Because I have so many feelings regarding the whole Quinn & Kurt scene in the God Squad debacle, and I’ve read so many differing reactions to the scene, and let’s be honest, Glee is just not good at resolving issues like this.
Title: Slow Burn
Word Count: 2000ish
Summary: The more Quinn thinks about it, the more she just can’t let it go.
Warnings: Talk of suicide; spoilers for 3x14: On My Way
The more Quinn thinks about it, the more she just can’t let it go.
The school is still talking about Karofsky’s suicide attempt, but it’s in batches and spurts now, evident only by whispered conversations in the hallways. It’s as though now that it’s been a few days, everyone is afraid to still be affected by it. They’ve had the allotted amount of time to process and get over it, haven’t they?
Quinn knows better than that by now.
She can still feel the burn of the suicide attempt under her skin, itching irritably at inopportune moments. It probably wouldn’t be so bad if she didn’t immediately think of the God Squad, of her reaction, of Kurt — and there she goes, angry all over again, and she thinks that maybe she’s not going to be able to just get over it.
It’s really not about Karofsky at all. She feels bad for him, kind of – it’s hard to really feel connected, especially given how awful he was during junior year, but life is always something to be valued. It’s one of the few things that she never doubted during the past few years, even as she fought and struggled with nearly everything else. Life was something to be preserved, to be treasured, and it just seemed like such a waste that someone would just will it away.
Even in her darkest moments, Quinn never regretted Beth. She regretted so many things, but Beth was like a single sparkling diamond formed from the darkest, foulest coal mine of a life.
And Kurt is right – she is going to Yale, she is back on track, but even two days later, Quinn feels anger burn behind her eyes when she thinks of how Kurt had just dismissed her experiences with a catty comment.
She wants to just let it go. Sitting in the choir room as they prepare for Regionals, Quinn knows that Kurt probably didn’t mean to tear her down. He’s been weirdly affected by Karofsky’s situation, and even though Quinn knows he feels guilty, she can’t quite understand why. She wouldn’t have answered the phone either, and she can’t think of anyone who would have, if they were in Kurt’s situation.
So she puts on her show face and smiles politely as she watches Finn trip over his feet for the thousandth time, trying to swallow down the lingering irritation. She’s almost successful, really – she giggles with Santana as they watch Brittany try to correct some of the background dancers with limited success, and she manages to run through all of her steps with zero mistakes.
But even with her perfect steps, the anger doesn’t abate. Instead, every time she looks at Kurt she feels it again, deep and dark in her throat, and she thinks, that’s enough of that.
Practice ends late that night, and everyone is exhausted by the time Mr. Schue finally says they can head home. Most everyone rushes to the door the instant they are freed, but Quinn just sits primly one of the front row chairs, watching Kurt and Blaine confer quietly over their bags. They always linger after practices, for some reason or another, and Quinn doesn’t want to let this issue tear at her any longer.
“Do you need something, Quinn?” Kurt asks, when he finally notices she’s looking at him. He looks weary, even though he spent just as much time sitting as he did dancing during rehearsal. Blaine is standing just behind him, his expression inscrutable as he rests a hand against Kurt’s back.
“I need to talk to you,” she replies, and glances at Blaine before clarifying, “Alone.”
Kurt and Blaine exchange glances, and Quinn waits while they have whatever silent conversation they need to have, checking her nails to pass the time. She can still feel her irritation underneath her skin and it makes her stomach churn; it’s such a foul feeling and she just wants it out.
As Blaine leans in to kiss Kurt goodbye, Quinn wonders if it’s a mark of maturity for her to take out her anger on the correct target for once.
“Okay,” Kurt says, after Blaine has left the room. He looks at Quinn with a guarded expression, mouth twisted just shy of a frown. “What’s up, Quinn?”
She takes a breath, trying to calm herself before she explodes, but the anger bubbles up all the same. “I think you owe me an apology,” she begins, and it sounds very capable and adult at first, like she’s talking to one of her younger cousins.
Part of her wants Kurt to get flustered, so she has an excuse to get emotional back, but instead he just quirks an eyebrow, frown deepening.
“And why do I owe you an apology, Quinn?” he asks, dispassionately.
For some reason, his lack reaction makes the annoyance surge in her; Quinn can feel her teeth clenching and she hates the way her anger burns like tears in her eyes. Forcing herself to speak slowly, she replies, “For what you said during the God Squad meeting. I just – I thought I could let it go, but you know what? I really don’t like having my experiences brushed aside like that.”
Kurt looks a bit startled at this, frown disappearing as he opens his mouth to respond, but Quinn holds up a hand before he can get a word out.
“No, you just listen,” she snaps, and oh, no more calm adult anymore; Quinn feels like her anger has taken over, and her words come out faster and sharper than she really intended them to. “You really think it’s that easy to go through pregnancy? I was kicked out of my house, ostracized at school, and treated like a joke. My mother only bothered to start caring about me after it was almost over. I was homeless for most of my pregnancy, and I don’t give a crap what they try to make it out like in movies, pregnancy is not just some weight gain — it sucks. You’re sick and nauseous and everything hurts, and that’s all before the actual childbirth comes into it.
“And after I went through that crap, I didn’t even get to keep my daughter,” Quinn continues. Kurt looks a bit shell-shocked by her outburst, but he’s still standing there, no longer trying to get a word in. “She was just gone, and no one seemed to care anymore, like I was supposed to just be okay since I wasn’t pregnant anymore. And I tried to fit back into my old life, but it’s really hard to give a crap when all I could think about was that I destroyed my life and all I got out of it was stretch marks and a daughter I couldn’t see. And no one even cared anymore.”
Quinn’s breathing hard, like her anger is a mountain she has to conquer, and Kurt is getting that look on his face, like he’s torn between crying or shutting down, his chin held high in the air. She doesn’t want him crying for her, not right now, not before she’s made her point, so she finishes her rant by saying, coldly, “So yeah, Kurt, maybe I got a bad dye job and weird fashion sense for a while, but screw you if you think that doesn’t mean I don’t understand what it means to suffer.”
The air between them is heavy, as Quinn glares at Kurt and he stares right back. His arms are crossed over his chest and his jaw is clenched, and Quinn can’t tell if he’s going to argue with her or not. She almost wants him to, because she knows she’s right. If he tries to fight back, it’ll just give her an excuse to scream at him some more, and then the anger will be gone.
But Kurt doesn’t yell back.
He watches her quietly, his expression slipping into that one she recognizes from junior year, like he’s made of stone. His eyes look glassy, but Quinn can’t tell if he’s angry or sad, and she wonders, vaguely, if he had really been aware of her situation at all. They weren’t really that close.
But then Kurt says, slowly, “I was wrong for dismissing your experiences, and I’m sorry,” and he sounds so old that Quinn is taken aback. She had expected resistance and denial, and instead Kurt is regarding her dispassionately.
She shakes her head, disbelieving.
“That’s it?” Quinn asks. It’s what she wanted, but it feels – incomplete, and her irritation buzzes like insects under her skin, itching with indignation.
“No, actually,” Kurt says, and his eyes are suddenly much colder. “I was wrong for dismissing your story, and for that, I’m sorry. But I still think that you’re full of crap if you think that suicide is selfish.”
The air between them seems to freeze, and Quinn arcs an eyebrow. “Excuse me?” she asks, her voice icy.
“You said you never felt so down about yourself that you wanted to hurt yourself,” Kurt repeats, frowning. “But the fact is, not everyone is you, Quinn. Yeah, maybe you didn’t resort to self-harm, but you sure as hell took out your anger on everyone else. Or was that some other Quinn who joined the Skanks and stole lunch money from kids and gave girls swirlies?”
Quinn stares at him, feeling the anger rush hotly anew behind her eyes. “I already said—”
“Yeah, you were going through stuff, I know,” Kurt interrupted. His arms are uncrossed now, hanging straight by his side with his hands forming white-knuckled fists. “But the thing is Quinn, not everyone deals with shitty situations by bullying other people. Some of us take it out on ourselves. That’s where suicidal thoughts come from, and the fact that you think that’s selfish but somehow your reaction of tormenting other kids was somehow reasonable—?”
Kurt breaks off, turning away from her to glare at the back wall. His face looks splotchy with anger and the tears in his eyes are more than a glimmer now. He seems like he’s seconds away from crying, and Quinn suddenly remembers how he looked during junior year, when Karofsky was bullying him the worst.
What they’re talking about suddenly seems much clearer.
“You,” Quinn begins, and can’t think of a subtle way to say it. “You were suicidal, weren’t you?”
Very slowly, Kurt looks back at her, his eyes as cold and sharp as ice. The threat of tears seems to have died down, but there are still spots of pink high on his cheeks.
“And you weren’t,” Kurt confirms darkly. “Congratulations.”
Before she can say anything else, Kurt grabs his bag and walks out of the room, leaving Quinn alone among the chairs.