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these strange steps

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It's ridiculous to be crying.

It's ridiculous, because Quinn is right. It doesn't make Rachel any less right, but it does mean that in seven years they've managed to not move an inch forward from where they were when they last saw each other: at high school graduation, Quinn giving the speech and still sounding like her future was ready to bloom at any second.

Rachel had cried then, too, because at some point Quinn had looked right at her and almost smiled—and it had almost made it all worth it. The bullshit about Finn, the final year of having to watch Quinn separate from him altogether and grow up into her own, the realization that she'd stopped giving a shit about Finn and instead wanted to follow this new, mature Quinn wherever she was going, and then finally the knowledge that it was never going to be an option.

She'd hoped, then, that things could be different. And now? Now, she's sitting in her car, deadly still, wondering what the hell else she can do. She wants to talk to someone about this; not her therapist, who would just tell her that she's being unhealthy.

Well, no shit. Of course she is. Being told that she is unlikely to help at this point.

She'd tell Puck, but he and Quinn have such a complicated history that she has no idea what his reaction would be: barging in and fireman-carrying her out of the club, or just that deadly, jaw-locked expression that he gets sometimes when he doesn't want to let on that something upsets him.

A bigger issues is that she can't tell anyone who knows Quinn, because it would mean giving up Quinn's secret, and—maybe she doesn't care if her friends know that she's now blown an embarrassing amount of money on lap dances, but she cares too much about what they would think of the person giving them to her.

Her own reaction had been oh God, what has happened to you. Santana's and Puck's wouldn't be as polite, and they had been Quinn's people, once. She can't even imagine how Kurt would react.

There's only one person who wouldn't judge Quinn, but Brittany still can't keep a secret from Santana for the life of her, and so all Rachel can do is sit in her car and wait for her vision to clear, hoping that an answer will just come to her. .


The knock on the window is what wakes her up, and when she blinks blearily, she sees Quinn. Not that that's something new; except that the frown on Quinn's face isn't exactly the stuff of dreams, nor is the impatient motion she's making at the window.

"What are you doing?" she asks, when the window is lowered..

"I fell asleep, Quinn. Last I checked it's not a crime."

Quinn's mouth sets, but then she says, "Are you hungry?"

"No, but I could use some coffee," Rachel says, because it's true; her hands are shaking with something and the caffeine will steady her.

"There's an all night diner about five minutes away from here," Quinn says, after another second of hesitation. "I can direct you there."

Rachel says nothing; not because she doesn't have words, but she's worried that if she voices any of them, Quinn will just disappear again.

It would really help if she had some idea of what was happening right now.


The diner's almost empty, and after a few moments Rachel slides off her sunglasses and almost relaxes into the booth.

She watches as Quinn rattles off an order that sounds a lot like "the usual" and then asks for some regular drip for herself.

"What happened to your hair?" she finally asks, when Quinn folds her hands together on the table and doesn't say anything otherwise.

"They're extensions. I haven't let it grow out since senior year," she says. She's in jeans and a white, fuzzy sweater and about an eighth of the make-up that she wears on the job.

Rachel feels herself fall in love all over again, which is just so wrong and masochistic, because surely this is yet another ploy in Quinn's many ways to screw with her.

"So. Rachel Berry's a lesbian, huh," Quinn says, blithely, when they've been served.

Rachel nearly chokes on her first sip of coffee and then glares at Quinn, who barely hides a smile while cutting into her hash browns.

"I'm not trying to …" Quinn says, and then spears some potato, blowing on it before bringing it to her mouth. She swallows quickly and then says, "I'm trying to have an actual conversation."

"You could pick a slightly less controversial starting point, given what … happened earlier," Rachel says, gripping her coffee tightly.

Quinn makes an assenting noise but then says, "It's not a big deal, Rachel. You're not alone."

"Well, clearly I am, or I wouldn't have blown a chunk of my retirement money on getting lap dances from you," Rachel says.

Quinn coughs loudly and then says, "God, you really haven't changed much."

"Where I stand, honesty isn't something to be disparaged for."

Quinn wipes at her mouth with a napkin and levels Rachel with a look that promptly makes her shut up. "What I meant was, you're not alone, in being gay."

Rachel blinks at her a few times. "You're—"

"There's a reason I can stay detached from what I do," Quinn says, a little absently. "It's because it doesn't do anything for me."

"When did you realize?" Rachel asks. Her voice is little more than a whisper, because something about this answer matters a lot.

"Shortly after moving out here," Quinn says.

"Which was—"

"After high school. UNLV offered me a partial on cheerleading, and they were cheaper than most of my other options."

Rachel frowns. "But surely your parents—"

"Broke, after the divorce. And not the kind of people I wanted to be dependent on for much longer anyway," Quinn says, cutting up a sausage and slathering some ketchup on it.

Rachel watches her eat it for a moment and then says, "Is this what you eat every night when you clock off?"

Quinn shrugs.

"Okay, not that I'm in any position to lecture you on the benefits of a home-cooked meal, but how on earth are you staying this thin?"

Quinn's lips twist. "I have a fairly high-energy job, Rachel."

With that muted reminder, Rachel feels her stomach turn hard again, and she knows it's showing on her face when Quinn's relaxed expression disappears within seconds.

"I'm sorry. About—earlier," Rachel finally says, because they're finally doing what she wanted to be doing all along: talking. Maybe even reconnecting. It seems inappropriate to not at least attempt an apology for—well, whatever they want to call it.

"Don't apologize," Quinn says, scraping her knife around the plate and then licking that clean, too. She does it casually, but Rachel feels a low throb in her groin anyway. It's the tongue. Or maybe the satisfied little noise Quinn makes. "Like I said; it wasn't out of the ordinary."

"Don't be ridiculous. It was you and me," Rachel says, a little more sharply than she means to; mostly to distract herself from what she really wants to do right now, which is shove their orders off the table and crawl over it to kiss the living daylights out of Quinn.

The corner of Quinn's mouth lifts. "It's a more interesting way of dealing with our... issues than slapping you in the face, don't you think?"

Rachel says nothing, because there's nothing to say.


It's a strange ending to an even stranger night, but when Quinn pays—with a humiliating, "don't bother; this is all your money anyway"—and reaches for her jacket again, Rachel says, "Wait."


"What—what do we do now?"

Quinn's already halfway out of the booth, but settles back into it and gives Rachel a cautious look. "What do you mean?"

"I mean—so we've had coffee, and we didn't kill each other. Can I—" She trips on the words, and how embarrassing is that? "Can I see you again?"

Quinn's expression glosses over quickly. "I don't think that's a good idea."

"I just—"

"Rachel—clearly tonight did something to you, and I'm not in the habit of ignoring people I know when they're sitting in their car, looking like their dog just died. You look like you can drive, now, so I'm going home to get some sleep, and I suggest you do the same."

It's cold. It's so cold that it actually hurts, but the one thing that Rachel has now is the knowledge that on some level, Quinn cares.

"You're so full of it," she says, training her eyes to Quinn's and not flinching when Quinn's eyes narrow. "You're so desperate to not connect with anyone who knew you before that, what, you're just going to make me feel awful until I back away?"

Quinn says nothing.

Rachel pulls her sunglasses back down and says, "Really, Quinn, after four years of doing it daily, you should know by now that making me feel like shit really doesn't result in me giving up."

"Yeah, well, maybe it should," Quinn says, sharply.

"Maybe you should just try something else for a change," Rachel responds, getting out of the booth.

Quinn follows her outside and then reaches for her shoulder, stopping her.

"You're here for what, two more months? It's a fucking summer holiday. You're having some fun because you can, for a change, and then you'll go back home and it'll all just be this fond memory you have of Vegas. But I don't get the luxury of leaving this behind, Rachel, so—what the fuck do you want from me?" she asks, from somewhere behind Rachel.

Her voice betrays that this is the first true thing she's said all night; maybe since even since they met.

"If you actually think that I could ever put this behind me, you're more ignorant than I thought you were," she responds, softly.

Quinn's hand falls away, and by the time Rachel turns around, she's already walked off towards a bus stop across the street.

She looks young, and tired, and altogether like someone that Rachel wishes she could actually get to know—have lunch with, cook dinner for, joke about the plot of an awful movie with. It's Quinn, rather than that girl who strips for her, and when Quinn shoves her hands in her pockets and leans against the bus stop sign, looking down at the ground, Rachel knows that she's going to keep trying, no matter how hard Quinn might try to discourage her.

Forgetting about her altogether isn't ever going to be an option. Not now.


In the end, she calls Brittany anyway.

Britt's at some sort of dance class, but gamely cancels the entire thing when Rachel says, "It's important."

"What's up?" Britt asks. There's some rustling and then a sigh and Rachel smiles faintly at the sure knowledge that Brittany's managed to contort herself into some ridiculous position only she would find relaxing, bracing herself for a long, rambly phonecall.

It's not clear when they became friends, let alone good ones, but whenever she needs to forget about her day to day existence, Brittany is the first person she calls. She's always exactly what Rachel needs, with her funny animal facts and ability to construct an entire conversation around the guy she saw walking to the bus stop with the cane that morning.

This isn't going to be quite as light, unfortunately, but—God, she really just needs to talk to someone about it.

"I've been seeing a stripper," she says. After careful considerations of various ways to break the news, blunt honesty seemed like the best one.

"What, like—dating one?"

Rachel feels her entire body cringe when she says, "No, like... paying one to give me lap dances. Every Tuesday for the past month."

Brittany says nothing for a moment, and then goes, "You don't need to pay for sex, Rachel, you're way too hot for that."

"Thanks, Britt, and—I'm not having sex, so that's not it. It's really just—well, I guess it's not really just dancing, but... there are reasons for it."

Brittany sounds like she's smiling when she says, "Okay, I'm confused, and that sentence was way too rambly. Why are you paying for a stripper?"

"Because," Rachel says, "the stripper in question is Quinn."

Brittany says, "Oh." A long pause, and then, "Really?"

"Yeah," Rachel says, rubbing at her forehead.

"Huh," Brittany says, and then adds, "I've always wondered what happened to her. Stripping, huh?"

"Britt, you can't tell anyone."

"No, of course not, she'd kill me," Brittany says, and Rachel sighs in relief when apparently, seven years of not speaking don't undermine the Cheerios hierarchy one bit.

"That includes Santana."

Brittany makes a noise of assent. They're quiet for a few seconds, and then Britt asks, "So, is she good?"

Rachel knows she's turning a ridiculous shade of red. "At... stripping?"

"Well, yeah."

"Yeah, she's—" Rachel bites her lip and says, "I—oh, my God, I've never been more sexually frustrated in my life."

"You should ask her out," Brittany says, in response to that.

"I—what? I mean, I've tried. She doesn't want to."

"Oh, that sucks," Brittany says, sighing. "I hate when Quinn used to do that. Like, we all knew she had a thing for you, but she was always like blah blah I can't. You know, how Santana was during junior year, but like way worse."

"Wait," Rachel says, blinking. "She had a thing for me?"

"Oh, yeah," Brittany says. There's a loud crunch—an apple maybe—and then she adds, "Come on, Rachel, you saw those drawings in the bathroom."

"She drew those to … bully me. And humiliate me," Rachel says, dimly.

"Well, sure, but that's just because it would've been super gay to just carry around a notebook full of drawings of you all year, I mean. What if she lost it?" Brittany says, with another loud crunch and some chewing. "Not to mention that like, when you hate someone, the way I hate that guy with the balloons over by the bus stop, you don't draw them with flattering boobs, okay."

Rachel wonders how it's possible to feel so close to laughter and tears at the same time. "Okay, hypothetically speaking, if you are right about this—why wouldn't she—I mean, I'm here now. And she knows I'm available—"

"How?" Brittany asks, sounding genuinely curious.

"It's—nevermind, Britt, not really the point," Rachel says, before chewing on her lip and saying, "Why won't she just—is it that awful to like me?"

"Aw, honey," Brittany says, or almost coos. "Of course not. Quinn's just complicated. Santana always said that she's like an onion, because she makes people cry a lot when they cut her, or something. You know?"

Rachel laughs weakly and says, "Yeah, I know."

"So maybe don't cut her; just try to peel her, and it'll be okay," Brittany says, before yawning loudly and adding, "Hey... did you know that ducks have like two lady spaces? One real one and a fake one, because they get sexually assaulted a lot and if they don't like the guy duck that's trying to do them, they're just like, no way are you getting into my actual baby duck maker."

Rachel gives up on not laughing at that point, and half an hour later, when Brittany has to go, she actually feels substantially better.


Technically, there is nothing stopping her from hiring a private investigator.

There's no Q Fabray (or L Fabray) in the phonebook, and trolling Facebook just reveals that Quinn has a locked profile that Rachel clearly can't do anything with. Nobody else she knows would have Quinn's phone number, and she can't exactly call Judy Fabray out of the blue and be like, "May I have your daughter's number? I ran into her at a strip club recently and would really like to reconnect in a way that doesn't involve quite so much grinding."

So, she can hire a private investigator, which would be beyond creepy and invasive, or she can spend yet another Tuesday night at Rapture.

She doesn't even bother reapplying her make-up at home this time, and when Tracy says, "Hey, we didn't think you'd be coming back—" Rachel just says, "Here's eight hundred in cash; tell her to wear her normal clothing, please."

Tracy blinks and says, "Okay, but—"

"I'll deal with her questions. Customer is king, right?" Rachel asks, a little pointedly, and with all the fake diva bluster that three years of being a media darling have taught her to have. So what if she's already feeling a little faint, and she knows this level of bravado will evaporate as soon as she's near Quinn?

So what, indeed.


Quinn actually looks mostly amused when she walks in, wearing a knee-length red skirt and a white off-the-shoulder t-shirt that brings up all sorts of weird Flashdance thoughts—not that Rachel really needs more thoughts about Quinn dancing.

She's barefoot, also, which is even stranger.

"I'm glad to see that you're willing to listen to reason," she says, dryly.

"Shut up and sit on me," Rachel responds, tilting her chin up and almost daring Quinn to say no.

Quinn's lips twist subtly, but then she says, "Or what, Rachel?"

"Or we have a conversation. About why you work here, maybe. Or about how long you've had feelings for me."

Quinn's eyes darken immediately. "Where the hell did you get that—"

"That's a funny way to react to something that you clearly don't think is true," Rachel says, smiling in a way that she knows will piss Quinn off even further.

Quinn takes a quick, sharp breath and then says, "So much for wanting us to be friends this time around, huh, Rachel?"

"I find that friendship can't be built on a bunch of bullshit and lies, Quinn, so anytime you're willing to drop those and admit that you feel something—just let me know," Rachel says, leaning back against the chair and patting her lap gently. "Until then, I'm happy to be involved enough for both of us."

Quinn shakes her head, but after a few moments moves to stand in front of Rachel anyway. "What do you want today?"

"You," Rachel says, before reaching and tugging on the hem of Quinn's skirt until their knees are almost touching.

Quinn says nothing for a moment, but then says, "I'm going to blindfold you."

"Shouldn't you be asking me if I'm okay with that?" Rachel asks, her fingertip still skimming along the edge of Quinn's skirt, but not touching anything—not breaking the rules.

Quinn leans forward, brushing Rachel's hair away from her ear, and says, "It feels so much better when I don't give you a say in the matter, though."

Rachel grips the skirt, hard, and then blinks in surprise when seconds later, it's slipping off Quinn's hips altogether.

Quinn doesn't ask how much time they have; just trails her finger down Rachel's cheek and says, "Don't move. I'll be right back."

She walks out of the door in just her shirt and a pair of boycut panties, and Rachel almost laughs at the sight of it—how the hell someone so comfortable with their body can be so uncomfortable with what it wants—

Like an onion, she reminds herself, and starts unbuttoning her own light blue dress shirt just because really, she's going to need to work a little harder at peeling Quinn if this is in fact going to be the night that things change between them.


"How many of these ties do you own, anyway?" Rachel asks, when another one is slipped over her eyes and quickly tied behind her head.

"A few," Quinn says, non-committal, and then asks, "Can you see anything?"

Rachel shakes her head, and then sits and waits, hands on the sides of the chair again, for something—anything to happen.

"I'm not sure this is the best idea," she finally says. "I'm spending a small fortune to watch you dance, because God knows I don't get to touch you, so—"

Quinn's hands reach for her own without warning, and next thing she knows, she's running them up and down Quinn's sides—or well, Quinn is making the movement for her, straddling her legs easily and then pushing their joint hands up to her breasts.

"I—" Rachel starts to say, but then shuts up when Quinn's nipples harden against her palms. "Oh, my God."

"This is the last time," Quinn says, softly—so softly that Rachel almost doesn't think she's actually said it, until she continues with, "I need you to leave me alone after this, Rachel."

"What if I—"

Quinn's hips shift forward abruptly, and Rachel's hands grip almost without meaning to.

"I've given you everything I can. It is just going to have to be enough," Quinn says, in a tone of voice that sounds like an ending.

Rachel closes her eyes despite the blindfold, and then finally nods. "Okay. I—okay."

Quinn moves in even closer after that, and says, "Run your hands up and down my back; slowly, and use your nails."

Rachel feels her panties soak, and bites her lip to not make too much noise too soon. They both like the anticipation, and if this is the last time—God, she can't even think about it.

She just can't.


Quinn's face tracks along hers, nose brushing against her skin—first her cheek, then down her neck, and finally nuzzling between her collarbones. She can only feel where Quinn is going to go next, and Jesus, this really doesn't meet the textbook definition of a dance in any way whatsoever anymore.

Her own hands are slipping under the back of Quinn's bra, and she knows she's marked her—knows that whoever comes next is going to get some seriously second hand goods, and even though she's more turned on than she ever has been in her life, the thought makes her feel like she's going to be sick.

"How much for the entire night?" she asks, when Quinn's nose brushes past her shoulder, and her hips slam forward hard enough to make the chair wobble.

"That's not how this works," she says, roughly.

Rachel's hands blindly fumble until one of them is covering Quinn's own hand, and says, "It works however you want it to, doesn't it?"

Quinn's hips grind to a halt, and then she says, "You do the math. I'm on until two. It's eight thirty."

Rachel laughs and says, "You actually think I can do math right now?"

"Thirty six hundred," Quinn says, after a moment.

"Done," Rachel says.

Quinn's movements halt. "Rachel—"

"I know you're not for sale. And we'll do the hour, and after that, you can do whatever you want; read the newspaper, get an early late dinner, or play Scrabble with me or whatever. I just don't want—"

She can't finish the sentence, and Quinn takes an incredibly deep breath right by her ear and then asks, quietly, "Why are you doing this?"

"Because you won't," Rachel says, and unsnaps Quinn's bra, without asking for permission.


Most of her is focused on creating a memory.

A memory of the way Quinn smells, like a weird combination of vanilla and cinnamon that just reminds her of Thanksgiving somehow. One of the way Quinn's lips feel close to her skin at all times, even if they're not. One of the way that Quinn's hips don't ever really stop moving, even if it doesn't feel like she's focusing on their movement. One of the way Quinn's hands are digging into her back, now, even as Rachel is trailing her own hands around and letting them rest just below Quinn's breasts, silently asking if it's okay.

Quinn says nothing, but her hips jerk with a little less control, and Rachel decides that she's a little tired of waiting for Quinn to voice anything she actually wants.

It's never going to happen, and if Rachel herself wants something, she's just going to have to take it.

Her head lolls when her fingers first touch the puckered skin around a nipple, and she listens to Quinn breathe lightly through her nose.

"Is this—"

"Harder," Quinn says, without even a second of hesitation, and Rachel's hands clamp down almost involuntarily; cupping entire breasts, and then pinching Quinn's nipples tightly enough for it to hurt.

Quinn's hips jolt, and Rachel almost smiles—almost, because she thinks she might actually lose her mind from wanting.

"I want—" she starts to say, but Quinn bites down on her shoulder, hips still sloppily rocking forward, and Rachel trails off into a moan that's loud enough to drown out the sound of the dance floor in the main club.

"Fuck," Quinn hisses, around the skin between her teeth, and Rachel twists her thumb and forefinger, wondering how much longer they're going to pretend that this isn't—

She thinks she imagines it, the first time, but Quinn desperately cants forward again, pressing herself against Rachel's stomach again, and she's then she's sure. She knows.

She can feel it.

"You're—" she breathes, taking a deep breath and licking her lips, hoping for just a little bit of control. Just once. She'll give it back, but—just for now..

Quinn lifts her head off Rachel's chest, and then says, "What?", all irritably and like she really can't give a fuck about whose lap she's on.

"You're wet," Rachel says, pushing the blindfold off and looking at Quinn's face. Part of her still can't believe that it's true, but—Quinn's hips stop moving immediately, and Quinn's entire expression tightens until they're just staring at each other. "You're—oh, my God. You're getting wet."


"You want this," Rachel repeats, because you want me sounds like far too much to read into the situation. "How can you possibly still expect me to pretend that you don't want this, when I can feel what it's doing to you?"

Quinn's off her lap in a flash, and by the time Rachel can think of what to do now, Quinn's already shrugging back into her shirt.


"Rachel, just shut the fuck up," Quinn almost snarls, before fishing her bra off the floor and heading over to the stereo with jerky movements.

The music stops.

Rachel's off the chair as soon as the silence hits her and—fuck the rules, she thinks. Fuck them. She reaches for Quinn's shoulder, and then gasps when Quinn whirls around and, without a break, grabs for both of Rachel's wrists and holds them tightly.

"Don't touch me."

"Why are you so upset?" Rachel asks, taking a step back, and rubbing at her wrists when Quinn lets go of them.

"Why the hell do you think?" Quinn asks, in a trembling voice that usually precedes her cracking open almost completely—Rachel flashes back unwillingly to junior prom, and wonders if she's going to get slapped in the face again.

"I don't know, Quinn, because clearly you're not the only one in this room who is incredibly turned on right now," she says, hating the way her voice sort of whines through it, but unable to stop it.

Quinn exhales through her nose and then straightens, slowly. "This is a job. This is—for God's sake, a few nights a week, I perform a few dances, because it's getting me through my degree and I need the money. It's a fucking job, Rachel—a job without attachments and with clear limits that avoid conversations like this happening."

"I know there are limits. I didn't ask to breakthem. You made me touch you," Rachel says, sharply. "And I'm not the one who has consistently insisted on paying for privilege of having your company, either. If you want to fuck me, you could've just—"

"No, I couldn't have," Quinn says, slowly and deliberately.

"Why the hell not?" Rachel asks, twisting her wrists, but Quinn's holding on tightly.

"Because you're Rachel Berry, and when you look at me, you see a fucking fantasy you had years ago at best, and a stripper you can pay for at worst," Quinn says, her voice bursting with loathing on the last word. "You just tried to buy me, Rachel. I don't care what your intentions are—"

"So what, this is all about pride?" Rachel asks, unable to keep her voice from hitting hysterical registers. "The reason we're standing here having this conversation is because you get to keep your pride?"

Quinn doesn't say anything, and Rachel, for once, wonders if she might be the one to snap and hit Quinn instead.

"What about my pride? What about the fact that I can't pretend that I don't feel things for you, or the fact that I've let you back me into this ridiculous corner where the only parts of you I get are the ones that you can justify giving up under the pretext of this job?"

Quinn's hand slips away from her wrists, and Rachel rubs at them sorely for a moment, before shaking her head. "I can't believe you think I've ever thought so little of you."

"Why? It's the truth, isn't it?" Quinn says, running a hand through her hair and leaning back against the door. "I'm not ashamed of the fact that I'm using my body to make money, Rachel, but there's a substantial difference between not being ashamed, and being stuck here with someone who only knows what I used to be. And what is that to you, even, Rachel? The head cheerleader? The senior prom queen? The prettiest girl you've ever known?"

Rachel licks at her lips and says, "I don't know, but I don't … we don't have to be stuck here. If this isn't what you want me to see, then don't let me see you like this."

"It's a little too late for—"

"Let me take you home."

Quinn's entire face draws shut. "What, now that you've paid for it?"

"Not because I've paid for it. Because you want me to."

Quinn exhales very shakily and then says, "Rachel—"

"If you can't, I need a reason," Rachel says, not even caring that she sounds like she's begging now. It won't be the first time, around Quinn. Not by some distance.

"Because this is my life, and my job, and you're destroying my ability to compartmentalize," Quinn says, sounding every bit as torn up as she did when she said I don't hate you in that hallway, all those years ago.

This is the girl that Rachel's never known how to not be in love with, because there is something so incredibly beautiful about a Quinn Fabray who's falling apart in front of her.

"Okay," she says, quietly, lowering her eyes to the ground and looking for her shirt.

Her back is turned when she's shrugging into it, and her fingers tremble around the buttons too long; she misses one and has to start over, and then all of a sudden, Quinn is right behind her again, her forehead dropping onto Rachel's shoulder, and she says, "I hate you for doing this to me."

"Doing what?" Rachel asks, now completely out of her depth.

Seconds later, Quinn's hands are swatting away her own, and her shirt is pulled open, buttons flying everywhere, and then she's being backed into a wall, with Quinn's angry, biting kisses pushing her over there, step by step.


She doesn't get a say in what's happening.

The last words that sounded in the room were Quinn's; a rough bark of, "Don't talk, for once in your life—", but then she'd covered Rachel's lips with her own again, bruising them and plying them apart with her tongue.

Now, she's so wet it's almost painful.

It's a moot instruction. Rachel has no need for words at all; she's just holding onto Quinn's shoulders desperately, arching towards her and backing into the wall at once when Quinn pushes her legs apart and slides a thigh between them.

"Jesus," she moans, when Quinn scratches down her sides and then reaches behind Rachel's back, trailing hands up the arch of it and unsnapping Rachel's bra so quickly that Rachel almost protests—they have time, they have—

But then Quinn traps her hands in the shirt she's still sort of wearing, and she's bucked into the wall with every thrust of Quinn's hips; Quinn's hands are back on her stomach, sliding upwards, and Quinn herself still kissing her and barely giving her a chance to breathe.

"Is this how you've pictured us," Quinn finally asks, her voice low and shaky, before her mouth presses against Rachel's neck and she inhales sharply. "Up against a wall, you soaking through your panties, grinding against my thigh—and God, you want to touch me, don't you, but you can't."

Rachel just whimpers and knits her hands into the shirt again; Quinn plucks at her nipple with a sigh.

"Fuck, Rachel, how stupid are you if you think you're the only one who's thought about this?" she says, and Rachel's so glad she opted for a high school style skirt, because God, the friction Quinn is creating against her is delicious—it's driving her crazy and yet not even close to pushing her over, and she wants this to last...

She just wants this to last.

Quinn thumbs one of her breasts again, and then brings her hands to Rachel's wrists, holding them against the wall, before lowering her head and nudging her bra away from her breasts with her nose. "You're so—" she says, her eyes almost burning a hole in Rachel's chest.

Rachel watches as those eyes slip shut, and Quinn then peppers a trail of kisses right down the middle of her sternum, before flicking a tongue out against her already painfully hard nipple. She can't keep her own eyes open after that; she just feels herself desperately rubbing up against Quinn, whose soft, breathy moan when she sucks, hard, for just a few seconds, gets her wet all over again.

"Quinn, please—"

"No," Quinn says, with a small, sharp bite. "You don't get to tell me what to do. Not now."

Rachel's eyes roll back into her head, and the only other concession she demands is easy; her fingers reach for Quinn's hands, still pushing against her wrist, but the message is understood, and seconds later their hands tangle together.

She's strung so high so quickly that when one of Quinn's hands falls away and reaches for her thigh, she doesn't even realize it at first—not until Quinn's knuckles are brushing up against her panties, and Quinn straightens and looks so fucking smug that for one second, Rachel has to remind herself that this isn't about winning and they're not in high school anymore.

"Don't act surprised. I've wanted you since the first time I laid eyes on you," she says, smartly,to cut through all the pretense.

Nothing unravels Quinn more quickly than the truth.

Quinn's eyes drop to her mouth, just for a second, and then there's another one of those kisses that, fuck, she can't focus on anything else; not until Quinn's pulling her panties down just about far enough to reach inside of them with two long, slender fingers that stroke their way down and then hover, not touching anything that matters.

It feels like she's waiting for permission, which Rachel gives just by rocking her hips forwards and giving her an almost pleading look, when Quinn pulls back long enough to raise an eyebrow.

The thigh between her legs drops away, and Rachel's struggling to hold herself upright; the angle isn't ideal because Quinn is tall—taller, now, than she's ever been before; maybe that's just a feeling but it feels real.

No, it's not an ideal angle, but when Quinn bends down enough to pull Rachel's completely destroyed panties off the rest of the way, carelessly tossing them behind her when Rachel steps out of them with a wobble, she has a good go at it anyway. Quinn's nails scratch up Rachel's inner thigh hard enough to leave marks, and Rachel spreads her legs more almost on instinct, praying that Quinn's remaining hand can keep her steady, given that she's now on her toes.

Quinn's fingers swipe past her clit, just once, and she almost keens at the feel of it; but then they're pushing inside of her, slowly and with just enough burn for her to be able to dwell on the reality they're in right now: Quinn, inside her. Quinn, fucking her. Quinn, looking like she can't believe it any more than Rachel can.

"You're so fucking tight," Quinn states. "When's the last time—"

"Eight months ago," Rachel says, slamming her hips down on Quinn's hand when that agonizingly slow speed at which her fingers are twisting and pulling is just not even close to being enough.

"And you're—are you—" Quinn hesitates and then says, "Are you clean?"

Rachel blinks her eyes open and says, "Are you?"

Quinn nods, a slightly guarded expression on her face, even as her fingers curl up and she presses down a little bit harder. Rachel moans and says, "Good, I mean, I had no doubts, and you're fine, I'm—"

Next thing she knows, she almost falls down, because Quinn's on her knees, pushing up her skirt and disappearing underneath it.

She hates not being able to see much, but at the same time, it's probably for the best, because at the first touch of Quinn's tongue, she knows she's going to come in about five and a half seconds. She look on Quinn's face right now would probably just send her right over, and she wants to savor this—Quinn's fingers inside of her, three of them now, stretching in a way that's uncomfortable but so right, and Quinn's tongue, pressed up against her clit, drawing something that feels vaguely like a letter—like she's being marked.

Her hands grip Quinn's shoulders as Quinn's spare arm presses her against the wall, and when Quinn pulls away just long enough to glance up and say, "Come for me, Rachel", she has no choice.

She's never been able to stop her reaction to her name slipping from Quinn's lips, and with Quinn's fingers dragging an orgasm out of her that she starts to feel in her toes before it really even starts, and Quinn's tongue rubbing at her clit before sucking on it lightly, she really doesn't stand a chance.

The arm against her waist holds her up, but barely, and it's for the best that Quinn gets on her feet shortly afterwards, pressing a wet hand against Rachel's cheek and licking her lips until they're not as fucking shiny with Rachel anymore.

Rachel waits for her heart to stop hammering, and then whispers, "Now what?"

"Now, I give you back your money," Quinn says, looking away.

"Quinn," Rachel protests, but so weakly. If this is Quinn's latest avoidance tactic—if the plan was to fuck Rachel so hard she can barely think, well, mission accomplished.

Quinn's eyes shift after a moment, and she examines Rachel's face closely. "I'm not opposed to doing this again. Elsewhere."

It's hard not to start sobbing in relief, or something. Rachel just takes a deep breath and waits as Quinn runs her tongue past her teeth and then adds. "I'll write my number on one of the bills. You call me next Tuesday. Not any sooner than that. Do you understand?"

It's not the kind of proclamation that dreams are made of, but after almost forgetting how to dream at all, Rachel will take it.

"What about—" she then says, carefully, says, because Quinn does look a little strung out and Rachel swears she can almost smell how wet she is, God; she honestly doesn't think she's up for another round, but there are parts of her that clearly feel otherwise. She just glances down at Quinn's hips, and those unexpectedly sexy boy shorts.

Quinn tenses and says, "Not now. I need—I can't, here. Okay?"

The hidden message there is I have some thinking to do; for once, even though Rachel can still barely formulate thoughts, she has no difficulties interpreting Quinn at all, and it's unexpectedly soothing.

"Okay," she just says, and then hesitantly reaches for Quinn's face, cupping it. "Next week."

"Yeah," Quinn says. "I'm off all day on Tuesday. Until—"

And, just to stop what is bound to be a devastating reminder of what their lives are, and how they got here, Rachel leans forward and kisses the corner of Quinn's mouth as a thank you.

Reality can wait until tomorrow.