Titled: Spin (based on the song by Lifehouse)
Author: H.J. Lewis
Rating: T, for language and implied sexual content
Summary: Rachel questions who Quinn really is.
(A/N: This is so totally off-canon with everything after Yes/No. Rachel didn't say 'yes' to Finn's proposal, so there was no wedding for Quinn to be going to and no truck to be struck by.)
Rachel was waiting for a ride on the school steps leading to the student parking lot, one earbud of her iPod in as she listened to Christina Aguilera's voice play. Finn had been her original ride home from school every day, but their relationship had been strained since she had turned down his proposal; so she and Quinn had been taking turns carpooling ever since Quinn had caught Rachel walking home in the February sleet one day. Realistically, they could have just taken their own cars after that day, but they had a sort of unspoken understanding that neither of them really wanted to be alone much.
She had, at first, been leery about her tentative friendship with the blonde, especially after their Regionals win and Quinn's reinstatement to the Cheerios. Quinn, however, had remained determined to gain Rachel's trust, and the two had been slowly laying the foundation for a solid friendship.
Just the thought of it made Rachel feel giddy with happiness, something that she experienced all too infrequently in all other aspects of her life these days. Including Finn. Rachel sighed sadly, wouldn't her life just be so much easier if her girl friend could be her boyfriend? She laughed out loud at the thought.
"Something funny, motor-mouth?" demanded a voice. For an instant, Rachel thought it was Santana and nearly rolled her eyes, but she knew Santana's voice like the back of her hand, and this voice wasn't Santana's.
Rachel whirled around to come face to face with a slew of jocks and cheerleaders. All of them armed with slushies. Her eyes centered on one cheerleader who was standing slightly apart from all the others, closer to Rachel. Cassie, if she remembered the girl's name correctly, was center on the third tier of the Cheerios pyramid, but she had been named captain before Santana and Brittany had returned to the squad.
Cassie took another step toward Rachel and the jocks followed her. "You know, it's one thing when you remember your place and stay out of our way," the Cheerio began, "but you've been getting a little too close, Berry."
The first slushy hit Rachel like a million needles striking her simultaneously, and she realized she'd forgotten what it felt like. She wiped the red slushie from her eyes and tried to run the other way, but she was surrounded by athletes holding cups of frozen corn syrup.
"You really thought that you could be friends with the Quinn Fabray, didn't you?" Cassie sneered with a bark of mirthless laughter. "Like any Cheerio would give a loser like you the time of day." The way the cheerleader spat words 'any', 'loser' and 'you' made Rachel feel small inside in a way she hadn't in a long time. "Face it, Berry," – another slushie hit her –"you'll never be anything but an ugly," –another rush of ice against her face –"over-confident," –again the cold splashed against her freezing form –"rambling," –the next one was dumped right over her head, and she could feel it seeping through to her undergarments –"talentless, know-it-all freak."
The rest of the contents of the Big Gulp cups hit her like an arctic tsunami, and she could hear the containers being dropped carelessly to the ground, but her eyes were shut tightly so she couldn't see.
"You're the lowest of the losers, and we're the top dogs," she heard Azimio Adams address her. "Why don't you stick to your own end of the social ladder, instead of trying to climb after Fabray and Hudson, hu—"
"Azimio! What the hell is going on here?" another voice bellowed.
Rachel brushed ice chunks and syrup from her eyes to find Puck, Mike, Sam and, surprisingly, Blaine striding threateningly toward the clique of jocks and cheerleaders. Puck, who had been the voice shouting at Azimio, looked ready to slam someone's head into the brick wall of the school building and Sam didn't appear much better. She felt Sam and Mike help her up from where she'd stumbled on the steps and Sam pulled some napkins from his jacket pocket to clean her off a bit. She smiled gratefully at him, while fighting off angry tears.
How had she been so careless and stupid? She had seen in Quinn what she had always wanted to see, but it was obvious now that the blonde had been playing her, and Rachel had been letting her. Quinn had used her until she saw an opportunity to get back on top, and she didn't even have the decency to slushie Rachel herself.
The jocks and Cheerios laughed at Puck's show of gallantry and Azimio spoke again, "We're not going to fight you, Puckerman. You're a teammate." But Puck raised his fist anyway.
"Noah, don't!" Rachel ordered him shrilly.
Puck had one hand around Azimio's thick neck and the other closed in a fist and drawn back to punch his teammate, but he looked over his shoulder at the sound of Rachel's command. "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't, Rach!" he yelled back, eyes now scrutinizing Azimio's slightly fearful face.
"Because Azimio isn't the problem, these people are just the messengers," Rachel answered in a small, resigned voice. She tried not to cry or sound too heartbroken, but she was. She stepped forward and reached out to put a small hand on Puck's shoulder and began to lower his arm just as Azimio opened up his mouth.
"Listen to the little freak, Puck, we're just calling it like it is," the football-player snapped.
In the next moment, Puck had drawn his arm back to punch Azimio again and his fist wasn't the only thing that collided with another person. As the jock slid down the wall, Puck turned back in horror to find Rachel on the ground clutching her mouth and nose with wide eyes.
Then the sharp sound of whistle cut through the hair like a scream and a voice like a fired shotgun sounded. "Whatever the hell is happening here– it ends now." And everyone turned to look at the fuming blonde.
Quinn was exhausted and felt like she'd been run over by a truck. Her day had started out fine, she had picked Rachel up fifteen minutes early which meant she got to have breakfast with Mr. and Mr. Berry who were both morning people.
Rachel's dads were funny and kind and understanding, and after a few dinners over at their house, Quinn began to think of them like family. They had even invited her mother over a couple times, and Judy Fabray was now in love with both of the Berry men. Quinn still didn't know how she felt about her mother being in love with two happily married gay men.
She and Rachel had spent the drive to school singing and laughing, because Rachel's voice always cracked in the mornings and Quinn always playfully teased her about it. This morning their anthem of choice had been an old NSYNC CD. Quinn smiled just thinking of it.
But the day had been all downhill from there. She'd flunked the History test that she had promised Rachel that she would ace if the brunette let them ditch studying for awhile to go watch the new Footloose movie. Then someone had called Brittany an idiot and made her cry, and since Santana was having a particularly bitchy day, the Latina attacked first and asked questions later, which meant that Quinn had to stop her hot-tempered friend from murdering a student in the hallway. No sooner had she calmed Santana down and gotten Brittany back to her normal happy-go-lucky self, then another Cheerio in the locker room had the audacity to comment on her friendship with Rachel. Which had left Santana holding her back. The rest of the day had consisted of her trying not to lose her cool on Finn in fourth-period Health class or in glee club, before leading thirty whining teenage girls in running laps around the track.
Needless to say, she was thankful it was finally Friday. Now all she wanted to do was roll down the windows of her VW bug, let her hair down and crank up the music with her best friend. Maybe even friends, if Santana's mood had lifted enough to be nice to Rachel.
She really should have known better.
Quinn was still in the shower when a breathless Brittany and Santana (she now just preferred to call them 'Brittana') barged into the locker room and pulled back the shower curtain quickly. Quinn lunged to pull it back and cover herself just as fast, only leaving her head peeking out.
"Jeez, you two, do I need to explain what the term 'monogamous relationship' means? Don't you two get enough action with each other?" she demanded as she shook her head against the rush of unwanted mental images. "I'll be out in a minute."
"No, Q, you needs to be out now," Santana told her with a seriousness that seemed foreign coming from the Latina.
Quinn rolled her eyes. "Why?" she retorted irritably. "If you need something from my bag, Santana, you can get it your—"
"Q, it's not about us," Brittany cut-in, eyes wide in panic. "It's about Rachel."
Heart dropping rapidly in her chest, Quinn spun quickly to rinse the last remnants soap from her body and shut the water off before wrapping the towel around herself and stepping out. She looked at her two oldest friends. "What about Rachel?" she asked forcefully.
"That chick, Cassie, the one who weaseled her way to the top after we quit the squad last year?—" Santana began.
"The same girl who was antagonizing me about Rachel earlier?" Quinn asked through gritted teeth.
Brittany nodded hastily, even as Quinn had already ripped off her towel and begun yanking her clothes on like the fate of the world depended on it. "She didn't like what you said about her needing to know her place as a third-rate cheerleader now that we're back, and her not having the agony—"
"Authority, Britt," Santana corrected her quickly.
"Right, authority, to give you her opinion on your business," Brittany finished, summarizing Quinn and Cassie's 'talk' earlier.
"What the hell is she up to now?" the hazel-eyed blonde growled, quickly towel-drying her hair and chucking the towel into the hamper. Quinn violently snatched her bag from the floor and shoved through the locker room and down the hallway with Brittana on her heels.
Even just from her peripheral vision, Quinn could see the couple exchange anxious glances from either side of her, and Santana finally answered, "She and her bimbotic lemmings are getting their jock boyfriends and some teammates and settling it in the parking lot. Bitch couldn't get to you so…"
"So she's going straight for Rachel," Quinn finished, she kicked a locker noisily without breaking her stride. "Damn it all to hell!" she screamed. "When I get done with that bitch, we're going to be one third-tier short of a pyramid."
The three finally exited the doors to the student lot, swinging them open with such force that they banged loudly against the brick walls. The first thing she saw was Rachel, drenched head to toe in red and blue frozen corn syrup, being knocked down by Puck's elbow as he decked Azimio. Rachel was struggling to get up and watching the scene play out with horror and shock written all over her face. Her face– which was now bruised, with a scrape on her chin, and blood oozing from her nose and mouth.
From beside her, Quinn heard Santana say, "No me gusta, putas."
Quinn put her fingers to her lips and whistled sharply, and all eyes turned to her. Her hazel eyes burned with dangerous fury as the former Queen Bee stepped forth and regarded both the boys in the skirmish and the crowd watching.