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Never Asked To Feel Your Halo

Chapter Forty-One: Falling Either Side of the Line

All Rachel could think about that night was the pain in her heart, caused by the nose against her neck, those lips on her skin, Quinn's voice in her ear.

It tortured her. It made her cry, it made her want to die.

She thought over their conversations, every single one of them, but mostly their last and it churned within her, burned her, made her feel too much but she couldn't stop it.

She hated her, she hated her, she hated her . . . she wanted her, so badly.

It wasn't even physical, or not solely. She just needed Quinn in her life; she needed to be something to her, she needed to be something to Quinn, but she never would be. She'd never count, she'd never be more than a dirty secret. Part of her wanted to be okay with that, she really wanted to be, but she wasn't.

She could be hidden, but she couldn't be ridiculed. She could be on the side-lines but she couldn't be nothing. She could keep their feelings close to her chest but she couldn't be pushed in it to force her away.

She hated her.

She wanted her.

And she sought for middle ground.

What did she do?

Quinn cried into her pillow, and then she got angry and screamed into her pillow, and then she mixed the two and screamed through angry tears.

Why did everything have to be so stupid?

Why couldn't she just want what she had? Why couldn't she just have what she wanted? Why did they have to be different things?

She'd checked Rachel's Myspace page over and over, had stared like a hawk at her Facebook chat box, and had sent three of Finn's calls straight to voicemail.

She was losing it, at a time when she really couldn't afford to because she was already losing it over so much other stuff already. She didn't know what to do though, there was nothing she could do, and God she felt so sick!

She spent the whole night hovering over the toilet; nothing came up but that made it worse.

She needed Rachel. She needed Rachel, She needed Rachel.

But Rachel hated her.

When the following morning dawned far too early and Break My Stride blasting from her iPod dock threw her eyes open wide, Rachel sat up in bed like Dracula. Her entire night had been spent tossing and turning and it had caught and tangled the sheets around her body, she swung her legs out of bed like an Egyptian mummy. Sleep deprived and mind-weary but with a morning routine ingrained since the start of Freshman year, she walked to the elliptical like a zombie.

This was it; Quinn had actually killed her but by some torturous plan of the universe she'd been left in her body to experience every painful second of it. She was Rachel Berry, Undead.

Halfway through her workout her body and brain woke up a little, enough to allow some emotion other than disappointment to seep in.

Anger. She could work with anger. Anger would get her through this. Anger would drive her, rage would build her strength back up and the fury would make her invincible to those fallacious charms in the future. Quinn was a dead woman walking, metaphorically of course. She wasn't going to know what hit her until she rolled her crumpled heap of a life over and saw the rear lights of Rachel's life speeding away.

Rachel could ruin her now, do to Quinn exactly as Quinn had done to her and make her school life a living hell. She held all the cards. She knew all of Quinn's secrets. She had the power!

And by Barbra, by the end of the day Quinn Fabray was going to rue the day she'd pushed Rachel Berry over a piano stool to save her ridiculous reputation.

After a night spent praying to both the porcelain god and the real one between fitful naps on the bathroom floor, Quinn felt . . . well, honestly, like crap. But she had a plan. It was fool proof, and it was going to make Rachel forgive her . . . because Rachel had to forgive her.

There was no question about it. She was Quinn Fabray and if she wanted someone to forgive her then they did, that was the way the world worked.

Her plan was very straight-forward: she was going to breeze right through this like they hadn't been caught yesterday, like she hadn't sent Rachel flying over a stool in an effort to disguise what they'd been doing, and that she'd then lied about her again. She wasn't stupid though, she knew Rachel wouldn't just let it go that easily, but she was going to sweeten the deal with herself. She was going to give Rachel what she wanted, she was going to be her girlfriend . . . whenever she could catch her alone anyway. A few hours of seeing what she could be missing out on and Rachel would totally forgive her and everything would be okay again.

It was the perfect plan!

At least, after three days of high anxiety and three nights of abysmal sleep it seemed like the perfect plan.

Setting her plan in motion she sent Rachel a private message through Facebook. She knew Rachel checked her account in the mornings because she nearly always made status updates about her hopes for the coming day. Hopefully Quinn's message wouldn't arrive too late.

I'd like to give you a ride to school today. It will give me time to apologize and you time to yell and refuse to accept it ;) I'm going to take your silence as a yes, so I'll see you at 7.45.

She read it back, breathed through the urge to delete it and forget the whole idea, and then hit send.

By the time she'd finished her work out and showered, Rachel had worked through the anger. Not all of it, she was still angry, but she knew she was never going to do anything to upset Quinn's life. She just couldn't be that vindictive, as much as she wanted to be.

Rachel had always had a sixth sense about certain things, places, people . . . she was practically an empath in fact, and it gave her an insight that other, less aware (or less obsessed) people missed. Quinn was just scared and apparently a scared Quinn was not very nice and a little bit pathetic when it came right down to it, but Rachel wouldn't hold that against her. Instead she would rise above it, something she'd been doing long before their animosity became attraction and so she had plenty of practice.

She would do as she'd originally intended earlier this week, or was it last week, or the week before that their roller-coaster had been going so fast and had had so many twists and bends it was difficult to tell now when things had been good and when they'd been bad. But once upon a time in the not so distant past she'd made up her mind to walk away and not look back Quinn had managed to change her mind at some point but now Rachel was filled to the brim with extra resolve.

Rachel was walking away and was not looking back!

She was determined!

Determined to be more than a dirty little easy-pushover (pun not intended!) secret.

And if Quinn wanted to change her mind again? Well, she'd have to work a heck of a lot harder for it this time.

Middle ground, she'd found it. She wasn't at peace with it yet, but hopefully that would come with time . . . and distance.

She'd just finished looking at the latest photos of Lulu and was about to log out of Facebook and head downstairs for breakfast when she noticed a tiny number 1 beside her PM icon. It made her pause, because no one had ever sent her a private message before and her first thought was 'Oh my goodness, I have a computer virus!' but curiosity was her weak spot so she clicked anyway.

Anger re-flared as she read it but the corner of her lips quirked up in a half-smile too as she slowly shook her head in disbelief and shut down the computer.

"Yes, you're going to have to try a lot harder than that!"

Bounding down the stairs with her book bag swinging wildly over her shoulder, she called out to her parent in the kitchen.

"Dad, can we leave early today? I need to speak to a teacher about something before class."

Quinn felt like a spy, and a bad one at that, as she drove to Rachel's house. She couldn't shake the feeling she was being tailed and kept checking her mirrors to see if Santana or Finn or Puck's cars were behind her.

She knew she was going to have to stop the crazy when she picked Rachel up. It wasn't going to make a very good impression if she was being so obvious in her discomfort. Maybe arriving at school together was a bad idea. There was no maybe about it, it was insane, but she'd offered now and she couldn't not show up. It would be okay. She'd park at the back of the lot, away from her usual coveted spot, and Rachel wasn't cruel, she'd understand why they couldn't actually walk in together.

It would be okay.

She pulled on to Rachel's cul-de-sac a few minutes later, fists clenching and un-clenching around the steering wheel with nerves. Even if it felt like the right thing to do she knew the ride to school wasn't going to be pleasant. There would probably be shouting and stuff.

She couldn't pull straight into the driveway because there was a car backing out one of Rachel's Dad's going to work? so she waited on the side of the road for it to be clear. Her eyes went wide when she saw Rachel sitting in the passenger seat!

Damn, she hadn't gotten her message after all. It was always a possibility, but she'd assumed that by showing up this early she'd catch her anyway.

She was about to honk her horn, it wasn't too late for Rachel to switch cars when, without looking away from talking to her Dad, Rachel discreetly held her middle finger up to the passenger window.

Quinn stalled her car as she gaped.

Rachel-freaking-Berry had just flipped her the bird!

She craned her neck around in disbelief to watch the stationwagon pull out of the street. Rachel obviously had received her message and she'd just shown her appreciation of it.

As Quinn restarted her car and performed a three-point turn with the aid of the Berry's driveway she started laughing.

"Wasn't that Quinn's car?" LeRoy asked as he pulled onto the main road.

"Quinn who, Dad?" Rachel hid her smirk in the palm of her hand.

She'd never flipped anyone off before. It was tremendously pleasing that Quinn was her first.

Quinn hit the gas station on the way to school and spent nearly fifteen dollars on phase two of the plan.

Being earlier than usual was beneficial and Rachel would have to remember it. There were very few students waiting on the front steps and none that actively hated her right now.

The halls were equally empty-ish, with only a few people already at their lockers. One was Kurt, just across from her, but he didn't acknowledge her at all. She thought about approaching him and forcing a conversation because, even though she hadn't done anything wrong, she felt like she'd let him down the most with her recent secrecy. She knew he was scared about being out to the whole school (not that it had ever been a secret to anyone but him) and she wasn't scared in the slightest about that. She could help him; they could help each other. But his attitude had always been dismal towards her and she couldn't forget yet how he'd turned on her so easily with everyone else.

So she ignored the impulse to reach out and went to her own locker instead. Once she'd left the books she didn't need until later and taken the books she needed now, she dithered in front of it, straightening folders, realigning the mirror on the door, just killing time.

She shouldn't have. She killed too much time. She'd forgotten Quinn would be right behind her.


"I have nothing to say to you."

"So just listen."

"Kurt is right there," she whispered, although why she was trying to protect the blonde she didn't know.

"I'm not an idiot, I waited until he'd gone."


"I'm sorry."


"Don't whatever me!"

"Quinn, I'm not interested in your apologies. I told you yesterday, I'm over this."

"Yes, well I don't accept that."

Rachel looked at her for the first time, annoyed. "I don't care what you accept. I am through being humiliated by you."

Quinn sighed, clearly trying to keep her patience, and then started fumbling fumbling? Was she nervous? with the zipper of her bag. "I have something for you."

"I don't want it."

Slamming her locker shut, she walked away quickly before she could give in.

Quinn rolled her eyes as Rachel diva-stormed away from her. This was already getting annoying, but it was worth it, or it would be worth it in the end, right?

Finally getting her bag open it wasn't normally that difficult but her hands were shaking she bypassed the 'gift' and pulled out her nail file instead. With a stealthy look around she set about picking Rachel's lock.

Once the door sprung open, she placed the gift carefully inside she'd already written on the card in her car and then closed the locker securely again.

Rachel had picked up her Chemistry book instead of her Biology book so she had to make a quick stop at her locker between first and second period. She gasped when she opened the door.

She hadn't put those in there!

A bunch of flowers was lying in wait, a generic bouquet but the red and yellow blooms were beautiful just the same.

She started to pull them out for a closer look but the hallway was crowded and Rachel Berry finding flowers in her locker would draw attention so she settled for pressing her face deeper into the metal box to inhale their scent. It was gorgeous, they were gorgeous, and she couldn't help her smile.

With her head still half in her locker she spotted the card and pulled it free to read it.

I really am sorry.

Forgive me? x

No one had ever bought her flowers before. Another Quinn-first.

She tucked the card back and switched her books around before closing the door. Hopefully the flowers could live without water until the end of the day. Even though she knew she should stuff them into the nearest trash can she was going to take them home, put them in the most beautiful vase she could find and then love them until they died.

As irritating as it was, she couldn't do anything but.

Rachel turned to walk to Biology. Quinn was at her locker! She hadn't been there a moment ago. It was okay, she would just walk right by her. She could pretend she hadn't just found the most beautiful flowers ever in her locker. She needed to.

Quinn caught her eye as she walked by and smiled. At her. In the crowded hall. It looked hopeful? Nervous? Smug? All of the above?

Rachel ignored her completely.

'You have to do better than that too, Quinn Fabray!'

Quinn growled low in her throat as Rachel walked by like she wasn't even there. This was going to be harder than she thought.

"Did a wasp just sting your ass or something?"

Her head whipped to the right. "Not now, Santana!"

"Damn, what's your beef this time, Q? Don't tell me you're still strung out on the Hobbit?" Santana spread her arms wide, almost pleadingly. "Look, whatever Manhands was doing for yours and Finn's spawn I'm sure I can do it better. Just get over it already!"

Quinn laughed, because the very idea of Santana doing what Rachel had been doing . . . Just, no.

"She was being supportive," she found herself saying. "Can you be that?"

"I don't know." Santana looked pained by the very notion. "I guess I can maybe try."

"Don't strain yourself, San."

Rachel spent recess where she usually did, in the Choir room. Sometimes other members of Glee were in there too, to practice songs or routines, but today it was empty. Not even Brad was there.

She was pleased because she needed the break. First and second period had been much like yesterday, with everyone who thought they were in the know alternating between glaring daggers at her and ignoring her presence completely. Only Finn had been friendly, stopping by her lab bench to talk about breakfast snacks before Biology began. She wasn't sure why he assumed she had an interest in his love of POP-tarts, especially after the face he pulled at her mere mention of a nutritionally-healthy fruit salad, but she appreciated the gesture all the same.

Everyone else's attitudes, well of course it hurt, but Rachel didn't care. They didn't know the truth, they didn't know what had really happened between her and Quinn. So let them stare obnoxiously, let them judge her; if they weren't her friends anyway then why should it mean anything to her?

Or was that just Quinn's opinion rubbing off on her?

Speaking of the devil. A blonde head poked through the door, checking left and right. Rachel wanted to call out that they were alone but she wasn't going to give her the satisfaction. In fact she wanted someone else to walk in right now so they wouldn't be alone.

Come on, Brad! Where are you?

Once Quinn had decided it was safe she walked in. Rachel was a little alarmed (and, unfortunately, a little turned on) to see her lock the door after her.

"I'm leaving the key in the lock. You can go whenever you want," Quinn said as she slowly walked closer. "Just don't steal my key when you do, please."

Rachel ducked her head to hide her smile.

"I just wanted us to have some privacy."

She rolled her eyes. "'Cause Heaven forbid someone might walk in on me turning your apology down."

"I'm not proud of what I did yesterday."

"Okay, say I do accept your apology, Quinn." Rachel straightened her shoulders as she threw down her challenge. "If I kissed you now and someone walked in, what would you do?"

"The door's locked, no one can walk in."

"But if they could?"

Quinn had walked to within two feet of her now. "Then I guess I would have something else to apologize for. But right now, nobody can walk in, so there's nothing stopping you from kissing me."

Rachel would be lying if she said her blood didn't rush a little faster, a little warmer, at the idea, but she still had her resolve.

"I'm never kissing you again."

"Okay." Quinn walked passed her to take a seat on one of the chairs. "Did you like the flowers?"

Rachel felt like she was giving ground when she turned to look at her. "They're lovely. Thank you."

"You're welcome. Not sure how I'm going to top them though. Teddy-bear maybe?"

Quinn was thinking about buying her a teddy-bear? Would she really? Oh, my . . . now she was light-headed as her thoughts rotated dizzily around the idea. Still she fought the giddy smile trying to overtake her face. She wanted that bear, but she was worth more than that and Quinn knew it deep down or she wouldn't even be here. It was time for Quinn to recognize it now. She couldn't keep pushing this . . . this thing between them if she wasn't just as prepared to accept the consequences that came with it.

"Save your money. It won't make any difference. I cannot be bought with a stuffed animal."

Quinn smiled, "I think I'll buy you one anyway."


Quinn stood up again suddenly and came a step closer. "Did you sleep okay last night? You look a little tired."

"I slept fine," she lied.

"Really? Because we have ten more minutes. If you wanted a power-nap . . . I'll make sure you wake up on time for class."

"You look as tired as I do. You'll probably fall asleep too."

"I'll set the alarm on my phone."

She knew what was being suggested. Quinn's body language as she sidled closer was screaming what she was suggesting, and it was so tempting . . . but, no!

"Thank you, but I don't need a nap. In fact I'm so full of energy I'm going to run around the quad before class." She made it two steps towards the door before Quinn called out.

"Okay, but Rachel, wait."

She waited. She shouldn't have.

Quinn closed the distance between them and before Rachel knew what was happening, she was on the receiving end of a gentle kiss, and then Quinn was gone. She could have disappeared in a puff of smoke for all Rachel knew (her brain had stuck about the same time Quinn's lips had touched hers) with just the words "I'll see you in Gym!" hanging in the air as proof the encounter had ever even happened.

"Okay," she breathed to the empty room about a minute later.

Chapter Forty-Two

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