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SPOILERS: Through Ep 1x22
Quinn felt like she was stuck in a Charlie Brown holiday special. While it was obvious from the purple vein pulsing down the middle of Puck's forehead and the red tint creeping up Rachel's face that a war of words was raging between the diva and the jock, as it reached her ears all she could hear was "whah whah whah whah."
Until Puck stood and kicked his chair across the room. Until Rachel turned stunned eyes her way. Then it all became sickeningly clear.
"I said your mom didn't want you, but she sure as hell wanted my kid. Suck on that, bitch." Complete with crotch grab.
Out on the periphery of her vision, she saw Santana high-five Brittany. Heard Finn's whispered rejoinder, "God, grow up" before he chased after Rachel as she ran from the room.
She watched Puck raise a fist to Kurt when the smaller boy stood tall and lobbed a bon mot on his way out the door. "At least she'll be raised with some class." He nodded at Quinn as he passed, "No offense."
She acknowledged him with a small dip of her head before turning on the father of her of Shelby's child. Like any teenager she had regrets. Trusting Noah Puckerman and having sex with him; having awful, really fast, no idea what all the fuss was about sex with him was her biggest regret. Even though her baby girl wouldn't exist, if she had a do-over she'd have slammed the door in his face before he wormed his way into her house and under her Cheerios outfit.
"Baby." She knew he was giving her his most charming look and wondered yet again how she or any other female in their right mind could fall for his particular brand of bullshit.
She held up a hand to forestall any attempt to deny or justify. "Don't."
"You have no idea what she said to me." Defiance.
"God, Puck! I don't care. Nothing warrants telling her about Shelby and the baby like that. You are such an ass!" Quinn felt ill. Nothing held quite the same sting of betrayal as a rejection by a parent. Whether they had raised you, or you had just found them. To top it off, she was in the uncomfortable position of sympathizing with and relating to Rachel Berry of all people.
"She said I wasn't good enough for you or for Beth. That you're both better off without me in your lives." He was pacing and gesturing wildly with his arms.
"Rachel's right, Puck. You have no idea how to be a man."
She felt the familiar pain as he grabbed her roughly around the wrist, tugged her close and ground his hips against hers. "That's not what you said the night we made her."
Quinn roughly pulled out of his grasp. "What did I say that night, Puck?"
He drew up short. "What? How the hell am I supposed to remember? Probably what every girl I've taken to bed says, 'yeah, baby, you're the biggest, baddest '."
The snort that escaped and quickly turned into a series of guffaws left the mohawked jock fuming.
And he made the mistake of trying to hurt his former lover with Rachel's words. "Beth is better off without you in her life," he sneered at her.
The laughter died on Quinn's lips. "I know that, Puck. It's the difference between you and me. It's why I decided to give her up for adoption. Neither of us were worthy of her. It's why I asked Shelby to rename her. You didn't deserve to have that honor."
"You fucking bitch."
Quinn closed her eyes and waited for the blow from his raised hand to connect.
"Leave her alone." Finn barreled into the rehearsal room and shoved Puck away just a hair's breathe before he would have knocked Quinn to the floor.
Finn used his body to shield Quinn as Puck got to his feet.
"And here I just thought you defended that little faggot you live with. I didn't realize you extended your services to sluts who give away their children."
Finn kept shoving his former friend until he was safely out of the rehearsal hall. He blew out a deep breath as he turned to Quinn.
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah. Thanks for "
"Yeah." He patted her awkwardly on the back. "Just pay it forward."
Quinn wanted to say no. She remembered the brief glimpse of devastation she saw as Rachel ran from the room. She didn't want to face that kind of pain.
"I think this may be something for Ms. Pillsbury."
"She needs you, Quinn. You're the only one that can help her understand."
"We're not even friends. How am I supposed to help her?"
"I dunno know. Maybe just listen."
She fondled the gold cross that hung around her neck. She wasn't sure she was strong enough to endure the penance of helping Rachel deal with her mommy issues when she wasn't even certain how to deal with her own.
Quinn didn't know how long she'd been sitting on the cold restroom floor next to an eerily silent Rachel Berry. It had been long enough to make her lower back ache and her left foot go numb. It had not been nearly long enough for her to figure out how to breach the silence.
After talking to Finn she went off in search of Rachel. Quinn found her heaving violently in one of the stalls. Instinct kicked in and before she realized what she was doing, she had brunette hair gathered and pulled back into a pony tail and rubbed small circles down Rachel's back until the other young woman rocked back on her heels.
Still on auto-pilot, Quinn took Rachel's hand and led her to the sinks. She wet a towel and wiped the sweat from Rachel's brow until a shaking hand stopped the motion. Quinn handed the towel over, purposefully keeping her eyes down. She wanted to leave before the diva geared up and delivered a tirade, but Quinn couldn't ignore the pale pallor and the white of Rachel's knuckles where they gripped the sink in an effort to stay upright.
Quinn drew an unsteady breath and allowed her gaze to drift up and meet the reflection of bloodshot eyes in the mirror. Quinn felt her knees give. The stricken look on Rachel's face when Puck first dropped the bomb about Shelby and the baby was nothing compared to the pain and loss that currently shaded her features. Nothing could have prepared Quinn to see the same hurt on Rachel's face that had stared back from her own reflection months ago the night that her parents had kicked her out.
Suddenly and without warning, the realization that their souls shared very similar scars overwhelmed her.
She couldn't say later whether she had helped Rachel, or if Rachel had helped her. But somehow they had ended up shoulder-to-shoulder, their backs pressed against the wall, bottoms on cold tile. Quinn was deep in her own thoughts, still trying to find the right words, when Rachel's whispered question edged around her consciousness.
"Why do you hate me so much?"
It was the last question Quinn expected to hear. "I don't hate you."
"I don't believe you. Why would you give Beth to my mom if you don't hate me?"
"I honestly didn't give you a single thought." Quinn tried to speak the truth without any rancor, "I wanted her to have a good home. And after Mr. Schue's ex turned out to be such a anyway, Shelby came to the hospital. She seems to have it together."
She was taken aback by the energy with which Rachel got to her feet. "You think Shelby has it together? Okay, now I know you're not telling me the truth. You know how much finding my mom meant to me. And you saw how she treated me."
Quinn regarded Rachel. The brunette stood with one hand on her hip and the other pointing a finger in Quinn's face. She could tell Rachel had geared for that tirade and was prepared to unleash it. She'd be damned if she was sitting on her ass while she tried. She had a few inches in height on Rachel and stood to take advantage of it. She might feel sorry for her, but she was not about to let the diva in her own mind try to put Quinn in her place.
She took a deep breath. "I am trying to be patient with you, because I know how hurt you are. But I promise you, my decision had nothing to do with you."
Rachel took a step forward and crossed into Quinn's personal space. "I know you hate me and I know why. Finn."
Quinn stepped closer until they were practically nose to nose. The scent of citrus invaded her senses. "I don't hate you because you went after Finn. I don't even hate you for telling Finn about Puck."
"Then why?" Rachel persisted.
"Oh my, God. You are so self-absorbed. How many times do I have to say it? It. Had. Nothing. To. Do. With. You." Quinn had had enough and practically shouted the last few words.
Rachel stood firm. "You have no idea how badly she hurt me. She sought me out and then rejected me when I tried to have a relationship with her."
Quinn nodded a concession. "I know. That was fucked up." She really hadn't given any thought to Rachel when Shelby first approached her, or later when she signed the papers relinquishing her rights to the rival glee club coach. She saw the tears reforming in Rachel's eyes and reached out with the first thought that came into mind.
"When my parents threw me out, I didn't think I'd ever see them again. But my mom, she came around. Maybe Shelby will change her mind and do the same."
Rachel dashed the tears off her cheeks. "Why would she? She has Beth, why on earth would she want me? She's getting the do-over she told me she wanted when she told me good-bye." Her voice broke on the last word as she dissolved into sobs.
Quinn did the only thing she could think of. She gathered Rachel into her arms and held onto her tightly.
It wasn't until much later that night as she was falling asleep her mind briefly registered the thought that she liked the feeling she had as she held Rachel.
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