Quynh’s eyes snap up to meet a collision of phenomena so strong it nearly blinds her, brightly wild and loving for eternity and heartbreaking in its loveliness and endlessly forgiving and deathless inky black. The full force of it pulls her in, like gravity.
It is quê hương, the home of her heart, her soul.
More than anything, Quynh wants to reach out her fingers to trace the edges of Andromache’s face, but something raw and red and raging instead commands them to lie still, so there they sit, not touching, not breathing, barely even being. Call it cowardice. Call it the anxiety of being harmed. Call it heady memory that sticks in the now. Whatever it is, it seizes her whole against her will.
Quynh wishes she could do more, but that’s not in her nature right now.
(Or: Quynh and the intersection of her past and future)
Creator chose not to use archive warnings. Quynh-centric, character study, BAMF Quynh, PTSD, Flashbacks, she was under the ocean for centuries my dudes, her mind is fucked, Good!Quynh, angst with a happy ending, a bit of derogatory language, alcoholic Booker, Team as family, tons of Vietnamese language and culture, little bit of Latin for the boys, Love, Trauma, Tea, Acceptance
Quynh-centric, Andy/Quynh | ~15000 words | Mature
What I loved: This fic passes back and forth between Quynh’s memories and the present moment (ie: reunited with the rest of the Guard and joining them on missions) - she’s grounded by the actions of her loved ones (a tea ceremony, a coat, a trip to Vietnam, desire and love for Andy that she can’t quite express yet). They love her, and she’s encircled by that care!
The imagery and sensory details are immersive and this fic doesn’t skimp on the violence, so please heed the tags, but at the end of the day this fic is about rebuilding trust, Quynh starting a journey towards recovery, and a heck of a lot of tenderness - the ending caught my breath up and made me feel triumphant for her. This fic clearly has so much love and care and poetry put in, and it’s a masterful character study for Quynh that’s complex in its treatment.
Slightly spoilery mod notes under the cut if you’d like additional details about the content:
i see all the high femme quỳnh headcanons, but have you considered quỳnh in men’s wear?
Andy: Everytime I go to a hotel I take a bite of soap, just to mess with people.
Nicky: You DO realize that by eating soap, you’re the one who’s losing, right?
Quynh: You’re just jealous she was brave enough to taste the Forbidden White Chocolate.
Andy: White chocolate’s disgusting!
Nile: AND SOAP ISN’T?!?!
Nile, feeling nostalgic and homesick one day, decides they’re having a movie night. She picks a Disney movie she hadn’t had the chance to see yet, thinking it looked cute and lighthearted. Said movie was “Inside Out”.
During one part Booker has tears streaming down his cheeks silently. Joe is curled up sobbing, holding Nicky like he’s a teddy bear. Nicky is also crying, though not quite as dramatically as Joe. Andy pretends she isn’t affected, but is 100% tearing up. Quynh is crying but also needs to be held back, as she wants to find whoever was responsible and kill them. Nile teared up, but she’s more interested in how everyone else is reacting because she did NOT expect this.
She plans for them to watch “Up” next. Just to see the reactions. Because hey. She needs to get her revenge on the training, lighthearted hazing, and teasing somehow, right?
So this happened while I was typing up an Andy/Nile fic on my phone, but it was too good not to share more broadly.
I tried to make Andy say “I’m an old hat” but it repeatedly kept autocorrecting to “I’m an old gay”. Like, I tried to type it 4 times and it changed to that every time.
And thus I humbly propose:
The Joe/Nicky prequel—The Old Guard: The Old Gays
The subsequent Andy/Quynh prequel—The Old Guard: The Older Gays
The next movie, focused on Booker/Nile—The New-Bis
“I’ll take care of you / It’s rotten work / Not to me, not if it’s you”
But it’s Andy telling this to Quynh when Quynh believes she’s broken beyond repairs after the iron maiden and not worth the effort and Andy reminds her of their love and what it means to her
Quynh: Have you ever felt like punching someone? Burning something down? Screaming into the void?
Nile: Do you need a hug?
Quynh: Can we make it a long one?
Dear The Old Guard Fandom,
WHERE ARE THE QUYNH RESOURCES?!?!?!? This is not a gripe it is a request, whose inbox can I go to for Vietnamese translation checks? Who has the historical info? Where are the primers, who has those links? Plz friends the internet is full of lies and I do not have any basis for telling what’s correct or not about feudal/medieval/prehistoric Vietnam oh god
both Quynh and Booker’s friendship and Joe and Booker’s friendship have “let’s steal a plane it’ll be so funny *inevitably crashes the plane*” vibes.
Luckily for Andy, Quynh was more endeared than annoyed at the sight in front of them. That didn’t mean she wouldn’t complain though.
“What’s the point of owning horses if we’re not going to use them for transport?” Quynh asked her, raising an eyebrow at her lover.
“First of all, we don’t own them,” the older woman stopped petting one of the horses for one moment to raise an accusatory finger at Quynh, then continued, completely unbothered.
“And…?” Quynh tried to get the rest of the argument out of her but Andy only made a distracted noise that revealed she either forgot the rest of her defense or didn’t have one to begin with. Shaking her head and wearing a loving smile Quynh walked over and offered a hand in feeding the animals. “It’ll be just horses, right Andromache?” she asked, but the smile she got as a response wasn’t very convincing.
“Can you believe people are scared of this puppy?”
“Yes, I can,” Quynh replied.
She was standing beside Andy, who was kneeling on the ground, rubbing the belly of the wild wolf they had, somehow, befriended. As if being an actual wolf wasn’t intimidating enough, judging by the plenty of scars on the animal’s face and body it had been used to getting in fights with people or other beasts. When Andy and Quynh found him hurt and close to death they took care of him, healed his wounds, fed him, and in return, he never walked away from them.
“It’s harmless,” Andy defended her newest friend as he fondly licked her hand.
“It’s… charming, and nobody will let us walk into their town if you don’t put him on a leash.”
Quynh’s comment was met by an outraged gasp from Andy, but a second later Quynh was kneeling on the ground, laughing loudly while the very scary wild wolf happily tried to lick her face as a sign of love.
Soon enough in their relationship it became more than obvious that Quynh’s playful complaints were just a way to tease her partner when in fact she was just as likely to take in unlikely pets that stole their hearts.
“So…” Andy started with a chuckle as she sat down on the ground beside Quynh, “No comments about how this is a feral cat? A wild beast? Or how we’ll be kicked out of every city for carrying this monster with us?”
“Andromache… this is a baby,” Quynh replied, very seriously, holding up in her arms the cat that couldn’t be more than just a few weeks old and that they couldn’t identify besides a certain knowledge that it was far from a domestic kind of animal.
“Alright, fine,” Andy agreed. She reached out a hand to carefully let the tiny cat play with her finger. Someday that baby would be a big cat that would terrify entire cities, but right now it was an adorable thing that had made a home in Quynh’s arms. “But what are we going to do with the other five?” she asked, nodded her head toward the five baby cats playing with each other and stumbling around by their feet. Instead of answering, Quynh laughed, and passed her one of the cats.
“This has to be my favorite group of friends we’ve had in years,” Andy said, lifting up in her arms a baby panda and carrying it away from a slope that the young thing was seemingly obsessed with.
“Why is that?” Quynh replied, not without certain difficulty, considering she was pretty much wrestling two other babies that demanded so much attention, but got her laughing until her stomach hurt.
Quynh didn’t even get to hear Andy’s response, she only remembered the other woman’s presence when she deposited an extra bear in front of her. The new baby bear distracted the others enough for Quynh to get a second to look up at Andy, who didn’t waste time and immediately stole a kiss from the love of her life.
“Because they make you happy,” Andy replied, stole one more kiss and then got her attention stolen by the panda bears that needed them.
Centuries later, everything was different. The world, their family, themselves. But, some things never changed. Andy and Quynh’s love for each other, Quynh’s playful love, Andy’s endless kindness, and a certain weak spot they had for animals that other people would run away from.
“That can’t be safe, you know that,” Nile passionately complained to Quynh as the two of them watched Andy basically cuddle with an adult brown bear. “She could die,” the youngest member of the team emphatically waved her hand at the crazy scene in front of them.
Quynh attempted a reassuring smile. “Only if the bear tried to kill her,” she replied, “We raised her since she was a baby.” She shrugged, and just to make her point she walked over to her wife and sat down beside her, their backs resting on the bear, and playfully pushing away the great paw that tried to play with them. It took a while but eventually Nile had to accept the fact that every now and then Andy and Quynh would raise an actual bear in one of their safe houses and that was part of all their lives.
Andromache rests with her head pressed against Quỳnh’s chest, listening to the sound of her heartbeat and letting it soothe her.
On nights like these, when she finds herself lying awake staring up at the stars, it’s the only thing that can calm her own heart- the steady rhythm of her lover’s heartbeat an anchor in the vastness of her life.
It had been centuries since they had lost Lykon, but his absence still aches in her heart. Andromache can no longer picture the faces of her mother or her sisters, but when she thinks of family, she pictures him- part of her wonders how long that will last, how long until she can no longer picture his face, how long until he becomes a distant memory she can no longer place.
She doesn’t dare let her thoughts drift to woman in her arms, doesn’t dare think about what she would do if she ever has to cling to memories of her lover- surely fate will never be that cruel. (She knows better than to believe in fate though, lived long enough to know it’s just a fools version of hope.)
Quỳnh grows restless in her arms, pulling Andromache out of her thoughts, recognizing the signs of a nightmare in her lover’s dreams. Quỳnh lets out a startled shout and suddenly bolts upright.
Andromache mourns the loss of the feeling of Quỳnh in her arms, but sits up beside her all the same.
“What is it, my heart?” She asks, combing her fingers through Quỳnh’s hair in an attempt to soothe her.
Quỳnh turns to look at Andromache, and her eyes are wide and wild, something flashes in Quỳnh’s eyes and then she’s smiling.
“Andromache,” Quỳnh whispers, squeezing her eyes shut again, “it’s happened again- there are new ones.”
It’s so great to see so much interest in this event, and whether you plan to participate or cheer participants on, we hope you’ll have a great time. It’s wonderful to see familiar faces in the notes on some of these event posts, as well as so many new ones!
Thank you again all so much, and we can’t wait to see what you’ll create!
(I did the first one and the other will be on another post 💙💙 hope you like this sorry it has magic again, but it is kinda soft)
Some people think Quỳnh and Andy must hate each other, one a witch, the other an immortal human with an eye for the supernatural. Andy can see magic, but that’s about it when it comes to spells and potions. Quỳnh instead is magic. It swirls around her fingers like air streams. Their souls are supposed to speak different languages. Andy think they make it work pretty well.
They met in a way that is both human and magic. Andy runs every morning, a habit Nicky instilled in her a decade before and never left her, even if now her ghost friend lives on the other side of the world with his psychic boyfriend, adopting ghost problematic kids along the way (it’s what they deserve). That day, Andy was running alone, in the cold October morning, cursing the way every witch in the country was relishing the upcoming halloween and winter by permeating the air with the smell of ashes, orange and rust (winter western magic). The sun was barely over the shorter buildings, Andy’s breath a series of little white clouds in the air, when she saw Quỳnh for the first time.
Quỳnh was —is— gorgeous. The elegant lines of her face, her dark eyes, her slim figure. Andy had been running for just ten minutes when she saw the witch, standing still by the sidewalk as light painted her silhouette in dark and gold, but in that moment she had the urge to stop and look. Quỳnh was wearing a long and large dark blue coat in typical witch fashion, a red scarf, and had an old-style broom in her hand, wood dark with age. She wasn’t getting ready to fly, though. She was tapping on her phone with the other hand, and her mysterious appearance was made mundane by the leather briefcase at her feet, bulging with documents.
Andy was running slower and slower. Finally Quỳnh looked up, and Andy was surprised to see dark purple circles under her eyes, which were red and glassy. Andy had never seen a witch fall ill. She stopped, a few meters away from the witch, but clearly looking at her. Ill or not, the witch was beautiful.
“I have been waiting,” the witch said. “I dreamt you would run past me two decades ago.”
Andy felt a chill run down her spine, maybe with anticipation more than fear. Her survival instints had gone lazy after the first three centuries.
“Twenty years ago,” Andy repeated. She was talking to a complete stranger, yet she wasn’t afraid. She only felt a powerful desire to understand what was going on, whay the witch was really saying. The witch looked the type to speak in riddles, with the long cloak and scard hiding her except for the eyes and nose.
“Twenty years ago, I was deciding where to move next,” Andy remembered. “I chose the US.” She’d moved to Spain a few months before that morning, leaving behind the US without looking back. These days, people noticed when you stopped aging sooner.
“Well, you chose wrong,” the woman, not yet Quỳnh, love of her life, at the time just a beautiful, maybe-broken witch waiting for her with a broom in hand at dawn, turned to look at Andy. She spoke and acted as if they had more than twenty years of familiarity. Andy liked her bluntness from the first moment.
“Did you wait every morning?”
“When it was cold. When the light looked right. Every time. I had to wake up early.”
Familiarity or not, the witch looked almost scared, avoiding Andy’s eyes, her stance spoke of combat training —the magic kind, of course, where you didn’t need close range to hit the mark and hurt— and her words were spoken slowly, reluctantly. Nicky spoke like that when he was… oh. Embarrassed. Exposed.
This woman had waited for Andy for twenty years by the same sidewalk, every time the sky looked gray and dawn painted the buildings with bright, cold yellow. Andy wondered for how long the witch waited, alone, before giving up, frustrated and hurt, only to come back the next morning with renewed hope. She imagined the witch the first time it happened after the dream, the refusal to admit it wasn’t the right time, the burning disappointment.
On her part, Andy hadn’t known Quỳnh existed until this morning. It was unfair for both of them, for different reasons. Andy didn’t like how tired Quỳnh looked, gripping the broom with white knuckles.
“Were you alone for long?”
They were heavy words, for people who can live for centuries. It was maybe too much to ask for the first morning, because Quỳnh just stared at her for twenty long seconds —exactly twenty, Andy counted in her head— and then nodded, got on her broom and flew away, not before saying: “See you tomorrow,” like it was a fact instead of a suggestion.
Andy run to Quỳnh the next morning, and the next. It was impossible for her to abandon the witch, whose name she learnt only by the end of the first week, when Andy offered to buy coffee for both of them before the witch had to fly to work.
Quỳnh was, Andy learnt, a lawyer. Magic regulation, with an eye to look out for witches and ghosts and whoever was mistreated because of ignorance and prejudice. Andy had had her fair share of almost-lynching and slurs in her 500 years of age, but it was clear by the fire in Quỳnh’s eyes that the witch had suffered a lot, and didn’t wish that on any other being.
“I am also a divorce lawyer,” Quỳnh added, surprising Andy. “My magic works well with heartbreak.”
Every dawn was different, but Quỳnh was always the same: quiet when she wasn’t laughing, stern until she broke into the brightest smile Andy had ever seen. Clever, but ready to crack the dumbest puns just to see Andy groan.
“I have a lot of love magic. The term is improper,” she explained quickly. Two months after their first meeting and the dark circles under her eyes were almost gone, leaving a tender lilac bruise in their place. “It revolves around feelings and human connections. That’s why I also like helping people when they decide to end their marriage. Hearts are delicate, and even a dying love is worth tending to, so that the heart can grow again drawing strength from it.”
Andy nodded in her cup of coffee. She’d loved people across the years, some for one night, others for fifty years; just because a love didn’t last forever it didn’t mean it had failed. Nicky didn’t understand this, having waited for Joe all his life (and non-life), but that didn’t faze Andy. Nicky and Joe were different than most.
“But I was lonely before I met you. I lost many people I cared about in rapid succession, and I am still not sure I have the strength to keep going knowing I’m aging so slowly. My magic is the best and worst part of my life.”
“Why me? What do you know about me?” Andy asked, resisting the urge to kiss Quỳnh until the other smiled again. So soon in their relationship, she already couldn’t handle seeing Quỳn sad, she couldn’t help but taking Quỳnh’s hand in hers, holding tight. She was relieved to feel Quỳnh holding back.
“I know I could love you. I have… this feeling, that I had to wait until you found me. I dreamt other people across the years, a ghost, a psychic, a thief and another witch, but I always knew you were the first piece,” Quỳnh looked up, eyes shining with unshed tears. “I know I am asking a lot, but I need you in my life. I just know it.”
Andy could feel her heart beating in her ears.
“I know, I believe you. When I saw you the first morning, I had to stop,” Andy got closer to the witch, ignoring the funny looks the bartender was sending them. “I had to look at you. I couldn’t look away. Please, let me see you during the day. Let me get to know you.”
It was still early morning, the city silent around them. It was Andy’s favourite time of day, but soon she would learn to appreciate late mornings —with Quỳnh in bed, the rare days when the witch agreed to skip work —, early afternoons —with Quỳnh , working quiety as the witch watched Master chef and argued with the tv as if they could hear her comments — , sunsets, dinners, midnight, late nights…
Quỳnh’s eyes were sparkling, but magic had nothing to do with it.
“Ask me out, Andromache. I dreamt I would fly with you for the rest of my life, and I would like that time to start as soon as possible.”
tog ladies with tattoos !! (click for better quality + details)
more info about the tattoos under the cut :)
Does anyone else think about the fact that the last touch Quynh ever knew before she was locked in the iron maiden wasn’t from Andy, nor from Joe or Nicky or an ally, it wasn’t a friendly touch it was four stranger, full of fear and hate for her, violently grabbing her and tearing her away from the people she loves?
That her last memory is a priest calling her a witch and Andy calling for her with a horrified expression on her face?
Does anyone think about the fact that she had to spend at least a few days on the boat with a crew full of people who hate her while hearing the ocean and feeling the waves, already knowing the fate that was waiting for her and unable to do anything about it? She just had to stand there, locked in a prison, at the mercy of that crew, reduced to hoping for a miracle of some sort that would save her.
Those few days of total helplessness alone are an unfathomable trauma that leaves long-lasting issues for anyone that has to live through those kinds of events, and that’s without adding the 5 centuries in the ocean that followed with those memories for only companion.
If I had to spend my last days of living in that violent and full of hatred environment and then simmer for 500 years with those feelings in mind, knowing that this was done against myself and the woman I love for the simple fact that we exist, well. I wouldn’t come out happy and full of love for humanity either.
All I’m saying is Quynh deserves to be angry and have that anger acknowledged and respected both by other characters within the story and by the narrative itself. She deserves to heal from what happened to her and voice her feelings and have them treated with respect and not brushed aside on the account of her being crazy or pure evil.