Author's Note: The last night, hope you all have enjoyed this! And for those of you that have celebrated, I hope your Hanukkah was nice!
Quinn was very glad for the warning that Rachel gave her the night before because, as promised, Hiram and his brothers and Leon were in the kitchen when Quinn and Rachel emerged from upstairs.
"Think fast!" Joshua yelled from the counter.
Quinn looked up just in time to see two bagels being tossed in hers and Rachel's directions. Rachel shrieked and ducked; Quinn caught a bagel in each hand.
"Coach Sylvester throws things at us at random to keep our reflexes up," Quinn said with a shrug, handing a bagel off to Rachel.
"Speaking of said coach, you haven't had Cheerios practice this week."
"Yeah. I kind of told her I wasn't going to be there because of Hanukkah. She said not to worry and she had diabolical plans of her own and was going to cancel anyways or something. We have to make up for it this weekend, though. Twelve hour practice on Saturday."
"Brutal," Leon said. "Good luck with that."
"So don't think I didn't notice that the song you embarrassingly blared at your own window was off the mix CD I gave you."
"It's a very nice CD," Rachel chuckled. "Quite a few love songs."
"I really like Faith Hill, okay?"
"No need to be defensive, Quinn. I was merely stating a fact."
Quinn sighed and reached over the center console to take Rachel's hand in her own. Having Rachel as her girlfriend was great, it really was, but the reality was that her mother was going to be coming home soon and Quinn honestly didn't know what to do. Reality struck sooner than she expected when her phone rang in her pocket and her mother's number flashed on the screen.
"I was going to wait to surprise you but I couldn't. The doctors have released me to the Lima hospital. I should be there before you get out of school today."
"Seriously? You're coming home already?"
"Yes. Now, I know you have dinner with Rachel tonight but I'd love it very much if you could come by after school."
"No, no, don't worry about it. I'll be there."
Rachel was grinning widely when Quinn got off the phone, Quinn have a half smile while it felt as though her heart was being gripped by the hulk. Rachel had so lovingly and proudly introduced Quinn as her girlfriend and it hurt Quinn to know that she was unsure if she had the strength to do the same. She tried to reason with herself that her mother knew damn good and well that Rachel had two gay dads and she would never allow her daughter to stay with them if she found it wrong but being around gays and actually being gay? Two separate things.
"Are you getting out of the car?"
She didn't know exactly how she accomplished getting to school, which was probably dangerous, but Rachel didn't appear to be panicked beyond belief as though she'd had a near death experience; so that was a good sign.
"So your mother is coming home?"
Quinn nodded, keeping her focus ahead of her as they walked into school.
"That's magnificent. I'm sure you'll want to be at the hospital immediately after school lets out. I can find a ride home or call one of my dads to come get me."
"I can take you home first, don't worry about it."
Quinn was met with silence and she knew that hadn't been the right thing to say. She should've told Rachel she wanted her to come with so they could frolic through the hospital and declare their new relationship to Judy and half the hospital staff. But she couldn't. Instead, she kept walking and nodded goodbye when they got to the doors and went their separate ways.
Rachel wasn't at lunch; Artie mentioned that she said she'd be in the choir room practicing for the hour.
Quinn stayed where she was.
Not a word was spoken until Quinn pulled into the Berrys' driveway to drop Rachel off.
"Quinn, if this is too much for you - too fast - please tell me. I…we can go back to being friends until you're more comfortable."
"That's not it."
"Please just tell me," Rachel whispered. "I'll fix it, whatever it is."
"You can't fix my mother."
"You fear rejection?"
Quinn nodded. "Again."
"You couldn't have told me this in the first place?"
"It's not your problem to deal with. I have to go."
"You'll be coming back, right? For dinner?"
Quinn twitched. "I'll try."
"Please don't push me away, Quinn."
Quinn made her way through the hospital corridors quickly after getting her mother's room number from the front desk. She hadn't said another word to Rachel when the brunette exited the car and ran into the house, head down. With her mother back in Lima it made Quinn doubt that she could actually do this. That she could actually be with Rachel. School was fine, she could deal with school. She couldn't deal with being rejected from her family again.
Judy was sitting up in bed, her eyes focused on the Soap Opera Network, when Quinn walked into the room. Her leg was in a cast and she still had a few bruises on her face and arms but other than that, she looked as pristine as ever. Her hair was up and she'd done her makeup. Quinn wasn't sure what kind of convincing it took but her mother had her own silk pajamas on. The woman lit up as soon as Quinn crossed the threshold.
"Hi, sweetie! Come sit!"
Quinn pulled the hospital recliner up next to her mother's bed and leaned over to let her mother kiss her forehead before sitting down and taking her hand.
"How was school?"
"Slow. How was the trip back?"
"Also slow. Carla followed behind in my car, she's gone to the house to get some of my things and then she'll be taking a shuttle back to Cincinnati before her husband and kids destroy their house completely."
"That's nice of her."
They sat for a while, watching whatever soap opera was on TV. Carla came in to drop off Judy's things and Quinn thanked the woman profusely for being a good friend. Carla had to leave right away, the cab she had taken was waiting downstairs to take her to the shuttle she'd rented and so she said her goodbye to Judy and made her promise to call and keep all the girls updated on how things were going. Once left alone again, Quinn positioned herself back in the recliner and took her mother's hand.
"What time should you be back at Rachel's for dinner, sweetie?"
"I can stay here, Mom. You shouldn't have to be alone."
"You should go."
"It's the last night, Quinnie, and I'm sure Rachel will want you there."
"But family comes first."
Judy smiled. "Family isn't always blood, honey."
"Sometimes I wonder if blood isn't always family," Quinn mumbled.
"Did you sister say something else to you?"
Quinn shook her head. "No. But I know she still thinks I'm a whore and I disgraced Dad."
"As if she's never done anything that enraged your father," Judy snorted. "Her sophomore year of college your father and I went to visit, do you remember?"
"Well, we happened to walk into her dorm room to find her in bed with her roommate. Her female roommate. Your father was livid and I, of course, said nothing. It took the both of us an hour to get him calmed down and change his mind that she didn't need to transfer back home. It scared her enough that she did transfer out of the dorm, though."
"But you were just as mad as he was, weren't you?" Quinn knew she had to start digging while she had the chance.
"I wanted to avoid a fight with your father. I wasn't angry. Shocked, yes. But not angry."
"Because you thought it was just a phase?"
"Because if my children are in love and happy then that's what matters to me. With your father out of the picture I can tell you that you need not be anyone but who you want to be, Quinnie. You don't have to be who he wants you to be."
Quinn nodded and let go of her mother's hand to grab her Cheerios jacket. "I'll come back before visiting hours are over."
"I love you, Mom."
"I love you, too."
After a quick stop downtown, Quinn pulled into the Berrys' driveway right before she knew they would be serving dinner. She could hear the laughter coming from the house before she even stepped inside. She peeked through the window to see Rachel sitting in the living room with all of the other women and Little Leon toddling around the coffee table, reaching for the dreidels that had been left out.
"Dinner is almost ready, ladies!" Hiram came in to announce. "We can wait a while longer, Rachel."
Rachel's smile dropped from her face and she shook her head. "She's not coming."
Quinn sighed and felt like the world's biggest bitch for putting that look on Rachel's face. She immediately reached for the doorbell and pressed her finger to it; she watched through the window as Rachel got up and walked around to the front door, her head down.
"I'm a horrible girlfriend and I'm so, so sorry," was the first thing that came out of Quinn's mouth the second the door opened.
"Quinn…I…you should be with your mother. Family is…"
"Family doesn't always mean blood. I panicked, okay? I'm sorry. Again. It won't happen anymore, I swear. Can I have another shot?"
Rachel opened and closed her mouth a few times and chewed on her lower lip before noddings lowly. "I fully understand your panic and I accept your apology. Now come inside, it's cold!"
Quinn shrugged off her jacket and walked with Rachel to the living room to light the menorah only to be met with glares of disapproval. Rachel took her hand and stepped closer to her, assuring her that no one was going to try to kill her.
"Daddy? You're dripping candle wax on the carpet. And, since it is apparently everyone's business, Quinn has apologized for her behavior this afternoon and I've informed her that I fully understand. All of you are to leave her alone."
There was a collective nod and Rachel tightened her grip on Quinn's hand through the lighting and prayers. Quinn had memorized most of them (although she still had no idea exactly what she was saying) and recited what she could. It earned her a peck on the cheek and a, "We'll practice for next year," from Rachel.
Even though Quinn knew Rachel had to be hungry after skipping lunch, the girl held back at dinner and allowed everyone to get their food before she began filling up two separate plates and urged Quinn to fill her own. Rachel didn't take the plates to the dining room, though. Instead she covered them both with aluminum foil and handed a sheet to Quinn. While Quinn covered her plate, Rachel loaded up sufangyoit onto a third plate. The pair walked with their plates through the dining room, Quinn still clueless until Rachel made her announcement.
"While it's been a lovely afternoon, I regret that we're not staying for dinner. I wouldn't subject anyone to more hospital food than necessary so Quinn and I are going to take dinner to her mother."
"Okay," came in almost perfect unison from the table aside from Little Leon who simply gurgled and threw a latke at his father.
"I assure you that we will return before your departure, as hospital rules state we can only be there until nine."
Quinn was stunned. She absentmindedly followed Rachel to the living room where the girl had to help her into her coat because she was still fairly stunned. Rachel drove them to the hospital while Quinn held the plates of food on her lap and tried to process exactly why her girlfriend would be such a saint to her after Quinn had been kind of bitchtastic.
Rachel parked the car and sat for a few moments before reaching over and putting her hand on Quinn's shoulder.
"I won't say anything," Rachel assured her. "That decision lies with you. Whenever you're ready to come out to her I will be there by your side, I promise."
Quinn only nodded. Rachel was definitely going to be by her side.
It took a good five minutes to get past the nurse's station because they wanted to refuse the food to be taken in, stating hospital policy. The nurse was in the middle of her spiel for the third time when Rachel simply snorted.
"This is the last night of Hanukkah," Rachel said. "I'm here with my friend to have a nice, kosher meal with her mother and if you deny us that, I can assure you I will find an attorney that will ensure your hospital is forever branded as anti-Semitic and a large sum of money will be won from you and promptly donated to our synagogue."
The nurse growled; Rachel turned on her heel and stormed off, Quinn following close behind. Judy was still sitting up in bed, flipping through the channels of the TV mounted on the wall. Quinn knocked softly and her mother let out a surprise gasp.
"Quinn! I told you to go to Rachel's."
"I did but, um, she wanted to bring you dinner."
Rachel stepped forward and straight over to Judy's bedside, balancing two plates in one hand and extending the other. "I'm Rachel Berry, Quinn's-"
"Girlfriend. We're dating."
Rachel slowly turned, jaw dropped, and squeaked.
"It's nice to meet you, Rachel."
Rachel squeaked again and snapped her attention back to Quinn's mother when Judy took her hand and shook it. As soon as Judy let go, Rachel put the plates on the hospital tray and darted back to Quinn and pulled her into the hallway.
"You should've informed me you were going to do that," Rachel hissed. "I don't have a speech prepared on how I intend to treat you properly and shower you with all of the affection and attention that you deserve and assure your mother that I have no intention of betraying you."
"Why don't you just say all of that?"
"It's not elegant!"
Rachel sighed. "I'll simply have to improvise. It's fantastic training for my future career."
Rachel straightened up her shoulders and Quinn took her hand to be led back into the room. Rachel didn't launch into a speech right away but Quinn could see the wheels in her head turning. They set up the second hospital room tray right next to Judy's and Rachel and Quinn sat across from each other at it. Rachel pointed out everything on Judy's plate and told her to help herself to the sufangyoit. Judy found a satellite radio station on TV playing holiday music and the three ate and talked about Rachel's family and Hanukkah and the different nights. Judy was in the middle of asking something about the menorah when Quinn noticed Rachel looking like she was about to burst. And then she did.
"Judy, I would like to inform you that - even though it's still very early on in our relationship - I care very deeply for your daughter and I have no intention of ever betraying her trust, cheating on her, or otherwise emotionally or physically abusing her. I will treat her as the princess she is and shower her in affection and attention, though not too suffocating, and do everything in my power to ensure that she is happy. Although Quinn and I boast strong personalities and said personalities are bound to clash at some point, I will always attempt to remain fair and level-headed."
Quinn froze, her bite of brisket hanging on her fork as she stared at Rachel who was looking rather proud of herself. She glanced over to her mother, her face in an equally similar state of trying to process everything.
"I…thank you, Rachel. I don't doubt that you'll be very good to Quinn."
Rachel nodded and continued eating her dinner as though nothing had happened. Quinn giggled and nudged her girlfriend with her foot under the table, prompting a game of footsie. Sure, it was kind of elementary school, but it was also kind of adorable. And it made Rachel smile and that was just about the only thing in the world Quinn could see when it happened.
The light conversation continued, Rachel made suggestions for physical therapists to Judy since Leroy had been to a few for his back and Judy commented that she had heard Rachel at Regionals the year before and thought she sounded amazing. Rachel blushed and, for once, didn't offer to give a private concert.
"I tried it when Dad was here for his back surgery," Rachel sighed. "I was told to quiet down or leave the premises."
"Some other time, then."
Rachel said her goodbye a few minutes before visiting hours ended, stating she was going to go warm up the car. She took the empty plates with her but left the two leftover sufangyoit wrapped in foil for Judy to have whenever she pleased. Quinn cleaned up the hospital trays and tucked the foil packet into the dresser by Judy's bed so the nurses didn't confiscate anything.
"They probably won't let me up before school tomorrow," Quinn sighed. "I can try to come at lunch."
"Don't worry about it, Quinnie."
"Cheerios starts again tomorrow, I won't be able to come by until late after school."
"That's just fine. Have a good day tomorrow."
Quinn nodded and leaned down but instead of letting her mother kiss her forehead she wrapped her arms around her and hugged her right. Judy immediately returned the embrace and when Quinn pulled away Judy kissed her forehead and smiled.
"Love you, Mom."
"I love you, too, sweetie."
Rachel and Quinn were greeted with hugs and "it's about time"s when they returned to the Berry house to open gifts. Rachel's dads gave her a very nice digital camera, and to Quinn a book that appeared to be a crash course on Judaism.
"We had a feeling you might be joining us for a few more holidays," Hiram said. "The internet isn't always the most reliable resource."
Quinn grinned and thanked them. She gave Rachel her final gift: a charm bracelet with several gold stars and gold hearts dangling from it that she'd picked out at the jewelry store that evening along with the sweater with a giant snowflake on it she'd picked out on her shopping trip before Hanukkah began.
"It's beautiful, Quinn," Rachel said as she admired the charms. She took her lower lip between her teeth and chuckled before handing a similarly shaped box with the same jewelry store name on it. "We probably missed each other by an hour or so."
Quinn opened the box to reveal her own charm bracelet only with megaphones and pom-poms dangling instead of stars and hearts. "I love it."
"I actually had yet to purchase your seventh night gift. I thought after spending time with you I would be able to get a better feel for your likes and dislikes. Our minor spat this afternoon provided me with the perfect opportunity to go shopping."
"You're amazing, you know that?"
"It's a gift."
All Quinn could do was laugh and lean in to press a kiss to her girlfriend's lips (and ignore the collective "awww" from the room). She slipped the bracelet on her wrist and helped Rachel with hers.
"Happy Hanukkah, Rachel," Quinn murmured, leaning forward to rest her forehead against Rachel's.
"Happy Hanukkah, Quinn."
Quinn closed the scrapbook with worn pages and faded pictures and smiled down at the back cover where a picture of she and Rachel with their foreheads resting together that last night of Hanukkah was glued and framed over. She guessed that it was one of Rachel's dads that had snapped it. On the front cover, in foam letters, it read "HANUKKAH". In its pages (organized by year) were written accounts of each night. In the 2010 section there could be found: two worn and scratched beyond belief mix CDs, pictures that Quinn, until they were given to her, was unaware were taken, a hospital bracelet with a sad face next to it but a picture of Quinn and her mother, still in a hospital bed, right underneath with Judy holding a leftover sufangyoit in one hand and the other on Quinn's shoulder. A few years forward held a picture of a brunette on one knee, menorah glowing in the background, and a blonde with her hands over her mouth. The very last page held a wedding announcement.
Rachel appeared in the doorway of the almost completed nursery and Quinn smiled up at her wife. She had a little trouble standing, she was only a month away from her due date, but she managed. She tucked the scrapbook back in its box and into the top drawer of the white accented with pink dresser, right underneath an empty book with an ultrasound picture on the front just waiting to be filled.
"I still can't believe you're due during Hanukkah," Rachel said with a grin.
"'Tis the season for miracles, right?"
"Indeed it is."
And it was. The miracle of a relationship that no one expected, the miracle of a mother and daughter finding their way back to each other, and now the miracle of a child. It gave them each other, it gave them hope, and it gave them a reason to love just that much more.