|if you're still bleeding, you're the lucky ones
Author: possibilist PM
'She pushes her fingers even deeper into the bird-bones of your hand, your knuckles knocking together, the IV taped into your vein scraping against your tendons. "I'm so glad you're alive," she says in a rush.' Quinn-centric drabble after the accident.Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Friendship - Quinn F. & Rachel B. - Words: 3,247 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 32 - Follows: 2 - Published: 02-28-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7879709
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Summary: "She pushes her fingers even deeper into the bird-bones of your hand, your knuckles knocking together, the IV taped into your vein scraping against your tendons. "I'm so glad you're alive," she says in a rush." Another post-accient Quinn-centric drabble, because I love her.
AN (1): So. I LOVE WRITING QUINN. God knows why, but it's just where my life is right now haha, and I'm cool with that. I hope this finds you all well. This fic could fit into any of the gaps in the last two I've written, so if you'd like to read them all (if you enjoy this one), please feel free! Anyway, as always, please review! :)
AN (2): Recommended listening: "Youth" by Daughter.
(if you're still bleeding) you're the lucky ones
And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.
— Steven Chobsky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
It's the fifth time you've seen Santana cry. You more hear her, because to open your eyes is to lift bricks off of them—and you're not entirely sure why, but you're too out of it to panic yet—but she's definitely sniffling next to you.
"Quinn?" she whispers. "Hey."
You fight, you really do, to inhabit a more solid consciousness. She's blurry beside you, still in her pink bridesmaids dress. Brittany's asleep in a chair next to her, crumpled and blond and beautiful.
"Hi," you manage to tell her, but it burns all the way up your throat. The left side of your face stings with the motion of your mouth.
But Santana doesn't seem to notice your discomfort, because she cries softly into the hand of yours that she's squeezing hard. "You're such a bitch," she mumbles into your skin. "God, Quinn."
"Sorry," you say, although you're not entirely sure why she's so angry. You don't remember. You're hurt, though—that much you've gathered.
She pushes her fingers even deeper into the bird-bones of your hand, your knuckles knocking together, the IV taped into your vein scraping against your tendons. "I'm so glad you're alive," she says in a rush.
You don't say Yes or Me too or Don't you know, I'm much too young to die? because all of those things are silly and irrelevant right now, because you're here and Santana's clinging to your hand and crying.
But before sleep and morphine cause your vision to blacken and your dreams to collide, you squeeze back.
The second time you wake up, your mom is watching you intently, and her eyes widen when your eyes open.
"Lucy," she breathes, and then corrects herself, "Quinn."
She kisses your forehead then runs her fingers through your hair, like a comb, like she used to do when you were little and it seemed like her touch could fix anything.
You start to cry a little into her wrist, because all of what's going on is terrifying, and she can't hug you because of the nine-thousand wires and tubes that are connected to you everywhere, but she takes your face and cups it in her hands and says, "I love you."
This makes you cry harder.
"I'm sorry," she whispers, bringing her lips to your forehead again and again. "I'm so sorry."
You're not entirely sure what she's apologizing for, but a part of you is sure it has nothing to do with you.
Your sister arrives before your second surgery, rushes into your room and then skids to a stop, composing herself too late because her face crumples when she sees you.
She seems at a loss for what to say—which is a rarity—but then she focuses on your sleepy eyes. She settles on whispering your name and then sitting next to you, a stranger you've known your entire life.
She's there the next time you wake up, and the time after that, beautiful and blond and pale, with short hair that's new and the bluest eyes you've ever known, just like always. Sometimes she's asleep and sometimes she's sketching (something incredible, you're certain, because she constantly does) and one time she's just watching you.
"Are you a vampire or something, Fran?" You on morphine, you will later be informed, does not include a filter.
She smiles a little. "You're so grown up."
You sigh. "You are too. Old."
She laughs, shaking her head.
"Your hair is awesome," you say, reaching with immense concentration to touch it, brushing her little bangs as she closes her eyes.
"Mom told me it's awful," she says, which makes both of you laugh.
"You know it's perfect then."
She nods, then takes your hand, which you'd seem to have forgotten was resting on her forehead, and places a gentle kiss to your knuckles.
"You're different," you inform her.
She bites her bottom lip, and this is when you vaguely recognise you look most like her. "I met a guy."
She laughs. "Well, he's a man, so no. But I think—"
"—You love him." It's not teasing, the way your brain thinks to process this, and Frannie smiles.
"I do," she says. "And the weirdest part, Quinn, the coolest thing, is that he loves me back."
This fills your chest—for the first time in days—with so much hope you want to cry. But you don't because you push your hand back up towards Frannie's soft hair, and she lets you brush back her bangs as you fall asleep, and when she kisses your cheek, her breath is warm.
It's after your third surgery when you're off morphine and a deluge of other medications that you feel solid again.
Not that this is necessarily a good thing—you had broken, and you spend most of your time trying to watch Mad Men or How I Met Your Mother or Law and Order: SVU when they're on TV instead of focusing on your eight broken ribs or your punctured lung or your fractured femur or your inflamed spinal cord and the pain these cause inside of you.
It's Tuesday (you've made your mother put up a calendar and mark the days, because otherwise they melt into weird non-time, and you can't have that) when Mr. Schue visits, although you're certain he's come before.
"Hi," he says, knocking lightly on your door. He stands uncertainly, wavering, before walking into your small, teal and tan and white room.
He has a bouquet of flowers that you know Emma must've picked out, because they're wonderful, and he sets the vase on the windowsill, then sits down beside your bed in one of the maroon plastic chairs positioned there.
He looks so nervous with you just laying there, so you shift a little upwards on your pillows (despite it feeling like your ribs are breaking all over again). "I won't bite," you say, and he laughs a little.
"Would it be wrong to ask how you're feeling?"
Your bottom lip catches between your teeth. "No. It's nice actually. Everyone else is too scared to."
He nods and seems to relax a little. "How are you feeling?"
"Better," you lie.
After fourteen days, you get moved to a different unit, one that has a slightly bigger room and a physical therapy clinic just down the hall.
Brittany comes right after school, to visit you, and you know that Santana had a thing with Spanish Club or something today, so it's just Brittany for now, and you hear her panicking with a whimper when she gets to your room and you're not there. You try to yell to her, but your lungs don't really feel like doing to same thing, so you look at the physical therapist working with you (Nick, with pretty blue eyes and George Clooney grey hair) and say, "Can you please go get her?"
He smiles amusedly. You like him already. "Sure."
He leaves and comes back a minute later with a very worried-looking Brittany, who brightens intently on seeing you out of bed. "Quinn!" she squeals.
Physical therapy exhausts you, frighteningly fast, and all you do is make tiny movements with your legs and practice three wheelchair-to-bed transfers, but Brittany cheers you on the whole time—complete in her Cheerios uniform—and even claps when Nick declares you've done a wonderful job and you're done for the day.
He wheels you back to your room and helps you back into bed, and you thank him sincerely.
Brittany stands there, then, just looking at you, and you want desperately to make her stop (because you know you're different).
"You're, like, so cool," she says.
She scrunches up her face, really thinking. "Just you're amazing, that's all."
You shake your head, but you look down with a small smile.
"Are you going to stand there all night?" you ask.
Brittany looks uncertain. "Santana told me that I might hurt you if I touched you too hard. I don't want to hurt you."
Your heart breaks.
"Brit," you tell her, scooting over slowly in bed, "it'll be okay."
She comes slowly over to the right side of your bed (the only side she actually could be on, because you probably would be in immense pain if she touched anything the truck had hit directly), and you pat the space empty beside you, and she gracefully climbs up.
You settle your head against her shoulder and smell the strawberries of her shampoo and she places a kiss to your temple.
"You're going to walk again, right?"
"I will," you say.
You feel Brittany nod. "'Cause Santana said the doctors weren't sure, and I-I—"
"—I'm going to get better, Brit."
She sighs and seems to trust you entirely.
"Good," she says, then hums She and Him, and you fall asleep to her lullaby, believing yourself too.
Finn comes one night just after you pretend to eat the mush of vegetables and "chicken" they serve you, and Rachel's supposed to meet him a little later but gets held up, so you end up talking about nothing and teasing him about almost marrying Rachel and he laughs and smiles.
You end up falling asleep, with his head resting on your stomach and your fingers in his hair, because it's a comforting touch of nostalgia and mistakes.
In the middle of the night, you wake up to a beeping—one of the loudest things you've ever heard—and Finn shoots up and says, "No, no, no," and shakes his head and then looks to you and whispers, "Quinn. Quinn."
You glance around and the monitor above you shows that you have no heartbeat, and you look to Finn and take his hand—yours is warm, too—and you say, "I'm okay," and what you really mean is I'm alive.
"God," he mumbles as a nurse rushes into your room and comes to your side.
"I'm okay, I'm okay," you repeat as she presses her fingers to your neck. Your pulse thumps strong against them.
She looks at your chest. "You knocked a lead off, honey," she says gently, and connects a wire to a round sticker pressed to your sternum.
"She's okay?" Finn asks—whispers—and your nurse smiles with a nod.
"She's fine, just fine," she assures.
Finn looks at you carefully as the nurse leaves, and he leans down, puts his ear against your chest. Your heart thumps away.
He meets your eyes again. "I just had to make sure," he says.
Puck comes to your house one Saturday afternoon just before you get to go home, and he looks at you perplexedly.
"What?" you ask, trying to hide the scars still healing on your cheeks and your chin and your forehead with your hair, which isn't nearly long or thick enough.
"You have such bad luck," he says.
A laugh escapes you, strangled and halted, but then he smiles the tiniest bit and you start laughing harder.
"Fuck," you whisper.
"Jesus, Quinn," he mumbles, collapsing onto the bed next to where you're sitting. You both shake with laughter at irony.
"Chuck Palahniuk would love this," you fight out, and Puck looks at you and rolls his eyes, mouths nerd, then grins and wraps you in his arms.
You tense in pain and he notices and immediately lets go. It knocks all of the breath out of you—the lightening that shoots through your ribs—and he looks stricken.
"I'm fine," you say, rasping.
It's then that you look at him and he says, "None of this is funny."
And you say, "No. It's not."
Mercedes and Sam take you home—after you beg your mother to let them—and Sam drives slowly and Mercedes hugs you the entire time and tells you to breathe, just breathe, Quinn, because you flinch when anything gets to close.
Everything happens in flashes and you don't know what pain is current and what is imagined (or really remembered) and you focus on Mercedes' soft skin and her wonderful voice as she sings you Joni Mitchell, because even though she hated it, it's what you loved most.
She's always been there when no one else could be. For that you'll cherish her forever.
Kurt helps you get ready your first morning back at school. He offers and seems so excited about it that you agree, and then he comes over and the task seems daunting.
But he's gentle and fun, and incredibly patient with you, and after he finishes helping you into your jeans, he smiles a little.
"My life has always consisted of dressing girls, not undressing them," he says.
You smile. "I think you have a very important life."
He laughs once, brightly, and then bends over and kisses the top of your head. "So do you," he whispers, then steps back and adds, "and you have lovely hair."
You and Artie sing "Awake My Soul" by Mumford and Sons as a duet the third week you're back, even though you start crying about halfway through and your lungs ache.
As he puts his hand against your forearm and you're so proud to know him in that moment, beyond all of the words you so lovingly and passionately know.
You're starting to grasp how absolutely strong and brave and inspiring he is.
He gives you a high five and the biggest smile you've ever seen, and, for a flash, you're happy right where you are.
"I want you to be my assistant coach, Quinn," Coach Sylvester tells you, "but only if you don't use a wheelchair at practice."
You agree, because you understand her perfectly, and you show up the next day after school in your uniform, with your walker, your hair pulled back, your scars shining in the sunlight.
Sue walks around the entire time, which forces you to follow her, even though she walks slow enough for you to keep up. She gives you a megaphone, which you use to yell primary at Santana and Brittany, which makes all of you keep laughing, and near the end of practice, your legs are shaking because you're so tired, but you've walked for two hours and nineteen minutes now.
Coach Sylvester glances at you with a rare, real smile and wraps her arm around your thin shoulder in a quick hug.
"Good work today," she says.
You try not to cry when you nod. "Thank you," you tell her, which you mean very much.
Blaine takes you to see John Ashbery read at Ohio State one night as a surprise. Ashbery's poetry has always moved you, and it's then that you realise that maybe Blaine (and, therefore, other people, too) had listened more than you'd ever known.
Driving back—because it still terrifies you—you ask him, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
He grins. "A doctor, I think."
"I think you'd be wonderful at that," you say, then add, "and I've had experience."
"This is true. What do you want to do?"
You take a deep breath. "I think I want to write."
"You know," he says, "I think that sounds perfect."
"Me too," you admit.
"Promise you'll mention me one day in your acknowledgements or something, okay?"
You laugh. "Deal."
The first time you dance—right before school gets out—it's with Mike, because he agrees to help you, which consists of much laughter on his part and missed steps on yours, and whenever you get frustrated, he picks you up and tickles you.
"You're doing great, Quinn," he says, always, when you want to stop, and so you keep going instead.
It's incredible to move on stage again, on your own legs, and no one seems happier than Brittany. A promise is a promise, after all.
Sometimes at night you look at the ceiling and try to understand how much of you is your body, and how when that had broken, you—Lucy Quinn Fabray, person—had almost died because of it.
You had almost disappeared forever, because your bones were frail and fleeting and your lungs were as tough as paper and because your inner organs couldn't handle stopping as quickly as they'd been forced to. It's morbid, you know, but you have to learn how huge this is.
The last weekend before graduation, Rachel comes over. You talk and laugh and watch Marilyn, and you decide to ride your bikes to the park in the middle of the night. You play in the dark on the slide and the little plastic structures, and once you slide so forcefully (and the end of the slide is covered in the ink of night) that you miss its edge and catapult yourself off the end, landing in an ungraceful heap of limbs on the sand.
Your knees and your palms sting, and Rachel slides down slowly behind you, then is next to you, on the ground.
You start to laugh, because you're just so ridiculous right now it's one of the best things you've ever felt, and Rachel joins in.
"You're okay, then?" she says in between bursts of laughter.
You're left knee is bleeding, but it's kind of perfect. "I'm okay," you say, and it amazes you, because you're breathing, and you don't bother to wipe the blood off of your knee but stand instead, relishing how much it still hurts and how far you still have to go but that you are here, and you take her hand and lead her to climb the ladder up to the highest slide again.
Sometimes in the morning you will wake early to hobble down the stairs and make a cup of tea and watch the sunrise, because you're reappearing all of the time.