Spoilers: up to 3x10 "Yes/No"
Summary: AU S1 - Quincy Fabray joins glee club because his lesbian, fake girlfriend makes him. He meets Rachel Berry, and his life promptly falls apart. If you didn't figure it out, Quinn is genderswapped.
Author's Note: I've been promising this to an anon on my Tumblr for ages, I swear - and it all sort of got out of hand for me. The title is from "If I Had Eyes" by Jack Johnson and bears little to no resemblance to the song.
An interesting thing might have happened to Quincy Fabray one day: he joined glee club and met this ridiculous girl named Rachel Berry. She wore animal sweaters and short wool skirts and multicolored tights. It was hard to look at her sometimes. He was not exactly a proponent of radical fashion, like Kurt Hummel was, but he had some sense of style - and he could tell Rachel might have lost that gene somewhere in her prodigal childhood.
(He had known of Rachel Berry before the unfortunate day he joined glee club because she had been in his math class his freshman year. She was the only other freshman in the room, but he hated working with others. She did not seem to mind his refusal to work with her.)
Quincy joined glee club because his idiotic and closeted fake-girlfriend had followed her actual girlfriend there like a lost puppy dog. How Brittany had arrived to join the club was not presently clear, nor had it been at the time, but Brittany was not known for clarity anyway, and so he tended to forgive her for that.
Finn and Puck had followed him there, complaining the entire way about how their reputations would disappear and Finn would no longer be a good quarterback and Puck would somehow lose his audience of Lima cougars. Quincy had little to no time to listen to their whining, because he was in the midst of a challenging workload, his fake-girlfriend was experiencing some sort of mental crisis, his father had been talking constantly about Jesus's expectations, and he had football to worry about.
Glee club and Rachel Berry were unanticipated entries to his mess of a sophomore year. They were almost entirely unappreciated, in addition.
Quincy was chosen as the male lead of the glee club - mostly because he was the first male to join who could, a) dance, and b) sing at a pitch generally associated with men. Artie had wheeled over his foot the first day. Kurt had asked if he worked out while carressing his arm.
Rachel had stared at him, and promptly attached herself to Finn the moment he arrived, all petulance and astounding height. That was okay.
Several things began to spiral out of control somewhere around the time of their first ever performance in public ("Somebody to Love" an irony he would only begin to appreciate much, much later). Puck gave Quincy steroids. Santana gave him the world-renowned Cheerio diet recipe. And Quincy inexplicably found himself locked in a closet with Rachel Berry one cold October night.
Rachel looked fleetingly from the door to Quincy, who was already resigning himself to the back of the closet, rubbing at his eyes and reminding himself to breathe. This is the sort of stuff Puck would pull in his drunken state. He momentarily hoped Santana would grow tired of his offers of threesome and kick him in the balls.
"Are you okay?" Rachel finally asked. Quincy could literally feel the walls closing in around him, and rubbed fiercely at his chest, frowning when Rachel sat down next to him and looked at him - presumably - with her giant brown doe eyes.
"I'm claustrophobic," he finally says, before pulling his knees up and settling his head on his knees. There was no need to lie, seeing as he would most assuredly die in this closet anyways, along with his social reputation, and his father's many expectations. Rachel's hand hesitantly pressed against his back in the darkness. It was small, but warm, and calming.
He took a deep breath and closed his eyes as Rachel's hands moved in circles on his back, pressing intermittently against sore muscles from the game. He is eventually drawn into contentment, his head lolling to one knee and looking through the exceedingly dim closet light to Rachel, who was not looking back.
He could see the outline of her jaw and her nose, and a slight spark of light where her eyes were. He couldn't even remember what animal had graced her sweater that day, or if there had been any animal at all. But her hand was pushing the walls away with strength.
"I think you're very talented," he finally says, because it seems like the right thing to say. Her hand stills for a moment, before it runs up his shoulder blade and pushes against a tight knot that gives with such a feeling of relief that he gasps.
"Thank you," she says, before her hand runs over to the other shoulder blade and finds a twin knot, pushing down. "You made a wonderful game-winning catch tonight. It was unfortunate you landed so awkwardly."
He barks a laugh that seems to stun both of them, before Rachel's hand begins moving again, up to the base of his neck and applying pressure that has his head crashing to his knees in acquiesence. Her fingers scrape against the hair there. It is not unpleasant. This whole situation is not unpleasant, which is odd considering how often Rachel is unpleasant in school, around Finn. Hanging off him like a jungle gym.
"It's unfortunate how often Finn steps on your toes in choreography," he replies, and smiles when the small girl next to him laughs openly.
"It is, isn't it?"
He passed out on the field in the middle of the next game. It was very momentary, he has been told many times afterwards, with amusing amounts of sympathy. But when he comes to, Finn is on one side, Puck is on the other. Santana is literally straddling him, crying her eyes out - it is truly unfortunate how one of those events is common and the other is not - with Brittany standing behind Finn and rubbing at her shoulders. Rachel is hovering right over his head, holding his neck steady.
He is ready to proclaim that it his not a head or neck injury just as the stretcher is run out and his friends are shooed away. His father climbs into the ambulance after the drama of strapping him to the backboard and taping him in - despite many complaints on his part that he is, in fact, perfectly fine.
The blood test reveals an entire lack of protein and a series amount of an illegal steroid. His father's eyes are cold as the doctor looks at him sympathetically, admitting that the coach has already been informed and his eligibility for at least the next year is shot, if not forever gone. He also admits a dietician and a psychologist have already been assigned to him, because he is apparently suffering from anorexia.
Quincy is not entirely sure which his father is more disappointed about - that he is afflicted with a disease his father would most likely assume only afflicts women, or that his son can't be the perfect all-American boy any longer.
The next day, his father greets him at the steps of the hospital with two massive duffel bags full of clothing, his bookbag, and a suitcase full of random knicknacks. He leaves him there.
Quincy wonders if Rachel would consider it all the more heartbreaking that it takes place in sunlight or if she is the sort of girl who would appreciate the sympathy of rain.
Santana's family takes him in, because she is the first person he thinks to call, after sitting on the steps for a while and contemplating whether Nirvana or the Foo Fighters understood him more at the current moment. They are good people, who don't seem to mind boarding their daughter's boyfriend, though Quincy suspects this is because they are well aware their daughter is sleeping with a different, more feminine blonde.
Quincy's athletic wear is suddenly no longer apt to describe him - he receives a call from Principal Figgins that he is banned from all sports within two days of having moved in to the Lopez home - and so he decides on khakis and a purple sweater with a singular stripe stretching across his chest for his first day back at McKinley after the events of Friday night.
The splash of the slushy is unexpected and stains his khakis quickly. Finn and Puck are sympathetic from one side of the hallway, and Santana is already chasing Karofsky and Azimio down, shouting something in Spanish, intermixed with the name "Lima Heights," despite Santana living in one of the larger homes in Lima.
Rachel Berry takes his hand. It is small, just as he remembered, and he looks up from the floor and sees a glimpse of Finn's eyes as he is lead away by the quiet strength of that same hand. His former quarterback is glaring, about as well as he can. He doesn't mind.
Rachel looks at him appraisingly, her hands pulling over a chair and gesturing for him to sit down. He does, and smiles a little when the small girl settles on his lap to turn on the faucet.
"I'm sorry, this is the only comfortable way to do this," she remarks, fiddling until the water meeting his head is not scalding or freezing, but warm. Her fingers spread through his hair, which has been delicately styled into a side-part for much of his time here at McKinley. He wonders if he should embrace the natural wave of his hair now that it is no longer important to seem perfect.
"It's okay," he says, and smiles when the girl shifts further up his leg and leans closer to him to reach the back of his neck. "You're very good at this."
Her hands are practiced, and she smiles down at him unexpectedly.
"I've had a lot of practice," she says, before glancing down to the splattered front of his pants. "You're going to need to change your khakis."
"It's okay," he finally says, after a moment of silence filled with rushing water. Her hands drift out of his hair and grasp a mysterious towel that has appeared from nowhere and brush away colored bits of ice. His tongue darts out to taste it. She giggles atop him, and he feels her movement appreciably. "At least they gave me my favorite flavor."
"Grape is my favorite too," she says before she settles the towel on his head and pulls his shoulders up slowly, wrapping it around his hair and rubbing gently. It's soothing.
"Why are you helping me?" he asks, and his hand lands at her hip, grasping at the material of her thick sweater and tugging lightly. She doesn't seem to mind, just looks him in the eye.
"You're my friend," she says, and it's so unexpectedly heartwarming that he has to look away again, down to the print of her skirt and how it unknowingly matches the green stripe across his chest. She doesn't say anything when his now-damp head drops further, and reaches her collarbone. She just wraps her arms around him and makes shushing noises as he cries.
He is suspended for punching Karofsky in the face and beginning an all-out brawl. This unfortunately disallows him from competing with the club at sectionals, something Rachel decries over and over to anyone who will listen.
No one listens.
The distinct motion of a predator hunting prey is what draws his eyes to Karofsky at first, away from Kurt, who is professing a deep and profound love for the muscles of his forearm. Santana is tucked away in his arm and staring at Kurt with a cocked head and narrowed eyes, though she does not seem too far from amused to attack. Tina is standing next to Kurt and rolling her eyes.
Rachel is across the hall and further down, talking to Finn animatedly, just in Karofsky's path.
His arm drops from around Santana just as his arm vaults forward. Finn yelps as Rachel takes a step back, her face covered in cherry slushy, her least favorite flavor, and then he starts yelling various dudes, mans, and come ons at Karofsky. Quincy grabs ahold of Karofsky's jacket from behind, wheels the taller boy around, and rears back to deliver a cracking right hook into the boy's nose.
Karofsky hits the ground, already moaning about his broken and bloody nose as Quincy shakes out his hand. He hears Finn yell, "Dude!" in a different tone than before, and is wheeled around for his own blow at the hands of his former teammate. His current teammate actually. He knows exactly what this is over, and he accepts the hit on his jaw, and swings back, feeling his class ring gouge into Finn's temple.
He has moved in on Finn's territory. He has moved in limping, as a lower-class citizen who has been expelled from his home and from his football team, who doesn't eat lunch with the rest of the world, but under the watchful eyes of Mrs. Pillsbury.
Quincy Fabray is not the type of man to admit he is wrong, but he can admit that it was a sudden decision to set his sights on Rachel Berry. In fact, he would rather clarify that he had not planned it at all, only that it had happened.
Mr. Schuester pulled Finn off of Quincy, and Puck yanked Quincy onto his feet, while a math teacher helped Karofsky sit up.. He could feel his head throbbing in various places and eyes on him from all over the place. He had just taken on the quarterback of the football team and the captain of the hockey team. There were more bullseyes than ever placed on his back, for upsetting the natural order of things.
Rachel's eyes were muddled, but she met his as they marched all three of them to the principal's office.
She was at his (the Lopez) doorstep hours later, after he had announced to the glee club that he was no longer competing in sectionals and driven home with a rapidly swelling eye. Finn had escaped scot-free, as Finn was wont to do, and had smirked at him with a split lip from the top row of the choir room.
Brittany pulled the door open wider, from what he could see, allowing Rachel Berry into the Lopez home for the first time in her life.
"It took me a while to find you, but eventually Mercedes gave me the address," she says helpfully, looking from Brittany to Santana to him.
"Remind me to never tell Weezy anything ever again," Santana says, after a moment of silence. Brittany nudged at him, and he stood up slowly from the couch, groaning at the creak of his back. "Mami will kill you if you don't go upstairs without ten ice packs, Q."
Her eyes return to the television before he can even smile at her concern. Rachel followed him into the kitchen, her hand landing at the small of his back as he bends over to look in the freezer for the box of ice packs donated to the Lopez home by Sue Sylvester. He pulled a stack of them out, and shoveed a few into his sweatshirt pocket before palming the rest. Her hand grasped at the folds of the polyester as they made their way up the stairs.
His room is the guest room, and he pushed the door open with his hip. Rachel took a few ice packs from his hands and gestured for him to lie down after she closed the door again.
He laid down on his stomach, pressing his face against a larger, softer gel pack and draping another across his neck. Rachel sat next to him, on the side he isn't turned to, and asked where to put the others. He pointed out various places along his spine and then one on his injured hand, and a random outlier around his ankle. She giggled and asked why his ankle, and he mentioned the time he was in the eighth grade and broke his ankle landing from a jump off the monkey bars.
"Why would you jump from the top of the monkey bars?" she asked, her voice soft. Her hand draped itself along the top of his head, sifting through his hair.
"I wanted to fly," he finally said, before moving ever so slightly towards the warmth she's providing for him. It's true enough. His eighth grade self went by the name Lucas and would've jumped off anything tall enough to be considered dangerous. He supposed he has now moved onto more nuanced things, such as starvation and other self-destructive behaviors.
Rachel is quiet for a moment, before her hand dug deeper into his hair.
"I like your hair like this, not so - polished," she whispered, and it settled him in a way that he has grown accustomed to.
"I like you," he whispered, suddenly uncaring whether he was keeping it a secret or not. Her hand did not stop moving in his hair. Her leg shifted closer to brush against his hip. He closed his eyes and breathed in deep, thanking the setting sun for making him more comfortable.
"I like you too," she whispered back, just before he fell asleep completely.
They win sectionals and he is grinning in the green room as they file off the stage with the trophy being passed amongst them. Santana reached him first, wrapping herself almost completely, alarmingly around him. It generally was not acceptable for them to be touching too much. Brittany joined the group hug immediately, throwing her arms around the both of them.
Puck gave him a fist bump, followed by an amusing exchange with Kurt that began with, "I do enjoy the way you've been styling your hair lately, Quincy." Their conversation continued as a babbling Rachel bounced into the room, giggling madly. It had been days since their strange confessional in his bedroom, and not much had happened, considering his suspension and their lack of exchanged phone numbers.
Rachel bounded over to him and kissed him.
Eating in front of people was not something he was good at. Apparently this was customary to someone afflicted with an eating disorder, and in the Lopez home, they didn't seem to mind that he pushed around the food on his plate until he would come back down later to eat it. Mrs. Lopez was very considerate about saving his uneaten food, and kissed him on the cheek as they were clearing the table, and told him to go his own pace.
His psychologist was a certified jerk, however, and all but demanded he go to dinner with Rachel and her fathers. His nervousness had nothing to do with sharing a meal with two gay men - the fact that Dr. Beekman had brought it up had momentarily brought him out of a panic attack, it had insulted him so much - but with two men who were Rachel's fathers. And sharing a meal at all.
Rachel didn't know any of this, and was frowning as he bounced up and down on his toes outside her front door. His sweater felt too tight and his pants felt too loose and his face felt clammy. She looked beautiful, and he wanted to say this to her, very much so. Every time he opened his mouth a croaking noise came out.
Rachel crossed her arms and stared at him.
"Quincy," she began, "My fathers have prepared a wonderful meal - "
The word meal sent him rushing over to the edge of the porch and throwing up over the side, into a small garden of what appeared to be daisies. It made him feel that much worse, as he pulled himself down to the ground in the corner of the porch.
Rachel's hands were threading through his hair almost immediately as he ducked his head down to his knees, eerily reminiscint of the scene in the closet so long ago. One hand slid down his neck to pull against his shoulder. He tucked into himself further, trying to breathe.
"I can't, I can't," he said, gasping for air. Rachel squeezed at his shoulder, and ducked her head down into his space, bringing her head to rest against his temple. It should restrict his breathing that much more, and instead it brought some measure of peace. "I'm sorry."
Rachel listened as he explained his - issues, the ones he could even begin to speak about. When he was done, and they had somehow come to a position where Rachel was more or less on top of his lap and his head was ducked to rest against her heartbeat, breathing to match her own, she kissed him on top of the head.
"You could have said something," she whispered, her hands grasping at the collar of his button-down, under his sweater. "It would've been okay."
He doesn't say anything for a moment, just feeling at the material of her dress where it's bunched against his stomach.
"You're so beautiful," he whispered, and blinked as she started to shake her head at him. "You are. I was never - I was never handsome, or beautiful like my sister. I was always just...not good enough. I got in shape so I could be someone. I became a football player to be someone. So I could be good enough. I want to be good enough for you, now."
Rachel kissed his temple, her lips brushing against his ear and sending stirrings of fire down his spine. He ignored it as she shakes her head and kisses again at his jaw.
"You're perfect, Quincy. You are handsome, but you are - you are so much more than that. And that's what makes you so much better than me."
He sighed as she grasped one of his hands with her smaller one.
Jesse St. James joined the club as a transfer from Carmel, and of course, Vocal Adrenaline. Quincy is immediately certain he is some sort of spy, and snuffs out exactly what the boy is doing there within days. It takes very little threatening to his hair, and suddenly Quincy is in possession of a tape that belongs to Rachel's mother, or something or another.
He ignored much of Jesse's posturing about how "Shelby" isn't meant to contact Rachel at all, and so he must plant the tape somewhere so Rachel can conveniently find it. He asked Rachel about her mom, one day, in her room.
"I don't know," is the first thing she said, her head lifting from his chest and looking up at him. The movie they were watching was apparently entitled Brigadoon. It had just opened with a flourish of music, and Quincy was settling in for another showing of Rachel's encyclopedic knowledge of musical film and theater. "She was just...there. It would be nice to know her, but I've sort of accepted that she was only doing a job, more or less."
Quincy decides to leave it at that, and gives the tape to Rachel's dads as she's retrieving Monopoly from upstairs later that night. Hiram thanks him as Leroy pockets it, and pats him on the back. It reminded him of his own father, and Quincy sat back on the couch as Rachel came down the stairs with a Wizard of Oz inspired set.
He and Rachel are tasked with the setlist of regionals. At first, Mr. Schuester's suggestion of carrying on in the anthemic tradition of Journey seems good enough, but Quincy is sifting through Rachel's musical library one day as the girl is draped over his back, arms clasped at his throat when he hears it.
"I used to rule the world..." Rachel sings along, as the violins of the song resound through her spectacular sound system. Quincy freezes, because the song has a startling significance to his life in general, and he joins Rachel in a strange duet. She seems to catch on, because she stops singing and starts listening more acutely.
"If we do the first half or so as a duet, and then the choir parts as the club, and then added more layers of voices on..." he says, somewhere around the third verse, and Rachel nods, pulling herself away and writing notes down on a pad of paper that has materialized randomly. "This would be a great opening number."
"Journey has always been more of a Finn and Mr. Schue thing than a glee club thing," she says, scribbling away, before looking over his shoulder as he sifts through more songs to test out to follow Coldplay. "You know, you have a wonderful handling of music, Quincy."
He nods absently, clicking through song after song. "My mom and I used to play the piano after church and my dad was at the country club every Sunday until I turned thirteen."
Rachel clucks her tongue, giggling in amusement. "You are full of secrets, aren't you?"
"Basically. I'm actually a spy. Ask me about my guns."
Rachel's hand does indeed wrap around his bicep, squeezing as she laughs against his shoulder.
"Walking in Memphis" is a random pick, and he cocks his head as the familiar sound of the piano filters into the room. It's one of his mother's favorite songs, he remembers - she used to sing it all the time on those Sunday afternoons. He starts singing along, just as he used to.
He's about to click play on Mika when Rachel stops him, her hand wrapping around his forearm. Her eyes are wide as she watches him, and he can tell what she wants almost immediately. He keeps singing, turning the song up and pulling Rachel out of her chair and into his arms. Her eyes close and he can tell she's visualizing what it would look like on a stage, choreography and piano and swaying and choir work.
"This goes first," she whispers, and he nods in the middle of his singing. Once the song ends, the room seems a little emptier, and he feels a little more light. Rachel pushes herself up a little and kisses him.
It's a different kiss than any other that came before it. It seems charged with something that is more intense, and dark, than ever before. But it isn't an unwelcome heaviness, because Rachel is whimpering and pushing him backwards onto the bed, and she just keeps kissing him relentlessly.
His reaction is not uncommon for his half of the species, and yet, Rachel pulls away after her leg falls forward to hit it very very obviously, with a grunt from him. She glances down to his crotch, before looking back up to his face. She's blushing, and her lips are red, and her hair is slightly mussed.
"You're beautiful," he whispered, because it's what is seemingly right. She relaxes just a little, still glancing down at him. "I love you."
Rachel smiles, truly beautifully, ducking her head down to her chest before looking up at him from underneath her eyelashes.
"I love you too," she says, and then places her palm on his chest very steadily. "And I hope you're not just saying that to get under my skirt."
"Who knew you were so funny?" he says, laughing and pulling her down to kiss him. She doesn't pull away until her father pounds on the door and reminds them American Idol is on in ten minutes with a laugh.
They lose at regionals. They put up a better fight than they would've with Journey songs, against the ridiculously theatric perfection of Vocal Adrenaline's "Bohemian Rhapsody." Rachel wouldn't stop kissing him as they had wandered off the stage after "Viva la Vida," crying in his ear. His mother had stepped out of the shadows of backstage, her eyes locking on Rachel first, before smiling at him.
His unfortunate choice to join glee club has all sorts of insane effects on his life, and realizing the woman who had raised him on Sunday evenings still existed was one of them.
Mr. Schuester enjoyed a rather stunning flip-flopping, days afterwards, as the club was first cancelled and then brought back to life from the jaws of death. It didn't matter all that much to Quincy, no matter how much he cried during "To Sir, With Love." If pressed, he would later admit it was because everyone else was crying and he was a very sensitive young man.
Rachel was wearing a sweater with a frog on it the last day of school, as he was walking out with her toward her car. His own had not been returned to him, and he didn't suspect it would be considering his mother was now a single woman.
"Do you remember when we were trapped in the closet at Puck's party back in October?" he asks, gripping her hand in his own tighter. Rachel nods easily, skipping a little as another yell of cheer echoed across the parking lot.
"Santana let us out two hours after we got stuck," she says.
"Did you have an animal on your sweater that night?"
Rachel blinks at him, before she looks down at her sweater for a moment. After thirty seconds or so of thinking, she finally nods.
"It was a horse."
"Don't listen to what Santana says about those sweaters. I like them."
"I don't listen to half of what Santana says, because most of the time she's talking about going all Lima Heights on me for stealing her fake boyfriend."
"Was it worth it?" he asks, and the question comes out sounding more important than he really means it too, and he sighs, shuffling his feet. Rachel's eyes are steady on him.
And for what is possibly the millionth time that year, Rachel Berry calms him to the core, and he thanks his stars for Brittany randomly deciding glee club was where she wanted to be, and Santana being whipped, and making him show up with her.