Based on what's been happening lately in the show, I felt like adding a bit more to this verse. Time frames are a bit all over the place, and there are references to abortion.
"Hey, Kurt, I can't make it to class today. Would you apologise to Carmen for me?"
"Sure; are you sick-" he turns to see her fully dressed, ready to go out. "Oh. I guess that's a no. Honey, is something wrong? You've been quiet since I got back."
"Oh. I- I have an appointment. It's nothing."
"What kind of appointment? If you're cutting class so you and Brody can-"
"Kurt! He's already at school. Just tell her? Please?"
"Rachel, what's wrong? I'm not letting you go until you tell me."
"I don't have time for this."
"Then you'd better tell me quickly."
"I'm going to have a termination."
His mouth falls slightly open. He reaches for her hand but she crosses her arms.
"Are you okay?"
"I'm fine. I just have to go."
He pauses before taking his coat from the stand and slipping it on.
"Okay. Let's go."
"What? No, Kurt, I can do this by myself. I made the call by myself and God knows I got into this mess without any help from you. I've got to go."
He takes her by the shoulders.
"Rachel. No. I don't doubt that you can do anything by yourself, anything you want, but it doesn't mean you have to. I'm coming with you."
She almost argues, but she knows he won't back down. And she's more than a little relieved. He gives him the slightest of nods.
"Okay. Thank you, Kurt."
"Don't mention it. Have we got time for a hug?"
She swallows and nods again, and he pulls her close. She buries her face in his chest as he wraps his arms around her. He doesn't leave her side until they get back home.
Kurt takes her coat off for her without thinking and she rolls her eyes.
"I'm not an invalid, Kurt. I can move my arms."
"Sorry. Something about doctor's offices puts me in caring mode."
She smiles at him sadly.
"Hey, no. None of that. Can I get you anything? Tea?"
"I'll just get a glass of water."
Not many people would know what that means in Rachel terms, but Kurt does. He hugs her again and she lets herself be hugged. Brody's not much of a hugger. God knows he'd have something charming and somewhat generic to say, but now she can just be quietly held. She knows it probably says a lot that she's relieved Kurt was the one there today and not him, but she can't deal with it right now.
"You can go sit down if you want," he whispers in her ear. "I'll bring it over." She pauses and nods. She pads over to the couch and curls up on the sofa, huddling under a blanket, and he joins her with a blanket for himself and a glass of water. "How does it feel?"
She sips her drink and rubs a hand over abdomen.
"A little sore. It'll be okay." She pauses, gazing into her glass. "I'm sorry, Kurt."
"It's fine. Carmen likes me; I'm sure she'll forgive me for skipping a seminar."
She doesn't even crack a smile.
"It's not fine. It's not fair."
He takes her hand but she doesn't look up.
"What do you mean?"
"I'm such an idiot, Kurt," her voice is trembling, "it's so unfair. People would kill for this. Look at my dads, and everything they had to go through to have me. Look at-" she glances up at Kurt for a moment before looking down at her lap again. "You know what I mean. You told me to stop screwing around and I didn't listen."
"Rachel, it's okay. These things happen. You're human."
"I didn't even know whose it was, Kurt. I can't believe I've been such an idiot. I swear I'll stop. I'll end it with Finn for good, I'll talk to Brody, I'll-"
She starts to stand up but winces and sits back down, a hand over her stomach.
"Rachel, you don't have to do anything. This isn't some kind of punishment. It's not a message from God to change your ways. It just happened."
"It happened because I've been a slut, Kurt. You know I have."
"Two guys doesn't make you a slut. And even if it did, that wouldn't mean you deserved this. It doesn't change the fact that you made a really brave decision today. You did the responsible thing. I've never known anyone have to do anything so brave before."
She takes a sip of water, cupping her hands protectively around the glass. Kurt shuffles closer to her and she tucks her head under his chin. He strokes her back soothingly. He isn't sure why. He thinks it's something his mother used to do.
"I'm really glad you were there."
"I'm sure you'd do the same. I mean, if it were possible. I'm always here if you need me."
"No, but…" she starts, looking up at him from where she's curled into his side, "I'm glad it was you. Not him. Either of them."
"Well, boys are hopeless."
She pulls away slightly to look him in the eyes.
"I love you. I love you the most. Always."
His eyes water and he has to bite his lip. He pulls her close again.
"I love you too, Rachel Berry." She whispers 'sorry' a few more times as she cried almost inaudibly into the wool of his sweater. Kurt doesn't try to stop her. He knows it isn't him she's apologising to. "You know, some day it won't be like this. One day you'll be with someone really amazing, someone who deserves you, and you'll have a family all on your terms. You'll be an amazing mom someday, I swear."
She doesn't say anything. She just puts her glass on the coffee table and hugs her best friend as tightly as she can.
"I love you."
"Love you too, Rach."
He squeezes her hand and kisses her sweaty forehead one more time and runs out. She takes a deep breath and closes her eyes for a moment.
It doesn't hurt anymore. She kind of wishes it did.
She can hear talking around her, but she doesn't understand any of it. It's too technical and she's too drugged up and overwhelmed. Every couple of weeks for the last nine months, something's happened that's made all of this seem more real. The first time they heard her heartbeat. The first time she felt her move. When they found out she was a she. When Rachel practically doubled in size in the space of a week, she thought that was it. Surely it couldn't get any more real and immediate than being almost as round as she was tall, carrying a boulder between her hips and having a nursery and bottles and tiny clothes. She was wrong. Now she's had her baby girl in her arms, if only for a moment, and she feels like she could float away.
Nothing compares to this; her first part in a show, her Broadway debut, her first standing ovation in a real theatre, they all fades into obscurity compared to this. She's a mother. She is what she's always wanted to have, always wanted to be, and now there's a baby girl outside, and her best friend, her soul mate, taking care of her.
She takes a deep breath and feels a little dizzy. She's glad she made Kurt go. It doesn't surprise her when a doctor swears from behind the curtain constructed over her chest.
"It's not… oh Jesus, fuck, what's happening? Somebody get Carter back in here!"
She doesn't ask what's happening. Somehow she already knows. She knew before she even saw the baby.
"Miss Berry," the midwife says to her in her best attempt at a calm voice, "there's been a complication. We're getting a surgeon to fix it. Everything's going to be- we- we're doing everything we can, I promise."
"Okay. It's okay."
"Would you like me to bring your partner back in here?"
She shakes her head slowly.
"He should be with the baby. I'm fine."
"Miss Berry, I really think-"
She's quiet, but firm. The midwife nods, keeps holding her hand. There's more talking, long words that sound like a different language. Rachel ignores them. She keeps breathing and thinking about the baby. Her mind drifts to her dads, her friends, Finn, even Shelby, but they come back over and over to Kurt and the baby. Her family. Kurt held her hand when she was nineteen and she made a stupid mistake, and now he's done the same as their daughter was born. It's come full circle, complete.
The tone has changed in the room. It's frantic, but she feels calm. She knows. Someone tells her they're putting her to sleep, something about blood loss and time and she barely reacts. She's dying. If it hadn't been for the baby, she probably wouldn't be, but she is. She doesn't have to think about it to know she'd do it all over again.
All she can do is pray for Kurt and the baby, pray for her family to be okay, to be looked after, as her eyes slide closed.
Kurt was clinging to Blaine's hand for dear life, clutching the flowers in his arm. Eliza was bundled up and balanced on Blaine's hip, wrapped in a thick coat, hat and scarf. She could have walked, but it's cold and today holding her hand just didn't feel comforting enough. They walked slowly past trees and benches and dozens, maybe hundreds of slabs, different grey tints, in different states of neglect. Some had flowers, some had dead ones, some nothing at all.
"Are you okay?"
"I will be."
They kept walking until they reached the spot under a bare tree. Eliza buried her face in Blaine's shoulder, grabbing fistfuls of his lapels, and he hugged her a little closer to keep her warm.
It was December 18th.
"Happy birthday, Rachel."
Kurt laid the bouquet in front of the headstone. Rachel Barbra Berry. 1994-2025. Friend, mother, star. He stood quietly for a moment.
"Do you want a minute alone?" Blaine asked. Kurt shook his head.
"No. Stay. It's weird, I can never think of anything to say when I'm here. I just miss her. It seems too simple but that's it. I miss my best friend."
Blaine heard the crack in his voice. He squeezed his hand and pressed a kiss to his shoulder. Eliza squirmed as he held her.
They both looked at her in surprise. She'd never said that before.
She grabbed at Blaine's face, tugging his scarf loose and grinning at him.
Blaine looked apologetically at Kurt. Kurt rolled his eyes and lifted her out of his arms.
"That's right, baby, that's Daddy."
She laid a hand of either side of his face, squeezing at his cheeks until he scrunched his nose up and she giggled.
He raised his eyebrows at Blaine as if to say 'see?'
"Yeah, Lizzie, you get two daddies, you lucky girl!"
He kissed her cheek and Blaine kissed his.
"Do you want to… say anything?"
Kurt shook his head.
"She knew. She knows." He bent forward to touch the stone for a second, squeezing the pale grey ridge. "Come on you, let's stop you from turning into an icicle."
"Da-da!" she said again, snuggling into his collar. He smiled.
"Kiss." She pressed her lips to his cheek as requested and he grinned. He turned to see Blaine still by the grave, gripping the stone as he had before. He didn't say anything, but he glanced at the sky for a moment. He looked sombre. "Blaine? Are you coming?"
Blaine turned to face him, smiling brightly.
He jogged to catch up with them.
"Just paying my respects. Let's go home."
He held Eliza's hand, using his spare hand to rub at the small of Kurt's back, and looked up again.
I'll look after them. I promise.
I don't know if I'll ever be able to say I'm entirely finished with this universe, because it means so much to me, but don't hold your breath for more any time soon. Thanks again to everyone who's read and reviewed and stuck with it. I think the story will keep going in my head and we'll just have to wait and see if any of it is worth writing down :)