Author's Note: Sorry for the delay, I had a small surge of writer's block, no fun. If you haven't checked it out already, I have another Glee story up called; "Love is the most dangerous word in the book," I'd love for your input. No, this is not the last chapter-believe me, I still have a long way to go-this is just the beginning of Rachel's healing process, and the beginning of a solid friendship between Shelby and Quinn.
Quinn wakes up the next morning in a foggy haze, confusion engulfing her like an incoming tide as she slowly sits up, arms stretched high above her head. It takes her a moment to place her surroundings and when she does, she swallows thickly and scoots back to the other end of the couch, fear and shock erupting through her like a wild fire.
Shelby is seated at the other end of the couch, sleeping peacefully and from Quinn's previous position, she could tell that the two had fallen asleep sometime between their lengthy conversation the night before. Quinn had her head rested on Shelby's chest, and Shelby's arm had been previously wrapped protectively around her waist. It took the blond a moment to put it together, but when she did she felt a red tint creep to her cheeks. She must've though that Quinn was Rachel, it would make sense after all.
Glancing across the couch across from the one Quinn and Shelby (who thankfully, was still asleep) were seated upon, the blond smiled lightly, heart fluttering when she found the brunette still sleeping peacefully. If Quinn was correct, it meant that Rachel had actually managed to sleep through the night fully, without any nightmares and for that, Quinn was extremely grateful. Running a hand through her tousled hair, she turned her attention back to the older brunette, recalling their conversation last night with a sad smile upon her face. She cannot honestly believe she had revealed everything to the woman, but at this moment in time, she was glad she did. She wanted, needed Shelby to know the truth, even if it meant the brunette no longer wanted anything to do with her. But she had a feeling that wasn't the case, seeing as she never said anything of the sort last night and hadn't proceeded to kick her out like Quinn had expected.
Maybe it was the mere fact that she thought if Shelby knew the truth, Quinn would just end up the next day's trash, like she had with her parents. She cursed inwardly as a small sigh escaped her lips, wondering what would've happened had this whole situation been different. If Rachel hadn't been attacked and Quinn wasn't carrying the child, would things be different? Yes, Quinn thought to herself, fighting back tears. It would. She'd probably still be head of the Cheerio's and she'd also probably still be treating Rachel like crap. But things weren't like that anymore and Quinn couldn't help but feel a surge of warmth flow through her at the fact.
Things were different, better now in a way, of course, and she intended to keep it this way. She enjoyed Rachel's company, as well as Shelby's and she often found herself looking up to Shelby in admiration and for advice. She liked this, liked the peacefulness Rachel brought to her, but that didn't mean she liked that Rachel had been attacked. That, she thought, was the worst of it all.
Quinn jumps back almost instantly after she manages to pull herself out of her head when she sees Shelby has been watching her silently for the past few minutes and Quinn slowly puts a hand to her chest to still her rapidly beating heart. "Jesus," She croaks, chuckling lightly. A smirk falls upon Shelby's face as she wipes the sleep from her eyes and tucks her legs underneath her before peering across to her daughter who still had yet, to wake up.
"Sorry," She murmurs, once she's returned her gaze to the pregnant teen. "Didn't mean to startle you."
"It's fine," Quinn whispers cautiously, wanting to keep Rachel asleep for as long as she could. Lord knows, Rachel needed it.
"It looks like she'll be out for a little while longer, would you like something to eat or drink?"
Quinn shifts her body, hand resting on her stomach as she absentmindedly nods her head. She kicks her legs over the edge of the couch and fails miserably at an attempt to pull her body up. Shelby smiles lightly and leans down, offering the blond a hand as she pulls her to her feet, nodding as the small girl mumbles a tired, 'thanks.'
Quinn trails behind the older brunette into the kitchen where she sits wordlessly in a chair at the table, watching as Shelby flutters around in the fridge. When she finds what she wants, orange juice and fruit, because it's 'healthier' for both the young girl and the growing baby, she joins Quinn at the table, sitting across from her as she watches the blond toy nervously with her hair and pick at the fruit on her plate.
Shelby can practically see the gears turning in the young blonde's head and licks her lips slowly, the offer falling from her lips before she can stop it and surprising not only Quinn, but herself as well. "Stay here." She murmurs. "Move out of Puck's and you can stay here, with me and Rachel, well when Rachel's here I mean. But trust me, I'd feel much better knowing your being looked after properly and that the baby is in the best possible care, besides-I'm sure knowing that you're close by would make Rachel happy."
Quinn's mouth drops open as she finds herself nodding her head, shock evident on her face. She swallows a large gulp of her orange juice as she plays with the hem of her dress. Neither she, nor Shelby, or Rachel had managed to change out of their clothes from the night before, all too exhausted to bother with it.
"I…" She pauses, clearing her throat. "Are you sure?" Quinn asks cautiously, scratching nervously at the back of her neck.
"Absolutely. It's fairly obvious to anyone, Puck included, that you're miserable over there. Why stay any longer then you have too? Besides, like I had said, I'd feel much comfortable knowing that you're in the hands of an adult who actually knows and cares about your wellbeing, as well as that of the small child growing inside of you."
"I…" The tears are pooling in her eyes, faster than she can stop them and Quinn clenches her fists underneath the table as she nods her head. "Thank you," She chokes out. "I appreciate it, but I mean, are you sure? I don't want to put you out."
"I'm sure, and I'm not saying that Puck's mother doesn't care about your wellbeing or that of the baby, because I'm sure she does, but I can't help but think that it has to be incredibly awkward, the position you're in I mean." A small chuckle falls from Quinn's lips as she nods her head knowingly. It's the truth, Puck's mother is a nice woman, but she's very cautious and refuses to let Quinn act on some of her pregnancy cravings, for example, Bacon.
Granted, Quinn had never really been a fan of Bacon before, but then again, she's pregnant now-she's also never been a fan of pickles and ice cream before either. Licking her lips, she nods again firmly before speaking back up. "I guess, I mean-okay, yeah." A ghost of a smile falls on her lips as Shelby smiles widely at the blond, both instantly turning at the sound of shuffling feet.
Rachel steps into the kitchen wearily, still trying to wipe the sleep away as she clutches the blanket tightly around her and falls into a seat beside Quinn, resting her head on the blonde's shoulder. Quinn smiles down at her and whispers gently, "Sleep well?" Rachel smiles weakly and nods, snuggling herself, if possible, further into the blond. She likes the warmth and comfort the small girl beside her radiates and she can't help but feel at peace when she's around her. She steals a glance at her mother who is watching happily from across the table and grins, sleepily at the woman before picking a piece of fruit off the blonde's plate and taking a bite.
"Here," Quinn ushers, sliding the plate gently towards the brunette. "Have the rest, I'm not all that hungry." Nodding, Rachel slowly continues to nibble until the fruit is gone, instantly regretting it when her stomach turns. A hand slides down as she shifts her head to bury her face in the crook of Quinn's neck, a small, pained groan falling from her lips. Quinn knows that groan, knows the noises and actions coming from the brunette. "Stomach again?" She questions softly, concern evident.
Rachel merely nods before groaning again and Quinn slowly pulls the brunette to her feet, barely making it to the sink before the brunette has emptied her stomach into it, clutching painfully at her shirt. Shelby frowns, rubbing comforting circles on Rachel's back as she holds back her daughter's hair. It takes close to ten minutes before Rachel is finally done, knees buckling and slowly, with the support of her mother and Quinn, sliding to the floor. She rests her head in her mother's lap, hot tears falling from her eyes as Quinn runs a hand delicately across her side, the lower half of her body resting in Quinn's lap.
Quinn can tell Shelby wants to tell Rachel to move so that she doesn't cause strain on the blond girl's child or the blond herself, but Quinn instantly shakes her head, putting up a hand to stop her before mouthing, "It's okay, she's light as a feather."
Nodding, Shelby sighs lightly and rests her head back against the cabinets, her eyes closing as she thinks back to the night all of this happens and how things had managed to escalate so quickly. She isn't even aware she's crying until she feels her daughter's body shift and she's now sitting entirely in the older brunette's lap. Rachel delicately wipes at her mother's pale cheeks, smiling gently at her as the woman's eyes flutter open. Shelby has a pained expression across her face, an expression Rachel knows all too well. Rachel places a delicate peck to her mother's forehead before resting her head on her mother's shoulder, repeating her earlier actions. She refuses to leave her mother's gaze, watching as the older woman's bottom lip trembles lightly before a small, choked sob escapes from her throat. Rachel and Quinn share a brief, knowing glance before Rachel turns her attention back to her mother. She's not sure when or how it happened, she wasn't even sure it was possible, but the words fall like a soft mantra from her lips, and a wide grin breaks onto Shelby's face. "It's okay mom, Quinn's right, you don't have to be so strong all of the time. I love you like this and every other way, it just proves your as much human as the rest of us."
Quinn's eyes widen in shock as she too, feels tears drip into her lap. The warmth has taken hold of her again and a proud grin has made its way onto her features as she stares at the brunette in awe.
"I'm tired of being silent," Rachel continues, voice timid. "I want to talk."
They're seated on the couch in the living room again, all having showered and changed, with Quinn pulling Rachel's hair into a long, French braid down her back. "Is this okay?" She asks cautiously as she finishes it, handing the brunette a mirror. The girl smiles widely and nods, turning to look back at the blond. "I love it, thank you."
Nodding, Quinn wrings her hands nervously together, the two waiting for Shelby to return with a fresh pot of tea. Quinn can feel the guilt creeping its way back in, and as if Rachel knows what she's thinking, she reaches out a hand to place atop the blonde's. "Don't," She croaks her voice still hoarse from not speaking in so long. "Please Quinn, let go of the guilt. I'm not upset with you anymore, I never was, actually. Please stop torturing yourself."
Quinn can do nothing but smile weakly as she lets out a sigh of relief; she had longed to hear Rachel say those words ever since the pair had struck up their tentative but slightly awkward friendship. "I missed your voice," the blond spits out honestly, surprised at how much joy is beyond her words. Her heart is swelled with pride and her emotions are raging and she has an overwhelming urge to sob but she refrains from it, instead opting to give the brunette's hand a comforting squeeze.
Shelby returns within seconds, setting the coffee pot on the table as she too, takes a seat on the other side of her daughter and pulls the young girl into her arms so that she is resting against her chest. She lets her arms fall lazily around Rachel's waist as she places a small kiss to the tiny girl's temple before speaking up. "I've called your dad's," She whispered. Rachel nods, flashing a smile in her direction before thanking her. "They're on their way, they'd like to speak with you too, if that's alright?"
"Of course, I…" Rachel pauses, wiping at a lone tear that has fallen from her eye. "I missed them."
"I know sweetie, they missed you too-we all have."
It starts out with hesitance and a slight trembling of her voice before she slowly grows stronger. She decided to get it over with, not wanting to utter this a second time. She made her father's call the cops from the station that gladly came by to listen to her story. They'd much rather have her in the station, speaking with her there, but didn't press on the matter. Why bother? If Rachel was willing to tell them what happened, then it didn't matter where they were-as long as she was able to tell her story. She didn't honestly want to relay everything at once, but she knew if she didn't then she'd just end up taking one step forward and several steps back, like the first time she'd spoken after the incident. She described in great detail, or that of which she could remember due to the amount of alcohol in her system, what had happened and only had to stop twice due to an overwhelming deal of sobs and sorrow that had racketed her small frame. When she had finished, there wasn't a dry eye in the room, and that included the cops, which had honestly surprised her a great deal. They briefly thanked her for the information, watching as her father's led them out of Shelby's house, not wanting to move from her mother's embrace. Her mother was trembling, she could feel it as she leaned against the woman's chest and as she looked up, Rachel couldn't help but let a few fresh tears slip out.
Shelby had a hand across her mouth has she tried desperately to suppress her oncoming sobs but her eyes shone with pride for her daughter. Sniffling, Rachel snuggled further into the woman's embrace before chancing a look at the pregnant teen. She was sitting stiffly, fists clenched together, face reddened in anger at what that bastard had done to Rachel, but her eyes shone with the same pride that filled her mother's. The two women couldn't help but feel incredibly proud at how far Rachel had come in only a matter of hours.
This was the Rachel Berry they remembered, and they'll be damned if they let her slip away again.