"Sloppy! You're sloppy!" Coach Sylvester roared through her megaphone. "You think this is hard? Try having hepatitis! That's hard!"
Quinn stifled a giggle behind her hand, catching an irritated glance from Blaine. No one was ever sure if Sue Sylvester was serious about the more ridiculous things she said to intimidate them, and though they laughed, they would never push her hard enough to find out.
"Quinn," Blaine hissed as the squad got back in formation. "Don't lock your knees when you go up, it'll help you balance."
She gave him an appreciative smile as the routine started back up, not having enough time to give him proper thanks. That was okay—she would tell him in private once they got home.
Quinn had a terrible soft spot for her self-dubbed baby brother. Blaine took it in good humor, since he knew Quinn didn't say it to rile him, and she liked that about him. Most guys would get so uptight over things like that, but Blaine took it in stride. It helped that she was his one confidant, the one person Blaine trusted enough to tell the truth to about his so-called condition. Quinn knew, then, that it would be her duty to keep him safe, just like her father had kept her safe for all these years.
"Quinn Fabray," her father told her sternly. "That's your name, repeat after me. Quinn Fabray. Say it."
"What happened to being Lucy Bennet?" the girl had asked then, all glasses and braces and a little extra weight that could still be considered baby fat. She'd barely been thirteen at the time.
"Lucy Bennet is gone," Noah Bennet had told her. "She has to disappear so she can stay safe. You understand, don't you? Or do you want to be taken away?"
"No!" she exclaimed in young, innocent horror. "Quinn Fabray," she repeated dutifully, if not a little tearfully. "Quinn Fabray, Quinn Fabray, Quinn Fabray..."
Quinn shook her head. Her life as Lucy Bennet was long since over, her life as Quinn starting as they moved from a small town in Pennsylvania to Odessa, Texas. She played the role of a southern belle well, she was told. With her transition, her life improved, though she figured her father probably had something to do with that. She lost weight, she got nice things, she became popular. It was likely a bribe, but she hadn't realized it then. She was just so happy at finally being accepted somewhere to realize that it probably wasn't the nice things that drew people to her.
"You're what we call a Mediator, Quinn. You're a peacekeeper, it's what you do," Noah Bennet—Fabray, always Fabray—told her at the start of the year.
"What I do?" she asked in confusion.
"Yes. It's a very subtle ability, one that will probably escape notice. That's a good thing. It will keep you safe, because people will always like you. It would be terribly difficult for anyone to dislike you."
"I don't understand, Daddy," she sighed. "Ability, you said?"
"Yes, Quinn. You're a senior in high school now, and I can't protect you forever. It's time you knew the truth."
He'd told her, and at first, she'd been horrified when he brought her the case files of others like her, the pictures of horrible things that she could barely imagine. Her father worked for a facility called Primatech, one that hunted down the more dangerous people with abilities and kept them away from normal people.
He'd assured her that she would never be locked up—she was safe. Her ability was mild and harmless, and as long as he could keep an eye on her and defend her, she would be able to live a normal life, a life that Quinn wanted desperately.
She would do whatever he told her. If people liked her, that was okay. It was only when Blaine first arrived that she truly realized what it was like for people not to like you all the time. She'd seen the bruises on his shoulders that first week, the scars on his back that he'd told her were from being bullied, and she knew that she had to keep him safe. He was family, he was hers, and even though she wouldn't always be there, she would look after him while she could.
Blaine was a sweet boy who just so happened to live in a very wrong place. He belonged somewhere big, somewhere accepting, not a small town in Texas that Quinn knew she would probably return to and settle down in one day. That was her destiny, her fate.
That wasn't Blaine's fate.
He would do big things, she was sure. He would break out and go places, see the world, change lives, maybe. He was terribly smart, lined well enough up that he could be a doctor, if he wanted to. She tried to encourage him subtly toward NYU, an idea that Blaine seemed happy to go along with.
No matter what, Quinn knew that Blaine was destined for a life of importance—with struggle, like most lives, but a life of significance nonetheless.
She didn't know how right she was.