A/N: Last chapter, children! If it makes you too sad, go read BWIW again :P ... or read the next parts, chronologically. Although I quite like this as a standalone piece, since obviously some things don't match up. D: I hope all this has seemed natural to you guys - I wanted to get across their really stupid, impulsive teenage sides. xD I hope it shows that they mature a little and are able to work through their issues. It's just a shame I never finished the sequel to BWIW, because all of this angst would've come back to fall on them without the protection of the gay-friendly cruise ship. I know full well they rush things, it was intentional but never explained without a sequel ;_;

/excuses okay just go read

October 2008

'Qunnie!' chirps Allison when she picks up the phone, cheerful as usual. Quinn winces at the nickname her sister uses; many members of her family seem to favour it, as if knowing it irritates her and conspiring to use it even more. Briefly, she pictures her mother, father and sister crowded around the dinner table poring over detailed plans and notes on how to wind her up. She shakes the image away quickly, focusing instead of what Allie is saying. Quinn has definitely been spending too much time with Rachel. 'You haven't called me in so long, sweetie.'

'I was going to email you the other day but I decided I should probably call instead.'

'Well, you're here now. I've missed you, little sis.' Quinn smiles at the term, rolling over on to her side. Just hearing her sister's voice and sinking into their usual familiarity makes her feel a little better about things. 'How've you been? How's school?'

'It's going okay. Santana, Brittany and I made onto the Cheerios.'

Allie squeals in excitement. 'That's brilliant news, Quinnie! I'm so proud of you. How's old

Sylvester anyway? Broken anything during practice yet?'

'No, thankfully.' Allie chuckles at Quinn's sigh of relief. 'I tried out on the second day of the semester. But Coach Sylvester isn't even the worst part of it. Allie, I know you said the girls were bitchy and backstabbing, but I never realized exactly how much.'

'Ah,' says Allie knowingly, 'yeah. I'd forgotten: Cheerios are a special breed of bitch, especially to freshmen. Have they been picking on you?'

Quinn thinks of the discoloured patch of skin crossing her stomach where Kelly punched her the other day. She absently lifts her shirt to touch it – it doesn't hurt much anymore, but it still looks pretty ugly. 'It's not been too bad,' lies Quinn cautiously. Her sister has always been able to tell when she wasn't telling the truth. Sure enough, Allie makes a noise of disapproval.

'I might be miles away, Quinnie, but I still know when you're trying to cover things up. Do I need

to come back to Lima and threaten someone?'

'You couldn't be threatening if you were wearing a hockey mask and carrying a meat cleaver, Allie.'

'I could too,' she protests. 'Stop changing the subject, though. Is everything okay?'

'Yeah... Well, as okay as everything can be. The Cheerios are awful to me but I'm slowly getting used to it. And I'm slowly getting used to the fact that I'll never match up to them, in talent or looks.'

'Oh, sweetie. I've seen you perform– you can run rings around any of those other girls on the squad.

And you're totally pretty. You just need a bit of confidence.'

Quinn grunts in a disgruntled manner. 'Easy for you to say. You were always popular and nothing ever bothered you.'

Allie laughs. 'Oh, Quinnie. Quinnie, Quinnie, Quinnie. You have no idea what high school is really like, do you? But,' she says, 'that's a story for another time. Besides the inevitable nastiness of the other girls and esteem issues, anything else bothering you? Schoolwork? Friends? Boys? If it's the last one, don't tell our father.'

She thinks over these suggestions, nibbling her bottom lip. Quinn nervously plucks at the sheets covering her bed, exhaling slowly. 'Actually... I- I guess there's something I need to talk to you about.'

'I knew it. What is it? You can tell me anything.'

Can I?

With a deep sigh, she curls her legs up to her chest, scrunching her fingers into the material of her pillow case. She and her sister used to talk all the time like they were now, impromptu sleepovers where Allie whispered dramatic stories on the horrors of high school to a wide-eyed Quinn. Coach Sylvester was inevitably the tracksuit clad antagonist who enforced torturous exercises on the older Fabray girl who would usually retaliate with suicidal missions into Sylvester's office to put glue on her chair or something equally silly. Having met the coach herself now, Quinn thought her sister had probably been making it all up to amuse her younger sibling – but at the time, it'd seemed the most heroic thing ever.

She's always idolised her sister and feels incredibly proud whenever she receives even the barest hint of praise from her in their infrequent conversations. They speak even less now Allie has gone to college but the affection between the two of them has never once wavered beyond the odd fight.

If she tells Allie what she's been feeling about Rachel lately, will it mess things up? Although she's never spoken about this topic with her sister, her father has never been quiet with his disapproval of same-sex relationships. She doesn't know how Allie will respond, although she suspects it will be far less volatile than if she tried to tell her father.

She just wants someone to talk to about this: to tell her it's okay, that she's going to get through it.


She realises she's been silent for an entire minute, simply breathing deeply in an attempt to calm her nerves.

'Sorry,' she replies quietly.

'Tell me what's up. You're making me worried.'

'Sorry,' Quinn repeats. 'It's just – an odd topic. It's been bothering me so much lately and I don't know who else to talk to.'

'I'm starting to think you're pregnant or something.' Quinn laughs shakily. 'No, I'm not pregnant.'

'Thank God,' says Allie in relief. 'But if you're not, then what's going on?'

Quinn clears her throat. She's barely said a word and yet there's a lump stuck there already, only exacerbating the nausea she feels. 'There's this girl, Allie. We're ... friends. We've gotten really close.'

'Uh huh. What's her name?'

'Rachel, Rachel Berry.'

'Sounds familiar somehow,' Allie muses.

'Yeah, I might have mentioned her once or twice.' That was the last time she called her, just after starting at McKinley. 'Thing is, I've been hearing all these rumours about her...'

'Like what?'

'About her. Having feelings. For – for a girl.'

'I see.' Allie's voice betrays nothing.

'Specifically. Uh. Me.'

'Oh. So she's one of them. I see,' says Allie. Politely enough, but she senses something in the the way she says "them" that causes Quinn's stomach to squeeze in warning. Her heart is thundering, and every instinct tells her to stop now, drop the subject, hang up, run way. Yet the words won't stop pouring out of her mouth.

'Allie... I... I think I...' Every single word trying to burst out of her gets trapped against that lump in her throat and the sensation almost makes her retch. Her breathing is ragged and she nearly gasps the words: 'I- I think I might like her too, Allie!.'

The sensations don't lessen once she's said it. In fact, they only get worse with each passing second of silence and the crackle of empty static at Quinn's ear, until her insides are a twisting, coiling mess. Hot tears brim at her eyes and drip down her cheeks, into the collar of her shirt. She readjusts her sweaty grip on the phone, trying in vain to hear some response from her sister instead of this cold silence.

'Say something,' Quinn pleads, her voice breaking. 'Please, Allie.'

'Oh, God.'

The phone clicks off.

Quinn is left with both the blare of the disconnect tone in her ear and those two final words, laden with disgust, with fear, replaying in her head. Quinn lets out a cry of anguish, immediately tearing the phone away to try and call her back. She has to restart several times because her hands are shaking so badly.

The next hour is a frantic mess pacing the floor, of trying to connect the call, but to no avail. Each time no one answers; nor does Allie respond to texts. She's sure a line has been burned into her carpet due to the amount of walking up and down.

Some time later, one text arrives, after many desperate pleas for Quinn to be given a chance to explain; for Allie to forgive her; to not block her out, because she can't deal with losing her sister like this.

Quinn immediately opens the text and feels her heart shatter a tiny bit more at the contents.

Stop texting and calling. I don't want to speak to you.

Quinn texts back – Why? Why can't we talk about this? Why can't you help me, Allie? You've always been there for me, why can't you be that way now? What's so wrong with it? I might like a girl. Okay. I do like a girl, I admit it. Is that so bad?

Almost immediately:


Nothing gets replied to after that, even texts begging Allie to talk to her, that she takes it all back. Despite her best efforts, Quinn gets nothing and only gives up when she discovers Allie has switched off her phone when she calls again.

She leans against the wall, tilting her forehead against it and shutting her eyes tight. Although angry tears are leaking out from beneath her eyelids, she doesn't know whether it's her frustration with Allie for deserting her when she needs her most, or with Rachel for running into her that day. If they'd never met, there would be no problem. She could live her life without these feelings. She wouldn't have those dreams. She wouldn't be losing her sister.

Quinn grips her hair, tugging at the roots painfully. She doesn't even realise she's been groaning softly to herself with her head in her hands, pounding her head back on the wall behind her until the door bangs open, colliding with the wall.

She peeks up at her father through her fingers, eyes red rimmed and puffy, cheeks wet.

For a moment they're both just stare at each other. Her father's brow knits; she expects him to begin yelling about the noise.

'What's the matter?' is what he actually says.

It takes her by surprise. He notices and scowls.

'Nothing.' Her words are scratchy and hoarse. It's a terrible lie. Slowly, she sinks to the bottom of the wall, wrapping her arms around her knees.

The floorboards creak and he ventures closer, brow furrowed even more. She's never realised until now how ominous his presence is and she can't help the way her heart picks up speed and starts slamming against her rib cage.

'Don't lie to me,' he says quietly. The room seems to pick up the rumbling of his voice and echo it, surrounding her.

He continues to gaze at his scared daughter, as though seeing her for the first time in his life. Can he see the change? Does he know what his daughter is? Is the word "lesbian" branded across her already, never to change?

Allie has already cut her off. There's no hope for him.

Her father raises his hand and Quinn immediately flinches back and shuts her eyes, gathering her body up to protect herself.

But a blow never comes. Instead he crouches down, reaches out and touches her cheek. His worried gaze fixes on her terrified face.

'You can tell your old dad anything,' he whispers.

She gapes at him, and can tell how hurt he is by her shock. But Quinn doesn't remember the last time he's looked at her like he is now – so tenderly and with such concern. She always thought Allie would be the one who would stick with her no matter what. Now her father is trying to comfort her instead, and it's… nice. Nice to feel cared for.

Inside, though, Quinn knows that if she told him what was happening he would almost certainly react in exactly the same way as her sister. Maybe even worse.

The tears start building up again, but this time Quinn lets him fold her up into his arms and press her head into his chest comfortingly. She clings back, trembling with the knowledge that she would almost certainly never be held like this again if he knew.

Allie was right. She has to end this.

Sue Sylvester barely reacts as her office door is swung open so hard it rebounds off the opposite wall and an irate Quinn stomps in.

'Close my door properly,' she says abruptly, placing the dumbbell she was using to work out with on her desk. 'If you've chipped my paint I'll have to seek out Schuester and use his hair as a paintbrush in order to redecorate.'

It takes some effort to ignore the direction, having become conditioned to following every instruction from Sue. Instead she forces her unsteady legs up to the coach's desk and leaning over it with her hands palm down for balance, trying for a determined expression. Her hair falls into her eyes – she didn't tie it back today in an act of defiance – and she brushes it behind her ears determinedly.

'Is there something I can help you with?' says Sue, raising an ey ebrow coolly. 'Don't be afraid to tell me whatever is on your mind, Fabray. I don't intend on helping you at all, but I hear speaking problems aloud while getting no solutions is helpful for stressed teens. Although, that's why we have Pillsbury.'

She knows better than to get caught up in Sue's insulting rambles. 'I want,' Quinn says slowly, enunciating every word, 'to be head of the Cheerios. And you are going to promote me to that position.'

'Hm.' Sue's eyebrow raises even higher. 'W ell now. Who put a backbone in your breakfast cereal this morning?'

Quinn straightens her shoulders, making sure to meet the coach's eyes steadily. Sylvester is like a wild animal; if she senses fear or the slightest bit of weakness then she will attack mercilessly. Allie's words from the night before echo in Quinn's head and allow her to speak past the lump in her throat. She has to get her sister back, and this is the first step.

'I'm confident because I know you need me and my skills. Look at our team – look at me. Don't you remember at the beginning of the year? I was the only one you couldn't really criticise. All you had to say was "mediocre".'

She scoffs. 'Maybe you need to spend more time with a dictionary rather than the Cheerios.

Otherwise you would know that the word mediocre is not a compliment by any means.'

'From you, it is.'

Sue grunts a little. From the playing of a smirk around her thin lips, Quinn can tell she's just being humoured. Hating that she's still being patronised and not taken seriously, she narrows her eyes. 'Well?' she says impatiently, folding her arms. 'Are you going to make me the head or not? Otherwise I-' She points to herself, 'am out of the Cheerios.'

'And what makes you think that matters to me?'

'You tell me.'

A few tense moments pass, until Sue swivels on her chair to face Quinn properly and steeples her fingers atop the desk. She looks like a slightly more female version of Mr Burns.

'Well Quinn,' she drawls. It's the first time she's referred to Quinn by her first name. 'Even if the two of you didn't share your disgustingly shiny blonde hair and "angelic" expressions, I would definitely recognise you as being related to one Allison Fabray.' She arches an eyebrow at the surprised girl. 'You know, I consider myself a brilliant judge of character – I can see right into a person's soul. That's what made me the best psychiatrist for Lord Byron.' Quinn blinks. 'But you weren't even alive during his time…'

'Don't contradict me,' Sue snaps at her. 'I meant that I can see what you and Allison were doing. Both you and your sister like to put on this deeply amusing front of being all powerful and confident, but behind that you are both scared little girls clinging to daddy's pant leg.' Quinn is silent; Sue leans back in her chair, crossing one smoothly over the other. 'You remind me of a young me, except my front of being powerful and confident is not a front at all. In any case, I've been waiting for you to step up and take charge.'

Quinn stands upright, sure she's somehow hearing wrong. 'I don't understand.'

Sue holds up a hand. 'In time, Q, you will be the head. You will direct the rest of those talentless girls and in return hand me numerous trophies and ensure the Cheerios remain the well funded powerhouse that it is. You will be the most popular girl around and everyone will want to kill you and pander to your every need at the same time. There will be enormous pressure – from me – for you to lose those extra few pounds you're carrying there.' Quinn glances down self consciously at her stomach, covering it with her hand, the comment cutting straight through her, as Sue wants. 'However, if I might give you some advice…

'At the side of every great man is a woman using his reputation to boost her own and sneakily plotting his downfall in order to get away with his money. Such good memories.' Lost in memories, Sue gazes into the distance wistfully. Then she focuses her shrewd gaze on Quinn again. 'I'd advise you to do the same, or rather, the high school equivalent in order to fully utilise your position.'

'You mean you want me to get a boyfriend?'

'Boyfriend, girlfriend, a particularly famous cat on Youtube... I don't care. You're no fool, Q, you know perfectly well the Cheerios thrive on image. I need them to be unattainable, but desirable to the average teen of whatever gender in order to crush the competition satisfactorily. Being in a relationship with someone would likely help with this.' Sue ponders this, tapping a finger on her lips. 'Although you might have to get rid of the girl you are always with who looks like she killed a golfer and stole their clothes. She's poisonous to your image.'

Quinn nods stiffly, trying ignore the sick churning in her stomach.

'I'm working on it already.'

October 2008

Rachel makes an attempt to shut the front door behind her quietly. However, instead it decides to slam into the frame heavily, making the crash resound through the entire house; she winces, but no one appears in reaction to the sound.

'I'm home,' she says cautiously. No response. Rachel sighs in relief.

She slips upstairs and into her room (denoted by the large gold star on the door), pulling off stained clothes as she goes. There's nothing she can do about what she was wearing today – her white blouse is dyed crimson about her shoulders and neck and no amount of washing will ever return it to its original colour.

Her clothes end up in an untidy pile in the middle of the floor. Most unlike her. Normally she would've at least folded them first, but right now she doesn't have the energy to do anything other than hovering aimlessly in the middle of her room in her underwear. A breeze from the open window flutters the curtains and sends a chill over her, raising the gooseflesh along her arms.

Rachel just keeps staring at the red patch on her clothing, feeling tears prick at her eyes.

It's the bang of the front door again that finally wakes her from her stupor and she realises she should probably get dressed. She can hear the murmurings of one of her dads through the floorboards, so they are clearly both home.

She pulls on the first shirt and skirt she finds in her drawer and is just getting the top over her head when someone knocks. Quickly, Rachel kicks her soiled clothing beneath her bed so he won't see and plonks herself down on top of her covers.

'Come in,' she calls. Thomas opens the door and peeks his head around.

'Guess what your daddy is going to do now,' he says, laughing lightly.

'What?' She tries to sound like she's a little interested.

'He's dying his hair blond! He said all the grey was showing up and he just looked like he had paint flecks in his hair, so he's going to cover it up.' Thomas rolls his eyes, but grins fondly.'

'He's obviously trying to get in touch with his inner rock star. It's all those karaoke nights you guys have been doing,' comments Rachel, attempting a fake smile.

Thomas winks at her and draws his head back through the gap in the door, closing it behind him. The moment he leaves the smile drops away. It always fools her dad completely. He's never been able to see through it yet since she perfected it at the age of eight when Tommy Fisher pushed her over and she cried the entire afternoon but managed to pretend nothing was wrong when she got home. She got him back anyway the next day by covertly spreading a rumour that Tommy had wet himself during class and tried to hide it by stealing someone else's pants to wear. It was true, but she still felt bad about it in retrospect.

Reaching under her bed with her foot, she drags out her shirt by the collar and holds it up, examining it again.

Should she tell her dads? Quite honestly, the entire event is a little blurry in her memory. She remembers bits of the conversation beforehand – the sting of ice and corn syrup hitting her face, the laughs all around her.

Rachel stretches out to her pillow, pulls out her journal and flips it to the first clean page she comes across. She raises her pen to start writing, poises nib against paper, hoping to let loose all the emotions she's been suppressing all day. But the words won't come.

In the end she only ends up with a single sentence:

'I never thought you'd actually do it.' Just as she crosses the last T her door suddenly bangs open and James, her other father, positively hops inside.

She snaps her journal shut. Her jaw drops when she looks up and sees her daddy: his hair flops all over his face in different lengths, one half of it all the way down to his chin and the rest cut short. The entire thing is a grotesque dirty blonde that borders on a green tinge.

'What have you done to your hair?!'

'Do you like it?' he says, making a pose and smirking.

'No!'Her mouth is wide open, and her jaw drops even lower when he grins roguishly at her.


'Rachel!' He mocks. James struts and shimmies around her room, twisting his body into shapes a forty-eight-year-old father should never be positioning himself in. 'I think it suits me. Do I look like Brad Pitt? Your dad said I did.' He dances over to his daughter, tugging her up by her hands and pulling her into an impromptu tango around her room. Her journal falls to the floor by her feet, but Rachel's a little too busy being spun and dipped now.

'Daddy!' She tries to sound reproachful; instead though, a giggle escapes her as he viciously headbangs to some unknown song in his own head, sending the locks of hair flying. The wig almost falls off but he claps it back onto his head at the last moment, laughing uproariously.

When James takes a step back he nearly trips – Rachel quickly realises that her shirt is still on the floor and he's managed to get tangled up in it. Luckily the bed was right behind him and he falls safely backwards.

James' brow crinkles and he lifts his foot, balancing the shirt on his toes. 'Rachel, you know better than to leave your clothes on the floor,' he reprimands gently. James makes to grab it off his foot and fold it up, but his frown suddenly deepens. 'What's that...?'

In horror she realises what he's staring at and immediately tries to snatch it off him but she's too

late – James twists his body to keep it out of her reach, gazing in confusion at the dark red stains covering the clothing.

He raises his eyes to hers. 'Rachel, what is this?' he asks shakily, looking a little sick.

'It's just a stain.' She makes another attempt at grabbing it back off him. James leaps off the bed and backs some distance away, shaking out the shirt in order to full see the extent of the damage.

'Is this...' His face is drained of colour and he barely holds back a retch. 'Oh, God! Is this blood, Rachel? What happened?'

'What? No!'

'Are you lying?' he demands. 'Are you hurt? Tell me!'

'It's not blood, daddy! It's a Slushie.'

'Slushie?' he repeats, bewildered. He gazes at the stain for a few moments, and then lifts it to his face to sniff it suspiciously. Apparently satisfied that it is in fact a Slushie stain, he turns to his daughter. The confused look is still on his face. 'How did you manage to get Slushie all around your neck?'

'I just dropped it on myself, that's all.'

'Rachel, don't lie. I know you're a little clumsy, but I doubt that you dropped it all over your shoulders on both sides.'

Rachel sighs, her shoulders sagging. 'Someone...' He isn't going to let her off, she knows, and she can't lie to him the way she does to Thomas. Rachel sighs heavily, throwing her hands up. 'Someone Slushied me today. Rather, they threw it in my face.'

'Why would they do that?'

She shrugs. 'To teach me a lesson? I don't know.'

'A lesson? What lesson?'

'… That I shouldn't fall for girls.'

She says it so flatly Rachel shocks even herself a little. The shirt hits the ground and James stares at her.

'Oh, sweetie,' he says, his voice cracking a little. 'Oh, Rachel...'

Next moment she's wrapped in his arms, leaning against her daddy's chest, holding her forehead against it. She feels James swallow heavily and pull her closer, laying his cheek atop her head.

She feels his tears on the top of her head, soaking into her hair, but doesn't cry herself.

October 2008

The majority of the people milling around the corridor completely ignore her as she approaches Rachel. There is no silent parting of the crowds for her like there was for Kelly; news of Quinn's promotion to head Cheerio hasn't become widely known yet. Those who do know spare a wary glance for her and hurry on with their lives, but without much fear. As far as anyone knows, yesterday Quinn was nobody. As far as they know, even if she is a cheerleader she hasn't grasped the blood thirsty need for power that the others possess yet.

As far as they know, she's still weak and friends with Rachel.

Rachel's at her locker, same as every day at lunch time. Quinn knows full well that Rachel always picks up her sheet music before heading to eat alone in the choir room. She's been doing that since Quinn stopped talking to her. She also ensures she has arranges all her books into suitable order to use the minimal amount of time collecting them when she goes home. That's also a new habit.

Quinn shuts her eyes for a moment to strengthen herself. She thinks of Allie.

Remember why you're doing this.

Even so, when she reaches out to touch Rachel's shoulder, her hand trembles a little.

Rachel spins to face her, wide smile only growing when she sees who it is. Her relief that Quinn is speaking to her again is obvious. 'Quinn!' The brunette makes an attempt to hug her but Quinn quickly steps out of reach so she cuddles the air instead. Rachel looks up, takes in the cold, blank look expression on Quinn's face and her smile slowly fades. 'Is... everything okay?'

'Everything's great... Berry.' Her voice wavers and she has to stop herself using Rachel's first


Steady your voice, Quinn reprimands herself, forcing her back into a straight position. Don't show her you don't want to do this or she'll see right through you.

'What's wrong?' asks Rachel quietly.

'Shut up.' It comes out scratchy and rough and totally feeble.

Quinn clenches her fists so hard the nails dig into the bed of her palm and advances into Rachel's space. Instinctively Rachel shrinks back against the locker behind her; Quinn's extra height, although small at this point, helps a lot to intimidate the other girl. The glimmer of fear in the brunette's eyes turns her stomach, but Quinn forces herself to put up her walls.

'Quinn,' Rachel says quietly. Her bottom lip is caught between her teeth. 'Talk to me. You don't look right.'

'What does that mean?'

Don'tstall. Just tell her to leave you alone already.

'You don't look like... you.'

Rachel reaches out. Her fingers graze Quinn's hot cheek. She leans into the touch before she even realises what she's doing and by the time she jerks away she's even less prepared to continue. Rachel has seen her wavering, and the thought fills her with fear.

'Don't,' Quinn says frantically, trying to inject some forcefulness into her voice. 'Don't touch me.'


'Because you're a ... because.'

She can't say it. The word is on the tip of her tongue – what Rachel is. What Quinn is.

Rachel senses what she's about to say. Her jaw clenches.

'What am I?' she says, even quieter, sterner, menacing. Her eyes narrow into slits.

Quinn can't say a word. It only serves to make Rachel angrier; suddenly she's lifting off the lockers and presses right up against Quinn, making her back away. 'Now you listen here, Quinn Fabray,' Rachel says, her voice a low hiss of danger. 'I don't know what you think this is going to achieve, but I know what you're doing!'

'Oh really?' Quinn says, trying to sound confident and failing to do so.

'I'm not stupid,' she spits. 'You don't think I know when someone has a crush on me –'

Quinn's eyes widen and she claps her hand over Rachel's mouth. 'Shut the hell up! Do you have to talk so loudly?' The brunette wrenches the hand away and grabs both of Quinn's in her surprisingly strong ones, pinning them together between the two of them.

'I'm not going to censor myself for anyone!' Rachel's voice is growing in volume, despite Quinn's valiant efforts to make her silent. 'Use me as a scapegoat for your issues if you must - you can push me away all you like, Quinn.'

What little space that was between Rachel and Quinn disappears as she steps into Quinn's personal bubble challengingly. Quinn's heart does a flip in her chest. In Quinn's peripheral vision she can see students in the hallway are watching with interest – then she sees nothing but deep brown when Rachel grips the collar of her Cheerios shirt. She yanks Quinn down the extra inches so they're almost nose to nose.

'I'll be right here when you grow the fuck up.'

And then Rachel kisses her.

It's only for a second, her lips – fuck, her soft, amazing lips that fit so perfectly on hers –

brushing gently on Quinn's. The gasps resound around her anyway, shocking Quinn out of the

temptation to just sink into that kiss.

Quinn jerks her body back out of reach, almost colliding with someone walking behind her.

Oh God Oh God Oh God

'Get the fuck off me!' She scours her fingers desperately over her mouth as if that'll erase the sensation, but she can still feel the pressure lingering, that awful, amazing contact. Her wild eyes fall on Rachel who has turned extremely pale, like the consequences of her actions have only just occurred to her.

'Quinn, I'm sorry, I -'

Her mouth works around sounds, but nothing comes out.

Simultaneously they flinch at the sound of high pitched, cruel laughter. The instant recognition sends a sliver of ice cold dread slips down Quinn's spine at the familiar giggles of the Cheerios lurking nearby.

They cat-call tauntingly, jeering from afar. Quinn prays Rachel won't make it worse. But Rachel can never keep her mouth shut.

'Excuse me, Quinn and I happen to be talking.' Her voice shakes.

Kelly, standing at the front in normal clothes, arms folded, tosses her hair back. The small bruise on her face from where Santana hit her is healing. Although she's not a Cheerio anymore, apparently her influence still stands. Quinn has not inherited it yet.

There's a disturbing familiarity in the look she gives them. She smirks, infuriatingly. Knowingly. She always was like Sue.

And then she says it, always knowing the exact words that get to Quinn, the one that worked last time.

'Really? Pretty sure it looked like you two dykes were kissing.'

The word sends a shockwave through the surrounding crowd in a way that their one sided kiss wasn't quite able to – coming from Kelly, the ex-head Cheerio, it is all the confirmation most of the others need to permanently peg both Rachel and Quinn as lesbians for the rest of their lives.

She sees it happening already – the inevitable laughing and mocking from every corner of the student body, the loss of her family when they find out. Unless she stops this now, Quinn's life is going to be absolute hell.

So it's self preservation in the end, isn't it? Trying to save hers elf.

Her own words swim to the front of her mind: 'It's not easy being gay in high school.'

Kill, or be killed.

That's why she jerks her arm away from Rachel's warm touch and forces herself to ignore the vicious plummeting of her stomach at the flash of hurt in Rachel's eyes.

That's why, in the end, she does it.

'Get your man hands off me.'

Amidst the raucous laughter, Quinn turns away so she doesn't have to look at Rachel. She sees

him off to the side: the guy with the afro who is always staring at Rachel in the lunch room. He's carrying a Big Gulp cup of Slushie in one hand and his camera in the other, his eyes wide with excitement as he snaps photos diligently. Because of his enthusiasm he doesn't notice when she's suddenly right in front of him.

'Give me your Slushie, you creepy asshole,' Quinn demands, snatching the thing off him, taking care to spill some on his painstakingly polished shoes. He squeaks in protest but shrinks back when she flashes a fiery glare at him that promises bodily harm if he stops her.

Her grip tightens on the cup as she turns to face Rachel. She hasn't moved an inch. Liquid spills out and cherry Slushie trickles over her fingers and stains them red.

For a second, her eyes fall on Kelly and she considers dousing her instead.

She nearly does it,t oo, but then a small voice nearby speaks up.

'Please don't,' whispers Rachel.

'Shut up.'

Her arm rears back and then forward, momentum carrying the contents towards Rachel.

From all around, the sound of gasps, hoots and hollers. A muffled laugh. Rachel's face is contorted, freezing liquid staining her cheeks and clothes.

The cup drops from Quinn's hands numbly and she barely realises she dropped it. It bounces off the floor, draining the final drops into a small puddle at their feet, taking that anger with it that acted as a barrier to stop her seeing what she was really doing.

Her mouth dry, Quinn manages to raise her eyes to Rachel's. The people around her disappear for a second and all Quinn sees is the two of them. Brown eyes look back at her, broken, underneath a curtain of drenched hair.

Quinn tears her gaze away and stumbles back, unable to look at her anymore. By the time she gets to the doors the clatter of footsteps behind her alerts her to Santana and Brittany running after her.

She's already asking herself, 'Was it worth it?'


Later on, she'll get her mother to call her sister, to tell her that she's taken her advice and needs her.

She'll have a long, tearful talk with her sister on the phone.

The next morning people will part in the hallways for her, and someone else will Slushie Rachel.

Later on, Quinn will tell herself it was worth it.

At least if Rachel's face is covered in Slushie she won't have to see her crying.

A/N: i'm sorry