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Rachel wonders how the hell did it get to this point, getting shipped off to a secluded island who-knows-where.

(She totally knows where it is, down to the exact coordinates, but she likes being dramatic, so hush.)

“You’ve been charged with stalking, harassment, and trespassing on private property.”

Ah yes, that’s how. 

Thank you so much for reminding her, dear father, or in this case, lawyer, and to which she really wants to raise attention to the fact that he’s being a really sucky one right now. Or when he was negotiating the terms of her contract to get out of this without jail time. Or honestly, all the damn time.

They’re standing on the docks, waiting for her new boss to arrive. They had just got off the ferry a while ago, and Rachel’s bags had already been shipped over yesterday, so she’s free to throw a diva tantrum as she pleases, listening to her dad explain the situation to her…again…for the seventeenth time. (Yes, she’s been counting.)

“-thankfully, his younger daughter asked him not to press charges and instead make you her assistant at her lab for two months-”

“Two months, eight days, and two hours,” Rachel feels the need to cut in, “and there’s nothing to be thankful for about sending your daughter to do experiments on poor, poor Pokémon who should be thriving in the wild peacefully, especially when I have plenty of showcases I should be preparing for!”

“Well, someone should’ve thought of that before she decided to snoop around the office of Sliph Co.’s CEO.” Leroy glares pointedly at her. “Ten minutes, Rachel, I leave you for ten minutes and just like that, poof, you’re gone, and then a few hours later, I get a call from the police station!”

Okay, so maybe she shouldn’t have broken in, and maybe she shouldn’t have followed him home, but it wasn’t her fault! She blames the hidden camera and the maybe not-so-subtle floppy hat. Rest assured, she was never visiting that boutique again.

The brunette baulks, very much indignant. “But dad, he was so obviously mistreating his Pokémon! I’ve never seen a Charmeleon with a tail that dim, and-”

“Nope, I’m not hearing any more of this.” Leroy holds up his hand for silence. “You’re going to go this lab, be nice to the woman who got you out of jail, make her your patented ‘Thank You’ Cookies, and do whatever assistant-ly duties you have to do for two months. Okay?”

“Fine,” Rachel grumbles, crossing her arms tighter against her chest. “But if she turns out to be a deranged psycho serial killer, my ghost will be coming back to haunt and guilt you for ridding the world of my irreplaceable talent for the rest of your existence, thank you very much.”

“I sure hope not,” a husky voice drawls from behind her, and the diva yelps, jumping in surprise. “I’d hate to be the reason why Mr. Berry has to suffer through rants about, quote unquote, deranged psycho serial killers.”

Leroy laughs in response. “Trust me, she already does that all own her own.”

Rachel, still frozen in space, slowly turns around with a deer-in-headlights look, only to come face to face with one of the most gorgeous women she has ever seen, and she nearly does a double-take.

With a white lab coat draped over a lithe form and golden blonde hair cascading over slender shoulders, the pale woman is wearing a wry smirk on her pretty features, looking thoroughly amused with her hands tucked in her pockets.

The light sea breeze washing over them, the blonde looks relaxed and confident, an almost-indifferent air to her demeanor, and Rachel has to blink, not quite comprehending the sight before her.

Russell Fabray was well-known to be a proud and hard-faced man, and even more well-known for the shady business practices that he had used to build his empire in the form of Silph Co., and Rachel had expected his daughter to be no different.

The only thing that she really knew about her was that that the blonde was one of the most influential Pokémon doctors slash professors on the scene, and that didn’t really go over well with Rachel before, having seen too many cases of Pokémon mistreatment in the name of science to count.

But somehow, Rachel doesn’t get that impression from the Fabray heiress standing before her.

It’s probably way too early to judge, but she thinks that it’s in the way that the doctor carries herself, with poise and yet tranquil at the same time, and it’s in the way that Rachel sees the edge of pink lips quirk into a small smile, radiating genuine kindness.

(And also it’s maybe a tiny little bit because of the fact that the woman before her is like, the prettiest person she’s ever laid eyes on, and Rachel’s always had a weakness for pretty girls.)

Expressive hazel eyes look upon her intently, and the (stunningly beautiful) woman introduces herself, voice in a low hum. “I’m Quinn.”

Her gaze quickly rakes over Rachel’s petite form, as if appraising her, and she asks, “I presume you’re my new assistant?”

Rachel nods in a way that could only be described as frantic, and in realization of that, a sheepish smile makes its way onto her face. “Yes, yes I am,” she confirms, biting her lip, and even though Quinn likely knows her name, she still rushes to add, “I’m- I’m Rachel. Rachel Berry.”

“Charmed.” Quinn smiles at her, a small little quirk at the edge of her lips, and Rachel feels herself go weak at the knees. Oh god, no, this isn’t happening right now. Bad Rachel, no! she mentally berates herself, recognizing that fluttering feeling in her stomach all too well.

“Wow, I’ve never seen her this quiet since the day she learnt how to make full sentences,” Leroy snickers from next to them, and Rachel huffs as he continues, “you have you give me your secret Doctor Fabray, it’ll save me countless of hours listening to her fits.”

“Dad!” She resists the urge to stomp her foot, and it earns a chuckle from Quinn.

“Trade secrets I’m afraid, and you can just call me Quinn.” The doctor’s lips quirk up in amusement, before she brings up, “I’m just quickly going to go through what Rachel has to do during her stay here, is that okay?”

Leroy and Rachel agree to it easily (Rachel otherwise too preoccupied with blocking out thoughts of how pretty Quinn is, because dammit Rachel, she’s your new boss for Barbra’s sake!), and Quinn smiles in satisfaction.

“So in all honesty, all of this was really just an excuse to placate Russell and get him to drop the lawsuit, so you don’t really have to help much,” the blonde explains, “basically Rachel just has to follow me around and do whatever, and of course we’ve already made suitable accommodations for her. That arrangement cool with you guys?”

“…You don’t lock Pokémon in cages and treat them like lab-rats right?” Rachel asks wearily, a skeptical look to her eye, and Leroy elbows her side, making her narrow her eyes in indignance. “What? I was just asking a question!”

“It’s a valid one,” Quinn agrees, her look turning steely. “I’ve certainly seen my fair share of labs that don’t adhere to Pokémon treatment laws.”

For a second, Quinn looks almost pained, as if she’s reliving faded memories, and Rachel feels guilty for bringing it up in the first place, knowing that being the daughter of Russell Fabray probably has treated her to many a sight.

She’s about to change the topic when Quinn continues, “But yeah, our facility is mostly for medical purposes. We find injured Pokémon, care for them back to health, and from the data we collect, we research new types of medicine and healthcare for them. That way, we can prevent diseases and illnesses from happening beforehand, and we’ll have more efficient and comfortable ways to heal Pokémon.”

As she speaks, the passion on her face is clear, and it’s undeniable that she loves her work, a telling shift in her eyes. It’s almost contagious, and Rachel finds her lips morph into a smile of her own.

“Sounds like you’re doing some good work.” Leroy evidentially feels it too, judging by his grin, and he hums, “Plus, didn’t you win like seven awards last year, for your research on burned grass-type Pokémon or something?”

At this, Quinn flushes a light pink, and she dismisses, “It was nothing. The effects on burns on grass-types and how it harms them in the long term without proper treatment is something that obviously has been an issue for some time – I’m surprised no one had properly researched it before I did, actually – and plus, I just focused on the ‘how’s, with not many solutions suggested.”

“But at least you’re now one step closer,” Rachel finds herself speaking up, unable to hold her words in. “Answers are only ever gotten if you ask the right questions.”

Quinn seems almost taken aback at this, blinking, and Rachel watches as something in the blonde’s gaze change, shifting into that one of respect as she throws Rachel a half-smile. “You’re a smart one, huh?”

“I guess I am.” Rachel blushes, and really she’s your new fucking boss, stop getting stupidly flustered!

Even though Quinn is only going to be her boss for two months, eight days, and two hours. And Rachel really wouldn’t mind being bossed around by Quinn. At all.

But still, Quinn just screams straight-girl, and Rachel shoves all of those traitorous thoughts into the back of her head, because she does not need another heartbreak.

“-anyway, I wanted to thank you for telling your dad to drop the charges,” she tunes back into Leroy saying, “shortie here would not have been able to withstand prison.”

At that, Rachel pouts, a long tirade already on the edge of her tongue, and Quinn shrugs. “Call me Quinn. And it was nothing…Russell seemed all too eager to get back into my good graces anyway.”

The last part is spoken bitterly to herself, and clearly not meant for them. Rachel feels her chest do a weird sort of constricting feeling at the implications, and Leroy clears his throat. “But still, thank you. I’ve got to catch the ferry now, but I’ll call later to see if Rachel has managed to cause trouble already. See you in two months honey, be good for Quinn, okay?”

Rachel gives a yelp of affirmative, and just like that, he dashes off, leaving Rachel basically stranded on an unknown island with the prettiest woman she has ever met. This was going to be torture. And speaking of which, said woman is now right in front of her, warm breath ghosting over the diva’s neck. “Yeah, be good for Quinn.”

Rachel turns as red as a tomato, heating up, and Quinn throws her head back with a soft laugh, turning around to walk away at a leisurely pace, hips swaying. “It was such a pleasure meeting you, Berry. Hurry up, wouldn’t want to keep a girl waiting, would we?”

Still blushing profusely, Rachel scrambles after her, already dreading the next two months, eight days, and two hours. Sweet, sweet torture indeed.

 

x.X.x

 

“So, um,” Rachel starts as Quinn revs up the engine, and she fidgets in her seat, on edge in a way that’s foreign to her usually confident and assured ways. What the hell is going on with her?

“Yeah?” Quinn quirks a brow at her, and the flutter of Rachel’s heart at the action certainly serves as a good enough reminder.

The woman sitting next to her is like the most perfectly perfect person she’s ever seen!

Her fingers tap against her seat in a show of anxiousness, and she berates herself for it, forcing her body to relax. “I just- I just wanted to thank you for telling your father to let me go,” she finally settles on, hoping that the words she’s spewing out actually make sense.

“Contrary to my behavior earlier, I am grateful for being able to avoid jail time on my resumé, as I’m quite sure that any potential employers will not take it as a sign of Pokémon kindness, even with my amazing performing skills and obviously superior nature of heart,” she says all in one breath, not even sure herself what’s going on, “and really it would’ve been a shame for my immense talent to be unused, especially when this year’s Kalos showcase is almost coming up and I simply cannot let my title be taken away by another, and-”

She clamps her mouth shut. “…I’m rambling, aren’t I?”

“You are a bit, yeah,” Quinn hums with a light laugh, and Rachel goes beet red in embarrassment.

“I’m so sorry,” she yelps. “I just sometimes – or well, all the time, I’ve been told – have a tendency to ramble a lot when I’m nervous or uncomfortable, and I- Wait, not that you make me feel uncomfortable, you’ve actually being quite welcoming so far and you’ve been nothing but kind, but- oh god I’m doing it again, aren’t I?”

She practically wails the last part out as she tries to find a hole to bury her mortified self in and die, but Quinn just continues to smile at her with an amused edge of her lips, and the blonde shakes her head as she notes, “You’re cute.”

“Thank…you?” Rachel sounds out, sounding like she’s being strangled, and she squirms in her seat. Rachel, keep your cool dammit!

“Mm,” Quinn replies, an intent look in her gaze. “But Pokémon performer, huh? You seem like the type, though I haven’t been to a showcase in almost five years I think.”

Before Rachel can properly analyze that though, the blonde is continuing, a gleam to her eyes. “But on another note,” she drawls, the coy smirk on her face doing nothing to settle Rachel’s nerves, “you say you ramble when you’re nervous or uncomfortable, huh? And since the latter one has been crossed off the list…Do I make you nervous, Rachel?”

This time, the implications come through as easy as day, and she turns even redder if it’s possible, shrinking back into her seat as if it would shield her from Quinn’s teasing laugh.

“We’re going to have a lot of fun together, aren’t we?”

Yeah, Rachel internally grumbles, not sure whether to scorn or love the insistent fluttering in her chest. Fun.

 

x.X.x

 

The rest of the car ride to the lab is mostly silent, with Rachel coming up with contingency plan after contingency plan (because Quinn already seems to be treating this as a game, and Rachel Barbra Berry does not like losing) and the young doctor content to watch her through the rear-view mirror.

When they reach the lab, Quinn unbuckles her seatbelt and nudges the brunette’s side. “Rachel, we’re here. Come on, I’ll show you around.”

Rachel is snapped out of her reverie if only because her name falling from someone’s lips has never sounded so good, and she beams at Quinn before getting out of the car, jaw dropping in wonder at the sight that greets her.

The lab is partially built into the hillside, extending to the lake nearby, and an elevator pokes out the roof of the lab, sticking to the hillside all the way to the top and cleverly designed to look like a chimney.

From her position at the foot of the hill, the diva barely makes out a house on the top, and there seems to be a biome of essentially every type nearby aside for the extremely hot and extremely cold ones, with all sorts of Pokémon loitering around, happily munching on grass and the like.

It’s a sight to see, and Rachel takes it all in with awed eyes. “Quinn, did you do all this?” she asks, and in response, Quinn’s form shifts slightly.

“I just drew up the blueprints and stuff.” The blonde shrugs, eyes trained elsewhere.

Not having any of it, Rachel turns to Quinn and smiles. “It’s amazing.”

Flushing, Quinn mumbles an almost inaudible “thank you”, clearly uncomfortable with the praise, and that’s the end of that, as she offers, “Shall we start with the grand tour then?”

If Quinn didn’t look so out-of-her-depth, Rachel would probably push more – because this is nothing like the suave woman that she had met at the docks, and she’s quickly decided that she doesn’t like it – so the brunette instead braves a small smile, unsure what to make of the flutter in her chest. “We shall.”

(She doesn’t want to admit it to herself, but it sure seems an awfully like hope.)

 

x.X.x

 

For next half an hour, Quinn shows her around the lab and all the essential rooms, and while Rachel is happy to see the great living environments Pokémon are provided, it’s kind of hard to concentrate on what the doctor is saying, Quinn too close in proximity for her brain to function properly.

Because like, is someone supposed to smell this pretty? And seriously, how the hell can someone smell pretty, it’s like, totally unfair and impossible, but of course, Quinn Fabray defies that.

She’s still trying to ignore how pretty Quinn is when the blonde asks, “Any questions?”

Trying to act like she’s actually processed more than three words in the past ten minutes, she searches her brain for something that’s somewhat eloquent to say, but she comes up short, and when Quinn simply continues to look at her expectantly, she blurts out the first thing that comes to mind.

“Do you have an elliptical?”

There’s two beats of silence, with Rachel mentally facepalming fifty times over and inwardly berating herself, and then, Quinn is bemusedly replying, “We have them in the gym. Why’d you ask?”

Rachel instantly turns beet red. “Nothing!”

At her startled expression, Quinn laughs. “You sure about that?”

“Yep,” Rachel says as bops her head up and down in a frenzy. “Totally fine. A-okay. Just great.”

“Mm, sure,” Quinn chuckles, and Rachel just shrinks back further into herself, mortified. “I totally believe that.”

“I just- I just wanted to ask, since I like upholding my rigorous elliptical exercise in the morning,” she finally brings herself to explain, hoping to gain at least some measure of face back. “Pokémon performing is quite a strenuous job, and it requires me to stay in shape.”

“Oh, definitely strenuous…and I bet you have all the muscles, don’t you?” Quinn questions teasingly, and Rachel blushes even harder.

Oh, my god, she silently mouths to herself, and she’s about to find a hole somewhere to crawl and die in when she feels something crash against her side, causing her to look down in curiosity as the moment is put behind her.

A Quilava peers back up at her, inquisitive eyes shining, and it rubs its head. “Quil?” it seems to ask.

“Quill!” Quinn’s eyes flash with recognition. “Rachel, this is Quill.”

Rachel smiles at the Pokémon, bending down to pet his head. “Hi Quill,” she greets, “I’m Rachel.”

In reply, the Pokémon beams back at her, and Rachel gushes, “Aw, he’s so cute Quinn, where’d you find him?”

Quinn slightly frowns at the mention of his origins before shaking her head. “He was Russell’s idea of a birthday present when I was twelve. Poor thing was malnourished when I got him. But you’re all better now, aren’t you?”

Quill yaps happily, jumping into Quinn’s arms, and Rachel takes in the scene before her, feeling a pang of something, but it disappears in a flash, interrupted by a loud voice from the doorway.

“Oi, get back here you little weasel!” A woman barges in, scowling with blazing eyes, and she looks to Quinn as she demands, “Hand him over.”

It seems to be a common occurrence around here, because the blonde doesn’t even bat an eyelash as she asks, voice fond, “What’d he do this time?”

“He burnt my favorite shirt!” the woman snaps as she narrows her eyes at Quill, who’s cheekily waving his butt at her. “And he’s gonna pay.”

She lunges for him, but he’s too fast, dodging out of her grasp at the last second. Soon, the brunette is chasing him around the room, and Rachel looks on with horrified eyes. “Oh my god, is she going to hurt him?”

Quinn laughs, not even deeming it worthy enough to reply, and turning back to the scene before them, she shouts, “If anything breaks, it’s coming out of your paycheck, Santana!”

“Oh please, like you even pay me in the first place,” Santana retorts, finally rounding Quill into a corner. “Now I’ve got you!”

Quill makes a sound that resembles a cackle, and he emits a smokescreen, causing Santana to cough violently. When it clears, he’s nowhere to be seen, with only the end tail of a mocking laugh remaining.

“That little – I swear one of these days I’m going to skin him alive, goddamn weasel.”

Santana’s still mumbling to herself when Quinn clears her throat, and the Latina finally notices Rachel, looking to her with a raised brow. “Huh, who’s the midget?”

Rachel is not amused, and indignant, she huffs, a rant already on the tip of her tongue. “I’ll have you know that being vertically challenged is-”

“Oh I like her,” Santana snorts, cutting her off, and she turns to Quinn with her lips curled into something resembling a smirk. “Where’d you pick her up Q? I thought you were done with your serial dater phase. You could’ve chosen someone with a little more fashion sense though; that sweater? Nuh uh.”

Rachel barely stops a sharp retort at that, and instead of focusing on the endless stream of insults from what the diva is starting to accept as part of the Latina’s personality, she directs her attention to the fact that Quinn was apparently a serial dater, causing an irrational urge of jealousy to surge up within her.

Swallowing down the bile building up in her throat, she prompts, “Quinn?”

In response, the blonde smiles sheepishly. “I had a few…problems when I first questioned my sexuality.”

“If by a few problems you mean the biggest case of gay panic ever, then sure,” Santana drawls dryly, and when Rachel tilts her head, she elaborates, “blondie dated a new girl every week to spite Russell after locking herself in her room for a week. Comedy gold, I say.”

“And because he kicked me out and came back begging for forgiveness after mom divorced him, he had to deal with it.” Quinn shrugs, with a slight smirk on her face, and Rachel really shouldn’t find it as attractive as she does.

“Wait,” she says though, as her eyebrows furrow in confusion. “I don’t quite understand the full picture here.”

At that, Santana’s eyes gleam, and Rachel almost regrets asking as the Latina props herself up on a table, as if gearing herself up for a long story.

“Oh, I love retelling this,” Santana snickers, lips quirked. “So, Quinn had this boyfriend in high school, Sam. Trouty mouth could’ve used a better haircut, but he was pretty hot, and the quarterback of the football team too, so any girl would’ve wanted to date him, if only for the popularity perks. But les-bi-honest here? Every time she kissed him, she came away looking like she had just licked a Muk, and it was absolutely hilarious watching her in unicorn-denial land, our lil baby gay.”

Quinn makes a little growl in the back of her throat in response to that – which, shit, turns on Rachel a lot more than she’s willing to admit – and Santana flips her off with a playful roll of eyes.

“Anyway,” she continues pointedly, laughing when Quinn lets out an exasperated groan, “back then, she had a banging hot friend called Mack. It was pretty obvious Mack liked her, well, except for Miss I-have-no-gaydar, so one day at her house Mack kissed her out of the blue. It made Quinn feel all the-”

“Yep, thank you for that wonderful retelling of one of the most horrific experiences of my life San,” Quinn scowls, cutting Santana off, “but I’ll take it from here.”

Rachel giggles, ignoring the growing pit of jealousy of Mack in her stomach, and is rewarded with Quinn slightly smiling.

“So I didn’t actually like Mack,” the blonde explains, “but she was a good kisser, and I figured out that I was gay.” Here, Quinn gains a bit of a blush, and Rachel has to work to stomp down her feelings of envy. “After she kissed me though, I kinda freaked out, and pulled back just to see Russell staring at us, fuming.”

“And then he kicked you out?” Rachel still feels the need to ask, because she can’t comprehend the fact that someone could’ve been so heartless as to kick out their own daughter, no matter what their views were.

“He kicked me out,” the young doctor confirms, smiling self-depreciatingly. “I was still in denial mode so I didn’t really react. It was only till I was standing in front of Santana’s house with my bags that I started to freak out.”

“And then she became a hobo for a week, serial dated a bunch of chicks, moved back in with her mom, went to college and got a Med degree, accepted Russell’s apology and most importantly, his money so she could build this place, and the rest is too boring for me to narrate.”

“Even the part where I helped you get your head out of your ass and propose to Britt?” Quinn sardonically asks, quirking her lips.

“Okay, maybe not that part,” Santana mumbles. “Speaking of which, where’s my Britts anyway?”

“Beats me. Maybe with Kurt?” the blonde suggests. “I still have to introduce Rachel to them, so we can head to the east wing now.”

Santana hums her approval and struts off, calling as she leaves, “Don’t do it on the table bitches, I’ve got it reserved for me and Britbrit!”

Yelping, Rachel jumps off the table she’s leaning on, and Quinn laughs. “I’m pretty sure they’ve done it everywhere at this point, and I remember catching them at it right where you’re at last week.”

It only serves to make her even more alarmed, and she crashes into the blonde in her haste to get away from, well, the ground.

Quinn’s arms come to envelope Rachel’s small form to stabilize her, and Rachel finds herself buried into the doctor’s neck, arms pressed up against Quinn’s chest and collarbone awkwardly as she grabs onto strong shoulders.

“Sorry!” she yelps, face red with embarrassment, and when she realizes the position they’re in, she just colors even more as she jerks away.

Quinn, for her part, simply chuckles in amusement, a fond look in her eyes, and she asks, “You okay there?”

“Just great,” Rachel mutters under her breath, and fortunately, she’s saved by a loud crash from a few rooms over, followed by a loud, “Oi! You fuckin’ weasel!”

“Who do you think will break something first, Quill or Santana?” Quinn quirks up a brow.

“Both?” Rachel shrugs, biting her lip, and she doesn’t miss the way that hazel eyes trace the movement, making her heart speed up and her mouth dry.

She almost thinks that she had imagined it, but then Quinn is humming in a low tone, and the flirty note of it can’t be mistaken, causing a pesky flutter of hope to spark to life in Rachel’s chest.

“Well, no matter the case, I’ll be here to help clean it up,” she says, before a flash of confidence surges through her, and Rachel lets the corner of her lips quirk up in a slight smirk. “Because according to our contract, I’m now your dutiful assistant, Doctor Fabray, obligated to help you with whatsoever you desire.”

Quinn’s eyes gleam at her with promise full in emerald and green starbursts, and the blonde’s voice dips into an almost-purr with her next words. “Oh, there are so many things you can help me with.”

There’s no denying that Quinn is actually flirting with her now, and Rachel feels her heart skip frantically in her ribcage, a giddiness erupting in her stomach that causes an insistent smile to dawn on her face.

She doesn’t know Quinn all that well yet, but she wants to, and that’s what makes everything all the more worth it as Quinn laughs softly at another loud bang, reverberating through the halls. “Let’s go make sure Quill doesn’t die, yeah? He’d put up a good fight, but Santana’s a ruthless little bitch, and I’d rather like my efforts in nourishing him back to health to not go to waste, thanks.”

Rachel just gives a little sound of acknowledgement as a reply, still drawn with memorizing every inch of Quinn’s perfect facial features, and the blonde nudges her gently to snap her out of her daze.

It causes her to let out a sigh, just wanting to stay in this perfect quiet for a lifetime, and with a slight reluctance, she asks, “Why can’t we stay here forever?”

“Because we had an awesome meet-cute and we need to have a day befitting of it,” Quinn supplies without a beat, and Rachel huffs dramatically, pushing down the way her heart speeds up at the words, Quinn’s smile making butterflies erupt in her stomach.

“If you insist,” she says, drawing a long heaving breath, and Quinn lets out a light laugh.

“I insist on a lot of things,” the blonde drawls, eyes shining and smiling at her.

Rachel sends her a bashful beam. “Then let’s see how far it’ll take us.”

 

x.X.x

 

On their way to the grooming room, they exchange stories from their childhood, with Quinn explaining why she had wanted to become a Pokémon doctor and professor, and in return, Rachel speaks of her dreams of becoming a world-famous Pokémon Performer.

Due to her father’s line of work, Quinn had been exposed to businessmen’s mistreatment of Pokémon at a young age, and as the doctor narrates passionately about the topic, Rachel can’t help but be drawn to her, completely taken with how Quinn speaks and thinks.

There’s just something about the way the blonde is so eager and avid about helping and discovering more about Pokémon that leaves Rachel breathless, and with every eloquent sentence that Quinn waxes out, she feels herself falling just a tiny bit deeper, heart seeming to burst out of her chest and seeking refuge within the blonde’s beautiful words.

In return, Rachel talks about how she’s wanted to be a Pokémon Performer even before she really knew what a Pokémon was, and she admits to Quinn that it’s only in recent years that she’s thought of using her platform to advocate for things like climate change and equality, having been more taken with the fame and recognition side of things in her early days.

“I had to leave my Braixen back home since our last showcase really tired her out,” she frowns, thinking of her diva fox back home. “Poor Braibra, I miss her so much.”

“Braibra?”

“A reference to the great Barbra Streisand.” Rachel blushes, and when Quinn doesn’t seem to know who that is, her jaw gapes open. “Wait, you mean you to tell me that you don’t know who she is?”

Quinn cracks a sheepish smile, shrugging. “I told you before, I don’t keep up much with showcases and stuff.”

“Oh, we really were fated to meet, weren’t we?” Rachel shakes her head in disbelief, and Quinn lets out a fond laugh.

The lab is humongous, corridors seeming to lead into more corridors, and by the time they get to the grooming room, it’s like she’s known the blonde for her whole life, talking and bantering with an ease that comes naturally.

She feels as if she understands Quinn just a little bit more after, just a pleasure to talk to, and she finds that she’s very much looking forward to getting to know Quinn step by step; Quinn is just so damn interesting, and Rachel hopes that she’ll get to uncover something new about her every day.

And if all goes well…hopefully more.

Right before they enter the room, Quinn pauses in her steps though, and it shakes Rachel out of her thoughts. “Fair warning, all of us together can be…a little hard to handle at times,” the blonde says, “so tell me if it’s too much and I’ll kick them all out, yeah?”

“Well, I’ve been told that I can be a little hard to handle too, so it checks out,” Rachel shrugs, heart warming up at the blonde’s thoughtfulness, and Quinn arches a brow, silently prompting her to continue.

Rachel bites her lip at the memories that pop up in her brain, and she explains, “My ex-boyfriends in high school would use the words ‘self-centered’, ‘clingy’, and ‘obnoxious’ quite frequently to describe me, and really, I can’t blame them.”

When Quinn frowns, Rachel sighs, not really proud of her high school self. “See, I was rather…focused on my performing talents back then, and I can admit that I didn’t pay as much attention to them as I could’ve, choosing rather to further my chances of getting into a prestigious performing school.”

“It’s always okay for you to put your dreams first Rachel,” Quinn says softly, an unidentifiable glint to her eyes, and she shrugs. “As far as I see it, that’s the way it should be. Performing obviously makes you happy, and that’s all your boyfriends should’ve wanted for you.”

At that, Rachel can’t quite stomp down the fluttering of her heart, and she sucks in a slow breath. “I- You-” she breathes, unable to find the right words as she looks at Quinn with wonderment. “…You’re the only one aside from my dads to ever say that to me.”

“Then your exes were dicks,” Quinn offers, a steely edge to her tone, and Rachel can’t stop her bashful grin even if she wants to.

“Boys are rather prone to bouts of insensitivity, yes,” she agrees, and Quinn’s lips quirk upwards.

“This is why I like girls so much better,” the blonde grins playfully. “Boys are gross.”

The bait is dangling right in front of her, and Rachel can’t resist taking it as she notes, voice a breathy hue, “I’m a girl.”

“You are.” Quinn nods, a little smirk in place, and Rachel feels the loud thumping in her ears beat just that little bit quicker as the blonde continues, a glint in her eye, “And I like you very much indeed.”

“You don’t know me yet,” she points out.

“Do you want to let me know you?” Quinn drawls, and Rachel works her throat, nodding her head. The smile that appears on Quinn’s face at that seems almost of that a shark’s, and she leans in, right behind Rachel’s ear. “Then I’ll have you know that I fully expect to be kissed by the end of the day.”

Rachel feels her face heat up and her body react visibly, shivers rolling through her at Quinn’s absolutely sinful tone, and she closes her eyes, unable to form proper words. Who in their right minds can English properly when they have someone as alluring as Quinn Fabray purring into their ears anyway?

But then, a shrill male voice is calling them inside, and Quinn lets out a light breath of air, puffing against Rachel’s ear as she hums, “Don’t disappoint me, Berry.”

Just like that, Quinn straightens, as if nothing had happened at all, and Rachel has to keep from making a pathetic little sound of frustration, light-headed and blood rushing.

Why did she have to go ahead and fall for the most stupidly sexy person in the world? It’s like Quinn knows how to use the move Attract to its fullest potential, and then quickly follow up with Taunt and leaving Rachel high and dry.

…Correction, she’s very much not dry. She’s actually the opposite really, if the damp feeling in her underwear is anything to go by.

Stupid Doctor Quinn Fabray and her stupidly sexy sexiness, making Rachel want to do all sorts of inappropriate things to her.

“Rachel?” Quinn prompts with an amused tone, breaking through her grumbling thoughts, and it’s laced with that little undertone of arousal that reminds Rachel that Quinn actually likes her back, and it’s what causes a large beam to appear on her face, shining and bright.

“Yes?”

“Oh good, I thought you blanked out for a second,” Quinn teases. “You seemed…very distracted.”

“I wonder why,” she mutters, and Quinn laughs as she links their arms together, heading into the grooming room.

“I’m sure looking forward to finding out,” the blonde smiles, and these two months, eight days, and one hour suddenly aren’t seeming so bad anymore.

 

x.X.x

 

“You two sure took your sweet time,” Santana snorts as they walk in, and Rachel blushes at Quinn’s smirk.

“What can I say?” The blonde shrugs. “We had…matters, to attend to.”

 “Oh I’m sure they were of great importance,” the same male voice calling them in earlier pipes up, and Rachel turns to see an arched brow and teasing eyes. “Kurt Hummel,” he introduces himself, making her let out a little sound of interest.

“The fashion designer Kurt Hummel?” she asks eagerly, curiosity piqued.

At the question, he straightens and adopts an odd sort of smugness, reminding Rachel a lot of herself. “Oh, you know me then; excellent!” he says. “But yes, I work here in grooming in return for the fancy tech Quinn gets. Designing is no primitive task, you know.”

“You missed out the part where I helped fund your first fashion line,” Quinn fills in dryly, lips quirked.

“Yeah yeah, you’re amazing and we love you,” Kurt quickly waves aside with a roll of his eyes, before turning back to Rachel. “Say, you look really familiar, who are you again?”

Casting a hesitant look at the flamboyant designer, she answers, “Rachel Berry. Pokémon performer and-”

“Three times winner of the Kalos showcase!” Kurt finishes for her with a squeal, an excited look taking over his face. “I saw you at the Blaze Blitz a few months ago, you were amazing at incorporating singing into your performance!”

A light flush appears on her neck, but Rachel basks in the praise nonetheless, beaming with pride. “Why thank you,” she says with a light laugh, before adding, “your Kurt Hummel couture is stunning as well, I’ve seen many a performer boast it.”

If it’s even possible, Kurt’s eyes light up even more, and he makes a move to further draw her into discussion about possibly working together when Santana cuts in. “Wait, hol’ up here for a sec, you’re the Kalos showcase reigning champion?”

“I am,” Rachel affirms with a smile that’s probably way too smug, and Santana barks out a laugh.

“Oh damn, I’d actually saw you at the one two years back when Brittany dragged me there. Didn’t recognize you ‘cos of your mask then, but dang Gayberry, didn’t know you had it in you!” the Latina chortles, an appraising glint in her eye. “Definitely didn’t expect the weirdo Quinn rescued from Russie-boy to be a singing and dancing weirdo.”

Huffing at Santana’s words, Rachel narrows her eyes. “I resent that; Pokémon Performing is such an intricate art you can’t possibly narrow it down to singing and dancing, it’s a bond between two kindred souls-”

“Okay, I hate to interrupt, but has everyone seriously seen Rachel perform but me?” Quinn narrows her eyes with her voice in a slight whine, and Rachel can tell that she’s keeping hard from pouting.

Biting her lip to keep in her laughter, Rachel leans closer into the doctor, tone keeping to a whisper. “Don’t worry Quinn,” she husks, voice lowered an octave. “Play your cards right, and I’ll even throw in a private performance.”

“You better hold up that end of your promise,” Quinn tries to grumble, but the breathy hue in her voice can’t be mistaken, and Rachel wants so desperately in that moment to kiss the blonde senseless, but they have an audience, so she has to physically restrain herself from moving closer.

“Oi stop eye-sexing and pay attention to me dammit!”

…A very loud and obtrusive audience, unfortunately.

“Santana, do you want me to fire you?” Quinn threatens, not even looking away from Rachel, and it results in a loud snort from the brazen woman.

“Q, I’m the one who has to do all the boring number crunching, you better think before you follow through on that,” Santana grunts, before she lets out a cheeky little grin. “And you know you love me, who else keeps Quill in check?”

At that, Quinn narrows her eyes immediately in suspicion. “What did you do with him?”

“Oh relax Q-ball,” Santana waves off, though her evil little smirk cannot be stopped. “I left him with Brittany.”

If anything, Quinn’s doubtful look just deepens, and she asks, “Where is Britts anyway?”

“Just further inside,” the Latina hums noncommittedly, a gleam in her eyes that makes Rachel doubt that immensely, before adding, almost as an afterthought, “I think he’s enjoying himself, actually.”

There’s a beat of exasperated silence, and then Quinn is sighing, “Santana, I swear-”

“He almost charred my hair!”

Letting out a grunt, Quinn simply shakes her head in fond frustration. “What on earth am I ever going to do with you two?”

“Continue feeding us maybe?” Santana doesn’t waste a beat in replying, and Quinn groans, turning to Rachel with a pout.

“See? I’ve been dealing with this every day for the past two years,” she complains, drawing Rachel into a side-hug as the brunette laughs lightly.

“Poor baby,” she agrees, very much enjoying the feeling of being wrapped up in Quinn’s arms, and the blonde hums in agreement, a soft smile in place.

“I like you so much better already.”

It’s said with a heady, light tone, a slight laugh leaking through, and Rachel grins, heart skipping a few beats at the words. “That’s nice to know.”

There’s a cliché moment as their eyes meet, and Rachel feels as if she’s drowning in Quinn’s encaptivating hazel eyes, pulled in to the powerful force completely willingly as her breath hitches.

Quinn is just so beautiful, ethereal in a stunning way that just throws Rachel off every time, and she doesn’t know if it’s possible to feel such attraction to someone within a day of knowing them, but that’s what this feels like, and she never wants it to stop.

“Ugh, lovebirds, are you saving Quill or not?”

“Oh hush Santana, I think they’re cute,” Kurt chips in. “It’s been a long while since Quinn’s shown interest in anyone.”

Rachel, if anything, just feels her heart speed up even more, but Santana doesn’t leave room for her to properly process that, simply continuing to snark, “Yeah well, that’s because Quinn’s a reclusive anti-social bitch,” – there’s a beat as Santana snorts at Quinn’s glare – “but hey, I won’t argue that Gayberry isn’t perfect for blondie, their anal-retentive asses are literally a match made in heaven.”

As Rachel blushes furiously, Quinn simply continues scowls at Santana, but Rachel can still see a light pink on the young doctor’s cheeks, and it makes her prompt, “Um, we probably should go save Quill from whatever contraption Santana’s put him in.”

“Probably.” Quinn shrugs, before lamenting, “Why do I put up with them again?”

“Because they’re your friends?”

“Unfortunately,” Quinn grumbles, and Rachel giggles. “And…this all led me to you.”

At the sweet tone that Quinn uses, the brunette can’t hide her bashful smile. “I know I’ve only met you today, but I kind of really, really like you,” she confesses, choosing to take a risk by just going for it.

It seems her faith is well-placed though, because the next thing she knows, Quinn is giving her a little upward tilt of her lips as well, making flutters blossom in her chest as Quinn admits, “I kind of really, really like you too.”

Rachel’s smile turns into a full-fledged beam, and she ducks her head almost shyly, making Quinn nudge her side softly. “Come on, let’s go find Quill.”

They’re still in their half-hug, and when Quinn tugs her towards the hall leading to more rooms, following Santana and leaving Kurt to his work, Rachel’s happy to say that the blonde keeps their arms linked the entire time.

Quinn’s hand feels warm and weighty in hers, and for once, Rachel doesn’t overthink everything.

 

x.X.x

 

“…Okay, how have you not been arrested for abusing Pokémon?”

Looking at Quill, whose snout and limbs are bound together and preventing him from doing anything, she looks at the scene with horrified eyes.

“Oh please, he’s completely fine.” Santana rolls her eyes when Quill growls at her, struggling in his bonds. “And I am a certified Pokémon healthcare professional, remember?”

“Yeah, probably because you threatened them into giving you it,” Rachel mutters under her breath, and Santana laughs.

“Kitty has claws it seems,” she drawls, before turning to Quinn. “I like her, she’s a keeper. Just make sure her sweaters stay faaaar away from me, and I reckon we’ll be just fine.”

Rachel doesn’t miss the way that Quinn flushes slightly as the blonde’s grip on her arm tightens, keeping Rachel molded into Quinn’s form, and she melts into the warmth willingly, loving the contact.

The doctor doesn’t even bother acknowledging Santana, directly looking towards another blonde woman that Rachel so far hasn’t noticed, too occupied with Quill before. “Brittany, why must you enable her like this?” she questions, almost in a whine.

The tall woman, who Rachel now knows is the much talked about Brittany, blinks confusedly. “You mean Quill? Santie told me that he liked to be tied up, so I let her, you know like how I like-”

“Aaaand, that’s enough mental scarring to last a lifetime,” Quinn cuts her off with a grimace, clearly regretting asking in the first place, and it’s with no small amount of disgust that she explains, “but no Brit, Quill doesn’t like being tied up, especially by- by Santana, of all people.”

As Quinn says it, she looks like she’s swallowing something sour, and it makes Rachel giggle, finding it endlessly cute.

“But why? San is super good with-”

“Britt, remember what we said about oversharing?” Santana finally pipes up, a rosy color on her face, and it really shouldn’t make Rachel smirk as much as it does. Ha, I’m not the embarrassed one for once, this feels so good muahahahaha!

“Ooh,” Brittany mouths finally. “Sorry S.”

“But yeah, Quill doesn’t like being tied up, so next time you see Santana doing that, stop her okay?” Quinn gently reminds, still with a slightly disgusted look on her face, and Brittany nods, turning to her fiancé with a scowl.

“San, you shouldn’t have tied him up because he doesn’t like it!”

Rachel barely suppresses a snigger at Santana’s spluttering, and watches as Brittany reaches forward to undo the ropes around Quill, making him whine softly at finally being released.

“Quill, you’re okay now,” she speaks softly in a tender tone. “The big bad Santana won’t get to you anymore.”

In response, Quill nuzzles into Brittany’s hand that’s softly petting him, and he lets out a pleased noise, making Rachel smile at the sight. “Brittany’s…something else,” she comments, leading to Quinn arching a brow at her, and she elaborates, “it’s refreshing, how she seems to think and act with Pokémon.”

“It really is.” Quinn nods her agreement, something in her eyes as she stares at Rachel. “Not many people think that though. They usually think she’s stupid.”

“Not many people bother to look past the first glance.” Rachel shrugs. “Or in this case, Brittany’s perceived stupidity. But I don’t think she is, at the very least.”

Quinn smiles. “You can see it in her eyes, don’t you? How she interacts with the little rascal. She’s our best caretaker, you know.”

“I don’t doubt it,” Rachel says, before her lips quirk. “I only have one question though.”

“Hm?”

“…Is Santana as whipped as I think she is?”

There’s a beat of silence, and then Quinn’s frame is shaking with laughter. “Oh my god, that’s the best thing I’ve heard all day,” she laughs, before her eyes shine with something deeper, softer. “You’re a precious little thing, aren’t you?”

Rachel’s eyes gleam, and a bashful smile appears on her face as she says, “I try my best.”

At that, Quinn shakes her head, chuckling. “You’re amazing.”

She feels her face heat at the compliment, whispered with an almost awed reference, and it just makes her heart pound faster, unsure if this is actually real. “You’re amazing.”

“No, I’m amazing.”

“Fuck off Santana, and stop eavesdropping while you’re at it.”

“You can’t stop natural born hearing talent.” Santana winks at them, and Quinn narrows her eyes.

“Hey Quill,” she calls, and the Pokémon perks up, running over to them.

Big eyes peer up at them, wide and curious. “Quil?”

“Tell me, do you like Rachel here?”

The Quilava seems to ponder this a second, turning to Rachel, and the brunette smiles at him, bending down slightly to softly pet his fur.

She doesn’t expect Quill to pounce up and into her arms, but she lets go of Quinn’s arm fast enough to catch him, staggering back slightly at the sudden weight. “Hey there,” she greets with a light smile. “You’re an eager one.”

“Quil!” he chirps in a chipper tone, and Rachel laughs, stoking his fur.

Quinn looks at them with fond eyes, and Rachel feels that same pang of something from earlier strike her heart, but then Quinn blinks and looks away, making Rachel shake it off as Quinn continues, “Now, do you like meanie Santana?”

Quil,” Quill growls at the mention of the Latina, and he leaps out of Rachel’s arms, landing neatly on his feet.

“Brat, you wanna go?” Santana challenges, crossing her arms together, and Quill growls even louder.

“Quilava!” he grunts out, and the next thing they know, he’s pouncing at Santana, biting and scratching.

“Quill, Santana, stop it,” Quinn half-heartedly tries to break up the fight to no avail, and she turns to Rachel with a bored look. “…Well, I tried, too bad.”

Quinn,” she admonishes, and Quinn’s lower lip juts out, if only slightly.

“They fight all the time, they’ll be fine,” the blonde dismisses with a quick wave of her hand, voice in a small childish tone that makes Rachel suppress a laugh.

“Guess I’ll have to take this into my own hands then,” she sighs. “You better appreciate your assistant Quinn.”

The doctor sends her a quirk of lips. “I’ll make sure to repay you somehow.”

Rachel’s cheeks gain a red tint to them, and she shakes her head to clear her thoughts, surging forward to where Santana and Quill are practically wrestling on the floor.

“Fuckin’ weasel, get off me!” Santana snarks as the Quilava refuses to let up on his attack (though Rachel can tell that both of them aren’t that serious about fighting), and Quill just snorts in her face, simply continuing to claw at her arms with angry growls.

“Quill,” Rachel softly calls, and the Pokémon stops for a second to look at her with narrowed eyes.

Quil?”

He almost sounds annoyed, and Rachel feels herself puff up with indignance. “Stop attacking Santana, okay? And she’ll stop attacking you.”

The Pokémon seems to ponder this for a second, before letting out a grunt and turning back to Santana – the nerve of him! – but that split second of inactivity lets Santana gain the upper hand, and the Latina soon has Quill dangling from her hands, keeping the Pokémon far away from her where his claws can’t reach.

“Better luck next time,” Santana mocks in a singsong voice, and Quill lets out a rumble of dissatisfaction.

Quilava!”

Letting out a gas cloud from his snout, he aims it straight at Santana’s face, and she lets him go as she coughs, making him crackle triumphantly as he darts away, clearly saving this battle for another day.

Quill stops right at Rachel’s feet, looking up with an expectant look to be carried and cuddled, but Rachel just stares back, eyes narrowed. “So now you decide to come back to me?”

“Ooh, someone’s in trouble,” Quinn calls from behind her, and Rachel barely manages to stifle her smile, simply continuing to guilt Quill.

The Quilava seems to give her the saddest puppy eyes – or is it Quilava eyes? – as he whimpers as an apology, though Rachel’s pretty sure that it’s fake as all hell, judging by the look in his intelligent eyes.

She still holds strong though, resisting the Pokémon and his expressive eyes, but when he starts to get up on his hind legs to gently claw at her legs, nuzzling into her, she can’t hold in her smile anymore.

“Fine,” she sighs. “I’ll give you a pass this time, you little squirt.”

Picking Quill up in her arms, she pets his soft fur, and from where Santana is complaining to Brittany, the Latina glares daggers at him, mouthing some Spanish words that Rachel’s pretty sure are profanities.

“You should stop terrorizing her, you know,” she softly says to Quill, and when he makes a face and turns away, she lets out a soft laugh.

“You sure raised him well,” she comments teasingly to Quinn.

Quinn sends her a smile, halfway quirked upwards. “I think I did alright.”

“You did,” Rachel agrees easily. “You did really well, actually.” There’s a small beat of silence as she weighs her words, and then, “What…What you’ve done here is amazing Quinn, I hope you know that.”

“Don’t get all sappy on me now Berry.” Quinn smiles, but how her emotions shine in her eyes is all-telling.

“Guess you’ll have to get used to it then,” Rachel shrugs. “I’m going to be staying for a while.”

“Two months, seven days, and twenty-two hours,” Quinn chants, and she bites her lip, before an almost-shy smile dawns on her face as she adds, “…and you know, maybe even more after that.”

The words make Rachel’s heart skip as she thinks, is this even happening?, and she sucks in a slow breath. “Definitely more than that.”

“Yeah?” Quinn asks, lips quirked.

Rachel can’t resist her grin even if she wants to. “Yeah.”

Quinn simply just tosses her a smile, and she offers, “Wanna go outside and see the fields? And then we can whip up dinner, it’ll be fun, promise.”

“Sure,” Rachel accepts easily, before remembering, “wait…I’m- I’m vegan, if you didn’t know already. I- I’ll be fine with salads, and-”

“No way am I letting you get by with salads,” Quinn dismisses quickly, the thought making her frown. “Plus, I knew that already, it was in your file, and I’ve stocked up on vegan ingredients beforehand.”

“Oh,” Rachel simply says, heartbeat picking up at the blonde’s sweetness and thoughtfulness. Quinn had actually cared enough to make accommodations for her dietary preferences, a pretty much stranger at the time, and it’s something that practically none of her past partners had bothered with.

It’s with that that she feels herself falling even deeper, and her neck heats with a blush as she asks, almost flirtatiously, “…So you have all my secrets, don’t you?”

Quinn lets out a laugh. “Yep, totally,” she says, nodding in faux-seriousness. “You better be careful, I could sell all your information to the government.”

“But having such a pretty stalker would be totally worth it though,” Rachel hums, casually like an afterthought, because it is, and she freezes as she realizes that she had said it out loud, drawing another laugh from Quinn at her stammering.

“Glad to know you think I’m pretty,” the blonde drawls, a coy smile playing on the edge of her lips. “Speeds things up a bit, don’t you think?”

Rachel feels her cheeks heat up even more, and she mumbles, “Aren’t we like, supposed to be checking out the fields or something?”

“Oh, but I’d much rather be checking out you,” Quinn purrs in a low tone, and her eyes rake over Rachel’s form appreciatively, making her blush under the attention.

She absolutely loves it, and well, she kind of maybe totally definitely wants to check Quinn out too, and well, she kind of does, her eyes trailing down a beautiful form encased in an all-too-sexy lab coat.

“Come on, let’s go before S and B decide to tag along,” Quinn tugs her gently with a laugh. “Some alone time would be great, wouldn’t it?”

“It really would be,” Rachel murmurs.

She wants to know everything about this stunning woman in front of her, and she finds that she really doesn’t care about anything else.

“Shall we?” Quinn offers her arm.

Rachel thinks that the answer is always going to be yes.

 

x.X.x

 

After another series of doors and hallways, they finally reach an exit, and the doors open to a big green plain, full of grass and trees.

All sorts of Pokémon are loitering around, especially grass-types, and it’s a sight to behold, nature at its finest; a group of Pidgey are nesting in a giant tree, with some Froakies near the pond beneath it, where a swarm of Magikarp are swimming around.

It’s a serene scene for sure, and at it, a pang of something hits Rachel’s heart, making her blink in bemusement at how much it feels like longing.

“You can see it, don’t you?”

Quinn’s question catches her off-guard, and Rachel tips her head in a silent question.

“The way they all seem so happy and free,” the doctor clarifies. “How they just…coexist perfectly. Like- Like everything is working the way it’s intended, you know?”

Rachel doesn’t know, actually, her life having been filled with too many roadblocks too count, but then as she looks closer, she thinks that that’s actually what Quinn means.

Everything is so peaceful here, and it’s almost hard to believe.

“All of these Pokémon have been hurt one way or another,” Quinn reveals, before nodding her head to one of the Bayleefs. “See that Bayleef over there? It actually has a limp from its owner not taking it to a Pokémon Center after it was injured and just abandoning it on the streets.”

Quinn points to a few other Pokémon after that, explaining how each one had been mistreated or in some sort of accident, and as she narrates each one, the passion and empathy that she feels for them is as plain as day, invoking something inside of Rachel’s heart that she didn’t even know existed.

“When we got them, so many of them were injured to the point where people thought that they couldn’t be saved, and so, they just…gave up on them,” Quinn finally says, with an expression that’s trapped between melancholy and frustration. “And I just- I just can’t understand it, sometimes. Because these are the companions that you’ve taken for a lifetime, so how can you just give up on them so easily? I mean, from an intellectual standpoint, I can. Hell, I even thought that way as a kid, but- but I don’t know, I just- I-”

“You saved them in the end, didn’t you?” Rachel cuts in gently, squeezing Quinn’s hand.

Hazel eyes flash with pain. “Not all of them.”

“But you tried, Quinn, while others didn’t,” she counters, “and that’s what makes all the difference.”

The only indication that Quinn even hears her is a small sigh, and Rachel’s grip tightens. “Quinn, you did what you could,” she says firmly. “And look at the ones you’ve saved. They’re all so happy, because of you, because you took a chance on them when everyone else didn’t, and can you honestly look me in the eye and say that what you’ve done here isn’t amazing?”

There’s a silence for a beat from the blonde woman next to her, and then, a resigned, “…No.”

Rachel allows a small smile to take form on her face, and she says, “I’m proud of what you’ve done here, and you should be too.”

“…Thank you.”

The look on Quinn’s face tells Rachel that she really doesn’t hear the words enough, and Rachel smiles, just resigning to tell the blonde that more in the future, for now simply content to soak in the soft sunlight that’s washing over them.

She’s used to city-hustle, the always-moving, never-resting air of people rushing to their respective workplaces, with everyone and everything having something to do, and it’s really been a long while since she’s just stepped back and…took it all in.

Everything before her feels as if in perfect equilibrium, and with the weighty presence of Quinn next to her, Rachel feels a sense of tranquil within her, one that she hasn’t felt in maybe forever, a weird little feeling blossoming in her chest. It constricts in an odd way, and Rachel decides that she likes the way it feels, not unpleasant at all.

From the corner of her eye, she spots Quinn staring at her, hazel eyes simmering in intense golden embers, and she bites her lip, resisting the blush creeping up her neck. “Something on my face?” she asks, almost coyly, and Quinn shakes her head slightly.

Pink lips that are all-too-tempting quirk upwards in a signature half-smirk, and form words to drawl, “Nothing.”

“If you say so then.” Rachel shrugs, ducking her head with a bashful smile, and it feels like she’s fifteen or something all over again, having her first crush.

Rachel thinks that she quite likes the feeling of it too.

Quinn just hums in reply, and then, in a soft voice almost akin to a confession, “You’re…You’re just really beautiful.”

The compliment catches Rachel off-guard, and she blinks as her breath seems to leave her, not quite registering it.

Her lack of response doesn’t seem to discourage Quinn though, and the blonde tentatively continues, “I’ll tell you that every day, if- if you’ll let me.”

Now, that registers loud and clear in Rachel’s mind, and she can’t stop her cheeks from coloring. “I really, really want to kiss you right now,” she breathes out, and it causes her blush to deepen as Quinn grins, a seductive and coquettish quirk of lips that has all of Rachel’s senses haywire.

“I really, really want to kiss you too,” Quinn says in return, and the flirtatious look sent her way makes Rachel snap out of her daze.

Quinn’s eyes are hooded and positively gleaming, staring at her with all of the molten gold in the world, and her expression is almost predatory, hungry and dark. Rachel’s throat tightens with desire, her entire body seeming to light aflame at the slightest of looks, and she suddenly feels as if the open plain is far too hot.

This is what Quinn does to her, reducing her to a hot and wet mess with the barest of nothings at all, and it flashes across Rachel’s mind that no one, not a single one of her past relationships, could ever elicit a reaction quite like this, and never so easily. It’s a thought that excites her to her very core, and it’s then that the urge to just lean in and claim those alluring lips boils to an almost-unbearable high.

“So why won’t you let me?” Her voice comes out almost in a whine, because there’s been plenty of opportunities already, and Quinn lets out a small laugh.

“The best things always take patience,” she chuckles, clearly teasing, and the blonde pretends to ponder something for a second, humming. “But…a little flash forward to the future wouldn’t hurt.”

“What?”

Before Rachel can even register anything though, she feels a light press of lips against her cheek, and her breath hitches as Quinn lingers for a second, so close in Rachel’s orbit that she feels as if Quinn is overloading all her senses.

In that split second, she so, so desperately wants to turn her head, just that slight bit, because Quinn is literally right there, but her heart is beating way too fast for her to even think of doing anything else other than just standing there like a lovestruck idiot, and then just like that, Quinn is gone as fast as she had come, leaving Rachel breathless and windswept.

As her mind processes frantically, she feels a grin etching itself onto her face, and Quinn wears a similar one herself, cheeks flushed with pink in a way that Rachel finds endlessly adorable, biting her lip softly.

Those same lips that had just been on her cheek a few seconds ago, she reminds herself, and at the remembrance of how soft they had been against her skin, her beam stretches even wider; this woman before her is nothing but divine.

The air between them is silent for a few seconds as they seem to exchange a thousand words through their gaze – damn do those hazel eyes make her weak at the knees – and she loves how her stomach is run amok with fluttering butterflies, a weighty warmth in her chest spreading to her entire body and contrasting the airy feeling in her head perfectly.

It’s the feeling of falling for someone, and for the first time in a long while, she finds that it doesn’t scare her at all, because the way that Quinn is smiling at her tells her that the blonde will be there to catch her, her heart beating excitedly in her ribcage as she welcomes the feeling with fervor.

But then, her stomach rumbles, breaking the peaceful moment, and she flushes sheepishly.

“Time for food?” Quinn grins, voice soft, and at how tender the blonde sounds, Rachel can’t bring herself to be embarrassed (…much).

She loops her arm with the doctor’s. “Time for food,” she agrees, an easy smile on her face, because that’s what this is.

It’s easy, and Rachel can’t really foresee it being anything else.

 

x.X.x

 

Stepping into the open-plan kitchen, Rachel takes in all of the equipment with wide eyes, all well taken care of and obviously top of the line, and she closes her mouth shut. “Oh wow.”

Quinn flushes slightly. “I like cooking in my spare time,” she explains, cheeks pink as if she’s embarrassed of it, and Rachel just files that away into the back of her mind, where a collection of ‘things that endear Quinn Fabray to me’ is slowly but surely piling up.

Moving to where the ingredients cabinet is, she tilts her head, and with a bright smile on her face, she chipperly asks, “So, what do you want to whip up for dinner? You seem to be well stocked up on ingredients.” She pauses in her words here, musing, “A fair warning though, I am a much better baker than I am a cook; I don’t know how much help I’d be of if you’re planning on something fancy.”

“Oh I’m sure you’ll be of some use,” Quinn drawls in response, and the heady tone, combined with just the right amount of breathiness, makes Rachel’s heart flutter insistently in her chest. The blonde is flirting with her – flirting! – and it might just be the best feeling in the world.

When she notices Quinn’s eyes tracing her lips, she realizes that her tongue had unconsciously darted out to wet them, and it feels as if the air is sizzling hot around them, a relentless buzz everywhere as Rachel forgets how to breathe.

“Actually,” the doctor says, and at how rough her low voice comes out, it seems to further the burning tension in the room, her deep timbre sending pangs of desire straight to Rachel’s wetness. Clearing her throat – okay, how does someone make that seem sexy, it’s completely unfair – Quinn has a healthy flush marred on her perfect porcelain skin, and she continues, this time in a more manageable tone, “You could help me with desert; do cookies sound good? I’m curious about these famous cookies of yours, I’ll have to admit.”

“Oh- Oh of course, I’d be happy to make them,” Rachel responds with a half-embarrassed smile, shifting her weight from one foot to the other to keep herself occupied, and she has to bite her lip to keep from bursting into a long-winded ramble in her nervousness.

Everything Quinn does is just so damn magnetic, capturing and commanding all of Rachel’s attention with every little word and action, and the blonde doesn’t even seem to be fully aware of it herself, of how her very presence is just enthralling to be in.

So when Quinn flashes her with straight, white, pearly teeth, Rachel can’t help but feel her knees turn to jelly and her stomach to butterflies, Quinn’s smile utterly ethereal in its beauty, and she has trouble getting her lungs to work as Quinn steals her breath away.

“Well then,” the blonde starts, her mezzo-alto soft and light. “Let’s get a-cooking, shall we?”

The sight of a wide dazzling smile has Rachel struck, and really, Quinn really ought to stop asking her things, because at this point, Rachel’s pretty sure that Quinn could ask her to commit murder and she’d still say yes in a heartbeat.

…It’s a thought that enlists a quiet excitement in her, oddly.

Maybe it’s because she’s finally found a reason to have that all-encompassing-I’d-do-anything-for-them feeling, and she relishes in it.

 

x.X.x

 

…Which doesn’t change at all after the next hour, because watching Quinn in the kitchen is…an experience, to say the least.

Or, if Rachel were to put it less eloquently – it’s fucking cute and adorable and also sort of hot and dammit she shouldn’t be aroused by watching Quinn commandeer the kitchen but she is and it’s probably shameful how much.

Is it? Yes. Does she care? Nope.

Most of all, she’s struck by how utterly domestic it all is: by the way Quinn casually asks her to pass over something, by the way they share a giggle when someone accidentally tips over something, and by the way they seem to operate as one unit, working to cook or bake in perfect sync.

It almost frightens her how easily she can imagine this being a long-time thing, because the clarity of how she can picture them cooking and baking together on an off weekend of relaxation is almost startling, the ease of which she can do so surprising even to her.

Really, she’s just met this woman today, and fuck, she should not be as invested into it as she is, and the panic really ought to be settling in by now, but like many times during the day today – it doesn’t.

She can’t bring herself to overthink and obsess and get worked up over every single detail like she would all her past relationships, and while that same fear is still looming over her heart like a giant shadow, it doesn’t control her, or scare her either.

That in its own should probably scare her too, but as Quinn instructs her to finish up in the kitchen while she sets the table, a languid but genuine smile flickering onto her face, all Rachel can do is beam back almost dopily. It’s then that a memory flashes in her head: ‘I fully expect to be kissed by the end of the day.’

And…it’s already almost dinnertime. If Rachel was the person she was a few years ago, she would probably be freaking over the fact that she’s on a timer or something equally ridiculous to woo and kiss Quinn, but she isn’t, and reinforced with the memory of Quinn kissing her check earlier, it makes Rachel’s heart fill with giddy excitement instead, fluttering up a storm in her chest.

Taking out the cookies from the oven and setting them aside to cool so that they’ll be ready for when desert comes, she removes her oven mitts and puts them away, smiling in satisfaction at how the cookies had turned out.

(Because even if she isn’t on some sort of timer to do so, she really, really, wants to impress Quinn, and well…if she happens to pipe a few extra hearts onto the cookies, she’s sure the blonde wouldn’t mind.)

“Hey,” she hears a voice ring out from right behind her, and she jumps a little in surprise at how quiet Quinn was in walking back into the kitchen. “I’m done setting up the table, you?”

Turning around to face Quinn, Rachel spots Quinn leaning by the door frame, a languid smile on her face. “Um, the cookies are done,” she says, making an awkward gesture towards them. Subtly cringing at the awkward motion, she quickly retracts her hand to fiddle with her other one, and Quinn lets out a laugh.

“Ooh, lemme see.” Walking towards her, Quinn reaches for a cookie, and Rachel swats her hand away, trying to ignore how her heart speeds up at the increased proximity.

“Those cookies are for later,” she berates, and she sees what looks suspiciously like a pout from on Quinn’s face.

“But what’s the difference if I eat them now?” The blonde’s voice holds a whining tone to it, and Rachel suppresses a giggle.

“Well, if you eat them now, Rachel will be mad at you,” she supplies easily, smile teasing. “And you wouldn’t want that, would you?”

“Definitely not,” Quinn plays along, sporting a faux serious look, with her eyes in silent laughter. “Having my lady mad at me would be quite detrimental, I’m thinking.”

“Your…lady?” Rachel questions, and she really should hate how her voice lifts in breathlessness, heart pounding against her ribcage.

“Is…Is that okay?” Quinn slowly murmurs, and Rachel doesn’t fail to notice how the blonde quietly moves closer, so that they’re barely half a step from each other.

Letting out a small squeak at how close in proximity they are, her brain does its very best to keep from short circuiting, and it’s way too hard, considering Quinn Fabray is right there and looking sexy as hell with her oh so kissable lips.

Throat suddenly tight, she blinks rapidly as she tries to conjure up a somewhat coherent sentence, and Quinn raises an eyebrow at her expectantly, though Rachel can tell that it’s tinted with the slightest bit of anxiety as well.

Feeling her flight or fight(read: grab Quinn by the collar of her way-too-fucking-sexy lab coat and kiss her senseless) instincts activate, she forces herself to give a small, almost coquettish smile, calming her racing heart down. “I mean, I’d think that you would at least have to take me to dinner first.”

At her high-pitched voice and breathy tone, her cheeks heat in embarrassment, but Quinn certainly doesn’t seem to mind, a smirk playing on the edge of her delectable-looking lips. “Oh?” the doctor drawls in reply, and she has a throwaway smile on her face, almost dazed in its quality. It’s clear that Quinn’s thinking about something else instead though, and she traps her lower lip between her teeth and tugs softly, as if debating with herself on the matter. “Duly noted then.”

Rachel can’t even deny that she hones in on the action without shame – who wouldn’t, really, and- oh wow, hi there sudden burst of jealousy – and suddenly, Quinn feels much closer than she was before, them practically breathing the same air now.

It occurs to her that Quinn had actually leaned in with purpose, judging by how intensely Quinn’s eyes are boring into her own like they’re searching for something, and Rachel’s breath hitches; the way Quinn is looking at her seems almost like a mix of awe and disbelief, with almost something like adoration sparkling in golden flecks.

The very thought has Rachel’s head reeling, so when Quinn doesn’t move away, the loud pounding of her heartbeat in her ears only seems to increase, and the brunette feels almost trapped between the counter and Quinn’s form.

It’s not in a bad or suffocative way though…not in the slightest.

Rachel’s knuckles grip the edge of the counter so hard they seem to turn white, and Quinn definitely notices, her eyes losing their lustful quality and being replaced with concern instead. “We don’t- We don’t have to do anything,” the blonde is quick to clarify, pulling back slightly, and her eyebrows furrow as her face contorts into contriteness. “I don’t want to make you uncomfortable Rachel – I’ll stop at the word, and-”

The considerate words have Rachel’s stomach doing flips and tumbles as her heartrate speeds through the roof, and she shakes her head almost frantically, cutting Quinn off. “Don’t stop.”

Quinn arches a brow upwards at that, lips quirking into a perfect smirk, and Rachel colors as her eyes widen, realizing the double meaning of her words. “That wasn’t- I didn’t mean- I-” She clamps her mouth shut, hoping to save herself from even more embarrassment while she still can, and Quinn laughs, low and husky.

“Mm,” the blonde hums, mirth shining clear in her eyes, and thankfully, she doesn’t comment further on the matter, simply continuing to smile at Rachel with a breathless little grin that makes her heart pound. “Hi.”

Rachel bites back a coy smile, and when she replies, her voice is breathy and pitched, barely holding back unrestrained delight. “Hi.”

Hazels and chestnut brown lock onto each other, as if they’re trapped in their own little world, and Rachel feels like there’s nothing else beyond her and Quinn, everything faded into the background blurrily as she’s hyperaware of every move and action that the woman opposite her makes.

Feeling the rapid beat of her heart quicken even more when Quinn seems to press even closer – Rachel can feel the brush of the blonde’s clothes against her own, which only serves to fan the heat settled around her even hotter – the diva can’t help but dart her eyes down slightly, and when she’s met with the utterly alluring sight of full pink lips, her eyes widen as she swallows reflexively, quickly jolting her eyes back up to more safer places.

…Though, she doesn’t particularly think that the way her thighs clench together at hungry dark pools of hazel is safe at all.

The look on Quinn’s face tells her that she knows exactly what Rachel’s doing, and judging by a pleased smirk, she’s enjoying it too. At the realization of that, the already almost-nonexistent gap between their faces suddenly seems far too wide, and in that moment, Rachel wants nothing more than to lean in and close the distance between them.

Something must show on her face, because there’s a visceral change in Quinn’s demeanor, turning into something far more needy and primal. “Rachel,” the blonde starts, voice rough and husky, and Rachel is instantly taken with her pronunciation of the word, breathy and intoned in a way like it’s something significant.

Without her consent, a little choked noise trapped between a whimper and a groan bursts out of her throat, and Quinn’s eyes darken, golden rings around dilated pupils. “Rachel, I am going to kiss you now,” Quinn informs her, voice dipped into a growling purr, and Rachel feels her knees tremble slightly.

“Please do,” she manages to breathe out, and it’s like her breath is stolen from her as her entire body seems to thrum with a fervent need, overheated from Quinn’s presence.

Feeling as if all of her nerve endings are conspiring against her, she feels everything at the slightest of touches, and she holds in a bated breath of anticipation, heartbeat grounding loud in her ears.

She doesn’t know who makes the first move and leans in first, but evidently, the tension surrounding them finally boils over, to a high that’s too much to withstand, and just like that, Quinn’s leaning down while Rachel’s lifting her head up to meet her halfway.

Their lips finally, finally, meet, and it’s…it’s everything that Rachel could’ve imagined and more.

Quinn’s lips press against hers in an almost gentle caress, and it’s delicate and tender, as if she wants to savor the moment as much as possible, to map out every inch of Rachel’s lips with her own and commit it to memory.

Rachel throws herself into the kiss whole-heartedly, unable to do anything else, and Quinn’s weight settles across her body comfortably as the blonde pins her against the counter, bracing her hands on said counter’s edge.

As they kiss almost languidly, it’s soft but yet passionate, and both of them takes turns to lead the other in an intricate dance of push-and-tug. It feels natural, like they’ve been doing this for lifetimes, like they were made for this, like…like it’s a revelation, and it’s then that it clicks.

Kissing Quinn feels like – is – a revelation, Rachel decides right then and there, because as Quinn works her lips masterfully against her own, pinpointing all of her weak spots and using them to her full advantage, Rachel can very surely say that she’s never felt anything like it before, all of her past experiences paling in comparison to this relatively tame closed-mouth kiss.

All she can focus on is the way Quinn is playing her like a fine-tuned instrument, like she’s determined to master it to perfection, and when the blonde draws them into a series of short and sensual kisses to ease it to a close, Rachel feels the desperate need that she’s been suppressing strike with a vengeance, a deep institutive urge inside of her yearning for more.

Hands reaching for the lapels of Quinn’s jacket to tug gently – god that lab coat has been tempting her all day – she feels the blonde’s hands move to steady themselves on her waist in response, and she pushs their forms even closer together.

At the increased contact, Rachel has a hard time keeping her head straight, and her thumb unconsciously swipes across the smooth expanse of Quinn’s collarbone as she matches the pace of their bruising kiss eagerly.

It feels like Quinn is everywhere; in her blood and in her skin and in her very being, imprinted in her mind and DNA, and Rachel revels in it; in the way that she can’t get enough of the insatiable high that kissing Quinn gives her, in the way that Quinn’s pressed up against her deliciously, in the way that she feels deep infatuation blossom in her chest.

Hand snaking up Quinn’s jawline – shit that feels smooth – to tangle fingers into silky blonde hair, she tugs the blonde down to kiss her harder, tilting her head just the slightest bit to deepen the kiss even more, and Quinn makes a little noise from the back of her throat, husky and sounding almost like a growl.

For a second there, Rachel almost loses all of her inhibitions and throws herself into Quinn, feeling all rational thought gone…because that might just be the sexiest thing she has ever heard in her life, her entire body churning with an impulsive want for everything, so it’s maybe a good thing when Quinn finally pulls away, if only to come up for air.

Faces still barely an inch apart, both of them take in air rapidly with haggard pants, and Rachel feels a pang of wetness hit her hard when she sees how Quinn’s lips are swollen and lipstick-stained. The close juxtaposition between them has her heartrate thrumming loudly again, and she’s absolutely entranced by how Quinn’s hazels seem to be staring right into her, the flecks of green in them shining brightly and contrasting the dark ebony of Quinn’s pupils perfectly.

“God, you’re really tempting me to ravish you against the counter, aren’t you?” Quinn rasps out, and at the warm breath against her skin, Rachel shivers, pleasurable goosebumps traveling down her arms.

“What’s stopping you?” she says right back, not even ashamed of how eager she is at this point, and she loves how her lips are still tingling from that nothing short from mind-blowing kiss, buzzing all over her skin.

Quinn’s lips quirk upwards slightly. “Well, unfortunately, there is still a thing called chivalry left in this world, and I’m one of the poor individuals who have to uphold and preserve that practice,” she purrs, and Rachel can’t even pretend that she doesn’t swoon a little bit at it.

Still in a post-kiss daze, she only really snaps out of it when Quinn steps back (albeit rather reluctantly, Rachel notes with great pleasure), and the brunette shakes her head to clear her thoughts.

…Or rather, her distinctive lack of rational thought, as she’s reminded when she’s hit with a wave of arousal at Quinn running a hand through her tousled hair.

“Now, I believe that my lady requested a dinner as a gesture of courting?” the blonde drawls, holding her arm out courteously, and when Rachel raises a bemused eyebrow, Quinn supplies with a light smile, “I told everyone else to fuck off tonight.”

At that, Rachel lets out a loose giggle, though her heart flutters with a vengeance at the blonde’s gallant words, and she notes jokingly, “Someone sure was confident in this ending in a date tonight.”

Quinn lets out a mischievous smirk. “Who said that this would be a date?”

Rachel’s eyes widen, and she’s about to start stammering with a blush, but then Quinn’s giggling charmingly. “It’s definitely a date,” the blonde says, and Rachel huffs in indignance and slight embarrassment at being played.

“Well, maybe not anymore now,” she pouts petulantly, and she turns away from Quinn with her arms crossed.

Catching her arm with a hand though, Quinn raises a brow, and she leans in to press a quick peck to Rachel’s lips, quelling all of the diva’s protests.

When the blonde draws back, Rachel’s almost tempted to chase after those lips again, undeniably addicted to how they feel slanted across her own, but she knows that they have all the time in the world to slowly feel each other out, and trusting in that, she smiles softly instead as Quinn tucks a lock of stray hair behind Rachel’s ear, sending electric tingles all over her skin.

“Rachel Berry,” the blonde starts, voice in a melodic tone and blinding smile in place. “I formally ask you to consider going on a dinner date with me. Would you please do me the honor of accepting?”

“Now, that’s better,” Rachel hums in approval, and Quinn laughs, making the performer hide a grin of triumph. “I do, actually; you should feel plenty honored.”

“Oh, definitely,” Quinn murmurs in response, laughter in her voice, and she loops her arm in hers. “So my lady, shall we?”

The smell of Quinn’s cooking mouthwatering, Rachel holds in a giggle. “And every day afterwards,” she banters along, loving how the doctor’s body feels pressed against hers.

When Quinn leads her to the dining room and Rachel watches the content smile that plays on pink lips, an important epiphany hits her, and her face breaks out into a beam.

Quinn notices, and her expression turns into one that’s almost shy, giddy at the same time as she asks, “Forever?”

Rachel’s lips stretch into a wide beam. “Forever,” she vows.

She sees her future when she sees Quinn, and she can’t be more excited for it.

 

x.X.x

 

Two months, seven days, and twenty-one hours later:

Rachel,” Quinn’s voice carries all the way from outside, “get your ass out here dammit!”

“I’m coming!” Rachel groans in exasperation, rolling her eyes as she drags herself out of bed, and she grumbles under her breath; she had just come back home from a long and tiring showcase, and she just wants to sleep and cuddle with her girlfriend, is that too much to ask?

Making her way out of the front door, the sight of Leroy and Quinn chattering leisurely greets her, and noticing her from the doorway, Quinn teases, “Our princess has finally deigned to show her face – It’s a miracle!”

“Oh har har,” Rachel dryly remarks as she rolls her eyes fondly, automatically moving to where Quinn is, and an arm loops itself around her waist easily as she nestles herself into Quinn’s side, practically melting into the warmth.

“Oi, where’s the hug for your old man?” Leroy complains with a playful smile, and Rachel suppresses her own as he chides, “Not even a greeting, I’m so disappointed in you!”

“You must be so devastated,” she retorts, still in huffy-mode, and Leroy sighs dramatically.

“Kids these days, I swear,” he grumbles, and he places a hand over his heart in faux-hurt as he snipes, “remind me why Quinn isn’t my daughter instead again?”

“Oh no, don’t you go dragging me into your spat,” Quinn immediately says, trying to step away from the conversation, and Rachel giggles, holding her in place.

Leroy nods his head solemnly. “Nope, it’s too late, it’s either me or her, you gotta choose.”

“Mmhmm,” Rachel hums in agreement. “Now, who’d you rather choose, your loving and talented girlfriend, or some old geezer?”

“Wow, you really just gotta rub it in, don’t cha?” Leroy deadpans, and at that, Rachel can’t stop her grin any longer as she moves to hug him.

“Hey Dad,” she finally greets, and he smiles at her in return.

“Hey sweetie, you’re sure looking good,” he says, smile turning teasing. “Now, these two months weren’t all that bad, were they? Or did Quinn actually turn out to be a deranged psycho serial killer?”

Feeling her cheeks heat, Rachel pouts, burying herself further into Quinn’s warmth, and she whines to her girlfriend, “Quinn, he’s bullying meeeee.”

“You poor baby,” Quinn coos, laughing, and it only serves to increase Rachel’s embarrassment, flushing even pinker.

“Why did you even insist on doing this?” she sighs for the nth time, petulant, and Quinn blinks at her innocently, amusement clear in hazel eyes.

“What?” the blonde asks, giving her a shit-eating grin. “I thought that you would love to be celebrating your release from your two months, eight days, and six hours with me. And speaking of which, why’s the number so un-evened out anyway?”

At that, Leroy bursts out a laugh, and Rachel groans, just knowing that she’s in for it now.

“It was originally supposed to be two months and two weeks, but Rachel kept on arguing against it, pushing it hour by hour at the end of it,” her dad explains, and she feels Quinn’s frame shake with laughter.

“I hate you all,” she monotones, and Quinn just laughs even harder.

“Aw, don’t be sad baby.” When Rachel just hmfphs in response, Quinn chuckles, pressing a kiss to her temple. “There, all better,” she declares. “Now stop being a grumpy-cat.”

“Excuse you, Quinn Fabray, you’re the one who’s causing this,” she grumbles, before adding, “it’s not like today means anything now anyway.”

“Oh but it does, my dear!” Quinn says with faux-seriousness, as if she’s offended that Rachel would think otherwise. “It’s the day that you’re officially free from the contract, which means that you’re moving out!”

“Huh, I wonder what all these new boxes are then,” Leroy drawls in monotone, playing along. “It’s not like it’s all of Rachel’s stuff from back home and that she’s moving in permanently today. Not at all, I have no idea why they’re here.”

“I know right, it’s so weird.” Quinn shakes her head in a show, edge of her lips quirked upwards. “Really, they’re taking up so much of the place, we should just chuck them off of the hill.”

When Rachel stubbornly refuses to respond, Quinn narrows her eyes. “Starting with the box of Barbra Streisand memorabilia.”

“Quinn Fabray you wouldn’t!” Rachel gasps immediately, and she can tell that Quinn holds in a laugh.

“Try me,” the blonde threatens, and Rachel feels her chest puff in indignance.

“You throw that box of this hill right now and I’m throwing you down it too!”

“Like you’d even be able to carry me,” Quinn dismisses without another thought.

“I’ll- I’ll get Dad to do it then!” Rachel exclaims, and Leroy backs away.

“Hey, I’m just the labor, I know nothing and will deny everything.” He shakes his head, and Rachel pouts.

Turning back to Quinn, she aims her best doe eyes at the blonde, and her girlfriend groans, “Come on Rach, that’s so not fair.”

“Not fair is you and Dad always ganging up on me,” Rachel whines, and Quinn laughs.

“We’re just showing our love baby,” she says, not fooling anyone. “Don’t you feel all the love in the air?”

Rachel lets out a snort at that. “Sure, let’s go with that.”

“See?” Quinn nods in satisfaction, before finally giving in and drawing Rachel into a sweet kiss, pressing her lips to hers. “I can’t believe you’re actually moving in for real today,” the blonde sighs as she pulls away slightly, giving her another light peck.

I can’t believe that we’ve been dating for two months,” Rachel says, a silly grin on her face. She still sometimes has a hard time believing that it’s true, that this is all real and that she has the most amazing woman as her girlfriend, and the fact that she’s actually officially moving in with Quinn today is nothing short of a head rush.

She’s practically been living in Quinn’s bedroom already, having started to sleep with her there a month ago, but now that Rachel is legitimately moving in with all of her stuff, it just seems so much more real, especially now that their contract is over and Rachel isn’t legally obligated to stay at the lab.

It feels like this is making things official, and the very thought sends Rachel’s heart into overdrive and her body overflowing with excitement and most of all, happiness.

After today, all of her various possessions will be among Quinn’s, and Quinn’s house will be their house, and they’re going to sleep in their bed, in their room. Just thinking about it makes a permanent grin appear on her face, and as Quinn smiles back at her, Rachel thanks her lucky stars that this is actually her life now.

“Well, you better believe it, because if I have my way, we’ll be together for many, many more,” Quinn drawls, and at the utter promise she hears in Quinn’s voice, Rachel can’t stop her heart from fluttering insistently, just as hard as that first day and maybe even more.

Leaning back in for another kiss, it quickly turns passionate and heated, and they’re broken apart from Leroy coughing. “Now, if you two would refrain from scarring a poor old father please,” he says, a playful edge to his voice. “I would like to delusion myself into believing that my baby girl is innocent and perfect, thank you very much.”

Blushing at how incorrect that is – and also at the thoughts of how innocent she’s been with Quinn in the past few days – Rachel mumbles, “Yeah yeah, just help me unpack Dad.”

“What an ungrateful brat I’ve raised,” he bemoans, and Quinn chuckles, moving to help him with the boxes. “Oh no no Quinn, you can just stand there and look pretty; Rachel, on the other hand, can help me do all the work.”

“I call blatant favoritism,” Rachel grumbles as Leroy leaves to go unpack some boxes, ignoring how her heart warms at how much her Dad loves Quinn – him and Hiram had practically drooled over her when they had invited them to dinner a couple of days ago,

In response, her girlfriend gives a light laugh, pressing a consolidating kiss to her temple. Sighing at the blissful contact, she continues, “Plus, isn’t this what we called Brittany and the others up here to do anyway?”

“Well they were supposed to be helping, but I think Santana and Brittany are fucking somewhere as always, Quill is…probably causing trouble somewhere, and Kurt is busy trying to impress his new boy toy with the place.” Quinn gives a little shrug, before her lips tilt upwards as she remarks, “Such useful friends we’ve managed to find ourselves, we ought to pat ourselves on the back, really.”

“Totally,” Rachel agrees with a giggle to her voice, and as a thought occurs to her, she bites her lip. “I’m so glad that I found you though.”

It’s in a soft tone uncharacteristic of her, almost like a confession, and Quinn’s smile turns sweet. “I mean, you more stalked and lawsuit-ed your way to me, but whatever works right?” the blonde teases, and Rachel rolls her eyes fondly, making Quinn chuckle. “I’m glad I found you too,” she says finally, and at the utter truth Rachel hears in Quinn’s voice, she can’t help but let a beaming smile out, her heart contorting with something that can only really be one thing.

“I’d do it all over again if I had to,” she murmurs, affection for her girlfriend dripping all over her tone, and as Quinn’s hand squeezes hers gently, the pad of her thumb swiping across the back of her hand soothingly, Rachel suddenly can’t keep in her next words anymore, bubbling from inside the deeps depths of herself.

“I love you.”

The declaration takes Quinn by surprise, and tentatively, Rachel watches as Quinn blinks, as if not quite registering the words at first. But then, her face quickly turns into a wide, happy grin, the one that Rachel absolutely adores because she knows it’s the one that only she can cause, and Quinn beams.

“I love you too.” If it’s even possible, the blonde’s face morphs into an even bigger smile at the words, heavy emotion tinging them, and Rachel doesn’t realize that she’s holding in a breath until she feels as if she can finally exhale again, relief and most importantly love coursing through her being.

Hearing the words said back to her is freeing and amazing in all of the best ways possible, like a weight that she didn’t even know existed off of her chest, and Rachel pulls Quinn into another kiss, tender and deep and passionate and loving.

“I would and will choose you every time,” she whispers when she finally pulls back, and Quinn just smiles at her, that I’m-unadulteratedly-happy-because-of-Rachel-Berry smile, before she kisses her again.

Rachel’s made a lot of questionable decisions in her life, but without a doubt, she knows that this time, she finally chose right.

 

 

I'll unfold before you what I've strung together
The very first words of a lifelong love letter
Tell the world that we finally got it all right
I will become yours and you will become mine
I choose you

~Sara Bareilles, I Choose You

 

 

 

FIN