Author's Note: Happy Hanukkah to all of my Jewish readers!

=) There was a brief, flickering moment right before sectionals her junior year in which Quinn Fabray contemplated dropping out of glee club. If things like Babygate '09 and Finchelgate '10 were going to keep happening then it really, really wasn't worth the headache to stay in. It had been leaked that Finn slept with Santana the previous school year and then lied to Rachel, repeatedly, about the entire ordeal. It's not like it was a huge secret or anything; anyone Santana approached always gave in. Rachel was just too oblivious to see it. Quinn obviously stayed in glee club; she and Sam performed the duet that was supposed to be Finn and Rachel's and they got a standing ovation, as did Santana for her solo. She again contemplated quitting after the judges results when she found Sam pressed up against one of the Dalton Warblers with way too much tongue action happening for almost anyone's liking. It's not like she was attracted to him in the first place but she was still pretty pissed; he was good for her reputation and she really didn't want to be labeled as the girl who went from two extremes of getting knocked up and then unknowingly dating a gay guy. They split and created the story that it just wasn't right timing or something like that. One good thing, Quinn thought at first, was that

Rachel was finally quiet in glee club. She didn't interject her over-the-top ideas or demand to have all of the solos. Mostly she just sat in the front row with her eyes cast downward and scuffing her shoes on the linoleum tiles. It was fine for a few days until everyone realized that the silence was creating really awkward tension and no one could get through rehearsal because they'd all become accustomed to being criticized and now everyone was off key and out of step because no one bothered to correct them. It was suggested at one point that someone go talk to Rachel to pull her out of her misery. Unfortunately, no one really knew what to say beyond, "Sorry your boyfriend slept with the school bicycle." And no one dared to repeat it after Santana almost punched Mercedes for suggesting it. Quinn didn't intentionally sign up for the job; it was a complete accident. She skipped third period (because, really, any idiot with half a brain could pass Creative Writing without even going to class) and found herself wandering into the auditorium and up on stage. She ran her fingers across the keys of the upright piano and again over the strings of the acoustic guitar on its stand before settling on center stage and pulling out a book. "Quinn?" A small, raspy voice snapped Quinn's attention from her book to stage left where Rachel was standing with her fingers clasped in front of her

and eyes red. "Yeah?" "Am I interrupting?" Quinn shook her head and held up To Kill a Mockingbird. "Just reading ahead." "Oh." "Are you just going to stand there and watch me or do you want to sit down, Berry?" Rachel timidly shuffled to center stage and sat gracefully in front of Quinn. She wiped her eyes and sniffled a few times before clasping her hands in her lap and looking down at the stage. "How have you been?" Rachel asked quietly. "Fine. You?" "I've been better." "You're still mad about Finn? It's been like, a week." "I loved him and all he ever did was lie to me. Forgive me for not immediately bouncing back." Quinn shrugged and looked back down at her book. If

Rachel was going to be a downer then that was her problem. "I was going to have him meet my family for Hanukkah. He's met my dads, of course, but the remainder of my family is scheduled to be in Lima for the last few days of the holiday and I had planned for an extra guest." "Mmm." "It was a very large step. The next, of course, being intercour-" "Whoa," Quinn snapped her head up and held up a silencing hand, "Just…stop. Stop right there and don't say anything else." "I apologize." There was silence as Quinn went back to her book, looking at the words but not really focusing, and Rachel reached down to pick at the tape peeling up from the stage. Quinn darted up to look at the girl across from her and sighed. Rachel was broken. Completely and utterly broken. Quinn remembered what it was like to be there: the feeling of being alone, of having no one to talk to, no one that seemed to care. Even though Rachel was annoying and harsh, no one deserved to feel alone like that.

Quinn shut her book and tucked it away in her bag. "Is there like…anything I can do?" Rachel shrugged. "All I've ever really wanted was a friend, you know?" "Okay." "I used to ask my dads for one for Hanukkah and Christmas." "That's…" 'pathetic' was on the tip of Quinn's tongue but she bit it back. "I used to ask for a unicorn." "Both mythical beings," Rachel snorted. "That's not…it's not true." "I didn't see anyone flock to me in my time of need like they did for you, Quinn. You think I didn't noticed how everyone banded together for you and Finn to present you with a ballad when all I've ever gotten is a half-hearted attempt at revenge against Vocal Adrenaline for egging me? An attempt that was preceded with being told that being humiliated is only allowed by one's own team members?" There wasn't an argument against that and they both knew it. Quinn could only sigh and reluctantly extend an olive branch.

"I'll do Hanukkah with you." Rachel's head snapped up and she stared into Quinn's eyes in complete disbelief. Quinn nodded a little to assure the other girl that she was completely serious in her offer. She had almost no idea what Hanukkah was about thanks to her very closed-off Catholic upbringing and Puck's family not really doing much of anything for the holiday while she was living there but she figured that as long as there wasn't a human sacrifice or anything that it couldn't be that hard. "You're serious?" "Sure." "I…I don't know what to say." "That's a first." "This honestly means a lot to me, Quinn. Thank you." "You're not going to, like, sacrifice me or anything are you?" "Not until the eighth night." Quinn's mouth went dry and she pushed away a little before Rachel burst into laughter and went almost

limp. The blonde crossed her arms over her chest and scowled, not finding the joke funny in the slightest. "You should've seen the look on your face, Quinn," Rachel gasped. She giggled a few more times before sitting up and smiling widely. "I haven't laughed that hard in quite some time. I thank you for the entertainment." "Not funny." "It was quite funny." "Whatever." The corners of Quinn's mouth twitched and she looked away to try to hide the beginnings of a smile. The bell rang signaling it was time for fourth period and Quinn gathered her things and walked with Rachel off stage to the auditorium doors. "Hanukkah begins tomorrow at sundown," Rachel said before they parted ways. "You can come home with me after school if you like. It won't be anything formal. We can plan the remainder of the details this afternoon." Quinn nodded. "Alright. See you later." *** It simultaneously shocked and worried Quinn that

Rachel didn't have an entire spreadsheet or timetable set up by glee club practice that afternoon. There was merely a comment of, "I'll wait for you after Cheerios practice before we go to my house tomorrow. If I remember correctly, you get out at precisely 4:46." Quinn almost asked how Rachel knew exactly what time she finished showering but thought better of it when she remembered that when she finished she usually yelled into the auditorium while Rachel was practicing for the dying cat to be shot. The memory made her cringe a little. Instead she just nodded and smiled and, going against every single unwritten rule, she pulled a chair close to her own and motioned for Rachel to sit. That night, Quinn put her Google skills to work and looked up anything and everything she could about Hanukkah. It wasn't overly complicated but this was Rachel Berry and things were always complicated with that girl. It also required a midnight trip to WalMart. XXXXXXXXXX In true Rachel Berry style, she was waiting outside the Cheerios locker room when Quinn stepped out. The Cheerios that followed gave looks of disgust but nothing was said after Quinn glared at each one of them, daring them to speak.

"I'm dressed alright, right?" Quinn asked before pulling on her Cheerios jacket. Her outfit was simple: a long-sleeved white blouse and dressy jeans. Rachel had said it was casual but a little bit of dress couldn't hurt at all. Rachel gave a soft smile and a little nod. "You look lovely, Quinn." She wasn't sure what she was expecting but Quinn was slightly shocked at the normalness of Rachel's house. With how flamboyant and extravagant Kurt was (practically her only exposure to a gay guy in her life) she was half-expecting completely immaculate and outlandish decorations. There were, of course, pictures of Rachel everywhere but other than that, the décor was minimal. She spotted the menorah on the fireplace mantle (with a picture of Rachel on each side, go figure) and a Star of David hanging above it. "Quinn?" Quinn snapped her attention back to Rachel and nodded absentmindedly. "I asked if you wanted something to eat." "Oh…sure." Rachel nodded and gestured toward the kitchen. Quinn hopped up on a barstool at the kitchen island

while Rachel pulled out various containers of fresh fruit and two bottles of Vitamin Water. "Thanks." Rachel nodded. "So…" "Yeah." There was an awkward silence while the pair picked through the containers of fruit and a small giggle when they both realized they were both picking out the red grapes and leaving the green ones. "I hope you like pizza," Rachel finally said. "It's our first night tradition to have pizza and watch a movie; I do believe it's my turn to choose this year. I hope you like Funny Girl." Quinn shrugged. "I've never seen it." It looked as though someone had just kicked Rachel's puppy when Quinn confessed what was, apparently, the ultimate sin in the book of Rachel. "That's incredibly tragic, Quinn." "I'm…sorry?" "No worries!" Rachel stashed the remainder of the fruit back in the refrigerator and bounced out of the kitchen. "I'm certain that you'll thoroughly enjoy it."

Rachel's dads, Leroy and Hiram, arrived with pizza shortly thereafter. After formal introductions were made and Quinn was welcomed into the Berry home they put the pizza in the oven to keep warm and Rachel retrieved a brand new box of candles to light for the menorah. Of course, Quinn didn't understand a word of any of the prayers but she stood silently next to Rachel and watched Hiram light the candle on the right with the shammus (she was proud of herself for remembering that) and smiled at the pictures of baby Rachel on the mantle. After the lighting and the prayers Quinn settled on the couch next to Rachel and, as promised, Rachel put Funny Girl in the DVD player. They were halfway through the movie when the doorbell rang; Rachel paused the movie while Leroy answered the door. A tall figure stepped inside and Quinn immediately rolled her eyes. Rachel whimpered a bit and dropped her pizza on the coffee table. "We'll leave you alone," Hiram said as he stood to follow his husband to the kitchen. "What are you doing here, Finn?" Rachel snapped. "You invited me over, remember?" "I invited you before I found out you lied to me for the

better part of a year." "So…like…I'm not invited anymore?" "You're that dense?" Quinn growled. "No, you're not invited. Leave." "That's kinda harsh." Quinn rolled her eyes at how incredibly dimwitted Finn really was. She'd seen Rachel broken already, she didn't want to see salt rubbed in that wound. Quinn stood from her position on the couch and marched to the foyer, grabbed Finn's shirt collar, and dragged him back to the front door. "You broke her, you ass. Leave her alone." "What, you guys are all friends now?" "She needs one." "Like anything you did to her wasn't as bad as what I did or worse?" "You think I don't know that? The difference between you and me is that I won't do it again. You will." "Whatever." "Yeah, go whatever yourself."

Quinn didn't wait for the front door to slam before she returned to the living room and dropped back down on the couch. She jumped a little when Rachel's hand touched her knee and an appreciative smile was flashed at her. "You didn't have to do that." "I was enjoying the movie and he interrupted it. And he's just irritating." "Thank you." Rachel's eyes were soft and bright, genuinely thanking Quinn with every piece of her. Quinn smiled at the intensity of the emotion in Rachel's eyes, noticing for the first time how incredibly expressive they were. The chocolate orbs were almost literally windows to Rachel's soul. They were beautiful. Quinn tore her gaze away from Rachel and shook her head a few times to get those thoughts out of her mind. It was normal, though, right? Eyes were completely normal to get lost in, especially ones as expressive as Rachel's. Completely normal. "Why are you giving me a chance?" Quinn asked softly, Rachel's eyes fading from her mind and Finn's accusation returning. "You know what it's like to be me, at the bottom of

everything. You understand what it's like to be broken and walked on. You extended your friendship and, while I do have mild concerns that this is some elaborate prank, I'm willing to take what friendship I can get at the moment." "It's not a prank." "That's very good to hear. Now, you've been interrupted from the movie for far too long." Rachel turned her attention back to the screen and called for her dads to rejoin them to finish the movie. Quinn did genuinely like the movie and wanted to tell Rachel that she did "Don't Rain on My Parade" even better than Barbra but she feared that the brunette would either be so ecstatic that she'd run into something and hurt herself or be livid that anyone thought there was a person on Earth better than Barbra Streisand. Rachel's dads, after taking the dishes to the kitchen, returned with a neatly wrapped box and handed it to Rachel. Rachel, in turn, reached under the couch and presented one envelope to her dads and an envelope to Quinn. "Hold on!" Quinn hopped up and ran to her purse to retrieve a small card out of it and presented it to Rachel.

"Quinn, you didn't have to…" "I wanted to. And you didn't have to, either." Quinn carefully opened her envelope while Rachel opened her card and the blonde couldn't help but laugh at the $15 iTunes gift card that fell out; completely identical to the one she'd bought for Rachel. "Great minds think alike," Rachel said with a grin. "Thank you very much, Quinn." "You're welcome. And thanks." Rachel's gift from her dads was a book of sheet music from various Disney classics and Rachel had given her dads a gift certificate to Breadstix. Quinn sat, minorly uncomfortable, as Rachel exchanged hugs with her dads but stopped seconds before wrapping her arms around Quinn and settling for a smile and another "thank you". The blonde tried to remember the last time she'd hugged either of her parents. She drew a blank. XXXXXXXXXX "I can pick you up tomorrow if you want," Quinn said after she'd grabbed her jacket. The Berry men had asked if she wanted to stay a little longer but Quinn politely declined stating she had homework and two

tests to study for. "It's kind of on my way." "That's very nice of you. And eco-friendly. I'm always looking for new ways to be green." Rachel grinned and bounced a few times. "So that's a yes?" "It is. I'll see you in the morning, Quinn." Quinn nodded and her arms twitched a little, trying to figure out if it was appropriate to hug Rachel or not. She didn't. "Yeah, see you in the morning." **** Quinn sat in the Berry driveway for three minutes, honking her horn, before finally getting out of her car and grumbling all the way to the front door. It was flung open before she had a chance to touch the doorbell and Rachel was dragging her to the kitchen despite Quinn's protests that they would be late for school. "Blueberry waffles?" Rachel shoved a plate of waffles at Quinn, complete with powdered sugar, whipped cream, and a fork. "I sent you a text last night requesting that you arrive early for breakfast."

Quinn furrowed her eyebrows and took out her phone. It was on silent and there were six missed texts. Four from Rachel and two from Santana (aav;dkaeia and sorry. me n B were making out & i had my phone n my pocket). "Sorry. Phone was on silent." Rachel nodded and continued eating her own already half-eaten plate of waffles as Quinn started in on hers. They were pretty delicious considering that, in all likelyhood, they were completely vegan aside from the whipped cream. "These are really good, Rachel." "Thank you!" Rachel smiled. "I found a wonderful vegan cooking website that has been very helpful in making sure I receive the proper nutrition whilst also saving the lives of innocent animals. I did, however, make an exception for you with the whipped cream." Quinn nodded. "Thanks. You have, um, powdered sugar," Quinn gestured to Rachel's cheek, "right there." Rachel furrowed her eyebrows and wiped around her mouth with her sleeve; Quinn shook her head. "No," Quinn said. Without thinking she reached forward and brushed her thumb against Rachel's

cheek, removing the white dust. "Right there." Rachel's skin was soft, so very soft. The light blush on her cheeks grew a little darker as Quinn's thumb lingered for a few seconds more until she jerked her hand away. "Thank you," Rachel whispered. Quinn only nodded. The ride to school was silent until both girls reached for the radio at the same time and their hands brushed together. After an awkward giggle, Quinn gave up control of the radio to Rachel who selected a Christmas station and hummed along to "Sleigh Ride". "I've put in a request for the station to play more Hanukkah-themed music," Rachel said when 'Merry Christmas, Darling' started playing. "I have yet to hear a response." "Is there a lot of it? Hanukkah music?" "It has to be searched for. I suspect that the DJs simply don't want to take the time to search for something other than Adam Sandler's Hanukkah Songs. They are entertaining, I'll admit, but there are others." "Oh."

"I've amassed a good collection of them over the years. If you're interested we could listen to a few tonight." Quinn nodded. "Sounds great." The school day passed in a blur. Quinn knew she did well on her tests, she always did. She said hello to Rachel in passing between fifth and sixth period and again pulled a chair close for glee club practice. Mr. Schuester handed out Christmas music and told the club they were going to be performing for the school and a few places around town the next week and they needed to get practicing. Surprisingly, it was Puck that spoke up about the very distinct lack of Hanukkah songs in their repertoire. "I couldn't find anything, Puck," Mr. Schuester said. "Maybe next year." "That's bull, Mr. Schue. I know a ton of songs." "We don't have time. Like I said, next year." "Mr. Schuester," Rachel cut in, "I would be more than happy to assist Noah in helping the glee club learn a Hanukkah oriented musical number. I believe it's important for the club to show our diversity in culture and-"

"That's enough, you guys! We're doing these songs and that's it." Quinn growled when Rachel shrank down in her seat and Puck crossed his arms over his chest. It was the third time in less than a week that Schuester had yelled at them, the second directed almost specifically at Rachel, and it was rather infuriating. She had no idea how to fix the situation, though, so she went along with rehearsal and sang her harmonies and a tiny bit of solo she was given for "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen". Schuester ran out of practice early when the newly married Ms. Pillsbury-Howell walked by and there were grumbles of displeasure as the club packed up their things. "We should let Puck and Rachel teach us a number," Quinn piped up before everyone left. "Look, Schue will get over it." "Hanukkah's a bird, right?" After a brief moment of silence to stare at Brittany with their heads cocked to the side, the club turned their attention back to Puck and Rachel. "We could do a kickass rendition of 'I Have a Little Dreidel'," Puck suggested.

"I can work on the arrangement tonight and I'll e-mail it to all of you so you may practice before tomorrow." There was a murmured agreement before every shuffled out of the choir room. Quinn slung her bag over her shoulder then jumped when Rachel's hand gripped onto her arm. "Thank you for that," Rachel said. "You're a good friend, Quinn." "It's important to you and Schuester needs to get his head out of his ass." In a move that shocked even her, Quinn offered her arm to Rachel as they walked out of the choir room and to the parking lot. Rachel took it and held on tight. The Berry tradition for the second night of Hanukkah was to load up into their sedan and go to dinner then drive around Lima to see the lights put up and the park display that went up after Thanksgiving each year. Rachel brought a CD of her favorite Hanukkah songs to play on the ride. Quinn felt about seven years old as she and Rachel pointed at the various light displays. At one point, Rachel ended up practically on top of Quinn when they drove by a rather elaborate display complete with nativity scene, reindeer, "PEACE ON EARTH" on the

roof, a giant menorah on a tree, and about thirty other things littering the lawn and hanging from the trees. Rachel scrambled back to her seat after they passed the house and clasped her hands in her lap. "I apologize for any injury you might have sustained in my few moments of excitement." "It's alright," Quinn assured her. "I guess in this case it's good that you're a midget." She elbowed Rachel's arm and giggled bringing a bright smile back to the diva's face. Leroy lit a roaring fire when they returned back to the Berry house and Rachel got water boiling for hot chocolate and tea while they recited the prayers and lit the candles for the second night. When Quinn stood next to Rachel their hands brushed and Quinn noticed a distinct crack in Rachel's voice. They settled with their respective drinks in the living room to exchange gifts; Rachel sitting a few inches closer to Quinn on the couch than the night before. Not that Quinn noticed or anything. Quinn gave Rachel a mix CD and received a handmade gift certificate for ten free vocal lessons, complete with spaces to use a hole punch for each lesson. Rachel's dads gave her a two-year subscription to Playbill Magazine. "I'm only allowed to present them with gifts on the first

and last nights," Rachel said. "They're rather firm on that." "You need to save your money, sweetie," Leroy said. "New York is an expensive place to live." Rachel nodded and thanked her fathers and Quinn yet again before announcing that she needed to get working on their arrangement for glee club. Quinn, taking what she thought was a hint, smiled and said her goodbyes to Leroy and Hiram, grabbed her jacket, and headed toward the door. "You're welcome to help, Quinn," Rachel said. "I apologize if I led you to believe that you weren't welcome." "No, it's fine," Quinn assured her. "I've got a test tomorrow over To Kill a Mockingbird, anyways, and I need to finish it." "Of course, studies come first!" "Do you want me to pick you up again tomorrow?" "I'd be absolutely thrilled. Come earlier this time, I'll make breakfast burritos." Quinn nodded. "See you tomorrow morning, then?" "Yes, tomorrow morning."

This time when Quinn's arms twitched to go in for a hug she did it. Obviously, Rachel had the same idea and her forehead ended up hitting Quinn's chin. The blonde stumbled back and held onto her mouth, Rachel onto her forehead. "Are you okay? I didn't bite you or anything, did I?" Rachel shook her head. "I don't believe so. I'm not bleeding, neither are you." "Good…sorry. I…yeah, sorry." "Me too." Quinn stuck out her hand and Rachel arched an eyebrow but took it in a firm handshake. "See you tomorrow, Quinn." "Bye, Rachel." Quinn quickly turned and headed out the front door; muttering insults to herself as she walked down the sidewalk to get to her car. "A handshake, Fabray? Really? God, you might as well have just bowed or something. Her hand was pretty soft, though…What? No. No. You so did not just say that." Quinn unlocked her car and looked back up at the Berry house. Rachel was standing in

the front window watching with a smile and Quinn immediately forgot about humiliating herself and gave a little wave goodbye; Rachel returned it enthusiastically and it made Quinn's heart jump a little. "I'm in so much trouble." *** Quinn stood at the Berry front door, staring at the semi-transparent window, for a good five minutes before she dared move to ring the doorbell. She had a plan. It was simple, really: Don't look at or touch Rachel. That was it. Because nothing good (nausea, dizziness, aches in the pit of her stomach that were reminiscent of the agonizing pregnancy hormones that she absolutely had to release or else she'd go insane and then prayed like there was no tomorrow that God would forgive her…) was coming out of the reoccurring thoughts of how amazing Rachel's eyes were or how soft and so very touchable her skin was. "Great," Quinn murmured, shifting uncomfortably as that evil, familiar tension sparked, "just breathe. Don't look at her, don't touch her. Just breathe deep breaths." "You can come in anytime you like, Quinn!" A muffled voice from the other side of the door called out and Quinn shook a little before reaching out to open the

front door and step inside. Leroy was standing on the other side of the door with a smile, ready to take Quinn's Cheerios jacket. "Good morning," Quinn greeted him. "Good morning, Quinn. Rachel's in the kitchen." Quinn kept her eyes locked on the far wall of the kitchen as she entered, only seeing Rachel out of the corner of her eye standing at the stove flipping tortilla shell over the gas burner. "Good morning, Quinn!" "Morning." "Breakfast should be done momentarily, the peppers just need to finish. Help yourself to a beverage." Quinn retrieved a bottle of vitamin water out of the refrigerator and sat at the kitchen counter while Rachel finished breakfast and talked about the arrangement she'd come up with for "I Have a Little Dreidel". Quinn had, of course, seen the sheet music that Rachel e-mailed out the night before and had actually looked over it and practiced a few times before going to bed. "It won't be too incredibly difficult to learn," Rachel said, sliding a plate with a very large burrito in front of

the blonde. "For example, your part is-" "I looked at it last night. I think I've got it." Quinn smiled down at her burrito, still avoiding eye contact with Rachel. "Burrito looks great, Rachel." It tasted just as good when Quinn shoved a rather large bite into her mouth to keep from saying anymore. "You…you actually looked at the music?" "Yemph." "And practiced?" Quinn nodded. "That's wonderful! You…you're dripping salsa down your chin." Before Quinn could do anything, Rachel's fingers were underneath her chin and pulling her head up, forcing her to look at Rachel as she wiped the salsa away. Quinn's first full-on look at Rachel of the morning didn't disappoint: Rachel's hair was in perfect soft curls, the minimal makeup she put on highlighted her gorgeous eyes and the natural blush of her cheeks and the lip gloss…she had to stop this. She tore her gaze back to the burrito and sighed. "Thanks."

"Are you feeling alright, Quinn?" "Yeah, fine. Just…big chem test today." "A healthy breakfast is essential to high achievement, you know?" "Yeah." Rachel quietly went back to the stove and returned to the counter with her own burrito and glass of orange juice. The remainder of breakfast was silent. XXXXXXXXXX Puck walked into glee club with a triumphant smirk on his face and a guitar in hand that afternoon and Quinn immediately wondered exactly what illegal thing he'd done this time. "Schuester won't be here today," he said, putting sheet music on a stand and grabbing a stool. "Let's get up on this dreidel." "What'd you do to him?" "Relax, Baby Mama. Nothing that violates my parole." "First of all, stop calling me that. Second, what did you do?"

"I told him that Ms. Pillsbury told me to tell him to meet her in Columbus because there was a Journey cover band playing and she broke it off with that dentist guy. He said practice was canceled." There was a quiet giggle from the club and Quinn didn't even care about what was going to happen when Schuester found out Puck was lying, the man kind of deserved it for what an ass he'd been. "Alright, fellow glee clubbers, we have work to do!" Quinn watched Rachel take charge and hand out sheet music to those who claimed to have forgotten theirs at home which was everyone aside from herself, Quinn, and Puck. The arrangement was simple enough, Rachel and Puck of course took the leads, alternated the verses, with Puck on guitar. The chorus brought all the voices together in a simple twopart harmony. By the end of practice they had the song almost perfected and Rachel called practice to an end. The pair parted ways momentarily after glee club, Rachel to go to her locker to get a few books she'd lost and Quinn went out to start her car and get it warmed up for the drive to the Berry house. Rachel literally bounced out of the school and skipped to where Quinn had pulled up to the sidewalk. As she had done all day, Quinn tried desperately hard not to look at her friend but one of her other senses was

assaulted as soon as Rachel shut the door. Citrus was it? Maybe a hint of strawberry? Something. There was something that wafted through the air that caught Quinn's attention and made her squirm a little. She couldn't put her finger on it other than it was purely the scent of Rachel. "Damn it." "Is everything alright, Quinn?" "Oh…" Quinn swallowed hard and stretched her neck. "I…just remembered a problem I messed up on in chem. No big deal." "Perhaps you can request extra credit." "Yeah. Yeah, maybe I'll do that." Quinn tightened her grip on the steering wheel and took a daring glance at Rachel, eyebrows furrowed and deep in thought. "You keep thinking that hard and you'll hurt yourself, Berry." "I was just trying to think of the best way to inform you that if you don't wish to spend Hanukkah with me that you don't have to." Quinn felt her shoulders tense and she shifted in her seat a little. "What? What are you talking about?" "You've been rather avoidant today. I thought perhaps

you were growing bored of your act of charity." "That's not it." "Do you find the selected activities unfulfilling? Tonight, in lieu of going to Temple due to the fact that I didn't want you to be uncomfortable, we were planning on going to the local food bank and serving a meal to those less fortunate. We can do an activity of your choosing if you'd rather." "No, that sounds great. Don't worry about it, okay?" "If there's anything you need to talk about I'm always willing to listen. Believe it or not, despite my knack for talking - sometimes too much - I'm a very good listener." "Thanks, Rachel." Quinn had served meals at the food bank before, with her church youth group, but Rachel made it feel more like an act of kindness rather than an obligation. Quinn's father had always gone on and on about God's work and the importance of doing it not only for Him but to make the family look good in the eyes of the church. He needed the support of the fellowship for his position on the city council and his children were always the way to get there. This night, though, with Rachel beside her serving up large spoonfuls of mashed potatoes, each one with a signature Rachel

Berry smile, it all felt like a genuine act of kindness. Quinn ladled on gravy and each passing face, some she'd seen before, gave a "thank you" and a smile for helping out in their time of need. The children going by with red cheeks and noses from standing in the cold for what could have quite possibly been their only warm meal of the day completely melted Quinn's heart. She wished she could take each one home to her house with more than enough room for just her and her mother. It made her appreciate having the gigantic space, even if it did feel empty. The three Berrys and Quinn ate their dinner in the kitchen of the food bank with the rest of the volunteers. They helped wash dishes afterward and headed back to the Berry house to light the menorah. Rachel suggested a board game; Quinn selected Pictionary from the Berry's extensive selection. "We could've gone to your services tonight, Rachel," Quinn said, coming back downstairs from the game closet. "I wouldn't have minded." "I spoke with Rabbi Greenburg about the situation and he fully understood. If you'd like to attend with us another night I'd be more than happy to have you." "I'd like to."

Rachel and Quinn teamed up to beat Rachel's dads quite thoroughly at Pictionary, twice. The pair sat on the living room floor, shoulders touching, throughout the entirety of both games. Quinn moved as little as possible to keep the contact there, giving up on avoiding what was happening in her brain and her heart. There were five more nights of Hanukkah plus the probability of the friendship continuing for a while after and it was completely pointless to try to fight anything off. She couldn't stop it, only hope to contain it. They exchanged gifts: a mix CD for Quinn from Rachel, literally a thousand gold star stickers for Rachel from Quinn, a necklace with a pendant of a treble clef carved into a quarter for Rachel from her dads and, the biggest shock of Quinn's life, a matching necklace for her only a cross carved into the coin rather than the clef. "You didn't have to," Quinn gasped, running her fingers over the quarter. "We thought you might like it," Hiram said with a smile. "It's beautiful." "I fear that I'll be reprimanded for destroying government property," Rachel said. "Is this legal?"

"It's considered art, sweetie," Leroy said. "The shop owner said it's perfectly legal, don't worry." "Well in that case, I agree with Quinn's sentiment. It's beautiful and I absolutely adore it!" "Thank you so much." "You're welcome," came in unison from the Berry men. Quinn's watch chimed, signaling 10:00 and she sighed unhappily, knowing she needed to get home. "I have to go. Thank you again for a wonderful evening," she said to Rachel's dads. They each offered a smile and a wave as Quinn stood and headed toward the door, Rachel following close behind. "I found this evening incredibly enjoyable, Quinn." "Me too." Quinn shrugged her jacket on and buttoned it up tight before looking up to meet Rachel's gaze. It was useless to resist being drawn in to the dark brown eyes and so Quinn let herself be captivated by them. "You know you're welcome to go to your house to gather what you might need to spend the night."

Quinn smiled and although she really, really wanted to she knew she had to decline. "My mom is leaving for the weekend tomorrow morning. I should be there to say goodbye." "That's unfortunate. You're welcome to stay tomorrow night if you like." "Sure. That'd be great." "I hope the rest of your night is satisfactory and come over anytime tomorrow; I wake precisely at six-thirty for my morning workout." "You're crazy." "So I've been told." Trying for a second time, Quinn went in for a hug. The effort was infinitely better than the previous night in that the pair didn't crash into each other but instead met in a tight embrace, probably tighter than Quinn would ever hug any of her other friends, and no one was injured. Rachel nuzzled into her shoulder a little and Quinn sighed at being assaulted, yet again, with the intoxicating scent of whatever it was Rachel wore. Rachel's cheek brushed against hers as they pulled apart and her hands lingered on Quinn's biceps for a few moments before dropping to her sides. "Goodnight, Quinn."

"Goodnight, Rachel." *** When Quinn got home that night she tip-toed in quietly, noting that every single light in the house was off and she was probably too late to spend any time with her mother. Soft music coming from the master suite told her that her mother was in bed; she always slept with music on, songs that Quinn vaguely recognized but could never place. The next morning Quinn was awoken by the alarm she'd set on her phone ensuring she'd be awake for her mother's departure. The smell of coffee led her to the kitchen where Judy Fabray stood with a lidded mug and her suitcase, ready to drive to Cincinnati for the weekend to visit some sorority sisters and no doubt drink enough bottles of wine to keep any one winery in business for a year or so. "Did I wake you, Quinn?" Quinn shook her head and fidgeted with the drawstring on her pajama bottoms. "I set my alarm. I wanted to be awake when you left." "That's nice of you, sweetie. How's that…thing? The thing you're doing with your friend from school."

"Hanukkah?" "Yes. How's that going?" "It's fine. Her dads gave me a necklace last night." "That's thoughtful of them." "Yeah. Is it alright if I stay there tonight?" "Of course. Just leave me their number." Quinn's mother handed her phone over and Quinn entered Rachel's cell phone number. "I should get going. It's supposed to snow." "Yeah. Yeah, be careful." "If there's an emergency and you need something right away, call your father." "I'd rather trust the Berrys." "Whatever you're most comfortable with. I'll be back Sunday night." Judy grabbed her phone from the countertop, checked that the screen was locked, and tucked it safely in her pocket. She grabbed her suitcase handle with her free hand and walked out of the kitchen with only a kiss on the forehead as a goodbye. Quinn had readied herself to try at least half of a hug but her

mother was out the garage door before she could say anything. Quinn helped herself to a cup of coffee before packing for Rachel's house, making sure to tuck the number of where her mother would be staying into her bag as she locked up the house and set the alarm. It was 8:30 when she left, she knew Rachel would be awake and probably doing something way too productive for it being a Saturday. She was right. The entire Berry family was on the front lawn in their winter gear: Leroy up on a ladder nailing strands of lights all around the edge of the house, Rachel and Hiram setting up a giant inflatable snowglobe. There were light-up reindeer placed around and two wreaths on the garage door. "Good morning, Quinn!" Rachel squealed. "We're almost finished, Daddy and I. You're welcome to take your things to my room and help yourself to the leftover quiche in the kitchen while we finish up." "Thanks." Quinn quickly made her way into the house, saying good morning to Leroy as she went around him. She didn't mean to be rude but it was absolutely freezing and she was only in sweatpants, a sweatshirt, and her Cheerios jacket. It hit her that she hadn't been up to Rachel's room, only to the game closet, but it was apparent which

room the diva slept in considering the copious amounts of Broadway memorabilia plastering the walls. Quinn dropped her duffel bag at the foot of Rachel's bed and looked around a little; she ran her fingertips over the meticulously made bed covered by what looked to be a handmade quilt, looked at the various body sprays and lotions lining the vanity (Strawberry Lemonade!) , and peeked into the bathroom. "Quinn?" Quinn jumped and spun, shrieking at the sudden appearance of Rachel right behind her. She wasn't doing anything wrong but she immediately felt the need to apologize profusely. "I wasn't snooping, I swear." Rachel chuckled. "I'm afraid I have nothing incriminating for you to snoop upon, if that were the case. I wanted to make sure you found everything alright. Daddy said he would finish with the snowglobe so I could keep you company." "Oh, that's…thanks." "Will the accommodations be sufficient? I would offer you the den but I wouldn't subject even Santana to sleeping on that pull-out couch."

"It's fine." "My bed is extremely comfortable. Future stars can't be plagued with back problems." Quinn nodded. "Yeah it looks…nice. I like the quilt." "I won it in a raffle for a fundraiser the Jewish Quilter League had to raise funds for a new embroidery machine." "Cool." "Yes." Quinn chewed on her lower lip and looked around the room a bit more, noticing the bright pink electric guitar in the corner for the first time. She smiled at exactly how "Rachel" it was. "Noah has offered to give me lessons," Rachel said. "Make sure there aren't wine coolers involved." "Of course." Rachel nodded slowly. Quinn saw the girl's eyes swimming with questions of how she was doing on a more personal level. How she was coping with Beth spending her first holidays with Shelby. How was she coping? She honestly made every attempt possible to shove the thoughts out of her mind. "Quiche?" Quinn asked, once again putting her

coping mechanism to use. The quiche, made with vegan-friendly egg substitute of course, was probably Quinn's favorite breakfast she'd ever had. She had to stop herself after the third helping, fearing Coach Sylvester showing up at Rachel's house and making both of their lives a living hell - Rachel for offering the food and Quinn for taking it. The pair settled on the couch with cups of hot coffee and Rachel turned on Food Network; Quinn halfwatched the TV and half-zoned out until Rachel started talking. Their conversation went from weather to childhood memories to when everything around them seemed to change in middle school. It stopped just before freshman year and Quinn immediately brought her cup to her lips to silence herself. "Can I ask one question, Quinn?" Quinn nodded. "Why target me?" "I was supposed to. My whole life has been about knowing who to please and being a Cheerio meant making sure Coach Sylvester was happy. I wanted to get to the top the first day I ever put on the uniform so I did whatever it took."

"I don't understand where I fit into that equation." "I had to make them all afraid to bring me down and you were just…there. I never actually hated you. I was just stupid and shallow." Quinn set her empty mug on the coffee table and took a deep breath before turning to Rachel and reaching out to put a hand on her knee. "I'm so sorry, Rachel." "We're…f-friends, correct? I mean…after Hanukkah it won't go back?" "We are. And it won't." "Good." It wasn't until 30 Minute Meals and a six minute conversation on how it was possible for Rachael Ray to be so damn chipper all the time that Quinn realized her hand was still on Rachel's knee. And Rachel's hand was on top of it. She must've twitched because Rachel's thumb immediately started caressing the back of her hand as her eyes stayed glued to the TV. Quinn wouldn't have moved if a bomb went off three feet away from her but the sudden presence of the Leroy coming in through the kitchen made her jump. She was unable to pull her hand away, though, because when Rachel jumped she gripped onto Quinn's hand and kept it where it was. "Christmas lights are all up," Leroy said. "We've got to

pick up a patch for the snowglobe, though. Your dad accidentally tore a hole in it. We're going to pick up lunch, is there anything you girls want?" Quinn shrugged. "Anything is fine with me." "Our usual Chinese?" Rachel suggested. "We usually get enough to have leftovers for a while." Quinn nodded. "Alright. We'll be back in a-" Leroy stopped and Quinn watched his eyes travel to Rachel's hand clasped over her own. She felt her cheeks turn bright red and Leroy cleared his throat. "We'll be back in a few. I trust you ladies to behave yourselves." "Of course, Dad. What else would you expect?" "I…nothing. Later, sweetie. Quinn." Leroy turned and walked out of the living room before Quinn could offer a response and she slowly looked over at Rachel, whose eyebrows were furrowed in curiosity. "I can't imagine what inappropriate behavior he thought we might engage in." "Rachel?"

"Yes?" Quinn lifted her hand a little, bringing Rachel's attention to the fact that hers was wrapped around it quite tightly. Rachel immediately jerked her hand away; Quinn internally whimpered at the loss of warmth but eventually retracted her hand from Rachel's knee when the brunette didn't do anything other than stare at her looking scared for her life. "I apologize if I made you uncomfortable." "You didn't." "No, Quinn, I…it's…I'm sorry." "Rachel, it's fine." "I didn't even know I was-" "Rachel! I said it's fine." Slowly, Quinn reached out and offered her hand again. Rachel took it, this time entwining their fingers, and settled their hands back on her knee. Nothing more was said. XXXXXXXXXX After patching the snowglobe and eating lunch, Rachel suggested a family board game and Quinn recalled seeing Monopoly: Disney Edition in the Berry's game closet. Rachel vowed to wipe the floor

with absolutely everyone and Quinn just snorted and said she'd like to see Rachel try. Quinn was, after all, the daughter of an extremely successful businessman and knew how to manage her money. After three hours Leroy and Hiram were bankrupt, Quinn taking the last of Hiram's money and properties. Quinn and Rachel, however, were dead even and showing no signs of stopping. "I've never lost at this game," Rachel huffed. "And I don't intend on starting now." "My sister and I used to play all the time. I've only lost to her once." "I invite you to, as the saying goes, 'bring it on'." "It's already been broughten." "You're aware that's not a word, correct?" "Yes." "Just checking." The game lasted for another two hours before Quinn gave up. They were in a stalemate, going back and forth with landing on each other's hotel properties and still just about where they were when they bankrupted Rachel's dads.

"I vote we count it up." "Is that your way of forfeiting, Quinn?" "No, that's my way of saying my back hurts and I have to pee." "Alright, we'll add it up. I admit that we've come to an impasse and that, unless we continue for another several hours, there will probably be no true winner." "Thank you." Quinn counted her money diligently, not missing a single fake dollar. She double checked with the calculator on her phone and smirked at the figure. It was a personal best and she was absolutely sure she'd beat Rachel. "Well?" Rachel asked, her look smug. Quinn held up her phone, showing off her score, and chuckled. "That's quite impressive, Quinn. However, I'm afraid I've beaten you by one-hundred and thirty-seven dollars." "What?"

Quinn immediately called B.S. and counted out Rachel's cash and properties, triple checking on her calculator, only to find that Rachel had in fact beaten her. When Quinn looked at the board she realize that she would've passed GO on her next turn and, barring landing on one of Rachel's properties, would've beaten her. "Damn it." "My record improves to fifty-eight and zero!" Rachel thrust her hands up in victory and Quinn took that opportunity to grab a throw pillow from the couch behind her and launch herself onto the girl with every intention of starting an epic pillow fight. The impact caused Rachel to shriek and Hiram to come dashing in from the kitchen to find the pair in a rather interesting position: Quinn on top of Rachel, practically laying on top of her, not yet having had the chance to sit up. "I heard a…oh." Quinn scrambled up and away; Rachel cleared her throat and straightened her shoulders. "I won," Rachel stated simply. "Well…I'll let you two continue the…celebration." "I wasn't-" Quinn tried to offer some explanation but

Hiram held up his hand and shook his head. "I don't want to know," he said as he walked back to the kitchen. "Movie?" Rachel suggested before the resounding silence turned awkward. "Sounds fantastic." Rachel (mockingly, Quinn knew) selected "Bring it On". XXXXXXXXXX They opted to light the candles on the menorah before dinner that night and Quinn was shocked when Rachel handed her the shammus after lighting the third candle and motioned for Quinn to light the last. She felt a tear slip down her cheek, a true feeling of absolute belonging burning in her chest, as she touched flame to wick and watched a new flame rise out of it. Leroy took the shammus and returned it to the center of the menorah before reciting the prayer. Dinner was leftover Chinese while watching whatever could be found on TV (they eventually settled on an old movie). Quinn sprinted upstairs immediately after to grab Rachel's gift from her duffel bag. Rachel was waiting with a meticulously wrapped gift of her own when Quinn returned to the couch sitting with her side

almost completely pressed up against her friend. Rachel giggled at her gift of a set of three, what Quinn had packaged and labeled, "Very (Rachel) Berry Nailpolish" - Raspberry Red, Blueberry Blue, and Glittering Gold (Star). Rachel presented Quinn with a cover for her phone, bedazzled with a silver Q on it. "I noticed you didn't have one," Rachel said. "I personalized it to prevent thievery and because it's kind of my thing." Quinn grinned. "Mine tore a few weeks ago. It's perfect." She slipped the cover on her phone and nudged Rachel's arm. "Awesome." Gifts from the Berry men were giftbaskets from Bath & Body Works - Sweet Pea for Quinn and Strawberry Lemonade for Rachel. "How did you know?" Quinn asked, eyebrows furrowed. Sweet Pea was her absolute favorite (second to Strawberry Lemonade, now) from Bath & Body Works. "I saw a bottle of it in your car," Rachel said. "I usually get a gift basket for Hanukkah so I casually mentioned it to Dad and Daddy." "We got the last one today," Leroy said. "I hit a woman with my shopping basket to get it."

"He did not. It was a bag." Both Rachel and Quinn broke into a fit of giggles before thanking the men again and saying their goodnights, retreating upstairs to put away their gifts and change into pajamas. Rachel had suggested having a spa evening that morning and Quinn excitedly agreed. After changing, Rachel hoisted an entire milk crate full of animal friendly, organic spa products out from under her bathroom sink and started mixing. They watched cat-themed YouTube videos until the masks dried and Rachel got out her new nail polishes for pedicures while they watched "Bring it On Again". "I used to do this with my mom," Quinn sighed as Rachel put the finishing touches on her Raspberry Red. "Sometimes I wonder if pretending to be happy was better than barely speaking at all." "I would imagine that it will take some time to readjust to the situation." "I guess. It'll take time to adjust to a lot of situations." "Beth?" Quinn stopped breathing and settled her chin on her knees, her eyes meeting Rachel's. There was trust and understanding behind those eyes and a few stray hairs over them that Quinn reached out and brushed

away. "Yeah. I'm not…I'm not ready to talk about it yet." Rachel nodded and reached up to take Quinn's hand in her own. "Whenever you're ready I will be more than willing to listen." "Thanks." Quinn tried to keep the mood light as their nails dried and the movie finished up. They speculated what would happen Monday morning when Schuester reprimanded them for what Puck had done to him. Rachel had a speech prepared on the teacher's lessthan-pleasant attitude over the last year and was more than ready to give him a piece of her mind. It was a little after eleven when the pair settled down for bed. Quinn plugged her phone into its charger on the nightstand before taking a deep breath and crawling into bed next to Rachel. They lay there for a few minutes, both on their backs with space separating them, before Quinn spoke up. "I can't fall sleep on my back." "Me neither." "This shouldn't be awkward."

"I was afraid to cross some sort of undefined line." "Let's just…get comfortable and go from there." Quinn rolled over to her right side, facing the outside of the bed and looked over her shoulder to see Rachel, also on her right side, and looking at Quinn with a smile. There was still space but Quinn could feel heat radiating off of Rachel. "Goodnight, Quinn." "Goodnight, Rachel." XXXXXXXXXX Quinn was walking around on clouds, surrounded by nothing but blue skies and lemons that looked like strawberries (or was it the other way around?) with Rachel by her side when, out of nowhere, "Come What May" (coincidentally, also her ringtone) started playing. Rachel took Quinn into her arms and spun around a few times before levitating up and… "Quinn?" Quinn jerked awake when a hand on her shoulder shook her a few times and a sleepy voice repeated her name. "Your phone is ringing."

Quinn grabbed her phone and didn't bother looking at the screen before answering it. "Hello?" "Quinn Fabray?" "Mmm, yeah." "My name is Alex, I work for the Christ Hospital in Cincinnati. Your name was on an emergency contact list in Judy Fabray's wallet. There's been an accident." **** Quinn sat bolt upright, in stunned silence praying to whatever god was listening that she was still dreaming, as Alex asked her about her relationship and all of the other bullshit questions he had to ask to verify that Quinn was family before actually explaining what was going on. "Your mother was in a car accident. From what the police report shows me another driver ran a red light and hit the car she was a passenger in. She's in stable condition right now but they had to take her in to surgery to repair her left tibia; it was broken in three places. She has some cracked ribs but all of the scans show no internal bleeding at this time."

"So…so she's okay?" "For now, yes. The first twenty-four hours after are the most critical but as of right now she's okay." "What do I do? Is there something I have to do? Should I come to the hospital?" The second that "hospital" was out of her mouth, Quinn saw Rachel's shadow on the wall sit straight up and there were arms wrapping around her shoulders and the warmth of Rachel's small body behind her. "Under normal circumstances we would prefer it if the next of kin were here but there's been reports of a lot of ice and snow on the highways tonight and we won't ask for your life to be put in danger. I can give you a number to call to check on her condition anytime you like." "Yeah. Yeah, that." Of course, Rachel kept pens and paper next to her bedside for ideas that hit her in the middle of the night. Quinn took full advantage and wrote down the number and who to ask for that Alex gave her before thanking him quietly and hanging up her phone. "My mom was in an accident," she said. Rachel gasped. "She's okay, her leg is broken and she's in surgery."

"Are you alright? Is there anything I can do?" "I don't know. He said the roads are icy and I shouldn't go up there. I don't…I don't know what to do." "Would you like some tea?" Quinn nodded shakily and, with Rachel's help, stood on her weak knees. Rachel took her arm and escorted her to the living room before going to the kitchen to start the kettle. She returned in a few minutes and sat pressed up against Quinn with her arm around the blonde's waist. "She's with friends, correct?" "Yeah. Friends from college. She goes up a few weekends a year for girls' weekends." "I'm sure she's in good company, then." Just as the kettle started whistling, Quinn's phone rang again. Rachel ran to get the tea and Quinn answered her phone, hoping for some kind of good news. "Hello?" "Quinn? Quinn this is your mother's friend, Carla. We've met a few times, do you remember?"

Quinn nodded even though she couldn't be seen. "Yeah, I remember." "Good. They gave me your mother's things she came in with and your number was in her phone. I wanted to make sure the hospital called you and let you know what was going on." "Yeah. Yeah, they called a few minutes ago." "She's been in surgery for about an hour, I'm so sorry they didn't call you sooner. If I'd gotten her things before then I would've called you myself but they are very strict on their privacy laws. It took me half an hour just to get confirmation that she was here." "It's okay. You guys will take care of her, right?" "Of course we will, sweetie. Please, please do not try to come here, Quinn. The roads are practically sheets of ice, it's gotten terrible out there in the last couple of hours. Your mother said you were staying with a friend, right?" "Yeah." As if she knew her cue, Rachel came back into the living room with two steaming mugs of tea and took her place pinned against Quinn's side once again. "The storm is heading south so stay safe, alright? I'll

call you if anything else happens." "Thanks." Quinn set her phone on the coffee table and picked up her mug of tea. The burning liquid gave her an excuse to let a few tears fall. "Hanukkah is about miracles, Quinn," Rachel whispered. "I'm sure your mother will be fine." "I know." The pair sat in silence until both mugs of tea were empty. Quinn felt her eyelids getting heavy, a combination of being tired and tears still stinging. Rachel's hand never left the small of her back and she guided Quinn back upstairs to her bedroom and into bed. Quinn didn't hesitate curling up into Rachel's front and letting Rachel's arms wrap around her and stroke her hair and her back. "Can you do something for me?" Quinn whispered. "I'll try." "There's this song that my mom plays at night and I'd heard it before but I don't know where. Could you…if you know it could you sing it for me?" "Of course I will, Quinn. What song?"

"Can't Help Falling in Love." "A classic. I apologize if my vocals are sub-par due to the lack of warm-up." "It'll sound great." As soon as Rachel hit the first few notes it was like a weight lifted out of Quinn's chest. She rolled over and Rachel spooned behind her, still softly singing. Quinn let her eyes drift shut and she fell asleep to the melodious sound of Rachel singing softly in her ear. It felt familiar and warming and the last thing that flashed through her mind before she fell into a deep sleep was the vision of her mother singing those same familiar notes and kissing her forehead goodnight. XXXXXXXXXX Quinn didn't sleep for long; she woke up around four in the morning with Rachel's arm still wrapped around her waist and the girl's hot breath on the back of her neck. As carefully as she could, Quinn extracted herself from Rachel's grip and grabbed her phone to call the hospital. She hoped Rachel's bathroom was soundproof and sat on the countertop to make the call. The nurse she talked to said her mother was in ICU

for a mandatory twenty-four hours and would then be moved. The surgery had been a success, they'd placed several pins and one metal plate in her mother's leg; everything else looked fine. She hadn't been awake yet but the nurse asked if there was any message Quinn wanted to relay when she did. "I…Tell her I love her," Quinn choked. Quinn sat on the counter for a few moments after she hung up the phone and stared at the floor. The "whatif" scenarios started racing through her brain and she leapt to the toilet to empty what little was in her stomach. She heard the bathroom door creak open and Rachel was right there behind her rubbing soothing circles on her back and pulling her hair up. "It's alright, Quinn. It's alright." "What if I lost her, Rachel? I've lost everyone else… what if I lost her?" "You didn't. She's alright. Everything's alright, okay? And I'm here and not going anywhere." If Quinn didn't have the overwhelming urge to kiss Rachel before, she sure did then. However, she'd just thrown up and didn't figure Rachel would appreciate it. She made sure to brush her teeth very thoroughly and Rachel took a soft washcloth to her face to clean away the tear tracks.

"I think my mother used to sing to me before I fell asleep," Quinn said once back in Rachel's bed with the brunette's arms securely around her. "That song, the one you sang. She'd sing it to me and kiss my forehead and tell me she loved me before I went to sleep." "Oh?" "After last year she started kissing my forehead again when she said goodbye. I thought it was just because she didn't want to have to look at me but I guess…I don't know." "Your mother loves you, Quinn." "I know." "Everything will turn out just fine, you'll see." Quinn nodded and settled her arm on top of Rachel's and laced their fingers together, holding on tight. Rachel sang her to sleep again and, just like before, a weight was lifted out of Quinn's chest at the sound and she was back to sleep almost immediately. XXXXXXXXXX The first thing Quinn noticed when she woke yet again was that she and Rachel had switched

positions in the night and Quinn was the big spoon with her arm wrapped around Rachel. The clock was showing nine in the morning, meaning Rachel had shut her alarm off. "Quinn?" Rachel's sleepy voice asked, prompting Quinn to snuggle deeper into Rachel's back. "Yeah." "Good morning." "Morning, Rach." "Did you sleep well?" "Yeah. You?" "I did. Would you like some breakfast?" "I'm going to call the hospital first, I'll meet you downstairs." The call, while good news, still didn't relieve much of Quinn's worry. Her mother was still stable and had woken a little bit that morning but was still drowsy. The nurse couldn't say for sure how long she'd be in the hospital but that the doctors had already been in contact with the Fabray's doctors in Lima and when the roads cleared she would be taken to the Lima hospital. Carla called immediately after Quinn hung

up with the hospital and told her pretty much the same thing. "She was a little coherent this morning. She told me to tell you she loves you." "She said that?" "Of course she did, honey. You're all she talked about when she got here, you know? How brave you were after everything last year and how she felt she'd failed you when your father kicked you out. She said she couldn't believe what a resilient young woman you were and that she was so, so proud of you." Quinn thanked Carla for the update and ended the call quickly. She wasn't sure why, she just couldn't hear anymore. Not from an almost-stranger. The thought hit her that her older sister might want to know what was going on despite the fact that she lived in Toronto and couldn't do a thing. That conversation was quick and fact-filled; Quinn had never been close with her sister and, after it had happened, was told she was a slut for getting pregnant the year before. It damaged what little relationship they had beyond repair. Both Leroy and Hiram offered Quinn warm hugs when she joined them for breakfast. Quinn offered an appreciative smile at Rachel for explaining the situation; she didn't know if she could repeat it again.

Each time she did made it all seem more real. "I doubt you girls will have school tomorrow," Leroy said. "Quinn, you are more than welcome to stay here again tonight and for as long as your mother will be in Cincinnati." "Thanks," Quinn said. "They said they'll bring her home when the roads are cleared off but she'll have to stay in the hospital." "You're still welcome," Hiram said. "If there's anything you need, please don't hesitate to ask. I doubt we'll be getting out today but if you'd like one of us to take you home to get your things tomorrow, we'll be more than happy to." Quinn nodded and thanked them again. There had been a massive amount of snowfall dumped on Lima overnight and to take Quinn's mind off of things Rachel demanded they frolic in the sixplus inches of white powder covering the Berry's back yard. The pair bundled up (Rachel looking like a bottle of Pepto when she was finished, right to her bright pink hat complete with earflaps) to combat the freezing temperatures and Quinn left her phone with Rachel's dads, just in case. The first thing Rachel did when they stepped outside was toss a handful of snow in Quinn's direction.

"Oh, Berry, you're so dead." "Bring it on!" It prompted a snowball fight of epic proportions that somehow ended up in the front yard and with six neighborhood kids joining in. Rachel knew them all on a first-name basis and waved at their parents as the kids ran to join. The looks of them were deceiving; one of them, a girl named Marissa, was practically a toddler but she had an arm like an MLB pitcher. One snowball caught Quinn right in the side of the face and it stung like a bitch. The kids grew tired of assaulting one another and decided that a giant snowman would be a better use of their time so they started rolling and rolling, and rolling some more. The base of the snowman was about half of Rachel's height and with the second piece on it was only a few inches shorter than the brunette. A big brother of one of the kids, a nameless basketball player Quinn had seen a few time around school, came over to help them hoist the head atop the snowman. It had to be a good six and a half feet tall. Rachel raced inside and returned with all of the things needed to complete the snowman, the jock took a few twigs off of a tree in a neighbor's yard and the kids took turns putting in coal buttons, eyes, a mouth, and Marissa demanded she get to stick the carrot in for the nose.

"I'd say that's easily the best snowman I've ever had the pleasure of building," Rachel said, standing back with her hands on her hips. "Same here," Quinn said. "It's huge." The kids' parents began calling them in for lunch and Quinn began trudging back to the house when a snowball pelted her square in the back. She turned to see Rachel with the most guiltily innocent look on her face. Quinn didn't bother grabbing a snowball but lunged for Rachel, just missing the tackle, and then chased her back around to the back yard. Rachel bundling up with several layers worked to her disadvantage and Quinn caught up to her, tackled her to the ground and landed in a fit of giggles. She let Rachel roll over onto her back and then took a handful of snow and held it up, just above Rachel's face with a devious smirk. "You wouldn't dare, Quinn Fabray." "Would I?" Quinn moved quickly and pulled off Rachel's hat, then clapped the handful of snow right on top of it. She put the hat back on for good measure. "That's mean!" "Not as mean as throwing it in your face."

Rachel sat up with a "humph" and crossed her arms over her chest and pouted. Quinn only laughed and reached forward to remove the hat again and brush the snow that hadn't yet melted off of Rachel's head. "You look like my two-year-old cousin when you pout like that," Quinn said. "I resent being compared to a toddler." "You shouldn't, she's cute." Rachel's cheeks, already reddened from the cold, turned a little darker. "I think I like you, Quinn." "I think I like you, too." "It's quite a change from someone that hated me a week ago." "I told you, I didn't hate you. I was mad when you stole Finn but I never hated you." "Your actions spoke otherwise." Taking the opportune moment, Quinn leaned forward and pressed her lips to Rachel's. Rachel's gloved hand came up and held Quinn's cheek, keeping her in place, while her mouth moved with Quinn's in an almost delicate dance.

"What do my actions say now?" Quinn breathed when Rachel pulled away. "I'm not sure, but I like what I'm hearing." "We should go inside; it's starting to snow again." Rachel nodded and was the one to lean in this time for a soft kiss before the pair headed inside to be met with a roaring fire, cups of steaming vegetable soup, and tea. XXXXXXXXXX The rest of the day was spent snuggled on the couch watching movies with Quinn leaning up against the arm and Rachel wrapped up in Quinn's arms, covered in two quilts. Rachel loaded up the five-disc DVD changer with the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the first two Harry Potter movies. They pried themselves apart to light the menorah and dinner in the kitchen, more vegetable soup. "I was running out of ideas so the next few nights won't be too creative," Quinn confessed when Rachel opened up the giftbag containing a small basket filled with caramels and a stuffed bunny. "Although they contribute to the poor oral hygiene I must confess that caramels are my favorite sweet

indulgence." "I know; you keep a handful of them in your locker. You offered me one freshman year." "I don't remember that." Quinn smiled. "I do. I was kind of stunned since I'd slushied you the day before so I took it. It was good." "Oh. Well…I'm afraid my creativity also leveled off in the selection of your gifts. I thought you might enjoy this one, though." Quinn unwrapped her own DVD copy of Funny Girl and she grinned from ear-to-ear. "I love it." "I was very relieved when you said you liked it after our viewing since I'd already procured the DVD and intended to give it to you." Forgetting momentarily that there were two other people in the room, Quinn leaned over and pecked Rachel's cheek which elicited a giggle from Rachel and a clearing of the throat from Leroy. "Do we need to have an open door policy?" "No," both Quinn and Rachel murmured softly, gaze focused on the gifts in their laps.

Both men chuckled before handing over Quinn and Rachel's gifts: The Encyclopedia of Music for Rachel and a $25 gift card to Borders for Quinn. Quinn was helping Rachel put away dishes when her phone rang and a familiar voice on the other end of the line made her want to cry. "Quinnie? It's mom." "Mom…Mom are you okay?" "I'm doing just fine, sweetie. I'm so sorry to have scared you like I did. Ruth and I were heading into the city to meet the rest of the girls for dinner when we were hit. Are you alright?" "I'm fine, Mom. I'm just glad you're okay." Rachel silently motioned that she'd finish with the dishes and Quinn headed into the dining room and took a seat at the table. "They say the roads are in bad shape but once they're clear they'll bring me home." "Yeah. I've been calling to check on you. Carla's been keeping me updated, too. Rachel's dads said I could stay here until you got home." "That's very kind of them, tell them I said thank you."

"I will." "Have you called your sister?" "Yeah, I called her this morning and gave her the number so she could check on you whenever she wanted." "The doctor just came in to talk, I'll call you tomorrow morning alright?" "Okay." "Goodnight, Quinnie." "M-mom?" "Hm?" "I…I love you." There was a moment of silence and Quinn heard the smile in her mother's voice when she said, "I love you, too, sweetheart." "Goodnight, Mom." Quinn went back to the kitchen and was immediately met with a hug from Rachel, who then threaded her fingers through the blonde's hair and smiled up at her.

"I told you everything would be okay." "You were right." "I've finished the dishes; would you like to go upstairs and watch a movie?" "Yeah. I'm kind of exhausted." "Emotions have that effect." "It's been kind of an emotional day, hasn't it?" "Indeed." Rachel never let go of Quinn's hand as they went through the living room and said their goodnight to Leroy and Hiram. Once changed into their pajamas (and Rachel's stuffed bunny, Mr. Rogers, tucked into her headboard next to the lamb that was already there) Rachel put in Finding Nemo and snuggled up facing Quinn. Quinn's hand immediately went to Rachel's hair, Rachel's to Quinn's hip. "Hi," Quinn whispered. "Hi." Rachel grinned and bumped her nose against Quinn's, her thumb all the while tracing circles on her hip.

"Do we talk about this or are we just going to see what happens?" "I'm always one for having a plan but I believe that, for now, I could go without one." The pair traded a few soft, tender kisses followed by shy grins and silence and then a few more kisses that got a little heated. By the time the end credits were rolling on the movie Rachel's lips were swollen and Quinn ran her thumb over her flushed cheek and kissed the tip of her nose. She was going back in for another kiss when she had to turn away to yawn. Rachel just kissed her cheek and fumbled with the remote to shut off her TV. Quinn's lips found Rachel's once more in the darkness before she rolled over and Rachel curled up behind her and slipped her arm around Quinn's waist. "Goodnight, Quinn." Quinn took Rachel's hand that was splayed across her stomach, kissed her fingers, and then held it close to her chest. "Goodnight, Rachel." *** Right after kissing Rachel, Quinn decided that waking up in the brunette's arms was on her list of things that she could get used to very, very quickly. And that she wanted to do for a really long time. They'd somehow

maneuvered in the night to where Rachel was on her back and Quinn was halfway on top of her, one leg in between Rachel's, an arm wrapped possessively around her waist and Rachel's arm around Quinn's shoulders. After a few moments of enjoying the sound of Rachel's slow and steady heartbeat Quinn fluttered her eyes open, squinting at the bright light coming in through Rachel's window. A glance at the clock told her it was a little after eight and, obviously, they didn't have school otherwise Leroy and Hiram would've woken them up. Quinn was torn between letting Rachel sleep and waking her up rather pleasantly. She couldn't resist the exposed skin on Rachel's neck and stretched up to place a few soft kisses. Rachel shifted a few times and Quinn kissed a little further up, trailing a line up to Rachel's ear and then down her jaw. "Can't sing," Rachel mumbled, "piano has no keys." Quinn giggled. "You should get a new piano." "But I want to tapdance." "So do it." Rachel only groaned and rolled over to face Quinn. When her eyes fluttered open she jumped and shrieked a little, then buried her face in her pillow.

Quinn giggled and brushed her fingers through Rachel's tangled hair and pressed a kiss to her cheek. "Good morning," Quinn whispered. "While I do find it rather pleasant to be woken up like that," Rachel said, talking into her pillow, "I must inform you, despite the fact that it's rather gross, that I've been told my morning breath is capable of stunning a moose." "That is kind of gross but I think it's the same for everyone." "Please hold." Rachel quickly rolled over and Quinn sat up a little to watch her pull a small bottle of mouthwash from her nightstand, rinse and spit into a cup of water she kept at her bedside. Rachel was obviously not one to try to impress and Quinn could only chuckle and reach for the mouthwash before Rachel put it back in her dresser. Rachel handed her the cup as well and, with everything put back into its proper place, Rachel immediately dove in for a kiss that turned into two, then three, then a full-on heated make-out that left Quinn nearly breathless. "You're an extremely talented kisser, Quinn." "You too."

It led to even more kissing and Quinn ended up straddling Rachel's waist with the brunette's hands just barely underneath her shirt with fingernails digging into her skin. "Girls, I heard voices and I thought you might be awaOh!" Quinn sat up quickly and practically threw herself onto the floor; Rachel glanced at her, worried, before looking back up at Leroy who was now standing with his back to Rachel's room. "Dad…good morning." "Good morning, ladies. Pancakes alright for breakfast?" "Sounds great," Rachel mumbled. "Alright, well, I'll just…leave the door open." Breakfast was silent and awkward and there was no hope of escape since the Berry's road had yet to be cleared off. Quinn called the hospital to get away for a few minutes and talked to her mother. She'd be in the hospital for a grand total of a week or so before she could go home and the doctors in Lima would be giving them information on a home health nurse to help while Quinn was in school since Judy was to stay

off of her feet as much as possible for six to eight weeks. Just as Quinn was headed back to the kitchen her phone signaled she had a text from Brittany. were u kidnapped? Ur house is dark n no1 is answering. Pucks taking us sledding I'm at rachels Did she kidnap u? No. Ok. She can come 2. Quinn grinned and bounced into the kitchen; Leroy looked up at her with suspicious eyes and Rachel smiled up from her position at the sink. "Puck is coming by with Santana and Brittany. They're going sledding, want to come?" "I'd be delighted! Dad, Daddy, is it alright?" "Of course. Be careful, the roads are still bad." The pair showered, Quinn in Rachel's bathroom and Rachel in the master suite despite Quinn wanting to suggest saving water and just showering together,

and as Rachel pulled on her pink hat there was a horn outside. Quinn grabbed onto Rachel's hand and dragged her out to Puck's waiting pick-up. The pair crawled into the front seat, Rachel in the middle but as close to Quinn as she could get, since Brittany and Santana were practically laying in the back. "There are no sleds in the back," Rachel pointed out. "Don't need 'em," Puck said. "We've got something better." Traditionally, when one wanted to sled in Lima, they would go to the middle school and sled down the massive hill behind it. Puck, however, discovered and shared his secret with Quinn, Brittany, and Santana, when they were fourteen that they "didn't need no damn hill". Quinn was practically trembling with excitement as Puck drove out of the city limits and to a small trailer parked a little ways off the road next to a huge field. "Oh God," Rachel gasped, "you've brought me out here to kill me and bury the body!" "I wish," Santana mumbled. Quinn reached back and punched her arm. "What the hell is your problem, blondie?" "Don't talk about her like that."

"What, are you two doing it?" Quinn scrambled out of the truck quickly, Rachel followed and Santana was quick to jump out after them, doubled over laughing. "You're so doing it! I was wondering when you'd finally get rid of all that tension." "I'm afraid I'm not sure what you're insinuating, Santana." "Oh, please, you two have so much sexual tension it makes me sick. There's a fine line between love and hate, you know?" "As much as I love hearing about two chicks going at it, I either want really good details or to get a move on and tear up this field." Quinn smirked at Santana and took Rachel's hand to follow Puck to the shed next to the trailer. He opened it to reveal a four-wheeler and Quinn pulled Rachel back as Puck started it up and backed it out of the shed. Brittany started jumping up and down when Puck dragged the hood of a car out from behind the shed, flipped it upside-down, and attached it to the back of the ATV with chains threaded through holes drilled in the hood. "Is this legal?" Rachel inquired. "Whose property is

this?" "It's my dad's," Puck said. "He's always off trying to get gigs with his band. Who's first?" Brittany didn't even ask before she plopped down on the hood and Santana sat behind her. Brittany grabbed onto the chain, Santana grabbed onto Brittany, and Puck drove the ATV out into the field and began circling it. Brittany's squeals and Santana's laughter echoed through the air and Quinn rolled her eyes at how obliviously in love her two best friends were. "That looks incredibly dangerous." "It's fun, I promise." After a good ten minutes, Puck pulled the ATV up next to Rachel and Quinn and Brittany and Santana jumped off. Rachel still looked a little wary but with a tug of her hand, Quinn coaxed her to sit down and grab onto the chain and Quinn wrapped her arms securely around Rachel's waist. "I won't let anything bad happen to you," Quinn promised. "I'll protect you." Rachel shrieked when Puck took off and Quinn laughed when she saw Rachel had her eyes screwed shut. Slowly, she opened one and then the other

when she realized that Puck wasn't going all that fast. She shrieked again when they hit a small snow bank and left the ground for a split second. Quinn settled her chin on Rachel's shoulder and basked in the sound of her laughter. The ride was over all too soon, Santana took over driving while Puck and Brittany sat on the hood. They changed positions all afternoon, alternating between Puck, Santana, and Brittany driving (Quinn never could figure out when to shift gears) and whoever was left to be pulled around. They only stopped when they were running low on gas and Brittany stated she was hungry, it was no wonder since they'd stayed out well past two in the afternoon. Denny's was practically the only place in town that was open since the state trucks were taking their sweet time getting the roads cleared away. The five piled in to a booth in the back and ordered three appetizers to start with. "I must say, that was much more enjoyable than simply sledding down a hill." "I knew we'd get you to loosen up," Puck chuckled. "Next thing you know, you'll be knocking off liquor stores." "I think I'll save the delinquency for you, Noah." "Burn."

Quinn couldn't help but notice Rachel practically drooling over her hot fudge brownie a la mode when the waitress brought out the four desserts. She laughed and took her bites slowly, knowing she was being watched. "You know, if you break your veganism just this once I won't tell anyone." "I will," Santana offered. "Good to know I can count on you, Santana." "Always." "One bite won't kill you." Rachel licked her lips and nodded slowly; Quinn smiled and got the perfect bite on her fork, brownie plus sauce plus ice cream, and held it up to Rachel's mouth. The look on the brunette's face was practically orgasmic as she took the bite, chewed slowly, and finally swallowed. Quinn only got to eat half of her own dessert. XXXXXXXXXX Santana and Brittany made it very clear that they had "things" they wanted to do without the remainder of the group and Puck had to babysit his little sister that

afternoon. After dropping Santana and Brittany off, Quinn convinced Puck to take her to her house so she could pack everything she would need to stay at Rachel's for a while. He obliged and Rachel punched his arm when he asked to watch them make out as a reward. When they got back to Rachel's house they found a note on the kitchen counter stating that Leroy and Hiram had managed to get out and go to work and that the girls better behave themselves. Quinn and Rachel again snuggled up on the couch and kind of watched the movies they'd started the day before. It was difficult to concentrate on the screen, though, when Rachel's lips were so much more inviting. They did eventually fall asleep, Rachel fully on top of Quinn with her head on the blonde's chest, and napped until Leroy got home. The snow plows apparently got their act together during their afternoon nap and the school cancelation hotline said school would be open on Tuesday; both Quinn and Rachel groaned. Hiram brought good news when he arrived home, though: the majority of his family was still planning on coming in for the final two nights of Hanukkah and he'd booked the hotel rooms for them. Rachel bounced with excitement; she was ecstatic at the idea of getting to see her baby cousin, the one she'd told Quinn about the year before.

"Due to the family being a carrier for Tay-Sachs there aren't many babies on that side," Rachel explained. "Little Leon is kind of a miracle." Quinn could only nod and try desperately hard not to think about a little girl only a town away bouncing on her mother's lap and gurgling happily. "Oh, Quinn…" Rachel reached up to brush away the tears on Quinn's cheeks she wasn't even aware had escaped. "Later, okay?" Quinn wiped away the remainder of her tears; Rachel nodded and led her to the mantle where the candles were lit and prayers were said. Quinn sent up her own prayer, asking God to watch over the girl she'd given birth to as she celebrated whatever it was Shelby practiced. Quinn was quiet during dinner; no one pressed her for anything. She called her mother before exchanging gifts with the Berrys, just long enough to tell her she loved her. Rachel wrapped her arm around Quinn's waist a little tighter when she sat on the couch and set Rachel's gift on the coffee table. For Quinn, a meticulously bedazzled tuner ("because you still occasionally drift sharp," Rachel said) and a box containing gold-wrapped chocolate coins and a yellow dreidel from Leroy and Hiram. Rachel squealed at the large bag of assorted bedazzling

jewels Quinn presented her with and grinned at the box of coins she was also given, along with a very ornate looking glass star with flecks of gold inside from her fathers. "Gelt, right?" Quinn asked, looking through the box of coins. "Correct," Rachel said. "And your very own dreidel!" Rachel had to explain what the symbols meant at least three times before Quinn finally (almost) understood. Rachel said she'd dig out her old flashcards later and they'd practice before the family arrived. After an impromptu viewing of Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights, Rachel declared it was time for bed since she intended to resume her six-thirty in the morning workout. Leroy informed Quinn that there were earplugs in the first drawer of the master suite bathroom and Quinn thanked him profusely. She snuck out to grab them while Rachel took her turn in the bathroom. It was still pretty early when the pair settled in to bed but Quinn knew it was time to talk about a few things she'd been avoiding and she knew that Rachel knew it, too. They faced each other, not too incredibly close but close enough that Quinn could reach out and thread her fingers through Rachel's hair.

"I try not to think about her," Quinn sighed. "I try to just shove it out of my head and not think about it but sometimes I just…I can't help it. I want to know what she looks like, what she's doing, if she's rolling over, how she looks in her holiday dress…But I know that if I know those things then I'll just get hurt. I'll get attached and I'll just get hurt because I know that she's not mine." It all came out a lot easier than she thought it would; maybe it was because Rachel just had this look on her face that said "tell me everything, I'll still be here, I care about you" or that she needed so badly to get it off her chest that it came out on its own. Either way, it was out there. "You're not alone, Quinn." "You don't know what this is like, Rachel. I'm sorry but you don't know." "I may not know what it's like to give up a daughter but I know very well what it's like to wonder some of those exact same things. I know what it's like to wonder what your mother looks like, if she has a family, what she's doing…So I reiterate, you're not alone." Quinn averted her gaze to Rachel's neck, unable to look her in the eye. Of course Rachel knew. And now

they were wondering the same things about the same household. A mother and a daughter longing to know even the simplest of things about a daughter and a mother. "I'm sorry," Quinn whispered. "I didn't think about it." "It's alright. I suppose it's something we can get through together." Quinn nodded and pulled Rachel in close to her, the brunette's head tucking under her chin and their arms wrapping around each other securely. It was probably the first of many discussions that would be brought up about that particular subject but, for now, Quinn was content and knowing that she and Rachel could each pull through with the other's help. She kissed the top of Rachel's head and let her eyes close, smiling at the sensation of Rachel's lips on her neck and a whispered "goodnight" making its way past said lips. "Goodnight, Rachel." *** Author's Note: I was extremely tired when I wrote the last half of this. I apologize for anything that makes no sense. Six-thirty came much, much too soon for Quinn and despite trying to distract Rachel with kisses (after

mouthwash, of course) the brunette was determined to get on her elliptical. Quinn reached for her ear plugs but when Rachel emerged from her bathroom in a tank top and shorts Quinn decided that being awake wasn't going to be so bad. "I see you eyeing me, Ms. Fabray," Rachel said with a smirk as she set the timer. "I can't help it." "I'm flattered. You should take this opportunity to shower, though, as mine usually last a while and take up quite a bit of hot water." "With you looking like that it'll be a cold shower." Rachel grinned. XXXXXXXXXX It wasn't until Quinn pulled into the parking lot of McKinley that she realized she was about to walk through the halls having experienced quite a shift in hers and Rachel's relationship. Their snowy bubble was going to burst. "We don't have to tell anyone," Rachel said. "I'm confident that Santana and Noah can keep the secret. Brittany, not so much, but I'm sure she can be kept occupied."

"You actually trust Santana to keep a secret? Do you not remember what she did to you two weeks ago?" "I'm very much aware of what transpired. However, this secret involves you and Santana knows that you have the capability to make her life a living hell if need be." "Good point." "And you have yet to make a grand, romantic gesture and ask me to be your girlfriend so technically we're still friends as you have yet to also ask me on a date which implies that we are not dating." Quinn blinked a few times, almost shocked at Rachel's statement but not really. This was Rachel Berry she was sitting next to and the girl was incredibly blunt. Rachel wasn't a helpless damsel-indistress, though. "The door swings both ways, Rachel. You could ask me." "I never thought of that." With that, Rachel leaned over and pecked Quinn on the lips before exiting the car without another word. Quinn rolled her eyes and followed, catching up to Rachel in only a few steps. Rachel didn't say a word

or even look up at Quinn when the blonde nudged her. "Did I say something wrong?" "Of course not, I'm merely in deep thought." "You look angry when you're in deep thought." Rachel finally looked up and offered a smile. "I've been spoiled by the men in my life, Quinn. While I pride myself in being a strong, young woman I'm afraid I've also been very preoccupied with the idea of fairytale romance in which a handsome prince rescues the damsel-in-distress and then showers her with love and exotic gifts." "I've noticed." "Now that it's been brought up, I must say that the prospect of doing the rescuing and showering is very intriguing and I'm willing to give it a try. I ask that you make no grand, romantic gestures and allow me the pleasure of wooing you." "O…kay." "Wonderful!" Quinn only shrugged. She couldn't decide between being extremely amused or very scared.

XXXXXXXXXX Despite the protests of her first period teacher, Quinn left the room right at nine to call her mother right when the hospital line opened up. She was scolded, of course, for missing class but she didn't care. She needed to know that everything was still alright and when her mother assured her that she was doing just fine and would continue to be fine, Quinn promised not to call during class anymore. A knot in Quinn's stomach started forming as soon as the last bell rang and she started heading toward the choir room. She knew they were all in deep trouble; Mr. Schuester had glared at each one of them as he passed by the table where she, Rachel, Puck, Mike, Tina, Mercedes, and Artie sat during lunch. She was ready, though, and she knew Rachel and Puck were, too. The minutes ticked by as Quinn sat with Rachel in the choir room, the rest of the glee clubbers silent as they waited for Schuester to come in. When he did it was slightly terrifying because all he did was put his briefcase on the piano, sit on the stool in the front of the room, and stare at them. It was five minutes before anything was said. "Are we mimes now? Mimes scare me."

Quinn glanced over at Brittany, sitting with her pinky linked with Santana's. "No, Brittany," Mr. Schuester said, "we're not." "Are we gonna practice or not?" Puck piped up. "If not then I'm gonna hit the gym." "You're luck you're not hitting the gym in juvie, Puckerman. I could call up your parole officer right now and tell her what you did." "And I could go to Figgins and tell him what an antiSemitic jerk you've been," Puck bit back. "You kinda deserved it." "You don't mess with people like that, Puck." "Look at the pot calling the kettle black," Santana snorted. "We all know you use us to try and get in Ms. Pillsbury's skirt." "My kettle is blue." "And yelling at us is totally not cool," Finn said. "I believe you loudly informed me that I could make the choice to be happy, Mr. Schuester. You could also make that same choice rather than being irritable and irate."

"My problems have nothing to do with you guys." "They do when you take it out on us," Quinn said, voice full of disbelief at how dense her teacher was. "You yelled at Rachel because she wasn't happy about being betrayed and not getting the solo she wanted and letting it all out but you do the same thing. You yell at us because you can't have what you want. It's not our fault that she didn't choose you." "It's pretty much rule number one that you don't yell at your students," Artie said with a shrug. "My mom went to a seminar about it when she was getting her masters. I went because I had nothing better to do." "So what, you guys think I'm a bad teacher?" Silence. "You want me to quit?" "Mr. Schuester," Rachel said as she stood, "we realize that adults have just as many problems as teens and I, for one, am sorry that you're going through a rather rough time but I also recall a time when glee club was slightly more relaxed. A teacher sets the mood for his or her classroom and with all of the tension you bring in it creates tension for the rest of the club. Not only are we dealing with our own problems but the added tension you bring is almost too much. If taking time off would mean returning with

a better attitude then do what you must." "And we're singing 'I Have a Little Dreidel'," Puck chimed in. "Whether you like it or not." Rachel had been right; there was a lot of tension that Schuester brought in with him. After he had stormed out of the choir room it was like the entire mood of the room was uplifted. No one stepped up and took charge, they all went through the pieces of music together as a group and threw out a couple that no one liked and added a few that they thought were a little more fun. Quinn saw Rachel more relaxed and less demanding than she had in quite a long time and the brunette even suggested songs that would spread solos across the club. XXXXXXXXXX To say that Quinn was nervous as they prepared the Berry house to receive the family would be an understatement. The nervousness was put on hold, though, when Quinn was searching Rachel's bedroom for a tablecloth Rachel swore was in her dresser. Something was missing in Rachel's room. Quinn couldn't quite put her finger on it until… I don't want another heartbreak, I don't need another turn to cry, no. I don't wanna learn the hard way; baby hello, oh no, goodbye. But you got me like a rocket shootin' straight across the sky.

"You're kidding me," Quinn mumbled to herself. She walked to Rachel's window and, sure enough, there was Rachel standing with a boombox outside of her own window blasting Faith Hill (Quinn was willing to bet that it was the mix CD that she made for Rachel. She really didn't mean anything by it when she put that song on there, honestly. She just loves Faith Hill. It was what half the CD was comprised of.) Quinn pried the window open and stuck her head out in the freezing cold; Rachel grinned and held the boombox up even higher. It's the way you love me, it's a feelin' like this. It's centrifugal motion, it's perpetual bliss. It's that pivotal moment, it's, ah, impossible. This kiss, this kiss, unstoppable. This kiss, this kiss. "Rachel, what are you doing?" "This is my grand, romantic gesture!" "You're insane!" Rachel turned the music off and Quinn groaned as the short brunette darted for the trellis on the side of the house. "Rachel, no! Do not climb up that, you'll fall and break your neck."

"I've done it before." Quinn looked over to the neighbor's house to see the entire family gathered on the lawn watching Rachel attempt to scale the side of her own house. "Oh my God, there are people staring. Please just come back in through a door." "I'm halfway up." "Your CD player will get destroyed in the snow." Quinn knew that would be the kicker; Rachel scrambled down the trellis, grabbed her boombox and raced around to the back of the house. In only a few seconds she was in the bedroom, still clutching her bedazzled boombox and grinning from ear-to-ear. "Quinn." "Yes?" Rachel dropped the boombox on her bed and strutted to where Quinn was still standing by the open window with her arms across her chest and trying really, really hard not to laugh. "Would you allow me the honor and privilege of introducing you as my girlfriend tonight?"

"You're crazy." "You've mentioned that." Uncrossing her arms and drawing Rachel in by her hips, Quinn leaned down and kissed her. She expected to be kissed back but Rachel only stepped back and looked at her expectantly. "What is your answer?" "I thought I just…gave you it?" "You never verbalized it." "I…okay. Yes." Rachel's mouth split into a wide grin and she jumped a few times before flinging her arms around Quinn's neck and pulling her back in. Quinn briefly wondered exactly what she'd just gotten herself into but when Rachel's tongue touched hers, she realized she didn't really care and she'd love every minute of it. XXXXXXXXXX Hiram's family arrived all at once, his four brothers and their spouses plus Rachel's cousin Leon, his wife, and the baby; Quinn stood by Rachel's side at the door to make formal introductions and take coats. Dishes of food were brought in that made Quinn

practically drool at the smell. She'd practically skipped lunch so she'd be able to try absolutely everything on the menu. The glimmer in Rachel's eye when she said, "This is Quinn, my girlfriend. She's staying with us for a while" made Quinn's heart jump. Rachel had no cousins close to her age due to, as she'd said to Quinn, the prevalence for Tay-Sachs in the family. Leon Jr. was the first baby since Rachel. Little Leon had dark brown hair and dark brown eyes, just learning to walk. Rachel took him eagerly and settled with him on the living room floor. Rachel's uncles and Leon were practically like big kids. They teased Rachel lovingly and Quinn could see what Rachel meant about being spoiled by the men in her life. Joshua, the youngest out of Hiram's brothers, explained it to Quinn that Rachel was special. She was the very first baby girl in the family for that generation and all four of them were beyond ecstatic at the idea of having a little niece. Rachel was showered in nothing but love and affection since the day she was born. It also meant she had a lot of people looking out for her heart. Quinn nodded, almost scared for her life before Joshua laughed and suggested that they break out the dreidels and gelt. Rachel held Little Leon in her lap as Leon Sr. tossed out the bags of chocolate coins they'd brought with

them; Quinn ran upstairs and retrieved the boxes of hers and Rachel's as well as their dreidels, Rachel directing Quinn to the jewelry box she kept on her dresser. It was pink, of course. The men tried to trick Quinn out of her gelt, saying her dreidel showed she had to give it all up no matter what it landed on. Rachel was quick to call them all out and got teased for being whipped. "Jeez, Rachel, I thought family was supposed to stick together, we were gonna give you half of the cut!" Joshua laughed. "Sorry gentlemen, but Quinn can offer and deny me a few things that you cannot." "Stop right there," Leon said sternly. "There's a few things I do not ever want to know about my baby cousin." "And there are things I'd rather not share with your family!" Rachel let out a "humph" and turned her attention to Little Leon, happily gurgling and fidgeting with a ring of plastic keys. "You still love me, don't you?" Rachel asked, lifting the boy and turning him around. "You won't grow up to be mean like them, will you?" Leon giggled happily and threw himself forward to wrap his arms around Rachel's neck. The game of dreidels forgotten, the men started

dispersing to the basement to play pool; Hiram came through the kitchen moments later to go downstairs to join them, patting Rachel and Little Leon on the head on his way through. "You're really good with him," Quinn said. "He was a very easy baby. I watch him occasionally to give them date nights." "Still. He really likes you." Leon cocked his head at Quinn, almost as if he knew he was being talked about, and reached for her. Quinn took him without hesitating and he immediately snuggled down in her lap and fell asleep. "Looks like he likes you, too." Rachel settled her head on Quinn's shoulder; Quinn rested her head on the top of Rachel's and they sat on the floor, cuddled like that, until Karen (Joshua's wife) called that dinner was ready. Quinn tried desperately not to think about how amazing it felt to have a child in her arms with dark brown hair and dark brown eyes and a girl with just the same features resting on her shoulder. Hiram lit the menorah and Quinn held onto Little Leon with one arm and Rachel's hand with the other as the prayers were recited. Quinn had read about traditional Hanukkah meals and

was fully prepared for latkes and sufganiyot but the spread was something that her mother might've made for a dinner party. There was lasagna, chicken, and several vegetables. Not wanting to be rude but also being rather curious she inquired about the menu quietly to Rachel during dinner. "Tomorrow night. It's quite an event." "Oh?" "You'll see." The dinner conversation flowed from one subject to another, usually circling back to what Rachel was doing at school and in her extra-curricular activities. Quinn explained about her mother and avoided the topic of her sophomore year altogether. Rachel helped tremendously in steering the conversation to someone else's job or pretending to be embarrassed when a story about baby-Rachel was told. The entire atmosphere was filled with love and kindness, very unlike any Fabray gathering that Quinn had ever been to. They were usually straight-laced and filled with talk of business deals around the dinner table. The silence was filled only with the sound of silverware against plates. Rachel's family, though, was loud and boisterous and Quinn found herself relaxing and getting very used to the feeling of being included.

The gift exchange was just as loud; Quinn unwrapped a very nice sweater from Rachel's dads and a scrapbooking kit from the girl herself. She gave Rachel a pocket dictionary because, really, the girl could use more words to say the simplest things than anyone Quinn knew and would probably ever know. "Thank you, Quinn! My old one was falling apart!" Of course. Much to Quinn's dismay, Hiram's family said their goodbyes after the kitchen and dining room were cleaned, and headed back to their hotel. "See you tomorrow morning," Joshua said, grinning. "Morning?" Quinn quirked an eyebrow. "Bright and early! I need my sleep if I'm going to help make a wonderful meal for you ladies." Before anymore inquiries could be made, he was gone. Rachel chuckled. "It's our family tradition for the men to cook a completely kosher and traditional meal from scratch on the last night. Their time in the basement is not only to play pool but delegate who will be doing what. Like who is in charge of the fire extinguisher, for

instance." "That sounds ominous." "It usually turns out quite nicely but after the brisket incident of '08, one can never be too careful." "Right." XXXXXXXXXX Rachel and Quinn excused themselves to Rachel's room early; they had homework to finish because, unfortunately, teachers didn't really see Hanukkah as an excuse to miss assignments. Quinn made a goodnight phone call to her mother while Rachel was taking her turn in the bathroom and talked about Rachel's family and how open they were. She talked about Little Leon and Rachel and how great Rachel was with him. The topic eventually came down to just Rachel and Quinn sighed, wondering if she'd ever be able to tell her mother about being very much in a relationship with the girl without being shunned again. "She seems like a very nice girl, Quinnie. I want to meet her so I can thank her for being so hospitable to you." "I promise I'll bring her by." The conversation lasted a few short minutes more

before Rachel emerged from the bathroom; Quinn said her goodbyes and dropped her phone on the nightstand. She grinned as Rachel crawled into bed and, after a kiss, settled down and let Quinn be the big spoon that night. "I hope we haven't scared you off," Rachel said. "We're very loud, yes, but-" "I wouldn't expect anything else from relatives of yours. I loved every minute of it." "I'm very -yawn- happy about that." Rachel yawned again and Quinn placed a kiss to the back of her neck before pulling her in just a little bit tighter. "Goodnight, Rachel." She was met with a soft snore. But it was beautiful. Author's Note: The last night, hope you all have enjoyed this! And for those of you that have celebrated, I hope your Hanukkah was nice! Quinn was very glad for the warning that Rachel gave her the night before because, as promised, Hiram and his brothers and Leon were in the kitchen when Quinn and Rachel emerged from upstairs.

"Think fast!" Joshua yelled from the counter. Quinn looked up just in time to see two bagels being tossed in hers and Rachel's directions. Rachel shrieked and ducked; Quinn caught a bagel in each hand. "Coach Sylvester throws things at us at random to keep our reflexes up," Quinn said with a shrug, handing a bagel off to Rachel. "Speaking of said coach, you haven't had Cheerios practice this week." "Yeah. I kind of told her I wasn't going to be there because of Hanukkah. She said not to worry and she had diabolical plans of her own and was going to cancel anyways or something. We have to make up for it this weekend, though. Twelve hour practice on Saturday." "Brutal," Leon said. "Good luck with that." "Thanks." XXXXXXXXXX "So don't think I didn't notice that the song you embarrassingly blared at your own window was off the mix CD I gave you."

"It's a very nice CD," Rachel chuckled. "Quite a few love songs." "I really like Faith Hill, okay?" "No need to be defensive, Quinn. I was merely stating a fact." Quinn sighed and reached over the center console to take Rachel's hand in her own. Having Rachel as her girlfriend was great, it really was, but the reality was that her mother was going to be coming home soon and Quinn honestly didn't know what to do. Reality struck sooner than she expected when her phone rang in her pocket and her mother's number flashed on the screen. "Hello?" "Hello, Quinnie!" "Mom, hi." "I was going to wait to surprise you but I couldn't. The doctors have released me to the Lima hospital. I should be there before you get out of school today." "Seriously? You're coming home already?" "Yes. Now, I know you have dinner with Rachel tonight but I'd love it very much if you could come by

after school." "No, no, don't worry about it. I'll be there." Rachel was grinning widely when Quinn got off the phone, Quinn have a half smile while it felt as though her heart was being gripped by the hulk. Rachel had so lovingly and proudly introduced Quinn as her girlfriend and it hurt Quinn to know that she was unsure if she had the strength to do the same. She tried to reason with herself that her mother knew damn good and well that Rachel had two gay dads and she would never allow her daughter to stay with them if she found it wrong but being around gays and actually being gay? Two separate things. "Quinn?" "Huh?" "Are you getting out of the car?" She didn't know exactly how she accomplished getting to school, which was probably dangerous, but Rachel didn't appear to be panicked beyond belief as though she'd had a near death experience; so that was a good sign. "So your mother is coming home?" Quinn nodded, keeping her focus ahead of her as

they walked into school. "That's magnificent. I'm sure you'll want to be at the hospital immediately after school lets out. I can find a ride home or call one of my dads to come get me." "I can take you home first, don't worry about it." Quinn was met with silence and she knew that hadn't been the right thing to say. She should've told Rachel she wanted her to come with so they could frolic through the hospital and declare their new relationship to Judy and half the hospital staff. But she couldn't. Instead, she kept walking and nodded goodbye when they got to the doors and went their separate ways. Rachel wasn't at lunch; Artie mentioned that she said she'd be in the choir room practicing for the hour. Quinn stayed where she was. XXXXXXXXXX Not a word was spoken until Quinn pulled into the Berrys' driveway to drop Rachel off. "Quinn, if this is too much for you - too fast - please tell me. I…we can go back to being friends until you're more comfortable."

"That's not it." "Please just tell me," Rachel whispered. "I'll fix it, whatever it is." "You can't fix my mother." "You fear rejection?" Quinn nodded. "Again." "You couldn't have told me this in the first place?" "It's not your problem to deal with. I have to go." "You'll be coming back, right? For dinner?" Quinn twitched. "I'll try." "Please don't push me away, Quinn." XXXXXXXXXX Quinn made her way through the hospital corridors quickly after getting her mother's room number from the front desk. She hadn't said another word to Rachel when the brunette exited the car and ran into the house, head down. With her mother back in Lima it made Quinn doubt that she could actually do this. That she could actually be with Rachel. School was fine, she could deal with school. She couldn't deal

with being rejected from her family again. Judy was sitting up in bed, her eyes focused on the Soap Opera Network, when Quinn walked into the room. Her leg was in a cast and she still had a few bruises on her face and arms but other than that, she looked as pristine as ever. Her hair was up and she'd done her makeup. Quinn wasn't sure what kind of convincing it took but her mother had her own silk pajamas on. The woman lit up as soon as Quinn crossed the threshold. "Hi, sweetie! Come sit!" Quinn pulled the hospital recliner up next to her mother's bed and leaned over to let her mother kiss her forehead before sitting down and taking her hand. "How was school?" "Slow. How was the trip back?" "Also slow. Carla followed behind in my car, she's gone to the house to get some of my things and then she'll be taking a shuttle back to Cincinnati before her husband and kids destroy their house completely." "That's nice of her." They sat for a while, watching whatever soap opera was on TV. Carla came in to drop off Judy's things

and Quinn thanked the woman profusely for being a good friend. Carla had to leave right away, the cab she had taken was waiting downstairs to take her to the shuttle she'd rented and so she said her goodbye to Judy and made her promise to call and keep all the girls updated on how things were going. Once left alone again, Quinn positioned herself back in the recliner and took her mother's hand. "What time should you be back at Rachel's for dinner, sweetie?" "I can stay here, Mom. You shouldn't have to be alone." "You should go." "But…" "It's the last night, Quinnie, and I'm sure Rachel will want you there." "But family comes first." Judy smiled. "Family isn't always blood, honey." "Sometimes I wonder if blood isn't always family," Quinn mumbled. "Did you sister say something else to you?"

Quinn shook her head. "No. But I know she still thinks I'm a whore and I disgraced Dad." "As if she's never done anything that enraged your father," Judy snorted. "Her sophomore year of college your father and I went to visit, do you remember?" Quinn nodded. "Well, we happened to walk into her dorm room to find her in bed with her roommate. Her female roommate. Your father was livid and I, of course, said nothing. It took the both of us an hour to get him calmed down and change his mind that she didn't need to transfer back home. It scared her enough that she did transfer out of the dorm, though." "But you were just as mad as he was, weren't you?" Quinn knew she had to start digging while she had the chance. "I wanted to avoid a fight with your father. I wasn't angry. Shocked, yes. But not angry." "Because you thought it was just a phase?" "Because if my children are in love and happy then that's what matters to me. With your father out of the picture I can tell you that you need not be anyone but who you want to be, Quinnie. You don't have to be who he wants you to be."

Quinn nodded and let go of her mother's hand to grab her Cheerios jacket. "I'll come back before visiting hours are over." "Okay, sweetie." "I love you, Mom." "I love you, too." After a quick stop downtown, Quinn pulled into the Berrys' driveway right before she knew they would be serving dinner. She could hear the laughter coming from the house before she even stepped inside. She peeked through the window to see Rachel sitting in the living room with all of the other women and Little Leon toddling around the coffee table, reaching for the dreidels that had been left out. "Dinner is almost ready, ladies!" Hiram came in to announce. "We can wait a while longer, Rachel." Rachel's smile dropped from her face and she shook her head. "She's not coming." Quinn sighed and felt like the world's biggest bitch for putting that look on Rachel's face. She immediately reached for the doorbell and pressed her finger to it; she watched through the window as Rachel got up and walked around to the front door, her head down.

"I'm a horrible girlfriend and I'm so, so sorry," was the first thing that came out of Quinn's mouth the second the door opened. "Quinn…I…you should be with your mother. Family is…" "Family doesn't always mean blood. I panicked, okay? I'm sorry. Again. It won't happen anymore, I swear. Can I have another shot?" Rachel opened and closed her mouth a few times and chewed on her lower lip before noddings lowly. "I fully understand your panic and I accept your apology. Now come inside, it's cold!" Quinn shrugged off her jacket and walked with Rachel to the living room to light the menorah only to be met with glares of disapproval. Rachel took her hand and stepped closer to her, assuring her that no one was going to try to kill her. "Daddy? You're dripping candle wax on the carpet. And, since it is apparently everyone's business, Quinn has apologized for her behavior this afternoon and I've informed her that I fully understand. All of you are to leave her alone." There was a collective nod and Rachel tightened her grip on Quinn's hand through the lighting and prayers. Quinn had memorized most of them (although she still

had no idea exactly what she was saying) and recited what she could. It earned her a peck on the cheek and a, "We'll practice for next year," from Rachel. Even though Quinn knew Rachel had to be hungry after skipping lunch, the girl held back at dinner and allowed everyone to get their food before she began filling up two separate plates and urged Quinn to fill her own. Rachel didn't take the plates to the dining room, though. Instead she covered them both with aluminum foil and handed a sheet to Quinn. While Quinn covered her plate, Rachel loaded up sufangyoit onto a third plate. The pair walked with their plates through the dining room, Quinn still clueless until Rachel made her announcement. "While it's been a lovely afternoon, I regret that we're not staying for dinner. I wouldn't subject anyone to more hospital food than necessary so Quinn and I are going to take dinner to her mother." "Okay," came in almost perfect unison from the table aside from Little Leon who simply gurgled and threw a latke at his father. "I assure you that we will return before your departure, as hospital rules state we can only be there until nine." Quinn was stunned. She absentmindedly followed Rachel to the living room where the girl had to help

her into her coat because she was still fairly stunned. Rachel drove them to the hospital while Quinn held the plates of food on her lap and tried to process exactly why her girlfriend would be such a saint to her after Quinn had been kind of bitchtastic. Rachel parked the car and sat for a few moments before reaching over and putting her hand on Quinn's shoulder. "I won't say anything," Rachel assured her. "That decision lies with you. Whenever you're ready to come out to her I will be there by your side, I promise." Quinn only nodded. Rachel was definitely going to be by her side. It took a good five minutes to get past the nurse's station because they wanted to refuse the food to be taken in, stating hospital policy. The nurse was in the middle of her spiel for the third time when Rachel simply snorted. "This is the last night of Hanukkah," Rachel said. "I'm here with my friend to have a nice, kosher meal with her mother and if you deny us that, I can assure you I will find an attorney that will ensure your hospital is forever branded as anti-Semitic and a large sum of money will be won from you and promptly donated to our synagogue."

The nurse growled; Rachel turned on her heel and stormed off, Quinn following close behind. Judy was still sitting up in bed, flipping through the channels of the TV mounted on the wall. Quinn knocked softly and her mother let out a surprise gasp. "Quinn! I told you to go to Rachel's." "I did but, um, she wanted to bring you dinner." Rachel stepped forward and straight over to Judy's bedside, balancing two plates in one hand and extending the other. "I'm Rachel Berry, Quinn's-" "Girlfriend. We're dating." Rachel slowly turned, jaw dropped, and squeaked. "It's nice to meet you, Rachel." Rachel squeaked again and snapped her attention back to Quinn's mother when Judy took her hand and shook it. As soon as Judy let go, Rachel put the plates on the hospital tray and darted back to Quinn and pulled her into the hallway. "You should've informed me you were going to do that," Rachel hissed. "I don't have a speech prepared on how I intend to treat you properly and shower you with all of the affection and attention that you deserve

and assure your mother that I have no intention of betraying you." "Why don't you just say all of that?" "It's not elegant!" "I'm…sorry?" Rachel sighed. "I'll simply have to improvise. It's fantastic training for my future career." "Improvise away." Rachel straightened up her shoulders and Quinn took her hand to be led back into the room. Rachel didn't launch into a speech right away but Quinn could see the wheels in her head turning. They set up the second hospital room tray right next to Judy's and Rachel and Quinn sat across from each other at it. Rachel pointed out everything on Judy's plate and told her to help herself to the sufangyoit. Judy found a satellite radio station on TV playing holiday music and the three ate and talked about Rachel's family and Hanukkah and the different nights. Judy was in the middle of asking something about the menorah when Quinn noticed Rachel looking like she was about to burst. And then she did. "Judy, I would like to inform you that - even though it's still very early on in our relationship - I care very

deeply for your daughter and I have no intention of ever betraying her trust, cheating on her, or otherwise emotionally or physically abusing her. I will treat her as the princess she is and shower her in affection and attention, though not too suffocating, and do everything in my power to ensure that she is happy. Although Quinn and I boast strong personalities and said personalities are bound to clash at some point, I will always attempt to remain fair and level-headed." Quinn froze, her bite of brisket hanging on her fork as she stared at Rachel who was looking rather proud of herself. She glanced over to her mother, her face in an equally similar state of trying to process everything. "I…thank you, Rachel. I don't doubt that you'll be very good to Quinn." Rachel nodded and continued eating her dinner as though nothing had happened. Quinn giggled and nudged her girlfriend with her foot under the table, prompting a game of footsie. Sure, it was kind of elementary school, but it was also kind of adorable. And it made Rachel smile and that was just about the only thing in the world Quinn could see when it happened. The light conversation continued, Rachel made suggestions for physical therapists to Judy since Leroy had been to a few for his back and Judy

commented that she had heard Rachel at Regionals the year before and thought she sounded amazing. Rachel blushed and, for once, didn't offer to give a private concert. "I tried it when Dad was here for his back surgery," Rachel sighed. "I was told to quiet down or leave the premises." "Some other time, then." Rachel beamed. XXXXXXXXXX Rachel said her goodbye a few minutes before visiting hours ended, stating she was going to go warm up the car. She took the empty plates with her but left the two leftover sufangyoit wrapped in foil for Judy to have whenever she pleased. Quinn cleaned up the hospital trays and tucked the foil packet into the dresser by Judy's bed so the nurses didn't confiscate anything. "They probably won't let me up before school tomorrow," Quinn sighed. "I can try to come at lunch." "Don't worry about it, Quinnie." "Cheerios starts again tomorrow, I won't be able to come by until late after school."

"That's just fine. Have a good day tomorrow." Quinn nodded and leaned down but instead of letting her mother kiss her forehead she wrapped her arms around her and hugged her right. Judy immediately returned the embrace and when Quinn pulled away Judy kissed her forehead and smiled. "Love you, Mom." "I love you, too, sweetie." XXXXXXXXXX Rachel and Quinn were greeted with hugs and "it's about time"s when they returned to the Berry house to open gifts. Rachel's dads gave her a very nice digital camera, and to Quinn a book that appeared to be a crash course on Judaism. "We had a feeling you might be joining us for a few more holidays," Hiram said. "The internet isn't always the most reliable resource." Quinn grinned and thanked them. She gave Rachel her final gift: a charm bracelet with several gold stars and gold hearts dangling from it that she'd picked out at the jewelry store that evening along with the sweater with a giant snowflake on it she'd picked out on her shopping trip before Hanukkah began.

"It's beautiful, Quinn," Rachel said as she admired the charms. She took her lower lip between her teeth and chuckled before handing a similarly shaped box with the same jewelry store name on it. "We probably missed each other by an hour or so." Quinn opened the box to reveal her own charm bracelet only with megaphones and pom-poms dangling instead of stars and hearts. "I love it." "I actually had yet to purchase your seventh night gift. I thought after spending time with you I would be able to get a better feel for your likes and dislikes. Our minor spat this afternoon provided me with the perfect opportunity to go shopping." "You're amazing, you know that?" "It's a gift." All Quinn could do was laugh and lean in to press a kiss to her girlfriend's lips (and ignore the collective "awww" from the room). She slipped the bracelet on her wrist and helped Rachel with hers. "Happy Hanukkah, Rachel," Quinn murmured, leaning forward to rest her forehead against Rachel's. "Happy Hanukkah, Quinn."

XXXXXXXXXX Quinn closed the scrapbook with worn pages and faded pictures and smiled down at the back cover where a picture of she and Rachel with their foreheads resting together that last night of Hanukkah was glued and framed over. She guessed that it was one of Rachel's dads that had snapped it. On the front cover, in foam letters, it read "HANUKKAH". In its pages (organized by year) were written accounts of each night. In the 2010 section there could be found: two worn and scratched beyond belief mix CDs, pictures that Quinn, until they were given to her, was unaware were taken, a hospital bracelet with a sad face next to it but a picture of Quinn and her mother, still in a hospital bed, right underneath with Judy holding a leftover sufangyoit in one hand and the other on Quinn's shoulder. A few years forward held a picture of a brunette on one knee, menorah glowing in the background, and a blonde with her hands over her mouth. The very last page held a wedding announcement. Rachel appeared in the doorway of the almost completed nursery and Quinn smiled up at her wife. She had a little trouble standing, she was only a month away from her due date, but she managed. She tucked the scrapbook back in its box and into the top drawer of the white accented with pink dresser, right underneath an empty book with an ultrasound picture on the front just waiting to be filled.

"I still can't believe you're due during Hanukkah," Rachel said with a grin. "'Tis the season for miracles, right?" "Indeed it is." And it was. The miracle of a relationship that no one expected, the miracle of a mother and daughter finding their way back to each other, and now the miracle of a child. It gave them each other, it gave them hope, and it gave them a reason to love just that much more. Rachel beamed. "See you later, Quinn."

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