Disclaimer: I own nothing. All belongs to Glee writers and creators.

A/N: I wrote this when I was sick.

Cherish

It's the first time she can remember ever being this close to Quinn. Not just physically, because duh, this really is the first time for that. It's the first time they've ever hugged, ever had their bodies pressed flush against each other, fitting unexpectedly well together. Perfectly, even, with Rachel's brown head tucked neatly in the crook of Quinn's neck, and Quinn's strong arms looping snugly around her slim waist, her own scooped around her back, lightly rubbing defined shoulder blades up and down in a soothing manner, Quinn's nose nestled happily in her bountiful hair, their curves bowing in and out, as though they were supposed to be connected this way all along. As though they had been made this way, only to be carved apart by a seamless knife, only now finding each other again.

But it's not just physical. Rachel is sure she's never been this close emotionally to the other girl. Maybe to anyone. The raw honesty of the conversation they shared has made her feel connected to Quinn, beyond feeling her heart beat against her, in sync with her own. It feels as though, through this lengthy exchange that began as most interactions between them did—with an argument—and ended the way most also did—with a revelation, only there were so many this time, so many weighting them down that they had to do this, had to physically show how close they felt to this one person who understood them, though Rachel felt as though she'd have to crawl under Quinn's skin to truly convey it—somehow a knot has been tied around her soul and tethered to Quinn's.

She's not sure that it wasn't always there, but she feels it now, not like before. Before maybe it was a string of fabric, a mere thread. Now it's a chain link, but it's not weighting her down, only alerting her to the person and the soul she can't escape and doesn't want to. Not anymore.

Rachel's certain that usually she would feel at least a modicum of fear in this change in her feelings for Quinn. But this…this embrace is safe. Right here, right now, inhaling the delicate scent of Quinn's vanilla perfume, watching her golden locks flutter with her every exhale and feeling them tickle and tease her nose with their silky touch, feeling Quinn's arms grip her solidly, with no hint that she wishes or intends to let go any time soon, hearing her steady breaths by her ear before she feels them warm her scalp, feeling Quinn's nose burrow into her hair every few moments, her torso filling up as she takes in a deep lungful of Rachel's scent—Rachel feels entirely safe. She's certain an explosion could go off nearby and she would feel startled momentarily until it washed away to peace at the knowledge that she's in Quinn's arms—and she won't let anything happen to her.

Still, she knows it can't last, and that's why she nuzzles closer and her eyes almost flutter closed at the warm happiness she feels, but she forces them open, to take in those golden locks. Because she's memorizing right now. She's cherishing.

And then Quinn's breathing changes, and Rachel's sure it's over. She'll be pushed away and left cold and empty, and who knows if Quinn will emotionally distance herself yet again, after being left so vulnerable, open, naked? But that's not what happens. Instead Quinn's arms tighten, as if in fear, and her breaths are ragged and constricted, and Rachel rubs her hand up and down her back in a soothing motion that doesn't seem to help, but she can't stop herself once she's started exploring more of the expanse of that muscled back.

The hot breaths shift to her ear as Quinn carefully pulls the lobe free of the obstacle of hair, and a shudder travels directly down Rachel's spine as Quinn utters the last revelation of the long evening, "You make my heart beat like crazy."