Title: You Hit Like a Girl (14/?)
Rating: PG 13
Pairing:Quinn/Rachel, Puck/Rachel friendship
Spoilers: Season 1 compliant, AU Season 2.
Summary: The summer after her sophomore year, Rachel Berry has three goals: 1. Prepare for Glee 2. Befriend Quinn Fabray 3. Create a Lasting Romance with Finn Hudson. By the fourth week of summer she's completely failed two of them. Now what is she supposed to do?
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
A/N: Sorry it's been so long since I updated. I wasn't feeling well this week. Thanks for all of your reviews as well as your patience.
The days between Rachel and Quinn's first date and football tryouts went by quickly. Puck and Elias were jut as excited as Rachel was. They talked about their own previous football tryouts, possible positions Rachel could try out for, how many people would actually show up for the pre school warm up, and anything else they could think of. Hiram didn't share their enthusiasm.
Rachel had long resigned herself to the fact that he would always see her as a tiny little girl who needed help with everything, regardless of the fact her body was legally considered a deadly weapon thanks to her knowledge of capoeira. It also made no difference that she and Noah had been preparing all summer. All he saw was his baby girl surrounded by 200 plus pound boys. He had been fretting all week and reminding her of all of the dangers, as well as double and triple checking all of their equipment. Rachel knew, if his work allowed, he would come to all of her games. She also knew he would probably bring his own med kit and, most likely, would hide behind her daddy most of the time so he didn't have to watch her get hit.
And Quinn…Quinn was quickly becoming a nervous wreck. Rachel really didn't like that her girlfriend was so worried, but the more worried she got, the touchier she became and that Rachel didn't mind at all.
The morning before tryouts, Quinn showed up at 8 o'clock and Rachel found herself in her bedroom pressed up against the door while Quinn kissed her thoroughly. And Rachel had to wonder how it was possible to be kissed thoroughly without any tongue involved. It had to be the almost bruising pressure the blonde was using or the way her hands were desperately clawing at Rachel's shirt pulling her closer. She wanted to enjoy it, she really did. Lose herself completely in the way their bodies pressed together or the way Quinn smelled or the way she could almost taste her. But Quinn's whole body was tense and Rachel knew, despite her confidence in her kissing abilities, it didn't have anything to do with pleasure.
Rachel put enough pressure on Quinn's shoulders so that the blonde finally pulled back. Her hazel eyes were clouded with a little bit of want and hurt, but mostly worry and frustration. Rachel smiled softly and cupped her face in her hands, thumbs brushing across her cheekbones and her lips.
The blonde squeezed her eyes shut and ducked her head down, burying her face in Rachel's neck. The brunette ran her fingers gently through her hair.
Rachel felt Quinn's lips move.
Her hand froze. "Excuse me?"
Quinn leaned back, her face pale and utterly serious. "If you skip the try out I'll let you touch my breast."
Rachel's eyes widened comically and she gaped at her a minute before she started laughing. Quinn scowled, but then her lips quirked and she started chuckling too. Rachel squeezed her lightly and pulled her towards her bed. She released Quinn and climbed up and sat with her back against the headboard. She patted the space in front of her. The blonde hesitated, clasping her hands nervously in front of her and biting her lip.
Rachel raised an eyebrow, "Quinn, you practically mauled me and offered to let me touch your breasts, I think it's okay if you sit on my bed."
Quinn scowled and sat on the edge of the bed. The brunette rolled her eyes and tugged Quinn closer. She relented and hesitantly allowed Rachel to pull her up until her check was resting over Rachel's heart. The smaller girl felt Quinn's body slowly relax and she ran her fingers lightly through her hair, pressing a kiss to the top of her head.
"You know, I should be mortally offended that you tried to use the same tactic on me that you tried to use on Finn. Maybe I should have said yes, just to see you try to work your way out of it."
"As long as you would have skipped the tryout, I would have let you do it."
Rachel's cheeks flushed even as she huffed, "You would not. We haven't even kissed with tongues yet. And I'm not a stupid boy, if I was ever overcome with the urge to grab someone's breast, I always have my own."
Quinn snorted, "That's not even remotely the same thing, and I haven't exactly noticed you trying to deepen any kisses."
Rachel shrugged, "I wouldn't really know if it was the same thing or not. And I'm letting you set the pace, remember?"
She felt Quinn still in her arms.
"You wouldn't know? You mean nobody's ever…But St James—"
Rachel narrowed her eyes, "Oh, he tried. He never got very far."
Quinn looked up at her, "But you let everyone think that you slept with him."
"People will think whatever they want of me regardless of what I tell them."
"What about your friends? Why don't you tell them the truth?"
"To which friends are you referring?"
Quinn looked down and ran her fingers up and down Rachel's arms. "The Glee club?"
Rachel sighed, "Oh Quinn, they're not my friends."
Quinn looked up, startled, "But—"
Rachel put her finger over her lips. They were so soft. She refocused. "I might wish they were my friends, and I might try to treat them like they were, but they're not. I haven't heard from a single one of them all summer, unless you count my interactions with Finn, Kurt, and Mercedes. Not one of them has ever seriously given me the time of day. The only people in McKinley I seriously consider as true, honest friends are Noah and Brittany."
Quinn raised her eyebrow, "Brittany?"
Rachel nodded, "We've been secret friends since kindergarten. We may pretend to be completely unaware of each other's existence, but I don't doubt for a second that she has my back as I have always had hers. The bonds of cubbyhole partners are unbreakable."
Quinn's lips quirked and then she turned serious. Her voice was small, "And what about me?"
Rachel leaned down and brushed her lips against Quinn's. "You are my girlfriend. Which is at least ten times better."
Quinn sat up so she could face her and reached out so she could cup Rachel's cheek.
"I'm so sorry, Rachel."
"No. The way I treated you was completely unacceptable. Maybe if I had treated you better, other people would have been more inclined to approach you."
Rachel ran her hand lightly down Quinn's side, "I'll accept your apology, but I won't have you feel guilty about it anymore. You are not allowed to feel bad because of how other people behaved towards me. They are their own people. They lead their own lives and make their own decisions."
"No, Quinn. No. Kurt, Mercedes, Tina, Artie…they all know what it's like to be ostracized and yet they continue to do the same to me. That is their fault. Not yours, okay?"
Quinn nodded, "Okay."
Rachel leaned forward and kissed her softly. "Good." Quinn smiled weakly and she tugged her back into her arms. "Now, tell me why this football thing worries you so much. You admitted on our date that you find me kicking ass hot and I have a feeling that you find me more than a little attractive in a football uniform. I'm not entirely sure why you aren't excited."
Quinn groaned and buried her face in Rachel's chest. "I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about."
"Liar, Liar pants on fire," Rachel sing songed.
"Okay. Fine. I think you look hot in the uniform."
Rachel pulled her closer, "But?"
Quinn sighed, "I'm just so afraid you're going to get hurt. Most of the guys on the team bully you. They aren't going to want you on the team. They aren't going to watch out for you on the field because they don't care. I mean, Puck will try to protect you, but we all know Finn's just going to mope around and whine. Mike, he's a decent guy, but I don't know how far he would go to stand up for you. And all of those stupid boys are going to have their hands all over you."
Rachel took a breath, "I don't expect them to suddenly stop slushying me and start caring about me. I plan on showing them how good I am, that I'm so good that they won't be able to say no. And I don't think Coach Beiste will let them behave inappropriately during a game. She seemed like a no nonsense woman who was very serious about her football."
"I really just don't want you to get hurt."
"Neither do I. But, if I do, I wouldn't be opposed to you being my nurse."
Quinn rolled her eyes, "I'm sure."
Rachel hummed, "Maybe I'll get hurt on purpose now, just so you have to take care of me. Will you wear a uniform?"
Quinn slapped her arm, "God, who are you, Puck? And don't joke about that."
Rachel pressed her lips into Quinn's hair, "It's going to be fine. I promise. And I won't let them touch me. You're really the only person whose hands I want on me."
Quinn didn't say anything, just burrowed closer. They sat there a few minutes before Quinn suddenly pulled back, her eyes intense.
Rachel frowned, "What's wrong?"
Quinn licked her lips, "Speaking of hands on your body, you and Jesse didn't do anything."
"We already went over that, I believe."
Quinn leaned closer, "But that means I'm going to get to be the first person to touch your breasts. Ever. It's like they're mine."
Rachel blushed and swallowed thickly. She quirked her eyebrow, "You're awfully sure of yourself for someone who hasn't even kissed me properly and has only taken me out on one date. And I will have you know that I am not some piece of property-"
Quinn pressed her lips against Rachel's. There was that almost bruising pressure again, but then she was sucking on Rachel's bottom lip and, God, she had never done that before. Rachel's breath hitched and she tried to pull Quinn closer but the blonde resisted. Instead she pulled away slowly but not before barely flicking her tongue across Rachel's lip. Rachel was pretty sure she was going to spontaneously combust. She stared breathlessly at Quinn, whose eyes were impossible dark and practically glowing with heat. The blonde blushed slightly but smirked, "If you make it through tryouts in one piece, maybe I'll show you exactly how sure of myself I am."
Rachel gulped and nodded.
Quinn settled back down into her arms as they both tried to get their bodies to relax.
Rachel cleared her throat, "Not that I'm complaining, but I was always under the impression that you were slightly more reserved when it came to physical intimacy."
Quinn snuggled closer, "I am. I just…it feels different with you. You're not pushing me so I don't have to constantly worry about you trying to go too far."
Rachel kissed the top of her head, "You know, I'm perfectly content with whatever you want to give me. I feel pretty lucky to even be able to kiss you."
"I know that. I think that's why I'm so comfortable with you. And, for the record, I feel pretty lucky to be able to kiss you."
Rachel hummed, "I guess we're both just lucky people."
Quinn nodded. They stayed there, just holding each other, until Quinn had to go to practice.
Puck picked Rachel up at 1:30 with a giant grin on his face.
"So, I've picked out our name."
Rachel raised an eyebrow, "Our name?"
"Yeah. Twin terrors is so overdone and Pucksaurus and Superstar are way too badass to have some lame name."
"I suppose you are correct. Well, what is our new nomenclature?"
Puck smirked, "The Super Smash Bros."
"As in the Super Mario Smash Brothers?"
"Exactly, except instead of brothers it's bros, because we're bros."
"Fine, but I call Samus."
"Whatever, you can have her. Kirby is the shit. He can suck up everyone and steal their powers."
"He's basically a smiling pink vacuum cleaner. That's hardly impressive."
"Quinn would be impressed you had a mouth like a vacuum cleaner."
Rachel scowled and slapped his arm, "If you weren't my bro, I would castrate you."
Puck winced, "Hey, save the aggression for the field. So, Super Smash Bros for life?"
"Super Smash Bros for life."
Despite the fact that they left early, they seemed to be the last to arrive. Rachel only counted eleven people and that counted herself and Noah. It really was sad how uncommitted people seemed to be about the football team, regardless of their losing record. She recognized Mike, of course, Karofsky was there, and she recognized a few boys who had been on the football team last year. There were a few boys who were obviously freshman. And then there was a tall blonde boy who she didn't recognize, even though he was obviously at least a junior. She was surprised and relieved that Finn wasn't there. She hadn't looked forward to listening to him and she was still a little irritated with him. She would make her way onto the football team without his interference and she looked forward to seeing his face when he showed up to the school tryouts and found out.
As they approached, Mike gave them a small wave and Karofsky sneered.
"Geez, Puckerman, you're supposed to leave your playthings at home."
Puck glared, "Is that why Azimio isn't here?"
Karofsky's eyes flashed and he gritted his teeth, "You take that back or—"
"What's going on here?"
Coach Beiste walked over to them.
Karofsky faltered, "Who are you?"
"I'm your new coach, Coach Beiste. And I don't like fighting between my players."
Karofsky smirked, "I was just telling Puckerman that he should have left his girlfriend at home."
"I was under the impression they weren't dating."
Rachel stepped forward, "We're not. David was merely confused by a silly rumor spread by a mutual acquaintance."
Beiste searched her face a minute before nodding.
"Alright, then. So are there really only eleven of you? This is the tryout for the Varsity football team!"
Puck shrugged, "I'm surprised this many people showed up. We've never started football before school before."
Beiste frowned, "Never? At my last school we had two a days the first few weeks leading up to school.
One of the younger boys shifted, "Two a days?"
Beiste looked around, "Two practices a day? Did any of you practice at all this summer?"
Rachel and Puck raised their hands. Rachel noticed the blonde boy raise his as well. She decided that she liked him already.
One of the football players snorted, "What the hell are you raising your hand for, Stubbles?"
Puck snarled, "Watch your mouth around my bro, asshole."
Rachel put her hand on his arm, "It's okay, Noah, I got this." She made eye contact with each of the boys, "I am trying out for the team. As she was addressing everyone who was trying out for the team, it means she was addressing me as much as she was any of you."
"This has to be a joke." "Bullshit." "There's no way in hell—"
Coach Beiste blew her whistle. "Hey! She has just as much of a right to try out as any of you. This isn't the boys' football team. It's the football team and the rules state there must be equal opportunities for boys and girls in sports. We don't have the equivalent of a girls' football team. So, if Berry can play, she can play. If she's practiced as much as she says she has, some of you boys might be in trouble. If any of you have a problem with it, you can leave now."
Rachel cleared her throat, "Coach, if I may?" She nodded. "I understand that you dislike me and I understand that it may be uncomfortable because I'm female. But I'm not looking for special treatment. If I'm not good enough, I'm not good enough. I respect that. All I ask is that I be given a fair tryout. Hit me as hard as you would anyone else. I'm going to give it my all and I ask that you do the same."
Beiste eyed them all, "Any objections?"
A few people grumbled but they all shook their heads no. Puck smirked proudly.
"Now that we've got that cleared up, go get padded up. Just grab a helmet and some shoulder pads for now. The cheerleading coach is still giving me trouble about the locker rooms, so just put them on over your clothes."
Karofsky glared at Rachel when she grabbed her helmet and pads and Puck growled at him. He backed off.
Rachel raised her eyebrow at him. "You do realize who you sounded like just now, don't you?"
"But you do."
"Whatever. Jerk needs to screw off. Are you ready to tear this shit up?"
"Like you wouldn't believe."
Puck held out his fist, "Activate Super Smash Bros badass powers."
Rachel bumped it, "Activation complete. We will now be kicking ass and taking names."
The blonde boy was standing next to them. "Were you just talking about the video game?"
Puck narrowed his eyes, "What's it to you, Fish Lips?"
Rachel elbowed him, "Noah! I'm sorry…"
"Sam. Sam I am."
Rachel smiled, "Well, Sam I am, I apologize for my friend's poor manners. We were indeed referring to the video game."
Sam smiled hesitantly, "I was just going to say it was a cool game. I can never decide if I like Pikachu better, or Kirby."
"Dude, Kirby's mine already." Puck eyed him carefully, "But you might be okay."
"Thanks, I think."
Rachel grabbed them both by the elbows, "Come, gentlemen, the field awaits."
Beiste had them run laps first and do some basic exercises like jumping jacks and fire drills. After the third set of jumping jacks, Puck threw her a look that clearly said "Thank you for making me work out all summer.' Almost all of the others were panting heavily and their bodies were slowing down. Thanks to their insane summer practice schedule, Rachel and Noah were a little sweaty, but not exhausted. She saw Beiste give them an approving nod.
Karofsky noticed too and he hissed in their direction, "I guess humping like rabbits all summer builds your stamina."
Rachel rolled her eyes and Puck glared but at Rachel's frown he didn't say anything.
Beiste cleared her throat, "Karofsky! If you have time to talk you aren't working hard enough. Now, do it again."
Next, she set up a series of cones and had them run through it a couple of times. Rachel thought that it wasn't nearly as exciting as their obstacle course. Especially their original one, which always held the possibility of certain death or dismemberment of some kind. Nothing makes a person watch their footwork like the possibility of stepping on a rusty nail or getting jabbed in the eye by pieces of a broken slide. She, Puck, and Mike did the best on that one. Mike caught Rachel's eye and gave her a nod and a smile. She beamed at him. Karofsky accidentally bumped into her. Puck took a step toward him but Rachel held him back.
"I'll get him later."
Puck raised an eyebrow and then smirked when he saw the glint in her eyes.
Beiste asked which of them thought they could throw and Sam raised his hand in the air. Rachel raised hers half heartedly, only offering her services if it was necessary. Rachel held no delusions that she was great. She had a good solid throw. Sam, though, he was pretty great. Actually, the more he threw, the more excited Rachel became. When she looked over at Puck, they exchanged at glance. Blondie was so much better than Finn. There was no way that Finn was going to get to be starting quarterback this year. Part of Rachel felt bad for him. He relied so much on his status as quarterback. But, he should have showed up. Finn was never good at prioritizing or really putting true effort into anything. He did good enough to hang on, to get the credit, but that was it. Maybe this would teach him a lesson and he could grow and become a better person.
Once Beiste decided Sam would be their quarterback for the day, she had them split into pairs. One pair at a time they would go to the line. One would be the defender and one would be the receiver and Sam would throw the ball. The coach picked the pairs based on size so Rachel was paired off with one of the smaller freshman. He looked to be a nice enough boy. He was the defender first. She kind of bobbled the ball the first time, but she managed to catch it every time. It was so much easier to catch the ball when the quarterback knew what he was doing. The boy never tackled her. Rachel wasn't sure if it was because he couldn't or because he wouldn't. When she heard him swearing at her under his breath, she had her answer. She had determined to ignore him, but then they switched positions and he had the audacity to sneer at her and tell her not to break a nail. Rachel was shorter than he was, but she had an excellent vertical leap. Every time he would almost catch the ball, she would slap it out of his hands.
Puck wolf whistled.
Coach Beiste beckoned her over.
"Berry, let him catch the ball. Let me see if you know how to handle a player after they make the catch."
Rachel tried not to smirk, "Of course, Coach."
When they lined up again, the boy was clearly frustrated. He called her a bitch. The coach blew her whistle, they took off running, and Sam threw the ball. As soon as the football was safely pulled against his body and he had taken the necessary two steps, Rachel slammed into him with the full force of her body.
Rachel jumped back up quickly and adjusted her pads before turning and giving Puck a thumbs up.
The boy on the field groaned.
Coach Beiste jogged over. "Berry, I said take him down, not smear him into the field."
Rachel cocked her head to the side, "There's a difference?"
Coach Beiste shook her head before helping the shaken boy up. "I think we're ready for the next pair."
Jogging over to the other players, Rachel looked at their reactions. Mike looked impressed. Most of the other boys looked disgruntled or confused.
Puck slapped her on the back. "Hell yeah, Superstar! And that, gentlemen, is why we are the Smash Bros."
After the throwing exercise, the same pairs were supposed to do a running exercise. Sam would hand off the ball to one of them and the other would try to tackle them. When it was Rachel's pairs' turn, the boy refused.
Rachel stomped her foot, "You're being ridiculous! I didn't tackle you that hard!"
Coach Beiste put her hand on her shoulder, "Berry, relax. He obviously just doesn't want to play. One of the other guys can switch places with him. Do I have any volunteers?"
Puck stepped forward, "I'll do it. Don't sweat it, babe. The Puckasaurus has got your back."
Karofsky scoffed, "Sure, you do. You're just going to go easy on her, make her look good so she'll get on the team and you can fulfill some perverted fantasy."
Puck raised an eyebrow, "Go easy on her? Are you shitting me? The last dude who tried to go easy on her ended up curled in the fetal position and rethinking his view on life."
"Guys! Knock it off. Karofsky! Are you volunteering?"
He shook his head.
"I'll do it."
Everyone turned to look at Mike, who stepped forward. Rachel smiled broadly at him and he returned it.
The coach nodded. "Alright. Berry, Chang, you're up."
Rachel could technically say she was a dancing ninja. Capoeira was part dance and part deadly martial arts. It was brutal and it was beautiful. Though he was Asian, Rachel was pretty sure Mike didn't know martial arts. He did, however, know how to dance better than anyone she'd ever known, except maybe Brittany. So, while Mike Chang wasn't a dancing ninja, she considered him the ninja master equivalent of dance. And she was really looking forward to sparring with him. Because even though it was crude, the footwork involved in running the football was a kind of dance.
She ran the ball first and it felt like the tango. He was always right on her heels forcing her to cut and fake. A couple of times she felt his fingers brush her and she spun out of his grasp only to find he had recovered and was trying to pull her back in. The first time she made it without him tackling her. The second time he was finally able to swing her to the ground just before they reached the end. It was exhilarating. He offered her a hand up with a wide smile and she knew he got it when he bowed his head just barely and said, "Can I have this dance?"
When Rachel played the defender, it was kind of like a jive—fast paced, the apparent ease of the back and forth hiding the deliberate steps and the fierce precision. Mike was far more used to defense than offense, so she tackled him both times. When Beiste blew her whistle, she almost felt like they should bow.
As they were walking back towards to rest of the group, Mike smiled at her.
"I look forward to performing with you this year, Miss Berry."
"Likewise, Mr. Chang, likewise."
All in all, Rachel thought everything was going pretty well. Karofsky was still being unsavory, but all of the freshmen had clammed up and seemed afraid of her. Sam seemed to be pretty awesome and he never hesitated when throwing or handing her the ball. The more they practiced, the more excited Mike seemed to be about her playing. And Rachel and Puck were in football heaven. After spending the majority of their summer practicing, everything was coming together.
They were taking a water break while Beiste tried to come up with a decent scrimmage plan for eleven people, when they heard the sound of a bullhorn.
"Move it, you pathetic losers! Champions coming through!"
Sue Sylvester and the entire cheerleading squad marched across the field.
Puck stiffened beside her, cursing under his breath. Rachel's stomach twisted as she searched the sea of cheerios for her cheerio. She spotted Quinn standing next to Santana and Brittany. The blonde was pale and her mouth was pressed into a harsh line. When her eyes met Rachel's her cheeks flushed slightly, but mostly she just looked queasy. From beside her, Brittany waved cheerfully. Puck and Rachel exchanged a glance before waving hesitantly. Santana just smirked with an absolutely wicked glint in her eyes as her gaze flicked between Rachel and Quinn. The brunette had wondered if Quinn had actually told the Latina, and now she had her answer.
Sue and her cheerleaders stopped and assumed identical positions, arms crossed over their chests and superior looks on their faces. Rachel shuddered a little. She really didn't need to conflate the images of her aunt and her girlfriend.
Beiste pushed through the players and stood in front of Sue.
"What is going on here? Who are you?"
Sue eyed her carefully, "Sue Sylvester. Award winning cheerleading coach. You must be Bigfoot."
Beiste gritted her teeth, "It's Beiste. And what are you doing here? The field is mine for another hour."
"Correction. The field is mine. It says so in my carefully worded contract. If you look carefully at the goal posts and the bleachers, you will find that they are all stamped property of Sue Sylvester. I'm merely allowing you to use it. And as for why the girls and I are gracing you with our presence, we're here to help."
Beiste scoffed, "Help? You've been a pain in my ass since I started. How are you going to help? Fetch balls?"
Sue smirked, "Well, as I see it, these pathetic people are trying out for your pathetic team and if you want to sift out the chaff from the puny stalks of wheat you're going to have to know which ones perform under pressure in a real game situation. Any football player you have is going to have to play under the ever present gaze of my nationally ranked cheerleading squad. Nothing makes a football player, regardless of gender identity or sexual persuasion, squirm like a cheerio. Sweaty palms, racing hearts, the stench of failure and teenage hormones, with us here it will almost be like a real game. If you ever get enough players to make a team, that is."
Beiste shook her head. "We don't need your help."
"It wasn't really an offer. An offer would suggest you could decline it."
Beiste frowned, "Just stay out of the way."
Sue winked at Rachel before she pulled out her bullhorn.
"Cheerios on the bleachers now!"
As they filed past, one of the cheerleaders sneered at Rachel.
"God, Manhands, finally admit you had a penis or were you just hoping to get tackled because it's the most action you're ever going to get."
Rachel distinctly heard Quinn's growl, but Sue spoke first.
"Jefferson, keep your comments to yourself. If you're going to insult someone in my presence make sure it's at least interesting and something I haven't heard before. And never talk about Streisand and sex ever again or I'll be forced to puncture my own eardrums. And if I'm going down, you're going down with me."
Rachel watched Quinn out of the corner of her eyes. She was openly glaring at the girl. Brittany was rubbing her back and Santana rolled her eyes. All of the other cheerleaders were focused on Sue's exchange with the cheerleader.
Finally, they were all seated and Beiste blew her whistle.
It worked out so that Puck, Rachel, Sam, Mike, and two freshmen were trying to run plays against Karofsky, the other veteran football players and Rachel's ex partner. And it was more nerve wracking with the cheerleaders watching. Especially for the freshman. Rachel was more nervous too, but mostly because she wasn't sure what Quinn was going to do. Even after their talk, there was no way she was ready to see this. Puck kept glancing at Rachel and frowning at the stands. The first two plays went to Puck and Mike. They huddled again and Sam nodded towards her.
"Hand off to you, okay?"
Puck reached across and grabbed her facemask, pulling her closer, "Bro, you'd better use your twinkle toes and run all the freaking way to the goal, okay? We don't want Q—the cheerios going crazy."
Mike chuckled, "Dude, we shouldn't be worried about the cheerios right now."
Rachel cleared her throat. "I don't think the cheerios are probably really watching anyway. Why would they?"
Puck glanced up to the stands and flinched, "Oh, babe, they're watching. They're watching really closely."
Rachel frowned. Why couldn't Quinn just look away? They ran the play. Rachel just barely slipped past Karofsky and only stopped running when Beiste blew the whistle. As they were lining back up, Karofsky glared at her. The next play, he jumped the snap. Rachel didn't even have the ball when he plowed into her.
Rachel wasn't going to lie, it hurt a little bit. She was caught completely off guard.
Beiste blew the whistle and pulled Karofsky off of her. Rachel stood up slowly. She was vaguely aware of Beiste yelling and Puck asking her if she was okay, but she was looking towards the stands, half expecting Quinn to have been on the field by now. She saw that the only reason she wasn't was because Brittany had practically wrapped her whole body around Quinn to hold her in place. Santana appeared to be whispering frantically in Quinn's ear her hand on Quinn's arm. Quinn had turned that funny shade of purple again. Finally she noticed Rachel was looking at her and she relaxed, but barely.
Puck chuckled, "Damn. Maybe we should just let her charge the field once. Nobody would touch you ever again and we could just hand you the ball and let you walk into the end zone. You okay, babe?"
"Yes. Most definitely."
"I'm going to kick that dick's ass."
Rachel shook her head, "I told you, I'll handle him, Noah."
"I got it."
Rachel went over to Coach Beiste who was still talking with Karofsky.
"Are you alright?"
"I am. And I just wanted to say that I'm sure it was an accident of David's part. He was just a little overexcited to make the play. I hear he's not the only football player with early arrival problems. Right, David?"
Karofsky gritted his teeth, "Right. It was an accident."
Beiste glanced between the two of them, obviously not buying it. Rachel smiled at her.
Beiste shook her head, "Don't let it happen again."
Karofsky nodded, glaring at Rachel.
They went back to their teams.
Sam smiled at her, "You okay? That was a massive hit, like he was Donkey Kong and you were Mario."
Puck looked impressed. Rachel smiled.
"Yes. Thank you. If I may make a request?"
"I'd like it if Mike and I could change positions briefly. You hand it off to him and I'll do the blocking."
He looked a little confused but he agreed nonetheless.
Rachel turned to Mike, "If you please, run towards Karofsky and make sure nobody else tackles you."
He nodded, "Okay, can I ask why?
Rachel smirked, "I just want the excuse to block him for you."
Puck chuckled darkly, "Hell yeah. Don't break any of his bones."
Rachel shrugged, "I make no promises."
She supposed she should have felt bad for singling Karofsky out, but he had been on her all practice and the look on Quinn's face when he tackled her… no one made Quinn look like that and got away with it. She only hope that Quinn would be turned on enough when she saw Rachel tackle him that she didn't worry.
When Sam gave Mike the football, she followed him closely, but hung back just enough so he had room to move and the other team didn't see her as a threat. Mike dodged one person and Karofsky approach from the right. He lunged forward his arms outstretched and Rachel surged forward and slammed into him with the force of a freight train. She may or may not have used and slightly modified capoeira technique to maximize the force of the tackle. They hit the ground with a bone jarring thud. They bounced a little and slid. Everyone froze.
Rachel recovered, moving quickly on her feet in case David lashed out. Karofsky groaned but forced himself to his feet, swearing. Rachel grabbed his arm and twisted pulling him close to her. To anybody else it would look like she was helping him up and he'd stumbled.
"Listen to me, David Karofsky, I'm here to play football. As long as we are on this field, I am a fellow football player and nothing else. I am not Glee Rachel. I am not Manhands or Stubbles, or Treasure Trail. I am not one of your favorite slushy targets. I am your teammate. I am not here to challenge your masculinity. I am here to win. Got it?"
He nodded, his eyes wide.
"Good." She helped him the rest of the way up and released him. "Because I will hurt you."
The rest of the tryout went by quickly. Rachel avoided looking at the stands. Beiste called them in for a final huddle.
"Alright, you guys. Huddle it up. I want to thank you for showing up today. It showed me that you're really dedicated to making the team. A couple of you definitely made it. The rest of you will need to come back for the second tryout so I can see how you compare to the others. But if it's a close call, I'll pick you because you made more effort." She looked over them carefully. "Jensen, Hardy, you'll be maintaining your positions from last year. Karofksy, you're in, but you'd better watch that attitude of yours because I don't need it and I won't tolerate it. Puckerman, Chang, welcome back. Evans, welcome to the team. Unless someone shows up throwing like Favre or Elway, you're going to be my quarterback. And, last but not least, Berry, congratulations. You're my new running back."
Rachel couldn't help bouncing up and down excitedly. Puck threw his arm around her shoulder and whooped. A couple of the boys swore. Sam and Mike both smiled.
Coach Beiste clapped her hands to gain their attention, "Don't worry, boys, we'll figure out locker room accommodations so you won't have to worry about changing. I think we have the potential to be a great team this year. Now, I'll see you all when school starts. You might want to start getting ready for the season, because we're going to win. Now give me my pads back and go home."
Everyone moved to do as they were told. Sue dismissed the cheerios and they started to wander off as well.
Puck picked Rachel up in a giant hug.
"You are so freaking awesome. We freaking did it. Shit is going to go down this year!"
Rachel smiled, "You did wonderful as well. You've really improved. And to think, you almost didn't take me up on my offer to play with you."
Puck smirked, "That's what she said. And don't remind me. Hey, we should totally party hardy tonight!"
Rachel chuckled and Mike came over to her.
"Thank you! To you, as well."
"You know, maybe we should use some of those football moves in Glee. It might make our choreography more interesting."
Rachel laughed, "Interesting would be the right word. Thank you for practicing with me."
"No problem. I'll see both of you next week."
"See ya, Chang."
After he left, Sam approached them.
"I just wanted to say that you're both pretty cool and I look forward to playing with you. And if you ever want to play video games or something, you should look me up."
"Thank you, Samuel. I also look forward to playing with you as well. I believe you are an excellent quarterback. And maybe we could all get together some time."
Puck grunted, "What she said. But dude, I gotta say, you've got one of the biggest mouths I've ever seen. I bet you could shove a softball—"
"I'm just saying."
Sam gave them a hesitant smile, "Thanks, I think. I'll see you when school starts."
"Of course. Goodbye, Samuel."
They watched him walk away. Most of the other players had already left. Beiste and Sylvester were arguing heatedly off to the side.
"I suppose we should take these pads off so we can go home and shower, huh?"
"An excellent idea, Noah. And then—"
A throat cleared behind them.
They turned around to be faced with three very familiar cheerios. Quinn's cheeks were still flushed slightly and her eyes were on fire. Rachel recognized the anger, possessiveness, worry, and, was that want?
Puck smirked beside her, "Lopez, Baby Mama, Britt."
Quinn's gaze snapped to him. "You didn't do your job, Puckerman!" she hissed.
He held his hands up and took a step back, "Woah. Time out. I did exactly what I was supposed to do. Karofsky—"
Quinn growled and Rachel stepped in front of Puck. She really wished she would just hug the girl. "Quinn. It wasn't his fault. Everything is fine."
Quinn put her hands on her hips. "It is not! That giant ape could have hurt you!"
Santana rolled her eyes, "Calm your tits, Q. Treasure Trail is clearly fine."
Quinn snapped, "What did I tell you about call—"
"First off, you made that name up. Second off, Berry and I have an understanding."
Quinn frowned and looked down guiltily. Rachel wanted to hug her again. Brittany did it for her.
"It's okay, Q. S was just really scared when you went crazy in the bleachers. She didn't think we were going to be able to hold you."
Santana scoffed and Quinn blushed.
Brittany turned to Puck and Rachel.
"I'm so glad you two are finally back!"
She threw her arms around both of them and squeezed tight. Rachel hugged Brittany back carefully, fully aware of the looks Santana and Quinn were giving them.
Santana tugged on Brittany's skirt to get her to step back.
"Britts, Midget and Puck didn't go anywhere. We just haven't seen them because of summer break."
Brittany shook her head, "No, S. They were gone. The closet ate them."
Puck frowned and Quinn's eyebrow rose nearly to her hairline. Rachel tilted her head slightly to the side before nodding once. Santana snickered.
"Berry, maybe, but Puck—"
"No, S. Not that closet. Puck's always totally been a shark and Rachel's always been a dolphin. I'm talking about when the closet really ate them. Remember in fifth grade? Rachel was gone for like a week and when she came back she wasn't her anymore and Puck wasn't Puck even though he didn't get locked in. I think it like sucked his soul out through their secret twin connection."
Quinn looked confused on multiple levels. Santana frowned.
Quinn cleared her throat, "Rachel and Puck aren't twins, B."
"Of course not, silly. They're secret twins, which is like for real twins, but not really. They're even cooler than for real twins because they don't have to be but they are anyway."
Rachel smiled at her, "Thank you, Brittany."
"You're welcome, Rach." She turned to Quinn, "Q, you're totally lucky Rach is back and she's your girlfriend. She was my best girlfriend ever besides Santana."
Quinn blushed for a second and then her face turned red for an entirely different reason. Her eyes narrowed and she looked between Rachel and Brittany, "What, wh—"
"Goddamned Midget! When did you have your fugly—"
Rachel took a quick step back and Brittany grabbed a hold of Santana.
"S, I've told you before."
"You did not! When-"
"Yes, Berry, " Quinn stepped forward, her eyes dangerous, "When exactly did you and B date?"
Rachel huffed, "Both of you need to get over yourselves. We were in kindergarten."
"Remember, S? I told you it was before you came. Rach was my girlfriend and Puck was my boyfriend. They held my hand and carried my stuff and made sure nobody picked on me. Puck would steal me extra cookies at snack time and always got me the best crayons and Rach would sing me to sleep at naptime and help me with letters. They made anyone who called me stupid cry. And then you came and I told them I wanted you so they backed off. But they'd still steal us extra cookies and they still got the people who said mean things."
Quinn and Santana looked down slightly ashamed.
Then Santana frowned. "I didn't remember that was them. How could I forget that?"
Brittany linked their pinkies, "I told you, S, the closet ate them. They didn't come back until just now. They were like zombies or those creepy wax dolls that look like them but aren't really them. Rach forgot about everything that wasn't singing and Puck was a big meanie to everyone. But they were still my secret friends and they kept making sure people were nice to me."
Rachel and Puck glanced at each other before blushing slightly and looking down. Rachel was pretty sure Brittany was the smartest person she had ever met.
Santana looked irritated again.
"Britts, I'm the one who kick's peoples asses when they say mean things to you."
Brittany nodded solemnly. "I know you do, S. You're totally my badass knight. But we don't have all of the same classes and sometimes people say things they don't think I can hear."
"You're supposed to tell me!"
"But I didn't have to. The twins totally have my back. I know whenever Puck does it because they always bring me cookies when they say sorry. And when Rachel does it, they're always really scared like they don't know who's making them do it and they bring me stickers and really cool crayons. One time this freshman called me the r word and when he came to apologize he was crying and he brought me a giant box of 120 crayons in it. And it's good they watch out for me sometimes, that way you don't bruise your knuckles and you can do that thing where—"
Santana covered Brittany's mouth and glared at Puck and Rachel, "Say a word and I will end you."
They nodded. Rachel turned her attention toward Quinn. The blonde was looking at her with a mix of jealousy, curiosity, and tenderness.
Brittany spoke again, bouncing on her toes. "But now they're back and we don't have to be secret friends. Everything is totally going to be unicorns and rainbows."
"Of course, Britt."
Rachel smiled, "I would be very happy to openly pursue our friendship, Brittany."
Quinn stepped forward slightly, clearing her throat. "I hate to break up your reunion, but is it official? You're on the team?"
Rachel puffed out her chest and Puck slapped her on the back.
"Let me introduce you to my bro, Superstar, starting running back for the Varsity football team."
Quinn forced a smile, "Good for you, Rachel."
Santana smirked, "Q, even I'll admit she was legitimately crazy on the field. And, hey, if she really wants to die that bad—"
"Don't start, S." Quinn hissed.
"Just because you went loco and decided—"
"Hey, Rach? Since you're on the football team now, we should totally make out so I can keep up my record."
Santana and Quinn stopped arguing abruptly, equal looks of horror on their faces.
Quinn clenched her jaw, "No. Rachel is mine. Keep your lips to yourself."
Santana put her hands on her hips, "I know you did not just use that tone on my B."
"I know she did not just ask my Rachel—"
"Fabray! Lopez! Quit trying to scratch each other's eyes out."
Sue Sylvester stood with her arms crossed and her eyes narrowed.
"Q, I just went over the rules with Bigfoot and it looks as if it's against the rules for a cheerleader to be on the field during game play. You need to calm your crazy. I warned you about your lesbian shenanigans messing with my squad. I can't have Brittany and Tits McGee breaking formation to hold you back anytime some bumbling cowboy tries to mount your filly." Quinn's face turned beet red. "I was going to make you captain, but after seeing your pathetic lack of control I've decided to split the captaincy between you and Lopez. God knows if she did it on her own there would be blood on the field and those lead balloons taped to her chest might topple the pyramid." She eyed them all intensely. "Now, the rest of the cheerios have already scattered and I'm a little tired of smelling the rotting pelt of whatever animal died on Puckerman's head. Now, I'm sure you all can continue your conversation tonight at 7 at shortstack's celebratory dinner that I'm sure her fabulous fathers have already planned."
Brittany clapped her hands, "Rach, you're having a party? Can S and I come?"
Rachel glanced quickly at Quinn's raised eyebrow and then saw the slight nod Sue gave her.
"Yes. And yes of course you can come."
Sue clapped her hands sharply, "Now move it."
Quinn sent Rachel an exasperated and apologetic glance as Sue marched them away.
"So, it sounded like Sylvester just made you have a party. Shouldn't you ask your dads?"
"For some reason I think my dads already know."
"She's crazy, we should go. I thought for sure some shit was about to go down. That was intense."
Later as they walked towards his truck, Puck threw an arm around her shoulders, "So, is it bad that every time Brittany called us the twins, all I could think of were Lopez's knockers?"