Rating: T for first two, M later on
Pairing: Rachel Berry/Quinn Fabray
Summary: Quinn tried not to feel hurt, because after all it was her own fault. She couldn't have it all, not even both of them; the boyfriend and the girl with the stunning smile that had gotten her pregnant. G!Peen, AU S1, Quinn-centric
Author's Notes: I've been writing this story since June and let it out to select people. Since Faberry won the e!online poll, I thought it best to contribute just a little with the first chapter of this story. Updates every two weeks, hopefully.
Disclaimer: Glee is the sole property of Fox, Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan and Brad Falchuck. I am using them for entertainment purposes and do not have any rights to them.
Chapter 1 –
Quinn had liked Rachel since fourth grade recital, when she did a version of Hallelujah somewhere between John Cale and Jeff Buckley, although she wouldn't learn that until high school. They'd never been in the same class, but she'd heard the older kids talk about the girl who skipped a grade and had two dads. Most of the talk wasn't good. Rachel had played the piano, slow and mesmerizing, and her voice was the most expressive thing Quinn had ever heard, gracefully moving her from bored and apathetic to amazed with just the first few notes. She could only hear the first few words, though, when her father sucked in a breath and said, "Let's get out of here." The girl wanted to protest, but even at nine, she knew better.
They weren't the only family. About half the people left, leaving the small auditorium to be swallowed by Rachel's voice. She heard her all the way until they reached the doors. Brittany told her later it was the best thing she'd ever heard, and she resented her father with a ferocity that surprised her because she'd never been angry, at least like this, before. He seemed to sense it and took her out for ice cream the next Friday, explaining to her how they'd had to leave because Rachel was a child of sin and just listening to her would inspire the Devil to take her and everyone else.
Still, she liked Rachel. She tried not to be unduly cruel to her and would, on occasion, get something back for her. Rachel would sit with her during recess, every day, but she didn't sing. Occasionally, she might hum a few bars, or whistle, which Quinn took great delight in as her mother claimed it was an unfeminine practice and forbid her to do it. They always shared peanut butter crackers. This might have gone on for who knows how long until Dave Karofsky told his brother, Geoffrey, who ratted her to her big sister, who immediately told her father. The beating and chastisement she got were more than enough for her to break off the friendship with the small brunette and shun Frannie until she let her paint her nails.
Rachel had cried even worse than her but agreed. Shortly after that, school ended, and it seemed as if Rachel stopped talking. Nothing weird happened over the summer; she still saw her at the ice-cream parlor and playing soccer in the empty lots, since there weren't a lot of parks at the time that the child of a gay couple could go to without being harassed, and riding her bike, but she did it all with two boys, not alone anymore. Matt, she knew, and he went to the same vacation Bible school as her. His family wasn't as involved, though, so he didn't have to go to all the Wednesday and Saturday stuff, along with Sunday service, they did.
It made her feel special when the pastor called their house to talk to her father and knew her name and birthday. Other times, she thought she could feel Pastor Kenneth's eyes, judging her for God, when she did something bad. Matt sometimes mentioned his friend Mike, who went to 'Chinese church.' She thought he was being racist until Frannie explained that, no, there really was a church that a lot of Chinese people went to, and they were Christian.
So, since Rachel had two best friends, one pale and one dark, she got two best friends, one pale and one dark. That was more chance than plan, for both of them, though, because even at nine, Brittany and Santana were freakishly codependent, borderline separation anxiety if they had to be parted for anything and Mike was all Matt talked about, and vice versa. Her father said they were all going to Hell, but he said that in the vaguely disapproving, mostly amused tone that meant he didn't really feel it.
She spent the summer learning how to knit with Grandma Miller, learning how to do laundry, and growing two inches, putting her eye to eye with Frankie Belfour, although he later only grew to be 4' 9 1/2''. Fifth grade, they were in the same class and Quinn always felt Rachel's sad, Bambi eyes whenever there was a chance to socialize. It made her stomach knot up, made acid sting her throat, but she only trained her eyes to the board, and Brittany's loopy notes and Santana's emerging smirks, hoping in her secret place, where she kept her prayers, that the small girl would talk to her.
But Rachel didn't talk to anyone except the teacher, Mrs. Hollis, and Karofsky, though that was mostly to tell him to leave her alone. There was no recital in fifth grade. In fact, there wasn't any recital again at OrvilleWrightElementary School. And then, before she knew it, fifth grade was over, and the only real accomplishments she'd made was learning fractions, and watching Bambi and not crying for the first time, because she knew what real sadness was.
Quinn didn't see Rachel at all during middle school, because four blocks made a big difference in bus routes. Matt and Mike went to the same school as her and a casual mention of Rachel's name showed that they were only friends based on convenience, leaving her to traverse the road of middle school by herself. She hoped that Rachel learned to speak up, to show more interest than in singing. She'd hoped those kids were nicer and that she was well, and prayed for it, until her mother found out one night. She had started praying out loud because she'd read in an article somewhere that a person could only have enough space for one hundred twenty close friends, people that they cared for and thought about without knocking someone else out. The girl stopped praying at number seventy though, because her pastor said it represented human leadership and judgment.
Judy tended not to speak on matters Russell had already decided, unless it was in direct violation of his rules. So, hearing her daughter pray specifically for someone her father told her not to even think about was sacrilege. She didn't beat her, but did need to talk to her about it before Russell found out. The blonde mother said, slightly disapproving, "Quinnie, dear, were you praying for those heathens' child?"
Quinn had to look up to her, from where she was kneeling. The hall light was on, still, so her mother's face was shadowed in the darkness of her room while the rest of her had a sort of golden halo. She responded, "Yes, mom." She quickly added, feeling defensive, "It's not her fault. It's not fair that I have you and daddy and our church, and Rachel has those men."
Judy sighed, and got down so they were side by side, "I know, dear. It's really not fair, but the Lord has a plan for everyone. One day, that child will have to renounce them, and it's not up to you. It's up to her and Jesus. She'll have to find the path on her own."
Quinn bit her lip, looked down, and practically mumbled, "But I want to help her."
Her mother pulled her closer, to her side, until she felt like a little kid again, smelling her light perfume of roses and flour and comfort and something distinctly mommy, the same something Brittany's mom and Santana's mom smelled of and basked in her warmth.
Judy smoothed her sandy hair back, breathing her in, "I know, honey. But adversary can either make the soul stronger or break it. And I don't want you getting hurt, so I'm not going to let you. You will leave that girl out of your prayers and your thoughts."
And that was her first real lesson in life, at eleven years old with slightly crooked teeth: Leave the unusual, kill the weak. Social norms are all. She got braces later that year.
So she did as she was taught. Or rather, she attempted to. She tried to leave Rachel out of her thoughts, tried to let the name and image of her age until it was ash, to be swept and thrown away.
Still, when she rode her bike to the Dairy Queen or the community pool, she passed the bright home, whether it was clean with a cat on the doorstep or covered in eggs or toilet paper or derogatory slurs, or, once, Christmas Eve, on the way to the corner store for milk, affluent men, laughing and cheerful as a fire started in the well-pruned garden and a loud yowling that brought tears to her eyes, right in the middle of the afternoon, and she thought of the girl in fifth grade with the curly hair that looked impossibly soft, like a bag of feathers, and big eyes, who never opened her mouth. She'd pray, then, a quick, soft one, "Be with her, Jesus."
Her mother's words carried weight, though, and she found herself scribbling them everywhere the first few weeks. A math test would have 'adversary shatters the soul' and an English essay would only read 'adversary makes the soul stronger' the first few lines. It scared her again, these strong emotions that wouldn't leave.
It was worse, when she started going through puberty, growing up and out. She'd see Rachel somewhere, like the store, and for the next week, she'd think about her skin or her hands as she reached for something, or how her legs, always the longest part of her, seemed to go on forever, even though she was only like four feet tall. She'd have dreams of Rachel's developing bust line, of her walking down the street, of the little indecisive crook of her mouth as she picked between something in the aisle. She found herself drawing Rachel, exaggerating her features in order to get it out of her system. A nose that should have been called Roman and classical suddenly took up half her face. A full mouth became the second half.
It didn't work.
Quinn found herself angry and frustrated through most of middle school, lonely and scathing, while Santana and Brittany bloomed under the attention of every pubescent boy in three counties. They were casually 'going with' any of ten boys in a week and 'breaking up' with each other over boys, lip-gloss, books, (like either of them read, she'd thought uncharitably several times a day) and any other litany of things. They were normally attached at the hip again within three hours. Their MySpaces were practically dedicated to the other, with stupid things like '3 my Brit-Brit' or 'Luvvvvv u Sanny3333!' The rest went to stupid boys like Noah Puckerman and Simon O'Dell or even Johnny McKay, who had flunked three times and was over six feet tall in the seventh grade. Quinn wasn't allowed a boy friend or a MySpace. In fact, the only social interaction she really had was drill team and those two. Santana ended up being a brief object of affection, which she rationalized to herself, because she was so overprotective of Brittany and she wanted that. Brittany was her first kiss, at a sleepover in seventh grade, and she'd been sure to be soft and gentle so that her 'kissginity would be happy.'
Her sister, meanwhile, was cultivating her to follow in her footsteps. Every day after drill team, her sister made her practice the Cheerio's routines, made her follow the steps and stared at her, like Jesus hanging over her bed. Frannie didn't have to scream abuse at her, like Coach Sylvester reportedly did, just had to look and she would straighten her posture, would make her smile wider, would adjust her stance. She practiced until the sun went down, sometimes after that, until their mother called them in to wash up for dinner.
At least, that's how it went right up until high school, with Frannie going to college, married just that July to some accountant ten years her senior that Dad approved of. She taught her (trained her; "Life is a battlefield, Quinn, don't let the sheep control you.") what to do, what to say, who to avoid ("Don't take Spanish, Mr. Schuester is such a pedophile, he always picks one kid to be his favorite. Ms. Jorgen will pass you if you stay quiet. Don't bother with drama, Ryerson's a huge fag and he'll try to tell you about his long distance girlfriend. Coach Sylvester will make Figgins give you a drama credit if you stay longer than four months."), and even what to eat. She, in turn, taught Santana and Brittany. Brittany, surprisingly, was better at it than Santana. She thrived on rules and regulations, on strict schedules and duties. Santana was a lot more independent and it was harder for her, almost painfully so, to defer to Quinn.
The friendship, never what one would classify 'pure' or 'innocent' was soon strained when Sue made Quinn third in command under her sister's second, then some sophomore who was scarily loyal to Sue and after her, was Brittany, who could out-dance everyone with no music and a smile. There were more, of course, but Santana was relegated to somewhere in the middle until she pushed Julia Chen off the pyramid for digging her heel into her back. Sue liked back-stabbing and ruthlessness, so that did gain her some favor.
Just to further cement her status, she started dating Finnegan Hudson. Prom queen was only two years away, after all, and Frannie had won it twice. She was somewhat attracted to him, so it was easier to date him. He was popular for no conceivable reason because he was pretty normal; a member of the football team, but not a star, average grades because everyone was nice to a war hero's son, even if in reality his dad had only jumped ship like Puck's, sort of handsome in a sweet way, and breaking six feet at fifteen; he was clumsy, he was a goof, he was actually a bit of a jerk and thought he was charming, when really he was annoying, and he was constantly jealous. The only thing he had going for him, in her opinion, was dark hair and eyes. So she made them join the celibacy club. Maybe then he wouldn't ask for what she couldn't give him. He was only the high school boyfriend, after all, not her future husband.
At a better school Finn would have been rejected or, as a joke, maybe the third string quarterback, practically the water boy. Thank the Lord, though, that Jefferson got more funding and Kennedy got more media attention for everything but their cheerleaders. Finn was the only idiot to have signed up for quarterback when their current one was already being looked at by colleges and he would get little to no time on the field, so he was a shoe-in for next year. Tanaka was a terrible coach, too; they probably wouldn't even have try-outs, and he'd just promote the tall boy with no problem, without considering Finn couldn't hit the grass around the barn, never mind the actual building.
So, for the most part, Quinn was set. At least, until Santana opened her big mouth.
Contrary to popular belief, it was Santana who had come up with the nicknames for Rachel. Sometime during November of freshman year, Rachel had transferred in and bumped into Santana. It was only a brush of the shoulders, no scattered books, no blood, no scratch marks. Rachel murmured an apology and stepped back to let Santana pass in a peaceful motion. Middle school had taught her something, apparently. Santana was still on the high from pushing Chen off of her, though, so seeing Rachel was like a giant sign for her to show how much of a bitch she could be, gain some more respect from Sylvester, and call into question Quinn's viciousness at once.
"Watch it, Stubbles," She'd snarled. Then, after she got a good look at what Rachel was wearing, dressed like she was still in elementary school with her argyle animal sweaters, except the khakis and chinos had been replaced with small skirts and knee-high socks, she laughed and said, cruelty dripping off her words, "Christ, are you blind or do you just want to be abducted that badly?"
Everybody laughed as Rachel's face burned darkly and she scurried off. She glanced at Quinn, smirk still in place, "What's wrong, Q? Didn't you see jail bait?"
With that, the Latina had more or less slapped Quinn across the face with a glove and started a duel. The only difference between that and thirteenth century France, it finally ended. Sure, it ended with death but the Cheerios motto was, unofficially of course, Figgins wouldn't allow it, "Death Before Dishonor." Quinn couldn't let that insult slide so she replied, just a little late, "Of course I saw it. My eyes were just burning from its hideous face, though."
Everyone laughed again but Santana's eyes were thoughtful. Quinn felt a little panic which Santana would remember Rachel and how she'd hung out with her in elementary school. Still, if she remembered, she didn't say anything so Quinn felt an ounce of relief. It wasn't like her to sit on information or to bide her time, so the blonde was fairly sure she was in the clear.
Still, worry gnawed at her so she thought it best to just leave Rachel alone. She didn't move through a different hallway or turn around when she saw her, just treated her as another faceless cretin. Unfortunately, Santana didn't. She and a few of the other freshmen cheerleaders started picking on Rachel, teasing her. Sometimes, it was a public affair, forcing Quinn to respond to save face, but more often than not, it was a private sort of intimidation, confined to empty halls and classes and groups of ten to one.
Rachel complained, she knew, to Figgins and to the office about bullying but any launched reports were simply swept under the rug, especially because they were doing so well. The football team was a joke, basketball never made it past district and every other competitive sport was more or less forgetful. Who really watched soccer or baseball?
They'd made the competition their one-eyed, limp-dicked bitch in district, county and state. She'd heard rumors about Fox and CNN featuring them and from Coach Sylvester's gloating and increased evilness, it was true. But with all that came stress to be the best, to beat the competition with their own liver and then feed it to their parents. Sylvester had them on Master Cleanse almost all the time and she'd taken to actually sniffing their breath to see if she could smell anything on them. At least four girls had quit, only for Sue to haul them into her office to give them a 'talk' which lead to them being put at the bottom, but back.
The girls that bothered the brunette seemed to be doing better than the others, so she tried it, warring with guilt before she'd even said anything, away from them. The halls were empty except for two blank-faced stoners, Kevin Hendricks and Joey Marsh, that couldn't tell up from down. Rachel was at her locker, putting her books away with slightly wet eyes and little stains on the neck of her blouse and a patch of green behind her ear. The slushy machine was locked up on cool days like this, but obviously Santana had found a way to get to it. Quinn wanted to lick the stain off. Quinn wanted to do more than that, if she was being honest, but honesty had never done much for her, so she decided to make the decision.
(Feelings vs. Social Status, round seven hundred and twelve. Put your dukes up and come out fighting.)
"Jesus, Man Hands, never heard of soap and water? I thought they had it in abundance in Fagland," She sneered.
The brunette's jawline tightened and her eyes were a little brighter before she said, nearly murmuring, "The ladies' restroom ran out of soap, if you must know."
There was soap in her locker, and for a moment she was going to get it and give it to her, but she saw Becky Jackson, Santana's mole, leaving a room. Quinn slammed the locker shut, Rachel's fingers barely out of reach and stared at her, hostility on her face. The smaller girl backed up a step but kept eye contact. The blonde wasn't sure if the other girl was angry or scared but there appeared to be little flecks of another color in her eyes. Her own eyes, she knew, turned brown when she was sad or angry and were green when she was happy, and were a sort of swampy color the rest of the time. They hadn't been green for a long time.
Rachel broke the look, fiddling with her purple wheeled monstrosity before looking back up. Her jaw was set and there was a little furrow between her brows. She licked her lips, opened her mouth, and then closed it again. The furrow became deeper and she said, just barely loud enough to be heard, "You don't have to do this if you don't want to."
She was giving Quinn options. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, Rachel "Loser" Berry was trying to give her an out without letting her get into trouble.
It was the most endearing thing anyone had ever done for her.
Quinn took a quick look around. Becky was already down the hall, and the stoners were heading into a different room. She bent her head slightly and, after a moment of hesitation but knowing she would never get the chance to again, especially with what she'd have to do to the poor girl, she lifted Rachel's face upwards until her skin was pale from the fluorescent lights and the light hollows under her eyes were shiny. Her eyes were not suspicious or sparkling or whatever they said in books. Instead, they were just dark and pretty. She was trusting Quinn, the blonde realized. She was trusting Quinn not to do something drastic and fuck everything up. The problem was that the cheerleader didn't trust herself not to do something drastic and so did.
Quinn leaned down some more and slipped her eyes closed just before she kissed Rachel swiftly. When she stood straight, her mouth felt sticky and she was aware of a very slight shame but she wanted to kiss her again. She let her hand drop and opened her eyes. The brunette was staring at her, though, with large eyes. She was so surprised that the tears had dried. Her lashes were clumped together and black and looked impossibly long. Quinn curled the hand that had touched Rachel into a fist and put it behind her back. It was just a little warmer than her other hand.
They might have stood and stared at each other for a long time, but Miss Pillsbury saw them and called, "Quinn? Ru-Raquel? Do you guys need to talk to me?"
The smaller girl turned around and said, coolly, her expressive face closed off even more than Quinn's, "My name is Rachel Berry. I am going to be on Broadway. I suggest that next time you see me, it is with accurate information."
Then she walked away, back like a flagpole. Quinn bit her lip. Confidence was really, really attractive on her, and so was speaking. Her voice was high-pitched without being obnoxious and she enunciated her words in a way that made Quinn shiver.
Miss Pillsbury's face was a bright pink, before she said, shakily, "Q-Quinn? What about you?"
She shook her head, "No, thanks."
Quinn walked in the opposite direction of Rachel, towards the gym. She licked her lips. They tasted like lime and cinnamon. Tracy Gollight had left her laptop and it'd had the same password (Edwarrrrd&! Jacooooob4evah) for two years. She had some comments to leave.
It was a start, even if it was a little late. Rachel, no, RuPaul would rather live in Hell than step foot in McKinley after she was through.
(Social Status won with a TKO.)
The first thing she did after the comments on MySpace was round up a few of the smarter jocks and told them to install the slushy machine in the cafeteria before having a free-for-all. At first, Rachel wasn't hit. More than one of them was the child of a single mother and they had respect for women. It wasn't until the underclass Cheerios hit her with waves of slushies and threw her in the dumpster and the teachers didn't seem to notice that their least troublesome student came in late every day that they decided to go ahead with the plan. Soon, Man Hands was getting slushies' thrown at her three or four times a day, along with the gothic Asian, that gay boy, Jacob Ben Israel and Suzy Pepper. The other geeks and losers were also slushied but not as frequently. At first, Quinn thought it'd stop after they won nationals. There would be no need to bully anyone anymore, right?
But it didn't stop. In fact, it escalated.
Quinn started calling her names, hurtful things that would have made her cry but Rachel only walked away, never answering to them. She drew Stubbles in pornographic poses in all the bathrooms on the first floor. Santana wasn't as rebellious anymore once she saw that she could belittle and hit people as much as she wanted. But it also made the little brunette speak up, putting her best foot forwards. There wasn't much anyone could do that would hurt her more short of beating her up, and it seemed to give her confidence that things could only get better.
Coach Sylvester liked the work ethic she seemed to be showing and told her, quietly, that she was promoting her to head cheerleader next year rather than the sophomore or Santana as she'd originally intended.
She slapped Quinn on the back, "Put that much drive into cheerleading and I'll have my sixth national championship yet."
Somehow, it didn't make her feel better.