AN: Just a quick oneshot that my friend prompted. It took off on its own direction (sorry Li!) but I hope you guys enjoy :)
Disclaimer: I don't own Glee
"Tell me what happened right before the crash, Miss."
Quinn blinked her eyes. Something was dripping into them, and it burned. Raising a hand to wipe it away, she saw that her arm was bound up and she couldn't reach her forehead to stop whatever it was that was getting into her eyes.
The person beside her repeated the question, and she tried to push through the fog around her brain so that she could understand him.
"What?" she asked faintly, squinting her eyes against the flicker of lights of the emergency vehicles that the man was standing in front of.
Something was still dripping into her eyes, stinging, burning. Quinn tried to wipe it away again and finally the officer noticed, and gently wiped it away.
When he pulled back and casually wiped his hand on his pants, Quinn saw the flash of scarlet. Blood. Her blood.
Her voice came out cracked, and she self-consciously pulled the blanket surrounding her closer.
The police officer just gave her a small smile, adjusted his notepad and cleared his throat.
"Miss, can you tell me what happened?"
"Quinn. My name's Quinn," she insisted. She didn't know why him knowing her name meant so much to her, but he looked at her pityingly and nodded.
"Alright. Quinn, can you tell me what happened?"
She blinked, trying hard to focus on what he was asking her. Slowly, sensation and realization kicked in, and the blonde started to shake. Memories flooded her senses, and her eyes darted to the grass, an almost neon green against the stark black of night, and the flashing white-blue lights of the police car.
"Come on, Q! You need to get out of here."
"I'm fine, Britt," she snapped, straightening the pillows on top of her bed for what felt like the hundredth time. She could never seem to get them directly in the center, and it was starting to bother her, "I need to stay here with Ju – my mom."
Brittany frowned at her slip up and pushed off of the wall where she had been watching Quinn clean her room for the past twenty minutes.
"You can't always be looking after her, Quinn."
Quinn waved away her concern and gave one of the pillows one final tug.
"There," she muttered, brushing her hands together and looking around the room for something else to do. Her eyes fell on the piles of papers littering her desk. Those definitely needed to be organized.
"Are you even listening to me?" Brittany asked sadly as her friend moved to her desk and started shuffling papers.
"Yes," Quinn replied, her eyes never leaving the papers in her hands, "but like I said before, it's better if I stay here."
"I just wanted to feed the ducks."
Oh no. Brittany's voice was wavering and against her better judgment, Quinn looked up. The taller girl's eyes were watering, and shoulders were hunched in defeat.
"Can't Santana feed the ducks with you?" Quinn asked weakly.
Brittany shook her head and rubbed at her nose, "She had an SAT class to go to and she won't be done until five, and by then the ducks are gone. I just don't want them to go hungry, Q, and it's been like three days since I went last time. They'll think I've abandoned them if I don't go today."
Quinn closed her eyes and let out a breath, letting the papers still clutched in her hand fall back onto her desk. It would be completely heartless of her to tell Brittany to go to the pond by herself, and if she started to cry, she would have an angry Santana on her hands. Then again, she couldn't afford to leave her mother alone. She was still struggling with the whole don't drink alcohol rule, and the last thing she wanted to come home to was a wasted mom.
"Alright," she muttered.
Brittany's head snapped up and somehow the tears had magically disappeared.
"You'll go?" she asked hopefully, unable to keep a small bounce out of her step.
Quinn sighed, but already a small smile was on her face, "Yeah, I'll go. But only for a little while, Britt!" she warned, but the girl was already jumping up and down in excitement.
"Yay! You're gonna love it, Q! And I'm sure the ducks will love you too!"
Quinn let herself be dragged out of her house, unable to keep herself from laughing. Brittany's enthusiasm was infectious.
She came back to herself – the rough coldness of the back stair of the ambulance chilling her, the rough pilled texture of the blanket that she was still clutching desperately to her body offering little comfort.
"So you went to the park?"
"Y-yeah," she murmured, "she – she really wanted to feed the ducks."
Quinn could make out the officer writing something down on his notepad before he looked back at her, "And then?"
"You have to break it up into smaller pieces, don't just throw them a whole piece of bread."
"Oh, sorry," Quinn mumbled, jamming her hands in the pockets of her letterman.
Brittany just smiled and plucked the piece of soggy bread from the water, quickly breaking it into smaller pieces. Quinn watched as the small group of ducks swam over to her, snatching up the pieces of bread and gobbling them down. Brittany giggled and held out a piece of bread to a small duck that hadn't gotten any. Warily, he approached her hand, examining it critically before snapping it up from her hand and quickly swimming away.
"You wanna try?" she asked holding out a piece of bread to Quinn.
"Alright," she said, crouching down by the water next to Brittany.
The taller girl grabbed her hand gently and placed a small piece of bread in it.
"Just hold it out – yeah like that. Now just wait."
Brittany sprinkled more bits of bread near Quinn's hand and soon the ducks were coming back, quacking and fighting for the pieces. One of the ducks came up to her hand, and Quinn found herself holding her breath as he looked it over. Then, just as quickly as the other duck had, his head darted out and he snatched the bread from her hand. He let out a triumphant quack and swam back to his friends, who were already swimming back to the middle of the pond.
"See? It's easy!" Brittany laughed, hugging Quinn.
The two of them moved to sit in the shade of a tree, watching the ducks swim around the pond. They fell into a comfortable silence, content to just enjoy each other's company.
"Thank you," Quinn finally said, turning her head towards Brittany. She hadn't realized how badly she had needed this, just some time spent away from home. Somehow, sitting here with her friend made her feel more like herself than she had all summer.
Brittany smiled and leaned over to kiss Quinn chastely on the forehead, "Anytime."
The memories were coming faster now, blending together in front of her eyes. She closed them to try to stop the flood of images, but they were relentless. She knew what was coming next, but she couldn't stop herself from remembering.
Brittany in the driver's seat, smiling happily and singing along to the radio, bumping her shoulder with Quinn to get her to sing louder. The stoplight, switching from red to green and the car moving as Brittany pushed on the gas pedal. Then… a blink and the silver grey shadow, almost ghostlike, had come careening towards them on the left. Brittany hadn't seen it. She was too busy looking at Quinn, eyes sparkling as she opened her mouth to say something. Quinn hadn't had time to scream a warning before the jarring crunch of breaking glass and the stark shriek of metal bending in ways it was never designed to hit them, and the warm embrace of darkness surrounded her, pulling her under.
She told all of this to the officer beside her in halting, unsteady words, the weakness of her own voice in the preternatural silence shocking to her ears. He finished his notes, nodding, not looking at her as he did.
He placed his hand on Quinn's shoulder, giving it a squeeze.
"Thank you, that's all I'll need."
Quinn thought she choked out a 'you're welcome' before he walked away, but she wasn't sure. A medic stepped in front of her temporarily blocking her from the harsh lights of the emergency vehicles.
"I'm just going to take care of that cut on your forehead, honey."
She leaned over Quinn to bandage the cut, but the girl wasn't listening. She was too busy looking around, trying to see where the officer had gone. More importantly, where was Brittany? She hadn't seen her since she had woken up.
An ambulance pulled away at that moment, silent save for the crunch of the gravel under the tires, only the headlights piercing the wall of darkness as it slowly slinked away into the night. The cold unfeeling sculpture of twisted metal, briefly lit in the lights and the reality, the silence like puzzle pieces fell into place.
She felt overwhelmed.
There were no tears. Quinn heard a roaring in her ears as something was torn to the depths of her soul. The would-haves, the could-haves, the should-have beens, screamed wildly through her mind.
She wanted to scream, to let out a primal expression of the horrors in her soul.
Her life, changed in a moment.
A single breath, separating life and death.
A single heartbeat, silenced forever.
A lone tear slid down her cheek, tracing a clean path through the dirt she had neglected to wipe from her face.
But suddenly, she could care less. Because Brittany was gone. And nothing she could do was going to bring her back.