Wasn't originally planning on posting this, but in honor of St. Berry Week II, I figured I might as well! This was inspired by my friend's amazing Jesse & Quinn friendship fic (here on livejournal). After I'd read it, my brain wouldn't shut up about a potential St. Berry sequel, and consequently, this happened. That said, I highly recommend reading her incredible story first (which is far superior to this story, anyway), as it really sets the scene for this!
Quinn Fabray has taken everything from Rachel Berry.
Or, at least, so Rachel thinks. It's only two weeks into their summer vacation, which is easily setting some kind of a record for someone to end up on her shitlist while she can't see them, but this is different.
Puck, in a way. Finn, on multiple occasions. Her pride, certainly. The inability to see blonde hair and keep from flinching for fear of being slushied.
All of those things made sense, but Jesse?
It's not fair. She has no right to swoop into Rachel's life and pick up the pieces she's left behind, pieces that belong to her, not Quinn.
Whenever Quinn and her fight over something, it always ends with Rachel in tears. But this time, they're not even fighting. It doesn't make sense.
She's supposed to be happy. That much, she knows. At least, well, for the year she's got with Finn. After that, she has no idea what will become of them. She's not even sure that that's a good way to be in a relationship to begin with, but it makes sense, somehow, for now. She's sure. She has to be.
It's another week until she starts seeing Quinn and Jesse everywhere.
Her fathers had explicitly warned her— if she chose Jesse, she'd see Finn in Glee club all the time. If she were to chose Finn, she'd see Jesse in all of her lessons— ballet, dance, theatre— for the entire summer and then on. Glee club she could avoid over the three months of vacation.
Jesse is unavoidable.
She knows right away that she's given up something that means the world to her. Not only them, as a couple, but him, as a friend. They're always partnered up in their classes, whether it's to practice a scene together, perform ballet choreography properly, demonstrating to the rest of the class, sing a duet together—
He'll touch her when he has to, but he won't talk to her. Not a word, not since Nationals.
It hurts far more than she's willing to admit.
She's watched Pushing Daisies, of course, knows what it's supposed to be like, being able to see, talk to, and generally just be around your significant other, but unable to touch, how horrible that must be.
But it's not as if he's touching her in an invasive manner (though sometimes she kind of wishes he did), and it's not as if he wastes any time leaving at the first chance he gets. Only what's strictly necessary.
On some days, Quinn will pick him up from lessons, and they'll go to dinner (she assumes, given the time), and maybe a movie (if it's not to late after all the talking they'll do over dinner). He'll squeeze her shoulder and flash her one of those real, genuine smiles, the ones that she thought only she was privy to before, and leave arm in arm.
Even from down the hallway, she can hear the laughter, can hear that Quinn isn't faking her enjoyment, either.
On several occasions, she's just stayed in the studio, or on stage while everyone else files out, sinking down to the floor and waiting, hoping, wishing that he would turn around and come back to her, maybe do one of those stupid things that Finn does whenever he wants to prove himself to her. Pull her up into his arms, kiss her, beam at her in that way she loves so much.
But it never happens, no matter how much more often she tries to stay after, even on days when Quinn isn't around to steal him away.
It's obsessive. Rachel has always had issues sharing something that she believed rightfully belonged to her, and she's no stranger to stalking.
So she goes after them.
She's never actually seen them hold hands, kiss— do any more than hug, really. It makes her feel silly, actually going out of her way to follow them, but she can't help her paranoia, the strange inkling that something is going on that shouldn't be, that Quinn Fabray is going to tear her heart out of her chest and leave her empty, bruised, broken and crying in the ballet studio without so much as a second thought.
It all started with Wicked.
And maybe it wouldn't be so bad if they'd decided to make it an impromptu sort of thing, going to see the show on a stupid whim. But as it is, all Rachel can think about is how Quinn not only stole a ticket that rightfully belonged to her, but, more importantly, took her place.
Of course Rachel knows that she's jealous and selfish, wanting Jesse to either not go, or sit through the show alone as she mentally occupies the empty seat beside him. Her therapist has told her as much. It's something she's accepted about herself, because trying to change it is like bashing her head against a wall.
She knows him far too well. He'd have sat through the whole show, critiquing the replacements of the original cast to her had she been beside him, and Rachel would have agreed.
It kills her to think, that after all the times that he's told her that she would make the perfect Elphaba, original cast or not, that this time he might have leaned over to whisper to Quinn, lips brushing against the shell of her ear, that she would have made the perfect Galinda.
For a guy who doesn't look at any other girl twice, it hurts to think that Quinn would beat her. Best her all over again.
The night that she follows them, they go to see an old classic at the drive-in theatre, Mogambo, and Breadstix afterward. There's no inappropriate touching, no hand-holding, just the occasional knowing smile and genuine laughter that cuts right through her as if they know that she's watching.
When he drops her off at her house, the kiss on the cheek that he offers her is almost too chaste to be believable, and Rachel goes home feeling even more frustrated than before.
One time she hears them call each other Clark and Grace, and then it all makes sense. Their secret affair during the filming of Mogambo fits perfectly.
One month into their summer, she realizes that she's in love with Jesse, and that there's nothing she can do about it now.
It's one of those moments where your whole world comes crashing down with sudden realization, the stark reality of her hands, the floor, her tears carrying her as she collapses in the ballet studio, one knee tucked up to her chin to give her something, anything to hold onto.
"You've just been really distant lately, and I don't know."
"It's nothing, Finn."
At least, that's what she keeps telling him. It's not like Finn's been a bad boyfriend, he just hasn't been Jesse.
"Uh, have you heard that apparently Jesse and Quinn have been going out a bunch?"
"Wait, going out as in going out as just friends, or going out as in going out-going out? And how do you know, anyway?"
"I thought Jesse didn't matter to you anymore. And uh, Puck told me."
"I thought Quinn didn't matter to you anymore." It comes out too defensively, she knows.
"She doesn't. I just thought that maybe you'd know more since you and Jesse are all buddy-buddy."
"He doesn't talk to me anymore," she says quietly, realizing suddenly that she's not even ashamed of wishing that he would go back to Quinn and fix everything.
Then again, she doesn't even know if Jesse would even want her back anymore.
The thing about Rachel is that she gets under your skin.
Jesse can keep telling himself that true love doesn't exist, and that it won't ever, not for him, but he'll always look twice— subtly, that is— when it comes to Rachel Berry, no matter how many times she breaks his heart.
Even if he's a ruthless asshole to most people— Quinn and Rachel aside, truly— Jesse will be the last person to admit that he doesn't like having lackeys. Normal people call them friends, but Vocal Adrenaline isn't a group of friends to him. They're below him. People to show who's really running things.
He's not part of the group anymore, but he's still the best they ever had (step aside, Sunshine Corazon), and he wouldn't really be Jesse St. James if he didn't volunteer to show off his skills every now and then.
It's the parties, really. Humiliating the enemy is one thing, but basking in the aftermath is another entirely. Underage drinking doesn't even factor into the equation as an issue; it never has. As soon as anyone steps through the doors of whoever happens to be hosting that time, twenty-one is just another arbitrary number to forget about.
It's just like he remembered, really, now downing his fourth shot at the house of some chick named Trish whose parents weren't just out of town, but went specifically so she could use the house. They're not even celebrating anything in particular— even if Vocal Adrenaline practices through the summer— it's just because they can.
"How many more of those is it going to take for you to let me suck your dick?"
Her name is Hope, and she looks exactly like the kind of girl he would have loved to hook up with before he met Rachel.
"Get your filthy paws off me, you're not going to get a solo by sleeping with me."
"Leave him alone," Andrea shouts over the music, "he's still stuck on 'Bohemian Rhapsody.'"
The problem is that she's right. With the exception of Quinn— the only thing that still makes him feel like he has the slightest amount of control over Rachel— he's barely been living since Nationals.
Rachel's reluctance to wear make-up is directly linked to Finn, but she knows, knows that Jesse isn't like that. He used to tell her how much he sometimes wished that everyone could see how stunning she was, but that he was also more than a little reluctant lest the whole school come running after her.
Her Britney look had been a good indication, and while, sad clown hooker comments aside, she's not planning on taking it quite that far, she has to do something.
The shoes (picked by Kurt) are a start.
He even gets her lipstick to match, and she realizes slowly, as she steps into the dress she's picked to match the whole thing, that she looks really pretty.
Dance goes as expected, all the touching and none of the warmth, but Quinn doesn't show up that day, another peg falling into place as she watches Jesse disappear into the boy's locker room.
When she steps into her dress to change, she finally notices how badly she's trembling. Shoes and make-up follow, and Rachel feels relief flood over her when she realizes that no one else bothered to stay behind to shower but Jesse, that it's just the two of them.
The door shuts behind her with a click, Rachel's breathing hitching, entirely too grateful for the background noise the spray of the water provides.
She's two steps into the locker room when the water shuts off, and Jesse steps out of the stall, all wet and toned and every part of him that she's never actually been privy to with the lone exception of the towel tucked around his waist.
"Rachel," he says softly, actually looking at her— her, not just some character she's supposed to be playing— for the first time in what feels like an eternity, surprise etched in his features.
"Jesse," she echoes, looking and feeling every bit the part of a puppy that's lost its master and doesn't know what to do with itself anymore, her body seeming to fold in on itself as she fights to keep her gaze on him and not look away.
"What are you doing here?"
"I wanted to see you." He just stares, doesn't say anything. It makes her terribly nervous. "I ended things with Finn."
"I know. I don't deserve you anymore. I've been horrible. A-and you have Quinn now. And while not breaking up people's relationships isn't exactly my forte, I can try to respect that. Because I messed up, letting you go. I didn't go to see Wicked with you, and now that I've realized how much I needed to be there, I don't have anything anymore. I made a stupid decision, and I understand if you don't want to see me anymore. The way you seem to look right through me during classes is... I can't take it anymore. I miss you so much I physically ache every night wishing you were there just to hold me. I miss us singing duets together, and— and acting out scenes from musicals that we're still vastly unqualified for at our level of education, and talking on the phone with you until 7am, and telling each other our hopes and dreams, and being dragged out of bed in the middle of the night just because there aren't any clouds and the stars are shining as brightly as the two of us do."
It's like a dam opens when she stars to cry. "And if you really want to, you can stay with Quinn and have beautiful, perfect, blonde babies together, but before you decide that that's really what you want, I just want you to know that I love you more than anything, and I'm sorry."
"Rachel," he says again. "Quinn is dating Puckerman again."
"You've ruined my life, Rachel Berry," he says quietly, slowly. "I used to live a fantastic life before you walked all over it. Sleeping with girls and then dumping them like they were yesterday's dinner when I was done with them. Not caring about a single person in this world. Life was easy. I'm so sick of your entitlement, Rachel. You go around thinking you can just... decide that you'll get exactly what you want on a whim. It's a typical only child attitude, and the fact that your fathers spoiled you rotten didn't help. Don't you think that everything I've been doing lately has been happening for a reason? That maybe I don't want to talk to you because I'm so sick of having a constant reminder thrown in my face about how you didn't pick me because I wasn't good enough for you?"
"Jesse," she tries, voice soft, but he cuts her off again.
"No, you listen. Maybe I would have dated Quinn if I wasn't... so hounded by dreams of you every night. I'm so sick of seeing you everywhere. Of being so... out of my mind crazy in love with a girl who can't make up her damn mind for once over who she wants when she wants. Quinn doesn't even have anything to do with this, she was just being a... a friend, something I've never even had before. You, more than anyone else, should know that. You know, I quit school because of you. And what's worse, I'd do it again. Because I just— Schue said it, too, that apparently I'm some masochist who just can't stay away from you. For fuck's sake, Rachel, I don't even live in Lima and I'm still taking classes down here. Which part— if any of that— ever even registered in your mind? That if you just for once took your head out of your diva cloud for once you'd see that I am still so goddamn stupidly head over heels in love with you?"
He looks livid.
It takes Rachel exactly two seconds to cross from where she is to where he's standing, crushing her small body against his as she kisses him, hard, not caring one bit that she's getting wet, or that her dress is white, but caring about the fact that she needs Jesse so much closer.
When the towel drops and she hears the shower come back on, Rachel gasps softly into his mouth as he backs her up against the wall, the spray hitting his back and leaving them both drenched almost instantly. Jesse reaches on either side of her with sudden desperation to rid her of her wet clothes, pulling her dress over her head and fumbling with the clasp of her bra as soon as the offending article of clothing is off.
If Rachel had been asked six months ago to describe what she'd imagined her first time to be like, this wouldn't have been it.
But as she steps out of her shoes and panties, letting him push her up against the wall and wrap her legs about his waist, she realizes that this is everything she could have ever asked for.
"It's always been you, Rachel," he whispers softly, pushing into her with a groan, Rachel crying out at the sudden intrusion.
He waits a good several minutes before he moves, and by then she's begging for him to, the throbbing inside of her finally calming down. It still doesn't feel pleasant, but it doesn't matter.
It's Jesse, and she's never felt so complete in her life.
"Hold on," he whispers, hoisting her higher up against the wall, one hand doing its best to support them completely as the other snakes between their bodies to touch her clit, rubbing frantically, desperate to make this as good for her as it is for him.
Her orgasm is nothing to write home about, but the sudden contraction around his length makes him stop, thrusting into her one, two more times before he follows her, collapsing slightly against her, his hands still doing his best to hold her up.
"You're mine," he grinds out as he holds her against him more tightly, and she shudders around him again.
It doesn't take them long to clean up after he pulls out, Rachel doing her best to roll her wet clothes up in towels before she returns them to her bag.
"You're lucky I have my training clothes here to wear," she mutters softly, and he slides an arm around her. Just like he used to.
She has to fight to hold back an ear-splitting grin.
"Can't have just anyone looking at my girl, right?" he smirks, leaning over to kiss her on the top of her head with a squeeze.