Characters: Quinn; everyone
Challenge/Prompt: au_bingo - Royalty
Word Count: 4000
Timeline Note: Set post Home, goes AU after that point.
Summary: In which Quinn receives some unexpected news and a country to govern, Kurt doesn’t receive any kind of ceremonial hat, and being a monarch turns out to be nothing like Hamlet.
Author’s Notes: Something light and cracky to get my head back into writing for the Glee fandom, since I’ve been distracted lately. I was really struggling to work out what the fuck to do with the royalty prompt for my bingo and then for no reason my brain went “OMFG The Princess Diaries”. This isn’t religiously like either the books or the movies, though I have stolen Meg Cabot’s made up country, because I figure if there’s already one perfectly serviceable imaginary European country out there, why take the time to invent a new one. So: Genovia. Oh, and this story? Is really, really silly (and possibly awful). It’s why I’m not x-posting it. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
I’m the motherfucking princess.
– Avril Lavigne
“Oh,” Quinn says carefully. “Um, are you sure?”
The little man sitting on Puck’s mom’s hideous flowery couch pushes his glasses up his nose.
“Yes,” he says, for the third time. He’s being very patient.
Quinn folds her hands protectively over her stomach, because, as it turns out, Being Inconveniently Pregnant is basically the only thing about her life that is true.
It’s kind of nice to discover that her parents aren’t her real parents, seeing as how they kicked her out of the house and aren’t talking to her anymore. On the other hand, her real parents are dead, which is sad. Also, dead parents are totally the least of her problems.
“I’m a pretty crap choice for a princess,” Quinn says, “I mean, I’m having the bastard child of a football player and it isn’t even the quarterback’s.”
The man whose name she can’t remember sighs, clutching his Blackberry like a lifeline. Quinn gets the feeling he already hates her and she hasn’t even started governing yet.
“You’re sixteen years old now,” he says slowly, clearly, “it’s time for you to take over your throne.”
Quinn considers this. “Who has my throne now?”
“Your uncle,” he replies.
She tips her head to one side; she wasn’t even aware that she had an uncle. “This isn’t going to be like Hamlet, is it?”
Quinn thinks she might be in shock. Or hanging out with the geeks far too much.
The man looks incredulously at her, and she folds her arms defensively.
“I’ve read Hamlet,” she protests.
His expression doesn’t flicker.
“Fine, I studied it in class.” He continues to look unconvinced. “Whatever, I copied Rachel Berry’s essay on it this one time.”
The man sighs heavily. “No, it is not going to be like Hamlet.”
“Ok.” Quinn tries to think of something sensible to say. “Well, that’s good.”
He snaps into action, outlining what he’s already outlined for her: she’s a princess (yay?), her parents are dead (not so yay), she needs to take over her throne in Genovia (...ok) and she needs to take it over in exactly one month’s time (WTF?!).
“Look,” Quinn begins desperately, “all I know about Genovia is that you probably don’t make cuckoo clocks.”
He smiles at her. “It’s ok,” he says, “we’ve put together a brief for you.”
Well, that sounds reassuring. Kind of. Maybe. Quinn is rapidly developing a headache and it’s been a long enough day as it is, what with trying to derail Mercedes’ potential eating disorder and stuff. Being nice is really exhausting.
“That’s great,” she says, and follows it up with: “can you go now?”
“What would you say if I told you it turned out I was a princess?”
Puck is more interested in Princess Peach than Princess Quinn right now, but he obediently pauses the videogame and looks at her.
“Do I get to be your prince?” he asks.
“Fuck no,” Quinn says, quick and vehement.
“Huh.” Puck smirks, and it’s kind of evil. “Then I’d say you’d get to make people do whatever you wanted, and you wouldn’t even have to get them drunk first.”
Well, that’s an interesting thought. “You do realise you basically just admitted to date-raping me, don’t you.”
Puck shrugs, and turns back to the game. “If you’re a princess, you can date-rape everyone.”
“I cannot believe I am having your child,” Quinn mutters, and walks out.
“What would you say if I told you it turned out I was a princess?”
Santana huffs. “It would explain why you’re such a bitch,” she says, and puts the phone down.
“What would you say if I told you it turned out I was a princess?”
Mercedes bursts out laughing. Then she calms down, and adds, in a worried voice: “you are eating, right? Because I know how the hallucinations work when you don’t-”
“I’m eating,” Quinn assures her quickly, and terminates the call.
“What would you say if I told you it turned out I was a princess?”
“How did you even get my number?” Kurt asks.
This isn’t important. “Seriously,” Quinn says, “what would you say?”
“Those baby hormones are screwing with your brain,” he mutters.
“Fine.” He sounds put-upon. “I’d say something along the lines of are you going to dress better?”
“Of course you would,” Quinn sighs, and hangs up.
She calls back three minutes later. “Oh my God, Kurt, what am I going to wear?”
They hold an emergency meeting over at Mercedes’.
“I still don’t believe this,” Santana says, arms folded, and Quinn isn’t even sure who invited her and Brittany because it’s not like they have anything nice to say to each other, but then Rachel is here and she doesn’t like Quinn and she also doesn’t have anything helpful to say in terms of fashion advice, so clearly this isn’t a panel of experts.
“Wikipedia says it’s true,” Tina offers quietly, and then shrinks into herself when Santana glares at her.
“It’s weird you didn’t find out earlier, really,” Rachel says.
“Oh, right,” Quinn snaps, “because I regularly wiki random obscure European countries just in case I turn out to be their rightful ruler.” Rachel’s expression gets kind of weird. “Seriously,” Quinn adds, “if it turns out that that is the kind of thing you do in your spare time, I will make sure you get a slushie in the face every day for the rest of the semester.”
Mercedes’ eyes light up. “Do you get diplomatic immunity?”
Well. That could be entertaining. Quinn makes a mental note to ask.
“Do you get your own crown jewels?” Kurt asks, looking up from a detailed list he seems to be making, cross-referencing it with the latest issue of Vogue. “Because if you don’t I think we need to put you in touch with Cartier right away.”
“I don’t know,” Quinn snaps, feeling kind of tearful and harassed, “I only found out I was a princess two hours ago. Why does everyone but me seem to have a detailed If I Turn Out To Be A Princess Plan?”
“Because, until recently, you actually liked your life,” Mercedes points out, matter-of-fact. Quinn is about to scoff at this and then realises that everyone – well, all the proper glee girls, anyway; oh, and Kurt – is nodding in agreement.
“I bet you’re wishing you’d made one now,” Kurt remarks lightly, and then turns back to his list. “How do you feel about Vivienne Westwood?”
As it turns out, the little man is called Mr Richards. And when he comes back the next morning, he brings a bodyguard with him. Which is very weird and it’s enough that everyone thinks she’s a freak ‘cause she’s pregnant and in glee club by choice without adding in the whole followed around by a giant with a badly-concealed gun thing.
Jesse looks strangely annoyed by the fact she now has a bodyguard, and Quinn makes a mental note to double check that he’s definitely not planning to kill them all to make sure Vocal Adrenalin win regionals. Yes, Rachel claims that she and Jesse are having an awesome relationship, but then Rachel seems to have dated half the glee club so she might not actually know what a functioning relationship entails. And ok, Quinn is aware that she can’t exactly comment on that area either, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t know more about it than Rachel.
The entire school seems to know that’s she’s actual royalty by lunchtime; she and Dan-the-freakishly-tall-bodyguard wind up sitting with Mercedes and Kurt in the cafeteria while everyone mutters around them. Kurt seems to have an entire folder dedicated to royal fashion possibilities. It’s kind of disturbing.
He spreads an array of glossy magazine pages in front of her and starts pointing out potential dresses for her coronation – “if it turns out your country doesn’t have weird ceremonial robe things, which: ew” – and it’s clear Kurt takes his research very seriously because after a moment Quinn realises that all the models are pregnant. She didn’t even know that magazines for glamorous pregnant women existed. And then something occurs to her: in a month’s time, she still won’t have given birth.
“Oh my God,” she murmurs, “I’m going to be fat for my coronation.”
Mercedes smirks at her lunch. “What happened to loving your body no matter what?”
“Getting crowned,” Quinn reminds her. “In front of millions of people. While heavily pregnant.”
Mercedes shrugs, nodding. “Point.”
“We can totally do something with carefully-draped fabric,” Kurt assures her.
Quinn pretends really hard she can’t see Dan trying not to laugh.
Mr Schuester is creepily pleased about the whole thing, which isn’t really surprising, given how invested he is in their lives. He doesn’t stop smiling even when Quinn points out that she won’t be able to compete at regionals because she’ll be running this random country that she hadn’t even heard of until yesterday.
He winds up setting them glee club homework to all research Genovia to help her out. Quinn is grateful because God knows she has no idea what she’s doing but still: how the hell has this become a class project?
“Can I be your, like, royal consort or whatever?” Puck asks when he’s driving them home, Dan lounging in the backseat.
“Um, no?” Quinn says. “Like, seriously. Over my dead body. Didn’t I already say this?”
Puck shrugs. “Ok. Just thought I’d check. You wanna go get ice cream?”
Quinn recognises the peace offering for what it is, and since her baby problem is about to become an entire nation’s baby problem, she supposes she should probably work on developing a civil relationship with the father of her child.
Besides, she really needs the sugar if she’s going to get through whatever the hell the world is going to throw at her next.
“Ok,” she says, and remembers to tag on a smile.
Three days later Mr Schue starts asking them what they’ve learned about Genovia. Rachel does a very long powerpoint presentation; all Quinn really gets out of it is that it’s apparently going to rain a lot in Genovia, and she catches sight of Kurt whipping out a pen and scribbling down something in his folder. Maybe he needs to find deeply fashionable umbrellas or something.
“What have you learned, Quinn?” Mr Schue asks, when Rachel has finally shut up.
Quinn shrugs. “Genovia is really rich. Like, I don’t know why we’re so rich. Maybe we make cocaine,” she muses.
Mr Schuester looks vaguely panicked, and Quinn decides not to test the blood diamonds theory she and Mercedes worked on in their free period. There’s no evidence that Genovia even has diamond mines, anyway.
“How rich?” Puck asks, looking interested.
Quinn tells him, and watches everyone’s eyes widen.
“You could build a theatre and name it after me,” Rachel says, grinning in what she probably thinks is a winning fashion. It looks kind of demented.
“You could bribe the judges at regionals,” Jesse chips in thoughtfully, because he is a creepily fixated robot.
“You could invent time travel,” Artie says, looking excited in his sci-fi geek way. It’s kind of sweet, not that Quinn will ever tell anyone this.
“You could buy us all houses,” Puck tells her. “Hell, you could buy us all islands.”
Kurt is looking semi-hysterical, eyes shining. “You could buy Lady Gaga,” he breathes.
Quinn is kind of tempted. It must show on her face, because this is the point at which Mr Schuester decides he needs to give them the lecture on how you can’t actually buy human beings, not even Lady Gaga, and how countries need money for things like infrastructures. It’s kind of tragic.
What Mr Richards claimed was a “brief” is actually three volumes thick. Quinn can barely lift it, and when she starts flicking through it she discovers it’s all really densely written and barely comprehensible. Also, there’s nothing about cocaine or diamond mines or anything.
She’s been struggling through it in the library for about half an hour when Artie wheels himself up beside her and holds out his arms. “Gimme.” Quinn arches an eyebrow. “I’ll tell you the stuff wiki didn’t,” Artie tells her. “Really, you’ve got more important stuff to be doing.”
“I do?” Quinn asks.
Artie nods, looking grave. “Did you know that you have royal dressmakers? Because Kurt does.”
“Does he have a telephone number?” Quinn asks, feeling vaguely panicked.
“Email address,” Artie replies. “Run, girl.”
“Your crown jewels are more tasteful than expected,” Kurt observes.
He has a huge email attachment full of photographs. Quinn doesn’t know how he’s managed to get in contact with her palace staff; she hasn’t even done that yet.
“Oh good,” she says, from where she’s lying on Mercedes’ bed.
“Don’t you want to look at them?” Mercedes asks.
Quinn waves a vague hand; she’s still kind of hoping that she might wake up sometime soon. “I trust your judgement.”
“Of course you do,” Kurt says, “I’m the Royal Fashion Advisor.”
Quinn frowns, reluctantly opening her eyes. “Is that an official title you’re expecting me to give you?”
“You’re going to be lost without us, girl,” Mercedes points out, grinning.
She has a point, and anyway, surely one of the perks of being a princess is that you can give your friends random meaningless titles. Quinn closes her eyes again. “Fine.”
“Can I have a ceremonial hat?” Kurt asks after a while.
“No,” Quinn replies.
“You could get Philip Treacy to design it,” he protests.
“No,” Quinn says again. “And stop doing your bitchface.”
“Your eyes are closed.”
“You’re still doing your bitchface. Pick me out a dress to match my crown jewels.”
“You’re going to be a tyrant,” Kurt mutters, but she can hear the edge of laughter in his voice.
Quinn skips biology and goes to watch the Cheerios rehearsing, just because everything’s too crazy and screwed-up and it seems weird that she’ll be leaving here in a few weeks. She doesn’t think she wants to be that girl again, the cheer captain who didn’t eat and casually bullied everyone else in the school for the hell of it, a perfect relationship built mainly on tormenting her boyfriend, clinging onto popularity like a military campaign. It was exhausting, a different kind of exhaustion to the one she feels now, bone-deep.
It’s kind of weird how up until about a week ago she thought she wouldn’t have to worry about anything more than this little girl growing inside her. Now, the kid is practically an afterthought.
When she looks away from the red uniforms she finds Finn is sitting next to her, a careful distance away.
“Hey,” he says.
“Hey,” she says back, because she doesn’t know what else to reply. Things are still careful between them, lost and brittle.
He smiles, slow and sweet, and Quinn remembers belatedly why she loved him. Or thought she loved him, or whatever. It’s not enough, but it is something.
“So, like, if you hadn’t let Puck get you pregnant, would I be your prince right now?” He sounds honestly curious, and so it’s kind of sad she has no answer for him.
“I don’t know,” she replies, because he deserves some honesty from her. “Do you want to be the ruler of a random European country?”
Finn looks sort of panicked. “I’m flunking Spanish,” he says.
Quinn thinks about telling him that Genovians don’t actually speak Spanish – thank God, because she’s not exactly getting sparkling grades either – but decides not to. That’s not really the point.
“Exactly,” she says.
He puts a strong arm around her and she leans into it, accepting the support he’s giving without asking any of the awkward questions. It’s not quite forgiveness, but it’s nice.
After a while, he offers: “Did you know your flag has a bear on it? What’s with that?”
Quinn laughs and presses her face into his shoulder. “God, I don’t even know.”
“So, like, I’ve been researching your country’s laws or whatever,” Santana informs her quietly in math on Tuesday afternoon, “you totally have to sing at your coronation. In front of everyone. And it’s televised.”
Quinn spends the next three periods quietly freaking out until Artie assures her that he’s read the whole section on the coronation in her brief and there was nothing about singing in it at all.
Dan refuses to put Santana in a dumpster, no matter how many times Quinn asks.
“So,” Jesse says casually, dropping into step beside her in the hall, “New Directions is definitely going to win regionals now.”
“I won’t even be here for regionals,” Quinn reminds him.
He shrugs. “Doesn’t matter. You’re royal and you were once in this glee club, that’s going to beat actual talent every single time.”
“Don’t confuse mindless robots with talent,” Quinn tells him. “I guess this means you really only joined this glee club to screw it up.”
Jesse looks thoughtful. “Well, not only,” he says after a moment.
Quinn thinks about Rachel, who is irritating and wears knee socks in an unironic fashion and who is kind of her rival even if neither of them are trying to date Finn at the moment, and then decides that Rachel still doesn’t deserve this.
“That’s cruel,” she tells him. “And that’s me saying that.”
Jesse’s lips curl, but it isn’t a smile. He’s kind of bad at facial expressions. “You slept with your boyfriend’s best friend and then tried to convince your boyfriend that he’d knocked you up in a hot tub.”
Seriously, enough already with the hot tub lie. It’s not like Quinn wouldn’t have come up with a better excuse if she’d been dating anyone other than Finn.
“You weren’t even here for that,” she protests. “You do not get to judge me.”
Jesse is definitely smirking now. “We’ll still take nationals next year,” he tells her.
All of a sudden, Quinn doesn’t care. She really doesn’t. “Fuck you, St James,” she snaps, “I know it’ll probably blow up your android brain, but there’s more to life than damn singing competitions.”
She storms off as quickly as she can with several extra pounds of baby. Behind her, Dan breaks into applause and she ducks her head to hide her smile.
Inevitably, the press find out and want interviews. Mr Schuester helps her organise a press conference – he claims that Coach Sylvester didn’t help him at all, but Quinn’s caught Sue smirking at her in the corridors, so she doesn’t really believe him – and Mercedes and Kurt help her with her hair, clothes and make up. Rachel and Artie have made her cue cards with useful facts about Genovia on them – Quinn will read the brief herself, she really will... eventually – and she feels about as prepared as she can with her stomach churning and the baby kicking insistently like she knows just how nervous Quinn is.
She glides through it all with her favourite bitchy head cheerleader smile in place, the one Coach Sylvester forced her to practice until her face ached and her gleaming teeth could be seen from the back of a stadium. Lies spill from her mouth, about being shocked and scared and excited, how it’s a wonderful opportunity and how she can’t wait to meet her people. How obviously being pregnant is awkward but at least she’s already got an heir lined up (pause for laughter). Stories from another girl in another life.
After the conference is over she walks calmly into a bathroom and throws up for a while, and when that’s over she finds Mercedes is waiting with a sandwich and a smile, Mr Schuester gives her a hug, and the glee club have all bought her flowers.
“How is this my life?” Quinn breathes, while Mercedes squeezes her hand tightly.
Her mom turns up a few days later, saying that she’s left Quinn’s father, that she’s so, so sorry, that she wants to move to Genovia with Quinn and help her raise the baby.
Quinn doesn’t think she’s ever been so relieved about anything in her life.
“Do you think getting you a replica of one of Grace Kelly’s dresses is too much?” Kurt asks.
Quinn considers it. “Pre-pregnancy or post-pregnancy?”
“Post-pregnancy,” Kurt responds, eyes on his computer screen. “I’ve already gotten most of your pregnancy wardrobe organised; you won’t be pregnant for much longer anyway.”
She nods; she’s still not sure if she should leave her clothes in Kurt’s hands, considering some of the really weird shit he turns up to school in, but at least she’ll be fashionable. If she’s going to be all over magazines – which apparently she will be, once she assumes the throne – she might as well get free clothes out of it.
“And you remember that-”
“-pregnant women can’t and won’t walk in five inch heels,” Kurt recites along with her. “Yes, I know, I’m saving the Louboutins for later.”
“Ok,” Quinn says. She sighs, looking around Kurt’s elegantly decorated basement, and wonders if she’ll ever see it again. “Go for the Grace Kelly dress,” she adds. “Why not?”
“You’re gonna be good at this, you know,” Puck tells her, driving her (and Dan) back from another doctor’s appointment. She’s clutching a print-out and a DVD of the latest scan of their daughter, who is starting to resemble an actual person rather than a mutated grey blob.
Her own kid might actually be scarier than the whole princess thing. Quinn’s still deciding.
“Why?” she asks, one hand unconsciously covering her stomach.
“You used to rule the school with an iron fist of cheerleader bitchiness,” he points out cheerfully.
Quinn wants to tell him that there’s a lot of difference between wearing a strategically sexy cheerleader uniform and being cruel to other girls and actually running a country, but it’s not like she has a lot of experience with the latter. According to Artie, who is nearly on volume three now, she has a government to help her out, so she might manage not to crash the economy or whatever.
“Yeah, and look how fast it took me to lose that,” she mutters instead, tone dry, gesturing to her elegant (designer – Mercedes’ choice) summer dress and the massive bump underneath it.
Puck smiles, momentarily fond, but she doesn’t think that it’s her the smile is aimed at.
“You’re gonna be fine, Quinn,” he says, and it’s maybe the nicest thing he’s ever said to her.
“I’m gonna be a teenage monarch with stretchmarks,” she mutters, but she can’t help the grin tugging her lips anyway.
Her last few days of school are very weird and very emotional. Quinn blames hugging Rachel and maybe crying a little on the baby hormones, though she can’t find an adequate explanation for hugging Jesse. Mr Schuester has secretly managed to put together a glee club performance for her, a medley of songs with friend in them, and Mercedes drives to the airport with her and her mom.
Quinn kind of can’t believe that this is happening; it’s all been so fast and so ridiculous. Kurt and Mercedes are flying out in the summer and she’s agreed to get Puck over as soon as the baby is born – it is his kid, and she might be a bitch but she’ll never be that cruel – and she’ll have to keep Artie on speed dial until she actually reads all the damn information on Genovia herself, but it’s still strange to be going so far away from everything that she’s ever known and towards something completely new.
“I have faith in you, Quinn,” her mom says quietly, lacing their fingers together for takeoff, and Quinn nods and smiles and closes her eyes and breathes. She leaves Quinn Fabray, head cheerleader, popular bitch, failed chastity ball attendee, unwed mother, behind on the tarmac, gaze on the future and hoping for the best.