She does bring them presents. Of course she brings them presents. A raincoat for Shelby, and an authentic Paddington Bear for Beth. It isn’t much, but it’s something that was relatively last minute and within her price range. She stuffs them into her luggage, trying not to let Smith (that’s what she’s named the bear, if you must know) get squished under anything too heavy. Juno offers to go to the airport with her.
“No,” she replies curtly, zipping up the final bag.
Juno stuffs her hands into her pockets. “Just asking, bro.”
Quinn pauses at her zipper, if only for a moment, then looks back up at her. “We’re friends.”
Juno’s eyes perk up.
Quinn rolls her own. “I guess. I think we must be.”
“Well probably,” Juno says, taking her hands out of her pockets to wave them around, the way she always does, “I mean ever since we figured out we’ve both coincidentally been blown up like water-”
“Yes. Well. That, too.”
Quinn sighs and fixes her hair, then, cautiously like approaching a wild animal, she extends her right hand to Juno.
They shake awkwardly slowly before Juno lets go. She runs her hand through her short bangs very slowly. “I feel like a five-cent whore.”
Quinn grimaces to that as she lugs her baggage out the door. “I’ll see you later.”
The flight is just as horrible as she remembers airplane trips to be.
And it’s a headache of a flight, nine straight hours from Boston straight to Portland. Why Shelby decided to move to Portland she’d never understood, but secretly liked that it was so far away. So distant from everything on the East, so much further off, and hidden away. Like Quinn had this family really back home, and not just..in Lima. She hadn’t spoken to her parents in quite a while. Not that they hadn’t tried to contact her. She’d appreciated their paying for her education, though that came as no surprise, seeing as they were always, as they always do, trying to buy her love. It seemed as though everyone was always trying to buy Quinn’s affections. Though she’s certain Shelby’s paying for her roundtrip flight was more than what her parents do.
She’s prepping for takeoff and secretly hoping no one will sit beside her. And so of course, the last person to board is a little old lady who hesitantly shakes herself down beside Quinn. Quinn smiles at her, genuinely trying to be friendly.
“Hello there my dear,” the woman smiles, “Would you like to have the aisle seat instead? I’m afraid I just fall asleep during these long flights.”
“Oh,” Quinn observes, “No, thank you, I’m planning on sleeping through this, too.”
The woman smiles at that and settles herself in more comfortably. By the middle of the first in-flight movie, the woman’s opened up the in flight catalogue and flipped to Arts & Entertainment, where – of course – a raving review of Spring Awakening is taking up the left column. Quinn tries not to see – tries so hard not to see – but the names Rachel Berry and Jesse St James pop out in obnoxious multicoloured font.
Love on and off stage?
Rumours flying amuck that ‘Awakening’ stars St James and Berry might be greeting spring time together. Sources say they’ve been seen cuddling off stage and holding hands together in
Quinn puts on her headphones to watch the movie. She seems to be making it a habit to stop reading things mid-sentence.
Shelby picks her up from the airport, with a big smile and hug and even an affectionate kiss on the cheek.
“How was the flight?” she asks, taking Quinn’s carry-on from her as they head for luggage check.
Shelby nearly trips up but catches herself. Because really, Quinn was never big on small talk. “At home watching Beth.”
When they finally get through it all and get into the van, Quinn’s moved onto other topics. Beth’s first word (Bumpy) and the wonderful way she’s running around now that she’s learnt how to. Stories of her first friends from the kids across the street. Playdates and first dates and bad first impressions. It’s all so very domestic and Quinn’s forgotten how easy life can sometimes be, until they pull into the driveway, and suddenly it’s all feeling so real. Rachel’s inside. And so is Beth.
Shelby takes her things up with her, telling her to wash up for dinner.
All at once.
They shake hands. Why the hell do they shake hands? It’s so old, and formal, and forced.
She remembers the first time she’d even seen Rachel Berry involuntarily reach for her in her sleep.
That same beautiful smile, so unforced. Flashed twice during supper, a third time between bites of dessert.
“What are you smiling at?” she’d asked her once.
“I love you,” she’d replied.
Long hair, longer than she’d remembered. Curly at the tips.
Splayed across her naked chest in the early morning.
Dinner is quiet
All at once.
Shelby choreographs it perfectly as she always does to leave upstairs with Beth and leave them alone in the basement, an invitation for one of them to sleep in the bedroom upstairs, and one on the couch here. They stand, awkwardly, in a dimly lit room with rusted furniture and soft creaking above their hands, staring at their hands.
The hurt is plain to see on her face. “Well that was out of line. I just wanted to say you look well rested, Quinn.”
She stops herself from rolling eyes. “So,” she says, avoiding the brunette’s gaze. She looks about the room. “Who’s sleeping where?”
“I suppose I could take the couch and you the bedroom.”
She feels a flash of guilt, and hates that she feels it at all. “I don’t care, Rachel. You should take the bedroom, it’s upstairs.” She pauses and looks outside. “I wake up earlier than you do,” she says quieter.
“Good morning, lovely,” she’d said to her their first morning together, a soft kiss to her forehead, and fingers tracing across her stomach.
“I’m aware of that, Quinn,” Rachel replies, “But the bedroom is also closer to Beth’s, and I believe it probably better for you to be closer in proximity.”
Quinn grits her teeth. This girl never made anything easy and clearly hadn’t grown out of that annoying habit. “The bedroom is closer to the washroom and you need it more than I do.”
“You’re so cold,” Quinn mumbled grumpily when she got back into bed at four in the morning. She moved her calves away from frozen toes that met hers. “You’re warm, though,” she said in that deep, low voice, still raspy from the morning air.
“Honestly, Quinn,” Rachel snaps her back into the present, “I’m aware that the bedroom is the better choice of the two, clearly, since it’s an actual architecturally chosen suitable housing space and this is just simply the living room, but I really do think you’re just going to have to suck it up and take it, Quinn. Otherwise we’ll both stay here in the living room, and,” she pauses, and stumbles for words, “Well I don’t know. But we’ll sleep here in this one space with a strange physical distance like a pair of stereotypical gay roommates.”
“I’m not gay,” Quinn says too quickly, folding her arms together. This isn’t what she came home for.
Rachel purses her lips together. She looks away, almost hurt, reliving all those long nights, all those stolen kisses in hallways, every moment of connection they shared. She regroups herself, as she always does. “I understand that you identify as sexually fluid, Quinn.”
“I’m not gay.”
Rachel shakes her head again. “I understand that you are just simply strangely attracted to me, Quinn.” She looks at her, straight through her, as she always does. “However, this is not about the palpable sexual tension between us, this is about our sleeping arrangements.”
Quinn chooses to ignore her first remark, though it flusters something inside her stomach that she ignores in vain. She shakes her head and motions to the couch. “I’ll take the couch,” she says quietly, just focusing on its dark brown tint. She bunches her fingers together and scrapes at her fingernails, biting her lower lip, trying so hard to keep her focus on anything but the girl standing in front of her.
A tsk. “You’re acting extremely immature, Quinn.”
Rachel shifts in place. “You’re acting as though I broke your heart.”
Quinn blinks tears away. Honestly, this really wasn’t what she came home for. She doesn’t need this. She can’t do this. Not now. Not when things are supposed to be picking back up, she can’t fall back into the past. She does her best to smirk it away. “Always the drama queen, Rachel.”
“I have been nothing but patient with you, Q.”
The nickname smarts like nothing else.
“When you-” Rachel pauses and glances upstairs. She lowers her voice to a fierce whisper. “When told me you couldn’t see me anymore, it ripped me in half but I learned to accept that you needed space. I have given you space, I went to New York.”
“You went to New York for yourself, you were always going to.”
“Is that what this is about, Q?” Rachel asks, her eyes now glowing. She takes an angry step forward closer to Quinn. “Are you angry with me that I left? Do you feel as though I left you?”
Quinn grumbles the pain away, and lets the frustration fly out. She points to the magazine she’d placed on the coffee table, that Godforsaken magazine with its headlines and stories. “Maybe it feels like you’ve got this great new life in New York that I’m not a part of! I’m studying International Relations in Boston, and you’re living a grand life in the Big Apple with Jesse St James, you’re doing just fine on your own. So don’t you dare tell me-”
“Is that what you think?” The voice is low. So low, low, low, with that familiar tinge of hurt she hadn’t heard Rachel let slip in for so long. “That I simply just couldn’t wait to shed my old life?”
Quinn looks away. “Don’t lie to me.” She knows she isn’t.
“Maybe I was ready to let Lima go, maybe I’ve always been meant for something greater, but what makes you think we aren’t the same, either?”
Quinn bites her lip. She doesn’t need to hear this. Any of this.
“I wasn’t ready to let you go.”
“Well, just because you’re not ready doesn’t mean it isn’t time.” She turns her head back to face Rachel. She’d made that decision, too. It damn near ripped her in half, telling her she needed space. Space. Space not for her. But space for Rachel. “I’m not going to be the one to hold you down, Rachel Berry.”
Rachel’s tears match her own, slowly, freely falling. She shakes her head incredulously. “I’m in love with you, Q.”
And it shatters the rest of her heart.
“And you’re in love with me.”
Quinn turns away. Because if you don’t see it, if you don’t hear it, it can’t exist. This can’t exist.
Rachel sighs softly at her. She wipes her eyes fervently, willing and succeeding as always to stop the tears in their tracks. She wants to repeat it, because they both know it’s true, but as she’s learnt; telling Quinn Fabray how she feels doesn’t really do much. Instead she folds her arms together and stands strong. “I’m going to take the couch, because you’re staying longer than I am. Goodnight, Quinn.”
Quinn doesn’t respond to this, only turns on her feet and marches upstairs.
She’ll deal with it tomorrow.
She does honestly try to get to bed, but it resonates in her mind, Rachel’s voice, the ferocity, the frustration, and everything they’ve said, and not said. The tears she’s kept inside. The loneliness.
“Quinn,” she gasps helplessly, and the blonde smiles against her wet, wet core, speeding her tongue laps, stopping grins when she feels Rachel’s shaking fingers grip loosely yet desperately at her shoulders. Rachel comes with a broken A and G sharp.
Quinn tosses slightly on the bed for a bit, rearranging the pillow this way and that, relishing in the cold spike of the other side of the pillow, only to hate it a moment later. It builds inside of her, and she only feels the room grow brighter, and before she can admit it, she’s fully awake, and sleep the last thing on her mind. She clamps her legs together and rolls onto her stomach. You’re being ridiculous, she tells herself.
You need some water, the other voice says.
She lets herself believe that’s why she’s getting out of bed. She lets herself believe it’s why she’s licking her lips. That the shivers are the cold morning. She glances over at her clock: 3:24AM. Go back to bed, she tells herself.
You need some water, the other voice repeats.
She trudges downstairs and moves her hands, slowly, feeling the walls and caressing the light switches. She hobbles into the kitchen and grabs herself a cold glass of water, filling it at the tap and wiping her eyes of daze and dizzy sleep.
The glass topples out of her grip and slams into the sink, luckily not breaking, but certainly a more dramatic reaction than she would’ve liked. She thumps the tap down and turns around to face a very equally tired Rachel in a t-shirt and boyshorts. And in a fast, fluid yet soft movement, she’s crossing the kitchen to her, muttering “No” over and over before pushing her lips onto hers, grabbing her body and squeezing it between hers and the wall behind her. Quinn’s fingers fumble about behind Rachel’s back, finding the light switch and shutting it off, she hears Rachel’s moan and then feels it on her lips, her tongue, right at the back of her throat. She takes Rachel’s t-shirt and pushes it up, letting her fingers and hand travel up and around and everywhere she can find skin. Skin skin warm skin and more hot familiar skin.
“Quinn,” Rachel mumbles breathlessly, barely-open eyes and breathy gusts of air, she struggles to keep her balance as Quinn continues to pin her up against the wall. She needs their pyjama pants down, or at least pushed down. She locks her lips onto Quinn, relishing in the taste, the familiar warmth of her mouth, her tongue, the way they fit absolutely everywhere and so so perfectly. Her hair, her beautiful long blonde hair, and her smell that just lives inside her, Rachel’s always wanted to wrap herself up in a big pile of Quinn.
Quinn’s hands move underneath her t-shirt, fumbling and grabbing hard at her breasts, teasing and rolling her nipples in her fingers, grinning at Rachel’s groans to that. She’d always liked it counter clockwise, and God, she hadn’t changed. Nothing had changed, none of it had changed. “Rachel,” she murmurs, sliding her leg between Rachel’s and feeling her grinding down, nervously and excitedly moving their cores close to each other. Rachel’s hand slides down into her pyjama pants and she feels two familiar fingers inside her. She groans in response, gliding and pushing her own fingers into Rachel and their foreheads push together, they exhale as one, groaning and moaning softly in the dark kitchen.
“I love you,” Rachel breathes in a broken whisper, gasping and panting with closed eyes, her fingers working perfectly inside her, a thumb caressing and rubbing furiously at her clit.
“Oh Rachel,” Quinn groans, closing her eyes altogether and burying her lips onto the girl’s neck, right where her head meets her throat, she attacks the soft, warm skin, feeling the every hesitant inhale. They move together so quickly, so hurriedly and frenzied, when they lick their lips sometimes they’re still kissing, and ‘love’s and ‘yes’s and ‘don’t stop’s fall one over the other until finally Quinn combusts around her with a soft and shaky “Oh goodness,” Rachel comes almost with her, grabbing Quinn’s hand inside her and using it as a balance as she grinds against her just there there there. When she comes she kisses Quinn hard enough to make her look at her, right in the eyes, and Quinn sees the explosion in her irises, feels the warmth and desperate clenching, before shutting her own eyes as Rachel pulls her into another kiss with a frantic, “Quinn.”
She wakes up slowly and for a moment she’s so sure it was a dream, until she opens the other eye and watches the living room ceiling for a moment. Then turns on her side to find Rachel still sleeping beside her, her clothes back on, the covers barely around her waist, and a light pink and red patch on her neck. The sun enters from the window beside them and hits the top of her head just right. She moves a bit of Rachel’s hair out of her face and she stirs.
“Q?” she murmurs, her hand twitching but she isn’t quite awake enough to reach for her.
“Yeah,” she responds quietly. She plants a slow, soft kiss on her forehead. “Yeah.”
She gets back to her dorm maybe at midnight on January 2nd. Juno’s there as always on her top bunk reading an issue of The Hulk. She glances down at Quinn’s entrance and hops down with a smile. “Need some help?” she offers with Quinn’s baggages.
“How was the visit?”
“It was fine.”
“Did you see your baby daddy?”
“No,” Quinn replies. She traces her fingers across a new locket around her neck. “Someone else, more important.”
Juno nods her head and glances at it. “Cool,” she replies.
Long distance is daunting, but it feels right, and it feels okay.
Because you can’t ignore what’s there, everyday.
They watch a movie later that week, and even Juno’s gotten bored of making snarky remarks. Quinn leans her head across the couch instead and observes Juno’s specific cracking of knuckles. “Juno?”
She licks her lips and slides closer to the girl. “Thank you for being here. You have no idea how much I ... how much I like you.”
Juno’s cracking slows to an awkward tightening. She turns to Quinn slowly with a friendly smile. “Thanks. But...you know I’m not like...into girls, right?”
And Quinn feels something flush against her cheeks, that familiar horrible blushing warmth of complete embarrassment. She stutters weakly, hating how it sounds.
“I mean that’s cool,” Juno stutters, trying for a smile, “You know, if you fly that bus, that’s cool, I don’t care. I mean, knowing me, I’ll play tennis sometime later in life but like-”
“I was just going for a hug.”
“Well c’mere.” Juno extends her arms and wraps them tightly around Quinn, who buries her nose in the shorter girl’s shoulder, just for a moment, willing to erase the last fifteen seconds. Juno nods to herself and holds Quinn closer. “Good hug,” she states.
They smile, not caring if the other one is or not, knowing they are.
“So wait, just so we’re clear, you’re like, not hot for me, right?”
“Cos you’ve got some lovebird who gives you sweet lockets and shit, right?”
“Yes, in New York.”
“And that’s a girl, right?”
“But not me.”