Chapter 44: A House Is Not A Home

"I am not going back to Lima."

"It's our 5 year high school reunion!"

"No, it's not!" Quinn cried. "It's a desperate call from Will Schuester who needs help with his pathetic group this year."

"Everyone's going! It's going to be the Glee club's unofficial five year reunion! It's been years since we've had everyone together in one room," Rachel argued.

"They were all here 6 months ago for your opening night of She Loves Me."

"It's not the same." Rachel shook her head.

Settling in for the battle, Quinn crossed her arms over her chest and shrugged. "I have to work. I can't go."

Rachel was ready for this. "You have your vacation days saved up."

Quinn glared at her. "For our romantic get away to the French Riviera! In what universe would I trade in any of that time for Lima freaking Ohio?"

"This is important to me, Quinn," Rachel said seriously.

She scoffed. "Not going to happen."

"What can I get for you?"

"Club soda, please. Quinn, what do you-"

She was looking out the window with her earbuds in.

"Ah, right. She's still not speaking to me. Sorry," Rachel said to the flight attendant, "I'm sure she'll be fine with water."

"Not speaking to you, hm? What'd you do?"

"It's a long story, but we're going back to our hometown for a high school reunion and she's not altogether pleased about it..."

"Can't say I blame her. I hated high school too. Absolute nightmare."

"She was the most popular girl in school and captain of the cheerleading squad. Then she went to Columbia and graduated with honors. Now she works for a top architecture design firm in New York and brings home a six figure salary."

The woman stared at her.

"Oh and she's gay."

Recognition washed over her. "So why are you making her go?"

"It'll be nice to see our friends again and to help out an old teacher of ours. Also, I think there's some loose ends she wants to tie up. She just won't admit it. It's my job to make her see it - girlfriend rules and all."

"You're her girlfriend?" she said with barely hidden disbelief.

"Yeah, I know, she's too pretty for me. Don't worry, I'm constantly surprised by it myself."

"Actually..." the woman lowered her voice with a bashful smile, "I was thinking that you're too pretty for her."

"She said its a club soda and water," Quinn's voice chimed in pointedly. "I think there are some other people who would like their orders taken too, don't you think?"

The flight attendant pursed her lips in embarrassment, but moved on any way.

"Seriously, Rachel? You're gonna keep doing this? Just spill everything about us to the nearest body?"

"I thought you weren't speaking to me," she replied innocently.

"Stop using strangers to have a conversation with me! It didn't work with the cab driver. It didn't work with the baggage claim guy. It definitely didn't work with the security guard or the couple next to us in the airport lobby!"

"You're talking to me now though."

Quinn huffed and put her earbuds back in.

"Fine." She looked across the aisle and saw a teenage boy watching a movie on his iPad. "Hi there! Sorry to bother you, but-"


They stayed with the Berry's of course and met with Will Schuester and the rest of the original Glee club members on the second day. As difficult as it was to coordinate all these schedules, everyone made the time to come back. Some of the club members still lived in Lima, the rest flew in from around the country. None of them truly cared about Will needing help with his current Glee class, except for Rachel and Kurt, but they were willing to help all the same. It was really just an excuse to be with each other again. Reminisce about the past, brag about the present, and get excited about the future.

Kurt left New York after graduating from NYADA and a bad break up with Blaine. He needed a different city for a while and LA ended up becoming home. He worked for a personal stylist to the stars and was all too happy to drop names about the celebrities he got to work with.

Mercedes was in Las Vegas enjoying a long term contract to a rather prestigious jazz lounge and had steady work as a back up singer. While she still dreamed of making her own album, she wasn't lacking for work, and she was happy.

Tina had moved to New York after college to work with a photographer there so Rachel and Quinn actually got to see her and her live-in boyfriend quite often.

Mike was working in San Francisco as a successful dance instructor, with plans to open his own studio.

Puck had been building his pool cleaning business for years and it now boasted a good number of employees and had expanded beyond Lima.

Finn worked with Burt at his tire shop with plans to become a co-owner and eventually take over someday.

Sam was still working on his business degree at Ohio State. It was taking him longer than all of them to graduate because not only was he a year younger, but he could only go to school part time while he worked full time to be able to afford tuition. He and Puck would often perform together with their guitars at various open mike nights and county fairs.

Santana and Brittany left Miami and were in Brooklyn now. Rachel was joking when she said Santana would be running her own club one day, but it turned out to be hitting the nail on the head. The owner of the nightclub she managed in Miami opened a new location in Brooklyn and handed Santana the keys. Brittany was the lead dancer and choreographer of the club's home entertainment team, but with some help from Rachel's connections, she was starting to feel out possibilities of being a choreographer for theater.

Will Schuester was still at McKinley, teaching Spanish, coaching Glee club, and battling with Sue Sylvester. He and Emma Pillsbury had gotten married and they had a second child on the way. The first was a boy with a full head of ginger hair. Mercedes joked that he cleaned each one of his cheerios before eating them.

No Glee club under Will had made it past Sectionals since the original group, but he insisted it would happen again, and that's why he called the OG's in. He needed them to help his current group win Sectionals. It was a lost cause, but no one minded because they were there to see each other, not for the poor group of kids who couldn't sing and had a dimwit for a teacher.

"Sometimes I still can't believe we're here."

" Lima?" Rachel replied sleepily. She'd been on the verge of nodding off when Quinn spoke.

They were snuggled up together against a wall in the wings of the auditorium as they waited for the rest of the Glee club to arrive. They snuck away to make use of the privacy of the catwalk again as they had done so many times years ago. The group wasn't supposed to meet for another hour or so, and until then, Rachel and Quinn were enjoying the silence and the memories that washed over them from just being in McKinley High again.

"Us. Together. Like this."

Quinn lifted up their linked hands to show her.

"After 8 years, you still feel that way?"

"I think I'm going to feel like that for the rest of my life."

Rachel smiled, but Quinn didn't seem to share her lightheartedness in the moment and there was a long pause.

"Do you know what it was I wanted that night?" she asked hesitantly. "When I barged into your house?"

Rachel nodded slowly, confused as to how that was a question. Of course she knew.

"You wanted to have sex with me," she answered bluntly.

Quinn sighed with a tinge of rueful sadness. "What I wanted...was to forget you."

Rachel was quiet.

"I wanted to make it stop. Make you go away. Get you out of my head. Did you know that I thought you were just a phase? Before we ever... I convinced myself you were just an obsession. Some freak obsession that was a only phase and would go away eventually. I blamed it on that for so long...then I blamed it baby hormones...then it went back to being a phase." She grimaced. "Until it wasn't."

"So you thought that having sex with me would help you get over the so-called 'phase' and forget about me?"

"Basically." She shrugged. "Santana always used to say her thing with Brittany was temporary. It was just supposed to be fun for a while because it was new and exciting. She always said she'd get bored and be over it eventually. I thought it was the same. I thought if I got the need to 'experiment', whatever it was, out of my system then...I'd get bored and go back to normal too."

"That's...I don't...?" Rachel stammered in befuddlement.

Quinn chuckled. "Don't try to make sense of it. There was no logic involved. I was desperate. You were in my head. My body wanted you. My heart wanted you. I wanted you. And that all finally came crashing down. But even then, I never thought that this is where I'd be at 25 years old. I never imagined I'd be with you."

"You thought you'd do better?"

Rachel said it so matter-of-factly. There was no levity or sarcasm. It was a sincere question, more of a statement even, and to hear that quiet acceptance of defeat still managed to twist the knife in Quinn's stomach after all this time.

She shook her head. "You are the most incredible thing I could have ever hoped for. When I was 16, I never once imagined that I could be happy like this. I never knew I could have someone like you love me. I didn't know it was possible. I thought I'd be alone or with someone that made me miserable and I'd just try to make it work each day. Never did I think it could be like this. You make me so happy, Rachel, and our life's more than I ever dared to imagine. When I wake up in the morning, sometimes there's still a split second where I wonder if it was all a dream. But then I see you or I see our room so unmistakably touched by you and I know that it's real. That you're with me."

"Always," Rachel breathed. She smiled and kissed her knuckles. "Forever and ever and ever."

Quinn settled back against the wall with a sigh. "I know I wasn't what you pictured either."

Rachel clucked her tongue thoughtfully. "Strictly speaking, that's not true."


"In my perfect world, at 16 years old, I dreamt that I would be with someone who made me happy beyond compare. Someone who loved every part of me. Someone who would sing with me. Someone who was proud to be with me. Someone who would cheer me on from the front row on opening night. Someone who could be my equal and still take care of me all the same. So, yes, Quinn. You are exactly what I had pictured."

Quinn looked away, but not before Rachel saw the tears glistening in her eyes. So she leaned over and kissed her cheek, breathing in her ear, "I love you."

Quinn turned back and kissed her soundly.

"Things haven't changed a single bit with you two, have they?"

They looked up at the interruption to see Tina and Kurt in the middle of the stage watching them with amusement. Puck and Sam were coming in from the back doors while Finn appeared at the top of one of the rows, making his way toward them.

"They're usually better about the PDA when we meet up in New York," Tina said to Kurt.

His eyebrows rose. "My, my, what is it about the sweat drenched, dust laden, despair filled air of McKinley High that makes it such an aphrodisiac for you ladies?"

Rachel popped up onto her feet and reached down to help pull Quinn up alongside her.

"Simply memories, Kurt, dearest. Most lovely memories."

"Katie, girl, you better get your act together if you want to keep your man." He wagged his finger at her. "Don't make your Hubbell go find a lovely girl."

Rachel giggled and began to sing. "Memories light the corners of my mind, Misty water-colored memories..."

Santana appeared in front of her all of a sudden, effectively cutting Rachel off. She held up a very large roll of industrial sized duct tape and stretched out a piece that made a loud ripping noise. Rachel eyed it fearfully.

"I came prepared," Santana said threateningly. "Just try me."

Quinn laughed along with the rest of the group while Rachel shook off their teasing and stood there proudly jutting her chin out to show she didn't care. She had been officially cast as Katie in the highly anticipated Broadway musical adaptation of The Way We Were two weeks ago and no one on earth could bring her down now! Her dream of following Barbra's footsteps was coming to fruition at long last!

Then there was the day that Quinn told her parents.

The last of the last to truly know everything that their daughter was and it went exactly as predicted.

Yes, this was the biggest reason behind Rachel's push for them to go back to Lima. She knew how much Quinn needed to face them, how much her girlfriend actually wanted to do it, to finally come clean once and for all, but she also knew how hard it was for Quinn to summon the courage to go back to their hometown. In her mind, she reasoned that this impromptu Glee club reunion would be the best opportunity they were going to get. Quinn could decide when they arrived whether or not seeing her parents was something she was ready for. For all her bluster and feigned ignorance, Quinn knew exactly what Rachel was doing and even though she wasn't certain what she would do when they got to Lima, she knew she had to try. It was time.

So on the last day of their trip, Quinn made her choice. She went to see her mom. It took all of a half an hour.

Rachel stayed behind at her behest – chewing her fingernails to the beds as she waited at home with her fathers. Waiting for her girlfriend to return, knowing and yet having no real idea, what she was going through – unable to protect her, comfort her, support her. This was something Quinn needed to do without her, but Rachel hated every second of it.

It was just 30 minutes from the moment Quinn stepped foot past the Fabray threshold before she was out the door again with orders from Judy Fabray to never to come back.

But she didn't stop there. Quinn didn't even hesitate for a second or stop to take a breath. She got in her car and, as planned, immediately drove to Sam's. Together, they went to Russell Fabray's home where he now lived with his new wife and their three month old son - the half brother that she would never know.

Sam stayed at her side as she told him. It took far less time than it did with her Mom.

After the pleasantries and small talk were out of the way, it was exactly six minutes into the reveal before her father lunged for her. Sam broke his nose. Russell's new wife screamed bloody murder, which made the baby start screaming too. As Russell tried to sit up from the floor, Sam took a stunned Quinn by the arm and got her out of the house. He drove them back to the Berrys. Hiram and Leroy tended to Sam's hand and eventually managed to convince him it was okay to leave after repeated assurances that Quinn would be looked after.

That night, Quinn laid silently upstairs in Rachel's arms in her old bedroom. She never said a word and Rachel didn't ask her to. It'd been expected and then it happened.

That was all.

The next morning, or maybe it was still night because it was pitch dark, someone was right against her ear, saying something that Rachel didn't understand at first because she was still half asleep. By the time she was fully awake, she realized it'd been a question.

"Are you awake?"

"Am now," she mumbled, turning so that her face was buried in her pillow.

"Sorry," Quinn whispered and rested her cheek against Rachel's back.

She was draped over Rachel, just as it was every time they slept together. Quinn's legs were impossibly tangled with hers, one arm curled round her waist tightly while the other rested just above Rachel's head. Front to back. Rachel could feel every inch of her girlfriend's warmth pressed against her and it was the best part of her morning. Every morning with Quinn. Even now, Rachel still couldn't help the shiver that went through her body when she felt Quinn's warm little puffs of breath against the exposed skin at her shoulder.

"How are you?"

She was met with silence.

"Tell me," Rachel said quietly, groping above her head blindly for Quinn's hand until their fingers were laced.

She might have still been half asleep, but that didn't mean she didn't know this routine.

Quinn sighed and gathered Rachel more tightly in her embrace, changing their closeness from the possessiveness of sleep to one of conscious need.

"Go back to sleep, it's okay."

"Quinn..." Rachel sighed. "You never wake me unless it's because you absolutely, positively have to talk to me about something. Neither of us will sleep until you do. So...what is it?"

"This coming from the girl who woke me at 3am while I was in Paris to rant about the announcement that the incommensurable Barbra Streisand was lowering herself into the trenches of stoner comedy with Seth Rogen."

"That it is a completely separate issue and totally unrelated to this particular moment so don't even try." Rachel groaned. "Why did she have to do that godforsaken movie? Relating to the younger generation? Pathetic excuse. If the younger generation doesn't understand the pure perfection that is Barbra then it's their loss!"

"I'm guessing you're awake now."

Rachel squeezed Quinn's hand and nudged her a bit chastisingly, but when she spoke, her tone had softened again.

"Tell me what's keeping you awake, my love."

She could both hear and feel the deep inhale Quinn took in response behind her and waited with all the patience she possessed. It was still dark outside and she didn't dare look at the clock for fear of what she might actually find. It was better just to be left in the dark...literally and figuratively.

"Do you remember that really lame old Teen Nick soap that Santana and Brittany forced us to watch when we went to visit them in Miami?"

Rachel groaned in frustration and hit her head against the pillow just to be sure she didn't accidentally hit anything her impossible girlfriend who woke her at an extremely rude hour just to talk about a TV show! She thought this would have something to do with the horrific day with her parents that Quinn just endured, not...not this!

"Just hear me out."

"Fine," she agreed somewhat reluctantly and played along. "You mean the one with two teenaged lesbians, one of which thought bras as outerwear was perfectly appropriate attire for any occasion?"

"Yeah, the brunette that Santana openly drooled over."

"So did you, if memory serves."

"I don't drool," she replied firmly. "I thought she had a lot of sex appeal."

"Easy to have when you wear practically nothing and six inch heels all the time."

"You didn't think she was sexy?"

"If you must know, I was more attracted to the other one. She was sweet. She had a way about her... And she was blonde. Apparently, I have a thing for blondes."

"And apparently I have a thing for obnoxious brunettes."

Rachel elbowed her none too lightly this time, but Quinn just chuckled.

"I am really hoping you have an actual point for this rather than debating who was more attractive."

Quinn kissed the back of her neck and went silent for a few moments. If her fingers weren't gently playing with Rachel's, she would have thought Quinn had fallen back asleep.

"It was a really bad show, just cheesy and awful, but..."

"Yes?" Rachel prompted when Quinn didn't seem to be willing to continue.

"I remember a line one of the girls said...about her Mom."

Rachel inhaled slowly, steeling herself as all trace of her sleep haze vanished and the memories of yesterday rushed back into the forefront of her mind with a terrible vengeance. Quinn's blank stare, the blood on Sam's hand, the way her fathers looked – so sad and yet expected, the way Quinn had clung to her without a word for hours until Rachel convinced her to eat some supper and they fell asleep together.

Here they were, still wrapped up with each other, and Quinn was finally talking again.

"What did she say?" she asked gently.

"It was about how her parents treated her. That the thing that bothered her the most wasn't that they didn't care about her, it was that she cared that they didn't." Quinn's voice became unsteady and Rachel gripped her hands tighter. "I don't know how to make myself not care, Rachel. How do you not care about your parents hating you?"

Rachel wanted to deny it. Argue with her. Promise her that it wasn't true. That her parents didn't hate her, couldn't possibly hate her, but she couldn't. Everything the Fabrays had done made it perfectly clear that they no longer considered Quinn their daughter nor did they ever wish to see her face or hear her name again. Rachel wasn't going to try a push a lie on her girlfriend when a lie was the last thing Quinn needed.

"They're misguided, ignorant people, Quinn. If they say they hate you, it's because that's what they think they're supposed to do. It's not about you. It never was."

Rachel turned over so that she was facing her. The tear tracks down Quinn's cheeks showed her that Quinn had been awake for much longer than she let on. Out of instinct, she pressed a chaste kiss to her lips before gingerly wiping away the remains of her crying with her thumb.

"You are the most extraordinary, wonderful, incredible person I have ever met, Quinn Fabray. You have so many people in your life that love you beyond measure. They would lie down in front of a speeding car if it meant saving you, myself included. We're not defined by our parents, Quinn. Yes, they guide us, their actions do have a hand in shaping us, but they do not define us. My fathers guided me on a good path in my life, I grew to be who I am now because of it. And you?"

Quinn finally met her eyes.

"You became who you are because your parents showed all the things that you should never and could never be. You fought against being like them with every fiber of your being because you knew, deep down, they were wrong, and that you were meant to be so much more. That internal battle made you who you are today, Quinn. Without that, you wouldn't be the same amazing woman that you are, lying next to me at this very cruel hour in the morning, talking about a cringe-worthy, coming of age, lesbian soap opera."

Quinn's eyes lit up in amusement and her lips curled to a half smile.

"I love you so much," Rachel whispered, brushing some stray hair away from Quinn's face. "I wouldn't be who I am now without you. I can't tell you how to find peace with what's happened with your parents, Quinn, but I can tell you that you'll find a way. I don't think you'll ever stop caring completely. Maybe you're not supposed to. But you can find a way to make it okay with yourself. They don't deserve you, Quinn. Anyone who doesn't see you for everything that you are, doesn't deserve to kiss the ground you walk on."

Quinn exhaled a ragged sigh and her eyes teared up, but she held them at bay. "You like me that much, hm?"

Rachel shrugged halfheartedly, yet her sly little smile gave her away. "Yeah, kind of. Just a little bit."

Quinn nestled forward until her forehead was pressed against Rachel's. "I didn't think it would bother me so much. I was numb when I went in yesterday. After all these years...I thought I was prepared for it. But it still..." The words got lost in her throat and she swallowed thickly. "I guess nothing could have prepared me for it."

Rachel slipped her arm around Quinn's waist and splayed her hand against her back, holding her closer.

"I'm glad it's over with though. I don't have to wonder anymore. No more endless scenarios to play out in my head. It happened. They know. And I will never hide from anyone ever again."

"Is it as freeing as you hoped it would be?"

She sighed heavily. "I think with a little more time... When the shock wears off... It might be." She swallowed, her eyes tearing. "I just want to go home," her voice cracked slightly.

Rachel instinctively tightened her embrace. Her heart was breaking to see the woman she loved so dearly be in this kind of pain. And there was nothing she could do to change it, rendering her an absolutely helpless spectator to Quinn's tragedy. Expecting something and knowing something are two very different things. It doesn't matter how much time you have to prepare, it will never be enough to face the real thing.

"Lima seems so much smaller than it used to," Rachel whispered. "And I always thought it was small."

"But now it's suffocating."

"I suppose that's what we get for living in the greatest city in the world."

"Small town girls living the dream."

Rachel smiled. "I thought you were going to break out into 'Don't Stop Believing' for a second there..."

Quinn made a face. "Seriously? If anyone was going to do that, it would be you."

"Can we go back to sleep now? Or would you like to discuss Ashley Davies' sex appeal some more?"

Quinn's mouth dropped open in genuine shock before she broke out into a full, deep, belly laugh that was pure music to Rachel's ears. Quinn was going through one of the hardest things she would ever have to go through in her life, but Rachel could still make her laugh. She could hold Quinn in her arms, just before dawn, and make her laugh. There was no escaping this, no matter what, they were happy together. In that moment, Rachel knew that as difficult and painful as it was right now, everything was going to be fine.

"You liar!" Quinn gasped through her laughter. "You secretly loved that show, didn't you? All those speeches about how poorly executed it was, to the point where Santana was going to strangle you with her own bra, but no! You. Loved. It."

"I don't know what you're talking about." Rachel sniffed and rolled over to get away from Quinn's teasing, putting a pillow over her head. "Just because I remembered a character's name... I happen to have a superb memory that allows me to be off book within two days for any given role. If anything, you should be lauding me for my talent, not mocking me!"

"You remembered her full name, Rachel. Admit it. You loved everything about that godawful show. It started with an 'S'..."

"South Of- Oh, no!" she cried, cutting herself off. "You're not getting me with that!"

A giggling Quinn pounced on her. "Hah! I just did!"

"Get off me!"

"You are such a sap!"

"If you don't let me sleep now, I'm going to the guest room."

"What was your favorite episode? Their first time? Aw!"

"Go. Away."

"I'm so telling Santana."

"Do that and you die, Fabray."

"She's never going to let you live it down."


"Brittany will make you reenact scenes with her."

"Quinn. Fabray."

"Now that I think about it, I don't know if I can be with someone who's so obsessed with such a terrible show. I've lost respect for you."

"OH – MY - GOD!"

Rachel grabbed a pillow and smacked Quinn square in the face. Then she kissed her.

Sam and the Berry men accompanied them to the airport to see them off. They exchanged various promises of who was going to come to visit who and when. Rachel's parents hugged their daughter, then they hugged the woman they knew would be their daughter-in-law someday.

Hiram hugged Rachel first. "Your birthday present is already in the mail, but don't you dare think about breaking the rules. You're not allowed to open it until the day of, remember?"

"Of course, Daddy!" Rachel replied as though he were reminding her not to jump off a building. "You know I would never, ever, break that rule. Quinn tries to break it all the time, which she knows drives me absolutely insane, but I think that's why she does it in the first place..."

"I think you're finally learning," he replied with a wink.

"Stop talking about me," Quinn said sternly to them after she let go of Leroy, her hands on her hips. "I'm right here."

Hiram and Rachel shared an equally amused glance.

"Now, you're going to call us the minute you know when your first late night appearance is, right?" Leroy asked her for hundredth time that week. "Because nothing on earth is going to stop me from being in the audience when my baby girl goes on the Tonight Show for the very first time!"

Both of her fathers were under strict instructions to never utter the word 'Tony' in Rachel's presence before she was actually nominated for one, but every inch of them was silently screaming right now with how hard they were trying not to mention the award season buzz her new production was already generating.

"I promise, Dad! I will send you a calendar of every single event on the promotional tour, as well as the show's schedule, so that even when you're not there, you'll know when to think of me and when to give my rightful standing ovation. If it's not in person, a vivid mental picture of one will suffice."

"And the years have not humbled her in the slightest..." Sam muttered.

Hiram was taking his turn to say goodbye to Quinn and embraced her.

"Remember what I said," he whispered into her ear. "You will always have a place with us and you will always be loved."

Quinn hugged him that much harder, but remained visibly stoic. She would not be crying in the airport. She refused.

Sam kissed them both goodbye, on the mouth as was their custom. It seemed too natural not to.

"Love you," he said to them both and they embraced in a three way hug.

"See you in New York, Evans." Quinn smiled fondly.

"You better have a girlfriend the next time we see you," Rachel said sternly. "It's high time you started to get serious about someone again."

"He's 23, Rachel!" Quinn said exasperatedly.

"And I'm 24! What's your point?"

"You want him married off already?"

"Not married, but he needs to find someone else already and stop sleeping around so much." She faced him while pursing her lips. "You're a bit of a slut, Sam."

"I am not!" he cried indignantly. "I don't sleep around!"

"Rachel Barbra Berry, we did not raise you to slut shame!" Hiram interjected reprovingly.

"Even if the boy does sleep around..." Leroy added, Sam's cry of "I don't sleep around!" in the background fell on deaf ears, "there's no harm to be said for having some variety in your life as long as it's the well protected variety."

"Why is this even a conversation?" Sam yelped. "I mean, yeah, okay, there was that one month, but it really didn't count..."

No one was listening to him.

"Oh, so you would say the same for me, your only daughter? You'd sagely advise me to sleep around as much as I want just so as long as I use protection?"

"Hah!" Hiram cried, pointing his finger in the air victoriously. "That question is irrelevant, as is the answer, because Quinn's taken care of your sex life for us. So we never have to address it."

Quinn waved her hands furiously while blushing. "Okay, we really need to stop this. Like, now."

"THAT'S WHAT I'VE BEEN SAYING!" Sam cried from behind them.

"Rachel, make your Dads stop talking about our sex life!"

Rachel ignored her. "This is a double standard, Daddy, and you know it."

"Fine, sweetheart," Hiram sighed, rolling his eyes, "if you would like to be more promiscuous, you have your father's and my blessing. Go forth and embrace the '60s lifestyle with a modern day understanding of STI's, pregnancy risks, and dangers of recreational drugs."

"Thank you! I will!"

"Excuse me?" Quinn said testily.

But Rachel didn't have a chance to respond because Sam stepped in between them, staring the brunette down. "I am not a slut!"

She crossed her arms and stuck out her chin. "Then prove it! Find a girl that we like so we can all go out together for couple's nights."

"What are you, 40? Couple's nights?"

Rachel scoffed at his apparent ignorance and looked to Quinn for support, but Quinn was on Sam's side and gave her the 'you're losing it again' face.

"I just want what's best for you!"

"Actually, you seem to want me to find a girl so you have an extra friend to hang out with when I come to visit."

"...and what's wrong with that?"

Quinn covered her eyes in disbelief while Sam glared at her.

"That's not selfish and self-serving at all..."

Rachel scoffed. "Since when is honesty and wanting the best for your friends a crime?"

All four people in the group rolled their eyes and grumbled amongst themselves, but Rachel refused to let it bother her. She was knew she was in the right!

They bickered all the way through the airport until they were actually boarding the plane. Quinn really did not appreciate their sex life being discussed in public, by Rachel's fathers, and especially that comment Rachel made about pursuing a promiscuous lifestyle...

But the bickering was finally resolved when Rachel yanked Quinn by the collar of her coat and kissed her soundly right before they were supposed to give their tickets to the gate attendant.

"I love you, I'm having sex with only you, and I promise to make my fathers put our sex life into their taboo category for future conversations."

As embarrassed as Quinn was because Rachel had done and said all of that quite loudly and in front a crowd of people trying to get on a plane, she was still pleased. When Quinn let Rachel have the window seat, Rachel knew she'd made it right, and all was well again. Once they were in the air, Quinn snapped off her seat belt, lifted the seat divider, and curled into Rachel's side so that her head was resting her girlfriend's shoulder. Sighing, Rachel entwined their fingers and brought them into her lap.

They had officially left Lima and all that remained of their past behind. For all that was good about their childhood home, it often felt like there were too many bad things that lingered as well. When the plane lifted off the ground, so did the weight on their shoulders. They were going home where they belonged. Their home with each other.

"You okay?" Rachel asked.

"If you promise to never stop wanting to kiss me, I will be," Quinn said quietly.

She laughed softly. "You're more than okay then."

"I love you, Rachel Berry."

"I know."

"I've loved you for so long."

"I know that too."

"Is there anything you don't know?"

Rachel thought about it. "Actually...just what was it that you told Sam back in high school that so effectively convinced Puckerman that you and Sam were sleeping together? After seeing them hang out together this week, it reminded me that I never asked."

Quinn furrowed her brow and tried to remember just what Rachel was referring to. After a few moments of wracking her brain, she found the memory, and laughed until tears. She clutched her stomach, getting strange looks from the passengers, and it was a good minute or two before she was able stop long enough to answer.

"I told him - I had a rule," she gasped, "about only having sex with my clothes on."

Rachel joined in her laughter until they were told to 'shush' by an elderly lady in front of them which only made them laugh harder.

After a few chapters in Quinn's book and about 15 songs later on Rachel's iPod, a hand covered Quinn's book and she looked up to see Rachel with her earbuds out and staring at her intently.

"I assume you require attention?" Quinn raised an eyebrow.

"We still don't have a portmanteau."

Quinn closed her book and set it on her lap, but not before carefully placing her bookmark. "I know. You whine about it all the time."

"Maybe we don't need one. And I don't whine!"

"We don't?"

"No. I think we're perfect just the way we are. Quinn and Rachel."

"Why am I first?"

"I was going alphabetically."

"Well, it should really be Berry and Fabray."

"What about when we get married?"

"We're getting married?" Quinn cocked her head curiously. "Sounds like something you should have let me in on…"

She was teasing, of course. It wasn't a new topic. They discussed it all the time. Wedding dates, venues, guests, how Sam would be Quinn's best man and Kurt would be Rachel's maid of honor, menus, honeymoon locations, and Quinn's endless exasperation with Rachel for refusing to get engaged yet.

Rachel wanted to wait until she was 25 to be married – the right age where she felt she would be mature enough to be able to make such a long term commitment. Since the mere existence of Quinn had ruined any thought she had of waiting to have sex until she was 25...marriage was a compromise.

Quinn agreed to wait, but she still thought it was stupid. They shared every aspect of their lives together anyway. It was like being married without the ring to show for it and as much as Quinn didn't want to admit it, the ring was really important to her. It felt like the final piece of the puzzle. A symbol of their relationship that went beyond earthly bonds. Rachel didn't really understand it, to her it was just a matter of legality, but this was a part of Quinn's faith. She wanted them to be joined in every way possible, here, and anywhere else...

But Rachel wanted to wait.

So she would wait.

Ignoring Quinn's sarcasm, Rachel asked, "Do you want us to keep our names when we get married?"

"You can't change your name, you're a Broadway star. Everyone knows Rachel Berry. And if they don't, they will soon enough."

"True. But Quinn Berry is a little too…cutesy…"

"Like one of those anime characters Mike and Sam are obsessed with?"


"Quinn Berry-Fabray?"

Rachel scrunched her nose. "Quinn Fabray-Berry?"

The blonde's eyes lit up. "Rachel…we may not need a portmanteau, but I think I just found ours."

"What? What is it?" she asked excitedly.

Quinn whispered it into her ear and thought about it for a long moment before breaking into an enormous smile.

"It's perfect."

"So what are we going to do about our married name? We have to decide for the children."

"There are children?" Rachel gasped dramatically. "This is something I should have been informed of!"

Of course this wasn't news either.

They'd spent hours in bed, over dinner, over coffee, on the couch, talking about what they would do, what their kids would be like, what kind of parents they would be. Pretty much the only thing they agreed on was that their kids would be happy, healthy, and music would be a staple in their lives. The rest? Well...they were working on it.

"Never mind." Quinn rolled her eyes in exasperation. "We'll figure it out."

"Yes," she beamed, "we will."

Since Rachel seemed satisfied with the outcome of their conversation, Quinn smiled to herself and went back to her book while Rachel scrolled down to another playlist she had designed based on the type of travel conditions and coinciding mood. Every now and then, Rachel would take the time to play with Quinn's hand to see what facial expressions she could elicit. Quinn knew the game well and she let Rachel play it, even if it sometimes distracted her too much to be able to concentrate on reading.

Rachel didn't find out about the diamond ring hidden away safely in their apartment until later that week when Quinn proposed on the eve of her 25th birthday. That same night, Quinn found out that Rachel had a ring that was meant for her too.