My Guardian Angel
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of Glee. I do not own 'Cosmo' magazine.
AN: I probably shouldn't love Quill this much. But I do. This is semi-AU as I've changed the time frame a little, which will become clear once you get to that bit.
I wrote this a while ago, but I'm only posting it now so it doesn't get confused with my other stuff, as it's a standalone.
One minute she was on the stage, overwhelmed by the elated atmosphere of everyone performing together, laying their hearts on the stage, the euphoria completely negating the slight discomfort of, what she thought at the time was, Braxton Hicks contractions.
And then she stepped off the stage, her waters broke, and everything happened so fast that the tall tales of several days of labour seemed impossible to imagine.
Kurt had the paramedic on the phone and was shouting instructions to Will (she assumed they were now on first name basis seeing as he had been standing between her legs having removed her underwear).
But Will already seemed to know what to do. It was his calming confidence that helped her through the nightmare, the way he told her exactly what he was doing and what she had to do.
It hurt in a different way from the agony of giving birth that the reason he knew what to do was because he had read so many baby books when Terri had been 'pregnant'.
Mercedes had been by her side the whole way through, and Quinn squeezed her hand so tightly she saw her wince.
The rest of the glee club was involved as well. Finn had towels in his sports bag, Rachel teamed up with Santana (she was in too much pain to think this was weird) and accumulated warm water from god knows where and had compiled a list of phone numbers and any other information the ER might require.
She didn't know how Rachel knew that she was allergic to penicillin, but she was glad she did because at the time Quinn couldn't remember anything, apart from the fact that she hated Noah Puckerman, which she regularly informed him of.
"Honey", a gentle warm voice she didn't recognise as belonging to her teacher allowed her to breath normally again, a strange empty sensation in her body.
"Honey, she's perfect".
He had tears in his eyes and her tiny baby had his forefinger grasped in her tiny little fingers.
Quinn knew she was all sweaty and gross, and that her stage makeup was smeared all over her face, but this man was looking at her with such respect in his eyes that she didn't actually care.
She took the baby from his arms with exaggerated carefulness, and Will went as though to move away, but the rest of the glee club were reliving the whole process with actions and everything, and she wanted his comforting presence.
"Please stay with me".
He just nodded, and sat on the arm of the armchair, and held her hand and didn't let go when the paramedics arrived, and went with her to the hospital, handing the responsibility of the club over to Rachel Berry.
Quinn had thought she was the least maternal pregnant woman, ever. But holding Beth to her chest, wrapped in a blanket now, she wanted so much to be her mother. She wanted to teach this little girl everything she knew. She wanted to hear her say her first word, film her first steps, hold her first birthday party.
Sobs wracked her body.
Will was there, carefully laying the tiny baby in the cot beside Quinn's bed and Quinn buried her head into his chest gratefully, his solid warmth a better pain relief than any amount of morphine.
"Thank you", she whispered shakily.
He simply pressed a light kiss to her forehead in response, and held her until she relaxed into a weary slumber.
He was there when she woke up, sitting in the chair beside her bed, his feet resting on the end of her bed, half reading a scruffy magazine he had borrowed from the doctor's lounge, and half watching Beth sleep peacefully.
"I'm calling her Beth", she said quietly.
He smiled. "It's a lovely name".
She watched him close the magazine and set it down on the bedside table, leaning forward as though he wanted to say something.
"Are you okay?"
He grinned ruefully, and she supposed it was because she was the one lying in the hospital bed with so much painkiller in her blood that she actually felt comfortable.
"Do you want to talk about your options?" He asked tentatively, worried that it was too soon, worried that she would snap.
"Yes". She said eventually.
"I've been on the phone to my mum", he continued, pulling the chair closer to the bed and his hand resting next to mine on the bed.
She took it, because it made her feel much less lonely.
"She is a childminder", he explained, "For much younger children. Mainly for women who can't afford to take a long maternity leave".
He stopped then, and Quinn wondered what the punch line was, but needed to say something.
"I don't want to have her adopted".
His thumb rubbed a circle on the back of her hand and the tears dried in her eyes.
"I only would want her to be adopted if I knew that it would be you who was going to raise her, and that I could be as involved as possible".
"I was never that keen on Terri. But you would make a brilliant dad".
Sadness clouded his eyes.
"You will make a brilliant dad", she added.
"What if I was your guardian?"
She met his gaze.
"You would do that? After all the crap I've caused for you".
"It wasn't you", he countered.
"I sure didn't try and stop it".
He rubbed another circle with his thumb, and the frustration inside me slipped away.
"I could be your guardian and my mum could live with us, and she could look after Beth. She's always looking for a distraction since my dad winded up in the old folks home".
Quinn blinked rapidly, trying to take all this information into her weary mind.
"And you can decide to leave when you were 18- with Beth."
She let out a long breath.
"You're practically offering to change your entire life for me. I can't let you do that".
"Yes you can", his eyes showed his sincerity and her heart clenched.
"But this is my mess, you shouldn't need to clean it up for me".
"Quinn, I said I would help in any way I could…"
"But I thought you meant just taking me to doctors' appointments, or letting me sit out of dance practise!"
"I want to do this honey".
How could he be so selfless? So compassionate?
She suddenly felt so small and helpless.
"For Beth", he breathed. "For you. For me. We can all help each other".
The moment was interrupted by the arrival of a nurse.
"Good evening mamma Fabray".
Quinn managed a watery smile.
"Now, we generally recommend at least a few breast feeds from mamma to start with".
She felt Will's hand slipping from hers, so she tightened her grip.
Despite the fact that she needed both hands for this task, he didn't move away.
She was worried that she would never be able to thank him enough.
The glee club entered the ward, laden with chocolates and flowers and Puck was holding so many balloons Quinn couldn't see his face.
The others crowded round her, cooing over the sleeping Beth (but not too much, as though they didn't know how to ask what decision she had made) and watching her open their gifts.
She heard Rachel tell Will that they had lost, but that Coach Sylvester had persuaded Figgins to keep the Glee club for another year.
"Well done, Quinn", Puck said gruffly, "She's great".
Quinn smiled. "I called her Beth".
He shuffled his feet awkwardly.
"You don't need to ask me out", Quinn reassured him.
He bumped fists with her and turned his attention to arranging the flowers in the vase.
"I'll let you know what happens Puck, and I'm sure you can visit".
He looked surprised that she was being so generous, but then the last thing she had screamed at him was 'I hate you Noah Puckerman', so she excused him for thinking that.
"Thank you Mercedes".
Her best friend handed her the cup of ice cold water.
"I can't believe he's still here", she replied, gesturing to Will.
Quinn gave her a half smile, wondering what the Glee club would say if she did move in with Will and he did become her legal guardian.
After talking to everyone, Quinn was exhausted, and grateful when Will kindly asked them all to leave.
It was quiet again, and Beth was still asleep.
"Will you come back tomorrow?" Quinn asked hopefully.
The doctor had decided to keep her in overnight, to check everything was alright.
"I'm staying", he said firmly.
There was a pregnant pause.
"So Will, does this mean I call you dad?"
He grinned widely.
"Just Will is fine".
"Q, is there a reason you have the 'Grease' sing along soundtrack?" Mercedes questioned, amusement dancing in her eyes.
Quinn just laughed and took it from her, stacking it neatly in the cardboard box on the floor in front of her.
"It's a great movie- all kinds of escapism- and, you know, 'love conquers all' or whatever".
"You're such a mush", Mercedes teased.
Quinn shrugged and added her small collection of books to the box.
"Will has a whole cd rack of musical soundtracks", she argued.
"Then he's even more of a mush", Mercedes laughed.
"What's his mum like?"
Quinn leaned back against the side of the bed, taking a break from packing up her few belongings.
"She's really nice. She's just how a grandma should be. She's gunna spoil Beth rotten I know…"
"That was a big sigh?"
"It's too perfect, you know? I can never thank him enough".
Mercedes looked thoughtful.
"I think by doing this, you are thanking him. He always wants to be able to help, and plus, he's had a rough time recently and you and Beth will be able to cheer him up. It's not often you see Santana smile like she did when she held her this morning! When she, like, spittles everywhere- you can't help but smile!"
Quinn laughed, grateful of her friend's positive outlook on life that she carried with her.
That morning, Mercedes had organised the glee club to come over in a quiet gathering to pass Beth round for hugs with her extended 'family' and for Quinn to lay upstairs on the bed, giving her time to rest.
And she had needed a rest. And a time to reflect on everything that had happened.
It briefly crossed her mind how isolated she had felt, parentless, boyfriendless (and society decreed that without one, you were a loner), until Will had signed those papers in the box under her own signature, and he was officially her legal guardian and held adult responsibilities over her and Beth.
Mercedes' question interrupted her thoughts.
"I think that's everything…"
"What will happen in Spring Break?" Mercedes asked suddenly. "It's less than a month away".
"We haven't discussed it", Quinn replied, "I suppose Will will be home, so his mum can have a vacation!"
"Sounds weird- you calling him 'Will'".
It didn't sound weird to her.
"Does it not feel weird to you?"
Or was it weird that it didn't feel weird? Because she referred to him as 'Will' now as though she was referring to a friend, not as though she was referring to a sort of step-dad.
"A little bit, I suppose", she added quickly, though not meaning this.
"Just don't do a Rachel", she warned, "Because that would be all sorts of trouble".
It took until they had loaded Quinn's car, and were half way to Will's apartment that Quinn realised what she was talking about.
Puck was already outside, waiting in his truck, trying to look like he hadn't been waiting a while.
He gave them casual nods, sliding out of the driver's seat.
And Quinn was glad she overheard the conversation between Puck and Will, which was something along the lines of: "I can't do all this for her. I'm just really glad you are there to do that", because it gave her the confidence she needed that she was doing the right thing.
And it was really as though she was staying with her favourite uncle.
In the morning she would feed Beth as he made coffee and toast and sang along to the radio.
His mum would look after Beth until they both returned in the afternoon.
He would help her with her homework, they shared the kitchen table to work at, and she would help Mrs Schuester cook dinner as Will played silly games with Beth, and tried to teach her to dance (despite the fact that she could barely lift her head up yet).
And in the evening, when Beth and Ma Schuester were asleep, they would just sit in front of the TV, chatting away like old friends and gossiping like teenagers.
It sounded strange, even to her, but she always knew Will Schuester was attractive, and yet it was only when it was pointed out to her in black and white, that she actually started to see this.
It was the first day of Spring Break.
Mrs Schuester had in fact gone on vacation, to stay with her sister in the country, and Will had announced that he couldn't cook to save his life and Quinn had wanted to start teaching him right away, but they were both pretty tired and so decided to order in pizza.
When the doorbell rang Will was holding Beth above his head and making aeroplane noises and so Quinn left him to it.
"One extra large pepperoni?"
"Yup. Thank you".
"I haven't seen you before", the girl mused, counting the notes deftly.
"Normally it's this drop-dead gorgeous guy, about 30, curly hair, amazing smile…"
Quinn raised her eyebrow.
"Sorry- is he your man?"
"Er… not in that way".
"Ah. Friends with benefits", she smiled smugly.
Quinn raised both eyebrows.
"Thanks for the pizza".
But when she moved through to the kitchen and Will was there putting mats out on the work top island, she couldn't help notice all the things that she just hadn't looked at in that way before (because she wasn't Rachel Berry…).
He always changed out of a shirt when he came home, and today his t shirt was suddenly noticeably highlighting the toned chest beneath, and his arms were suddenly very impressive.
She suddenly had the urge to run her fingers over his head to see if those curls really were as soft as they looked, and his look of concentration when pouring two glasses of water from a jug in the fridge was like a professional model's photo face.
He sensed her approach and smiled warmly, swapping the pizza box she held out for a glass of water.
And that warm smile just made her melt.
He was her guardian, and she was a 17 year old mum.
And she shouldn't stare at him like she did when he wasn't looking.
"So. Spring Break! Wooo! What do you and Beth wanna do today?"
"Hmmm. Beth will probably want to sleep quite a lot, maybe cry a bit, eat some mushed up stuff, dribble, and then go back to sleep…"
He laughed. "And you?"
"I'm going to teach you how to cook. I know, I know, you can cook toast and pasta- I mean actually cooking!"
"That's if you want to. Don't let us stop you going on crazy raves and sleeping round Lima… Or whatever you do on your vacations".
He laughed again.
"I'm not really a crazy rave or sleeping around sorta guy,", he smiled, amused. "I'd much rather spend time with my two girls".
She groaned inwardly and wondered if she should buy 'Cosmo' to see if that offered any advice as to how to get over a totally inappropriate crush on someone people would label as her dad.
"So what do you want to learn how to cook first?" She asked brightly.
He thought for a moment.
"Cake? That's not really a very balanced meal!"
"I don't want to start off too complicated".
"Okay. Cake it is."
The last time she had baked cake was with Puck, for the bake sale.
He rubbed her arm at her expression.
"Do you wanna talk about it?"
She thought for a moment.
"Neither of them are good enough for us", she said quietly, and she didn't need to look at him to know he understood exactly what she was talking about.
Being around each other for the majority of the day meant they were pretty attuned to each other.
Quinn supposed that if he was a girl, he would be on the same monthly pattern by now.
"You have cake mixture- all over your face!"
"Well that's not my fault! Surely putting the lid on the food mixer is slightly obvious?"
"Alright, alright, come here, I'll get it".
It was perfectly innocent to reach a finger out to her cheek to wipe off the mix. And to lick the finger clean before attending to another speck on her chin.
But Quinn had to look away from his smiling face for a second, because her thoughts were not at all innocent at the burning sensation the physical contact created, and how close to a kiss was the fact that his lick was cool on her cheek, a perfect contrast to her heated skin.
He was more of a guardian angel than a guardian.
He was always there. And that was all it needed for her to feel that she was never alone.
Because surely her parents would have seen or heard about her situation?
News travelled quickly in Lima.
"Do you want anyone to come over today?" He asked at breakfast the next morning, and Beth was on the baby mat gurgling.
"Before they go off anywhere".
"Are you sure you don't mind?"
"It's as much your apartment as it is mine", he said seriously, offering her the sugar for her grapefruit.
"You'll be here?"
She was worried he was feeling like he couldn't do things because of his responsibilities for her and Beth.
"You can go out if you want to", she said carefully, "If I invite everyone, there will be plenty of enthusiastic helpers".
"I'd rather stay, if you don't mind", she didn't know whether he'd gone a bit pink or whether the coffee was particularly warm.
And he didn't say it in a way that made her question whether he was worried what they would do to the apartment, or worried that she wasn't responsible enough, it was just that he wanted to stay and socialise with her and their friends. (Their friends, she supposed, because he was as much a friend as he was their glee coach).
Will had gone to fill up the Doritos bowl.
And there was a lull in the conversation and raised voices from the kitchen had Quinn hastily passing Beth to Rachel sitting beside her.
"I'll just go see if everything is alright".
"It's just weird!"
She heard Puck's voice, but both him and Will turned as she entered.
"Is everything okay?"
Will nodded but Puck shook his head at the same time.
"It's not okay", Puck retorted. "I know I get Beth every Sunday, and I know its okay for me to come over to see her whenever I want- but its just weird, you know, its just weird how much time Schue gets to spend with both of you… It's like he is the father or summat".
"I'm the legal guardian, Puck", Will said calmly.
"Yeah… And look at you now- you've got your arm around her…"
Quinn took a step away from Will hastily, but Will just shrugged.
"There's nothing goin' on between you too right?"
"No!" Quinn cut in quickly, and maybe it was too quickly, because both Will and Puck looked to her sharply.
Puck raised his hands in defeat.
"Okay. It's not my place to tell you who you shag, man, but don't mess up her life like I did".
He was talking to Will now, and the older man looked slightly uncomfortable, but as far as Quinn could tell there was no reason for him to feel uncomfortable.
"My life's not messed up", Quinn said.
Puck just left the kitchen silently.
She turned to Will, but he was looking down at his hands.
She instinctively wrapped her arms around his waist, because that was what he did when she needed reassurance, or just wanted a hug.
His hand rested on the small of her back, telling her it was fine.
It probably wasn't fine that she struggled to keep her breathing regular at any physical contact they shared.
"What we have works right?" He asked, his breath tickling her neck.
"Right", she said firmly. "I'm not going anywhere".
His hasty kiss to her temple left her reeling.
"Hi Rachel", she tried not to sound too suspicious.
"So, I have a proposition for you".
"Have Mr Schue baby sit tonight and come out with me".
"Like a date? Because I'm straight…"
"No! Well, yes a date, but not with me! It's a double date, to be more specific, involving Noah and I, and my friend from dance, Jonathon."
"I'll check with Will…"
"Will? Oh right. That's odd."
"Okay. I'll be there."
"Great! Noah and I will pick you up at 6.30".
"Quinn? Are you okay?"
"Do you think you could pick me up?"
"Where are you?"
"I'm standing outside that Italian restaurant with the huge picture of a carrot on the window".
"We'll be there in less than 10 minutes".
It wasn't that she hadn't had fun.
Rachel hadn't just bought Jonathon. There was Jonathon, and Paul, and Reg.
But they weren't Will.
And when she saw his worried face, holding a sleeping Beth (she slept through everything, a gene from Puck she was thankful for), in one arm with ease, she wished she had tried to stick it out, because there was only one Will Schuester, and he was off limits.
She fell asleep on his bed that night, with Beth curled up asleep between them, having whispered late into the night, talking about everything and nothing, like best friends at a sleep over.
She woke up in the middle of the night, her face growing heated from gazing at his, peaceful in sleep.
And the next morning, when Will had gone out food shopping, Quinn pulled the boxes off the top of the wardrobe, and packed her stuff into them, leaving the mug of hers that Will liked and stacked the boxes in the hallway.
There was something wrong when he stepped into the apartment, and the happy whistled tune froze on his lips.
And the note on the mat made a crinkling noise when he stepped on it.
He picked it up.
This is not forever, but please, I need a little while to clear my thoughts. I am staying at Mercedes' for hopefully only a couple of weeks. I am trying to fall out of love with you, because that can't be good for anyone, but I have to tell you not to blame yourself.
You will always be my guardian angel.
PS. Puck will be round later to pick up my stuff.
He read it again. And again. He read it until he didn't have to look at the paper in his hand to run through the words in his head.
"Schue. She told me not to talk to you- to just grab the stuff- but I can't not say anything".
Will sipped at his coffee slowly, still frozen.
"I know you love her, I don't know if that is with or without, you know, like, sexual love, but whatever, the point is- you need to talk to her."
"Rach said she didn't even look at the other guys, well, not like she looks at you".
"What other guys?"
Puck narrowed his eyes.
"Will! I'm supposed to be on cold turkey!" She shielded her face with her hands.
"I thought you would understand! I though you would want this!"
Mercedes joined her at the door and she sighed in relief as she saw Will.
"You go for a walk", she ordered Quinn, giving her a gentle push towards Will, "Beth is fine- she's asleep and drooling".
And she should be trying to pull away, but his arm was around her shoulders perfectly naturally, and just his smell of coffee and washing detergent of his shirt is enough to bring tears to her eyes.
"Don't cry", he murmured.
"How can you be so understanding? Be angry or something! That would be so much easier to deal with!"
"Why should I be angry?"
"I've fallen in love with you! How can you not be angry?"
"They say love is blind", he began, and steered them towards a bench on the pavement, his hand less holding her and more caressing her back. "And maybe it's true because you're acting like you didn't notice me".
"Notice you what?"
"Acting more like a love-sick teenager than your responsible guardian".
He made an exasperated noise.
"But you can't!"
She knew it was a stupid thing to say. But it was true- he couldn't- they couldn't. It was all kinds of illegal.
He was her guardian, the closest she felt she had to immediate family other than Beth.
But no matter what she tried to think of to make it seem impossible- it just never seemed impossible.
Because nothing was impossible.
And he was sitting right next to her, their sides pressed against each other, warming her from the inside.
He said nothing for a while, his hand still rubbing on her back and his face mere inches from her own.
She sensed him turn towards her, and he was just watching her.
She stared straight ahead.
"Have you gone off me already?"
She couldn't help but smile slightly.
She turned her head slowly, half suppressing a gasp at how close his lips were to hers.
His hand fell from her back, his fingertips curling around her waist.
It was like he was testing her.
"I've still got a baby belly", she mumbled, "And only the other day I belched in the middle of dinner".
In lieu of a retort he brushed his lips to the side of her mouth, which formed a perfect 'o' as he pulled away again.
But he only pulled away to check her reaction.
His lips met hers and just stayed pressed against them, with no sense of rush or persuasion, just an open ended question.
She tilted her chin up slightly, to increase the pressure of their contact.
This was all he needed for an answer, softly opening and closing his lips around hers.
"One term, and I graduate", Quinn said softly, her forehead resting against his and their breathing in unison.
"2 months, 17 days, and about 9 hours and you are 18", Will returned.
"And until then…?"
"We could… er… get to know each other".
Her eyes were shining.
"That's if you want to", he continued, his lips on the bridge of her nose. "Cos if you'd rather- what was it? - rave or sleep round- then…"
She smiled against his lips, kissing him lightly, and repeating something he had once said to her.
"I'd rather stay, if you don't mind".
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