Summary: "We're kind of friends, huh?" / "Kind of." — "So when Rachel shows up at your house with Christmas cookies (vegan, of course) and a long-winded explanation of the importance of spreading holiday cheer and why she enjoys the holiday season, you let yourself smile." —- one-shot, Faberry, post-'Hold on to Sixteen'
a/n: FABERRY CHRISTMAS! so i was trying to do some writing for my other fics (Why the Wind Goes / Just Like the Movies), but i was thinking about the "kind of" scene and wanted to write something about it. once i saw that it was in the episode prior to the Christmas episode, i decided i wanted a little Faberry fluff for Christmas. it's a bit late, but happy holidays! (if you ever wanna see random stuff i'm working on, feel free to follow me on tumblr – closetcasefabray.)
"We're kind of friends, huh?"
You're all smiles, but part of you crumbles. You're not sure when it all started to feel okay. You're just tired, too tired to fill that weak spot in your armor with more concrete and hard things. You start to let things fall away.
So when Rachel shows up at your house with Christmas cookies (vegan, of course) and a long-winded explanation of the importance of spreading holiday cheer and why she enjoys the holiday season, you let yourself smile. When she pauses to breathe, you stop her from continuing her rant by pulling her into your house by her wrist. You drag her to the kitchen, and pour almond milk into two glasses as she watches you closely, as if you're going to change your mind any moment, but you hand her a glass and carry the plate of cookies into the living room.
"I was about to watch Rent," you say as you take a seat. You notice her hesitation, "Are you going to sit? Or did you want to perform each number?"
She sits beside you and clears her throat, "While I do know every number by heart, I prefer to save that performance for when you have the opportunity to see me perform it in the Rent Broadway revival."
"Okay, I guess I'll have to wait."
Santana asks if you want to go to the mall to steal a few Christmas presents. You stopped partaking in Santana's sport of shoplifting back when you were both sophomores, so you see this as Santana's way of reaching out. Your friendship has always been moments of lashing out and strange bonding activities.
"I actually have plans tonight," you say, opening your locker to dig out your books for class.
"Like, a date or something?"
"No. I'm just hanging out," you say, searching deeper in your locker for something you don't need.
But you can't escape the hard look Santana gives you when you finally shut your locker. "Why are you being vague? This is like creepy Quinn vague. Did I do something and you're plotting?"
You laugh, "No, it's just-"
"Hey!" Rachel walks up to you, absolutely beaming, "I found It's A Wonderful Life on DVD. It's either that or Meet Me in St. Louis where 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' originated. It's truly one of Judy Garland's greatest-"
"You're kidding right?" Santana interjects, turning to you with a raised eyebrow.
"No, Santana. I am not," Rachel chimes in with her chin held high, "Holiday movies are often very heartfelt, with a perfect balance of morals and angst and love. There is a lot to be learned from those movies, and I – even as a Jew – highly enjoy-"
"I get it, Berry," Santana says, holding her hand up to silence her. She looks to you for an explanation.
"Just text me later," you tell her, shrugging it off as casually as possible.
"Whatever," she huffs. You know you're going to have to explain yourself, but that just means lies you don't want Rachel to be a part of.
"Sorry," Rachel apologizes, biting her lip, "did you want to hang out with Santana tonight instead?"
You roll your eyes, "Trust me. I get in a lot less trouble with you."
Your mom's out Christmas shopping and meeting with the few friends she still has post-divorce, mostly new coworkers, so you don't move away when Rachel reaches for some popcorn and sits back so her thigh presses against yours.
"You cold?" you ask when you feel her shiver.
She shakes her head, but you grab the nearby blanket and throw it over both your laps. It's a bit small, so you both move in closer.
"Thanks," she says with a small smile.
You turn your attention back to It's a Wonderful Life, but a few seconds later, Rachel's voice sounds unsure when she says your name.
"We're friends, right?"
"Yeah," you say, not looking away from the television screen. When met with silence, you look at her, "Why?"
"Friends get each other presents, right?"
Part of you wants to lean over and kiss her flushed cheeks, confess that you've wished for her for Christmas since you first saw her your freshman year, but you still have those heavy breezeblocks in your chest, despite how hard your pulse thumps against them.
"Are you asking me to get you a present for Hanukkah?" you tease.
"Oh, no! I was just wondering if it would be okay for me to get you a Christmas present."
You feel the muscles work around your lips to stop your smile from growing out of control over how silly this all seems, "Um, sure. As long as I can get you Hanukkah presents."
Rachel's smile is ridiculous, so you add, "You're not going to show up caroling, right?"
She gives you an exaggerated pout, and you so desperately want to take that bottom lip between yours. "No. I might have considered it if I thought you would appreciate such a public display of friendship, but you've never been one for grand gestures."
"I've made a fair share of grand gestures, but your grand gestures are different than mine."
A couple days later, while watching Meet Me in St. Louis, you come to an agreement.
"Friends cuddle, right?" she says, snuggling into your shoulder.
You clear your throat and mumble, "Yeah," before wrapping your arm around her shoulders and letting your fingers trace patterns on her the sleeve of her sweater.
With Rachel, you've compiled a list of all these small moments, these small gestures, and you try not to make them bigger than they need to be. There isn't enough room inside you to let her in without breaking down all those hard parts that you held onto for so long, but you're still learning to let things go, fall away from this old version of yourself.
Rachel shows up at your house with a box set of The OC. You watch the Chrismukkah episode together, and Rachel reveals yamaclauses she made for the both of you. You laugh and put yours on.
"If the nun at my Sunday school could see me now," you say, giving Rachel a cheesey grin as she takes a picture. You don't ask if she'll put it up on Facebook, but you find that you wouldn't mind if she did.
"She'd be so proud to see you fraternizing with a Jew."
"I also got impregnated at 16 by a Jew," you say, picking her yamaclaus up by the puff ball she glued to the top before letting it plop back on her head, falling back at a tilt.
"She'd definitely cry," you say with a smirk. "I guess I'm not a very good Catholic."
"I wouldn't have you any other way, Quinn Fabray," she says, pulling you in for a hug.
You smile, and something swells, and a small dam breaks. You don't mind too much, though, because there's a sense of freedom in being able to smile at this.
Rachel tells you that she and Finn are having a rough time. You feel slightly guilty for hoping that Finn screws up enough for Rachel to see how much better she is than anyone in Lima, hoping that when Rachel gets out of here, you won't be a part of Lima she leaves behind.
Hence why you're sticking a card of a puppy playing in the snow through the slots of Rachel's locker. It's the first day of Hanukkah, and the last day of school before winter break. You're hoping this cheers her up a bit.
"Leaving love notes?"
You roll your eyes at Santana, hoping she didn't notice the way you tensed when she called you out. "I wanted to give her a Hanukkah card. Friends can give each other things. Not that you would know."
She looks you in the eye, and you know if you look away, she'll know she won. "Yeah. I'm sure your Hanukkah card for Puck is just as sweet."
You can only glare as she smirks.
You get a text from Rachel thanking you for your card, signed with a heart emoticon, a star emoticon, and a star of David emoticon. You don't bother to ask where in the world she found them on her phone.
The second night of Hanukkah, Rachel invites you over for dinner. You insist that you don't want to intrude on her family dinner, especially given the holiday.
"My dads would love your company. Holidays are about family and friends."
You couldn't say no once she broke out her pout.
You drink some vegan eggnog as you answer Hiram Berry's polite questions regarding your college plans. Other than your mom, they're the first people you tell you were just accepted at Yale through their Early Action program. Rachel squeals with excitement, and both Hiram and LeRoy seem very impressed. LeRoy, however, is a bit colder than you'd like, but you understand; you're the girl who made his daughter's life hell for two years.
You don't miss the pointed look he gives when he states how proud he is of Rachel, how much she's overcome in Lima.
"Rachel has always belonged in New York," you agree with a smile to hide your discomfort, "She's too bright for a place like Lima."
Under the table, Rachel's hand rests on yours.
"I think Lima will always be a part of me, Daddy. It's very important to find inspiration from home," Rachel says sweetly.
You watch her father's face soften as he looks at his daughter.
She smiles at him as she gives your hand a gentle, reassuring squeeze before reaching for the eggnog on the table.
You can almost hear the heavy things and the concrete disintegrating in your lungs, feel the dust escaping with each exhale.
You return home and find that your mom hung a moderate amount of Christmas decorations while you were gone. There's even a small tree in the corner of your living room, but you can tell she bought a box set of ornaments, leaving the family portraits in Christmas frames to the side in a small box.
You stop by her room and tell her the house looks beautiful. You're happy to be home for the holidays.
You get a text from Rachel thanking you for the present you gave to her just before you left - another puppy card and a copy of the latest Not for Tourists: NYC book. You also appreciate that she sends a follow up text: My dads think you're very sweet.
Rachel tells you that she and Finn are "taking a break."
"I am a bit disappointed I won't be able to kiss him under the mistletoe," she says with a disappointed sigh into the phone.
This is pretty normal now - sleepy conversations close to midnight on nights you don't get to see each other.
"His loss," you mumble, half your face pressed into your pillow as you imagine her lying beside you.
"He told me not to get him a present."
"I already got him an old record player with Journey on vinyl."
You groan. "You're too sweet for him, Rachel."
There's a pause before she speaks in a quiet tone you aren't used to hearing, "Thanks, Quinn. You've been such a good friend."
"Well, I guess I finally got it right this year."
"Yeah. I think we both did."
Your mother invites you to a family party on Christmas Eve, and you appreciate the fact that she lets you skip it. Your grandparents are harsh with their opinions, and they still passively remind your mother how she "let a good Catholic man go." Given their caustic judgments, you don't like putting yourself - the once sixteen-and-pregnant granddaughter - under their scrutiny. You look like the scum of the earth beside your perfect cousins.
So you're sitting with Rachel at home, cuddled together under a blanket, drinking hot cocoa, and watching Elf. She sings along to "Baby, It's Cold Outside," and you catch yourself watching most the movie reflected in her eyes.
You shiver when you realize how open you've become around Rachel, but this only makes her move closer, giving your shoulder a small rub as if trying to warm you up. You feel slightly suffocated; your trained reaction is to move away, but you allow yourself this proximity, as if you can store it away for when she eventually leaves Lima.
Rachel pulls you into possibly the tightest hug when you give her the two packages that arrived at your house earlier that day. You apologize for missing the third day of Hanukkah and not being able to wrap the gifts in time, but she just shakes her head and lets out a little, excited squeal as she looks at the Funny Girl print of the original movie poster and The Essential Barbra Streisand songbook. She repeatedly tells you how sweet you are, that you're the "best friend in the world," and she says it in a way that makes you believe it, at least for a moment.
When you walk her to your front door to see her out, you're saying something about your Christmas plans when you swing open the door and something hits you on the head.
You look up and see a small piece of ripped tape, and you're sure your face turns an interesting shade of red when you realize that your mother had taped mistletoe above the doorway.
"Good job, Mom," you grumble, bending down and picking it up.
Rachel laughs, stands on her tip-toes and kisses you on the cheek.
She steps out onto your front porch before turning around and saying, "Merry Christmas Eve, Quinn." Her cheeks are a light shade of pink as she smiles. "Call me if you don't have any exciting plans tomorrow."
You would have missed that it was snowing completely if you didn't like how they looked in Rachel's hair and eyelashes so much.
Your Christmas Day is modest. You cook a small brunch with your mom and open each other's presents - she got you a giant stack of books that you wanted, and she immediately puts on the watch and bracelet you bought for her.
You're helping clean up when you receive a text from Santana stating that her Christmas present is the cost of dinner for "the inevitable double-date with Britts and you and the Hobbit" at Breadstix, and a picture of Lord Tubbington with a Santa hat from Brittany.
You text Santana back and tell her she's a delusional bitch, and then quickly warn Brittany not to let Lord Tubbington eat Christmas candy.
You send Rachel a text soon after: Bored. You wanna hang out?
Rachel arrives within ten minutes, just before the start of A Christmas Story on TV.
Rachel gives you a Yale sweater, a pocket-sized New York City subway map "for when you visit," and a gorgeous leather-bound journal with your name printed in gold script on the inside - Lucy Quinn Fabray.
You give her a fifth Hanukkah present - a framed photo of the Glee club at Nationals last year. On the back, you wrote, This year is our year.
Rachel kisses your cheek after you say goodbye at your front door. You give her a bit of a confused look until she points up and you see your mother retaped the mistletoe.
You're not sure if it's because your mom let you and Rachel have a bit of champagne, or if Rachel successfully destroyed every exit you had out of whatever this is, but you lean back in and kiss her on the lips.
It's short and soft and warm, and you're not sure if you'll be more broken or whole afterward.
Her face is flushed, and her eyes are rather big when you part. You feel butterflies flapping so aggressively in your stomach you feel sick.
"Sorry. That was… I don't know-"
"It's okay. I just… I mean, we're friends, right?"
You just nod and gulp.
"Merry Christmas, Quinn," she says, giving you a timid grin before turning and walking out to her car.
The swelling feels like bursting and you can't tell if it's healing or just hurting.
Your mom's real estate job is still relatively new, so she's heading to Columbus for an overnight job training and workshop. Having done nothing but watch the snow fall outside your bedroom window and listen to sad music, you decide to call Santana and Brittany to see if they want to break into your mother's locked liquor cabinet.
Your phone is in your hand when the doorbell rings.
You open the door to see Rachel in little snow boots and a fleece, dusted with snow.
"Hey," she says, smiling like you hadn't made a fool of yourself the night before.
"Hey." Everything about your voice sounds unsure.
"It's snowing!" Her nose is rosy and once again those snowflakes melting in her hair make your chest ache. "Let's build a snowman!"
"I don't really have snow stuff…"
"Neither do I," she says with a shrug, "Oh, come on. It'll be fun!"
Then there's the pout.
The snowman ended up being just a small blob in your backyard. This is because you took what was supposed to be the head and threw it at Rachel, which led to snowballs, which led to tackling. Something about being cold and numb and only feeling Rachel had you high.
Now you're both standing in your underwear in your bedroom because your wet clothes were peeled off and hung by the electric fireplace in the living room.
"Oh my god, it's freezing," Rachel says, teeth chattering. "I swear to god, if I get sick and lose my voice, I will kill you Quinn Fabray."
You're digging through your drawers for your sweatpants, shivering quite a bit as well, but it doesn't stop you from retorting, "Oh, come on, it'll be fun."
"Don't you dare mock me. It was very fun, but I might be in the early stages of hypothermia."
You find two pairs of sweatpants, two old t-shirts, and two sweatshirts. You're about to make a snarky remark about enjoying the silence of her losing her voice, but when you turn around to see an underwear-clad Rachel, you can only hold out the clothes and stare at her wet bra and snowflake print underwear, and the way the muscles in her stomach tighten as she shivers.
When you meet your eyes, you swear she smirks before you look away and practically jump into your clothes. You're suddenly warm when you see Rachel pull off her bra from under the sweatshirt.
You mumble something about putting on some hot water and all but run out of your room down to the kitchen.
You give Rachel her sixth present - an ink drawing by an artist on Etsy of the New York City skyline.
"You really didn't have to," she says, admiring the drawing, placing it on the kitchen counter as she sips from her hot cocoa.
"I know. I just wanted to," you say, opening your refrigerator to heat up some leftovers.
She lets out a bit of a morbid laugh, "Well, that makes one person."
You brace yourself, all iron and concrete, "I'm guessing Finn didn't…"
She shakes her head, "Nothing," she shrugs apathetically, "We are on a break. Or whatever."
You clench your jaw, unsure of what to say, focusing your attention on the vegan mashed potatoes and field roast you made for dinner the night before. You may have had Rachel in mind when you were cooking.
"It's okay. I know I'm being dumb."
"No. Hoping for things and expecting things from people isn't dumb."
You put the dish in the microwave and set it for just over a minute as Rachel rambles on about commercialism and that maybe she's expecting too much from the wrong people, that she's actually really happy despite her current situation with Finn.
You watch her lips move, admire them, remember how they felt, and you close the distance between the two of you to press your lips to hers.
She's completely still for a moment, so you're gentle as you graze your lips against hers until she timidly returns the kiss. You pull away slightly, and you can only hear her breath as her lips ghost over yours. Then she tentatively leans into you and her lips are on yours, and you taste the hot chocolate on her bottom lip and commit that to your memory of Christmas and winter.
You can tell she wants to talk about this, about whatever the hell this has turned into, so you part long enough to murmur, It's okay. Your mouths meet again and there's a slight desperation in the way they collide, and you can't stop the faint groan from escaping when she pulls away from you to whisper, Friends, right? Sometime in the past few seconds, the English language and your perfect patience disappeared, so you simply nod and lean back in for another kiss.
You both jump when something in the microwave pops, and you laugh for a moment when you see that something splattered all over the inside of the microwave.
Rachel doesn't give you a chance to move away to clean up the mess. She pulls your head down to kiss her, and you forget about the food and silently thank Coach Sylvester for those countless pushups as you lift Rachel onto the counter and kiss her fiercely.
You think it's a bit of a Christmas miracle when Rachel's legs are wrapped around you and you hear her gasp when you press closer to her.
You have always liked every sound that left her mouth.
Your mom finds the food in the microwave the next day and asks what could have distracted you in the minute it took to reheat. You just shrug, tightening the scarf around your neck to hide the hickies Rachel left behind.
You drop by the Berry house that night and see she has family over. LeRoy answers the door, and once you hear Rachel singing with Hiram in the living room, you tell him not to bother getting her. You hand him the medium-sized box you wrapped in dreidl wrapping paper and ask if he'd pass it on for you. He smiles and kisses your cheek, and you feel as light as the snow drifting to the ground when you walk back to your car.
She calls you a half-hour later, and you can tell she's smiling through the phone. You had made her a mini-New York Survival Kit - Whole Foods coupons and gift cards, a Metro Card with $20 on it, a vegan college cookbook, and a cute tote from The Strand bookstore.
She thanks you profusely, and you end up staying on the phone with her to talk about her night. You tell her how your mom went away until the New Year for a job retreat, and she tells you how her dads are planning a trip to New York for Spring Break. When you both pause before the end of the conversation, you know you're both thinking about that kiss, those kisses.
Once Rachel says goodnight and hangs up, you're staring at your ceiling. You give God a silent and half-assed apology before your hand slips into your pajama bottoms and you touch yourself for the second time that week.
It's the last night of Hanukkah and Rachel's standing on your porch, out of breath like she ran from her car to your front door.
"Hey, I thought you were with your dads tonight," you say, and you don't stop yourself from leaning down to kiss her cool cheeks.
"Yeah. I am. I just," she's frantic and soft at the same time, and she's looking at you like she can't believe you're really there. And sometimes when she looks at you like this, you consider you might be disappearing because everything has gotten so light and you float most of the time with her now.
And then you notice she has on the gold necklace with a star on it, the one you left in her mailbox for her.
"Oh, you got the neck-"
You don't get to finish the sentence because Rachel tackles you into the tightest hug, and then her lips are on yours. You don't need the mistletoe or Christmas spirit as an excuse anymore.
On New Years Eve, you decide to pass on Puck's party, knowing you'll just get drunk and angry and that's no way to start a New Year. Rachel shows up with sparkling cider and ridiculous hats. She too passed on the party to avoid Finn – they "reached a mutual understanding" that they "go their own ways in order to pursue their individual life goals." Her words, not yours.
"I wanted to be with you anyway," she says, "Tonight I mean."
She says this and hands you an envelope. You open it and see it's a New York City postcard with a MetroCard taped to it and a printed flight itinerary.
"As a second Christmas present, I was wondering if you wanted to come with me to New York on Spring Break? My dads said I'd probably have more fun going with a friend."
You say yes at least a dozen times and kiss her more than that.
You don't bother watching Times Square. Instead, you take Rachel up to your room and kiss her like the world might end, like the carriage will turn into a pumpkin and you'll wake up with just a glass slipper memory.
When she pulls your shirt over your head, you stop thinking about the time and focus on her soft skin as you run your hands under her shirt.
"Is this okay?" you whisper, running your hand up her bare thigh.
She nods. And you don't notice when the clock strikes midnight, the light echo of the grandfather clock ringing in your living room. All you hear is the way her breath hitches when you touch her, the long exhale when your fingers slip inside her, the moan when your thumb finds her clit, your name when she comes undone beneath you.
It's one in the morning when you all but collapse beside her, breathing heavily. She hums in agreement as she rolls on her side and looks at you.
"Happy New Year."
"For once that's true," you say, looking at your ceiling, listening to her breaths to steady your own.
"If you ask if we're friends right now, Rachel, I will smother you with this pillow."
"Well, apparently some things haven't changed."
You smile, rolling to your side to look at her. She's under the sheet, but you can see the outline of her breasts and you want to kiss her collarbones. "But to clarify," you say, swallowing nervously, "We're more than that, right?"
"Kind of," Rachel says with a smirk before rolling over on top of you and kissing you so sweetly you can tell everyone that you saw the most beautiful fireworks on New Years.