Q, you got any money running on this game by the way?"
Pausing to hug Dave briefly Santana led the way out of the bungalow towards her battered Honda Civic, she walked down the ramp carefully having caught her heel's more than once in the grating, Quinn, as usual, decided to forego the stairs and slid down the handrail instead, grinning as she landed neatly.
"Always, should be worth a couple hundred if we win."
The Latina nodded and they sat in silence for a while as they pulled out of the drive and headed into town. Quinn could only take the frosty silence for so long and eventually sighed before turning to face her pissed off sister.
"I'm sorry okay, you're right. I want to help mom of course I do, I just shouldn't drink I guess."
After a moment Santana relaxed and even offered a slight smile.
"I love you Q, but sometimes…just sometimes I could cheerfully throw you under a bus! On the plus side we have almost reached the twenty thousand mark, and we still have another five months before the bullet's moved past the point of treatment."
Quinn frowned, they only had twenty thousand? It had taken them nearly three months just to scrape together that much. Maybe,…maybe she could float her other idea now, Santana might be more receptive to it now.
"S…I was thinking, I mean, the money I'm betting is pretty low scale stuff but if I see fast Eddie about a loan and use it to buy in on one of his card games…"
She got no further as the Latina's head snapped in her direction with a cold glare.
"No, just no, not a fucking chance Quinn! You want to not only accept a loan from that shark but you then want to walk into one of his fucking underground poker games and proceed to fleece him? You do that and we'd find you in a goddamn alley somewhere wearing a Chelsea smile!"
Swallowing slightly at the sheer anger and disbelief in her sisters voice Quinn held up both hands in a stop gesture and blew out a breath.
"Okay, okay I get it, you aren't on board for that, though why I don't know, it isn't like he doesn't fleece people on a regular basis, besides you know I would win."
Santana sighed wearily and took one hand off the steering wheel to rub her temples.
"Yes, you would win but that's because of your freakish mathematical brain that enables you to count cards, and is also the reason you ended up in jail for eighteen months! I'm sure that mom would rather you don't end up going back to jail."
Rolling her eyes Quinn scowled and put her feet on the dashboard.
"Fine then smart ass you want to work out how we're going to make enough in the time we got left by purely legal means because miracles don't just fucking turn up on your doorstep Santana, and we don't have a lot of time."
Scowling back at her sister with just as much if not more attitude the Latina screeched the car to a halt in front of the bar.
"I'm sure I don't know Quinton, but I'm not going to risk bringing more pain on our heads because I feel I have something to prove!"
Two doors slammed equally hard as the girls got out of the car, so much so the poor little Civic shook from the impact and grabbing her kitbag from the boot Quinn started walking backwards as she let her departing shot fly free.
"Don't fucking call me that you know I hate it! But you know what Santana the day a miraculous solution to this just turns up out of nowhere? I will change my name legally to Quinton, until then knock it the fuck off!"
Santana smirked at her sisters retreating back before calling out.
"Don't think I wont hold you to that…Quinton!"
A raised finger was the silent but eloquent reply to that.
Warm from the booze and with stomach's full from the half a cow they had eaten for their dinner, Shannon led Will down to what appeared to be an urban basketball court, not that basketball was the sport that was being played there that night. Under both of the basketball posts portable hockey goals had been set up, and the asphalt was currently a flurry of activity as two teams in loose uniforms (loose as in one team had red tops on, anything from a vest to a sweater, and the other team wore black) battled it out. The baseball that was acting as their puck was being batted rapidly from player to player, the two coaches leant on the chest high wall that bordered the court and Shannon smiled as she nudged Will and motioned to a slim figure moving like lightening around the others.
"Check out number thirteen, tell me what you think."
Raising his eyebrow curiously Will nodded and crossed his arms on top of the wall resting his chin on them and tried to keep track of the action. It was hard and it was only because he had spent years watching Shannon at games that he was able to. Number thirteen was indeed a revelation, the rest were pure balls out hockey players there was no arguing that, but thirteen was all that and something more. As she weaved in and out of the other players, her checking of them was so smooth it was like she wasn't even moving. Tackling was done with such ease that her targets didn't seem to even notice they had lost the ball.
At one point there were three opposing players coming up on her and smashing the ball cleanly through the legs of the opponent on her right she performed what looked like a combination of a pirouette and an axle as she weaved neatly past him and easily caught up with the ball to slam it accurately into the lower left corner of the goal. The rest of the game played swiftly with the result almost a foregone conclusion from the beginning, thirteen's team literally decimated the competition with more than half the goals coming from the girl herself.
They stayed long enough to watch the team celebrate by hauling thirteen above their heads and then walked back towards the bus stop so they could head to Shannon's. Will was deep in thought, same sex partnerships weren't exactly a new thing and they had certainly been done before, not in mainstream skating however! The rules didn't specify that pairs had to be one male and one female, and that skater definitely had the moves, and from what he'd seen she also had more than the necessary amount of upper body strength. Oddly he wasn't bothered in the slightest with going to battle with the authorities over a same sex couple skating, he didn't even think that Rachel's fathers would object if they knew it was their darlings best chance of winning a gold medal…Rachel herself however was a whole other ballgame, no pun intended.
Frowning as he cycled ideas over and over in his mind he didn't even realise that they had made their way back to Shannon's flat until he heard her close the door and blinked with a small smile.
"Sorry, guess I sort of spaced out a little there, don't take it personally."
Laughing she put the kettle on and ruffled his hair affectionately.
"It's fine I've known you far too long now to take offence at your odd behaviour Schuster, besides which I gotta admit I'm intrigued to learn what exactly you're thinking."
He grinned back and pulled the mugs for the coffee out of the cupboard above the kettle as he spoke excitedly.
"I admit I have something brewing but I have questions first. The main one being, this skater, would she be the sort to be open to an offer of figure skating? I mean it's far removed from what she does now…but I think, no, I know she could do it."
Frowning as she thought carefully, Shannon passed the sugar and cream to Will and rubbed her jaw.
"Well she works a lot of hours at her job, and it isn't exactly a secret that she takes on cash in hand jobs…legal this time don't worry she hasn't done anything illegal in quite a while now. Apparently they're saving for something, her and her siblings I mean, so if you offer her enough money then I think that yeah, she would."
He nodded and stirred cream into his drink until it was a light tan colour then turned back to his old friend.
"Secondly, would she be able to keep someone as powerful and…colourful as Rachel Berry from driving her away?"
Shannon gave an inelegant snort as she tried not to inhale her coffee down the wrong tube, putting the cup down to wipe her mouth she finally gave a coffee free chuckle.
"Hell yeah, and then some! Quinn Fabray never loses an argument, she sometimes draws even with her sister but never loses and I doubt she would let some spoilt little rich kid ruin that record."
Will grinned and sipped his drink then setting the mug to one side nodded slightly.
"I need to talk to Rachel and her dad's but…I think she may be the answer to the headache that is Rachel Berry!"
His friend picked up her mug again and after waiting for Will to do the same they clinked mugs and she drained hers.
"Well I'm going to leave you to it Billy, right now I need my bed, spare room is set up as usual, just crash when you're ready and I'll see you in the morning."
Clapping him on the back she stumbled up to bed and he finished his drink before checking his watch, eleven wasn't too late he knew after all that Rachel herself was always awake until gone midnight. Not because she was a wild party girl but because she was a bookworm and her family had a massive library. Pulling out his cell phone he hit the number for the house line and waited, it only rang twice before Rachel's casual voice answered and he winced at the tone. Not so much because she was trying to project an air of not caring who was ringing her, more that before she could quite mask it he had heard the flash of hope that it was her fathers, or that useless lump of a fiancée Hudson. None of whom paid her anywhere near the amount of attention that they should.
"Hello Berry residence?"
Clearing his throat Will tried to ignore the pang of pain at having to shatter her hopes with his next words.
"Rachel it's Will, sorry to disturb you at home but I had some news that you might want to hear is all…I think I might have found you a new skating partner but there are a couple of issues I need to go through with you first."
There was a silence followed by an impatient huff from the other end of the phone and Will held his breath waiting for an explosion of some description. Unbeknownst to him Rachel had been thinking a lot about what he had said and she knew that in her attempt to reach perfection she may just have ruined her chance at gold…but if he had found a solution…
"Coach Schuster…are the issues surmountable?"
"I think so yes, I mean I know so, it's more an issue of…"
He was interrupted by the next question.
"Well does this mystery man have the correct amount of stamina, can he support me, keep up with me across the ice, I don't need anymore men that have to work twice as hard just to stay alongside me."
Frustrated Will ran his free hand through his now thoroughly messed up hair and rolled his eyes as he tried to get his protégée to understand.
"Yes Rachel, they have the speed, the strength and more than enough of the needed attitude, it's more of a case of aesthetics."
He could hear the impatient tut on the other end of the phone line and opened his mouth to point out exactly what the major flaw in the plan would be but the brunette's next words made him narrow his eyes in irritation.
"You're the coach so if you think it's the right decision to make then make it, I don't get paid to do your job for you Schuster! My fathers trust you to find me an award winning partner and so do I, if you feel the need to always ask me before you invite someone to try out then maybe we're paying you too much!"
In the back of his mind he knew she was snapping at him because she was disappointed it had been him on the phone, he knew it was her way of coping with being lonely but he was also reaching the end of his tether when it came to her and so he narrowed his eyes further.
"Fine. I'll invite them to skate with you in a try out, but bear in mind that if this one doesn't work out we're going to be on very thin ice indeed."
She grunted a goodbye and hung up angrily, Will rubbed his temples and then with a sigh grinned in satisfaction, let's hope this Quinn Fabray can deal with an entitled and spoilt brat!
The next morning the Rush household was in a haze of peace for once, Quinn was still unconscious in her pit, Santana had finished breakfast and gone grocery shopping with Dave. So when the cheerful knocking started up on the door there was only Lily there to wonder idly who it was. A part of her hoped it was someone from the precinct here to consult with her on a case, she had refused to be invalided out of the force and had herself moved to desk duty, given her special circumstances her Lieutenant had arranged for her to work from home. Wheeling with an ease she half resented to the door she smiled fondly at the especially lowered locks and handle Dave had fitted for her.
However when the door swung open to reveal a rather ordinary looking guy who smiled at her as though not quite sure he was in the right place she frowned back and one hand dropped to her side where her service pistol was tucked into the wheelchairs pocket. Being shot had made her just a tad wary to say the least, certainly in situations where she had no idea who she was dealing with. He looked harmless enough, although the amount of product in his hair looked as though it could rival Quinn's, he cleared his throat and offered a hand tentatively.
"Hi um, I hope I have the right address, I'm a friend of Coach Bieste and I was hoping to have a word with Quinn?"
Lily heaved a sigh and shook his hand with a certain impending sense of doom, every time a stranger showed up and asked for Quinn it always seemed to mean trouble. She loved the girl as though she had given birth to her herself, as she did all her kids, but sometimes she despaired of her, she just couldn't seem to help herself from getting into trouble. Gesturing for him to enter she led the way to the living room and indicated he should sit, after a long moment she leaned back in her chair and half smiled.
"What happened this time, did she sleep with your wife, girlfriend, daughter?"
Will's jaw dropped open for a moment before he could formulate a reply, coughing he shifted awkwardly and let out a weak laugh before shaking his head.
"Ah no, nothing like that at all I promise…um why, does this happen a lot?"
Wondering how much she should say to someone she had only just met, Lily merely crossed her arms and raised an eyebrow waiting for him to offer something before she said anything else.
"Right, sorry…um my name is Will Schuster and I'm a coach, um not the type she's used to but I actually have a job offer for her."
Lily looked at him carefully, he had the rough hands of a jock that was for sure, his muscles were well developed and he certainly had the gait and the stance of one as well…but she also knew how the NHL viewed anyone with a record and she knew that any coach worth their salt would know Quinn did indeed have a record. That thought always brought on a pang of guilt as she had tried her hardest but been unable to entirely tame the blondes taste for a little too much excitement.
"I believe you're a coach but if you are I don't believe why you're here, no Hockey team wants to take on someone with Quinn's reputation and that is a sad fact that has so far led to her receiving no invitations to try out so why should I believe you are genuine?"
Will ran a hand through his hair and smiled slightly, this lady was certainly a cop, that was obvious, and a very protective mother as well by the sound of it. He sat back and rested his hands on his knees.
"Well…that's because I'm not from a hockey team, the job I have to offer Quinn is a little different to what she's used to as I mentioned earlier, but if she were to accept it then she would find it just as rewarding as a career with an NHL team."
"Okay Mr Schuster…pitch me your offer and I'll decide whether it's worth trying to raise the kraken."
He frowned for a moment then realised that she must be referring to Quinn who in turn he realised was responsible for the loud snoring reverberating down the hallway. Nodding he had no compunction at all in talking to the blondes foster mother about his offer.
"Have you ever heard of Rachel Berry?"
Lily frowned for a moment then nodded as she recalled Sofia making her sit down to watch the ice skating, Quinn bitching in the corner as she waited for the ice hockey to start, despite the fact she had her own TV, she said the one in the living room had better sound. Rachel Berry had been one of the skaters, a talented and driven young woman who'd looked to be on the way to gold before a slip up had sent her down to the ice in a catastrophic fall.
"Yeah, I know who she is, although she hasn't been around for a while now. Before you ask it isn't me whose the fan but my…my wife."
She paused and cleared her throat, idly adjusting the Philadelphia PD T shirt she had on as she took a moment to compose herself before motioning for him to continue.
"Right, well, um anyway no she hasn't been about because she needs a new partner and so far not one person has proven to be resilient enough to work with her. As a consequence of that I have literally blown through all the male partners she could possibly work with…and so I'm looking at other options."
He finished and watched carefully as in the space of two seconds the mild confusion on the detectives face turned to surprise and then amusement at the idea of Quinn as a figure skater, not that she didn't believe her capable of it, more because she knew it was the sort of thing the brash blonde would never think to do. And the reaction alone made it worth waking her! Lily smirked and shook her head slightly however before she moved.
"So the rumours of Miss Berry being difficult to deal with are true then hmm?"
Will hesitated, his loyalty to the little diva warring with the compulsion to be nothing but honest with the woman in front of him especially as she was a detective. Eventually he gave a wry grin before ducking his head in a half nod.
"Sadly detective yes…they are true, hence the difficulty in finding a partner whose willing to work with someone so…exacting. I watched Quinn play her street hockey game last night and she is incredibly talented, fast, agile, everything a figure skater needs! and more importantly, according to Shannon she has more than enough attitude of her own to work with Rachel."
Grinning fondly Lily nodded her head.
"She does at that, okay you wait here I'll go put the coffee on and then wake her, believe me without the caffeine in her system she will be useless to talk to at this time of day on her day off."
She wheeled away abruptly and left Will to glance around the room in curiosity, it was a large well appointed room which was fastidiously clean and well maintained, the leather sofa's were well worn but cared for and scattered with soft cushions the same grey as the carpet with an odd deep red one to match the blinds. There were family photos on every wall and a cabinet dedicated to trophies for hockey, track, football, basketball, baseball and shooting competitions. He smiled slightly and knew that no matter what Quinn Fabray's criminal record was for, she most definitely came from a caring and warm home. Despite the almost clinical cleanliness of the place there were so many photos and nik nak's that it was far from sterile looking.
Ten minutes later he had a coffee in hand and waited for the emergence of his next big hope.
Quinn however was doing her very best to ignore the pounding on her bedroom door and with a heavy groan shoved her head under the pillows and tried to block out the sound, it was her day off for crying out loud, and last night had been one wild ass party where she drank way too much beer and ate several kebabs from a dodgy road side stand, so after several hours wrapped around the toilet bowl she had finally managed to fall asleep and had been planning to stay that way for as much of the day as she could get away with…which it turns out wasn't very much.
She dimly saw a flash of light as someone came into her room and opened the blinds, despite the moan of complaint mixed with indignation she felt the quilt stripped from her and then the pillow, shortly after she blinked and saw the half exasperated, half fond look of her foster mother.
"Quinn get your ass outta bed, there's someone here with a job offer for you and…Holy crap Quinn what did you roll in last night you stink!"
Grumbling the blonde sat up and sliding to her feet stripped off her soiled clothes before putting a clean t shirt and boxer shorts on, when she turned round her mom had her arms crossed and eyebrow raised in a silent version of 'are you kidding me?' Rolling her eyes Quinn also found her sweats and threw them on over the top before raking her hands through a severe case of bed head.
"This is as civilised as I get on my day off mom."
Lily nodded begrudgingly and then pulled a face as she looked at the debris which littered the blondes room, before she had a chance to say anything Quinn grumbled.
"I'll clean it up today I promise!"
Leading the way out of the room her mom remarked dryly.
"No rush, no rush at all, but if we could do it before a new subspecies develops amongst the abandoned pizza boxes and old Chinese take out cartons I'd appreciate it."
"You know Santana get's her sarcasm from you right mom? Bad example you're setting there!"
She tutted exaggeratedly and then smirked as she dodged the hand that was aimed at her leg.
"Gotta move faster than that old lady!"
Narrowing her eyes playfully Lily deliberately swept past in the chair and clipped her daughters foot lightly causing an aborted swear word to half fall from her lips, especially as she couldn't retaliate with company, so she took the high road and poked her tongue out as she took a seat and regarded the guy in front of her for a long moment.
"So…you wanted to see me, something about a job?"
She raised a curious eyebrow and tried to ignore the tingling in the back of her brain that wanted to ask why her foster mother was smirking like that, an unasked question that was soon answered as the guy opposite her grinned and leaned forward.
"Quinn, how do you feel about…figure skating?"
And…that's part one, are you interested in me carrying on, do you like the novelty of a responsible Santana? LOL I have many, many ideas for this story and cannot wait for the first meeting between this universes Quinn and Rachel…it's gonna be explosive! For those of you who read Broken Beat & Scarred, I potentially have two more parts if there's an interest in them? Let me know! xxx