Disclaimer: I own nothing.
It wasn't a fairy tale. No one was saving anyone; there weren't any knights in shining armor or princesses letting down their braided hair.
There was just a brunette and a blonde.
And it was their story.
(nine years later)
Quinn shifted in her seat, readjusting the baby further against her chest. The noise of the crowded theatre had risen. She glanced down at their youngest child and prayed that it'd be like any other night—Noah could sleep through anything. Dogs barking, cars honking, thunder rolling, shrieks peaking—and when you added Rachel's voice over it, there was no chance of him waking.
"Momma, when is it gonna start?" whined Nick.
Beth nodded, clambering over the chair railing. "Yeah, we've sitted here forever."
"Sat," Quinn corrected. She ruffled the young blonde's hair, forcing her to sit back down. "It'll be on soon, I promise."
"But I want to see it now," Beth huffed, jutting out her bottom lip.
"You can't get everything you want," Nick argued sullenly. Quinn shook her head in amusement at the exchange; he'd been experiencing some sibling jealously as the oldest child. First Beth had gotten all the cutesy cooing, and now, with the new baby, the attention had shifted away from him again. She made a mental note to have Rachel take him out to the Central Park Zoo. He always did love the animals.
"Yes I can," Beth retorted, sticking out her tongue. "I'm the princess."
Nick rolled his eyes. Even from the crib, he had seemed to pick up on his mother's habit. He even had her hazel eyes to match; it had been a pleasant surprise. Neither Rachel nor Puck, their sperm donor, had them. But the recessive gene had popped up anyway, a little miracle in an already beautiful gift.
Quinn chuckled. "Guys, aren't you excited to watch Mom sing?"
"She sings all the time," Beth complained. "Why do we gotta to come here?"
"Because she's a star," Nick said, eyes lightening up. Quinn smiled at him. "And stars gotta shine on a stage."
"But why do we have to come?"
"Stars don't shine alone," Nick said, looking up at Quinn and nodding sagely.
The blonde gave him a one armed hug. "That's right, kiddo. Plus, Mom is acting out a very special play tonight."
Beth crinkled her nose. "Huh? Why's it special?"
Nick beat his mother to it, sitting up straighter in the seat. "Because Momma wrote it!"
The lights flickered above them, and the audience's murmurs dimmed to a hush. Giving their children one last glance over, Quinn exhaled, settling into her seat. It was finally real. It was finally here.
There was a cough, then the first chords of the opening number. Rachel's voice carried out over the audience, but the stage remained empty. The blonde smiled to herself, waiting for the audience to figure it out.
"Come in close now, it's time to tell a story…"
A few beats into the song, the spotlight broke through the darkness, and there were a few pleasant gasps as the light collided with its star.
Noah let out a little snore, and Beth and Nick cheered from their seats. Quinn bit her lip in anticipation before turning in her seat to take in her wife's blinding talent. Rachel had stepped out from the entrance, standing in the aisle and smiling brightly. Her hands were splayed out in front of her, and she leaned slightly forward, as if giving away a secret. "Long ago and so many years before we ever were, ever dreamed we even could be, there was her and her very first heartbeat."
The brunette winked at the audience member closest to her before skipping down to the middle of the theatre. She paused, swaying over to sit on an armrest. "All alone in the corner of the night sky, spiral bones of a supernova starlight fell in love with another burning bright—she dreamed of a way to ignite!"
She jumped up as the chorus kicked in, and threw up her hands, running through a row of seats. The surprised patrons quickly lifted their legs to make room for her to pass, and grinned at each other, starstruck. Quinn glanced at the stage and noticed the rest of the actors piling out onto the stage, the curtain drawing back to reveal a night sky and hillside.
Her gaze scanned the crowd, and she happily noted that her wife had stolen away the show. No one seemed to notice the scene unfolding on stage—their focus was firmly fixed on the brunette glimmering through the aisles.
"She said, 'Tonight, come on, come on collide! Break me to pieces, I, I think you're just like heaven," Rachel finally strutted up the rest of the way, stepping up the stairs and bringing the attention to the stage. "Why, come on, come on collide! Let's see what a fire feels like—I bet it's just like heaven.'"
She joined the other dancers in their choreography, twirling around in space as she was swung from partner to partner. Quinn watched in awe; it was unlike anything she'd imagined for her work.
It certainly didn't resemble the rough sketch she had put on in local theatre while Rachel helped the Schuesters with their Hollywood venture. But that had been years ago, the very beginning. It hadn't more than a dream in a cradle.
But they had nursed it. Rachel had surprised her and come to one of the showings. It had moved her—which was a good sign, because it was a spin off of their story—and she'd picked it up right away. The two spent their nights working on it, Rachel lending her Broadway knowledge and Quinn further polishing it as she went through school, earning a playwriting major.
They'd moved back to New York after two years, Rachel pregnant with Nick. Quinn had met a songwriter on Christopher Street that Christmas, and had somehow managed to convince the stranger to collaborate on the musical. She'd written the opening number, "Cassiopeia," along with the majority of others. Rachel choreographed the numbers to them. After two years of previews in local theatres in church basements and community colleges, it was ready for back door off-Broadway shows.
She had been beginning to lose hope when a director approached her a year ago. She'd been pregnant with their third child, and was ready to succumb to the housewife she seemed destined to become. Rachel hadn't given up, though, and had been talking her sponsors' ears off about it.
In the end, many dissipated ears later, Rachel had succeeded. One of her newest sponsors attended the musical, and had gone straight for Quinn after the show to talk funding. The blonde's knees had practically buckled under her when she realized he wasn't joking.
They had sat down and picked out a cast—Rachel, of course, earning the lead. Quinn had given him most of the reigns in directing it, but he encouraged her input at every turn. And now it was all coming together—the semesters at UCLA, the years on smaller, darker stages, all those long hours of preparation—colliding to make this great, sparkling musical.
Rachel caught her wife's eye and grinned, belting out the last lines of the song. "Long ago in a sky built before us, a supernova grew up to be stardust."
Quinn returned the smile, eyes tearing up.
"Mom, that was awesome!" Nick said, grinning.
"Yeah, you were so good!" Beth exclaimed, throwing her arms around her mother. Quinn chuckled; their kids were like puppies—as soon as they head the key in the door, they went scrambling.
Rachel bent down to scoop up the little blonde and swing her around once, before putting her back down. "Thank you, my little ones!" She dropped a kiss onto their daughter's forehead.
"Hey!" Nick protested. "I'm big now."
Quinn smiled in amusement as Rachel schooled her features into a deep seriousness, pondering the situation. "You're right, buddy. But what else am I gonna call you?"
He puffed out his chest. "How about, the man?"
The blonde snorted.
Rachel smiled, tussling his hair. "Sure thing, little man."
"Ma!" He groaned, and stalked off to the TV.
Beth followed him out.
Rachel put her bag on the table and hung up her coat. "So how about that applause?"
Quinn blushed. "They were clapping for you. You put on a fantastic show."
"Which wouldn't have been possible without your script."
"Can we watch Dora?"
"Because big kids don't watch Dora."
"But I do!"
Rachel laughed, wrapping her arms around the blonde. "Have they been like this all day?"
Quinn pouted and leaned back against the kitchen counter. "Yes."
"I'm sorry." A corner of the brunette's lips turned up in a lazy smile. "I guess I owe you, huh?"
The blonde grinned and tugged her wife closer. "Oh, you definitely owe me."
Rachel chuckled before closing the distance. They melded together, mouths waltzing. The brunette pulled back after a moment, smirking. "You know, I would have thought that bringing your brilliant masterpiece to life would be payment enough."
"Fine," Quinn said, and tugged Rachel's neck to reconnect their mouths. She took the brunette's lower lip between her own, sucking on it slightly. Rachel let out a soft hum, and Quinn released it with a small pop. "Then consider tonight a thank you."
Rachel raised her eyebrow. "Yeah?"
"Yeah," Quinn said, and placed one last peck on her wife's lips before brushing past her to round up the kids. "But, for the record, my writing is so brilliant that anyone could bring it to life."
The brunette rolled her eyes, but remained quiet, knowing she couldn't argue with the truth.
Rachel stifled a moan, running her hand through Quinn's choppy locks. "B-beth?"
"Asleep," Quinn murmured, drawing her lips away from Rachel's neck just enough to speak. "Nick?"
"Snoring," Rachel replied. "Noah?"
Quinn smiled against her throat. "Practically unconscious."
"God, I love that baby," the brunette hummed. He was nothing like his father, and the easiest to handle of all three.
"I love you," Quinn said, pulling back to look her in the eyes.
Rachel ran her hand up Quinn's arm, giving her upper arm a light squeeze. "I love you, too. I can't imagine where I'd be without you."
The blonde smirked. "Certainly not in bed, receiving a thank you from the greatest, prettiest modern playwright."
"You forgot humble," Rachel muttered, smiling softly.
"Whatever," Quinn replied. She dove back in for a searing kiss, pressing their bodies together. Rachel let her hands roam down to the blonde's hips, where she managed to use leverage to flip them. Her wife chuckled, looking up at her, hair splayed across the pillows. Rachel smiled, taking a moment to commit the image to memory. Almost a decade later and Quinn hadn't changed a bit.
"What?" the blonde asked.
"You're beautiful," Rachel said, ignoring the swat she received in return and leant down to kiss her slowly. Quinn matched the rhythm, sliding her hands down Rachel's shoulders to dip around to her stomach and circle back to her waist. She opened her legs a little, inching them further apart, and the brunette settled between them. Rachel pulled back slightly so that she could trail open mouthed kisses along Quinn's neck and jaw. She made her way to the blonde's ear, planting a butterfly kiss over it. Quinn let out a light squeak at the sensation, scrunching up her nose in laughter. Rachel nibbled on the lobe, her breath cool against the blonde's neck.
Quinn cupped Rachel's cheek, drawing her back to her lips. They continued the same slow, iambic beat the brunette had started, matching their thudding hearts. Quinn ran her tongue along her lower lip, and Rachel parted her mouth in return. The blonde entered hesitantly, as if there was still new ground to explore even after all the years.
But it wasn't uncharted territory to either of them. Rachel shifted her hand to the crook of Quinn's rib cage, tracing light circles into the divots. She felt the skin twitch beneath her skin, and she knew it wouldn't be long until—there—Quinn shuddered.
Rachel shifted, tangling their legs. She had moved onto the blonde's neck again, this time inching down to her chest. Quinn let her eyelids fall shut at the sensation, in the anticipation of what would come next. The kissing was teasing, moving lower only to raise again, as if the brunette had decided she'd missed a spot.
The blonde bit her lip, dropping her hand from the brunette's waist to the top over her thigh, rubbing patterns into the backside. Distracted at first, Rachel grew accustomed to the added contact and returned to her game, not yet dipping down to the mounds just below her nose.
Quinn smirked to herself before pulling out the big guns. She traced one last heart shape into Rachel's leg, suddenly sliding it to the inside of her wife's thighs, hand cupping her core. The brunette froze, lips against her collarbone. A small moan escaped her lungs.
"Quinn," Rachel said, eyes snapping up to meet her wife's taunting gaze.
"Quinn," the brunette repeated, sinking further against her.
The blonde quirked an eyebrow. "You were taking too long."
"You spend too much time with the kids," Rachel muttered, incoherent enough that Quinn didn't catch it. Still, she couldn't stop her hips from bucking forward for more pressure. She hadn't realized how much she had wanted it, too.
Quinn's hips uplifted to collide in response, and Rachel fell into the dance they'd found many times before. Her head lifted, mouth closing around one of Quinn's breasts and her free hand slipped down to the blonde's center. Quinn arched her back, willing for more contact. She almost forgot where her own hand was, and was reminded with an increase of heat.
Rachel peered up from her position, seeing her wife look at her through hooded eyelids. The brunette climbed back to kiss her wife on the lips. "Ready?"
The blonde curled into Rachel's side, head resting on her chest. Her eyes fluttered shut, limbs growing heavy. They were getting too old for multiple climaxes. It took longer to catch her breath, though Quinn couldn't be sure if that was just the brunette's effect on her. They used to stay up talking sweet nonsense in the aftermath. But now, it was a valiant attempt just to keep her eyes open. She knew the brunette understood; she usually fell asleep first. But the buzz from the stage adrenaline was probably still cycling through her blood. It hit her every opening night, despite the experience now tucked under her belt.
The brunette watched Quinn fall asleep, the final song of the musical crossing her mind. "We are not perfect, we'll learn from our mistakes and as long as it takesI will prove my love to you. I am not scared of the elements, I am underprepared, but I am willing—and even betterI get to be the other half of you."
The lyrics ghosted over the blonde's head, further easing her into sleep. She smiled softly into her wife's chest as the final lines stretched out over them like a blanket.
"Tell the world that we finally got it all right. I choose you. I will become yours and you will become mine, I choose you. I choose you."
A/N: The song lyrics weren't me—god, I wish—but off Sara Bareilles's new album, The Blessed Unrest. (First one: "Cassiopeia," second one: "I Choose You") [I imagined the second one more acoustic than the studio version]
Thanks again to all of you!