snow white’s stitching up the circuitboards
[because someone needed to talk about how quinn hates mother’s day. references from fairytales. and joan didion and florence + the machine. because they’re kind of the same thing. listen to "wishing well" by branches because it’s beautiful.]
snow white’s stitching up the circuitboards
we still counted happiness and health and love and luck and beautiful children as “ordinary blessings.”
—joan didion, blue nights
one. heaven grows tired, now and then, of granting happiness to men
They’re in JFK, on their way back from National’s, waiting for their flight, when Quinn remembers.
Everyone’s going to get a snack, but Quinn’s tired so she walks towards the Starbucks instead to get coffee. Everything’s fine until Quinn hears Tina say, “I’ll be home for dinner tonight, I promise,” into her phone, and then Tina says, “Happy Mother’s Day. I love you.”
Every cell in Quinn’s body jerks in that moment, and she looks outside and tries to breathe and also simultaneously loses her ability to move coherently, so she just stops walking.
Everyone else continues on, and they don’t notice because Quinn was at the back of the group, so Quinn just stands there. She takes a shaky hand and runs it through her now-short hair to remind herself that she’s different now.
And then she feels gentle fingers gripping her forearm, and from the way her skin ignites at the simple touch, Quinn knows it’s Rachel.
“Are you okay?”
Quinn just swallows and opens her eyes, and Rachel’s right there, her face pinched with genuine worry.
“I’m fine,” Quinn says, but her voice is laced with unshed tears.
Rachel’s face softens and she just pulls Quinn into her own body tightly, hugging her in a way that no one else ever had.
Quinn cries a little, and Rachel steps back and wipes her tears. She brings her fingers gently to run through Quinn’s hair and smiles.
“I like your hair.”
Quinn shrugs. “It was supposed to make me feel new.”
Rachel’s brows raise. “Did it?”
Quinn stares at the floor. “Not at all.”
Rachel takes Quinn’s hand, leading them towards the Starbucks.
They’re quiet as they wait in the line, and Rachel insists on paying for both her—a tall vanilla frappucino, with soy milk—and Quinn’s—a venti coffee, no room—order, and then she takes Quinn’s hand again.
“Quinn,” she says softly, squeezing, “I hate Mother’s Day too.”
two. she seems to sink beneath its weight
Getting on the plane headed for O’Hera, Quinn hugs Judy tightly. Quinn’s still a little bit unsteady, and Judy’s teary.
“Are you sure you’ll be okay?” Judy asks. “You have your meds and everything? Do not skip a dose.” She levels Quinn with a glare before she continues. “Oh, and that hot compress? That’s been helping lately. And don’t carry your suitcase—Noah promised he’d do that. Don’t walk around too much before—”
“—Mom,” Quinn says, smiling gently, “I know. I’ll be fine. I promise.”
Judy kisses Quinn forehead and brushes aside her bangs. “Call me when you get there, okay?”
Judy nods and Quinn turns to walk away, but then she stops. She faces Judy again, hugs her once more. “I love you, Mom.”
“I love you too, Quinnie,” she says.
“Happy Mother’s Day,” Quinn whispers.
Judy says, “You too.”
Just when it seems like Quinn is never going to be able to let go, Rachel’s there, and Quinn backs up and Rachel takes her hand.
Rachel squeezes, and Quinn feels a little steadier than ever before.
three. i slipped between her fingers
Rachel takes the train to New Haven and they fly from there to Ohio together—Quinn falls asleep slumped halfway in Rachel’s lap, and when she wakes up Rachel is playing with her hair and grinning this ridiculously sappy smile—and then Rachel insists on carrying Quinn’s tote as they get off the plane.
When they get through the terminal, Quinn almost stops because there’s her mother, and Rachel’s dads are there, but so is Shelby.
Who is four now, and a mess at the moment, sticky with what looks like the remnants of chocolate ice cream. She’s beautiful, with blond curls that reach her shoulders and striking hazel eyes and a face that Quinn is sure has her bone structure.
And she smiles like Puck.
Quinn starts to cry but Rachel says, “Tomorrow’s Mother’s Day, and, you know—”
“Thank you,” Quinn whispers.
They kiss softly and quickly.
Rachel squeezes her hand and Beth rambles some story about dragons and Shelby hugs Rachel and Judy and Hiram laugh at Leroy’s joke, and Quinn just stands and thinks that she for the first time in her entire life, she has a family.
four. you always see beauty in someone you love
They get woken up at around 5:45 in the morning, and Rachel groans.
“They’re making us brunch,” Quinn says.
“Brunch isn’t served until at least nine, Quinn,” Rachel grumbles, then burrows into her wife’s side as they hear Alice—in a tone that somehow manages to be both encouraging and mildly terrifying—say, “Henry, that is not the way Mom likes her bacon.”
“They’re making bacon?” Rachel asks. She sounds worried.
“Alice is eight,” Quinn says. “I’m sure she can manage. Brittany’s been teaching her how to cook.”
“That doesn’t make me feel any better.”
Quinn laughs. “Relax.”
Rachel sighs. “Happy Mother’s Day,” she says, kissing Quinn softly. “You are a fantastic mother.”
Quinn smiles, bringing her lips to Rachel’s wrist, then resting them softly in Rachel’s palm. “So are you.”
They snuggle for a while longer, listening to their children making breakfast before Alice shouts from the door, “Moms, are you decent?”
Rachel laughs at Quinn’s slightly horrified face. “Where’d she learn that?” Quinn asks as Rachel shouts, “Come in!”
Henry opens the door, messy from sleep, his brown hair sticking up in every direction. He’s small for six but Quinn thinks he’s handsome already. Alice carries in a tray of food—undercooked bacon, lumpy oatmeal, coffee that Quinn’s certain isn’t actually suitable to drink, and plastic cups of orange juice. Alice puts it on the bed carefully and then Henry puts a little vase with a gardenia on it on the tray.
“Happy Mother’s Day,” he says.
Quinn’s sure her smile couldn’t get any bigger, and she almost feels like crying.
Alice says, “Mother’s Day is my favourite holiday because I have two moms.”
Rachel takes Quinn’s hand with an (equally) watery smile and squeezes as Quinn says, “It’s my favourite holiday too.”
references. (fairytales and other things.)
title. “blinding” by florence + the machine.
quote. blue nights by joan didion.
one. “donkey skin”by charles parrault.
two. “a history of griselda” by charles parrault.
three. “the straw, the coal, and the bean” by the brothers grimm.
four. “ricky the tuft” by charles parrault.
also, i wrote an author’s note explaining my thought process involving this fic.