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I'll Take Your Hand

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The Same Night

She watched Rachel dance around the kitchen, hopping up to grab bowls from the cabinet only to have Leroy help her reach them with a smirk on his face. The singer swapped her father in the arm before spinning around back to Quinn who sat at the marble counter. She handed the ex-cheerleader the bowl of chocolate ice cream (Rachel had her own special vegan desert) before plopping herself on the stool next to Quinn.

After Hiram had made Leroy sing a duet of I Got You Babe, the crew had called it quits and now sat back in the Berry household. It was a little past 10 p.m., and Quinn was told that the Berrys always have ice cream after karaoke night before heading to bed.

Quinn dug into her ice cream silently. The men stood on the other side of the counter and Quinn watched them curiously as they interacted. Hiram was chastising Leroy about being flat throughout the whole of I Got You Babe. Leroy caught Quinn's eye and nodded towards the Jewish man while rolling his eyes.

"You did not just roll your eyes at me, Le-" but he was cut off as the tall man quickly kissed him.

"You didn't marry me for my singing voice, Hir," Leroy stated. The two men continued to quietly bicker, but Quinn's eyes still seemed to fixate on them.

She was waiting for one of them to raise their voice, or for a hand to be raised, but instead she watched as the corner of Leroy's lips twitched up as if refraining himself from smiling and she noticed Hiram absent mindedly eat from Leroy's ice cream bowl in between sentences. But somehow as Quinn watched them argue - now over whether or not Cher is an icon - she couldn't help but notice that they fit. And Quinn didn't get that.

Suddenly, she felt an elbow nudge her in the side.

"You ok, Quinn?" Rachel asked her after agreeing with Hiram that Cher is indeed an icon - she has an EGOT!

Quinn glanced quickly at Rachel, then back to the two men who had now ventured to the other side of the kitchen too engrossed in their own conversation. "Yeah, I am. It's just... this is weird."

She felt the brunette stiffen behind her. "Quinn, I can assure you that just because -"

Quinn quickly cut her off. "I'm not - it's just -," she ran her fingers through her hair, struggling to find the words to describe what she was actually thinking. "I'm not saying it's a bad weird, Rachel. I'm just not used to..."

Quinn fell silent and tried to focus on her ice cream but could feel Rachel eyes still on her. She sighed. "I'm not used to this type of family situation. They - your dads work well together. Even now. I just - you know  - it's weird."

She knew Rachel's eyes would pity, so Quinn refused to look at Rachel, especially as she heard her say "Quinn..." softly. But whatever Rachel wanted to say, the diva was cut off as Hiram called the girls' attention.

"So Quinn," began Hiram. "What are your plans for Fourth of July?"

"I go with my parents every year to their country club, but, well, this year it's just me and my mom going..." she said shifting uncomfortably on the stool. "The party is sort of ridiculous, but it's tradition so, I'm still sort of required to go."

"Oh well, I bet they have great food at the club," Hiram replied, trying to ignore the uncomfortable air that surrounded them now as Quinn clearly didn't want to talk about her father or mother.

"It can't all be ridiculous," said Leroy as he took everyone's bowls to put them in the sink. "There has to be something you like about it."

Quinn racked her brain for something positive about the club's party. "My dad and I would used to light sparklers together right before the fireworks," she said quietly. Quinn doesn't know why but she feels compelled to tell them. "When I was really young, anyway. He would chase me around with them. We haven't done that for years, now, though."

"Why haven't you done that in the past few years?"

Quinn locked eyes with Leroy before quickly glancing down.

"She needs to shape up, Judy! I can't keep treating her like a little kid!"

"She is only eleven, Russ! She still is a kid! Just let her go to the party looking how she looks. It is fun for her."

"Fun?" Quinn heard her father growl. "She looks bizarre! I do not want her parading around the families like that. If we keep letting her go on with these outlandish impulses, we are going to lose her, Judy. Like that McDowell's kid. They let him have a chest of dress up clothes. They let him have fun with it for years and guess what he is doing now? He's on a tour of some sick show called Spring Awakening."

"It's just a little face make up," her mother's voice grew quieter. "She watched a movie about a circus. She just wanted to look like a clown for a moment, to let her imagination free."

Quinn, who sat around the corner listening, cupped her face, able to feel the roughness of the blue and white face paint.

"She needs to stop with all this! I don't want her to take anymore painting classes during the summer, or acting in the school plays. She should focus on her reading and her mathematics and athletics."

The young blonde played with her braid as she heard her mother mumbled something in reply. There was a shuffle of feet and her mother swiftly walked past her and into the garage to get in the car. She looked up to her father towering over her.

"Quinn, go wash off the face paint. Now. We'll be waiting in the car for you. You have five minutes."

She quickly stood up. "Yes, daddy."

He turned to go out the garage as well but stopped as he heard his daughter speak again. "You're not taking the sparklers with you, dad?"

He paused at the door. "Not this year, Quinn. I think you and I should sit with the rest of the adults and watch the fireworks. Ok?"

Quinn nodded. Russell opened his mouth but quickly closed it - Quinn didn't know what he wanted to say. Instead, he kissed his daughter's forehead before heading to the car. Quinn left for the bathroom and scrubbed at her face, watching the colors mix together before swirling down the drain. 

Quinn shrugged. "I don't know."

Hiram and Leroy quickly glanced at each other before announcing that it was time for the two of them to head to bed because they had to be at work early in the morning.

Rachel led Quinn past the living room and down the hall to her bedroom. When the brunette opened the door, Quinn was hit with a wave of pink, although it was less pink than she originally thought there would be. She watched as the diva rummaged through her closet, throwing an extra pillow on the quilted bed and then pulled out pajama tops and bottoms.

"The bathroom is down the hall to your left," Rachel said pointing. "We had passed it. Extra towels are in the linen closet, and you'll find a spare toothbrush in the sink drawer as well. Um -" Rachel bit her lip, eyes darting toward the full sized bed. "If you would like, I can get a sleeping bag and sleep on the floor. I had originally just planned for you to sleep with me in my bed but now that I think about it, I wasn't thinking about how you would feel about that."

Quinn took the extra pair of pajamas. "It's fine, Rachel. I used to have to share a bed with Santana and Brittany at sleepovers. Trust me, if I can handle that, I feel like I can sleep in a bed with you for one night." She cocked her heads at the brunette, smiling, trying to ease Rachel's nervousness.

Rachel smiled softly back at her. "Ok. Guest first. So the bathroom is all yours."

Quinn nodded and walked out of the room. The bathroom door was closed, so Quinn leaned against the wall, waiting for whomever to get done. She heard the sink water running and then shut off. The door opened and Leroy stepped out.

"Oh, hello Quinn. I didn't know you were waiting. Hiram takes forever to get ready in the master bathroom."

"It's fine, Mr. Berry -"

"-Leroy-"

"-Leroy. I wasn't waiting long."

Leroy tightened the belt on his robe and stepped away from the door so Quinn could walk in. Just as Quinn about shut the bathroom door behind her, she was stopped.

"Hey, Quinn."

She peered out the doorway. "Yes, sir?"

"The church I go to, we have our services on Saturday nights. If you ever want to come, give me a call and I'll come pick you up."

Quinn opened and closed her mouth a few times before responding. "Ok. I'll - I'll think about that."

The man shrugged. "You don't have to promise me anything. Just know the offer stands."

"Thank you," she said, gripping the door frame.

The man walked away and Quinn brushed her teeth and changed into Rachel's pajamas. The red pants were too short and showed her ankles. She quietly re-entered Rachel's room, but the singer was nowhere to be found.

She took the opportunity to peer around Rachel's room. It was almost bare. The was a large daisy on the wall opposite her bed but aside from that, the walls only had pink paint. She walked to the white dresser which had a large mirror balancing on it. Plastered on it were a few photographs. One, which Quinn assumed was taken by one of the Berry men, was in black and white. It was of Rachel walking down the aisle at sectionals their sophomore year, clearly belting out Don't Rain On My Parade. Along the left side of the mirror were three other photos. One of Kurt and Rachel in semi-formal wear in front of the Gershwin Theatre. Their hands were clasped and excitement etched in their faces. Above that was a photo of Finn and Rachel; Finn with his goofy smile and his arms about the girl.

The next photo Quinn thought was odd. It was of Rachel, Finn, and Puck all sitting on a couch with Rachel sitting on Finn's lap but her feel laying on Puck's legs. Quinn noticed both boys looking at Rachel while Rachel smiled at the camera obliviously. The only other photo Quinn saw on the mirror was one of her and her dads but she swore she has seen that same picture in the diva's locker.

Quinn about looked away when she noticed a picture folded in half in the top right hand corner of the mirror. Quinn quickly looked around the room, making sure Rachel was still not there. She took the photo down to see what is was; three people were present. Rachel, a boy with wavy light hair, and a woman striking the same resemblance as Rachel; Jesse St. James and Shelby Corcoran. Shelby sat at a piano while Jesse and Rachel stood to the side of it with Jesse's arm around the girl's shoulders. Quinn didn't think anyone in the photograph looked extremely happy.

"Don't tell Finn I have that, please."

Quinn's breath went away. She dropped the picture and quickly spun around to see that Rachel was right behind her. "Hi. I wasn't prying or anything. Well, maybe I was but - I'm sorry."

Rachel wasn't looking at Quinn but eyeing the photo which had falling on top of the dresser. She gingerly picked it up before folding it in half again.

"That was taken after I found out who she was," Rachel explained. "It was before the egging incident."

The girl slipped it back into the corner of the mirror. "It is the only picture I have of Shelby," she said softly. "It's not like that is a happy memory. None of the Glee Club really knows what happened with the three of us."

Rachel's back was now to the mirror and she was facing Quinn. "Jesse actually came clean to me about him and Shelby and me. That is actually what is happening in that picture. He wanted to tell Shelby that he was done with the charade. A student was going around the Carmel campus taking year book photos and snapped that. When the girl found out I didn't go to the school, she sent the picture to Jesse who reluctantly sent it to me." Rachel gulped before continuing. "Please don't tell Finn. He'll get jealous that I still have a picture of Jesse. And the picture isn't even about Jesse. It's - It's just all I have of Shelby. I mean, it hurts to look at, so I don't, but a part of me is glad I have it."

Quinn stood silently, her eyes searching Rachel' face. She didn't know what to say.

The two stood there for a couple minutes, letting the silence surround them before Quinn finally broke it. "Why did you tell me all that? That was kind of personal, Rachel."

Rachel titled her head at Quinn. "We're friends. Friends tell each other things, don't they?"

"We're not that good of friends," she scoffed.

Rachel shook her head and then tugged at Quinn's hand, leading them to the bed. Rachel sat in the middle of it, crossing her legs. "We could be really good friends, Quinn. I mean, we have the makings of an epic friendship."

Quinn sat down next to her. "I don't, I don't know how to say this, Rachel, but I've been a bitch to you for the first two years of high school. I don't mean just being bitchy, but full blown cruel. Those drawings in the bathroom? Yeah. Or the slushies. You know I was a part of that. And all the names I've called you. How does that equate to an 'epic friendship'?"

"I've forgiven you for all that Quinn," said Rachel, squeezing Quinn's knee. "And, I mean, it's not like I've been a saint either."

Quinn snorted. "Yeah, going after Finn when I was with him - twice - and also telling him about the paternity of the baby did kind of suck. But that just makes all this harder."

For some reason, this just made Rachel smile wider. "Actually, it just makes more sense for us to be friends. I mean, all that we've been through together - all that we've done to each other and for each other - and here we are still. I mean, we've shared two of the same guys. We wrote a song together. We've gone from opposite realms of the school hierarchy to glee loser. You gave your daughter to my mother. I mean, no matter what we've put each other through, at the end of the day, I still know that will tell me I'm bigger than Lima. And I'll still be the one telling you are more than a pretty face."

Quinn stared at the ceiling. The diva just didn't get it. Quinn didn't want to be friends. She couldn't. The two can't stand each - except for when they could. Quinn was the one who, back in freshman year threw the first slushie for some unexplained reason. She was the one to write horrible comments on Rachel's video. Quinn stills feels queasy when she rereads those comments when she's feeling masochistic. She was the one to draw pornographic pictures of Rachel just to demean the girl because -

Because -

Because Rachel was stuck up.

Because she was selfish.

Because she needed to know her place.

Because her voice was filled with hope and optimism.

Because she was talented.

Because she was brave and caring.

Because she was driven and smart.

Because she was who Quinn wished she had the courage to be.

Because she was absolutely breath-taking - even if Quinn didn't want to acknowledge it.

I don't hate you.

You are never going to get it right.

I'm so sorry.

You're a very pretty girl Quinn. The prettiest girl I've ever met. But you're a lot more than that.

...You're a lot more than that.

 Tears pricked at Quinn's eyes. Her chest was constricting and she suddenly felt Rachel's hand cup her face and turn it towards the singer.

"Quinn, look at me."

She hated how her head once against titled into the singer's warmth. She reluctantly opened her eyes and was met with Rachel's chocolate ones.

"Quinn, I want to be your friend. So let me."

Quinn just stared at Rachel, nails digging into her palm. "Your eyes are beautiful," Quinn said. She scrunched her face, having no idea why that came out of her mouth.

The diva chuckled and ran her hand up and down Quinn's arm. "You ready to sleep?"

Quinn nodded and crawled to the side of the bed. She felt the bed dip right beside her. The hairs on the arms were close enough to touch each other and Quinn stiffened, not sure how to move. They both lay there one there back for a good ten minutes before Quinn's breathing became heavy as Rachel turned her body so it was now facing Quinn on the bed.

Her eyes roamed over Rachel, whose eyes were closed as the girl was trying to fall asleep. Quinn had an urge to run her fingers through the dark hair to lift the bangs out of Rachel's face, but she resisted. She took a heavy breath to try to control her erratic breathing as Rachel's body seemed to inch closer to Quinn.

The urge to touch the diva wasn't new to Quinn, but it didn't mean she was going to give into that urge.

Finally, she closed her eyes, trying to ignore the desire of her fingers want to reach out for Rachel's.