The Wizard and I
Quinn’s jaw clenched again, she could feel herself fighting back the tears. Why had she asked, why did she have to ask? She knew she wasn’t going to like it, whatever it was, she’d end up angry or crying. It had turned out to be the latter.
She’d always wondered what Rachel thought about her and her family just vanishing, and why she hadn’t said anything about it. She wondered if Rachel ever noticed how strange she’d acted that last day they’d spent together. She’d been so in her head, knowing this was the last day they’d see each other but that she couldn’t say goodbye or Rachel would know something was wrong. She’d cried so much that night.
“Y-yeah, I’ll tell her,” she managed to stutter out, her gaze on the floor so Rachel couldn’t tell her eyes were beginning to water. “I have to go.”
Rachel nodded. “Thank you,” she said, swiping quickly at her eyes and hoping that her nemesis wouldn’t notice. She’d told herself, the first time she’d ever been slushied, that she’d never let anyone see her cry, that she’d never let anyone - especially Quinn Fabray - see how hurt she was, how much it upset her.
She hadn’t been able to stick to that promise. It was too hard, too hard to cope with the fact that people hated her enough to throw things at her and that she didn’t have her best friend to help her deal with it.
“Good… good luck on the test tomorrow,” Rachel managed to say, noting that Quinn wasn’t looking at her; instead she was looking off into space, as if she was terribly, indescribably bored to be in the same presence as Rachel Barbra Berry. Rachel wasn’t even sure why she wished the girl luck, but there it was, and she hastily said a goodbye before grabbing the handle of her little rolling case and leaving WMHS behind.
The Wizard and I
Even now Rachel was asking about Lucy. Rachel hadn’t seen her for over two years now, or at least she didn’t think she had. ’She hasn’t,’ Quinn reminded herself, ‘you’re not Lucy any more.’
Still, she couldn’t help the curiosity. What did Rachel want to tell Lucy after so long? She’d just up and left, Rachel had no idea she was going to wake up one day with no best friend. Maybe she hated Lucy now. No, she knew that wasn’t true, Quinn saw the way Rachel’s face fell any time she dared to bring her up and Quinn shot her down. That look almost hurt more than the time Rachel had rushed crying into the bathroom she was using. Almost.
Quinn knew her features had softened, that she’d stopped glaring at the girl as she battled with her own curiosity. She let out a deep breath, knowing she was probably going to regret what she was about to ask.
“What do you want me to tell her?”
What did she want to tell her? Rachel considered this. She thought about the days and weeks trying to contact Lucy, of trying to figure out where she’d gone, why she hadn’t told Rachel she was leaving. Crying at night because something would happen during the day that she’d think “I have to tell Lucy!” and then remembering there was no Lucy to tell. Retracing all of their conversations in the week before Lucy had left, trying to figure out if something she’d said, something she’d did… Rachel knew Lucy probably hadn’t left because of her, but to just cut her off completely… she didn’t understand.
Though Quinn no longer seemed angry, Rachel still spoke carefully. She was Lucy’s cousin, after all, not to mention the one with all the power. “Would you please tell Lucy,” she said, “That I- that I miss her, and that whatever I did, whatever made her angry or whatever I said that hurt her, I’m sorry. Tell her I said ‘I’m so sorry, Lucy. I’m sorry. I’d give anything to take it back.’”
She took a deep breath and looked away, fighting the tears that threatened to spill over.
The Wizard and I
Did she have to do that? It might have been quiet, but Quinn heard it. Her stomach twisted and she felt sick. It was bad enough having to see Rachel every day, she didn’t need extra reminders of her old life as the girl’s best friend. All she wanted was to get home, not stand and around while Rachel kept talking and talking.
She smiled to herself a little, Rachel had always rambled like that. The smile slipped away quickly however, and her eyebrow arched as she realized what Rachel had just said to her. She probably thought she was stupid, that she made other people do her homework for her. Just another stupid cheerleader stereotype. That was something she’d refused to become. She might have changed herself physically, developed this new persona to keep herself safe, but she planned to get out of Lima. Maybe then she could get back to herself a little.
She was probably hoping for too much.
“You’ll be happy to know I’m perfectly prepared for the history test, since you’re so ‘concerned.’”
Rachel nodded, hugging her books closer to her chest. “I was actually stating that I knew you’d be ready for it,” she said, “but of course I can realize how it might be misunderstood.”
She didn’t know much about Quinn Fabray, really. She knew that her best friends were Santana Lopez and Brittany Pierce, that she was the head Cheerio, that she was dating the star quarterback of the Titans. She knew that she was Lucy’s cousin. They’d had homeroom together, and Rachel remembered how her head had snapped up when she’d heard that last name. Fabray. Maybe it hadn’t been the best idea, to corner Quinn after class and present her with a barrage of questions about her cousin, but Rachel had been desperate to learn anything she could of her missing best friend. Quinn had stared at her as if she’d lost her mind, then told her in no uncertain terms that she wouldn’t be giving Rachel any information, that it wasn’t her business.
And while she didn’t know much about Quinn Fabray, Rachel figured the girl was smart. She did always seem to be buried in a book. It was kind of strange to Rachel. She’d thought that someone that well-read wouldn’t be so… mean. After all, Lucy loved to read, and she was about as different from Quinn as a person could be.
Rachel nodded again, then attempted one more time. “Quinn?” She said carefully. “Could you tell Lucy…” Seeing the girl’s face harden even more, Rachel sighed. “Never mind.”
The Wizard and I
Quinn rolled her eyes and looked away to her bag, shoving her keys back inside just to get them out of the way. She was trying to maintain her composure but it was hard enough being mean to Rachel in public, stood in the middle of a deserted hallway and already caught off guard thanks to the keychain was only making things worse. She just needed to leave, once she was home she could recover and ready herself for another day of being Quinn Fabray, head cheerleader.
She had a feeling it was going to be a little harder tonight.
“Are you done, or would you like to interrogate me about my history book as well?” Quinn asked, pulling her bag back up onto her shoulder. Every biting comment towards her made her stomach twist, even when she wasn’t calling her a name or making fun of her. She never spoke to Rachel now without that tone she’d adopted.
“Rawr,” Rachel said quietly to herself, still a little lost in memories of the past. She couldn’t help but smile, remembering how Lucy would make the dragon “growl” at her, just because Rachel would laugh. Anytime Lucy thought Rachel was having a bad day, out would come the dragon. Rawr.
She’d been having a lot of bad days lately. She wondered what Lucy would do if she knew. But Rachel forced that out of her mind, and tried to feign indifference at Quinn. “Our instructor will be interrogating us about the history book tomorrow, since we have a test,” she said. “I trust that you will have studied well for it.”
She saw Quinn arch her eyebrow, and now Rachel wondered just why she kept trying to be nice to this girl. The girl who hated her, for whatever reason. Let her fail the test, it didn’t matter. Sue Sylvester kept the teachers in such fear of her Cheerios that sometimes she was surprised any of them attended class. It wasn’t as if they needed it. These were the people that would run the world someday, and Rachel Berry knew - because Quinn Fabray never failed to make her feel it - that she would always be a loser.
The Wizard and I
Quinn tried to hold the other girl’s gaze as Rachel looked at her intently, but her eyes flickered away. She couldn’t do it, she felt like if Rachel looked at her too closely there was no way she wouldn’t know. Surely one day she was going to see through the fake nose and the dye job and realize it was her. Half of her was willing Rachel to realize, she missed her, but that thought was quickly pushed aside as Quinn’s jaw clenched and she held the keychain up to look at it. Stupid mistake, she should have know Rachel would recognize it if she saw it.
“This thing?” Quinn asked, forcing a hint of disdain into her voice, trying to play off like she didn’t care about the trinket she’d been rather attached to for some time now. “I have it because it’s mine. It’s a cheap bit of plastic, Berry, it’s not like it’s a one of a kind. So Lucy has one, so what?”
Rachel rolled her eyes at Quinn’s answer, unable to resist commenting, “Well, if it’s a cheap bit of plastic, Quinn Fabray, why would you ever deign to have it in your presence?”
She sighed to herself, knowing that she was treading on very thin ice, challenging the head Cheerio, the head bitch of William McKinley High like that. She knew she’d probably get double the slushies tomorrow for it, but at that very moment, she didn’t care. Seeing the keychain had rattled her, had brought back memories and feelings that she thought she had gained control over. Now she was able to not wake up every day wondering where Lucy might be, and she’d even fought the urge to write to the Dr. Phil show to help find her. (Rachel suspected her letter to Oprah had been intercepted by her dads. Hmph.)
It was still hard, though, her transition to high school. She and Lucy had always talked about what it would be like when they got to WMHS, how they would have lunch together every day, share the same classes, maybe even join the same clubs. But now Rachel smiled alone from the pages of the yearbook, she sat alone in her classes and tried to tune out the jock making fun of her outfit. She walked the halls alone and prayed to Barbra that she wouldn’t get a face full of ice, and an earful of the queen of the school’s laughter.
The Wizard and I
Quinn stood for a moment, staring in on the many things occupying her locker. She reached inside finally, removing a stack of books and uncovering one of the pictures stuck to the back of the locker with some small flower shaped magnets. It was one was of her, taken on her first official day as a cheerio last year. She was looking over her shoulder, grinning at the camera. Quinn scoffed quietly. “Fake,” she muttered.
Rachel had been slushied today. She hadn’t done it herself, or even told someone to do it, but it was just as bad. People wouldn’t be doing it in the first place if she hadn’t made it a thing. Now they didn’t even wait for her orders. Rachel was fair game and it was her fault.
Quinn shook her head as she shoved the books up onto the highest shelf, grabbing the binder she’d been looking for and pushing it into her bag. The quicker she left the better. At home she could concentrate on getting her homework done and do some reading, no more acting for the day. Not until dinner at least. She pulled her keys from her bag, finally ready to go to her car, and that’s when she heard it.
The name made her go rigid, along with the voice. Rachel. She hadn’t even noticed she was there, so lost in her own thoughts. Her view was blocked by the door of her locker, luckily, as it gave her a moment to compose herself. Setting her features into a practiced glare she slammed shut the door and fixed it on Rachel.
“What’re you screeching about now, manhands?”
Rachel barely registered the hateful look, or the nickname that Quinn had given her just that year. Her gaze was fixated on the keychain, on the little chubby dragon with his wide grin and black, beady eyes. Her mind flashed back to that day, so many years ago, to a little girl sitting alone at a lunch table, turning the keychain over in her hands as the boys behind her laughed after upsetting her tray.
They’d shared Rachel’s carrot sticks and peanut butter cookies. Just as the bell rang Lucy had shyly confessed that she didn’t like peanut butter. The next day, Rachel brought chocolate chip.
She finally came back to the present, found herself looking directly into the icy hazel eyes of Quinn Fabray. They were almost exactly like Lucy’s eyes, she thought, except Quinn’s were…mean. Rachel lifted her chin in defiance, determined not to let Quinn’s words upset her. Still, her voice came out a little quieter than normal as she spoke to the girl who had apparently made it her life’s mission to torture her.
“That’s Lucy’s,” she said again. “The keychain. It’s… it was hers, it’s not yours. Why do you have it?” She felt herself getting a little frantic, as she did any time she thought about the best friend who had just.. abandoned her. She took a deep breath, trying to calm herself.
The Wizard and I
Once I’m with the wizard, my whole life will change… ‘cause once you’re with the wizard, no one thinks you’re strange!
Shoshana was good; she brought a bluesy sort of feel to Elphaba. And Eden was fantastic as Elphaba, both for character growth throughout the musical and the actress’s talent. But no one, no one, Rachel thought as she hummed The Wizard and I and made her way to her locker, was the true Elphaba except for Idina Menzel. Oh sure, perhaps some of the music had been written with Stephanie J. Block in mind, but Idina was queen. Always.
Her hair was still damp from her lunchtime slushie, grape this time. She’d managed to make it to the bathroom, Quinn’s laughter still ringing in her ears, before her clothes had gotten too ruined. She hoped she could get her shirt and sweater in the wash before her dad noticed; she really didn’t want to have to explain that to him. He’d already asked her once why her laundry load had seemed to triple in the past few months; Rachel had put on an Oscar-worthy performance about the air conditioning not working as well as it should at William McKinley, and had even supplemented her rant with a letter to the school board. Which reminded her, she needed to follow-up on that, she hadn’t heard anything back.
Rachel felt her pulse begin to quicken a little as she approached her locker, and, as a result of it being two down from hers, Quinn’s. The blonde cheerleader was preoccupied, pulling books out only to replace them on the top shelf, muttering to herself. She shoved a 3-ring binder into her Cheerios duffle, then pulled out her keys.
Rachel’s breath caught. She would know that dragon keychain anywhere. And she knew it wasn’t Quinn’s.