|stars i cannot fathom into constellations
Author: possibilist PM
"Rachel takes a tentative hand and tucks a strand of Quinn's wild hair behind her ear. 'You deserve to be happy.'" Five times Quinn and Rachel watch a movie together. Featuring S3 punk!Quinn, post-OMW stuff, and happy, future Yale, NYC Faberry.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Quinn F. & Rachel B. - Words: 3,750 - Reviews: 33 - Favs: 133 - Follows: 11 - Published: 03-23-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7952402
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
summary: Rachel takes a tentative hand and tucks a strand of Quinn's wild hair—it's still wonderfully soft—behind her ear. 'You deserve to be happy.'"Five times Quinn and Rachel watch a movie together. Featuring S3 punk!Quinn and post-OMY stuff, as well as happy, future Yale, NYC Faberry.
an (1): friends, confession: i saw the hunger games last night at midnight, and it was awesome and also super intense, and this little fic just needed to happen. feel free to geek out with me :) this spans a good deal of time, so hopefully it's not too confusing. also, it would be super cool if you reviewed, because those are wonderful. thanks xx
an (2): recommended listening: "white winter hymnal" by birdy. (but the original by fleet foxes is brilliant too).
stars i cannot fathom into constellations
i don't just want your heart. i want your flesh, your skin and blood and bones, your voice, your thoughts, your pulse and, most of all, your fingerprints, everywhere.
—"lover" by isobel thrilling
one. we are the reckless, we are the wild youth, chasing visions of our futures
Rachel grabs her purse when she hears the sharp honk outside. Quinn's on time—which makes Rachel happy, because at least there are still parts of Quinn that Rachel can recognise—and Rachel yells goodbye to her fathers quickly, then goes out the front door.
Quinn's wild, pink hair clashes horribly with the red of her little VW, which is another thing that Rachel secretly finds comforting; she can still picture happy (although maybe she never was), blond Quinn in the front seat if she closes her eyes tight enough.
"Come on," Quinn draws, rolling down the window, picking at the sleeve of her black, oversized knit sweater.
Rachel gets in the passenger side silently with a small smile, and there's music playing that Rachel's never heard before. The car smells like cigarette smoke but also distinctly like Quinn, oranges and sandalwood.
"I'm completely sober," Quinn says.
They get to the art house theatre in Dayton twenty-two minutes before the film's supposed to start.
Quinn buys both of their tickets, silencing Rachel's attempted protest with a glare. They go into the small, musky theatre and sit quietly.
Rachel claims to need to go to the bathroom, but instead she buys popcorn and peanut M&Ms. When she comes back, she offers to share them with Quinn, who ignores her completely.
But two minutes into the film—a French one, in black and white, called The Four Hundred Blows, which Rachel has never seen before but she knows Quinn loves—Quinn's hand dips into the bucket of popcorn.
Quinn eats all but maybe three handfuls of it also and the entire bag of M&Ms, except for the brown ones.
It's obvious—painfully so—that Quinn's not taking care of herself, and Rachel's heart breaks when she wonders the last time Quinn's eaten.
Quinn hums along to an old Patti Smith song, absentmindedly singing a few words before she looks over at Rachel, who is grinning, as they come to a red light.
"I've missed your voice," Rachel says.
Quinn shakes her head. "It's not anything special."
"It is, Quinn. It's special. You're special."
Quinn's silent, swallowing, pressing the gas again, going through the now-green light.
"You're beautiful, Quinn. Even with your hair like—" Rachel trails off when Quinn's knuckles clench hard and white against the steering wheel— "You're so smart. So smart. I saw your SAT scores and that, that last essay you wrote for Mr. Holt's class was incredible."
Quinn bites her lip. "I like writing," she admits.
Rachel's heart flutters at Quinn's honest, vulnerable tone. "You can get out of here, too."
Quinn turns onto Rachel's street. "I'm so fucked up," she whispers, stopping in front of Rachel's house. She takes her hands off of the steering wheel and fists them in her lap.
"You can be happy," Rachel promises, taking a tentative hand and tucking a strand of Quinn's wild hair—it's still wonderfully soft—behind her ear. "You deserve to be happy."
A few tears escape Quinn's eyes and she swipes at them angrily.
Rachel takes Quinn's hand and squeezes, then says, "I'll see you in class tomorrow. Thanks for asking me to hang out tonight."
Quinn's breath catches, but she doesn't say anything. She doesn't look as Rachel gets out of the car, and Rachel shuts the door without another word. This is the most progress—the most honesty, the most emotion—Quinn's shown in four months, since the beginning of the summer.
Rachel hears the window roll down and, as she turns, Quinn says, "Rachel?"
A tiny, tiny smile erupts onto Quinn's lips. Into her eyes. "Thank you for coming."
two. it takes a while to settle down my ship of hopes, wait till the past lets by
"I know you're excited."
Quinn shrugs, but there's a silly little smile permanently playing on her lips.
Rachel laughs, helping Quinn into her car before folding her wheelchair—and this sends a jolt of tangible pain through Rachel's entire body—and putting it in the trunk before getting in the driver's side.
"I've never been to a midnight premiere before," Rachel says, pulling out of Quinn's driveway extra-carefully.
"What?" Quinn sounds incredulous. "Not even Harry Potter?"
"That's, like, a sin."
"Well, we're fixing it tonight, aren't we?"
Rachel sees Quinn nod out of the corner of her eye. The bruises on her face have completely healed, although she has a few red scars that are still vivid, along her jaw, her cheek. Her left arm is secure in a yellow cast with a million signatures all over it.
"You'll like Katniss," Quinn says. "She's bad ass."
Quinn laughs. "Exactly like me."
Quinn wheels her chair back and forth a few inches—her equivalent of bouncing in her seat—and she grins. "Thirty-three minutes," she announces.
Kurt laughs. "Can you tell us when there are thirty-two minutes left too?"
Quinn rolls her eyes but her smile makes Rachel feel equally giddy. "I just love these books," Quinn admits in a rush.
"Obviously," Santana drawls, motioning to Quinn's t-shirt with May the odds be ever in your favor written on the front. "I already suspected your ultimate nerdiness, Q, but you've completely confirmed it tonight."
Quinn slaps her gently and playfully with her cast, and Brittany kisses Quinn's cheek, and Quinn takes a handful of Sam's popcorn and tosses a piece at Rachel with a smirk, and Rachel can't remember the last time she's seen Quinn look so young.
When Katniss volunteers to be tribute, Quinn takes Rachel's hand frantically and Rachel squeezes, because Quinn is shaking. She starts to calm down, but by the time they actually are in the arena, tears are streaming down Quinn's cheeks and her entire body trembles. The action scenes make Rachel feel like she's in a blender, and she mostly watches Quinn's face, and then Quinn presses her eyes shut and her chest starts heaving.
As the silent, haunting images of dead—dead—children flash on the screen, Quinn's hand leaves Rachel's and latches onto the wheel of her chair, and the other one mirrors its movement on the other side, and Quinn rolls forward, then out of the theatre as quickly as possible.
Rachel looks to Santana, who nods with an immense and startling amount of understanding, and Rachel follows Quinn out into the hall.
Quinn stops in the middle of the colorful carpet, her head dropping into her hands and flashes of her pale fingers tangling in the blond of her hair.
Rachel goes to kneel in front of her. "Quinn?" she asks quietly. She reaches a tentative hand out to come against Quinn's elbow. When Quinn doesn't flinch away, Rachel tucks her as best she can into her chest.
"Shhh, shhh," she murmurs into Quinn's hair. "It's okay. You're okay, Quinn. You're okay."
Quinn starts to calm down a little, taking a few deep breaths that rack her chest. After a few minutes, she lifts her head to meet Rachel's eyes, wipes her cheeks.
"Do you want to talk about it?" Rachel asks.
Quinn doesn't let Rachel let go of her hand. "I know what it feels like to think you're about to die," she whispers.
It's horrifying, and Rachel is glad Quinn's hand is solidly grasped in her own.
"I remember," Quinn says. "When my car—for, like, a second after—I didn't think I'd ever see any of you again and—"
"—Quinn," Rachel says. "God, Quinn."
"I was so scared," Quinn admits.
"Me too," Rachel says.
Quinn takes a few more breaths and closes her eyes, smooths down her hair.
"Do you want me to take you home?" Rachel asks.
"I don't really want to be in a car right now," Quinn mumbles.
"Just—stay with me?"
Rachel smiles gently and nods, pushing Quinn's wheelchair over to a bench and sitting down next to her, and she looks over at Quinn, at her puffy eyes and cheeks tinted pink.
It suddenly occurs to Rachel that almost exactly a month ago, they'd almost—almost—had to spend the day at Quinn's funeral.
Rachel's heart flips over in her chest and then she needs Quinn's lips, suddenly and like air, and the first time Rachel tastes her, she can't believe she's ever wanted anyone else.
three. standing there with nothing on, she's going to teach me how to swim
"Come on, Quinn." Rachel pouts.
Quinn laughs, glancing up from her laptop, pushing her large glasses up on her nose before crinkling it so they slide back down a little—a habit she's picked up sometime over these past two years in college that Rachel finds absolutely adorable. "I really have to finish this, Rach."
Rachel flops down next to Quinn on the small dorm bed. "You are no fun."
Quinn merely hums in response, completely lost in the world of the latest screenplay she's working on for class.
"You should at least wear real clothes when I visit if you want me to not get distracted." Rachel walks her index and middle fingers up Quinn's bare, outstretched leg.
Rachel smirks at the involuntary goosebumps that pop up on Quinn's skin. She takes a deep breath and then starts singing "Lolita" by Lana Del Rey—the song that Rachel knows sends Quinn over the edge, ever since high school—her lips inches from Quinn's skin.
The steady rhythm of Quinn's fingers against the keyboard falters, and Rachel places an open-mouthed kiss on the inside of Quinn's knee. "Rachel," Quinn mumbles.
Rachel skips to the bridge of the song. Quinn moans as Rachel kisses her way up the inside of her thigh between notes.
"This isn't fair," Quinn breathes, her voice husky.
Rachel looks up at her with a sweet, innocent smile.
Quinn scowls. "Rachel."
"I love you," Rachel says, her fingers slipping beneath the hem of Quinn's cotton underwear.
"This is cheating," Quinn says, then gasps as Rachel slips a finger inside, her head tipping back against the headboard. "Jesus, Rachel."
"Put the laptop down," Rachel mumbles into Quinn's skin.
"I'm going to pay you back for this." Quinn's hands bury themselves in Rachel's hair, the computer safely on her desk next to the bed.
Rachel laughs. "Anytime."
In the middle of the night, Rachel wakes for a few moments. Quinn's sprawled out beside her on the bed, flat on her stomach, the sheets rumpled down to just below her waist. Rachel takes in her mess of blond hair and perfect, moon-bathed statue skin. Rachel ghosts her fingers along the thin, pale scar straight down Quinn's spine.
"I would've never sung again if you'd died," Rachel whispers, at once a secret-secret and the most obvious truth she knows.
Quinn isn't in bed when Rachel wakes up the next morning. Instead, she's sitting at her desk, just Rachel's NYADA dark green sweatshirt on (she bought it for Quinn because it matches her eyes), her short hair swept back in a headband, her glasses perched on her nose, pounding away at the keyboard.
Rachel rolls onto her side and watches Quinn write, watches her fingers dance and flash along the keys, watches her reread a sentence with a satisfied smile. It's become one of Rachel's favourite things in the world: knowing how happy Quinn is when she creates.
"Good morning," Rachel says.
Quinn turns in the desk chair towards Rachel with a happy, full smile. "Hey, sleepyhead."
Rachel gets out of bed, coming behind Quinn and squeezing her shoulders, kissing the top of her head. "How's it going?"
"I'd be done if I would've gotten to write last night like I'd planned."
Rachel turns Quinn around in the chair, kissing her lips gently. "I'm sure I inspired you to write even better this morning."
"No more Lana Del Rey until it's finished."
Rachel laughs. "You forget how much I know you love music."
Quinn arches her eyebrow. "Promise me, Rachel."
"Fine. But afterwards—"
"—We'll celebrate my brilliant, moving, Oscar-worthy screenplay."
Rachel kisses Quinn gently. "Deal."
four. all my dreams and all the lights mean nothing if i can't have you
Rachel's nervous, terribly so, at her first awards ceremony.
But then she remembers Quinn's hand in hers, the rings on their left hands, glinting in the flashes of bright lights, and when they call her name—her heart explodes in her chest—Quinn squeals next to her and they kiss joyfully.
"I'm so proud of you," Quinn whispers into her ear, louder than all of the other applause, and then Rachel stands, walks carefully and surreally up to the stage.
She attempts to remember to thank everyone who she's supposed to, and she feels so young, even though she's twenty-six and is relatively famous.
Finally, Rachel thanks Quinn, her wife, through tears and a smile so big she's sure her cheeks will be sore tomorrow. She finds Quinn's face in the crowd—and she's even more striking at twenty-six than she was at seventeen—and locks onto the hazel eyes that she never seemed to be able to look away from. "Thank you for being the bravest person I know," Rachel tells her, and when Quinn's smile manages to grow even bigger, Rachel's sure all of her dreams really have come true.
"I've always thought success looks good on you," Quinn pants into Rachel's shoulder. Rachel's thighs are still shaking, and Quinn smiles blissfully, rolling over and tucking Rachel against her.
"That was incredible," Rachel mumbles. "Where'd you learn to do that?"
Quinn's breathy laughter into Rachel's neck makes her shiver again. "You forget I used to be a cheerleader."
"Rachel?" Quinn whispers in the middle of the night. She has secrets, lots of them, painful ones that want to make Rachel cry and silly ones that make Rachel love Quinn more and more every second, and sometimes Rachel pretends she's still asleep so Quinn will mumble them into the dark, a release.
Quinn waits a few seconds—Rachel makes sure that her breathing doesn't change—and then continues, "I've watched your film thirty-seven times. Not the whole thing, of course, just the parts with you."
Rachel fights the almost overwhelming urge to fuck Quinn at that admission, but she doesn't move.
"Sometimes I just get so worried," Quinn says, "because I'm so happy, and then I just think of all of the other times I've been so happy and then awful things have happened, like how hard it was with Beth even though she's perfect, and then Yale and when I was in the accident."
They usually don't talk about it, not anymore, but it still makes Rachel blind with fear sometimes.
Quinn keeps talking. "Like, just when things were going right, I had to start all over again. And now—" Quinn drags in a breath, and Rachel can hear the tears in her breathing, the gravel in her lungs— "things are perfect. I have you and, God, Rach, I've wanted this life forever, and I'm so, so scared that something's going to take it all away again."
"Quinn," Rachel whispers, her heart breaking much too effectively to keep her secret personal pact of staying silent.
Quinn's head snaps sideways, and she sniffles, rolling onto her side so that Rachel can wipe her tears.
Rachel cups her cheek and says, "Look at all you've done. Look at all you've overcome, Quinn. You've published a novel, you have a PhD, your students love you. We're married."
Quinn can't suppress a grin, and Rachel feels the same overwhelming happiness bubbling up at the words.
"Remember when I told you in high school that you deserved to be happy?"
Quinn's breath catches, which Rachel knows by now means yes.
"You do, Quinn. You deserve all the happiness in the entire world." Rachel kisses Quinn, and it feels like the first time, like oxygen engulfing parched lungs.
"So do you," Quinn says into Rachel's mouth.
"I have it. I have you," Rachel says, and this is no secret at all.
five. you're magic and you're real
"Kurt'll be there too? Are you sure he'll be there? Because I love Santana but I don't know if she's capable of caring properly for our child and—"
"—He'll be there. I just texted him."
Quinn exhales dramatically and nods. "Okay. Okay, we can do this. One night, just for a break, just a little break." Rachel grins as a beautifully frazzled Quinn tries to shoulder a diaper bag and her purse, still holding Alice carefully. Her hair tumbles into her face and her purse slides down to catch on her elbow.
"I can help you, you know, if you want," Rachel says.
Quinn huffs, reluctantly handing over Alice, who is squirming. Rachel smiles at her and tickles her cheek, and Quinn, calming, finally, brushes her bangs back from her eyes, which light up at the sight of Rachel and their daughter.
"Thank you," Quinn says, then adds, "for everything," very, very seriously.
"You're welcome," Rachel tells her, nodding once to show she understands.
"You're sure you have everything you need?"
Rachel smiles amusedly at Quinn's worried conclusion to a wonderfully excessive and Rachel-like ramble about all of Alice's needs—she was a three month old baby, so it really isn't that difficult—and Santana catches her eye with a laugh.
"We're going to have a ball," Kurt says, rocking a happy Alice in his arms slightly.
"Now get out of here, you two," Santana says, nudging Quinn with a happy smile towards the door of her apartment. "Have some fun."
"Thank you," Quinn says.
Rachel laces their fingers together and Kurt waves one of Alice's tiny hands at them. "Say bye to your mommies!" he says.
Santana rolls her eyes but grins. "Don't do anything I wouldn't do," she says, then smirks.
"Quinn is rather inventive," Rachel says before Quinn tugs her through the door.
"Aren't you just slightly worried that Santana and Kurt are watching her?"
Rachel purses her lips. "She'll either learn Lima Heights self-defense or Double Dream Hands, so I think she's safe."
Quinn laughs. "We should be less tired before we make these kinds of decisions next time."
Rachel says, "I think tonight has certainly been earned."
"She really is, like, the loudest crier ever."
"At three months old, she already has impressive breath control," Rachel says.
"She's been paying attention to your lessons, I'm sure."
"She has been a little fussy lately."
Quinn laughs. Rachel snuggles into her side—places a light kiss somewhere near her collarbone—and thinks of their perfect (perfect) daughter: her little tiny face that so resembles Quinn's, the silk of her blond hair, her wonderfully smooth skin, the way her fingers hold so relentlessly onto locks of Rachel's still-long hair, the milky, sweet smell of her breath.
Quinn presses play and Rachel smiles when The Four Hundred Blows comes on the screen. Quinn has on her old NYADA sweatshirt, and their pretty penthouse smells like the bacon from the delivery breakfast they'd had for dinner.
"I've been in love with you—really in love—since the first time we saw this together," Quinn admits. This is no secret at all, not anymore.
Rachel kisses her in reply and they start to fall asleep before the movie even really gets good, but Rachel presses her nose into the crook of Quinn's neck as she drifts off, and the tickle of soft, short blond hair and the perfect smell of oranges and sandalwood are there to make all of her wishes come true, just the same as always.
references (people'll think you're cool if you know them. maybe, haha.)
title. from a quote by John Greene: "My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations."
one. "Medicine" by Daughter.
two. "Terrible Love" by The National.
three. "Electric Feel" by MGMT.
four. "Without You" by Lana Del Rey.
five. "Pi" by Lights Out.
also—i mention "Lolita" by Lana Del Rey, which is the sexiest, most sensual song ever with so, so many Faberry feelings. just listen.
also, also—everyone should know i love french new wave film by now, and you should all check out The Four Hundred Blows, directed by François Truffaunt, because it's brilliant.