Quinn opened her eyes, disrupted from her sleep by the sound of thumping on the floor above her. The kids were awake, apparently. Next to her, dark hair splayed across the pillow, face hidden somewhere under the edge of the covers, was Rachel. After a few more thumps, she stirred.
"What is that?"
Quinn kissed the top of Rachel's head, then reluctantly emerged from the bed. She grabbed her pajamas and robe off the nearby armchair and threw them on.
"Come back, it's cold!"
"In about sixty seconds, there will be an eight year old knocking at that door, begging you to come up for breakfast."
Rachel's head popped up, her disheveled hair hung around her face like some kind of Maxim magazine model. "Right now?"
"Mom!" There was knocking at the bedroom door.
Quinn gestured to the door. "See? I'll run interference while you get presentable. There's extra stuff down here in the guest bathroom if you need anything." She leaned down to pick up Rachel's over-sized overnight bag, then nearly dropped it because of the weight. "Though, knowing you, you probably brought everything you might need, plus three spares."
"You know me well." She offered a sleepy smile.
"Mom! Is Rachel in there?" came Maddy's voice through the door.
Quinn cracked the door open just enough to talk to her daughter. "Yes, but you need to chill out. Why don't you go make sure Uncle Bob remembered to set Rachel's place?"
"Okay!" Maddy clambered back up the basement steps.
Quinn shut the door. "I just bought you five minutes."
Rachel was already digging though her bag. "How are we going to... I mean, how do you want to handle... this?"
Rachel nodded. "I know you said they're not your parents, but--"
"Um, I hate to break this to you, but... you're not the first girl I brought home to a family function."
"It was, like, five years ago."
"Technically, I brought myself." Rachel awkwardly pulled the sheet up around her.
"And I'm glad you did." Quinn knelt on the bed across from her, the giant bag between them. "I didn't mean to just drop that on you. But it was a long time ago. And she wasn't you."
"Well, I am a one of a kind." She began to dig through the bag. "Does this mean Maddy know about... you... and me?"
"I haven't talked to her about it, really. I mean, not about us specifically."
"But you think she'll be okay with it?"
"That her mom is dating Elphaba? Uh, yeah. I think she'll manage."
"You're running out of time!"
"Stop talking to me, then."
"You're a stage legend and you can't talk and dress at the same time?"
"I'm not really a legend, yet. I'm too young."
It was family tradition to go last minute shopping on Christmas Eve. Everyone also brought specific gifts they'd bought before hand, but that morning, they all drew names and were given four hours to go out and buy that person a gift.
"We call it Procrastination Santa. And there's a twenty-seven dollar limit." Quinn explained to Rachel.
Quinn nodded. "Uncle Bob makes the rules, we just play the game."
"Who'd you get?"
"I can't tell you. That defeats the entire purpose."
"I feel kind of weird. I just met these people last night."
"Well, here's your chance to impress then with your superior observations skills."
"True. Can I at least shop with you?"
"What if one of us has the other's name?"
"Stop trying to trick me!"
"Fine, I'll meet you back here at... when?"
"Can you handle being away from me that long?"
Two o'clock actually came rather quickly. By the time everyone left the house, maneuvered through the streets of Hartford, and came back home, the four hours barely felt like enough time.
The kids convinced Quinn and Rachel to join them in Star Wars Monopoly, but Rachel made them swear to stay through the entire game and to let her be Han Solo. Quinn smiled and immediately snatched up the Leia piece. By the time the game ended, dinner was ready, and after dinner was another trip to the church for Christmas Eve service.
After the service, Quinn and Rachel lagged behind the rest of the family as they walked back to the house. The streets surrounding Aunt Mary's house were illuminated with lights and decorations and several people strolled through the neighborhood, taking in the displays of holiday cheer.
A snowball hit Quinn in the shoulder. She turned to see Dave ducking behind a giant inflatable Santa.
"Oh, he did not."
Rachel was already packing snow between her hands. "He did." She waited for him to pop his head out, then whipped the snowball at him. It sailed over his head and hit a college kid behind him.
"Sorry!" Both Quinn and Rachel called out to the guy.
He just smiled at them, then scooped up a handful of snow. This quickly escalated into a neighborhood snowball fight and, by the end of it, Rachel and Quinn were both aching from laughter and shivering from the wet, cold snow.
Down in the basement, they quickly shed their wet clothes and climbed into Quinn's bed.
Quinn shivered. "It's not helping that you're just as cold as I am."
"Did you turn on the electric blanket?"
"We're supposed to spoon. That's how you don't die from hypothermia."
"But your hands are so cold."
"We'll they can't get warm if we don't do something!" protested Rachel.
"Maybe we should take a shower."
"That never works. One person always gets in the way of the water and the other person is left cold." Rachel was very matter-of-fact about it.
"So much for romance."
"I'm a sucker for romance, but I also like to be warm."
They shifted under the covers, and Rachel snuggled up to Quinn. "You still have ice hands!"
"Deal with it."
"Okay, just don't move."
For about a full minute, they were still and Quinn began to feel like she might be warming up. Then Rachel threw back the covers and jumped out of bed.
"What part of don't move do you not understand?" She pulled the blankets back up around herself.
Rachel quickly ran over to her bag, unzipped one of the side pockets, and took something out. She leaped back onto the bed and burrowed between the sheets. "Sorry. I forgot something." Her hand popped out from the covers and placed a small wrapped gift on top of Quinn's stomach.
"What is this?"
"Well, Quinn, traditionally, Christmas is a gift giving holiday."
"You already did so much for Maddy."
"That was for Maddy. This is for you."
Quinn sat up and tried to keep as much of the covers around her as possible. She picked up the package, which was no bigger than a few inches square, and carefully pulled at the tape and paper. Unwrapped, Quinn held a green gift box in her hands. Something about it was familiar. Under the lid was a silver chain and on the chair was a charm. The charm was a Han Solo laser blaster.
"Where did you... I mean, how did you even find this?"
"I had it made, actually."
Rachel shook her head. "A while ago."
"They're so stupid."
"They'll get over it. They always do. That's how boys are."
Rachel carefully rested her hand on Quinn's stomach, hoping to catch some movement from the baby. "No, I mean, why even fight over who gets to be Anakin? He whines all the time. Oh, no, the Dark Side. Whatever. Same with Luke. All those Skywalker boys are big babies."
"What about Leia?"
"Leia does not whine and she looks hot with those Endor braids."
Quinn laughed. "You're serious business about this Han Solo thing, aren't you?"
"He does what he needs to do to survive. I can relate to that."
"Well, I certainly wouldn't mind having a Han around to keep me safe from the Empire. And, you know, whatever else high school throws at me."
Rachel laid her head on Quinn's shoulder and closed her eyes as Quinn's fingers traced over her back. "I could be your Han Solo." But then Rachel worried that was too much. So she continued, "I mean, I'd need a vest and some killer boots."
Quinn chuckled. "And a Wookie."
"Finn's like a Wookie."
"Oh my god, I just imagined him with long hair." They broke into a fit of giggles.
"How long ago?" Quinn flipped the box over and realized why it looked familiar. The gold imprint on the bottom read iNewton Jewelers, Lima, OH/i.
"It was supposed to be for luck. At Nationals. But I... kinda chickened out."
"You? Chickened out? That's a first."
"I thought you would think it was stupid. Or that I was asking too much from you."
"When you left Lima, I wanted to go with you."
"Why didn't you say anything?"
"Because I had a brand new baby and you were already on your way to stardom."
Rachel rested her chin on Quinn's shoulder. "I was in love with you, you know."
Quinn turned her head and caught Rachel's lips in a kiss. "Why'd we wait so long? For this?"
"Because we were young and just as dumb as those big oafish Wookie boys."
"Well," Quinn carefully took the necklace out of the box and handed it to Rachel, before pulling her blond hair away from her neck. "If you're ready to fill a pair of bitchin' boots, I think I'd like to keep you around."
Rachel clasped the delicate chain around Quinn's neck, then kissed the span of skin under her ear. "Don't forget the vest."
"I love you."