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: LONG CHAPTER IS LONG. As in, epic length. As in, Livejournal made me break it into smaller parts and disrupt my four chapter plan.
Part I | Part II | Part III
The following chapter contains graphic scenes of child abuse and domestic violence. Up until now, the violence mentioned in this fic has happened largely off-page, but this section includes explicit depictions of the physical abuse of a main character. Please be advised that this may be triggering for some readers, and proceed with caution.
McKinley High, 30 minutes later
Rachel is worried.
Quinn doesn’t come back to practice before the bell rings for the next period. Rachel looks curiously at her things, still laid out on the chair she had occupied. She picks them up and moves them to the corner next to the music cabinet, thinking they will be more discreet there, not wanting anyone to mess with them or steal anything. Rachel isn’t sure what Quinn might be carrying in her bag in terms of confidential paperwork or information, but she’s sure that she doesn’t want to find out through Jacob or some other prying student’s rumors.
She shoots a last, concerned glance at Quinn’s things before heading out of the room to her next period class.
“Quinn!” Principal Figgins greets her warmly as she opens the room. She is standing in the doorway, frozen in shock at the sight of her father. “Come in! Your father and I were just talking about what an excellent student you are, keeping an honors average and acting a role model through leadership roles in all of your extra curricular activities. McKinley High would be well served to have more students like you.”
Quinn remains immobile in the doorway of the office. Her father looks up at her, giving her a chilly, calculating smile.
“What are you doing here,” she whispers, looking fearfully at her father.
“Quinn,” Principal Figgins says, scolding her lightly. “Is that any way to talk to your father? You have a doctor’s appointment later so he came early to take you to lunch on the way! You should be thanking him!”
Figgins looks at her father, the two of them sharing a knowing grin. “These kids today,” Figgins tells him. “Can’t spare a moment for their family in this age of text messaging and twitting and facebooks.” He looks at Quinn. “You can visit more with your friends later, for now your father wants to take you to lunch!”
Her father stands up. “That’s okay, Principal Figgins,” he says in the same loud, jovial voice he always uses in social situations. “We were 16 too once upon a time,” he jokes.
Quinn breaks out of her momentary paralysis when he stands. She takes a step back.
“I don’t want to go with you,” she says, her voice low and desperate. Her father narrows his eyes. Quinn looks over at Figgins. “I don’t want to go with him,” she says, her voice growing more panicked. “I’m not going with him.”
“Nonsense!” Figgins tells her, moving around his desk and ushering both Fabray’s toward his outer office door. “You should be happy you have a father who cares enough to want to spend time with you,” he says. “He is your father.” He draws out the word with such emphasis and obvious adoration that Quinn looks at him in disbelief.
Her father uses the opportunity of being swept toward the door to step in close to her and shoot a hand out to grab her arm above her elbow, squeezing in a vice grip.
She feels the fear descend over her at his grip, at the pain that shoots up her arm. She doesn’t struggle. She remembers who she is, who he is, and that he always wins.
Her father bids everyone in the office warm farewells and, still gripping her arm, guides her out of the lobby and down the hallway toward the exit and his car, waiting in the parking lot.
To everyone around them he is all smiles, a loving and affectionate father come to enjoy an afternoon of father daughter time with his child.
Quinn feels the handprint bruise blooming over her bicep beneath his iron fingers and knows exactly what kind of father daughter time he has planned.
They exit the building, and she begins to cry.
30 minutes later and Quinn has not made it to next period. Rachel glances at the clock anxiously, fidgeting in her seat, the feeling that something is wrong gnawing at her more and more intensely.
She raises her hand and requests permission to go to the bathroom.
Instead of heading in that direction, she makes a right and heads straight for the Glee practice room, where she can see through the window that Quinn’s things are still tucked in the corner, untouched. Quinn herself is nowhere to be seen.
Rachel hits the corridor at a run, panic rising in her chest. Something is wrong. She knows it. She rounds the corner and slows down, checking herself, not wanting to appear crazy in front of the receptionist and arouse suspicion. She draws on Barbara Streisand’s iconic performance in the climax scene of Nuts for inspiration, and straightens her shoulders, walking normally up to the desk.
“Hi,” she says to Principal Figgins’ secretary. “Quinn Fabray was called out of Glee practice last period and never returned to pick up her things. Mr. Schuester wanted me to check to see if he should lock them in his office before he left for lunch, or if she needed them here.”
“Oh, honey, you tell him that her daddy picked her up to take her out to lunch and then to a doctor’s appointment,” the secretary tells her, admiration for Mr. Fabray in her voice. “She’ll probably be gone most of the afternoon. You tell him to go ahead and lock them up. I’ll tell her when she comes back in.”
“Her – her father?” Rachel says, just to be sure, her heart pounding.
“Yes, he’s such a nice person, too, making time out of his week to spend with his daughter. I wish my husband were more…” but Rachel has already bolted from the desk.
Quinn’s father marches her to his car and clicks the remote to unlock it, the headlights flashing with a short honk of the horn. He hesitates by the passenger door and looks down at Quinn.
“Get in,” he orders, his voice low and angry and tight.
She shakes her head, her face distorting with tears.
“I said GET in,” her orders her again, tightening his grip on her arm. “This can get as ugly as you want, but I have a good reputation in this town and if you make a scene, you’ll lose.”
She believes him.
She gets in the car.
He walks around to the driver’s side door and gets in.
“A few weeks on your own and already you’ve forgotten yourself,” he starts, as soon as he gets behind the wheel. He puts on his seatbealt, not looking at her but working into a sermon. “Honor thy father and thy mother. I’ve drilled that into you your whole life, and you’ve always been obstinate. You know better than to disobey me. You’ve forgotten how to behave. You’ll remember soon enough. Everything has consequences, Quinn, and you’ll remember the price of disobedience in my house if it takes every night this week to teach it to you.”
“I’m sorry daddy,” she whispers, leaning her forehead against the passenger window, thinking about Rachel, thinking about her dads.
She should have known better.
Her own father told her as much.
Rachel passes by the door of her classroom and rounds the corner to the yearbook office, where Jacob Ben Israel is sitting transcribing notes from his personal recorder. She looks in the door and beckons him into the hallway.
He joins her in seconds, and before he even has the opportunity to open his mouth she shoves him up against the locker, her face angry and her tone commanding.
His face registers shock and then pleasure, and he stammers about secretly knowing all along that she liked it rough.
“You will listen to me very carefully right now.” Her voice is powerful, forceful. “
All this time you’ve watched me, all this time you’ve tried to flirt with me, and bribe me, and manipulate me, and hit on me, and impress me. All of it – it all comes down to this moment, right now.”
“I like it when you’re…” he starts but is cut off by her angry voice.
“Shut up. Just shut up. If you ever want me to like you, if you ever want to do anything for me that’s real, that will get my attention, that will put me in your debt, you’ll listen to me and do exactly as I say right now, in this moment.”
“You’ll be in my debt?” he asks, a perverted grin spreading over his face.
“Stop stalling,” she tells him. “Yes or no. It’s right now.”
“What do I have to do?” he asks. She releases her grip on his jacket and backs up, allowing him loose from the lockers she had pushed him into.
Five minutes later he walks into the math class that Santana Lopez is currently sitting in, doodling in her notebook.
“Mr. Schuester needs to see Santana Lopez in the teacher’s lounge,” he tells the teacher, not stammering nearly as much this time as when he had gotten Brittany out of class moments earlier.
Santana looks up in surprise, but is glad for the distraction. She gathers up her things and follows him out into the hallway, shooting a confused look when Jacob steps aside to reveal Brittany waiting for them by the door.
“Schuester wants us? What for?” she asks Brittany, who shrugs. “Not that I’m complaining, math class is mad boring.” She turns to Jacob. What’s this about, fro?
“Ask Rachel,” he says, pointing down the hall to reveal Rachel, pacing by door to the Glee room. “I’m here on her errand…”
Brittany and Santana are already down the hall.
He swoons, thinking about all the ways he’ll cash in her favor.
Quinn’s father pulls the car into the garage and cuts the engine.
She is sitting in the passenger seat crying softly, not looking at him.
“Is it true?” he asks her, his voice having regained some of its normal cold distance.
She looks over at him, her hands fidgeting the hem of her sundress absently, wrapping first one fist and then the other with the extra material. She is silent.
“I asked you a direct question. Are you deliberately disobeying me? Do you think that’s the most wise course of action in this moment?”
She looks back to her lap, her breathing going shallow. She thinks about opening her car door, about just bolting from the garage, but she will have to unbuckle the seatbelt and she knows he would have her in his grip quicker than she could get out. She knows it would only make the inevitable worse.
She sits. She stays silent. She won’t make it worse, but she won’t play it out like always, either. She… can’t. She can’t do it anymore. Not like she did before.
Seconds later, his hand reaches out and once again grips a vice around her arm, squeezing painfully and pulling her toward him. “I asked you a question,” he says, his voice going lower, more severe. “And you’ll answer. Are the rumors true? Answer me!”
He gives her a shake, pulling her face up close to his. She cries out at the pain in her arm and turns to him, tearful.
“What rumors? I don’t know…”
“Your mother heard from one of her bridge friends yesterday that you were seen going into the women’s health clinic downtown. Is it true?” He shakes her arm again slightly. “Is it true?!”
It feels like her heart stops beating.
She is pregnant, and now he knows.
She looks away from him, leans away as far as she can with his grip on his arm, his hand pulling her closer. A sob catches in her throat, and she says nothing.
“I’m going to ask you one question,” he says to her, letting go of her arm, his voice eerily calm. “But I’m going to ask it until I get an answer, until you learn to obey me again. I am your FATHER and you will do as you’re told.”
She presses herself closer into the door as he releases her, her hand absently reaching up to massage her arm. Her vision is blurred with tears and her head is swimming. She wants to disappear. She knows what he’s going to ask.
“There are only two reasons women go to that clinic downtown. To grow a baby, or to get rid of a baby. Now I’m going to ask you, and you’re going to tell me the truth. Are you pregnant?”
Something breaks in her chest and she leans forward, her body shuddering with sobs. She covers her face in her hands.
“ARE YOU PREGNANT?” he shouts, losing his composure again.
She doesn’t move, still sobbing into her hands in her lap.
“Go upstairs to the study,” he says in the same eerily calm voice. “Now.”
She looks up at him. “Daddy… please…” she whispers, pleading.
“I SAID NOW!” he commands her.
“Please don’t…” she chokes. “It hurts me, daddy… please…”
He gets out of the car and stalks around to her door. She buries her face in her lap again, her body shuddering with tears.
He yanks open the door and grabs her, pulling her out of the car. She shrieks and begins to beg, pleading and whimpering over the word “no” over and over again.
He keeps a firm grip on her arm and drags her into the house and past her mother, sitting at the kitchen table amidst a spread of invitations to a church function. A shadow of disapproval flutters over her face, fleeting, and then she turns back to the invitations she is working on, taking a drink of her bourbon before picking up her glue gun.
“What’s the deal, RuPaul?” Santana asks Rachel as she walks up on her in the hallway in front of the practice room where she is pacing and obviously frantic. “Drag queen convention you didn’t get an invite too?”
“Santana’s just kidding,” Brittany tells Rachel in a loud stage whisper. “We like you now. She’s just maintaining her image.”
Santana turns and looks at her, pursing her lips.
“I need your help, both of you, now. It’s Quinn,” Rachel says, not stopping to quip over the insults. “Her dad was here, he took her and left.”
Santana turns and punches the locker next to them, the sound loud and echoing down the hall. She turns back to Rachel. “How long ago?”
“45 minutes,” Rachel says tensely. “We have to go, now. Santana, you drive us. Brittany, let’s go.” Rachel takes off for the parking lot. She doesn’t stop at the office, she doesn’t ask permission.
“Shit, Berry,” Santana says, impressed in spite of herself.
Ten minutes later they pull up at the Fabray house. Predictably, Santana was the right choice for driving them as she sped around corners and blew through yellow lights without batting an eyelash. Rachel flips her phone shut, having left voice messages with both of her dads for reinforcement.
She jumps out of the car almost before it comes to a stop.
Santana jumps out after her, but hesitates when Brittany doesn’t move.
“I don’t want to go in there,” she says, looking strangely at Quinn’s house and not opening her door.
“It’s okay, Brittany,” Rachel says, sticking her head in the window. “You slide into the driver’s seat and stay out here with the car and be ready to drive us when we come out, okay?”
Santana shoots Rachel a startlingly affectionate look. She leans into the window herself.
“Tell Rachel’s dads what’s going on if they get here, okay?” she says, and squeezes Brittany’s hand. “We’ll be right back. We’re just going to get Quinn.”
Rachel and Santana head toward the house.
Quinn doesn’t resist as she is pulled up the stairs to her father’s study.
He pulls her over the threshold and slides the door shut after him, clicking the lock.
He releases her arm.
“Go to the cabinet,” he tells her sternly.
She backs up from him, crossing her arms in front of her chest and staring straight at him, unmoving. She absently massages the soreness in both arms where he has grabbed her.
“You think that you’ve been out in the world for three weeks and you know everything there is to know!” he shouts at her. “You think you’re on your own for three weeks and you can forget everything I’ve taught you, forget that I’m your father and you’ll do as you’re told! GO TO THE CABINET!” he shouts.
He is unnerved at her defiance, and losing his cool, his usually detached, cold demeanor.
She is afraid, more afraid than she’s ever been in her life, but she’s determined to resist as long as she can, to hold on to herself for as long as she can.
She knows he’ll win.
She knows he’ll hurt her – bad – but she won’t play his game.
Not this time. It’s what she has left, and she’ll keep it safe as long as she can.
She stands still.
She watches him, trembling but holding her ground.
He stares at her angrily for another minute before crossing the room and grabbing her, dragging her to the cabinet. He yanks the door open, revealing the belt, hanging where she last left it, waiting where it always does.
“Get it,” he orders her. She has dissolved into fresh tears at the sight of the belt, at the memory of blows on her skin, at the realness of the situation. She feels herself losing her resolve.
He shakes her, shouting into her ear. She reaches out and takes the belt, remembering the hundred times she has reached out and taken the belt. Her face is a wreck of blotchy tears and snot as she stands, holding the belt like a snake in her hand.
“This is not okay,” she whispers. She can’t make herself defy him any more, but she still has her voice. The words come out barely audible, barely there beneath her crying and his shouting, but they come out just the same.
He hears them, blows by them, but she repeats them again, more to herself than anyone, a plea, a mantra.
“Get over the desk,” he commands.
“Please…” she whispers.
His face is a wash of cruel contempt. He is her father. He is no kind of father. He will win today, but tomorrow there is Rachel, and her dads. He won’t win forever.
She walks to the desk. She places the belt down and feels a bolt of terror flash through her that weakens her knees. The situation is real. She feels the desk, she smells the woodgrain as she slides down her underthings and bends over, gripping the far side. She rests her ear on the wood and it feels cool against her cheek, which is flushed and hot with her emotion.
She closes her eyes tight, waiting.
He moves behind her, taking up the belt.
“You think you can leave my house, you think you can go out in the world and live on your own? See where it’s gotten you? See how you need this!”
He brings the belt down on her and the world explodes.
She cries out, twisting at the fire raising up under her skin.
“Your first time away from home and you lose your morals, you go rutting all over town like loose harlot! That’s not how I raised you!”
He brings the belt down again, again, again. She screeches and twists and cries out, begging, apologizing, promising.
He shouts at her, his voice righteous and cruel. He tells her that he always knew her sister was the good one, that this is the only way she has ever learned anything and the only way she’ll ever learn, that no daughter of his is going to make her way around town on her back.
Eventually, he doesn’t say anything at, and concentrates only on the belt, on punishing her, on making her learn.
The front door is unlocked, and Rachel and Santana let themselves in without the pretense of a doorbell or a knock. Santana shoots Rachel a determined, dangerous look as they cross the threshold and immediately are confronted with the sound of Quinn screaming, shrill and desperate and pushing into all the corners of the house.
Rachel races up the stairs toward the sound, Santana on her heels.
They pass Quinn’s mother standing on the stairs, drink in hand, looking up to the landing beyond which is the door to her husband’s study. Her expression is unreadable, and she is motionless on the stairs, not going up further, but not retreating downstairs either.
Rachel sprints past her but Santana stops, jerking her arm and knocking the drink out of her hand.
“You’re her mother!” she shouts at her. “HER MOTHER!” She bolts up the stairs after Rachel when she hears the brunette begin to pound on the door.
“It’s locked,” Rachel says to Santana, both of them flinching at the terrible sounds on the other side of the door and Quinn’s screams, louder and more urgent now that they are so close. She pounds at the door with her open palm once, twice in frustration.
Santana turns down the hall to Quinn’s mother. “Where does he keep the keys?” she asks. Judy Fabray looks at her, her face crumpling. “The keys! Where is the spare set!” Santana shouts. Quinn’s mother whimpers and stutters, unable to provide a coherent answer.
“We have to get in!” Rachel shouts, her own panic rising at the sounds in the hallway. She has to get in. It has to stop.
“Move, Rachel,” Santana orders her.
Rachel immediately stands aside without question.
Santana steps back and rockets a kick toward the door, aiming at where the lock mechanism would be right over the depressed handle. Her heel connects with a loud crack.
Rachel jumps forward and tries the door. It rattles in the lock, more loose than a moment ago, but doesn’t give.
“Santana, again!” Rachel shouts.
Santana backs up further and rockets a second kick at the door, landing it in exactly the same spot. This time the connection cracks the wood over the lock and both girls see the wood bow and splinter over the handle.
Rachel shoots forward, and with two strong pushes jimmies the door the rest of the way open.
She stalks into the room and shouts at Mr. Fabray.
Quinn is vaguely aware of a crashing at the door to the study, but is unable to process much more than her father and the belt and the pain as she lays limply over the desk.
She thinks it’s a dream when she hears Rachel’s voice.
“STOP!” Rachel shouts at Mr. Fabray who, despite the crashing at the door, has continued his singularly focused angry tirade at his daughter, who is bent over the desk, continuing to shriek and cry and beg at every cut of the belt he delivers.
“THIS IS MY PHONE AND I WILL CALL THE POLICE,” Rachel shouts at him over the sounds of Quinn’s cries, holding her cell phone up in the air in front of her.
He stops and turns to her, incredulous.
Santana bolts past her to Quinn, gathering her up in her arms.
“I… I’m not afraid of you,” Rachel says defiantly, feeling a bolt of fear in spite of herself at Mr. Fabray’s cold, unflinching gaze.
Out of the corner of her eye Rachel is relieved to see Quinn sitting up, her head ducked into Santana’s chest, Santana’s arms wrapped protectively around her. Rachel can’t make out the words, but hears Santana whispering to Quinn that they’re leaving, that it’s okay now.
“You’re a gang of lawless teenagers,” Mr. Fabray tells her, his voice mocking. “You broke into my house. You broke down my door. Call them. We’ll see who takes a ride down to the station.”
“We’re leaving,” Rachel says to him, her own voice trembling. “We’re taking Quinn, and we’re leaving. She has a social worker at the clinic she’s been going to. You’re not going to do this again. Ever.”
“I have the right to discipline my child however way I see fit,” he tells her, his voice hitting the same dangerous register.
“Step another foot towards her and we’ll see if the law agrees with you,” Rachel warns him, flipping open her phone.
Just then, her dads appear in the doorway.
“Are you okay, Rachel?” George asks calmly, looking at his daughter with a friendly, easy expression on his face.
“Quinn…” Rachel says, feeling a rush of relief that her dads are there.
George steps into the room and greets Mr. Fabray calmly, as if they were meeting on the golf course and not in the middle of a domestic altercation.
He walks past him and over to Quinn and Santana. Santana reluctantly lets go of Quinn and allows Rachel’s dad to pick her up in his arms.
“Girls,” he says calmly, and turns, walking simply out of the room.
Santana glares daggers at Mr. Fabray as she passes him. Martin wraps an arm around her shoulders and squeezes her supportively as they make their way out of the room.
In the driveway, Brittany runs to Santana when they make their way out the door. Santana lets herself be wrapped up in Brittany’s affections.
After a quick moment of decision about who was riding in what car, they caravan to the Berry house.
Berry Household, Later that Day
Quinn is stretched across the couch in the Berry’s living room, sitting up sipping a glass of cool water that Rachel has brought her from the Brita pitcher.
She thinks about the first night she spent in the Berry house three weeks earlier, and the events of this afternoon.
She is glad to be there in the living room, cocooned in the company of Rachel, her dads, Brittany and Santana. Under normal circumstances she would tell them all to stop fussing, but she feels like she’s had a hard day and maybe she’s earned a little fussing for the rest of the afternoon.
She put up major arguments when George wanted to drive her to the hospital, insisting on walking herself into the house from the car when they drove up to prove that she was not in need of emergent care, or permanently broken. Her steps were stiff, but she made them herself, just the same. She knows she will probably lose that fight tomorrow and end up at the doctor’s office to make sure she doesn’t have any lasting injury, but she thinks it’s a small price to pay for the comfort she feels in this moment.
The day was bad.
Her father – it was bad, as bad as it’s ever been.
Her body hurts. She hurts. She knows it will be track pants for more than a week this time around, but she looks around at all the people rallied around her like fairy godmothers in the Berry home… her home… and feels gratitude.
Rachel has apologized to her about 100 times already, saying that she knew something was wrong, that she should have gone to the office with Quinn, that he should have done more.
She tells Rachel it isn’t her fault and smiles at Rachel’s blush of pleasure when Santana tells them all how she was amazing, how she took charge and got shit done. Rachel tells how Santana kicked the door in, and they all make jokes about Santana being the next terminator.
Quinn has a lot to say about the day.
She has a lot to say to Rachel, and to Santana and Brittany, and to Rachel’s dads.
She will tell them about her gratitude, about her love for them, for what they gave her today simply by showing up, even if, as Rachel frets, they didn’t show up in time.
She will tell them about what she remembered in the car with her father, in his study, about not laying down easy this time. She will tell them how it hurt, but different as a result, and how she already feels 200 percent better now than she did three hours ago.
She will tell them those things eventually.
For now, she will just drink them in, like the water in her palm, in a cool, tall glass.
She is home.
ON TO PART 5