Thanks to all of you for your feedback. I'm quite grateful for it. I'm still surprised I haven't had any complaints about my horrendous grammar mistakes. All the same, I'm thankful.
Hushed whimpers of pain flit around the room for non to hear except both blondes currently residing in the massive bathtub. Immediately following the weak declaration of pain that slipped between Quinn's bruised lips is Brittney's soft whispers of apologies and comfort, both helping to calm her shorter sister down. Blood taints the white porcelain of the tub as it slips down the drain, dripping steadily from the throbbing head wound, temporarily dying a patch of Quinn's blond hair red.
"Okay one more piece Q, hold still." Brittney's lucid voice whispers near the back of Quinn's neck. Hazel eyes slam shut in preparation for the onslaught of pain about to ensue. Her slim fingers grip the edge of the sink when she feels something notably cool touch her burning scalp near the point of injury that is making her dizzy. Then she waited. Fire erupted all throughout her head, jolting down her spine to the tips of her toes and back again. Another tortured moan fell between her tight lips mingling with the sound of Brittney dropping a piece of bloodied broken glass onto the lip of the tub alongside the other pieces pulled from Quinn's scalp. The throbbing magnifies to the point just brushing the hair near Quinn's head wound hurts worst than the broken arm she received when she was 10. Steady pulses of pain lance through her muscles, leaving her more and more rigid than the last. She feels just like the tub she's sitting in, being filled slowly full of heavy water that is weighing her down and pulling her under with no way to swim to the top before she drowns. She hurts everywhere even though the only visible injury she sustained cant be any larger than her palm. Suddenly she's trembling something terrible because the ever present throbbing, the warm liquid that can only be her blood pooling until it ran off onto her bare shoulders, reminds her.
Her day had started out as safe as possible when they, as a family, had arrived in Lima, Ohio at their new luxurious home even bigger than their last in California. Russell, her father, had been so pleased with his new home he had sifted through the many boxes labeled kitchen until he came up with a bottle of rich brandy and a scotch glass to celebrate. His hulking figure loomed in the doorway while he poured, looking into the empty foyer with a pleased smile just for himself. Behind him his wife of many unloving years hurried towards the movers to instruct them quickly and quietly to not scuff any of the furniture or break any form of glassware else wise her husband would not pay them. She, a woman accustomed to his fury when driven to a point of irreversible anger, tried as much as she may to warn others against his tyranny before it came to pass. In secret of course. It was a practiced art by that point in her existence and that of her two daughters. Quinn, her eldest, was just getting out of the back seat of the sedan, still wincing slightly from the fading bruises splashed across her back from the last time her fathers anger bubbled to the surface to show its ugly face. Thankfully they were close enough to being healed they were nothing but faint yellow splotches but they were still rooted deep enough in her tight back muscles that it was a chore for her to twist or turn her torso in any way. Brittney, her taller yet younger sister, knew this about Quinn so was quickly behind the shorter blond in an instant to assist her walking as discretely as possible. They made it up the steps with little to no problem, only pausing once when Brittney noticed a grimace hidden under Quinn's fake smile, until they too stood in the doorway behind their father. His darker hazel eyes turned on his two daughters, quietly clutching one another's hands, to ask them if they liked their new home. Both answered yes without a pause even though they were both lying. They hated it. They hated Lima. They hated moving. And they hated him. Yet more than the hate they felt, they feared him and his self-righteous explosions of violence that could leave them both in a bloody heap on the floor should they refute him his pleasantries. He gave them a pleased smile and turned swiftly to enter his new home only after telling them he expected them to have their rooms unpacked and stowed away by dinner, no exception or excuses. So, ever the respectful children they were raised to be, Quinn and Brittney had set about toting heavy boxes up the winding staircase that led to the second floor where Brittney's chosen room was. After that was finished Brittney helped carry Quinn's boxes to the attic space above the second floor that would be Quinn's, careful to pick the heaviest of the boxes so Quinn wouldn't have to carry them. Up until this point the sisters had always shared a room even if there had been 10 spare rooms in the house so they could take comfort in one another's company but Russell had made it blatantly clear they were not allowed such trivialities this time. It was part of their punishment, as if the severe beating Quinn had received wasn't enough. The moving was punishment, the fact they were both to be home schooled was punishment, and that they were both under strict rule to never leave the premises unless accompanied by either one of or both their parental figures lest they meet any girls they could "befriend".
The sisters had just finished off the last of Quinn's boxes and were about to take a break when the ungodly screech of a cat being stepped on echoed through the house putting Brittney on full alert. Apparently in the process of moving in a rather large armoire containing most of Russell's prized liquors Brittney's cat had run under foot and spooked the mover enough that he dropped his end of the armoire on Lord Tubbington. The furry terror had bolted from the house across the street and Brittney, worried only for the wellbeing of her only friend outside of her sister, had run after it all the while Quinn watched on with wide fear filled eyes from the massive bay window in her attic room. Brittney broke Russell's rule and breaking Russell's rules meant pain in the Fabray household and Quinn being the overprotective sister she was immediately began fearing what Russell would do if he noticed his youngest daughter was missing. That worry blossomed into full blown terror when hazel eyes watched a tanned dark haired teen girl jump from her window and, after conversing with Brittney, invited her inside which Brittney did without reluctance. Quinn had paced for five long minutes, all the while the tightening in her stomach grew painful as her stress and worry built, until finally she couldn't take it anymore and ran down both flights of stairs to check where her father was. He was drinking with Judy, cheers to the home, in what was probably his new study. That should keep him occupied for the three minutes it should take to retrieve Brittney and hopefully not get caught.
Three minutes hadn't been enough time. When Quinn knocked on the door she had expected either the girl who had spoken to Brit or the girls parents. What she got instead was a disgruntled brunette still in her pajamas with the most adorable bed head, peering questioningly at Quinn's stoic figure with dark chocolate eyes. Waves of emotion washed over Quinn's hardened heart, poking and prodding at it until the blond had to suppress the blush threatening to rise. The girl was pretty-no-beautiful. Without even trying the girl before her had managed to knock down Quinn's otherwise heavily fortified walls and wiggle into the lump of black coal sitting uselessly beneath her ribcage. Quick as it was though Quinn was fast to smother the inkling of a crush beginning to form for the tiny brunette before it could grow into something potently dangerous and dove into asking about her sister after introductions. Rachel, as Quinn found out and internally swooned at the cute name that matched the cute girl perfectly, insisted for Quinn to come in and retrieve her sister herself but Quinn was careful to avoid breaking Russell's rule more than she had already.
Not careful enough. Russell had spotted them just as they were making their retreat from the Berry residence. Unbridled fear welled up within her, creating trembles that racked through her whole body until she was quivering as she clung desperately to Brittney's arm. Quinn barely remembered apologizing to Rachel for her insult that, in the moment, Quinn had hoped would deter the brunette from ever coming in contact with Quinn again in the future. The next thing she remembered after that was shielding Brittney from Russell with her own body, pleading with her father not to be angry with her sister then lying and telling him that it had been Quinn's idea that Brittney go introduce herself to the neighbors in hopes that they would be on good terms with their new neighbors. Russell had excepted the lie with ease and, since Quinn had taken the full blame squarely on her shoulders, had proceeded to punish Quinn for her outright disobedience and disregard to her fathers firm wishes. In retrospect the punishment wasn't that bad, it could have been worst as in Russell could have taken to pummeling Quinn with his lunchbox sized fists until she needed a doctor as he had done before when Quinn had stupidly told him she didn't want to be a cheerleader freshmen year of high school. Instead Quinn had watched with fear spilling from her eyes in the form of tears as her father coolly finished his drink before taking a single step towards her and, quick as lighting, smashing his glass into the side of her head. Blackness ebbed at her vision and her legs buckled under her weight bringing her crashing down onto the end of the desk nearby, splitting her lip on the hard edge in the process. She could barely recall her father spitting some form of a venomous insult her way before the blackness consumed her entirety, delivering her swiftly into unconsciousness.
She woke in Brittney's bathroom, shirtless and laying in the expensive bathtub with her head on her sisters lap while Brittney silently and diligently flushed Quinn's head wound with the removable showerhead. After washing away most of the blood Brittney had searched for a pair of tweezers and propped Quinn up so she could begin pulling out shards of broken scotch glass still embedded in her pounding head. Each little shard hurt worst than the last when coming out but finally Brittney finished and disposed of the tweezers via tossing them towards the sink before slipping back into the tub with Quinn and gently as possible pulling her sisters head back down into her lap so she could flush the wound and wash the blood away one more time.
Quinn closed her weary eyes, wincing only slightly when the water flowing over the fresh wounds would cause a sharp bite of pain on her dome. Brittney was gentle, sifting her fingers through strands of Quinn's hair to wash crimson down the disposal and not caring in the least that her favorite shorts were being soaked through with blood tainted water. This was a practice for them since they had been living this way since before they could remember. One of them would be hurt and the other would nurse her sister back to health. Normally it was Quinn who was the injured party since, like with what happened downstairs a bit ago, Quinn would normally lie to take Brittney's beating so that the gentle Brittney wouldn't have to endure it. Then Brittney would whisk Quinn away and apologize profusely for her stupidity that got Quinn hurt again while she took care of Quinn. Now was no different than any other time.
"I'm sorry Q." Brittney's broken voice whispered above the sound of running water, her soft thumb stroking just below Quinn's eye where a small bruise from forming where Quinn's face had collided with the desk.
Hazel eyes crack opened slightly to stare up into tear filled azure ones, "It's alright Brit. It's not your fault. I did it to myself. Remember?" Quinn tried to smile but gave up when the split in her lip protested, rivulets of wet blood welling up now that the crusted bit had been cracked open again. Brittney immediately frowned and reached down to gently wipe away the fresh blood with the pad of her thumb.
"But if I hadn't talked to Santana and went inside instead of just grabbing Lord Tubbington and leaving you wouldn't have had to lie. I feel so bad when you do that Quinn."
A soft sigh of remorse fell from Quinn's slightly parted lips. Each time Quinn lied she knew Brittney felt bad and that in turn made Quinn feel worst but she didn't stop doing it because it kept Brittney safe and she wouldn't stop anytime soon. The guilt would be present for the duration of the time they would be forced to live under their fathers oppression. Slowly Quinn sat up, swaying slightly when a fresh bout of dizziness took her. After it passed she turned so that she was facing Brittney and took her sisters hands, frowning demurely when she noticed both their hands were covered in thin layers of her water downed blood.
"It's alright Brit. Honestly. I know how much Lord Tubbington means to you and I know you would do it again if it happened and I would lie again to protect you like I always do because I don't want anything to happen to you. So long as I can take it, I will so you don't have to. That's what big sisters are for," Quinn quirked the ends of her lips into a half smile, careful not to aggravate the split this time, "Besides, you seemed to like that Santana girl."
Quinn knew she had said the right thing when she watched Brittney's entire face light up in a way Quinn didn't think she had seen since the day Judy gave Lord Tubbington to Brittney as a gift: pure contented happiness. Her smile lit up the room and her light squeeze to Quinn's hand accompanied the little dreamy sigh that she let out.
"She was so sweet Q. She was really nice about Lord Tubbington and she didn't make fun of me once! Or Lord Tubbington! And her family was really nice and she was so pretty Quinn! Don't you think?"
Quinn chuckled merrily more so from the fact that Brittney sounded like a girl with a middle school crush than the 18 year old woman she was. Before responding Quinn leaned back in the tub, wincing when her bruised back touched it, and propped her legs up in front of her stretching out the cramped thigh muscles.
"Did I think she was pretty before or after she went crazy on me for calling Rachel a dwarf?"
Brittney poked her pink bottom lip out in a classic pout, "Quinn."
"Okay fine, yes, I think she had a certain appeal to her."
The pout morphed into a little grin, "See? She was pretty. I like her. I wanna try kissing her. I bet she'd be a good kisser."
Quinn rolled her eyes playfully at her sisters bluntness but couldn't stop the little twinge of sadness at hearing her talk so freely of her fondness for another girl. This was the main reason for their move-their punishment. In actuality it was Quinn's fault, not Brittney's and that was the reason for the fading yet still painful bruises across the expanse of Quinn's toned back. Back in California Quinn had been dating a girl that Quinn was fairly convinced she was in love with seeing as they had been secretly together for their entire junior year. Brittney had known about the relationship and supported it seeing as she had known about Quinn's gayness since middle school and likewise Quinn knew Brittney was bi. However over the summer Russell had discovered Quinn's secret by means of opening the door to see his daughter in the midst of her passion with her girlfriend. The two shocked girls barely had enough time to put their undergarments on before Russell had stormed in and took a handful of Quinn's hair and tossed her into the opposite wall. His fist had immediately rained down on her in a never ending flurry of pain and blood, washing over her and taking her into the tides of bitterness she was so use to swimming in. As all that had gone down Quinn's girlfriend had dressed quickly before charging at Russell's figure to beat on his broad back with her clenched fists all the while screaming at him to stop hurting Quinn. It was no use. She may as well have been trying to bring down a skyscraper with nothing but a few stones. Impossible. Enraged Russell had turned on the redhead and with resounding haymaker slammed his massive fist into the girls glass mandible, breaking it in two places. Jen had crumbled to the floor before Quinn's tear filled eyes.
Weeks after that day Russell had received a lawsuit from Jen's family but Russell, being the powerful man he was, weaseled his way out of it unscathed. That didn't stop him from overflowing with anger because of it and taking all of it out on Quinn, beating her over the back with a broom handle until the wood split and broke into pieces. The very next day Russell had informed them that they would be moving to Lima and that they needed to pack their belongings immediately. Quinn was to leave anything behind that had anything to do with her being gay or made her think about being gay. So Quinn had left the blue and black cheerleading uniform for San Francisco High School on her bed seeing as that's where she had met Jen, a couple pictures, a necklace, and a small book of rainbow flag stickers Jen's parents had jokingly bought for Quinn. Then they were off. Russell still didn't know about Brittney's equal attraction to females as males but he had made the same rules for both his daughters just in case she thought about trying what Quinn had. They were to be home schooled so Quinn couldn't get any ideas, and forced to stay home unless they were with Russell or Judy to keep an eye on her.
Quinn left her heart and happiness on that bed back in California with her uniform and stickers.
"I bet she is B." Quinn mumbled, coming out of her sad musings.
"Rachel was pretty too. Different from San but still pretty. Don't you think Q?"
Contrary to Quinn's locked jaw the tips of her milky ears tinted pink at the thought of Rachel being pretty, "No. I don't think she was B."
"Yeah you do. Your just scared and that's okay 'cause of what happened. But I can tell you thought she was pretty. Or you wouldn't have called her that mean name."
Quinn wanted to get angry at Brittney but the fact of the matter was, it was near impossible for her to become angry with Brittney so instead she just smiled sadly and squeezed her sisters hand lightly.
"Okay I think she was really pretty but I can't think like that anymore B. And neither can you. Its to dangerous. You saw what happened to me and if Daddy ever catches you-god I don't even want to think about it. You just can't B and neither can I. Even…if I want to."
There was a long pause, long enough that Quinn thought Brittney had given on the matter but of course things with Brit were never that simple.
"But if I'm really, really careful Q then maybe I could-"
"No B. You can't. Not even if your really, really careful." Quinn looked just in time to catch Brittney's crestfallen look just before hiding her face by looking away, signaling that Brittney was on the verge of tears. Knowing that she sounded like her father just then and acted the part by taking away what little bit of happiness Brittney had felt in a long, long while, Quinn relented.
With a drawn out sigh Quinn scooted over to Brittney and rested her temple against the taller girls shoulder, "But…but maybe if your extra super careful…you could maybe try being friends with her."
She felt rather than saw Brittney smile with the way her shoulder picked up just a bit, "Really? You mean it Quinn?"
Against Quinn's better judgment she said, "Yes."
In an instant Brittney's arms were around Quinn's trim waist crushing her against the squealing blonde, "Thank you Q! Thank you, thank you! Don't worry I'll be super careful and you'll keep me safe won't you?"
Quinn sighed, letting herself fall into her sisters warm and comforting embrace, nodding against her collarbone, "Of course B. Always."
"Sweet." There a pause in which Brittney just continued to hold Quinn, the shorter of the blonds nodding off slightly as the toll of today's events finally caught up with her. She felt safe enough to just fall asleep there and tired enough to actually do it. A light shiver racked her spine when the cold metal of the zipper on Brittney's shirt brushed Quinn's still bare torso, reminding of the fact she actually was quite cold.
"Oh!" Brittney had felt the shiver and realized it at the same moment Quinn had. Mindful of Quinn's many wounds Brittney untangled herself from her sister to run into her room and retrieve Quinn a dry shirt (the other had been in the way of Brittney cleaning her wound the first time therefore was quickly removed) along with the comforter and pillows from her new bed. Moving on graceful feet Brittney hurried back into the bathroom just in time to catch Quinn's chin droop down to her chest, her fathomless hazel eyes blissfully shut and her red lips set straight without tension for once. Brittney had known her sister would be tired around now she only hoped she would get her out of the tub before she started to nod off but alas, no such luck. Now that Quinn was falling asleep she knew that getting the ex-cheerleader out of the tub would be about as possible as her tipping an elephant over. So she placed the long body pillow behind her sisters back and another under her head after lowering her so that she was laying flat then wrapped her up in the comforter and topping it off with a loving kiss to her temple. After she finished with that she crouched down beside her sister and rested her chin on the lip of the bathtub, gazing at Quinn with unmistakable affection. Quinn had done so much for her over the years and Brittney still hadn't managed to do anything well enough in return. Oh how badly did she want to do something in return though.
Sighing softly Brittney stood and moved over to the window of the bathroom that, oddly enough, gave her a great view of the Berry home across the way. A happy little smile upturned her lips when she saw Santana outside with Rachel, the little brunette thrown over the Latina's shoulder as Santana stomped in the direction of their front door with Rachel wiggling and flailing about in an attempt to get loose to no avail. Brittney leaned on the windowsill as she continued to watch, pondering different ways she could covertly cover up a possible friendship (hopefully more) with Santana. The girl was just something else. Her eyes twinkled with merriment when she watched Rachel elbow Santana in the gut hard enough to get away from the Latina and zip across the lawn like a brunette streak of lightening, head thrown back with a joyous look encompassing her soft features. Rachel was something else too, maybe not for Brittney but she could tell her sister liked Rachel. A lot. She was just terrified about what would happen if she was caught again like what happened with Jen. Brittney wanted Quinn to be happy too. She wanted to give something back to her sister. Below Santana had caught up with her impish sister and tackled her to the ground, wrestling around a bit until she pumped her fist into the air with a victorious smirk, Rachel scowling but smile betraying her happiness as she observed Santana's fist pump.
That's what Brittney wanted. More than that, she wanted that for Quinn. What Rachel and Santana had-a reason to smile. Brittney thought that sort of infectious happiness Rachel and Santana gave off might-hopefully-affect Quinn in a positive way. The only problem was befriending the sisters without actually leaving Russell's house.
It would be so much simpler if….Brittney let the thought trail off as an epiphany hit her. Grinning like a manic Brittney tip toed out of the bathroom, careful not to wake her slumbering sister cuddling her comforter in the bathtub, into her room to rummage around until she came up with a pen and a pad of paper. Hastily she scribbled down what she had thought up while in the bathroom and sprinted downstairs to find her mother.
Judy had been found in the kitchen, sipping a freshly made screwdriver topped off with an orange wedge stuck on the lip of her glass. The alcohol fused drink was clear enough Brittney suspected it was more vodka than orange though she made no comment of it. She stuffed the folded up note into the back pocket of her still somewhat damp shorts before going over to kiss her mothers cold cheek.
"Hey sweetie," Judy's voice was soft as Brittney ever remembered it but with an added barely-there-slur that only Judy's drink could give, "How's Quinn?"
"Sleeping. Her head is really bad Mamma. I think maybe you should call a doctor." Brittney frowned, remembering the deep divots her fathers scotch glass had dug into Quinn's scalp and the instant deep abrasion that began coloring Quinn's hairline dark blue.
Judy frowned too, taking an extra deep drink of her screwdriver before answering Brittney, "I can take a look at it. See if it really is that bad before we go that far. You know how your father feels about Doctors baby."
"I know Mamma. Where's Daddy?"
Judy quickly drained her glass in one gulp and turned to rinse it out in the sink, her body swaying a bit as she completed the chore, "He went to work to set his office space up and talk to his co-workers and his office aids before he starts tomorrow. Getting a leg up, you know how your father is."
"Oh okay," Brittney could hardly contain her excitement at such luck, quickly stepping backwards out of the kitchen for the front door, "I'm going to go get my ipod out of the car okay Mamma?"
"Mkay honey. 'M gonna go check on your sister. Don't take long."
"I won't!" Brittney chirped just before rushing out of the door, bypassing the car entirely to head straight for the Berry house. Thankfully the sisters were still outside, sitting on the lawn sipping steaming cups of something as they conversed. Whatever it was they were talking about must have been serious because they didn't notice Brittney until the lithe blonde had her hip rested against the front gate, smiling as she waiting for their attention.
Once she had it, Santana didn't waste any time grinning and hopping to her feet to meet Brittney at the gate, Rachel close behind.
"Brittney! Your back! We thought you probably weren't going to show up for a while since you two acted like you hated it over her-ouch! Rach! The hell!?"
Rachel withdrew her tiny fist she had used to hit Santana with, rolling her eyes as she did so, "What she means is we are glad you aren't in trouble. Where's Quinn? You two are welcome to have lunch with us if you'd like. Santana and I were just discussing what to make."
The Latina gave a victorious smirk, "Actually we settled what we are having because I won. And Rachel will have to deal with it. You like grilled cheeses Brit? I won't make you eat Rachel's fake cheese. It's nasty."
For a moment Brittney let herself grin wide, nodding vehemently because it would be so nice to have lunch with Santana and Rachel. She ignored the part of her ingrained by her father telling her to politely decline and scurry home. She just dwelled on Rachel pouting because Santana had insulted her cheese and now she knew why the girls had been wrestling around in the yard before.
"Quinn likes bacon on hers. Mamma puts it on there even though Daddy tells her not to. I think I'm not suppose to know but I see Mamma do it every time."
Rachel furrowed her thin, dark brows above swirling eyes, "Why does your Dad tell her not to?"
Brittney blinked, not realizing she had let that slip. Russell didn't like giving his children anything unless they worked hard for it, deeply believing that if he gave them any sort of treat they would grow to be spoiled. Even something as trivial as putting bacon on Quinn's sandwich infuriated him to no end. But Brittney just knew she couldn't say that because Rachel, even Santana, would get the wrong idea. Or rather, the right idea.
"He just wants us to be healthy." Brittney lied easily, smiling sweetly though it felt fake and she knew it looked fake too.
"Oh." Rachel didn't look convinced which scared Brittney beyond belief. Even she knew how disastrous it could be if anyone, especially Rachel with how small and fragile the brunette looked, found of the Fabray's deep, dark secret.
"Well I can ask my Papi to slap some bacon on hers too 'cause I usually like it on mine too. And green peppers. Where is she?" The Latina stood on her toes to look over Brittney's shoulder, thinking she may find Quinn there but came back down on her heels disappointed.
"Ah," Brittney paused, picturing yet again Russell smashing his glass over Quinn's head and the way her strong sister had crumbled like a doll, "She's not feeling very good. Actually she wanted me to give you guys this note." Brittney pulled the now damp note from her back pocket to pass it over to one of the sisters. Neither reached for it. Santana's eyes were narrowed at Brittney's legs, suspicion now clearly written all over her face. Rachel however had her eyes locked on the folded piece of paper, noticing how it was not only faintly wet but faintly red as well.
"Brit," Said blond remained frozen, knowing exactly what the sisters were staring at and silently cursing herself for being stupid enough to forget to change first, "Brit why are you bleeding?"
The blond swallowed a lump in her throat, chancing a quick glance down at the dried blood on her firm thighs and the red stains in the denim of her shorts.
"Um…" Nothing came to mind as an explanation, no way of escape. She felt trapped. Trapped and scared but not for herself. For Santana. For Rachel. But most of all for Quinn.
"Did something happen Brittney?" Rachel's voice pierced through Brittney's fear, lancing her very heart. Now she blinked wide eyes in the direction of the shorter brunette, drinking in the knowing look coming from both sisters.
"No," She lied and thrust the note out towards the both, not caring now that neither of them took it and dropped it at their feet, "Sorry we can't stay. Bye." Then she turn and ran back to her home to hide in true Fabray fashion.
Whelp. Tell me what you guys think! Lots o' love.