(I Want to be) Buried In Your Backyard
And when the flowers grow, just know you're still in my heart.
Life isn't like movies. It's not like books or musicals or plays. It's not formulaic and predictable.
No one bursts in to the court house and skids to a stop at the back of the room, clutching a cell phone and panting like they ran a marathon when they really just ran in from outside, just to say in a shaky voice that Quinn just got hit by a truck.
Rachel and Finn miss their slot and Quinn still isn't there yet. Rachel sends two more desperate texts in the remaining minutes, but this time there's no answer and Rachel can't help but feel a sinking in her heart. She thinks it's disappointment.
Finn scowls at her and squints his eyes, and she can hear Santana scoff behind her, when the court employee tells them they've run out of time. Then Finn stomps away, his heavy footsteps making thunderous echoes in the room and then the hallway. Carol shoots Rachel a tight smile and then follows, Burt behind her. Kurt takes a few seconds longer to give Rachel a look that she just wants to slap off his face. He's her best friend, but sometimes he's such a smug little…prick…that she can't stand him.
Everyone else trickles out after them until it's just Rachel and her fathers. They both hug her and whisper assurances that everything will be all right. Rachel barely listens, she's still staring at her phone and then around the court house, and then in the parking lot outside, looking for any sign of Quinn.
There isn't one.
It's not until she's in her fathers' car, feeling stupid for trusting Quinn, that she realizes something might have gone wrong. They pass a wreck; there are two fire trucks, some police, and an ambulance surrounding the mangled remains of a truck and the red car it hit. It's too bright and noisy for Rachel to pay any real attention to the scene.
Until they pass by the end of the ambulance, very slowly, and Rachel's curiosity turn her head toward the spectacle and she sees a head of bright blonde hair and a pink dress on the girl that's strapped to the gurney.
The streets are all violent
with murderous excitement
The hunter and the prey are dancing every day
That waltzing jibberish
where intake becomes outlandish
I'm in a bad way every passing day
The first time the hospital allows people, other than Quinn's parents, to see her, Rachel jumps at the opportunity. Santana nearly punches her in the face when she is challenged for the first opening. Finn holds Rachel back and gives Santana a benign smile. Santana doesn't look impressed, but she returns Finn's smile with a fake one of her own and pulls Brittany into the hall that Quinn's room is on with her.
They come out ten minutes later, Brittany with her arm over Santana's shoulders, and Santana looks like she has been crying. Rachel tries to prepare herself. For some reason, Finn's big sweaty hand wrapped around hers doesn't help.
Quinn looks like she made of tubes, wires, plaster, and slings. She doesn't look anything like herself. She's still the most beautiful girl Rachel has ever seen. Rachel tells her so while she carefully strokes Quinn's hand, avoiding the IV with a sick feeling in her gut.
When Rachel was six, before she had started her campaign to save all animals from cruelty as a side project on her journey to future stardom, she had trapped a caterpillar in a mason jar. It was a very small, green little bug and she was fascinated with it. Naming the bug was a difficult task, but she eventually arrived at Neal, and felt quite confident about her choice.
She can clearly remember dropping flower petals, from a purple pansy that she had plucked from the flowerpots her father's kept on the front porch, into Neal's little jar and watching as he cut out tiny semi-circles in the soft flesh of the plant. He gnawed in a circle, eating each petal from the center to the edges until nothing was left. It's an image that will stay with her forever.
When Rachel is eighteen, she remembers that image and thinks that if Neal is like guilt then she is the petal. She's being eaten away, one small bite at a time. Each pump and hiss of the ventilator, that forces Quinn's lungs to inflate with air, pulls just as much from Rachel until she feels like her chest is on fire from lack of oxygen.
Finn doesn't say anything, but his eyes are red rimmed when they leave after their ten minutes are up.
Quinn had been driving and Rachel…Rachel knew that. She knew, but she hadn't really thought about it. It was an unnecessary detail at the time.
Now, though, it's the most important detail. It's the detail that turns everyone's eyes on her in anger, sadness, disappointment, confusion and so many other emotions. Their judgments bounce off. She's already too full of all those things, plus unending guilt. It wouldn't do any good to take on their pain too.
A flash of dark interest steers us into this car crash
uniting our remains, a fiery hurray ...ay ay ay
Our hands touch unnoticed
pressed up against melting glass
You're calling out my name as the air escapes
There are always a few of them sticking around those first few days. Rachel never leaves. She doesn't know what the others think of her being there all the time, but she's just desperate for news. Kurt and Mercedes stare at her with pity; Santana sneers every time their eyes meet; Finn stands behind her or sits beside her and sighs a lot. She knows he wants to leave and she tells him to go several times, but he never does.
Rachel feels like she's being eaten alive by guilt, but that's not what keeps her in her uncomfortable seat. There's something else. Something she can't name.
The first time Rachel visits while Quinn is awake, Quinn smiles dopily at her and tries to laugh. The nurse comes in right behind Rachel, adjusts a few things and then leaves again, but not before she tells Rachel that Quinn will probably fall asleep soon because her drugs are so strong.
"I'm glad you're here," Quinn says. Her voice is so gentle and sweet, it makes Rachel's chest hurt.
"I'm glad you're here," Rachel manages.
Quinn's smile grows a little blank, as if she doesn't understand, but she doesn't say anything. Instead, she waves her hand around in search of Rachel's for a fitful moment and when she finds it, she plays along the lines of Rachel's palm, eyeing them with delightful intensity.
"What do you see in my future, Swami Quinn?" Rachel teases.
Quinn yawns. "You're a shining star," she says after a quiet minute. Rachel can feel a smile tugging at her lips. Then she hums under her breath and grips Rachel's hand tighter as she settles down in her bed. "You'll do great in L.A."
"New York," Rachel corrects automatically. Quinn just hums again. She mumbles something that Rachel doesn't quite make out. "What was that?" she asks and then ducks her ear closer to Quinn's mouth.
A shiver works its way down Rachel's spine when Quinn's warm breath tickles over her ear. "Imma be buried in your backyard," Quinn murmurs. She hums again, and then yawns. She's asleep before Rachel can demand to know what Quinn was talking about.
Santana and Brittany arrive a few minutes later, holding hands casually.
"Did she say anything good?" Santana demands immediately upon seeing Quinn's sleep slackened face. "Last time we were here she looked me right in the eye, cheesed like an idiot and told me she was peeing." Brittany giggles at the retelling, but Rachel is too confused by what Quinn said earlier to react.
"She said she was going to be buried in my backyard, which is frankly ridiculous because she's not going to die. They must have told her that she's doing much better. Right?"
Santana rolls her eyes and shrugs.
"I like that song," Brittany comments suddenly.
"Buried in Your Backyard." Brittany dawns a 'duh' expression. "Oh Megan, is this thing of ours still on? Because I haven't slept a wink since you have been gone," she sings quietly.
"That's the song Quinn was humming!"
"Yeah, she likes Nightmare of You."
When Rachel gets home, she searches out the song and listens to it on repeat the rest of the night.
"So where do we go from here" I'll say
you're a shining star, you'd do great in L.A.
and I keep fixing every habit that I break
Quinn does not look pleased when Rachel walks in a week later (she visits every day that she's able, but Quinn is only recently lucid for their visits), a huge smile slipping off her face quickly when she sees that Quinn already has company in the form of Artie, Mercedes and Kurt.
She somehow gets to hear the tail end of Kurt's sentence, which comes out as "…need to be petulant, Quinn." She can guess how the first half went just by the way he's standing with his arms crossed, legs stiff and his face turned off to the side where the only window in the room is just reflective enough for him to see his own face.
"Excuse you?" Quinn doesn't seem particularly shocked by what Kurt said, but Rachel can see Quinn's scary face coming from a mile away. "Did you not just hear what he said to me? I try to share my good news with my 'friends' and Artie says it's not going to happen."
Artie cuts in with, "I just don't want you to get your hopes up, Quinn."
Quinn rounds on him, a violence in her eyes that says she could tear him to pieces if she could get out of her bed. "We have completely different spinal injuries, Artie! Completely different! Stop acting like you know what you're talking about just because we have a similar situation for now. I think my doctors would know more about it than you." Artie, properly chastised, looks away with a guilty frown. Quinn turns her attention back to Kurt, who still hasn't looked away from his own reflection. "Do I know pain now, Kurt?"
That draws his attention. "Excuse me?" His defensive posture doesn't change.
"You heard me. Apparently my life wasn't horrible enough already, but this should even it up." Rachel has no idea why that phrase seems to make Kurt lose what little color he has, but it does and only Mercedes appears to understand what's going on.
Kurt plucks himself back up impressively well and turns his nose up at Quinn. "Your hateful attitude isn't going to help you keep your friends, Quinn."
Mercedes is sending wide-eyed glances between Kurt and Quinn, Artie is slowly rolling backward, and Rachel is just confused.
Quinn sneers at him. "Yeah? Well, we know yours won't lose you any, despite your insistence on behaving like a self-righteous prick."
Kurt huffs like he'd never been so insulted (and maybe he hadn't) and then turns on his heel and marches out of the room, not even sparing Rachel a glance. Artie follows quickly, but Mercedes lingers long enough to apologize for Kurt and tell Quinn she hopes she feels better.
When the room is empty, save them, Quinn stares stonily at Rachel for a long time, and Rachel contemplates what that expression is supposed to mean. She doesn't think it's defiance. It's more likely an attempt to make Rachel run away in fear, but if that's the case it isn't working.
Quinn blinks hard, and then her mask crumbles and she looks like she's about to cry. Rachel abandons the wall she had been holding up since her entrance and moved to sit on the side of Quinn's bed. A blonde head ducked against Rachel's shoulder and then she felt tears on her neck.
"I don't know exactly what's going on, but Kurt is wrong. You're not going to lose me, at least."
This time Quinn sobs and wraps her good arm around Rachel's waist.
Quinn is the only thing Rachel thinks about. They talk about everything when Rachel visits, when before the crash they only talked about major events. Now Quinn wants to know how Glee is doing, and what she uses in her hair to make it so shiny, and what books and movies she likes, and what Rachel's plans are for New York and what her back up plans are. Rachel is appalled at herself that she doesn't have a backup plan, or several, already in place. Quinn keeps her calm, assures her that she still has time. Plenty of great schools take late applications if you pay extra.
When Quinn asks when the wedding is Rachel nearly laughs. For a startling second she has no idea what her new best friend is talking about.
Rachel doesn't know what's going on between her and Quinn, but she does know that she hasn't talked to Finn more than once a week since the accident and almost wedding. She doesn't understand why he's so angry at first, but when she refuses his offer to go down to the court house for the third time, it starts to dawn on her that she just isn't ready.
She isn't ready to marry Finn.
Finn, in a fit of petulance that Rachel is quite used to, breaks up with her.
Rachel doesn't have time to feel sad because Quinn has a physical therapy appointment in an hour and she promised Mrs. Fabray that she would escort Quinn there and back.
Two busy days later Finn is at her door with a rose and a hopeful smile.
"Finn," she greets evenly. He thrusts the flower at her and she takes it.
"I brought you that because I know you like flowers." Rachel tries to think of a time she ever told Finn that she likes flowers. She does like them, but she has never said anything about it to him, and he's never asked. She lets it go. "I know I broke up with you, and I'm sorry. I was acting…rashly," he looks confused and Rachel can tell Kurt has rehearsed him, probably. Finn grinned vapidly. "And I want to forgive you too, for being all distant and stuff. I know you are friends with Quinn and she needs help right now." He pauses and looks expectantly at Rachel. When she doesn't say anything after a moment he continues with, "I want us to be engaged again."
Rachel take an honest moment to think about everything he said, she also takes a moment to realize that she hasn't had one thought of Finn since they broke up.
"No, I don't think so Finn."
She figures it out, what she's been feeling, why Quinn is just so important, on a Saturday at Quinn's house. Quinn is exhausted from physical therapy, but always (always) happy to see Rachel. They have a movie night planned and Rachel brings a large selection for Quinn to choose from.
When Quinn pulls Funny Girl from the stack with a small grin and announces that they're watching it, and that Rachel better not argue because it's her choice, Rachel knows it's love.
Oh Megan, is this thing of ours still on?
for I haven't slept a wink since you have been gone
Now I want to be buried in your backyard
and when the flowers grow
just know you're still in my heart
You're still in my heart
Two months later and Quinn is out of the hospital, off of bed rest, and back to school, but confined (for the time being) to a wheelchair. It has been a difficult transition, but Rachel has stuck with her like glue. Their closeness has surprised everyone. Before, they were unexpected friends, but now they're inseparable. Rachel hasn't taken Finn back, surprising everyone. Finn hasn't stopped pouting, surprising no one. And Quinn…Quinn has been walking, at least in physical therapy.
"Artie asked me out."
Rachel nearly drops the posters she's carrying. When Quinn announced her decision to run for Prom Queen again, Rachel jumped at the opportunity to be her campaign manager. "Oh," she manages as she recovers her footing. Quinn is grinning at her in a way that makes her heart speed up, even if the topic of conversation makes it want to stop dead. "What did you say?" Now Quinn is looking at her as if she's crazy.
"I said no, obviously." Quinn rolls her eyes and then rolls her chair farther down the empty hall.
Rachel can't help but frown. "I don't see why it's so obvious, actually. Artie is a really nice guy." It's not like Rachel wants Quinn to date Artie, in fact, she's happy that Quinn apparently turned him down. The feelings it pulls forth are not at all welcome though.
Quinn laughs derisively. "Yeah, except he treated Tina and Brittany like crap, and he's a misogynist, and he told me my legs would probably never work again, and he takes way too much advice from Puck, and," she paused dramatically and swung her chair around so she was facing Rachel again, "he had never shown the slightest interest in me until I got in this chair." She rolled her eyes. "When I pointed that out, he said that he was always interested, but I was never in his league and now I am."
Rachel purses her lips in the face of Quinn's ire and buys a little time by pinning up a poster with Quinn's smiling face on it. "He can be tactless," she allows, finally.
"Tactless?" Quinn raises one perfect eyebrow. "It was insulting." She huffs. "Why are you on his side anyway?"
"I'm not, necessarily," Rachel hedges. "It's just…prom is coming up really quickly and you're running by yourself…"
"You don't think I can win?"
Rachel turns her wide panicked eyes to Quinn immediately. "NO! I don't think that at all. Of course, you can win. You're going to win!" She bites her lip briefly. "It's just; you don't even have a date."
Quinn's eyebrow arches again. "Neither do you."
"I'm not running for Prom Queen."
Suddenly, the posters are snatched out of Rachel's hands and she whirls in time to see Quinn drop the stack on the floor. Then Quinn takes Rachel's left hand between both of hers.
"Do you believe in me?" Quinn asks pleadingly, looking up at Rachel through her eyelashes. Rachel feels like every muscle in her body is seizing uncontrollably, especially those in her heart and belly. Her hand twitches.
"Of course I do," she replies in a sincere whisper.
"Then I don't need a date or a running mate or any of that other stuff. If you believe in me, then I can do anything."
Rachel feels her heart explode in her chest.
When the flowers grow
just know you're in my heart …
AN: I don't know.For Mermaidandthedrunks. I know I said I'd do something from the Simple Parts verse for your birthday, and I do have something started, but this went much smoother and is better, I think, than my original idea for your present. Hope you don't mind too much dear.
Oh look, it's not even that angsty.