AN: So this is the end! Thanks to everybody who stuck with this from JOTKOR, everyone who left sweet messages, happy comments…Thanks for all your patience. There won't be another sequel, but one-shots are a possibility. In the end, I hope it's made you guys smile.
Still off the Key of Reason
Chapter 36: Old Like Elephants, Part 2
Rachel wrung her hands nervously outside of the small, blue building. She'd visited in the weeks prior—checked the place out—just to make sure it wasn't an undercover crack house or situated on an old radioactive dump site or train tracks. It was actually only two blocks away from her apartment, and it was charming and bright, shaded by trees, with a well-maintained fence and garden and a new "Rosalind Rhymer Pre-School" sign out front.
She had conducted a full investigation and come away with nothing negative to say about the place.
Now, Rachel was rethinking everything—every decision she'd ever made—and Quinn caught up to her, pushing Emmie's stroller and chattering away to her daughter. James sat on her shoulders with one hand tangled in her hair and the other yanking on her ear.
Rachel faced her abruptly. "I think we should turn around."
Quinn lifted a brow, glanced at the building.
"Two and a half is so young. We should just wait until he's three. And this place isn't really—their reputation-"
"Is stellar." Quinn said. She pried James's arms from around her forehead and stepped in front of Rachel. "You had a tour of the place, babe. You saw the other kids, you talked to the parents."
They could all be pawns in somebody's elaborate, illegal game.
Rachel listened glumly.
"It's a nice place. Everybody's happy."
"You happy, mama?" James queried distractedly, wrapping his arms back around Quinn's head. "I'm happy when—um, ice cream."
Rachel fidgeted a bit desperately with her hands. "But we can't just—we can't just leave him here!"
She would have to homeschool. There was no other option. She'd just forget about ever returning to Broadway or doing a show on the West End like she'd planned so that she could spend all of her time with her babies.
Quinn stilled her hands, squeezed her fingers, said, "Rachel, you are four minutes away."
Four minutes. The length of time a person could survive without oxygen.
Rachel's eyes widened and Quinn noticed, a little alarmed. James began loudly singing his "ABCs" in the silence, and it was just fuel for Rachel's fire. Quinn could keep reading to him, and Rachel could keep playing with his animal alphabet flashcards, and James would be just fine. Pre-school could wait. He was probably prepared for second grade already.
All other toddlers were inferior to hers.
"You know Pooh's Grand Adventure?"
Rachel nearly rolled her eyes. She'd only seen it about seven thousand times.
"Don't look like that." Quinn scolded, smiling. "Listen to me."
"I already know what you're going to say. It's-"
"Christopher Robin goes to school." Quinn said loudly, drowning her out, swinging their hands between them. "And he leaves a note to tell Pooh and everybody where he's gone, but Pooh gets honey all over it and Owl reads it and tells—tells everybody that Christopher Robin has gone to 'skull' instead of 'school,' and a skullasaurus is after him."
Quinn slowed her words, shook her head around. James copied her and Rachel tried not to smile.
"So they go—they all go to Skull Cave to find him, and they run into loads of problems, and Pooh can't remember what Christopher Robin used to tell him—the whole, you're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think thing. He keeps getting the words all mixed up, and then he's—he gets stuck in a pit, and Christopher Robin is the one to come and rescue him with a honey pot."
"Christopher Robin tells Pooh that he'll go to school the next day, but he'll come home." Quinn lowered her voice, blinked to contain herself. "And Pooh understands, and he misses him, but he trusts that Christopher Robin will come home every day."
Rachel lifted an eyebrow, amused. "So I'm Pooh in this scenario?"
"Pooh Bear." James laughed brightly.
He tipped backwards, testing it out, and Quinn seized his wrists to keep him upright on her shoulders.
"Just—he'll come back, baby." Quinn assured softly.
Rachel bit down on her bottom lip. Her resolution was slipping. She always went back to what Quinn had told her years ago, the day she proposed, how hippos are born underwater and something about leaving the forest despite your fears. It was frightening, it was new, but Rachel would still have her baby girl at home to love on, to keep her from sleeping and to spit up milk on every surface of the house.
"Okay." Rachel nodded determinedly.
She reached up and plucked James from Quinn's shoulders, stood him on the ground and held his hand, just so they'd all be able to fit through the door.
The first room was a check-in and cubby area, and Quinn followed Rachel inside, bumping the stroller over brightly colored rubber mats. She critically eyed the illustrated counting and alphabet posters while Rachel greeted one of the teachers with a somewhat forced, cheery, "Hi, Mrs. Carragher!"
James remained a step behind Rachel while the woman approached. Her hair was light and neat and curled, eyes smiling and green, arms stained with finger paint and burdened with a bucket of plastic toys.
"Good morning, Mrs. Berry." She chirped, and then waved sweetly at James. "Good morning, honey."
Quinn rolled the stroller over and remained a step behind Rachel, level with James. Rachel smiled to herself.
"And you must be Quinn." Mrs. Carragher held out her hand and Quinn took it firmly, watched her lips before settling on her eyes. "I'm Anne Carragher. The children call me Mrs. C."
Quinn nodded slightly. She stuck her hands into her dress pockets and stepped back. "Do you—where did you go to college?"
Rachel caught the flash of surprise in Mrs. C's eyes, but the woman held Quinn's gaze and answered, "NYU, actually. A long time ago."
"What—what degrees do you have?"
"Baby." Rachel whispered, smothering her smile.
Of course Quinn would be concerned that James's pre-school teacher wasn't smart enough. She couldn't have him surrounded by morons.
Mrs. Carragher squared her shoulders, smiling. "I have a Bachelor's in primary education, a Master's in early childhood education, and twenty-five years of experience."
Quinn nodded. She seemed to remember after a moment and quickly added, "It's nice to meet you."
"Is James ready for us? We're excited to have him today."
Rachel crouched down by James, who watched her nervously, picking at the buttons on his little Polo.
"Are you ready for school, Jimbo?" Rachel asked, injecting far more enthusiasm into her voice than she was actually feeling. "This is the place I was telling you about."
James's mouth remained firmly shut. His eyes began to water.
Quinn planted a hand on Rachel's head—because it would amuse James—and leaned over. "Hey Jem, do you know what I can see through that door right there?" She pointed towards the door to the main classroom and Rachel let out an exaggerated, excited gasp.
James's brow furrowed. He shook his head slightly.
Quinn whispered, "Well, I can see a Thomas the Tank Engine train set."
Rachel turned to her wife, feigning confusion. "I thought you were talking about all that Play-Doh."
James bit his lip and rocked on his heels. He glanced away, and Rachel looked over to find Mrs. C digging through her bucket of toys and coming up with a large, plastic elephant. She crouched next to Rachel and held up the toy, smiling warmly.
"Would you like to take this and play in the classroom, James?"
Rachel's heart hammered waiting for his response. His mouth remained shut.
"Some of the other children are already here." Mrs. C pressed. "I'm sure they'd love to share their toys. There's another little boy who likes Thomas the train as much as you do."
Quinn hummed like she doubted that and Rachel chuckled.
James nodded though, silently, and Rachel could see the anticipation in his eyes. She wrapped him in a hug and kissed all over his fluffy hair, told him she loved him, and he forgot that he was trying to be quiet and laughed loudly. Quinn caught him next, blew a raspberry against his neck and made sure Barnaby's tag was still in his pocket.
And then Mrs. C handed him the elephant, and he wouldn't say a word, but the delight was evident on his face. With a final wave, he went into the classroom, and Rachel bit into her cheek to contain herself.
"Just five hours, baby." Quinn smiled, pulling her into a hug. "He'll come home."
Rachel knew it. She'd make sure of it, but she'd miss him every minute.
Rachel read the final draft of Quinn's book at night, when Emmie could sleep for more than two hours at a time and the apartment was silent and nobody needed her attention. She liked being able to look over at Quinn when she hit a particularly touching or genuine or funny passage, to just watch her sleep, drooling a little bit on Rachel's pillow.
Sometimes she'd be so charmed by her wife's mind that she'd have to put the book down and love on her for a bit. Other times—like when she saw that Quinn included a slightly altered story of Rachel vomiting from heat exhaustion into a trash can at a 5k—Rachel would scoff and spitefully steal all the blankets.
It would backfire though, because Quinn would just plaster herself to Rachel in the night to warm up.
The first line in the book was, "It never occurred to me that I would get here, with half my arm in a grizzly bear's mouth and my wife on the other side of the glass, so visibly terrified that I'd be mauled."
Rachel smiled to herself—she'd read the whole tale twice by now, lived it herself—and thumbed through the rest of the pages, waiting for the radio host to set up. It had been Tina's idea to do a radio interview, just to personally introduce Quinn's book to the world, and Rachel had been shanghaied into participating because Quinn had been daunted by the prospect.
"I'll sound like a moron." Quinn bemoaned as soon as Tina pitched the idea. She'd looked stricken, and Rachel had responded with, "No, you're clever, remember?"
Quinn was unamused, bent forward over her cereal.
"Just speak slowly, bear." Rachel assured. "You'll be fine."
And then Quinn had looked at her—really studied her for a moment, with an idea in her eyes—puffed out her cheeks, played with Rachel's fingers, pressed all of Rachel's buttons. She knew exactly what she was doing, and Rachel had sighed heavily and agreed before Quinn could even ask.
Now, Rachel's goal was just to support her wife and assure her own fans that she was still alive and well.
Brian, their enthusiastic, bespectacled interviewer, spun his rolling chair around and drummed his palms against the table. "Aaaand…we're back." He drawled into his mic, winking at Quinn.
Quinn's leg bounced wildly and Rachel attempted to hold it still.
"Joining us this morning is Quinn Fabray, fabricator of those fabulous autism awareness runs in the park none of us are able to finish, and author of the book of the season, Keys of Reason."
Rachel grinned exaggeratedly at her wife and mouthed, "Book of the season."
"At her side is Rachel Berry," Brian continued, "a Broadway favorite—most recently of the stellar revival of Hello, Dolly—wife, and mother of two."
"Hi, sweethearts!" Rachel chirped into the microphone.
Brian grinned. "Are they listening now? Are they old enough?"
They were definitely listening. It was pancake morning at Sam's and there was no doubt that the radio was the center of attention, unless Emmie was drowning it out with her woes or chocolate chips had proved to be too large of a distraction for James.
"James is nearly three and Em's ten months." Rachel said.
Brian winced sympathetically.
Rachel laughed, insisted, "No, we love it."
"Quinn doesn't seem to agree with you there."
Quinn cut her gaze to him, eyes narrowed, and Rachel snorted quietly because her wife had obviously been off in her own world, staring at the posters on the wall and wondering what to have for lunch. Her knee resumed bouncing under Rachel's hand.
"Let's talk about the reason you're here." Brian suggested brightly. "Now folks, for those of you who don't know, Keys of Reason comes out this Friday, nationwide. Quinn, can you tell us what it's about? It's autobiographical, correct?"
Quinn's breath hitched. "It's—yes, sort of." She shook her head, let her eyes flit around while she gathered her thoughts.
"The book is—it's just tales from my experiences, all strung together and polished in places to make something that's-" Quinn shrugged, glanced at Rachel, "-that'll hopefully make you laugh or cry. Or eat, maybe. Pancakes. Just feel something. It does—it does have a point."
Rachel stared proudly at the side of her wife's head.
"So what would you say the message is?" Brian wondered. "What do you hope people take away from this?"
Quinn smiled. "It's—everybody is odd. Everybody has some crazy in them, and everybody has people out there who will love them for it. Even—even if they haven't found you yet."
"Are there a lot of crazy stories in the book?"
Quinn tipped back in her chair, side-eyed Rachel.
Brian caught on and smiled. "Will we get to read about how Broadway sensation Rachel Berry acts at home?"
Rachel sat forward immediately, seizing her mic and knocking her knee into the table. "Uh, yes." She said, indignant. "But don't let Quinn sway your opinion of me, dear fans. If you come across a certain chapter detailing how I catapulted from a yoga ball and kicked Quinn in the face, take context into account."
Quinn laughed. "Baby, there's no good context for-"
Rachel shushed her loudly and gestured for Brian to continue.
"What inspired you to write this, Quinn?" he asked, amused.
There wasn't even a second's hesitation. Rachel awwed into her mic.
"She's impossible." Quinn continued sagely, eyeing her wife. Rachel's expression dropped abruptly.
"And…she's ridiculous. I don't even—I don't know how she got me to marry her. And everything she-"
"Uh, excuse me." Rachel interrupted loudly, reaching for the microphone.
Quinn plowed on, "And everything she does-" She paused and shook her head, stared seriously at Brian. "It's actually—you know, Emperor penguins—the mothers leave the eggs in the care of the fathers and then walk seventy-five miles back—back to the sea for food, where loads of them are eaten by whales and seals."
"And it's not even walking. They don't—they're not really ambulatory, so it's more of a wobbling waddle and a sort of ice toboggan-"
Quinn cut herself off when Rachel tapped her thigh.
"Where were you going with that, Quinn?" Brian chuckled.
Quinn's mouth dropped open, unsure, and Rachel quickly sat up to her own mic. "Quinn knows I'd walk seventy-five miles and be eaten by a killer whale for my babies."
She knew it would get a laugh, and she knew that what Quinn was saying was more than that. She could see it in her eyes, her grateful gaze. Rachel was accustomed to hearing "I love you and everything you do" through a fast jumble of words and animal tales, and she wouldn't have it any other way.
Brian pulled out a stack of index cards and thumbed through them. "We've got some fan questions now for you both, if that's alright."
"Of course!" Rachel enthused, settling back in her seat.
"First one," Brian grinned at what was written on the card, "Do you plan on having any more kids?"
"We want seven, like the von Trapps." Rachel answered brightly, ignoring Quinn's snort.
She'd ruled out having a family band—though Emmie would certainly shine in one—and now seven was an abstract number she'd chosen just because it would be vibrant and loud and loving. Nobody would ever be alone.
Quinn clarified, "We haven't decided yet. We'll see," while Rachel contemplated breaking into song.
Brian flipped his cards. "Second question—at home, what is your favorite song to dance to?"
Rachel inhaled sharply, abruptly overwhelmed. So many days spent dancing around the living room, sliding around the kitchen and singing into a wooden spoon, tripping over animals. Nights spent laughing at Quinn deepening her voice to sound like Tom Jones, pitching unnaturally high for the Bee Gees and hitting all the wrong keys.
"Wake Me up before You Go-Go." Quinn answered, nodding resolutely. "Wham. That's the most fun."
Rachel was in crisis. How could she pick just one?
Quinn smiled, watched her.
"I think…I can't…"
"What about that Spice Girls one you do all the hand gestures for?" Quinn suggested, scooting closer. "Or that—what were you singing in the bathroom this morning? Franki Valli?"
Rachel nodded distractedly, hummed "Oh, What a Night."
And then she thought of it. The song she pulled out at least once a week, the epic show she put on with her wooden spoon, the voice distortions that would double Quinn over with laughter, the words that even James knew by now.
"Believe, by Cher." Rachel proclaimed surely.
Quinn snorted, broke into melodic laughter at just the memory of Rachel singing it over and over and over. Rachel smiled and rubbed her back until she could contain herself.
"Two more questions, ladies." Brian broke in, glancing at the clock. He smiled at the inside look Rachel and Quinn shared.
"First one—Rachel, do you have plans to return to Broadway any time soon? Any projects for your fans to look forward to?"
Rachel sat up in her chair, folded her hands. "I have no immediate plans, no." She spoke quickly when Brian opened his mouth again. "But, Quinn and I have been mulling over a trip to England, maybe six months or so. Maybe it would be just me, or maybe the London Zoo would open their arms for Quinn, but…the West End has always been on my to-do list."
She glanced at Quinn, who smiled softly and quipped, "Just say the word, baby."
"That's definitely exciting." Brian nodded enthusiastically, twirling his pen around his fingers. "This last question is actually mine, but I'm sure everybody's thinking it."
Rachel took Quinn's hand to focus her attention.
"How do you manage your two kids, your boatload of animals, your full time careers, without going crazy?"
Rachel stated, "We don't," right as Quinn sagely said, "Chocolate cupcakes."
They'd lost their marbles long ago, gone around some kind of bend and never returned. Rachel squeezed Quinn's hand.
"Do you have any advice?" Brian tacked on. "For families, kids, maybe individuals with Asperger's?"
"We…" Rachel glanced at her wife, unsure. She couldn't possibly be the right person to be handing out advice. She'd nearly tripped through the sliding glass door taking off her jeans last night.
"We just muddle through it and laugh." Rachel offered. "We dance, we like the little things, like chocolate cupcakes, bed time stories with Jay and Em. Quinn buys me jelly beans every week and I feed her cookies. We're well balanced and we talk and…you just have to love what you're doing, who you're with, you know."
"There are loud morons everywhere." Quinn said bluntly. Rachel narrowed her eyes, but Quinn didn't seem to be jokingly referring to her. "And it took—took me so long to figure out that there's only one loud moron who matters to me."
"Ugh." Rachel shook her head, unsurprised. "Shut it, bear," she said over Brian's laughter.
Quinn tipped toward Rachel, tried to kiss her cheek but caught the palm of her hand instead.
"I'm saying…do what you love and do it for yourself, and I promise you'll come across your own moron out there who will love you for exactly what you are." Quinn said, shrugging.
Rachel sighed exaggeratedly. She pulled Quinn back and held out her cheek for a kiss.
Quinn grinned, delighted. Right against Rachel's ear, she said, "I love you the best, baby."
Rachel was woken when a warm, heavy weight settled on top of her, and she groaned and squirmed uselessly, pushed against Quinn's smiling face. She kept her eyes tightly shut and willed sleep to find her again.
Quinn rocked lightly, impatiently, and kissed Rachel's nose.
Rachel got a mouthful of her hair, mumbled, "Ew, what is this?" She pushed tiredly at Quinn's shoulders and chest. "What is this thing on me?"
Quinn laughed loudly.
"Oh goodness, it makes noise." Rachel husked, blinking her eyes open.
Quinn tipped forward. "Do you know what day it is, little bear?"
Rachel smirked slightly and shut her eyes again. She threw out a, "Get lost," and attempted to roll over, but could only manage to press half her face into her pillow.
Quinn sat back on her heels, studied Rachel for a moment. "I think you remember."
Rachel's voice was muffled, her smile hidden.
Quinn remained quiet, eyeing Rachel critically. Her lips tipped down in an uncertain pout and she stopped supporting her own weight, draped completely over Rachel. She let out a heavy sigh and rolled her head against Rachel's shoulder.
She was ridiculous. Rachel snorted into her pillow.
After a moment, Rachel reached a hand blindly behind her and tugged on Quinn's hair. "Happy anniversary, baby."
She could feel Quinn's smile on her bare shoulder.
"You've been married to me for eight years." Quinn remarked.
Rachel scrunched up her nose. "Is that it? It feels like so much longer."
Quinn tickled down her side, rolled her back over so that her face wasn't jammed into the pillow. "Kurt picked up James and Em for the day, and I have a present for you."
Rachel grinned widely, staring up at her wife. She tucked her hand into the front of Quinn's sweats and tugged. "Do you?"
"Yes, but it's not-"
A loud crash from the hallway interrupted Quinn, and she froze, rolled off of Rachel, and thundered out of the bedroom mid-sentence. Rachel wasn't alarmed at all. It was probably a pet, most likely Cornelius. She sat up, crossed her legs, and was taming her tangled hair when Quinn walked in.
The first thing out of Rachel's mouth was somewhere between a cry and a laugh.
Of course Quinn would have a puppy in her arms—a golden retriever puppy with a too-big, blue collar trying to climb up her chest and launch himself free of her grasp. Rachel pressed her hands over her mouth and Quinn watched her carefully, settled next to her on the bed.
Cloud, Char, and Cornelius trotted into the room and plopped onto their cushions in the corner.
"I know Barnaby can't be replaced, baby," Quinn said softly, setting the puppy on the blankets. He sniffed around and tripped over every fold. "But he's—he needed a home, and he looks just like Barnes, and I thought you'd…I know you miss him."
Rachel nodded wordlessly, scooped the puppy towards her. He rushed forward eagerly, tongue lolling, and Rachel gave a watery laugh.
"His tag says Tucker, since the character's full name is Barnaby Tucker, but we can—we can change-"
"It's perfect." Rachel murmured. She picked Tucker up and hugged him closely, let him paw at her face.
Quinn smiled fondly. "He chewed through the lamp cord in the hallway and knocked that tiny table over, so watch out for glass when you step outside."
Rachel laughed and wiped at her eyes. Tucker rocketed upwards, connected his head with her jaw. He'd be exactly what she needed, a buddy for James and Emma to grow up with, the start of a new phase in their lives. Rachel wondered about quarantine laws in England.
She would've loved to spend the day with Tucker, but Quinn determinedly took off all her clothes, shut Tucker in the bathroom, and shuffled Rachel out of the apartment after two hours of rolling around in bed and strawberry waffles.
Unsurprisingly, they ended up at the zoo, on their usual bench outside the polar bear enclosure after having come in through the staff entrance. It was a cool day, and Rachel appreciated the sun, the pink flowers behind the bench, the Peppermint Pattie on Quinn's breath.
She hugged Quinn's arm, leaned into her side, and remembered one of their earlier conversations.
"If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?" Rachel wondered, smiling.
Quinn flipped her hand over so that Rachel could play with her fingers—pry them apart, bend them backwards, twirl around the wedding and engagement rings.
"Alaska." She said, watching Rachel.
Rachel scoffed. "That's not what you're supposed to say."
"What am I supposed to say?"
"I know you remember."
"Ask me again." Quinn requested.
Rachel narrowed her eyes, said, "If you could go anywhere in the world, bear, where would you go?"
Quinn hummed thoughtfully, eyes crinkled with amusement. "Maybe Russia, to see an Amur leopard."
Rachel huffed. She shook her head and pinched Quinn's palm. Quinn whined, kissed Rachel's head, snuck one to the corner of her mouth when Rachel was staring determinedly forward. Rachel trapped Quinn's hand between both of her own and met her gaze, eyebrow raised.
"Rachel, it would be where you are." Quinn finally said, chuckling like it was obvious.
Rachel patted down the collar on Quinn's jacket. "Yeah? Still?"
"If I could go anywhere in the world, I would go wherever you are." Quinn nodded. She was silent for a moment, and then added, "But also Russia, another time, probably. It's—the Amur leopard is critically endangered."
Rachel tipped back into Quinn's side. "Okay, honey."
It was about ten minutes later, when Rachel had nearly fallen asleep with her face in Quinn's jacket, that Quinn quietly asked, "Did you get me a present, Rachel?"
Rachel could hear the smile in her voice. She had, actually, and she sat up and looked coyly at her wife.
"Why? Would you like it now?"
Quinn nodded sweetly, bounced a bit.
"It's—I've done some preparing for it." Rachel warned, settling her bag on her lap and nervously fiddling with the handles.
Quinn watched curiously. "Take your time, baby."
Rachel took a breath, thought of everything she'd planned on saying. She blanked on literally every word for about a minute, and then shook her head and smiled at her wife.
"Quinn, I love you."
Quinn opened her mouth, but Rachel took her hand and kept speaking.
"I love you…when you're sick and grumpy; I love you when I'm asleep and when I'm away and when you're being an idiot; I love you in great big bursts and tiny little moments that just knock the sense out of me and I don't know why."
"Rachel, are you proposing?" Quinn smiled widely, affectionately.
She bounced her knees and scooted forward in her seat, and Rachel shook her head, so happy and exasperated. "Hold still."
"Because I don't—I don't know if you remember, but we got married about-"
"I wanted to thank you and tell you how much I love you and make a moment out of this." Rachel said loudly, giving Quinn a look that clearly said, "Shut your face."
Quinn sat back and watched her adoringly.
Rachel squeezed her leg and resumed with, "Thank you for picking my apartment twelve years ago, bear. And thank you for loving our babies as much as you love me, and for promising me forever."
Quinn sat quietly, eyes on Rachel's face while Rachel rummaged around in her bag.
"The traditional eight-year anniversary gift is pottery or linens," Rachel said distractedly. She glanced at her wife, smiled when Quinn scrunched up her nose.
"But I thought you'd appreciate this more than a vase or some sheets."
The sentiment, at least. It really wasn't an exceptional present on its own. Rachel pulled two Tupperware containers of chocolate pudding out of her bag and caught only a glimpse of Quinn's delight before she was bundled up in her wife's arms.
She laughed against Quinn's neck, pried herself away. "Until we're old like elephants and roll around in the mud and eat nothing but chocolate pudding, right bear?"
Quinn tilted forward and kissed Rachel sloppily, grinning through it.
They weren't quite that old yet, but their babies were talking and walking, their pets aging—Tucker had probably wrecked the couch by now—and things were changing, and it was Rachel's favorite part of Quinn's vows.
"I love chocolate pudding." Quinn mumbled when she pulled back. She eagerly watched Rachel pry the lids off of the containers. "This is—this is better than a proposal."
Rachel snorted, handed Quinn one of the containers and watched her wife dig in instantaneously.
"You trapped me eight years ago, baby."
Quinn shook her head and puffed out her cheeks, hurried to swallow. Rachel tugged on her ear, smiling expectantly. "No?"
"Twelve. I had you from that note." Quinn shrugged, smiled at her until Rachel's ears went red. "You're just lovely."
And then she laughed and pulled Rachel against her side, and Rachel situated herself so that she wouldn't get pudding in her hair. It always seemed to happen anyway—pudding, milk, icing, peanut butter, all of Quinn's food.
She sighed contentedly and played with Quinn's fingers, watched the bears sleep. It was still the only thing they ever seemed to do.
"But, of course, it isn't really goodbye, because the forest will always be there... and anybody who is friendly with bears can find it."
― A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner