More Than Inspiration

' Q: So you've been living with the up and coming artist Quinn Fabray for?

A: Five years now. Yes, we did our dormitory duties at our separate colleges for two years, but we always planned on moving in together.

Q: And how is that?

A: [laughs] Well, as long as she doesn't dribble paint on my vinyls, we're usually good.

Q: You know, a lot of fans out there say you draw a lot of your inspiration from Ms. Fabray.

A: Yes, that's true. I owe everything to [Quinn]. She's the reason I'm where I am today. She's my muse. [laughs] '

It was the same question in every interview. Rephrased, perhaps, but Rachel always gave the same answer with the same confidence in her voice, no hint of hesitance to be found. Quinn had looked. The girlish laughter always echoing the statement 'my muse' was no indication of insincerity, either. It was their inside joke, their little private game. It made Quinn feel special somehow, as Rachel had been managing to do for the past eight years.

Quinn let a smile ghost over her lips before glancing across the apartment she'd inhabited with Rachel for the last five of those eight years, eyeing her contemplatively. Her knees were tucked up to her chest where she sat on their plush green couch beneath an amber lamp, a thick stack of white resting there as she read and reread the lines she'd memorized a week ago, mouthing the words with her plump lips. Her brow tightened a smidgeon every time she thought she'd forgotten something, smoothing back into a slight wrinkle of concentration only seconds later. Quinn couldn't help but smile now.

She never thought she'd be able to take this much of Rachel Berry. Even after that overwhelming day when Rachel first told her she was her muse and therefore intended to keep her around, she thought she'd only get by through the depths of her gratitude. Which would likely fade within a few years. Or so she'd thought.

The truth was, that day was the best thing that ever happened to Quinn. Rachel became not only her savior, but her best friend, her confidante, her own personal cheerleader. Quinn soon couldn't get enough of the woman she considered to be her first true friend aside from Mercedes (as evidenced by the fact that she had been over at Rachel's dormitory every morning with coffee, muffins, and apartment listings tucked under her arm as soon as January hit). It also didn't take long for Quinn to discover that when Rachel Berry was your friend, there was nothing she wouldn't do for you. And it made Quinn feel as though there was nothing she couldn't do. She was certain it was that confidence and happiness Rachel inspired in her that led her to where she was today—opening her own art gallery tomorrow evening.

And it was this thought that led Quinn to her surge of bravery as she strode away from the balcony window, tossed the magazine to the coffee table, and knelt before the still-concentrating Rachel, chin resting comfortably in the dip between her knees, while her hands busied themselves rubbing up and down the sides of her thighs.



"Can I ask you something?"

Rachel's brown eyes finally settled their full attention on Quinn, nestled against her legs, and she quickly set aside her script.

"Yeah, of course. What's up?" She smiled encouragingly, and Quinn took a bracing breath, sliding her hands to the tops of Rachel's thighs now in her slow massage.

"Well…" She cleared her throat, eyes fluttering when Rachel tucked a strand of stray hair behind her ear in a comforting gesture. "We live together." Quinn spied the confusion in brown eyes a mile away, but Rachel only nodded, sensing her need for silence. Quinn smiled gratefully. "We cook each other meals; we argue when we run out of toilet paper; we leave sticky notes to let each other know our schedules; we have dinner dates. We usually end up sleeping together, whether it's on the couch after a movie or because we were too lazy to go across the hall. I've come to every one of your performances; I'm always your plus one at events; you come to all the open houses and events I want to go to." She swallowed, licking her lips, and breathed deeply. "I haven't had a date in five years; you haven't in two. Between my paintings and your shows, carpet walks and interviews, we're popular enough now to have fan pages on the internet that think we should just admit our undying love for each other and come out of the closet. We touch each other all the time. I mean, whether it's hand in hand, a hand on a hip or a shoulder or whatever…I can't stop being near you, touching you." Rachel blinked uncomprehendingly, her head cocked at such an angle that Quinn knew she was listening, just not understanding the point. She blew out an exasperated breath. "Rachel, we're a married couple without the perks."

Thick lashes batted over brown eyes rapidly before Rachel's pink lips formed a nearly perfect 'o.' Quinn's stomach dropped and she ceased her ministrations on Rachel's thighs, but she didn't move from where she was tucked so close to her roommate's warmth.

"Oh," Rachel finally verbalized. She shifted her position slightly, eyes darting down to the script at her side as her fingers repeatedly rifled through the pages. "Quinn, I…I'm so sorry we haven't discussed this before. Did you…did you want to get married?" When her eyes met Quinn's unbelievably wide ones, she hurried to correct herself. "I mean, obviously you won't want to this instant, you just said you haven't dated in five years. Ha-have I been taking up too much of your time? Have I made it impossible for you to, as they say, 'get out there'? I'm so, so sorry if I have, that was never my intention, but of course you wish to move on, start a life and a family, how silly of me to think that you would want to stay here with me an-and—for the rest of your life, that's utterly ridiculous; I-I understand if you want more time to yourself to-to date and find someone else—I mean, someone—after all, I am turning 25 this year, which was my 'deadline', so perhaps we should both—"

"Rachel!" Quinn sighed, shaking her head at a morose-looking, but now-silent, Rachel. "That's not what I'm saying. You're missing my point."

Her brow crinkled, but her body relaxed the slightest bit. "What are you saying?"

Again, she sighed heavily, bracing herself as she renewed her strokes along Rachel's thighs, dipping beneath now to rub her calves and brush the more sensitive flesh of the bottom of her thighs. She was rewarded with a soft, repressed whimper. "I'm saying…that even though when you first told me I was your muse and offered me a way out of Lima, I thought you were crazy. But I figured out…you were rescuing me. I'll forever owe you for that."

"Quinn, it was the least I could do, after everything you've—" She hurriedly pressed a finger against plump lips, effectively cutting off yet another ramble.

"Let me finish," she ordered sternly, and when she was certain Rachel would obey, she smoothed the pad of her finger over her bottom lip before returning her hand to her legs and beginning again. "I'm saying that even though I thought I wouldn't be able to take a few months of you, let alone forty years, now I'll never get enough time with you. I'm saying that while I may be your muse for creativity, you inspire me to be better in everything I do. You're more than just inspiration for me—you're everything. I'm saying that while there might be eight million other fish in the sea of New York City, the only one I want is sitting right in front of me."

Unsurprisingly, Rachel's big brown eyes were filled with unshed tears, but she made no move to wipe them away as she asked quietly, hopefully, "Really?"

Quinn smiled, reaching to squeeze her hand, and said simply, "Really."

Rachel's knees dropped from beneath her chin, and before she knew it, her arms were full of a little diva and her lips were—finally—being ravished by a plump, heavenly pair that disappeared only moments later, eliciting a growl of disappointment from Quinn's throat.

Rachel beamed. "I love you, Quinn."

A ghost of a smile traveled over her lips. "I love you, too. Now get back here," she said mock-sternly, and promptly tugged Rachel back to where she wanted her.

Oh, my God! Rachel Berry, you've just 'inspired' me to conveniently forget the date of your birthday. Congratulations, you're 25 three months early. I need a bed…