Chapter 1: Prologue
Quinn moved cautiously through the dark, empty hallways of McKinley High. Her gun was tucked safely beside her, within reach should she need to get to it quickly. Since Graduation had been yesterday, there was really no reason for her to be here. She should be out celebrating with friends and family and looking forward to the future, but she had more important things to do. She had to get to the auditorium, to Rachel, and nothing was going to stop her. She had to make sure Rachel would have a long and fulfilled life-that she would live out her dreams, even if it was the last thing she ever did.
These thoughts were circling in her head as she reached the auditorium door and squeezed through as quietly as possible. Her eyes went immediately to center stage, and there she was in the spotlight, as usual. But instead of Rachel's beautiful, warm voice washing over her, there was complete silence. How Quinn wished she could hear that voice just one more time. Hear her belt out a song at the top of her lungs, or croon a ballad that would send chills down her spine. Or maybe just some whispered words in her ear...anything at all. But that wasn't going to happen. There was duct tape over Rachel's mouth and her eyes were wide with fear. Tears were rolling down her face and she was shaking, despite being secured to the chair by her wrists and ankles.
Every cruel detail was clearly visible in the harsh spotlight. Quinn noticed another person just out of the light, but couldn't recognize him, or her? She did, however, recognize the shape of a 9mm pistol pointed at Rachel's head. Hear heart stopped and fear threatened to overcome her senses. This was her worst nightmare come true. She was frozen. Suddenly, a shot rang out, echoing chillingly around the empty auditorium.
She felt sick and helpless as she watched the blood beginning to pool on the stage. There was so much blood...
One year earlier
Quinn was sitting at her desk signing her last report for the day, as her shift was about to end.
"Fabray! Lopez! My office, now!"
Quinn's head shot up in surprise, her eyes locking on Santana's across the double desk. The Latina just raised an eyebrow, shrugged her shoulders and stood. She didn't like paper work anyway, so any interruption was welcome.
Quinn had an uneasy feeling about this. She and Santana had only been on the job for three months. They were the rookies and they had been on the receiving end of some pranks already, but the chief had never been involved. She wasn't aware of anything they had done wrong. Everything had been by the book. Even their reports were on time, so why was she feeling like her world was about to fall apart again?
Quinn rerouted her desk phone to the front desk, then did the same for San's phone and hurried over to the chief's office. She liked the chief. He was in his fifties and divorced (twice) with two daughters her age. He was a strict, no-nonsense kind of guy with a strong sense of duty and honor.
He had a soft spot for her and Santana, possibly because they reminded him of his daughters, she wasn't sure. Whatever the reason, she wasn't complaining. He was one of the good guys and Quinn was glad she had ended up in New Haven, Indiana after the Academy and she was lucky to be here with her best friend of fifteen years.
Quinn closed the door and took a seat beside Santana. The chief didn't look angry (which was good). He looked … troubled, worried, like he hadn't slept for at least a week. Her feelings of dread intensified. Oh yeah, something big was coming.
The blonde threw a glance at Santana, who sat relaxed, her legs crossed at the ankles. Despite outward appearances, Quinn could tell that she was worried as well. She knew Santana, and while her face seemed calm, there was a glint in her eye and her shoulders were just a tiny bit tense.
Quinn dreaded the coming conversation and at the same time she wished it would start, so they could be done with it already. Apparently San felt the same way because she was the one that spoke up.
"So chief, yellin' at us to move our sexy asses in here and now the silent treatment. Whassup? Need us for that new police calendar? I'm totally down with that. But no nude pics, just to be clear."
Quinn couldn't help it. She started laughing out loud. And even the chief couldn't stop the grin spreading across his face. Santana had done it again. The tension was gone. The air didn't feel as heavy any more. Like after a summer storm.
"No, Lopez. No calendar shoot. Maybe next year. We will talk about that nude thing then."
Oh yes, the chief had a great sense of humor, too.
"Okay girls," Santana frowned at that a little. "Before I tell you what's going on I want you to know, that you can say no. There will be absolutely no negative consequences whatsoever. This is a voluntary assignment, but if you take it, I need you to be all in. There's no room for doubts. The job will be difficult and dangerous, especially for you, Quinn, so I want you to go home after our little chat and sleep on it. You have until Monday to decide. Do you understand?"
Quinn and Santana nodded.
"Furthermore, this case could be a career maker, but could just as easily be a career killer if it goes badly. When, IF, you do this, you have to do it because you believe it's the right thing to do, not just because it's your job."
"Can I ask the obvious question here?" Quinn interrupted. "Why us? We're rookies, still green, barely out of school. Why not ask someone more experienced?"
The chief smiled. "You will understand when I have explained everything, Quinn."
"So, start explaining already. I wants to get my weekend on."
"Santana!" Quinn almost yelled and punched her friend into the shoulder.
"Thank you, Quinn, but she's right. Let's get to the point shall we?"
Both girls nodded again.
"Okay. A good friend of mine is the Chief of Police in Lima, Ohio. Much like the two of you, we went to high school and the academy together. We talk regularly and sometimes we ask for input or opinions on a case. A fresh set of eyes-you know the drill. Anyway, he has a nasty case on his desk and has asked for my help. There have been some murders of high school kids and they can't get a grip on the murderer. They've had some suspects, but couldn't charge any of them. The cases were originally classified as suicides, but later it became clear that all of the victims had help. A lot of evidence was overlooked due to the cases being mislabeled. Apparently, the killer is some religious nut job killing kids just because they are "sinners". You know gay kids, special needs kids, and handicapped kids. All victims attended McKinley High, so that is where I need you. You will be going back to high school."
Monday morning found Quinn and Santana in the chief's office way before their shift started. They didn't get much sleep over the weekend, discussing the case over and over.
"Q, you really wanna do this? It will hurt like a bitch. "
"Yes, San. We can't turn our backs on these kids." Quinn had her mind set. This was a chance for her to redeem herself and finally put the regrets she had from her High School experience to rest.
"They will cut your scars open. Again! They. Will. Cut. Your. Scars. Open! You will hurt all over again! You'll have to go back to that damn chair. You hated that chair, Q. They will insult you and treat you like shit. They will treat you like we treated those kids." Santana sighed. "I don't want to see you suffer."
"San, it's not like I can't walk. I'm just pretending. It's not really me they're insulting. It's just my persona. It won't be that bad, San. And it's for a good cause, the best actually. We're helping kids that can't help themselves. We can make a difference, San. I want to do this…I need to do this, for myself and for them."
"Fine. But don't come crying on my shoulder when it starts getting to you," Santana huffed.
Quinn grinned. Though she wouldn't admit it to her now, Santana totally had her back.
Santana wanted to do the case as much as Quinn did, but she didn't want her friend to suffer because of it. And so she was really torn between her protectiveness for Quinn and her determination to catch this killer. In the end, after going in circles with their discussion, Quinn had convinced Santana, that she had been in much worse pain already and that she could handle it.
When the chief walked in, he was surprised to find the two women already waiting in his office.
"Good morning, ladies. So, did you think about my proposal?"
Santana and Quinn nodded.
"We'll do it, chief," Santana said.
"Are you sure? Quinn, this will be hard for you, and not just physically. Are you absolutely certain?"
"Yes, chief. I'm absolutely sure."
He knew that he had made the right choice and could think of no better team than these two. If anyone could pull this off, they could.
"You both have lots to do so I won't take too much time. I know you can do this and I wish you both the best of luck. Make sure you check in as scheduled and I will see you when this is over." He stood up and shook their hands proudly as they walked out.
Quinn spent the next four weeks in the hospital and physical therapy. And every minute not spent in therapy they were studying. They were memorizing names, numbers and places as well as learning the basics about undercover work. They spent a lot of time internalizing their back story, and it was just so ridiculous, it might actually work.
The first day out of the hospital, back in the wheelchair, even if it was not real, was harder than she imagined. Not the actual being in a wheelchair part, but the memories. It took her back into the dark place where she had been. Back to her struggles, to the hopelessness, to the fear. When she looked in the mirror, she saw her seventeen year old self looking back at her. The girl who had been scarred for life. The girl who didn't know if she would ever be able to walk again, let alone dance. It didn't help that her actual scars were hurting again. It felt like it had been four weeks and not four years since the accident. She would be losing her mind if she had to do it alone, but thankfully Santana was with her every step of the way.
Just like Quinn, Santana had to get used to the chair again-lifting Quinn into the wheelchair and onto the bed and back again. Lifting Quinn into the car and handling the chair. It all needed to be routine to them. Thankfully it all came back rather quickly.
It was a strange feeling to be lifted by Santana again, and it hurt. The fresh (old) scars hurt like hell. Quinn tried not to cry out in pain, but Santana realized it anyways and grimaced.
"I hate this, Q. I already hate this case and what it is doing to you and it hasn't even really started."
Quinn breathed through the pain; she had been in worse pain a few times in her life already. "It will get better San, it's because the scars are still fresh."
"I know that. And it's not what I was talking about and you know it."
Quinn did know what Santana meant. She meant the dark place she had gone to after the accident. The doctors had told her that her chances of walking again were slim at best. Her body had been painted with ugly red scars. Everything hurt, even her legs, which she couldn't actually feel. Phantom pain the doctors called it. She had lost her will to live then. She thought that she had lost everything. She'd lost her family due to the pregnancy. She had given up her daughter so that Beth could have a good life. And now she had lost her legs, and everything she loved was taken from her. Cheerleading, running, dancing and her beauty…everything she had worked so hard for had been taken from her in an instant.
It had been Santana who saved her. She had been a constant at her side, supporting her, challenging her, but never pitying her. Santana told her that she was still beautiful, still loveable. Then she showed her. They had made love and Santana had worshiped Quinn's body. With tears streaming down her face, she had begged Quinn not to leave her, to come back to her. And then Quinn had promised. It was the first real step forward in her recovery.
They had dated for a while, not that anything really changed, except they now had mind blowing sex. After a few months, by mutual understanding, they stopped having sex with each other and went back to simply being friends. Even though the romantic part of their relationship hadn't worked out, they had no regrets.
Shortly after they were back to being just friends, Quinn had started to feel her legs again, and by the end of senior year she could walk across the stage to get her diploma. Sure, she still needed a cane, but she could walk. Santana's smile at witnessing her progress rivaled the sun in it's brilliance.
By the time college started, Quinn was able to walk most of the time without a cane. Slowly, but surely, she was making progress. At the end of the first semester she was able to run half a mile and attended a dance class again. Near the end of her first year of college she was almost back to her old self. The only reminder being the scars that hurt when the weather changed. It had taken two years and a lot of hard, disciplined work but she made it.
And now she was drifting towards that dark place again.
"Quinn, you promised. Remember? It still does count. Don't leave me again." Santana pleaded.
"I'm sorry, San. It's just … I have to adjust, okay? It will take a little time, but I won't go back there. I promise. I will be okay. But, can you stay with me tonight?"
Santana lifted her eyebrows. "Quinn, I don't think that's a good idea."
"No San, not like that. I just… can you hold me. I can't be alone tonight."
"Of course I can. I will always be here for you, for whatever you need."
4 weeks later
Quinn couldn't stand the image in the mirror. It was too much like the old Quinn. So, early in the day before they left for Lima, she dyed her hair pink. Santana blinked once. "Pink?" she asked.
"I needed to change something."
The Latina nodded and ruffled through Quinn's hair once. "I like the look. It's kinda bad ass. Now come on, let's check our facts one last time."
Santana had packed the last of the items she was going to take with her to Lima and skipped into the living room of their shared apartment. Quinn sat in her wheelchair staring motionless out of the window into the sinking sun.
Upon seeing her friend like this Santana stopped abruptly. This wasn't good.
"Hey Q, what do ya say? Our last night of freedom and official adulthood; we totally should get out for some drinks and dancing. And I really need to get laid."
The blonde didn't even turn around.
"I don't know San. I'm really tired. I think I'll stay in, but you go on and have some fun. You've worked really hard the last few weeks, you deserve it."
Santana frowned and looked at her friend confused. It wasn't like Quinn to stay home. She loved dancing. She liked going out for some fun. Sure, she wasn't interested in hook ups , but she was always an awesome wing woman.
"Quinn?" she asked concerned and knelled down in front of her. "What's wrong, sweetie? Talk to me? Please?"
Quinn inwardly cursed the fact that Santana knew her so well. Nobody else would have noticed that something was wrong. Her smile was perfect! But now that Santana had broken through her mask, she could barely hold back the tears.
"Oh, San," she sobbed. "I'm so scared."
The Latina engulfed her friend in a bear hug at once and whispered into her ear.
"You know what? Let's just lie down and talk, okay? I'll stay and hold you and you can get some rest. Sound good?"
Santana simply lifted Quinn out of the wheelchair, even though it wasn't really necessary, and carried her into her own bedroom. She carefully placed her down on one side and slipped in behind her, spooning her and holding her close.
"Okay, Fabray. Talk to Auntie Snix."
Despite her tears Quinn had to laugh at her friend's antics, using her old nickname.
"I'd rather talk to you, San and not to your evil persona."
"Whatevs. Just start talking already."
"I don't know where to start." Quinn whispered.
"Well, let's start with tonight. Why not go out and have some fun? You said I deserve it, but you worked even harder, ergo you deserve it even more. And you love dancing."
Santana waggled her eyebrows. "You love dancing with me. And it would totally help you to get your mind off the case for once. Plus, we always have so much fun."
Quinn was grateful, that the other girl was lying behind her and couldn't see her face. It made talking about her worries a little easier.
"If… if I go dancing tonight … I don't know if I have the strength to go back to the chair tomorrow. It was so hard to go back to it from the start. Remember the first day? I was so … lost. I couldn't even sleep alone that night. I got over it, for the most part, but if I go dancing tonight…if I get out of this chair, just for one night? I don't … I can't! I hate being in this chair so much. It reminds me of the past; my past self, how I felt back then. It reminds me of my faults. It reminds me of everything I did wrong back then."
Quinn spoke softly, hesitantly, as if speaking about her fears was what made them tangible for her.
Santana pulled Quinn a little closer, rubbing her thumb in slow circles across the blonde's palm.
"I get it, Q. I really do. So tell me again why you want to do this assignment if it hurts you this much? I never knew you were a masochist."
"San, you know I'm not. I'm not even a sub. I could top you even when I was paralyzed." She grinned.
"Yeah sure. That's because I let you top me."
"Uhuh. Whatever you say."
"That's not the point. Tell me. Why do this?"
Quinn knew what Santana was doing. She was reminding her of the reasons she took this assignment. It was what she needed right now; a reminder of the force behind all this. Slowly at first she started talking.
"There's a killer out there and I want to catch him. I want to bring him to justice and put him behind bars. I want to help those kids; I want to make them save again. I want to catch him, so he won't kill any more innocent kids who did nothing wrong but be different. This guy has to pay. I want to make him pay.
And I need to catch him, because in another life, before Beth and before the chair I was a horrible person. I tormented those kids because they were different. I prayed on their weaknesses. I made a lot of mistakes that I need to make right. I can't undo what I did in the past, but I can make a difference now. I need to catch this guy, because guys like him are the reason we became cops. Someone just like him killed your sister and we made a vow, to her and each other, that we'll do anything in our power to make it better. To make an impact, no matter how small it may seem.
And I know I can, we can, catch him. We can do it because of our past. We know how bullies work, because we were them. And we know how victims feel, because we were them, too. We can do this, because we'll do it together, because all of the shit we've been through, together. I won't stop until we catch him. This guy is the reason we became cops, Santana, and this chair is really a small price to pay."
"Exactly! Always remember why you're doing this. Why we are doing this. It will give you the strength and the resolve you need. And when it gets difficult just remember that I'm always there with you. I will totally have your back; no matter what."
Lying in bed engulfed in Santana's strong arms helped Quinn to calm down. She could feel her friend all around her and her scent, sandalwood and coconut, lingered in the air around them. It was such a familiar feeling. It was safety; home. She could think more clearly now and her fears didn't seem as overwhelming anymore.
"I know, San. I couldn't do it without you."
Quinn lifted Santana's hand that was resting on her abdomen and planted a soft kiss onto her palm. She felt the Latina shiver behind her and there was a moment of silence before Santana spoke again.
"There's more, isn't there? Why are you scared? You're never scared. I've seen you depressed, nervous, angry or frustrated, but never scared. You are a lion, Quinn, you don't scare easily. What is it?"
"There are several things." Quinn started silently. "First I'm scared we won't be able to help catch this guy; that this will all have been for nothing."
Quinn felt Santana nod behind her.
"Second, I'm scared we mess up big time somehow and make things worse. And third," Quinn took a deep breath and felt Santana hug her even closer.
"And third I'm really scared that one of us gets hurt or … killed. If we play our back-story to its full extend we're like the kings of the sinners. I'm gay. I killed my parents in a car crash which was totally my fault. I had sex with my sister, which is like incest even if you're adopted. I'm a cripple, I smoke and drink. And for you it's almost the same. We'll be the bait for the big game. There will be a blinking neon bull's eye on our backs."
Quinn couldn't stop the shiver running through her body at the thought of losing Santana. The Latina just held her close and started drawing lazy circles across Quinn's abs.
"Quinn, that's all true and I worry about those things, too. I would be stupid if I didn't see the dangers here. But Q, we have a lot of things that will work in our favor.
We are trained cops, which nobody knows. You can walk and even run like hell, which nobody knows. We have each other. We can trust each other completely. We know each other like nobody else and we get each other. Nobody will be able to play us. We are young and sexy as fuck and you are like super smart. We have to rely on our strengths. Even the chief thinks we can pull it off. He wouldn't risk this if he wasn't convinced. Hell, I am sure we can do this. If I didn't think we could make it, I would drag you the hell out of here, because I couldn't bear to lose you. And I know you'd do the same."
Finally, Quinn turned around in Santana's arms so she could look at her. She put a hand to her cheek and spoke: "Damn sure I would. And San, it's your turn now."
Santana looked confused. "My turn? For what?"
"I promised I would not leave you. I promised years ago. And I intend on keeping that promise. Now it's your turn. Promise me!" Quinn kept her eyes locked on Santana's and leaned in to capture her lips in a slow, sensual kiss.
"I can't lose you. I need you." Quinn pushed Santana on her back and straddled her waist. "Promise me." She kissed her again, more urgent this time.
Santana moaned into her mouth. "I promise!"
Quinn sighed deeply and started to pepper little kissed down the Latina's neck. "I need you," she gasped. "I need you tonight, San." Quinn started to unbutton Santana's shirt feverishly, with shaking hands in an urgency as if the world was about to end. But Santana took a hold of them.
"Quinn, look at me." Santana's voice was gentle and without judgment.
Quinn let out a frustrated groan but did as she was told. Santana almost gasped at the myriad of emotion swirling through Quinn's eyes. She let go of her hands and caressed her cheeks gently instead.
"I won't go anywhere. I'm here. For you. Always. I will not leave you. Do you understand?"
Quinn only nodded.
"Okay. Now, let me take care of you."
Despite the earlier urgency they undressed each other slowly, caressing every new piece of uncovered flesh. Slow strokes and sensual kisses. Gasps and low moans; caramel on alabaster skin. They took their time, memorizing each others bodies all over again. After every other piece of clothing they went back to kissing, slow and deep, more meant to comfort then to arouse. When the last piece of clothing was gone they laid down besides each other, facing each other. Never breaking eye contact they pushed into each other with slow deep thrusts. The moans were getting louder, breathing becoming more labored.
When the shudders of their release subsided, they remained entangled with each other. Santana pulled the blanket up over them and hugged Quinn closer to her. She felt something wet on her shoulder, put a finger under Quinn's chin and made her look at her again. Santana didn't know if they were tears of joy, relief or something else but she knew, she could see it in Quinn's eyes, that the worst storm was over.
Santana looked deep into Quinn's eyes, even deeper as only moments before, and tried to be as open to her as possible. Letting all her walls down she repeated: "I promise, Quinn."
"Thank you." Quinn whispered. The tears stopped falling, and she finally relaxed in her arms. "Thanks for reminding me why we're taking this case and thank you for being here."
"Anytime, Q. And now shut the fuck up. I needs my beauty sleep." But Santana was all smiles when she said this and kissed Quinn softly on her cheek, before falling asleep easily.
Santana woke up first the next morning with Quinn's head resting on her shoulder and an arm thrown over her stomach. The blanket had dropped down to just below her waist. Waking up naked next to an equally naked Quinn wasn't the rule but it happened every once in a while. Ever since they stopped dating they would hook up randomly. Usually after partying and getting really worked up while dancing with each other; but never when one or the other of them was dating someone else. And dating other people they did. Santana more frequent than Quinn, because the former blonde was really shy about her scars. More than once Quinn had broken things off after the second date, not being comfortable with getting serious (and naked) with that respective person.
The Latina didn't fully understand why Quinn was ashamed of her scars. Quinn was the most beautiful woman she had ever met. Even with her scars, which only made her more interesting, she was absolutely stunning. The scars had faded with time, but the skin just around the edges was really sensitive.
Seeing the angry red scars back on Quinn's body was difficult for Santana, too. Sure, she tried not to let it show, it was hard enough for her friend as it was. But now, with the other girl still asleep half beside, half atop her she allowed herself a moment of weakness. She wondered what sick nick names the kids would come up with this time around.
Quinn started to stir and Santana took a deep breath to compose herself again. They would get through this, after all, they had been through worse. The Latina wondered, and not for the first time, if she would ever meet a woman that would be more important to her than Quinn. She loved her, not like a sister exactly, because that would be all kinds of creepy; but something similar. Since her real sister's death, Q was the most important person in her life. Sure, she loved her parents and they had supported them both through everything. They loved her unconditionally, but if she had to choose between them and Quinn, she would choose Quinn, no questions asked.
What they had was nice, but Santana was sure there had to be something more…passion, longing, desire, want. She needed someone who completed her and she and Quinn were too much alike for that kind of relationship. That being said, she couldn't imagine choosing between Quinn and anybody else. It was exactly that issue which had been the cause of many of Santana's break ups in the past.
Most people didn't get their relationship. They didn't understand the bond they shared and were simply jealous. They never trusted Santana to NOT sleep with Quinn. Some proposed having a threesome and, while Santana wasn't really opposed to the idea, she knew Q would never go for it. She had enough trouble with her insecurities in her own relationships. A few thought that San's relationship with Quinn meant they weren't exclusive. Nope, she definitely hadn't found the right person, yet.
Quinn's eyes fluttered open and, for a few moments, Santana saw her how she loved her the most; totally at ease with herself; with peace in her heart and soul; open and trusting. But all too soon she saw reality coming back and Quinn's eyes clouded over.
"Hey there, sleepyhead," she whispered, letting her fingers glide slowly over the long scar along Quinn's back. "Ready to conquer Lima, Ohio?"
"As ready as I will ever be, I guess."
This is the last "intro" chapter. Next chapter it's time to go to school.
"You'll stay with Reverend Michael Carter. He's good friends with the Chief and will be the only other person who knows you're both police. But he will always treat you like you're his nieces. He won't break the cover for anything short of mortal danger. You'll be his sister's kids, Quinn and Santana Bond. Santana you're adopted, because Quinn's mother couldn't have any more children after complications during Quinn's birth.
Your parents died in the car crash that paralyzed you, Quinn. And after lots of operations, physical therapy and stuff you're now going to live with your uncle for the last year of high school. Since you missed a lot of school, you're already 18.
Obviously you can't carry your guns around, but there will be a hidden gun safe in your room. You need to keep your guns, badges and the rest of your stuff in there.
As we all know it's highly unusual to send rookies into an undercover mission,but you two are our best option because of your history AND because of your age. We all know why you left college for the academy and Quinn has the scars to prove her accident real. You are perfect for this. We'll have to work hard these next few weeks, but you two are smart and will make it work. That being said, you will need to memorize everything-there can be no paperwork trail.
Quinn will be going to physical therapy twice a week. Your contact will meet you there, so Santana has to accompany you every time. Make sure to join some clubs. You can decide on which will be the most helpful, but be diverse. From what I hear the Cheerleading Squad is on top at the school, so that would be a good place to start.
You are sisters and you're close enough to totally pull it off. You will fight like sisters and get into each others business and generally annoy the hell out of each other. Santana, you hate that Quinn needs you so much, and Quinn hates that she needs you, but at the end of the day, you support each other and fight for each other like a momma bear for her young.
Oh and the most important thing: You can do the dating game, but don't get serious, don't get personally involved. They are mostly under age and you have to play by the book. And for the love of God and everything holy: Don't fall in love."
"No worries, chief. They're just kids. We won't fall for anyone."
Two hours later they were in their car heading towards Ohio. Their real identities were hidden in a secret compartment in their luggage. Quinn Fabray and Santana Lopez were gone.
It wasn't a long drive and by noon Santana parked the car in front of the Reverend's house. There was a slow slope leading towards the house and the neighboring church. Quinn was delighted. No steps!
Santana killed the engine and stepped out of the car. She pulled the chair out of the back, unfolded it and put the brakes on. She then unceremoniously lifted Quinn out of the car and settled her down in the chair carefully, adjusting her feet on the foot rests.
"You okay there, sis? Comfortable?" she asked.
"I'm just glad to be out of the car, San. Come on, no time like the present." With that Quinn started pushing herself towards the front door, Santana following just a step behind her.
Just when she was about to knock the door opened and a middle aged man in jeans and a blue shirt opened the door.
Quinn recognized him from the pictures and beamed at him.
"Quinn! Santana!" The Reverend hugged the blonde dearly. "It's been too long. I missed you girls. Come in, you must be exhausted. We'll get your stuff later."
The Rev spoke a tad too loud and hugging some strange man she'd never met before felt weird, but Quinn threw herself into it. There were most certainly people watching them.
"Uncle Mike." She squealed. "It's so good to see you again."
He switched from Quinn to Santana, hugging her equally warm before speaking again.
"My God, look at you two, all grown up. How long has it been? Eight years?"
Quinn nodded. "Something like that."
"I'm really sorry what happened to you two; especially you, Quinn. But you're here and we'll concentrate on your future now. It will get a little easier every day. The Lord never burdens you with more than you can handle."
Though she couldn't see her, she could practically hear Santana roll her eyes at this statement. They had agreed long ago that they had to fend for themselves; God would not help them.
"Thanks, Uncle Mike. We're really grateful to you for having us. It must be hard for you, too. Mom was your sister after all." Hell, she never thought her upbringing, with her religiously fanatic, alcoholic and abusive parents would come in handy like this.
"Thank you, dear. And yes, I miss her and pray for her every day. But it's been a few months already and with the Lord's help I have found my peace with it. Now come on in. Let's have some tea and talk about the living arrangement and house rules. Later you can get your stuff and get settled. I have cleared my schedule for a bit for you, but tonight is bingo night and my congregation needs me there."
He opened the door wider to let Quinn pass. The hall was not big, but there was just enough room for her to maneuver her chair through.
"Second door on the left."
Quinn was able to enter the dining room without problems. At the table was a spot without a chair, obviously meant for her. Santana sat down beside her, taking one of her hands in her own. A Hispanic looking, young woman entered through the second door, which assumingly lead to the kitchen.
"Girls, this is Anna. She's been my house keeper for five years now. Anna, these are my nieces, Quinn and Santana."
"It's very nice to meet you two," Anna said with a slight accent.
"Likewise," Santana and Quinn answered in unison.
"Anna usually works from seven in the morning until five in the evening. She cleans around the house, cooks, does the laundry and goes shopping. Everything a single man like me can't handle on his own." He smiled sheepishly. "So if you have any wishes regarding your diet, talk to her."
"Now, let's talk for a bit. I'm sure you understand that when living together under one roof, there have to be some rules. We'll have breakfast together in the mornings. The rest of the day I will be busy with my work, and that way we have at least a little time to talk. Most evenings are group meetings of some kind, like bible group or AA meetings. During school nights I want you to be home by ten. On the weekends you can come home later, since you're both of age, but only if all your assignments for school are done. You won't smoke or drink in this house and of course, there will be no boys in your room, right Quinn?"
He waited for the girls to acknowledge what he had said and continued.
"Sundays you will attend mass and we will have dinner together after. Do you have any questions?"
"These rules are only reasonable, Uncle Mike," Quinn said. "What if we have some school or club activity running late or something, how can we contact you? And what about money?"
"Ah yes, of course there are exceptions to those rules. If the request is reasonable, you can be excused, just send me a text. Your parents' money is secured in a trust fund that's supposed to pay for your college next year. In the mean time, you will have $150 each per month to cover necessities. If you need additional money for clothes or school you'll have to come and ask me. Anything else?"
Anna brought in a tray with cups and a pot full of tea and they spend the next hour with idle chit-chat about what they were planning the coming year and for college after that. Finally the Reverend stood.
"Okay, I need to be going soon. How about I give you a small tour and you can get settled? Oh and before I forget, here are your keys."
"We took one wall down in here, so it would be easier for Quinn in her wheelchair. I also thought you'd like a room together, so Santana is always close by. I had some rails installed and the shower adjusted so you can go in there with your chair."
Their room was huge. Despite two beds, two desks, two wardrobes and several bookshelves, Quinn could move around easily. The adjoining bathroom was spacious with lots of handrails and a drive-in shower. It was as perfect as Quinn could have hoped for, and she was thrilled that she could shower alone.
After the Reverend left, Santana threw herself onto her bed with a huff.
"Oh hell, being a teenager sucks!"
"Watch your language, hot stuff. This is the Lord's house," Quinn smirked.
"Oh, shut it, blondie. Or would that be pinky now?"
"Ha ha! Move your sexy ass. We need to get our stuff. Maybe we can get our first glance at Lima tonight."
It took them a couple of hours to haul all their stuff in and put it all away. When they were finally done, Santana flopped down on her bed again. Her stomach growled loudly.
"Think Anna's still around?"
Quinn checked her watch; it was past seven already.
"I don't think so, but let's check the kitchen."
The kitchen, like the rest of the house, was deserted.
"San, this feels really weird. I'm not comfortable just taking some food; it could be the Rev's breakfast or something."
"Well, we wanted to check Lima out anyway, so let's go into town for some food."
They had one week to settle in before classes started. They checked out the school (from the outside), the mall, the restaurants and coffee shops. They met a lot of people - mostly curious neighbors or people from the Reverend's congregation and keeping track of them all proved to be impossible.
They talked to the Reverend over breakfast and with Anna whenever she had the time. They got to like her quickly, because she was open and funny. Whenever possible they would hang in the kitchen while Anna cooked, chopped, stirred or baked and just talk to her. She loved to sing and dance along to the radio and goofed around a lot. Also she proved to be a real resource for information about everyone and everything in Lima.
Of course Anna was just as curious about them as everybody else. How could they be sisters? How had she never heard of their existence before? Did they have boyfriends back home? And some more general stuff, like what food they liked, what kind of music, films or books? Talking to her was easy and fun, since she was barely older than the girls.
The week went by in a blur and all too soon it was Sunday evening. Santana had helped Quinn get into bed and was now sitting on the edge holding one of her hands firmly in her own.
"The week was pretty good, don't you think?"
"Yes, it was. Nobody tried to kill us, yet. That's a pretty good thing in my book."
"Are we ready to tackle the next level?"
"As ready as we will ever be, I guess."
A/N 2: First day of school. Anyone else excited?
Santana pushed Quinn up the ramp to the main entrance. They were early because they had to meet up with the principal before classes started, and only a few students were around.
It happened when they rounded a corner. A tall, blonde girl in a cheerleading uniform was walking backwards, talking animatedly to someone else further down the hall. Santana couldn’t stop the chair fast enough and the girl landed with an “Ompf” in Quinn’s lap.
“This your first day walking?” Quinn snarled.
“Watch where you put your clumsy feet, Dumbo,” Santana barked.
But the girl seemed unfazed and just looked them up and down, without getting up.
“You’re comfy,” she grinned at Quinn. “Last year I had a boyfriend who was in a wheelchair. It was like I had my own personal cab around school.”
“Well, I’m not. So how about you move your ass?”
The blonde stood and looked at them again. “You two must be new. Because I would totally remember you since you’re both totally hot.”
Leaving Quinn and Santana speechless the girl skipped past them towards the lockers. After a few steps she turned towards them again, “I’m Brittany by the way!” nearly crashing into yet another student in the process.
“Wow. That was weird,” Quinn murmured.
“I think I need to join the cheerleaders.” Santana whispered, mostly to herself.
“San! Can you keep it in your pants for a while? Plus, she’s straight. She just told us she had a boyfriend.”
“And she thinks we’re hot. So I think she’s fluid.”
“You can’t.” Quinn whispered meaningful.
“Why not? It’s high school, we’re supposed to fool around. Plus, she’s really hot. Did you see those legs? They went on forever.”
Quinn rolled her eyes. Of course she had noticed and she had gotten a good feel of that girl’s abs. Steel!
“It’s our first day. Maybe we could keep the fact, that we’re gay under wraps a little? We’re supposed to …”
Quinn couldn’t finish that sentence since a woman poked her head out of the principal’s office.
“Santana and Quinn? Principal Figgins will see you now.”
They had decided to take some classes together and some apart. Their first class was English, which they had together.
Santana steered towards the back row at once, while Quinn had to stay up front. Other students filed in and just in front of the teacher Brittany skipped into the room. She spotted Santana, shooed the student in the seat beside her out of his chair and winked at her. There was the obligatory attendance list, the “welcome back students. Its senior year”, the curious looks from everyone around. Thankfully they didn’t have to introduce themselves. Class started and as soon as the teacher had turned to the board Brittany turned to her.
“Hey. I thought you were a freshman.” She was smiling brightly and looking at Santana openly, her bright blue eyes sparkling with delight.
Santana was confused. “Huh? What?” Did she look like a freshman?
“Well because you’re new.” Brittany stated matter-of-factly.
“Oh. We transferred here for senior year.” Santana turned fully to the other girl now.
“Did you get expelled?”
“What? No, we live with our uncle now.” Santana was confused, but Brittany was still smiling at her openly, so she answered honestly. Well, as honestly as she could any way.
“Why don’t you live with your parents? Did they run away with the circus?”
“They died.” Santana had trouble to keep the laughter in that threatened to erupt at Brittany's question. The train of thought this girl had were ridiculous, but in a nice, friendly way. She managed to look appropriately crestfallen at the alleged death of her parents.
“Oh. I’m so sorry you lost your parents.” And with that Brittany closed the gap between them and hugged her tightly. “But I guess that’s my luck, because now you’re here. What’s your name by the way?”
“Santana, and the girl in the chair is my sister Quinn.”
“Did her parents die, too?”
Before Santana could answer the teacher finally noticed them talking.
“Miss Pierce. Stop the talking.”
“Yes, Miss Walsh.”
They stopped talking and Santana pretended to be listening to the teacher, while in reality all she could think about was Brittany. The girl had said some truly weird things and most people would have thought she was stupid or mean even, but Santana wasn’t most people. Brittany was all smiles when she talked like that and totally open. The Latina doubted that the girl even knew the word mean.
After a while a folded piece of paper landed in her lap. The paper itself was bright yellow. The message was written in different colored crayons and all around the girl had drawn flowers, butterflies and – was that a unicorn? It was totally sweet and innocent and stood in stark contrast to the message itself.
“You would look soooo hot in a Cheerios’ uniform. I can talk to the coach for you.”
Santana blinked and took a deep breath. This couldn’t be happening.
She felt herself taken back two years; to the last time she had seen her sister alive. Her sweet Louisa. Like every morning she had found a message in her mailbox. Always on bright colored paper; always written in crayons. This message said: “Mom sait we’ll meat you too for lunch at Subway. Love U.”
They had met for lunch and the last thing ever she heard her sister say to her, while they hugged goodbye for the day was: “Tana. You know if you were not my sister I would totally hit on you. You are so hot. And you, too, Quinn.”
Louisa had been “special”. She was a little slow and most people called her a retard. But for Santana that wasn’t true. She was sweet and friendly. She loved everyone and trusted everyone. She was always smiling and found happiness in a flower along the way. She saw the beauty in everything. Her sister had been the most happy and contend person Santana had ever known. Being with her had made Santana happy. And then, later that same day, someone had killed her; because she was “special”. Her sister had been the reason she left college for the academy. And Quinn had come with her.
Santana was a little freaked, that this girl reminded her so much of her sister, but suddenly, after she made the connection, she understood the way the girl acted. Maybe she was hitting on her, maybe not. It was simple honesty. Santana rummaged through her bag and pulled out a red pen. She drew a cat at the bottom of the paper and answered.
“That would be totally awesome.”
Brittany gave her the most brilliant smile.
When class was over Brittany asked her what her next class was. Santana looked at her print out.
“Chem with Mr. Pa-pa-dop…”
“Mr. Papadopulous. Cool! Me, too. Wanna be lab partners?” Brittany looked at her hopefully.
“Totally!” Santana smiled an honest to God smile. She hadn't felt this happy since … well since before Louisa's death.
And just like that Santana had made her first new friend at this new school.
Santana walked over to Quinn, Britt hot on her heels.
“Hey Q. Wanna meet up for lunch in the cafeteria later?”
Quinn looked at her and the blonde girl standing behind her, her face unreadable. Santana sure looked giddy. An unusual look for her, Quinn thought.
“Yeah, that’s cool.” She tried to sound bored, even if she was dying to know what had Santana in such a good mood.
“K. See you then.”
Quinn sighed. She would have to wait for an answer.
Santana and Brittany left the room and the blonde started leading the way to the chemistry lab.
“Can I ask you something?”
Santana giggled. Brittany was asking her questions the whole time. She wondered what she would ask now, that she asked permission first.
“Sure, Britt. You can ask me anything.”
“Is that Quinn’s real hair color? Because she totally looks like Lightning from Final Fantasy. I bet she has super powers, too.”
Santana smiled. Okay, superpowers. That sure was a serious topic someone had to ask permission to ask first.
“No, it’s not her real hair color. But you’re right, she totally has super powers. But you can’t tell anyone. It’s a secret.”
“I knew it!” Brittany bounced excitedly up and down. “Why is it a secret? Is she hunted by aliens or something?”
“Yes, something like that.”
“Do you have super powers, too?” Brittany was looking at her expectantly and she could see the possibilities shooting through her brain. Telepathy, flying or shooting fire balls.
“No. I don’t. I’m just plain, old me.”
“Well, you’re neither plain nor old, so that makes no sense at all. You’re sisters, so why does Quinn have super powers but you don’t?”
Brittany seemed confused and Santana hurried to explain her blood relationship with Quinn to her.
“She’s not my real sister. I’m adopted.”
Brittany still looked a little confused, but after a second she smiled brightly at Santana again.
“So you’re here to protect her? Like a guardian angel?”
“Yes. I protect her.” Santana stated and it is the most honest she has been in weeks.
Santana knew she was treading on thin ice. She practically told Brittany that they were not who they pretended to be, but she couldn’t help it. She couldn’t tell her the truth, but she didn't want to lie to the blonde girl either. She knew Q would give her hell for it later, if she found out, but Santana wasn’t worried. Brittany wouldn’t tell anyone about the alien hunters or Quinn’s super powers. Plus, she feared that Brittany was on that killer’s list, too. So keeping her close was just the sensible thing to do, right? Right.
“So, what is it?”
“What is what?”
“Her super power? What is it?”
Santana chuckled. “She’s super smart.”
Brittany nodded knowingly and just like that the subject was dealt with. “So, what’s your favorite color?”
She had all morning classes with Brittany and therefore they spent the whole morning together. Walking from class to class took some time because Brittany seemed to know everyone and hugged at least half of them. But what really baffled Santana was the fact, that no one insulted Brittany. Maybe this school wasn’t so bad after all.
After third period some white guy with a weird hairdo came up to them, shoving a microphone in her face.
“So, you’re Santana, right? One of the new hot girls that transferred here for senior year.” He stated in a whiny voice.
“Get that thing out of my face Hairy Potter.”
“Oh my, dirty talk. I like it. What are your plans for the future?”
“I’ll go to college and become a lawyer. And I will sue your sorry ass if you don’t move it, right now.”
Classes went by smoothly. The classes were a no brainer since she already knew most of the contents and so she had lots of time to take notes, observe the other students, and the teachers, and talk to Brittany. Before she knew it, it was time for lunch.
“Come on.” Britt grabbed her hand and pulled her with her. “I’ll introduce you to the coach. She’ll love you.”
“But Britt, I have to meet up with Quinn.”
“I won’t take long, I promise. Please, for me?”
Santana sighed. She couldn't deny Brittany anything, and she had only known her for a few hours. She was totally whipped.
The coach was actually in her office when they arrived. Brittany knocked at the door frame and poked her head into the office.
“Hey coach. You gotta minute?”
“Brittany, sure. Come on in.” Upon seeing Santana she raised an eyebrow and added: “And who’s that?”
Brittany bounced up and down a few times, a big smile on her face.
“That’s my new friend Santana. She wants to join the Cheerios.”
“I see. So, Pocahontas. You want to join my Cheerios. Just like that. Do you even know who I am?” The coach took off her glasses and looked at Santana with some kind of death glare.
“Well, duh. You’re Sue Sylvester. Every freaking pom-pom knows who you are.”
“Damn straight. And what makes you think I’ll let every lazy Mexican immigrant join my squad?”
On the inside Santana was highly amused. Of course she had read the file on Sue Sylvester, but up until now she had thought people were crazy or making things up about her, but this … this was going to be fun. On the outside she maintained her cool and managed to conjure her old cheerleading – bitchy self.
“Well, for one I’m totally hot and awesome. I will upgrade your squad just by being there. Second, I totally have the moves. You’ll get wet and hot when you see me cheer.”
Sue brought her hands down to her desk, smiling.
“Britt. I like her. She’s a feisty one. I tell you something Sacagawea. You can come to the try outs this week. I didn’t really want to add someone new, but because Britts here seems to like you I’ll give you a chance. And now leave I have better things to do. I have the destruction of Glee club to plot.”
Thanky to my beta and to everyone who's reading.
Quinn’s morning didn’t go as smooth as Santana’s. The students barely noticed her and she had to do some pretty artistic moves to avoid all the bags that threatened to be dumped into her face. But she couldn’t avoid them all and so she got her fair share of bumps.
And those people who did notice her? Well, “move it, bitch”, was really nice compared to most of the stuff she heard. She already knew most of the nick names (truck, wheels, crip, legs), but some were new. And despite only playing a role here, it definitely stung.
She noticed that most of the regular students were acting okay, but those in varsity jackets, footballers and hockey players mostly, or in this cheerleading uniform definitely had a mean streak. They behaved like they owned the school. And the way all the others behaved towards them, they in fact did.
She cursed the fact that she decided to split up with Santana. She wanted her beside her. But she took a deep breath and continued onwards to her second class.
“Come on. You are Quinn fucking Fabray. You can do this.”
The classes itself were pretty easy. She had always been an excellent student; she had been valedictorian despite her accident, and had been granted a scholarship at NYU. She really didn't need to worry about classes; she didn't need to get into college any more. No, what really stressed her out were the times between classes.
From the time she knew she would go back to school and to her chair she had played endless scenarios in her head how people would behave and how she would react to it. She had thought about the worst situations possible. She had given thought to the hurt and embarrassment she would feel when people would talk down to her or make fun of her. But this? She wasn't prepared for this feeling. She hadn't expected to become this … angry. She felt it bubbling inside her, wanting to break out. She wanted to lash out, at somebody, anybody to get rid of this anger. People were staring at her and it made her feel vulnerable. People were whispering, throwing glances and it made her feel insecure. She had not felt that way in a long time. And she hated it.
During classes Quinn manged to calm herself down a bit, at least enough to brave the next trip between classes. But calming down became harder with every class, every pass through the hallways. And by the time lunch came around she was really looking forward to meet up with Santana. She would be able to calm her down, she would be able to help her get a handle on this.
Quinn couldn't remember when she had been this on edge the last time. She hated that she couldn't manage one single day of school without needing Santana. She was a grown woman, an adult, she should be able to get though this with her head high; instead she felt like she was sixteen again. She was disappointed in herself. She needed to work on this.
She zig-zaged through the mass of students towards the cafeteria and knew without a doubt that she would hate this place. The room, albeit big, was crowded, the paths between the tables were narrow and the counter was way too high for her to reach. She stopped just inside, a little to the side, so people wouldn't run into her and she would be able to see Santana at once.
But five minutes passed and no Santana. Quinn started to get a little nervous. More and more students entered, the room became insanely loud and even more crowded.
After ten minutes she started to feel really uneasy. She registered some jocks nearby pointing at her and laughing. This was bad. She was an easy target, exactly that kind of target bullies wouldn't pass. New student AND in a wheelchair. Yeah, easy pray, exactly the kind of victim she would have gone for. This was bad, she needed to move, get lost in the mass of bodies.
Quinn decided to do what would be the regular thing to do; get some food. She tried to grab a tray, but couldn't quiet reach it. Nobody seemed to notice; other students simply passed her without giving her a second glance.
“Here. Let me get that for you.” A dark haired girl, about her own height (if she was standing up), reeking of cold cigarette smoke took her tray and handed it to her.
“Thanks,” Quinn murmured.
The girl just turned to walk away, but Quinn managed to grab her wrist. “Stop. Can I ask you something?”
The girl huffed. “Fine. One question. And only because I dig your hair.”
“What's the best place to go for a smoke around school?” Quinn asked.
“Well. The teachers don't really give a shit, so anywhere outside is fine. If you want some quiet from all the idiots around here? Under the bleachers is the place.” The girl didn't wait for a response and left.
Quinn rolled forwards carefully, balancing the tray on her lap looking for a place to eat when she finally heard Santana call for her.
“Hey Q! Wait up!”
Instantly Quinn felt considerably better.
They found a partly empty table where Quinn could fit her chair between the head of the table and the wall. They talked about their classes and their morning in general. Santana's story was mostly joyful because of Brittany (who sat at the Cheerios' table), while Quinn's recount was much more laid back. She couldn't afford to get emotional now. Not in the middle of school.
They finished eating, talking about teachers and classes, both agreeing that the coursework was easy.
“God Q, we need to bring our own food. This is worse than the chow you get in jail.” Santana whined.
Quinn laughed. “We'll talk to Anna. Her food is to die for anyway.”
“San?” Quinn whispered after a moment of contend silence between them. “I really need to use the bathroom and I don't know if I can manage alone. Would you...”
But Santana didn't even let her finish. “Duh! Of course. Let's check out the different bathrooms and see if we can find one you can use on your own.”
Santana dropped their trays off on the way out and they went in search for a handicapped stall that would allow Quinn to use the bathroom without any help. They scouted the whole school only to find the handicapped stalls … lacking, until they entered the Cheerios' locker room. Only God (and maybe Sue Sylvester) knew why here of all places would be a handicapped stall at all, but it was. And it was the best one in the whole school.
Quinn decided that she shouldn't use this particular stall unless it was an actual emergency or Brittany was around. (Nobody would argue with her Santana assured her.) So they went back to another bathroom.
After Quinn had managed to use the toilet by herself (but only because she cheated a little) they went outside. Santana talked about Brittany some more while Quinn smoked her first cigarette that day and listened. She felt a lot better now; Santana's presence and her stories had calmed her down considerably and she was sure that she would make it through the rest of the day without a mental breakdown.
The afternoon was more of the same for both girls. They both started to recognize some people they shared classes with. There was this guy with a mohawk, everyone called him Puck, who Q ran into sometimes. She could tell he meant trouble, but he had a kind smile.
There was an Asian guy, Mike, who actually held a door open for her. She noticed a black girl, Mercedes, and an obviously gay guy, Kurt, who seemed to hang out and talk constantly.
And while lunch had calmed her down quite a bit, she was close to loosing her cool again by the time classes ended. When that last bell finally rang Quinn was relieved. This day had been more exhausting than she had anticipated. All she wanted was to go home, take a shower and a nap maybe before typing out her report for the day. Something to eat, actual food and not that excuse for it from the cafeteria, would be awesome, too.
All in all she thought that this day had been pretty awful, but she knew that it could have been way worse. She knew she had been close to succumbing to her old self a few times during the day, but in the end she had managed to get a grip on herself. “It's not you. They're just kids. Don't take it personally. Remember why you're doing this. Remember!”
So after that last bell she was exhausted physically and emotionally. She stopped by her locker, to put some stuff away, but the lock wouldn't open.
“Shit! Shit! Shit! I must have mixed up the numbers.” She vented inside her head while she started rummaging through her backpack to find the info sheet with her locker combination.
Suddenly someone was tipping her on her shoulder, clearing their throat behind her just as she found what she was looking for.
“Excuse me? Quinn, right?”
Quinn turned her head. She recognized the girl from some of her classes. Rachel something, some fruit. She was a tiny brunette with no fashion sense whatsoever. Short skirt, socks up to her knees and an irritating animal sweater. Back in the day this girl would have had to suffer. She would have tortured her mercilessly and made her life a living hell. And not because of the way she dressed, but because she oozed confidence despite the way she dressed.
“Yes. That's me. What do you want?” Quinn was tired and thus she sounded as annoyed as she felt.
“Well, I'm Rachel Berry. You might be aware that we share some classes? I can't fail to notice that you seem to struggle with your locker and while I understand your irritation about it I need to ask you if you would be so kind to grant me access to my locker; which happens to be the one exactly atop of yours?”
“Sure, just gimme a sec.” Quinn answered, about to turn to her locker again.
“No, you seem to have misunderstood. I'm on a tight schedule and in order to be punctual to my extracurricular activities I need access to my locker immediately.”
“Well, I'm on a tight schedule, too. Who says I don't have to get to Cheerios' practice right now?”
“Well, that's highly unlikely seeing as you are in a wheelchair and obviously can't walk. Plus there is no Cheerios' practice on Mondays. I on the other hand am really running out of time.”
“Better running out of time than not running at all.” Quinn couldn't believe that girl. Who did she think she was? “Seeing as I'm sitting in a wheelchair.”
Without waiting for any further response Quinn turned around to her locker. She opened it, threw her stuff in and slammed it shut again.
“All yours now,” she sneered and rolled towards the front entrance without giving the girl another glance. What was wrong with that girl?
She rolled through the parking lot to the space where they had left the car in the morning. And sure enough there was no Santana again.
“I really hope this doesn't get a habit, me having to wait around for her,” she mumbled under her breath and lighting a cigarette. She watched other students leave the school, hanging around in groups or pairs or, in some cases, alone.
She saw the girl from the locker striding in her direction. She was about to pass by her when she noticed Quinn smoking. She huffed, put her hands on her hips and gave her an annoyed stare.
“You know smoking is a really unhealthy and unnecessary habit. It causes all sorts of terrible, and deadly, diseases and it hurts your voice.”
Quinn rolled her eyes.
“Oh really? So why don't you pick it up, so I don't have to listen to you whine anymore?”
She was in full bitch mode now. She couldn't help it, this girl was just the icing on the cake that had been her day.
“And now leave me the fuck alone, hobbit. Or I'll RUN you over.”
Obviously a little shocked by her outburst the girl finally left her alone without saying another word and headed to her car. Quinn saw her rummaging through the trunk and picking something up. Then she turned around and headed towards the school again. This time she passed by Quinn without saying a word. Quinn just smirked at her when she passed and she could see, that Rachel was itching to say something, but kept her mouth shut. Lips tightly pressed together.
She smoked another two cigarettes before Santana finally arrived; of course with Brittany at her side.
“Hi! I'm sorry you had to wait again, Q. Britt thought she saw a unicorn on the football field earlier and wanted to check if it was stuck under the bleachers.”
Quinn just raised an eyebrow and huffed.
“Fine. Whatever! Can we go home now? I'm exhausted.”
“Sure thing. Mind if Britt comes along? We want to do our homework together.”
Inwardly Quinn cursed. She wanted quiet, she wanted to be alone. With people around she had to be extra careful and she wouldn't be able to write her report. But she simply nodded. Brittany got into the backseat and Santana lifted Quinn onto the passenger seat.
In the end Brittany stayed until 10 P.M. And Quinn was glad she did.
Brittany was funny and all around happy and being around her relaxed Quinn better than anything else she would have done by herself. Santana helped Britt with her homework, carefully guiding her to the right answers instead of just providing them; and Quinn was stunned by the interaction. She almost forgot her own homework because she rarely got to see this side of Santana. In fact she hadn't seen it in almost three years and the realization hit her like a truck.
Quinn smiled. It was only the first day of school and this case already showed the promise to change their lives forever.
When they were all done with their homework, Britt talked with Santana about the cheerleading squad and the coach. They even checked some videos of their championships on Youtube. And even when they were talking about cheerleading Quinn never felt left out. Brittany had the ability to always include her into the conversation without it feeling forced. She was genuinely interested in her opinion, too. In the end Quinn did have more fun than she have had in a long time. And when Brittany left she hugged Quinn equally as tight as Santana.
Later that evening, when Quinn and Santana had finally typed their reports and were lying in bed Quinn whispered.
“You know San? You are right. Britt is awesome. And she totally reminds me of...”
But Santana interrupted her before she could finish.
“Yeah. Me, too.”
“Don't get hurt, okay?”
Santana sighed. “Might already be too late for that.”
A/N: The song in this chapter is "Time after Time" from Cyndi Lauper. Lyrics are in italics.
A/N2: Thanks for all the follows and favorites. It makes my day. If you want to talk about the story come find me on tumblr:
canwejustskipit . tumblr
A/N3: If you happen to be a fan of Finn you will probably not want to read this. Or any future chapter.
When they arrived at school the next morning (Breakfast had been a little strange with a lot of questions from Michael about their first day of school) Brittany was already waiting for them in the parking lot.
Brittany hugged Santana and went over to the passenger side. While Santana pulled the chair out of the trunk and unfolded it Brittany hugged Quinn and then lifted her out of the car with ease.
“Britt! What?” Quinn was surprised. In her experience people avoided handling her and were perfectly content with letting Santana do all the lifting and stuff. She had realized long ago that people didn't know how to treat her physically, fearful she might break somehow. Nobody other than Santana and her family had ever been this relaxed around her.
“We're friends, right?” Brittany simply stated. “Friends help each other.”
Quinn smiled, slinging one arm around Brittany's neck and holding onto one of her arms with the other hand.
“Wow Britt, you've got some serious guns there!” Quinn noticed aloud.
Santana's head shot up from where she was unfolding the chair.
Brittany just shrugged. “I do a lot of sports.” She poked at Quinn's arm. “Yours aren't so bad either.”
She gently put Quinn into the wheelchair and Santana adjusted the foot rests.
“Thanks, Britt.” Quinn whispered.
“You're welcome. Friends, right?”
Together, Brittany and Santana both holding one handle of the chair, they entered the school and made their way towards English. It was a totally different experience for Quinn. Nobody got in her way, no bags were dumped in her face and no one called her any names. Students made way for them and Britt was greeting most of the students, hugging a few, too on the way.
Sure people were staring and whispering, and there were the occasional wolf whistles; though Quinn was sure those were for San and Britt. She knew she was pretty, but she doubted that people were able to look past the chair; at least this early in the school year.
But it was a far cry from the experiences from the day before. And yet, Quinn had a feeling that later on, when she was on her own it would be the same again. It would take some time until something or someone else became more interesting.
They entered their classroom but before they could make it towards their places some tall guy blocked their path.
“Hi, Brittany.” He greeted her friendly.
Brittany smiled at him. “Hi, Finn.”
“We missed you in Glee yesterday. You didn't quit, did you?” he asked with a scowl on his face. He didn't even acknowledge Santana and Quinn, but Quinn felt Santana tense beside her.
“Oh shit.” Brittany answered. “I totally forgot.”
“You forgot?” Finn was now speaking a little louder and Quinn felt some people staring at the scene. “But … it's not like Glee moved to a new time or something.”
Brittany became a little flustered and her cheeks turned red in embarrassment.
“I have different classes this year. The first week is always so confusing,” she tried to apologize.
“Look. If you don't want to be in Glee anymore, or if Coach Sylvester doesn’t need you to spy anymore, fine. But don't give me some lame excuse.”
“No. I love Glee. I want to stay.” Brittany was blushing more now and fidgeted nervously with the hem of her shirt.
Quinn could see Santana's eyes become dangerously small.
“Hey bigfoot. Leave her alone. She said she forgot.”
Finn turned to Santana now, looking equally confused and annoyed.
“But that's stupid. You don't forget ...”
But Santana didn't let him finish. “Call her stupid one more time, Frankenteen and I will end you.”
Finn was kind of towering over Santana and looked down at her skeptically.
“Keep out of it. This is between Brittany and me. And what's it to you anyway? You want to bang her or something? Pull a number and wait your turn.”
Before Santana could react and really hurt the boy Quinn rolled into the space between them. Grabbing Santana's waist she addressed the boy.
“Leave! Now! Before I forget my good manners and make you hurt. Bad!” Quinn's eyes were cold, anger and rage blazing. “And don't ever talk to one of us like that again. That includes Brittany.”
Finn raised his hands in a mock gesture of surrender and backed away. “Okay. I'm leaving. And Britt, remember Glee today.”
Quinn watched him leave and locked eyes with Santana. They both knew what to do. Brittany interrupted their wordless communication by hugging first Quinn and then Santana.
“I love you both. I've only known you since yesterday and you're already my best friends. Nobody ever stood up for me like that.” She winked at Santana and added: “And I totally wouldn't mind.”
Seeing Santana blush a deep red was certainly something Quinn didn't get to see every day.
The day went pretty much like the day before. They remembered more names, recognized more people. Brittany still hugged lots of people and Quinn still had to avoid bags being pushed in her face. Yes, pretty much the same. Until lunch.
Santana and Brittany were already waiting at the door to the cafeteria for Quinn, and while Britt sat down with the other Cheerios Quinn and Santana sat down at the same table as the day before. They had brought their own food (God bless Anna) and were simply talking about their respective classes while they enjoyed it.
Suddenly the sound of a piano could be heard over the talking and bustling of the students. Soon other instruments joined, silencing the conversations throughout the room effectively. And then someone started singing.
Santana and Quinn weren’t really paying attention at first, but as soon as Quinn heard the voice that started singing, she was captivated by it. She couldn’t see who the person was that was singing at first, the other students blocking her view quite effectively, but soon enough the singer and some other kids were starting to dance on the tables.
Quinn and Santana were both thrown for a loop; but for entirely different reasons. Santana had spotted Brittany among the dancers and she couldn’t stop staring blatantly at her. The way Brittany moved …
Quinn saw it too. Brittany was awesome. While she was dancing she oozed confidence and was totally sure of herself. Nothing was clumsy about the way she moved.
But what really floored Quinn was that voice. There were actually a few people singing; and they were all really good. But this voice … and it belonged to no other than this Rachel girl; that annoying brat from the locker. How could someone this tiny belt out tones and volume like that?
All too soon it was over and the room burst into a food fight. Santana came to her senses again, grabbed Quinn’s chair and wheeled her outside, to safety.
Once outside and out of earshot from other people she stopped.
“That was …”
“Did you see?”
“Girl got some serious moves.”
“She sure does.”
Quinn lit a cigarette, both girls still a little stunned from what had transpired in the cafeteria.
“San? I guess you’re in trouble.”
“Hellz yeah. I just hope it’s the good kind.”
Later they met up with Brittany again and she led them to the choir room.
There were a bunch of kids in there already. Quinn and Santana recognized some of them from their classes and from the impromptu session in the cafeteria. Eight pairs of eyes looked at them. The small brunette from the locker the day before, the one with the incredible voice, glared at Quinn. And Finn, the tall boy who had talked to Brittany before English looked at them confused.
And yet it was Puck, the guy with the Mohawk, who spoke first.
“Hey Britt, who’re your hot friends?” he asked while ogling Santana shamelessly.
“Hi, guys. This is Santana and Quinn. They are new at the school and want to join Glee.”
“That’s great Brittany.” Unnoticed a teacher had entered the choir room behind them. “I’m Will Shuester. I teach Glee. Welcome to the Glee club.”
“Don’t you guys all agree that we should at least hear them first, before we welcome them to the club? We do have a shot at Nationals this year and I don’t want some inexperienced performers hurt my chances.”
“Listen, hobbit. I can assure you, that I’ll be the one doing the hurting, if …”
“Enough!” Mr. Shuester interrupted the starting argument. “Santana, Quinn? Why don’t you show us what you’ve got?”
Santana and Quinn looked at each other and Quinn shrugged.
“Sure.” Santana went over to the piano guy and told him what to play.
The intro began and Quinn started them off with her soft alto, singing to Santana who sat on a stool in the middle of the room now.
Lying in my bed I hear the clock tick
And think of you
Caught up in circles confusion
Is nothing new
Flashback - warm nights
Almost left behind
Suitcase of memories,
They had not been in Glee at their old school, but they had both been singing in the church choir and in the LGBT choir at college. They sang together quite often and the routine they had with each other showed. Santana took the second verse, standing up from the stool, moving around while Quinn seemed to try to follow her.
Sometimes you picture me
I'm walking too far ahead
You're calling to me, I can't hear
What you've said
Then you say - go slow
I fall behind
The second hand unwinds
They joined together for the refrain, Quinn harmonizing perfectly with Santana's high vocals.
If you’re lost you can look and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you
I'll be waiting
Time after time
If you’re lost you can look and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you
I will be waiting
Time after time
Quinn took the lead again for the third verse.
After my picture fades and darkness has
Turned to gray
Watching through windows - you're wondering
If I'm OK
Secrets stolen from deep inside
The drum beats out of time
For the next refrain Quinn took the lead and Santana did the harmonies.
If you’re lost you can look and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you
I'll be waiting
Time after time
you say - go slow
I fall behind
The second hand unwinds
If you’re lost you can look and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you
I'll be waiting
Time after time
If you’re lost you can look and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you
I will be waiting
Time after time
Time after time
Time after time
Time after time
Time after time
It was nothing compared to Rachel in the cafeteria earlier, but it was a good performance. The other people in the room seemed to think so too. Everyone besides Rachel was standing up, clapping wildly and smiling at them. Brittany even jumped down the stairs excitedly and hugged them both. Mr. Shuester beamed at them.
“That was really good,you two. Welcome to…”
Rachel’s arm shot up in the air before he could finish the sentence.
“Mr. Shuester. If I may…? While this was a solid performance, it was rather amateurish and inexperienced. In regards to our goal to attend and win Nationals this year I’m really not sure, if we can burden us with untrained performers. Plus I’m not sure we can stomach a second wheelchair in our ranks at …”
“RACHEL!” Mr. Shuester, Brittany and the boy in the wheel chair interrupted her at the same time and Rachel’s mouth snapped shut.
“Rachel,” Mr. Shuester was the one who started speaking first. “While you are right, that Quinn and Santana are not experienced in regards to Glee, they are quite able vocally. Not a lot of you guys can harmonize this good and effortless with each other and change the lead voice. And the second thing we have to remember, Rachel, is that we need to be at least twelve members to be able to attend the competition at all. Last time I’ve counted we are nine, so we need new members. Chances are new members are going to be inexperienced. So, end of discussion. We always accepted anyone who auditioned. I’m not going to change that now. Quinn, Santana. Welcome to Glee!”
Quinn was speechless. She couldn’t believe this girl. So instead of saying something she merely grinned sweetly at Rachel and raised one eyebrow in challenge.
Santana on the other hand didn’t keep quiet.
“Listen, pint-size. I may not be as Broadway as you are and you might be the star of this little band of losers here, but if you ever talk to my sister like that again …” Santana took a step closer to Rachel, glaring at her threateningly. “I will end you.”
“Quinn quickly closed the distance to Santana and grabbed a hold of her wrist. Santana turned and looked at her questioningly. “Calm down. I’m sure it was simply a poor choice of words.”
“It better be.” Santana growled.
Everybody looked at them wide-eyed until Quinn spoke again.
“So, how does this glee thing work?”
Chapter 8: Chapter 7
Thanks to: willowezra for doing the beta on this without even knowing me; to yellowsmurf6 for answering all my stupid questions about police work and stuff, and to author18 for listening to my crazy ideas and offering additional input. Thanks for the kind and amazing reviews. Keep 'em coming!
A/N: Sorry for the long wait but RL is a bitch. But I am still working on this; it just takes a little longer than expected.
A/N2: Thanks for all the follows, favorites and comments. It makes my day.
A/N3: If you happen to be a fan of Finn you will probably not want to read this. Or any future chapter.
Follow me on tumblr if you want, you can even talk to me :D http://canwejustskipit.tumblr.com/
The rest of Glee went by without a hitch. Mr. Shuester wanted them to prepare solos, they thought could work for sectionals, under the theme of Respect. He wanted to hear everyone separately to get a better picture of the individual voices.
During the remainder of Glee practice Quinn and Santana talked to most of the kids and found them to be a bunch of nice people. Actually they had classes with all of the seniors and crossed paths with them already. There were Mercedes and Kurt, Mike and Puck and of course Finn and Rachel. Additionally there was Artie, the guy in the wheelchair, with whom Quinn felt an obvious connection to, and an Asian girl, Tina, who was Mike’s girlfriend. Those two were juniors.
Of course everyone, even Rachel, was really curious about them. They all had known each other for years, practically going to school together since kindergarten; so of course Quinn and Santana were bombarded with questions.
“Where are you from?”
“Wow, you’re a long way from home. Do you miss it?”
“Yes and no, actually.”
“How come you two are sisters?”
“Do you have a boyfriend?”
“Not at the moment.”
“Do you want one?”
“Not at the moment.”
“You seem to have a little experience with singing, may I ask if you were in Glee at your old school, or if that’s not the case, where did you gain said experience?”
“No, we were not in Glee at our old school. Practice was conflicting with cheerleading. But we did sing in the choir at our church.”
“Where do you want to go to college?”
“What do you want to be, when you’re, you know, grown up?”
Thankfully they left out the sensible questions for now. Quinn had a suspicion that they all were well aware that their parents died in the same car crash that allegedly put her in the chair. And thus the whole conversation remained on the light side. They had prepared for a scenario like this for weeks.
After actually discussing possible song choices for a while, Mr. Shuester let them go a little early. Brittany joined Quinn and Santana again, telling them about past Glee performances in the last years on their way home.
“It all started sophomore year. Mr. Shuester convinced Principal Figgins to give Glee another shot, since he loved Glee at school himself. Mr. Shue, not Principal Figgins. Originally I only joined because Coach Sylvester wanted me to spy on them, but I fell in love with Glee. I know I’m not that smart …”
Santana tried to interrupt, but Brittany just motioned for her to be quiet for now.
“I’m not smart and I’ll be lucky if I even get into community college, but in Glee that doesn’t matter. I’m a great dancer and have a solid singing voice, so everyone in Glee accepted me right away. No one made fun of me or talked down to me. Music is my element. I feel like I belong and could do something good here.”
“You’re not stupid, Britt.” Santana finally whispered, not being able to hold it back any longer.
“That’s really sweet, San. But I know I’m not very smart. I’m not stupid either; I’m just a little slow understanding most things. I know that, but I’m happy the way I am.”
Santana nodded her understanding.
“You are perfect the way you are, Britt.” Quinn smiled at her.
There was a minute of companionable silence between them and soon they arrived at their house. They settled at the dining room table like the day before and started their homework.
“Britt, can I ask you something,” Quinn asked after she had finished her math assignment.
“Sure. What is it?”
“Is Rachel always this annoying and bossy? I mean, I don’t even know her and she managed to piss me of three times already.”
“Oh, Rachel isn’t that bad. She is a really good person, actually. She’s friendly and helpful. She is one of the few people who are actually never mean to me. She has a big heart. It’s just that she’s so focused sometimes, that she loses sight of other people. And she did have a really tough time during high school. She was bullied very badly, because of her clothes and the way she talks-, well and because of her dads. People make fun of her a lot, she’s mostly protecting herself.”
“Wait a second, Dads? As in two?” Santana interrupted.
“Yes, Rachel has two dads. I really don’t know how that worked, because I know that only women can get pregnant and have babies. And I think they are gay.”
Quinn looked down at her laptop to hide her smile at Brittany’s comment. She was too cute for words sometimes. “My guess is that they used a surrogate and adopted her. It’s pretty common for gay couples when they want to have children.”
Brittany looked at Quinn confused, but Santana jumped in to explain.
“It means they adopted a baby from a woman who couldn’t or wouldn’t care for it, or who became pregnant just to have a baby for them because men can’t have babies on their own.”
Brittany nodded slowly. “That makes sense.”
“What about Rachel’s mother?” Quinn asked.
Brittany shrugged. “I don’t know. She has to have one, right? I guess she’s out of the picture. I think Rachel met her once but I don’t know the details. And anyway I think that’s not my story to tell really.”
“Regardless, I really hope you’re right, and she really is a nice person. Somewhere deep, deep down and obviously well hidden, but to me she seems to be a self-centered bitch. The way she talked to Quinn earlier …”
Brittany shrugged it off. “She will probably apologize tomorrow. She didn’t mean it the way it sounded. It’s like all her thoughts tumble just out of her mouth unfiltered. Were other people reflect first and talk later Rachel just word vomits.”
“So, are you friends with her? You seem to know her pretty well.” Quinn asked.
“No. We’re not friends. Coach would never allow a Cheerio to be friends with a Glee looser. But we get along.” Brittany answered.
Santana raised an eyebrow. “So, if I join the Cheerios I can’t be friends with Quinn anymore?”
Brittany frowned at that question and Quinn could literally see her mind work through this problem. Finally she sighed and looked down defeated.
“Well, that’s not really a problem, because you’re sisters. But she won’t allow me to be friends with Quinn any longer. That’s so sad. I really like you Quinn.”
Quinn shook her head in disbelief. This Coach Sylvester was a really strange person. “Hey, Britt. That’s not a problem. We just don’t tell anyone. And we’ll hang out all the time because San is my sister. It will be perfectly secret that we’re still total besties.”
Brittany beamed at her. “That’s totally awesome! Do you think Rachel could be my secret friend, too?”
“Well, you’d have to ask Rachel, if she’s up to it. But I really don’t get why you’d wanna be friends with her. She’s annoying and self-centered “
“She really isn’t that bad, Quinn. I’ll tell you a story, so you’ll understand better.”
Both Quinn and Santana nodded.
“Our first Sectionals were a disaster. Finn, our star quarterback was dating the head cheerleader and his best friend, Puck, had slept with her. Rachel found out and told Finn, because she had a crush on him.”
“I really fail to see how that makes Rachel a nice person,” Santana quipped.
“Wait for it. Well, Finn broke up with his girlfriend, who was also in Glee by the way, but he didn’t start dating Rachel either. Finn quit Glee and left us one person short for the competition. Additionally Mr. Shue was banned from the competition due to some ruse Coach pulled, so Miss Pillsbury was acting as our faculty advisor.
“There was a lot of drama regarding the big solo for the competition. Of course Rachel wanted to sing it, but in the end Mercedes got the solo. She sang “And I am Telling you I’m not going” and it was awesome. The performance convinced even Rachel, and that’s not easy. So we had Mercedes with her solo and two group numbers. “Proud Mary”, where we had a choreo in wheelchairs, and “Don’t stop believing”, which is kind of our go – to – song. There were two other choirs and we drew the last slot. That wouldn’t have been bad, but obviously someone leaked our set list and the other choirs sang and did our numbers. They even stole the wheelchair choreography. We had one hour until we had to perform and we had nothing. Mr. Shuester was banned, so he couldn’t help us. Ms. Pillsbury is really sweet but music is not her thing really.”
“Wow, that’s … who would do something like that? And why?” Santana asked.
“Coach Sylvester leaked the set list. She wanted to destroy Glee. If we wouldn’t have won sectionals Glee would have been over.”
“How did she even get the list?”
Brittany blushed furiously. “I gave it to her. It was stupid, I know. She asked me and I just gave it to her. I didn’t mean any harm. I just didn’t think she would go this far. As you can imagine, the others were beyond pissed. Even Heather and Debbie, the other two Cheerios, but mostly because I admitted giving the list to Coach I think. But Rachel calmed them all down. She believed me when I told her that I didn’t want to hurt Glee.”
“So obviously you won. What happened?” Quinn asked this time.
“Rachel happened. She took the initiative and pulled another solo out of her sleeve. And then Finn came in. Somehow Mr. Shuester had convinced him to forget the personal drama for Sectionals and help us out. He brought a group number and while the others practiced it and divided the parts between people Mike, Matt and I came up with some choreography. It was pretty basic, because there wasn’t much time to practice, but together we managed. Well yeah, and we won. Rachel was awesome and not just her solo, but she really proved why she and Finn are our captains.”
“Why didn’t she let Mercedes sing something else?” Santana asked. “That would have been really nice of her. I mean, she wanted the solo all along. She only got what she wanted. That’s not a sacrifice.”
“Oh she wanted to, but all of us, even Mercedes, insisted. If someone could wing something like that, it would be her. She is our best and most professional singer.”
“And that’s when Finn and Rachel got together?” Santana asked.
“Oh no; Finn was still pissed at Puck and Heather. He really did love her and was really hurt by them. He was hurt and lashed out at Rachel, too. In fact Rachel met someone else a few days later and when Finn finally came around and wanted to date her, she already had a boyfriend.”
Quinn laughed. “Oh my god! You sure had a lot of drama in Glee.”
Brittany grinned. “You don’t even know the half of it yet. But honestly … high school is all about drama. I’m pretty sure you had your own drama at your old school.”
Santana and Quinn shared a glance and started laughing again. It took a minute or so before Quinn had calmed down enough to speak. “Yeah; we so had lots of drama.”
Brittany looked questioningly from Santana to Quinn and back to Santana. “Well, if you ever wanna tell me about your secrets … I’m totally here for you. And I won’t tell anyone. I’m really good at keeping secrets.”
“Why would you think we have secrets?” Quinn asked. Santana became white as a sheet. ‘Please don’t start talking about superpowers. Please.’
“Everyone has secrets.” Brittany shrugged.
Santana let out a relieved sigh. She really wasn’t ready for Quinn to find out about her conversation with Brittany the other day. When she thought about it, they really had a lot of secrets. And only some of them were meant to be found out.
“Let’s talk about something else,” Quinn said.
They finished their homework and discussed some song choices for Glee. Brittany showed them Rachel’s solo they talked about earlier on Youtube so they had a better grasp on what they had to expect.
Brittany was about to show them Rachel’s MySpace videos when Quinn noticed the time.
“San, it’s almost six. We should drive Brittany home now. I have to get to therapy.”
“Oh shit! I totally forgot about that. Britt, is it okay if we drop you off on the way?”
“Sure, San. But I could easily come with. Keep you company?”
Quinn started to panic, again. Something like this wasn’t supposed to happen. Brittany was strangely perceptive, she couldn’t learn some of their secrets. She was franticly searching for a believable reason why Britt couldn’t come with when Santana spoke up. Obviously she wasn’t as stunned by Brittany.
“You know, that would be terribly boring for you, Britt. You’d have to wait outside while I work with Q and her therapist. And after we’re always beat and mostly just crash. Maybe another time? When we’re more used to this new therapist? But I will totally text you when we're back and we can talk on the phone. Okay?”
Brittany looked from Santana to Quinn with her usual open smile. “Sure. I get it. Everything new is always so confusing. You need to get used to it all first. Go check out this new place and when you’re comfortable I come with some other time.”
Quinn nodded slowly. “I really don’t know why you would want to come to therapy. It’s really boring, even for me. But if you really want to, I guess you can tag along sometime. But we’ll have to check with the new therapist first.”
Brittany beamed. “So, this therapy, will it make you walk again?”
Quinn and Santana smiled at Britt. “Totally!” Santana answered. “Quinn will be able to walk again eventually. Certainly not next week or even next month, but she will walk again.”
Brittany jumped up and down a little, clapping her hands excitedly. “Cool! I totally want to see you dance again Quinn. I know you’re awesome. We’re gonna have soo much fun.”
And again Quinn was thrown for a loop. Brittany could read her like a book, with pictures even. “And how do you know that I was a dancer?”
“Duh! The way you carry yourself; head high, straight back, the way you move. And you were a cheerleader. It’s totally obvious.”
Quinn shook her head in disbelief, but kept smiling at Brittany. “I promise you the first dance, okay?”
“Come on Q, we really need to get going.” Santana said, grabbing Quinn’s duffle from the closet. It held all their gym gear and had a secret compartment for their reports and stuff.
When they dropped Brittany of at her house, she lived only a few streets over, she first hugged Santana. “Call me maybe?” she sing songed. “Sure Britt.” Santana laughed. “First thing when we’re back.”
Then she skipped around to Quinn, hugged her, too and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “For good luck. So you will be walking again soon and I can dance with you.”
Quinn just smiled. “Thanks, Britt. See you tomorrow.”
They drove off and as soon as they were out of sight Quinn pumped her fist into the air.
“Ha!” she cheered. “I got the first kiss.”
Santana huffed. “Oh please. That was a pity kiss, bitch.”
Quinn merely grinned. “I knew it.”
“What?” Santana threw a glance towards Quinn, seeing her totally relaxed and smiling at her goodheartedly.
“You’re jealous.” Quinn stated matter of factly.
“Oh please, Santana. I’ve know you since forever. You have a huge crush on her.”
“So what if I have?” Santana asked defensively.
“Hey! Don’t get me wrong. She’s amazing. It’s just… we’ve only known her for two days. And somehow she already knows more about us than all of Lima combined. Just be careful, okay? I don’t want to see you or Brittany hurt. AND we can’t compromise the case. She’s awfully intuitive and observant. You, and I, have to be terribly on guard with her. I just don’t know if that even CAN work, you know.”
“I know what you mean. She sees things others wouldn’t even notice if they were pushed into them. And it’s not like I want to jump her right away.”
Quinn raised an eyebrow at this statement.
“Okay, okay. I sooo wanna tap that, but I do have some self-control. Nothing’s going to happen any time soon.”
Quinn nodded. “Just be careful. We have to stick to our roles and you don’t want to hurt her, right?”
“I will fucking kill anyone who hurts her.”
“She’s not Louisa, San,” Quinn whispered softly, fully aware that this was Santana’s number one weakness. “I think Brittany is pretty much capable of protecting herself.”
“I know. Britt is a borderline case I think. I mean, she goes to a regular high school and not some special school. It’s not her intelligence. It’s more the way her mind works. She’s just honest and sweet. Positive, you know?”
Quinn smiled. “Yeah. I know. I think she’s totally awesome and maybe she could make you happy again.”
“I am happy.” Santana stated.
“That’s bull, San. You’re content. You’ve made your peace with the idea of living with me for the rest of our lives, hooking up randomly and focusing on the job. That’s not happy.”
“A lot of people have worse.” Santana argued. “And what about you? Who’s going to make you happy?
Quinn shrugged. “I’ll eventually find someone too probably. We’ll see.”
“Well Quinn, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We didn’t even kiss, yet.”
“I did.” Quinn grinned and Santana groaned.
A/N: Sorry for the long wait. I'm currently working on another story beside this one, but I think I found a balance now. CHapter 9 is already in the works, so hopefully the next update won't take as long.
A/N2: Thanks for all the follows, favorites and comments. It makes my day.
A/N3: In this chapter we meet an important character. I kind of borrowed them from another tv show. Any guesses? It's not really that hard, I guess.
The gym was specialized in physical therapy and was located just outside the city limits of Lima. When they entered the place they realized why this particular place had been chosen at once. In addition to the big ground floor with machines there were some smaller studios on the ground floor. Everything was open and spacey. But on the first floor there were private rooms that could not be observed from the outside.
Santana pushed Quinn towards the reception and addressed the hostess.
“Hi. We have an appointment for P.T. at 6.30. The name is Bond.”
The hostess smiled at them. “Sure. Let me look you up, okay?” She typed something into her laptop. “Ah yes. Here you are. Bond, Quinn. P.T. after a car crash; spinal injury; standing appointment Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 P.M. Please take the elevator to the second floor and turn left. It’s the last room on the right. The room is empty now, so you can go right in.”
“Thank you,” Quinn smiled at the receptionist.
The room was as private as possible. It was the last room on the floor and there were no windows. The door could be locked from the inside, so no one could barge in unannounced.
“Well, this is good. If Britt wants to come next time, she totally could. She would have to wait downstairs, maybe she could use one of the studios or something, but otherwise it would be safe, I guess.” Quinn observed.
Santana nodded. “Yeah. But I really would prefer if she didn’t come. I don’t want her near the job.”
The room wasn’t that big and there were only a few items of interest. While they waited for the therapist they took everything in. A recliner, a treadmill, laptop, fridge, stereo, bar, a small table and three chairs.
Santana soon became bored. “I bet you fifty bucks, that our contact is at least forty years old and some tree – shaped - marine who could snap you in half with bare hands.” She smirked, trying to lighten the mood.
“Deal.” Quinn answered at once. “I say it’s some nerdy looking accountant type guy with glasses. And he’s probably at least fifty.”
They were both wrong. And they were totally happy with that.
At 6:30 P.M. sharp the door opened and a young woman entered locking the door behind her. She turned towards them and offered a hand to both of them.
“Hi. I’m Alexandra, but you can call me Alex.” She spoke with a slight accent neither Quinn nor Santana could place and rolled the R lightly. She appeared to have one maybe two years on them. Her hazel locks were bound in a sloppy pony tail that fell well beyond her shoulders and her eyes were a piercing blue. The gym clothes she wore showed a trained and well-formed body and her handshake was firm.
“You must be Quinn and Santana.”
They both nodded.
“So, Alex. How does this work?” Quinn asked.
“Well, if you don’t mind I would like to start you on your work out first. I’ll explain everything later, but we need to make the best use of our time here, okay?”
“Sure.” Quinn answered.
“Okay. First I need you to strip down to your underwear. I need to get a look at your scars and take some measurements.”
“Uhm… is that really necessary?” Quinn blushed under Alex’ gaze and looked to the ground.
“Quinn? Quinn, sweetie, look at me, please?” Alex pleaded.
Hesitant Quinn looked up again until her eyes met Alex’ blue ones. “Look. I know this is probably hard for you, because you think you’re ugly because of your scars. But I can assure you: You’re not! You are a beautiful young woman, Quinn. The scars can’t take that away.”
“That’s what Santana always says.” Quinn whispered.
“Well, than that’s one thing she got right, for a change.”
“Hey!” Santana protested, but all of them laughed at the exchange.
“I won’t judge you or your body, Quinn. Well I will, but only your weight and your muscles. I just need to see the scars because it is part of your medical history and as your therapist I need to know them. It’s part of the cover. It’s something a real therapist would know. You don’t need to feel ashamed of your body or the scars, Quinn. I’ll be as quick as possible. I promise. Okay?”
Quinn took a deep breath and nodded. “Okay. Let’s do this.” She trusted Alex. She wanted to be able to just do it, but she couldn’t move.
Alex sensed Quinn’s inner turmoil. “Quinn? Let me just …. I will show you something and then you can tell me who needs to be more ashamed of their body, you or me?”
Quinn looked confused but nodded slowly. And then her eyes went wide when Alex took off her own shirt. Santana’s jaw dropped. Alex was really beautiful; with toned abs and well defined muscles, light skin that looked as soft as cream. The only thing out of the ordinary was a butterfly tattoo between her shoulder blades. She turned around to show Quinn her back.
“Nice, but I really don’t see why you would be ashamed of anything regarding your body. That tattoo might not be the best I’ve seen, but it surely isn’t nasty or something.” Santana said.
Alex raised her eyebrows and smirked. “Quinn? Do you know what it is?” she asked quietly.
As soon as Quinn saw the tattoo she gasped. “Oh my God. Is it real?”
Santana was confused. “What do you mean, real? Quinn, what is it?”
Quinn’s thoughts were tumbling through her head. She slowly started speaking, trying to sort through them.
“This makes sense actually. Your slight accent; it’s Russian?”
“And you really …?” Quinn couldn’t bring herself to finish the sentence.
“How long? How did you get out?”
“Hello? Can someone please explain to me what you’re talking about?” Santana was starting to get really frustrated.
“Oh, just a few months. I got lucky. I got out on my own but was still hooked on H. I had help.”
Slowly Santana was able to connect the dots. “Holy shit! You were a hooker for the Russian mob?”
Quinn saw Alex flinch under Santana’s words.
“You don’t need to be ashamed Alex. You should be proud. You got out and look what you’ve accomplished. I’m proud of you.”
Alex turned to Quinn smiling at her gratefully. “Thanks. And see, the same goes for you. Your scars? They show that you’re strong, that you’re a survivor. You don’t need to be ashamed either.”
Quinn just nodded. Then she took a deep breath and with one swift motion pulled off her shirt, kicked the shoes of her feet and pulled her pants down.
Alex stood true to her word. She didn’t even bother to put her shirt back on, but started to examine Quinn’s scars right away. With practiced ease she took notes and did some sketches, before she pulled out a measuring tape to measure Quinn’s arms, waist and legs. It was only about two minutes before Alex told her to get dressed again. And only after Quinn was fully dressed in her gym clothes and sneakers did Alex put her own shirt back on.
Santana didn’t say a word through the whole procedure, but when Alex was finished she smiled at her gratefully.
Alex grinned back at her. “Well, Santana, now you’re the only one we have to get naked.”
“You wish.” Santana fired back.
“Maybe,” Alex answered cryptically.
“Okay, Quinn. Stretch your legs before you get on the treadmill. Tell me, when you’re ready. Okay?”
Quinn nodded and started doing just that while Alex started to explain.
“These meetings have two main objectives. First: exchange of information regarding the case. Second: we have to ensure your physical fitness and health.
“For now that means that you, Quinn, get up on that treadmill while Santana and I talk about your reports and everything else that happened the last week.”
Quinn got the hint and finished her stretching before getting on the mill. Alex came over and started her off on a slow setting.
“I actually work here part time. I have some other patients as part of the cover, but I’m really just here for you. So, if something happens, if you’re in danger or just need someone to talk to, call me. You can call me 24/7. To everyone else I’m just the friendly PT who’s got a linking to you. Okay?”
Both Quinn and Santana nodded.
“So, do you need a refresher on the routines you did for PT? Just in case someone asks.”
“No, we’re good.” Quinn answered. “I don’t think I’ll ever forget.”
“Any other questions?”
“You seem to be awfully young for this. Not that I’m one to talk, but… Is this your first assignment?” Santana asked.
Alex grinned at her. “Actually I’m 28 already. I know I look younger though. And it’s my third job. But this is my first long time gig.”
“And your cover is a PT who befriends us?”
“Yes. In case we need to meet out of schedule.”
“Do you have a boyfriend? A girlfriend?”
Alex laughed. “No, Santana; no boyfriend. We broke up a few months ago because of my work. And I’m sorry, but I’m not interested.”
“Damn!” They both laughed.
“But now, let’s get to business, shall we?” Alex turned to the stereo, docked her Iphone and moments later music was filling the air. And while Quinn was getting into her rhythm on the treadmill Santana and Alex started talking.
Quinn had missed one week of therapy and she could already tell that this had been a mistake. She would be in a lot of pain tomorrow. But she pushed herself regardless. She missed this. Not the treadmill, but the running. Since she had regained her ability to walk she’d been running almost every day. It helped her think and it reminded her of what she had overcome.
She listened to Alex and Santana talking, discussing people and events while her body found that steady rhythm that would allow her to run for miles.
She listened to Santana reporting what happened since they got to Lima and Alex asking her some follow up questions. It was mostly first impressions, nothing too deep yet, so it didn’t take that long.
“Do you need to add something, Quinn?” Alex asked.
“No, that about covers it.
Alex got up from where she sat with Santana. “How are you feeling? Still doing okay? How are your legs?”
“Oh, I totally feel that I didn’t work out last week, but all things considered I’m pretty good.” Quinn answered.
“Well, let’s get a little faster then.”
Alex cranked the speed up lightly and Quinn struggled a bit before she got used to the new pace. But after a little while she settled into the new rhythm; her legs and muscles working, her heart beating regularly.
Alex observed her adjusting to the new pace and nodded contently.
“Very good,” she complimented. “You’re in excellent shape all things considered. Did you gain weight over the last weeks?”
Alex had grabbed her notes again and started jotting down her observations.
“No. I managed to hold my weight. I’m careful about what I eat. I gained some muscles in my arms, shoulders and back. I guess I lost some in my legs. But all in all I managed to stay in shape.”
“Awesome. Keep that up. We will weigh and measure you each Thursday just to be on the safe side. Plus we’ll do blood work every Tuesday. We can't risk infections or stuff so if there are changes in the blood we can take countermeasures at once. Same for you Santana.”
“What? No way you’re gonna poke me with needles!”
“Santana, calm down.” Alex tried to soothe her. “We need to do this to be on the safe side. You could be contagious and infect Quinn. Let’s be real. Quinn’s lungs are still her weakness. How many times have you had pneumonia since the accident? Seven? Eight?” She asked Quinn who nodded slowly. “Quinn’s otherwise excellent shape is a big help, but school is a hot zone for all kind of infections. We can’t risk this op because of the flu or some shit.”
Santana huffed. “Fine. But just so you know, I hate needles. You better be damn good at poking me with that shit.” Santana growled.
“Awww. And here I thought you were bad ass.” Alex mocked.
“I totally am, bitch!”
“You can prove that on Thursday. We’ll do some sparring so you two stay on top there, too. We’ll see how bad ass you are then I guess.”
“Bring it! I’ll have you on your back beggin’ for mercy in no time.”
“You’d like that, won’t you?”
Santana gave Alex a shameless once over. “Hellz yeah.”
While Quinn ran mile after mile Santana and Alex continued to flirt and bicker shamelessly. Quinn was feeling awesome. The mood was relaxed, she didn’t need to pretend to be someone else, she could run, stretch her legs so to speak, and her best friend was joking around happily with a new friend. She couldn’t exactly pin point why, because usually she was pretty wary around new people, but knew she liked Alex the minute she walked through the door. And everything she had done and said since then had only strengthened that feeling. She just knew that Alex would be a great friend and confidante for them.
She felt free. She knew she was going to love these few hours every week where she could let her guard down and just be. Sure, they had to talk shop too, but these appointments were equally to keep her in shape and sane.
All too soon their time was up.
“So, Quinn, good work out?” Alex asked, shutting the tread mill off.
Quinn was exhausted. Her clothes were soaked and her legs hurt like hell, but she didn’t mind one bit.
“Best work out in a long time. I totally needed this. I really miss running.”
Alex threw her a bottle of water which Quinn thankfully accepted.
“Honestly? I would go bat shit crazy in your place. I’ll do anything to make this easier for you okay?
Quinn smiled gratefully at Alex. “Well, I guess I will go bat shit crazy at some point, but I know why I’m doing this, so I will pull through. I’ll definitely need these appointments though. They will help me get my focus back.”
“So far you’re doing great.” Alex checked the odometer on the mill. “I wouldn’t have expected you to run more than five miles, six maybe; so your eight is impressive, really. You’re in great shape. It’s a shame we can’t go for a run together.”
“We can always do that when we’re done here. We could do the New York Marathon together or something.”
Alex smiled. “Awesome idea.”
“See you on Thursday?” Quinn extended her hand mindful of her sweaty clothes and body, but Alex pulled her into a hug instead.
“You two are awesome. I have to admit that I had my doubts, since you’re really young, but now I can totally see why they picked you. You’re smart and have the background you need to pull this off. You’re not jaded yet by past cases and experiences. I’m certain that if anyone can pull this off it’s you. Here’s my card. If you need anything, anything at all … don’t hesitate. Call me whenever and I’ll see what I can do. Okay?”
Quinn nodded. Alex hugged Santana too with a playful “Hands, Missy” to keep her from groping her in inappropriate places. But it was with a twinkle in her eyes. “Okay and now get changed and out of here.”
Their drive home was silent, both Quinn and Santana lost in their own thoughts.
For one Quinn was exhausted; in a good way. She felt accomplished but totally drained. The only thing she wanted right now was a hot bath to wash away all the sweat and to prevent the worst soreness she was absolutely certain to feel the next morning.
Going back into the chair hadn’t been as hard as she thought it would be, because she knew she would be able to get back out in just a few days. Those appointments really were better than she expected. Not only did she get to run and be herself, on top of it Alex turned out to be absolutely awesome. Talking to an outsider would prove to be beneficial. And judging by the way they all talked everyone was on the same page regarding the case. She had offered them more than what was professionally necessary. She offered them friendship and unwavering support. She had shown them her weak spot and trusted them with her past. And lastly those appointments gave Quinn strength. The knowledge that she could get out of the chair and her role for a few hours made it easier to be in it. She didn’t feel so totally trapped anymore.
Santana was quiet for an entirely different reason. Just a week ago, hell just two days ago, she totally would have made a serious move on Alex. She was gorgeous, had a great sense of humor and she could totally hold her own towards Santana. Plus Quinn and her got along like old buddies.
So yes, she flirted with her and Alex had flirted right back, and she was sure if she set her mind to it she could have her in her bad, naked and moaning her name, but the point was, she couldn’t care less. And it scared her. It frightened her because her mind kept wandering to a certain blond cheerleader she’d only known for two days. And such a thing had never happened to her before. Not even when she was officially dating Quinn. But now? It definitely scared the crap out of her.
As soon as Quinn was in the shower she called Brittany.
“Hey San. How was therapy?”
“Exhausting, well for Quinn mostly, but … yeah. It was really good.”
“So the new place turned out okay?”
“Totally. The place is huge and the therapist is awesome.”
“So he knows his stuff and is good for Quinn?”
“She definitely knows her stuff. And she totally gets where Q is coming from, you know. Best therapist we had thus far.”
Santana meant it. They had met their fair share of therapists after Quinn’s accident and while all of them had been okay mostly, none of them had this instant connection Santana felt with Alex. And she knew Quinn well enough to know it was the same for her. Despite being undercover she knew all the medical stuff and she had known at once what it was Quinn really needed.
“That’s good. It will be so much easier if you get along with your therapist. And working with a woman will make it so much easier for Quinn, too.”
Santana almost dropped her cell. Could Britt really mean what she thought she meant? How could she even know? She decided to ignore the comment for now and changed the subject.
“So, did you decide on a song for Glee yet?”
“Yup. I found one.”
“So, spill. What is it? Do I know it?”
“Leave the Pieces.”
“Uhm, no I don’t think so. Who’s it from?”
“Never heard of them.”
“Oh, it’s Michelle Branch and that other chick, Jessica Harp. You do know Michelle Branch, right?”
“Duh, of course. She’s awesome.”
“Sadly it’s a slow song, so I can’t do a lot of dancing.”
“Now I’m really curious. I will totally check the song out later.”
“How about you, have you decided on a song yet? And what about Quinn?”
“No, I’m not sure yet. I’ll talk to Quinn about it later.”
“So are you excited for tomorrow, the Cheerios’ tryout?”
“Totally. It would be awesome to be on the Cheerios with you.”
“What’s Q gonna do while you’re at practice?”
“I don’t know. Fuck! I didn’t even think about her.”
“Ask her. Maybe she’s way ahead of you. And she could always use the choir room for practice. Or even the auditorium.”
“Yeah, she just needs to talk to Mr. Shue. Rachel is in there like all the time.”
Santana snickered. “Well I bet she would like it if Q got there before her.”
“No, she wouldn’t like it. But everyone in Glee should have the same right to use the rooms.”
Santana smiled to herself. “You’re right of course.”
“So, are you excited for the try out tomorrow? You need to show the coach some serious moves.”
“I’m pretty sure I got that covered.”
“Cool. So how’s your endurance? She might make you run a lot.”
“That’s no problem either.”
“I don’t doubt that, with abs like yours you’re bound to be trained. Just remember to pace yourself. If she’s in one of her moods you might run a few miles.”
“I’ll try to remember.”
“No worries. I’ll be there. I’ll run with you and remind you. I’ll be like your personal drill instructor.”
“Aww, that’s so sweet, but you really don’t need to.”
“”I know that I don’t have to silly. But I want to. You help me with school stuff all the time. This is something I can do for you.”
Santana smiled at that. “Well, that’s what friend do, right?”
“Totally. I’m so happy you and Quinn moved here.”
“Me, too. I wish you were here now. I really want to hug you right now.”
“We’ll just hug two times tomorrow then.”
“Awesome idea. Should we pick you up before school?”
“Okay. So what are you up to …”
But Brittany interrupted her. “Oh, San, I’m sorry I gotta go. My mom is calling me to come downstairs. See you tomorrow. Bye.”
Just after Santana ended the call Quinn came out of the bathroom, finding her staring blankly out of the window. Quinn rolled over to her and touched her lightly at the shoulder.
“You okay?” she asked worried.
Santana turned to look at her, a small smile spreading across her face.
“Shit, Q. I’m in so much trouble.”
Quinn just raised an eyebrow to indicate that Santana needed to give her a little more.
“It’s Brittany. I realized in therapy.”
“What exactly did you realize?”
“Well, you did notice that Alex is totally hot and we hit it off like crazy?”
“Sure. Her hotness is hard to miss.” Quinn grinned. Alex was totally crush worthy. “So what? You want in her pants but you don’t want to hurt Britt?”
“No! That’s exactly the point. I should want in her pants, but I don’t. Sure the flirting was fun, but that’s all it was; fun. I don’t want her.”
“You don’t want her because of Brittany?” Quinn asked for clarification.
Santana just nodded, avoiding Quinn’s eyes.
“Do you want Brittany?”
Santana shrugged, still not looking at Quinn. “I guess. It’s obviously not that easy. Not right now at least; at some point, sure.”
Quinn sighed. “You can’t, San. She’s underage.”
“Well, actually she’s not. She’s eighteen because she had to repeat some year in elementary school. But that’s not even the point, is it?”
“You can’t be serious, Santana. You know what we have to do for the case. You will end up hurting her or throwing the case.”
“I know, okay? It’s totally fucked up. I don’t know what I want.”
“The case has to be our first priority. We can’t allow our feelings to get in the way. This case is way too important; for both of us. Dammit, Santana; it’s been two days.”
“Fuck you! Do you really think I don’t know that? Do you honestly think I wanted this to happen?”
Quinn sighed, all the anger draining out of her. “No, of course not. I know you didn’t intend for this to happen. I’m sorry. I’m just worried. For you and for Britt. I will always have your back. We’ll make it work somehow, just take it slow.”
“So, you’re okay with this?”
“I want you to be happy, Santana. And if Brittany makes you happy then of course I am. But we have to be really, really careful.”
“This can’t jeopardize the case.”
Quinn sighed and ruffled through her still damp hair. “Well, who knows? Maybe it will even prove useful in the long run.”
Santana raised an eyebrow, glancing at Quinn skeptically. “I’d like that, but I fear that’s just wishful thinking.”
There was a minute neither of them spoke, both lost in their own thoughts. Finally Quinn snapped out of it first.
“So, what do you want to do for Glee? Any ideas, yet?”
“Actually, yes. I have ideas for both of us.”