Pairing(s): Faberry (endgame), Quinntana
Synopsis: (1 of 4) One night Santana and Quinn hooked up; what started out as a one-night stand turned into a relationship. They seem enamored with each other, and Quinn makes good use of her metro pass to see her girlfriend. Santana lives with Rachel in New York, however, and eventually Rachel begins to realize that she's not okay with the relationship playing out before her – she wants Quinn for herself.
Author's Note: This story came from a generous and genius prompt from an anon on Tumblr, and it immediately sparked my interest. I took lyrics from a song by The Zombies called, "Tell Her No."
And if she should tell you "come closer"
And if she tempts you with her charms
Tell her no no no no…
Don't hurt me now for her love belongs to me
On the other side of the wall, Rachel could hear ungodly noises coming from Santana's room. While originally she had been beyond excited about Santana coming to live in New York, she hadn't counted on one thing: the weekend visits Quinn made. No, not the visits Quinn made to Rachel with the Metro pass she bought to visit Rachel, but the visits she made to see Santana. Some mornings she'd come out into the kitchen and see Quinn in nothing but a sweater and underwear, and have to excuse herself or be punished with semi-casual conversation.
It's not like Rachel was jealous or anything, because she definitely had more important things to worry about than who Quinn was sleeping with. They'd only ever been friends, so jealousy would be a weird reaction. Rachel was so okay with everything she even hung out with Santana and Quinn and watched movies with them. While they cuddled. And kissed. And whispered sweet nothings.
On an unrelated note, Rachel ate a whole lot of vegan ice cream when Quinn was around. It's not like she was trying to comfort herself or anything. The diva made her way out of her room, down the stairs and into the kitchen. In her spacious apartment, once so quiet and lacking sex noises, she felt a little bit better the further she got away from Santana's bedroom. Ice cream. She zeroed in on it and got herself a bowl, sitting down on the couch and tugging the afghan over her legs. Grumbling to herself, she worked on the bowl of ice cream like she had a vendetta against it.
She heard footsteps and glanced at the stairs. The happy couple was trying to sneak down the stairs, giggling with one another like a couple of teenagers. Rachel purposefully clinked her spoon in her bowl as she sat the thing down.
"Oh, hey Rach," Santana said in the dark, Quinn running into the Latina, their hands interlocked. "Why are you awake?"
"Oh, I don't know. Is your bed still in one piece?"
"We're…" Quinn seemed abashed, while Santana merely chuckled and went into the kitchen, sticking her head in the refrigerator to find them something to eat. "Sorry. I'm sorry."
Rachel couldn't bring herself to look at Quinn. Something bothered her deeply about this relationship. She felt embarrassed to look at Quinn, irrationally jealous and hurt by Quinn choosing to be with Santana.
She shouldn't feel this way. They had only ever been friends – although for the longest time Rachel had secretly been in love with the Cheerio. It's not like she could have ever told Quinn that or had a shot at it anyway. She was Rachel Berry, eternal Gleek and unattractive to the one person that mattered. At one time, she'd thought their friendship was leading somewhere; shared moments just after high school. And then Rachel realized Quinn only saw her as a friend, and any chance of confessing how Quinn made her feel would be just plain stupid.
So here she was today, too afraid to look at Quinn lest she reveal somehow, through a glance or an expression, that she had loved Quinn Fabray all this time.
"Whatever," Rachel murmured; she tried to end the conversation by folding the afghan around herself and rolling over on the couch, back to Quinn. The hazel-eyed girl continued to watch her. She could feel those eyes on her, that tug in her heart that made her bitter and sad. "Can you guys just keep it down? Please? I have class early in the morning and I need sleep."
"Yeah," Quinn's voice was soft in the dark.
"Come on, babe," Santana said, her voice slightly further away. On the stairs now, she assumed.
"Sleep well, Rach," the blonde's voice was nearly a whisper and it made Rachel hurt all over. "Goodnight."
When she was sure the couple had ascended into Santana's bedroom with their half-time snack, Rachel pulled her blanket tighter around her frame. "Goodnight, Quinn," she spoke softly though the blonde wouldn't hear her words.
When she got home from class, Quinn and Santana were snuggled on the couch together. Quinn was pressing her lips to Santana's neck when the door clicked open, and Rachel immediately averted her eyes. "Should have knocked."
"It's your apartment, too, short stuff." Santana offered a smile. "How was class?"
"Fine," Rachel responded as kindly as her mood would allow. "Thank you for asking."
On the couch, Quinn had ceased what she was doing before despite Santana's obvious desire for her to continue, and had turned her gaze back to Rachel. Convinced she was imagining things, she saw a flicker of sadness and guilt in Quinn's eyes. Imagining things.
She didn't know why it bothered her so much this weekend. For the most part she'd kept her jealousy and confused feelings in check. Only once in a while did she let it get to her, but this weekend she couldn't just brush it off. Rachel only hoped Quinn wouldn't notice her clear avoidance of conversation and eye contact. She touched her forehead, feigned a pained expression, "I have a bit of a headache. I'm going to lay down. You guys have fun."
Santana watched her go, as did Quinn, but it didn't take long to hear the sounds of playfulness between the couple.
Rachel closed her door quietly and flopped onto her mattress. She let out a muffled groan. She needed to shake this feeling off because the last thing she wanted to do was alienate her friends because she couldn't get over some high school crush. Okay, obviously it had been more than a crush. She'd felt some very strong things for Quinn.
It didn't matter. She needed to remind herself of what their situation was. She was their friend. They had welcomed her as a friend after high school and hadn't that been everything she'd wanted?
Something in her ached, hurt deeply when she saw Santana kiss Quinn. When she saw the look of bliss on Quinn's face when the blonde looked at Santana. She wanted Quinn happy, but it shouldn't hurt so badly to see that.
A tiredness blanketed itself over her and she tugged off her jeans and crawled under the covers. Rachel decided a nap was better than thinking, so she fell asleep.
The nap didn't last long, though, because she woke up in the evening to Quinn touching her arm.
"Rachel," the blonde whispered, "hey," as Rachel rolled over sleepily, hair mussed and feeling groggy as hell.
"Quinn?" The diva said the name before she realized who was sitting on her bed and she nearly fell off the other side of the mattress.
"Whoa, I'm sorry," Quinn caught Rachel by the hands and stabilized her. "I didn't mean to scare you."
"What are you doing in here?" Her voice was gravelly with sleep and she knew it. She sat up, subtly leaning back and away from the blonde. Quinn was so near that the scent of her shampoo made Rachel yearn.
"I just wanted to see if you were okay. Santana's passed out on the couch. You seem upset this weekend." Quinn's eyes were clearly full of concern, "Not to mention you'll barely look at me."
Why should it matter to Quinn if Rachel looked at her? The brunette felt a flush of shame as she glanced away, "I'm just under a lot of stress in school," she murmured.
Quinn wasn't buying it. She reached over and touched Rachel's hand, her fingertips curving around Rachel's palm and holding it on her lap. "Have I done something to anger you?"
Guilt felt awful when you couldn't confess the truth. Rachel's heart picked up speed – all she could feel was the warmth of Quinn's hand in her own. It was delicious pain. This woman was not hers and it hurt like hell. "No. Not at all," she whispered after a moment, "I'm sorry if I made you think that. You're one of my best friends. You haven't done anything." After all, it wasn't Quinn's fault she was beautiful and desirable and easy to fall in love with.
"Hey, guys," Santana's sleepy voice came at the door. "Babe?"
Rachel couldn't have let go of Quinn's hand any faster had she tried. She tucked her hands underneath her legs and sunk into the bed slightly.
"Coming," Quinn stated softly, offering her lover a smile and standing up. Santana nodded to Rachel, her way of saying 'goodnight,' and disappeared. The blonde lingered near the doorway, "You sure you're okay?" She was holding her hand to her stomach as if holding on to the warmth, as if wounded by Rachel's very sudden rejection of the friendly gesture.
"Yes. Thank you."
"Goodnight, Rach," Quinn stated the words so softly Rachel had to strain to catch it.
Before Quinn shut the door, Rachel called to her. When the door inched back open, Rachel spoke what she hadn't let Quinn hear the night before, "Goodnight, Quinn."
The blonde lingered, and even in the dark Rachel wondered what she was seeing play across Quinn's expression. "Sleep sweet," the blonde all but whispered before she closed the door.
Rachel cried for the loss of something she'd never had in the first place.
During the week, Rachel was glad that she wasn't directly confronted with their relationship, because it was hard as hell to get this past weekend out of her head. Even while going through classes, she found herself thinking about Sunday night, exchanging goodnights, and the way it had been different that time.
"Earth to Rach," Santana looped an arm around Rachel from behind, hugging her best friend close, "where'd you disappear to just then?"
"Mm, nowhere," she disengaged gently. "How was your day?"
It was easier to be Santana's best friend when it was just herself and Santana. She didn't want to be the person who couldn't get over their issues and broke up friendships over romantic feelings. It hurt that she couldn't tell Santana she was hurting or why. They'd grown close as they lived together, so it made it even worse that Rachel's feelings for Quinn continued to flare up.
She'd never thought their one-night stand would become a relationship. She didn't understand how it happened or why. From then on she was history, her heart obliterated by what she couldn't have.
"My day was good. Pretty much lazed around, you know. It's good to have a few days off and some time alone, anyway." Santana dropped herself onto the couch and yawned. "So what was with you this weekend? You were weird."
"Sorry, I guess I just … didn't feel like myself."
"Does it bother you that we're all couple around you? 'Cause I can chill out around you. I know how you feel."
Rachel almost panicked, "What?"
"You know, being single when your best friends are in a relationship. Being single when anyone's in relationship," Santana popped a chip into her mouth and chewed.
Relief. Rachel glanced down, grateful Santana didn't actually know anything going through her head, "No, I mean it's totally.. it's fine. I don't want to rain on your parade. You two are happy together."
Santana smirked. "I don't know, I guess. I mean the sex is great."
Rachel nearly choked on her water. "Santana, please. As … close as we are, I'd rather not hear about yours and Quinn's sex life. I hear enough of it through the wall," she arched an eyebrow. Images flashed in her head that she didn't want.
"Alright, alright." Santana nodded, "Fair enough." The Latina chuckled to herself out of apparent self-satisfaction.
"You really are my best friend," Rachel picked at her shirt, avoiding Santana's eyes, "I wouldn't ever do anything to hurt you, you know?" She looked over at Santana, who seemed particularly surprised and just a little perplexed.
Santana nodded, "I know you wouldn't, Rach. Come here," she motioned to Rachel, and the shorter girl got up from the couch and sat beside Santana. The Latina tugged her gently into her arms and rested her chin on top of Rachel's head, "Whatever you're going through, I'm here."
Damn everything, Rachel thought forlornly. She closed her eyes, tucked her arm around Santana, and tried not to think about anything.
And then there was the first weekend Santana worked the entire weekend and Quinn still stayed the whole time. This meant that she and Rachel were alone a lot.
It was torture pretending not to feel what she felt. She and Quinn sat next to each other on the couch, rewatching Funny Girl since it was the only thing Rachel wanted to watch right now, but at one point Quinn threw a blanket over them both and scooted closer.
Rachel was conscious of every part of her thigh that touched Quinn's, conscious of the pressure, of the way her body automatically froze up to avoid giving in to the need to be close to Quinn. Rachel found herself looking over at Quinn when she thought she could get away with it; the flickering light of the television illuminated her profile, her golden strands of hair.
"What's up?" Quinn asked softly later, having caught Rachel looking at her.
Rachel shook her head, "Sorry, I must have spaced off."
Quinn's eyebrows knitted together, but she didn't say anything.
The brunette eventually relaxed a little, until she felt Quinn watching her.
"Something isn't right. Between us, I mean," Quinn's voice sounded genuinely concerned. "What is it?"
"I don't know what you mean," Rachel spoke quietly, felt her heart hammer against her ribs as anxiousness made her head spin.
"You barely talk to me anymore. I thought we were friends?"
"We are!" Rachel felt panic surge to the surface. "We are! I just… I'm just … dealing with some things I guess and it's stupid and please don't worry about it, Quinn. Please." The last thing she wanted was to lose Quinn's friendship. If it was the only way she could ever have Quinn, it's what she would take.
"Dealing with what things? Rachel, you're one of my closest friends. You can talk to me."
"Not about this," Rachel whispered before thinking, then shook her head, laughing in a way that was lacking in mirth, "We cannot be talking about this. I can't talk with you about this. I wish I could but it would just … it would mess everything up. It would mess us up, it would make Santana angry, and it's just it's a pathetic nothing that doesn't matter." Her hands shook with panic. She got off the couch and moved into the kitchen without knowing why. She just couldn't have this conversation.
"Rachel," fully confused, the blonde had moved to Rachel's side and was wrapping an arm around Rachel's shoulders when the brunette all but jumped away.
"You don't understand," tears filled Rachel's eyes and she felt like pleading for Quinn to leave her alone. Yet it was the furthest from her wants. "You can't understand and you don't know how badly it would screw everything up. I'd lose everyone that matters," Rachel's eyes were welling over with tears, and she was trembling all over.
"Jesus, Rachel, you're shaking all over. Please, sweetie," Quinn moved forward again though she looked wounded by the way Rachel refused her comfort. However, the blonde got forceful and caught Rachel's wrist, "talk to me," she whispered as she pulled a shaking Rachel into her arms. "I'm your friend, you can tell me anything."
Rachel only laughed through her tears, muscles and body stiff in Quinn's arms. She was resisting every impulse to cling to this woman. She loved Quinn with a painful ferocity. Her fingers clutched only lightly onto Quinn's shirt.
"What's going on with you? What's this about?"
"I'm in love," Rachel spoke through her tears, words muffled by the shoulder of Quinn's shirt, "with someone who won't ever love me. Someone who's very much taken. I've been in love with them so long that it's killing me," she shouldn't say these things but couldn't help them spilling out of her as she finally relented. She was clinging to Quinn, crying, confessing without really confessing anything at all.
"Who wouldn't love you? Who wouldn't choose you? They have to be insane," Quinn's words indicated she had no idea that Rachel was talking about her. Rachel laughed again, laughed for the irony and the pain. Seeing that Rachel wasn't going to say another word, Quinn pushed her gently by the shoulders and held her that way, an arm's length away now, "Hey, you're the most beautiful girl I've ever known. Not to mention the kindest, most talented woman the world could ever know. You're everyone's dream girl and you really can't believe whoever this is would choose you?"
"It's not that easy, you don't understand," Rachel pushed Quinn's hands gently off of her. She was trembling less now, though she could feel the shake of her hands as she put her fingers to her mouth. "I can't even tell them because it would just … it would wreck everything I've worked years to build."
Quinn fell silent, and she was afraid that the blonde was figuring it out. Rachel closed her eyes tightly. How in the hell had this evening escalated like this? "So you haven't told them? How do you know it's not mutual?"
"Because they're in a relationship!" Rachel spoke a little louder than she intended to. "People in relationships don't have feelings for people outside of that relationship."
"That's not true," Quinn murmured cryptically.
Rachel's heart raced and she had herself in near hysterics. She leaned against the kitchen counter and cried, face hidden by her hands. She felt a warm body move in front of her. Quinn's hands stroked Rachel's hair, hushed her softly.
"Anyone who wouldn't love you, regardless of what the situation is, is absolutely clueless."
Rachel gave in, collapsed gently against Quinn and cried out her feelings, though she'd not gotten any further than she was before. Quinn didn't know who she was talking about, didn't know that she was the person Rachel loved so dearly. She probably wouldn't any time soon, or at all.
"You're perfect, Rachel," Quinn's words grazed Rachel's ear, "Don't ever doubt that."
Rachel very much doubted it, but hearing Quinn say this could almost convince her otherwise.
This was really fucked up.