A/N: Well, guys this is it. I really feel like story comes full circle here and it's a good place to wrap it up. Thank you to all of you who read/reviewed/favorited this story. There are so many amazing authors in this fandom and I know I don't measure up to most of them. So thank you for all of you have stuck with this one. I really hope you like this last chapter.
When Quinn finally stepped onto the busy New York sidewalk early Friday morning, she allowed herself for just one minute to take it all in. The early morning sounds of the city had always somehow calmed her after long night shifts at the hospital. She breathed the familiar air in deeply and her mind ghosted over the many memories associated with this place.
Nationals. Midnight proposals. Their first apartment. Beth's first day of school. Rachel's first audition and many more after that. Her graduation from NYU top of her class. Passing her MCATs. Sleepless nights and days at the hospital. Rachel and Beth surprising her with lunch when food was the last thing on her mind.
Deciding to have more kids, and the excitement when they found out about the twins. The joy of holding them for the first time and looking into each other's eyes knowing they were beyond blessed.
Quinn's heart twisted in her chest as she thought of this particular memory. She needed to get to her family.
Hailing a cab and telling the driver to get her to NYU, she turned her phone back on and dialed Rachel's number. Voicemail picked up automatically, which meant it was off or the battery had died. She left a message anyway.
"Babe, I'm in the cab on my way to the hospital. I'll be there in half an hour or so. If you get this, please call and give me an update on E. I love you."
Next was Beth's phone, on which she left another message. Finally, when she was ready to call the ER to talk to Jake, her own battery died.
This is just my luck, she thought angrily, throwing the now useless device into her purse and closing her eyes. Now all she could do was hope Friday morning traffic in New York City was favorable.
Which of course it wasn't.
Over an hour later and after letting her frustrations out on her innocent driver, then bursting into tears and apologizing to him, she finally made it to NYU Medical. Rather than going through the front doors, she pulled her luggage through the ER doors, garnering odd looks from the people in the waiting area.
She immediately spotted a familiar face in Rebecca, a nurse who came to her side and took her luggage from her.
"Where are they?"
"Dr. Q it's good to see you, though not under the circumstances. Your family has been moved up to floor 5. Jake is in his office if you want to see him before you go up."
If possible, Quinn's heartbeat slowed to an almost standstill and an icy feeling settled in her stomach. Floor 5 was where the pediatric surgery unit was housed.
"Floor 5? What room?"
"I believe 515."
Quinn didn't wait for Rebecca to say anything else as she took off running for the elevator to make it to the fifth floor.
After an impossibly slow elevator ride, she ignored the nurses' station and found herself in front of the door of room 515. Willing the tears away for now, she slowly opened herself and steeled herself for what could possibly behind the door.
Yet, she still almost broke down in sobs when she saw her son lying on a bed far too large for him, hooked up to several IV drips she quickly recognized as low dose morphine and antibiotics and a large bandage covering his lower abdomen. Rachel was sitting next to the bed, her large hand holding Ethan's small one and she had clearly fallen asleep from exhaustion.
Beth was curled up asleep in the second bed and Quinn spotted Olivia's baby carrier in the corner, but her youngest daughter wasn't in the room. She knew Mandy had probably taken her since this had been about the time of day the babies had been waking up. The little girl would have been confused to wake up somewhere that wasn't her home.
Making herself move farther into the room, she stood at the foot of the bed and pulled the chart attached to the bottom of it. Quickly scanning through the pages and lab results, her fears were confirmed and Ethan had indeed had an emergency surgery about an hour after being admitted. His appendix had burst, very uncommon in infants, yet not impossible. According to the chart, the surgery was pretty routine and had gone as expected. He was responding well to the drugs he'd been given and was out of danger.
The surgeon had initialed all pages K.B. – Katherine Baxter, who was head of the pediatric surgery unit and who Quinn knew damn well hadn't been on duty at the hour Ethan was brought in. She could hug the woman.
Quinn's reading was disturbed by Rachel shifting in her chair and she put the chart back in its place. She felt incredibly guilty leaving for the week and having this happen while she was away on a work trip. Rationally, she knew there was nothing she could have done to diagnose Ethan's condition in advance. Yet, the guilty feelings didn't go away and she needed her wife's always calming presence.
"Rach, baby, I'm here," Quinn whispered, pulling a chair up next to the brunette's and putting her hand by Rachel's to hold Ethan's. The boy's fingers twitched and she smiled, knowing the response to stimuli was a good sign he was going to be just fine. This had been a scare, but it could have ended much worse.
"Hey there, little man. If you wanted me home earlier, you could have just said so and not scared your Momma so much. We'll have to have a talk when you're better," Quinn spoke quietly to her son, taking in his small face, button nose and impossibly soft skin.
Tears were now streaming freely down her face, the tension of the past ten hours leaving her body, now that she knew her baby boy would be okay. She felt Rachel stir next to her and without letting Ethan's hand go, turned to her wife.
Rachel looked absolutely exhausted and bone tired, her face tear streaked and hair in a messy bun. Quinn thought she had never looked as beautiful.
Rachel thought she might still be dreaming because sitting in front of her was her beautiful wife, looking every bit as tired, worried and relieved as she herself felt. She glanced at the small boy whose hand they were both holding now and remembered the agonizing night she had and couldn't hold the sobs in any longer. She threw her arms around Quinn and held on tight as she finally let go of the fear she'd been holding in. She felt Quinn's strong and steady hands on her back, their tears mingling together as Quinn hugged her back just as fiercely.
No words were spoken for long moments; both women were just basking in each other's presence and as the familiar peace settled in, they finally looked into each other's eyes again.
They would be okay. They had been terrified and rightfully so, but things would be fine.
"I'm so glad you're here," Rachel said quietly not to disturb their sleeping children.
"I came as quickly as I could, sweetheart. I'm so sorry I wasn't here," Quinn replied just as quietly, but Rachel could still hear the regret and guilt in her voice.
"You couldn't have done anything different. You're here now and he's okay, that's what matters," Rachel replied, pulling back slightly to make sure Quinn heard every word she said. The blonde always had a protective streak to her and she knew her wife was probably beating herself up for not getting to them sooner.
"Everyone here must really like you. I was freaking out when we got here, but the doctors you work with are all really good. They respect you more than you know. He was in the best of hands. So no guilt, Quinn, okay? He might be okay now, but I will probably still lose it again in a few hours and you'll need to be strong for me then. Okay, beautiful?"
Quinn just nodded, her eyes finding Ethan's small body again and biting back another sob. Rachel gripped her hand tight and together, they watched over their son as he rested.
Ethan was released from the hospital on Sunday morning, with careful instructions on how to care for the small incision. Quinn made sure to have enough supplies at home to last them for a week; she had no intentions of leaving her family's side for a while.
Sunday evening, the events of the week finally caught up with all of them and after tucking the babies in for the night, Quinn made her way to Beth's room, who was double checking her school bag for the next morning.
"You ready for tomorrow, kiddo?"
"Mom, you know I don't like when you call me that. Why can't that name be passed onto Livvy or E now?"
"Oh baby, you'll always be my kiddo. Sorry, nothing you can do about that," Quinn replied with a laugh and stepped into Beth to give her a hug. The young blonde hugged her mother back, leaning into her as she always did.
"I know, I know. Still doesn't hurt to ask."
"Yeah, not going to happen. Sorry. But hey, what do you say you and Momma and me sometime soon take a long weekend off? Since your spring break was kind of awful this year. Once E is fully healed, your grandfathers want to come up and spend some time in the City. I was thinking we could go to the beach somewhere, maybe even Florida?"
"Like Florida, Florida?"
"Is there another one?"
"Oh my God, when? Mom, that sounds amazing!"
Quinn just laughed; Beth was just like Rachel and got very enthusiastic about an idea very fast.
"Soon – we can look at dates tomorrow. I promise. You've been so good with the twins and everything this weekend. I'm just really proud of you and before you go to high school in the fall I want to spend some time with you."
Beth bit back a snarky comment; she knew her mothers had been through a lot this week and just wanted to make her feel special too.
"That sounds awesome, I can't wait."
"Okay then. Now go to sleep, you have school way too early in the morning."
"Ugh, tell me about it," Beth complained as she got into bed and turned her bedside lamp off.
"Good night, kiddo," Quinn chuckled quietly as she closed the door behind her.
"Are they really all asleep? It's so quiet," Rachel said as Quinn entered their large bedroom. The brunette was reading over the instructions they had been sent home with from the hospital, even though Quinn could probably take care of Ethan's incision without them.
"Yup, all out. And Beth is very excited about the Florida idea. Good one, babe."
"Well, I don't want her thinking we love her any less or we're not going to be there for her as much now. And once she starts high school who knows what will happen? We were both quite the drama queens back then, you know?"
"Speak for yourself, you were the diva. I was just the cheerleader who was secretly in love with you," Quinn snorted as she pulled her favorite NYU sweats on and joined her wife on the bed.
Rachel put the papers aside and focused on the blonde next to her. How did she get so lucky?
"Yeah? Well, it wasn't so much a secret anymore Senior year, beautiful," Rachel replied, leaning into Quinn for a short kiss. "God, I missed you this week. Let's not do that again. Ever."
"Not planning on it. There's something else though," Quinn sat back up before Rachel got too carried away with the kissing.
"What is it?"
"I took the job."
"What? You did? When?"
"Today, I spoke to Walters early this morning when you were still asleep. I know we didn't really discuss it much, but I want to be here more. We've had this crazy scheduled life for over ten years and I loved every minute of it but I think this is for the best. Is that okay? Say something, Rach, please," Quinn finished, suddenly sounding uncertain. This was one of the first times since they'd been married she had made a life-changing decision like this without discussing it with her wife at length.
Then she found herself with an armful of brunette as her wife jumped on her and caused both of them to fall back into the pillows. Laughing, she took in Rachel's grin and knew she had made the right choice.
"It's more than okay, Quinn. You will be an amazing teacher, they are so lucky to have you."
"You really think so?"
"I know so."
"You always did believe in me. Even when I didn't think I could do it myself."
"And I'll never stop telling you. I'm so proud of you, babe. I love you."
"And I love you too."
"Now, with the babies and Beth asleep- what do you say we put this quiet time to good use?" Rachel said with a grin even as her hands found their way under Quinn's shirt and inching upwards.
Quinn just leaned up and caught Rachel's lips in a kiss, pouring all the love she felt into it. This was their happily ever after, what they had been hoping and praying for all these years.
Their dreams had come true and had been well worth the fight.
I know I said I might put up an epilogue but for now this is the end. I hope everyone enjoyed this little journey. Please review or PM me and let me know your thoughts!