Work Header

Dance Aloud

Work Text:

Quinn's train is a couple of minutes late.

It's no real bother to her. Rachel has largely cleared her weekend plans. She does have a group meeting tomorrow afternoon to practice a performance from a scene in "The Importance of Being Earnest" and to make sure they had all their talking points covered for the discussion requirement afterwards. She figures Quinn will have some homework to do to keep her occupied. Maybe Quinn will be willing to share some insight for the group project too; she loves Oscar Wilde.

They are five weeks into the semester, and it's Quinn's first time visiting her in New York. She can hardly contain her excitement and anticipation, and the delay is only heightening it. Rachel went to New Haven two weekends ago. She had insisted that she be the first to do the traveling. Quinn is walking around just fine, but she still gets tired and sore on the occasion. She didn't want Quinn to be physically taxed from traveling. Quinn thought she was being silly and nixed any idea of Rachel visiting her at New Haven again until Quinn had made it to New York.

Usually when Rachel is excited, she likes to share it with everyone around her. As this is New York, and Grand Central, where people are either hurrying to their trains, snapping photos to add to vacation memories, or keeping their attention buried in their phone, Rachel bides her time texting Kurt, making sure their plans are still in place for that evening. The idea is to keep things simple—dinner at their favorite cheap diner down the street and a movie showing that Kurt's RA organized for his floor. Depending on how Quinn's feeling tomorrow, they'll do a walking tour of NYADA and the nearby area in the morning allowing Rachel to show off her New York. Tomorrow night they'll go see the first student production of the semester—a rendition of "Angels in America." (Rachel had been kind of relieved that casting had only been open to upperclassmen in the drama department. It gave her the chance to see what NYADA students were capable of without the stress of battling for a role.)

"Must be an interesting conversation."

"Oh yes—" Rachel begins, glancing up from her phone. She double takes. "Quinn!"

Quinn laughs, and the sound is wonderful. "Hey Rachel."

Then Rachel's arms are full of Quinn. She holds her close as she can, her exuberance battling her perpetual worry for Quinn's potential frailty. And when Quinn holds her back, she can't help but attempt to get closer. There is something about Quinn. There has always been something about Quinn that she's been drawn to, something that has always demanded her attention. Before they were close, there was always something about their exchanges that felt electric and terrifyingly intimate. As their relationship has progressed, the feeling, that connection, has only intensified and become tangible in actual touch.

"I've missed you," Rachel says into Quinn's neck.

"We just talked on Skype last night."

"It's not the same and you know it Quinn Fabray."

It really isn't it all. She can see Quinn on Skype, but it's not really seeing her. Quinn's physical beauty may transfer over digitally (with a bit of lag here and there), but she glows with a life and purpose now that can only be seen and felt in person. A digital image is just a poor imitation of the real thing. And of course, that connection she feels with Quinn, though present in her voice and gaze, is all the more pronounced in person.

It makes her feel… complete. Like she could do anything she ever wanted.

Quinn draws back from their embrace, and Rachel feels warm under the hazel eyes that take all of her in.

"It really isn't," Quinn says softly. Her voice picks up before Rachel can respond. "Alright, let's go! I want to see your dorm."

Rachel snatches Quinn's weekend bag from the ground before Quinn gets a chance to reclaim it. "It's really not all that thrilling, and you've seen it on Skype anyway."

"You don't need to be carrying my things," Quinn says, trying for the bag.

Rachel swings it away from her, smiling all the while. "Quinn, you are my guest. And as my guest, I can't help but follow all the necessary practices of hospitality. You will, I'm sure, allow me to honor the very basic rules of consideration and courtesy that allow us to live as civilized people."

Quinn arches an amused eyebrow at her. "If you insist. And despite seeing both on Skype, I am still interested in your dorm and in meeting your roommate," she says. After a beat, she points toward the metro entrance. "Rachel, aren't we taking the subway?"

"I figure we can take a cab. You've been on a train long enough. And it's a pretty good walk from my stop to the dorm."

"I'm not going to break you know."

The words give Rachel pause. "I can't help but worry Quinn. Your accident…the wheelchair…I still think about it all the time."

They've been over this before. Rachel is haunted by the memory of Quinn, scarred and bruised and nearly unrecognizable, lying in a hospital bed when they all were finally allowed to see her. She is haunted by the image of Judy Fabray's repressed sobs, shoulders shaking, face hidden in her hands, while they sat waiting to hear whether Quinn would live or die. She is haunted by the sound of Santana's keening wail in Brittany's arms after they learned the extent of Quinn's injuries. She is haunted by echoing remnants of how absolutely frightened she was, finally understanding how much Quinn actually meant to her.

And that fear stays with her. She refuses to allow anything else to harm Quinn. She's more or less told Quinn this, leaving out the part where she thinks Quinn is probably her soulmate because even though she's into big gestures, that would be a little too much even for them under the circumstances. Though those circumstances are changing more and more…

Quinn's recovery has been long and hard, and Rachel only wants the best for her.

"Do you trust me?" Quinn says.

"Yes, of course."

"Then let's take the subway, and I can show you that I can handle stretching my legs a little. Actually a lot these days."

"Okay," Rachel says. She reasons that if Quinn is overestimating her abilities, they can always flag a cab. She just hopes the metro isn't too full.

"Honestly Rachel, how do you think I make it to my classes everyday?" Quinn gives her a little nudge, smiling to show that she's teasing.

"You probably have men falling over themselves to please you. My educated guess is that they have constructed a palanquin to carry you around campus."

"You're ridiculous," Quinn says.

"I'm ridiculous? Quinn, how many boys have asked you out?" Rachel masks her curiosity by teasing. She wants to know but is scared of the answer. She knows Quinn has joined some student groups and has made a number of friends, but they haven't really talked about any possible romantic entanglements.

"A few," Quinn says. And before Rachel can really process the sickening twist to her stomach, Quinn adds, "But no one I'm interested in. None of them are really my type."

"Do you even have a type? You've dated Noah, Finn, Sam, and I guess Joe even a little bit. That's a pretty decent variety of men."

Quinn looks hesitant. Her eyes dart to Rachel and shift just as quickly away. "I… I have a type. Brown eyes and hair. A bit of a darker complexion than mine—not that that is very difficult. But what about you? Men twice your size still your thing?"

"Finn was not—!" Rachel gasps with faux indignation, "Okay yes maybe he was."

"You guys looked kind of comical together."

"Like you and Teen Jesus were any less strange."

Quinn laughs at that as they board the subway, and Rachel can't help but let her gaze linger on that sensuous image. She blushes when Quinn catches her staring and quickly leads her to one of the few remaining empty seats. Quinn lets her win this battle and takes the seat without protest. There aren't any options to sit nearby, so Rachel stands in front of her, bag placed on the ground between her feet.

"A girl asked me out too," Quinn says just as the train begins to take off.

Rachel is almost positive she would have stumbled at those words without the metro's help. She decides to go for nonchalance—even if it is a little more difficult to pull off when she nearly fell on her face. Her heart beats wildly. "And what did you say?"

"I told her that I was very flattered and that if she had caught me at a different time in my life, I would have considered it."

If possible, Rachel's heart thumps even faster in her chest. "A very charitable answer."

Quinn looks at her. And it's one of those looks—one of those where her eyes shine with emotion and meaning, and Rachel thinks she could stare into hazel forever. Then she answers with a gentle shrug of her shoulders, "It's the truth."

"I feel like I learn more about who you really are every day," Rachel says, just loud enough to be heard over the noise of the metro. "And everything I learn, only makes me li—appreciate you more."

"It's only appropriate considering that you have always been the one teaching me how to be myself," Quinn says as the train makes a stop.

Their car quickly fills up, and Rachel finds herself pressed for space. Quinn's hand finds her wrist, and she gently pulls, making her intentions clear.

"I don't want to hurt you," Rachel says.

"Rachel, you hardly weigh anything. Sitting on my lap is not going to hurt me. It's fine. I'm fine. I'll be fine."

Rachel wants to so much and the press of bodies around her only gives her additional incentive. So she nods, nudging the weekend bag between Quinn's legs and against the seat as much as she can with her foot. Then gently (as gently as she can on a moving, packed metro car), she sits on Quinn's lap.

Quinn's arms snake around her, pulling her close. Rachel holds back a smile as she settles, and the arms around her squeeze once and then relax. On this dirty, crowded subway car, she feels as if they are encompassed in their own cocoon and nothing in this world can touch them.

The rest of the journey passes without incident. And Rachel must admit that there is hardly a hitch in Quinn's step during the walk to her dorm. It's one of those few times she doesn't mind hearing "I told you so" directed at her. The phrase is also not so bad when it's accompanied by a smiling Quinn Fabray.

"And here we are!" Rachel announces swinging open the door to her dorm room.

"You were right," Quinn says, surveying the cramped space, "I definitely got the better end of the deal."

"I'm just pleased there's a window that let's in a little sunlight." Rachel says. Compared to Quinn's rather spacious dorm, hers is a very tight fit. Sometimes Rachel isn't sure how both she and her roommate manage to coexist in it. But this is New York living, and she kind of loves it.

"Well… It's very New York," Quinn says with a shrug. She then points to a picture of them both taken at graduation, "I do approve of some of your decorating choices."

"I would hope so. You have that same picture up in your room. I will also state that all of my decorating choices were made with great care to reflect that I am now a mature young woman who has officially left her adolescence behind, while still holding on to my passions that I have carried with me my entire life."

"You know, that's just the vibe I got when I walked in here," Quinn says dryly. "And I still don't approve of the comforter." She perches on her bed and pats said comforter.

It's in this moment that Rachel realizes that they will have to share her single. Quinn's dorm was big enough for a futon, which she slept on pleasantly enough during her weekend at Yale. Though Quinn had been quite adamant that Rachel should use the bed because it was more comfortable, Rachel had managed to out-stubborn her on the issue. She is going to be sharing her bed with Quinn this weekend. Tonight, even. This thought both terrifies and excites her.

"There's nothing wrong with the comforter. It is perfectly adequate," Rachel says after a brief pause. Quinn looks at her strangely, and Rachel can only hope she's not blushing.

"So what's the plan for tonight?" Quinn asks.

That is exactly the moment that Rachel's roommate, Harper, decides to make her appearance. Her roommate's hair is wrapped in a towel and she's carrying her shower caddy. It's not too difficult for Rachel to guess where she's been. She's not too surprised by her timing either. Harper is as good at making an entrance as Rachel is at storm outs.

They have much to learn from each other.

"Do tell!" Harper exclaims in response to Quinn's question.

Rachel grins. "Harper, this is Quinn."

"The Quinn Fabray? At last!" Harper says.


"What? As much as you talk about her, I have been very excited to actually meet her!"

Rachel's cheeks flush, but Quinn catches her eye and Rachel can see that a bashful smile play at her lips.

"Hi Quinn, by the way," Harper says after setting down her shower caddy. She's smiling politely now and, by her tone, being very genuine. "It's very nice to actually meet you and not just be demanded to wave at the mysterious blonde person on Skype."

"Likewise," Quinn says with a small smile. She fiddles with the hem of her skirt, and glances up at Rachel with a devious look. "So it really must never be quiet in here with the two of you coexisting."

"I value silence thank you very much," Rachel protests.

"Nope, never," Harper says simultaneously.

Rachel glares at her roommate.

"What? If you're not talking, you're singing. And if you're not singing, there's at least music on. And unlike some people, I am not afraid to admit that I do talk a mile a minute." Harper says. "So back to the topic at hand! What are you guys up to tonight?"

"We're meeting Kurt for dinner and then going to the movie night his RA is hosting," Rachel says.

"Oh come on! Quinn's in town and you're going to do the most boring thing possible! The cast and crew of 'AinA' is hosting a graffiti party to celebrate opening night tomorrow. A graffiti party! I know you know all about it! It's all anyone's been talking about this week!" Harper throws herself on her bed and sighs, "I love college."

"So much better than high school," Quinn echoes the sentiment.

"Just last night you said you hated college," Rachel says bemused.

"Last night I was working on my paper for Burns' class until 3:00 a.m.," Harper says, rolling her eyes good-naturedly. "Look, I'm going to take a nap. If you decide to go to the 'AinA' party, it's at Warehouse South and doors open at 9:00 p.m. Make sure you bring your NYADA ID and Quinn should be able to get in as your plus one. Oh, and wear white! It's a graffiti party after all."

Then Harper is silent, just like hitting an off switch, leaving the world to just Quinn and Rachel. And Quinn is tense and brooding next to her.

"I apologize for her," Rachel says. She suddenly feels very insecure like they have reverted back to when Rachel never knew what Quinn to expect when talking to her.

Quinn's gaze sharpens, cutting to Harper and then back to her. "Oh, you don't have to apologize for her. You're not her keeper."

Rachel checks her alarm clock for the time. "If you're feeling up for it, it's about time we meet up with Kurt."

Quinn nods, and Rachel can't help but think something is off. They collect their things and, moments later, are taking in the evening sun.

Conversation is jilted to say the least. Quinn is monosyllabic in response to any of her questions and also avoiding her gaze.

Rachel can't bear it. "What did I do?" she whispers.

Quinn sighs beside her. "You need to stop. I've almost fully recovered, Rachel. Do you not… Do you trust me?"

"Of course! Quinn, you should know—"

"Just listen okay." Quinn interrupts and Rachel immediately shuts her mouth. "Over the summer, when you visited me two weeks ago, on Skype… you've been treating me as if a little breeze is going to knock me over. I'm not broken. I'm not an invalid. Not anymore. Yes, I'm still getting my strength back, and yes, I… I still hurt sometimes. But I'm better. Practically back to normal. Rachel, I'm better." Quinn has stopped in her tracks. She holds Rachel captive in her stare.

"I know," Rachel says in a small voice. "I know."

"Then trust me now. I will tell you if I can't physically handle something." Quinn's hands are resting on her upper arms. The grip isn't tight, Rachel finds. Just present, pleading for her attention—Quinn's way of anchoring Rachel to her point.

"I was so scared," Rachel says.

And it's all she really needs to say.

She's pulled into a hug in the middle of a New York City sidewalk. Quinn's heart beats, her body is warm, her skin is soft. Quinn is life, and Rachel is whole. And in that moment, everything is perfect.

"Thank you for caring about me. Not just since the accident either. But before, when I was a complete mess," Quinn says.

"I've always… Quinn…" And Rachel is, for once, lost for words. She tries again. "I couldn't not."

Then Quinn surprises her. "I feel like we've always have held this sort of connection, you and I. Does that sound… Is that…?"

"It's right," Rachel says. She picks her head up, wanting to see Quinn's face.

Quinn's eyes are dark and full. Wind catches her hair, blowing tendrils across her face. Her cheeks are flushed. She's biting her lower up.

Quinn's impossibly beautiful, and there are moments when looking at her steals the air out of Rachel's lungs. This is one of those moments.

"Rachel, will you step away from Quinn. I need to give the Ivy Queen her proper greeting and thank her for leaving her throne at New Haven to join us mere mortals."

Rachel shifts away just enough so that both her and Quinn can each claim their own personal space. She turns to find Kurt, a smirk etched across his face. That's really all she can register though because one of Quinn's hands is resting at the small of her back, and it's both wonderful and incredibly distracting.

"Kurt, you sanctimonious ass," Quinn says with a half-smile. "It's good to see you."

"You're looking well," Kurt says sincerely.

The light pressure on her back disappears as Quinn moves forward, meeting Kurt halfway for a hug. But then Quinn is back at her side, nudging her in the shoulder. "So where is this place we're going?"

"Right there actually," Kurt says, pointing across the street. He rocks back on his heels, grinning. Smirking still, really. "Must have been having some thrilling girl-time for Rachel to realize she's on the wrong side of the street."

Rachel glares at him. "We were just talking," she huffs.

"Yes, yes, of course," Kurt says. "Do all girls talk by embracing in the middle of the sidewalk?"

Rachel's jaw drops. She honestly can't believe him right now. She sees Quinn rolls her eyes.

"Yes, come here, I will show you," Quinn says dryly. She then motions toward the diner, moving toward the crosswalk. "Let's go, I'm hungry."

Kurt catches her eye once Quinn's back is to them both. He points a finger at Quinn and then to her, and repeats the motion two more times. Rachel sucks in a breath and grabs his arm, unceremoniously dragging him along.

"I saw you across the street. That is not a just-friends kind of hug Rachel Berry!" Kurt hisses between his teeth.

"Kurt please," Rachel says. He catches the edge to her voice and nods, patting her on the arm.

Minutes later they're seated in a booth. Quinn slides in beside of her, exchanging words with Kurt about their respective classes. Their waiter comes by for drinks shortly thereafter—water for everyone. When he returns, they place their orders. Rachel decides on a salad and blackbean chili. Quinn gets some kind of Thai wrap and Kurt… Well, Rachel might have been too busy watching Quinn look over the menu one last time to hear what he ordered.

"So movie night then tonight for sure?" Kurt asks conversationally.

"Actually," Rachel begins carefully, "I think we have since changed our minds and want to go to the 'Angels in America' party. Right Quinn?"

Their eyes meet yet again, and a slow smile spreads across Quinn's lips. Then there is a subtle shift from Quiin, and Rachel finds a soft pressure against the hand she had kept resting in her lap. Quinn takes her hand gently, squeezing—just once—before releasing her hand again. Rachel wants to chase Quinn's hand as she withdraws, but forces herself to sit tight.

"Only if Rachel really wants to go," Quinn says.

'Then yes, we will be going to the party. You are more than welcome to join us Kurt."

"Oh thank you! Thank you! God yes. There are some very, very nice looking men in the cast," Kurt says, one hand resting against his heart.

Rachel laughs. Quinn chuckles once before leaning over the table. "And what about poor Blaine?"

"All I want to do is appreciate aesthetics Quinn," Kurt says. "Do not insinuate anything unnecessary to cause drama."

"Of course not Kurt," Quinn says. "Anyway, your roommate said it was a graffiti party right Rachel? So white clothes?"

Rachel nods. "Yes, and we probably want to avoid anything we would prefer not to get permanently messed up just in case. I think I remember hearing this past week that they'll have everything from paint to markers."

"Do you think it matters if we wear white pants or not?" Kurt muses.

"I guess everyone can decide for themselves. Personally, I have a white skirt I hardly wear anymore. I think I'll go with that. And I know somewhere in my closet is a white shirt or tank or something that I can use."

Kurt nods. "I think I have some white jeans that I really do not care to ever break out again. So that solves that problem."

"Quinn, did you bring anything suitable for the party?" Rachel asks.

Quinn shakes her head. "No I didn't."

"I probably have something you can use," Rachel says, thinking through her wardrobe.

"Is there a Goodwill or thrift shop around here so I can maybe find some bottoms? Rachel, don't try to offer me anything of yours."

"We wear the same size," Rachel says, at first slightly confused. "Oh, well we might be the same in the waist, but you do have a bigger—not that it's not nice! It's very nice actually! I like your curves and your posterior is something to be very proud of!"

Quinn hides her face in her hands. She mumbles, "I can't believe we're having this conversation."

"Cheer up Quinn!" Kurt adds. "You got an ass to die for! Own it! Strut your stuff!"

Rachel shoots him a look. She finds Quinn's backside to be quite attractive. Sexy, really. But Quinn is clearly uncomfortable, and she will not have Kurt pushing her buttons. She places a hand on Quinn's shoulder. "I'll text Harper. I bet she has something you can use."

Turns out Harper does have something for Quinn—a pair of already paint-spattered acid wash jeans. They had been unevenly cut off into shorts and featured a couple of holes, but they would hopefully do. They had swung by Kurt's dorm after eating so he could change into his choice of attire. They make it back to her dorm a little after 9:30. Harper is already gone, but the jeans she promised are sitting on her bed.

Quinn picks them up. "And she did for sure say it was okay? I would hate for them to get ruined…more ruined."

"Yeah she was happy to let you have them," Rachel answers searching through her closet for her white skirt.

"If Santana ever learns I'm about to willing wear jorts out in public, I'll never hear the end of it," Quinn sighs.

"I am documenting this moment so everyone will know the day you were forced out of Anthropologie dresses and into the clothes of your everyday Neanderthal," Kurt says. He's lounging on Rachel's bed, flipping through a magazine.

"Like you're one to talk Mr. Marc Jacobs."

Rachel chuckles as she searches valiantly in her closet for her white skirt. With all the clothes she owned, and the tininess of her closet, it was quite the struggle to make everything fit. She ultimately had to store some clothes under her bed—of course. She forsakes the closet, pulling out a long storage bin from underneath her bed. Not for the first time she wonders if it would have been better to loft her bed in order to have the extra room. Then she remembers reading all the stories about students rolling off their bed during the middle of the night and thinks about how unsteady and wobbly it would be. She'll keep her bed as close to the floor as possible thank you very much.

She finds her skirt as well as a couple of shirt options and slides the storage bin back in place. She stands up, and turns around to find Quinn absentmindedly fiddling with the jeans.

"Here," Rachel says, striding back over to her closet. She pushes aside most of her clothes, looking into the dark recesses of her closet. She emerges victorious, holding a casual white button-up. She purchased it on a whim early in the summer in an effort to match the fashion trends just for New York. After donning it once, she had decided she didn't particularly like it. It was barely long enough and the first button was so low… Not to mention it hardly fit her personal tastes. She hoped Quinn didn't mind wearing it—for both selfish and unselfish reasons. "If you like this okay, you can wear it tonight."

She hands the garment over to Quinn who smiles her thanks. She turns back around to survey the clothes she had pulled out herself. She picks up a thin white tank she used to wear under sweaters but had long forgotten she owned. She quickly shimmies out of her current skirt and slides into her white one. Then off goes her sweater and on goes her tank. She does this quick enough that she doesn't have to think about Quinn in the room, changing behind her back. She glances at her reflection in the mirror hanging on the back of her closet door and is pleased enough with the all-white combination. Perfect. Old white clothes and she's still looking very well put together.

She picks up the remaining options on the bed. "Quinn, if you're not a fan of that shirt, you can try either of these." She turns around, and immediately feels her heart leap up to her chest. Quinn is, for the most part, fully dressed. Mostly.

Rachel, captivated, watches Quinn finish buttoning the jeans and then tug at the shirt. The shirt does ride a little high. Any movement from Quinn and Rachel catches a sliver of pale skin. The minimal buttons on the blouse are particularly…enticing. Rachel's eyes catch the expanse of legs, and she realizes this is the first she's seen Quinn in something that falls above the knees since the accident.

Quinn's legs are crisscrossed with scars. It explains her seeming hesitance when she first picked up the jeans. Rachel feels like an idiot. All of her concerns about Quinn and she didn't even think about Quinn being comfortable in the borrowed clothes.

"No, this is fine," Quinn says.

Rachel doesn't find it very convincing when Quinn's words are accompanied by her hands fidgeting at the hem of the shorts and shirt.

Quinn seems to pick up on her feelings, and smiles softly. "Really Rach. I'm fine."

"Okay," Rachel says.

Quinn takes the whole two steps to cross the room to her and places her hand on her arm, eyes warm. "I promise. I'm okay. And I also promise to let you know if I get tired or uncomfortable or anything tonight so that you can whisk me away."

"Alright, I'm holding you to that promise," Rachel says.

"Are you two ready yet?" Kurt says loudly.

Rachel shares a smile with Quinn and rolls her eyes. "Yes Kurt."

"Excellent, now I know Harper keeps a stash of liquor somewhere in here. Where is it?" Kurt says, hopping off the bed.

"Kurt!" Rachel protests.

"What? I just think it would be a little fun. Nothing extreme. Maybe a couple of shots a piece before we go," Kurt says, looking into Harper's closet.

"You are invading my roommate's privacy!" Rachel says, scandalized.

"It's fine," Kurt says. He draws back from the closet, a fifth bottle of vodka in his hand. He smiles. "I texted her."

"Kurt, you have taken to college nicely," Quinn says.

"Why thank you Quinn. I do believe that is the best compliment anyone has ever given me," Kurt says. "Look, we don't have to. I just thought it might be kind of fun to have a little buzz before going to the party. Most everyone there will be drunk or well on their way."

Rachel shoots Quinn a look. Quinn just shrugs her shoulders.

"Okay," Rachel sighs.

"Well if it's that much of a bother for you, no vodka for you. Quinn, you are the guest. You first," Kurt says, handing the bottle over.

Quinn unscrews the top and takes an experimental sniff. Her nose crinkles—adorably, Rachel thinks—and she quickly holds the bottle out at arm's length. "Oh god that's bad."

Kurt laughs and Rachel can't help the smile as Quinn distastefully eyes the bottle. In one quick motion, Quinn brings it to her lips and takes a swig. She pulls back, coughing once, and clear distaste playing across her features. She hands the bottle off to Kurt. "Yeah, that's bad."

"One day, I will own premium liquor and only ever drink top shelf products," Kurt swears after taking his own swallow. "And now for you Ms. Berry."

Rachel takes the vodka off his hand. Not at all looking forward to it after both Quinn's and Kurt's reactions. She hesitantly brings it toward her lips.

"Rachel, don't feel like you have to drink any of it," Quinn says softly.

"No… It's okay," Rachels says. Before she can dwell on it any longer, she drinks. Not one swallow, not two swallows, but three. She comes up sputtering. She's pretty sure her esophagus has been burned away. Kurt is looking at her with thinly veiled admiration and Quinn has an eyebrow raised. Rachel thrusts the bottle toward Quinn who takes it off her hands. "Bottoms up Fabray," she says.

Quinn laughs and follows up on Rachel's suggestion with barely a grimace. They both egg on Kurt into taking another shot.

Rachel grabs a coat to keep out the early fall chill, and they head out, pleasantly warm and happy.

Warehouse South is a few blocks away. From Rachel's understanding, it's a popular late-night option with NYADA students. She hasn't been yet. Harper went once at the beginning of the semester, and hasn't stopped talking about it since. Rachel's excited. About going out to real New York City club. About going to a real college party. But mostly, she's excited to have Quinn here and beside her for the whole experience.

And Quinn is walking next to her, a smile playing at her lips as she listens to Rachel and Kurt talk. Quinn's arm keeps brushing against hers. Despite her conversation with Kurt, Rachel can't help but be aware of Quinn. And be consumed by her presence.

They make it to Warehouse South without too much difficulty. She gets into an argument with Kurt about which street they need to turn down (she was ultimately right of course), but they had no other mishaps besides Kurt's pride.

A sign outside promotes the "Angels in America" cast and crew event. Music pounds from beyond the doors, enticing visitors. The bouncer waves them in after checking her and Kurt's NYADA IDs and all three of their driver's licenses. Being under 21 earns all of them a single 'X' on their left hand.

Rachel enters first and can't stop the wide grin from stretching across her face. She bounces on her heels and brings her hands together in a couple of claps.

There is a dance floor immediately in front of her that is sunk down a couple of steps from the rest of the club. It takes up the majority of the space. Lining the rectangular dance floor on either side is two bars and lounge areas. Straight back behind the dance floor at the other end of the building is the DJ's booth and a small stage. The high ceilings and hanging lights make the 'warehouse' part of the name appropriate. A giant white tarp lines the bottom of the equally giant dance floor, and surrounding the floor were a number of stations that held paint, markers, and any number of tools for drawing or decorating on her fellow partygoers.

"It's pretty crowded for being just barely after 10:00," Quinn says in her ear. "So what do you say? Do you want to hit the dance floor? Do a little painting?

Rachel shivers and turns into Quinn. "Let me go to the coat check first? You can drop off your clutch too."

"Of course," Quinn says. She then points over Rachel's shoulder to the left of the entrance. "It's right there. Kind of hard to miss, considering this place is so open."

"Quinn, don't be mean," Rachel huffs, pulling her along toward the coat check. They exchange their things for a small ticket and turn around to find Kurt standing at their back.

"Rachel, Harper's already here. She's with Natalie, Jay, and Hunter. Want to introduce Quinn?" Kurt says over the music.

"Why not?" Rachel says after Quinn nods her acceptance. The names were hopefully familiar to Quinn. They were the core group of her friends at NYADA.

Thankfully all of them were on their best behavior—including Harper. "So guess what? Jay has started seeing Alex who works at the bar here and get this—promises us free drinks all night!"

Rachel purses her lips. "That certainly explains why you have drinks with you now, but that's certainly not legal! Couldn't Alex get fired? This is not very responsible! Have you really—"

"Rachel," Quinn says. She wraps an arm around her waist, and Rachel immediately closes her mouth, looking at Quinn. "Let it go."

Rachel sighs and nods after a moment. Quinn smiles and turns her attention back toward her friends. "We're going to hit the dance floor. We might take you up on the drinks later."

"Okay," Jay says. He points at the bar nearest to them. "Just tell Alex you're my friends if you want something."

Rachel let's herself be gently led away by Quinn and frowns as she hears Harper practically scream behind her. "Oh my god! I can't believe that just happened! Kurt, you better give us all the details. All of them! Rachel is putty in Quinn's hands!"

Rachel stiffens, afraid of how Quinn is taking Harper's words. She tries to pull away, but Quinn's arm only tightens around her waist.

"Do you think Kurt is going to give away all of our sordid history?"

Quinn's lips graze the shell of her ear as she speaks into it. Rachel tenses even more at the feeling, but it's a whole different kind of beast, especially with the way Quinn husks the word 'sordid.' Heat that has nothing to do with the alcohol she drank earlier sparks in the pit of her gut.

"I think he'll actually keep the gossip pretty limited. He's been keeping himself fairly distant from rumors while we've been here," Rachel says as Quinn leads them through the crowd to one of the graffiti stations.

Quinn grins at her. "You're looking a little too pristine for a graffiti party Rachel. Ready to get messy?"

Rachel watches Quinn dip her fingers into red paint, completely ignoring the brushes that were also available. She suddenly feels very protective of her clothes. "Actually no… No, I don't want to—Quinn!" she shrieks.

Quinn had flicked her fingers in Rachel's direction sending paint flying every which way onto her. Rachel looks down at her red speckled clothes and body and stomps her foot. "You ruined my outfit!"

Quinn laughs. "The whole point is to ruin it! Now come here, I want to write something on you."

Rachel pouts, but approaches anyway, unable to resist. Quinn wipes her hand off on her own leg and grabs a marker. She bites her lip, eyes flicking to Rachel's form. Rachel hardly breathes as Quinn moves in closer, raising the marker—black is the chosen color—until it's above her chest. Then right above her left breast, exactly where her heart would be, Quinn begins to write. She is intent on her work, allowing Rachel to observe her freely. Looking at her—all those beautiful features—all Rachel wants to do is sing. That is, she wants to proclaim her feelings in the boldest fashion possible. Let everyone know exactly what Quinn Fabray means to her. The thought sends her already racing heart to an even faster beat. It would be impossible for Quinn not to feel it. Rachel imagines the reverberations of her heartbeat travel through her skin, up through the tip of the marker and right into Quinn's hands. And she wants to say—feel what you do to me; you own my heart. But she doesn't. She can't.

"There," Quinn says, drawing back. "Now you have a nametag."

Rachel angles her head down to read the words inked carefully on her tank. "'Rachel Berry – Future Star'… Quinn! Everyone here is my competition! I don't want to—"

"Relax Rachel," Quinn soothes. "It's small. We're at a party. Half these people won't remember anything tomorrow. And since when have you worried about your competition?"

"I just… It's not Lima anymore. There's a lot of talent, and it's all congregated here."

"You shouldn't worry. You're the best there is. You always have been."

"You really mean that?" Rachel says. She takes half a step forward. Like a moth to the flame.

"It's the one basic truth that's always been in my life," Quinn says.

Rachel refuses to believe that she just imagined Quinn's furtive glance to her lips. She refuses to believe that she imagined Quinn took half a step forward too. They'll meet halfway this time, Rachel thinks. No more pushing and pulling.

"Ladies! Shots on the house!" Kurt yells, once again interrupting with delightfully imperfect timing. "Take them and enjoy! Just don't ask what's in them!"

Quinn's eyes narrow, then relax as she turns toward Kurt. She grabs one of the shots—a double shot actually—and tosses it back seamlessly. "That's much better than Harper's vodka."

Rachel takes the other from Kurt and quickly downs it. She is very relieved to find that it is much better than whatever it is Harper stores in their room. She barely even notices the burn. With the shot taken care of, she sets the glass next to the graffiti supplies. She dips her hand in blue paint and then quickly smears it across Kurt's chest in retribution for his interruption.

Kurt gasps dramatically, and Rachel would have said something snarky, but she feels a hand on her hip. A wet hand. Distracted, she turns to find that Quinn has left a green handprint across her skirt.

"Quinn! Come here! It's not fair. You're still spotless!" Rachel demands as Quinn darts away to hide behind Kurt. She resists stomping her foot. Barely. It helps to see Quinn moving so fluidly.

"Only if you're nice," Quinn says teasingly. She moves from behind Kurt. Then her voice changes—nostalgia and pain and wanting carrying thick in her words. "Then… Can we dance? I really haven't danced since the bit I did at Nationals... I love dancing."

"I know," Rachel says. She hopes Quinn doesn't notice the hitch of emotion in her voice. The last thing she wants to do right now is dwell on the hard months of Quinn's recovery. Not after their talk. Not when Quinn is out spending her Friday night with her. And because of Quinn's pride and strength. Rachel picks up a red marker and beckons Quinn closer. "Turn around."

"Don't write anything inappropriate Berry," Quinn says.

"I'm not," Rachel replies. She scrawls the words in large strokes, taking up most of her back. While she is occupied with that task, Kurt takes it on himself to graffiti Quinn's front. When Rachel caps the marker, she moves around to see Kurt's handiwork. He's managed to get permission to touch Quinn's face, and she's now wearing broad stripe of deep purple down her right cheek. She's also been splattered with some green paint—much like Quinn did to her with the raid paint. Kurt is now kneeling on the ground, inking something onto the jeans with a sharpie (instead of a marker). Rachel smiles when she recognizes the word.

"'Survivor' is very appropriate," Rachel says.

"Well it was either that or 'Got Pregnant—Kicked Out of Home—Put My Baby Up for Adoption—Visited Crazytown a Couple of Times—Should Have Died in a Car Accident—Yet I Still Made It To Yale So Suck It Haters.' But the latter option is kind of long."

"I should hate you," Quinn says after a small laugh. And the fact that Quinn is able to laugh at that, Rachel finds, is wonderful in and of itself.

"But my hair is perfectly coiffed so you can't!"

Quinn laughs again. "And what did you write Rachel?"

"'I Am The Dancing Queen.'"

Quinn bites her lip, and Rachel can tell she's holding back a smile. "Just don't tell Santana okay? Otherwise—between getting cursed out—you'll have to listen to her preach that Brittany is the only dancing queen there is."

"I don't think you'll have to worry too much about that."

Their eyes meet and they share smiles, and Rachel cherishes the brief moment of being the only person in Quinn's world.

And then they take the beat provided by the DJ and make it their own. Harper and the rest of her friends join them. More drinks are enjoyed. Paint goes flying through the air on multiple occasions. Words are scribbled onto skin and clothes. And Rachel dances. She dances with everyone, but always, always, Quinn is in reach.

She aches to actually dance with Quinn and Quinn alone. She's turned into a master of convincing herself it's not the time.

She pauses from dancing to write on Hunter. When she pulls away, she can't find Quinn. They've drifted into the middle of the dance floor. There's nothing but tall trees of people around her and no path to be found. Kurt is still near her, so she quickly grabs him. "Where is Quinn?"

"Went to do something!" Kurt yells back. "Didn't want to bother you!"

"Didn't want to…" Rachel echoes. Then she takes off, pushing through the crowd. She reaches the edge of the dance floor and steps up into the lounge area. Frantically, she searches through the crowd, hoping Quinn went to this side of the floor and not the other. She knows in part she's being ridiculous. Quinn would have told her if something is wrong.

She spots the red lettering on the back of Quinn's shirt underneath the bar lights. She turns around from the bar as Rachel nears, a cup of water in hand.

"Quinn! Are you okay?" Rachel says. "I know you told me to trust you, but I just had to make sure after you disappeared! Please don't be mad at me!"

"I'm not mad," Quinn says. Rachel squeaks as she pulls her into her side and under her arm. Quinn is gentle, but Rachel is still taken by surprise. She is certainly not complaining though. She is enamored with closeness of their bodies, the feel of Quinn against her, and the way they fit together. Quinn leans over her shoulder so speak into her ear. "And I'm fine. I'll probably be a little sore tomorrow, but nothing I can't deal with. I was just thirsty I promise."

Quinn tilts her head back and polishes off the water. Rachel doesn't think anything would be able to draw her eyes away from the sight of that slender neck and jaw.

"Do you want to sit down and rest for a little bit?" Rachel asks as Quinn finishes the water and sets the cup on the bar. "I could use a short break."

"That would actually be nice."

Rachel picks out an empty sofa, and they settle into it, staying close together. It's nice and exhilarating being close to Quinn like this. She doesn't quite know what to do with her hands, so she settles for picking at her skirt and that turns into picking at Quinn's jeans, which is altogether much better to pick at because of the loose threads. Her hands graze Quinn's thighs and she takes a breath, trying to settle her body's reaction. Her fingers move to Quinn's scars on her leg intuitively. She traces the patterns they form, and only stops when Quinn gently takes her hand.

"They're not…" Quinn begins. Rachel meets her gaze, and Quinn's words falter.

"I know you may not believe me, but they're beautiful."

Quinn responds, not with words, but by threading her fingers through hers. And Rachel thinks it's the most perfect handhold of her life. The music changes then, the thump of the bass noticeably dropping in speed.

"Will you… Will you dance with me?" Quinn says. She shyly tucks a strand of hair behind her ear and blushes, but she doesn't drop her gaze for a second.

"Yes!" Rachel exclaims. She immediately brings her free hand to her lips. She knows red is blossoming on her own cheeks because of her lack of composure. She clears her throat, and answers much more calmly. "Yes."

They stand together, but Rachel's heart falls when their handhold ends. But Quinn brandishes a red sharpie in her hand and asks, "I'd like to write something first if that's okay."

"Of course. Write whatever and whenever you want. I'm happy to be your muse. It's something I should get used to anyway because once I'm famous, I am sure there will be hundreds that I will inspire."

Quinn laughs, "More like thousands I think. Just promise me you won't look or find out what I'm writing until later. Much later."

"I promise," Rachel swears.

Quinn then swallows and takes a deep breath. She steps around behind Rachel and gently moves her hair over her shoulder. Rachel feels the press of the sharpie between her shoulder blades. She makes out an 'I' or a lowercase 'l.' Then the letters get messed up in her head and too difficult to track, even with Quinn writing so deliberately and slowly against her.

"Done," Quinn breathes after a few moments. "Remember, you promised not to look. Don't let anyone else write on your back either if you can help it."

"I'll do my best," Rachel says. Then she holds out her hand. "Now you promised me a dance?"

Quinn smiles and takes the offered hand. She leads them to the edge of the dance floor. Once there, they hesitate, unsure of how to proceed. Half of the couples around them are swaying together; the other half are still grinding—just at a slower beat. Rachel's heart races and warmth races outward from her center at the thought of Quinn pulling her close, wedging a thigh between her legs.

Then Quinn takes yet another deep breath, and Rachel's thoughts become near reality. Her arms automatically go around Quinn's neck in response to the hands clenching her waist. And then… Quinn shifts her feet slightly. Their legs settle against each other, and Rachel knows if either of them pushes forward anymore, they'll start to challenge the safe zone they are still skirting the edges of. Rachel thinks she'll lose all sense of herself completely if they push beyond that line. Then Quinn starts to rock her hips, and Rachel thinks she'll lose it anyway.

They're still respectable—unlike some of their neighbors. But Rachel doesn't feel as if they are. Not when Quinn makes her feel like this. Free and unrestrained and sensual and warm and…It's so much.

She looks up at Quinn. "Are you happy?"

"Yes," Quinn says. "Like you wouldn't believe."

"I used to love watching you dance. Back when I was still trying to understand you, to know you, it was one of the few times you ever seemed to be really you. I'm glad I get to dance with you now." She has to push up on her tiptoes to get to close enough to Quinn's ear to be heard over the music. She's pushing the boundaries of their safe zone in both words and touch.

"I wasted so much in high school…" Quinn's arms tighten around her. "Rachel, I…"

"Keep dancing with me and don't even think about it," Rachel commands. She brings one arm from around Quinn's neck to jab a finger onto her sternum, right above the first button of the blouse.

The music changes, the bass edging upwards in speed, as Quinn grabs her hand. She holds Rachel's hand over her chest and smiles wickedly at her. "Careful what you ask for."

Quinn turns her around and immediately loops her free arm around her waist. Rachel is pulled close against her, back to Quinn's front. Rachel doesn't even try to fight off the throb of arousal when it hits her that she is grinding with Quinn Fabray. She just lets instinct take over.

The music pounds on.

Quinn is an exceptional dancer—just as Rachel remembers. She might not be Brittany or Mike Chang, but she still flows with the music effortlessly. Rachel is swept up in it. Her arm arches upwards and behind her, catching the back of Quinn's neck. Quinn responds, head lowering over Rachel's opposite shoulder.

Rachel shivers as Quinn breathes into her neck. Her breath catches when the thumb of one of Quinn's hands dips below the waistband of her skirt and fingers splay over the top of the cotton, caressing the line where her leg meets the body. Quinn's other hand remains at her stomach, keeping her body tight against her.

Rachel wants to analyze. Dear Barbra, she wants to analyze exactly what is going on between them, but it's impossible to do anything more than feel and wonder why they haven't done this sooner.

She wants to, she has to, see Quinn's face again. She moves. Quinn's arms immediately drop, and the space between them increases dramatically.

"Rachel, wait! I'm sorry!" Quinn begins. Her eyes are wide, her hands up in front of her, and Rachel immediately realizes that Quinn thinks she pulled away because of their embrace.

She quickly remedies the situation.

Without giving her any more time to think, she grabs the front of Quinn's blouse, hooking two fingers underneath the top button, and pulls her close. And oh wow, having Quinn give in to her...

There's no more hesitating. Rachel situates them, sliding a knee between Quinn's legs. She's careful to keep her face calm as she feels Quinn's thigh between her own even though her body might as well be on fire. They rock together. Rachel wonders if they are honestly even using the music anymore, but Quinn guides them instinctively along to the beat.

She looks up and catches Quinn's gaze.

And Quinn smiles at her.

Rachel feels her own lips quirk upward.

It's not just a heady warmth in the pit of stomach. It's her heart, pounding and fluttering and spreading its own blaze in her chest.

She feels brave and stupid all at once as she decides to lay everything on the line. This would be as good a time as any to get a patented Blaine Anderson "Courage" text. Though Rachel doesn't need it. Her mind's already made up—she pursues her dreams with passion and fervor.

She leans up on her tiptoes and deliberately brushes her lips against Quinn's cheek on her way to her ear.

"Do you want to go back to my place?"

Hazel eyes settle on her as she draws back, and Rachel receives a firm nod in response.

Rachel leads them this time, Quinn's hand firmly in her own. They stop by the coat check to get their things. Rachel takes a moment to check her phone for messages, only to see one from Harper telling her that she probably would not be coming back to their room that night because, in her words, 'I finally got my claws into Hunter and I'm not letting go!'

She quickly sends a text to Harper and Kurt to let them know that her and Quinn are leaving. She pockets the phone into her jacket and finds Quinn patiently waiting on her. Quinn smiles as Rachel immediately threads her fingers into hers.

She admires the fit of their hands together and ignores the angry buzz of her phone telling her she has incoming messages—no doubt from Kurt and Harper.

They leave Warehouse South behind and give the cool New York night their attention. It's well past midnight and the city buzzes with life. Rachel learned very early on that New York truly did never sleep. They cross through a well-lit residential area, and the street is only marginally quieter than the busy exchange they just left behind.

"Do you ever get worried walking around New York?" Quinn asks, squeezing her hand.

"Not too often. But I'm always prepared. I have my handy can of mace easily accessible if I need it. Daddy made sure to give me a firm lesson on safety before I left too. Not that I didn't do my own research, so really it made his presentation superfluous," Rachel says.

"Oh? You'll have to forgive me if I ever worry about you then."

"Do you?"


"Worry about me?"

"Yes," Quinn says, avoiding her gaze.

Rachel bites back a grin. "Are you worried right now? You shouldn't be. I'll protect you."

"Is that right?"

"Yes. Though your face paint from Kurt does make you look intimidating."

"I'll have you know that Coach Sylvester made sure all of her Cheerios were well versed in the art of self-defense. If you ask me, I think she was secretly hoping to recruit Nazi-hunters."

"I feel equally protected. And impressed."

"Don't be," Quinn says honestly. "I haven't practiced anything since the accident, but I think I could deliver a few solid kicks to the groin now."

"So your legs are fine?" Rachel asks, hoping she doesn't sound like she's nagging.

"They're good," Quinn says.

"And did you have fun?"

"The best."

"I'm so, so sorry again. For not trusting you with your own physical limits. I… I'm glad we went. I'm very glad you got to dance."

"Rachel?" Quinn says, stopping in her tracks. They're at a street corner. A small park sits to their left and one of the NYADA buildings is straight ahead, marking familiar territory. Somewhere, music plays, wafting familiar chords and lyrics faintly to them. Quinn takes both of her hands, running her thumbs runs over the top of her knuckles.


"I'm glad I got to dance with you most of all," Quinn says softly.

"Me too," Rachel breathes, a smile overtaking her features.

"And I'm sorry for this," Quinn says in a peculiar tone.

Before Rachel can ask what in the world Quinn has to be sorry about at the moment, Quinn's lips descend on hers. Rachel is shocked only for a second. For all their moments, for all their flirting, for all their dancing, she still can't believe it's actually happening. Then she's kissing back, sliding her lips against Quinn's. It's soft and warm and oh… Quinn angles her head slightly, making the kiss deeper. Their handhold tightens and that gives Rachel a moment of rational thought. She swiftly backs out of the kiss.


Quinn's eyes are wide and panicky. And Rachel's heart clenches as she realizes she's making Quinn feel like that for an entirely selfish reason. But really, Quinn should know better!

"You can't kiss me like that after an apology. Never apologize for kissing me! You ruin the meaning of it if you apologize before you do it!" Rachel demands.

Quinn breathes deeply and some strange combination of exasperation and relief plays across the smile on her lips. She collapses forward slightly, her forehead coming to rest against Rachel's shoulder. "I hate you," Quinn says.

"No you don't," Rachel says, wrapping her arms tight around Quinn's slight body.

"You're right, I don't."

Rachel can hear the smile in Quinn's voice. "Also, you should know that I really don't feel like I look like my best for our first kiss, and you know I like to look my best for any important moment in my life."

Quinn draws back up to her full height. "Important moment hmm?"

"Of course. I don't know about you, but I've been waiting quite some time to kiss you. Granted, it did take me a while to understand why I was so obsessed with you and what you were doing all the time. And it kind of took your car accident for me to finally realize what you really meant to me. Then some more time to actually reconcile with the fact that I wanted to kiss you, but here we are," Rachel smiles softly, meeting Quinn's eyes. "And it's a very important moment."

"You look beautiful," Quinn says. Rachel sucks in a breath as Quinn gently tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. Quinn leaves her hand resting against Rachel's cheek. "Can I try again?"

Rachel meets Quinn halfway this time. Their lips press together chastely for a mere heartbeat. Then Rachel surges forward, crashing her body against Quinn's and urgently cupping her face with her hands. Rachel claims Quinn's bottom lip and let's one of her hands freely slide-down the contours of that breathtaking face, over the soft skin of her jaw and neck, and finally tightly grasping her slim shoulder. Quinn nips at her top lip, and Rachel gasps in a breath.

Quinn takes advantage of Rachel's breath to switch to her bottom lip. The fingers of one of her hands burn a path on her skin as they find purchase under the hem of Rachel's tank. Their mouths continue to slide together, restless and wanting. Rachel moans at the first touch of tongue. The sound shocks her back to reality. She smiles against the kiss, and runs her hands down Quinn's arms, taking her hands. Quinn picks up on the signal, as Rachel knew she would, and their pace slows down sharply. The kisses turn slow and sensuous, more feeling and less wanting. But even with that, Rachel is overloaded on Quinn. Her whole body vibrates with life and warmth. She feels effervescent and free of everything that could ever hold her back. At the center of this is Quinn and the blaze that started in Rachel's heart only to envelope her whole being.

Finally, they pull apart.

Rachel can't quite say how they got back to her dorm room. Only that she's sure they stopped and kissed every few steps along the way.

They can't be bothered with the lights, and Rachel only just barely manages to lock the door. It helps that Quinn presses her against. She nearly comes undone right then when Quinn draws back from the kiss and stares at her. Quinn's arms frame either side of her head, and the streetlight seeping through the window provides just enough illumination for Rachel to meet Quinn's stare and witness the desire—and something else, something else fundamental to that connection that's always been between them—pooling there. And Rachel snakes her arms around Quinn's neck pulling her in for a kiss because that gaze was too much for her not to respond.

That's when Quinn's thigh meets her center. Rachel arches into it and breaks from the kiss to gasp.

"Is that too much?" Quinn asks carefully, hand coming to her cheek.

"It's perfect. That's perfect. You're perfect. Quinn, I can still hardly believe this is happening," Rachel whispers.

"I know," Quinn breathes. "It's… I've waited and wanted but I never actually thought… Tonight, the stars kind of aligned for us."

"Quinn, you should know that stars are kind of my thing."

"You're ridiculous," Quinn laughs softly, "Have I ever told you that?"

"You have. Many times in fact, including earlier this evening."

"For the record then."

Rachel smiles and leans in to kiss her. She pulls back after a moment, and then tries to say what she wants without feeling any embarrassment. That turns out to be an impossible task. "I think…no actual touching with hands or…m-mouths. Not ready for that yet… But Quinn, please. What you just did… Is that okay?"

"I-I think that sounds perfect."

Rachel is pretty sure Quinn is blushing too, and that endears her to Quinn all the more.

All Rachel wants is to show Quinn how much she means to her, and how beautiful she thinks she is inside and out.

Her heart hammers and the warmth in her center spikes. She knows it really won't take much more. Her mouth feels dry, but she just… She has to tell Quinn. "I want you so much…"

Quinn shudders and a barely audible moan makes it to Rachel's ears, which, in turn, makes Rachel want to do anything to elicit that sound from Quinn again. "God Rach, you can't just say that."

Quinn kisses her. Hard. Then the kiss softens, and Quinn is pulling her back from the door and helping her shed her coat. Rachel allows it to drop to the ground without a further thought. Quinn backs her up to the bed, kissing her all the while. Hands slide over Rachel's backside and to the tops of the back of her thighs. She gasps as Quinn lifts her up and sets her back on bed without breaking their kiss. And… "That was very, very hot," Rachel breathes.

"Yeah?" Quinn says with a demure smile as she climbs up onto the bed after her. Rachel allows Quinn to gently guide her onto her back, heart pounding all the while. Quinn hovers over her, her smile slowly dissipating. "You're so beautiful Rachel."

She pulls Quinn down against her, searching for a kiss. She's rewarded with a brief one before Quinn draws back. "I've never really done this before…so just let me know okay?" Quinn says, nerves evident.

The fact that Quinn is nervous about this, nervous about being with her… Rachel can hardly believe anything about this night. Everything Quinn does only ignites her soul and enflames her body further. She takes one of Quinn's hands and kisses it. "I'll let you know if you do the same."

Then Quinn's lips meet hers again. Rachel thinks she'll never tire of that simple action. Quinn angles her head, and they exchange impassioned open mouth kisses. Then Quinn shifts, and her thigh presses against her center. It's god… it's perfect. She rocks her body into that thigh, only vaguely aware that her skirt is now hiked up around her hips and her panties are absolutely soaked. And—oh god—Quinn can feel just how wet she is.

Quinn's lips break from hers and travel over her jaw to her neck. Rachel moans as Quinn's tongue flicks, her teeth nip, and lips press against her skin. She just…she wants…she needs more. More. She rocks again. And she feels Quinn meeting her thrusts, and shuddering at the contact. Rachel is very aware of their intertwined legs and her own thigh pressed into Quinn's heat.

She is also very aware that Quinn is at her collarbone now, and her hot, wet mouth travels south. Rachel sucks in a breath as that mouth makes it to the tops of her breasts, teasing the edge of her tank. Her hand finds one of Quinn's and, following the demands of her body, brings their joined hands to the hem of her shirt.

Quinn follows her direction, and Rachel angles her torso up to help remove the top. It goes somewhere on the floor. Rachel could really care less about it as Quinn's hands are wasting no time in exploring her newly exposed flesh. She rocks into Quinn's thigh again. And again. And again with Quinn meeting each thrust. She feels… oh… She prays she's making Quinn feel as good. And Quinn... god… Quinn is just beautiful and sexy and completely consuming her. The fact that it's Quinn doing this to her, making her feel this way…. Their rhythm picks up.

Quinn's breath hitches time and time again. Then the hand at Rachel's ribs presses hard, her hip movements jerk out of rhythm. And Quinn arches, shuddering and shaking. Her eyes are closed and her mouth agape in pleasure. A low moan exits with a breath.

Seeing Quinn come undone… Rachel is close, so close. Experiencing Quinn come is the sexiest, most provocative thing Rachel has ever seen, and her body agrees. She rocks harder and harder into Quinn's thigh. Her body shakes.

She's warm from inside out, her body pulsating with gratifying pleasure. She's reaching, needing, more and more and more. Just a little more. Then she's there. She's flying and trembling and vaguely aware of her nails digging into flesh. When she returns, Quinn is holding her tightly, whispering in her ear, "I got you."

Rachel falls into a dreamless sleep in Quinn's arms. Content, not from her physical reward, but for having Quinn next to her.

She wakes hours later using Quinn's arm as a pillow. Quinn remains asleep, breathing deeply and face relaxed. Rachel doesn't move at first. She spends her time admiring Quinn's features, still unbelieving in the events from the night before. She dwells on the memory of what they did and also on how sore she is now. Finally, she gently climbs at bed. She pulls on a clean T-shirt and sweatpants and visits the hall bathroom. She returns before much time has passed, and Quinn still dreams in her bed.

She blushes as she picks up her coat from the night before. And blushes even harder as she spots her tank. It's when she picks it up that she notices the red lettering across the back of it.

There, amid paint splatters and nonsensical messages, is a collection of three words written in Quinn's handwriting. She reads it over and over again, but the words never change. Finally, she realizes she's not imagining it—somehow not still dreaming—and a smile slowly overtakes her features. Her heart is light and warm. Exhilaration fills her, and she clutches the tank to her chest.

Then smirking, she yells, "Quinn!"

Quinn makes an unintelligible noise from the bed.

"This is not an acceptable method of saying 'I love you' to me your first time. I demand that you wake up and try again!"