Okay, so here's the epilogue...I figured you'd probably want to know what happened after the wedding so I came up with this. Thank you so much for indulging me and reading and reviewing this story and sticking with it even through the long waits for updates. I also loved your response to the Mike/Santana pairing in this story, which I ended up fleshing out a lot more than I really intended. I wasn't sure how it would be received since it's not a pairing that anyone ever really thinks about, but in my mind, I absolutely love it (even if it has about a snowball's chance in hell of happening on the show, but hey that's what fanfiction is for, right?).
I'm also working on my next fic...I was very unhappy with season 2 of the show for various reasons, so I decided to ignore that it happened and pick up where season 1 left off. It's also a Puck/Rachel fic, and I hope you check it out when you're done with this one.
Last, but in no way the least, this fic is for my other half, the other G in my Real-Life OTP G-squared. I've never met someone who is so different from me yet, so alike in many other ways. I think the fact that I started writing this fic and it being the exact concept of a fic that you wanted is proof that we are epic...it's been a joy and a true labor of love to write this for you. Oh, and did I mention that I love you more than I could ever do justice with words? Yeah, that and then some...
As was their courtship, the next 18 months were just as much of a whirlwind. Beth was thriving and happier than anyone had ever seen her now that her family was complete. She was able to finally let go and act her age and stop worrying about the adults in her world. By the next Thanksgiving, Rachel and Noah found themselves back in Lima with their whole extended family, including the Lopezes and the Changs and they shocked them all with the news that they probably wouldn't be able to make it back next year for the holiday. Everyone gasped and their expressions changed from happy to sad in a matter of seconds. Rachel and Noah looked at each other with a smirk and Noah continued on, "We hope that you'll all be able to come to California next year to celebrate the dedication of our baby!"
Even more so than the previous year, the group erupted in excited hysterics. No one else had known so everyone was shocked and so happy for them.
The months seemed to fly by after that and in April of the following year they came home and told Beth that she was going to have a baby brother. She couldn't have been more excited and began to start calling Rachel's belly cute nicknames like Sport, Slugger, or even the generic Little Brother. Noah wanted to keep the tradition of naming his kids through song, so he sat Rachel and Beth down with his guitar and sang the song "Ben" to his son. Rachel was just as moved by this gesture as she was when he sang "Beth" all those years ago and Beth agreed that it was the perfect name for her baby brother.
Ben arrived in June and the Puckerman family could not be more overjoyed than they already were. Holding his son for the first time brought tears to Noah's eyes because he knew that this time he was going to get to keep him and be a father from day one. Rachel watched her husband with their son and she felt like her life was finally complete.
Faster than they realized, November and Thanksgiving came rolling around. Ruth and Abby, Matthew and Adam, Steven and Anita, and Victor and Isabel were all flying in to celebrate Ben's dedication. The reunion couldn't have come at a better time because Mike and Santana had hit a bump in their relationship.
Santana had been with Rachel every step of the way during her pregnancy and the months that followed and she had been bitten by the maternal bug. She felt her biological clock ticking and wanted to move hers and Mike's relationship forward and he wasn't quite ready to take that step. He had no doubts about his feelings for Santana nor did he question that they were going to get married someday, he just didn't want to move quite as quickly as she did. She sensed his hesitation and she took it to mean that he was unsure of where their relationship was headed. It was a failure of communication between them, and it was causing a lot of tension between them lately. They would pick fights over little things because both of them were afraid to discuss their issues out of fear that the other may take things the wrong way. Things had kind of reached a boiling point by the time their family got there.
The first thing he did as soon as he brought his parents home was to sit them down and have a talk with them. He explained everything that had been going on and they listened and waited to hear his side of things before they spoke. Surprisingly, it was Steven who had the most helpful advice. "Michael, you know I love you and want the best for you so please don't take this wrong way. You're being incredibly selfish right now. Your life is no longer just about you and you need to realize that. Santana is a great girl and I've never seen you happier than when you're with her. It's time to grow up and put your selfish desires aside otherwise you're going to lose the best thing that ever happened to you. I know you're going to be an amazing father. I raised you after all, and I've seen how you are with Beth. Plus, your mom and I agree that it's about time we had grandchildren to spoil."
Mike knew that his dad was right. He could stand pretty much anything in life, but he couldn't stand losing Santana after it took so long for them to finally be together. He had to make things right, so he called his favorite partner in crime.
The dedication had gone off without a hitch, even though Mike had Victor staring daggers at him. No doubt Santana had filled her parents in on recent events. He patted his pocket though and knew that he everything was going to be just fine after today.
After the ceremony, there was a small reception in Noah and Rachel's backyard and Santana was busy holding Ben while his parents were attending to the guests. She was just getting ready to sit at the head table with the baby when Mike approached her.
"Mike, I don't want to fight today. This is a special day for our best friends and I don't want to ruin it. Whatever you want to fight about can wait until tomorrow, ok?"
Santana's voice was a little bit raised so it caught the attention of the other guests and they started to listen in on their conversation.
"No Santana, it really can't wait. Did you know that every time I see you with Ben I fall even more in love with you? I didn't think it was possible, but I do."
Santana's eyes started to fill with tears that were half-happy, but also half-angry because of their recent fighting. She handed Ben over to Beth. "Well, I don't know if I believe you because you could have fooled me these past couple of months."
Mike's ego was deflated a little bit. "I know I've been an ass and I know I've hurt you, but my dad helped me to see how ridiculous I was being and I realized that even the days when we were fighting like crazy are better than any day I ever spent without you. I don't ever want to know what a day without you would be like." He pulled the ring out of his pocket and got down on one knee. "I can only ask for your forgiveness and the chance to make it up to you for the rest of our lives. I don't want to waste any more time fighting…I just want to spend making every day we spend together better than the day before."
Santana was overcome with emotion and got so choked up that she could hardly speak, but managed to get out a "yes." The whole party whooped with excitement and their parents were beaming from ear to ear.
Mike turned to the crowd and said, "Thank you for indulging me today, now get ready for the most spirited and beautiful Latinasian babies that the world has ever seen."
There was more applause and the party officially got kick started into high gear with a new occasion to celebrate. Noah and Rachel couldn't be happier for their best friends and came over to give them hugs and support.
When all the guests had gone and the house was cleaned up, Rachel finally coaxed Ben into slumber and joined her husband in their room. As soon as their heads hit the pillow, they were goners.
Two hours later, Beth awoke to her little brother's cries. She knew that her parents were exhausted because of the party so she got up to go and take care of him. She saw them get up, but waved them back to bed and told them that she'd take this one.
She got to Ben's room and turned on the light, trying to figure out why he was so fussy. She changed his diaper and prepared a bottle for him and decided to take the time to have a talk with her baby brother. She had forgotten to turn off the baby monitor, so she didn't realize that Rachel and Noah could hear every word she was saying.
"Ben, I can't tell you how long I've waited for you to come into my life. My life was not what you would call normal, but I've never really been that unhappy. My mother and Daddy had me when they were so young and had to give me away because they weren't ready for a baby. I grew up with a single mother, who just so happens to be your biological grandmother, and our mom is also my big sister…I know this is all confusing and hard to follow, but I want you to know this: family is not necessarily who you're born with, family is the group of people who love you more than they love themselves and would do anything for you. We're lucky because we have a mom and dad who do just that, but we also have Grandma Ruth, Aunt Abby, Grandpa, Matthew, Grandpa Adam, Uncle Mike, and Aunt Santana, all of whom love us just as much." She saw a picture of the family from the previous Thanksgiving and brought it over for him to see. "I want you to pay attention to this picture and get to know these people because Ben, this is what family looks like."
The monitor crackled a little as Ben coughed slightly, and Noah could hear Rachel crying quietly next to him in bed. He took her into an embrace and turned to face her putting his forehead on hers. "We did it babe. We finally got the family that we always wanted."