Rachel had had a heart attack. She'd survived it in the moment but her health was clearly deteriorating quickly. It seemed, that she only had a number of days left.
Since the incident on the hill, Quinn hadn't left her wife's side. Until now, anyway. She had left to get some spare clothes for herself and some comfortable clothes for Rachel, should she want or need them. It had been hard for Quinn. Hard didn't even begin to cover it. She knew it would be heart-breaking for her wife but the impact it was having on her was indescribable. She knew she was going to lose her wife and the pain was unbearable. She didn't want to think about it but there are times when you just can't help it. The blonde thought about her memories with the brunette and how many more Rachel deserved to get but wouldn't. She was in pain and she felt awful because it was like she was mourning her wife who wasn't even dead yet.
The plan was to go home and get clothes but Quinn didn't leave with just them. She picked up Rachel's adventure book and the flight tickets. On her way back to the hospital she also stopped off at a local shop to buy a helium-filled gold star balloon and some ribbon.
When Quinn reached the hospital, she didn't go straight into Rachel's room. Quinn rolled up the Venezuela tickets and tied them with the ribbon to the gold star balloon and sent it through the door to where Rachel was sitting.
Rachel managed a weak smile and slowly reached to grab the balloon. The brunette opened the roll of paper at a painfully slow speed. Once she saw what it was, a the saddest smile crossed her lips. "oh, Quinn…"
"Hey you" Quinn sauntered into the room and sat down by her wife. "I got these for our anniversary." The next part was agonisingly familiar. She pulled out Rachel's adventure book out from behind her back and put it on her wife's lap. "I thought we could live our holiday through your book. We don't have to wait that way." Quinn swallowed her tears and the lump in her throat. She reached out to pick up the scrap book but was stopped by a soft hand on hers. Her hazel eyes locked onto those mocha ones she knew so well and wrapped her hand around Rachel's.
Rachel gripped her wife's hand as tightly as she could. She didn't want to let go. She didn't want to risk forgetting Quinn's hand in hers. She wouldn't forget the way they slotted together. She couldn't let herself do that. Rachel brought her spare hand up and cupped Quinn. The brunette traced her wife's jaw. It wasn't as defined as it used to be but it was still Quinn's and that was all that mattered. It was so familiar. Rachel can remember the hours she spent kissing that jawline. It choked her up. She didn't want to be thinking about the thing's she'd miss. She needed to be thinking about now. So she lifted her head to kiss Quinn's forehead before pressing her own forehead against her wife's. "I love you, Quinn."
"Of course you do, I'm irresistible." The blonde joked. It was worth a try. All she wanted to hear was Rachel laugh one last time. It worked.
Rachel chuckled lightly. "You're incorrigible."
Quinn smiled. "You love it."
"I do. I really do. I love you."
Rachel had always told Quinn that she was brave. She used to believe it. Now she didn't. How could she? Losing Rachel had broken her. She didn't go out. She didn't talk to anyone. She just sat in Rachel's armchair in their lounge, inhaling what was left of her wife's scent and reading Rachel's adventure scrap book with a deflated gold-star balloon at her feet. Quinn didn't feel brave, she felt cowardly.
Looking back, Quinn had always thought she'd be the one to go first. Or both she and Rachel would pass away at pretty similar times. The latter idea seemed more reasonable. They'd always had a connection. Although she did used to think the first one would be the way it would go. She had been an awful person, even if it was a long time ago. Rachel had been the most wonderful person for as long as Quinn had known her. She thought Rachel deserved a longer life than her. As a punishment for her cruelty as an adolescent, Quinn believed she would be the first to die. She thought that death was the worst form of punishment. Now, she knew that wasn't the case. Death wasn't close to the worst punishment. Losing the person you love is the worst punishment that could happen to a person. Quinn believed her past had caught up with her future and this was her penalty. The penalty of a broken heart.