A/N: Oh, well hello there. We've hit the point in this story where I'm getting to my most favorite of prompts...yay! Unfortunately, this is about to get sadder, if you didn't really think that was going to be possible…well, I'm sorry. Don't worry, it all has a purpose.
Title: Fleeting Moments
Summary: Noah Puckerman isn't a good person – he's an ass, a studly sex-shark – but when it comes to Quinn Fabray he tends to have his moments.
Chapter: Forty Five
On a humid night in late August, she announces she is sore. Mostly out of curiosity, he asks why and watches in disbelief as she rolls up the sleeves of a hooded sweatshirt slowly and dangles her skinny wrist in front of his face. He'd asked her multiple times why she'd been wearing something so big and baggy – and he gapes as he sees the real answer. It's healed, now – still red, but not puffy or bleeding or anything – but it's there, and that's the point. It's there, and she's taken it to a whole new fucking level now.
She hurts – he gets it. He's always gotten it, between the drinking and the bitchiness, the anger towards him; the clearly broken state she's in always shines through, and he sees it. He's always seen it. It's not until now that he's chosen to actively address it, though. He takes a hold of her arm, gripping it softly, and takes a breath, staring at it. She shifts uncomfortably, looking at him as he inspects her arm carefully, looking for any other traces of cuts or scratches or anything.
He doesn't miss the faint lines on the inside of her arm, or the way his chest tightens as he realizes he'd noticed them before and written them off as something other than what they were. He looks at her, straight in the eyes, and takes a deep breath.
She'd been hurting herself for a long time, but this is the most hopeless he's ever felt from it. This is the most real it's ever felt, the most actual pain he's ever felt from her being so terribly fucked up – and it's because this? This he can see. It actually hurt enough for her to physically hurt herself, and he fucking can't stand that there's no way for him to take that away – mainly because she won't let him see if there's any way for him to take it away.
He kisses her arm slowly along the newer cut, running his thumb softly along it and looking at her to make sure it doesn't hurt. She doesn't flinch, doesn't hiss in pain, just looks straight at him with full eyes – disbelief that she showed him, that he's not flipping out on her, probably a mixture of the two. He hates when she looks at him like that – he hates when she looks like she's so close to breaking all of the damn time, and he can't really help what happens because of that look on her face.
"Can't you let me fix it?" He asks, his lips against her wrist, kissing it softly before looking up at her. He sets her wrist down gently into her lap and tucks a strand of hair behind her ear, "Please baby," he begs, "let me make it better." He feels himself breaking, and for once he doesn't do a damn thing to stop it. He's worried about her – more worried than is natural for him, because she's been hiding for god knows how long, and this isn't something small. This isn't something anywhere near small – and he doesn't know how to fix it.
She moves to sit next to him, resting her face in the crook of his neck and taking ragged breaths into his shoulder. He takes a few shaky breaths of his own, putting his face into her hair and letting himself tear up a little. "I'm sorry I didn't notice," he mumbles into her hair, his voice wet. Her breaths get less even, and he feels her tears soaking into his skin, "I notice everything about you, but this…" he trails, his voice breaking on the last word.
"I hid," she whispers, "just like I always do."
It's silent for a while, "I'm sorry," he finally breaks through it. She shakes her head, but he cups her face in his hands and looks at her, "I am."
She shakes her head again, tears falling off of her cheeks and onto his hands. She wipes a tear off of his face, kissing her thumb and pressing it to his lips.
"I'm sorry," she whispers, her voice rough, "I don't know how you can fix me."
He doesn't say anything, just rests his forehead against hers – because he doesn't know either.