They say that your life flashes before your eyes in the moments before you die—that you see all your loved ones, every wonderful moment, and the not so wonderful ones. Maybe it's an electrical reaction in the brain—a rapid playback of every stored memory triggered by adrenaline—or maybe it’s the hand of God, reaching down to hold a mirror to your life before issuing judgment.
In that split second when the glass shatters, the sickening crunch of buckling metal crushes bone and rips into skin, and the air is forcibly wrenched from her lungs, Quinn sees nothing of the life that she’s lived. Instead, she sees the life that could have been.
She sees Beth, blonde and beautiful, angelic face split into a wide grin and joyful with childish laughter. She feels a tiny, warm hand secure within her own and hears a sweet little voice call her ‘mommy.’ Quinn’s heart feels painfully full, and she bends to scoop her daughter up into her arms, reveling in the solid weight of that promising, little life pressed against her chest. Chubby hands cup her cheeks and miniature hazel eyes shine brightly into her own.
Quinn has never known such a perfect moment.
A single heartbeat passes.
Another hand appears, darker than her own, brushing the backs of gentle fingers against Beth’s cherubic cheek. Quinn’s gaze follows that hand, up along the arm until she’s looking into wide brown eyes so full of love and adoration that it takes her breath away. Rachel smiles at her, soft and tender and sweeter than any smile that she’s ever given to Finn Hudson. 'My pretty girls,' she whispers lovingly, curling her other hand around Quinn’s waist as their bodies fit together like pieces of a puzzle. Quinn feels warm and safe, with Beth in her arms and Rachel’s arms around the both of them.
Another heartbeat passes.
Beth’s little arms tighten around Quinn’s neck, and Rachel’s lips grant a kiss, wet against the corner of Quinn’s mouth. 'I love you,' she hears in that melodic voice that has carried her through the last three years.
That voice that carries her.
"I love you," Quinn rasps on a broken sob—both of you, she thinks as the moment slips away and the life that could have been disappears.
And that voice carries her…