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Title: we are compelled to do what we have been forbidden
Chapter: 3/?
Pairings: Rachel/Quinn/Brittany/Santana
Summary: AU. Four girls, a toddler, a big city, even bigger dreams. Sometimes all you can do is forget the rules, keep your head together and never, ever give up.
Word count: 5,700
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.


AN: So this is the end of junior year. The lines used in the first scene are from the song Love to a Monster, by Okkervil River.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read and review this story, it means the world to me, especially when it's this total crackship without any smut so far. I promise it's coming. :)

..

"If you say 'the world isn't so sweet or so tender', won't it make a better statement?"

"Where is it?" Quinn squints at the paper.

Rachel crawls over and uses the tip of her pencil to scan down Quinn's page. "There." It says 'I think she's ready to see that the world is so sweet and so tender' and it's followed by a bunch of struck lines and the nifty design of a stick figure hanging from a rope, wearing a skirt with a star on it. (She was bored.) And if Rachel acknowledges it, Quinn has to give it to her: that's quite a poker face.

"Oh. Well… I thought this was supposed to be a love song. Happy, at least."

Rachel sits back on her legs and rests her back on the foot of Quinn's bed.

"It is," she says carefully, "but it doesn't have to reflect on every line. Isn't that how life is?"

Oh God. Quinn fluffs the pillows next to the night stand and chews on her bottom lip. Rachel had been baiting her the entire time they'd been sitting here, writing this song. Quinn wanted to win as much as everyone else and the general consensus had been to take on the anthem theme with original songs. Mr. Schue seemed to believe that would win them the competition and that was good enough for her. But another competition had been on her mind when she supported Rachel's determination to pen the solo. Then Finn agreed and before she could back out, here she was, composing love sonnets with Rachel Berry.

The Finn elephant in the room seemed to have perched its behind on the stack of paper between them on the carpet.

"Sure," Quinn sighs. "Let's change it."

"Does it ring true to you?"

"What does?"

"The line, 'I think she's ready to see that the world isn't so sweet or so tender'."

"Yeah, I think it does. It sounds a little depressing, but you can have that as your outlook but still want to be with that person who's not that good for you." She tries not to think of her own relationship. She does, however, force herself to remember the goal. There is an objective, a point to all of this.

(It feels like the Finn elephant doesn't even chance an over the shoulder glance at her.)

Rachel casts her eyes down. "Is that so?"

Apparently, two hours is her bullshit limit.

"What's your point, Rachel?"

"You ignored me in Celibacy Club, I thought—maybe this would get us to have a more open dialogue."

"Rachel—"

"You and Finn are together, it's obvious and I don't understand why you would do this right now. Why am I here, in your house?"

"We need to write a song." Rachel's never been this forward with her.

"Until he said he believed me, you didn't. Now we're here."

Quinn doesn't deny anything. That doesn't mean she wants to talk about it. She's not jealous of Finn, that's not why they're here right now. Quinn kissed him. He pursued her. They had a score to settle, mistakes to fix. They wanted to be okay again. She likes him, always has. If that gets her a Prom Queen crown, so be it.

She runs her hands down her face and mentally kicks herself for not giving this job to Mercedes in the first place. "Rachel, I don't—"

Beth starts fussing in the crib on the other side of her bed. Quinn walks past Rachel and picks the baby up, trying to soothe her. Wait. Maybe taking her time with this will probably piss off Rachel enough to give the idea they're not being productive and make her leave. Would this even work? Beth wails and she moves her to the other side of her chest and walks around the room. Rachel's worried eyes make her sigh. Quinn really wants to win Regionals. Maybe calling Mercedes in as a mediator could work…

She notices Beth giggling at something behind her and doesn't really know where her head was, because Rachel is standing there, smiling, holding Beth's little hand over Quinn's shoulder. "Sorry she's being disruptive."

"That's nonsense," Rachel waves a dismissive hand. And apparently she's dropped the attitude as well. "Is it nap time?"

"Actually no, I shifted her schedule a bit today so we could work on this."

"Oh." Rachel bites her lip and tentatively extends her hands. "May I?"

Quinn is still a little stunned, but Beth forces herself towards Rachel, so Quinn gives her over. Beth immediately rests her head on Rachel's shoulder and plays with the star necklace she wears. What in the world? It's not that Beth is picky, but this is insane. Is Rachel some kind of baby whisperer?

As Rachel moves back to her spot on the carpet and adjusts Beth on her lap, she turns to Quinn. "Daddy and Mrs. Puckerman are bridge partners and we've all been going to temple together for as long as I can remember," her smile is very small, "even when Noah was throwing slushies at me, nothing changed when our families were around." Quinn still can't produce a word. "I also babysit for his little sister, and Beth is there a lot of the time."

Quinn is baffled that Puck had never mentioned any of that.

"I guess she likes me," Rachel says in this tiny, almost apologetic voice. It seems like she's trying to make up for something, because Quinn has been sitting across from them, just watching, for such a long time now. She's just trying to make sense of it.

Quinn almost suggests they go back to work, but her mind isn't in verses and rhymes right now. "Are you hungry?" she blurts.

A few minutes later they're eating an array of junk food spread between them. Rachel is sharing a bowl of baby carrots with Beth (who's been sucking on the same piece for a while now; she's teething and Quinn grudingly commended Rachel for the good idea).

"You got so lucky with Beth, she's so sweet. I hope mine are just like her."

"Maybe you should bring some wine coolers next time you go to Puck's," Quinn jokes. It's all she can do to take the sting out of being blindsided about the time Rachel's been spending with Beth. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but she wishes she'd been informed. She does tell Puck everything, you know?

Rachel chuckles. "No, that could never—no." And they both laugh. It's nice. "As much as our paths keep crossing, it's not him in my dreams." Her face grows serious. "It's never him at all."

Quinn knows where this is going and, against her better judgment, prods, "What do you see? In your dreams, I mean. I know Broadway can't be all of it."

Rachel sighs and Beth looks up at her, munching on her carrot. "It won't be easy, that's a given. But I know all my years of training will help me persevere. I'll get into Juilliard, but I'll live in this shoebox of an apartment nearby, because—"

Rachel looks down. "Because…?"

"My love. He—there's a lot he could do there, New York is blooming with opportunities for people who have yet to find their true passion."

"What if he isn't able to go for some reason?"

"What do you mean?"

Quinn thinks the veil in this conversation was ripped to shreds about five minutes ago. "What if he has responsibilities here? Like running a family business. Or fails school."

Rachel presses her lips together and looks her right in the eye. "Then I'll wait."

What?

"I'll wait for him," she continues, "New York isn't going anywhere and neither is Broadway. I can wait."

Quinn is floored. She has never heard Rachel talk like that. She tries to push it, song writing be damned. "You can't be serious."

"I am," she shrugs.

Quinn can handle a lot of things. (And a lot of crap has been thrown her way in her 17 years.) But an uncertain Rachel Berry is not something she can manage—on a completely selfish level, if she's gonna be honest. Her drive and ambition had been so steady all along that she'd (quietly) come to relying on them when she feels like she will never get what she wants, when all her plans crumble to the ground and she feels like an utter failure.

Rachel Berry unknowingly inspires her.

She won't have it.

.

Quinn's in the auditorium, sitting at the piano when she finally confesses to dating Finn.

Being a real estate agent is not in her cards at all—she will get out of Lima. If she has to be a real estate agent somewhere else, so be it.

Marrying Finn? Who knows. She can't think about it right now.

What will not happen, though, is Rachel giving up all she's worked for to compensate for someone else's shortcomings. That is their job. Quinn tries and tries every single day to make up for her own mistakes and not get in other people's way ('tries' being the operative word) and she won't allow Finn to pull Rachel down. And she needs to start her prom campaign out in the open, and coming clean to Rachel is the least she can do.

One thing is for sure: there is no song to be co-written now.

.

All the girls have been summoned to the choir room and they're waiting for Rachel to make her announcement. She's the last one to come in and silently hands each of them a few sheets of paper.

It's the song. Apparently, it's a piano piece Rachel wrote and composed by herself and appointed Brittany and Tina as the official back-up singers. The rest of them join in the last chorus.

Rachel doesn't stay to explain—she wouldn't need to, what with all the color-coding—and Tina thinks it's best that they start rehearsing, since there's no choreography. She sits at the piano and familiarizes herself with the music.

Quinn stays put in her seat in the risers. All they have to do is set marks and harmonize, really. Berry at center stage, Britt and Tina behind her on the steps, the rest of them filling up the last row. Mercedes is already doing runs with Brittany. Seems simple.

Why can't she move?

"You look like shit," Lauren states as she takes the seat to her left.

"Thanks."

"Between you and Berry, I'd have pegged her to be childish about this."

Quinn doesn't quite get it. "She… just stormed out."

"Nah, I wouldn't call that a storm out."

True. Lauren hasn't known Rachel as long as Quinn, but that definitely wasn't classic Berry. She even used the I'm-not-feeling-well excuse. She was polite and left them alone to do their thing. Great.

"Damn, is this song depressing or what," Lauren exclaims as she leafs through the pages. Quinn was not yet ready to get past the title: Get it right.

But of course, no one else had the same concern. (It happens when you refuse to share things.) Mercedes and Santana bicker awhile for the Rachel part, which is a little amusing, but Mercedes eventually starts the song. Now it's Tina on the piano, Britt sitting on top of it, clutching her sheets of paper like she doesn't want to miss a single cue, Mercedes on the (off) mic, with Santana harmonizing to her side. Quinn almost crumples her set of lyrics when Mercedes starts. She picks up bits and pieces (it'll take them a long time to get to the final chorus) but it's pretty clear.

This is about Quinn.

What can you do when your good isn't good enough and all that you touch tumbles down?

'Cause my best intentions keep making a mess of things, I just wanna fix it somehow.

But how many times will it take? How many times will it take for me to get it right?


She can't say it and she can't attempt to sing it.

Time shifts and the room shuffles around her. There's no one else in here. Just Brittany, sitting next to her with a hand on her back, and Santana standing before her, arms crossed, eyebrows raised—not in mockery, but concern.

In a few words, she tells them what the song stemmed from. It's not a big deal until her vision funnels more and more and she doesn't know exactly what came out of her mouth. All she knows is the sound of Santana saying "Shit."

It's all she hears (repeatedly) before her sobs engulf all sounds and her friends hold her.

.

Quinn can't do much but remain stoic while she watches Finn watch Rachel. If she just focuses on her cues, Rachel's final belt on stage before they all join in, she can ward off another panic attack.

It works. Finn hugs her when they're walking into the wings again and can't stop praising Rachel and how that song is so awesome.

"She told me—so you helped her write it, right?" Finn asks with this boyish hope that maybe he did something amazing by getting them together.

"It's a good song, Finn."

"Come on," he runs his hands down the sides of her arms, "you gotta be a little more proud than that. We killed it. That was all you guys," he says, holding her shoulders and steadily looking into her eyes.

Quinn can't—she can't allow herself to feel this again. It'd been working for her so far. "It's fine." She's not saying much (if she does, she'll break again and that's unacceptable).

She can tell he's disappointed.

.

Lucy is everywhere.

At first she tolerated Zizes—the girl was allergic to babies, but she was good for Puck. Now she's pushing way too many buttons and don't even start on Puck running with her for prom. To his credit, Puck was honest with her and said they could've run together, said they "could've blown this shit out of the water", but Quinn decided to do a shitty thing to Rachel for no reason and Lauren really wanted that crown. And Puck really wants her, so that's a plus.

So what if Judy has to deal with Puck for the foreseeable future? He shouldn't have messed with any of this in the first place. (Their baby shouldn't suffer the consequences is what she's saying. So Judy's there for her.)

Quinn has to yank down fourteen posters of Lucy before Lauren comes clean with her. And she comes clean with Lauren.

It's when she sees that her friends and her boyfriend haven't turned their backs on her—again—that she breathes and almost blinks and misses the most important day of her life so far.

Beth's birthday.

Her hair curls at the tips in this really cute way, she has Quinn's eyes and, she grudgingly admits, thankfully has Puck's nose and smile.

Her Beth is not Lucy.

After the small gathering around a bakery cake, Puck holds Quinn's hand and she finally realizes it wouldn't have have mattered at all if she were.

.

"Stacy, that's not nice," Quinn warns, and Stacy puts down a pillow (that's bigger than she is) she was about to thump her brother with. It's a great thing that Stacy is a good kid and, whatever she does, she needs to be warned only once. Stevie was already ducking, waiting for the smack, but he's interrupted by Sam walking into the motel room. Stacy somersaults across the bed and jumps Sam, Beth shrieks when she sees him. (Loudly.) It's almost dark out and Quinn makes way for Stevie, who dropped his video game controller and is walking towards his brother with a grin on his face.

It's a sight to see.

"Did they give you any trouble?"

It's always the same question for the exact same answer. "No, they were great."

Stacy lets go of Sam's neck. "Beth was a little loud."

Sam playfully twists one of her pigtails. "Now that's normal, she's not a big girl like you."

Sam and his siblings always have this little moment by the door, where they talk about their day and Sam just relaxes his shoulders, kind of striking that out as a battle won. It also always ends up with them going on about how awesome Quinn is and that's always nice to hear.

Even better the day Sam finally agrees with them.

They hug for a long moment outside and he thanks her, again, just like every other day.

"So I'm awesome?"

Sam laughs lightly. "You kinda knew that already."

It's not something she hears from other people all that often, so no. Even Beth seems more partial to Britt, Puck and even Sam; she's not exactly Quinn's main cheerleader here. (And given how excitable her daughter is, her first word will probably be 'bubbles' or 'Uniqua'. She's not banking on any form of mama.)

Quinn shakes her head with a smile. "Will you rethink prom?"

"You're not that awesome, Quinn," he says with a smirk. He's dead set on not going because of his current situation, but she wants all her friends there. If she managed convince Finn to run the winning campaign (according to JBI, that is), she can talk him into going. Hell, she could talk any girl into asking him to go.

Maybe Rachel, if it'll get her to be less stupidly depressing about everything else.

"I'm just not in the mood at all, really," he dismisses while he straightens the collar of his letterman jacket. She bats his hands away to do the job herself, but sees nothing wrong with it. He scratches the back of his neck. "I think I got a rash from this jacket Kurt gave me."

"The brown trench?"

"Yeah," his cheeks color and she resists pinching them. He looks down at Beth in the stroller and ruffles her hair. "Bye, cutie!" and she shrieks with joy once more.

For just a second, Quinn wishes they had worked out.

"I'm not done, you're going to prom," she says as she starts pushing the stroller away. He just grins.

That same week she learns that Rachel asked him and he turned her down. She doesn't know whether to feel proud of her accidental accomplishment or to whack him upside the head for ruining it.

.

Her favorite part about the night is her corsage. When she loses, it's the first thing she tosses in the trash on her way to the bathroom with Berry on her heel. Things escalate so quickly that Quinn slaps her across the face and she can't even come up with a good reason why and then Rachel's telling her she's more than that crown and then dabbing at Quinn's face with a tissue.

Their night is basically ruined, both their dates got kicked out and she doesn't really know where to go from here. She still has her back to the mirror and is holding the edge of the sink when she follows Rachel's gaze to her bare wrist.

"What happened to the gardenia?"

"The what?"

"Your corsage."

Oh. "He gave it to me," Quinn says matter-of-factly. He's not here for her anymore, so that thing won't be either, no matter how pretty it is. She doesn't quite get why Rachel looks so disappointed, but her train of through gets interrupted when she takes Quinn's hand.

"We should go back out there. Might as well enjoy the last dance, right?"

It suddenly dawns on her that she basically stormed out when Kurt was the butt of the joke. Now she feels like a perfect jerk. "Do you think Kurt will go for it?"

"I have no doubt," Rachel smiles and squeezes Quinn's hand.

It's kind of amazing how much faith Rachel can have in things sometimes.

.

"Do you even feel anything anymore?" is what echoes in her mind and it won't stop.

Her flats were killing her and she took them off halfway home. She lets them fall where they may when she gets in and sees that her mom is watching something colorful with Beth in the living room—she really can't be bothered with the educational level of the program right now.

She manages to go upstairs unnoticed, change into sweatpants, a Little Miss Bossypants shirt she hasn't worn since she was fourteen, and her pink nikes. She's tying her hair up in a ponytail when her phone buzzes in her handbag. It's peeking halfway out of it from when she threw it on the bed and it's not Finn's picture. Not that she was expecting it. It's actually Brittany.

"What?" She winces at her choice of greeting—Britt's got nothing to do with anything here.

Britt, bless her heart, doesn't take it personally. "Hey! You left in a hurry, is everything okay? I mean, not that it would be, it was a sad funeral and all, but—"

"I'm fine," she says curtly.

"Mike said Finn didn't drive you home."

"He didn't, I walked home." Quinn really doesn't wanna get into this right now.

"But... That's way across town, that's stupid."

Well, Quinn's not the one who broke up with her ride at a funeral. She squeezes her eyes shut. There are so many things wrong with that scenario that it makes her head spin—and she's not about to try and reason this with Brittany.

"Quinn? You're quiet."

"Sorry. I don't wanna talk, Britt."

"Okay." She pauses for a bit. "Do you wanna sing about it?"

Her smile comes without her permission. "Stop hanging out with Rachel, Britt."

"Actually it's Santana, she needs to choose a song for her solo and won't leave me alone. Why's 'back to black' a big deal? This funeral's getting to everyone."

"Didn't they audition yesterday?"

"Yeah, but she says there's a callback on Friday. She's not talking to me because I don't know winehouse." Quinn laughs lightly. "I don't even know where to begin."

"Well, begin with Amy Winehouse. That's her last name, she wrote the song."

"Ohh, that makes so much more sense! She did yell 'google Amy' and it sounded so dirty."

Quinn doesn't know why a tear escapes the corner of her eye when she's actually smiling, but she needs it to go away because this is her friend trying to make her feel better the best she can. She sniffles.

"Hey, do you want me to come over?" Britt sounds concerned again.

"No, really, I'm just..." Damn it. Quinn doesn't know if she can finish this sentence without crying again. "I have to go."

She hangs up before Britt can say anything and feels even worse, but she quickly fires off a text before shutting off her phone. Sorry B, I really can't talk right now. I need to run. xx

She knows Britt will take it literally—others would get existential on her—and that's really what she needs. A good run will send her mind into that happy blank space and she needs a moment where she's not an insensitive girlfriend or a mother or anything other than just a girl.

Her mom sees her coming down the stairs and turns around on the couch to fully face her.

"Quinnie," she says, confusion etched on her features. Beth also turns around and stands, holding herself up on the back of the couch. (It will never not be amazing the way her baby's antennae go up upon hearing Quinn's name.)

"When did you get in?" Her mom holds Beth's back when she starts jiggling in place, incoherent syllables coming out of her mouth (and she really looks like she means them).

It makes her heart hurt that she can't do this right now.

"I, uh, just did. I'm going for a run." Quinn's thankful for the distance between them right now, she doesn't want any more questions about why she's crying. "I won't be long."

Her mother also knows better than to question someone who's just been to a funeral—it was something she was always told growing up, it's not polite to ask how it was. It's not a party, it's a somber occasion and people should be reverent and proper.

(And not break up with their girlfriends.)

She's out the door in a beat.

.

The burning in her thighs is what finally makes her stop. She rests her hands on her knees and ducks her head, breathing heavily. When she looks up and around, she realizes she went so far into the trail she doesn't quite know where she is right now. (Lima's not nearly large enough for it to be a concern, though.)

She's scared within an inch of her life when she hears footsteps and twigs snapping here and there when she's pretty sure she hasn't seen anyone around for nearly twenty minutes. She doesn't have enough fight (or energy) in her anymore to keep running, so she just takes a few quiet steps forward and hunches against a tree. She closes her eyes.

"Ugh. For fuck's sake, Q," she hears and it's a nearly out of body experience how relieved she feels.

Why Santana's here though is a different question altogether.

Quinn looks up and sees her disheveled friend in jeans and a black top, trying to straighten the hair that's sticking to her face and neck.

Oh and she looks positively murderous.

Quinn relaxes enough to flop her butt on the ground and arch her back against the tree. Santana's chest is heaving and she places her hands on her hips, after screwing her hair into a messy bun. Her stance casts a shadow over Quinn and she looks up. "What?"

"Are you serious right now?"

"I don't even know how you found me here, Santana, so drop the attitude."

Santana's shoulders sag just an inch and she huffs. "Britt called me. She was afraid you were gonna jump off a cliff or something."

Of course. During the summer, she and Britt ran up the same trail everyday and Quinn really doesn't know any others (and she's not keen on running within city limits, least of all today), so it makes sense Britt would know where she was. "Why did you come? She said you weren't talking to her."

"Yeah, well, that shit doesn't hold when it matters, so." Santana almost looks embarrassed to be admitting this. "Besides, she got held up with her stupid cat and asked me if I could come instead."

"Just like that?"

"She asked nicely. Don't be a bitch," she says as she rolls her eyes and sits down next to Quinn. "So. Talk."

Quinn glances at the general direction where the sun is setting and lets out a shaky breath. Just starting this conversation is making her nauseous. "I don't think I ever liked Finn at all."

"Well, no shit."

"I just wanted a crown."

"Again, not surprised."

"I hurt Sam. And Rachel."

Quinn's met with silence and turns around.

Santana splays her hands out in the air. "Well, you're not telling me anything new here."

True. "Sometimes I feel like I tore my family apart and drove my father away."

Santana nearly jerks Quinn's shoulder out of its socket with her hand and looks her dead in the eyes. "Russell Fabray is an asshole. Don't you even dare say something like that again."

Still holding Santana's gaze, Quinn concedes, "I said sometimes." She actually doesn't give Russell much thought. It's when she's at her lowest that the idea of still being a failure brings him to her mind, his chilling presense reducing her to nothing more than a chubby child who could have always tried harder, done a little bit better. One who was never good enough. It's moments like these that her walls crumble and the ghosts come out to play. "I don't want my daughter to have any reason to think that about me."

Santana's voice is soft. "She's in good hands."

Quinn's tears cloud her vision and she's afraid that if she blinks too fast, she has no chance of holding them back.

"I can't be everything and still do everything I want. For her and for myself. Most of the time I don't even know where to look, I'm just… lost in this whole thing. I try and I try to be more than what everyone expects of me and I can't get it right."

This time, she stands no chance. The tears have found their way out and trickle steadily down her face.

Santana shifts closer and takes Quinn's hand, holding it between both of hers on her lap. "Quinn, you can't—there's no way we can meet everyone's expectations, let alone exceed them. Sure, everyone expects a pregnant 16-year-old to fail eight ways to Sunday and end up in freakin' trailer park, but look at your life. You're not doing this 'well enough', you deserve a fucking medal."

"I don't think that's the case at all," she says with a humorless laugh.

"Just for putting up with Finn, yeah, you do."

"He broke up with me."

Santana seems taken aback. "When?"

"Right after the funeral." Before Santana can form any words. "In the parking lot."

So what if she's divulging that little detail for the shock factor? Something's gotta make her feel better after this crass day.

"Oh my—you have to be kidding."

"Not at all."

Santana's laugh is a tad out of the blue. "Sorry to make this about me for just second, but I am so fucking glad I'm gay right now."

Quinn chances a smile and squeezes Santana's hands, which are still holding hers. "I'm proud of you."

It seems like this little outburst caught Santana by surprise and she tries to recompose herself. "Well."

"Santana," she tugs at her hands a little harder. "You should be proud, too."

It's Santana's turn to get misty-eyed. "Yeah, whatever. Gimme a minute to recover from Miss Celibate Christian Preggo embracing the gay, all right?"

Quinn takes that with a small smile and dear God, when will she ever stop crying?

"Are you with Britt?"

"What, jealous?"

Quinn rolls her eyes as she wipes her cheek with the back of her free hand. "It was one kiss and you told me to forget about it."

"For good reason. But no, we're not—together, together. She's more open now that she and Artie broke up, but nothing's happened yet. It's like we're us again, a little bit."

"Have you told your parents?"

"No," she says, an undercurrent of fear in her voice. "I can't go there yet."

Quinn lays her head on Santana's shoulder and looks down at their joined hands. Santana's stroking her thumb against her palm and it's more comforting than it has any right to be. Suddenly, her fatigue seems to descend upon her and her eyes droop closed.

"Who the fuck breaks up with someone at a funeral, I mean," Santana sounds so incredulous that Quinn has to laugh.

.

They lose at Nationals.

Finn kissing Rachel mid-performance seems to be the root cause of her arm strain right now. She's massaging her right bicep resting her back against most of the pillows in the hotel room they had to drag Santana into after her outburst against Rachel. It amazes her that it took three people to hold that tiny thing back and she almost slipped out of their grasp. It wasn't until Mercedes intervened (it seems to Quinn that she let it go on for her own personal enjoyment before she was fed up and yelled at Santana) and now they're in this separate room. Sam and Mike look as exhausted as she feels, Mercedes is pacing up and down in front of Santana, who's being gently held in place by Brittany on the edge of a separate bed.

Quinn sees Mike touch his chin and wince. "You okay?"

"It was just an elbow, happens to everyone," he replies, side-eyeing Santana.

"Whatever, Chang."

Mercedes stops her pacing and points a finger at Santana's nose. "I think I said no peep outta you."

"I can't be the only one wanting to pound that midget to the ground, not that it would take much effort at all."

Sam gets a nod from Mercedes before turning to Santana. (That's… new.) "Do you really think that's all it was, though? We had no practice at all. I think we did better doing Ke$ha all drunk than what we did here."

"Thank you," Brittany says sweetly.

"Trouty, while I thank you for the awesome reminder that I puked my guts in front of the whole school, I still think that hadn't those two idiots kissed, we'd have at least clinched tenth place. We'd have qualified, s'all I'm saying."

Quinn blows her newly cut bangs out of her left eye. "But we didn't, Santana. Though… you're right, in a way, we shouldn't have left the preparation for last minute."

"We'll do better next year," Mike completes and smiles at her.

Mercedes softens a tad and slumps next to Sam, who seems way too eager to accommodate her. (Quinn makes a mental note to ask her what gives later.) "I'll admit our group number was pretty awesome. Britt and Mike, you still rock at eleventh-hour choreography."

"I keep telling you my talent's pretty amazing, you guys just don't listen."

Santana laces her fingers with Britt's as if to say I always do. Quinn's chest clenches and she feels a wee bit proud of her best friends.

Mercedes continues. "And Tina, Sam, Lauren and Rachel did the best they could with the song, so… I'm still pretty proud."

Santana grunts. "Fine."

Sam perks up. "Will you be nice to Rachel now?"

Quinn almost laughs at his daddy tone.

"I need to crack open the mini bar otherwise I'll crack her skull, so," she looks around the room, "who's with me?"

A relieved chorus erupts. Quinn will stick to whatever soda she finds, but seeing her friends united (again) for a common goal gives her a little more hope for what's to come.

..

Comments

( 9 — comment )
windgazer
Aug. 15th, 2012 10:09 am (UTC)
Another great chapter. I really like how you write the different characters and how you insert your own storyline into the main plot of glee.
waywardcherry
Aug. 16th, 2012 02:52 am (UTC)
Thank you! I like the response to this story, not a lot of people would go for it. Your feedback means a lot.
morgana_ehran
Aug. 15th, 2012 10:10 am (UTC)
Great chapter! I really like the way you write it. Little ironic, a lot emotional (though not pathetic). Yeah, I like it.
waywardcherry
Aug. 16th, 2012 02:51 am (UTC)
Thanks! I feel that the fact she kept Beth tones down a lot of what made Quinn go postal mid-S2 and S3, but she's still Quinn. :)
orange_rocks1
Aug. 15th, 2012 02:49 pm (UTC)
So good! I just love the way you have tweaked things to fit your story. I love Quinn so thw way this is pretty centered around her is great. Love this, keep up the amazing work!!
waywardcherry
Aug. 16th, 2012 02:49 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm trying to makes mentions of the big scenes in canon without actually having rewrite them word by word, glad it's working. :)
eknor
Aug. 16th, 2012 01:28 am (UTC)
This fic is great. Update soon please
waywardcherry
Aug. 16th, 2012 02:45 am (UTC)
Thanks! I'll try my best.
20kels
Aug. 16th, 2012 03:53 am (UTC)
this is just great. can't wait for more!!
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