DISCLAIMER: The characters herein are used without permission. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To rsietz[at]gmail.com
SPOILERS: Through 3x01.

I Have Engraved You On the Palms of My Hands
By Counterpunch


There was no such thing as a normal day anymore. At least, that's what she told herself.

There was, however, the appearance of normal. With classes, Cheerios, Glee, and homework, it was very easy to loose herself in routine. Too easy.

It was only the seventh day she'd had the uniform on again, in the midst of a particularly difficult set of squat exercises, when she'd thought that last set of suicide drills was the worst pain she'd ever been in.

Quinn faltered. Her arm shook and gave way as she collapsed onto the ground. Wait, no. This wasn't the worst pain. Having Beth was the worst pain. Not holding her was worse pain. She laid on the grass for a moment, contemplating how it was that she'd been able to forget. Even for a moment.

Ignoring Coach, ignoring the team, she numbly (Numb. That's what this is.) walked off the field. Not to the locker room where it was too bright and clean and sterile. Not to her car where the mobility of her actions would be thrown back in her face. And certainly not to Glee where she'd never be able to escape anything if she tried. Instead, Quinn walked to the bleachers. The openness let her breathe but gave her the privacy and shelter she craved. It was a cool day, but she felt flushed and clammy. She saw her hands shake. Quinn ran them over her face and sunk slowly to the ground.

It wasn't the worst pain, she thought and vowed, I'll never forget again.

Except she did.

A completely different set of distractions, this time. The exact opposite of familiar. Skyscrapers instead of half-full office buildings. Avenues instead of carpool lanes. Hustle and bustle instead of insipid monotony. Colors and bright lights, not dim streetlamps and a washed-out skyline.

Quinn was rarely overwhelmed. Her life was common, and she wasn't exceptional. She studied, got good grades, and was a decent singer and gymnast. She wasn't made of stuff. The stuff of moxie and spunk, the stuff of Rachel Berry. Quinn had no presence, she wasn't special, and she knew it. But that's fine! It's fine. Quinn has a place in this world, and she knows where it is. Much better to know where she's supposed to be than to dream and be disappointed later on. She's not made of Rachel Berry and doesn't want to tumble down from lofty aspirations and live with the heartbreak of failure for the rest of her life. The secret to her life will lie in quiet acceptance and exceeding at being ordinary.

But New York overwhelmed.

It catapulted its bigness at her, tousled her hair in the wind, and she swore the subway grates were screeching her name. Glee Club ran singing through Central Park, around fountains, through Broadway and she'd never felt so light. It was as if she'd been floating around like an old balloon with everything whirling around, stirring up a wind and lifting her airborne.

The crash came later.

Once the sun set and the reality of facing Nationals without any songs loomed overhead, it was time to get back to work. They were in the city of Inspiration and Dreams but the only thing Quinn could think about had probably just finished teething back in Lima. The bullshit of everything came startlingly close to knocking her over. Rachel and Kurt were sneaking off somewhere and Finn was undoubtedly planning something sickeningly romantic that was never meant for her and it was suddenly all too much. Anger bubbled inside her and she lashed out at the unlucky pair that happened to be in the room with her.

"I don't care about some stupid show choir competition!"

The balloon popped. As soon as the words left her lips, Quinn deflated. There was nothing left, and she broke. Santana was right. How sad that this was their moment to feel good about themselves. She'd pushed everyone away. How pathetic that Quinn was in New York and her baby was in Ohio. How pathetic that it'd been exactly a year since she'd given birth and no one seemed to remember. Three hundred and sixty-five whole days later and here she was, no different except for the gaping piece of herself she'd left behind. Two relationships and she was no closer to being whole. Quinn didn't think she'd ever feel whole again.

So, (numbly, again) she let them take her to a salon. She watched her hair fall to the ground without really feeling present. They performed. They went back home. She went back where she felt she belonged. Where she should be.

This time Quinn made sure she wouldn't forget, so she got rid of familiar, she got rid of routine. She got rid of it all.

The Skanks used to hang out by the dumpsters outside of the cafeteria. The lunch ladies would smoke with Mack and Sheila on their cigarette breaks and bring leftover tots. A little cold, but the nicotine dulled a lot of the taste, anyway.

It was Quinn who brought them to the bleachers. It'd been her solace once and it was preferably quieter, away from prying eyes and leering glances. She'd had enough of being looked at- up to and down on.

She didn't miss the smoking or even the company, actually.

She missed the sense of detachment. It was all deliberate, traveling down the social ladder. Having nothing else to lose prevented an ounce of expectation from falling on her shoulders. It was a lighter, albeit stark existence. She was hollow, but things were quiet. Everything seemed numb now.

The bell rings and suddenly fifth period is over. She shuffles out of the classroom and is at her locker changing books when a note flutters down from the inside grate.


She turns around to take a quick glance at the hallway before opening the note.

Room 206, 2:45

She was expecting Puck.

She was expecting Shelby. Maybe both of them together, with another grand intervention scheme. But she wasn't expecting Rachel Berry to be sitting on a chair, wringing her hands, and looking more nervous than Quinn had ever seen her.

Anger was familiar and it was anger that rushed through Quinn now. How dare they. "Guess it was only a matter of time before they dragged you into this Springer reunion show. Though I guess you couldn't stay away too long from that, could you," she spat.

Rachel bit her lip and stood, "Quinn, I-"

"No. This isn't happening."

Quinn turned and stormed out before giving Rachel a chance to reply, and tried to ignore the slumped shoulders and sad eyes as she slammed the door shut behind her.

This isn't happening.

On Tuesday, the note in her locker reads Isaiah 49:14. She ignores it steadily until lunch when curiosity gets the better of her and she heads to the library. Quinn rounds the 220s in the Dewey Decimals and finds Rachel Berry sitting on the floor with an open book in her lap.

Immediately her eyes narrow. "Is this some sort of game to you, Rachel, meddling in my life?" Quinn hisses. After all, they are in the library.

Rachel doesn't even look up at her. She waits before speaking softly, "Zion says, 'The Lord has forsaken me, My Lord has forgotten me.' Can a woman forget her baby, or disown the child of her womb? Though she might forget," Quinn freezes. She grows cold and everything stops. She doesn't remember to breathe.

Rachel's eyes are watery as she looks up softly at Quinn. "I could never forget you." She doesn't realize her hands are shaking until Rachel pulls them into her own.

"See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands." She's not reading from the book anymore. Rachel's holding Quinn's hands in her own and her heart in her throat. "Your walls are ever before me," she finishes in a whisper. They sit in silence for a while, Quinn's cheeks growing damp. Rachel moves to cup her face gently, smearing tears with the pads of her thumbs.

"No one sent me, Quinn." Then she places a hand over Quinn's heart.

"And you could never forget her."

See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands.

Quinn doesn't say anything. Instead she looked down at her hands.

Who was she anymore? She didn't even like pink, it just happened to be the cheapest dye they had in the store. She tried so hard to make everything about her life unfamiliar in the hopes of never forgetting her child, her baby girl, her Beth, that Quinn never even bothered to see herself in it. Shelby was right. Was she ever that girl? Even after giving it her all, Little Miss Blonde Perfect didn't have anything. And in the end, neither did Little Miss Skank. She was angry and adrift, feeling more lost than ever. She started smoking for crying out loud.

Her hands weren't empty, though. Rachel is still holding them.

Who was she?

All she wanted was for someone to love her. Isn't that what she'd said? In this moment, Quinn realized she'd been confusing the rage with wanting and placed Beth in that role, to give her life purpose. Unconditional love. Sometimes Quinn just wanted so much. It terrified her, just how much.

She pulled her hands away. Rachel's face falls for a moment before Quinn simply switches positions and cradles Rachel's hands in her own.

There. (My walls are ever before you.)

She doesn't have the slightest clue who she is. But maybe, just maybe she could start with her hands.

The End

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