After the truth comes out, Quinn truly has no place to go…. But like they've said, Will Schuester is a good man.
Willingly leaving the Hudson household was even worse than getting kicked out of her own. While Quinn Fabray kept her head held high as she packed her things in her pristine bedroom, she could only hang it in shame as she left Finn's. Mrs. Hudson never asked her to leave, she was too nice for that. Finn didn't have the heart either. No, Quinn left because she just couldn't stand herself anymore, couldn't stand what she had done to so many people in her life.
Mrs. Hudson tried to get her to stay - after all, where else could she go? - but Quinn politely declined and only accepted the proffered leftovers when Mrs. Hudson practically threatened to duct tape them to her person. Finn remained quiet, standing at the foot of the stairs. Quinn assumed he only looked up from the carpet after the door clicked safely shut behind her.
That was how she ended up sitting on the steps of McKinley High with nothing but a duffle bag and a tupperware of meatloaf. She walked the short distance to the school parking lot, again declining a ride from Mrs. Hudson. Quinn fiddled with the silver cross hanging around her neck and looked down at her increasingly swollen ankles. Normally, the thought of swollen body parts would have her on a liquid diet immediately, but she didn't care.
The concrete steps were cold and she pulled her coat tighter around her. It wouldn't fit for much longer. The parka was already snug around her midsection and she still had months to go. It wasn't the thought of having no home or no food or no bed that finally brought her to tears. It was the stupid coat. She kept ricocheting between the idea of keeping the baby and giving it up for adoption, but how could she raise a child when she can't even clothe herself? The temperature continued to drop and she felt a raindrop hit her head. Figures.
Shit. Quinn looked up to find Mr. Schuester standing across the parking lot, next to his beat-up car. She assumed he came out of one of the side entrances. He wandered over, bag slung over his shoulder.
"Sorry, Mr. Schue. I didn't think anyone would be here. It's Sunday."
"Yes, I'm aware." He cocked his head sideways, studying her. He had a way of doing that that completely unnerved her. She saw his eyes dart to the bag and the tupperware and she knew there was no way she'd be able to lie herself out of this one. He had been there when her world came crashing down around her. He had comforted Finn even though he was broken himself. She didn't know how he could even look at her let alone speak to her. But instead of turning and shunning her like the rest of Lima had done (and he would be completely in his right to do so), he surprised her once again. Dropping his bag, he took a seat beside her.
"I was picking up the things I stowed here when I left my wife." He sighed and turned his head toward her. "Your turn."
She raised her eyebrows at his blunt honesty and tugged at her cross again. If he could do it, so could she, right? "I had no where else to go."
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him nod his head. He stood and held out his hand. "Come on."
She stared at the hand and flicked her eyes up to his. "What are you doing, Mr. Schuester?"
"Well it won't be much, but I can at least offer a bed and something better than cold leftovers." She continued to stare at his outstretched hand. "Come on, Quinn. It's gonna start raining in a minute. And either you're coming with me, or we're both going to get incredibly wet."
She swallowed hard and took his hand. He grabbed her bag and they made their way quietly to his car. She noticed that he didn't take the car out of "park" until her seatbelt clicked and he pointed the vent to blow the heat on her. She had been paying more attention to the little things that Mr. Schuester did ever since she agreed to give her baby to his wife. Terri Schuester was certifiable, Quinn knew that. But Mr. Schuester balanced her out. He was more stable, more cautious. While his plans sometimes backfired, he always had his kids' best intentions at heart. She admired that.
What sealed the deal for her was when she passed by the teacher's lounge and saw that Mrs. Collins was back from maternity leave. She was gabbing away to anyone who would listen but her baby was in the arms of Will Schuester. Quinn couldn't adequately describe the way he looked at that baby but she was sure that if a rocket had gone off in that lounge, Mr. Schuester would not have noticed. She put her hand to her chest to stifle the pain that image caused. Because of her (and his wife), he wouldn't get to look at his baby like that.
It was a short drive to his apartment, but Quinn felt like it had taken a lifetime. Will parked in the driveway and she waited awkwardly beside the car as he grabbed both of their bags out of the backseat. He gave her a tight smile and led the way to the front door. As he slipped the key into the lock, he turned gave her an apologetic glance.
"Sorry, it's a bit of a mess. Terri, my wife… ex, wasn't exactly careful when she moved her things out."
Quinn didn't know what to say to that, so she just nodded. He pushed the door open and dropped his keys on the side table. He continued on to the living room and put her bag down. Quinn hovered in the doorway, still unsure as to how she should act in Mr. Schue's presence outside of the classroom. In his home. The circumstances were beyond surreal.
Will returned to the hallway and gestured to her coat. She slipped it off and handed it to him, uttering a small, "Thank you." He hung it in the hall closet as she ventured further into the apartment. He was right – Terri wasn't exactly careful when she left. Some picture frames were overturned, and a broken vase still littered the coffee table.
"I haven't spent much time here in the past few days," he offered as a way of explanation.
Quinn righted a crooked painting hanging on the wall. "No problem, Mr. Schue." She looked at his shoes, still unable to meet his eyes for more than a fleeting glance. "Honestly, if it hadn't been for you, I probably would have spent the night under the glee room window."
He sighed and shoved his hands into his pockets. "Look, I know I'm just your teacher, but I don't ever want you guys to feel like you have no where to go. Got it?"
Her throat got unusually tight all of a sudden and she could only offer up a nod and a choked, "Got it."
He placed his hand on her shoulder and gave it a small squeeze. She finally looked up and noticed just how much he had aged in a few days time. The lines seemed deeper, the circles under his eyes darker. Before she could continue to study him, he turned and moved towards the kitchen. "What would you like to eat? I have pasta and… pasta."
"Pasta's great." She followed him, absentmindedly rubbing her stomach. She was pretty sure she caught him looking, but he turned away before she could be certain.
Will gestured to the living room. "Have a seat, and I'll whip something up. Do you have homework?"
Quinn smiled and couldn't help an eye roll, Always the teacher. She pulled her textbook out of the duffle bag and looked around at the small, but cozy space. There were many spots on shelves and tables where picture frames once stood. Most were gone, some were broken, leaving nothing but a dust outline as evidence of their existence. She couldn't help but feel guilty about the hand she had in that. She hesitantly glanced into the bedroom, noticing a queen bed that looked as if it hadn't been slept in. Not feeling comfortable enough to go beyond the doorway, she ventured back into the hall, where the sound of Mr. Schuester whistling a slow, melancholy tune echoed off the walls. The apartment was by no means large, but it was nice. Being familiar with Terri Schuester meant knowing her penchant for Pottery Barn. Her apartment looked like page 26 from the catalogue.
There was one room that Quinn hadn't seen. She knew she shouldn't pry, but curiosity got the best of her and she nudged the door open with her elbow. Flicking the light on, the sight caused an involuntary gasp to slip from her mouth. It was an empty room except for the lone rocking chair that graced the far corner. Without thinking, Quinn gravitated toward it and traced the lines in the carefully carved wood. A small white bunny sat in the large chair. She picked it up and ran the floppy ears through her fingers. Even the tail made a little nose when shaken, like a baby rattle. Collapsing into the chair, Quinn hugged the bunny to her chest and let the tears flow.
She wasn't sure how long she had stayed there, but she vaguely registered Mr. Schuester calling her name. It wasn't until she heard the creak of the door hinge that she knew he had found her.
She could hear the pain in his voice.
"This was for her?" She finally found the courage to look up. She wished she hadn't. His forehead creased as he struggled to keep his emotions in check.
"Yeah, it was for her. We hadn't gotten around to getting a crib yet."
Quinn nodded and looked back down at the bunny in her arms. Her little girl would have been loved here. Of that, Quinn had no doubt.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Schue. I'm so sorry." She broked down once more, the sobs wracking her body. Will rushed forward and, kneeling in front of her, gathered her into a hug. He rubbed reassuring circles on her back and whispered "It's okay" until her sobs dissolved into hiccups. Quinn pulled away, fully embarrassed, but Will placed a hand on her cheek and smiled, letting her know that it was all right. She was all right, he was all right, they would be all right. Using his thumb as he would on a small child, he wiped her tears away and helped her up.
"Come on. Pasta's getting cold."
Quinn rubbed the back of her hand across her face and grumbled. "I got makeup on your shirt."
He chuckled, "I'll survive."
Things were not nearly as awkward after that, as they sat in the Schuesters' small breakfast nook. Will munched on a piece of garlic bread as Quinn speared penne.
"How is it?"
"Best pasta I've ever had."
Will rolled his eyes. "It's hard to screw up pasta."
Quinn smiled. "You say that now, but wait until you see Finn try to boil water. I'm surprised he didn't burn the house down." Quinn laughed, but the thought of her ex-boyfriend made her fall silent. She pushed the pasta around her plate for a minute before dropping her fork and grabbing her stomach. "Whoa."
"What's wrong?" Will's voice was laced with panic.
"Nothing. Don't worry. The baby seems to like the pasta too."
Will's whole body relaxed as he placed his hand on his chest. "You nearly gave me a heartattack." He paused, and she watched him lean forward slightly his face full of curiosity and awe. "So, she's kicking?"
Quinn laughed, "Like a soccer player."
Will's face broke out into a grin. "Wow."
Quinn tilted her head. Of course, Mr. Schuester wouldn't have felt a baby kick. There was no baby. She bit her lip again, feeling a bit self-conscious. "Wanna feel?"
His eyebrows rose. "Really?"
She held out her hand and he came around the table and put his in hers. She guided it to the spot on her stomach where the baby's foot moved back and forth. He slowly lowered himself to his knees, mouth hanging slightly open.
"She's been doing this for a few weeks." Quinn looked at Mr. Schue's face, but his eyes were transfixed on his hand and her stomach. A single tear slid down his cheek and she fought the urge to wipe it away, like he had done for her. They stayed like that, not saying a word, until the kicking calmed down and he broke out of his trance.
He cleared his throat and slowly stood up. "Thank you. That was… thank you."
She squeezed his hand. "No, thank you, Mr. Schue."
And when Will Schuester told her she could stay as long as she wanted, that marked the day that Quinn Fabray's new life began.
It had been one week and four days since she had moved in with Will Schuester, but at the moment, all Quinn Fabray could think of was how so much stuff could come out of such a relatively small person.
She leaned over the porcelain toilet, feeling her stomach muscles squeeze her dry. Morning sickness should not last this long. She vaguely registered someone coming in and turning on the sink, but another bout of nausea took over and all thought left her head. She felt him sit next to hear, pull her hair back, and place a cold washcloth against the back of her neck. She dropped her head on her forearms and groaned.
"Why?" His voice was scratchy from lack of use.
"I don't want you to see me like this. You're my teacher."
He laughed. "The teacher that you're living with. Quit arguing."
Even if she had wanted to argue, she couldn't. She gripped the sides of the toilet as she threw up some more. He rubbed circles on her back.
"Make it stop."
"I wish I could."
"I swear I didn't even eat this much last night." She flushed the toilet and leaned back against the door. He handed her a wad of tissues and a glass of water. She took both gratefully. "I'm sorry I woke you up."
"No problem. You okay?"
She nodded, slowly registering that she was wearing an oversized flannel top and he was wearing nothing but boxers and a T-shirt. She tugged her shirt further toward her knees. She got over the strangeness of eating breakfast and dinner with Mr. Schue, even sleeping on his pull-out couch, but seeing him in anything less than his sweater and tie still freaked her out a bit.
"I'm sorry you had to see that."
"Quinn, you're not the first kid I've seen throw up. I'm just happy you didn't throw up on me because, trust me, that's happened before."
She grinned as he pulled her up. She swayed a bit and held onto his arms.
"Drink the water. It'll make the wooziness go away."
"Thanks, Mr. Schue."
They didn't tell anyone of their arrangements, except Miss Pillsbury, or even share rides to school, but when all was said and done, Mr. Schuester was still the one to hold her hair back when she, to put it bluntly, puked her guts out.
Two nights later, it wasn't the waves of nausea that woke her up in the early hours of the morning. A noise was coming from somewhere inside the apartment and Quinn stood up to investigate. She followed it to Mr. Schuester's bedroom. Quinn stood on the other side of the door, unsure as to whether or not she should check and make sure he was okay.
Her concern eventually won out and she gently knocked on the door. She heard a muffled "Yeah?" from the other side. She opened the door and saw Mr. Schuester sitting on the edge of the bed, head in his hands, his body shaking with hardly contained sobs.
"Mr. Schue?" Quinn carefully treaded further into the room. She had never really been comfortable with adults expressing emotion, but he just looked so broken. She sat next to him on the bed and gently placed her palm on his back. She didn't say anything and eventually he stopped shaking.
"Sorry, Quinn. You shouldn't see me like this."
"If you can watch me puke, I can watch you cry."
"Fair enough." He held up something in his hand. Quinn looked closer and saw it was an engagement ring. "I remember the night I gave this to her. It took me forever to pick it out and even longer to scrape together enough money to pay for it." She watched him as he stared at his own wedding ring, which she guessed he had been unable to part with yet. Will continued, "She left these in the drawer of her nightstand. There wasn't even a note."
Quinn rubbed his back in much the same way as he had rubbed hers two night previous.
"It's gonna be okay, Mr. Schue. Sometimes, life throws things at you and it sucks, but it's bound to get better, right?"
She watched as he glanced at her stomach and then up to her face. "Right."
The next day, she saw divorce papers on the dining room table, next to his discarded wedding ring.
School was lonely and depression set in quick and deep. Some days, she locked herself in Miss Pillsbury's office and didn't come out until either school was over or a student with real problems kicked her out. Miss Pillsbury didn't seem to mind the company, as long as Quinn spent the time doing homework and used copious amounts of hand sanitizer.
Finn refused to talk to her and she had no desire to converse with Puck. The rest of the glee kids were polite but never warm. Much to Quinn's surprise, only Rachel attempted any sort of conversation and it was to Rachel that Quinn eventually entrusted her secret. Quinn was sure that when she showed up to glee the next day, whispers would abound about the torrid affair that Quinn Fabray was allegedly having with William Schuester, but no one looked at her twice.
And when Rachel showed up at Will's apartment the next morning to give Quinn a ride to school, Quinn didn't think twice about accepting.
Will usually got home later than Quinn, staying behind to grade papers and arrange music, but one day she entered the apartment, throwing a wave over her shoulder to Rachel, and heard hammering coming from the spare room.
She set down her bag and followed the noise, but as she reached the door, her jaw dropped. A twin bed complete with purple sheets was flush against the back wall, and Will was halfway under the frame of a crib hammering away.
"Yeah?" He lifted his head and banged it on the frame. "Ow."
Quinn rushed over and helped him out from under the metal. "Mr. Schue, what are you doing?"
"Well…" He scratched the back of his head. "You're gonna need a crib, aren't you? And how many times have I told you to call me Will outside of school?"
She ignored him and looked around. "This is for me?"
"Of course it's for you. Both of you."
Quinn didn't even notice that she hadn't let go of his hand.
"Rachel picked out your sheets, so blame her if you don't like them. And I'm sorry about the twin bed. It was all that would fit in the room with the crib and everything else. I didn't get baby sheets. I thought that might be something you'd want to do."
She looked around and saw a box that contained parts for a changing table with drawers for diapers and onesies.
"Thanks, Mr. Schue." She threw her arms around his neck.
"Okay, Mr. Schue."
Quinn spent the rest of the night handing Will screws and tools and he put her baby's furniture together.
"Which one? Blue or green?"
Will stood in the middle of the living room and held up ties against his shirt as Quinn sat on the couch, a bowl of popcorn balancing on her belly.
"Mmmm, blue if you wear the white shirt, green if you wear the blue shirt. What's the occasion?"
"I have a date."
Quinn nearly choked on her popcorn. "Ooooooh, with whom?"
Will pointed to the bowl on her stomach. "You're getting good at that."
"Don't change the subject."
He disappeared into his bedroom.
Quinn continued in a sing-song voice, "You can give me three guesses, but I'll only need one."
Will emerged wearing the blue shirt and looping the green tie around his neck.
"I'll be back around 10."
"Oh don't rush back on my account."
Will rolled his eyes. "You have my cell?"
"Yes, Mr. Schue. I have three months to go, I'm not gonna pop."
"Bite your tongue. You're going to have me panicking all throughout dinner."
Quinn sighed. "I'll be fine." They went through this routine every time Will had somewhere to go. At least at school, they were in the same building should something happen. To some it might feel suffocating, but Quinn secretly relished these little exchanges. It reminded her that even when her real parents didn't care about her, someone out there did.
"How do I look?" Will shrugged his jacket on and smoothed his tie against his shirt.
"I'll call you later." He grabbed his keys from the table.
"You don't have to do that!" she yelled from the couch.
"Yes I do."
"Tell Miss Pillsbury I said hello!"
"Goodnight, Quinn!" He shut the door.
Sure enough, at 8:30 the phone rang.
She had never really examined the interior of his office before. But as she sat in the chair across from his desk, she took in the details: the desk calendar filled with his messy handwriting, the poster of some mountain in South America, the stack of CDs in the corner, and the books on his shelf.
"Quinn, what's up? Is everything all right?"
Will came in and placed the Spanish books on his desk.
"I'm fine. I had a free period and I didn't want to suffer the whispers in study hall."
Will's tone immediately changed, "What's happening in study hall?"
"Nothing, nothing. I'm just… getting bigger everyday and people somehow manage to come up with a new fat joke or "fallen nun" joke every time I pass by."
"I want names."
She couldn't help but smile. "That's awfully nice of you, Mr. Schue, but I didn't come here so you could slap half the student population with detentions."
He tilted his head, "Oh?"
"I forgot I had a doctor's appointment today at 3:00. I… don't really want to alone."
"You want me to come?"
"If you wouldn't mind."
"I'd love to."
"Thanks, Mr. Schue."
"Yeah, yeah." She waved him off. "Later, Mr. Schue."
"Quinn? I still want names."
The doctor's office wasn't nearly as frightening as the first time she came, but it was still pretty damn scary. He had been with her that time as well.
The closer she got to her due date, the more the posters on the wall freaked her out. Will flipped through a magazine next to her, reading an article on how to baby proof a house.
"Wow, I didn't even know a baby's finger could fit in something that small."
Quinn would've laughed if she hadn't felt like throwing up.
Quinn jumped at the sound of her name and glanced at Will next to her.
"Showtime." He smiled and helped her up.
Will waited patiently outside the room until Quinn put on the hospital gown. When she was situated on the examination table, she called for him to come in. She kept the blanket firmly secured around her lower half as he wandered around the room. She watched him examine a plastic replica of a baby in utero. He went to touch it and accidentally knocked the baby out.
"Oh, shit." He picked the baby up right as the doctor came in.
"Hello, Quinn. How are you today?"
The doctor, a kindly woman, turned to face Will. "And you are?"
"Will Schuester." He shook her hand.
"You're not the baby's father, correct?"
"No, definitely not. I'm her…" Will looked at Quinn. "Guardian. I'm her guardian."
"Well, let's get started then."
Quinn's eyes were glassy as she looked at Will. The "guardian" comment was unexpected and, given that lately everything was setting her off emotionally, she couldn't keep her lower lip from trembling. Yesterday, she cried because there were no more orange m&m's in the bag. She swallowed, willing herself to stay calm for at least another five minutes.
The doctor lifted her gown exposing her belly and squirted the gel. Quinn automatically reached out for Will's hand, which he grasped tightly in response. The doctor placed the sensor on her stomach and the baby was heard before she was seen. The pitter patter of her rapid heartbeat filled the room and she made her fuzzy appearance on the sonogram screen.
"She's so big!" Quinn stared at the screen, clearly making out her facial features and tiny fingers curled into a fist against her chest.
"Look at her, Will." Quinn grasped his hand tighter. "Look at my baby."
Will could only nod as he stared at the screen. He was so enraptured that he didn't even notice Quinn called him by his first name. "She's beautiful." He rested his chin on Quinn's head.
"Everything looks good. She's got a healthy heartbeat, healthy weight, so far." The doctor looked up at them. "Have you given any more thought to adoption?"
Quinn's bubble of warm, fuzzy feelings was popped instantly.
Will must have felt the change in the room because he looked down at Quinn and back at the doctor. "Can we have a minute?"
"Of course." The doctor wiped the gel from Quinn's stomach and left the room.
Quinn fiddled with the hem of her gown, until the door shut with a snap. "I want to keep her, Mr. Schue."
"I know." He pulled the chair next to the bed and sat down.
"I can't do this alone."
"You're not alone."
"Finn won't look at me. Puck doesn't know to take care of himself let alone a baby. And you? You have to start your own family. You don't need to pick up the pieces of mine."
Will sighed and took her hand again. "Look at me." She continued to stare at the faded hospital gown. "Quinn, look at me." She did. "Finn will come around. Even though that baby isn't his, he still fell in love with her. And Puck can learn if you let him. He can. And as for me? Well you're a part of my family whether you like it or not. So tough. I'll pick up whatever pieces you throw at me." He paused and took a deep breath before what he said next. "And you have to remember, Finn isn't the only one who fell in love with that baby."
Quinn's promise to stay calm for five minutes lasted six before her walls came crashing down. Will sat on the edge of the examination table and gathered her in his arms.
"We're gonna be just fine." He kissed the top of her head. "I promise."
There was a soft knock on the door and the doctor returned with some forms and the new sonogram DVD.
"I don't need those," Quinn said, gesturing to the forms. "The baby's not up for adoption."
Three days later, there was a knock at the door. Quinn came out of her bedroom to answer it, but Will beat her to it. She listened as he opened the door, but when she heard him say, "Finn?" she backed farther into the bedroom instead.
"Come on in."
"No, no." Finn was quick to decline. "I just came to drop something off."
"When Quinn left, she left this at my house. I still… want her to have it. It was a gift."
"You sure you don't want to give it to her yourself?"
"Yeah, I'm sure."
"Okay. I'll tell her you came by."
"How is she?"
"She's great, Finn." She heard Will pause. "But you should ask her that yourself sometime."
"Right. Thanks, Mr. Schue."
"See you around, Finn."
Quinn heard the door close and the footsteps grow louder. Will rounded the corner and almost ran right into her.
"So it seems someone else knows you're staying here."
Quinn rolled her eyes. "Please, whatever Rachel knows, Finn knows."
"Well, Finn wanted you to have this back." Will placed a tattered baby blanket in her hand.
Quinn's mouth dropped open. Maybe Will was right. Maybe Finn would come around. That night, she placed the blanket in its rightful place, in the crib next to the stuffed bunny.
"I should have done this weeks ago." Quinn meandered through the baby department at Sheets N'Things, making mental checks of patterns she liked and vetoing many things she didn't. They really were leaving this to the last minute, but Quinn wanted Will to go with her, but he always had something to do. She finally cornered him on a Saturday when she knew he had nothing going on but even then, he was looking almost wildly around the store and sweating profusely.
"Are you all right?"
"Fine. Is it hot in here? I think it's hot."
"I'm fine." She eyed him as she walked toward a pink display. "How about this one?" She held up a blanket.
She dropped the blanket in frustration. "You said that about the last five."
"What? Oh, sorry."
"Mr. Schue, you are not fine."
"Yes, I am. Now which one were you looking at?"
"This one." She held it up again.
"I like it. No, I mean I really like it," he said, cutting of her tirade. She examined it more closely, tracing the pink pattern with her fingers. "They would go well with the curtains."
Quinn looked at them more closely. "You think?"
When Will didn't respond, she looked up. He was staring straight ahead, looking paler than the sheets she held in her hand.
"Mr. Schue?" She followed his line of sight and gasped. Terri stood at the end of the aisle, staring back. Quinn watched as Will gripped the bedding so hard, his knuckles turned white, but he couldn't tear his eyes away from his ex-wife. "Mr. Schue?" No response. "Will?" He looked at her. "Come on, let's go home." She took his hand and led him out of the aisle and out of the store.
Days passed slowly and her belly got bigger. One Saturday Miss Pillsbury came over and made pancakes. And then she returned on Sunday and made waffles. It became a weekly ritual which both Quinn and Will enjoyed – Quinn for the food and Will for other reasons.
As her due date drew near, Will never ever left his house without his cell phone. Even though cell phones were for all intents and purposes banned from the McKinley campus, Will kept his securely on his hip for whenever Quinn needed him.
He went on midnight ice cream runs for her in nothing but pajamas and snow boots. He didn't mind when he came home one afternoon to find Rachel painting Quinn's toe nails, because, as Quinn told him, "Even though she couldn't see her feet, someone else could." He even attended Lamaze classes with her, which was all sorts of awkward in the beginning, but it eventually became routine. They shared the horror of watching the infamous "baby video" which made them lose their appetites for rest of the evening.
And he protected her whenever she needed protecting. Whether it was from the verbal attacks in study hall (he eventually got his names and happily handed out detentions) or from other means, he was always there. Even when she didn't need him.
There was another knock on the door and Quinn struggled to get up from the couch to answer it.
Will laughed as he passed through towards the door. "Don't bother. I'll get it."
"I feel like a beached whale."
"Be quiet. You look wonderful."
She heard him open the door and utter one word. "Puck."
Quinn gasped. Word spread quickly. First Rachel, then Finn, now Puck.
"Is she here?"
Will remained silent.
"Come on, Mr. Schue, that's my baby in there."
Will reappeared in the living room and helped Quinn off the couch. "What do you want me to tell him?"
Quinn sighed. "Let him in."
Will looked skeptical but he left and returned with Puck a moment later. "I'll be in the next room." With a significant look at Puck, Will exited toward the kitchen.
Puck stood awkwardly in the middle of the living room, staring at the floor. "Hi."
"What do you want, Puck?"
He scuffed his dirty sneaker against the floor. "I honestly don't know. I want a lot of things."
"Like..?" She crossed her arms protectively above her stomach.
"I want to say I'm sorry. I'm sorry I was a dick, and I'm sorry I wasn't there for you."
She scrutinized him. "And is this your way of telling me you're going to change?"
He finally met her eyes. "I'm working on it. I took on another job – pool cleaning's kinda slow in the winter – and I've made some dough. My Mom helped me open a savings account for the baby. And I've been reading those baby books. Finn actually gave them to me. He said he didn't need them."
Quinn looked down and Puck took a step closer.
"I'm sorry, I didn't say that to make you feel bad or anything, but I want you to know that I'm trying. I really am."
Quinn nodded, but couldn't help making comparisons in her mind. Sure, what Puck did was a big deal for Puck, and she was grateful, but compared to what Mr. Schue had become in her life, Puck fell infinitely short.
"I'm happy you're trying, Noah. But if you want to be a part of this baby's life, you're going to have to try a hell of a lot harder. If you want to be her father, then you're going to have to step up. A father is more than just a savings account. You just have to be here. And you haven't been. Mr. Schue is more of a father to this baby than you are."
Puck shoved his fists in his pockets and looked as if he was seriously going to regret what was about to come out of his mouth.
"Are you sleeping with him?"
Quinn distantly heard a crash in the kitchen before she walked up and slapped Puck across the face.
Puck rubbed his cheek. "I'm sorry, I had to ask. You're living with him. What's a guy supposed to think?"
"You're supposed to know me well enough to know that I wouldn't start an affair with a teacher! Just because you sleep with everything that has boobs and breathes, doesn't make you fit to judge others. If you want to be a part of her life, you certainly have a long way to go. Finn at least gave her a blanket. What have you given your daughter?" Quinn turned away from him. "You should go."
Puck left the living room as Quinn sat on the couch. She heard Will leave the kitchen, follow Puck to the door, and say, "If you hurt her again, I swear…"
"I know, Mr. Schue," was Puck's response, before she heard Will close the door in his face.
Will returned to the living room and put his arm around Quinn. She looked at him wryly, though tears spilled down her cheeks, "So, he can learn, huh?"
"Some learn faster than others."
Her face contorted and he hugged her to him as she broke down.
The next day, there was a teddy bear on the step with a pink bow and no card.
The night started out like any other. She fell asleep while reading on the couch, Will woke her up and put her to bed. Beginning at 8pm every night, she could hardly keep her eyes open, but then she'd be wide awake from 4am on. It was not a healthy sleep pattern for a 16 year old. So when she woke up at midnight, wide awake like someone had poked her roughly, she knew something was wrong. She settled back into the pillows and waited. Sure enough, roughly 20 minutes later there came another "poke." She tried to stay calm, to keep herself from hyperventilating, but she knew that this was it and there was nothing she could do to stop it.
She paced the bedroom staring at the watch on her wrist. Every twenty minutes became every fifteen, which became twelve, which became ten. When she hit eight around 2am, she decided to wake up Will.
She tiptoed across the living room and knocked on his door. She pushed it open a bit, but gripped the handle when another contraction hit. She grimaced and called out, "Mr. Schue?" He rolled over in bed. Her eyes watered and she continued to breathe through the contraction. She concluded in that moment that Lamaze was bullshit. "Will?"
He sat bolt upright in bed and looked around. Quinn was kneeling on the ground, rubbing away the last remnants of the contraction from her belly. "Oh god, Quinn." He jumped out of bed and kneeled in front of her. "How far apart?"
"Eight minutes or so."
"Come on, we should go." He stood up and started to pull clothes on. "How long have you been awake?"
Will stopped pulling his jeans over his boxers. "Why didn't you come get me?"
"There was no point. They were too far apart to go to the hospital and I didn't want to wake you up."
"Quinn, I at least could have kept you company." He pulled a hoodie over his T-shirt and helped her off the floor. "Did your water break?"
"Not yet." He grabbed her bag where they kept it next to the front door.
She gripped his hand as he helped her down the stairs to the car. Another contraction ripped through her body and she gasped, crashing into him. He held her up so she didn't fall to the pavement.
"I've got you, it's okay. Breathe."
She whimpered against the pain and leaned against his chest. "It hurts."
When she was stable enough to hold herself up, he helped her into the passenger seat.
"If my water breaks in your car, I'm really, really sorry."
"I don't care Quinn. I'm getting rid of it anyway."
"Why?" She rubbed her hand in soothing circles across her stomach as he pulled out of the drive.
"It's not safe for a car seat." He stared straight ahead as he suppressed the urge to break all sorts of traffic laws, but Quinn stared only at him. She was about to express her gratitude for everything he had done when another contraction took the wind out of her. She gripped the door handle with her right hand and Will's hand with her left. Will worriedly looked at her out of the corner of his eye.
"That was not 8 minutes, Quinn! That was a lot closer than 8 minutes!"
She breathed deeply and tried to suppress the urge to scream. "I know," she managed to groan between gritted teeth.
Will pushed on the gas pedal harder.
The hospital was brighter than she remembered it being. Or maybe it was just that she was on sensory overload.
The nurses had wheeled her away from Will's car just as her water broke. They stopped briefly at the front desk and handed Will some forms as the nurses took her into a room and got her into a gown.
When Will joined her and handed her the form to complete, she was surprised that he managed to answer all but a few questions. He even knew she was allergic to Penicillin.
When the doctor came in to check Quinn's progress, she didn't even bother asking if Will wanted to stay for the examination. Will averted his eyes and stayed near Quinn's head. Quinn couldn't help but giggle at the blush that tinted his cheeks.
"What?" both Quinn and Will said at the same time. Quinn's head lifted off the pillow, "That's it? But that's only half! Five is half of ten, I need to be at ten."
The doctor smiled. "I know. Birth is quick, it's labor that's slow. Pace around. Walking helps."
Quinn groaned and flopped her head back on the pillow as the nurses continued strapping the monitors to her.
"Well, come on, let's do like the good doctor said and pace."
Will helped Quinn out of bed, mindful of the wires, and walked her around the room. They talked about everything, from potential glee songs, to the weather, to how white absolutely everything was in the hospital. It made playing "I Spy" incredibly hard, which they tried during their 20th loop around the room.
"I know we talked about this before, but have you decided on a name?"
Quinn walked from the bed back to the window, her arm linked with Will's so he could catch her when another contraction hit.
"Not yet. But I've narrowed the field. Actually, I… well, I kind of wanted your input."
Will stopped. "Mine?"
"Well yeah, I mean she's practically yours." Quinn continued towards the window but stopped when she realized Will was no longer with her. "What's wrong?"
He cleared his throat. "Nothing."
"I have a middle name, I'm looking for a first name. Are there any in your family that you're attached to?"
Will shrugged. "My grandmother's name was Katharine. My grandfather called her 'his Kate'… I dunno, I've always liked the name. She taught me how to play piano."
Quinn paused, rolling the name off her tongue. "Katharine… I like it. Kate." Quinn seemed content until another contraction brought her to her knees. Will rubbed her lower back as she inhaled and exhaled. "Okay… enough walking."
Will helped her back into the bed. "Is there anyone I should call?... Puck?"
Quinn shook her head. "No. I did tell Rachel I would call her, but it's 4am and nothing's going to happen for a while. I wouldn't want to interrupt her beauty sleep. I'll need you to call Emma, though."
"I just need you to. But not now." Quinn let her eyes close, hurriedly trying to get in as much rest before the next contraction hit.
Will put his head down on the bed and time ticked slowly by.
"Thank god." Quinn let her head fall back as Will wiped her forehead with a wet washcloth. The doctor patted her knee.
"Just a little bit longer." Will smiled down at her. It was close to 6:30 in the morning and she was beyond drained. She hadn't even gotten to the hard part yet. "I'm going to go check to see if anyone's arrived."
"Okay." Quinn had finally relented and let Will call Emma at 6:00. Rachel was the second call. "Hey, Mr. Schue?"
"Whatever. If I yell at you to shut-up or anything in the delivery room, please know that I don't mean it."
"You want me in the delivery room?"
"Well, you've come this far with me. I mean, I understand if you don't want to. I've heard it's a bit like a battlefield…"
He smiled. "Don't worry, I'll be there."
Although she projected an aura of confidence, she was sure he could see the fear in her eyes: the fear of doing this by herself, of being left alone.
When he said, "I'll be right back" and disappeared from the room, she knew he meant it and he returned before the next contraction hit.
Rachel and Emma were in the waiting room and by 7:00, Will told her that Finn had joined them as well. The news was a shock to say the least and in her already fragile emotional state, it took a good fifteen minutes to calm her down.
By 7:30, she was being moved into delivery.
"Where's Will?" Quinn frantically looked around until he appeared over her left shoulder in blue scrubs.
"Nice outfit. It's a breath of fresh air after the sweater vests and ties."
"You're about to deliver a baby and you're mocking me?"
Quinn grimaced, "Well I have to do something. I'm not allowed to push yet!"
Will grabbed her hand and helped prop her up against the pillows. The doctor put her legs in the stirrups and told her to push.
"I just realized I'm delivering a baby in front of my Spanish teacher."
"You're realizing this now? Be quiet and push!"
Quinn gripped his hand even harder and pushed until her face turned red and the veins popped out in her temple. When the doctor told her to stop, she sobbed and fell back against Will.
"You're doing great," he whispered in her ear. "Just a little bit more."
"Okay, Quinn, push." The doctor's hands were already covered in blood and it was all Quinn could do to not pass out on the delivery table. "Stop, Quinn, stop pushing."
"Why, what's – what's wrong?" Quinn leaned her head against Will's temple.
"Doctor?" Though he tried to suppress it, Quinn could still hear the panic in his voice.
"Nothing's wrong. Not now. The cord was wrapped around her neck but she's just fine. One more should do it. Are you ready?"
Quinn nodded and pushed as hard as she could. She felt as though she were being ripped in half, from the inside out. The pain was so unbearable, she wondered who was screaming and finally realized in was her. She fell silent, though, when another scream echoed around the room.
The doctor lifted up her shivering, gooey, howling baby and she was the most beautiful thing Quinn had ever seen. The nurse put a blanket on Quinn's chest and placed the baby in her arms. A pair of scissors was handed to Will and he cut the umbilical cord. Quinn was given a few minutes with her daughter before they took her away to clean her up.
"Wait, where is she going?"
Will smiled and smoothed back her hair. "She'll be right back."
Sure enough, not a minute later, the nurses returned her to Quinn's arms wrapped snugly in a clean, warm blanket.
"Hi, baby." Quinn didn't know when she had started crying but she suspected it was probably before she even entered the delivery room. She wasn't the only one. Will stood over them both, tears silently running down his cheeks.
Quinn looked at his scrubs covered with blood. "I told you it was a battlefield."
"Yeah, but I think we won."
"I would've invited Emma as well, but I don't think she would've made it."
Will laughed, "No definitely not."
Quinn shrugged. "She'll see the inside of a delivery room someday."
Will raised his eyebrows but didn't comment on Quinn's offhand remark. "Wait, so let me get this straight: you can call her Emma, but you can't call me Will?"
"It just is." And without another word, Quinn handed her daughter to Will and he cradled her to his chest.
"She's so small." The baby fit the length of Will's forearm. And there it was again: that look as he had held Mrs. Collins' baby on her first day back from maternity leave. That look that she was sure she would never get to see again. There it was, as he looked at her daughter.
Quinn sighed and leaned back against the pillows, exhaustion finally taking hold. "You two look good together."
Quinn was cleaned up and moved back into her room. Will changed back into his regular clothes and Baby Girl Fabray was placed in a bassinet by her mother's side. Rachel had already helped Quinn pick out which outfit her daughter would make her debut in, Quinn gave Finn permission to call her Drizzle, and Emma disinfected every surface of Quinn's room before feeling satisfied.
"Em, it's a hospital. It wreaks of Clorox."
"Will, people come into hospitals and get sick. It's a common occurrence." She sat on the arm of Will's chair and he put his arm around her, laying his head on her leg. She rubbed his cheek. "You need to shave."
Quinn quietly watched the exchange. Emma had an issue with germs on every surface imaginable, except on Will. He was her one safe haven. Quinn knew the feeling.
Emma looked up, "Finn said that he saw Puck's car in the parking lot. Rachel apparently called him."
Quinn looked down at her daughter: blue eyes and dark hair. "No one's stopping him from coming in."
Silence fell again.
"You never told me her middle name." Will lifted his head off Emma's lap.
Quinn blushed and played with the pink hat on top of Kate's head. Emma stood up and moved to Quinn's side, as if in allegiance. Will narrowed his eyes and looked between the two of them.
"What's going on?"
Quinn and Emma shared a look and Emma pulled a folder out of her bag and handed it to Quinn.
"Mr. Schue, I'd like for you to read this."
"What is it?"
"Her birth certificate form."
Will warily took the folder and opened it up. Quinn nibbled on her nail. He should have finished reading by now.
"Katharine Willa Fabray Schuester." Will let the name hang in the air. When he looked up, his eyes were glassy.
"Puck might step up, but no matter what he does, you'll always be her father. Which is why I wanted Emma to be here. We talked about it and I wanted to know if you'd sign her birth certificate. She needs a father. I'd like you to sign for her, Will."
"I… I don't know what to say."
Emma sat back down next to him. "Say yes, Will."
Quinn watched as Will ran his fingers over the form, as if making sure it was real. He looked up at her. "Do you have a pen?"
Emma handed him one and he signed his name.
"Come hold your daughter, Will."
Quinn handed Kate over to the man who had become the father in her life, just as he would be the father in her daughter's.
Three years later.
"I'm home!" Will Schuester dropped his briefcase by the door and promptly tripped over a toy truck.
"Daddy!" Will quickly caught the brunette blur that hurled herself at him.
"Hello, my munchkin!" He picked her up and swung her around, resting the three-year-old on his back as he made his way to the kitchen.
"Smells good." He entered the kitchen to find Emma tossing a salad and Quinn bouncing his red-haired son on her hip.
"Momma, look. I found Daddy."
"You sure did." Quinn smiled at her daughter and blew a raspberry on James Schuester's cheek. The baby laughed.
Emma smiled and kissed her husband. "How was the library?"
"You're hilarious." Emma smeared some salad dressing on his chin.
Kate slid down his back and onto the floor as Will grabbed his son from Quinn's arms. "How's the new apartment?" Will asked as he strapped James into his highchair.
"Messy, but that's hardly my fault." She mocked glared at her daughter who grinned cheekily back.
"I cleaned up my Barbies. Just like you told me to."
"And what about the Legos?"
"Oops." Kate hid behind her father's legs.
"Playing with Legos? That's my girl." He ruffled her hair.
They had come a long way since the hectic start to their lives three years ago. Will and Quinn continued living in his apartment until they got past the sleepless nights and 4am feedings. Will and Emma got engaged and Quinn decided it was time to find her own place. She refused to move too far away, not wanting to keep Will and Emma away from Kate. Luckily, she found a place just around the block. They saw each other so frequently that it felt like the move had never taken place. Kate had a room in both houses and there was a crib at Quinn's just in case James stayed with her. Their brood was about to get one person bigger, but Emma swore Quinn to secrecy until she broke to news to Will. Sure, schedules got in the way, but Sunday nights always belonged to them. They were a unit. Quinn didn't even correct Kate when she started calling Emma, "Mommy." And they all knew that Finn was more than just "Uncle Finn" to them. Kate Schuester was a lucky girl.
Will picked up his daughter again and she rubbed off the remaining spot of salad dressing that he missed.
Will turned to Quinn. "So?"
"Did you invite him?"
Quinn sighed and turned to stir something on the stove. "I did. I doubt he'll show up though. I told him Rachel and Finn were coming, too. Just in case he needed moral support."
"Will, don't start."
Will looked at his wife and held his hands up innocently. "I didn't say anything."
She pinched his butt as she passed by. "You didn't need to."
"Three years. That's all I'm gonna say. Three years it's taken him."
"William," Emma warned as she set the table. Quinn glared at him from the stove.
"Oooh, Daddy's in trouble now…"
The doorbell rang and four heads whipped in the direction of the front door. Kate wiggled out of her father's arms and ran down the hallway.
The three adults in the kitchen held their breath until they heard a screech. "Uncle Finn!" They heard what sounded like a roar and a squeal of laughter.
Quinn laughed. "Looks like the monster got her again."
"Help me, Aunt Rachel!"
"You're on your own, kiddo."
Finn entered the kitchen carrying Kate over his shoulder. He flipped her over and deposited her in Will's arm.
"I think this belongs to you."
"Nope not mine."
"Daddy…" Kate wriggled free again and held tight to Finn's leg. He walked around the kitchen, giving Emma and Quinn a kiss on the cheek and ruffling James's hair. Rachel anxiously approached Will.
"He's not here yet?"
"Nothing's broken. So no, he's not here yet."
Emma took over Quinn's stirring as Quinn left to set the table. Finn took over feeding baby food to James and Kate dragged Rachel off to show her the new Barbie in her collection. It was controlled chaos.
Kate stopped at the hall and yelled over her shoulder. "Uncle Finn, you left the door open!" She skipped down the hall and stopped dead at the open door.
"Oh hello." All movement stopped in the kitchen as they listened to Kate and whoever was at the door. "You must be Puck. Momma says you're my third daddy. Come in and have some dinner!"
I could continue… should I? Thanks for any and all feedback!