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The Other Kingdom

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January 2015

The music and the thrumming of a city refusing sleep radiated from the very pavement Quinn teetered on as she stumbled across the disjointed sidewalk squares of Williamsburg, in the ever gentrifying Brooklyn. The ground was littered with plastic cups and noisemakers and all other manner of glittery paraphernalia that swam before Quinn's intoxicated vision in a delightful kaleidoscope of shapes and colors. The cacophony of inebriated exclamations pierced the unforgiving winter air, proclaiming the fresh hours of a new year. To be honest, she couldn't quite discern whether it was from the few stragglers cavorting through the early morning streets or if it was merely the echo from their evening still ringing in her ears.

"Pick up the pace, Quinn, I'm freezing my tits off here."

It was then she realized that her exposed, and very cold, hands were wrapped around something, or someone rather. She dropped her head onto the accompanying shoulder and laughed for no apparent reason.

"Santaaaaanaaaaaa," she whined, followed by a thick chuckle on her escort's part. The arm around her waist tightened, and she was being guided up something, a curb maybe.

"Come on, Fabray, I know you're not that drunk," Santana said, veering them both sharply left down a side street, that signaled familiarity bells in Quinn's head. Long gone were the muffled chants from behind the steamed up windows of dive bars as the street stretched quiet and docile before them. The street lights bathed the tar in burnt citrus light, illuminating the sides of trash bins and the occasional mouse.

Quinn pulled herself up to full height using the body next to her, and sighed, knowing she was able to at least retain her basic motor functions and put one high-heeled foot in front of the other.

"Home sweet hooome!" chimed Santana. She left Quinn standing on her own, so she replaced Santana with the brick wall of the enclave encompassing their door while Santana fumbled with the keys.

"HAPPY FUCKING NEW YEAR!"

Someone looking vaguely her age with a fleece and a backwards hat was careening towards her with his hand held above his head. Quinn limply held up her hand, which was high-fived with such force by the passing man that it nearly knocked her over into a fit of more giggles. Thank god Santana was there to brace her.

"Easy does it with the socializing, Q," Santana teased, as she coaxed Quinn through the now open door.

After laughing and stumbling and Santana all but carrying a petulant Quinn up the last flight of stairs, they finally tumbled into the apartment. Their booze soaked laughter echoed in the spacious main room, as did the door when Quinn shut it behind her mainly using her dead body weight.

Through the inky darkness Quinn could make out the creases of Santana's smile only inches from her face as she pressed her against the door. She knew that look. Her body already warm from the alcohol running through her blood, her veins began to hum. The heel of her hand slipped on the door handle as she tried to steady herself.

"Hi," Santana purred.

"Hi," Quinn mumbled before curling her hands around the nape of her companion's neck and planting one on her without warning. She could feel Santana shift to support Quinn literally hanging off of her neck, and before she knew it, her dress was hiked up and her legs were hooked onto hips.

It was a mess of misguided teeth and tongue and nails, gripping at and digging into everything. Quinn felt the vibration of a moan caught in Santana's mouth as it was latched onto her now bare shoulder as Quinn rolled her hips forward, arching off the cool metal door. Her hands were useless in Santana's hair somewhere when she felt lips on her ear.

"My room," they breathed, barely audible above Quinn's own shortness of breath. Quinn mentally thanked the Broadway world for being so financially generous to Rachel so they could move into a bigger apartment with 3 proper bedrooms. It certainly came in handy, for activities like this.

Perhaps a little overeager, Quinn let go of Santana completely and almost fell right to the floor on her jelly legs. Yeah, about those supposed motor skills. She was barely caught with a round of laughter from both of them as Santana jokingly dragged Quinn to the bedroom with most of her flimsy jacket trailing behind her.

"Suuuper sexy, Quinn," she mocked, pushing Quinn backwards so the backs of her knees were knocking against the edge of Santana's bed frame. She pressed their bodies together by the power of her palm on the small of Quinn's back. Quinn couldn't help but lean into it, Santana's hold on her was downright dizzying. Her fingers played with the straps of Santana's dress, reveling in the fabric passing between her fingers as she slid them up and down.

"No? Didn't do it for you?" Quinn baited, cocking her head to the side, or at least she attempted to. It probably looked more like it lolled to the side with her undone hair flopping this way and that. Santana's thin lipped smile gave her that impression at least. So, Quinn resorted to the only way she knew to get control back; she reached back, and tugged her zipper down. The sound alone made Santana's eyes darken and her hands bunch at the lamé fabric on Quinn's hips.

"How about this?" Quinn asked, her voice thick and her jaw slack. She didn't dare break eye contact as her dress pooled at her waist with the flick of the last shoulder strap, and Santana lunged forward, simultaneously searing her lips with a hungry open mouth kiss and shoving the rest of the dress down to the hardwood floor.

Quinn's vision was a blur again, this time with the flash of Santana's (predictably) scarlet dress flying over her head and the laughable attempts at undergarment removal with tequila fingers. Eventually, the snickering gave way to less audible murmurs and noises that, much to Kurt and Rachel's relief, tend to disappear into the crook of Santana's neck.

...

Santana let the hand holding her phone fall onto the bedsheets listlessly, followed by a frustrated sigh. She eyed Quinn's haphazard sleeping form with envy. Her pale skin reacted well to the glow of the dawn poking through the cracks in her curtain, and it let her make out the angles of Quinn's knees and arms bent in all directions. Her blond hair a voluminous encasement around the head that was facedown in the pillow. The first few times she'd seen Quinn sleep like that Santana had to lift her head up to make sure she was breathing. She was sure she'd read somewhere that the worst possible way to sleep was on your stomach.

Yet here Quinn was, sprawled out on two thirds of the bed and dead to the world like a blown out fuse, without a care. Santana, on the other hand, was wide awake, searching for sleep desperately in the shadows on her ceiling. She'd sobered up considerably, and was now slowly encroaching on the waking hours much to her annoyance.

It was kind of something, though, watching the first signs of daylight on the first day of what would be the 21st year of her life. She leaned over the gap between her bed and her only window to pull back the curtain just a little. The hodgepodge of buildings that comprised Brooklyn was surprisingly lovely at this hour, what with the sunlight slowly crawling across those stubborn remaining rooftop snow lumps and steam rising from those odd pipes you alway see sticking out with little tin hats. The whole scene imbued Santana with some diluted sense of existentialism, and although it was completely foreign, it wasn't unwelcome. The dusting of lavender creeping across the sky was soothing and was entirely hers at this ungodly hour.

She bent her wrist slowly in either direction to stretch out the strain from her and Quinn's aerobic activities a few hours prior. A satisfied smirk slid across her lips. She had a talent, that no one could deny. A spent Quinn Fabray, once the Chastity Queen of the Christian Society, currently sedated by her sex overload was evidence enough to persuade any nonbelievers. It was unfair how her talents were spent on one outlet, although Quinn was quite appreciative every time. Still, Santana was hardly unattractive in any way, and could be handed the best that queer NYC had to offer on a silver platter if she snapped her fingers. Yet she waded in the past in the form of her former cheerleading co-tyrant. What could she say, wallowing in the taste of victory hadn't gotten old since the first go around with the ice queen and hey, if it ain't broke

She felt her features soften; the beginnings of sleep settling in. Whatever she was doing, this reflective crap, it tired her mind. So she nestled back into the mound of pillows she'd somehow accrued through Kurt's constant redecorating of his room. Her gaze settled back on Quinn absentmindedly. What is it that people do on New Years?

Resolutions, she supposed. But Santana was impossible with promised habits of change. In high school, she made it a point, even, that she was unapologetically refusing to evolve. Santana Lopez was Santana Lopez and there were no areas for improvement. She hadn't changed much since then, true to form. She's been considered not quite tame, but rather disinterested in the freaks of New York. They were all so confident here and full of camaraderie and rising above and all that bullshit. Turned Santana off faster than morning wood.

She shook the sheet up around her from it's bunched heap at her feet, and by consequence, covered Quinn as well. Shame, she lamented, the view was nice.

Sleep was coaxing her into oblivion now. Her head sunk into the down, her neck giving way to the weight of it and letting it fall to the side. As her cheek hit the cotton, she was at a close enough distance to notice a little bundle of blonde strands that were trumpeting up slightly, and then floating back down atop Quinn's obscured face. A sign that Quinn is still among the living, and that was the final layer of peace that wooed Santana into sleep.

As her eyes drooped shut, a thought flitted across her mind; people also say that how you spend your New Year's is how you spend the rest of your year. Santana weighed the idea. She took inventory of the nights events, of her body deliciously sore, and her blonde bedfellow equally as satisfied.

Spend the next 12 months having mind-blowing sex with Quinn Fabray?

Could be worse.

...

The wafting of hot breakfast seduced Santana from her coma of exhaustion long after daylight had permeated her room at every angle. The banging of her heating pipe did the rest, although less gently than the pancakes. With a sigh and a stretch, she dragged her hand down her face and looked over at Quinn. Still asleep. Her mouth curled into a jealous snarl of disbelief at Quinn's luck in her infinite slumbers.

"Q," she mumbled into the pillow.

No response.

"Quinn, get up."

Radio silence. She did get a little snore out of her. Santana chuckled.

She swung her legs out from under the covers and went about gathering something to wear. Through her raucous movements, she would look periodically to see if Quinn stirred, but to no avail. Finally, once she was dressed she tossed a pillow at Quinn's head. That elicited a groan.

"Come on, Q, there's food out there," she coaxed. She only got another groan. "I'll make you your emergency coffee; black with a few scoops of crack and a B12 syringe on the side?" Nothing this time. So, Santana ditched the heap of bedsheets and pale limbs for her growling stomach.

The kitchen was laid out like they were having a three course meal. The mismatched plates were stacked in the center of the apartment's long wooden table that divided the living space and kitchen, flanked by piles of silverware, a pitcher each of orange juice and water, and a cluster of glasses hidden behind. It was abuzz with the sizzling of grease and the thwacking of Rachel cutting fruit and enthusiastic humming, because god forbid there not be music in some form around.

Kurt was a sight to behold at the stove, the source of the humming, with his back to Santana, as Rachel fluttered around him filling the air with her sing-song voice. His hair stuck out in all directions, there seemed to be a crushed flower behind his ear, and his pajamas were so askew that his left sleeve drooped over his hand so it looked like he had a prosthetic spatula for an arm.

Rachel's face lit up with that broadway smile as Santana plodded across the room, bleary eyed.

"Oh, morning Santana! Do you want any coffee? I made some. And I'm making fruit salad and also…"

Santana held her hand up to halt the words spilling from Rachel's mouth.

"Lets take the volume to a 5, shall we Berry? Also direct me to this coffee you speak of," she said, her flat voice subduing Rachel, who smiled warmly as she brought Santana to the coffee pot.

"Will that be two or three pancakes for the karaoke queen?" piped Kurt. Santana threw herself into one of the chairs on the other side of the table, the wobbly one, which took her by surprise.

"Look, I told you not to get me started because I can't be stopped. I'm like a Kardashian; the attention only makes my ego bigger. As well as my ass," Santana replied, sipping gingerly on her coffee.

"That's for fucks sure," Kurt cried, whipping his spatula arm around and getting flecks of batter on the refrigerator. Santana snorted into her coffee.

"Hey Little Edie, are you still drunk?" Santana asked.

Kurt spun around on his heel, and picked up his coffee cup which sloshed a bit, much to Rachel's visible chagrin.

"Snake that bit ya, know what I'm sayyyying?" he slurred. Santana merely held up her mug to him in solidarity, and he winked at her, before withering slightly under Rachel's glare and returning to his pancake duty.

Santana smirked to herself, and added, "I'll take a two stack, Lady Hummel."

"Same here and make it snappy."

Mercedes joined Santana at the table in a huff of exhaustion, to whom Kurt delivered an obedient yet wobbly salut. A bewildered expression struck Mercedes face, as she turned to Santana who merely shrugged.

"Look who slummed it last night in divvy Brooklyn, Miss Popstar," remarked Santana, turning towards her table companion.

"Yeah, you know, got to stay connected to the people," Mercedes replied, followed by a hearty laugh breaking the ruse. "Girl, why you got two coffee cups? Is your hangover that bad?"

Santana opened her mouth to respond, her eyes drifting to her now open door and a very grumpy Quinn making her way towards them. Santana lifted the second coffee mug into her outstretched hand and smiled amusedly up at her. The chair creaked under the sudden weight of Quinn, who was curling herself around her mug as if it were her life force. If she was capable of coherent speech, she would probably argue that it was.

"Morning Quinn," Santana said warmly, with a little playful sarcasm sprinkled on top.

"Mmmm," Quinn grunted in response, and took gulps of her tepid coffee.

"You're always so chipper in the morning," Santana commented, before doing the same.

Quinn shot her a good natured scowl, and scanned the table, before asking, "Where is the food, you said there'd be food?"

"Coming right up! What can I get ya, Susie Q?" Kurt called from behind her.

Quinn turned and nearly choked on her coffee at Kurt's sartorial deconstruction.

"Uh, three please," she managed to get out through her coughing and incredulous grin.

"Threeee it is!" Kurt shouted. He twirled his spatula above his head and moved his hips to match. He unfortunately knocked into Rachel who was already exasperated.

"Kurt! I swear to God, I have a knife in my hand!" she chided, wielding said weapon in his face.

Quinn turned back to Santana and asked, "Is he still drunk?" Santana eyes fell shut in exasperation, her head shaking side to side. She greeted Mercedes and the table sipped quietly on their beverages. A serenity overcame Quinn amidst the company of her friends. She fingered her little gold cross around her neck, a habit unintentionally employed to fill the pauses in her life with meaning, or so Santana had always said.

"I swear, living with them, it's like baby's first day out the womb. Every day," Santana groaned. "But hey, they aren't to blame. Not everyone had the same street savvy upbringing I did on las calles malas."

Quinn chortled into her coffee. "Is that so?" she mocked. Santana shrugged smugly, and smiled at Quinn like it was some grand inside joke they shared.

Mercedes, having seen the entire exchange, looked between the two of them, and was about to give her two cents, when Kurt made some sort of indiscernible noise resembling a foghorn, and announced that the pancakes were ready. Santana leaped up with a plate in hand to get first dibs. Rachel made some fuss about syrup and Mercedes took advantage of their solitude at the table.

"Quinn," she murmured, "Santana's room? What the hell is that?"

Quinn laughed uncharacteristically, shaking the hair out of her face, and scoffed, "Nothing serious, I assure you. And I was as surprised as you are when it first started."

"Well last I checked, you both left the bar because your feet hurt, which was a shitty lie. So, I'm gonna need a better explanation than that," Mercedes pressed, crossing her arms on the table and giving her a raised brow.

Quinn shrugged, "I don't think there is one, we just mess around. You know I don't have the time for anything, and Santana doesn't have the emotional range, so we, you know..." Quinn paused, to lap at her drink. "...fill the gap." She popped her 'p' for effect.

Mercedes screwed her face up at the overshare, and Quinn laughed at her reaction. Clearly regretting pushing the matter, Mercedes left table in pursuit of pancakes. Quinn felt silk covered arms descend around her and a plate of hot pancakes with a pat of butter on top appeared before her.

"Aww, thanks Kurt," she cooed, looking up to see him attempt a wink quite tragically. She was joined shortly afterwards by everyone else, plates stacked full of fluff and syrup. A plate of bacon appeared and the bowl of Rachel's fruit followed, covering the table with aromas that made Quinn's eyes want to roll into the back of her head. The clank of cups being distributed and the slosh of orange juice being poured mingled with the harmonious din of everyone's voices layered over one another as the meal began.

Kurt proposed a toast, with his arm steadied by Rachel who eyed her roommate with reluctant affection. He babbled about how great everyone is doing, about preserving the Glee club to some degree, to which Santana frowned in distaste at why they always had to include that crap, and finally, to the new year.

"To the new year!" the group repeated. They clinked their glasses to the prospect and as Santana's glass met Quinn's, her eyes dropped to the t-shirt Quinn was wearing that she had mindlessly grabbed from Santana's dresser. Regarding that fact, Santana pursed her lips and winked over the line of cups, which ignited a warm flush up Quinn's neck and across her cheeks. Quinn smiled down at her plate, annoyed that a flirtatious wink from her nympho best friend had that effect on her. She was grateful that everyone was more hungry than attentive at the moment as they ripped into their food.

You know what? Fuck it. To the new year, because, honestly, why not?