Disclaimer: I own nothing. All belongs to Glee writers and creators.
The first time it happened, Rachel was so stunned she couldn't respond even after it was over.
She'd been in the dressing room at the time, just after rehearsals for the school play, which she was seriously considering quitting. Despite the rather undesirable tactics Finn had employed to get her to admit it, she did miss glee and all her friends. Even the ones who weren't her friends, like Santana. For some reason she couldn't fathom, Rachel was beginning to sorely miss walking into the choir room only to be barraged with a volley of insults to her fashion sense, or rather, lack thereof. And she missed replying with, 'And good afternoon to you, too, Santana. I had a wonderful day, thank you for asking. I trust yours was satisfactory as well' and having Santana smirk at her and waltz back to Brittany's side as though nothing happened.
Unfortunately, now they had April Rhodes, and Rachel wasn't sure if they'd even be willing to take her back. Not that she could blame them. She'd been so very selfish, but she couldn't help it. She wasn't used to having to worry about other people's feelings.
She heaved a sigh as she dabbed the last of the makeup off her cheeks and straightened. New Directions would be coming to use the auditorium soon for a dress rehearsal, so it was time to vacate the premises. There was a knock almost before she finished the thought.
"Rachel Berry, I know for a fact you don't need more than five minutes to remove your makeup!" Kurt shouted from the other side.
She rolled her eyes, smiling fondly when she heard Santana snap, "Kurt, for the last time, you're not a girl. And this is the girls' dressing room."
"Just a moment!" Rachel interrupted, still smiling a little.
She slid her stubborn hair back into place a last time before she opened the door and smiled at her girl friends. Including Kurt, who Santana was trying to push down the hallway toward the boys' dressing room.
"It's all yours," Rachel said pleasantly.
Mercedes glared. "Good."
She filed in past her, followed by Tina, who gave Rachel a hesitant smile and wave. Brittany came next, grinning obliviously, and Santana pushed past Quinn—having finally won her battle with Kurt—into the room without sparing Rachel a glance. Ms. Rhodes must've been talking to Mr. Schuester or something, because Quinn was the last one in line. She hesitated, and the door slammed shut behind Santana.
Rachel laughed nervously when Quinn huffed and rolled her eyes, and they awkwardly shuffled around each other. And that was when it happened.
Quinn seized her by the shoulders—quite unexpectedly, in Rachel's opinion—and kissed her. Not just any kiss, either. It was fast and hard and searing, and Rachel felt it down to her toes, even though she was too shocked to do much more than stand there while Quinn kissed the air out of her lungs.
And when she was finished, apparently, Quinn flinched, muttered something that sounded suspiciously like 'dammit,' and stormed into the dressing room. Rachel clutched her heart and stood there wide-eyed for several minutes afterward, wondering what exactly just happened.
Of course, when she tried to talk to Quinn about it, the result was…well: Rachel walked into the choir room, Santana made a joke about her clothes, Mercedes asked what she was doing there, and Quinn glared at her. Hard. As usual, Rachel decided to ignore the warning.
"Quinn?" Rachel asked tentatively.
More glaring. "What?"
"Um…can I talk to you?" She glanced at the others. "Privately?"
There was a murmur around the room, and Quinn glared some more.
"And why would I ever want to be alone with you, Yeti?"
And that was pretty much that. Rachel decided it must've been a mistake—or she'd imagined it, or…something, although she didn't think her imagination was really that strong—and left, brushing Finn off when he later asked why she'd dropped in, and went on with her life as though nothing happened.
The second time it happened, Rachel wasn't quite as shocked.
This time she was in the choir room on her lunch period. She always ate as quickly as possible to get in a little extra practice time, which she felt this new number deserved. For the second time in a month, she was pining for her friends, although this time at least some of them were in the same group with her. Still, most of her actual friends were in Ms. Sylvester's group, and she sincerely pitied them. Kurt loved No Air.
No matter. They would probably have at least one number together, if Mr. Schuester had his way, so Rachel bucked up and tried to get through this one. It might not have been hard if not for Quinn. She realized why Quinn was upset. Finn was her boyfriend, and they were having a baby together. So, really, it was only right that she get to sing the song with him. But Rachel's voice was better for the part, and why should Quinn be anything but grateful to her? She gave her panties to JewFro to keep her from being humiliated. What more could she want?
Besides, apparently, the end of glee club. Deep down, Quinn loved glee. It was just a fact. So there was no way she would actually let it end, and thus there was no reason to worry about her 'secret' plotting with Coach Sylvester.
Rachel tried to shake it off and focus, but their earlier argument still bothered her. Perhaps it was the darkness swirling in Quinn's eyes when she'd snapped at her. It reminded Rachel of how she'd looked when she kissed her and that, of course, bothered Rachel more than anything Quinn could say. She didn't like thinking about that. It made her…yearn.
Again, she shook it off and plunged into the second verse again. And that was when it happened.
The door came swinging open and in marched Quinn, glancing around as though on the hunt for something. But before she found whatever it was she was looking for, her eyes narrowed on Rachel and the brunette cut off her song when Quinn marched toward her determinedly. Rachel was half-afraid she was going to make use of the empty room and beat the tar out of her.
"Quinn! Were you—"
And Quinn kissed her full on the lips again, this time sliding her arms around Rachel's waist and tugging her close to her slim body. Since Rachel had been in the middle of talking, her mouth was wide open, and Quinn took full advantage of that. Rachel didn't know if it was that, or the closeness of their bodies, or the location, or what, but this kiss seemed different. More frantic and hungry.
Once again, Rachel didn't respond. She was too flabbergasted. So she just stood there while Quinn massaged her tongue with hers and twisted her brunette locks in her fingers and set her body ablaze. And Rachel's last thought before she was finished again was, Now I know what toe-curling means….
She panted for air when Quinn pulled back, and then the cheerleader winced again. Only this time it wasn't as dark as it had been in the hallway outside the dressing room, and Rachel could see the flash of anger in her face. It made her take an unconscious step back, and then Quinn stormed out, slamming the door behind her.
And this time, Rachel definitely heard her growl, "Shit, shit, shit!" as she retreated.
Rachel tried to talk to her about it again. But it was right before they rehearsed No Air, and Finn was standing at the piano with Quinn as they looked over the sheet music. And, once again, Quinn glared at Rachel. Still, she tried.
"Quinn, can I talk to you about something?" she asked cautiously.
"No," Quinn said, and yanked Finn away.
And that was that.
The third time it happened, Rachel almost expected it.
She was in the bathroom, touching up on the makeup Kurt had applied early that morning. Frankly, she didn't like the look, but Finn seemed to. And even though he was clumsy and a little flat and half the time he didn't understand what she was saying, he was much better than her alternate options. She was thinking of Noah and JewFro, of course. No one else. Because she simply wasn't an alternative.
No matter how often Rachel thought about those two incidents. They were a distant memory. Besides, Quinn was having a baby with Finn. And if the closest Rachel could get to her was that puppy at her heels, then so be it. Not that Quinn was the reason she was doing this.
No, like Rachel told Kurt, she loved Finn. She wanted to please Finn. So if an outfit that she would normally never wear outside of a play or a bedroom would do it, then that's what she would wear. She was just glad it had worked on him. Otherwise she may have had to consider one of her alternatives, and she probably wouldn't have escaped Noah without a few hickeys. Which was part of why she'd asked to use the restroom during Biology. He wouldn't stop staring.
Some of the makeup was on her hands now—she hated that feeling—so she turned on the sink to wash up and didn't hear the flush followed by a door opening behind her. And that was when it happened.
Rachel glanced up in the mirror and caught sight of Quinn standing behind her, and there was that dark look in her eyes again. Rachel knew what that look usually led to, and she was surprised to realize that she'd missed seeing it. She tried to be surprised that she missed the part that usually came next, but she couldn't be dishonest with herself. She swallowed down the flutters of anticipation in her stomach and tried to act casually.
"Hello, Quinn. Is there something I can—"
What Quinn did wasn't what normally happened. Instead of spinning her around and kissing her, she slid her arms around Rachel from behind, and then Quinn's mouth was on Rachel's neck. Rachel gasped at the contact and then chomped down on her lip, hoping the sound hadn't spooked Quinn away, but she apparently hadn't heard. Or she was just that intent on finishing the job.
She blazed a trail of open-mouthed kisses up the column of Rachel's throat and Rachel tilted her head back instinctively to give Quinn better access, feeling hot moisture gathering between her legs and not caring because it felt so good. She could feel Quinn's baby bump pressing into her back as she rubbed talented hands over her stomach, pulling them together. Rachel closed her eyes at the sensation.
It was only when the water felt like it was scalding her hands that she moved at all, and that was to jump to turn it off. But Quinn must've taken it the wrong way, because when Rachel stood up straight, the bathroom door was swinging shut and Quinn was gone.
When Rachel went to talk to her this time, she only needed to hear four words as Finn and Quinn passed by her to change her mind.
"I do love you."
And that was that.
The fourth time it happened, Rachel was ready for her.
She'd suspected it might happen again, ever since Ms. Pillsbury informed them they'd be sharing a hotel room. Everyone had to be split up into twos, since that would be the cheapest deal, and Rachel understood Mr. Schuester's pairings completely. Santana and Brittany were inseparable; Tina was most comfortable with Mercedes; Artie and Kurt were buddies; Mike and Matt were both football players; and Noah would beat JewFro up if he tried to sneak out and steal more of Rachel's underwear.
All right, so the last one was actually a deal she'd made with Noah on the bus ride over, and Mr. Schuester was originally placing Noah and Finn together because they were best friends. Or they used to be, anyway. Which was the reason Rachel only suspected it might happen again and didn't know for sure. Even though Quinn said she wasn't mad didn't mean she really wasn't. Frankly, Rachel was mad at herself, so she honestly wouldn't have blamed Quinn, or anyone else, for being angry, too.
Nobody seemed angry, though. And that bothered her. Quinn hardly said a word to anyone, Noah was actually kind of grateful, and the rest of them didn't seem to care now that it was out in the open. Rachel felt like she should be yelled at, but no one was angry with her. They'd all simply accepted it and moved on.
Rachel took her anger out on her hair, brushing through it roughly and only pausing to wince when she forced through a particularly bad snarl. Quinn was using up the last of their curfew with Santana and Brittany, evidently, since she hadn't been to the room except to throw her suitcase on the bed of her choice. Rachel had spent some time with Mercedes and Tina in the arcade, but she couldn't take their acceptance for long. So she'd retreated to their room to change and watch reruns of Bonanza.
She threw the brush into her suitcase when she was done and scowled blankly at the TV screen as Adam Cartwright rode off to save the damsel. Again. She flipped it off and sighed. It was almost time for bed. She wondered if she should already be sleeping when Quinn arrived, to spare them the awkwardness. Before Rachel made up her mind, the door cracked open and Quinn slipped inside.
Their eyes met and Rachel saw the darkness swirling in them, and she rose to meet her when Quinn walked to her this time. And it happened again.
Only this time, Quinn was tentative with her kiss, and she didn't touch Rachel otherwise, as though she was fully expecting to be shoved off at any moment. Rachel was just happy she was kissing her at all, so she didn't push her luck. Instead, she lightly responded until Quinn pulled back with a questioning frown. Rachel wasn't about to let her get away with that, when she'd been trying to ask questions since the first time this happened.
She steeled her resolve when Quinn opened her mouth, lifting her finger to pink lips to silence her.
"Why do you keep doing that?" Rachel asked, keeping her expression carefully neutral.
She gradually lowered her finger to allow her to respond.
Quinn arched a brow and retorted, "Why did you just kiss me back?"
"I asked first," she shot back. "And I think I deserve to know since I've tried to talk to you about it three times now." She folded her arms, trying to look intimidating.
Apparently, it didn't work.
"And you've never kissed me back before now," Quinn said pointedly, scowling.
"Well, it's a bit of a shock when the person who regularly calls you 'RuPaul' suddenly decides she'd like to jump your bones."
Rachel raised an unpracticed brow. Quinn took the hint and fell silent, biting her lip. They stood in silence for a few moments, one fiddling with her sleeves and the other hugging her ribs tightly.
"Are you…saying you would've if I'd…?" Quinn cleared her throat uncomfortably.
"Maybe not the first time," Rachel allowed.
"But after that…?"
She nodded slowly and Quinn turned, but Rachel caught the flash of a smile before it was hidden from her. Rachel was getting impatient with her lack of a response, and she was about to press her for answers when Quinn looked up suddenly.
"But I thought you wanted to be with Finn," she said sharply.
"Why do you keep kissing me?" Rachel repeated.
Quinn looked affronted. "Answer me."
"I wasn't aware there was a question."
She scowled. "Don't you want to be with Finn?"
"Answer me first," she replied, raising her chin defiantly.
"You said you did. You said you—"
Quinn growled in frustration. "Because apparently I have no self-control!" she bellowed, throwing her hands up in the air. Rachel started, ready to interrogate her further, but Quinn wasn't finished. "It's hard enough to stay away from you when there's a crowd of people in the room, but when we're alone I can't stop myself. And it's annoying. I hate that I have feelings for you." And she proceeded to glare at her.
Rachel took a deep breath. Contrary to popular belief, she could actually control her expression when she really wanted to. Years of acting lessons saw to that. So when she wanted to grin and kiss her—or, alternately, scowl and roll her eyes—she didn't. Instead, she kept her face blank, and when Quinn was done, she answered her.
"I lied," she said simply.
Quinn frowned, confused. "What?" she snapped.
"I lied," she repeated. "When I told you I told Finn so he would want to be with me."
Quinn shifted her stance, less defensive now. There was curiosity in place of anger, and Rachel again wrestled a smile away.
"Why did you then?" she asked warily.
"Because it was the right thing."
She blinked. "Oh."
"And…because I knew it would break you up. It was selfish of me, and I am sorry, Quinn," Rachel said earnestly, venturing closer as Quinn watched, looking surprised. "I think I was tired of waiting for you to want me again, and I thought if I broke you up, you'd be with me. I hate myself for it. I wish you did, too."
Quinn frowned again, though this time it was gentler. "Why?"
"Because it was wrong of me. I deserve to be punished for what I did, and no one is willing to do it," she replied irritably. The twisted smile on Quinn's face made Rachel's stomach clench in apprehension. "What?"
The smile split into a mischievous grin. "You deserve to be punished?"
She felt her cheeks go up in flames. "I-I didn't mean—"
"No, no, I like the idea," Quinn purred, smirking. "I think I can accommodate you."
And it happened for the fifth time. Only this time, Rachel was expecting it and Quinn wasn't cautious. Their lips melded together and they both breathed in relief at almost the same time, because they'd been waiting for this forever and it was finally here. Rachel's arms slipped up around Quinn's neck and Quinn's hand flexed over her hip as she pulled her in as close as she could with the baby bump between them, her tongue smoothing across Rachel's bottom lip at the same time. Rachel opened her mouth to her and moaned as a hand slipped under her nightshirt, grazing the bare skin it found.
Quinn backed her until she hit the wall next to the bed, and her leg slid between Rachel's, eliciting an involuntary buck of the hips from Rachel. Quinn only grinned when Rachel pulled away, suddenly feeling sheepish, and ducked down to steal her lips again in another smoldering kiss, and Rachel soon forgot what she was embarrassed about. They were both gasping for air when they finally pulled away.
"Was that good enough punishment for you?" Quinn asked between breaths.
"Not exactly what I had in mind," Rachel replied. "But I definitely feel better now."
Quinn smirked. "Good."
She kissed her again, briefer this time since they still hadn't regained their breath yet. Rachel smiled serenely when the heavenly lips left hers.
"Stay with me," she blurted.
Quinn looked half-amused, half-confused. "What?"
"You don't have anywhere to stay because of me. So you can move in with me. My dads won't mind," Rachel assured her, nodding for emphasis.
"Rachel, you don't have to—"
"But I want to."
"And if this…doesn't work out?" she asked quietly, frowning now, though she didn't release her.
"Who says it won't?" she retorted. "It's working swimmingly so far, isn't it?"
Quinn smiled briefly, but it was dampened by her natural cynicism. "It's not going to be easy," she warned gently.
She nodded. "I know."
"You're pregnant. You're entitled to be cranky sometimes," she said pointedly.
Quinn sighed. "That's another thing. I'm having a baby with Puck."
"And do you still have feelings for him?" she prompted softly.
"No, of course not," she assured her rapidly. "I never have. I only—"
"Then it's fine."
She worried her lip between her teeth. "People are going to call us names, you know. The bullying is going to be worse than—"
"Quinn, do you want this or not?" Rachel asked sharply, and Quinn was so caught off-guard she only blinked for a moment. "Because you sound like you really don't."
"No! I—of course I want this! I just want you to be prepared," she replied fretfully, stroking Rachel's hair.
Nonetheless, Rachel's grip loosened around Quinn's neck, and Quinn began to panic.
"And you said you hate having feelings for me," she reminded her, frowning warily.
"Because I thought you'd never return them! I mean, sure, at first it was because I didn't want them and because I thought it was…well, you know. And maybe it might still take some getting used to in front of other people, but I don't care about that as long as I'm with you."
Her cheeks went pink with embarrassment, but then Rachel said, "And that's how I feel."
Quinn slowly smirked. "All right, smartass. I get it."
She just flashed a grin and said, "Good. Now, can you do me a favor?"
She nodded, rocking her gently in her arms. "Anything."
"Can you shut up and kiss me?" Rachel asked impishly.
Quinn grinned and nodded. "I think I can manage that."
And she bent to do just that. For the eighth time, but not the last.