A/N: this is kind of nothing really at all i wrote it ages ago and i just kind of found it again so here


He sees Quinn in her.

He sees Quinn everywhere.

And it's like with every step, every movement, she's becoming more and more like that girl he fell in love with a long time ago. When he loved her, she had longer hair, and she smiled more, and she knew how to laugh. When he loved her he probably knew how to laugh too.

Her hands are expressive, flailing about wildly when she speaks, a crazy light in her eyes, a desperation that cracks in her voice.

He watches her hands and wishes he could hold them. Her. Like it used to be.

Back when they both knew how to laugh.

We're doing the right thing we're doing the right thing Puck she belongs with us we're her parents it was a mistake giving her up it ruined our lives don't you see don't you see?

He sees it (doesn't really understand it) and there's something wrong about everything they're doing. He can't look Shelby in the eyes anymore.

He holds her hand one day (like a secret). He traces promises into his palm with his thumb, spells her name in soft whisks across her skin, watches her face for a smile or a laugh but she doesn't say a word, and she doesn't cry, and she doesn't smile, and she looks at him like the first time and the last time he held her like this.

He touches her hair and she flinches away from him like he's about to strike her and he remembers when she used to cry to him over the phone about her dad and his bruising hands and his alcohol breath.

He doesn't hold her like he used to (it's something new, but a little better, maybe).

She slumps against his shoulder, all tired eyes and slacked mouth. She's always so exhausted these days. He likes when she falls asleep next to him, a pencil and paper in her lap, her eyes fluttering like butterfly wings. Like the first time.

She murmurs to him, in a wispy breath, "We're doing the right thing. She belongs with us."

And he holds her (like the last time) and he kisses the part of her hair and she lets him and it's nice for a while.

He says, "You don't really believe that."

He watches her face crumble like it never has before and she cries and cries until she doesn't know how anymore. He touches her hair (she lets him). He kisses her and she lets him.

Loving her was always a tragic affair.