Epilogue- A Thousand Years
Heart beats fast
Colors and promises
How to be brave
How can I love when I'm afraid
But watching you stand alone
All of my doubt
Suddenly goes away somehow
They were there, and then they weren't.
Young Quinn and Rachel had disappeared like a bubble popping, but soundless and without so much as a shift in the air, and in their wake they left the stillness and quiet.
Alex was the first to break the silence. He pulled away from the wall he had held up for the last ten minutes, arms still crossed over his chest. "I have homework to finish," he muttered as he ducked past his mothers, head hanging so his hair fell over his eyes.
Quinn reached out to tug at a lock gently as he walked by, but she didn't stop him.
Alice sighed beside her mothers. "And just like that's it's over."
Rachel's shoulders drooped. "Yeah."
"I'm gonna miss 'em."
"We're standing right here."
"It's not really the same." She smiled sadly. "You used to be . . . I don't know. You're both moms," she wrinkled her nose distastefully. "They weren't. It just gave our interactions a different flavor."
Quinn rolled her eyes and purposefully messed up Alice's hair. "You're a weird little shit."
Alice batted Quinn's hands away and then turned to wrap her arms around her waist. She laid her head on Quinn's shoulder. "I love you, Mom."
"I love you too, Birdy." Quinn laughed when Alice tried to bite her. "Speaking of birdies, a little one told me that you wanted to go on the school trip to Paris during Spring Break. Apparently you've talked about it several times without me finding out." Alice stiffened in her arms and Quinn knew that what she was about to do was cruel. "I'm sorry, but we're not going to let you go for Spring Break." Alice's shoulder's slumped under Quinn's arm and she turned her face further against Quinn's neck so her eyes weren't visible. Quinn glanced over at Rachel and caught her rolling her eyes.
She mouthed, "move it along."
Quinn took a deep breath and finger combed Alice's hair. She was very proud of her middle child for not following in Carmen's stead and storming away petulantly. "Because your mother is taking you during summer for your graduation present."
It took a few seconds for Quinn's words to register, but when they did Alice jerked like she'd been electrocuted. She pulled away to arm's length and stared wide-eyed at her mother. She glanced at Rachel quickly and then back to Quinn. "Are you serious?"
Alice opened her mouth several times to say something, only succeeding in producing a squeak once. She threw herself at Quinn with an ecstatic laugh.
Quinn chuckled. "Are you alright?"
"I'm gonna' pee!"
Rachel laughed loudly. "Well hold on, there's more." Alice couldn't even say anything; she just turned her wide eyes to Rachel and held on to Quinn for dear life. "Tell her what she's won, Champ."
"A brand new car!" Quinn joked, pitching her voice to sound like a television announcer.
"No." Quinn swatted Alice's butt. "Don't be a punk. We've talked to Santana and Brittany, and if you'd like, they've agreed to let Nicole go along with you."
"Are you serious?" Alice repeated, this time in a much shriller tone.
"I don't even…I…what are words?"
Rachel and Quinn laughed.
"I have to go tell Nic. I can tell her right?"
Quinn nodded. Alice squealed happily, jumping in place for a few seconds. She hugged Quinn tightly again, kissing her on the cheek before tearing away to do the same to Rachel. With another joyful squeal she turned and fled from the room, her mothers watching her go with affectionate gazes.
"I'm sad to see them go, now that we know what happens," Rachel said once Alice had disappeared from sight.
Quinn threw an arm over Rachel's shoulders and tugged her close. She thought absently, as she did every time she pulled that move off, that it was amazing how well Rachel fit against her. "I'm not." She shrugged when Rachel shot her an incredulous look. "I think it all turned out just fine."
At that, Rachel turned fully in to Quinn's embrace and wrapped her own arms around her wife's waist. "That, I'll agree with."
I have died everyday
waiting for you
Darlin' don't be afraid
I have loved you for a
I'll love you for a
Quinn was spinning, physically and mentally. She couldn't control her arms, her legs, anything. She was moving too fast and in too much pain to focus on anything outside of herself. The pain that erupted just under her skin was like a fire tearing through her nerves.
She felt like her feet weren't even touching the ground.
And then they were, and she had control again, but not enough to stop the trajectory she was already on.
She collided with another body, though she couldn't see who, and her arms snapped around them on instinct when they began to fall. But then she was falling too. Her vision cleared just enough that she could see brown hair and tile rushing up to meet her face. She braced herself for the fall and turned her head toward the other person and her nose was tickled by soft hair.
They hit the ground hard. Quinn heard other bodies hit the ground, shouts and cries of pain, and very close to her ear the sound of something heavy and hard striking the ground. She knew she was on top of a girl, smaller than she was, Rachel? Santana?
Her head must have hit the floor.
For a few long torturous seconds it hurt too much to move, but just as suddenly as the pain came, it left, with just tingles trailing down her limbs and ribs and the tip of her nose.
Quinn rolled off of the body under her, whom she could now identify as Rachel, and looked around. They were all on the ground, except for Artie, sprawled out in various undignified ways.
Mr. Shuester stood in the middle of them, hands on his hips and a disapproving look on his face. "I really don't know what's gotten in to you guys today." He shook his head unhappily. "Maybe I've been working you too hard." He looked at his watch. "Let's just stop early today, but you all better come in tomorrow prepared to work. Maybe go to bed earlier or something tonight. Get some rest."
There were various murmurs of agreement around the room as those on the floor started to stand, wobbling like newborn deer. Rachel tried as well, and for some reason, Quinn automatically reached out a hand to steady her. It felt natural for some reason to take hold of Rachel's smaller hand in her own. The warmth and smoothness of her skin was comforting and welcome.
When Quinn realized what she was doing, she snatched her hand away as if the fire had come back. By that point Rachel was on her feet, though still not entirely steady. She looked pale. As Quinn watched her, she dazedly brought a hand up to the back of her head.
"Rachel!" Finn had lumbered to his feet some distance away and was rapidly approaching, his face arranged in what could be called a worried expression. "Are you alright?"
"I think so. I hit my head, but I don't appear to be suffering anything other than a headache."
"Well that's good. I wonder what all of that was. You felt it right?"
"Yes." Rachel looked around, and then remembering that she had been helped up, looked down at Quinn, still sitting on the floor and watching her conversation with Finn. "Oh, Quinn! Here let me help you." She reached out a hand but Quinn batted it away impatiently.
"I can get up by myself, thanks." For some reason, even though Rachel was quite used to Quinn's acidic attitude, her tone stung more than usual. It sunk deep in her heart and suffered there.
"Come on, Rach. Quinn's fine." Rachel allowed Finn to pull her away as Quinn stood up. They didn't leave right away, Puck and Artie both stopped Finn to talk to him on their way out. While Finn talked with his friends, his large hand heavy around hers, she looked back at Quinn.
Quinn had been accosted similarly by Santana and Brittany, though out of the three of them only Brittany seemed interested in talking. Quinn looked away from her friend's bright blue eyes, unconsciously seeking something else out.
Their eyes met, and Quinn had a strange feeling that she was staring across time and space instead of a quickly emptying choir room.
And then their moment was over with the quick tug of Finn's hand at Rachel's wrist. She turned to him with a smile, wide and dazzling, and for the first time in a long time Quinn felt her chest tighten painfully.
Time stands still
beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything
What's standing in front of me
Every hour has come to this
And I'll be sitting on your back porch, trying to figure out who you are, made in a factory of simple parts.