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listen before i go

Chapter Text

Quinn hasn’t shown up to Glee for weeks.

It’s the first thought that Rachel has when she passes by the choir room and gazes upon the empty seat in the corner.

It had once seated a beautiful blonde with piercing bright eyes, with an even more beautiful mind.

But as junior year passed, the shining light illuminating those pools of hazel dimmed into resigned quiet staring off into dead space, and the brilliant brain that had captured many of a heart faded out of existence.

Within two months, the seat would only see usage once a week.

Within three, none at all.

All of them had tried to seek answers, to uncover something, but a week passed, and she was forgotten.

Even by Rachel.

The brunette had tried everything, from cornering her after Cheerios practice to stalking her back home, but there was absolutely nothing. Complete radio silence.

Quinn would only answer questions with monosyllable words, and she would walk through the crowd like no one existed, passing through without looking at anyone at all. She was still on top of the class, and she was still leading the Cheerios to victory after victory, her stoic and aloof face on as normal, so Rachel gave up.

Rachel gave up on Quinn, and she let herself be blinded by the perfect schoolgirl fantasy of Finn Hudson.

Finn’s her leading man, the Fieryo to her Elphaba, the Sonny to her Cher. He’s all she’s ever wanted, and now that Quinn’s out of the way, she has him. It was a win-win – Quinn got her wish to be alone, and Rachel got her wish to be with Finn. So, she shouldn’t be worried about such trivial matters, right?

But right then, looking at the empty red seat, she thinks back to the amazing human being just sparkling with life a few months ago, and then she thinks to the empty shell of a husk that seems to be only taking up space and nothing else these days.

Rachel frowns.




During lunch, she asks the Gleeks if they’ve seen Quinn, and they all shake their heads.

“Why’d you care anyway, hobbit?” Santana snarks, stopping by to make her daily insult. “Doesn’t matter anyway, now that she’s basically mute, we have free reign of the school, and everyone has one less dictator to deal with.”

Rachel’s about to protest, but Mercedes speaks first. “For once, I agree with Santana. White girl don’t even bother showing up to Glee, so why should I care about what she’s doing? I work my butt off every day, and where is she? Nowhere.”

Furrowing her brow and feeling a pit of something aching in her chest, Rachel watches as more of the Gleeks go ahead and make snide comments about the head cheerleader, and how they’re glad about how she’s not ruling over McKinley anymore.

The utter nausea she feels building up everywhere seems stifling, fanning into an almost unbearable pain, and when Brittany opens her mouth to say, “Quinn’s not even at school today,” Rachel’s stomach drops, and a voice in her head pings for her to listen.

But then, Finn turns to her with a crooked grin, putting his arm around her while he talks about Call of Duty, and Rachel forgets about Quinn again.




The eerie feeling follows her throughout the day, and when the bell signaling the end of last period, the uncomfortable nausea has seemed to reach a crescendo.

There’s no Glee practice today, but Rachel still goes to the choir room nevertheless to practice, diligent as she is.

Walking into the silent room, the quiet nagging that’s been chipping at her mind all day intensifies, and she looks upon Quinn’s empty chair once more.

Pictures of the stunning blonde dancing around the room gracefully like a swan fill her mind, and when she imagines the cheerleader laughing, she can’t find the sound to go along with it. It’s at that moment when Rachel realizes.

When was the last time she had heard Quinn laugh?

The thought sends an intangible pain through her chest, aching in all the worst ways possible, and Rachel can’t understand why she cares so much.

Sure, Quinn had stopped insulting her shortly after she joined Glee last year, and she had even called off the slushie attacks on her – well, on the entire Glee club – during the last few months of sophomore year, but they had never really talked, or became friends, no matter how much Rachel had tried to reach out.

As a matter of fact, Quinn isn’t friends with anyone, really.

The epiphany stabs at Rachel’s heart, because as alone as she was back in freshman year, she has people like Kurt and Mercedes now, but Quinn still has no one.

Forcing herself to breathe, she shakes her head to clear her thoughts, and turns to look away from the haunting red chair.

But as she does, she notices a small box placed under it, nondescript and easy to miss if she wasn’t explicitly looking, shining under the light’s reflection.

Curiosity piqued, Rachel edges forward to grab it, an unsettling feeling rumbling through her. The grey box barely bigger than her hand, it feels light, but yet it rests on her hand like a stone. When she opens it, she finds a CD.

On it are the words ‘listen before i go’ written in shaky black marker, and the handwriting seems very familiar, calling out to the brunette.

Looking at it for a few seconds, Rachel realizes that it’s Quinn’s.

The absolute silence adds to the disconcerting voice telling her that something is very, very wrong, and she rushes to push the compact disc into the stereo-player resting on top of the piano.

Quinn’s voice, broken and cracked, rings through the choir room like a haunting echo, reverberating off the walls.

“I’m sorry.”

That’s enough to bring piercing worry to Rachel, but she has no time to dwell on it, because the next thing she knows, Quinn’s low alto is consuming her.

Take me to the rooftop
I wanna see the world when I stop breathing
Turnin’ blue
Tell me love is endless, don’t be so pretentious
Leave me like you do

Rachel doesn’t know what’s happening, a million thoughts rushing through her mind at light speed. Listening to the lyrics, she frantically worries over what they mean, because it’s starting to sound like something that it shouldn’t be, and her heart seems to beat out of her chest.

If you need me, wanna see me
Better hurry, ‘cause I’m leavin’ soon

Quinn’s voice cracks as she sings the last few words, sounding so choked and strangled that Rachel’s body shakes, heart aching with the urge to comfort someone that isn’t even there.

Shit, Quinn might not even be here anymore, and Rachel’s mind desperately tries to deny what’s quickly becoming clear through the song lyrics, because by the blonde’s voice, it isn’t a joke, and Rachel just can’t.

Sorry can’t save me now
Sorry I don’t know how
Sorry there’s no way out
But down

And as Quinn sings ‘hmm, down’ once more, she takes in a ragged breath, and Rachel can tell that she’s crying. The diva just knows that something is deathly wrong, and that maybe, Quinn’s going to…fuck, she can’t even bear to think it.

She needs to find a teacher, call someone, or do something except fucking stand there, but she’s rooted to the ground, paralyzed, as she listens to Quinn sing brokenly.

The next words come chopped and the melody is disrupted by the cheerleader’s sniffles and sobs, but the lyrics are as clear as day, and somehow, that just makes the ache in Rachel’s heart worse, because she knew that Quinn had been struggling, but not like this.

Taste me, the salty tears on my cheek
That’s what a year-long headache does to you
I’m not okay, I feel so scattered
Don’t say I’m all that matters
Leave me, déjà vu

Rachel doesn’t know what to think, not even registering the silent tears flowing down her face for the blonde, because the gaping hole in her chest is leaving no coherent room for her to understand or to even breathe, and she can’t focus the voice screaming in her head to do something, with only Quinn’s scattered breaths and voice coming through the loud rapid beat of her heart, thumping in her ears.

Call my friends and tell them that I love them
And I’ll miss them
But I’m not sorry
Call my friends and tell them that I love them
And I’ll miss them

The ‘sorry’ barely comes through, ridden by sobs and tears, and then, the sound cuts off.

Rachel takes the CD, and runs.




With her heart beating a storm, she shakily dials Quinn's number again and again.

She doesn't pick up. 

Shit shit shit, Rachel thinks, breathing getting even quicker than before, and she racks her brain to find a solution. 

She may be overreacting, but something tells her that she isn't, and that she needed to do something right fucking now.

There wasn’t Cheerio practice today, since Coach Sylvester had only come back half an hour ago, but Rachel’s desperate, and she crashes into her office.

“Have you seen Quinn?” she pants, thoughts incoherent and heart too in pain to feel anything.

She hopes hysterically that Sylvester will laugh at her and say that Quinn’s practicing at the field right now, and like normal, hurl a few insults at her, but that’s not the case.

The cheer coach looks grim, and stares down at the Cheerio uniform folded up immaculately placed on her desk. “I found this when I came in a few minutes ago,” she mummers quietly, looking the most serious Rachel as ever seen her, and at that moment, the brunette just knows.

“Coach Sylvester,” she starts hurriedly, but then, the tracksuit-wearing woman cuts her off, eyes still on Quinn’s uniform.

“Q always liked to watch the sky at Lima Tower.”

“Thank you,” Rachel breathes, and right before she leaves, Sylvester looks her right in the eyes.

“Get back my Head Cheerleader for me.”

The diva nods, and she bolts out the door.




She might be pushing the speed limit a bit, but right now, she doesn’t give a flying fuck.

Taking out her phone, she dials Santana’s phone number, and hopes to God she’ll pick up. The call goes through, and Santana barks, “What’d you want, dwarf?”

“Quinn-Quinn’s in trouble,” Rachel barely manages to get her thoughts together to rasp out, “I need-I need you to-”

“Wait, hold up, what?” the Latina fires back, “I really don’t have time to deal with your drama bullshit, so-”

“Santana, I’m fucking serious here!” Rachel roars through the phone, “She fucking wrote a suicide letter!”

The line goes dead silent, and for a second, the brunette is afraid that Santana had hung up, but then, the Latina’s voice rings through, hard and steely. “What do you need me to do?”

“Call the other Gleeks and tell them to help find her,” she pants through ragged breaths, chest rising and falling quickly. “I’m-I’m calling her mom after this, and I’m heading to Lima Tower now.”

“Got it,” Santana sounds put together, but judging by her harsh voice, she’s not fairing any better than the diva is. “Call you if anything comes up.”

Rachel hears Santana yell “Britt, why would she-why would- fuck!”, and then the line goes dead.

Forcing in a sob, the brunette closes her eyes for one second. No time to dwell on things. Making a turn right, she’s never been so glad to have been prepared and entered all of the Gleek’s emergency contacts into her phone last year, and she smashes the ‘dial’ button.

It’s picked up after two rings, and Judy Fabray’s panic-filled voice fills the air. “Hello?”

“I’m Rachel Berry, Quinn’s friend, I-”

She’s cut off by Judy, “Is-Is my daughter with you? Have you seen her?”

Rachel’s throat tightens, and she’s afraid that she’ll start dry-heaving. “I found a suicide letter from her,” she breathes, nausea and headache building up more and more, “I was about to ask you the same thing.”

A gasp slices through the phone, and Judy chokes out, “We found one too.”

She’s about to respond, but then a loud crash of glass breaking rings out through the line, and terrified, the brunette asks, “What’s that?”

“Her father,” Quinn’s mother timidly replies, “He…He read the letter and didn’t like some of the things Quinnie wrote.”

A million questions well up within Rachel, but she assumes that Quinn wrote a different one for her parents, and she pushes it to the side, because what’s important now is finding the blonde and making sure she’s okay.

“Never mind that, have you called the police?” the diva asks, pushing even harder on the car pedal. When Judy confirms it, Rachel tries her best to get her bearings. “Okay, call them again, and tell them to go to Lima Tower. I’m headed there now, and I have a feeling she’s there.”

“On it,” Judy hurriedly says, and there’s another loud sound of thing’s being broken. Taking in a breath, Judy whispers before she hangs up, “I have to go now.”

Rachel has never felt so terrified in her life.




Those fifteen minutes of driving seem like the longest fifteen she’s ever experienced, and her heart chokes the whole way through.

Reaching Lima Tower, the sun’s already started setting, and the streets are dim and dark, with no one in sight. The light from the top floor barely shines through, and Rachel sprints up the spiral stairs like a maniac, not trusting the elevator at all.

Her heart stops with every step she takes, and all she can hear is the loud beat of her pounding thoughts, rumbling throughout her entire body.

Already taking out her phone to dial 911, she thinks that she’s never ran this fast in her meager sixteen years of life, and the thought that Quinn might not even live to see seventeen has her skipping steps even faster, pushing herself to get to the top quicker.

When she reaches the top floor, the dim light shining through the glass ceiling seems to taunt her, and she looks around in a frenzy.

What she sees makes her heart drop, and she feels sick to the stomach, bile building up in the back of her tightening throat.

Quinn’s lying on the floor, slack and limp, and bottles of empty alcohol and pills surround her.

Eyes stinging, she looks upon the blonde’s lifeless form with mouth open in a silent gasp, and she barely registers her phone picking up.

“Hello, this is 911, how can I help you?”

A strangled cry erupts from her throat. “I found Quinn Fabray.”

Chapter Text

Things pass by in a flash, and maybe that’s a good thing.

She barely registers what happens afterward, with only shock and worry filling those endless white gaps in her mind.

There’s the sound of an ambulance, and then there’s the sight of Judy Fabray kneeling over her daughter, crying, and when Rachel brings up her hand to her face, she realizes that she’s crying too.

Soon enough, there’s the stifling white of the hospital walls, and then there’s the shouts of different glee kids, and then there’s anguished tears and there’s nothing at all.

Rachel thinks of how they all didn’t care, about how they all knew, and how they all gave up on Quinn Fabray.

She scoffs.

And then she takes in a breath, and she breaks down.




Doctors and police come to question her, but she doesn’t even remember what they say or ask, mind only plagued with a beautiful shining smile that was taken away too soon.

Time doesn’t seem to pass in those white walls, and Rachel finds herself thinking and rethinking the same thoughts over and over, suffocating in the stillness that is too quiet and too loud all at once.

She’s been sitting in a chair, unmoving, for god knows how long. Brittany is buried inside of Santana’s arms, shoulders shaking with silent tears, and the Latina holding her looks as if the world as crumbled, and Rachel thinks, to an extent, that maybe it has.

The entire Glee club is gathered, with varying looks of shock, grief, and regret. Because Quinn – always strong, always untouchable Quinn Fabray had tried to – fuck, she had tried to kill herself, and they had no idea why.

What had they done wrong? Had they pushed her away, made her feel alone? Had they-

Her mind goes blank, cutting off at once with a click, because of course they did.

Fuck, they should’ve paid more attention. Th-They should’ve cared more about her when it was so fucking clear there was something wrong, they should’ve- they should’ve just-

A choked sob rises from her throat, and then Finn’s arms are wrapped around her.

It should’ve felt comforting. His chest should’ve felt like a safe haven, an escape from the world. It shouldn’t have felt constricting and smothering, and his hands moving up and down her sides shouldn’t feel like mammoth paws invading her skin.

Finn’s supposed to be safe, god-fucking-dammit, he’s-he’s supposed to be her protector, her knight in shining armor, but he isn’t and she can’t think and she can’t breathe and then she’s having a panic attack and-

“I’m sick of your drama Berry! Quinn’s in there, with a fucking tube shoved down her throat, and all you can think of is yourself like the self-centered bitch you are!”

Santana’s voice slices through the diva like whiplash, cold and unforgiving, and there’s utter silence for a second.

And then rage bubbles within her, and all hell lets loose.

I was the person who found that CD, Santana, and I was the person who cared enough to ask where she was that lunch break! When did you ever do anything except stab her in the back!”

Rachel’s voice is filled with venom and malice, foreign even to herself, because she can’t make sense of anything right now and she needs something to blame, something to explain why the fuck did this happen, to scar Quinn so deeply that she felt she had to end her life.

She almost regrets it.

But then Santana is lunging for her and it takes Finn and Puck to hold her back, and Rachel’s angry again.

The Latina is screaming, clawing and kicking at everywhere, and her shouts fill the room, cutting through the air. “Who made Puckerman back off when Quinn was feeling drunk and fat? Who backed her up when her bastard of a father called her worthless? Who held her hair back when she was heaving into the toilet because she was having an anxiety attack? Me! That’s right, none of you gave a flying fuck, and it was me who did those things!”

“Yeah, well it seems like you didn’t do enough!” Rachel spits, steely and dark, and Santana’s eyes light ablaze.

I fucking didn’t do enough?” the cheerleader laughs bitterly, “Well, what about you Saint Mary? I bet you were so happy when Quinn went off the radar; you finally had Finncompetent to yourself, what did you ever do to help!”

Rachel opens her mouth to retort, but then a voice cuts off the both of them.

“Well maybe both of you didn’t do enough!”

The two turn their heads with narrowed eyes immediately to cut down whoever dared to interrupt them, but then they realize that it was Brittany.

The first time anyone had heard the normally ditzy blonde even moderately raise her voice, everyone stares in disbelief as she continues in a weak, more subdued tone.

“None of us did.”

The stinging and heavy truth settles upon the entire room like a fog, sinking into their hearts, and Mr. Schue shakes his head. “This isn’t on you guys. It’s on us.”

Ms. Pillsbury nods her agreement, hands fiddling, and takes in a deep breath. “We’re the adults here, and we should’ve been the ones to reach out to Quinn when it was so obvious that she was in pain. This isn’t any of your faults.”

“God,” Mr. Schue sighs, hand covering his face. “When she quit Glee, I chewed her out instead of asking why, like I should’ve.” He shakes his head in disbelief at his actions. “I’m such a bad teacher.”

“I told her that she had everything handed to her without a fuss and that she had no idea what pain was,” Kurt whispers, head in his hands.

“I told her that some people didn’t need to starve themselves to feel pretty,” Mercedes goes next, arms wrapped around herself.

Pretty soon, the entire club is confessing different things, some not even related to Quinn, just apologizing and letting everything go, because now it seems that everything is so fragile, like it could shatter at any minute, and everyone just wants to savor it before it’s too late.

Maybe it feels better, getting all that guilt off their chests. But all Rachel can think of it that there’s so much she wants- needs to say to Quinn, and she hopes to whatever deity is out there that she’ll get the chance to do so.

They all do.

It’s like everything’s been forced into context now, because before, it seemed like the smallest things were the end of the world, but there’s so much more that actually is, and it hurts to the bottom of her aching chest.

Quinn’s parents drop by, and it’s safe to say that Rachel instantly dislikes Russell Fabray.

She tries not to base people off their first impressions, but with what Santana had unintentionally let slip earlier, and her phone call with Quinn’s mother, she’s sure in her conclusion that the man is nothing but disgusting and vile, and unfortunately, she’s proven right, the one time that she hopes she isn’t.

When he learns that Quinn is still sedated, he tries to discretely grumble a few choice words to Judy, but they echo off the walls of the waiting hall, and everyone hears him loud and clear.

“It’s enough that she’s sullied the Fabray name, but to add on it, she leaves me a medical bill! Really Judy, I don’t know why I try with her.”

Rachel’s fists clench, Mr. Schue edges forward slightly with gritted teeth, and Brittany has to keep her hand wrapped around Santana’s arm to keep her from pouncing. The entire hall buzzes with newfound animosity and tension, and it only worsens as the nurse asks if he wants Quinn to be put on a suicide watch when she wakes up.

“No,” he says simply, and with an order to call him if – “When,” Rachel growls under her breath – Quinn wakes up, he walks out, looking so put together and blasé that she just wants to punch him in the face, because his daughter is fucking in a hospital room, and he doesn’t even care to put her on a suicide watch!

The hidden implications come easily enough, and as soon as he leaves, Judy trailing behind like a timid dog, Santana mutters, “Hijo de puta.”

Rachel has never agreed more.




After what feels like an eternity, they learn that Quinn’s stabilized and accepting visitors, and a hoard of people stand up immediately.

“I’m going in,” Santana scowls, glaring at everyone and daring them to oppose.

At this point, Rachel’s just so very tired, because she just wants Quinn to be okay, and she doesn’t have much left in her to put up a fight, so she simply nods her head and acquiesces, a throbbing residing everywhere that doesn’t seem to go away.

The Latina looks surprised for a second, but then her face sets determinedly, recognizing it for what it is. This is Rachel trusting her, trusting her with Quinn. Latching onto Brittany almost like a lifeline, she takes a deep breath, and they march into the room resolutely.

Ten minutes tick by idly, and Rachel really wants to break that fucking wall clock, slowly driving all of them insane, and just before she thinks that she’s going to go batshit crazy (she probably is already, really), the door opens, and Santana and Brittany step out, faces white and grim.

Rachel wants to question them, so, so, badly, but she knows she shouldn’t, and even if she did, she wouldn’t get much out of them anyway, so she seeks their eyes out and tries to offer them what comfort she can.

Brittany frowns sadly, the expression looking very out of place on the tall blonde. “Quinn has a big booboo.”

The confession sets everyone on edge, even more so than before, and they collectively hold in a breath without knowing.

“She’s going to get better, Britts,” Santana whispers, though everyone can hear. “We won’t settle for anything less.”

It seems to kick them all into gear, and there’s an evident change in the room. Before, they were all distraught, scared, and gloomy, and they still are now, but there’s also something new. Something firm and unyielding, and Rachel knows that it’s during that moment that everyone decides to help Quinn as much as they can, and then some.

Quinn is their family.

They might have failed her once, but they’re not going to make that mistake again. They take care of their own, and they won’t take anything less than that.

It’s Rachel’s turn to go in now, and it’s evident that Finn wants to be there, as much for her as for Quinn. But this is something she needs to do alone, and she says so quietly. Her boyfriend looks unhappy about it, and he’s about to protest, but her looks silences him and he backs off, respecting her wishes and letting her get up on shaky legs.

Before she enters, the reality of the situation hits Rachel deep, and she’s afraid of what she’ll find inside. She’s afraid of seeing Quinn, because her every thought of the blonde is accompanied with the image of her unmoving body, pale and weak, and she’s deathly afraid of looking at the heart monitor and seeing a flat line staring at her in return.

Shit, she’s fucking terrified, and her heart speeds up even more at the realization, beating again and again.

She almost calls Finn back, because he’s right there, and he’s familiar, and she knows him, something that Rachel has quickly come to think that she’s never did with Quinn, but she knows that she can’t. She has to step in that disgustingly white room and face Quinn alone.

“You’ll be okay,” Like she had heard her thoughts, Brittany reaches out to grab her hand, offering a heavy but genuine smile. “We’ll all be.”

Not for the first time, Rachel thinks that everyone who’s thought Brittany to be stupid and dumb is completely off the mark. Really, she might be the only one who understands anything at all.

People really never don’t look underneath anything, do they?

Nodding her head and exhaling, she swallows, and she opens the door.

She’s wholly not prepared for the sight that greets her.

Quinn’s lying there, on a hospital bed – white like everything fucking else is – and she looks so normal that it’s like the girl hadn’t tried to do what she did at all.

But then Rachel looks closer, and she sees.

The blonde’s body is entirely too tiny and thin, the once muscled form looking more like skin and bones, and there’s angry red marks below her collarbone, just peeking out from her hospital clothes. Quinn’s skin looks much paler and unhealthier than it was before, and all those details just confirms Rachel’s fears.

All of them could’ve just taken a look closer and seen it, but they didn’t. If maybe just one of them had just looked and seen, maybe this would’ve never happened, and the world would’ve continued to be graced with Quinn Fabray’s beautiful smile.

But that train of thought is too dangerous, and Rachel knows it.

This moment is about Quinn, not the diva’s endless regrets, so she pushes it all away and goes to sit next to the pale blonde, still looking like the prettiest girl she’s ever laid eyes on.

Rachel draws in an unsteady breath, and she takes Quinn’s hand into her own carefully. It feels completely too light and cold for her liking, but it undoubtedly makes her feel better, just having Quinn there with the relief of knowing that the other girl is not going anywhere.

She’s real, and she’s alive, and she’s Quinn Fabray.

The singer gently rubs different patterns onto the soft skin of Quinn’s hand, she takes in the girl lying before her, her chest slowly rising and falling. Quinn looks almost peaceful, all the creases in her face gone and relaxed, and suddenly, it all just crashes into Rachel.

She has to rapidly blink her eyes to keep her stinging eyes from pouring out tears, because this wonderful, brilliant, absolutely amazing girl is perfect, and yet she’s lying in a hospital bed, because she had tried to take her own life.

Simply thinking the words makes Rachel’s heart clench, hurting in an indescribable way, and she thinks that the steady beeping of Quinn’s heart monitor is the most beautiful sound she’s ever heard.

“Quinn,” she starts, her voice rough and heavy, and she clears her throat. “I-I’m sorry. You’re so fantastically wanted and needed, and I’m so sorry we didn’t do enough to show you that. You’re appreciated and valued, and so, so, loved. We all love you very, very much, Quinn. Please don’t take away our chance to prove it.”

She knows that the blonde can’t hear her, but she has to get the words out, if only to soothe the pain in her chest. There’s so much she needs to say to Quinn, so she’s going to start here. Quinn is the prettiest girl she’s ever met, but she’s a lot more than that, and Rachel fully intends to prove it to the girl.

She’s faintly aware of the goddamn clock ticking behind her, going tick tock as it always fucking is, but right now, all she’s focused on is trying to send all the love in the world to the too delicate girl holding her hand, trying to convey all she needs Quinn to know.

She knows that her time is half-gone now, and that she’ll have to wait till all the others have come in to visit again, because they all will, no doubt about that, so she tries to savor and drink in these moments.

She studies every inch of the blonde, from her flawless jawline that could’ve cut diamonds, to her long eyelashes that curled just right, and abruptly, Rachel longs to see hazel eyes, flashing with light and happiness.

A few seconds pass, and maybe whatever deity out there decided to grant her mercy, because the next thing she knows, Quinn’s eyes are fluttering open, blinking uncertainly.

“Quinn,” Rachel breathes, letting out a breath that she didn’t even know was there, and it feels as if a giant weight has been lifted off her chest, because Quinn is awake and alive.

She’s about to call over the nurse, until the other girl’s eyes focus and hone in on her, and Quinn sighs, broken and resigned.

“You should’ve left me there.”

Her voice sounds strangled and sore, most likely from the tube that was down her throat barely an hour ago, and Rachel sucks in a breath, previous action forgotten. “What?”

“It would’ve ended the pain,” Quinn croaks almost inaudibly, and she coughs before wincing, trying to curl into herself, like she’s trying to make herself as small as possible. “Hell would’ve been better.”

Rachel doesn’t know what to do, because fuck, what does a person say to that? But then, her eyes set decisively, and she lets her heart take over for a while.

“Quinn,” Forcing the other girl to meet her eyes, Rachel speaks what she needs to firmly. “Promise me you won’t hurt yourself.”

The blonde looks away, weak grip tightening on Rachel’s hand, even though it seems like it takes all the strength in her body to do so, and that just makes the constant twinge in the shorter girl’s chest worse.

“Please,” the singer begs, chest expanding and convolving with an urgent desperateness. “At least promise me you won’t when you’re still in the hospital.”

A beat passes, feeling like a perpetual infinity, until Quinn gives an almost imperceptible nod. Feeling relief, if only a little, Rachel swallows, throat dry and tight. “Thank you.”

There’s so much that she wants to ask and say to the blonde, but Rachel knows that Quinn is more important, so she uses her other hand to brush away the stray bangs on Quinn’s forehead instead, opting to just be there for her.

“Sing for me,” the taller girl says after a few seconds, the request almost inaudible, and Rachel’s ears strain to hear it.

Opening her mouth to do so, she worries that she’ll sound hoarse and off-pitch for a brief second, but the shallow thought is banished almost immediately, and she continues to rub circles onto Quinn’s hand, who’s slowly but surely gripping back.

You’re not alone
Together we stand
I’ll be by your side
You know I’ll take your hand

When it gets cold
And it feels like the end
There’s no place to go
You know I won’t give in
No, I won’t give in

Keep holding on
‘Cause you know we’ll make it through, we’ll make it through
Just stay strong
‘Cause you know I’m here for you, I’m here for you

There’s nothing you could say
Nothing you could do
There’s no other way when it comes to the truth
So keep holding on
‘Cause you know we’ll make it through, we’ll make it through

Quinn gradually drifts off to sleep, and the brunette continues to sing softly until her ten minutes is up, trying to bring some solace to the sleeping girl.

She doesn’t know if she succeeds, and when she walks out of that hospital room with the small comfort of the knowledge that the blonde’s hand is warmer now, she can't guess if the feeling in her chest is sorrow or hope.

Maybe it’s both.