[the people we love make clumsy, shaking, graceful humans. the waiting. the reclamation. a combination of various requests:
1. aria, emily, & hanna talking to spencer about sexuality, quinn, love, etc.
2. frannie & quinn discussing life and specifically faberry. also sisters.
3. santana & rachel speaking about faberry. santana being santana.
ffn if you want. title from a gorgeous art piece by johanna billing]
This is How We Walk on the Moon
you’d come to earth again
you say, I’ve been
to the door & wept;
it says, what door
—Brenda Hillman, “December Moon”
It’s probably logical that it happens in a hospital waiting room. You’re all home over Columbus Day weekend—Aria from Amherst, Hanna from Parsons, Emily from Notre Dame—and Aria’s brother calls her from his friend’s house and says he broke his arm but he’s drunk and he’ll get in trouble if he calls their parents so he sort of needs her to come take him to the hospital so he can sober up.
Since you don’t get to see too much of each other—it’s junior year and you’re all getting increasingly busier—you decide to go together; plus you’re already used to waiting rooms. To waiting.
[Faberry evolution through Kurt’s POV, from before season 1, canon through current season 4 episodes, with faberry romance at the end. title and epigraph from robert hass’ “four poems.” references to 'i've got your number' by passion pit. also at ffn.]
giving them their graceful lift toward light
To study their shapes, because it is he
Who gets to decide
Which limbs get lopped off
In the kingdom of the dead.
Quinn is only beautiful the first time Kurt realises that she’s sad. It’s freshman year, in English class, and they’re starting a brief poetry unit. The assignment is to bring in their favourite poem.
"Would anyone like to volunteer to read aloud?" their teacher asks.
The room is silent, shuffling. Everyone looks down intently at their papers. Like Kurt’s, most are printed from the internet.
Finally, Quinn raises her hand, timidly, and the teacher smiles at her. Quinn does not smile back, and she takes a deep breath, tucks a strand of long, perfect blond hair behind her ear. She smooths out the crease in leather-bound book; it is not old, although it is worn.
"Four poems, by Robert Hass," she says. "Three." She licks her lips once, and it doesn’t give them any more life, doesn’t make them pinker. "You can fall a long way in sunlight," she reads. "You can fall a long way in the rain."
She recites the rest of the poem steadily, like she’s read it before and again and again, and it seems like the room exists entirely of Quinn’s voice, space and time being rounded up by her always-stuffy nose and pauses, the hitch of her breath. This is probably what poetry really is.
Kurt decides he does not like poetry.
Quinn finishes and the teacher thanks her. Her eyes are open wider and for a second she’s the most breathtaking thing he’s probably ever seen, the way that his mother was when she was in her casket at her funeral, her skin all perfect, her eyes bright, her jaw broken and set just so. It hits him that maybe if she cried he could love her, not in any romantic way, but with humorless sorrow, without choice, the way everyone falls in love with their friends.
Quinn closes her book. She blinks. All motion returns to the room and Kurt tries to understand that she is smarter than anyone else he knows, and that maybe this imbues her with an inherent sadness, and she’s stuck in language just the same as he is, the same language and the same hum of existence, and that possibly this is what poetry is really about.
Kurt tries not to hate her for it, but she stands and breezes out of the room, ignoring that he sees the little invisible nooses of her ribs too. He tries not to hate her, but he does anyway.
Her locker slamming sounds like her laugh, brittle and reverberating: A ghost.
[i promised frequent updates, so here you go :) title from florence and the machine’s “cosmic love.” i mention lykke li, so you should listen to "everybody but me" because it’s very quinn and very rachel and also it’s my favourite. i also mention zee avi. you can read this fic here, on my lj, or on ffn.]
three. the stars, the moon, they have all been blown out
"What are you up to after class on Thursday?" David asks, spinning his now-empty coffee cup around on the table.
"I have a thing right after, but then nothing. Did you have something in mind?" Quinn asks.
David raises his brows. “A thing? As in a hot lesbian thing?”
Quinn rolls her eyes. “Nope. A thing as in a doctor’s appointment.”
"Oh." David pouts. "Well, I have studio time reserved on Thursday evenings if you’d like to come dance. We could get dinner or go shopping after if you wanted."
Quinn smiles. “That sounds perfect.”
"Fantastic," David says, taking the sleeve off of the coffee cup and folding it carefully.
Quinn takes a sip of her tea. Her hands feel clammy. “I—um, would it be weird if I asked you to come with me to my doctor’s appointment?”
"Is it a gynecologist?"
Quinn laughs. “No, no. Just a checkup thing. I was in a car accident six months ago so I just have to go and make sure I’m not going to randomly fall apart.”
"That wouldn’t be good."
"I’d be happy to accompany you, then."
"Thanks. I just—sometimes I still get a little freaked out, and I usually go with my mom but obviously she’s not here, and—"
David raises his hollow cup and guides Quinn’s to meet it, clinking mutedly—paper against paper—in the air.
"A toast," he says, "to not falling apart."
[this is the first chapter of my college!faberry fic, as promised. it follows canon through s3. i’ll rec "1000 sundowns" by emma louise because it’s breathtaking. (you can read it here, or at my lj, or at ffn.)]
the art of boxes
so many people are shut up tight inside themselves like boxes, yet they would open up, unfolding quite wonderfully, if only you were interested in them.
one. box after box and you’re still by my side
“Don’t you dare touch that,” Santana says, walking up next to Quinn and bumping her hip lightly, pushing her away from the cardboard box sitting on the cement outside of her new dorm building.
“It’s not even heavy,” Quinn says, but she moves anyway.
Santana bends down and lifts the box, motions for Quinn to walk in front of her. “No way did I come all the way from New York just to watch you hurt your back. You’re pathetic in a wheelchair.”
Quinn rolls her eyes but as she opens the door she smiles softly. Santana walks by with a smile too.
Quinn follows Santana up two flights of stairs, making it to her dorm. She hasn’t met her roommate, but her stuff is already set up; there’s a Youth Lagoon poster tacked on the wall and a stack of biology and chemistry textbooks in one of the bookcases.
Quinn’s side of the room is currently five cardboard boxes, four suitcases, and a few totes full of pictures.
Santana puts down the last box, sighing. “That’s it then, right? I don’t have to carry any more of your shit?”
“I would’ve helped. And it’s not shit.”
“That’s not what I asked.” Santana sits down on the bare mattress.
“Awesome,” Santana says, lying back.
Quinn sits down on the bed next to her, and Santana takes Quinn’s hand.
“This is pretty nice.”
Santana sits up. “Yeah. It is.”
“My mom’ll be happy. She was worried I wouldn’t like the building or something.”
“So you and Judes are talking now?”
Quinn laughs. “You spent, like, half of the summer eating her food. At my house.”
“She’s a good cook. No wonder you were fat as a little kid.”
Quinn shakes her head with a smile. “Should we start unpacking?”
Santana sighs dramatically. “I suppose so.”
[an: this is the last installment with "mother please be proud (father be forgiving)" and "like a father to impress (like a mother’s mourning dress)". leroy’s rachel headcanon. faberry.
title from perfume genius. listen to "dark parts" because it’s sad and beautiful.]
your father before you (when all waters still)
but poems are not museums, they are machines made of words
— matthew zapruder, come on all you ghosts
one. one knock, i’m afraid; two knocks, don’t worry; three knocks, are you still awake; four, come quick
When Rachel is little, she frequently comes into their room in the middle of the night. Leroy hears her first, because he’s on the side of the bed closet to the door and because Hiram is a heavy sleeper.
Rachel sniffles and climbs up into bed, snuggling against Leroy’s chest, every time. She tells him about polar bears and people eating the last popsicle and getting lost in the grocery store and never being able to find her way out.
There’s a recurring nightmare, though, where Rachel says, “I just can’t sing. I can’t do it anymore,” and then she always gets very quiet when she tells Leroy, “I’d rather die than do that.”
He doesn’t chastise her, nor does he tell her to stop being dramatic, because he knows this is only a simple truth.
He comforts her, carries her back to her room, puts her in her bed, tucks her in.
Her little voice whispers, “Goodnight,” into the dark.
Leroy tells the voice, “Sweet dreams.”
The first time Rachel gets her feature roll—she’s eight, and it’s in a musical production of Matilda that her theater group puts on—she practices for hours ever night.
Granted, she’s really young and has so many lines, but she learns them, and she works on her tone and pitch and quality, and by 9 pm every night, she’s sound asleep, sometimes on the floor of her room, still dressed.
Leroy knows, though, the second he gives her a bouquet of a dozen red roses after her first show that she’s going to make it, that this will always be worth it to Rachel, because she’s crying a little and because her smile is huge even with a few missing teeth, and because she tells him, “I’ve never felt so happy!”
Leroy remembers state changes from chemistry, and knows that Rachel’s shift from gas to liquid to solid will always depend entirely on this—the lighter she is, the harder she will be to control.
[quinn’s and rachel’s headcanons from frannie’s and hiram’s povs, respectively. because i promised i would as a follow up to “mother please be proud (father be forgiving)”. title from sufjan stevens. i mention brett dennen so listen to "so far from me" if you’d like. trigger warning.]
like a father to impress (like a mother’s mourning dress)
that secret that we know, that we don’t know how to tell
i’m in love with your honour, i’m in love with your cheeks
what’s that noise up the stairs, babe?
is that christmas morning creaks?
(and i know it well)
—bon iver, “blood bank”
one. i think back to when my brother and my sister slept in an unlocked place, the only time I feel safe
When you come home from the first day of kindergarten, your mother tells you, “You’re going to have a new baby sister.”
You do your best to understand what that means, but sometimes you’re not so sure. Your mother’s belly begins to grow and stretch and swell, and you imagine a whole world in there, playgrounds and stuffed animals and bathtubs full of bubbles for your new little sister to play with.
Sometimes you tell her stories—ones that you’ve heard or are learning to read, or ones that you make up.
Your mother tells you one night that the new baby’s name is Lucy. You feel her tiny little feet kick against your small hand.
That’s the first time you sing to her, a song that your dad sometimes plays in the car, “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles.
When Lucy’s born, two weeks early at the end of May, and you hold her for the first time, you sing to her then, too. She wraps her fingers around one of yours and you support her floppy head carefully, like your mother tells you to.
Lucy doesn’t cry at all.
That night is the first time you paint her a picture. It’s of a rainbow, because they’re the prettiest things you know how to paint.
[i had such feels after seeing judy at graduation and getting to meet santana’s mom, and so this is santana and quinn’s entire headcanon through their mothers’ povs. drabble. faberry/brittana endgame, of course.
this is one of those things i had to write, so i guess this is like a little finale bonus fic.
mother please be proud (father be forgiving)
(so love me mother, and love me father, and love my sister as well.)
one. i think all of us are always five years old in the presence and absence of our parents
The second thing Maribel Lopez does after she sees the little plus sign on the pregnancy test—after calling David in tears, and he’s ecstatic—is open a savings account.
Because she’s pregnant, it’s easy for her morning coffee spare change to go into the account, and, for nine months, she doesn’t really think much of it. David makes plenty of money and he’s already receiving promotions at the hospital; they have a nice house, with a yard big enough for children, a dog, a swingset. Things haven’t always been like this—staying with David through his residency was a struggle—but now they’re happy.
And then that little baby is born, Maribel’s spitting image, a perfect (perfect) baby girl.
“Santana,” Maribel says, and, although she still feels a little out of breath, it sounds perfect against her lips.
She puts as much money into the savings account as she can after that, because Maribel wants Santana to have everything.
Maribel never drinks coffee in the mornings after Santana’s born, no matter how tired she is.
[au punk!rachel (kind of) and angst cheerio!quinn. because people had been asking for them and i was okay with that. (and by people i mean TS and one anon, so here you go.) also, just trigger warning for pretty much everything. nothing is graphic at all, but, just be careful.
i’m in your church at night
if you’re afraid in this world, say a prayer tonight
lay down and close your eyes, you’ll be safer in my arms
one. touch me and just turn away
It’s Rachel’s first day of school in Lima. She’s starting her junior year of high school, a new student after having moved from Cleveland, and during homeroom, she straightens her black skirt and tries to slouch as effectively as possible. She’s not cool, because she’s the second person there, but she sits at the back of the room instead of in the front row.
People eventually start to file in, and no one gives Rachel a second glance until a group of three girls bounce through the door, arms linked. Two of them are in cheerleading uniforms—and they don’t pay attention to Rachel either—but one of them is in a white sundress. Rachel notices two things about her immediately. The first is that she doesn’t look away from Rachel, not at all; she practically undresses Rachel with her eyes—pretty eyes: deep hazel; intelligent; dark. The second thing is that she’s wearing a cross around her neck, proudly, shining for everyone to see.
“Quinn Fabray,” Mrs. Jennings calls, and the girl’s hand shoots up and a clear, slightly husky voice says here as her gaze falls away from Rachel’s.
And then when this Quinn Fabray stands up at the bell—she’s even more beautiful then—she very sneakily maneuvers herself next to Rachel in the crowd of people and squeezes Rachel’s ass. Hard.
“Watch where you’re going,” Quinn says, but then Rachel catches Quinn’s smile as she walks—struts—away.
It’s the third thing Rachel notices and the only thing Rachel needs to know.
[weekly headcanon time! yippee! while these episodes were actually, like, enjoyable, and while i could watch an entire two hours of dianna dancing with less than zero objections, honestly, there are so many issues that they just leave entirely unaddressed with quinn. don’t worry. i address them. also, faberry.
title from sleeping at last. (awesome music 101). in addition, i cried like 5648043 times tonight, because of nostalgia reasons, so all references are from shel silverstein poems. listen to "home" by daughter because everyone who ships faberry just wants to feel like home now.]
from the ground up
yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
and we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
for the children, they mark, and the children, they know
the place where the sidewalk ends
—shel silverstein, “where the sidewalk ends”
one. i tripped on my shoelace and i fell up
There are things she tells herself, after she finds out, after she wakes up.
Things like: You will walk again.
Things like: One day you’ll be brave enough.
Things like: It doesn’t really hurt anymore.
Things like: You deserve love.
But sometimes she’s sure that her thoughts are lies, because she doesn’t really believe them at all.
Rachel comes two days after the accident—without Finn, without anyone else—and sits by Quinn’s bed.
Quinn’s sure she’s been there before—she seems to know the layout of the room—but this is really the first time Quinn’s been aware of it, although her words still slur when she talks and her vision isn’t necessarily all that sharp.
Rachel takes her hand.
“I like your glasses,” Rachel says.
“Oh,” Quinn says. “I forgot I was wearing them.”
Rachel smiles a little and then sits back, comfortably quiet.
“Do you want to know something?” Quinn asks.
“When I crashed—” Rachel closes her eyes— “like, I blacked out. But then I woke up.”
Rachel whispers, “Quinn—”
“—And what was weird was that my radio was still working. Like, my entire car was all smashed, and I couldn’t move and I was, like, coughing up blood and I couldn’t breathe, but the radio was still playing. My CD player, actually. I was listening to ‘Home’ by Daughter. Have you ever heard it?”
Rachel shakes her head, refusing to look at Quinn.
“Well it’s a sad song, but it kind of fit. It’s about going home and everything.” Quinn rubs her nose. “And I’ve never known that here on the planet. So I thought it was kind of a nice song to die to.”
A sob makes its way through Rachel’s body and she stands quickly. “I’m so sorry,” she says, then sort of walk-runs out of the room.
Quinn falls asleep to the same song, only in her head, it’s Rachel’s voice that’s singing it.
It still gives her nightmares.
[a history of quinntana. because i had unresolved quinntana feels after the last ep. it’s faberry/brittana for sure, although some of the early lines are blurred. title from ed sheeran (like, who hasn’t listened to him?). listen to "my oldest friend" by andrew belle to increase the feels.]
upper hand (the a team)
people are screwed up in this world. i’d rather be with someone screwed up and open about it than somebody perfect and ready to explode.
—ned vizzini, it’s kind of a funny story
one. there are two tragedies in life. one is to lose your heart’s desire. the other is to gain it
The first time you meet Quinn is at cheer camp, before Freshman year. You notice her right away, because she’s striking—literally, the most beautiful girl you’ve ever seen—but she’s also talented. Right away, Coach puts her into a group with returning Varsity seniors, and then she puts Brittany into that group, and then she puts you in it too.
Within the first two days, Quinn doesn’t say a word. She nods when given directions, but at water breaks or after camp ends, she just sits by her stuff silently, playing with a fraying little pink ribbon tied on the end of one of the zippers on her duffel bag, tucking a loose strand of blond hair behind her ear with gentle, thin fingers.
On Wednesday, Coach calls the group of girls obviously on her radar for Varsity to sit down in a circle after camp has supposedly ended. Quinn sits by Brittany, primly, criss-cross-apple-sauce, her back impossibly straight, and only looks up when Coach starts barking out orders.
“We’re going to get to know each other. Tomorrow we’re starting stunts, so state your name, your age, your favourite fictional character, and your favourite movie. I don’t care about these things but you all seem too, and the only thing worse than your sniveling faces right now is your sniveling faces after one of you drops someone else. Play nice,” she finally instructs, then marches off somewhere else.
Margaret, a senior and the obvious shoe-in for captain, goes first, then the rest of the girls in the circle go in order. They like A Walk to Remember and Mean Girls, and most of their favourite characters are from Twilight.
When it’s your turn, you say, “I’m Santana Lopez. I’m fourteen years old. My favourite character is Daisy Buchanan, and I like The Breakfast Club.”
Quinn smiles at your choices. It’s the first time you see her make such an expression. It’s breathtaking.
Brittany goes next, and she giggles and says some nonsensical things, but she’s Brittany, so it’s charming.
Then Quinn clears her throat. Her eyes get a shade darker and she raises her chin slightly, and the change is incredible. “My name is Quinn Fabray,” she says, and her voice is commanding. “I’m fourteen. My favourite character is Janie Crawford from Their Eyes Were Watching God, and my favourite film is Hitchcock’s Rear Window.”
Everyone in the circle looks captivated and then entirely disinterested, and Quinn goes back to staring at the floor.
They finish and then Margaret dismisses you, and you stand, grab Brittany’s hand, and move to leave, but Quinn’s breathless, “Santana, wait!” and then her warm fingers against your arm cause you to stop breathing for a second.
You turn around and glare at her, and the shy smile on her face disappears in a second.
“You—you’ve read The Great Gatsby?” she asks.
You roll your eyes. “I saw the film. Mia Farrow was excellent.” Your tone is biting, and Quinn mumbles an oh, but you realize minutes later in Mrs. Pierce’s car that that probably wasn’t really a deterring response for Quinn, because you said ‘film’ and knew Mia Farrow’s filmography.
And then you silently acknowledge that Quinn really does look like Grace Kelly and that that makes your heart race and your breath catch, and you almost hate her for it.
What you hate her for more is the fact that you desperately want to be her friend, mostly because you just hate desperately wanting anything.