Quinn often looked through the yearbook, marveling how nothing she did would make her stand out above the rest. A hundred years from now, people might come across her face, might come across her picture, and not a single shred of emotion might flit through their minds.
She shared that with him, on that night.
She traced the lines on his fingers and whispered into his veins, "We don't really matter."
"Of course we do." His voice fluttered like a scared bird. She wondered, briefly, if he'd give her the world if she asked for it.
"We're just going to die," she carried on, lips pressed to his wrist to feel the pulse, the blood raging beneath his skin. "No one will care. We're nothing."
He told her to make it count.
She didn't know what that meant, but it was close enough to a solution. "Make it worth it." It was almost a challenge.
He pushed her softly back on the bed, letting the pillows capture her, as he kissed up her stomach and whispered, "Forever," against her ribcage.
"No," he said as he trailed his lips up her thigh. It was their favorite game, their favorite downfall. "I don't want to be your secret anymore."
She watched the clouds pass outside the window. "That's beyond my control."
He spitefully flicked her clit with his tongue and she shuddered involuntarily. "What will you do when people find out?"
For a moment, he glanced up at her, and she saw a little boy. Scared and tired, with eyes as dark as stones. He might love her if she believed he could love anyone.
She wrapped her legs around him, tighter. "That's not going to happen."
His tongue circled her with deliberate purpose, watching her as she came undone underneath his hands.
"One day." He scratched it into her skin, like a message.
One day, she watched the sun die outside his window, curled into him on his unmade bed. It was nice, like that. Like it was forever, if she believed forever lasted that long.
"Puck," she began, pressing pitiful kisses to his neck and face, as if everything was okay that way.
He took her arms and wrapped them tighter around him, as the bleeding disc sent the room aglow in red and orange.
"You don't have to say anything," he muttered, subdued. "Just stay here right now."
She hesitated. "This can't go on for much longer. Finn's going to be —"
But she stopped herself, because the moment was too peaceful to ignore. He hummed a song, a lullaby, under his breath, as the first twilight stars began to appear on the horizon. Suddenly, she felt very small.
She sat up. "Play me a song."
The quiet, precise strumming of the guitar put her to sleep.
That was the last time, but they don't talk about that.
The first time, it took two broken people.
They're shattered by the time she came to him.
Two halves of an equally broken whole — they never quite fit when it came to the scheme of things, but Quinn thought it'd be funny if they pretended, for a little while, to belong to each other.
With her hands on her stomach, she suddenly wondered what she could say. He stared at her with cold eyes.
She laughed coldly as she realized he was starting to hate her.
But softly, "You're not a Lima Loser, Puck." She'd said it once before but she didn't know if he ever believed her.
He nodded at her.
It still stung when he walked away, but it was the kind of self-inflicted pain that quivered in her lungs.
"I told you I was going to do this on my own."
He nodded. "Yeah."
She sucked in a breath. "But I want you to be here for me," she said, and once again she was reminded of how little she was compared to everything else, everything big. "I'm not strong enough on my own."
He nodded again. "Where are you staying?"
The thought had never crossed her mind. "I was at Finn's, but —"
There was an unspoken agreement between them as he slung her backpack over his shoulder, as she waddled after him to his truck. She could fall in love with him and the thought scared her, thrilled her, set her heart flying a million miles a minute.
"We can share the bed," he said, and she held his hand as he whimpered in his sleep.
Beth was beautiful.
But that wasn't the whole story.
Quinn stared at Puck with the eyes of someone who had lived far too long. In the end, she got her wish. She stood out in all the wrong ways, but he was there to stand out with her.
Millions of people in the future might cluck disapprovingly as they might happen to flick through a file about them. Teenage parents. They were too reckless for the world and too tired to grow up.
"You understand, don't you?" she whispered to the baby behind the glass. "You're going to have to sign the papers. You're going to have to walk away."
Beside her, he nodded thickly.
"So are you."
She was too strong for this. She hid her tears in the sleeves of her robe, but his eyes followed her until he gave up searching for something that wasn't there.
They stayed there for a long time, too long.
Quinn rested her head on his shoulder. She was too young to feel this old.
Sometimes, she'll stare outside the window, finding the clouds passing over the sun, obscuring the world for a moment.
She might remember feeling like she'd never be good enough for the world. And maybe she'll never be quite happy.
As it comes about, she passes over his name with a flicker of a memory, and they are far away from each other now, thousands of miles apart. The letters used to come frequently and now they don't come at all.
He's married. She wonders if he's happy.
She's married too, but that's neither here nor there.