botherd: (glee: haircut)
botherd ([personal profile] botherd) wrote2011-08-16 02:18 pm
Entry tags:

Fic: Hear Them Sing Our Song (Glee; Mercedes/Quinn; PG)

Title: Hear Them Sing Our Song
Fandom: Glee
Pairing: Mercedes/Quinn
Rating: PG
Words: 4209
Summary: It feels natural for Mercedes to gravitate toward Quinn.
Notes: Thanks to [ profile] fivewhatfive for the beta. Written for [ profile] overthetiber as part of [ profile] femslash11

Saturday mornings in summertime are made for many things: lazing in bed, or watching stupid kids' cartoons, or girly shopping trips with Kurt. What they're not made for is being holed up in Rachel's basement with the eleven most crazy-making people that Mercedes knows. Not that Mercedes doesn't love her fellow glee clubbers, but after New York she definitely needs some downtime. Usually over summer vacation that's exactly what she'd get, but after the disappointment at Nationals Rachel got it into her head that they need to practice more and here they are. At first Rachel didn't mind losing, because she was so happy to get Finn back, but it wasn't long before that faded and her ambition kicked in again. Now she's got Finn passing round summer rehearsal schedules – laminated, to show she means business – and she's wearing an expression of grim determination that none in glee club would dare challenge. Practices are mandatory, it says at the top of the schedule (in bold, italics, and underlined) and it's not like Rachel holds any actual authority over them, but Mercedes is pretty sure that everyone is still going to show up.

Most of them have only got one more shot at Nationals, after all. Twelfth place wasn't bad, but they can do better. (If Mercedes got a damn solo for a change, they definitely would.)

"I can't believe she seriously expects us to do this." Quinn is sitting next to Mercedes on the couch, but that's the first thing she's said to her since she sat down ten minutes ago. First thing she's said to Mercedes in a long time, really. It's weird; they used to be friends, they used to live together, and yet they've barely spoken in a year. As soon as that kid popped out Quinn hightailed it back to her old life and never looked back. It's no surprise that that didn't really work out for Quinn, Mercedes thinks, but she doesn't say it out loud. She's not Santana.

"You're not going to come to rehearsals then?" Mercedes says, and she smiles. "You do realize they're mandatory."

"So I see." Quinn doesn't look too pissed – at least, not more than she usually does when in close quarters with Rachel and Finn – but she's still obviously not happy that she's been dragged here today and is expected to show up every Saturday hereafter. "I'll think about it. I'm sure I have better ways to spend the summer. Don't you?"

Mercedes shrugs. She did have plans – all of them secret, all of them involving Sam – but they fell apart the second his mom got a job in Cleveland and they moved. Figures that Mercedes' first relationship would end two seconds after it started, before she'd even told anyone about it. Now she can't even explain why she's bummed. Glee may not be her first choice of summer activity, but she could probably use the distraction.

"Hey, someone's gotta fight Rachel for the solos," Mercedes says.

Quinn smiles. "Well, if I get to hear you sing every week, maybe I'll stick around."


The following Saturday the rehearsals really start, and the theme is choreography. (Rachel made Finn and Puck lug a whiteboard down into the basement just so she could channel Mr. Schue and write the word down. Seeing as they'd just carried Artie down in his wheelchair, they didn't look too happy.) Choreography is their one real weak spot, they all know that, so Brittany and Mike were charged with whipping their dancing into shape. Rachel's basement seems a whole lot smaller when they're all dancing, especially with everyone giving Finn's flailing limbs a wide berth, but luckily there are no nose-breaking incidents this time.

After an hour Mercedes is exhausted, and she's pretty sure she's not actually improved any. She flops down onto the couch and Quinn joins her, looking just as tired as Mercedes feels. Her face is red and her hair is all over the place, but instead of looking like a hot mess like the rest of them, she just looks hot. Typical. Mercedes realizes she's staring, and turns away.

"Why is everyone stopping?" Rachel says, hands on her hips, surveying the room. She's the only one still on her feet; even Brittany and Mike are sitting on the floor, taking a breather. "We still have a long way to go. It's not enough to know the steps; we have to dance them well."

"Jeez," Puck says, "when did you turn into one of those Vocal Adrenaline robots?"

"She's obviously been spending too much time with Jesse St James." Santana smirks, and Mercedes rolls her eyes because obviously the reaction is exactly what Santana wanted: chaos.

"I wish I had popcorn for this," Quinn says as Finn rounds on Rachel, completely failing to hide his jealousy. "It's actually entertaining when you're not in the middle of it."

"You're happy to be single?" Mercedes asks, and the smile slides off Quinn's face.

"I'm trying to be." She shrugs. "Not everyone finds it easy to be strong like you."

"Right," Mercedes says, but she feels like a fraud. Sure, she doesn't need a man to feel validated, but just because she's an independent woman it doesn't mean she wouldn't like a bit of romance now and then.


The next time they practice, Finn and Rachel's stupid argument has blown over and the plan to focus on choreography has too. They're going back to basics with choral arrangements of classic songs, and their version of Let It Be is rough around the edges but has a lot of potential. After a ton of arguments, made worse without Mr Schue there to referee, they agreed to share the vocals out pretty evenly, and Mercedes might be biased but her two lines definitely steal the show. Quinn looks impressed when she sings them, anyway.

When they take a break it feels natural for Mercedes to gravitate toward Quinn. She doesn't know exactly how they managed to slip back into friendship again but she's glad they have, even if she half expects Quinn to ditch her again at any time. It's not like Mercedes has a sore spot there, but Kurt's kind of ditched her too – which Mercedes kind of gets, because he has a boyfriend now, but that doesn't explain why Rachel is slowly taking her place as Kurt's BFF. Mercedes could really use a friend who sticks around, that's all.

"You not hanging out with Santana and Brittany?" Mercedes asks Quinn. "I thought after Nationals you guys were friends again."

Quinn shrugs. "They kind of have their own thing going on. I don't really want to get in the middle of it." The way she glances over at them, it's like she feels left out.

"Well, I'm glad we're friends again," Mercedes says. It doesn't sound quite as nonchalant as she intended, and she tries to shrug it off when she realizes that what she meant was I missed you.

"Yeah, me too." Quinn smiles. "We should hang out more."


Their next rehearsal gets pushed back to the evening. Mercedes thought the schedule was set in stone, but Rachel had a community theater audition that morning and of course she's the only person that the schedule would be rearranged for. Mercedes would complain out of principle, but it turns out that there are advantages to evening practices. For example:

"Worship me," Santana says, brandishing a bottle as she makes an entrance. "I brought tequila."

Rachel immediately jumps up. "That's completely inappropriate, Santana. We have to rehearse, and we can't possibly do that effectively while inebriated."

"It's a Saturday night, Berry." Santana opens the bottle and after taking a swig, starts passing it around. "That means party time."

Rachel glares at her, hands on her hips. "I'm surprised you want to instigate a party after last time. I distinctly recall that you got very upset when Brittany made out with Sam."

"Yeah, well, I'm not dating Sam anymore, am I?" Santana says, but she's looking straight at Brittany with a weird expression on her face and as Mercedes watches them it all slots into place. Quinn is by her side and Mercedes leans in close, keeping her voice down.

"Hold on, are Santana and Brittany...?"

Quinn nods slightly and whispers back, "You didn't hear it from me."

A couple hours later they're all drunk, having supplemented Santana's tequila with the contents of Mr and Mr Berry's liquor cabinet. Mercedes has danced to the point of nearly falling over – she's going to need more practice at holding her liquor before she goes to college – and now she's happy to sit and watch the others while the room stops spinning. Kurt invited Blaine over once it became clear they weren't going to get any practice done, and now he's belting out Last Friday Night while everyone dances around him. Mercedes keeps finding her eyes flicking back to Quinn, and she's only half aware of what she's doing when she stands up and grabs Quinn's arm, dragging her off into a corner.

"Hey, Mercedes." Quinn gives her an easy smile and Mercedes can't help but return it. "What's up?"

There was something that Mercedes wanted to say or do, but her mind is moving too slowly and she can't remember what. Instead she looks back to where everyone's dancing and notices Santana and Brittany grinding together.

"How did you know about them?" Mercedes asks, and Quinn follows her gaze, cheeks reddening when she sees where Mercedes is looking.

"Wasn't it obvious?" Quinn says, and she bites her lip before continuing. "And, well, there was this one time at cheer camp where we... but they were way more into it than I was."

"Oh," Mercedes says, eyes widening. Quinn never seemed like the type to experiment – with girls, or at all. It's not something Mercedes has ever thought about, girls, but she can see the appeal. In an abstract sort of way.

Quinn tilts her head to the side. "Why are you asking?"

Mercedes shrugs, and then she finds herself laughing. "I have no idea. Come on, girl, let's dance."


Rachel glares at everyone as they arrive for rehearsals the following Saturday. The basement is spotless after the mess they made of it the week before, and Mercedes doesn't know anyone who offered to help with the clean-up so Rachel probably had to do all of it herself. Mercedes hopes that Finn gave her a hand at least, but she still feels bad that helping out never even crossed her mind. From the guilty expressions on everyone else's faces, they feel the same.

Once everyone's in, Rachel begins her lecture. "I hope you're all happy with yourselves. We lost valuable rehearsal time last week to your irresponsibility, and I've a good mind to schedule an additional practice so we can catch up. I'd already informed Mr. Schuester that we will be presenting our work to him in the first week back, and if we're not ready –"

"Okay, hold up," Santana says. She's lying on the couch with her head on Brittany's lap, so Mercedes figures that that's official now. "If it hadn't been for your stupid audition – which I'm guessing you didn't get, due to your lack of boasting right about now – we wouldn't have had the rehearsal in the evening, and it wouldn't have turned into a party. This is clearly your fault."

"You were the one who brought the tequila!"

"It was a Saturday night, what did you expect me to do? Also, we all have mental scars from your very drunken, very public groping session with Cabbage Patch, so don't even act like you're so innocent."

Quinn nudges Mercedes and murmurs, "This could go on a while. You want to get out of here while they fight?"

"Sure." They slip out, completely unnoticed by Rachel and Santana – who jumps up and lunges at Rachel, yelling at a comment Rachel made that Mercedes missed, only to be restrained by Puck and Mike. As they head up the stairs Mercedes can hear Finn and Kurt join the shouting, and Blaine – who's decided to transfer to McKinley for some reason, Mercedes doesn't even know – is trying and failing to calm them all down.

Quinn sits down on the stairs leading up to the second floor and Mercedes settles beside her, strains of the fight raging below still audible. Mr. Schue was never very good at containing the glee club arguments but without him, who knows how long it'll last, or how much blood will be shed by the end of it.

"I still can't believe I agreed to this," Quinn says. "Sectionals isn't for months."

"Tell me about it. I mean, I love glee, I love everyone in the club, but all this fighting is a waste of my time. I just want to sing, you know?"

There's a scream from downstairs, then more yelling. Maybe Santana got loose.

"That's what I like about you. No drama." Quinn looks at her then with an openness that Mercedes hasn't seen in a long time. "I'm sorry we stopped being friends for so long. It's been a strange year."

Mercedes shrugs. "You were trying to get your life back. I get it."

"Honestly, I don't even know why I wanted that life in the first place. I don't want it any more." Quinn bites her lip, hesitating for a moment, and then she takes Mercedes' hand.

Mercedes scans Quinn's face, trying to figure out if she's reading this right. Their fingers are intertwined, Quinn's thumb lightly stroking the back of Mercedes' hand, and – yeah, Mercedes is pretty damn sure there's only one way to interpret this.

"So, what do you want now?"

Quinn looks away, blushing slightly. "Sorry, I don't know why I –"

"It's cool," Mercedes says quickly, her heart racing, and she gives Quinn's hand a slight squeeze. She doesn't exactly know where this came from, or how things can flip in a moment like this, but Mercedes has never been one to question why. Everything happens for a reason. So when Quinn kisses her, she lets it happen, and when she realizes how much she likes it she doesn't resist the feeling. Their hands come apart, but only so Quinn can cup the back of Mercedes' head, deepening the kiss.

When they pull apart a few moments later, Mercedes feels suddenly shy. She hasn't done a whole lot of kissing in her life, and she's acutely aware that the person she just made out with is like the girl version of her first boyfriend, not to mention his ex. The whole thing is just weird.

The weirdest thing is how awesome it was.

Quinn is looking at Mercedes kind of expectantly, like she's waiting for her to say something.

"I thought you said you weren't into girls?" It's the first thought that pops into Mercedes' head.

With a bit of a shrug, Quinn says, "I guess it depends on the girl."


Mercedes doesn't speak to Quinn all week. A bunch of times she nearly calls her, but she always chickens out at the last minute. They had a moment, and that was great, but Mercedes has no idea where they go from here.

They don't sit together when they meet in Rachel's basement again for glee rehearsals. Last week's argument is long forgotten and everyone seems to be on board with the new song that Tina suggested, so there's plenty to distract Mercedes – harmonies and dance steps and lyrics to learn – but there's still an awkwardness she feels whenever she glances at Quinn, and she knows she's off her game. She messes up a note and Rachel and Santana both snap at her at the same time.

"Okay, why don't we take five," Kurt says, obviously sensing tension brewing. "Let's take this opportunity to hydrate, and not kill each other."

Mercedes is grateful for the break; she needs to get her head together and focus. She sits on the floor by the wall, leaning back and closing her eyes, trying to drown out the background noise so she can run through the lyrics in her head.

Someone sits down beside her and her throat goes dry. She doesn't need to open her eyes to know it's Quinn; she recognizes her perfume. For a moment she wonders if she can pretend that she's concentrating too hard to have noticed that she has company, but then Quinn nudges her with her knee and says, "Hey."

Giving up the pretense, Mercedes opens her eyes. "Hey."

"So," Quinn begins, but then she trails off, looking awkward. She glances across the room and Mercedes follows her gaze to see who Quinn's looking at.

"Puck?" Mercedes prompts, and Quinn's gaze snaps back to her.

"He asked me out yesterday. Apparently he and Zizes reached their best before date." Quinn's hands twist awkwardly in her lap. "I didn't give him an answer yet, but I guess I'm looking for a reason to say no."

"You should say no if you don't want to date him, simple as that. There's no point in dating someone just for the sake of not being alone." Mercedes never understood why her friends made dating so much more complicated than it had to be.

"Right," Quinn says, flushing slightly. "That's not really what I'm asking, though. I'm sorry, I'm not very good at this. I'm used to being asked out, not doing the asking."

"Oh," Mercedes says, comprehending, then, "You know, you're cute when you blush."

"Is that a yes?"

"You didn't even ask me a question, but if this is going where I think it is, then yeah, it's a yes."


The next Saturday when they get together to rehearse, Mercedes has a renewed sense of self-confidence. Not that she's ever lacked self-esteem when it comes to her talent, but there have been times when she's allowed herself to be shoved to the background and now it's time for her to take center stage where she belongs.

"Let's talk solos," Mercedes says at the start of practice. "And by that I mean, let's talk about the fact that I've never gotten a competition solo in the two years we've all been here. I am way overdue."

Rachel folds her arms like it's a battle stance. "Mercedes, we all appreciate your talent, but we're focusing on group songs right now. We'll talk solos when we're a bit closer to Sectionals."

"And let you sneak in your ideas to Mr. Schue before anyone else? Hell no, I'm reserving my spot."

Rachel opens her mouth to protest again but Quinn interrupts. "Let her sing."

"Fine." Rachel sits down and Mercedes takes the stage, handing her CD of prepared music to Kurt. The opening bars of Natural Woman fill the room and Mercedes smiles. She's got this.

It was Quinn's idea – not the song, but that she should grab a solo now instead of waiting to be given one. They talked about it when they went to Breadstix in the middle of the week. It had taken until their starters arrived for them to get over their first date nerves, but once the conversation stopped being so stilted they'd come up with a plan. Plan A was for Mercedes to slay everyone with her performance so not even Rachel could deny her right to a solo. Plan B was to recruit Santana for some sabotage.

Mercedes is pretty sure they won't be needing Plan B.

Quinn is the first person to start clapping when Mercedes finishes the last note, and she's grinning so hard that Mercedes thinks people will figure out what's going on between them. Mercedes' smile stretches wide as she meets Quinn's eye, and for a moment she forgets about all the people crammed into Rachel's basement, because all she can think about it how much she wants to get Quinn alone.

"That's how we're going to win Nationals," Kurt says, and Rachel nods in agreement.

"Mr. Schue would be stupid not to include that in our setlist," Rachel says with a smile. "Although I think it might be enhanced with some backing vocals? Not to take anything away from you, Mercedes, of course..."

"No, you're right. Isn't that what Mr. Schue said, that we need to be a wall of sound?" Mercedes says. "We can work on the arrangement together."

It's not a guarantee of competition glory – Mr. Schue might not like the song, or one of the others might come up with something to top it – but for the first time since joining the glee club it looks like Mercedes will be singing not to an empty auditorium or her fellow glee members, but to an actual audience. A full house.

It's about damn time.

Once the rehearsal is over Quinn finds Mercedes and together they hang back outside Rachel's house while everyone else goes their separate ways. Quinn's eyes are shining when she says, "You were amazing."

"Girl, I always am." Mercedes laughs and then Quinn's kissing her, right in the middle of Rachel Berry's driveway. Mercedes doesn't think anyone's still around to see them, but as her hands tangle in Quinn's hair and their lips slide together, she doesn't think she'd care if anyone was.


With the last Saturday practice, Mercedes finds herself getting surprisingly emotional. It's stupid, really; she's going to see all these guys next week when school starts up again, but summer glee has been more fun than she'd expected and she doesn't like to think of things coming to an end. It makes her think of graduation and glee club ending for real. She knows she's going to miss it; she just hopes that they have a shiny gold Nationals trophy to show for their time together.

Quinn squeezes Mercedes' hand and gives her a smile, and Mercedes realizes she ought to be focused not on the things she's going to lose, but on everything she's gained.

They have a break midway through the rehearsal and when Quinn goes off to talk to Santana and Brittany about something, Kurt approaches Mercedes.

"You and Quinn seem to have gotten closer," he says, his expression open and patient. Mercedes knows he isn't pushing anything, just giving her an opening to talk if she wants to take it, and she smiles. They may not be as close as they once were, but they could probably slip right back into their friendship the same way she picked things up with Quinn after a year of barely speaking to her. That's a sign of someone important, someone who counts.

"We're together," Mercedes says simply, and then she hesitates. "But I don't know if we're telling people yet, so..."

He gives her a conspiratorial wink. "Your secret's safe with me."

Arms snake around Mercedes' waist from behind, a chin resting on her shoulder, and Mercedes smiles. If Quinn's going to be like this, at least in the safety of glee club, then maybe they won't have to actually tell anyone.

"Sorry, am I interrupting?" Quinn asks, and Kurt shakes his head.

"Not at all. I'll leave you be." He backs off, mouthing "happy for you" as he goes. He grabs Blaine and whispers something to him, probably already planning double dates at Breadstix.

"Hey," Quinn says, nudging Mercedes out of her thoughts. "There's something I've been meaning to ask you."

"What's that?"

"I was wondering how you felt about dating a Cheerio."

"I... hold up, what?" Mercedes spins around so she's facing Quinn. "Don't tell me you want to go back to cheerleading. Coach Sylvester is straight-up evil, I thought we both agreed on that."

"I know, but I can handle her." Quinn shrugs. "Now that my dad's gone, my mom doesn't have the kind of money to send me to college. Not a good one, anyway. A cheerleading scholarship is my best shot at going someplace worthwhile. I'm not doing it for Coach Sylvester, or so I can be popular, I'm doing it for me. You're going places, Mercedes, and I might not have a superstar future to look forward to like you, but that doesn't mean I have to be a Lima loser."

Mercedes takes Quinn's hand and gives it a squeeze. "In that case, go for it."

Rachel starts calling everyone to attention, which means it's time to rehearse again. Not that they need a whole lot more practice; they've got these songs down, and Mercedes is pretty sure they could walk Sectionals with them. Mr. Schue isn't going to know what hit him come the first week of school.

They all shuffle into place on Rachel's stage for one last run-through of their songs. They may only be performing for an empty basement right now but Mercedes can picture an auditorium, and a sell-out crowd, and she gets the same thrill that she always gets when singing. She glances at Quinn by her side and they share a smile.

Everything still seems transitory and uncertain with senior year looming, but Mercedes thinks they're ready to take it on.

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