Title: What If It Was You (You That I Needed All Along)
Pairing: Rachel Berry/Quinn Fabray
Disclaimer: Nothing owned, no profit gained.
Spoilers: General for Season 1
Summary: She is not gay. Really.
A/N: Flah, this started off going in a much more serious direction…ah well. Title from Motion City Soundtrack’s “It Had To Be You.”
She can’t. She can’t, and she won’t, and no one can make her. Some people are that way, it’s true, and that’s well and good for them, but her? No way. Not happening. Not now, not ever.
It’s not that the idea disgusts her, on a common level, because it doesn’t. Can’t. She knows so many people…the hypocrisy practically makes her skin itch just thinking about it. But that doesn’t mean anything. Everyone is always so certain that she’s going to be open, just because…
Just because she’s accepting and tolerant and a good person (and she is a good person, she’s sure of it, even if the rest of Lima seems to disagree most of the time) does not mean she fits into every minority bubble on the block. It gets really old, how often people just assume—
Makes an ass out of you and me, and I hate them.
Okay, maybe hate is a strong word. Maybe she sort of gets it, sort of can accept why they’d think the way they do. If she were in their shoes, she’d probably be just as guilty of the assumption-making party. What with her family background, the stereotypes, the whole “constantly singing and dancing with other girls” thing, and all. And, yes, okay, she may have passed some…looks down the line during such ditties as “True Colors” and “Lean On Me”, but sue her; sometimes she gets caught up in the moment.
And, fine, there may have been a moment or two in “Bad Romance”, but could she help getting into character? Her life has been such a train wreck so much of the time that sometimes, she just needs to escape. Music is the optimum venue.
Even if it doesn’t always help her case.
The thing of it is, Rachel Berry has many obvious qualities. Short (she can’t deny it, and she shouldn’t have to; she likes to think being fun-sized only enhances the overwhelming caliber of her natural talent), loud, occasionally bossier than a firstborn third-grade teacher. She beats her own drum, regardless of who is trying to steal it out from under her and replace it with a sugar-laden ice beverage. She is a star, through and through, even if she seems to be the only person who thinks so.
She is not her fathers.
It makes her grind her teeth, that stupid clause festering in the minds of ignorant Midwesterners that suggests the children of gay men must be equally rainbow-inclined. It is the mark of much lost sleep, many tasteless meals, and more than a few ranting phone calls (mostly to Finn, who never seems to know what to do with her, but is sweet enough to nod along all the same). It is, in short, the bane of her existence.
It isn’t that she doesn’t appreciate women; of course she does. Ever since the Jesse fiasco, she has taken great pains to expound upon her already-present feminism (with Tina’s help), part of which is a natural admiration for the feminine form. But that doesn’t mean anything. It certainly does not suggest a desperate desire to entangle herself with the forms she happens to be admiring. She’s just…looking.
And not often, either. She doesn’t spend her every waking moment considering the bodies of her classmates. That would be strange, and foolish, and not at all suited to Rachel Barbra Berry.
Is it her fault that Quinn Fabray wears her Cheerio uniform with an excellence that borders on sheer perfection?
Honestly, it’s Quinn. Even after the Beth situation, after the nine months of walking in Rachel’s pristinely-gleaming shoes, after the extra weight and the slushie facials, Quinn remains one of the strongest forces in McKinley history. Courageous, brilliant, and the epitome of bitch, she has regained her throne with exquisite speed and grace—regardless of Santana Lopez’s griping. And, most miraculously of all, she has done so without doubling back and destroying New Directions inch by precious inch.
Rachel, much as it sometimes pains her to admit it, respects the girl for that.
And the girl is beautiful; one would have to be supremely stupid, or blind, not to recognize that fact. She’s a textbook, all-American dream of a young woman, and Rachel’s been noticing those looks since the first time they met. That doesn’t mean she’s…it only suggests a modern gratitude for the human form, coupled with a sincere envy for the perks and pleasures that come along with being 5’6, blonde as California intended, and wonderfully athletic. Rachel, the polar opposite with her decidedly Jewish bone structure and miniature frame, sees no harm in noticing these things.
No harm at all.
So she looks. So what? It doesn’t make her…a statistic or anything. So what if she inches a little closer to Quinn than is absolutely necessary during Glee numbers? So what? What does that prove, except that Rachel genuinely appreciates the other girl’s company? Quinn is by no means sweet, or overly friendly, but she has stopped calling Rachel by insulting nicknames (mostly), and the strangest look she sends the brunette’s way these days involves little more than a single arched eyebrow. They don’t talk, exactly, but they are entirely capable of sharing the same space without exploding into violence. Rachel thinks they have really grown.
Growing is good, and if it affords Rachel the opportunity to bask in Quinn’s post-pregnancy glow and the overwhelmingly-generous toning of her arms and legs after a summer in Sue Sylvester’s hell-camp for cheerleaders, well. Fine. That’s bound to happen. It doesn’t bother Rachel in the slightest. She’s still noticing the boys in just the same way, with their flexing biceps and macho tendencies. It’s not worth concerning herself over, that she just happens to stare a little too long when Quinn bends to retrieve her backpack after a particularly taxing dance session.
The girl is just really, really pretty.
Which does not mean Rachel is flying a rainbow flag. No sir. Not on your life.
She doesn’t think anything of the fact that she and Quinn are getting along, even if the rest of the group seems more than a little thrown by the situation. It’s only a sign of maturity and team bonding, unhindered by Quinn’s habit of gazing at her from across the room with a dazed expression on her face. Rachel thinks the girl is simply boarding the train Rachel herself has been driving since birth: the “Rachel Berry is a walking wealth of endless talent which should be envied” train. Which has nothing to do with pride parades in the slightest. Well—not that kind of pride, anyway.
She doesn’t think anything of the fact that, after a time, she and Quinn begin to hang out. Not as teammates, but as friends. Sort of. The kind of friends who don’t talk too much, who mostly sit side by side on Rachel’s bed, eyes glued to a tiny television screen as a host of characters march by. The kind of friends who hug hello and goodbye, and otherwise don’t touch.
Rachel isn’t used to having friends in the first place, much less those who are willing to come by her house and sit with her for hours at a time. She’s pleased by Quinn’s desire to do so, even if it feels a little…tense sometimes.
All the time.
Which isn’t that strange, and certainly doesn’t imply a thing.
It’s not a big deal when Quinn starts spending the night. Sleepovers are a staple of young women everywhere; Rachel has researched this fact extensively in preparation. Snacks, cinema, late night giggle sessions about the various inane elements of a teenage lifestyle—she is prepared for it all. It’s all quite natural, and quite wonderful, and it’s true that Quinn doesn’t actually indulge in much of the giggling, or the speaking, or even the eating. It doesn’t grind on Rachel’s nerves in the least. And she certainly is not bothered with the way Quinn’s leg brushes up against her own when they shift during a movie, or with the weight of Quinn’s arm when it moves slyly around her shoulders. Contact is, if anything, a welcome addition to what is clearly becoming a beautiful, reasonable, entirely heterosexual relationship.
The tingles are simply a signal of Rachel’s devotion to having a real-life friend.
The goosebumps are the same.
And it would be rude not to place her head upon Quinn’s shoulder when the girl is going through so much effort to treat her kindly.
The sleepovers continue, and one thing Rachel notices is how they always fall asleep apart. They stretch out, the way girls of a decidedly straight nature are supposed to, each on their respective back with their heads on separate pillows. Rachel’s bed is of an impressive size, and they make good use of it.
They fall asleep apart, but they tend to wake up together. Together in a way that some might suggest goes beyond the normal girlish instincts Rachel insists upon, and okay, it kind of makes her nervous the first time. Waking up with her back pressed firmly into Quinn’s front, one strong arm snaked around her waist, soft lips nuzzling her shoulder in a groggy fashion—it’s not what she expected. But it isn’t suggestive of anything in particular, aside from Quinn Fabray’s secret snuggling habits. Which, Rachel rationalizes, is perfectly fine. The nights are growing cooler, and perhaps a secondary heat source is appropriate for them both.
It’s fine. It’s not a problem. And the fact that Rachel happens to wake on weekdays, missing the strength and pressure of a body behind her own is just a consequence of expectation. Her body has clearly grown accustomed to being held during the hours between daylight. It’s as natural a feature as a man missing a limb from the war.
She’s certain of it.
Because to consider something more would mean things that are not at all the case. At all. Remotely.
The sleepovers come to be the highlight of her week, and seeing Quinn outside of them is fairly wonderful as well. The Cheerio is not what one would call saintly during school—she has a hierarchy to maintain, after all—but she isn’t cruel. Sometimes, when no one is looking, she will brush a palm lightly down Rachel’s arm, or sweep the books off the high shelf in Rachel’s locker so the brunette won’t have to leap for them. Often, she smiles that secret, Quinn Fabray smile—the one that says she will be there on Saturday night, as planned, toting an armful of Chuck DVDs and popcorn bags.
It’s good to have a friend. Really good. Really safe, and comforting, and Rachel sees nothing wrong with the way her eyes light up at the merest mention of Quinn’s name. It’s easy to be happy where the blonde is considered, that’s all. No funny business there.
At least, not until Quinn kisses her.
They’re hanging out in Rachel’s kitchen when it happens (and they are always at Rachel’s house, which should probably have set off a few alarm bells, except they are friends, so what is there to be alarmed about?), stirring up hot chocolate. Quinn complains about the whole stirring process, because, in the Fabray world, hot chocolate is all powdered packets and hoping for the best. Rachel, naturally, insists upon the correct consistency. Hot chocolate, she claims, is an art.
Which is how she ends up at the stove, stirring away and humming to herself. Quinn paces restlessly behind her, behaving very strangely indeed, but Rachel notes that this is Quinn’s way sometimes. Ever since giving up her little girl, the Cheerio can be wholly distant, as if her body is in the Berry household, but her mind is back in that hospital bed.
When two arms slip decisively around her from behind, Rachel jumps and nearly brands herself with the business end of the spoon. It’s not the first time Quinn has hugged her—of course—but the girl usually has enough sense not to do so when there’s fire involved. Still, Rachel can’t complain because, really, it’s Quinn.
This seems to be her rationalization for a lot lately.
“Hello,” she says mildly, regaining her composure remarkably well for someone who has just had the daylights frightened out of her. Quinn nudges the side of her head with her nose, making a low non-committal noise in her throat.
Anxiously, Rachel taps the spoon a few times against the ridge of the saucepan, trying not to think about Quinn’s hands situated flat against her stomach. “It’s almost done. Just a few more seconds, and I think it will have thickened to just the right—“
She doesn’t have time to finish; Quinn hooks her fingers into the loops of Rachel’s not-oft-worn jeans and pulls her around to face the blonde. Gently, she removes the spoon from between clenched fingers and maneuvers Rachel until her back is to the opposing counter.
“Quinn?” Rachel’s eyes dart over the taller girl’s shoulder, fixating upon the stove. “It will burn if you—“
Wordlessly, the blonde reaches back and twists the burner to ‘off’, then turns her attention right back to Rachel. Or, more accurately, to Rachel’s lips.
Upon which she deftly places her own two seconds later.
It has been a long time since Rachel has been kissed—a fact which she all too happily blames for her relaxation into the action. Quinn is gentle, almost airy, her mouth ghosting from one corner of Rachel’s to the other without hesitation, and the fact that Rachel is responding in kind—or maybe even, she thinks guiltily, a little more forcefully—is not her fault in the slightest.
Because if it were, it would almost certainly mean…and it doesn’t. It can’t. She won’t let it.
Although this does not explain why her hands are so desperately scrabbling against Quinn’s shoulders, her knees going weak as the blonde presses her more firmly into the counter. It does not explain why, when a tender tongue toys against her lips, Rachel very nearly explodes with the need to accept it. It definitely does not explain this…feeling, worming low in her middle, slithering further down with every nip of Quinn’s teeth on easily-bruised skin.
She does not push Quinn away, but any fool would realize this is because Quinn is her friend. It’s rude to send friends heaving across the kitchen, looking flustered and unkempt and—
But really. Rachel? Not gay.
Never mind that it starts happening weekly after the kitchen incident, and then daily. Never mind that Rachel is now stiflingly aware of the sensations that come with being pinned against a bathroom sink, or underneath the bleachers, or hoisted onto a piano. Never mind that she’s having some serious trouble getting to sleep at night, what with the haunting melody of Quinn’s soft mewls in her head and the scorching memory of the blonde’s fingertips on her skin. Never mind that she’s taken to walking headlong into door frames and lockers at the mere sight of the other girl.
Never mind that she has completely forgotten about Finn and his charming man-child smile, and Puck’s astonishingly remarkable biceps, and Mike Chang’s Other Asian-ness.
But, honestly, is it her fault that Quinn is an extraordinary kisser? Or that her hands are delectably soft? Or that she is prone to making the most adorable whimpering sounds when Rachel is in the middle of kissing a fevered path down her—
Okay. Okay, maybe…maybe a little bit, she thinks. Maybe it is not completely improbable that she might be…slightly…in the remotest way possible…
Because, it is undeniable: straight girls do not tend towards rampaging stomach butterflies when their friend shows up at the door, wearing a serious expression, to present a very date-like invitation. Straight girls certainly do not accept said invitations. And certainly not while returning blistering, face-shattering smiles.
Sincerely, though, she has to ask: is it her fault that Quinn is completely stunning in a low-cut crimson dress? Or that Quinn’s arm, set securely around her waist as they follow the other Gleeks into Homecoming, feels so sturdy? Or that the taste of Quinn’s kiss banishes all nerves involving hockey goons and frozen treats?
Maybe, Rachel has to concede as she leans her head into Quinn’s shoulder and breathes, revolving slowly and serenely across the gym floor. Maybe she is just a little bit like her fathers.
But only for Quinn.
There’s a time and place for everything
and I believe it’s called ‘fan-fiction’.
- What If It Was You (You That I Needed All Along)