Summary: It's been six long years, but Quinn Fabray thinks she might have found the one. And after keeping him hidden for several months, she's finally bringing him home to meet her "family" for the first time. The usual insanity, drama, animal liberation and fire ensue. An Operation 'verse story.
Pairings: Puckleberry, Samtana, Bartie, Klaine and Quinn/OC. Featuring Puck/Sam/Blaine friendships, Faberrittana friendships, Pucktana friendship
Warnings: This is a future fic. No real spoilers involved in this story. This story does deal with a really sensitive issue for a lot of women, miscarriages. So just a fair warning that is mentioned in this story. I apologize now if anyone is offended.
Disclaimer: I in no way shape or form own Glee despite my continued efforts. I only own Dr. Sexy and would gladly trade him for Puck, Sam, Mike or Blaine.
Author's Note: I'm back with another Operation story. This one is set between the last chapter and the epilogue. So think of it as a prequel to the epilogue, if that even makes sense. To those that may have clicked on this without reading Operation: Endgame, you might be a little lost as to the background of the story but it's pretty self explanatory. To everyone else, I hope you enjoy. There's angst. There's fluff. And there are animal liberation plots. In other words, same old New York gleeks.
Operation: Meet the Family
John Matheson was nervous. He was about to meet the family of the woman he had been dating for the past six months. He had been in serious relationships before and most of those women couldn't wait for him to meet their families. But Quinn was different. She seemed almost… scared for him to meet her family. He wasn't sure if that was a reflection on him or on her family. He just knew that he was nervous. He got the feeling that family was very important to Quinn and he wanted to make the best impression possible. He really liked her.
Quinn was one of the newer clinical interns at the hospital where he was working. He had finished his residency the year before and was looking forward to picking on the new kids when she walked in and killed his hazing dreams. She was blonde, sunny and had a no nonsense personality. He watched her from afar for three weeks before finally working up the courage to talk to her. During the two month dance that he did around asking her out, several of their colleagues showed more courage and asked her out first. True none of them had made it very far with her, obviously because he has been the boyfriend for the past six months. But one of them made it far enough to meet the family. Quinn had dumped him that very same night. The man had horror stories of his encounter that had John holding off another month before finally asking the woman out. And they had been together ever since. He was just hoping that tonight wasn't the end of what was probably the most incredible six months of his life.
John took a deep breath. "Just relax, man. You're good. You're a surgeon. You're kind of good looking. And you're…."
"Totally talking to yourself."
John whirled around to see Quinn coming out of the apartment next door. He looked in confusion between the door he was standing in front of and the apartment she just left. "I thought you lived here. Did I get the wrong apartment?"
"No," Quinn shook her head and smiled. "I do live here. I just… had to get out for awhile. Dinner preparations were kinda driving me nuts."
This should have been his sign that tonight was probably going to be an unmitigated experience in disaster and insanity. But really when you had a woman like Quinn smiling at you like you very well could be her whole world (or at least a really big part of it) it was difficult to remember things like self preservation. He brushed a hand over her cheek.
"You look beautiful."
She beamed up at him. "Thank you. You don't look so bad yourself, Dr. Matheson."
"Ugh, fornication in the hallways," a voice groaned. Quinn grunted and pulled away from John's waiting lips. John looked over to see a young woman, most likely the same age as Quinn, with a small child in tow. The woman cocked her head to the side and smirked. "So this is him, huh?"
"Yes, this is him," Quinn replied. "John Matheson, this is one of my best friends, Santana Lopez-Evans. San, this is John."
John stepped forward to shake the woman's hand but found that her hands were full. She had the child held firmly with one hand and what appeared to be his book bag and her own briefcase in the other hand. John observed that woman was probably quite beautiful if she didn't look like she was about to keel over. It appeared Quinn also noticed the same weariness attached to her friend. Her eyes narrowed as she took in the woman's appearance.
"You feel okay, San?"
Santana rolled her eyes. "I'm fine, Mom. It's just been a really long day. Give me like fifteen minutes to get changed and Miguel into something less covered in paste and we'll be right over."
John's eyes drifted down towards the boy he presumed was Miguel. He had almond shaped brown eyes that were watching the grownups curiously. His shirt was in fact covered in paste and paint. He was carrying what looked to be a picture made out of macaroni. Miguel's eyes glistened as his gaze landed on Quinn. He beckoned her down with a tiny finger.
"Hey, Miguel," Quinn smiled, tickling the little boy. "Ready for dinner tonight? Beth is going to be there."
Miguel smiled. He leaned up to press a kiss against Quinn's cheek. It would have been sweet had he not grabbed her necklace less than a second later. "Mine!"
"Not again," Santana muttered. "Miguel Noah Evans, you let go of Aunt Quinn's necklace. It is not yours!"
Quinn chuckled nervously and unclasped the necklace. Miguel cheered as soon as 'his' necklace was in his possession. Santana glared. "The point is to not give him stuff, Quinn."
"I know that, San. But can we not do this tonight? I really need you to be the normal one tonight."
Santana raised an eyebrow. "It's that bad?"
"Worse," she sighed. "Go put your stuff down. I'll see you in like twenty minutes. Oh and when you get in there, do me a favor and tell Beth to lose the attitude before she gets over here or else she's grounded for life. Also tell Puck that I don't care when his stupid project is due, he's going to eat dinner like a normal human being. And while you're at it, tell him to lose the attitude too."
Santana smirked. "Nice. Come on, Grabby Pants. Mommy's gotta change your clothes." She scooped her son up into her arms. "Nice meeting you, John."
"Uh, likewise," John managed as the woman walked into the apartment that Quinn left only minutes before. "Your friends live next door?"
"Pretty much," Quinn shrugged. "I live here with Kurt and Blaine. I used to live with Santana, Rachel and Brittany but they moved out when Santana got married and moved next door with Rachel and Puck. So we just kind of switched. Brittany lives a couple of blocks away with her boyfriend. This building wasn't wheelchair accessible when we first moved in. They fixed it now but I think they're comfortable there." She trailed off looking at her front door as if expecting it to attack her.
"Quinn, maybe we should reschedule? You look a little stressed."
Quinn smiled softly. She pressed a soft kiss to his lips. "I like you, John. I really do. And I really know that they'll like you too."
"I hope they do because I really like you."
He was so lying. He loved this woman. He really did. Ever since the moment he first saw her, he knew that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. That feeling hadn't gone away while they were dating. It had only intensified. He knew they were meant to be. He knew that no matter how horrible her family was, he wasn't going to leave. Nothing could be bad enough to scare him away from this woman. He would later remind himself of this and upgrade his definition of the word nothing. Because less than a minute after he had this thought, the very reason for his change in definitions opened the door grinning like twin cats that ate the canary. And he realized with a gulp that he was very much the canary.
Santana knew it would be bad but she had no idea it was this bad. Beth and Puck were both sitting on the sofa wearing matching scowls. Rachel was puttering around the apartment seemingly completely oblivious to her fiancé and sister. But Santana was smarter than that. She caught the none too subtle glances in the glowering Puck's direction. She really didn't want to deal with what the hell was going on there. Things had been tense between the pair for a week now. But she couldn't get caught up in the Puckleberry drama at the moment. She knew it was bound to explode one way or another, the last thing either of them needed was encouragement.
So instead Santana bypassed what looked like drama central and marched her little man to the bedroom she shared with her husband. As she expected, Sam was seated at the desk with papers and books all around him. While she admired the man like hell for attempting to finish his Masters while balancing work and a family, she was a little bitter that they barely spent any time together. She was also angry that her son barely acknowledged his own father when they were in the same room. He greeted Sam with the same passive enthusiasm he gave the terribly expensive and completely useless gifts her mother continued to send every year on his birthday. When she picked their son up from daycare earlier that evening he had abandoned his arts and crafts immediately to practically tackle her with a hug. Back in high school she never thought she'd be a mother but now that she was, those hugs were seriously the best part of her day. How could Sam not see what he was missing here? Then again Sam didn't really see a lot these days.
"Hey, you plan on coming up for air any time soon?" Santana asked, tired of looking at the back of her husband's head.
Sam's head jerked up as if he didn't hear either of them come in the room. And he probably hadn't. When Sam was focused on something a bomb could have gone off and he wouldn't have noticed. Or his very exhausted wife could come home looking like something that was thrown under a bus. Same result, Sam wouldn't have noticed or cared. Santana tried to push those thoughts out of her mind.
"We have about twenty minutes," she explained. "I'm going to get Miguel changed. See if you can figure out what crawled up Puck's ass and died today."
Sam nodded blankly and left the room. Santana took a deep breath before smiling at her quietly waiting son. "So what fabulous outfit do we want today? Nothing Uncle Kurt designed. Okay, squirt? I don't think John is prepared for a toddler sized kilt and leather boots. Might be a bit much for him. Hopefully anyway."
Sam stumbled out of his and Santana's bedroom blearily. He had only just registered his wife was home before being tossed out on a mission to figure out what was wrong with Puck. He wasn't even aware there was something wrong with Puck. Although one look at the dark scowl and glare his best friend was sporting was enough to change that idea.
Puck cut his eyes in Sam's direction before shrugging. "I don't want to do this crap tonight, dude. Just really not in the mood."
"Yeah, but it's important to Quinn," Sam protested feebly. Truth be told, he didn't want to do this either. Quinn had a habit of picking the worst guys possible. It was almost as if she had some sort of loser radar that attracted the worst possible men for her. He loved Quinn. Always had and always would. And he knew that the woman deserved the best. This is why he was absolutely clueless as to why she kept bringing home these jerks and expecting them to treat them like they were part of their family.
"I don't need a stepfather," Beth muttered under her breath. "Plus this is stupid! He's going to take one look at this family and run off. The dynamics here are a little frightening."
"And by frightening, you mean awesome?" Sam asked, teasingly. Beth cracked a smile though she tried very valiantly to pretend that she hadn't. Her father, on the other hand, remained stoic. Something was seriously wrong with his best friend. And judging by the way he was completely ignoring Rachel's movements around the apartment, he was guessing that it had something to do with her. "Rach, you think you've cleaned enough? He's not coming to inspect here, you know."
"Are you okay?" Beth asked, finally noticing the frantic movements from her sister/future stepmother. "You've been buzzing around like a hummingbird on crack."
"Language, Beth," Rachel replied tiredly. Her eyes flickered to Puck, who continued to ignore her gazes. "I'm fine. I guess I'm just a little preoccupied with rehearsals."
"Isn't that the show with St. Doucheface?" Beth wrinkled her nose.
"Noah! Why does your daughter know that nickname?"
Puck finally tore his eyes away from the really intense staring match he was having with the wall to glare at Rachel. "I don't know, Rachel. Guess I really am just shit at this parenting job. Good thing we're not having any kids, huh?"
Sam and Beth exchanged confused looks over the feuding couple's head. "What's going on?"
"Me and Beth are going next door to meet the latest tool," Puck replied, stiffly. "Beth, behave. Even if he's a loser, he's still your mother's boyfriend. We have to play nice."
Beth's eyes were wide as she contemplated whether she should address the obvious tension between her father and sister or if she should reply to her father's instructions. Proving that she was more Fabray than Puckerman in the tact department, Beth went with the latter.
"But they're all stupid jerks," she complained even as her father dragged her to her feet. "Can't we mess with him a little bit? Please, daddy?"
Puck's eyes softened a bit. "Only if he's a complete asshole. Besides I have it on good authority that your uncles made a survey for the new guy to rule out potential unpleasantness."
Beth's eyes lit up. "So why the hell are we sitting in here? I want to be there for the torture. That's probably going to be the best part of this whole retarded evening."
Now it was Puck's turn to be dragged. Sam was pleased to hear him laughing even as they went charging out the apartment. Mission accomplished. But as he glanced over at Rachel, he realized that he now had another problem on his hands. The relationship between Sam and Rachel had always been complex. Yes, she was his friend but she was also the best friend of his wife as well as the fiancée of his best friend/pseudo brother. So when she was sad, he was that determined to fix it before Puck or Santana found out and slaughtered whatever made her that way. Since it seemed that it was Puck that made her sad (or vice versa), Sam wasn't sure how his wife was going to react. He just knew that he had to fix it before it escalated into something ugly during this stupid dinner.
"Rachel, what's going on with you and Puck?"
"You caught that, huh?" she chuckled without a hint of humor. She raked a hand through her hair. "Noah is moving out."
"What the hell? Since when?"
"Since yesterday," she replied with a calm that Sam didn't understand. "He's only here tonight for this dinner thing with Quinn and then he's leaving."
"Okay, I mean I guess… but why?"
"Because he's stupid and selfish! He's such a Neanderthal that he can't see past his own selfish wishes and desires. Just because Puck isn't getting his way, he has to pull the most juvenile stunt ever. But if he thinks that I'm just going to sit here and beg him to stay, he has another thing coming. I don't care. He can stay gone for all I care!"
With that said Rachel spun on her heels and stormed into what used to be her and Puck's bedroom. Sam sat down heavily on the abandoned couch. Well this evening was going to be a barrel of laughs.
Beth Diana Fabray-Puckerman-Corcoran was not like most girls her age. For starters, she had two mothers and a father. And her father was engaged to her adoptive older sister. It was like something out of a Lifetime movie gone wrong but it was her family and it worked. In the year since she had been with her biological parents, Beth was completely in love with her extended family. Her parents were the best. She had even come to terms with the whole Puckleberry relationship after her uncles Blaine and Kurt sat her down and explained how they were meant to be. There was something in there about lobsters but after awhile her attention started drifting. She was eleven at the time. She wasn't as mature as she was now at the ripe age of twelve. Never mind that this all occurred less than three months ago. That was not the point. The point was that Beth was not like other girls her age.
She accepted her extended family. She loved them. And she didn't want that to change. This is why she didn't understand why her biological mother seemed determined to ruin that. She had only been part of the family for a year and had missed the other guys that Quinn had brought home. But Sam and Puck were both quick to assure her that there had been at least five and all of them had been douchetastic losers. But this one seemed serious. For starters, Quinn hadn't brought him anywhere near them for six months. No one else seemed to think this was an issue but to Beth this meant she was serious. She really liked this guy. This meant that he was a threat to the family she had here. She didn't want a stepfather. She barely wanted a stepmother but it was Rachel, so it was allowed. This guy? Not so much. So no, Beth was not happy at all.
That is until she walked into the apartment her mother shared with her two uncles. It was hard not to feel a sense of joy at the sight of her two uncles sitting in front of her mother's petrified boyfriend shooting off questions that ranged from normal to slightly insane to completely bat-shit crazy.
"Have you ever killed a hooker?" Blaine asked as Puck and Beth joined them in the living room.
"Uh, no. I can't say that I have."
"Have you ever slept with a hooker?" Kurt fired off next.
"Have you ever been a hooker?"
"Are all of these questions really necessary?"
"Do you have something to hide?"
Puck snickered, earning a smack on the arm from Quinn. Beth smiled watching her parents interact. There was one way that she was like other girls her age. She sometimes thought it would be nice if her parents got back together. While she loved Rachel and her dad together, there was a part of her that sometimes wondered what it would be like if her parents were to reconcile. They clearly liked each other.
"Stop laughing," Quinn hissed at Puck. "It encourages them and they really don't need any further encouragement."
"It's not their fault you dated a guy that actually killed a hooker."
"He didn't kill her. She was just in a month long coma. It was self defense. It's not really his fault that she attacked him for working her corner. Anyway you really shouldn't be that judgmental about male hookers, Mr. Pool Cleaner." Puck flushed a brilliant shade of red.
Beth blinked but wisely kept her mouth shut. This was one of those grownup conversations she really just did not want any part of.
"Anyway, come here, Beth. I want to introduce you," Quinn reached her hand towards her daughter. She cleared her throat ending the questioning for now. Too bad because Beth was actually partially interested in whether this dude had actually been born a man or not. "John Matheson, this is my daughter, Beth Corcoran."
"Actually it's Beth Fabray-Puckerman-Corcoran," Beth corrected automatically. Quinn's hand tensed in hers for a moment before relaxing. "And this is my dad, Puck."
Puck rolled his eyes at his daughter's introduction before stepping forward to shake the man's hand. "Actually, it's Noah Puckerman," he said mimicking his daughter. "Nice to meet you."
"Likewise," John blinked a little between the two adults and their daughter. Quinn tucked a strand of hair behind her ear nervously. "When you said meet the family, you really meant that."
"Yeah, I really did."
There was a tense moment where Beth fully expected the man to run for it. But instead he shrugged. "Nice to meet you Beth Fabray-Puckerman-Corcoran."
Quinn's smile could have outshone the sun at that moment. Even Puck was smirking appreciatively. Beth was not pleased with this turn of events. Not at all.
Quinn was on guard. Things had been going rather smoothly since all introductions had been made. Sam and John appeared to get along well. They were talking about some research that Sam was participating in at the clinic he worked at. Puck was sitting on the sofa where they were talking drawing something in his sketchpad. She vaguely remembered him saying that he had a project due soon. She was just happy that he was being relatively pleasant. Which of course was the complete opposite of their daughter who was alternately glowering and trying to ignore the increasingly more demanding and attention starved Miguel. It wasn't a problem at the moment but Quinn made a note to talk to Beth before the evening was over. Kurt and Blaine were in the kitchen putting the finishing touches on dinner. Santana and Rachel were talking quietly. All in all, everything was going smoothly. Naturally Quinn was waiting for the moment when it all went wrong.
"Where are Britt and Artie?" Sam asked suddenly as if he just noticed that the couple was missing.
"Uh, Britt said something about some function at Artie's job," Santana shrugged before yawning. Quinn felt her worry growing. Santana looked exhausted. She made a mental note to take Miguel for the weekend to give her friend some time to rest. She also made a note to clue Sam into his wife's exhaustion as he barely seemed to notice.
"Oh my god, Miguel. What? What could you possibly want?" Beth yelled.
"Mine!" he yelled back as he grabbed the ponytail holder out of her hair. He giggled before running off. Beth climbed to her feet looking a mix between murderous and amused.
"Daddy, I'm really going to need you and Rachel to get on the baby making train because Miguel so needs someone age appropriate to play with." Beth was out the room chasing after her favorite playmate (despite what she claimed) before she could see the way that Puck's face fell at the innocent statement. His eyes flickered to Rachel, who was staring at the wall with a unreadable expression on her face.
"I'm going to see if they need some help in the kitchen or something," Puck muttered before stalking towards the kitchen. His escape route was cut off by the arrival of the same pair he was going to help. "I guess you're done."
"Yes, we're done. What's with that face?" Kurt commented as he passed by Puck. Blaine nudged his taller friend in the stomach.
"Seriously, you okay, man?"
"Yeah. Great. You need me to carry something?"
"They don't need your help, Noah," Rachel snapped.
Puck closed his eyes and Quinn could tell he was counting to calm himself down. She had seen him employ that tactic a lot with everyone except Rachel. That he was that angry with Rachel was disturbing and concerning. Thankfully the only thing that was truly effective at countering Puckerman rage came back into the room at that moment.
For all that Beth complained about Miguel and being forced to play with him, the preteen seemed to get a lot of enjoyment out it. She was laughing as she carried Miguel back in the room on her back. She bounced up and down in place once they were back in the room prompting the toddler to giggle happily. Quinn smiled at her daughter. She would be a great older sister one day. Her eyes flickered to John and her smile grew. She could see herself raising children with that man. Of all the guys she had dated in the past few years, John was the closest thing to love she had come across. He was the closest to a lobster she found.
She snapped out of her thoughts as Kurt and Blaine called everyone to their very large dining room table for dinner. Contrary to what Rachel had said, the couple did in fact need Puck to carry dishes. Quinn suspected that Blaine made something up on the spot in order to give Puck an excuse to walk away. Blaine was probably one of the few people (read: Sam and Santana) that really knew how Puck's mind worked. Having him around made for fewer explosions from Puck, this made for happier times from everyone else. Kurt and Blaine hooking up? Best decision ever.
"So John, tell us about yourself," Santana said as everyone was sitting down and helping themselves. "Where did you grow up? Stuff like that."
"Uh, sure. I grew up right here in the city. I had a big family. My parents split up when I was a kid and they both got remarried. So we had a lot of extended family. I went to NYU for college and then to Columbia to get my doctorates. And now I'm working at Columbia Presbyterian. And that's where I met Quinn. I guess the rest is history."
"Not exactly," Beth started, narrowing her eyes. "What exactly are your intentions for my mom?" Quinn groaned. She shot Puck a look over the table but he wasn't paying attention. He was staring at his mashed potatoes as if they had the answers to life's mysteries.
"Well, I guess I'd like to keep dating your mom. I don't want to hurt her, Beth. I hope you know that." He looked around the table. "I hope you all know that."
"Good answer," Blaine murmured appreciatively. Sam elbowed him in the stomach. Quinn was quietly grateful.
"So how did you all meet? Quinn hasn't really told me much about her high school years. She just told me that she knows you all since high school but not really how you met."
The seven former gleeks exchanged glances. "Um, well, we grew up in the same town for the most part, so we all kind of knew each other. But we really became friends through glee club."
"You were all in a glee club?" John turned to Quinn. "I didn't know you could sing."
"Quinn is amazing," Rachel smiled slyly. "We probably would've won Sectionals if hadn't been for Blaine and Kurt over here."
"Yes, but you won Regionals against our amazing duet," Kurt sniffed indignantly. "And as I recall we won Nationals thanks to Blaine and I. Twice."
"Show off," Rachel stuck her tongue out playfully.
"I'd love to hear something one of these days," John said. "That is if you guys still sing."
"Rachel is the only one still singing," Sam replied. "She's our Broadway diva." Rachel blushed but beamed in his direction. "The rest of us are working the usual 9 to 5 jobs."
"You're on Broadway? That's really interesting. What show?"
"Well it's opening in a few days. It's called Spring Awakening. It's a revival and I'll be the lead."
"Yeah, with St. Doucheface," Beth grumbled.
"Beth! Stop calling him St. Doucheface," Puck warned. "You might not like him but he's a friend of your mother and your sister. So be nice."
John's brow furrowed. Quinn wanted to kick Puck. This was the moment she was trying to avoid. It wasn't that she was ashamed of the connections in their family, per say. But it did get a little confusing to someone that wasn't… well them.
"Rachel is your sister?"
"Uh, yeah," Quinn laughed nervously. "See the thing is Puck and I had Beth when were in high school. It was a bit of a scandal at the time. And we knew we couldn't really raise her at the time. So Rachel's biological mom adopted her."
"And Rachel is dating Puck now," John smiled. His eyes glittered as he nodded in Beth's direction. "So your dad is dating your sister? Does Jerry Springer know about this?"
Beth's eyes widened before a giggle escaped. She slapped her hands over her mouth in surprise. Still a few more laughs escaped from between her fingers. Quinn felt some of the tension leave her body. Beth liked him. It seemed like she was fighting it with everything she had but Beth genuinely seemed to like her boyfriend. She felt herself relaxing before she remembered that this was her family. The moment when everything fell apart always happened when you let yourself relax.
"Q," Puck leaned over to whisper in her ear. "I have to go. I'm really not feeling too good."
Quinn pulled back to look at him. "You've been really quiet. What's wrong? Sore throat or something?"
"Something," he grinned weakly. "Beth can crash with you tonight, right?"
"Yeah, no problem."
"Thanks. I'll call you later." Puck pushed his chair back and rose to his feet. "It was nice meeting you, John. Hope to see you around more."
"That's it? You're going to leave now?" Rachel asked, her voice dripping with venom. "This was your genius plan? Slip out while everyone was eating?"
"Rachel, can we not do this right now?" Puck asked, quietly.
Quinn would never count herself as an expert on Puck but there were some things she knew about his overall personality quirks. The most important being that if he's using the quiet voice that meant that something seriously bad was about to happen. She saw Sam and Blaine standing as well ready to diffuse the situation if needed. Too bad Rachel lacked that foresight.
"Do what, Puck? You're the one that's leaving. You weren't even going to tell anyone were you? You were just going to walk out and never come back."
"Dad, you're leaving?" Beth asked. Her hands slowly fell to her lap. "You're not leaving me are you?"
Puck glared at Rachel before moving to his daughter. "Never, baby girl. I'm just going to stay over at the new hotel we're redesigning. I just need to get my head clear for a few days."
"Then I'll come with you."
"No, Beth, you're going to stay tonight with Quinn. Shelby's coming to get you tomorrow. I'm sorry to cut our time short. But things are just…"
"Let me guess, too much?" Rachel finished for him. "That's your typical excuse when you don't want to deal with stuff. Run away and cry about how it's too much."
"Really, Rachel? You really want to go there right now?" Puck snapped back.
"No, I guess we can get to it when you come back. If you even come back. That's just the Puckerman way, isn't it?"
Puck laughed. The sound sent a chill down Quinn's spine. She opened her mouth to stop this but Santana shook her head. As much as Quinn wanted to protest, she didn't. Santana was the one that knew Puck the best out of all of them. She knew when he needed to get it out of his system. Quinn motioned for Beth to take Miguel in Kurt and Blaine's room (as it was the furthest down the hall) and close the door. It took a minute to convince her but she left. As soon as they heard the door close, Puck exploded.
"Hey, everyone, guess what? Me and Rachel were going to have a baby."
Rachel's eyes immediately filled with tears. Clearly whatever she thought he was going to say, that wasn't it. She looked down at the floor. Santana stood up to hold her hand but made no motion to stop Puck. Her eyes reflected a sad understanding. Leave it to Santana to figure everything out that fast.
"What do you mean 'were having a baby'?" Kurt asked cautiously.
"I had a miscarriage," Rachel said. "I didn't even know I was pregnant. I just had stomach cramps. But they were really bad and Tony forced me to go to the ER where they told me that I lost the baby. It was barely a month."
"I'm so sorry, honey," Blaine said.
"Yeah, well that makes one of you," Puck said, darkly. "Tell them the truth, Rachel. Since you wanted to make this into a show. You didn't fucking care! Hell, it's pretty safe to say you were probably happy. At least now there's no pesky baby ruining your Broadway career!"
"I'm sure that's not true," Kurt protested on his friend's behalf.
"No, Kurt. He's right," Rachel admitted. Tears were streaming down her face. "I don't want a damn baby! I have plans and a baby doesn't fit in there. Why can't you see that, Noah?"
"I so see that, Rachel. I really do. But you don't fucking get where I'm coming from. You never do! No one does. Everyone always takes your side. They always listen to you."
"Because I talk in complete sentences and don't run away when things get too hard."
"I don't know how to do anything other than that," Puck seethed. "I don't know how to make you understand that I'm fucking sad that my kid is dead and you don't care. The only thing you're concerned about is this show with Jesse. So yeah, I'm leaving so I can at least be sad without having to see you acting like everything is fine! Happy now?"
Rachel's mouth opened but no words came out. Puck snorted and shook his head. "I'll call you when I get to the hotel."
Quinn stood up suddenly. "Take Beth with you."
Puck stopped in his tracks. "What?"
"Take Beth with you tonight," she repeated slowly. "I know you think you need to be alone but you don't. You need her. She's probably the one thing you need right now. So take Beth with you. I'll let Shelby know that you'll drop her off at school from there."
Quinn stared Puck down for a long a tense moment before he finally nodded. He walked down the hall and disappeared into her room. A few minutes later, father and daughter were walking out the door together. Beth had tears in her eyes and was hugging Puck's waist tightly. Though he still looked grim, there was visibly less tension in his posture. Satisfied with that resolution, Quinn turned back to Rachel.
"I know you want to pretend that you're not hurting but I know you are. And if you want to throw yourself into work, that's fine. But it's not fair for you to act like he can't be upset about it. You saw how he was after Beth, Rach. You're the only one he talked to during that time. You're the one that got him to really start talking to me again."
Rachel didn't reply. She remained stonily silent. But the tears that kept sliding down her face were all the answers that Quinn needed. She was hurting but she wasn't going to show that. Because if you showed pain then you felt it. That was Rachel's motto. If you never let it show then it couldn't hurt you. But what Rachel forgot, what she almost always forgot, was that just because she wasn't in this alone. It wasn't her decision to just move on. She had to respect Puck's feelings too. And though she had come a long way from the girl that sent a rival to a crack house, Rachel still demonstrated a flash of her previously selfish behaviors every now and then. Apparently now was one of those times.
"So, who's ready for dessert?" Blaine asked nervously.
"Uh, I'll take some," John spoke up. Quinn's eyes widened. She completely forgot about her boyfriend in the midst of all the drama. Her eyes searched him anxiously looking for some sort of sign that he was ready to bail on her. He caught her gaze and smiled reassuringly. He wasn't leaving. And then the phone rang.
"Hummel Anderson Fabray residence, this is Kurt Hummel speaking." Quinn rolled her eyes and exchanged a long suffering look with Blaine. They turned back to their roommate who was now blinking rapidly. "Okay. Just… hold them there. Someone will be down to get them soon. Thank you for calling."
"What was that about?"
Kurt pinched the bridge of nose and sighed before speaking. "That was the 23rd precinct. Apparently Artie's work function was at the Central Park zoo."
"What happened?" Santana groaned.
"Well, it seems that Brittany wanted a monkey," Kurt replied, deadpan. "And a panda. They probably would've gotten away with it if she hadn't gone to free the polar bears too."
Santana put her head on the table muttering under her breath in Spanish. After a few minutes, she lifted her head to stare at her partner in bailing their friends out of stupid situations. "Come on, Hogwarts. Time to go rescue your client."
"Remind me again why I thought being Brittany's agent was a good idea?" he asked, petulantly pushing away from the table. "Also why would anyone in their right mind let her near a zoo? I thought we had that restraining order until next year."
"Seems like Central Park Zoo is a lot more lax on security. Good to know for future animal liberation plots," Santana shrugged. She turned towards her husband. "Trouty Mouth, please don't forget our son over here tonight. I'm not sure when I'll be back but try and remember that he exists long enough to get him to daycare in the morning. Okay?"
Before Sam could even formulate a response, Santana and Blaine were gone. Sam remained staring open mouthed at the spot she once stood. "I know he exists."
"Sure you do, Sam," Kurt patted the shocked blonde on the hand. "So dessert?"
"Wait, does anyone else smell that?" John spoke up. "It smells like smoke."
"It's coming from the…." Sam raced down the hall towards Kurt and Blaine's room. "Who's bright idea was it to send the kid to the room with all the candles? Also Miguel Noah Evans, stay away from that! Give daddy the candles!"
Quinn cursed under her breath as the building's fire alarm went off. She knew tonight would be bad but she had no idea it would be this bad.
Puck leaned against the doorway of his daughter's latest borrowed bedroom. After they got to the hotel, Puck broke his rule of trying to be a better man now that he was a father again and let Beth gorge herself on candy, ice cream and all matter of junk food. Needless to say the sugar high that followed was epic and did wonders to shake his bad mood. But all things that go up must come down. And Beth went down hard. She was now passed out in a drooling, goofily smiling mess hugging an animal pillow she suckered him into buying in the hotel's gift shop that she named Mr. Stickle. But he loved the hell out of that girl anyway. She let out a soft snore and rolled over onto her stomach. Puck smiled before leaving the room. When he turned around, he found himself facing Rachel. They stood staring at one another for what seemed like forever before Puck finally broke the silence.
"Why are you here?"
Her eyes softened for the first time in the week since the miscarriage. She took a deep breath before reaching hesitantly for his hand. No matter how angry he was. No matter how hurt he was, Puck could never deny Rachel. So he let her take his hand and pull him closer to her. She blinked and he saw the tears falling. His hand itched to wipe them away but he couldn't. Not this time.
"I was wrong," she whispered. He was surprised but hid it well. "I was wrong about everything. We didn't plan for a baby but neither did Sam and Santana. Miguel is the best thing that's ever happened to them. And I realized that our child could have been that for us. Beth could've been a big sister and Miguel would have someone closer in age to play with. But I lost her, Noah. I lost our baby because I didn't want her. It was my fault."
He felt his heart break a little more at the pain in her voice. He had been watching this girl act since they were kids. There had been many times they had gotten out of trouble at the JCC thanks to her acting abilities. He knew when she was putting on a show but right now was not one of those times. She was grieving finally and there was no way he was going to let her go through that alone. He swallowed his own emotions to wrap her in his arms.
"I know you hate me and I deserve that," she continued, leaning her head against his chest. "But I need you, Noah. I can't lose you too. You're my lobster."
Puck let out a laugh that sounded suspiciously close to a sob. Ordinarily he might have tried to cover it up with some lame joke or male posturing but he gave that up a long time ago when it came to this woman. Instead, he leaned back so he could see her face clearly.
"I don't hate you, Rach. I never could. I just need you to realize that we're in this together. We lost a child together. We hurt together. Okay?"
Rachel nodded tearfully. "I'm so sorry."
"And I lied. I do want a baby. I want babies… with you, Noah. I want to have a family with you."
A smile pulled on his lips. "I want that too, babe. More than anything. But I want that after you win your Tony awards and live the dream you've had ever since I've known you."
She rose up on her toes to press a soft kiss against his lips. "I already am. Thanks to you." She smiled at him. "I love you, Noah Puckerman."
Puck kissed her left hand where her engagement ring still rested. "I love you, Rachel Berry."
They stood together, enjoying the silence and the presence of the other for the first time in what felt like forever. Puck finally felt like things would get better. That they were going to get past this. He was going to enjoy this moment for as long as he could. This, of course, meant that it ended rather quickly with a series of beeps from his phone. With an exaggerated groan, he separated from Rachel long enough to grab his phone from his back pocket.
'Did you work it out yet? –Q'
Puck smirked. "Let me guess, Quinn gave you the address?"
"Only after making sure that I had the best of intentions before going over here," Rachel smiled faintly. "She's a really great friend."
"Yeah, she is," Puck paused, seemingly remembering the sequence of events that led them to this moment. "What happened with dinner after our moment?"
"Blaine tried to hand out dessert but the phone rang. It was the police. Apparently Britt and Artie got arrested trying to smuggle a monkey and a panda out of the Central Park Zoo. Blaine and San went to handle that. It seemed like everything was okay until Miguel discovered the joy of lighted scented candles and Uncle Kurt's million and one flammable things. So the fire department came to visit. Chief Robert said hello by the way."
Puck only grinned and shook his head in response. "So what happened with Dr. Sexy?"
"Quinn sent him home. He actually didn't seem like he was fazed by everything that happened. Which doesn't speak well of his mental stability."
"I think Q really liked him too. He didn't seem that bad either. Or at least he didn't seem like he was a drug mule in college."
Rachel stepped back with a contemplative look on her face. "Noah, I think we're keeping Quinn from finding her lobster."
"What do you mean?"
"She's always worrying about us and making sure that we're all ok. But I think we're holding her back. John was the first decent guy that she's bought home in like five years and we totally blew it for her."
Puck cursed under his breath and thought for a minute. True he wasn't quite the mastermind that Brittany could be when it came to things like this but he had enough experience to know what to do. "Call Kurt, get him to find that guy's number and meet us at home."
"Home?" Rachel repeated hopefully.
"Home, babe. I wasn't leaving you. I could never…. I'm just not good with words. I try to say things and they come out wrong. I needed time to figure out what I wanted to say."
"You speak well enough for me."
He tucked a strand of hair before her ear before pecking her on the nose. "Love you, Rach. Now go call the Princess, tell him to stop sobbing over his scented candle collection. I'm going to attempt waking the savage, drooling beast in there. Then we're going to figure out how to get this dude back for Quinn."
As he walked into Beth's room, he heard Rachel on the phone with Kurt. "Operation: Quinn's Lobster is a go. Yes, it was Noah's idea. Yes, Noah is capable of selfless gestures that don't involve sex. Yes, there will likely be makeup sex…. Yes, I'm sure he knows that."
Puck smirked. Kurt did know him so well. That's why shouldn't be surprised when Puck let Miguel loose in his closet. Either it all ended up ripped up, thrown on the floor or destroyed in some other manner or the kid claimed it all for the Republic of Miguel. Either way, it ended with pissy Kurt and an amused Puck. That would teach him.
When Santana returned home after dropping off a very contrite Artie and an as usual oblivious Brittany, she expected things to be relatively the same as she left them. She was instead completely thrown to find Puck and Rachel curled together on the couch watching as Kurt and Beth debated the best ways to contact John and get him back for Quinn. Beth was in favor of the direct approach, while Kurt was leaning towards kidnapping him and locking them in a closet. Santana would have voted for the latter but she was beyond exhausted and she still had to get Miguel ready for bed and remind Sam that he needed sleep as well.
She stopped by her son's bedroom, expecting to see him bouncing around the room hyped up on the energy flowing through the apartment. But he wasn't there. Her brow furrowed in confusion and despite knowing better, a small flutter of panic settled in her chest that wasn't settled until she saw Miguel and Sam lying on the bed together. Miguel was dead to the world, comfortably snuggled into Sam's left side. Sam had a textbook on his lap and was reading it aloud in a combination study session/bedtime story. He paused in the always riveting tale of the invention of the spinal tap to smile at her.
"Hey, Trouty Mouth." She kicked off her shoes and shed her clothes quickly. She slipped into one of Sam's old t-shirts and crawled onto the bed with her boys. It had been so long since the three of them had been together like this that she almost forgot what it was like. "I could get used to ending my day like this."
Sam shifted so he could see her without waking their son. He carefully placed the textbook on the floor. "I'm sorry, San. I kinda dropped the ball with you guys."
Santana smiled softly. "You've been really busy with work and school. I understand."
"And you're what? Not busy? San, you're like superwoman. You do it all for both of us. And we love you for it. You're seriously the best wife and mother either of us could ask for but I'm going to need to do my part from now on."
Santana's smile grew wider. "You're kind of the shit, Sammy." She leaned over Miguel to kiss him gently.
"Not so bad yourself, babe," he whispered against her lips. "Why don't we get some sleep and you can totally sleep in today. I'll drop Miguel off on my way to help Puck and Blaine kidnap Dr. Sexy."
Santana raised an eyebrow even as she sank back against the sheets. She rolled Miguel into her arms allowing Sam to shift down into the bed as well. "Wait, when did they figure that one out? Last I heard they were still arguing about it."
Sam nodded towards his phone on the nightstand. "Puck just text me. They managed to convince Beth that closets are the way to go with this family. So we're adding kidnapping humans to our list of major crimes and offenses. Oh, now we have something in common with the first dude Quinn brought home!"
Santana snickered. "Just don't get arrested. Office Lance said hello and added that he's glad you've managed to avoid trouble. This of course is after the two hour long lecture he gave Brittany on the importance of not stealing animals that I'm pretty sure never made it in her ear to go out the other."
He snorted in response. "Chief Robert said hi, too. And he's not surprised that Miguel's got his borderline pyro skills from you. I defended you though. I told him you hadn't set anything on fire while cooking in months but he didn't seem convinced."
Santana wanted to find out why the fire department was there and why their son was a pyro but the steady breathing from Miguel and the overall warmth of Sam lulled her to sleep. She made a mental note to kick someone's ass in the morning though. Given the high rate of insanity and stupidity within this crew, there was bound to be a reason.
The doorbell was ringing loudly and annoyingly. Quinn pried an eye open as the bell continued to ring. Neither Blaine nor Kurt seemed to be annoyed by as she heard no shuffling sounds from their room. That meant that either they weren't home or they were otherwise occupied. She really hoped it was the first. Groaning, she abandoned the warmth of her bed and shuffled towards the door. If it was one of her idiot friends, she was going to stab them. This is precisely why she had keys made for all of them. She liked her sleep damn it. Especially since this was her first day off in like a month. She had originally planned to spend the day with John but that didn't look like it was happening. She was pretty sure that if she hadn't ended things with him last night, he would have run screaming eventually. She knew her family was a bit much but she loved them. She was devoted to them. So what if she didn't have her true love. She had her daughter and friends. They were more than enough.
"I'm coming!" she screamed at the person still ringing her doorbell. She wrenched the door open fully expecting to find Puck or Sam (they were the only idiots who still thought this was the funniest way to wake Quinn in the morning). Instead, she found herself face to face with John Matheson. Her jaw dropped.
"Wait, just hear me out, okay?" he held up his hands. Her mouth closed as she nodded her head. "I know that you think last night was enough to scare me away but it wasn't. Honestly. So your friends are a bit insane? That's fine. You clearly love them, Quinn. And I love you. I love whatever is important to you. That includes them."
Quinn's eyes watered. "You love me?"
"Hell yes," John grinned. "I think I loved you the minute I saw you. And no dramatic outbursts, monkey and polar bear thefts or apartment fires are going to keep me from being with you…. That is if you still want me."
"You have to know what you're getting yourself into here. My daughter comes first in everything," she warned. "I may have given Beth up for adoption but now that she's back in my life, she's my priority. This means that her father is also a priority. What happens to him affects me."
"I can accept that, Quinn. Besides Puck seems kind of cool."
"He's family," she shrugged. "They all are. I know that they're crazy and weird and probably considered functional lunatics but they're mine. And I want you in my life but I won't turn my back on them. I'm sadly the order and logic in this crazy mixed up family."
"And I would never want you to stop that," John said. "They all clearly need you. I don't want you to stop being that person for them. I just want to be a part of that with you."
"I love you," she said, with a bright smile. "I really, really love you."
"I really, really love you too, Quinn Fabray."
She laughed and threw her arms around him. His arms wrapped around her waist holding her close to his body. Their lips met in a heated kiss that was interrupted when the door next door opened.
"Oh my god! Fornication! Parent fornication!" Beth squealed. "Things that have been seen cannot be unseen! My eyes are burning!"
"Then close them," Puck suggested, sarcastically. Quinn flushed and pulled away from John to see her daughter, Puck, Sam, Blaine and Miguel standing in the hallway outside their apartments. Sam had his hands covering Miguel's eyes even while smirking. Blaine looked mildly disappointed while Puck was just grinning at Beth who was squeezing her eyes shut tightly. "So he came back?"
Quinn continued to blush but smiled. "Yes, he came back. You came back too."
"There was never a doubt, Blondie," Puck smirked. "Hey, Dr. John. We like you and all but just realize if you hurt her, we hurt you. Okay?"
John nodded. "Okay."
Blaine continued to pout. "Does this mean we don't get to kidnap him and throw them in a closet?"
Sam patted him on the shoulder. "Unfortunately," he replied. "Want to do something else?"
"What else could more entertaining than that?"
Puck glanced at his watch. "Rachel's show has open rehearsals right about now. We could always go and sit in the audience and mock St. Doucheface."
Blaine's eyes lit up. "Sam, don't you have class today?"
"Wait, you were okay with kidnapping mom's boyfriend and locking him in a closet but Uncle Sam's classes are important?" Beth asked, scrunching up her nose.
"Education is very important. Stay in school," Blaine said, seriously. "So class or not, Evans?"
"I'm class free today. Hey, Miguel, want to hang out with daddy and your uncles today?" the little boy nodded and hugged his father's leg. Sam ruffled the soft black hair gently. "Bonding through torture and harassment of a moron. And San thinks I'm not a good dad."
Puck snorted. "Come on, Beth. I'll drop you at school on the way to the theater."
"Why does the midget get to ditch daycare but I still have to go to school? I want to go jeer him too!"
Puck paused thoughtfully. "Fine, just don't tell your mother."
"I thought education was important."
"Sometimes these things take a backseat to your uncle's enjoyment," Puck replied, sagely. "Don't worry about. And don't tell your mothers."
"No problem. It'll be our little secret."
Quinn was going to protest that she was clearly standing right there and did not approve of their child missing school so that she could heckle Rachel's former boyfriend but decided to let it go. After all, if they were busy harassing Jesse, they would be less inclined to bother her and John for the day. The subtle wink in her direction from Puck let her know that was his intention all along. She really was going to have to thank him one of these days.
"Hey, is it true you had a secret past in high school as a fat girl with glasses and zits?"
Quinn's eyes widened. "What? Who told you that?"
John showed her his phone where there was a text from Puck. She looked up only to find the quintet was gone. But their laughter echoed down the hall. She was so going to kill them one of these days.
"Don't worry," John grinned. "When I was high school, I was the shortest kid in the school until senior year. And I had glasses so thick you couldn't scratch them with a rock. I didn't hit my growth spurt until senior year and that was also the year my mother discovered contacts. By that point, it was too late and I was already tragically a loser. But I like to think I've made up for it now."
Quinn smiled softly before slipping her arms around him and pulling into the apartment. She wasn't sure if he was her lobster or not. But she was willing to find out.
*The end yet again. And in case anyone was wondering, yes, Dr. John is the same John mentioned briefly in the epilogue. I believe in lobsters for all.