Summary: When Rachel finds out that gay teens are at a higher risk of attempting suicide, she rallies the glee club to come to Kurt's aid. But unknown to everyone else in the club, Quinn is deeply closeted, struggling with her sexuality and her feelings for Rachel. Filled for a prompt on the LJ rq_meme.
Warning: Potential trigger—discussion of suicide and attempted suicide.
Author's Note: Consider everything after "Britney/Brittany" AU. There will be some things from episodes that came after that will seem familiar, but I've put my own spin on them.
There was already a fill done for this prompt, but I had already written bits and pieces of this, and I wanted to finish it. This is going to be a two-part story.
No Sign of a Parachute, Part 1
The sound of a squeaking marker fills the choir room as Mr. Schuester scribbles across the white board. When he turns to face his students, he's wearing an enthusiastic smile. Quinn reads the word Duets scrawled in big black letters before looking at her glee coach dubiously from the back row of the choir room. Last she checked, there were still an odd number of club members, which would mean someone couldn't do the assignment.
She decides it's just as well. She hasn't felt like singing very much these days.
Her eyes move away from Mr. Schuester and down to the front row, landing on Rachel, who is smiling excitedly at Finn. Quinn can't stop the feeling of jealousy that rises up in her as he wraps his arm around her. She quickly looks away and her jealousy soon gives way to self-loathing and guilt.
Ever since she helped Rachel test Finn's loyalty at the beginning of the school year, Quinn has been unable to ignore the feelings she has been harboring deep down for Rachel for longer than she wants to admit. Watching her serenade him in front of the entire club had broken something in Quinn, and she has no idea how to fix it. She has no idea how to make these feelings stop.
Her mother thinks she's suffering from postpartum depression, and despite the pang Quinn feels in her heart when she does think of the child she gave away, she knows that's not it. But she's more than okay letting her mother think it because if she truly knew what the source of her melancholia and anxiety was, Quinn has no doubt she'll be kicked out of her house again. Only this time, there would be no chance of being allowed back in.
It's that fear of stepping out of line again that drives her to do what her family has always done—try to shut her feelings down as best she can and pretend they don't exist. But it's becoming harder and harder to do, and she has inadvertently isolated herself from the people she had relied upon most last year, leaving her trapped inside her own head. But even if she hadn't pushed everyone away, she wouldn't dare utter a word about the thoughts and feelings that torture her daily.
If she speaks the words, she's afraid it will somehow make it all real. And after the hell she went through last year, she is not willing to do anything to jeopardize her tentative hold on her position of queen bee of McKinley or the strained and fragile relationship with her family.
Quinn feels a vibration coming from inside her gym bag and fishes out her phone. When she sees who the text is from, she can't stop the involuntary rush of nervousness she feels. Rachel hasn't texted her since requesting her help to test Finn's loyalty.
Emergency meeting in the choir room after school.
"Of course, it's just a group text," she thinks, unable to stop the disappointment she feels as she drops her phone back into her bag.
She doesn't know why she should expect more of Rachel. It's a miracle that the girl is even civil to her after everything she has done.
The rest of the day passes quickly, and once it's over, Quinn dutifully walks to the choir room. When she arrives, she sees Rachel sitting attentively at the front of the room next to the piano. Rachel offers her a tight smile, and Quinn simply nods in return before taking her usual seat in the back row away from everyone else, silently wishing she had gotten a warmer greeting.
A minute later, the new guy in glee club, Sam, arrives. Quinn only remembers his name because of the dorky introduction he gave when he joined. On one hand she's glad he joined because it means that they now have enough members to compete, but on the other hand, she's a little miffed. An even number of gleeks means that she'll have to complete the duets assignment.
He takes a seat near her, but she doesn't offer him any sort of greeting, pretending to be engrossed in writing in her binder. But despite her best attempts to ignore everything going on around her, she can't stop her eyes from finding Rachel. She discreetly watches the girl, who is intently watching the entrance to the choir room while her fingers absently trace patterns against the black wood of the piano. Unbidden, Quinn imagines what those fingers would feel like running along her skin. She swallows thickly and lets out an unsteady breath before quickly averting her eyes back to the notebook in her lap.
She doesn't dare look up again until she hears Rachel speak. "Okay, good, now that everyone's here," she says, and Quinn glances up to see Mike and Tina enter the room hand-in-hand.
"Um, no we're not," Puck interrupts. "Kurt and Finn still aren't here."
"They won't be joining us for this meeting," Rachel explains to him before turning her attention back to the group. "Fellow glee clubbers, I have called you all here today to discuss something of utmost importance."
"What, you want to tell us what solo you should be singing at Sectionals while the rest of us just sway in the background like props?" Mercedes asks, starting to unleash her own inner diva.
Rachel scowls, but seems to let it roll off her shoulders. "No, Mercedes, it's something much more pressing than that, and if you'd let me finish, I think you'll find out just how important this is to you personally," she addresses Mercedes, who then relents and looks at their captain in curiosity.
"We all know what it's like to be outcasts. After all, we're in glee club, and while we're on our way up, we still don't get the recognition we deserve by the rest of our peers," Rachel explains. "But Kurt is in a unique position that makes him stand out even more from the rest of us, and I'm not talking about his talent.
"Being openly gay at this school isn't easy, and Kurt has shown a lot of courage to be himself no matter what other people say. But I am admittedly worried about him."
"Why are you worried?" Tina asks, sounding genuinely concerned, and Quinn wonders where Rachel is going with this.
"With all the recent gay teen suicides, I couldn't help but fear that this is becoming some kind of epidemic. And last night I read a report that confirmed those fears. Did you know that 1/3 of all teenage suicides are committed by gay teens? That means that they are 300% more likely to kill themselves than their heterosexual counterparts."
Everyone is visibly taken aback, understandably worried, and Quinn feels her own anxiety start to rise up—this discussion hitting too close to home for her, even if everyone around her is oblivious to it.
"Needless to say, I'm worried about Kurt. And I know Karofsky has been giving him a harder time than usual."
"So what do we do?" Artie asks.
"As we all know, McKinley isn't exactly the most nurturing environment, so we need to do whatever we can to make Kurt feel safe and welcome here."
"We do that already," Mercedes says with a smile. "Kurt knows that we all love him. But yeah, of course, I'll make sure my man knows how important he is in my life."
"And we should look out for him a little more out in the halls," Rachel adds.
"No problem. Kurt's my boy," Puck says before turning his attention to his fellow football players. "We'll look out for him, right guys?"
Mike, Sam, and Artie nod in agreement, but Quinn can only stare down at Puck in puzzlement and disgust. "Since when is Kurt 'your boy?' Not too long ago you were throwing him in dumpsters with Karofsky's help."
"Whatever. I've turned over a new leaf. Or something," he explains with a shrug. "But I'm still a badass."
"Thank you, Noah," Rachel says with a grateful smile before turning her gaze onto Quinn, causing her breath to catch in her throat. "Quinn, perhaps you could get people to ease off on the slushy attacks?"
Her expression remains impassive, but Quinn internally frowns. She has always been unable to deny Rachel what she asks of her even if it breaks her heart, and she wishes she could give her this. But she doesn't have the power to do so—not anymore. She used to, but the fact is, she simply doesn't inspire the same fear in people anymore. "I don't know why you think I have that kind of power," she replies, not unkindly even though she keeps her expression stoic. "If I did, none of you would be getting slushy facials. The only thing this uniform prevents is being on the receiving end. Usually."
Rachel smiles sadly at her, and Quinn knows she's probably disappointed. "I see," she says almost dismissively before shifting her attention away from her and pleading with Santana to keep people in line.
It almost feels like a slap in the face. Why does Rachel have to be so oblivious to the fact that she wants to help?
But even more than that, Quinn finds herself wishing that Rachel was rallying the club to not just help Kurt, but to help her as well. But how could Rachel possibly know that Quinn needs it—how could any of them? She's done an excellent job of hiding the truth from them.
It's not they won't accept her. It's just that she can't tell them. Because she can't be gay. She can't.
But deep down, she knows she is, and she hates herself for it.
By the time the meeting ends, she feels more isolated from New Directions than ever before.
She's on top of the pyramid—literally—when she catches sight of Rachel standing on the sidelines of the Titans' afternoon practice. She watches as Finn trots off the field towards the girl, pulling his helmet off his head before dropping it to the ground and picking Rachel up and twirling her around. She laughs, and Quinn can imagine her chocolate brown eyes sparkling with delight as the boy puts her down and kisses her soundly. Her own eyes prick with tears and her stance falters slightly when she sees Rachel smile into the kiss.
"Fabray!" Coach Sylvester's voice sounds through the megaphone, snapping her attention back to where it should be. "Quiver like that again, and you'll be at the bottom of the pyramid and on dry cleaning duty for the next month!"
Quinn grits her teeth and forces herself to be here now. She can't afford to lose her captaincy again.
Below her, she can hear Santana laughing at her slipup, but fortunately, she is none the wiser as to its cause.
When Sam asks to meet her in the science room during their lunch break, Quinn agrees, not really thinking about the reason why he wants to do so. She's been kind of going on autopilot lately, throwing herself into her schoolwork and Cheerios, and paying attention to little else around her. Or at least trying to. Her mind refuses to ignore Rachel and the accompanying ache completely, much to her chagrin.
He takes his guitar out of its case, and Quinn can't help but raise a questioning eyebrow at him.
"I thought you were doing your duet with Kurt," she says, vaguely recalling a conversation she overheard him have with Mike.
"I asked him, but he already has a partner," Sam explains with a shrug. "Do you play?"
"No," she replies softly, shaking her head. "But I've always wanted to."
He grins at her as he puts the strap over his shoulder. "Come here."
She does, and he shows her how to play a few chords, albeit with her simply holding down the strings while he strums, but she thinks it's kind of cool this way.
"Can I tell you a secret?" he asks as they continue to play together, and she nods absently, still focused on her fingers against the neck of Sam's guitar. "I'm glad that Kurt had already decided to sing with someone else. I mean, I would love to sing with him, but you're the reason I joined glee club."
Her fingers still and her eyes shoot up, locking onto his in surprise.
"I've been dying to talk to you since the first day of school. I just didn't have the guts to do it." He leans in, and it's not until Quinn feels his warm breath against her lips that she realizes what's happening and is about to happen.
She tenses and immediately steps away from him.
She looks into his eyes and sees how eager and earnest and honest he is, and she can't help but want to cry. She knows he's exactly the kind of guy she should want to be with, but she doesn't want him. Not the way that she's supposed to. Why can't she just like him? What is wrong with her?
"Are you okay?" he asks, his voice laced with worry.
His question breaks her out of her thoughts, and her face screws up in frustration.
No, no she's not okay, but she's not willing to admit that—not to this boy who knows nothing about her.
"I'm sorry," he says, concern now showing in his eyes.
"You should be," she grits out before turning on her heels and storming out of the room.
She tries not to think about where she picked that ability up.
It's official: Quinn hates duets.
As she watches Rachel and Finn sing "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," she wonders why she hasn't quit glee club already. What had once been a refuge has slowly become hell—yet she can't imagine giving up the chance to listen to Rachel sing on a regular basis.
She wonders when she became such a masochist.
And when Rachel and Kurt perform a mashup of "Happy Days Are Here Again" and "Get Happy," she feels her heart break again, but in an entirely different way than when Rachel sang with Finn.
She knows that Rachel is putting in that extra effort to reach out to Kurt—to make him feel loved and wanted, safe and protected. And it seems to be working. He looks happier than ever. And when Rachel holds his hand as they sing, she can't help but feel jealous.
Immediately, she feels guilty. She knows how hard it has been for Kurt at this school. But at the same time, she knows that he always has a safe place to go. She's met Burt Hummel. She knows first hand that Kurt has a father who loves him more than anything—a father who would never turn his back on him.
Quinn wishes she were so lucky.
"Are you still friends with Santana and Brittany?" her mother asks randomly over dinner one night. Her tone is light and almost conversational, but Quinn knows that there's a reason why she is asking.
"No," she replies truthfully with a frown. Santana hasn't spoken to her since their fight in the hallway in the beginning of the school year, and Brittany's allegiance has always lied with Santana.
To Quinn's surprise, her mother looks relieved. It's then that she realizes her mother must have heard the rumors about her former friends' sexuality, and it makes her stomach twist in an awful way.
Sam, Mike, Puck, and Finn stumble into the choir room sporting bruises from having gotten into a brawl with Karofsky, Azimio, and Strando in the hallway. In defense of Kurt. For the most part, everyone leaves him alone with the exception of those three.
"Are you alright?" Rachel asks, fawning over Finn worriedly as he settles down behind the drum kit, causing Quinn's lip to curl in disgust.
"I'm fine," he replies with that charming smile she knows well. It never fails to make Rachel swoon and to make Quinn's blood boil.
"I'm really proud of you, Finn," Rachel says softly, pressing a kiss to his temple.
He grins dopily, and Quinn clenches her fists. She takes a calming breath, forcing herself to focus on anything but the happy couple. Without meaning to, her eyes fall on Kurt. A familiar guilt begins to course through her, but before she can consider it further, Puck speaks.
"Don't worry about those guys anymore, Kurt," he says assuredly, and Kurt smiles at him gratefully.
"Thank you, Puck," he says, his blue eyes tearing up as he turns his attention onto the entire club. "And thank you, all of you, for sticking up for me."
"Don't mention it, man," Sam says with a smile. "You're awesome and anyone who would give you a hard time about who you love is an idiot."
Artie rolls in then, adding to the good moods of everyone save Quinn. "Good news," he announces. "I overheard Coach reaming out Azimio, Karofsky, and Strando, and she said that if any of those guys lay a hand on Kurt again, she'll kick them off the squad."
The relief in the room is palpable, and the smiles that the boys are wearing clearly demonstrate just how proud of themselves they are for protecting Kurt.
Tina kisses Mike soundly, Santana runs her hand through Puck's mohawk affectionately, Brittany settles down on Artie's lap murmuring something Quinn can't hear, and Mercedes wraps Kurt in a warm hug as Sam claps his hand on the boy's shoulder.
Unnoticed by everyone but Quinn, Finn and Rachel share a tender kiss—words of praise flowing from her soft lips—and it takes every ounce of willpower to keep control of her emotions.
For anyone who cares to look—which is no one in the choir room—she appears as stoic as ever. But the reality is that Quinn feels utterly alone, and she doesn't see that changing any time soon.
Quinn's sister, Frannie, and her husband, Tom, come to visit during Thanksgiving. Tom reminds her an awful lot of her father. She knows that despite his civility, he looks down on her for having gotten pregnant at fifteen, especially with a Jewish boy's child. Her sister shares that sentiment, which is why she couldn't go to them for help when she had been kicked out last year.
The conversation takes an uncomfortable turn over dinner when, somehow, the topic of Rachel's fathers comes up. Apparently, Frannie and Tom had seen the men holding hands at the supermarket earlier in the day.
"It's disgusting," Tom says. "It's bad enough that gays exist, but the fact that they spread their perversion makes it all the worse."
Quinn's stomach drops and her hands begin to sweat.
"Don't they have a daughter?" Frannie asks, looking to Quinn, who can only nod, feeling too unsettled to say anything. "That poor girl," she tsks, and Tom and her mother solemnly agree.
Quinn has always known this is what her family believes, but hearing it tonight makes her feel worse than ever before. If they knew what she was hiding, they would condemn, abandon, and hate her.
She feels lost, and she hates that she can't make these feelings go away.
She cries into her pillow at night, silently begging God not to give up on her, even though she's starting to feel like giving up herself.
She has prayed every night to make these feelings for Rachel stop. She has asked God to fix her so many times she has lost count.
But nothing has changed. If anything, her feelings have only intensified, and she wonders if God has stopped listening. She wonders why He won't help her, and why she no longer feels His love enveloping her like she once did as a young girl.
And she can't help but think that maybe her father had been right after all—God does hate gays.
The cross around her neck feels heavy, and the feeling of hopelessness is suffocating.
Another high school party rolls around, and seeing as she's head cheerleader, Quinn knows she's expected to make an appearance.
Her vow to never touch a drop of alcohol again flies out the window the second she spots Finn and Rachel cuddled up together on one of the basement couches. Just the sight of them happily entwined—his large hands fumbling at the hem of her dress as she laughs, burying her head into his neck—makes her want to forget everything because it just hurts too much.
And so she drinks.
But the dull ache in her chest doesn't go away.
She wonders why God has stopped listening to her.
She wonders, but then there is that voice in the back of her mind—that voice that sounds so much like her father's.
"Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind. It is abomination."
"Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman. That is detestable."
She realizes this is what God must think of her.
And she no longer wonders why He doesn't listen.
It's because He hates her.
Realizing she's unlovable hurts beyond measure, and she feels herself break that much more.
Her self-loathing is at an all-time high, and her resolve is slipping fast. She can't keep living like this. It hurts too much.
Suicide is a sin that will land her hell, but so is being gay, so what difference does it make anymore?
Quinn resigns from her position as captain of Cheerios shortly thereafter. Coach Sylvester gives her the verbal lashing of a lifetime, but Quinn barely hears it.
It doesn't matter anymore.
Her mother is at work when she decides to go through with it.
She takes a bottle of Glenfiddich from the liquor cabinet. It had been her father's favorite, and she thinks that it will provide some sick sense of justice to what she is about to do.
She then treks up the stairs and into her mother's master bathroom. Before opening the medicine cabinet, she pauses and stares at her reflection. Her despair surges at the sight, and she quickly averts her gaze before focusing on why she came in here. She rummages through her mother's medicines until she finds the valium.
With that in hand, Quinn heads toward her bedroom and settles down on her bed, placing the bottle of pills on her nightstand and opens the Glenfiddich.
She takes a few swigs straight from the bottle, grimacing slightly at the strong taste, but the burn as it goes down her throat and settles into her empty stomach is good.
A haze from the alcohol settles over her, and she picks up a pen and flips her notebook open to a blank page before ripping it out. For the first and last time in her life, she decides to be completely honest.
The letter is a confession. She writes about her pain and isolation and apologizes for not being worthy of love. Her handwriting is sloppy, and she's vaguely aware of the paper being splashed with her falling tears.
When she is done, she places the letter on her nightstand. She then picks up the bottle of valium and empties its contents onto her mattress. There's more than enough to do the job.
With shaking hands, she picks up a few pills and chases them down with the scotch. She repeats this process until every pill is gone, all the while tears streak down her face.
The effects are almost immediate, and Quinn soon has to lay down on her bed, unable to hold herself up any longer. She feels dizzy, and her breathing gradually begins to get shallower. The world starts to go in and out of focus, and her last coherent thought is that the world will be better off without her in it.