A/N 1: Thank you all so much for reading and reviewing this story. It means the world. I'm glad you've followed this adventure this far
A/N 2: And now...the very very end. So sorry for making you all wait. I hope this ends the adventure to Neverland on a happy and final note :) Happy reading.
"Through The Looking Glass" –
At thirty-six, Quinn Elizabeth Berry-Fabray can say that she's been on quite a few adventures in her lifetime. And as she traipses through the office of her shared apartment, the books in the large bookcases give her pause.
She studies the worn bindings in front of her that sit on the antique mahogany bookcase. Her fingers trailing softly against their spine- and as she passes, her hazel eyes rove over every copy before her; Her mind flashing unforgettably to all of the adventures that she's left behind.
"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"
By: Lewis Carroll
She recalls a particularly thrilling moment there. Her gloved hands and top hat falling crookedly off of her hair as her bangs swirl about her face in the snow flurries. And with fingers laced between the tan ones of her Alice she remembers leading them to Wonderland under New York City lights, their feet paving a way in the pavement. And as they reach Bryant Park, under lights and reflections in the early December moonlight they watch the ice-skaters and revelers wide-eyed and mystified.
With her cheeks cold and rosy with flush. She separates their joined hands with a devilish smirk to put even the Cheshire cat's to shame, as she disappears within the throngs of passerby.
Rachel stands transfixed by the ice-skaters and revelers as she waits patiently for her hatter to return to her. And she looks up happily – heart floating amongst the clouds as she watches Quinn walk up to her moments later with apple-cider and small treats for the two of them to share. And with a crisp cold air surrounding her rosy lips, Quinn blushes warmly before leaning in closely to whisper delicately into Alice's wondering ear...
"Tea Time, love…"
Another glance and her fingers are pausing against a familiar title. Quinn's lips tilting up into a delicate smile as her mind wanders to the not quite so distant recesses of her memory.
"The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring"
By: J.R.R. Tolkien
The air is dark and dispersed between them as they breathe heavily into one another amidst the covers. Pale and tan legs intertwined into an intricate balance between them. Quinn can feel Rachel's breath skirting, panting into the damp skin of her torso as they lie together. Eyes closed, and chests heaving – the only visible light coming through the naked blinds from the street below and the stars above. There is desperation in the way they hold one another. And Quinn can still taste Rachel on her tongue as her mind quiets.
But before she can flutter them to a sleepy close there is a smaller, equally spent body shuffling up her body, small hands resting palm down at the sheets beneath Quinn's head. The heat still radiating between them is wild and carnivorous and Quinn can feel the fire burning behind those dark eyes as they settle on her own slowly. She feels the backs of fingertips trail over her ribcage like a skilled pianists composition and she brings her hand to Rachel's wrist to still the burning motions.
"Rachel – I'm tired…let me sleep."
There is a chuckle to the brunette's voice, and while Quinn believes to be stilling the small roaming hands she forgets that her wife is still yet capable of utilizing her mouth, and a gargled moan escapes her lips when she feels burning lips descending wickedly to envelop her earlobe in a tryst of passion. There is a whisper to the brunette's voice now, and Quinn can hear continued labored breaths with every exhalation.
"Nuh Uh…I'm not finished with you yet baby."
And Quinn knows it; she can feel it with every soft gasp that escapes her tongue as Rachel continues her ministrations.
Her wife is evil.
And almost as if Rachel had set out to convince Quinn of this fact, she reaches underneath the blonde's head beneath the pillow while her lips rise up to meet the blonde's in a languid, burning distraction.
And Quinn barely notices the small box that Rachel's occupied hand emerges with, and she's so tired, and spent, and burning with want that she barely registers the thin chain being clasped softly around her neck. And when she finally breaks away from Rachel's prying mouth with a gasp at the sudden feel of cold metal against her burning clavicle; she looks up into warm mischievous eyes in confusion.
She brings a hand up to palm the chain around her neck as she sits up slowly to take a better look at it in the darkness. Her eyes flash when she sees the gold ring settled between her breasts, the engraving on the outer rim reflecting against the moonlight. Quinn looks up at Rachel, and her wife is sitting up with her now as she places a matching mysterious ring/necklace over her own neck. And as Quinn looks down to the engraving with furrowed brows she recognizes the "Black Speech." And when her eyes widen to meet Rachel's she sees her wife's impish grin.
"Happy Anniversary. I know we just came back from dinner and a private viewing of Peter Pan on Broadway…just for us. But I had one more gift for you – and as we got carried away in the post-date debauchery too many times to count…"
Quinn smiles knowingly, her chest still heaving from their last session as she reaches for Rachel's hand against the covers.
"I've decided to wait until now to give it to you. You probably already recognize it. It's one of your favorite books after all Mrs. Baggins... I took the liberty of copying the quote, but only some. I mean, I'm no Sauron, and the original thing's sort of morbid...so some of the words are different, but you love Tolkien so…"
Quinn smiles as she stares down at the inscription on her ring, noticing now that hers is different from Rachel's. And before she can ask what they each say the brunette is already answering her question.
"My ring says: 'One ring to claim your heart, one ring to find you.'
And yours: "One ring to never part, and in desire bind you.'"
"It's cheesy I know…but –"
And before Rachel can let the seedlings of doubt begin to twine together beneath her chest she feels Quinn's hand at her cheek stilling her with a soft touch.
Quinn visibly flushes as she recalls that particular memory, letting the fingers of her left hands wrap themselves into the pocket of her jeans as she bites her lip. The ring sits nestled beneath her t-shirt and as she shifts her focus down the large bookcase, she can feel it brushing against her skin – and she smiles.
Her hair is wild and she still has yet to brush it this morning, but she is distracted as she runs a steady hand through it as her eyes settle on another book, and yet another adventure...
"The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe"
By: C.S. Lewis
The bookstore is empty. And while the door jingles when Rachel opens it, she finds herself surrounded by dim evening darkness; the smell of parchment and dust assault her senses. It's a familiar smell, and while usually comforting – today it just makes her anxious.
A small note is trapped between her right hand fingertips, and when she had come home after a particularly grueling meeting with her publicist earlier in the day it was to find her wife missing, and a simple piece of parchment atop the dining room table. Her wife's familiar scrawl taunting her in black ink.
"Hide and Seek? Meet me at Harrison's. I'll be waiting…"
And initially Rachel had wanted to laugh at her wife's cleverness – but after arriving to an empty and darkened bookstore with no account of her wife or Andrea in sight – she feels a bit dejected. She huffs out a tired breath and begins a steady pace through the dark stacks one by one… she's tired, and not particularly in the mood for games anymore. It isn't until she reaches the aisle…that her brown eyes flash when she sees it.
A large brown door made of cardboard – it reaches to at least six feet tall, and Rachel smiles as she approaches it – her finger reaching out to open it warily.
As the cardboard door swings back she realizes that it is a box, a very large cardboard box full of cardboard clothes hanging on cardboard hangers within its painted cardboard confines. And at the end of the tunnel, there is another door cutout with small slithers of light peeking in between.
Rachel braces her hand to her chest and closes her eyes, smiling – because she knows exactly what she'll find on the other side. And when she opens the door to see little flakes of paper descending on top of her head like snowfall she looks ahead of her at all of the people waiting for her arrival.
Quinn leads the pack, and as she reaches up to place a little plastic tiara on Rachel's head she whispers into her ear quietly – leading her wife away towards a very long table set up in a small clearing between the stacks. It is full of food and treats and wine, and at the seats sit all of their friend and loved ones.
George sits adjacent to Dr. Redding, followed by a shy smiling Andie and at least half of her cast mates from the play. And at the head of the table sit her fathers, Hiram and Leroy—and as her bright amber eyes catch theirs, the bristles of a familiar warm breath stroke her neck and her cheek, as Quinn whispers into her ear softly.
"Happy Birthday my dear Lucy…"
Rachel looks up into Quinn's eyes, just now noticing the bright lion mane cutout billowing around her face in a silly embrace. Rachel smiles, wrapping her arms tightly around her wife's middle and burying her head into her chest when the tears finally come. Because…looking out across the table at all of her loved ones – she knows.
She can feel it in the way that Quinn holds her tight and dusts fake snow out of bangs.
She can see it in the way that Quinn knows her better than she knows herself.
She can hear it in her ears. In the way that her heart beats to a lover's tune; never truly having belonged to her at all. At least since a boy named Peter took it away to Neverland for safekeeping…and in Neverland, it will always stay. Because boys in Neverland never grow up – and hearts are made to love forever.
And with gripping fingers in familiar skin she follows her silly lion to the table to blow out entirely too many birthday candles to be accurate of her age. And with a beaming smile she watches as everyone around her eats and smiles and laughs as together they all swirl in their own little world of white.
It is here that Quinn pauses in her musings. Her recollections slowing on the fond memory and her heart beating to a familiar happiness that she all too happily remembers. It's almost as if this has become them – this adventure. It has followed them from Lima, to the streets of New York and back again. And Quinn remembers the journey through clear eyes. She remembers the love that they've worked so hard to keep. And as she finishes trailing her fingers over the time-worn books and timeless tales, and unforgettable adventures she stills at an empty space among the ranks.
It causes her to pause and her heart to still and quicken all at the same time as she wonders where on earth the pinnacle of her collection could possibly be. It sets her into a calm panic because Peter and Wendy is her past, and her present and her future. And as she sets out through their shared New York city apartment the ring on her finger burns as she twists it around the skin worriedly.
Because where is Rachel? And where is their book?
She needs her wife – or else she will fall into a puddle of grief – because their book, their prize, her and her wife's love…it is missing. She looks for it calmly through the kitchen, the foyer, the living room, the hall bathroom. And it isn't until she reaches the landing that she hears familiar voices. They are soft and musical and sweet, and Quinn slows her steps as she reaches pale walls and a Winnie The Pooh adorned bedroom door. The hinges held open at a slight angle.
And the voices are right there now – they swell her heart and begin to ebb the panic that had moments ago settled in – because she realizes…that this is all that she will ever need.
With a soft breath she peeks inside and what she sees engulfs her dreams and sends them soaring into the moonlight. And she knows…she knows. That although time is taking them slowly – for her and Rachel at thirty- six aren't growing any younger, she knows that their hearts – their love will never grow old.
And when she sees her wife look up with those same piercing brown eyes and smile just for her she smiles back, motioning for her to continue as she takes the small steps necessary to join those two voices on the bed. One musical and sweet, the other happy and tired with play.
And with gentle hands she reaches out to stroke the softest hair between her fingers, the warm body beneath her curling into her sweatshirt as Rachel continues on. The words flowing through the three of them softly as they lie back to listen carefully...
"All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs. Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, 'Oh, why can't you remain like this for ever!' This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up…"
"Momma…is this- does this story have a happy ending?"
Rachel pauses in the story, and Quinn turns to the brunette to look into her eyes – her gaze lowering to settle amongst the familiar pages of the lost book. Nestled warmly between Rachel's fingers. And with bright eyes she nods happily, a smile gracing her lips as she runs her hands through her daughter's hair over and over again. Letting the light curls wrap around her fingers as she leans down to tickle her softly before whispering into her ear.
"I think it does Alice…"
And Quinn watches Alice smile up from her curled up position next to her to smile brightly over at Rachel. Her small fingers toying with her Pooh Bear as Quinn pokes her again with a tickle.
"I like happy endings..."
And as Rachel leans over to wipe a small smudge of chocolate from little rosy cheeks, she laughs lightly at the two front teeth missing from Alice's smile. Marveling at just how similar those hazel eyes are to the larger ones right behind them.
"Me too sweetie...me too."