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Title: the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
Author: endinginablaze
Rating: PG right now.
Characters/Pairings: Eventual Rachel/Quinn; eventual (and currently implied) side Brittany/Santana. Characters included directly in this chapter are Quinn, Rachel, Finn, Brittany, and Santana.
Summary: AU post-apocalyptic world. No one is sure exactly how long the City has existed or what lies beyond it, but something is about to change.
Spoilers: None.
Author's Notes: Okay, so this was originally started for the VDay fic exchange over at gleefics, but because I'm kind of a douche I didn't have time to finish/write much of it. Decided to write instead as a chaptered fic, so here's what I have so far. This functions as kind of an introduction; hopefully in the future there will be clarification about how exactly society/the City functions and more story. Title stolen from the e.e cummings poem "i carry your heart with me."

Their whispers rise like an ugly melody, a cacophony of strings plucked at random, each note warring with its contenders so that none may triumph. They are ripe with cruel speculations about anyone but themselves. They gesture emphatically—all but obscenely, lest they forego class—toward the lower status and the ugly, two attributes that often (and rightfully and thankfully) go hand-in-hand. They smile just wide enough to expose their fangs.

Quinn would gladly be among them—certainly she has no love for the lower class—but she lacks their uncertainty. As the daughter to a man who functions as the Emperor’s adviser in all matters of importance—a man who is rumored to be the only other person alive with knowledge of both the City’s secrets and the Beyond—her Future takes no guesswork: his name is Finn Hudson. He is nephew of the Emperor, attractive, and the most likely candidate for future ruler. Her father has been carrying on about marriage throughout the last several of his visits and, as head of the Futures Committee, he not only has insight but also leverage. The hints he has been dropping on the subject are abundantly clear.

Quinn Fabray, then, has no need for insecurities.

But it is not solely confidence which keeps her from joining the others in the McKinley Center. In fact, her confidence might well make her own version of ridicule the more biting and accurate for it—but she has other concerns at the moment. The concern at hand involves Finn Hudson and Man Hands: they sit beside the river, the water up to their knees, their hands interwoven. Unfortunately, today is the only day the genders are permitted to mingle—and, though discouraged, only on this day can it go unpunished.

Quinn doesn’t believe their fraternizing consists only of this one day per week but it has yet been impossible to prove otherwise. She has even gone so far as to speak to Puck and request he keep an eye on Finn—luckily, Puck has so far been more than willing to acquiesce to her demands, although unfortunately their brief interactions also mean she must entertain his commentary. Certainly if her father discovered the words with which Puck had familiarized her he would be less than enthused.

Still, Quinn knows the disgust will be well worth the payoff if it means keeping Berry away from Finn. She’s not sure if the girl somehow imagines that her association with him will inevitably lead to their marriage—which is clearly out of the question, although she wouldn’t be surprised if Berry really was that pathetic—or if she actually has fantasies about love, a flighty notion scorned by all except those caught inside an endless fairytale. Either way, she should keep her hands to herself.

Unfortunately, Finn doesn’t seem intent on discouraging the contact; he’s grinning foolishly at her and leaning to whisper in her ear and she’s giggling like a five year old. Whatever Finn sees in Rachel Berry is beyond her: she’s abrasive, doesn’t know her place, and is far more ambitious than a lady of any standing ought to be (although Quinn employs the word “lady” as loosely as possible).

The two are laughing now and then, without warning, Man Hands is shoving Finn into the war and he’s dragging her down with him and they’re a tangle of limbs and stupidity and Quinn Fabray has had enough.

“Wow, the maturity is astounding,” she comments when she reaches them, arms folded across her chest and her smile bright enough to be cruel. At least when Finn surfaces he has the decency to glance downward, shame coloring his cheeks. Berry, on the other hand, simply rolls her eyes, the implication clear: Quinn is the pathetic one.

“Look, Rachel, I have to go,” Finn mumbles, dragging himself from the river, though his gaze never strays from Quinn. “I’ll see you soon, okay?”

Berry appears near protest, but instead nods and says, “Of course.” With that, she emerges from the water and presses her lips to his cheek—which simply makes his blush impossible to miss and, although he glances in Quinn’s direction nervously, he also offers Rachel a genuine smile.

He looks like an idiot.

“What is it, Quinn?” Berry asks with a resigned sigh, once Finn has disappeared from sight. Quinn recalls fondly the days when Man Hands feared her; apparently association with Finn has made her brave. Stupid.

“I just thought I’d pay you a visit, Berry.” Her kindness oozes, too sweet to be anything but sarcastic. There is a threat buried beneath her words. “It’s sweet how you and Finn are getting along so well.”

“Quinn, he’s not yours—there’s a chance he might never be yours.”

The naiveté is nearly laughable. “Cute, Berry,” she says, and an almost tangible smirk curls itself around each syllable. “Obviously you have no idea who my father is.”

“I know exactly who your father is,” Berry contends almost immediately. “Emperor’s adviser, head of the Futures Committee—everything that makes you the cliché and ridiculous ruler of McKinley. Shockingly, there are other more troubling issues at hand that will be of more concern to the Committee and to the leadership.”

Quinn rolls her eyes, knowing Berry wants her to ask—what are you talking about what could you possibly be asking is it true are you a genius and do you really know this much more tell me please—but Quinn has no particular desire to fulfill that request. She raises an eyebrow instead in some version of a compromise.

Apparently it is all Berry needs. “The momentum for a revolution is building, Quinn, and soon everyone will have to choose sides. Marriages won’t make the slightest difference anymore.”

“Oh, please.” This time Quinn does offer a mild laugh. “Some of us don’t live in a fairytale, Man Hands. Simply because everyone knows Jacob Ben Israel will be your Future is no reason to start gossiping about a rebellion. I’m sure eventually you’ll learn to live with him.” But her tone suggests she suspects even Berry could never enjoy his company.

“Just wait, Quinn.”

But as she walks away that day, she knows all she has to wait for is the declaration of their Futures—because, unlike Berry’s ridiculous assertion, marriages are of the highest importance.

It will only be a matter of months before Quinn Fabray becomes Quinn Hudson.

---

“What is wrong with you today, Quinn?”

She refocuses, brought startlingly back to the present by the irritated voice of Santana Lopez. “Nothing—I just didn’t sleep well.” It is only a half-truth—for her dreams were indeed plagued—marred by the fact that she isn’t quite certain of the answer herself. “What were you saying?”

Santana just rolls her eyes. “I was discussing the possibilities for that Asian girl’s Future. Chang or whatever. I don’t know if she deserves any of the boys except Israel, but we all know he’ll be Berry’s.”

“She’s not bad,” Brittany comments, taking a seat at the outdoor table beside Santana, who moves immediately over to make room without so much as a sigh.

“Britt, you don’t think anyone’s that bad.” Santana shakes her head, but Quinn isn’t oblivious to the affectionate (a word no one would dare associate with Santana Lopez) half-smile.

“Berry is definitely that bad,” Quinn comments, sneering. “Israel will be delighted by his new wife.”

They carry on for a bit about how hilarious and fitting all of the marriages will be; they discuss also the fact that Finn will undoubtedly be Quinn’s Future, a truth she doesn’t need confirmed but which she doesn’t mind basking in. Santana suspects she might well find a Future in Puck, for the two are both of high status and attractive, despite Puck’s often profane commentary (although there have been moments when Santana has expressed herself in a less-than-pure manner as well). The potential for both is impossible to overlook. Quinn suggests perhaps Mike Chang for Brittany, but Santana declares so suddenly that there’s no chance he could possibly match Britt’s standards that Quinn decides not to go further with the subject.

Just wait, Quinn, reminds the echo that has plagued her previous two nights.

Quinn Fabray hates that she needs to remind herself that her only concern is her marriage. She waits for nothing else.

Comments

(Deleted comment)
endinginablaze
Feb. 18th, 2010 01:09 am (UTC)
I will definitely do my best to flesh it out further! It's half the fun of creating it, after all.

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dianna agron
endinginablaze
your hair was long when we first met.

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