Now that you've had a chance to forget the whole story here, by popular demand, is the epilogue or afterword - sorry, don't do sequels. Many thanks to all who spared the time to review particularly the regulars and of course cheers to shinigami9x for the beta-ing :)
An amazingly contented Rachel glanced across at the sleeping beauty next to her and still struggled to believe that this was indeed reality. It had been six months, three weeks, four days, and she didn't know how many hours and minutes, thank you very much, because she really wasn't as anal as people liked to believe - although fourteen hours and about twenty three minutes if you counted from the start of Quinn's song would be her best guess. Yet she still couldn't quite shake off her disbelief that Lucy Quinn Fabray was with her.
She moved a strand of hair from her sleeping girlfriend's angelic face and lightly pressed her lips to her temple before leaning back against the headboard. If only everyone in the world could be as happy as her, there'd be no more war or crime, although maybe very little of anything would get done judging by how much time she spent with Quinn or, when not with Quinn, thinking about her. Okay, fantasising about her if accuracy was really needed. The rush of endorphins every time she saw Quinn had yet to fade. She hoped it never would, and fortunately Quinn was very tolerant, indeed quite encouraging, of her need to be constantly touching her. A hand resting on an arm during conversations, the light press of thighs when seated together, the holding of hands when walking anywhere - Rachel reached out to curl her fingers into Quinn's - it still amazed her that one person could have such an effect.
Still, when it came to reliving emotionally intense moments there was almost nothing quite like their first kiss. They'd floated out of the choir room oblivious to the chaos they had left behind that day. Santana had been delighted to later relate the Glee Club being in uproar what with a red-faced Mercedes blubbering and spluttering at one end of the choir room, Finn kicking chairs in the middle and Mr Schue mumbling and muttering at the other; it had been rather difficult for any rational speculation or gossip to take place.
Rachel and Quinn had headed to the park, uncertain on parental responses to their newly formed relationship and unwilling to risk disapproval so early on. They had strolled about holding hands, with Rachel positively vibrating with happiness, trying to pin down when they each first realised how they felt for the other. Quinn had spent a small part of the evening uploading photos of their earlier "dates" on to Facebook and sending them to Mercedes as well as changing their statuses, muttering something about being in control of the flow of information. Rachel had been content to snuggle into Quinn and admire her determination to make such a public declaration. She would have been less impressed if she'd known at the time that Quinn had three different Facebook pages, Lucy, Quinn and Lucy Quinn depending on her intended audience. The Facebook status change had reassured her more than any words, although sealing their new status with a kiss would have been better. Rachel had had to really wrestle with herself not to force the pace, after all there was only so much looking up through her fringe coquettishly, fluttering her eyelashes and licking her lips in what she hoped was a suggestive manner that she could do.
As darkness had descended Quinn had insisted they head out to their star gazing spot, ignoring Rachel's protests at their lack of preparation for such an expedition. Once parked, Quinn had produced a rucksack with what she had deemed essential supplies and yet again they were to find themselves lying on a blanket gazing up at the vastness of the universe and the galaxies of stars above them. It was then that Quinn had turned to her and whispered she'd brought Rachel here, as she had wanted to be sure Rachel would definitely see stars when they first kissed. Rachel had practically melted on the spot but managed to roll to face Quinn and then had hesitantly leaned in for a kiss. Quinn had met her partway and the gentle tender meeting of lips had far surpassed Rachel's expectations, the stars in the sky dimming in comparison to the kaleidoscope of colours that exploded in her head never mind the sensations that raced through her body. They'd kissed chastely again before someone, she wasn't sure which of them it was, moaned and with that things had become decidedly more heated. The taste of Quinn and the feel of Quinn's tongue on hers had been almost overwhelming and she just hadn't been able to sate her appetite for more. The rush of emotion caused by the touch of skin on skin was amazing, her fingers tracing those abs was heavenly. Even just thinking of it now had brought on a rush of emotions and a flood of warmth coursing through her veins. They'd managed eventually to rein in the urge to act like hormonal teenagers, partially helped by Rachel's dads phoning to demand her location and her immediate return home to discuss "something interesting on your Facebook, young lady". Quinn had grumpily suggested that maybe her parents should get her tagged. Late into the night, too afraid to sleep in case she woke up to find this was all a dream, Rachel was putting the finishing touches to a kissing playlist, this time with experience rather than anticipation being a major influence.
They had finally given into the urge to act like hormonal teenage girls just over a week later. Suddenly Rachel had upped the ante. So rather than their usual fare of songs such as 'Crazy in Love' and 'I think I love you' Rachel had sung 'Damn wish I was your lover' as the title said everything she wanted it to. Quinn had reciprocated the next day with a stirring performance of 'I just want to make love to you'. That night Quinn had risked life and limb scaling the tree outside Rachel's bedroom, at Rachel's invitation, to find herself in a soundproofed locked room illuminated by flickering tea lights containing a bed strewn with rose petals on which lounged a nervous but highly attractive Rachel wearing only a silk robe and a big smile - a carefully selected soundtrack playing in the background. The emotional intensity of taking their relationship to another level was heightened by the fear of Rachel's dads being determined enough to break down the door if they'd had the slightest suspicion of what was going on. The earth moved but fortunately the door didn't and, as the soundtrack played on, an exhausted but happy Quinn had joked that just because she could complete a half marathon didn't mean she could complete a sex marathon even with Rachel cheering her on. Rachel had responded it was all about plenty of practice and stamina training and that she was quite prepared to take Quinn in hand - the unintentional innuendo causing Quinn to at least summon up the energy to laugh heartily. References to being taken in hand had been a frequent fixture in their interactions from that moment on.
Rachel gazed fondly at a still sleeping Quinn. At least climbing the tree no longer needed to be part of the warm up to intimacy now that her Dads had finally been won round. They had initially viewed her involvement with Quinn as just a teenage rebellious phase and had been coolly polite to a totally charming, impeccably mannered and winsome Quinn. Her Dads were continually seizing the opportunity to point out the fickle Fabray nature and that the jump from bully to girlfriend was just as short as the one from girlfriend to bully. They knew her well enough to be able to point out her disparate need to be liked or even loved probably blinded her to the full picture of her precarious Quinn-dependent situation. If they were in Rachel's room her Dads would be in and out every few minutes or so under all sorts of pretexts, despite Rachel challenging them on their sudden desire to bring her clean washing to her room (unheard of) or check she was sufficiently hydrated with offers of drinks and insisting she try whatever culinary delight they could throw together as an excuse to check up on her and Quinn. Going out for dates was almost as tiresome, with long discussions of risk assessments as well as health and safety procedures that Quinn needed to be grilled on.
Rachel had been exasperated, but Quinn had been amused at this glimpse of the influences that helped make Rachel as unique as she was. Quinn was all for letting time be a great healer, but Rachel's patience was quickly exhausted and she'd decided to force the pace. She'd sat her fathers down and made them think about what it was like for Quinn to grow up in an oppressively intolerant household, never mind the emotional impact of being banished from the family home. Her Dads had found Mr Fabrays letters and rants provocative and frustrating as adults, but how much harder would that have been for an impressionable gay teenage to be continually exposed to such hatred. Now they needed to consider how their perceived lack of support might be impacting on a vulnerable youth who had yet to experience acceptance. Rachel was tearful from her own eloquence and hadn't even moved on to talking about Mrs Fabray's alcoholic hazes with sober bouts of ignoring Quinn. Her fathers were guilt-ridden and ready to offer Quinn whatever kind of support and help she needed after Rachel had vetoed their plans for a dramatic fullsome apology. Suddenly Quinn was welcome to stay over in the guest room and to join them for meals. Soon girl's night sleepovers became acceptable, their frequency increased and gradually the necessity of the pretence of separate beds disappeared too.
Mrs Fabray had seemed unconcerned about whether Quinn was in or out of the house once it became apparent to her that Quinn and Rachel were actually in a relationship and not one just designed to spite her. Rachel's visits to the Fabray household had been abruptly curtailed once a sober Mrs Fabray decided to share her thoughts about how unsuitable Rachel was for her daughter. Rachel seemed to tick every box on the completely unsuitable partner material list be it gender, religion, family upbringing, career aspirations or even personal appearance (Rachel still sometimes puzzled over 'a nose to cut cheese with'). Mrs Fabray's detailed analysis on exactly how Rachel failed to meet her high expectations was matched only by Quinn's equally scathing analysis on how her mother had failed to meet hers. Rachel had managed to throw in a final remark as they left about how as a 'dirty jewess' she appreciated the opportunity to see 'Christian tolerance and compassion in action'. She prided herself on not crying until out of Mrs Fabray's earshot, and then her tears were only partly for herself and mainly for the fact Quinn had such unloving parents.
Now Quinn was highly regarded by her Dads and used her influence sparingly but to great effect. The reason Quinn was currently comatose on the bed was the result of a rather late night because Rachel had been doing a guest spot with the Ginger Aardvarks – well, that and the fact that Quinn felt compelled to express her admiration for Rachel's singing prowess multiple times once they'd finally arrived home. Quinn had helped to persuade her Dads to relent on their either-or-ultimatum about dancing or band. Rachel had worked hard to persuade Quinn to become involved in the discussion and to manoeuvre her Dads to a point where they were ready to listen. Quinn had reassured them about keeping Rachel away from the demon drink, out of the hands of those who would offer her drugs and far away from would-be groupies (Rachel had to smother a laugh at the very idea) whilst also pointing out the unfairness of depriving people the opportunity to admire just how truly talented Rachel was thanks to their loving support and careful nurturing - Rachel thought this final point might appeal to her Dads vanity when she'd suggested it to Quinn. Her Dads had caved easily; consequently she was less a guest and more a permanent member of the Ginger Aardvarks whenever they performed in or around Lima. There was also a small group of McKinley High students who were now fans, which was helpful in the everyday struggle for survival at High School. It wasn't always easy being part of an out lesbian couple and Rachel had hardly started high up the popularity tree.
The student body reaction to her and Quinn becoming an item had been depressingly predictable but occurred rather faster than Rachel had expected. She had been still trying to process Quinn's rapid about face from complete denial to total out there and proud gay poster girl when the first salvo of name calling had begun. Poorly photoshopped obscene images had briefly appeared, causing Quinn to be jumpy and unsettled. Rachel's comment about "whilst homophobia from those brought up in an intolerant judgemental Christian environment was understandable, teenagers being unable to Photoshop in a vaguely believable manner was unforgivable and an indictment of a failing education system" had caused Quinn to burst into laughter and then hug her tightly, asking her to never change.
The Cheerios had soon been brought under control by a supportive Santana who made a point of demonstrating her loyalty by being seen with them about the school, arm in arm with her or Quinn, or even both of them. Rachel had no idea and didn't really want to know what threats had kept the Cheerios off their backs initially, but now, all this time later, it seemed to be custom and practise to let them just be. The innuendo-laced comments and straightforward sexually explicit taunts of the jocks had been a different matter, not helped by the rather poor example set by Puck. He had obviously thought himself to be funny, endearing or both, but Quinn had felt compelled to correct his misapprehension by the end of the first week of sniggered asides. His comment about wanting to watch Quinn 'using her tongue to help Rachel hit some high notes' had been the innocuous final straw. Up to that point Rachel hadn't really realised how much of a turn-on she found HBIC Quinn until Quinn had pushed Puck across a corridor, slammed him into some lockers and snarled threateningly in his ear with her elbow placed firmly against his throat. Again, Rachel had no idea what had been said but the instant draining of colour from Puck's face as Quinn spoke and the way his hands involuntarily moved to cup his crotch suggested she'd been suitably graphic. Puck had been extremely polite and supportive since then and even made efforts to keep the rest of the jocks in line. To be honest, the withdrawal of sexual favours by the Cheerios under the influence of Santana had been a far more effective deterrent against the homophobia of the jocks.
Santana had been by far the biggest revelation in all this. The day after the big reveal (as Rachel liked to call it in her head) she and Quinn had been having the disconcerting experience of corridors falling silent at their appearance only for a wave of whispering to follow in their wake. When they had entered the women's bathroom for a break from this, the cacophony of noise had turned to instant silence as their presence registered. Some serious exchange of eye contact both directly and via the mirrors had followed but, before anything further could happen, Santana had burst thought the door demanding all bitches to leave but insisting Rachel and Quinn stay. The room had emptied immediately with an unseemly rush for the exit as Rachel had stood in front of Quinn to try and buffer against whatever abuse Santana had been about to unleash. From there events had turned decidedly surreal: Santana had smiled at her, shook her hand enthusiastically saying something about her helping Quinn squeeze citrus fruits, or was it unsqueezing?, Rachel had been too astonished to take it in. Then Santana had bear-hugged Quinn, claimed she'd always known anyway and that she was proud of her. She and Quinn had stood dumbfounded, replicating the Mercedes fish out of water look, as Santana had rattled on about at least having people to go to gay events with now and how she was looking forward to forming a Sapphic sisters society with a Georgia O'Keeffe flower for a logo because a clueless Figgins so wouldn't get that. She and Quinn had continued to exchange bewildered glances until Santana had finally stopped outlining rather crude membership criteria for the Sapphic Sisters and had slowly ground to a halt.
"Is this some kind of joke?" Quinn had inquired with an icy tone. "Because you have no idea of the havoc and destruction I could wreak on your life."
"I don't doubt it, Q. But if I wanted to make your life a misery I wouldn't need some sneaky underhand double crossing scheme of fake friendship, that's more a Fabray way of working. We know too much about each other. It's time to call off the cold war and work towards a mutually beneficial arrangement," replied Santana.
The cold war reference had stuck in Rachel's memory as she'd been under the impression that Santana paid absolutely no attention in any of her classes and certainly hadn't attended the modern history ones. Quinn's scepticism had been written across her face and there had followed a tense exchange of "what I know that will end" you threats as Rachel had switched back and forth between the pair as if watching a tennis match. After much posturing on both sides, a reluctant Santana had finally come clean about her true agenda: Brittany. It would be easier to persuade Brittany to dump Artie and date Santana if they weren't going to be the only lesbian couple at school and, besides, Brittany's soft spot for Rachel gave Rachel a unique opportunity to influence her – in the direction of Santana. Rachel had been immediately adamant that she wouldn't be doing anything to influence Brittany one way or another and it was outrageous that Santana even dared to suggest that. Santana and Quinn were to busy glowering at each other to fully appreciate the amount of emotional intensity Rachel managed to inject into her foot stompingly outraged performance.
In hindsight Rachel had been expressing a noble but flawed aim. Just being happy with Quinn had influenced Brittany and after some awkward, tense, conversationally painful double dates with Brittany and Artie compared to the highly amusing and laughter-filled girls nights with them and Santana, Brittany had gravitated to the more fun option. Rachel had pointed out in a rare one-to-one exchange with Santana that her methods were at least as sneaky and underhanded as Quinn's, citing the subtle wooing of Brittany. Santana had countered that Rachel manipulating Mercedes into giving her a reason to date Quinn was equally if not more underhand. Rachel had been speechless with indignation before Santana had suddenly laughed, hugged her and said "judging from your face maybe you're not the master manipulator that Mercedes claims then." She'd stared, glared and then finally grinned at Santana. At last, she felt she could stop waiting for the other shoe to drop.
As for The Sapphic sisters society, well, it didn't make it beyond Santana's imagination much to Quinn's often-stated relief and Brittany's immense disappointment. Rachel, with a huge effort, stayed neutral and just filed the Sapphic Sister playlist under miscellaneous in the rare event a lesbian-themed soundtrack might ever come in useful in the future. Santana continued to refuse to use Rachel's first name, but at least now her epithets were affectionate and related only to height, which was ironic considering Santana was only a smidgen taller than Rachel. Rachel's suggestion that Q stood for quietly quixotic, B for breathtakingly beautiful and S for stunningly short had met with two thirds of her audience laughing heartily and one third looking ready to kill her. Excellent preparation for a future career in performance then.
It had been Santana who'd encouraged her to see how far she could push the new-found tolerance that Mr Schue showed to her in Glee club. Rachel would catch him staring at her with a puzzled expression as if trying to discern how she had managed to capture Quinn's interest. Honestly, a grown man being envious of her talent was the only explanation she could come up with, but surely his motivation for his poor treatment of her couldn't be that petty? He seemed unable to meet her eye or deny her performing, particularly if Quinn stepped up behind her put a hand on Rachel's shoulder and asked 'is there a problem here?'
Mr Schue's snapping point had proved to be when an enthusiastic Rachel and an extremely reluctant Quinn had stepped up to perform J'taime mais non plus. The band had only managed to play the first line before Mr Schue had leapt up red- faced and positively vibrating with outrage to halt their performance. In the background a delighted Santana was making remarks about American teenagers needing to be exposed to more foreign languages than just Spanish and suggesting Mr Schue needed to broaden his horizons. A relieved but unamused Quinn had glared at Santana insisting she needed to stop issuing Rachel challenges, dares, bets and all other synonyms to that effect. Quinn had then turned to Rachel and insisted that she needed to learn to say "no", in an exasperated tone that Rachel really hadn't appreciated. She could still recall how her response accompanied with a smirk of "Really. Quinn, you really want me to start saying no? That wasn't the impression I was under last night when you were..." had caused her girlfriend to light up like a beacon with embarrassment as she clamped her hand over Rachel's mouth. Santana's snorts of laughter had filled the sudden silence as the rest of the Glee Club struggled to find a response more appropriate than Finn storming out yet again. Rachel managed to register Tina's grin and Brittany's smile as well as the disapproving scowl on Mercedes face.
"Promise you'll take me in hand?" Rachel had asked Quinn with a saucy grin once Quinn's hand had been removed from her mouth and any tension between them immediately disappeared as they both began laughing.
Rachel still wasn't sure whether it was Quinn or Santana who was ultimately responsible for the four-fingered greeting based on that long ago gloating movement that now nearly everyone used to acknowledge Mercedes with. Quinn, with her black belt in grudge-bearing, had initially used the gesture as a warning when she thought Mercedes was becoming dangerously close to disrespecting Rachel, but then Santana had taken it on a means of greeting Mercedes to irritate her. Its popularity had then spread throughout the student body and Mercedes seemed to have resigned herself to being greeted this way for the rest of her school career. Rachel couldn't bring herself to tease Mercedes like that as, after all, if Mercedes hadn't issued that challenge all that time ago she wouldn't be in the incredibly happy position she was in now. Besides, her positively radiating happiness and contentment seemed to irritate Mercedes beyond belief and the ' this is it' performance dedicated to 'Mercedes without whom none of this would have been possible' had been the closest she'd come to gloating. Even Santana's heckle after the lyrics "I'm lost for words" of "impossible" couldn't detract from the exuberance of her performance. Mercedes expression alone had been worth the time spent setting up disco balls in the choir room.
In fact, overall being involved with Quinn had been a series of gains and losses. She'd gained a much closer friendship with Tina and Mike, but lost any chance of being friends with a still-smarting-six-months-later Mercedes. She'd gained status in Glee Club, but lost all chemistry with Mr Schue's pseudo son, Finn. She'd gained contentment, confidence and an awesome girlfriend and lost a lot of her social awkwardness and the need to be the centre of attention. Okay, if she was completely honest maybe not the last one, she was just learning to be better at sharing the spotlight. Maybe Quinn's mother was never going to like her and maybe Sue Sylvester would never tire of referencing her sexuality with politically incorrect insults however, on balance, a wider circle of friends, a richer social life - Uncle John's regular invites meant she was at least becoming more knowledgeable on the art appreciation front - and the love of this wonderful woman currently snoring so inelegantly next to her meant her cup was currently overflowing. She closed her eyes just to enjoy the feelings of the moment.
"Do I need to worry about what put such a massive smile on your face?" a croaky voice from beside her broke into her thoughts.
"I was thinking about you." Rachel grinned, leaning forward to capture Quinn's lips with hers. "And how happy you make me."
Quinn managed to summon sufficient energy to pull Rachel into a closer embrace before rolling over and sitting astride Rachel.
"Did I manage. to tell you. how amazingly .awesome. you were. Singing. last night?" asked Quinn punctuating her words with kisses.
"No," husked Rachel," but you did show me - several times." Quinn's neck nuzzling activities were making her lose her train of thought. "It seems only fair I should give you feedback on your performance too," Rachel managed to force out slightly more breathily than she intended.
"Oh really?" Quinn quirked her eyebrow in a manner guaranteed to raise Rachel's temperature.
"Only fair, really, though of course, as usual, all the superlatives apply." Rachel registered Quinn's smug grin which crumpled quickly as Rachel added, "but there was something... I couldn't quite put my finger on it." Quinn's cockiness was quickly fading as Rachel rolled them over so she was gazing down on a slightly worried looking Quinn. "And I intend to rectify that right now" She smirked enjoying the transformation in Quinn's features as she registered the innuendo.
"I'm beginning to wish you never befriended Santana" Quinn mock-grumped.
"Well, let me try out some other ideas Santana shared with me."
Rachel grinned, silencing any potential objections with a deep lingering kiss. Quinn's last coherent thought was that she'd probably be thanking Santana later.