This isn't how it was supposed to happen.

They were supposed to be in New York, not Newark. They were supposed to have a cute shoebox apartment that was too small but they loved each other and the location enough to make it work, not be paying month to month in a crappy duplex with a questionable landlord. They were supposed to have nights together, with each other, not necessarily out, because they were realistic enough to realize they wouldn't be able to afford it. They were supposed to be the exception.

"What took you so long?"

To the amateur ear, it probably doesn't sound like Quinn's pissed as hell. But Rachel can tell. She also knows Quinn's drunk and that she'll find the open bottle of Jack on the counter next to the sink where there's a plate dumped upside down with some kind of food sandwiched between the drain and the dish.

"There were a lot of people there."

Rachel slips through the living room where Quinn's sitting on the couch, staring at the tv but not really watching anything on it, and keeps going until she's in the kitchen. Sure enough, there's what looks like lasagna in the bottom of the sink. The plate's broken, when means Quinn probably threw it. That's not uncommon.

She feels bad about the plate and even the dinner, but to be honest, she's not even hungry. She never is.

"Did you at least get it?"

Quinn's in the kitchen. Rachel knows before she even looks over her shoulder. She can always feel when they're near each other. It's like electricity or fire or that tingle in the air before a storm.

"They'll call."

"Right." Quinn grabs the bottle and dumps at least two shots worth into her glass.

"Did you ask him to fix the window?"

"He said we have to pay for it."

"We can't afford that."

"Fuck, you think I don't know that?" The glass hits the counter with so much force, Rachel's convinced it's cracked, just like the plate, just like the window, just like them.

They told the landlord the window broke because a bird flew into it. Which is a lie.

It was a picture frame. And it hit from the inside.

Rachel doesn't answer, she just moves past Quinn to open the fridge. The adderall keeps her from wanting to eat, but she's thirsty. There's no time to look inside the refrigerator, because Quinn's hand slams against the door and pushes it shut.

"How many people were there?"

"Where?"

"Where the fuck do you think?"

"The audition? I don't know. Fifteen?"

"And that's why you were gone for six hours?"

"I already told you that was why." Her back's against the refrigerator, but she doesn't really care that Quinn has her cornered. She knows to stand her ground, that this is just how they communicate.

"Are you sure you didn't decide to fuck the director so he'd give you a part?"

She shoves Quinn away from her, so hard that the other woman knocks into the counter on the other side. "Fuck you, Quinn."

Quinn pushes back and the fridge rocks backward. "Maybe you should. Maybe you'd get somewhere."

"You're being a fucking bitch."

She knows it's coming. There used to be an apology that followed the slap, but that hasn't happened in a long time.

Once upon a time, she actually thought it was exciting, the drama of getting hit in a heated moment. The first couple years they were together, when these moments happened less, they'd end up fucking after a fight and Quinn would make her come so hard, she'd see stars.

They still fuck, but Quinn's usually drunk and sloppy and Rachel's pills leave her not really caring if she gets laid or not.

The last time she talked to Santana, she told her to leave Quinn, to just pack up her shit and bail. But she can't. She can't because Quinn's the one who's always been there. Quinn's the one who came with her to New York, who believed in her.

Quinn's the one who loves her so much it hurts the both of them, sometimes.

And fuck, she loves Quinn. She doesn't love the screaming matches or the sweet smell of whiskey on her breath. She doesn't love the jealousy or the interrogations that happen when she's late coming home from somewhere just because she stopped to window shop for a few minutes.

She loves Quinn, because when she's sober, when she's herself, she's amazing.

She tells herself that things are lie this because they're struggling, because they're broke, because they just need to catch a break.

One day, it'll be better. They'll be better.

It has to be.

They have to be.

Because this isn't how it was supposed to happen.

.

.


A/N: I basically wanted to take a trip to a universe where Quinn and Rachel get together without recognizing any of the serious issues Quinn seems to have developed in canon. I love writing fluffy Faberry, but I wanted to explore what life would be like for them if they weren't able to catch a break.

Thanks for taking this little trip with me.

EDIT: And, actually, this is no longer a one-shot. Carry on.