Rachel was sure this was not how playground equipment was meant to be used. She was sure the blonde woman clambering up the yellow twisty slide, backwards, was about to do herself a serious injury, and she was sure she'd have an aneurysm if she kept watching, so she averted her eyes, for a moment. She had warned them, and it would not be her fault if she ended up escorting her incorrigible girls to the emergency room due to 'juvenile horseplay that is expressly forbidden on the sign, Quinn!'
When she looked back, the same blonde was clinging to the outside of the playground bridge, reaching through the slats to tag a miniature, giggling version of herself. Rachel jumped slightly as the woman's foot slipped off the thin ledge, and exhaled when she caught her balance by grabbing onto the bars.
She saw the child taunting Quinn before taking off to the monkey bars. And then she saw her wife prepare to jump.
Rachel shot up off her picnic blanket like she had caught fire.
"Quinn!" She stormed over to the playground and stood under the blonde, subconsciously and ridiculously prepared to catch the woman if she fell.
"Don't you dare jump off that bridge!"
Quinn whipped her head around, eyebrows raised, while the child laughed merrily, dangling from the monkey bars.
"Rach, it's like four feet down. And it's grass. I'm not leaping off the Empire State Building…"
Rachel did not look amused. "So? Grass won't prevent you from splitting your head open when you land on it! Or breaking your legs so your knees bend backwards!"
She paused for a few seconds, her expression morphing from exasperated to thoughtful.
"Why have we not been to the Empire State Building yet? Three years in New York and we still haven't…" Rachel trailed off as Quinn narrowed her eyes at her, lips quirked up in amusement.
"Well I would love to go-"
"Stop trying to change the subject! Get down!"
Quinn just stared at her wife.
"Please climb down sweetie?" The brunette pouted, making Quinn smile.
"Mama!" Beth yelled from the other side of the playground, still hanging from the monkey bars.
"Mommy can't touch the ground! If she does it's lava so she'll die and she has to tag me first. We're playing Shark!"
Rachel furrowed her brow trying to figure out just how many games had been mashed together into that sentence.
She made it to three and failed to notice Quinn's growing grin or her excited "Catch me!"
Quinn leaped lightly backwards and landed right in front of Rachel, falling heavily into her wife and dragging them both down. She started laughing at the belated shrieking coming from underneath her and tickled the loud, squirmy body.
"Beth! Beth help! This-This aarrggghhh- This crazy blonde person is attack-attacking me!"
Beth dropped from the monkey bars and ran over. "I'll save you Mama!"
She tried yanking on the woman's arms and legs, to no avail, and decided to just pull off her mom's shoes.
Quinn finally realized that Beth was methodically removing articles of her clothing as her jacket dangled from one arm and the only thing on her feet was a sock. She stood up, still laughing and trying to regain her breathing.
She held out a hand for Rachel, who looked a little dazed and annoyed, but was valiantly trying to hide a smile, and pulled her up with a smirk. Quinn spun her around and brushed the dirt off her wife's back.
"See? Totally fine babe. I had a nice soft pillow to land on. A slightly shrieky pillow, but still."
Rachel whipped around with narrowed eyes and Quinn laughed when she caught the smile on the brunette's face, before it was blocked by their daughter, holding up a pair of shoes, a sock, and a…belt?
"Mommy can we have our picnic now?"
"Yes we most certainly can." Quinn answered, scooping Beth up and throwing her over her shoulder. "Mama just had to abandon it to make sure we didn't hurt ourselves…" She said in a stage whisper to Beth, glancing over her shoulder.
Rachel scowled and smacked both of their butts in faux-offense before taking off in the direction of the blanket when Beth wiggled off Quinn's shoulder to chase her.
"Quinn. Don't do it. Don't you dare do it." Rachel was whispering to Quinn, although her eyes never left the flock of birds that was slowly surrounding them.
Quinn held bread crusts in her hands, ready to toss to the animals, watching her wife's reaction with a smile out of the corner of her eye.
"Don't engage with them Quinn! They will never leave us alone." Rachel hissed.
"I'm not engaging anyone Rachel. You, on the other hand, have been eyeing that bird for about ten minutes. Should I leave you two alone, or…?"
Rachel finally took her gaze off the pigeon and focused on Quinn's mirthful eyes. Beth snorted loudly with laughter and got up to chase some of the flock away.
"That's the leader Quinn. If you don't watch him we'll be assailed from the sky."
Quinn ignored the scowling face of her wife and tossed a bread crust into the mob, still watching the smaller woman from the corner of her eye.
"Babe, I think you're just scared of- HOLY SHITDAMN OHMYGOD!"
Quinn shot up off the blanket in a panic as the pigeons swarmed the basket sitting at her feet. Rachel screamed incoherently, tripped backwards off the blanket, and grabbed Beth's arm to yank her in the direction of the playground.
Quinn quickly shuffled her way around the pigeons, when her heart started working again, going about ten yards further than was necessary, and rejoined her family.
"Mama! Put me down. I wanna chase them." Beth whined.
Rachel just clutched tighter and Quinn's hand latched onto their daughter's other arm.
"No! You'll be swarmed Beth! They're feral beasts and I told your Mommy not to engage with them, but what does she go and do? Now we're suffering some sort of Hitchcockian-"
"Caw! Caw! Rawr! Skit! Shooshooshoo!"
Rachel and Beth stared incredulously at Quinn, who started flailing her arms and gradually moving closer to the epicenter of the mob, seemingly oblivious to the spectacle she was creating.
"What are you a bear? A crow? Some sort of mental patient?" Rachel looked down at Beth when Quinn failed to acknowledge her words. "Your mother…She is seriously insane Bethie."
Beth just nodded and laughed, wrenching herself free as the last of the pigeons flew away. Quinn turned around triumphantly and looked expectantly at Rachel, like a dog who expects a reward for dropping a dead rodent present on the porch.
"Good job sweetie. You scared them away. But I have forever imprinted upon my mind the expression of absolute terror on your face when they swarmed you. And I can forever say… 'I told you so'."
Rachel smiled sweetly before sitting back down and wrapping her arm around Quinn, whose proud smile had dimmed slightly.
"When we do end this day in a hospital, and you're lying in that bed with peck injuries or a broken leg from leaping off some massive structure, at least I'll be able to think of that image and laugh." Rachel giggled and kissed her now pouting wife on the cheek.
Rachel opened her eyes and focused them on Beth's face, smiling at the sun halo behind her daughter's head.
"Hey honey, what do you need?"
"She went to the bathroom." Rachel answered, sitting up on her elbows.
Beth hesitated looking slightly guilty.
"What is it baby?" Rachel's brow furrowed.
"I…I was playing with my ball and…."
Rachel just stared.
"I didn't mean to! I swear! I got my ball stuck in the tree…and I need Mommy to get it down…" Beth trailed off quietly.
"Oh sweetie that's ok!" Rachel smiled, sitting all the way up. She glanced at the restrooms, about 100 yards away, and saw no sign of Quinn.
"How about I get it down for you?"
Beth looked hesitant and watched her mama stand up.
"Well…You're not that much taller than me Mama so you'd have to climb higher…" She trailed off as Rachel's jaw dropped and her eyes widened.
"Did Mommy tell you to say that?" Rachel kneeled back down, eyes narrowed suspiciously and an indignant look on her face.
"What? No I-"
"You know nevermind. Bethie, I may be slightly shorter than average but I am fully capable of retrieving a ball from a tree."
She strode off towards the tree and Beth caught up to her as she pulled herself up onto the trunk.
Rachel shimmied up to the next branch, still feeling pretty secure, before climbing onto the thin one where the ball lay. Beth watched anxiously from below; her mama was not usually one for climbing things. Well, successfully.
Rachel felt success within her grasp. She was so close. One more reach and…She lost her balance, reaching out to steady herself on a nonexistent tree branch before falling and landing solidly on the ground with a short cry. Beth shrieked and froze.
"Rachel!" Quinn was about halfway back from the bathrooms when she saw her wife fall and she took off in a sprint to reach her, coming to a sliding stop next to Beth.
Her hands hovered over Rachel unsure of what to do.
"Rach, Sweetie, are you okay? Where does it hurt? What day is today? Who am I?"
Rachel just moaned, scrunching up her face, and allowed her wife to sit her upright.
"I landed on my ankle." She whined, her eyes watering, and Quinn immediately moved to take off Rachel's shoes.
"It really hurts Quinn; I feel like I'm gonna throw up." Quinn heard Rachel's small, whimpering voice and shuffled up to her head quickly, wrapping her arms around her wife's shoulders.
"Beth can you get Mama some water please?" Beth nodded vigorously and shot away to the blanket.
"It's ok baby." Quinn murmured into Rachel's hair. "It's normal to feel sick; your ankle's like twice its normal size. You're ok."
Rachel just moaned and buried her head deeper into Quinn's chest.
Quinn couldn't just sit there and listen to that, so she reached under Rachel's knees and lifted up her wife easily, striding her way back to their car.
"Come on Bethie! Leave the stuff there; we're taking Mama to the hospital." She called out to her daughter, who came rushing up with a bottle of water.
In a quiet voice she spoke to Rachel. "Hold on sweetheart, the pain will fade, ok. It's ok..."
She looked for her wife's deep brown eyes, but they were scrunched shut.
"Oh Rach. Sweetie, you're not Spiderman. What were you thinking? You could've really hurt yourself!"
Rachel just moaned again and Quinn only held her tighter.
"Rach, stop kicking your legs around, the doctor needs to bandage your ankle."
Rachel froze, her legs held in midair dangling off the hospital bed.
"Ooh Ooh! Can I have a pink one? Please Quinnie Quinn Quinn?"
Quinn grabbed Rachel's flailing hands and held them in her lap.
"Yes baby. You've asked that seven thousand times, and seven thousand times I've said yes. Please hold still sweetie."
"Mommy, why is Mama acting so weird?"
Quinn bent down to answer Beth, but kept her gaze fixed on Rachel's grinning face and glazed eyes.
"Well, sweetie, Mama went a little crazy with her pain pills because she's too impatient and stubborn to read the directions. Don't worry though; she'll regain some sense soon."
Beth just nodded, relieved that her mother hadn't been permanently transformed into the excited fool currently bouncing her legs around and laughing at the doctor's failed attempts to wrap her ankle.
"Bethie, you really shouldn't comment on your Mama's…height. Ok? For your own safety. She just gets a little bit psycho about it and turns into a daredevil. The next thing you know, you're sprinting through a grocery store while she chases you with a sack of sugar that was definitely on the top shelf, vaguely aware that you've lost a shoe and that she's covered in flour and is yelling 'See! I can do it!'
Beth laughed, remembering the incident that happened a week ago and Quinn smiled fondly at Rachel, shaking the hands she was holding gently to get her attention.
"Rach, honey, I love you, but you're giving me anxiety issues here. Seriously, if you stop fidgeting, we can stop for ice cream on the way home!"
Rachel ceased her movement and looked up at Quinn in awe.
"Really?" she whispered.
Seven seconds later, Rachel looked like she was having an extremely difficult time trying to control herself. The whole upper half of her body was squirming. Quinn placed her hands on her wife's thighs to make sure she didn't start flailing again, watching her closely.
Rachel looked very pleased with herself as the doctor finally finished. She grinned widely at Quinn and flung herself off the bed into the blonde's arms.
"Whoa, easy there killer!" Quinn stumbled slightly, brushed the bangs out of Rachel's red, delirious face and wrapped an arm around her for support.
"Yes wonderful lovable gorgeous adorable sweetie-pie Quinnie Quinn?" Rachel said excitedly, her head on Quinn's shoulder, looking up into hazel eyes in wonder.
Quinn smiled and tilted her head.
"This morning, who did you say would end up in the hospital? I forgot."
Rachel thought seriously for a moment and then pouted, very exaggeratedly because of the pain pills, making Quinn laugh.
Quinn scooped up her wife and tickled her sides until Rachel started giggling; she grabbed Beth's hand, and led her family out of the hospital doors, back to the park where all their belongings had been abandoned on a picnic blanket.