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SPOILERS: Through S3.
Let Me Love You
"When you were singing that song, you were singing it to Finn and only Finn, right?"
Quinn buried her face in her pillow as the ghost of her quiet, pleading words reverberated inside her head. She knew she shouldn't have asked Rachel that question, she knew that by doing so her secret longing would be revealed, but she had to know. She had to know that Rachel wanted Finn and that the brunette was certain about it.
She had to know that she didn't stand a chance.
A tip of a head sealed her fate, and her heart had literally stopped beating for a moment. That was it. Rachel didn't want her.
Of course she didn't.
The sliver of hope that she'd been clinging to was ripped from her grasp in an instant and even now, broken and sobbing her eyes out, she was astounded that she'd managed to hold back her tears until she was tucked away safely in her bedroom. In her room, she could cry and vent and scream if she needed. In her room, she was safe from prying, judgmental eyes that rejoiced in her pain. She had lost so much in the last two years, that she refused to let what dignity she still possessed be torn from her grasp as well.
But, God, did it hurt.
She had known that there was a very high probability that the sexual tension that she felt crackling between herself and Rachel might be one-sided; that the sly glances and soft touches that lingered just a moment too long might not mean anything; but to have it confirmed to have Rachel tell her that she wanted Finn
A heartbroken sob escaped her and she licked her lips as her tears began to fall faster and faster and her breathing became more and more ragged as the crushing weight of her emotions piled on top of her. She had lost so much, too much, only to find out who she truly was and what she truly desired.
And then she lost that, too.
"When you were singing that song, you were singing it to Finn and only Finn, right?"
"Stop," she cried in a broken whisper in an attempt to make the haunting echo of her words go away. She rocked slowly back and forth atop her bed, futilely trying to find some sort of equilibrium within her grief so that she wasn't swept away by it. "Please, stop."
The handle on her door rattled slightly as somebody on the other side tried to open it. When it didn't budge, the person on the other side knocked tentatively, and she lifted her head and stared bleary-eyed at the door as she yelled, "Go away, mom!" Judy had been surprisingly lucid when she'd returned home and it had been unusually difficult to slip past her to get upstairs to her room. Normally her mother would have been halfway into a bottle of vodka by now but, judging by the continued rapping on her door, today must have been one of those days where she actually made half an effort to pretend to be a caring mother. "I don't want to talk about it! Just please go away!"
Another set of knocks landed on the door, this time in quick, determined succession, and she groaned as she pushed herself up off the bed to go and answer it. If her mother wanted to see her like this, fine. But she wasn't going to talk about it. Five quick strides had her standing at the door, and she ripped it open forcefully as she growled, "What do you " Her voice trailed off as her eyes swept over rich, chestnut locks and landed on the biggest, most expressive pair of brown eyes she had ever seen that were staring at her in shock. No, that was definitely not her mother.
The blonde swallowed thickly and stared at the brunette, so shocked to see her standing there that she didn't even try and hide her tears that were still rolling slowly down her cheeks. "What do you want, Rachel?"
"To see you," Rachel said softly, reaching for the doorframe for support to keep herself upright as the sight of Quinn's tear-streaked face rocked her to her core. The tears on the blonde's cheeks stabbed at her heart and she wracked her brain trying to come up with a reason why Quinn was so obviously upset. Because, truthfully, she hadn't expected to find her like this.
It had never occurred to her that she would ever see the blonde so broken over something that she'd said. Or not said.
Sure, there had been something in Quinn's eyes earlier in the hallway that hinted at a deeper, hidden longing behind her seemingly random question. There had been something in the blonde's gaze that had made her heart clench and butterflies flutter in her stomach. But, before she could question what it was and why she was responding so viscerally to it, Quinn had disappeared and she'd been left staring at an otherwise empty corridor feeling like all of the warmth had been sucked out of the room around her.
"Well, here I am," Quinn muttered.
Rachel nodded. Indeed, there she was. Shattered and scarred and as beautiful as ever. "Your mother let me up," she explained lamely, desperate to fill the tense silence that filled the air between them.
Of course today had to be the day Judy isn't drinking herself into a coma, Quinn thought darkly. "Whatever," she spat, her anger toward her mother for allowing Rachel into the house and her anger toward herself for being so weak making her response much more harsh than she'd intended, and she immediately bit her lip to keep herself from saying anything else. She knew that it wasn't really Rachel's fault that she was hurting as much as she was and she didn't want to become that girl again, the one who would rather cut down the object of her affection than try and deal with her own emotions. She turned her back on the door and said in a flat voice that was completely devoid of emotion, "In or out, Rachel. Just shut the door either way."
The brunette's lips quirked up in a sad smile as she followed the blonde into the room and closed the door after herself. The quiet voice of self-preservation in the back of her mind warned her that this was akin to walking unarmed into a lion's den, but she ignored it. She'd become quite adept at ignoring that little voice over the last few months. "Thank you."
Quinn dropped heavily to the bed and scrubbed her face with her hands, smearing her makeup even more than it already was, as she tried to physically wipe away the hurt that she felt so that she wouldn't take it out on Rachel. When she did finally look back up at the brunette, she felt what was left of her heart shatter into a million tiny pieces. She loved her so completely, and she was never going to have her. "What do you want, Rachel?"
The quiet question spurred the brunette forward and she folded her hands in front of her as she stopped at the side of Quinn's bed. "I why did you ask me about that song?"
Somehow not at all surprised that the very source of her current misery would follow her home, Quinn shook her head and ran a hand through her hair. "It doesn't matter, Rachel."
"It does," Rachel argued, dropping to her knees beside the blonde's bed and staring up imploringly into her eyes. "There was a reason you asked me that. There was something-"
"You are marrying Finn Hudson, Rachel," Quinn muttered, interrupting the brunette before she could really get going. "So the reasons behind me asking you about a stupid song are entirely irrelevant."
"But you don't want me to marry him," Rachel said.
"I don't," Quinn confirmed with a slow nod of her head. "But you know that already."
"Why don't you want me to marry him?"
Quinn's eyes fluttered shut as she shook her head, her crushing defeat evident in every facet of her appearance. "It doesn't matter."
"It does. You matter to me, Quinn. Your opinion matters to me, and I want to know why you don't want me to do it."
"No, you don't," Quinn muttered, sitting up straighter and folding her legs in front of herself. She kept her eyes closed as she once again began rocking back and forth, trying to soothe herself as she repeated, "No, you don't."
While Quinn had undoubtedly softened toward her during the last year, the staggering vulnerability she was showing now stole the breath from Rachel's lungs. Her heart stuttered in her chest and her fingers twitched atop the comforter as she fought the impulse to reach for the blonde. There had been a time that she'd been mildly afraid of the beautiful creature in front of her, but those feelings of fear had faded and morphed into attraction when Quinn had become pregnant. That was the first time she'd begun to see the person hiding behind the cool façade of disdain and haughty superiority, and by the time Beth had been born she had accepted the fact that a she was in love with the blonde.
It hadn't been something she'd planned on, or even wanted, but trying to fight it was like trying not to breathe. Since then, she'd taken what she could get, happy to just be involved in Quinn's life if even only peripherally. Somehow, miraculously, they'd become friends, and she began to see more and more of the blonde's unguarded heart. Every glimpse she got of the sweet, intelligent, funny, caring girl behind the mask made her fall more and more in love with Quinn, but she was loathe to risk the fragile friendship they'd developed by putting voice to her secret desire for more.
She'd stayed with Finn because he was there and he wanted her, and she'd said yes to his surprising proposal because of the same reasons. She'd spent so much of her life alone that she was loathe to give up anybody who showed such a vested interest in her, even if it would have been the wiser course of action. Of course, the more she thought about it, the more she seriously debated returning the ring and telling him that she just couldn't do it; that they were too young to make such a monumental, life-altering decision. But then she'd thought of Quinn, and how she would never have her, and she hit the mute button on the little voice of reason inside her head. She would never have the love she wanted, and at least by marrying Finn she wouldn't be alone. He wasn't the one she truly desired, but he was safe, dependable in his lack of intelligence, and easily malleable to her whims. Together they would make some beautiful babies and she would have that perfect family she'd always dreamed of, even if it wasn't quite the one she wanted.
So, she said nothing. She put on a happy smile and pretended that everything she'd ever wanted was within her grasp when everything she'd ever truly wanted was standing by the lockers down the hall, looking at her with a expression that was a confusing mix of disgust, hurt, and maybe, maybe just a little bit of desire.
But now, seeing Quinn this broken, the tiny ember of hope that there might be a way for her to have the love she truly desired flared again. She licked her lips, her body unconsciously leaning forward as she studied the broken girl in front of her. She needed to know if Quinn wanted her.
She had to know.
"Yes, I do. I want to know why," Rachel murmured, finally giving into her desire to reach out to Quinn as she laid a tentative hand upon her knee. She licked her lips as she swept her thumb over the smooth skin, her heart suddenly racing in her chest at how right it feel to touch someone so soft. She took a deep breath as she stared at the way her hand looked upon Quinn's naked knee, and when she brushed her thumb over the knob once more in a gesture that was becoming more and more intimate by the second she nearly gasped at the small tremble that she felt roll through the blonde's body.
The hand upon her leg was more comforting that Quinn had ever imagined it might be and she hated herself for craving more of that soft touch when she knew that it was never going to happen. "Rach," she groaned, forcing herself to pull herself way from the brunette's hand. Not that it did her any good, persistent and determined as ever, Rachel just moved with her.
"Please," Rachel whispered. "Tell me. Make me understand."
Quinn whimpered and shook her head, squeezing her eyes tighter as she fought back the fresh wave of tears that suddenly stung at her eyes. She couldn't. She couldn't do it. No. To put voice to the words to say them, to actually say them there was no going back if she did that. And for as much as she loved Rachel, for as much as she wanted to hold her and kiss her and claim her as her own, she couldn't. She just couldn't.
"Please, Quinn," Rachel implored softly, squeezing the blonde's knee gently.
"Don't," Quinn choked out, shaking her head and causing more tears to break rank and spill slowly down her face. She shifted and tried to move away from the brunette's touch, but the hand on her leg refused to be displaced. "Please don't "
Rachel's heart broke at the utter devastation evident on Quinn's face and she pushed herself up off the floor to daringly sit directly in front of the blonde on the bed. She took a slow, deep breath as she reached out for her, the pads of her fingers skating lightly across Quinn's neck until she was able to thread her fingers through the soft hairs at the nape of the blonde's neck. She squeezed her hand encouragingly as she whispered, "Look at me."
Quinn shook her head. "I can't."
"You can," Rachel murmured. "Come on, sweetie. Look at me."
While she was certain that her heart couldn't break any more, hearing that gentle endearment fall from the brunette's lips completely shattered her. She drew a ragged breath as she forced herself to meet the brunette's gaze. Big brown eyes full of soft affection and quiet longing looked back at her and she swallowed thickly as she stared into them. She was certain that it was all a trick, that this was yet another case where she was seeing something she wanted to see and not what was in front of her, but still
"Hey, you," Rachel murmured. She gave Quinn a small smile as she squeezed the back of her neck again before she slid her hand down the blonde's arm to cover her hand with her own. She didn't miss the way Quinn's eyes fluttered as she held her hand, and her smile grew just that little bit wider, just that little more hopeful. "Why, sweetheart?"
"Why are you so insistent about this?" Quinn asked in a soft, defeated voice, as she stared resignedly into Rachel's big brown eyes. "Why does it matter?"
Rachel had long since learned how to read the blonde's mood from her eyes, and she knew from the smoky gray quality of them now that she was hurting much, much more deeply than even her tears were letting on. She also knew that Quinn was more stubborn than even she was and that if the blonde had made up her mind to remain silent, that she would. They were, effectually, at a giant emotional impasse and if she wanted Quinn to open up to her, she was going to have to take that first step in making herself vulnerable. "I need to know if you feel this too."
Quinn's teary eyes widened in surprise and disbelief. "Rachel "
"Please, Quinn," Rachel murmured, scooting forward on the bed so that their knees were touching. She reached out to run a gentle finger across the blonde's lips, and her heart skipped a beat at the feeling of Quinn's breath against her skin.
Though she'd vowed to remain strong, the feeling of Rachel's finger on her lips was her undoing. "I feel it," she murmured. She sighed as Rachel's wandering hand cradled her face tenderly and she couldn't resist turning into the touch, soaking in all of its warmth and committing the feeling to memory so that when it disappeared she would have something good to remember.
"Me too," Rachel whispered, stroking the blonde's cheek with her thumb. "Oh, Quinn," she breathed, as she watched the blonde's hazel eyes flutter shut and twin tears spilled slowly down her cheeks. All thoughts of caution were thrown to the wind as she wrapped her arms around Quinn's shoulders and pulled the blonde into her, and she swallowed thickly at the way the girl's head nestled into the crook of her neck as she practically melted into her.
"This is why I don't want you to marry him," Quinn murmured in a small, broken voice as she wrapped her arms around the brunette's waist and held her close.
The subtle scent of Rachel's perfume surrounded her and she swallowed thickly as she breathed it in, letting the subtle fragrance soothe her. The hand at the back of her neck continued to massage her gently and she groaned as she turned into the graceful column of Rachel's throat and brushed the lightest of kisses across her sweet skin. She moaned softly as she heard Rachel's breath hitch at her touch and she held onto the brunette tighter as she wrapped her lips around the soft skin of her throat and sucked on it lightly. Rachel groaned and the hand on her neck tightened when she nipped at the tender flesh and she hummed softly as she soothed the reddened skin with her tongue, sending Rachel's pulse racing. Rachel tugged against her, trying to draw her higher, and she smiled as she pressed one last tender kiss to the brunette's neck before she pulled back to finally look her in the eye. She let her gaze fill with the absolute depth of her affection for the brunette and her heart swept up into her throat as she saw those same emotions shining back at her.
"Don't marry him, Rachel."
While she no longer had any intention of asking, the question, "Why?" spilled from Rachel's lips before she could hold it back.
Quinn smiled and daringly, for the first time in her life, put her entire heart on the line. "Because I love you. I love you and I swear to you that I will do everything within my power to make you happy. To give you all your dreams. Just let me. Let me love you and, God, please say that you'll love me in return."
It was an unusual occurrence for Rachel to find herself completely and utterly speechless, but the hopeful, pleading longing in Quinn's eyes was enough to blow all rational, cogent thought right from her head. She opened her mouth to say that she loved Quinn too, but no words came. Nothing. Her eyes filled with tears and she laughed at her predicament as she shook her head and leaned in to capture the blonde's lips in a slow, soft, sweet lingering kiss that said better than words ever could that she felt the same way.
That she loved her too.
Quinn moaned softly as Rachel's hands snaked into her hair, massaging her scalp and pulling her in closer. It felt like a dream, one that she'd had more times than she could count, to be honest, and when the need for air finally drove them apart she smiled bashfully and asked, "Is this real?"
"Yes," Rachel answered, finally finding her voice once again. "I love you too, Quinn. I have, for so long now."
A light, pleased blush tinted Quinn's cheeks as she leaned in to drop a quick, chaste kiss to the brunette's lips, her heart beating erratically as her joy threatened to overwhelm her. "Don't marry him."
Rachel's eyes filled with tears as she nodded. "I won't."
Quinn swallowed thickly and beamed at Rachel as she leaned into her, resting her forehead against the brunette's as she husked, "Be mine?"
Rachel's tears broke free as she nodded. "I always have been, Quinn. I always have been."
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