Disclaimer: I own nothing. All belongs to Glee writers and creators.
"Thank you very much for the ride, Noah."
"It was my pleasure, milady," he replied, tipping his nonexistent cowboy hat to giggles from his two passengers.
Rachel let her misplaced amusement fall as she swung out of his car, adding, "I'll see you all on Monday."
She heard Lauren offer a brusque "See you, Broadway" before the door shutting cut off any further conversation and she stepped back from the curb to wave them off, grinning at them through the window. Noah took off at an unnecessarily speedy rate, and she knew it was solely to aggravate her without fear of being lectured. She rolled her eyes, a smile belying her inner amusement with the bad boy's antics, but found her humor waning yet again upon recalling the day's events.
The service had been held early, of course, but about half of glee club handled their sadness pretty poorly alone and knew it—so they'd all ended up congregating at the nearest Pizza Hut until the staff started giving them weird looks (well, stranger than they had at the initial shock of a bunch of well-dressed teenagers coming into a pizza joint). The sky was now sporting blazing orange streaks that were topped with magenta as they faded into the stormy blue of the clouds.
Rachel rolled her shoulders with a sigh, trying to allow the rest of her tension to leak out with the motion, but in vain. With a last shake of her head, she was heading up the pathway to her dark, empty house, readjusting the strap of her purse as she went, but just as she placed a hand on the rail, a foot on the first step, she looked up and saw the one person sitting on her porch swing that she never—even in her wildest nightmares, dreams, or daydreams—thought she would see.
Hazel eyes flickered upward from where they had been trained on her clasped hands in her lap, her knees bent together but her calves far apart as they usually were when she was feeling glum, though that wasn't the only hint Rachel had as to Quinn's mood. The light shone off her round cheeks just right as Rachel hesitantly took the next two steps, showcasing a few tear tracks that instantly ripped a gasp of simultaneous surprise and sympathy from Rachel's throat.
Unsurprisingly, Quinn didn't say a word, only looked Rachel up and down for a moment before returning her attention to her hands. She clenched them tighter, knuckles whitening with the pressure, and Rachel cautiously made her way toward Quinn, leaning against the rail, only a foot or so away from being directly across from her.
"Are you all right?" she prompted, quietly.
Again, Quinn said nothing. A great sigh heaved her shoulders up and down, but that was the extent of her reaction. Rachel licked her lips anxiously, uncertain as to what to do next. Despite their moment in the bathroom at prom, things were still…undefined, she supposed was the best word, between herself and Quinn. She wasn't entirely sure she would be welcome to sit down and wipe away her tears again, nor was she sure that wasn't what Quinn was hoping for. The blindingly optimistic part of her mind wanted to believe that it was exactly Quinn's purpose for coming here, to seek comfort from Rachel instead of Finn.
The more cynical part that remembered all-too-vividly cruel treatment of the past was reminding her that there was absolutely no valid reason for Quinn Fabray to be sitting on her porch and that this was likely going to bite her in the ass soon.
She hastily brushed it aside in favor of rubbing the goose bumps from her arms, searching desperately for some topic of conversation she could dredge up in her head.
"It…was a beautiful service today, wasn't it? I had no idea Ms. Sylvester was so eloquent, nor as big-hearted as she showed herself to be today. Granted, it follows through, seeing as we're just students who aren't—"
"Finn broke up with me."
Finn…broke up with…Quinn? Why? Why would he…? Was he stupid? Quinn was…Quinn! She…was giving Rachel a very strange look now that she was actually making eye contact. Piercing, digging, almost…accusing. And suddenly it made sense. The idiot broke up with Quinn because of her.
What a complete and utter moron. Of course, she couldn't say that to Quinn. She wasn't exactly sure what to say, actually. Nearly any option could be misconstrued, given their history, and she wasn't sure what Quinn was looking for here. Comfort? Reassurance? A cat fight?
If she was looking for the last one, Rachel certainly wasn't interested. Not after prom. She couldn't lose her grip on that positive change between them, that little bit of progress she'd been looking for two years now, even if it had left them on unsteady ground. It was better than being at each other's throats over that boy.
"That's it?" Quinn snapped suddenly, rising to her feet in a quick motion that would've had Rachel stumbling backward had it not been for the railing behind her. As it was, Quinn's movement brought her into Rachel's personal space, so she could feel her flaring breaths and smell her intoxicating citrus perfume and see the sparks jetting out in gold flecks in her fiery hazel eyes. "That's all you have to say?"
Rachel reeled, trying to grab onto something intelligible to say in the fog of her mind, eventually stammering, "Wh-what do you want me to say?"
"Aren't you thrilled? Finn's finally come to his senses about whorish, cheating old me and rush back into your virgin arms?" she snarled, tears threatening to spill over yet again, and despite all the vicious intensity she was throwing down at her, all Rachel could do was shake her head meekly.
And eventually she gathered the guts to murmur, "No. Anyone would be an idiot to throw you away."
The wind was out of Quinn's sails in a matter of seconds, but Rachel was given no relief from her electrifying stare. Rather, it just changed somehow. The hair on the back of her neck no longer wanted to stand unnervingly on end, but her goose bumps rose with a wave of tingles over her body that landed embarrassingly enough around her chest area. She bit her lip hard to avoid those probing eyes, despite the disappearance of anger in them.
"And you're not a whore," she whispered, partly just to break the uncomfortable silence, partly because it was true and she'd forgotten to mention it.
Quinn's lip quirked once, briefly, and Rachel gulped because that stare was just getting…far too familiar and intimate, to put it delicately.
"I'm glad to hear it, Rachel," she said at length, tossing her hair before leaning her body closer, a hand resting dangerously close to Rachel's on the railing. "I know people think I don't have feelings, but—"
"That's not true," she protested instantly, but quieted when Quinn gave her a stern look.
"If you keep interrupting, I might not have the guts to get through this, okay?" she said, softer now.
Rachel nodded carefully, frowning studiously to show Quinn she had her full attention. Even if it wasn't entirely dedicated to what she was saying, but rather how near her body was, all of Rachel's attention was most certainly on Quinn.
Quinn's nail dug hard into the green railing, chipping away at the cracking paint, her eyes laser focused on the task. She worked her jaw, and Rachel waited patiently for her to manage the words, determined to wait as long as it took to get this evidently painful message out.
"I know…I know people think I don't have feelings. But what Coach Sylvester said today…you know, seeing someone who I've idolized in the past, striven to be like…. I saw her break down that...facade, wishing she had more time with someone who meant everything to her. And it made me realize that I don't want to have regrets like that. It also made me realize that…none of us knows how much time we have and…I don't want to waste another chance…." She took a deep, bracing breath, focusing sharply on Rachel, the intensity of her gaze completely stealing Rachel's own breath right from her lungs. "With you."
Rachel stared, slack-jawed, at the blonde-haired beauty before her, unable to move, breathe, think. The first coherent thought she had was that this was probably the first time in her entire life she'd been struck completely speechless, and she wasn't sure she liked it all that much. The second was that she was likely overreacting. Quinn probably meant she didn't want to waste her chances of friendship with her yet again, and that was all. She certainly couldn't mean—
Except now Quinn was slowly leaning in, her sparkling eyes focused intently on Rachel's lips, but when she had erased about half the distance that had been between them, her gaze bounced up to Rachel's, searching, begging, questioning. All Rachel could do was coach herself on how to breathe, watching as Quinn licked her lips and continued her descent toward her own, occasionally glancing back up to her eyes to be sure her actions were still Berry-approved.
It didn't register with Rachel right away when Quinn's soft lips gently introduced themselves to hers. It took a second tentative nudge, and then her eyelids fluttered closed and she offered a little something back when Quinn captured her bottom lip more firmly, and frankly she was surprised she could even do that when Quinn Fabray was kissing her and hence effectively short-circuiting her brain. Fortunately, Rachel managed to gain momentum the longer Quinn's brain-zapping lips went on kissing her, and when she felt a tentative tongue press to her bottom lip, she opened up without hesitance, shuddering when the hand Quinn wasn't bracing on the railing came up to caress her cheek, nestling tenderly in her hair after a moment. She swore every particle in her body came to full alert when Quinn's tongue briefly massaged hers, their noses rubbing when she shifted and slowly pulled away, but only far enough to lean her forehead against Rachel's.
Neither girl opened their eyes, only soaking in the moment. Rachel was in a state of awe. Was this really her life? Did that really just happen? The hot breaths she was exchanging, the warm skin pressed to her forehead, the soft hand cupping her cheek, the slight shake in the form pressed so near to—wait, shake?
Her eyes opened hastily then, as she took in a trembling Quinn, and instantly went on alarm for entirely different reasons, starting to pull back in concern as she said, "Qui—"
Quinn's breath hitched and her grip on Rachel's cheek tightened, but still she didn't open her eyes, saying tightly, "I need you to talk to me. Right now."
For the second time that night, Rachel found herself stuttering out, "Wh-what do you want me to say?"
The moment of déjà vu made them both pause, it seemed.
"Anything. Just talk, before I run, because I don't want to," she pleaded, a whimper to her voice, tears threatening to crack it.
"Okay, okay," Rachel soothed, rubbing her arms up and down, both to calm her and to stall for time. "Quinn, listen. I'm right here. You're not alone, okay? We're gonna get through this." She swallowed, focusing hard on those closed eyelids. "Together."
And, as if she had some kind of strange power over them, Quinn's hazel eyes fluttered into view, welled with tears but no less bright than they had been before as she said in a voice no bigger than a small child's, "Yeah?"
Rachel smiled, pulling her forehead away from Quinn's only long enough to plant a kiss there before returning to her resting place and meeting her eyes as earnestly as only Rachel Berry could, assuring her confidently, "Yeah."