Title: SLAVERY TO A PATTERN
Pairing: Quinn/Rachel, Brittany/Santana
Rating: Up to R
Spoilers: All of season 1
Warnings: Domestic Violence, Hurt/Comfort, Angst
Author's Note: Written for Glee Angst Meme, specifically the Angst section of the Rachel/Quinn Prompt Meme for the following prompt: "Rachel/Quinn - one or both of Quinn's parents are physically abusing her. Rachel finds out and tries to protect Quinn."
Author's Disclaimer: Complete, total, unabashed Id fic. The author totally acknowledges her own inability to resist an abuse hurt/comfort story and thinks maybe if she didn't groan at Twilight so much she should be writing that fandom instead. You know, for the angst.
I stopped loving my father a long time ago.
What remained was the slavery to a pattern.
Chastity Ball, Mission Baptist Church of the Savior
The ball is everything a little girl could hope for – twinkling lights, dreamy music played by a real live band, sparkling dresses and crisp suits. A fantasy right out of Cinderella.
Except, Quinn isn’t seven, she is sixteen, long past wanting the date on her arm to be her father.
He doesn’t notice or doesn’t care about that, though, none of the fathers who fill up this room do – aging men caught on the uncomfortable precipice of infantilizing and eroticizing their teenage daughters in a grand ceremony of misguided vicariousness.
Quinn would never say this to him, though. Him or anybody. She knows the part she’s there to play, and she plays it well. She will let herself be whisked around on his arm all night, a trophy still possessing the youth, beauty and vitality he once mined from her mother.
Later, she will look in his eyes as he goes down on one knee and offers her his ring. She will say the vows, she will make the promise – chastity, yes, but more than that she will promise her collusion, her consent to protect the fantasy of her father’s perfect life – the doting wife, the adoring daughter, the catalog home and the high powered job.
She will not think about the sick-sweet taste of wine coolers and a boy with pretty eyes, the tickle between her legs and the fact that her period should have started three days ago.
For now, for tonight, she will stay by her father’s side, ornamental in every way. His right hand rests on the back of her neck, his fingers large, squeezing without hurting her. His left had flirts a balance between the lit cigar in his fingers and the drink in his hand, clinking ice as he gestures to Pastor Murphy.
“Head cheerleader, straight A average, President of the Celibacy Club, volunteer with the youth group,” Pastor Murphy gushes to her father, “you must be one proud papa, Russell.”
Her father laughs, a sound that booms over the room, crisp, heady.
“She’s my little All-Star, all right,” he says, looking at her proudly.
She smiles, ducks her head and smoothes her dress, bashful under her father’s praise, ever the devoted daughter.
His little All-Star.
Fabray Home, Several Weeks Later
It’s after 7:30 when she gets home from Cheerios practice. Her mother has poured herself into the chaise in the sitting room and stares blankly at the television, moving images with muted sound. Dinner is long over, but she isn’t hungry anyway.
“Your father is waiting for you in his study,” her mother tells her as she passes the sitting room.
She knows what day it is. She didn’t need to be told.
She climbs the stairs to her bedroom and tosses her school bag in a corner. She changes out of her Cheerios uniform, straightens herself and walks down the long hall to her father’s study, pausing for a moment outside the door.
She steps lightly over the threshold and slides the wood panel door closed behind her, looking across the room at him. He sits at his desk, doesn’t look up when she comes in, but she knows he is waiting for her. Or at least, waiting for what she’s holding.
“Hi Daddy,” she says softly in her best good girl voice. She hates the words and the sound of herself even before she opens her mouth, but she hopes it will help.
Sometimes, it helps.
He smiles but continues to focus on the legal pad on the desk, not looking up.
“There’s my pumpkin. I missed you at dinner.” His voice is loud, theatric. “Practice was good?”
“Yes Daddy,” she says, walking slowly toward the large antique desk.
She stops next to his chair and tentatively lays an envelope down on the desk next to his hand, which is jotting notes across the pad.
She waits, forcing herself to still her hands, to not give herself away by fidgeting with the hem of her dress. It doesn’t matter in the long run, not really, but she will keep up appearances as long as she can.
Without looking up at her, he speaks.
“Report card day. I trust I’ll be pleased when I look at that,” he says, referring casually to the report card she has placed beside him, his pen continuing to scratch notes across his pad.
She thinks of the B in Chemistry.
She is silent.
His pen pauses on the page.
He looks up, finally, sizing her up in his gaze, his expression unchanged.
She meets his eyes.
He stares at her a long moment before bringing his gaze back to his pad, the room filling up again with the scratch scratch scratch of his pen.
Her eyes blur with tears as she turns away, walks slowly to the cabinet across the room. The squeak of the door sounds like a scream in the quiet of the study as she opens it.
The belt hangs there, thick and ominous, waiting for her, untouched, since last time. She takes it down from its hook and closes the cabinet door.
She turns back to her father and crosses the room.
He has returned to work, and doesn’t look up at her as she lays the belt down on the desk in front of him.
She casts her eyes to the floor and stands beside him, beside the desk and the belt, and waits.
She is afraid.
She doesn’t know how long he will make her wait, and it doesn’t matter. She is in his study, she is on his time, she is his daughter. She is his.
45 minutes later, Judy Fabray, sitting in the foyer of their posh suburban house, turns the volume up loud on her television to drown out the screeches.
Still crying, Quinn closes the door of her bedroom before reaching her hand back under her dress to graze fingertips over the raised welts wrapped across her rear end and down the backs of her thighs, flinching at the rawness. She doesn’t need to look to know it will be a week of track pants at Cheerios practice to hide the bruises, and Coach Sylvester punishing her with laps and chores for not having her regulation uniform.
She doesn’t bother changing out of her dress, just lays down on her stomach on the bed, curling around her stuffed dog Bo and laying her head on her pillow. The pain catches up to her again in the stillness, fire beneath her skin. She closes her eyes and releases the air choked sobs squeezed tight around her chest.
Eventually, she sleeps.
McKinley High, Football Field
Predictably, Cheerios practice is hell.
Coach Sylvester picks at her mercilessly, making the team perform routines and moves over and over and over again in the name of Quinn’s “sloppy, wanton disregard for technique.” By the time Coach ends practice by telling them all to get their pathetic zombified corpses off her practice field the entire team is furious with her for the extra hard workout.
“Not you, Q,” Coach says, her voice even more pleasant than usual, a sure sign of her evil intent.
Brittany and Santana give her a sympathetic glance and make haste for the locker room. Quinn gathers a breath and walks toward Coach Sylvester, bracing herself.
“You wanted to see me, Coach?”
“Well, Q, I wanted to ask you whether you thought I was running a cheerleading squad or a mental ward.”
Quinn blinks, summoning up her best bored, disaffected teenager expression.
Coach Sylvester continues, undaunted by her attempt at disinterest.
“Maybe you didn’t understand the question so I’ll phrase it again for you, slowly this time, if you’re having trouble. I want to know whether you think I’m running a cheerleading squad or a MENTAL WARD. Because your confusion about this very issue is the only thing I can think of to explain your uncoordinated flapping out on the field today. Maybe, if you think I’m running a mental ward that would explain why you think it’s okay to jerk around like you’re having a seizure out on the field when you’re supposed to be perfectly executing the soon to be award winning state championship routine I taught you!”
Quinn flinches in spite of herself, fueling Sue Sylvester’s angry rant.
“You may have forgotten this Fabray but I have a team of winners, and winners win by being the best. They look the best, they act the best, and they perform the best. And of all my winners, the head cheerleader is the best of the best. And that head cheerleader is you. But have you been acting the best lately? No. You’ve been showing up in track pants instead of that jaunty little hormone stoking cheerleading uniform you’re supposed to be wearing, and you’ve been stumbling all over practice like a drunken Catholic at bingo night. Now unless those track pants are a sign that you’re experimenting with lesbianism and embracing your inner butch in which case you can just pack it in and go tour with the Indigo Girls, I suggest you focus your attention and start acting like the Head Bitch I know you are. Now, you can consider yourself on equipment duty until I see you back on my field in your inappropriately scant cheerleader skirt like you’re supposed to be. Do I make myself clear?”
Quinn looks up at Coach Sylvester, groaning inwardly at equipment duty for the whole week, which is at least how long it will be before she can show her legs again. Sue is glaring at her with her signature maniacal grin, and Quinn wants to be anywhere but standing in front of her accepting more barbs.
“I understand, Coach,” she says, sighing.
“Good,” says Coach Sylvester, her voice snapping back to it’s usual sarcastic sing-song tone. “Because I’d hate to have to replace you with one of the other pathetic adolescent diva wannabees that you call friends.”
With that, she stalks off the field, leaving Quinn to turn and survey the mess of towels, water cups and coolers, balls and jump ropes and other athletic flotsam strewn over the field. As usual, it doesn’t matter that it’s not all Cheerios equipment or that Quinn is stiff and sore and tired or that it isn’t her fault that she’s not toeing the line. She will clean up the mess, she will take whatever Sue Sylvester dishes out and she will keep moving.
She walks over to the first cooler, filled and heavy with melted ice and water and drags it off to the gravel near the bleachers before turning it over with a grunt. For two seconds, she feels sympathy for whatever sniveling dweeb Coach Sylvester usually bullies into doing this, but pushes those thoughts down just as fast as they come. She is Quinn Fabray, Head Bitch in Charge, and she does NOT have sympathy for minions. Adults around her may take a lot of things from her, but they won’t take her essence.
She’s focusing on her defiance and feeling a lot more of a minion than she will allow herself to admit when she turns from collecting a stack of sweaty, used towels from the bleachers and finds Santana and Brittany staring at her.
Santana stands with her arms folded across her chest, her expression disgusted and looking every bit the bitch Quinn is trying to convince herself she is. Brittany stands slightly behind her, her chin resting on top of her hands, which are folded over Santana’s left shoulder.
The three stare at each other a long moment.
Quinn, in keeping with the fact that she is just generally pathetic all around, is the first to break the silence.
“What?” she asks, trying to sound haughty.
It’s a testament to their friendship that Santana glides right over the fact that her tone comes out more kicked puppy than queen bee.
“What – what?” Santana asks, her voice lazy. “I should be asking you what.”
Quinn is quiet, not sure how far Santana, who is not usually one for heart to hearts, is going to go with this impromptu intervention.
“I mean seriously,” Santana continues, “I’m not saying you need to be out here acting everybody’s maid or whatever, but Coach Sylvester totally has a point about you not being on your game. And for god’s sake what’s with the outfit?” she asks, keeping a superior tone even as she bends over to pick up a few discarded towels on the ground near them.
“Yeah what’s with the pants,” Brittany adds, her voice flat as she too begins to collect some of the crumpled up water cups and trash from practice. “You’re wearing pants a lot lately.”
Quinn brings her hand to her mouth, covering the hint of a smile she feels blooming watching her two best friends totally have her back even as they bitch her out about it.
“Whatever,” Quinn says, actually feeling some of the haughty she injects back in her tone. “Like you two never have fat days. Sometimes I just feel too hideous for my Cheerios skirt.”
“What’s hideous is you out here on this field like you’re the team’s bitch,” Santana jokes, bumping shoulders with her as they head toward the gym, obviously easing off whatever line of questioning she was nearing. Fat is something all of the Cheerio girls speak. Crash diets, fasting, weight loss potions, even purging – it’s a language Santana speaks fluidly, and one she doesn’t question.
It’s for this reason that neither Brittany nor Santana bat an eye when Quinn locks herself in a bathroom stall in the locker room and pretends to wretch into the toilet as she quickly changes her clothes in private, the still purple belt marks obvious against her pale skin.
She stuffs her practice clothes hastily in her gym bag and feels relief that Glee, rather than Cheerios practice, is tomorrow.
On to Part II