Title: Beers and Strippers

Chapter: 1/Many.

Pairing: Quinn Fabray/Rachel Berry || Faberry.

Rating: T to M (And I'm too lazy to tell you which chapters are which, so just assume they're all M)

Summary: Sometimes people were made to be together. Sometimes people were made to be alongside. Sometimes, 'good' people can do horrible things. Life...is fickle. Faberry. Set the start of Season Two; AU onwards. Spoilers for everything.

Disclaimer: This...will not be a fun ride. I would like to warn you, before you start reading, so that you do not inevitably hate me more than necessary later on down the ride. This story is also primarily Quinn-centric and, in being so, is Faberry-centric. This story is told from a very specific, stylistic perspective. If you do not like it? That's a shame. Haters to the left. Enjoy.

I'm not about to regal you with a long-winded story about the origin of this story. It formed around a singular moment-as all things do-but...it developed and evolved, as all things do, as well. It's very much taken a life of its own. Simply? The premise for this story? Witches can be right. Giants can be good. You decide what's right. You decide what's good. Russell Fabray is both a Giant and a Witch. Quinn Fabray is a small girl who never knew any different.

It had been really good, for a while.

Judy would be sweet and gentle. She would tuck Quinn in at night because she never had the chance when she was a child. Living with Judy Fabray was like getting the childhood never had (only it totally really wasn't and she didn't tuck her in as much as she'd kiss her forehead every night, but still).

Sure, it was awkward at first, since Quinn never had a mother, really, and now she suddenly did. But it was...kind of nice, after the first couple of months.

It was kind of nice...even if it was a little awkward, sometimes.

Quinn was running every day and working harder than she ever did. Rachel stopped by her house and they honestly talked about all those things people tend to not talk about and shove under rugs—like why Shelby and why Sydney-Beth (Puck wasn't the only one who had thought of names) and why me—and there was a truce.

Quinn still dreamed of her baby every night, but she no longer dreamed of her baby not able to eat because she's a sixteen year old who dropped out of high school to keep her girl, which is what she dreamed of for practically nine months straight. Quinn still looked in the mirror and her eyes teared up at stretch marks, but the fat dropped faster, this time. Quinn still stiffened every time her mother talked to her, but she no longer had to look over her shoulder for smashing glass or yelling or anything.

After Rachel left, a month into summer, Quinn shut off her phone and ran—ran harder than she ever had—and didn't turn it on again.

It was looking up—it was looking right—Quinn Fabray would be back in no time. She had a plan. She had a route of action.

It was really, really good, for a while.

Looking in the mirror, a school so close she can taste it and a strategy in mind, Quinn Fabray never looked better.

And then Russel Fabray died.

Quinn remembers when she was little, her father wrapping her up in his arms and pressing the gentlest of kisses against her cheek. She remembers the way his eyes crinkled at the edges when she presented him with his father's day gift when she was five years old. It was a sloppily glued-together picture frame of Popsicle sticks her whole class made together; Quinn remembers liking that picture frame more than the ceramic pot she painted for her mommy because when she gave it to her father she really, really wanted him to be proud. Inside was a picture of her Daddy at church (a picture they'd taken right before a post-communion barbeque) with the edge of his eyes crinkled and a haphazard smile on his face. She remembers he called her pumpkin and swiftly lifted her up and twirled her, eyes alive and dancing.

She barely remembers laughing and she can't, for the life of her, remember her mother or her sister being there. She thinks it's kind of sad that her father took that from her, too. The only happy memory she can remember of him and he won't even let her mother be there, for her; because her mother and her sister are all she has left, now. Well, her mother is, anyway.

She remembers the way the frame cracked shamelessly against the ground, three years later, when her dad hit her for the first time. She'd gotten a B on a math test because she'd had the flu. She coughed all the way through the test and had such a bad headache, phlegm sliding up her throat, that she remembers with startling clarity that she could barely read the test. She remembers that, but she doesn't remember anything else about that night except for the way the frame shattered against the floor.

Her father had kept the frame on his bedside dresser, proudly, for all of that time, and Quinn remembers that she had tried so hard—so hard—to make him proud so that he'd put another picture of hers on his dresser. He never did.

She can barely remember the way his hand felt, hard against her face, but she knows she felt it more often than any other little girl should have. She was scared of her father, then, a little shaking small girl with wide, crying eyes and a flu.

She hates that, looking down at him, now, she still is.

Quinn's fingers clench at her sides, teeth shaking and rocking, as she thinks that her father's eyes used to crinkle up when he smiled the same way they did when he was angry. She hates that she can't remember her mother when her father was happy, but there's a clear, seared image of her in her mind as the sound of her father's loving hand hit her and shook her and maimed her in more ways than one.

She wants to look at her mother and think that she tried to stop him—and maybe she did, at first—but she can't remember it happening and doesn't know if she wants to remember anything about Russell Fabray, anymore.

She's not strong enough to spit on her father's face like part of her wants to; she's never been strong enough to stand up to her omniscient father.

He clothed her, put a roof over her head until it suited him, and Quinn hates herself for being so torn—for still loving the small, tiny piece of the man whose eyes crinkled—for still trying to seek his approval.

Somewhere, behind her, Mr. Silverstein is watching next to two fathers of a girl she knows too well, and her mother is crying, and there are so many people that have been helped that she doesn't know what to do, anymore.

She decides enough is enough and abruptly turns on her heel, gaze on the floor, and goes to the bathroom, hands clenching on the marble of the sink as she stares into her own hollow eyes. The sight of herself makes her vehemently wrench around and spill the few contents of her stomach into the porcelain bowl behind her, the sound of the door opening and closing lost in her desperation.

She's really not all that surprised to feel Rachel Berry's fingers hastily running through her hair, pulling it back, shushing her with kind words she's never deserved. The familiar scent of vanilla and lavender hits Quinn like a train, mixing unnaturally with the foul stench below her. She wipes her mouth on her arm and closes her eyes.

Quinn thinks it should be a relief to lose the father that was never really a father and hates that it's not. She hates him. She honestly, truly hates him, but he was still her father.

That meant something, didn't it?

When Rachel pulls Quinn back and into the crook of her neck, fingers still brushing through well-kept, perfect hair, she just takes in a deep breath of air and tries hard to forget all the things she can remember before she remembers all the things she can't seem to just forget.

They're still sitting on the floor, an hour later, hard marble cool against the hot skin where a baby blue dress rode up. They were mostly quiet, staring at the ceiling, and Quinn's not sure why Rachel even came, in the first place, let alone took the care to rush into the bathroom after her like she wants to be there. Maybe she does, but Quinn doubts it. "You didn't have to come." Quinn whispers, knees tucked up to her chest, eyes stuck on the linoleum gray tiles below them.

Rachel shrugs. "You would have done the same for me." It's her reply, like it's the most natural thing in the world, and Quinn blinks.

"Yeah." It's like a revelation, somewhere, but she doesn't really mind it all that much. "Yeah, I would have."

It makes her kind of undeniably sad, the fact that a lot less people from Lima would go to one of Rachel's Dad's funerals when Quinn's positive that both of them, alone, are better men than Russel Fabray could ever hope to be. They'd have to be, to have a kid like Rachel, Quinn's sure of it.

Her head lolls around on her shoulders before she lets out a sigh, eyes flitting over to Rachel before she looks down at the piece of paper she's been messing with in her hands, tearing the edges off like a little girl unknowingly does with a four leaf clover. It's a funeral program. It's a marvel no one's come into the bathroom, yet, though the service is probably over. Maybe there's an usher outside, or something, warning everyone that little dead daddy's girl is in there.

She feels nauseous, again, but keeps her eyes steady.

"I hate him." She murmurs, her eyes settling on the picture of him on the program; the corner of his eyes aren't crinkling in this one. It's the first time she's admitted it out loud to anyone and she's not unnerved by the fact that it's the brunette sitting across from her, surprisingly patient and quiet. She finally meets dark eyes and the look in them makes Quinn's blood run cold.

She quickly stands up and brushes her fingers down the line of her dress to untangle imaginary wrinkles, Rachel scrambling up after her, obviously unsure of what to say. Quinn saves her the trouble.

"Thank you for coming."

It's the last thing she says before she walks out of the bathroom and leaves the service, Rachel's strained voice weakly calling out after her, Quinn honestly not caring enough to stick around for the reception.

Quinn has this recurring dream—she's had it ever since she went to see Lauren's second ballet recital and never stopped dreaming—where she's dancing on a stage, mysterious and fleeting as all dreams are. It frightens her, most nights, imbues this terror in her that she can't trace (because, really, she's not so sure what about them is so frightening) but it makes her understand the world, more, as well.

She's perfectly poised, back straight and hands lifted, eyelashes fluttering against her cheeks as her chin tucks and her breath wisps into puffs of ice about the dark room. Black—pitch-black—endless and unknowing engulfs her as she raises her knee and moves on point, ducking and contracting.

He watches her.

He always watches her.

It's a week later that Quinn's sitting in their house on the couch next to her mother, eyes wide and frightened. It's the second time she's been kicked out of this same house—the second time by her father, too—only it's the government doing the pushing and counting down on the clock. Effective as of 3:15 PM one Judy Fabray was served a notice of eviction due to the house being in her late husband Russell Fabray's name.

In his will, Russell Fabray emphatically bequeathed the majority of his possessions, money, and good fortune to one Nancy Grace (Quinn thought it was a joke, too, the first time she heard it but, no, that's really her name) his tattooed, whorish, twenty-eight year old secretary girlfriend. The rest of Russell Fabray's luxurious lifetime-earnings went to none other than young Lindsey Lauren Smith, his eldest daughter.

Judy Fabray received nothing as the signing-over of the house had, unfortunately up until that point, merely been a vocally bound agreement that no one had witnessed from a divorce that was finalized (ironically) two hours before his death.

Russell's lawyers had a field day.

Quinn was left a handful of signed (blank) checks linked to a bank-account she could not in good conscious access. It was her father's last way, she supposes, of saying that she would always owe him, no matter what.

She also finds it a little hilarious that, even from his grave, her father seems hell-bent determined on kicking Quinn Fabray's skanky little disobeying ass out of his house.

The teenager's sure that somewhere, six-feet under, eyes crinkling at the edges, Russell Fabray was assuredly telling her that she was nothing without him.

Two days later, school starts, and Quinn finds herself staring at herself in the mirror, no longer liking what she sees.

"Quinn!" Rachel's surprised gasp just makes the blonde slam her locker shut and walk away faster, really not wanting to talk. The brunette, of course, always wants to talk and doesn't pick up on the hint. "I...I didn't expect you to be back, so soon." She hesitantly points out, struggling to keep up with her fast pace.

Quinn says nothing. No one expected her to be back this soon. Maybe it's considered a little uncouth for your father to die on a Friday and for you to be back to school on Monday like nothing ever happened. But of course she's here; she has a plan and Quinn Fabray's nothing without plans. Today's the day Quinn told herself she would barge into Sue Sylvester's office and demand her position as head cheerleader back, no matter who she had to step on to get it.

She stops in front of that very office, eyes set and eyebrows furrowed, Rachel ranting about something she's not listening to at all in the background. Head cheerleader.

Does she really want it?

Rachel's still going on about songs and being happy that she's back for the new year and Quinn thinks about why she would want it—why she worked so hard, this summer, to get back in shape and prepared. She was going to do it to find order in a world of chaos and...Quinn feels suddenly like throwing up.

She was going to do it to make her father proud.

It's at this thought that she turns around and hits Rachel with an intense look, lips straining to pull up in what she hopes looks like a genuine smile. From the way the normally-oblivious brunette stops instantly mid-rant and looks at her like she's scared, Quinn thinks that it probably doesn't look very genuine. She makes a split-second decision. "What are you doing for lunch?"

Rachel blinks, obviously derailed. She probably wants to point out that it's actually their lunch break right now. "I..." She opens and closes her mouth once each. "I usually practice in the auditorium—"

"It's early-release, today. We don't have Glee." Quinn points out, tongue hastily dotting out to wet her lips. They post-poned their first meeting to Wednesday. No one probably expected her to be there, anyways. "Come to Breadstix with me."

The girl looks reasonably floored, eyes widening as she looks nervously from Sue Sylvester's name-plate to Quinn's face. Her fingers tighten on her books and Quinn's struck with an irrational want to reach over and smooth them out. "Alright." She says it hesitantly—a question—like a person walking around a snake with a large fear of being bitten. Regardless, Quinn nods.

"Meet me outside of the choir room, 1:00?" She waits until Rachel cautiously nods back before she walks away, clutching her books to her chest, everyone's eyes on her as she walks down the hall to sit silently in her emptied Chemistry classroom until their shortened lunch break is over, staring out the window and tapping impatient fingers on her textbook.

It's a really awkward day, if Quinn's honest with herself. She's as much a talk of the school now as she was when she was pregnant, and the things people are saying about her, quite frankly, are not even a speck nicer. When the final bell rings, the blonde is out of her seat fast and speeding down towards the choir room, infinitely thankful for Rachel's penchant to be early.

Quinn grabs a tan hand in hers and practically pulls her out of the school she's so ready to get the hell out of there. She waits until she's forced Rachel into her car and sat down in the driver's seat to finally let out a breath and look at the other girl.

"Sorry." She mumbles, watching the way brown eyes scan over her face like the blonde's about to pull out a hatchet. "I just really, really didn't want to be there, anymore."

There's a moment of silence, Rachel's eyebrows furrowing, before she asks, something odd in her voice, "But you want to be with me?"

Quinn blinks, a little speechless. Rachel's looking at her like she should know the answer to this question instantly and her mind finally catches up to her racing heart. "Yeah, I do." The smile that slowly stretches across Rachel's lips is unlike any that Quinn has ever seen before. It's soft, gentle, but the oddest: genuine. It's in this moment that Quinn realizes she's still holding her hand and drops it, keys shoving into the ignition and twisting. "Do you have a problem with that?" She prods, eyes flitting back over to that shy, small smile.

Rachel just shakes her head and leans back.

Quinn's not even all that annoyed that she hums the whole way there.

When they finally shuffle into the restaurant and settle into a booth, an awkward silence settles over them. Quinn mindlessly pulls out a bread stick and starts breaking it apart onto her plate, poking the pieces with her finger.

"I must admit I'm not very accustomed to making conversation in light of recent circumstances and I apologize if you find my company somewhat...lack-luster." Rachel's nervous voice hits Quinn's ears and the ex-cheerleader gives her an amused look. "I'm honestly not sure what to say."

Quinn feels the first genuine smile of all day slip across her lips. She leans back in her chair. "What would you say to me if we'd gone to lunch together, before all this?"

Rachel blinks and fusses with her hands, thinking about it for a moment and awkwardly clears her throat. "Okay, it might not just be in light of recent circumstances. I may or may not generally just not know how to make general conversation with you. Would you stop playing with those? You're wasting them." She reaches across the table to still her lunch mate's restless hands.

Quinn has to hold back a laugh, mirth dancing in her eyes. "What if I'm destroying these bread sticks as an outlet for my grief?" She pokes, expecting a dramatic, apologetic, and amusing reaction to come from the brunette but she's honestly surprised when it appears the other girl knows her better. Rachel just pulls the bread stick from her hands and takes a bite out of it.

"Well then, go take up a useless hobby like whittling. Those poor bread sticks did nothing to you." She says around a mouthful of the food, an undeniable smile on her lips and in her words.

"I'll have you know I'm a class-A whittler, thank you very much." Quinn takes another bread stick from the table but, this time, bites into it. It's the first ounce of food she's had all day. She's still not hungry. "It's what made me head cheerleader."

"And here I thought it was the fact that you were unnecessarily head-strong and freakishly pliable. I apologize for making assumptions." Rachel's eyes are light and Quinn feels better than she has in a long time under the banter, maybe before babygate—before she was eight, even.

"Right, like you aren't headstrong?" Quinn leans forward, lips tucking. Rachel laughs, a little, and the blonde thinks that maybe she doesn't laugh enough—maybe they both don't laugh enough—and she silently admits that she doesn't mind the sound.

"I never said I wasn't. I'm quite proud of the strength of my head, actually. It took years of obstinate training and stead-fast dedication to getting my way in order to get a cranium this durable." Rachel jokes, lips sliding around the rim of her glass as she takes a sip of water.

"For some reason, I don't doubt that." Quinn watches her, for a moment, eyes unreadable, before she bows her head. "See? Conversation's not that bad."

Quinn looks up and doesn't miss Rachel's happy look tilted into a spectrum of color and light through her water glass.

She smiles.

They don't talk about Finn or Glee or (thank heavens) the funeral service. They don't talk about the weather or sports—like either of them could—or anything impersonal. They share funny stories about dancing and gymnastics and music. They laugh about the time Rachel actually tripped on stage when she was nine years old and cried so hard she made another girl slip in the salt-water. They joke about the time Quinn accidentally walked into Coach Sylvester's office to see her wearing a gas mask and talking to a picture of a penguin, both of them not knowing what the hell happened.

They laugh and joke and act like they've been friends for years, like the hardest part was just being re-acquainted again.

When Quinn drops Rachel off at her house and quietly refuses to stay for dinner, four hours later, she wonders if maybe they have been.

Quinn comes home and lets out a small sigh of relief when she opens the door and sees her mother sitting on the couch watching television, no drink in sight. They have exactly one week to vacate the premises and Quinn hadn't been surprised to find she only had one box of things in her room—she had always lived light, it seemed, like she was always waiting on baited breath and hands for her father to kick her out—but her mother, she can only assume, has more fond memories of this place than Quinn can stomach.

She sits down next to her mother on the couch, not really bothering to look at what's on the television, and tries not to stiffen when her mother's head slowly descends to rest on her shoulder.

She's been crying—Quinn can tell by the track marks that mar her mother's normally impeccable make-up—and it's then that she smells the hint of gin gasping around the older blonde's exhale of breath.

She doesn't blame her for drinking—not really—if Quinn had been married to Russell Fabray, she would drink, too. But she does blame her for a lot of other things.

Wordlessly, Quinn breaks apart and walks up the stairs, closing her door and staring at the ceiling, one small box sitting precariously on the edge of her perfectly-made bed, wishing that she had taken up Rachel on her offer.

The next day Rachel greets her with the brightest smile Quinn's ever seen as she leans against her locker, right next to the blonde's. They both tend to get to school early—Quinn because old habits die hard and Sylvester used to have all of her cheerios in the field at 4 AM—and Rachel, Quinn assumes, because she does vocal warm-ups or something.

She hesitates only a second before smiling back. It's not as genuine as she wishes it was. "Were you actually waiting for me?" When Rachel nods Quinn has to push down the feeling swirling in her gut. It's thirty minutes until class starts and the halls are sparse.

"Well, while you're a champion whittler, I do my best to be a champion friend." Rachel says this like it's her winning phrase and Quinn stills as she takes one of her books out of her locker. She turns to the side and gives Rachel a look.

"More like champion stalker." Before, the statement might have been biting but the twinkle in Quinn's eyes takes the pain out of her words and Rachel takes a step closer, a little more confident.

"Well, I make it my goal to succeed in everything I do." She says proudly and Quinn just rolls her eyes, slamming her locker and walking towards her first class. She figures Rachel will follow her and she's right. "So...we are friends, right? I was hoping you would comment on my subtle Freudian slip of the word but you're as calm as ever." Rachel's always been straight to the point but the fact that she's just said that out loud makes Quinn stop in the middle of the hallway.

When Quinn takes too long to respond Rachel, of course, just starts ranting. "I mean, we've had all of these serious Oscar-worthy touching moments and been through so much, together. Not to mention the fact that we've successfully struck up a quick repertoire—"

Quinn lifts her finger to Rachel's lip to calm her and she thinks for a moment, blue eyes skimming over hopeful brown, before she turns around and keeps walking. "Yeah, we're friends." She can see Rachel's felicitous smile out of the corner of her eye and doesn't bother fighting her own.

For the longest time, Quinn's been bouncing around lunchroom tables like a hot potato. Some days she would sit with Santana and Brittany and some days all three of them would sit with all of the Cheerios. Some days Quinn sat with Finn (when they were dating) and Puck (when they weren't because they never really did) and when she was living with Mercedes, would spend her lunch period with the larger girl and Kurt. She never really felt at place with any of them, though—even though Puck was, ironically enough, the nicest, but most days he was skipping school during lunch, anyways—so the majority of the last year, for Quinn Fabray, had been spent in the stalls of McKinnley High's restroom.

So four hours after their initial meeting, Quinn quietly slips into the auditorium room with an extra salad and a smile, sitting down next to Rachel without a word. The brunette takes the salad, her teeth biting her lip, and cautiously sits down, too.

This lunch arrangement, Quinn finds, is the best; especially since it kind of comes with a meal and entertainment, because Rachel is still determined to practice, companion or not.

It's a little easier, that day, the murmurs still there as she walks down the halls, but Quinn's starting to think maybe it all won't be too bad. It's only been two days, after all—not even a week into the year—and all things take time. When Santana asks if she wants to come chill for a while, the blonde readily agrees because she hasn't seen her friend nearly all summer...then again, that happens with a hectic Cheerios schedule and a schedule that's, well, currently kind of non-existent, considering the fact that Quinn didn't demand her spot back.

They're laying on the couch, legs tangled together, popcorn scattered everywhere, a comedy on the screen, when Santana takes a huge bite out of her piece of beef jerky and a realization smacks Quinn across the face like a fly-swatter.

Santana must notice because she turns away from the movie, half-chewed beef jerky visible as she queries, "What?"

Quinn just shakes her head. "I never congratulated you on making head Cheerio, did I?" Her voice is unsure.

Santana visibly stills and stops chewing. She finally swallows and keeps her voice even, "No, you didn't."

Quinn thinks that Santana probably expects a confrontation—some sort of bitchy move because that's what a lot of their friendship has been—but she's learned a lot of life lessons, lately, and surprises herself when she sounds honestly genuine. "Congratulations." She grabs a piece of beef jerky. "I'm proud of you."

Santana's gaping at her like she honestly can't believe what just happened but then a slow, steady, wide smile stretches across her face. Those smiles are rare, Quinn knows, so she thinks she's done something right. While their friendship has had its tough moments, they get each other more often than not—Quinn always leaned on the other girl even when she wasn't beneath her in a pyramid—and she's happy to make her smile.

"Thanks, Q." Santana's smile turns into a smirk. "I've got fat shoes to fill."

Quinn just kicks her, "Shut up or I'll tell Sylvester you've been eating beef jerky."

Fear passes over the brunette's face momentarily before she rolls her eyes, "Whatever—all the evidence will be gone. I'm just gonna throw it up, later, anyways."

"She'll probably smell it on you. I won't even need to tell her." This comment actually makes Santana's eyes go huge and she throws the beef jerky across the table like it's poison.

Quinn just laughs.

It's ten o'clock, laughter still ringing from her lips that same night, when Quinn comes home to an eerily quiet house. In all honesty, it's always been a quiet house, even with all of her family there at once for Thanksgiving or Christmas, but it's still a little unsettling to go from a lively, bustling house full of happy parents and a grumbling Santana to...dead silence.

For some reason it makes Quinn inexplicably angry when she goes into the kitchen and sees her mother. She stands there, fuming, fingers clenching, before it finally—finally—happens.

"Mom...you have to stop drinking." Quinn finally grinds out, feeling like the words are too foreign for her to be saying them. Her mother is standing in front of the counter, an open bottle of who the hell cares what next to her, mouth open and eyes hollow. Quinn has never felt close enough to her mother to actually care about her drinking, but for some odd reason she's started, and she idly wonders if maybe she'd cared all along.

Maybe it's her mother's broken eyes that make her finally realize it.

Maybe it's the way her mother looks at her, now, like she's actually her mother and that Quinn maybe, actually, really did come from her womb.

Maybe Quinn's just tired of throwing bottles upon bottles out, in the morning, and helping her mother up into her bed after she's spent all day pointed at and gossiped about and accused.

Maybe it's the fact that Quinn's realistic. They have to move out—she has to find work—they have to figure this out and her mother has to stop drinking.

Maybe it's the way that sometimes, when her mother drinks, all she can think about is the way those words left her mother's mouth—you're a mistake.

Either way, her mother looks startled—shaken, even—eyes wide like she's been caught in bed with another man by a partner who she never knew loved her.

After her mother's yelp—I don't have a problem!-Quinn just sucks in a breath. She expects it to go like it does in the movies or like in one of the pamphlets that she stole out of Miss Pillsbury's office at the start of the week when she was politely informed she would have to start attending mandatory "grief counseling" visits—for her mother to scream that she didn't have a problem and toss the bottle into the sink, glass shattering everywhere—and it does, a little...but only for a second. Judy Fabray's mouth opens like she's about to scream and Quinn instantly tenses, her eyes slamming shut, because Judy only screamed when she was about to kill someone, and the younger blonde holds her breath and hates herself, a little, when she feels tears prick at her eyes.

But then...nothing comes.

Quinn hesitantly opens one eye to see her mother standing there, bottle clung tightly in one of her hands, eyes so wide that she thinks her mother's had an aneurism. She's already grabbing her phone and about to call 911 when Judy simply puts the bottle down and turns around, a whisper that Quinn never hears on her lips.

Quinn's shocked and she takes a tenuous step forward, legs screaming at her to just run and never come back, but she finally hears what her mom says.

"I don't know how." It's so broken that Quinn has to blink, a little, remembering that this is her mother, and she does the strangest thing she ever has: she lays a hand on her mother's shoulder.

"You don't have to do it on your own." Quinn whispers, eyes seeking her mother's reassuring ones, knowing foreign tears are at the edges. "I'm here to help you."

Judy tenses and Quinn, for a moment, thinks that if it were Russel, he would simply spit that he doesn't need help and slap Quinn so hard she couldn't breathe. Quinn thinks that if it were her, she would say the same thing and give herself such a glare that she couldn't walk; Judy isn't her horrible ex-husband or her despicable, unloving daughter, however, and her hand is shaking when it clasps over pale fingers on her shoulder.

There's a moment of tense silence before Quinn moves her other hand to rest on her mother's unoccupied shoulder, voice weak, "There's a...there's meetings down 75 by Troy. I used to go there for a little while...after..." The name 'Sydney Beth' still feels too fresh on Quinn's lips for her to utter it. "I only went there once but Puck's gone a couple of times and he's always offered to go." She clears her throat, shaking her head, trying to not let her own grief seep into her voice. She tries not to think about how she's been avoiding Puck ever since the summer began, more than a little frightened he might ask her to go, again. "They have AA meetings every Tuesday and Thursday and..."

"I don't know if I'm ready for—"

"I'll go with you." Quinn's adamant and she's not sure where all this strength, this excitement brewing in her gut, came from. "I'm not sure if that's protocol or anything for these things. I can sit outside. I might even..." Her throat closes up at this, the thought of going to a meeting and talking about the daughter she lost, "I can sit outside." She's more resolute. "You don't have to do this alone."

Judy Fabray turns around in her daughter's arms, not untangling their hands, but does bring her other hand up to cup her cheek. "What did I do to deserve you?" It sounds almost like I never should have let you go and Quinn tries not to think about it or let it show that her throat feels like it's closing right now.

"Come with me tomorrow and you'll find out." Is all she says, instead, and Judy just nods and smiles weakly before her daughter leans over and empties the bottle of vodka into the sink.

It's a start.