Title: Make Way for Ducklings

Author: TheMastress (smartalli on LJ)

Count: 6234

Pairings: Puck/Rachel, Rachel/Quinn friendship

Warnings: Severe use of fluff :), some Puck language

Summary: When Rachel opens the first of her shower gifts and finds a little rubber duck with a Mohawk, she can't help but smile.

Disclaimer: Don't own it. Not mine. Don't sue.

A/N: Inspired by a photo prompt on the Puckleberry drabble meme. Reviews are lovely and always appreciated.

When Rachel opens the first of her shower gifts and finds a little rubber duck with a Mohawk sitting on top of a rather adorable dinosaur outfit and an equally adorable blue plaid blanket (Kurt and Blaine really do have exquisite taste), she can't help but smile. "How sweet!"

"Kurt wanted to buy him Baby's First Burberry. I had to talk him down off the ledge when I suggested dinosaurs or cars instead." Blaine smiles at Kurt with affection and Kurt huffs and crosses his legs.

"I still say it's never too early to introduce him to the Basics. Chanel...Gucci...Tom Ford..."

"Tell you what, Hummel...when you have a kid, you can dress him however the hell you want. But you're not decking Little Puck out in Gucci or Prada or whatever."

"I am simply trying to be a good uncle and ensure he has the best fashion education possible."

"You can-"

"And we appreciate that very much." Rachel smiles at Kurt and wraps her hand around Noah's upper arm, pulling him into her a little. He turns his head to look at her and rolls his eyes. "Our little boy is very lucky to have so many aunts and uncles who already love him so much." Rachel holds up the rubber duck and says, "But where did you find something like this?"

Blaine takes a sip of his drink. "I found it at this little store in the Village. I couldn't resist. I figured if any baby needs a rubber ducky with a Mohawk, it's a Puckerman baby."

"Damn right." Noah tips his glass at Blaine in salute. "At least one of you has their priorities straight."

"My prio-"

"We love everything." Rachel gives Kurt the biggest smile she can manage, and he seems mollified for the time being. She's sure she'll have to hear more about the importance of introducing children to good fashion at a later date, but for now, at least, she can put it off. She's grateful for that. Once Kurt gets started on a fashion rant, it's very difficult to get him to stop. "Thank you both so much."

The second Mohawked rubber duck shows up in the very next bag, on top of a gift from Tina and Mike. Rachel laughs and so does Tina, who smiles and says she must have visited the same store as Blaine. The third rubber duck is also a delightful surprise, when Rachel discovers it sitting with a sweet collection of onesies and hats and socks, a gift from Mercedes. Noah grins and holds one of them up for everyone to see. Daddy's Little Badass.

(When Quinn first suggested including the men in the shower, Noah wasn't exactly...amenable. Rachel wasn't surprised. Her husband is such an alpha male that it would be out of character for him to feel comfortable in such a traditionally feminine setting. But once Quinn promised no silly games – Rachel herself was quite grateful for that, since there was no way she wanted anyone wrapping toilet paper around her belly, thank you very much – and a large amount of appetizing food, he seemed to warm up to the idea a little.)

"That's right, white boy. You know I got your back."

When Rachel smiles and holds up another onesie that says Mommy's Future Star, Mercedes winks and says, "C'mon, diva. You know I got your back too."

It isn't until the fourth rubber ducky shows up that Rachel starts to wonder if there's some sort of conspiracy afoot. But Quinn just smiles and says she found it in a little boutique when she was shopping with her sister one day and absolutely had to get it for them. And oh, isn't it such a funny coincidence that Tina and Mercedes and Blaine all found the same, adorable rubber ducky? And really, how could Rachel expect any of them to just put it down and walk away when it's so perfect for them?

Then a fifth shows up in a gift from her dads and a sixth in a gift from Will and Emma and by the time Rachel and Noah have unwrapped all the gifts (they really do have wonderful, generous friends and family), there are more than a dozen rubber duckies with Mohawks lined up on the table in front of them.

"Baby, it's like a badass rubber ducky army. Look at 'em. They're awesome! They'd totally kick the crap outta all those stupid regular rubber ducks."

Rachel resists the urge to tell her husband that vinyl children's toys are hardly capable of beating up on other vinyl children's toys, even if they do show a less than conventional hair choice (her husband can be rather endearingly whimsical sometimes, though he'd deny it if she ever said so out loud), and asks, "Okay, whose idea was this?"

But one I swear it was just a coincidence is followed by a There's no crazy plot, Rachel,and even though Rachel practically begs (it's just that she finds the idea so charming and thoughtful, and how can anyone possibly expect her to write a properly thought out thank you note if she doesn't know who to thank?), no one will tell her who came up with the idea. Through the rest of the baby shower she asks, but no one breathes a word. Finn and Brittany, who normally can't keep a secret to save their lives, are completely mum on the subject, and even her daddies, who usually buckle quite easily under the force of her considerable charms, are not swayed.

(And it's not that Rachel's annoyed she doesn't know and can't figure it out, it's just that she believes in good manners, and she'd like to know who to properly thank. Truly.)

When the shower is over and everyone else has left she thinks about asking Quinn one more time, but Quinn smiles and asks, "Did you have fun today?"

"Of course, Quinn. You're such a sweetheart for doing this. I know you put a lot of hard work into it, and it shows. Thank you. And I promise when it's your turn, I will make sure you have the most beautiful baby shower anyone has ever seen."

Quinn laughs softly. "Hey, anything for my best friend."

Rachel still can't believe Quinn is her best friend sometimes. If someone had pulled her aside sophomore year and told her that one day, Quinn Fabray would be one of her biggest champions, one of her biggest supporters, Rachel would have questioned that person's need to see a mental health professional. But toward the end of senior year, something changed. And even though Rachel still isn't quite sure what caused that change in Quinn, she's grateful to have the blonde in her corner.

"And just so you know...you may have to plan my shower sooner than you think."

"You're..." She nods and smiles and Rachel hugs her as tightly as she can with her large belly in the way. "Congratulations! When did you find out?"

"A few days ago. Sam knows, obviously, and my parents, but other than them, I wanted you to be the first to know."

Rachel feels the tears starting and says, "I'm so happy for you."

"Dude, Q...whatever the hell you said to my wife to make her cry, knock it the fuck off. Now."

Rachel looks over her shoulder to see her husband walking out of Sam and Quinn's kitchen. He's glaring at Quinn, so she says, "They're happy tears, Noah. Quinn's pregnant."

"Yeah?" She nods and sees him noticeably relax. (It really is rather cute that he thinks any sort of stress is going to send her into early labor.) "That explains why Evans has looked so damned proud of himself the last few days. Way to get knocked up."

"Always such a gentleman, Puckerman."


"Yeah, yeah." He takes Rachel's hand and helps her up out of her chair. "Congrats, Q. Your future spawn is lucky to have you as its mom. Better?"

"Marginally." Rachel claps her hands and says, "Oh...we have so much to talk about, so much to plan! There's the shower, of course, but there's also-"

"Rachel, I'm only twelve weeks. We have plenty of time." Rachel huffs, a little put out. "I promise. But you're eight months pregnant, you've had a long day, and if I wear you out any more, your obsessively protective husband will probably kill me."

"Listen to her, babe. She's a genius."

"You just want to get home in time to catch the start of the Indians game."

"They're on an eleven game winning streak, Rach. And Sizemore's in contention for the Triple Crown this year. He's hitting like a mother fucker. Plus...I've just spent the last three hours at a baby shower. I need man time."

Quinn puts a hand on either side of Rachel's belly and says, "Okay, Jack...be nice to your mommy, alright? Stop kicking her when she's trying to sleep. And tell your daddy not to complain so much. It's not like he's the one that's been carrying you around for eight months."

"You tryin' to pit my kid against me already, Q?"

She ignores him and hugs Rachel one more time. "Go home, get off your feet, and make Puck service your every whim. That's what he's good for. I'll call you tomorrow."

Rachel tries to follow Quinn's advice and rest when she gets home, she really does, but the moment she lays down, her mind starts going about a thousand miles an hour. All she can think about is how little time there really is until Jack is born (just over three weeks, if he arrives on his due date), and all of the things they have yet to accomplish, and the thought of that makes her more than a little anxious.

"Baby, what are you doing?"

Rachel looks over to the couch where her husband sits, feet up on the coffee table (she's asked him three times this week not to do that), TV remote in one hand, beer in the other. He has his eyebrow raised (she's never told him how much she loves it when he does that, how it makes her a little weak in the knees, though she suspects he knows anyway) and amusement is written clearly on his face.

She doesn't answer him, so he says, "Why are you pacing in front of the TV while I'm trying to watch the Indians game?"

"I'm not pacing." And she isn't, not exactly. She just can't seem to find what she's looking for, and she was sure she left them in this room, somewhere, and it bothers her a little that she can't find them. Is it possible for inanimate objects to hide from someone?

No, of course not. That's just silly.

"Uh huh. Sure. I'm probably gonna have to refinish the floors soon if you keep it up, but okay, you're not pacing."

She sighs and braces her lower back with her hands. "I'm looking for the rubber duckies, but I can't find them. I thought I left them with the rest of the shower gifts, but they don't seem to be there. Have you seen them?"

"If your back hurts, you should sit down."

"My back is fine, Noah. Have you seen them?"

"The ducks?"

"Yes, the ducks."

"Why do you want them?"

"Well, I thought we could exchange most of them for something else we need."

"What else do we need? Kid's already got a full nursery and more clothes than he's ever gonna be able to wear."

"Children need more than just clothes and furniture, Noah. We still need bathing essentials and more towels, and I'm beginning to second guess the monitor we bought. Do you think we should have bought the more expensive model? And what about diapers? I'm quite satisfied with our choice to use cloth over disposable since we both agree that what disposable diapers do to the environment is absolutely horrendous, but do you think we have enough of them?" Noah lifts his eyebrows at her and she sighs. "I know you think I'm being...excessive. I just want everything perfect for Jack."

"I know."

She narrows her eyes at him. "You're humoring me."

He smirks into the lip of his bottle. "Would I do that?"

"Yes, you would. Especially right now, when I'm eight months pregnant. With your son."

"Look, if you say we need that stuff then we need that stuff. Whatever. We'll...buy more diapers and baby shampoo, and we'll take the monitor back and exchange it for the more expensive one. Alright?"

Rachel tucks her hair behind her ear. "Really?"

"Really. Whatever you want, Rach. But I want to keep the ducks."


"They're totally badass, baby. And since our kid's gonna be a badass in training, he's gonna need some badass toys, right?"

Oh, Noah logic. He really is quite adorable sometimes. "Of course we'll keep one, maybe two, but Jack doesn't need twelve identical rubber duckies with Mohawks, no matter how badass they are."


She grimaces and exhales sharply, rubbing her lower back with one hand and the top of her stomach with the other. Rachel loves her son, but she does wish he wouldn't be so insistent about the need to put his feet into her ribs. (A small part of her admires his persistence, though.)

Noah pulls his feet off the coffee table and sets his beer down. "C'mere."

Rachel waddles over to him and he shifts to rest his back against the arm, pulling her down to sit on the couch between his legs. He tugs the back of her shirt up and starts gently kneading the muscles in her lower back, slowly moving his hands back and forth. After a few minutes, his right hand comes forward to rest on her abdomen and he starts to rub out a knot in her neck with the calloused fingers of his left hand. She sighs and closes her eyes, dropping her head forward, and his right hand starts rubbing slow circles on her belly. She hears a crack of a bat and a loud cheer erupt from the TV, but Noah's hands are making her feel more relaxed than she's felt in weeks, and she knows she's starting to fall asleep.

(But then, Noah's always been very good with his hands.)

"I really should...find...those..."

"Mmmhmm." Noah gently pulls her back against him and tucks her face into his neck. "You've had a long day. You should sleep." He rubs more slow, soothing circles over her stomach, and she allows herself to sink into the warmth and comfort of his arms. (He really does have lovely arms.)

She completely forgets about the ducks until a week later, when the first two show back up.

It's four o'clock in the morning when she walks into the kitchen for a glass of water and finds the two ducks sitting on the counter across from the fridge, their beaks touching. One of the ducks has eyebrows – one cocked – and a guitar drawn on his back in black Sharpie, the strap disappearing beneath its belly. The other duck has eyelashes and hair done in the same black Sharpie and a microphone drawn under one wing. Rachel picks them up and holds them in her hands, and that's when she notices something written on the bottom of each one in her husband's messy handwriting.

Noah Duck © and Rachel Duck ©.

Rachel smiles and rubs a hand over her stomach. "Jack, don't tell him I said this, because he thinks it means he's less masculine than he is, but your daddy is really quite adorable."

The next two show up a few days later, sitting on the edge of the bathroom sink. One of the ducks has eyelashes again, and both have drawn on football jerseys – one with the number twenty, the other with the number one – and strips of black beneath their eyes. Once again there's something written on the underside of each in Noah's handwriting.

Puck Duck © and Berry Duck ©.

Tevye Duck © shows up one day on their mantle with a yarmulke and a Star of David necklace and the next day, Rachel finds Captain McDuck ©. He has an eye patch drawn over his left eye, a hook drawn on one wing and a sword under the other, and she finds him sitting on top of the laundry basket in their closet.

She finds Mr. Miyagi Duck © in the refrigerator another day, hiding behind a carton of orange juice, and just a few hours later, when she goes to the piano to practice (Noah has encouraged her to "take it easy", but she's pregnant, not injured, and as any good starlet knows, repetition and discipline are key to a long, lasting career), she finds Starry Duck © sitting on top of the keys, right at middle C.

After Starry Duck © (a truly precious duck with little black stars drawn all over its body, including one black Star of David drawn over its right eye), Rachel starts looking for the ducks to show up in unexpected places. When they don't, she has to admit she's a little disappointed. (She's sure Noah is laughing at her one day when she walks out of the pantry with only a bag of linguine noodles and a disappointed look on her face, though he claims he's laughing at an old Robin Williams special on HBO.)

But she can't help it. Rachel has become attached to these ducks. She's quite fond of them. She looks forward to finding them, to discovering what Noah has drawn next. (And, admittedly, the girly part of her loves that it's her big, strong husband who's leaving them for her.) So when a few days go by and no ducks appear, she's more than a little sad. She makes it a point to mope around the house a little to see if he'll ask what's wrong, but if her husband's noticed, he hasn't said anything. (She suspects he does know and he's just playing with her a little, stringing her along. And if this is true, Rachel thinks that's decidedly cruel of him.)

Then, after her nap one afternoon (Jack is such an active little boy that she hasn't slept through the night in quite a while), she looks over at Noah's side of the bed. Sitting on his pillow are Mario Duck © and Princess Peach Duck ©, and she's never been so happy to see Nintendo characters in her entire life. They are charming and perfect and sweet (and very detailed, Noah's artwork is getting remarkably intricate with each new duck), and Rachel immediately wants to add them to the growing collection on the shelf near Jack's crib. She's standing on a step stool in the nursery, shifting Mr. Miyagi Duck ©, when she feels two arms wrap around her from behind, startling her.

"No more step stools, Rach."

"If you hadn't hung the shelf so high, I wouldn't need a step stool to reach it. Besides, I'm barely a foot off the ground."

He nuzzles the spot behind her ear she loves and quietly says, "You're pregnant. Your balance is off. You could fall and hurt yourself or the baby. Or both. No more step stools."

"Noah, all pregnancy experts assert that while a woman should be aware of her changing center of gravity, that step stools remain a safe way to reach high shelves and cabinets. You're sweet to be so protective, but we're perfectly safe." She sets Mario Duck © and Princess Peach Duck © next to each other on the shelf, in between Starry Duck © and Captain McDuck ©, and feels Noah sigh into her hair. She knows he's frustrated. "I love them, by the way."


She nods and allows him to help her down from the step stool, even though she doesn't need it. "I especially love Mario's moustache and Princess Peach's tiara. But Noah Duck and Rachel Duck are still my favorites."

He rolls his eyes. "She's got a microphone. Of course she's your favorite."

The next day Grady Sizemore Duck © shows up, resting on their TV remote in a number twenty-four Indians jersey. He has eye black and a glove drawn over his right wing, and Noah's positioned him so that he appears to be watching the Yankees game that's currently playing on the TV in their empty family room.

When Noah walks in the room with a bag of chips, salsa and a beer, she asks, "Studying up on the competition, is he?"

"Well, yeah babe. He's gotta know how to beat the Yankees if he wants to get to the World Series. Besides, aren't you the one who always says if you wanna annihilate the competition, you gotta know the fuckers inside and out?"

"I don't believe I've ever used that combination of words before in my entire life."

He gets her a lemonade from the kitchen and then makes her sit down and watch the game with him. Rachel tries to pay attention, if only because she's sure Jack will be just as sports crazy as his dad, and it would behoove her to, at the very least, know the difference between a fastball and a slider. (She actually does know the difference – when Noah talks about something he cares about, she makes it a point to listen – and she's quite proud of that. She has quite the library of baseball knowledge now. Although, admittedly, the infield fly rule still confuses her.) But after doing a quick count in her head, she realizes that Grady Sizemore Duck © is the eleventh duck to appear, and that means that there are only four more ducks to go. She's not sure if she's excited to see what else Noah will draw or sad that it's almost at an end. (Perhaps it's a little of both.)

Still, when Rachel finds Elphie Duck © sitting on her purse two days later, it's excitement that wins out.

Noah has drawn on the black robe and a broomstick under one wing, and the rest of the duck – the parts not covered by the robe – have been colored green. (Except the beak, of course.) It had to have taken him quite a while to accomplish. She squeals and hugs him when he walks through the front door after work that day, and he just laughs at her. (She doesn't care one bit.)

Four days later, two of the final three ducks show up together, on a day when she really needs them.

It's eight days to her due date (she feels like she's the size of a small country), and New York is experiencing one of its hottest days ever on record. (And Murphy's Law being what it is, their central air decided to stop working that morning. Of course. And since everyone else's has apparently decided to do the same, they can't get anyone out to fix it.) She's miserable and hot and uncomfortable (popsicles and lemonade will only take you so far), and she doesn't mean to, but she knows she's taking it out on Noah. So he calls Quinn to see if she has any ideas, and she promises to bring over as many icy, vegan foods as she can find at the grocery store.

"I'm not sure how that will help."

"It will help because we'll fill the tub up with cool water and sit in it in our bikinis while you eat your Tofutti bar and I eat a Klondike."


"Rachel, you are my best friend and I love you, and you are miserable. So I'm leaving right now with my bikini and way more vegan ice cream than you'll ever be able to eat and an armful of movies with people in the snow and the rain and the cold."

When Quinn arrives she gets into her bikini, helps Rachel a little with hers, and makes sure Noah has moved a TV to the bathroom before practically pushing him out the door.

"Where are you going?"

"Studio called. They're not happy with one of the tracks. They want me to rework it."

She pouts. She knows she's been cranky and a little horrible today, so he probably can't wait to get to the studio and away from her, but does he really have to go? Can't he deal with it tomorrow? "They called you in today? But you haven't had a day off in weeks."

"Yeah, I know, but it's no big deal, Rach. Three, four hours tops, then I'll be home." He looks her up and down and smirks. "Fuckin' sucks I'll miss you sittin' around in your little polka dotted bikini, though."

She glares at him. "I'm a whale."

"Crazy girl." He shakes his head at her and weaves his hands into her hair. "You're fuckin' gorgeous. If I didn't have to go to work, I'd be ripping that tiny ass bikini off you right now."

He leaves (after kissing her for approximately five minutes and promising her that when he gets back from work, he really will be ripping her bikini off) and Quinn hands her a Tofutti bar and coaxes her into the bathtub. They watch The Holiday and Last Holiday, because they're romantic comedies with copious amounts of snow in them (power of suggestion, Quinn says), and talk about Quinn's pregnancy.

At some point she must have fallen asleep, because the next time she opens her eyes, Noah's hand is running over her hair and there are two rubber ducks perched on the side of the tub, staring at her. She smiles instantly at the sight of them and reaches her hand out to grab first one, then the other, setting them down in the water and watching as they rock gently back and forth. Princess Leia Duck © has buns drawn on her head and Han Solo Duck © has a vest and his blaster tucked under one wing, and it reminds her of that summer night right before they left for college when he made her watch all three of the original movies because "Baby...they're fuckin' epic!".

She frowns. "I'm sorry I've been so horrible to you today."

"S'cool. I get it. Little man's got your hormones goin' all haywire. Besides, I kinda love your crazy."

She holds up her hand. "I'm all pruny."

He chuckles, stands up and holds out his hands to her. "C'mon." He helps her out of the tub and towels her off, leaving kisses on her stomach that make her giggle. She loves him like this. (She's not sure if she deserves him like this, though. Not today.)

"Where's Quinn?"

"Kitchen. Starting dinner. Sam'll be over after work."

"So, no ripping the bikini off then."

He growls at her. "Don't tempt me."

Rachel's about to respond, when she hears a humming sound coming from their bedroom next door. "Noah, do you hear that?"

"Hear what?"

"That...hum. Is that...Noah, did you get the central air fixed?"

"Nah. Couldn't get anybody out until next week." He leads her into their bedroom. "But I know it's been hard for you to sleep, so..."

"So you bought an air conditioner." It sits there, resting on the ledge of one of their windows, humming away, and she thinks it might be one of the most beautiful things she's ever seen.

"For the bedroom, yeah. And one for the family room too, so you're not goin' crazy during the day."

"You didn't really have to go in to work today, did you?" He shrugs and she takes his face in her hands, kissing him sweetly on the lips. "You're wonderful. Thank you."

"Gotta keep my baby mama happy, right?"

The last duck appears three days before Rachel goes into labor. She almost misses it, because it's just sitting quietly in the very middle of the duck shelf, in between Noah Duck © and Rachel Duck ©. (In fact, Rachel might not have seen it at all if her daddies hadn't sent yet another gift for Jack.) She pulls out the step stool and takes the duck down from the center of the shelf, and she notices right away something very different about it: Noah hasn't changed anything. It looks exactly the same as it did at the shower. Exactly the same, that is, except for the new name, written on the bottom in Noah's messy, distinctive scrawl.

Jack Duck ©.

She thinks it may just be her favorite duck yet.

The house is mostly dark when she gets home from rehearsal. Her feet hurt and her muscles ache, and even though it's only about seven o'clock, all she wants to do is crawl into bed with her husband and sleep for as long as their son will let her. She hears Noah's deep voice and the sweet baby chatter of her little boy from the other side of the house, so she makes her way to them, dropping her bag in the laundry room on her way.

She'd hoped to be home a little earlier because it's Jack's bath time, and that's one of her favorite times of day with him, but the director kept them late, running the same number over and over again. (Rachel doesn't believe in violence, but she seriously contemplated changing her stance after David, her co-star, asked to go through the routine "just one more time" five times in a row.)

She's a few steps outside the bathroom when she hears, "Duck! Duck!"

"That's right, little man. Duck."

Rachel leans on the doorframe and through the open door, sees her husband sitting on the floor next to the tub, his hands lathering Jack's hair into a Mohawk. Jack's little hands are splashing at the water right in front of him and he giggles as his armada of rubber duckies bounce back and forth.

Jack picks up one of the ducks and waves it around in the air erratically and Noah asks, "And which duck is that?"


"Yep. Your favorite."

"Mama! Mama!"

Noah chuckles. "Yeah, she's my favorite too."

"Is that right?"

As soon as Jack hears Rachel's voice, he grins at her and starts bouncing around in the tub, shouting, "Mama! Mama! Mama!"

"Hello my handsome boy." Rachel walks into the bathroom and drops down to the floor next to the tub, pushing her sleeves up. She leans in and plants several sloppy kisses to Jack's cheek, and he giggles and squirms, splashing her a little.

"What, no love for your baby daddy?"

Rachel leans in and kisses him. "Hello my other handsome boy."

"How was rehearsal?"

Rachel sighs. "Long. I don't know how David got the role when it's clear he hasn't had any dance training above the most remedial level." She looks over at Jack, who's still sporting a soapy Mohawk, and she can't help but smile. It seems that every day he looks a little more like Noah. (She hopes that never changes.) "I'm probably going to regret this, but...do you still want to give him a Mohawk?"

She watches the grin grow on his face and smiles. She knew it would make him happy. He's been lobbying for it fairly aggressively since Jack was born. "Jack, you hear that? Mommy's finally coming to her senses."

"It's possible that mommy is just tired and is allowing that to affect her judgment."

Noah rinses Jack's hair and Rachel watches as her little boy moves the ducks back and forth, babbling at them, calling them by their names, and organizing them into little groups. She's not sure why it hits her just then, but suddenly she realizes that Jack will never be this little again.

"What?" She looks up and Noah's eyes are searching her face. "Rach..."

"He's not a baby anymore." She runs a hand over Jack's wet hair. "His vocabulary is increasing, he'd run everywhere if we let him...he's growing up. He's not my baby anymore." She sighs. "I'm going to miss that."

Noah lifts Jack out of the tub and Rachel wraps him in a towel and starts patting him dry. She tickles him a little on his ribs and he squeals and tries to burrow himself into her arms. Rachel has him almost all the way into his pajamas when Noah says, "Let's have another baby."

"You want to have another baby?"

Jack settles down in Rachel's lap, sucking on his pacifier and playing with the fingers of her right hand. "Yeah, I do. I'm thinkin' a tiny little girl with your voice and my eyes would be pretty awesome."

"Tiny and little mean the same thing, Noah."

He rolls his eyes. "C'mon, Rach. Whatdya say? Wanna make Jack a big brother?"

She smiles and wraps her arms a little tighter around her sleepy little boy, kissing the top of his head. "Yes."

He leans forward and kisses her. "Good answer."

They take Jack to his room and kiss him goodnight and Noah leaves while Rachel sings their little boy to sleep. She's barely into the seventh line of Stay Awake (she's sung it to him every night since he was born, and it never fails to put him to sleep), when she sees his eyes shut and his little fists unclench ever so slightly. She gives him one more soft little kiss on the head and leaves his room, cracking the door.

When she walks into her room, Noah's standing by his side of the bed, texting someone on his cell phone. He looks up briefly. "He asleep?"

Rachel nods. "Who are you texting?"

"Quinn." He finishes the text and sets his phone down on the nightstand. "Letting her know I'm gonna knock you up again."


"What? She's your best friend. You know you're gonna tell her."

"Well, yes, of course I'm planning to tell her, but not today."

He shrugs and pulls her close, wrapping his arms around her back. "I figure if we give her all forty weeks, maybe this time our friends can get together and find rubber duckies with stars on 'em or something."

She pulls back a little and smiles up at him. "Rubber duckies with stars?"

"Well, yeah. Metaphors are important, right?"

She grins and jumps up into his arms, wrapping her legs around his waist and kissing him soundly. "Right."

Q- Tryin for a girl. Thinkin ducks with stars this time. You still have my credit card number?