A/N: Just a reminder, Rachel is blind. Title is a Who song.
I Can See For Miles
Quinn couldn't count the number of times she had stumbled down her stairs in the dark. Most people couldn't. You're just too lazy to turn on the lights, so you blindly navigate using your feet to feel for the edges of the steps. Sometimes she caught herself with the banister, screaming out rarely used expletives in the process. Other times she slipped down a couple steps and landed on her back, laughing her head off in relief that she was not tumbling to her death. And then sometimes, she would misjudge a step, lose track of the banister, and go thumping down the whole flight of stairs, before coming to a stop at the bottom and rolling around, hissing in pain for ten minutes, and trying to determine which way was up.
This may be accompanied by a distant, "Quinn! What was that?" or "Ohmygod Quinnie! Are you okay?" Then she would get up, shake it off, and do it all again in a couple of weeks.
This is what Quinn was thinking as she watched Rachel navigate her way down Kurt's staircase to meet the rest of Glee Club gathered in the basement. She wondered what it would be like to be in the dark all the time. To constantly be feeling for that edge of the step. God, she would be covered in bruises.
Quinn was broken out of her reverie as Mercedes led Rachel over to the couch and Kurt finally spoke up, calling everyone to order.
"Ok fellow glee clubbers! I will make this quick because I am aware some of you have places you'd rather be."
"Yes! Please do. Chop chop Hummel. Reservations at Breadstix and I will not be late."
"Does Breadstix even do reservations?"
Everyone rolled their eyes at Santana. Brittany put her arm around her.
"Be patient San. This is so exciting! It feels like Christmas, you know. Like everyone's here even though we don't have to be! I hope there are presents."
"Ooh Kurt are there presents?" Tina perked up from her place sprawled on the floor with Mike.
"What? No. No presents. I just have a wonderful idea I'd like to share with you all." Kurt beamed, building the anticipation
"Dude get on with it! A few more minutes of inhaling those flowery toxic candles and I'm gonna pass out." Puck complained from the armchair.
Kurt huffed. "It's floral incense Puck, but of course you would be ignorant of that fact."
Quinn was beginning to lose patience. This was taking forever and the 'floral incense' was making her want to vomit, so she focused her attention back on Rachel, who hadn't spoken yet.
Quinn didn't think this was odd. She noticed Rachel was usually quiet in unfamiliar places, and then back to her usual loud, outgoing self once she became comfortable. Quinn didn't know why she noticed this, of course, she just did.
It had only started within the last few months, when the two had stopped being enemies, and had become cordial, occasionally friendly, teammates. Quinn had lost interest in Finn and Rachel had rebuffed him in favor of her future career, so that all three points of their triangle were now single.
These few months are when Quinn began to think of things, like how Rachel feels coming down a flight of stairs. She didn't usually dwell on the girl's lack of sight, since they had been in the same schools since first grade, so that's just sort of how it always was.
When she made fun of Rachel in the first couple years of high school, it was for other things, like her clothing and stature, but she wouldn't stop her jock "friends" from hiding the brunette's belongings or slushying her so that she'd drop all her books and spend ten minutes searching for them on the sticky ground.
Today, Quinn had no doubt that she would defend Rachel, as a teammate, if she was bullied for her blindness. And she knew that every single other member of Glee would say the same thing. They had become a family.
Apparently Kurt's little speech was now influencing her thoughts.
"…are a family now. We worked so hard this year and New York was amazing, but it was school-sponsored. I think what we all need to really bring us together for next year, is a road trip. This summer. Together. Just the eleven of us, a minibus, and 1200 miles of fun!"
"Whoa whoa whoa." Mercedes held her hands up. "Kurt what're you talking about? Do you really expect that to happen?" She looked around at all the other glee clubbers.
Most looked thoughtful. Brittany looked like an excited puppy while Santana's eyes were narrowed in suspicion. Rachel had her brows furrowed, and Quinn was just trying to not vomit up floral incense that felt like it had overtaken her body.
"Kurt, this seems like a wonderful idea!" Ok, apparently Rachel decided to throw herself whole-heartedly on board. Kurt beamed, nodding enthusiastically.
"Wait, Rach you really want to do this? I mean you can't…You won't get to see all the sights. What's the point?" Finn asked.
"It'll still be fun for her!" Tina interjected as she saw Rachel hesitate. "We'll all get to know each other better; there'll be new foods and feelings and smells and stuff to do. And we'll all be there to help you Rachel."
Rachel smiled gratefully in her direction and Finn looked placated for the moment.
"Um Kurt, awesome idea and all but, I mean, how the hell are we supposed to afford this?" Artie asked.
Kurt gasped. "Oh I should've started with that! Ok! First of all, my dad just repaired a client's minibus but the guy doesn't need it back for a month, so he said we could use it. I'm sure we could all pitch in for gas right?"
The other glee clubbers nodded vaguely.
"And my Grandma has a house in Key Largo, right on the beach. Florida people! Paradise I tell you! It will force us to become very close, but that's what this trip is about!"
"Wow this…actually sounds possible. And kinda fun." Mike said.
"Fun? Man, jet-skis, scuba, beach babes, surfing! This is gonna be freaking amazing!" Puck exclaimed excitedly, his eyes glazed over as all the possibilities appeared to him.
"Ooh yay! I went to the beach once! It turned me into a lizard 'cause my skin fell off after but it was so much fun!" Brittany was obviously on board, and would be dragging Santana with her, judging by her exasperated but smiling face.
Tina wrinkled her nose in vague disgust at Brittany's previous overshare, but then nodded brightly at Kurt, gesturing to herself and Mike. "We're in!"
"Me too." Artie stated, followed by Finn's "Me three!"
"Oh Kurt," Mercedes sighed. "I don't know what the hell kind of mess you've gotten us into but I'ma have to go along to find out." She smiled at him and he clapped excitedly looking at Quinn.
"Uhh," Quinn glanced at Rachel. The brunette sat upright with a soft smile on her face just listening to the excitement. Quinn didn't want to agree to go until Rachel did; if the smaller girl was the only one to stay behind, she'd be by herself the whole summer.
Kurt got impatient and turned to Rachel.
"Rachel? Is it still yes for you?"
Rachel turned her head to his voice and inhaled deeply before nodding surely.
"Yes. Yes for me."
Quinn knew this trip could go terribly awry. She knew it could end in tears and anger, flat tires and horrible smells and claustrophobia and hurricanes, but like hell was she going to be the only one stuck in Lima for the summer.
"I'm in." She said simply.
The room erupted in cheers and laughter, and Quinn watched Rachel chuckle at the explosion of noise that lasted for about an hour, until many outrageous plans had been made and Quinn had endured her limit of oppressive floral incense for her lifetime.
Finally it was the last day of school, and Quinn had to admit that she was excited. The day after tomorrow she would be leaving on a road trip to the Keys with a group of her best friends; worst case scenarios had all been purged from her brain after she pictured them all getting eaten by sharks and manatees and deemed it irrational.
Right now she strolled down the halls of McKinley on her way to lunch. She saw Rachel at her locker, looking confused and slightly upset, and Quinn hesitated before making her way over to the girl.
Rachel turned quickly toward the voice and smiled slightly in Quinn's direction.
"Hello Quinn. How is your last day of school going?"
Quinn shrugged. "Uh, it's great. It'll be nice to get out of this hellhole for a while, you know." She gestured vaguely around the hallway, even though she knew Rachel couldn't see.
Rachel chuckled a little and turned back to her locker.
"Yes I fully understand where you're coming from Quinn."
Quinn studied the smaller girl, who now seemed to be searching the ground at her locker with her feet.
"Are you okay? You seem, um, upset…"
Rachel hesitated, but turned back to Quinn and crossed her arms over her chest.
"I think…I can't find my lunch." Rachel said quietly so that Quinn had to lean in to hear. The blonde's forehead creased in confusion.
"What do you mean you can't find it?" Quinn asked, equally quietly.
"I took it out of my locker and put it on the floor for a second so I could put my books away." Rachel's face seemed to be reddening and she tilted her head down. "I think someone took it…or…something" She murmured at the end.
Quinn didn't say anything, but her gaze flicked from the floor at Rachel's feet to all around the hallway, which was emptying now as the lunchroom filled up.
Her eyes caught on to an 'apple soccer' game being played by a few jocks about to round the corner, a telltale brown bag dangling from one of their hands as they guffawed their way out of sight.
Rachel seemed to take Quinn's silence for amusement or humor at the situation that Rachel just seemed to keep finding herself in. She thought Quinn would try to help her at least.
Rachel shuffled awkwardly and shut her locker, forcing Quinn out of her angry daze and back to the brunette, whose unseeing eyes were shining slightly with tears.
"Wait, Rachel." Quinn laid her hand on the girl's forearm, which was recrossed over her chest. "I don't-I don't see it anywhere. Maybe it just got, like, accidentally kicked down the hall or something."
Rachel raised her head a little, lips quirked up slightly in surprise, tears fading a little. "Accidentally kicked down the hall or something?"
Quinn took pause before answering very surely. "Yeah. It's like an elephant stampede in here when the lunch bell rings. I'm pretty sure I lost a solar system science project once in the chaos, a little lunch would be nothing."
Rachel had to smile at that and Quinn chuckled slightly as she did. She knew Rachel knew her lunch hadn't been 'accidentally kicked down the hall' but the girl was genuinely smiling in her direction now, and Quinn loved it.
"Come on." She said, linking her arm with Rachel's and letting her grab the cane leaning against the lockers. "I'll buy you lunch."
Rachel turned her head quickly to Quinn. "No Quinn you don't have-"
"Rachel you have to eat. And it's fine, my mom gives me a ten every day for lunch anyway. I don't know if she thinks we get five-star meals in the cafeteria or something but…you can pay me back if you must, ok?"
Rachel nodded, "Thank you Quinn." She said softly.
Quinn just tightened her hold on the girl's arm and guided them to the lunchroom.
Quinn and Rachel seated themselves at the table full of glee kids, who all greeted the two loudly before returning to their boisterous trip planning.
"Nine." Brittany stated plainly.
Mercedes choked on her tomato. "Girl, what the hell do you need nine suitcases for?"
Brittany looked at her blankly. "For my cat. Lord Tubbington is very demanding." Santana nodded sagely next to her, like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"Oh good Lord, you're bringing a cat on the minibus!"
At the other end of the table an argument was going on.
"Yes." Artie nodded vigorously. "Our overnight stay should be in Nashville. Home of country music yo." Puck clapped him on the back and smirked at Kurt and Finn.
"Sure, we should definitely stop in Nashville, but the only place that could warrant an overnight stay is Memphis. Graceland people. Elvis Presley." Kurt stated exasperatedly.
"King of Rock!" Finn added.
Quinn nudged Rachel in the side; she could tell the girl had been listening to the argument.
"I agree with Kurt." She said brightly. "Elvis was the first artist of the rock'n'roll genre; we wouldn't have covered half the numbers we have if it hadn't been for him."
"Yeah see even Rachel agrees!" Finn exclaimed. Puck just sighed and good-naturedly shook his head in Rachel's direction.
"So, my little Jewish princess and baby mama, are you guys ready?"
Rachel bounced a little enthusiastically as she tried to swallow her food quickly. Quinn cut in. "Well, I haven't packed nine suitcases," she glanced a little skeptically in Brittany's direction, "but I'm definitely ready to go."
"Yes! My dads have helped me retrieve everything on my packing list, even though they had to go to Columbus for a few items. They even got me a sound recorder! So I'll remember what the beach was like once we get back."
"That's awesome!" Mike said, projecting his mashed potatoes halfway across the table. Quinn had to agree; she loved the grin on Rachel's face right now.
"Ok, so what time are we meeting on Sunday?" Tina asked as her revulsion with Mike faded.
"Six am sharp. My house. Minibus is fueled up. We have maps. We have games. This is going to be amazing!" Kurt sang out.
Quinn just smiled at everyone's happiness. She definitely had to agree with Kurt.