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we were built to fall apart (then fall back together)

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A musical. Her agent was approaching her for a musical. Sure, Quinn was getting to be quite a big actress, a few movies here and there, a lot of Shakespeare, and an unfortunate amount of student films, but she had rarely showcased her singing, and never her dancing. She knew that her being in Glee Club and winning a national title was fairly well publicized, and her role in the latest Greta Gerwig movie had required her to sing, but she wasn’t a singer, and she surely wasn’t a musical theatre actress. She was a Yale graduate for God’s sake, a serious actor with serious passions and a future that people were saying had so much Oscar potential. It made no sense.

That is, until she got a copy of the script. She flipped the text through her hands aimlessly, opening it to the first page. The opening number was strong, her ability to read music had weakened since her glee days but she could still tell where the notes would be sung and had a basic idea of how it would sound, and she figured it would sound good. She began skimming the lyrics when it popped out at her. This wasn’t any old musical. This musical was… familiar. It was something that resonated with her. That’s when it clicked. The story it was telling, it was her own. She wasn’t approached for this musical because of her talent or her past works. She was approached because they were telling her story. They were telling the story of a girl who battled with being Christian, being gay, and being in love. It was eerily similar to that of Quinn’s own coming out story. They wanted her because they knew she knew that feeling, they knew she knew the absolute weight of the thing that this character was going through. They wanted to tap into her own bank of knowledge, and surely the publicity that would come with it, and use it to perfect the masterpiece they were building.

Immediately, Quinn found herself engrossed in the story of Emery Walsh, a girl who she could infinitely relate to. The story was funny, heartwarming and incredibly potent, and it reached deep into her and channeled the emotions she hadn’t felt in herself since her own coming out. It felt right. Quinn felt at home in the character, she already felt herself digging deep into the role and could see herself up on that stage, telling a story that she found herself becoming increasingly passionate about. Someone was giving her the chance to tell her story, how could she let that opportunity go to waste?

She called her agent and booked her audition for as soon as possible.

•¥•

Fresh off Jane Austen Sings! and a well deserved Tony award, Rachel Berry was more than a hot commodity amongst almost every director out there. She had received scripts from more than fifteen shows that wanted her, but nothing had quite clicked. She was yet to find something she felt as passionately for as she did for her three past shows, Funny Girl, Wicked, and of course, Jane Austen Sings! and it was beginning to get her down. She missed performing, she missed sharing her talent with the world and making the audience laugh, smile, and cry. It sucked that she hadn’t found anything yet.

Her agent mailed it to her along with probably ten other shows, but her eyes drew to it right away, and she had no idea why. She had heard the name, she’d heard from Jesse that it had been making its way through workshops and making waves in the Broadway community, but she hadn’t the foggiest idea as to what it was about.

She flipped it open with little intention, because as much as she was drawn to it, and as much as Jesse had hyped it up, she just hadn’t had much luck yet, and it seemed unlikely that it would start now. Her agent had indicated to her that they wanted her to play a supporting role, the role of the main character’s love interest, which almost intrigued her. She hadn’t gotten any calls lately to be a supporting character, it was all lead role stuff, the kinds of things she thought her career had been pointing to, but the chance to be something different piqued her interest.

With a simple read through the plot summary and the character descriptions, it was clear to her why she hadn’t been called to audition for the lead. Emery Walsh was a young lesbian struggling with coming out, accepting herself and her love for Rosalyn Apter, and her Christian values. Rachel had had the easiest coming out story known to man, given her gay dads and the fairly accepting theatre community, and so she just didn’t connect to the character in quite the way she knew someone else could. This role allowed for someone with a similar background to dig into the character and build that narrative with their own personal experience. It was a beautiful story that deserved to be represented and represented correctly. Besides, the more Rachel began to read, the more she could place herself into the role of Rosalyn Apter, seeing herself in those shoes, in that situation and knowing how she’d play it. She quickly fell into the character, the story, and the romance that was building, and she could see why it had made the waves Jesse said it did. It was beautiful, and it told a story not told nearly enough.

She had found the role that clicked just right, so she booked her audition.

•¥•

Quinn finds herself weaving her way through New Yorkers after her audition, feeling absolutely pleased with how it turned out. It went great, they seemed to really like her, and she felt incredibly proud of her performance. She had to tell somebody.

She clicked the first contact in her messages and let it ring for about forty seconds until, “Hello?” Santana says, her voice a little gravelly, like she’d just woken up.

Quinn checks her watch, 11:25 am, it was entirely possible she had just woken up. Last night they had gone out to celebrate Mercedes and Santana’s single going platinum, and Quinn knows that she had gone home way earlier than the rest of the party in preparation for her early morning audition. “Hey,” Quinn says, maneuvering into the subway as she listens for Santana’s certainly grumpy response.

“Q, why are you waking me up at this ungodly hour?” She says, exactly what Quinn had expected.

“It’s 11:30, San, not five,” Quinn replies and she swears she can almost hear Santana roll her eyes.

“Quinn Fabray, if you don’t get to the point I am hanging up.”

“Fine, I had my audition.” She says, hearing a sharp screech from behind the phone, that definitely did not come from Santana.

“Brittany wants to know how it went,” Santana says.

“Well…” She starts, pausing dramatically, allowing for a loud sigh from Santana and an even louder groan from Brittany.

“Just tell us, Q.”

Quinn smiles at their impatience, “It went really well. I feel like I got it, especially because they wanted me in the first place,” Quinn says, cheers ringing out from Brittany.

“Fabray, Britt is losing her mind for you, and I suppose I am a little bit proud of you as well,” Santana responds.

“Thank you guys, it means a lot.”

“Of course, now I’m gonna hang up because I have plans to make breakfast for my wife. If you want to come over later to celebrate, text me,”

Quinn nods even though she knows Santana can’t see her. “Sounds good, tell Britt I love her, bye!”

“Don’t try to steal my woman, tubbers. Bye.” She hangs up.

Quinn smiles and shakes her head at their silliness, climbing onto the train.

•¥•

Not two and a half days later, Rachel has her own audition. With the power of West Side Story and a carefully perfected monologue, it seemed she had straight up wowed the director and her assistants. She felt great about it, almost as great as she felt about the show in the first place. It was revitalizing.

As soon as she finished, she hurries home, excited to share the news with her friends. Mid-unlocking her front door though, her phone begins to ring. Jesse. She supposes she’ll be telling him the details sooner than later. “Hello?” She says, as Jesse launches into whatever he has to say.

“Heard it on the grapevine that your audition went great, congrats!” he says, before proceeding directly into his next thought, not even allowing Rachel to ask how he heard that already, “Have you heard anything about your love interest?”

The way he posed the question certainly made Rachel think he had heard something about her love interest, and well, she hadn’t. “I mean… not yet, I haven’t even gotten the role yet, Jess,” Rachel responds.

“Don’t worry Rach, you have it in the bag, and also, I have heard about your love interest! Nothing much but…” Jesse says, and Rachel knows he’s pausing for dramatics, the action ingrained in his very blood, “it seems that the girl first in the running is new to Broadway. Apparently she’s a fairly popular gay actress who has never done a musical so… she’s like talented, but out of her element.”

“Popular gay actress?” Rachel says, beginning to consider all the gay actresses she knew, “could you imagine if it was Kristen Stewart? I think I’d die.”

“I don’t think Kristen Stewart sings, Rach,” Jesse responds.

“Excuse me, haven’t you seen Into The Wild? She sang in that,” Rachel counters, before continuing to ponder, “I bet its Hayley Kiyoko or something, unless Lemonade Mouth counts as a musical. Is Lemonade Mouth a musical?”

“I’m not sure it is Rachel, but either way, it isn’t Broadway, so I suppose it could be her.”

“Lemonade Mouth was good, they should bring it to Broadway,” Rachel throws out, distracted with thoughts of who exactly this mysterious gay actress could be.

“I’ll make sure to bring that up at my next workshop,” He promises, smiling at how offtrack she’s already become.

“Thanks,” Rachel says, “let me know if you hear anything else. Bye, Jess.”

“Of course, bye Rach.”

She hangs up and sits down, opening her laptop and googling “LGBT actresses”. She likes to be prepared after all.

•¥•

A little less than a week later, Quinn gets the call. “Hello, is this Quinn Fabray?” a soft voice says into the phone, “This is Delilah Carson, the director-”

“Hi, yes, this is she. What can she… I mean, I… do for you?” Quinn says awkwardly, cringing at her own mistake.

“I was just calling to tell you that you got the role. You will be playing Emery Walsh, and we are so excited to have you,” Delilah says, and Quinn tries to hold back a scream.

She dances on the spot for a second, probably looking more than a little crazy, but she couldn’t help it. She was so excited. The role had really spoken to her and she wanted it so bad. “Thank you, Delilah, so much, this means a lot to me,”

“Of course, you were exactly what we had in mind when we put the show together, and we cannot wait to work with you. In fact, our first read through is scheduled for Friday, is that okay?” Delilah asks.

“Perfectly. Thank you so much, see you on Friday.”

“See you on Friday Quinn, I can’t wait for you to meet your Rosalyn,” Delilah says.

Quinn can’t help but agree, who would play Rosalyn Apter had been haunting her since she first read the script. She couldn’t wait to meet the girl who she would build this story with, the girl who she would be working with for the foreseeable future, the girl with whom she’d have to prove her love and connect on a deeper level. Honestly, it scared her a little. What if they didn’t click? What if they had no chemistry onstage? It was a little bit of a nightmare, but she supposes that that was the case with these types of roles. “Thank you, Delilah, bye,” she says, hanging up and immediately texting Santana.

Come over. I have great news

Santana read the message almost immediately, the bubbles popping up as she typed out her response.

Finally get laid, Juno?

Quinn rolls her eyes.

Mind your own business Satan.

Mhm…. Santana sends back, before sending another message underneath.

That definitely means you didn’t get any, so I suppose you will be seeing the Lopez-Pierces within the hour.

Quinn smiles. Knowing at least Brittany would be super excited to hear her news, she couldn’t wait to tell them.

See you soon. She responds, before throwing her phone on the couch and pouring herself a glass of celebratory wine. It was a bottle she had bought last spring when she was in Italy filming her last movie. She thought it would be good for the next time she did something she was proud of and this was the first thing that seemed warranted. Boy, was she glad she waited, because this was a good wine and it only tasted better knowing she had done something good. She settled down on the couch, sipping quietly as she waited for her friends to arrive.

It takes them far longer than “within the hour” to come, which Quinn suspects meant they had gotten busy on their way out the door, but they did make it, and they did bring a bottle of vodka and snacks, so she finds herself unable to complain. “Sup Fabray, getting wine drunk already? It’s barely seven,” Santana says as she sets the bags of things on the counter, “I’m not sure I want you to become an alcoholic.”

“Don’t fret, Lopez, this is a glass of celebratory wine,” Quinn responds.

“That’s Lopez-Pierce to you, Q,” Santana says, grabbing Brittany’s hand and pulling her over and into the chair in the living room, “and speaking of celebratory wine, what are we celebrating?”

“Did you get it Quinn?” Brittany says, settling down into Santana’s lap.

“Well…” She says, grinning.

“Oh no. We are not doing this shit again. Did you get the role or not?” Santana asks.

Quinn pauses for a second longer, but she can see Santana beginning to get a little riled, so she avoids her going all Lima Heights, and says, “I got it!”

Brittany instantly lets out a whoop of joy and jumps out of her seat to wrap Quinn in a hug. “Q!” She says, utterly overjoyed.

“Britt!” Quinn says back, holding her best friend tight against her.

“Is it possible for me to come to literally every one of your shows? I know I have school, math and all, and also dance with Mercedes and Santana but like, they should be after that right, I want to support you!” Brittany says, and it makes Quinn feel so stupidly good.

“I mean you could try,” Quinn responds, looking over Britt’s shoulder at Santana who has the softest look on her face as she stares directly at the two of them, “but it would cost you a small fortune to do so, depending on how the show does, and who’s starring in it, and I’m afraid you might get bored of it.”

“I don’t think I’d get bored of it Q, I’ve seen Pitch Perfect four hundred and eighty-two times and I’m not tired yet, I doubt you will have that many shows,” Brittany says, as she lets go of Quinn and drops back down into her wife’s lap.

“Speaking of who’s starring in it,” Santana says, pausing for a second to wrap her arms loosely around Brittany’s waist and drop a kiss to her neck, “you have any idea who’s playing your girl?”

Quinn shakes her head, finding herself once again fearful of meeting her onstage love interest. “Nope, haven’t the foggiest, but I find out on Friday,” Quinn replies.

“Well for your sake I hope she’s hot,” Santana says, making Quinn laugh.

“Me too, I want the chemistry to be good, and being physically attracted to her is only gonna help that right?”

“And you’re gonna have to look at her from now until who knows how long, so hopefully she has at least a nice face,” Santana says, and Brittany gives her a look.

“Well, maybe if you find her attractive and the chemistry onstage is alive, you’ll fall in love in real life! Could you imagine that?” Brittany says, a dreamy quality alight in her voice.

“Honey, you’ve been watching too many romcoms,” Santana says as she tangles her fingers with Brittany’s, and even though Quinn knows Santana means it to be chastising, it comes out almost completely soft with only the slightest teasing lilt.

It makes Quinn feel so happy for them both. No one they used to know in high school would’ve expected this kind of happiness and softness from Santana, and they had never imagined her and Brittany to have lasted. Yet, here they were, in her living room, looking at each other with all the love in the world. “You can never watch too many romcoms, San,” Brittany reprimands, her voice coming out a lot more forceful than Santana’s did.

Quinn laughs at the two of them, and decides in that moment that no matter what comes next, with her co-star and her career, she’s utterly glad she has kept these two as her friends through thick and thin.

•¥•

“Rachel, you being this good at Mario Kart makes zero sense,” Sam says, taking a sip from a beer and dropping his wiimote defeatedly.

Rachel smiles at him proudly, pressing play on another race, “What can I say? It’s just one of my many talents.”

Jesse rolls his eyes as he walks back into the room holding their drinks. “Rachel’s good at Mario Kart because when she first moved to New York, I had bought a Wii and her dads had yet to mail her copy of Funny Girl or any of her other musicals so she spent all her free non-NYADA practice time playing Mario Kart,” he says, shoving her a little as he settled down on the couch beside her.

“Jesse, must you expose me?” Rachel says taking her drink from him and taking a big sip before turning her focus back to the screen.

“Rachel, you know I must, otherwise this,” he says, gesturing between the two of them, “wouldn’t work the way it does, and as it stands it is perfect.”

Sam laughs. “Oh yeah, because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the weird codependent relationship the two of you have. Nothing at all,” he says, bracing himself for Rachel’s hand that reaches out to slap him across the leg.

“Jesse and I’s relationship is perfec-” she’s cut off by herself singing Defying Gravity, her ringtone.

“You don’t think…” Rachel says softly, pulling her phone out of her pocket and looking at the number she didn’t recognize.

“Well how about you pick up and find out?” Jesse says.

She rolls her eyes at him, before nodding, taking a deep breath and pressing connect. “Hello, Rachel Berry speaking,”

“Hello, Miss Berry, this is Delilah Carson,” the voice across the phone says.

Rachel’s eyebrows raise, this call could either confirm or deny her part in the first show that she’d felt passionate about in a long time. Her reaction though, has Jesse leaning in attempting to eavesdrop, and Sam pausing the game. “Yes, hi Miss Carson, what can I do for you?”

“I was just calling to confirm you got the role as Rosalyn Apter! We are incredibly excited to have you on board,” Delilah says.

Yes! Yes! Jesse mouths as he throws his arms up in the air, Sam following his lead and the three of them do a happy dance before Rachel responds, “Thank you! This means a lot, I am so excited to be apart of this show.”

“That’s wonderful to hear, Rachel! We are starting read throughs this Friday, if that’s alright with you?”

“Yes! Of course, thank you, see you on Friday, Miss Carson.”

“See you on Friday, Rachel,” she responds, hanging up immediately after, allowing for Rachel to let out the squeal she’s been holding in the whole time they were on the phone.

“I got it! I got it!” She shouts, wrapping Jesse in a hug and moving him over to Sam so he can join in as well.

“I told you you would Rach,” Jesse says, tightening his grip around her shoulders, “I have good connections and utter faith in you.”

Rachel smiles at that, letting go of her best friends, before settling back down onto the couch. “I am so excited about this role you guys,” she says excitedly, her whole body racing with anticipation.

“I know, and you deserve it, so much,” Jesse says, grasping her hand and squeezing.

She squeezes back, looking over to Sam who looks puzzled. “Did you ever figure out who’s playing Emery?” he asks, as if its been haunting him almost as much as it has been haunting Rachel.

She groans. She hadn’t figured it out. Jesse’s vague clue he’d heard from his confidants had left a ton of gay actresses. It could be Ellen Page or Kate McKinnon or Ruby Rose or like she had thought previously, Kristen Stewart or Hayley Kiyoko, or any number of other girls. For all she knew, she could be Ellen Degeneres. “I haven’t, but I guess I’ll find out this Friday, at our first read-through,” she says, looking at Jesse just as his face breaks into a big smile.

“I am so happy for you Rachel,” he says, with Sam nodding happily.

“Me too,” she says, more than excited to see where this next adventure takes her.

•¥•

Friday comes quicker than Quinn expects it to, and before she knows it she’s sitting outside the theatre exorbitantly early for their first read through. She’s set to arrive at four thirty, and it’s three thirty-five at the moment, so she knows she really overshot the extra time to ensure she’s not late thing she was going for, but she was just so nervous for this encounter that she had funnelled that energy into everything else about it. She was about to, and by about to she meant in like an hour, meet her co-star, the girl that alongside herself would make or break the show. It scared her so much. She didn’t know why this particular love interest scared her more than usual, she had played romances before, she had built chemistry with other actors, it wasn’t like it was a first. But she supposes, it really was like a first. She had never acted in love with a woman before, she had never been in a romance with someone she could actually feel for, and she’d certainly never a part of a story that she connected to on a deeper level like this. She supposes that's why this scares her so much. She lets out a shaky sigh, and checks the time on her phone. Three forty-two. This was gonna be a long wait.

Quinn unlocks her phone and sees she has two text messages awaiting her in her inbox. One from Brittany:

Good luck Q! Love you and break a foot!

Followed by four heart emojis and two unicorn emojis. The second message was from Santana:

Hope she’s smoking.

Quinn smiles at them both, turning off her phone and standing up from the bench she had been situated on. She figures she’s still got close to an hour, so she heads off to the little coffee shop she had seen on her way up from the subway. She wanders in, hoping to get a latte and maybe a brownie or something, when she sees a face she hasn’t seen in literal years. Rachel fucking Berry.

Quinn bolts right out of the coffee shop before she has to confront that mess of a memory, booking it back to the theatre. She stops as soon as she gets to her bench, planting her feet and taking in a deep breath. Rachel Berry. In a little coffee shop in the middle of New York. What were the odds? She had known that New York had always been Rachel’s dream, had seen her off on the train, and suspected that she was doing well, but Quinn herself had been living in New York for almost three years now, and had never seen her. What were the chances she’d see her today, when she was already so nervous and conflicted?

She remembers the last time they saw each other, the day after their high school graduation, when she had watched Rachel board the train and go off to New York, almost perfectly, despite the near seven years since that time. Seven years of no contact. She likes to pretend she doesn’t know why she never spoke to Rachel again after that, but she knows the real reason is that she just wanted to go. She wanted to get out of Lima, away from her parents and their stifling views, away from all the boys she’d dated in high school and all the remnants of mistakes she’d made. She didn’t want to be reminded of the times she wasn’t herself because she was too fucking scared. In short, Quinn knows she never contacted Rachel again because Rachel reminds her of being a teenager, of being scared and closeted and trying anything to feel like she wasn’t wrong.

When she went to Yale, she let that girl go, and all the connections to her went with it. It was like her second molting. She had gone from Lucy Caboosey, to Quinn Fabray, head cheerleader and queen of celibacy club, to finally, who she had wanted to be, Quinn Fabray, openly gay and proud of who she was. None of her old self seemed to fit into her new self, and so she just didn’t let it in.

The only reason Santana and Brittany had stuck around was because they had physically inserted themselves back into Quinn’s life after she shoved them out. She remembers how hard they tried to get her to talk to them, and she just didn’t, determined to be a new person, separate from her past. It wasn’t until they literally showed up on her doorstep in Connecticut that she had given up on locking them out, and let them in, both literally and figuratively. She had told them the truth about herself, about her being gay, about her parents and how they knew and wouldn’t even speak to her, and about how she just wanted to be someone new, not connected to the Quinn Fabray who had made so many mistakes. Brittany had wrapped her arms tightly around her and told her that she loved her and supported her, and Santana had said she had always kinda figured the whole celibacy club thing was a ruse, and they all had laughed. It had been good for her, having that support. It allowed for her to grow, and to heal. When she moved to New York after graduating, they did the same, and there, they reconnected with Mercedes, Santana started working on her music, Brittany worked on her PhD, and Quinn started on her career. She had been out the whole time she had been acting, and she didn’t hold the fear any longer, but she still hadn’t reached out to those she had pushed away when she had been fearful. She felt a little guilty for the way she had gone about it, and couldn’t seem to get over it. Because of that, she hadn’t spoken to Rachel since, and she surely never expected to see her again.

Seeing her had shaken Quinn a bit, and when she looks down at her watch, she realizes it’s four twenty-seven, she had been lost in her thoughts for longer than she had anticipated. “Shit,” she whispers, hurrying into the theatre where she’s supposed to meet the rest of the team.

The guard at the door had told her they were in the back, in a conference room often used for these types of first read throughs. She nods politely and thanks him, rushing through to the back and pushing the first door she saw open. Luckily, it was the right one, and sat around the table were Delilah Carson, the rest of the crew she had seen on her audition day, and a few other actors she supposed would be apart of the show. She couldn’t help but wonder if one of them would play her Rosalyn. “Hi,” Quinn breathes, “Sorry if I’m late.”

She all but falls into an open seat at the head of the table, looking across at Delilah who has a big smile on her face. “No, Quinn, you’re right on time, in fact, you’re not even the last one here!” Delilah says, “we’re still waiting on Rosalyn.”

Quinn nods, less hesitant to look at the actors who sit around the table knowing none of them would be the one who she had to romance onstage, but the moment doesn’t last long, because then, the door swings open.

It gives Quinn a start, just because she’s a little jittery, but who she sees entering sends her into an absolute state of shock and panic. Rachel fucking Berry, again.

Quinn feels her jaw drop rather inelegantly, barely believing her eyes. “Hi Delilah,” Rachel says, “I am so sorry I’m late, I got a little lost on my way here.”

She begins to turn towards Quinn, and it has her wanting to hide before she sees her, but she knows she can’t, because this is a professional production and she has a sinking feeling she knows who her Rosalyn is going to be. “No worries Rachel,” Delilah says, right as the two of them lock eyes, “Quinn just arrived as well.”

Both her and Rachel just stare at each other for a second. Quinn can barely believe her eyes. Rachel Berry, twice in one day, after years of not seeing her. It feels almost like she’s seeing a ghost. She finds she has trouble prying her eyes away, and she desperately tries, before Rachel whispers quietly under her breath, “Quinn...”

The moment is charged and the whole room seems to be watching what happens between them. Quinn knows it's her turn to respond, but she can’t seem to open her mouth and speak to the girl she hasn’t seen in seven whole years. “Do you two… know each other?” the assistant director Quinn didn’t know the name of asks, leaving Rachel looking more than a little puzzled.

“You could say that,” she responds, moving farther into the room and sitting in the only open seat around the table, thankfully not close to Quinn, “Quinn and I, we went to high school together.”

Quinn finally begins to be able to collect herself after Rachel says that, nodding her agreement. “Yeah, um, we were in glee club together, and sort of fought over a boy,” Quinn says.

Rachel chuckles a bit at that, and Delilah raises her eyebrows immensely. “Well, this is an interesting development for sure, but I think it will be really good for publicity!” she says, sending Quinn almost into a spiral.

She breathes a deep sigh and closes her eyes for a moment, wondering what the actual fuck were the chances.

Chapter Text

After being dismissed from the read through, Quinn nearly runs out of the theatre, bursting through the front doors and sucking in a deep breath of air, attempting to clear her lungs of the suffocating feeling she’s felt for the last few hours. She absolutely could not believe what had happened in there. Rachel Berry was her co-star, Rachel Berry was playing the girl she was supposed to be madly in love with. Rachel Berry, the girl she had spent her whole high school career messing with, fighting with and barely tolerating. Oh God, was Santana ever gonna get a kick out of this one.

Quinn knows that by the end of their senior year Berry had considered them friends, and she supposes she had too, but it's hard to even think of that when they haven’t spoken in seven years and most of their interactions had been more than antagonizing. “Crazy, isn’t it?” Rachel’s voice rings out as the doors shut loudly behind her, “I mean, what are the odds?”

Quinn shrugs, turning to the girl, her eyes still on the ground. “Seems like almost none,” Quinn mutters, refusing to look at Rachel.

“Truly, huh?”

“Yeah,” Quinn says, gripping nervously at the ends of her jacket.

“Quinn?” Rachel says, and finally, Quinn raises her eyes to meet Rachel’s before responding.

“Yeah?”

“Are you okay with this?” she asks, her tone laced with a concern Quinn hasn’t heard since their senior year.

“Yeah, Rachel, it’s not like there’s anything we can do anyways, we’re casted now,” she says, hoping it’s convincing and she’s not betraying the literal thousands of emotions this encounter has had her feeling, “it’s just… it’s been a long time hasn’t it?”

Rachel nods, “Yeah, like seven years?” she says.

“Yeah, about that.” Quinn responds, and she can’t help but feel terrible for not once speaking to Rachel, but she realizes in that moment that Rachel hadn’t spoken to her either.

“You know, Jesse told me the girl in the running was a fairly popular gay actress. I didn’t even realize you were gay,” Rachel says quietly, and Quinn feels guilty at how that almost pleases her, as after all that had been her goal, “but I suppose I haven’t really kept with any tabloid news in a long time. I’m happy for you Quinn.”

“Thank you, I came out a really long time ago, when I was at Yale… so when I broke into the scene, it was never really talked about, so it's not surprising you didn’t hear,” Quinn says, “you and Jesse? Going strong once again?”

Rachel laughs and shakes her head, the sound ringing nicely in Quinn’s ears. She had a nice laugh, and God had it been a long time since she heard it. “No, no. Jesse came out a long time ago too, we’re just best friends.”

“Ah, you know, that makes sense. Santana always used to say she thought he was gay,” she says.

“Well, Santana was right,” Rachel laughs again, and Quinn can’t help but smile at her a bit.

“She tends to be.”

“Are… you guys… still friends?” Rachel asks, and Quinn can’t help but wonder for a moment if she kept up with any of their graduating class.

“Yeah actually, we are, she lives here in New York,” she says, “her and Mercedes’s single just went platinum, it was really great.”

“Good for them,” Rachel says, when her phone starts to ring, “sorry Quinn, it’s Jesse, I have to take this, I’ll see you at rehearsals on Monday?”

Quinn nods, waving goodbye to her and heading off into the direction of the subway. She can’t believe that just happened, she cannot believe that Rachel Berry’s her co-star and the two of them just had a conversation about their lives since the last time they saw each other. She wonders for a second if this was just one really weird dream, but she has a hard time believing her subconscious could come up with something this insane. She had to tell Santana and Brittany.

Unlocking her phone, she opens her call log and clicks Santana, letting the phone ring. Her best friend picks up after three rings, and says, “Hey Q, how was it? Is she hot?”

Quinn hears what sounds like Brittany, but it’s all incoherent sounds as she’s sure Santana still has her phone pressed to her ear. “Sorry,” Santana says, “that was Britt, she wants me to invite you for dinner.”

“Yeah I’ll be there,” Quinn says, hesitating for a second, “something really strange happened, but it’s probably best if I tell you in person.”

Santana hums quietly, sounding more than a little confused. “Uh, okay, you’re alright though right?”

“Yes, I’m okay, I’ll see you in twenty minutes.”

•¥•

“You know, you really shouldn’t leave the door unlocked,” Quinn says as she slides the door open and peers into the apartment.

Brittany is laying back on the couch, her feet thrown over the armrest, her nose buried in some book that Quinn was sure she was not smart enough to understand. Santana stands over the stove, sniffing something that smelled just delightful, before turning to Quinn. “We knew you were coming, and if it was anyone other than you, I would have no problem showing them what it’s like growing up in Lima Heights Adjacent,” Santana says, finishing up whatever she was doing and making her way across the room to the couch, throwing Brittany’s legs off and settling on the arm.

“Hey!” Brittany says, clearly a little annoyed, but she sits up and turns to Quinn, “Are you going to tell us what happened now?”

Quinn nods, running a hand through her hair, crossing over to the armchair and sitting down before she begins, “Well, I found out who my co-star is,”

“And? Is she hot?”

“Is she famous?” Santana and Brittany say in unison.

“Well, I guess she’s famous, she won a Tony,” Quinn says, and Santana looks like she’s about to correct her, say something like how no one who’s won a Tony is really famous, but she needs to get this out, “but the strange thing is uhh… I know her.”

“What?” Santana says as Brittany’s eyebrows draw together in confusion.

“Yeah,” Quinn says.

“Well, who is it?” Brittany asks.

“Uh… well, it’s Rachel, Rachel Berry.”

“Holy fuck, it is not.” Santana says, turning to Brittany just as her jaw drops.

“That was my reaction too. It’s kind of insane.”

“It’s more than a little insane, Q,” Brittany starts, looking like she was about to start one of her more difficult math problems, “if I knew how many actors there were in the world I could better calculate the odds, but it seems more likely you’d have won the lottery or… I don’t know, gone to space?”

“I figured the chances were something like that,” Quinn says, patting Lord Tubbington as he brushes past her legs and up onto the couch beside Brittany.

“Huh. That’s… wild, I mean have you even talked to her since high school?” Santana asks.

Quinn shakes her head. “No, and I felt really bad about it, until I realized she hasn’t talked to me since high school either.”

“Is she hot now?” Brittany asks, and both Santana and Quinn burst into laughter, “What? You didn’t answer San’s earlier question and I wanted to know.”

Quinn swallows her laughter and responds, “Yeah, Britt, I think she’s pretty attractive, but I suppose she always has been.”

“Well, I don’t know about that,” Santana says, just a little mockingly, “remember when she used to wear exclusively animal sweaters?”

Brittany nods, looking again like she’s trying to solve a problem she doesn’t know the answer to. “Quinn?” She asks, and Quinn nods, allowing for her to continue, “Were you in love with Berry in high school?”

Oh. Quinn definitely wasn’t expecting that. “What? No.” she says confidently, “Of course not. Why would you even think that?”

Brittany ponders for a second, before looking up and directly into Quinn’s eyes. “I don’t know, it has always confused me, since you came out, why you fought so hard to steal Finn from Rachel, and now hearing that you thought she was attractive, it all fell into place, you just wanted to go out with him because you really wanted to go out with her.” she says, and Quinn can’t help but agree, it makes a lot of sense.

“She’s making some points Q, maybe you were in love with the hobbit,” Santana replies.

Quinn shakes her head. “No, I just did that because I was begging to find any semblance of liking boys in me, I just thought I could like Finn, and it sucked when I thought the only boy I could ever like was dating someone else. Guess I was kind of delusional, because I don’t like guys at all, and definitely not Finn,” Quinn grovels, trying to explain away her almost nonsensical high school decisions. She hadn’t really thought she’d ever have to think about them again.

“Alright Q, that makes sense, how about we eat now? I think Lord Tubbington is dying for a lamb chop,” Brittany says with a smile.

“I didn’t make lamb chops, Britt,” Santana giggles.

“Well, he‘s not going to be very happy then.”

“Oh well, he eats enough of our food anyways,” Santana says, giving the fat cat a little shove.

Quinn watches the exchange, eyes wide and her mind racing. She’d never thought about it that way. There wasn’t any way she had liked Rachel, right?

•¥•

“Jesse St. James,” Rachel says into the phone as soon as Quinn is just far enough away that she can’t hear her, “promise me you had no idea who was playing Emery.”

“Rach, why are you asking? I only knew what I told you,” he says, sounding more than confused as to why he was being accosted.

“Jesse, promise me you didn’t know.”

“Rachel, I promise I didn’t know.”

Rachel sighs. “You’re absolutely not going to believe who it is then,” she says, walking back to where she had parked her car.

“Is it Kristen Stewart?” he asks, “Hayley Kiyoko?”

“No.” she answers, “it’s juicier than that.”

“Juicier than the two of the biggest lesbian icons?”

“Yes Jesse,” she says, breathing in deep and letting out, “it’s Quinn Fabray.”

“Like, high school bully, head cheerio, president of the celibacy club Quin Fabray? That Quinn Fabray?” He says, sounding almost as shocked as Rachel feels.

“The one and only.”

“That’s a mind fuck,” he says, pausing before, “she’s gay?”

Rachel laughs. “Yeah that’s what I thought too, I had no idea.”

“How did I not know that?” he says, sounding almost ashamed, “there was an insane amount of gay people at McKinley if you think about it.”

That sends her giggling uncontrollably. “Am I wrong?” he says, after she doesn’t answer for a moment, “Me, Blaine, Kurt, Santana, Quinn, and you, Sam and Brittany were all bi. Way more gay people than you’d expect out of a town with only one restaurant.”

“No, you’re not wrong, at all. It’s incredibly unexpected,” she says, it coming out way more serious than she intended.

“Rachel?” he asks.

“Yeah, Jess?” she says as she opens her car door and sits down inside.

“Are you okay with this?”

“Funny. I asked her that,” she pauses, “but really, I don’t know, we haven’t known each other for so long.”

Jesse sighs quietly. “Rachel, it kind of sounds like you never really knew her.”

She knows he’s right. There’s a reason they lost touch, there’s a reason she had no idea that Quinn was gay and barely knew she had a career at all, and that was because as much as she likes to pretend, they weren’t close. They were barely friends at all and Rachel hadn’t really cared about anything other than her career. “Yeah, I think you have a point,” she says quietly.

“I’m sorry,” he says, sympathy loud and clear.

“It’s okay, Jess, I gotta go, I’ll talk to you later, bye.”

She hangs up, putting the phone down on the central console and dropping her head to the steering wheel. This was one hell of a situation, and Rachel hadn’t a clue how to go about it.

•¥•

Monday morning comes and Quinn finds herself outside the theatre again, early for their next read throughs, again. She hadn’t meant to be early, it had just sort of happened. She had slept restlessly all night, finally deciding not to bother with sleep anymore and get up way before her alarm. Problem was, she wasn’t really a morning person, so she had no idea what to do with all that extra time. She decided on coffee and just heading to the theatre, despite the time. Her mind drifts briefly to Rachel, remembering how she used to get up early to complete her full routine of bathing, skincare, and working out. Quinn had always thought it sounded exhausting, but she couldn’t help wondering if Rachel still did it, every morning like she had in high school. It wouldn’t surprise her, that girl had dedication in spades. It would however, make her feel somewhat connected to Rachel, knowing that something between them hadn’t changed, that there was some semblance of the both of them that was the same as it was in high school. She wasn’t sure why she wanted that so bad, especially after she had worked so hard to distance herself from that Quinn Fabray, but seeing Rachel again has made her want there to be something, something that remained the same, something that she could grasp onto to make this situation a little less weird. She supposes she isn’t gonna get it, at least not now, sitting across the street from the theatre they were about to start their show in, so she pushes herself out of her thoughts, and wills herself into the theatre.

She enters the back room they had all been seated in on Friday, only to find someone else seemed to be this early too. Rachel. Of course. “Hey,” Rachel says quietly, staring away from Quinn across the empty room.

“What are you doing here?” Quinn asks, perhaps with a little too much bite, bite she hadn’t used since high school, “it’s so early, way earlier than we’re supposed to be here.”

Rachel sighs, a sound Quinn remembers from their days previous, the sound Rachel had uttered every time she had said something that hurt even just a little bit. “I was nervous,” Rachel responds, “I didn’t want to be late again, and I couldn’t sleep.”

Quinn nods, dropping into the closest seat with little grace. “Me either,” Quinn says.

There’s silence between them, a little awkward, but mostly somewhat sullen. This was just… so weird. How do you realistically deal with the girl you once bullied relentlessly without shame, how do you deal with the girl who you shared an on-and-off again boyfriend with, how do you deal with a girl who was supposed to be a friend who you haven’t spoken to in years, more time than you knew each other really, how are you supposed to deal with that? Quinn was certain it wasn’t in acting for dummies and they definitely hadn’t taught it at Yale. In fact, this was probably an isolated incident, the only weird coincidence of its kind.

Rachel interrupts her thoughts though, after a brief moment. “Jesse, Sam and I are going out tonight if you want to come?” she asks kind of randomly, and the words almost shock Quinn, “Santana is welcome too, if she wants.”

Quinn isn’t sure what to say, so she addresses the first thing that comes to mind. “You’re still friends with Sam?”

Rachel nods. “Yeah, we fell out of touch for awhile, but he and Jesse did a modeling gig together, and they became friends, so by extension he was back in my life. I was really thankful for that, because at the time, I had almost no friends. Just me and Jesse, living off residuals of the one show he’d done, me trying to get through school. I needed someone else, and Sam filled that slot.”

Quinn understands that, she knows that if Santana and Brittany hadn’t come back into her life, she probably wouldn’t have survived, and if she had she certainly wouldn’t be thriving the way she is now. She’s glad Rachel found that in someone, and she finds that even though she once wanted to forget everything she did in high school, especially the boys she dated, she kind of wants to see Sam. She definitely thought Santana would get a kick out of it, the verses to Trouty Mouth were definitely still in her repertoire. “I’d love to come out tonight, Rach, and Santana never turns down an opportunity to get drunk, even now,” Quinn decides, happy to see that her response makes Rachel smile a little.

“Alright well I’ll text you the details, we can meet around eight?”

She couldn’t help but find it weird that she once again had Rachel Berry’s number in her phone. “Sounds good,” Quinn says, right as the door swings open and Delilah Carson enters, carrying a stack of papers.

“Well look at you two, up bright and early,” Delilah says as she busies herself with organizing the papers and settling into her seat at the head of the table, “reminiscing about your high school days?”

She looks at the both of them a little cheekily, like she’s trying to draw out something she wanted to know about their shared past, but neither of them bite. “You could say that,” Quinn says, allowing for Delilah to get on with whatever they were supposed to be doing this morning.

Chapter Text

“So I invited Quinn and Santana out with us tonight,” Rachel says as she enters Jesse’s apartment and settles on the couch beside Sam.

“The Quinn Fabray and Santana Lopez?” Sam says, Rachel had told him about Quinn being her co-star, but he still seemed surprised by this, “both my ex girlfriends?”

“They’re both gay now Sam, I wouldn’t worry about it,” Jesse says, cocky smile alighting his face as he enters the room, “I’m glad you did that Rach, you and Quinn need to bond.”

Rachel nods, she knows that's true, but she can’t help but worry about how awkward this could end up being. Their interactions up until this point had been fairly stilted, Rachel leading them mostly, with very little eye contact. She didn’t want this outing to worsen that. “Rachel, stop worrying,” Sam says, allowing no time for her to protest, “I can see that little wrinkle on your forehead, and I’m telling you this is going to be fine. Just an outing with old friends. Nothing more, nothing less. Besides, if this was going to be awkward for anyone, think of me, out here with my two gay exes.”

Rolling her eyes at him, she pulls him a little closer and hugs him tightly, appreciating his words, even if they were mostly about how awkward this would be for him. Still, it was reassuring to know that maybe he would have a worst time than her.

•¥•

Quinn decides to get ready at Santana and Brittany’s, figuring that her presence may speed them up, but it seems that was a no go. They were still stupidly in love, stopping to kiss lazily between every little thing, from doing their eyelashes to putting on their shoes. This was the one thing she hated about being best friends with a couple, and especially a couple like them, she was always the third wheel to their utterly intolerable adorableness. “Can you guys knock it off? I told Rachel we’d be there in ten minutes and you’ve ruined Brittany’s lipstick like seven times now,” she says, trying to avoid watching them make out rather passionately.

Santana pulls away for a second only to groan angrily at Quinn. “Do we have to go hang out with the hobbit?”

“Yes, I promised and I’m not going without you two,” Quinn replies, leading to Santana rolling her eyes.

Brittany coos something softly, and Santana sighs loudly before unraveling herself from Brittany and going to stand beside Quinn. “Let me just fix this Q, and then we can go,” Brittany says, quickly reapplying lipstick.

“Finally,” Quinn says, opening the door as Brittany joins her, grabbing Santana’s hand and pulling her through the door.

The bar is three blocks down, which Brittany had decided was well within walking distance, even in the cool night. Quinn wasn’t feeling particularly excited about having to walk a drunk Santana and Brittany home, but she supposes that was a problem she could deal with later. For right now, she couldn’t help but be a little nervous. The whole group of them hadn’t hung out since after Nationals, and they certainly hadn’t gotten drunk together since junior year. Quinn didn’t have intentions to get drunk though, she rarely had since that very party. All the times she’d been drunk had turned out bad, from her relations with Puck, to just the very memory of Santana and Brittany puking up purple vomit in front of the whole school. Unfortunately, that definitely wasn’t the only time she’s seen both of them vomit. She may have a drink or two, but getting drunk wasn’t on her to-do list. She knew she’d have to take care of a very unsober couple, but more importantly, she didn’t want to fuck this up with Rachel on their first non-work related excursion in seven years.

They arrive at the place exactly fourteen minutes late, and as they enter, Quinn sees Rachel before she sees her. The other girl looked absolutely beautiful. She could tell Rachel had decided to look her best tonight, wearing that black dress, that clung perfectly to curves. Quinn couldn’t help but flush a little, but she tells herself it’s because she’s embarrassed she’s underdressed in high waisted pants and a knit sweater. Santana catches her looking, notices the blush, and smirks. This was gonna be a long night.

•¥•

Rachel can’t help but check her phone for what has to be the seventeenth time in the last eleven minutes. Quinn was late. Granted she was only exactly eleven minutes late, but Rachel couldn’t help but worry. What if the other girl had decided not to come? Maybe Quinn had thought it would be too awkward and chose not to bother. “Rachel,” Jesse says from her right, “stop worrying. She’ll be here. No one is perfectly on time for these sorts of things.”

“I am,” she says, knowing its a redundant comment.

“I know Berry, but you’re special.” he says teasingly.

She rolls her eyes again, glancing away from the door towards Sam who seemed to be dancing in the middle of some guy and a girl who seemed incredibly enthused about his position. She reminds herself to bet Jesse over who Sam will actually call on Thursday after propriety has dictated it okay, knowing she’ll win when he calls the girl first, but the guy shortly after. It was a pattern for Sam, he could always find his courage among girls, it was a natural strength, but when it came to guys, he was at a bit of a loss. Kind of the most awkward, lovable oaf ever. “Look at the door,” Jesse says, tipping Rachel’s head toward where her eyes had been stuck most of the night.

Standing in the entrance was Quinn, Santana, and holding hands with her, Brittany. The whole unholy trinity stood before her in some dingy New York bar, like something from a freshman year nightmare. Rachel hadn’t realized Santana and Brittany had lasted. She never really expected them to, Santana wasn’t exactly loyal, at least she wasn’t in high school, and Quinn herself had yet to mention it. Tearing her eyes away from them though, she made direct eye contact with Quinn, who looked absolutely gorgeous even in a casual outfit. Quinn saw her, immediately whispering something to Santana and Brittany and heading over towards her, them following behind. Rachel’s heart speeds up as they approach, the cause of which was unknown to her. “Hi,” Quinn says, addressing both Jesse and Rachel.

Rachel isn’t quite sure what to say in this situation, turning to Jesse, who simply shakes his head and says, “Long time no see, cheerios.”

Quinn chuckles a little. “We haven’t been cheerios in awhile, but yeah, it’s been ages, St. James,” she says, still making eye contact with Rachel.

Rachel nods, catching up with the conversation, “I am really glad you guys made it!” she says, looking away from Quinn’s piercing gaze.

“Like we would miss a chance to go out drinking, Berry,” Santana says, looking to Quinn, “wanna get us a drink, Q?”

This comment is what causes Quinn to finally remove her eyes from Rachel’s, allowing her to breathe for a second. “Yeah,” Quinn says, wandering off to the bar to get them their drinks.

Rachel looks at Santana and Brittany then, still awestruck by their consistent coupling, so much so that she can’t help but ask what is probably not tactful, “So, you two are still together?”

Brittany absolutely lights up at the comment, nodding eagerly, and Santana smirks a little herself, “Forever,” she says, holding up their intertwined hands for Rachel to see the ring that adorns her left hand.

Santana Lopez and Brittany S. Pierce. Married. Who would’ve guessed? Certainly not Rachel, but she couldn’t help but feel exceptionally happy for them. It hurts a little though, knowing she missed it. She wonders for a moment, if she hadn’t disappeared with Jesse, ignoring all her previous friends and glee club members and focusing on her career, would she have been invited to the wedding? She wonders what the ceremony was like, whether or not Quinn was the maid of honour. She has never regretted her choices, but sometimes, lately especially, she can’t help but wonder what would’ve happened had she stayed in touch, spoken to Quinn and Santana and Brittany and Kurt and Mercedes on a regular basis. Would she be a different person then she is now?

Quinn comes back with drinks for the three of them, handing a beer to Brittany, and some fruity concoction to Santana, Sam following behind her. “What’s the topic of conversation?” Sam says loudly, looking around the group.

“Santana and Brittany got married,” Jesse says, and Quinn nods, like she figured this would come up.

Sam laughs. “I knew that you know, am I the only one who still checks Facebook? I left you both a congratulations,” he says, Brittany nodding.

“It’s true, he did,” she says, before looking at Santana, at the dance floor, and then back to her wife again.

“Is it dancing time already?” Santana asks happily, and Brittany smiles as pulls her off to the floor.

Rachel can’t help but feel utterly wowed by the both of them. “I suppose the Lopez-Pierces would be quite surprising if you had no idea,” Quinn says quietly.

They had even hyphenated. They were kind of adorable. “A little bit,” Rachel says, “I never expected Santana would get married, and you never mentioned it when you brought her up.”

“Would’ve been a little weird if I had said ‘Santana always thought Jesse was gay, just like the type of marriage she performed with her wife Brittany,’” Quinn says, almost chatisingly.

It feels almost like something she would’ve said back in Glee Club, after Rachel had said something she had deemed stupid, but there was something different about this, something less malicious. “You’re right,” Rachel agrees, ignoring how the comment made her feel like she both knew Quinn Fabray and had no idea what the hell was going on inside her head.

•¥•

It had stunned her how surprised Rachel had been by Santana and Brittany. Sure, she supposes, to the uneducated eye it had seemed like the two of them were always bound to fail, but Quinn had always seen them from the inside, the way they had been absolutely enamoured with each other since the ninth grade, the way Santana hadn’t been able to look at another person since she committed to Brittany. She supposes she understands the surprise, but she can’t seem to figure out why Rachel is so preoccupied with them. She can’t help but wonder if the curiosity and interest was rooted in something similar to how she was feeling. Something to do with just wanting to feel close to the Rachel she once knew. Santana and Brittany’s relationship was like the one true constant in Quinn’s life since she was seventeen, so if that’s what Rachel was grasping for, consistency, she understood and she related. “Penny for your thoughts?” Sam says as he takes a long swig of his beer.

She sighs, looking off first to her two best friends, who were already wasted and dancing like mad men, and then to Berry and Jesse, the latter of whom was pretty fargone, trying to convince the bartender to let him do karaoke, despite the fact it was decidedly not that night. “Just thinking about how everything is so… different. Trying to put a finger on anything that’s the same, which is something I really never saw myself doing,” she says, and he looks at her inquisitively.

“Yeah, you got out of Lima pretty fast and didn’t really look back hey?”

“Yeah, I… just… couldn’t stick around. I couldn’t keep living like that, it felt so… wrong. I didn’t want to be reminded of the old me,” she says, uncertain as to why she was telling him this, but Sam always had been kind, always had been more than willing to listen.

“I get that, I really do, Lima wasn’t really the place for gay kids, especially not in the Fabray household I imagine,” he says.

Quinn scoffs, “You could say that. They haven’t talked to me since I came out,”

“Fuck, I’m sorry Quinn, that’s rough,” he says, reaching a hand out to squeeze her shoulder reassuringly. She can’t help but lean into it.

“It’s been years, I’m over it, but it really sucked at the time, especially because I had no one. I had pushed everyone away in an attempt to reinvent myself, and if Santana and Brittany hadn’t literally pushed themselves back into my life, I don’t know where I’d be,” she says, him nodding contemplatively.

“I’m glad they came through for you then,” he responds.

“Yeah, me too,” she says, intending to ask him about his time since they’d seen each other, before she’s interrupted by Rachel, who appears to be stumbling just a little.

“Rekindling the romance?” she says, a little giggly as she takes another sip of a pinkish drink.

“That seems extremely unlikely, given my gayness, Rach,” she says, the nickname slipping off her tongue like it hadn’t been seven years since she’d last used it, if she ever had. She wasn’t sure the two of them had ever been that close.

Rachel laughs again, moving closer to Quinn as she did so, “Right, gay, well Sam, he’s gay too,” she says, looking at him and ruffling his hair.

Quinn raises her eyebrows at him, unaware of such statements. Bisexual, he mouths, before looking back to Rachel. “You’ve had a bit to drink, huh?”

She nods, turning away from Sam and looking at Quinn. “Jesse gave me this pink thing, and it tastes sooooo good,” she says, her eyes connecting with Quinn’s.

“Well maybe you should stop while you’re ahead,” Quinn says, grabbing the drink out of Rachel’s hand as she sidles up real close to her.

“Hi Quinn,” she says, her face less than three inches from Quinn’s.

“Hi Rachel, can I help you?”

“No,” Rachel says moving that much closer, pretty much as close as she can be without directly sitting on her lap. It has Quinn’s blush from earlier coming back, her breath catching a little with Rachel’s every movement.

Not quite sure why she was reacting this way, Quinn shifts a little, giving herself some more breathing room, but Rachel follows quickly. “You smell great,” Rachel says, her face so close she can feel Rachel’s breath hot on her cheeks.

Quinn takes a deep breath but is rescued by Sam pulling Rachel away from her. “Alright crazy girl,” he says, wrapping his hand around her wrist and holding her close to him, “I think it’s time we took you home, it’s almost midnight after all.”

Rachel groans, but then lets out a big yawn like she’s suddenly tired. “Sorry Quinn,” Sam whispers, “she always gets like this with someone when she’s drunk. Clingy you know? She’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Bye Sam,” she says as he drags a slightly pouty Rachel off to wear Jesse is drunkenly singing his ass off.

Quinn smiles, her eyes trailing across the dance floor until they land on Santana and Brittany, slow dancing even though the music that played overhead was some dance remix. They always ended up like this drunk, after Brittany stripped and Santana cried, even more wrapped up in each other, making it almost impossible to drag them home but Brittany had class tomorrow and Santana probably had some meeting, so Quinn knew she had to do it before they attempted to find their way home alone.

She traverses her way through the crowds of drunken people, pushing when she had to, reaching them at the back. “Alright you two, show’s over, time to go home,” she says, but they don’t even begin to let go of each other, Santana just lets out an annoyed sound.

“Don’t tell me what to do, Fabray,” Santana mutters.

Quinn rolls her eyes, grabbing Brittany by the arm and walking towards the door, pulling both of them along only semi willingly. “Why do we have to go, Q?” Brittany says, sounding more than a little sad her night was coming to an end, but also very tired.

“Because, I am not eager to see either of you barf and you have class tomorrow Britt,” she responds, trying to remember which way they had come from.

Brittany nods like that makes sense, points haphazardly towards her left, then drops her head onto Santana’s shoulder, like she could barely keep it up anymore. “Home’s that way,” she says, the sounds muffled by her face in her wife’s neck.

“Alright, let’s get going then.”

They walk in relative silence for about ten minutes before Santana says something Quinn knows she’s been dying to bring up, even drunk. “Caught you and Berry looking a little cozy?”

“She was incredibly drunk, San,” Quinn says, “absolutely nothing between us.”

“Sure, sure,” Brittany says, almost half asleep.

Quinn rolls her eyes at their ability to bug her incessantly even drunk and tired, but she supposes that was her best friends for her. She leads them into their building, soon after that and up into their apartment, where she lets them ready themselves for bed and attempts to get comfortable on the couch.

Laying down, she feels more than a little affected by what had happened tonight. First of all, she spilled her whole coming out story and related feelings to Sam, without even thinking. Quinn from even a month and a half ago would’ve been hard pressed to do that. She never talked about her parents, and even thinking so much about Lima recently had been too much.

And then there had been Rachel, looking like that, and coming so fucking close. She knows Rachel had been drunk on some fruity thing Jesse had ordered for her, but God, she had been merely inches from her face. Quinn wasn’t sure why this had affected her so much. Sure, she hadn’t been dating, she hadn’t really been that close to someone other than Santana and Brittany for more than seven months, but this was Rachel Berry. It wasn’t like she was actually interested in Rachel Berry. It was just a natural reaction to someone being that close to you, invading your personal space. Yeah that was it.

If asked, she’d deny the fact that as soon as she closed her eyes, all she could see was Rachel’s big brown eyes looking right into hers.

Chapter Text

Rachel’s head hurt so much. When she had woken up that morning at five am, as per usual, she could barely crack her eyes open, it had hurt that much. She knows that she hadn’t really drank that much, but the fact that she is a lightweight definitely did not help. She had stumbled her way through her morning routine, barely functional, skipping her workout and drinking far too much coffee.

Now she sits alone in the back room of the theatre, head on the desk, lights off, eyes squeezed shut. Why had she let Jesse convince her to go out on a Monday night? The absolute stupidity. Today’s rehearsal was going to suck.

After a moment of Rachel feeling bad for herself, the door swings open, causing her to raise her head and open her eyes. Quinn. Seems like the girl was almost always as early as she was. Quinn peers around the dark room, eyes settling back on Rachel, her mouth falling into a lopsided smirk. “A little hungover huh?” Quinn asks, sitting down in the seat across from the girl.

Rachel nods, not even bothering to open her mouth and try to speak. She hadn’t yet this morning, and honestly who knows if she could with how poorly she’s feeling. “Seemed like you had a good time last night, though,” Quinn says, and Rachel can almost hear the smirk in her voice, “you certainly enjoyed how I smelt.”

Oh, so it was going to be that kind of morning. Rachel remembers what had happened between them last night, but it was more than a little fuzzy. She knew she’d gotten into Quinn’s face, she knew she’d probably pushed a few boundaries and she hoped she hadn’t scared the other girl off. “I’m sorry,” Rachel mumbles, dropping her head into her hands.

“It’s cool, Rach,” Quinn says, “you were really drunk. Can’t blame you at all.”

Rachel lets out a sigh of relief, thankful that she hadn’t gone and done something friendship ruining on her first outing with Quinn, but she can’t help but notice how easily her nickname rolls off her tongue. It has her feeling some sort of way, something she can’t really put her finger on, but it feels good. “What I can’t believe though, is that you still got up early enough to be here before me,” Quinn says, and even though Rachel can’t currently see her, it sounds like she’s smiling.

“5 am, every morning,” Rachel groans.

“Still?”

Rachel raises her head at that, “You remember that?” she asks.

“Yeah, of course, I used to think you were insane,” Quinn replies.

“It certainly felt insane this morning, I can tell you that much,” Rachel says, and Quinn laughs.

“I bet it did. I commend your dedication,” she says and Rachel nods.

“I will admit I didn’t workout this morning,” Rachel jokes, though it is true.

“Ooooh, Rachel Berry, on a cheat day, who would’ve ever guessed?” Quinn says, Rachel laughing.

She goes to respond with something equally as cheeky when the door swings open and again Delilah enters in the same fashion she had yesterday morning. She launches right away into something about their show but Rachel finds herself distracted. Her mind keeps drifting back to the fact that Quinn had remembered how early she had got up in high school. She knows it's nothing really, just a minor detail, but she had remembered. Quinn had remembered something about her, and it had stuck with her for seven years, the whole time they hadn’t talked. She supposes it makes her feel important. Like even though she had never bothered to keep up with Quinn, and Quinn her, she was still crossing her mind. That seemed significant, at least she hoped it was.

•¥•

Tomorrow marks the day they officially start blocking the show, which, Quinn is more than a little nervous about. She had performed on stage before, but she really hadn’t danced since high school, and she’s not sure the swaying in the back she tended to do has the same level of difficulty as this show’s musical numbers. Thankfully it’s not a dance heavy musical, but the dancing is still there, heightening her anxiety. “It’s just dance,” Brittany says unhelpfully as they finish up dinner and start washing the dishes.

Quinn grabs the dish towel and looks at Brittany as she pours probably far too much dish soap into the sink. “That’s easy for you to say, Britt, you dance all the time, you danced on Santana and Mercedes’s tour, you make a habit of it. I haven’t danced since nationals,” Quinn replies.

“Uh, that’s untrue, I remember you breaking out some sick moves at our wedding, Fabray,” Santana says as she joins Brittany at the sink.

Quinn rolls her eyes. Brittany and Santana’s wedding had been the first time she had gotten drunk since freshman year of college, and the last time in recent years. It had been a bit of a disaster, she’d ended up dancing up a storm on the floor with the couple into the late hours of the night, badly, but they’d had the most fun, so she supposes it hadn’t been that bad. Brittany and Santana had gotten married after all, and they had made it to their honeymoon the next day, so she called it a win. “I haven’t done a choreographed number since nationals, is that better?” Quinn says, looking at Santana.

Santana smirks and nods, turning her attention back to the plate Brittany had just handed her. “Don’t worry Q, if Finn could figure out the choreography, you’ll be able to get this,” Brittany says.

Quinn laughs, and she knows that she’s right. She should be fine. “Hey do you get to start macking on Berry tomorrow?” Santana asks, Quinn’s stomach pitfalling.

Fuck. That’s right. Soon enough she’s going to actually have to get on her feet and either speak or sing words of love to Rachel Berry, and then actually kiss her. How had she been so nervous about the dancing that she forgot that mega important detail? She was going to have to kiss Rachel. God, this was going to be one hell of a mess for her. “Um,” she starts, truly uncertain about it, “I don’t think tomorrow, but probably, uh, soon.”

“You don’t sound too excited about it,” Brittany observes.

“Well, I mean, it’s just gonna be strange you know, weird, it’s… Berry. I once told her to get sterilized… and now I’m gonna have to kiss her onstage? Act like I like it?” Quinn says.

“Something tells me you’ll like it, Fabray,” Santana says, prompting Quinn to swipe at her with the dish towel.

“Shut up, Lopez,” Quinn says.

“If I did, the world would be devoid of entertainment, and we can’t have that, now can we?” Santana chastises, “besides, I’m right.”

“She does make a good point, Q,”

“You couldn’t be on my side Britt?” Quinn asks, and she gets a small apology smile from the girl.

“Sorry, marriage states I have to be on Santana’s side,” Brittany says, her smile fading from apologetic into something a bit more cheeky.

Quinn groans. “Fine,” she says, returning to the dish she had been drying.

She supposes Santana has a point, in some ways. She has no way of knowing she won’t like the kiss, she just finds herself oddly hoping she doesn’t like it… too much.

•¥•

The first dance rehearsal is always one of Rachel’s favourites. She loves learning the moves, working up a sweat and beginning to connect with her new castmates. She finds it incredibly therapeutic, it reminds her of her early days in New York, taking dance class after dance class, trying to perfect the part of her craft she wasn’t entirely confident in. It reminds her of Cassandra July’s strict teaching, and also of the absolutely kind act she had performed when Rachel first got her audition for Funny Girl.

This time around though, she can’t help but be a little worried. It’s the first time she has to really build physical chemistry with Quinn, and well, she’s scared about it. What if they don’t have chemistry? What if they do, and it’s overwhelming? Then what? Her mind trails back to the foggy memory of her getting in Quinn’s space, looking in Quinn’s gorgeous hazel eyes, catching just the smallest sniff of her flowery perfume. Yeah. Maybe they wouldn’t have a problem with the chemistry. She certainly thinks she won’t.

Rachel’s on the stage early, stretching, ready for their first number, incredibly excited to see what the choreographer has in mind when the door opens across the room from her, and Quinn emerges from the lobby. Rachel’s breath catches when she sees her make her way down the aisle, pretending that it was her nerves, and not… something else. “Hi,” Quinn says loudly as she’s still fairly far away from the stage.

Quinn comes up the stairs, as Rachel responds, “Hi,”

“Ready for today?” Quinn asks, and Rachel can’t help but notice the fact that she couldn’t quite meet her eyes.

Rachel smiles up at her, “Yes!” she says, trying to get Quinn to look at her, but she won’t, “I absolutely love the first rehearsals.”

Quinn nods, and she looks more than a little nervous. “You okay?” Rachel asks.

“Y-yeah…” Quinn stutters, looking across the balconies, “I’m just a little nervous. I haven’t danced in a long time.”

“Well I wouldn’t worry Quinn,” Rachel says, standing up from her stretch, “you were always great in glee.”

Quinn smiles, finally looking at Rachel. “Thanks, but I didn’t really do that much. You know Mr Schue wasn’t that fond of me, I was stuck in the back row for most of high school,” Quinn mutters quietly.

“Well Schue was an idiot, we always knew that,”

Quinn laughs at that, “You’re right, though I’m not sure why you’d say that, he made you and Finn the stars of the show every time,” she says.

“I mean, I’m not gonna take what I was given for granted, but I was never really that happy with the decisions he made, or the way he acted.”

“Yeah, me either,” Quinn says, nodding.

“Besides, I’m less obsessed with myself now, so I can look back and see that maybe some of the treatment I received was... a little unfair… even if I was one of the most talented members,” Rachel says, finding it almost hard to believe she’s admitting this to Quinn.

“I mean, that’s mature of you to realize,” Quinn says.

Rachel nods, feeling something stir inside of her at the praise Quinn was giving her. “Well it was bound to happen. I was insane, remember when I asked the glee club what solos they wanted me to perform and Santana almost murdered me?”

Quinn laughs, and it really is a beautiful sound, “I’m glad she didn’t, but it might have been warranted if she had,” she says, and Rachel can’t help but agree.

“I was kind of insufferable,” she says, certain Quinn probably had felt the same way about her.

“Maybe Rach, but you had a point too, you were extremely talented. I mean you still are, why do you think you are where you are? Why you have a fucking tony? You’re incredible.”

Rachel can’t help but blush, that feeling rising in her stomach again at Quinn’s words, “Thank you,” she says softly, just as the door to the theatre slams open and some of the other castmates enter, chatting away loudly.

Rachel can’t help but feel a little disappointed that her and Quinn were interrupted, but it was about time to get the show on the road. The choreographer was right behind the group of chattering actors, looking more than eager to start with the dancing and blocking.

With everyone onstage, Delilah and some crew members seated in the front few rows, the real rehearsing begins. The first song introduces the characters, as the opening number often does, but it also introduces the audience to Emery’s conflict, and shows the first time that Quinn and Rachel meet in the show, so it’s pretty potent and incredibly important. Despite its importance, the steps are still pretty easy, and Rachel learns it fast, allowing for her to look up and see how Quinn was doing. She looked great, like an absolute natural. Seems she hadn’t forgotten anything from her three years of glee club. Rachel wonders why she was so nervous.

They chug along through the first act of the show, and they’re about to start the act one finale when Delilah calls it. “Great work you guys, the finale is a big ordeal, so I think we should save it for tomorrow,” she says, the whole cast sighing with relief.

It’s then that Rachel remembers what happens in the act one finale. Her and Quinn kiss. She and Quinn were gonna have to like, touch lips. On stage, in front of people. No wonder Quinn had been nervous, it probably wasn’t the dancing, it was probably the prospect of kissing Rachel. She couldn’t even blame her. Sure, Quinn liked girls now, but that didn’t mean she liked Rachel, not that she even had too, it was just a kiss for the show, but still, she had every right not to want to kiss her. For a moment, Rachel can’t believe this is her life. She thinks of Finn, she thinks of how after this kiss, the triangle will be completed, all of them will have kissed each other. It’s a silly thought, she’s barely given a passing thought to Finn since they broke up that day after graduation and she knows Quinn didn’t even truly like Finn, but it’s what her brain connects with the girl. Thinking of Quinn leads to bullying and essentially sharing a boyfriend between the two of them for all of high school and a tentative friendship that fizzled out before it even got to burn. She remembers the malicious comments on nervously posted myspace videos, she remembers the taunts of “man-hands” and pornographic pictures of her drawn on the bathroom stalls. She remembers a slap in the bathroom at junior prom, but she also remembers her telling Quinn she was the prettiest girl she ever met, she remembers asking Quinn if she could literally have her nose. She remembers the soft utterance of, “When you were singing that song, you were singing it to Finn and only Finn. Right?”

She supposes their relationship had always been a little complicated, and she supposes it was only bound to get a little bit more.

•¥•

Thursday morning comes and Quinn is near shaking, she’s so goddamn fucking nervous. She’s so glad she doesn’t drive because God, if she tried today, she’s certain she’d be a hazard on the road, probably causing a forty car pile up or hitting a tree. Imagine that. Quinn Fabray wrecks havoc on the road, all because she’s absolutely filled with nerves at the prospect of kissing Rachel Berry. She doesn’t have a car, nor a driver’s license though, so she takes the subway, allowing for her to safely be full of anxious energy. She arrives at the theatre far too early again, doing so becoming somewhat of a habit now, praying that Rachel decided to sleep in this morning or something, so Quinn could just sit on the stage and try to mellow by herself.

Of course, God ignores her begging and when she enters the theatre Rachel is there, sitting with her legs dangling off into the orchestra pit, her phone in her hand. Quinn takes in a deep breath, hoping it doesn’t alert Rachel to her presence, but needing to calm herself down a bit. She was so fucking scared and she couldn’t put her finger on why. She had kissed girls before, she had kissed co-stars before. This should be nothing. She’s an actress and a serious, talented one at that. She needed to get her shit together. But something about Rachel made it so hard. She convinces herself it’s their history, that it feels weird kissing the girl she has known since she was a kid, the girl who she bullied, the girl who was the only unfailingly kind person to her even after everything she’d done. But her mind betrays her theory of history, when it zones in on the feeling of Rachel’s breath on her face and the memory of Rachel stretching on stage yesterday.

Quinn considers running, just booking it out of there, maybe spending the time until rehearsal starts on the bench across the street, but she knows she can’t do that. She committed to this role, and she was gonna have to kiss Rachel eventually even if she does run now. So she doesn’t, she instead meanders slowly down the stairs, looking at Rachel, waiting for her to notice her. She doesn’t. It seems Rachel’s pretty absorbed in whatever she’s looking at on her phone, her brow furrowed and her mouth pulled into a little frown. Rachel looks adorable, but Quinn tries not to focus on that thought as she sits down beside the girl, pressing a hand to her shoulder. “Morning, Rachel,” she whispers.

Rachel nearly jumps out of her skin, leaping to the side with a little squeal. “Jesus, Quinn, you scared the hell out of me,” she says.

“Jesus, huh?” Quinn says, smirking at her, attempting to come off as confident, “must’ve scared you quite a bit to invoke someone else’s God.”

Rachel shakes her head, frowning a little bit. “Well, I was certainly frightened.”

“Sorry,” Quinn mutters, scooching closer to Rachel.

“It’s alright, just don’t do it again,” Rachel says, playfully hitting Quinn on the shoulder, “it’s good to see you this morning.”

Quinn wishes she could return the sentiment, her skin was crawling she was so anxious, and sitting next to Rachel only made it that much worse. “Yeah, well, we are always the first two here.”

Rachel nods, looking down at her phone, and then back up to Quinn. “Are you nervous for uh… what we’re doing today?” she asks, and it certainly sounds like she’s nervous.

That makes Quinn feel a little better. She wasn’t the only nervous one. “Yeah, uh, honestly I’ve been anxious about it for awhile,” she replies.

“Me too,” Rachel says, plunging them into silence for a few moments before, “I’ve got kind of a crazy idea.”

That scares Quinn a little, uncertain of what Rachel could be planning, but she urges for the other girl to continue. “Well, since we’re both so nervous about this,” Rachel says, pausing like she’s not sure if she should say it, “why don’t we practice while we’re alone? Get the first one out of the way, so when we do it for an audience, we’ll be a little more eased into it.”

Quinn considers this. It makes sense. She supposes half the battle was making the kiss look real, and that would be hard if they spent their whole time being observed. Nothing observed acted as natural as it should. It would also just get this whole thing out of the way, so she can stop being nervous and just be immersed in making it the best she can for the show. “Alright, let’s do it,” she says, Rachel looking shocked then, like she had not expected that answer.

She nods though, and leans halfway in, her brown eyes meeting Quinn’s. She can feel Rachel’s breath on her face again, taking her back to that night earlier this week. She really hadn’t thought they’d be this close again this soon, if ever. She tries not to let it freak her out. Sucking in a deep breath, Quinn closes the gap.

Eyes falling shut, she leans into the kiss, but she’s uncertain where to put her hands. She’s not really sure what this kiss was meant to be, it’s not like the details were dictated in the stage directions, but she gets distracted from that train of thought when Rachel’s hands tangle in her hair, and scratch a bit at her scalp. She swears the feeling sends a shiver down her spine. She decides on Rachel’s waist for her hands just as Rachel’s tongue swipes across her lips and Quinn has the realization that this was going to be a real kiss, not just the touching of lips and pulling apart. Quinn opens her mouth a bit, allowing for better access, and Rachel seems to take it eagerly. She takes the opportunity to slide her tongue into Quinn’s mouth, and god, fuck, Rachel was a good fucking kisser. Her lips were so soft, tasting just a little fruity, and she was doing incredible stuff with her tongue and raking her hands through Quinn’s hair, and it feels so damn good that Quinn audibly moans.

Rachel stops immediately.

Fuck.

She’d done it now.

Rachel pulls away, her eyes still screwed shut, and Quinn can’t help but wonder if she’d gone and messed everything up. “Okay,” Rachel says, opening her eyes, “that’s… uh, probably enough.”

Quinn blushes, feeling more than a little ashamed, nodding quickly, and looking away. “Guess we’ll be ready for later,” she mutters, Rachel humming in agreement.

The silence that fills the air after that is so awkward that Quinn can’t help but let out an exasperated sigh. Why had she reacted like that to kissing Rachel? It was just for practice, it was nothing, and yet she had enjoyed it way too much, which, was the exact thing she had been scared of. Quinn had trouble stomaching the thought. It must be because she hadn’t been kissed in awhile. She was just reacting to the first action she had received in a long time, that’s all, just like when she had flushed at Rachel’s closeness in the bar. She chalks it up to the fact that her body isn’t used to kissing, and went a little wild. That had to be it. That had to be it.

The doors to the auditorium swing open shortly after that, and Quinn finds herself able to breathe again, now that it wasn’t just her and Rachel.

Chapter Text

“So, you kissed, for practice, and Fabray liked it, a little too much?” Jesse says, trying to get a handle on the story Rachel just told him.

“Yeah,” Rachel says, honestly still trying to wrap her head around it too.

“I don’t think she ever reacted like that to kissing me,” Sam says.

“I’d chalk that up to her being a lesbian, Sam,” Jesse says, before turning back to Rachel, “did you like it?”

Rachel considers that. The immediate answer is yes. She really enjoyed it. It was a fantastic kiss, Quinn was great, and she definitely wouldn’t mind doing it again, but Rachel fears she may have scared her away by pulling away as fast as she did. Plus, their second kiss that day, during rehearsal, had been absolutely less than desirable. They’d been watched like zoo animals, and Quinn hadn’t even bothered to make the kiss look authentic. It had looked so bad Delilah had called a five minute break and then moved onto the next song with a quick and exasperated, “We’re gonna have to work on that.”

So Rachel wasn’t really sure. It was just a silly practice kiss, and for all she knew, Quinn was an extremely good actress, and had given that response that morning as preparation for her role. The later kiss though, seemed to negate that theory. “Rach?” Jesse asks, allowing for Rachel to clue back into the conversation.

“I mean, I guess, it was pretty good, but it was just a practice for the real thing, and when we kissed during rehearsals, it was so bad I swear our director nearly cried,” Rachel huffs, still a little mad Quinn had blown the kiss, but she knows she hadn’t really tried that hard either.

“Hmm,” Jesse hums.

“Sounds messy,” Sam says, and Rachel can’t help but agree.

Rachel had figured this whole thing would be messy, but she had hoped that they’d be able to pull through and be professional. She supposes though, when she had thought that, she hadn’t known Quinn Fabray would be moaning into her mouth. In fact, Rachel’s pretty sure if anyone had asked her high school self what the least likely thing to ever happen would be, she would’ve responded with something along the lines of that. So. The circumstances are different than they were in the beginning, but she was still determined to make this right. “Yeah, but this is my job, and I am going to follow through, hopefully she will act the same way.”

“She’s a professional too Rach, I wouldn’t worry about it,” Jesse says.

Rachel certainly hopes that’s the case.

•¥•

They’re on their second bottle of wine, when Brittany finally asks the question Quinn’s been dreading all night. “Hey Q, wasn’t today the day you were supposed to kiss Rachel?” she asks, her eyes not leaving the bad reality tv they had playing.

Fuck. Yeah, today had been the day she was supposed to kiss Rachel, but she certainly wasn’t gonna tell Santana and Brittany about the events of the morning, she didn’t want to get teased within an inch of her life. She decides quickly that she’ll just tell them about the absolutely awkward kiss they had during rehearsals, the morning kiss was barely important anyways. Just a stupid kiss with a stupid ending because of Quinn’s lack of control. Just a stupid moment caused by the fact that she hadn’t been on a date in seven months, so much as made out with someone. “Uh, yeah,”

The moment before Santana’s sole focus had been on playing with her and Brittany’s interlocked hands, but the words have her eyes snapping up to Quinn. “Ooooh,” she says sarcastically, “tongue?”

“You have no tact do you?” Quinn says, but her mind immediately jumps to the kiss, to exactly what Santana was asking about, Rachel’s tongue in her mouth, the feeling of Rachel’s hands in her hair.

“None whatsoever, they didn’t teach it in Lima Heights,” Santana says, “now answer the question.”

Quinn rolls her eyes, attempting to ignore the thoughts brewing in her mind, “No. It was barely a kiss, our director was pissed because it wasn’t authentic enough,” Quinn chokes out, the words about the earlier kiss, the real kiss, almost just flowing out.

“Boo,” Santana says, scrunching her face up in annoyance.

“You should’ve slipped some tongue in, maybe your director would’ve liked that,” Brittany says, and Quinn shoots her a glare.

Santana takes a sip of her wine and nods, “Britt’s right,”

“I hate you both,” Quinn groans, but she knows they’re right.

She knows that if she’s gonna keep this role and make the show good she has to put some effort into making her kiss seem authentic, real, like she has meaningful feelings. She needs to take what she remembers from this morning and pour it into her work. Problem is, the more she thinks about that kiss, the more she feels like she wants to make a habit of kissing Rachel like that, and that’s definitely not a feeling she wants, needs or is allowed to be having. So she puts it out of her mind, and allows herself to get re-engrossed in whatever show the Lopez-Pierces are obsessed with this week, hoping and praying that she can get through this role without having more of those thoughts.

•¥•

Rachel comes to the theatre early as usual, hoping that maybe Quinn would come too, and they could talk about the kiss, or at least their plan for the kiss today, as Delilah had said that that would be the last thing on the agenda. She just wanted to hash it out, tell Quinn that even if their kiss yesterday had been awkward and a mistake, they couldn’t let it affect their professional relationship. They were serious actors and nothing could get in the way of making this show the best it could be. She’d tell Quinn that, and she’d mean it, no matter how she reacted. She could handle Quinn hating her again so long as her reputation as a serious, talented and dedicated actress didn’t go to the wayside. At least that’s what she tried to convince herself.

No such luck though, as Quinn arrives right on time, coming in the door just as the other cast members and the choreographer did. They launched right into it, Rachel barely getting a second glance at Quinn, never mind a whole conversation about their actions of the previous day.

For the remainder of the day, Rachel forgets about the conversation she wanted to have. She gets lost in the movement of her feet and the sound of singing around her and everything she has always loved about musical theatre. She listens to Quinn’s voice, something she hasn’t heard in years, and just allows herself to enjoy it, regardless of all the caveats of the mess they were currently experiencing. When she’s not onstage dancing, she closes her eyes, and it’s like she’s back in high school, sitting in that front row, watching Quinn Fabray sing some song on Figgins’s approved list. It takes her back again to what she had been thinking about earlier in the week. She remembers how she felt that first day Quinn had arrived in Glee Club with Brittany and Santana on her tail, almost terrified by the girls’ very presence. She remembers how by their senior prom she had considered her and Quinn friends, she remembers telling Quinn that she saw her with all the power and beauty she always had, even when she was down. Just being around Quinn had made her feel the very same way she had in high school, like the girl was a being just a bit ahead of everyone else. She had always elevated Quinn on a pedestal, and knowing her real truth now, she finds herself admiring the girl even more, despite their current awkward situation. Rachel can’t help but think that maybe pretending to love Quinn won’t be all that hard.

Her thoughts though, are interrupted, and potentially wrecked, when Delilah’s words have her snapping back to reality, “Alright team, I think it’s time to work on the kiss,”

Rachel looks up at Quinn and sees the grimace plastered across her face. She surely didn’t look happy about it, and Rachel’s certain her face reflects the same emotion. She stands up from her seat and makes her way to the stage, where she stands beside Quinn. “Okay, take it from the beginning of the act one finale,” Delilah says, before snapping, the music beginning on her command.

Rachel takes a deep breath, and looks at Quinn as she begins singing her opening notes. She sounds great, it seems she’s already got the hang of it, executing the dance moves to the best of her ability. Following her lead once Rachel’s own part begins, she once again finds herself lost in the music. That is until the song begins its descent towards the end and the kiss looms in the very near future. Quinn sings her last note, and then grabs Rachel, pulling her into her arms as instructed. It’s done well, the near perfect move sending shivers down her spine, but she focuses in, knowing she has mere moments until she’s once again kissing Quinn Fabray. Quinn looks down at her, gives her a little nod, and closes the gap between them for the third time that week. Rachel kisses back, attempting to emulate their kiss from yesterday morning, with all that passion, but it's hard, knowing all eyes are on them, and knowing how Quinn reacted.

It ends up being a pretty chaste kiss, with little emotion, and Rachel feels incredibly disappointed. It’s not what she wants. She knows she can do better. Pulling away from Quinn, she turns to the audience, and Delilah looks more than a little pissed. “Alright, that’s it, I’m calling it, everyone out of here,” she mutters, and Quinn turns to go, before, “Fabray, Berry, not you. I want to talk to you.”

Rachel has to hold back a groan. She’s really about to be chastised by her director for her horrible performance, something that had rarely happened to her in her whole career. It sucked.

She watches as everyone leaves, giving Rachel sympathetic looks as she settles down on the apron. Quinn joins her, her head in her hands, and they wait patiently as the cast leaves. Delilah waits for a moment, then begins. “You know, when you told me you had gone to school together I really thought it would enhance the chemistry,” she says, looking utterly exasperated, “I thought the history would show and it’d be undeniable on stage. And it is. As long as you don’t touch. Why is that?”

Rachel knows it’s a rhetorical question, but if it weren’t, she wouldn’t have an answer. It could be a whole host of things, from their aforementioned history, to the lingering memory of their kiss. Rachel briefly entertains the old theatre mantra that stated those that have chemistry offstage don’t have any onstage, but she quickly denies that theory. It wasn’t like Quinn actually liked her, no matter how she had reacted when they kissed. She turns her attention back to Delilah. “If this is gonna work, the two of you are gonna have to get past whatever,” she gestures between the two of them, “this is. I think it will be best for the show if you two start to spend time with each other outside of rehearsals, to build a bond, and hopefully move on from this awkwardness.”

Rachel nods. It makes sense. She’s not really sure how she feels about it though, having her own private life dictated by her work. Looking to Quinn, she sees her nodding as well, though she looks a little dejected. Rachel hopes she’s not upset that she has to spend time with her. “Okay you two, take these words to heart. Get out of here, and get a coffee or something,” Delilah gets up from her seat and exits through the door, leaving Rachel and Quinn by themselves.

They sit in silence for a moment, just taking in the proposal given to them by their director. Rachel isn’t quite sure to say. She’d never really been given such an agenda by a director, but she’s not about to go against it. Rachel’s about to spit something out when Quinn starts, “So coffee I guess?”

Rachel almost laughs at the abruptness of it, but she nods. They stand together and leave, not speaking until they’re outside. “There’s a little shop just down the road?” Rachel proposes.

Quinn nods, “I know the one,” she says, and it’s almost as if there’s something she’s not saying.

Rachel is desperate to find out.

•¥•

Quinn gets the brownie and latte she wanted on that first day she saw Rachel, and the two of them sit across from each other in a booth by the window. For a moment, they’re silent. Rachel sips at her coffee, looking intently at Quinn. She feels like she’s being studied, like Rachel’s trying to look into her soul, or decipher the differences in her person since the last time they had been friends. Quinn can’t help but wonder how different she looks from the girl that Rachel once saw everyday. She sure feels different. At least, she usually did. She finds that being around Rachel makes her feel almost like she was back in high school again. Just a little lost, like she didn’t know quite where she was going or where she wanted to be. She doesn’t know how to feel about that. She had worked so hard not to be that person anymore, and here she was, less than two weeks in Rachel’s presence, high school Quinn all over again.

She knows that’s not quite the case. She knows she still made incredible strides, in her passions, in her pride in her sexuality, and even in kindness and her own happiness, but it’s like Rachel just takes her back. It’s not all bad though, she remembers how good being Rachel’s friend had been, even for the small amount of time they’d actually been friends, and she remembers how it was partly because of Rachel that she wanted to be a better person altogether anyways. She knows that when it comes to high school Quinn, the version of her who was Rachel Berry’s friend was the best. So now maybe, she can take this version of herself, the one that is so much better, so much happier than she was in high school, and apply the Rachel Berry factor, and make it that much better. It makes sense to her, it makes her want to make this work with Rachel. She wants to be this girl’s friend again and she wanted to make their show the best she can. She pushes through the fear, the uncertainty it all brings, and starts the conversation. “So you graduated from NYADA?”

It isn’t much but it’s something. “Yeah, it took five years because I had been so focussed on Funny Girl, but I did it, and I was really proud of myself for pushing through and getting it done. It’s great experience, and it looks fantastic on a resume,” Rachel responds.

Quinn nods. Rachel graduated from the top musical theatre school in the country, if not the world, all the while starring in a huge Broadway musical. She was incredible, honestly, and Quinn had got to experience all the buildup, and now she gets to work with her. “It must’ve been a dream to play that role, I know it’s your favourite,” Quinn says, Rachel seemingly shocked by this.

“You remember that?”

Quinn isn’t sure how Rachel’s shock makes her feel. It was the second time now that she had asked Quinn that question, and she finds herself wondering if Rachel didn’t think she paid attention to her in high school. That was the opposite of reality, Quinn had spent most of high school fixated on Rachel in one way or another, whether it be by bullying her or by watching her in their back and forth with Finn. All of Quinn’s high school memories were flooded with Rachel Berry. When that thought comes to her, Quinn’s mind flashes back to Brittany’s comment from when they first found out that Rachel would be starring alongside her. Was it possible that she really was in love with Rachel in high school? No. It couldn’t be. She’d only done those things because she was a bad person, trying to hide her sexuality and her insecurity. She certainly hadn’t done it because she was in love with Rachel. Finally, after denying that possibility, she remembers Rachel had asked her a question. “Yeah, Rachel of course, I remember lots about you from high school.”

“Oh yeah?” Rachel asks, smiling a little.

“Yeah, remember when I slapped you?” she asks, not really sure why this was the moment she chose to bring up, but it had stuck in her mind, “And you said you appreciated the drama of it?”

Rachel laughs. “God, I was a bit much, wasn’t I?”

“Well, maybe, but you really helped me that night. Told me I had nothing to worry about, because I was pretty, but also so much more than that. I was so scared then, I had so much scary shit ahead of me, but honestly Rach, you saying that eased my worries a little. I needed that, it helped me do what I had to,” Quinn says, and Rachel looks almost as if Quinn had just told her the secrets to the whole universe. Like her words were something she had always needed to hear.

“Quinn… wow,” she says, reaching her hand across the table brushing against Quinn’s like she wanted to grab it, but settling just to the left, “that means a lot, I really believed what I said, and while I had no idea what you were really facing, I just wanted to make you feel better. I really wanted to be apart of your life, just to be someone to you, and I hated seeing you that upset.”

Quinn nods, she gets it. She remembers how she’d felt towards Rachel, always that pull. She wishes though, that she could’ve been as good as Rachel. So fucking kind, wanting to make the girl who treated her like shit feel better. Even when she was self-centred, only driven to act for her own gain, Rachel had always been kind to her. “You know,” Rachel begins, interrupting Quinn’s thoughts, “I told Finn what corsage to get you for that night. He had no idea what to get, he was so worked up about the whole thing. I knew exactly what to get, gardenia with that green ribbon, told him it’d match your eyes, but not distract from your face. It’s been like eight years, but I remember what I said exactly, and I remember being right. It had looked gorgeous on your wrist.”

The story makes sense. Quinn’s not at all surprised that Finn had help picking out that corsage. She had thought it was too perfect to be true then. What shocks her though, is that it was Rachel who had told him what would be best for her. She’d always assumed Carole was the one who had helped him pick it out, but no, it had been Rachel Berry who told him that it would match her eyes, but not take away from her face. Rachel had known exactly what would match her eyes. She’s not at all sure what to say to that. It’s shocking and oh so real, but she also finds herself wondering why she’s so affected by it. It’s not like she would’ve wanted a corsage picked out by Rachel at the time, she would’ve completely shunned the idea, but it has her feeling like maybe Rachel had been as fixated on her as she had been on Rachel. Involuntarily, she wonders how much of everything happening in high school had really been about Finn, and not about them. “Wow, that’s…” She doesn’t have a clue what to say.

Rachel looks almost embarrassed, and Quinn hates it. She appreciates Rachel’s honesty so much, and the story allows for pieces to click into place, but she really has no idea what to say. She wasn’t sure what this confession was supposed to mean, she didn’t know what Rachel’s goal was. “Yeah,” Rachel says, quickly changing the topic, “so Yale?”

Quinn finds herself a little disappointed the conversation shifted, even if she had no idea how to respond, but she nods anyways. “Yeah, I graduated three years ago, it was a great experience, I’m really glad I went, even though it was hard.”

“I imagine, I mean, an Ivy league? That’s insane Quinn,”

Quinn smiles. “Thank you, I was proud of myself. I came out to my parents mid way through my freshman year, and it went so poorly, so all I had was myself and Santana and Brittany, and I was paying my way, working this shitty job as a waitress. Sometimes,” she pauses, “it’s a wonder I survived.”

Rachel looks at her grimly, “Well I’m extremely glad you did.”

“Me too.”

They’re silent for a moment, letting the weight of those words sink in, but it doesn’t last. “When did Santana and Brittany get married?” Rachel asks.

Quinn laughs. “You’re really intrigued the two of them stuck together, huh?”

“Well, I mean, yeah. I never expected Santana to settle down, though, I suppose I should have, I saw them in senior year, she was so loving, so happy. You could tell she really cared about her, but I never thought it’d last past high school. I’m really happy they did though, the way they were the other night, they’re obviously perfect for each other.”

“They are absolutely always perfect for each other, and it’s insufferable to deal with. We were late to the bar the other day because they couldn’t stop kissing. I was just there, trying to mind my own business while they make out, it’s disgustingly adorable.”

Rachel giggles at that, and Quinn can’t help but grin at her. “To answer your question though, they got married during my third year at Yale. They were so young, everyone thought they were insane, but they were so, so in love, and I guess they knew it would last forever. Santana’s abuela came, and that alone had everyone in tears,”

“Wow, so like four years now, that’s insane,” Rachel says, pausing like she was taking a moment to let that sink in, “Were you a bridesmaid?”

“Yeah, Brittany’s sister and I were, and god was it a task. Brittany is apparently incredibly superstitious, and of course, Santana had to see her in her wedding dress before the day so she was convinced they were cursed. She threw so much salt over her shoulder, I swear to god all the slugs in Indiana died, but they made it down the aisle, apparently uncursed, because they’re still married,” she responds.

“Somehow that doesn’t surprise me,” Rachel says.

“It shouldn’t, Brittany’s always been a little… eccentric but she’s one of the best friends I’ve ever had,” Quinn replies.

“Yeah, she seems like she would have a wisdom about her.”

The comment again makes Quinn think about Brittany’s theory, and she wishes her brain would just let that go. “Oh she does. But as it turns out, she’s also like, the smartest mathematical brain of the century.”

Rachel leans closer. “You’re not serious. The girl who got a 0.0 average and graduated by the skin of her teeth.”

“Not a word of a lie, she’s getting her PhD in advanced mathematics at Columbia, and is doing some research into something I literally could not explain, gun to my head, while dancing backup for Mercedes and Santana’s shows,” Quinn says.

Rachel laughs again. “Wow, the three of you just keep surprising me.”

Something about that statement combined with Rachel’s laughter and radiant smile, warms Quinn all the way down to her toes. She hasn’t felt this way in a long time, perhaps since the last time Rachel and her were friends. It feels great, this little coffee date working wonders on her uncertainties. She still feels a bit like her high school self, but in a way that makes her feel like this could really develop into something far better than it ever had been before.

Chapter Text

Rehearsal goes great when they start on Monday. Rachel feels as if their coffee outing on Friday had allowed for her and Quinn to relax around each other, because today is so much better. Sure, Rachel had found herself lost in the rehearsal then, but now, she finds her focus lost on Quinn. Watching her perform beside her again sends shivers down her spine. It was exhilarating. She tries to remember if it had felt like this in high school, standing beside Quinn, both of them singing their hearts out, but she can’t help but think it was a new feeling.

They come to one of their kisses fairly earlier in the rehearsal, and fear momentarily shoots through her veins. Yes, it was clear she and Quinn were already working better, but that didn’t mean this kiss would turn out. It could all go to the wayside again. Maybe her and Quinn would never get it, maybe they wasted their one good kiss that morning. The number starts, she takes in a deep breath, lets Quinn sing her part, and then joins in.

It feels good, this number, singing about Quinn, about falling in love with her. It’s almost scary how easy that comes to her. She tries not to think too long about that, and she finds she doesn’t have to, as it’s in that moment that Quinn turns to her, singing her last note. She reaches forward, adeptly pulling Rachel towards her, hands settling on hips. Rachel takes in a deep breath, wrapping her arms around Quinn’s neck, just as their lips meet.

Rachel instantly loses herself in it. Her hands adjust, bringing her fingers up and into Quinn’s hair. Quinn pulls her in that much tighter at that, locking her hands at Rachel’s side, her mouth turning just slightly so that she can pull Rachel’s bottom lip between her teeth. The sensation has goosebumps rising on her arms. It’s insane how much she feels, and she’s about to make a sound that voices those feelings when suddenly, the theatre erupts in applause and Rachel is violently dragged back into the present. “Now that is what we’ve been looking for!” Delilah cheers, looking absolutely ecstatic.

Quinn pulls away, loosening her grip on Rachel’s waist. She looks almost dazed, like she can’t quite bring herself back to real time. Rachel understands. That kiss had been magnetic, it had drawn her in and closed her off to the rest of the world. It had felt so fucking real. She wonders if it’s possible that Quinn’s that good of an actress, or at least that good of a kisser, but she doesn’t think she is. That felt less Rosalyn, and a whole lot more Rachel. Her heart drops when she finally puts two and two together. She likes Quinn. Like for real. She has begun to fall for the girl she was only supposed to pretend to love, the girl who had also been her high school bully and tentative friend. How did she manage that? And after only a week? God.

It definitely has her thinking. Mostly about high school. Mostly about telling Quinn she’s the prettiest girl she’d ever seen, knowing exactly what corsage would be perfect for her, and the fact that she couldn’t get married without the girl there. But she’s also thinking about Quinn in the last week, the smell of her perfume, the strength in what she’d done since the last time she’d seen her, the laugh she swears she heard more of drinking coffee with her on Friday then she had in her entire high school career. She probably had liked Quinn in high school too, she realizes, and those residual feelings combined with the whole mess of things that the two of them were experiencing now definitely was a recipe for a big stupid crush. A big stupid crush that she definitely should not be having on the girl she would have to work with for the forseeable future. God, was she ever an idiot. “... job you guys,” Rachel catches as she tunes back into whatever Delilah is saying, but she has trouble focussing for the rest of the day.

•¥•

Quinn cannot stop thinking about that kiss. She is completely and utterly haunted by it. She’s sitting in Santana and Brittany’s living room and they’re supposed to be playing some card game she doesn’t even remember the name of, but her mind is absolutely frozen on Rachel Berry’s lips. It had been insane. She had caught Rachel around the waist, and leaned in, expecting nothing more than their awkward kiss from last Friday, but this kiss had been… wow. That was the only way she could describe it. Rachel’s lips were so soft, and she was so warm under Quinn’s fingertips, it had almost been a dream, until Delilah had interrupted them. Quinn could barely pull it together afterwards, spending the whole rehearsal one step behind. She can’t believe one single kiss had left her so, wrecked. “Fabray?” Santana says, allowing for Quinn to pull herself back into the moment.

“Are you okay?” Brittany asks, concern evident in her voice.

Quinn ponders the question. The answer was probably no. She hadn’t thought about anything other than lips on her own in the last eight hours. It was probably going to drive her mad. “Yeah,” she says, instead of telling the truth, “just a little distracted.”

“Well no kidding, we’ve been waiting for you to play your turn for the greater part of ten minutes. I was beginning to wonder if you were even still here,” Santana snarks.

Quinn chuckles and nods, playing a card and hoping desperately it made sense, because she certainly hadn’t paid enough attention to the rules to know what she was supposed to do. “Does this have something to do with your show? With Rachel, maybe?” Brittany questions, and Quinn swears to God this woman has a sixth sense.

“Uhh…”

“So it is?” Santana says.

“Yeah.”

“Well are you gonna tell us what happened?” Brittany moves closer to Quinn and sets a hand on her shoulder.

“We kissed.” she whispers.

“Yeah well, you’re gonna be macking on Berry until kingdom come if the show goes well, what’s your point?” Santana asks, and as sarcastic as it sounds, Quinn knows this is how she shows her genuine care.

“It was really good,” she says, looking at Brittany and then at Santana before continuing, “I literally haven’t stopped thinking about it since it happened.”

“Oh.” Santana says.

“Do you think you like her?” Brittany asks, and of course that’s the next question, of course it is.

Quinn profusely shakes her head. “No, of course not. She’s my co-star and I’m a professional, and also, she’s Rachel Berry.”

Brittany and Santana share a look, probably communicating through some unknown marital language, before looking back to her. “Well alright, I’m not sure what to say then,” Brittany responds.

Quinn realizes how silly it sounds, confessing how good the kiss had been, how long she’d been thinking about it, and then claiming it meant virtually nothing more than a professional handshake, but it’s true. It’s fucking true. She doesn’t like Rachel, she can’t like Rachel. It just wouldn’t be right, with all their history, and all the future to come. “Well,” Santana starts, pausing like she doesn’t quite know what to say, “I’m sure it’s just the weirdness of the first few kisses, and finally getting it right. You’ll probably get over it.”

Quinn nods, it makes sense. That was a tangible answer. She was getting used to kissing Rachel, getting accustomed to doing it right, and doing it with a passion. She was an actress, and she was getting into character. That is all. “You’re right.”

“Always am, Q, now do you realize how poorly you’re playing or were you too distracted thinking about hobbit kisses?

Quinn rolls her eyes. She, of course, hadn’t realized how bad she was doing, she had been elsewhere. But now that they’d gotten that out of the way, now that Santana had given her a logical conclusion, she could focus on kicking her best friends’ butts. That was if she could stomach the overwhelming feeling that she was lying to herself.

•¥•

Rehearsals continue through the week, and eight more kisses are added to Quinn and Rachel’s count. Every time it happens, it sends tingles all through Rachel’s body, from the tip of her toes all the way through her face. She is mesmerized by how it makes her feel, how Quinn makes her feel, but she tries her absolute darndest not to focus on that. They were finally making headway, showing how much chemistry they could convey and she doesn’t want to ruin it.

Wednesday’s rehearsal comes and goes, and as she and Quinn are packing up to leave, Rachel’s phone begins to buzz rapidly. Jesse. She rolls her eyes at the man, knowing he knew exactly when her rehearsal ended and was going to use that to his advantage. “Hey Jess,” she says after picking it up.

“Rachel, my love, how’s rehearsal?”

Rachel looks across the stage to where Quinn is currently standing, bag on her shoulder, ready to leave. She can’t help but smile. Today’s kiss had her nearly shaking. The passion she had felt. She couldn’t believe how good of an actress Quinn was, if she was able to make Rachel feel so much with just a few kisses, and yet feel nothing herself. Or at least she assumed. She didn’t like to get her hopes up. Her and Quinn’s relationship was strictly professional and platonic, and Rachel was confident that was the way Quinn wanted to keep it. “It was good, how was workshops?”

Jesse had been workshopping some new show, something that sounded like it may make a big splash into the scene. He had been insanely proud of his work so far. “Great Rach, as per usual,” he hums, “wanna get dinner?”

Rachel looks back at Quinn, who smiles at her, wide and so beautiful, “Uhh, yeah, can I invite Quinn?”

Jesse and Sam hadn’t interacted with Quinn since that first night, despite the fact that due to Delilah’s orders the two of them had been hanging out almost every night, and she figured it was about time they all got together as a group. “Of course, Sam and I will meet you at our usual spot, say in an hour?” Jesse says.

“Sounds good. Bye Jess, see you then.”

She hangs up then, turning back to Quinn. “So I’ve been invited somewhere?” Quinn asks.

“Yeah! You up for dinner with Jesse and Sam?”

“Sounds fun,” Quinn says as she begins to walk out of the theatre, “some vegan place I’d assume?”

Rachel rolls her eyes and nods. “I hope that’s alright, I know how fond you are of meat,”

“I think I will survive one night, especially in such great company.”

Rachel looks at her, wondering for a moment if she’s flirting. It feels like she could be, but she had never been good at telling, and for all she knew it was just friendly banter. “Oh, great company, huh?” Rachel decides on responding, hoping to continue the rampart, may it be platonic, or something a little more she couldn’t help but hope for.

“Oh yeah,” Quinn says, dragging out the moment before, “Jesse and Sam are two of my favourite people.”

“Hey!” Rachel gasps, reaching out and hitting Quinn softly across the shoulder.

“Okay!” Quinn says in response, rubbing at her arm like Rachel’s swat had actually hurt, “maybe I like you too.”

“I think you do, Fabray,” Rachel says.

“I think you’re right,” she responds softly, and Rachel swears it sounds almost reverent. She wonders what the fuck that could mean, how Quinn could go from so playful to quiet and confusing in a matter of seconds.

Rachel tries to ignore how it makes her feel, and guides Quinn to the restaurant where they were meeting their friends. They walk in what should be comfortable silence, but Rachel’s mind is racing. It couldn’t be possible that Quinn meant more than what she said, could it? She had just sounded so soft when she spoke, like it had a deeper meaning than the face value spat they had been having. If Rachel was being honest, she had no real idea what being friends with Quinn Fabray entailed, she hadn’t in high school, and she still didn’t now, and so how was she supposed to know what any of this meant? She hadn’t even had that many girl friends before, she’d been friends with Mercedes in high school, and she had bonded with other castmates, but Jesse and Sam had been her ride or die since her second month in New York. Long story short, she didn’t know how girls acted, really, she didn’t know if this was normal. If what felt like flirting was really flirting when it came from your lesbian friend playing your love interest, who also was your high school tormenter. She briefly wonders if anyone had ever even had her problem before. She highly doubts it.

They enter the restaurant, a vegan breakfast place they’d found during Rachel’s first year at NYADA, and she decides once again she’s going to try to put her feelings aside, try to ignore how much that felt like flirting. Thinking about her high school friends has her wondering just how Mercedes was doing. “So Mercedes, you mentioned you and her are friends now?” Rachel asks, as she leads Quinn to their regular booth and sits down.

Quinn takes off the coat that had been thrown over her shoulders, hangs it on the hook and slides in across from Rachel before, “Yeah, we caught up again by accident when I first moved to New York. We were out at some club and Santana and Brittany had gotten more than drunk, I was still sober, and they were dancing, causing havoc as they tend to do, and they ran straight into Mercedes, knocking her over and spilling literally all their drinks and smashing some glasses. We got kicked out pretty quick, but Mercedes was back in our lives, and I think we all really needed it.”

“Oh yeah?” Rachel says, resting her chin on her hand and looking up eagerly at Quinn.

“Yeah, Santana had been really lost at the time, all three of us had gotten our undergraduate degrees, Britt was starting grad school, and I landed my first role as Lady Macbeth in this tiny theatre and she had no idea what she was doing. She was just kind of following the two of us along, with no real direction. But when Mercedes came back into our lives she really helped San. She let her sing backup at first, Lopez had always loved the stage, and then she featured on a track, and it was Cedes’s most popular song. The label loved both of them, and they haven’t been doing too poorly ever since. In fact, they’ve been on two nationwide tours, with Brittany dancing right along with them,” Quinn says, and Rachel can see how absolutely proud of them she is, it radiates from her smile.

“Wow, good for them, I’m glad they found each other,”

“It’s been really good for us all, honestly, I can say that these last three years have probably been the best of my life,” Quinn smiles, her gaze falling on Rachel soft and almost… wistful she supposes.

She’s about to ask if them reuniting has made these years that much better, when Jesse strolls up, Sam following closely behind. “Hello ladies,” Jesse says, sitting down beside from Rachel, “I already asked Rach, but Quinn, how was rehearsal?”

“Pretty good, St James, pretty good,” Quinn says turning her attention back to Rachel.

The feeling of Quinn’s eyes on her almost sets her aflame. She knows she’s being stupid, she knows she kisses Quinn everyday, but her just looking at her with those hazel eyes, through the soft brush of blonde hair, was some kind of gorgeous. “Connor fell while trying to complete his big number, so I got a good laugh out of that one.”

Rachel smiles at the thought, their co-star had fallen pretty hard during his song, and was thankfully okay, but Quinn hadn’t stopped laughing about it since it happened. Rachel wasn’t gonna deny it, she loves how her laugh sounds. “Sounds like a good time. have you ordered yet?” Jesse says.

Rachel shakes her head, “Haven’t even looked at the menu, we were talking about Mercedes.”

Sam perks up at that. “Is she doing well?” he asks, “I’ve seen a few things through Brittany’s facebook posts, and I listened to her album, but we haven’t talked in a long time…”

Quinn laughs a little at him, “Still nursing your broken heart from that one, huh?”

Sam quickly shakes his head. “Of course not, I was just curious, as I am for all our high school friends we haven’t stayed connected too… I should call Tina,” he rambles, and now they’re all laughing.

“Alright Sam,” Quinn smiles, rubbing at his shoulder a bit, “what are you doing these days? I don’t think we talked about you at the club that night.”

“I model mostly, occasionally I act, I was in a commercial for hemorrhoid cream last year,” Sam jokes.

“For real?” Quinn says, and it reminds Rachel of how she felt when she’d first heard he’d decided to take that gig, “Santana did a yeast infection commercial when we first came to New York.”

“No she did not!” Rachel says, shocked that Santana Lopez would agree to do anything that made her look anything less than perfect.

“Yeah, she said and I quote, I like yeast in my bagel, not in my muffin,” Quinn laughs, all of them following suit.

“Please tell me you never let her live it down,” Jesse says, through what Rachel can only describe as giggles.

“Oh god, never, it comes up at least once a week. Santana hasn’t eaten a bagel in years.”

Rachel watches as her words send both Sam and Jesse into hysterics, a little half smile lighting up her face, absolutely mesmerizingly beautiful. She can’t help but think about how real this all feels, how lovely it feels with Quinn sitting across from her, making her friends laugh, and making her feel better than she has in all the years since they parted. She hopes one day, maybe, Quinn Fabray will be sitting across from her in this same situation, but with her hand wrapped around Rachel’s, and more than a little bit of love in her eyes.

Chapter Text

It happens at rehearsals, as Quinn realizes most of her well… romantic moments with Rachel do.

They’re running a second act scene, one in which Emery laments over coming out, with Rosalyn at her side, and it’s important, and potent, and Quinn loves it, but she can’t seem to focus on anything but Rachel’s brown eyes. She doesn’t know what’s gotten into her, first the kiss and now this. Rachel is beautiful, she knows that, she has always known that, but she’s never been this mesmerized by her. It’s almost unnerving. She wishes she could say it feels wrong, but it certainly fucking doesn’t, looking at Rachel feels… so, so right. And that, more than anything is what scares her.

They run the scene again, and look to Delilah, who looks pensive. “There’s something… missing,” she says, tapping a pen against her lip, “I think what it needs is hand holding. A physical reminder of the connection you have, of Rosalyn’s support for Emery, you know what I mean?”

Quinn does of course, but the feeling of butterflies erupting in her stomach doesn’t make her want to do it. Why was she feeling like this over hand holding? She’s never really been a hand holder, but it’s not like she was nervous, it wasn’t a hard concept. And yet, here she was, unready to take Rachel Berry’s hand for a four minute song.

She has to though, so she nods as the music starts up again, and holds out a hand for Rachel. She takes it, sliding their fingers together, and Quinn just prays that her hands aren’t sweaty.

She starts to sing, trying to keep her mind off Rachel’s hand in hers, trying not to think about how right it feels, how they fit together perfectly. No, she can’t think about that, besides, it’s not like it means anything. They have hands, and those hands fit together nicely. Oh well. She focuses her attention back to the scene and to hitting her notes and her steps.

Looking back at Rachel though, she’s caught again, by the girl’s deep brown eyes, and the way her hand feels right in Quinn’s. Quinn hates it. She looks away from Rachel, singing her line, that just so happens to be about how in love Emery was with Rosalyn. That’s when it clues in, and all she can think, is oh fuck.

•¥•

Rehearsals end, and Rachel is once again at Quinn Fabray’s side as they exit the theatre. She’s not really sure what’s happening tonight, it’s Friday, and usually the two of them do something together, at first at the request of Delilah, and now by their own fruition. So, she supposes, she should ask Quinn. “Are we doing something tonight?” Rachel asks, walking Quinn to the subway, where she has started parking her car, so they could enjoy this brisk walk together everyday.

Quinn hums. “Did I not tell you?”

Rachel’s brows furrow. “Did you not tell me what?”

“Santana and Mercedes have a show tonight, I’m going to it, I thought I told you,” Quinn says, as they reach the station and she turns towards Rachel.

“You decidedly did not, Quinn.”

“Well, I meant to,” she says, almost indignantly, and then, “I’m sorry, I totally thought I had. In fact, I thought we were going together tonight.”

“Well we are, I just didn’t know until right now, I guess,” Rachel replies, and Quinn smiles that big wide smile, the one that never made its way across her face throughout literally all of high school.

“Awesome, I’ll text you the details and we can meet there?”

Rachel nods, unable to hide her own smile. “Fantastic, see you then,” Quinn says, pressing a kiss to Rachel’s cheek and wandering down into the subway.

Rachel just stands there for a moment, in the middle of a New York City sidewalk, dazed. Had Quinn just done that? Had she just casually dropped a kiss to Rachel’s skin like it meant absolutely nothing? What was that?

Rachel can still feel her skin burn where Quinn’s lips had touched, and she can’t help but be embarrassed as she shuffles out of people’s ways and unlocks the door to her car. She’s being silly. Quinn’s tongue has literally been in her mouth, and yet she is freaking out over one little kiss on the cheek? What was wrong with her? It was absolutely nothing. But it was nothing that Quinn did on her own volition, not because that’s what Emery was supposed to do, or because Delilah had called for it. Quinn had kissed her cheek because she had wanted to, and Rachel was losing her mind about it.

Immediately her first thought is to call Jesse, and so she does just that. It rings once, twice, and then, “What’s up, Rach?” he says calmly.

“Quinn Fabray just kissed me,”

“Uh, yeah? That’s kind of your job,” Jesse says absently.

“No, like I dropped her off at the subway and she just kissed me, Jess,” Rachel says, and she knows she shouldn’t put it like that but she has a right to be dramatic.

“Rachel, are you serious? Because that’s fucking big, given that you are hugely in love with her,” he responds.

Rachel blushes, she knows it’s true, she loves everything about Quinn, and well, these last few weeks doing everything with her has been fantastic, and it’s felt more real than any of her relationships in the last seven years, but she can’t help but be embarrassed. She had to go and fall in love with her co-star. “Well…” Rachel begins, “it wasn’t on the lips.”

“Rachel Barbra Berry. I know you did not call me freaking out over a kiss on the cheek from the girl who you have passionately made out with everyday for the last few weeks,” Jesse says.

Rachel is silent for a moment.

“Oh Rach, you got it bad,” he says, and she knows he’s right.

“It’s just… it’s the first time since we practice kissed that she touched me without it being part of the show, and I don’t know, it really felt like something,” Rachel pouts.

Jesse sighs. “I know Rachel, I get it. But I also think you should make a move.”

“Nope. Not happening,”

Rachel swears she can hear him rolling his eyes. “What are the two of you doing tonight?” he asks, and she can’t decide whether or not him knowing she’s spending the night with Quinn excites her or fills her with dread.

“We’re going to Mercedes and Santana’s show tonight,” she says.

“Ooh, a fitting date location,”

“Don’t taunt me, St. James,” she mutters, “anyways, I have to get home to get ready, so… bye.”

He laughs. “Bye Rach!”

•¥•

Quinn arrives at the gig location early, with her friends, mostly because if she had to stay home for another hour just waiting to leave, she might lose her mind. Her recent discovery that she was most certainly, definitely, totally in love with Rachel Berry was scaring her beyond belief, so she figured it’d be best if she was distracted by Santana and Mercedes’s constant bickering, and the pacifying mediator, Brittany.

This gig was a big deal for them, despite the popular single the two of them were still relatively unknown, and this club was important for the local music scene, good exposure. Santana had been so stressed about it this week, she had snapped at Quinn upwards of thirty-two times. Quinn knew it’d go well for them, but she can’t be so sure about her date-not-date with Rachel. She knows this is just another night out for them, another bonding session between her and her co-star so they can have that perfect chemistry Delilah so craves, but Quinn suddenly wants it to be more. She finds herself wanting to hold Rachel’s hand again, to kiss her for real, to be something more with her. It’s what possessed her to kiss Rachel’s cheek when they parted that afternoon, despite her own better discretion. It scares her, because really, when has she ever liked someone, especially someone she couldn’t have. Ever since she came out, she just dated around, nothing was real, nothing was lasting, but these feelings for Rachel, they were something more than just attraction. God, she was fucking terrified.

“You okay Q?” Brittany asks, shaking her from her thoughts.

“Uh, yeah,” Quinn responds, but she knows Brittany sees right through her.

“If you say so,” Brittany says, right as Quinn’s phone vibrates.

Quickly she pulls it out to see, and sure enough, a text from Rachel lights up her lockscreen.

I’m here, where are you?

Quinn looks up from the message to the time, and oh god, it really is almost eight pm, the time her and Rachel were supposed to meet.

One second, I’ll meet you at the bar? She texts back.

Sounds good!

Quinn takes a deep breath and tries to steel her nerves. “Guys, Rach is here so I’m gonna go meet her, you’re gonna kick butt, good luck,” she says, wandering away before she even hears a response.

She reaches the bar before Rachel, and she’s not sure if that’s a blessing or a curse, because she gets to watch Rachel strut over from the entrance. She watches Rachel’s hips move, and sees that sinfully short skirt that shows off tan legs, and god, she can feel her mouth going dry. Rachel looks so good it’s hard to believe Quinn hadn't fallen in love with her the moment she saw her again in that coffee shop. Rachel strides right up to Quinn, seating herself on a stool at the bar, and turning to look at her before saying, “Hi,” Rachel says, and her voice and her face are just as gorgeous as her legs, and Quinn knows she’s absolutely fucked.

“Hey,” Quinn says, trying to drag her eyes away from Rachel for even a second, “you ready to see an awesome show?”

Rachel smiles, “Yes! I haven’t seen Mercedes and Santana perform since high school, I am so excited to see what they are up to. I am sure they’re fantastic.”

Quinn nods, “They are, they really work well together up there.”

“Well I imagine they would, I remember their performance of River Deep, Mountain High,” Rachel says.

God, it had been a long time since Quinn had thought about Glee Club, and those performances, “Oh boy, Sam and I won that for Lucky, didn’t we?”

Rachel laughs, “Yeah. Did you know Finn and I blew that on purpose to give Sam the confidence to stay in glee club?”

“Of course you did,” Quinn groans, “your performance was just awful.”

“A success then,” And she says it with such confidence Quinn’s heart bounces a little, catching in her throat.

Quinn’s about to respond when the lights dim a bit, and a humming sound starts from the speakers, indicating the show’s about to start. Thank god, honestly, because Quinn wasn’t sure if she was about to say something she might regret. Santana comes out from backstage first, she plays first, as Mercedes’s opening act, then Mercedes goes, and then Santana comes out and they do their popular single last. It was the way they’d done it for every show in the last year or so, and it would be the same today.

Santana starts to sing, and it seems that Rachel is completely wrapped up in it, from the moment she begins. Quinn’s heard this song a thousand times, she’s heard it sung from the shower, she’s heard sung while Santana makes dinner, she’s heard Brittany sing it, and she’s heard it sung in shows like this more times than she can count, but the mesmerized look on Rachel’s face makes Quinn feel almost like she’s hearing it for the first time. Just the pure way Rachel was experiencing it made her heart warm, which makes her scared again because god how does she have it this bad already?

Santana finishes the song, and Rachel intakes a breath, like she hadn't been breathing for the whole performance. “Did she write that?” Rachel whispers, almost reverent.

Quinn nods, “She got home from her honeymoon with Britt and she skipped all her classes to write that, she didn’t let anyone other than Brittany talk to her for like a week while perfecting it,” Quinn says, as she watches Santana adjust and begin the next song, “it was kind of insane.”

“Wow,” Rachel says, and Quinn didn’t even know Rachel Berry could sound that soft, “she wrote that and when we asked for original songs in junior year she wrote Trouty Mouth.”

Quinn laughs out loud at that, but she knows why Santana hadn't done it then, “I guess she hadn’t found the right muse yet,”
Rachel looks at her then, smiling a pensive half smile Quinn really couldn’t decipher the meaning of if she tried. “Who knew you were such a romantic, Quinn Fabray,” she says, like she’s just solved an impossible puzzle. Again, Quinn has no idea what it means.

Santana transitions then into a faster part of the song, and Rachel’s face breaks into a grin. “Would you like to dance?”

Quinn nods and Rachel grabs her by the hand dragging her to the floor. All Quinn can think is god, this girl is gonna be the death of her.

•¥•

Rachel pulls Quinn onto the dance floor, tugging her that much closer to her as they arrive. She watches the look on Quinn’s face, and notices her flush a little when they’re mere inches away, and she wonders what the hell that could mean. She decides that Quinn probably just isn’t used to closeness, ignoring how they are close everyday, and raises her hand above her head, turning Quinn into a little spin.

Quinn smiles at her, at the goofy little dance move and uses their interlocked hands to pull Rachel against her. Rachel holds back a squeak as they come together. They’ve been this close before, obviously, but not by their own fruition, not because Quinn wants to be this close, and it almost sends Rachel into a frenzy. She doesn’t have a clue what is going on or what she’s supposed to do, all she knows is that she likes it when Quinn’s hands let go of hers and drop to her waist. “Is this okay?” Quinn whispers, and it’s so close to her ear Rachel can feel her breath, she is literally going to die.

“Yep, definitely,” Rachel says, because well, she isn’t going to say no to something like this.

Quinn nods happily and rocks them a bit, to the time of the music, but it’s speeding up, and Rachel doesn’t think it’s really conducive to this type of dancing, so she takes a chance. She moves her own hands to her waist, pulling Quinn’s away, shooting her a reassuring look to know she didn’t do anything wrong, and using their hands to spin her around.

Rachel’s back situates against Quinn’s chest, and just the feeling nearly takes Rachel’s breath away. They haven’t even started dancing yet and Rachel’s going to die. If you had asked Rachel Berry in sophomore year who she thought would kill her, the top of the list probably would’ve been Quinn Fabray, but she never thought it would be like this. She could’ve predicted poisonous slushie or pushed down the stairs or an actual physical fight in the hallway, but she certainly never would’ve guessed that she would’ve lost the ability to breathe with Quinn’s torso pressed against her back. Quinn seems to have had a similar reaction, because she’s gone awfully still. Rachel wonders what that means. “Still okay?” Rachel says her voice just a little bit louder because her words are no longer going straight into Quinn’s ear.

Rachel feels Quinn nod against the side of her head and hears the curt, “yeah.”

She takes that as an encouragement and starts dancing. She moves her hips against Quinn’s to the beat of the music, and when Quinn moves back, rolling her hips, Rachel’s knees almost buckle. First Quinn kills her and then she renders her legs useless. What next? Is Quinn gonna steal her singing voice?

They dance like that for god knows how long, Quinn grasping Rachel’s hip with one hand, her other hand wrapped entirely around Rachel’s. They’re so caught up in themselves they really don’t notice anything around them, they don’t notice the changing dancers surrounding them, they barely notice when a guy bumps into them, they don’t even notice when Santana switches to Mercedes. Rachel can barely think of anything other than the feeling of Quinn’s hips rocking against her. It’s mind blowing, and she’d certainly think she was dying again if this wasn’t totally and completely invigorating.

The only thing that cracks them out of their little world is Santana coming out for their final song. The atmosphere completely changes when she does, the music thrumming from the speakers slowing, just a piano playing softly. Rachel never would’ve thought that Mercedes and Santana’s big single would be a slow song. She finds it feels a little odd dancing like this to a song with this beat and tempo, so Rachel goes to turn herself, but Quinn raises their hands and spins her again, wrapping her arms around her waist.

Now, instead of feeling Quinn’s hips, she can see those deep hazel eyes, and they’re clouded with something Rachel can’t quite decipher, but she thinks she really likes it, especially when Quinn shyly looks down for a moment, and then back up again, eyes shining with whatever it was. Rachel just listens to the music, swaying as her eyes never leave Quinn’s and god, she is so far gone it’s not even funny. The woman standing in front of her, arms wrapped around her waist, was certainly someone Rachel was deeply in love with. She wasn’t sure she’d ever felt like this before. “Good song, hey?” Quinn whispers, her voice barely heard over the music.

Rachel just nods, her eyes drifting from Quinn’s own eyes to her lips, and she thinks briefly about how easy it would be to just lean a little up and a little forward and connect their lips like they’d done during rehearsals a hundred times over. She wonders how Quinn would react, if she’d shove her away, if she’d kiss back. It’s then that she sees Quinn looking just a little down too, but it’s such a miniscule action she doesn’t know if she’s imagining it. Rachel just wants to take this chance, so she leans in and — “Hey guys!” A familiar voice calls out just to the left of them. Brittany.

The song comes to an end seconds after Brittany’s words, and Rachel’s kicking herself for not making the move sooner. “Looks like you’re having fun,” Brittany says, almost suggestively.

Rachel has no idea what that means, but Brittany always has kind of stumped her, so she just nods and regrettably steps away from Quinn. “Is there a reason you’re here Britt?” Quinn asks, sounding almost angry.

Brittany shakes her head. “Not really, I just thought I’d see what you were up to, Santana’s gonna be getting ready to go home soon, so I’m gonna be bored,” she says and Quinn nods, like this is something she does often.

“Yeah, uh, of course,” Quinn says, looking at Rachel, “look, I think we’re gonna head home, tell San and Cedes they were great and I’ll call them both tomorrow.”

Brittany frowns a little, but nods. “Will do,” she says, turning to go but then turning back like she forgot something, a small grin forming on her face, “Nice to see you Rachel.”

“You too Britt, tell Santana I think her songwriting is incredible,” she responds.

Brittany looks almost cocky, nodding once again and leaving Rachel and Quinn on the emptying dance floor. “Your place isn’t far from here is it?” Quinn asks, and Rachel wonders how she remembers that, given she’s never been to Rachel’s place before.

“Yeah,” she says, making eye contact with that gorgeous hazel, “you wanna walk me home?”

Quinn nods. “After you my lady,”

Rachel laughs at that, walking through the bar, out the door and to the left where her apartment was. “Good show?” Quinn asks, as they emerge into the cool New York air.

Rachel doesn’t remember anything about the music from the moment she folded into Quinn’s front till she spun them, bringing them face to face. She wishes she had, because well, she’d been eager to watch her two high school classmates perform, but as it turns out, another classmate had left her completely distracted. “It was wonderful,” she decides on after a moment, “but that was to be expected, I knew how talented they both are.”

“Well true,” Quinn says, “but they have grown a lot.”

Does Quinn want her to talk about the music? Was she not as enthralled as Rachel was in the dancing or is it just small talk? She doesn’t know at all what to say, so she nods and says nothing.

They walk in considerable silence, not awkward, just quiet, and within a few minutes, they stand at Rachel’s door. “I had a really good night,” Rachel says, watching her feet.

“Me too,” Quinn says, and Rachel raises her eyes just enough to see Quinn’s eyes drag down to her lips.

She wonders again what would happen if she just took that step, but she knows she can’t, not while they’re costars, not when she doesn’t really know how Quinn feels, if all this was just instincts from getting into her character. Quinn was a phenomenal actress after all. “Right, Good night,” Rachel says after a moment, catching the almost disappointed look on Quinn’s face. She wishes more than anything to be able to decode that, but she hasn’t the slightest idea what it means, again.

The confusing look disappears then, replaced with a goofy half smile. “Night Rachel,” she says, pressing a kiss to her cheek in the same fashion she had done earlier today.

It was just as confusing.

Stepping into her apartment, Rachel falls back against the door. Quinn Fabray was a mystery, and god did she ever want to solve it.