A/N: Sorry this took so long guys. I just want you guys to know that I'm not giving up on this story. I hope I did this chapter justice. Thanks to all of the people who are still reading. Criticism is always welcome and appreciated.
Warnings: I don't own Glee or any of the characters or any of the songs I may use. This will include lesbian sex, maybe some hetero but it's not likely. Possibly Finn bashing, I'm not entirely sure how yet, but I'll try to find a way, might even toss in some Jesse bashing.
I expected to wake up to another normal day. I'd get up extra early to do the vocal exercises Ms. Gray had been drilling into me for the past few years, then head down to the kitchen. There, I would sit at the table with to enjoy an argument with Santana over the values of taking a shower in the morning and before going to bed as opposed to just at night. Then, Dad would come downstairs, kiss my head, pat Santana's shoulder, and convince Daddy he could make it until lunch on just coffee. That wasn't what happened that day though.
I woke up to a panic I hadn't seen in years. I opened my door to see Dad rushing down the stairs, a laundry basket in hand. Farther up the hallway I heard a familiar sobbing. Worry filled my young mind as I made my way to the room I spent as much, if not more time in, than my own. I was terrified at what I saw. Santana was curled up on her bed, her knees drawn up to her chest with a blanket over her shoulders. Daddy sat on the floor speaking in a low soothing voice. I could only watch as my friends shudders came in time with each heart-wrenching sob. I was only there a moment before Dad came back, his hand on my shoulder.
"Leroy?" Dad asked uncertainly.
"I don't," Daddy shook his head, looking back to us, "I don't know what to do." Daddy wasn't supposed to say that; he was always supposed to know what to make things better.
I looked to Dad, hoping he knew what Daddy didn't, "Elizabeth?" I'd heard the name before but I knew the woman by another name.
"Kurt's mother?" Daddy voiced.
"Well she's," Dad hesitated, "Um, a woman," I caught sight of a familiar red tint crossing his face, "She may be better prepared for this situation than, um, us."
"I don't know Hiram," Daddy shook his head, "Shouldn't we be able to handle," he paused, "this?" He looked to Santana uncertainly and then to me, "We have two girls, we had to expect it."
"I know honey, but there are other circumstances we didn't account for," he sounded stern as if he were trying to make Daddy understand, "and I just think it would be best if Santana knew," he stopped before looking to Santana, "If you knew that this, er," I didn't understand what had them all so nervous, "what's happening is um," he gave a slight cough, "very natural for a young lady her age, and, ahem, not in any way her fault."
Daddy looked back to Santana before nodding, "Alright." As Dad left to go get the phone Daddy held his hand out for me and I instinctively went over to his side. "Honey, can you try and make Santana feel better?"
I nodded and looked to her. I hadn't realized her sobbing had stopped, but she didn't look any better as she followed Daddy with her eyes. Watching him as he went to her drawers and began pulling out clothes.
"Are you okay?" Was all I could think to ask.
She looked at me with confused wet eyes. She shrugged and pulled her blanket more tightly around her shoulders.
"What happened?" I asked, my tiny voice a bit shaky from nerves.
Her lips pursed in silence and she was spared from answering as Daddy came back to us and set the pile of clothes between us. I could see Santana's Power Rangers shirt on the top, "Santana, do you want to take a shower? Mrs. Hummel will be here when you get out and you can talk to her, alright?"
She nodded quickly, not exactly looking at him.
"Do you want Rachel to stay with you?"
Another sharp nod.
"Do you mind sweetie?"
"No, Daddy," I slipped off of the bed to take the pile and hold my hand out for Santana.
She clasped my hand tightly and I felt the nervous sweat that had built. She pulled her blanket tighter around her if that were even possible and Daddy only went as far as the door with us but as I looked back I saw his worried eyes locked onto us.
I couldn't ignore the slight familiarity of it as Santana slipped into the shower, finally discarding her blanket behind the opaque curtain. I watched the stack grow, her pajamas laid trimly upon the edge of the shower and that's when I saw what had caused such a stir. Blood tarnished the faces of the cartoon characters that decorated Santana's pajama bottoms. Traces stood out on the pink blanket, and her panties were almost completely covered.
I bit my lip and resisted the urge to cry, trying to think of something to say. In that moment, Daddy's words came back to me, "Rachel, try to talk to her. Ask her favorite movie, food, things like that okay?"
"What's your favorite subject in school?" I wondered in a hushed tone.
"Spanish," she answered in a voice quieter than my own, if that was even possible.
I couldn't help but scoff, "Only 'cause Papi helps you with your homework."
I didn't realize how happy I'd be to hear her chuckle until she did, "So?"
"And your least favorite?" I smiled.
"History," I could tell she was rolling her eyes. "What about you?" Her voice was growing again.
"I like all of my classes," I answered smugly.
"Liar," she scoffed but went on, "What about your favorite?"
We continued on that way until Santana got out. While she got dressed our conversation ceased. She came out of the shower in a tank top and dark sweat pants. She seemed withdrawn with her arms crossed across her chest and her eyes cast down.
"San," I called gently.
"Huh," she hummed, rubbing her hands up and down her arms.
I moved closer, grabbing one of her hands, "Santana, what happened?"
I felt her tense slightly but shook her head.
"San," I called again.
She brought her thumb to worry the knuckle between her teeth.
I might have pressed further had Daddy not knocked at the door, "Girls, is everything alright?"
"Yes Daddy," I assured, looking to Santana as she nodded.
"Mrs. Hummel's here," he informed.
"Come on," I pulled her along and she followed as I opened the door.
She nodded again and we went out, following Daddy. Santana went back to collect her clothes for the hamper but he assured her not to worry this time. Downstairs we were greeted by a practically full living room. Mrs. Hummel sat on the couch stroking the hair of a very tired looking Kurt while she spoke to Dad. As we came down the stairs their conversation ceased and they all looked up for us, except for Kurt who I was certain was dead asleep. Mrs. Hummel gave a smile that assured me everything would be fine; I couldn't deny that Santana felt the same as I saw the uncertainty on her brow. She'd always met kindness with a bit of skepticism at first.
"Hello girls," I couldn't help but smile back at her smile, "From what your father's told me, one of you has had a very special visitor."
Santana stopped on the last step bringing me to a stop as well. I looked back to see her looking at Mrs. Hummel under clinched brows.
"Santana," she called soothingly, "Would you prefer if your dads weren't in the room?"
She looked between the two men before nodding wordlessly.
Daddy looked like he was going to protest when Dad answered, "Whatever makes it easier." He still had a red tint to his cheeks, "Do you want me to take Kurt? Maybe get him some cereal?"
Mrs. Hummel nodded and nudged the sleeping boy, "That'd be wonderful Hiram."
Kurt sat up, rubbing his eyes and yawning, "Mommy?"
"Sweetie, we're at your friend's house, but I have to talk to them, do you want to go get some cereal with Mr. Hiram and Mr. Leroy?"
He looked more likely to crash back onto his mother's lap with his ruffled hair and Mickey Mouse pajamas. It took a moment for the words to sink in before he nodded.
"Come on kiddo," Dad held out his hand for the boy who took it without question before doing the same to me.
"Maybe," the older woman began, "It'd be best if I had this conversation with Rachel too."
Again, Dad answered before Daddy could pout, "Thank you so much Elizabeth."
She nodded before letting them take their leave into the kitchen.
"Come on," I pulled Santana to Dad's chair and climbed up although she stood by, leaning against the arm. "San."
She shook her head.
"It's fine Rachel," Mrs. Hummel assured, "It's understandable why she wouldn't want to sit." She grew a bit more serious before asking, "What exactly did your dads tell you?"
Santana shuffled her feet nervously as she looked down, "Leroy said it natural," her voice was small, "And it wasn't my fault. It would have happened anyway."
She received an understanding nod, "It isn't your fault Santana. Leroy was right, it's something that all girls go through when they become young ladies. It means you're growing up." Her voice was so soft and melodic, even as her tone grew a bit more stern it was comforting, "Santana, your dads told me a bit about what happened," she worried her lip as Santana stiffened, "When you were younger and it's important that you know that it has nothing to do with this." The smile that fit so easily on her face returned, "And really, this is a chance for you to help Rachel when her time comes."
I couldn't contain my slightly worried squeak. I still wasn't entirely certain we were talking about.
"Don't worry sweetheart," she assured me, "It's nothing to worry about right now." She opened up her purse and pulled out a small green package. She stood up and walked over to us, holding out her empty hand for Santana. Santana looked her up and down hesitantly. The older woman instead held out the package. "Could you two possibly show me where the restroom is?"
"Yes ma'am," I nodded and urged Santana on.
"Now take the sticky side-"
"Is everything alri-"
"And place it down along your panties."
There are no words to describe the coughing sound that Dad made as he made a sudden u-turn and headed back down the stairs.
I couldn't help but chuckle along with Mrs. Hummel before she finished, "Make sure the wings are secure and that should help."
After a moment we heard the sounds of water running and then Santana came out, her face a bright red as she came back to stand by me.
Mrs. Hummel placed a hand on her shoulder, "I know it's terrible to get used to but it's one of the many prices we pay as the fairer sex."
"Is that all?" Santana asked a bit impatiently.
"I didn't really have many pads lying around so maybe we should go to the store, unless you'd rather go with one of-"
"No," Santana blurted out, looking mortified at the thought.
"Alright," the woman chuckled and stood up, "The store should be opening up about," she shifted her wrist until her watch rested face up on the bottom, "Now."
Santana kept her eyes downcast for a majority of the time from then on. We went to the kitchen to collect Dad, Daddy, and Kurt. Dad looked embarrassed as he avoided eye contact with Mrs. Hummel. He bid everyone goodbye once he'd been assured everyone was still alive and well, and left for work. As for everybody else, we loaded into Daddy's car; a far more awake Kurt and I talking while Santana shuffled uncomfortably every so often. When we got to the pharmacy it was a bit odd for the whole group to be walking into the aisle with all of the feminine products. Daddy had managed an odd mixture of embarrassment and excitement as he held up his camera while Santana held the squishy green package.
"Alright Leroy, that's enough," Mrs. Hummel laughed, "Save some embarrassment for Rachel's time."
"It won't be nearly as funny then," Santana huffed and crossed her arms.
"Kurt, could you go with Mr. Leroy to pick up some Advil?"
The little boy nodded and looked up to Daddy who looked disappointed but took my friend's hand.
"Alright girls, now that they're gone," she placed her hands on our shoulders, "I just want you two to know, as much as your fathers love you, you'll have to be a little patient with them. They're two of the best men I could ever think to raise children," she assured, "but there will definitely be some things you'll need a woman's help with. I hope you two know that if there's anything, absolutely anything, that you two need help with or any questions you don't think your dads can help you with or understand you can call me."
"Yes ma'am," I nodded as I followed beside her.
"So," she looked up from us, "What kind of tea do you girls like?"
Kurt stayed over at our house that day, and we got to miss the next day of school. While Santana was adapting to this new change I was enjoying the extra time together. Normally, I loved learning so much, but I'd come to hate the greater amount of time I'd had to spend away from Santana since I'd gotten to the fifth grade. Santana, of course went to the sixth, leaving me behind for Lima Middle School with about half of our friends. Every morning, we would part ways when Daddy dropped me off at school before her.
"How does it feel?" I wondered over the homework before me, swinging my legs lazily as I rested on my stomach.
Santana didn't look up from the work atop the knees pulled up to her chest. "Dirty," even the way she said it was full of disgust.
I knew she wouldn't like me pressing the matter but Santana had always proven forgiving of my curiosity, "Does it hurt?"
She sighed but nodded glumly.
"Do you feel," I nibbled my lip as I thought of what I wanted to ask, "Different."
Her eyes finally left her paper, locking on me as her patience waned at a faster pace than I'd ever seen, "I feel like I don't want you here."
I, a young Rachel Berry, had no response to that. In the last three years, the meanest thing Santana had done to me was call me a hobbit as our height differences grew a bit more obvious; leaving me unprepared for this unfamiliar irritation.
"Leave me alone," she groaned weakly as she pushed her papers aside and rolled to lie down, still curled up tightly with her back to me.
O kept my mouth shut tightly as I gather my own papers into my backpack, it was all I could do not to sob, but it didn't stop the tears streaming down my cheeks as I went downstairs.
Dad and Daddy seemed just as perplexed as me about the changes happening to the girl upstairs so they seemed as good a source for comfort and understanding as any.
Daddy was never surprised when I went to him, my head pressed against his shoulder, just how apparent my growth was each time. This time his surprise was from the tears glazing my cheeks, "Sweetie, what's wrong?"
"Santana," I sniffled and wiped my cheeks with the heels of my palms, "told me to leave her alone."
"Oh, sweetie," he rubbed my back gently, "She's just going through some things right now. Soon enough you'll be begging everyone to leave you alone too." His voice took on a more playful tone.
"No," I huffed and hugged him, "Never."
"Just give her some time," he assured.
I nodded and let him pull me onto his lap as he mumbled about how I probably wouldn't fit on his lap much longer. I let the keys comfort me until I was nodding off on my feet. I felt myself being picked up soon enough.
"Rae," an apologetic voice called while a hand nudged my shoulder, "Rachel wake up, I'm sorry."
"Hm," I groaned, nuzzling my pillow with my eyes closed further.
"I'm sorry Rachel," she tried again.
"S'okay," I mumbled before moving over in the tiny bed and urging the covers down as best as I could. I felt the subtle dip in the mattress as Santana climbed in beside me.
"No, I don't want to play football. It's stupid," she snapped at the boy at the door.
"But you always play," Noah whined.
"I'll play with you," I offered although I was no match for the other boys.
He gave me a weak smile but it returned to a pout as the dark haired girl scowled at him. "I could," he looked into the house uncertainly, "Play with you guys."
The offer shocked me. Typically, Noah would absolutely refuse to play inside with us because Santana would always let me decide what we played and the boy wasn't a fan of the musicals I'd stage.
Santana noted this as well as she eyed our friend skeptically, "I'm doing my homework."
"I need help with my language arts," he beamed.
No one ever thought they'd see the day Noah Puckerman jumped at the opportunity to do homework but he did.
"Where's your backpack then?" She asked smugly.
His eyebrows knit together, "I have to go get it."
"You do that," he hadn't even turned entirely when she shut the door.
Santana had already cancelled a sleep-over with Quinn and Brittany that weekend. She'd had to apologize several times to me and Dad while Daddy had witnessed more of the attitude we'd grown mildly used to than was normal. Noah was by far the best at handling Santana at her worst. When he returned with his backpack he took the verbal lashings that came with each wrong answer, stupid question, and misspelled words. It paid off for him when after all of it he got to sit by Santana on the floor while we watched The Sword in the Stone.
"Hey girls what are-" Dad stopped short as he took note of Noah. "What are you doing here Noah?"
"Santana was helping me with my homework."
"This early in the weekend?"
Noah blushed but nodded.
"Where's Daddy?" He asked Santana and I next.
"In your room taking a nap," I offered.
"Does he know Noah's here?"
"Yeah," Santana nodded, finally lifting her head from Noah's shoulder.
He looked between us and the steps for a moment before saying, "Stay here/"
Nobody had time to agree before he was up the stairs.
We missed the movie as we watched the empty staircase for any sign of either man. It was a long whole before both descended, Dad looking upset while Daddy seemed annoyed. They came to stand before us.
"Girls," Dad began, his arms crossed, "Now that you're getting older we-"
"Dad," Daddy corrected.
It earned him a glare before Dad continued, "Think it might be a good idea to set some new rules."
The three of us could only wait for him to continue.
"First of all, Noah-"
"And all of the other boys," Daddy added pointedly, growing more annoyed,
"None of the boys," Dad corrected, "Are allowed in the house without a parent present. We'd also appreciate if you two kept this in mind in other people's homes."
I nodded but Santana and Noah just kept listening.
"And Rachel, maybe it would be best if you started going to sleep-overs with other girls rather than with Kurt."
"What?" That about crushed me; Brittany was absolutely sweet and Quinn didn't entirely dislike me, but they were Santana's friends.
"Hiram," Daddy probably should have stretched before such a feat of ocular tumbling, "I really doubt that Kurt is much of a threat to the girls' virtues."
"It's only fair Leroy," he assured before looking back to us, "When the boys are here they aren't allowed in your rooms."
"No," Daddy challenged, "You're just being paranoid now. They're just kids."
"Leroy-" they held each other's glares for a moment before Dad grimaced and looked away. "Fine," he scowled, "But you have to keep your doors open."
Every once in a while a look would cross Santana's face that expressed an understanding of someone far older than her. I was never entirely certain what to expect along with this look; sometimes terror and other times gratitude. That time I couldn't read her very well. "Is this because of me? Because of my-" she scrunched up her nose as she looked up at the two men with the answers.
Dad's expression melted to one of guilt, "What?"
"Honey, no," Daddy shook his head, moving to sit on the floor in front of her.
It didn't matter though; Santana was already on her way to the stairs.
"Santana," Daddy called, getting up to follow.
I was slipping off of the couch to go when we all flinched at the loud clatter of a door upstairs.
"I hope you're happy Hiram," Daddy called before going to their room, although he practiced a bit more self-control with the door.
I looked up to Dad as he rubbed his temple.
Noah was still staring at the stairs.
"Maybe it would be best if you went home Noah," Dad sighed.
The boy finally tore his eyes from the stairs to look up at the older man, his eyebrows drawn in a defiance I recognized.
"Bye Noah," I turned to hug him before he said anything stupid.
He visibly relaxed and nodded, "Okay Rachie. Mr. Berry."
I walked him to the door before Dad came to pick me up.
"You aren't made at me are you?" He sighed.
"No," I gave a small smile, "Maybe Daddy just needs to be left alone for a while like San?"
"Maybe," he smiled weakly back. "Do you think Breadstix might cheer them up?"
Dad's rules didn't do much to hinder Noah and Santana's friendship. IF anything they grew closer. As Santana grew more acquainted with her monthly visitor she was back to being herself. She drug me to her sleepovers where I shared the same fate of being made-over with Brittany's cat. Quinn was never thrilled to see me but she acted nice enough for Santana. Noah's football games were the worst. I didn't care for the sport but once the boy joined the middle school football team it was almost mandatory that we show up. It didn't help when Noah managed to convince Santana to do what Brittany and Quinn had been trying for months.
"You look adorable," Daddy cheered.
Santana didn't look entirely certain as she swayed her hips in the yellow and white pleated skirt.
"What about karate?" I wondered as I felt one of the strips between my fingers.
Santana looked up to Daddy, worry evident on her features, "Quinn said karate wasn't for girls."
"You can cheer and do Karate if you want San," Daddy smiled kindly. "We'll cheer just as loud at the games as we do at your competitions."
She didn't look entirely convinced but nodded, still running her fingers over the fabric of her tank top.
"So we'll be cheering for cheer leaders?" I questioned playfully.
She cracked a smile at that.
"Absolutely," Daddy beamed, pulling us both into a tight hug.
I hated the games passionately but on those nights I lived for the half time. Santana was amazing since she was one of the smallest girls on the squad.
Santana and Noah might have gotten closest about halfway through sixth grade. Apparently, Noah hadn't been in school for a few days. One or two days were the norm, but Santana knew for a fact that the boy hadn't been suspended. We were at the park when Azimio said he'd heard from his dad that Noah's dad had left town. I was worried about the boy but Santana wasted no time heading for the boy's house. We'd seen the house many times, but Noah avoided bringing anybody over. Everyone knew it was because of his dad, even if he idolized the man. I stood at the bottom step for a moment looking up at the house but Santana didn't bother. She was up the steps, knocking harshly on the door. It didn't take long before a very pregnant Mrs. Puckerman came to the door, her eyes puffy.
"Yes?" She asked through a thick voice.
"Mrs. Puckerman can we see Noah?" It was a question but Santana sounded very certain.
The woman looked nervous before she nodded, "I'll get him."
We only waited a moment before Noah came out, still in his Jurassic Park pajamas. His hair was messy like he'd just gotten out of bed and his eyes had a tired watery quality to them.
"Hi," Santana said softly, although I'd expected much more after the way she'd stormed over.
"Hi," muttered as he leaned against the door frame.
I had no idea what to say. I really felt like I was intruding.
"I, um, heard," she started off.
"I'm sure," he looked away.
"He was an ass anyway," she said off-handedly.
Noah looked up to meet her eyes, "Yeah."
"You're better off without him," she added.
"We are," he agreed.
She worried her lip before leaning forward and kissing his cheek, "You can take much better care of your mom and-"
"Sister," he informed. "Mom went to the doctor. It's a girl."
"You'll be an amazing big brother."
"I will," he nodded.
"Noah," she called softly.
He looked away again, not responding otherwise.
"Noah," her voice was softer, "You don't need him."
I expected some cocky agreement but his features hardened instead.
"Noah," she repeated again, reaching out to take his hand.
"No," he barked, pulling his hand back, "I don't need him or you or anybody."
I winced but Santana just nodded.
"I- I can help my mom," his voice cracked, "And I'll be a good big brother." He was panting.
"Yeah, of course," she agreed, "We know you can do all of that."
"I can," the tears finally broke free, "And I don't need him."
Santana wiped his eyes before pulling him to her for a hug. I looked away uncomfortably as he finally broke down, clutching tightly at her shirt as if he expected her to leave too. He sobbed into her shoulder for some time and before I realized it they were sitting on the steps while she rubbed his back and reminded him that rock-stars needed drama in their lives to inspire them.
"Puck," he mumbled silently.
"What," Santana asked tiredly, her hand ceasing on his back.
"Puckerman," he mumbled, "Everybody on the team calls me Puckerman."
"So?" She wondered.
"Call me Puck," he wiped at his eyes once more before working up one of his signature cheeky grins, "It's cooler than Noah."
After that they were inseparable. More often than not, you could see Santana walking around the neighborhood holding Noah's, rather, Puck's hand. She did her best the bring me along. But that's about when we started growing apart.