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You Will Always be my Quinn

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Lighting swivels around you as the vortex grows bigger and bigger, wiping away the night sky, leaving the smell of ozone.

Standing opposite you was Rourke, a millionaire smile planted on his face as he surveyed you hungrily, like a tiger stalking it's prey.
"Well, Austin. What do you choose?" He asked, smug and you lowered your head, obviously conflicted by the choices you have in front of you.

Rourke's proposition sounded awfully inviting. The knowledge of you getting back to Hartfeld, playing football with Craig and Sean? Pulling pranks on Raj with Diego? Be drinking buddies with Jake and Zahra? Actually starting a life with Quinn? It all seems too good to be true and you want it. Rourke knows you do. You know you do.

But Rourke... Can he be trusted? You were told to never make a deal with the devil, but no one told you that the devil's deals were so sweet, so tempting. It almost hurts for you to refuse this.

"Boy Scout. Rourke cannot be trusted." Jake called, eyes dark as he balled his fists.
"You give in to his deal and we're all screwed. I know it."

"But think about it, we'd have a normal life... We'd... I'd be able to see my momma again." Sean counter argued, eyebrows furrowed.

"Yes," Rourke agreed, a simple smile plastered on his unnaturally young face.
"Yes, Sean. You'd be able to see your mom, and everyone you ever loved. You'd be able to fulfill your dreams of becoming a professional footballer. You're going to do amazing things."

"Shut up, Rourke." You growled, voice cracking as you lifted your head to the sky in despair. As much as you hated Rourke, you knew it was too good to refuse, his proposition too sweet a deal to ignore.

"Rourke, you promise you're going to do everything we dealed upon?" You asked, heart breaking.

"... Yes."

"Then it's-" Before you could finish your sentence, you feel your head whirling, your memories fracturing into a thousand different splinters as you're taken away from the present, taken into a kaleidoscope of colour.

"Austin..." You hear, turning around to see a man in a red suit, wrinkles decorating his face as he smiled warmly at you.

"Endless..." You acknowledged, looking down.

"Austin, listen to me. You can't agree to Rourke's deal." The Endless stated, his warm eyes filled with a certain urgency.
"Rourke will take back his promises on each and every one of you, and you'd be worse than where you left of."

"I can't just let them stay here!" You argued, tears pricking your eyes, voice cracking, breath shallowed.

"Austin.. I have witnessed countless timelines and alternate realities. I see what is going on all the time, every time. I need to show you the previous lives you've led. The lives that would've been." He whispered, holding out his hand.

You accept it and instantly, you are whirled away to different scenes in alternate timelines
Quinn and Sean playing in a pool, Jake and Mike hanging together once again, Zahra being the new Clockmaker, Estela brainwashed into being Rourke's new pet, Aleister and Rourke fencing, Raj questioning as to why Puck, your pet fox is purple, Aleister blaming the death of Grace on Diego and Quinn. Estela and Zahra entangled in bed, making sweet love.

All these scenes whittle past your mind, faster and faster until you feel yourself standing in a world of infinite possibilities, each variable changing for the better or the worst. Each timeline showcasing happy times and sad moments.

Through it all, one thing remains constant however. Quinn, repeating the same words over and over.

"Austin, I think I love you."

"Austin, I think I love you."

"Austin, I think I love you."

"Austin, I think I love you."

And you catch yourself, tears brimming down your cheeks as you catch her hand in every scenario, smiling.
"Quinn, I know I love you."

As The Endless pulls you back, you stifle a sob, your heart wrenching as The Endless looks back to you, his old eyes weary and sad.
"I loved her too, Austin. Not a day passes by... Not a day."

"What must be done?" You asked, barely able to hold in your sobs.

"My sight is limited from here. From here on, the choices you make are entirely yours. Just remember, the power of Vaanu resides in you and you can choose to return that power. La Huerta will be saved but the rest of the world will cease to exist. The choice is yours. Or-"

"Be one with Vaanu and merge all timelines together. I know." You finished, nodding.

"Correct," The Endless agreed. "If you choose that, the world will return to normal, your friends will lead normal lives and embrace the life the future holds for them. Either way, Rourke's deal cannot be accepted. Now go. The fate of the world resides in your hands."

As you're pulled out from your trance, you caught your words, stopping yourself.

"Austin? I'm waiting for an answer." Rourke grinned, his smile evil and wide.
"I promise. Just go with my decision. I promise you a real life, Austin. No hoax or lies there. All I ask is for you to drain the energies of this cursed island."

You close your eyes, mind wheeling and amidst the chaos, you can hear her. Your Love. Your Life. Your Queen. Your Quinn.

Austin, I think I love you.

Austin, I think I love you.

Austin, I think I love you.

And you know what must be done.

"No." You answered, voice as cold as ice. "I've made my decision. I will..."

"NO!" Rourke screamed, wrestling his way to you.
"AUSTIN, YOU SON OF A BITCH! WHY WOULD YOU REFUSE THE FUTURE I OFFERED YOU?"

"Because a future with you in it is no future at all." You growled, looking up to the sky.
"Vaanu, I accept you. Let us be one."

"AUSTIN!" Rourke screamed but Aleister kicks his gut savagely, hatred burning in his eyes as you turned to your friends, bidding them one last goodbye.

"Boy Scout..." Jake looks at you, eyes filled with sadness.
"It's been an honour. The highest of honours." He whispered, saluting you before eventually breaking and hugging you, pulling you close, his sobs audible even in the storm.

"Jake. You take care, okay? Believe in the system and live on. Don't let Mike's sacrifice be in vain... Don't let my sacrifice be in vain. I'll be seeing you on the other side... Jared Leto." You grin and he nods, sniffling.

Next was Sean, who engulfs you in a giant bear hug, his cries much louder than Jake's.
"Be free, my friend." He whispered, patting your cheeks gently and bringing you in closer, tapping his forehead with yours.

"You too, Sean. Live well and live free. Be the star you were destined to be and when all has ended, I'll be there to usher you in."

Estela marched forward next and wordlessly, she throws herself against you, crying into your shirt.
"Austin, you kind, sweet idiot." She murmured, looking up into your eyes.
"Why?"

"Because I believe that some choices are made to last and with this choice of mine... All of you are made to last. Gracias, Estela." You replied, smiling.

"Oh, you cabron." She wept as the other swarmed forward, each hugging you one by one.

"Live among the stars." Varynn whispered.

"I won't forget you." Diego promised, kissing both your cheeks.

"Don't be an asshole." Zahra commented, though her voice was hoarse with emotion.

"We'll fight the fight you won for us." Craig nodded.

"A new constellation will be named after you." Grace wept.

"You will be an inspiration to people everywhere." Michelle sniffed.

"Oh, um... You're a great person, I suppose." Aleister whispered awkwardly.

"I will dedicate my cookbook to the one who sees me as more than a chef and as a friend." Raj vowed.

And lastly, Quinn.

"Quinn, I-" You started but she shuts you off, kissing you hard as tears brim down her cheeks in torrents.
You reciprocate, kissing her as hard as possible, all your feelings pouring out in one long emotional kiss.

Finally pulling apart, she hugs you tight. "When I had my sickness, I thought it was all I had to live for. You told me a different story. You taught me that there's yet much more to live. To love. You taught me that nothing defines me but me. You taught me....to be me."

Vaanu pushes at you, indicating that it was time to go and you nodded, your body glowing brighter.
Turning back to Quinn, you opened your mouth.
"Quinn Erin Kelly, there's so much I wish to say to you, to do to you and for you, but there's no time and I am so sorry." You whispered, eyes filling up.
"But if nothing, just remember, my love. You will always be my Quinn."

Reaching in your pocket, you pulled out the flower of Devotion, the flower that confirmed the union between you and Quinn. The flower that handfasted the both of you, and you slid it into her red hair, tucked under her ear.
"For Goodness' Cake, you look beautiful. Remember, my love. I love you and I'll watch you from the stars." You murmured, your body now dazzlingly bright.

"One last thing." You acknowledged, a smile wide on your face, turning to Michelle.
"Take care of Quinn for me, will ya?"

"You got it, Austin." Michelle sobbed as she pulled a weeping Quinn away from you.

Your body grows ever so brightly and the last thing you see before you depart is the memory of Quinn kissing you, over and over and over and over.

"Austin, I think I love you."

"Quinn, my queen. I know I love you."