"A sperm donor?" Kurt looks like he's about to choke on his drink when she says that to him. His eyes widen as he looks at her, puts his coffee mug down on the kitchen table. He's known Rachel for most of his life but he can honestly say he never would have imagined that she would be sitting there so casually talking about finding a sperm donor and having herself artificially inseminated. Yes, he always knew that she wanted to be a mother at some point but she's only twenty-five years-old so he can't understand what she's pushing it, why she wants one so quickly. That can wait, can't it? "Why are you getting yourself a sperm donor?"

"I want a baby," she tells him quite casually. She shrugs her shoulders, takes a sip of her own drink. "I'm not getting any younger and I'm tired of waiting for Mr. Right. I want a baby. I want to be a mother. And if this is the only way I can do that right now. I don't want to wait until I'm in my thirties and my track record with men tells me I'm not going to find the right man to end up with and father my child any time soon."

"Your track record with men isn't that bad," he insists.

"Isn't it? There was Nolan who was gay- and yes, I know you told me he would be but that's beside the point. And then there was Dean, who cheated on me. And Michael, who was a deadbeat. And there was Brian who was too worried about his career to actually be in a real relationship. There was Andrew, who was still married. There was John, who was an even bigger than I am. Almost all the men I meet are very flawed. Either that or they're just far too dramatic for my taste. I don't need a man that's as dramatic as me. And I only meet dramatic men in my line of work."

"Maybe you're looking at the wrong gender for the perfect person." Kurt smiles behind his coffee mug, looks at her from over it. She can see the smile though and while she wants to be annoyed she simply can't be. Instead she sort of lets out this scoffing sort of laugh.

"I'm not interesting in women," she assures him as she puts her coffee mug back down. "And not all of us can be as lucky as to find the perfect match before we're even legal to drink." Kurt and his boyfriend have been together long enough that it's completely obvious they're going to get married one day. Five years by that point, ever since they were both twenty years-old. Sometimes she's jealous of Kurt and Blaine's relationship. She wants what they have, true love, true affection. But at the same time she's quite happy for her best friend. She's glad that he found love so early in his life.

"I didn't tell you about my plans to get your approval," she tells him evenly though she's still smiling just a little bit as she says it. She wants him to know that she's not annoyed with him or anything. She knows he's just trying to protect her in his own way. She just feels like it would be nice to make sure that he knows she didn't come there for his approval.


"I already made a decision on that," she tells him. She did already make up her mind about that. She made up her mind weeks ago and hadn't told him because she knew that he wouldn't approve. She wasn't stupid. She knew he would just tell her that she should wait to find the right guy no matter how long it might take. But she didn't want to wait forever so she made her choice and decided to only go to him once she had made her final arrangements with the center.

"So, you're really going to do it? You could always adopt, you know." He doesn't seem to sound that judgmental but more like he's trying to give her another option in the world. She knows he isn't doing it to be cruel, to upset her.

"I know I could. I just don't want to. I have nothing against adoption, but…if my fathers can go through what they went through to have a child of their own than I can do the same thing. I want my own baby, Kurt. If you and Blaine decide to have a child you'll have a surrogate. This is the same thing, effectively. Just inverse. I'm having a child with half of another person's genes."

"And if you find the right guy down the line?"

"Then he'll have to be alright with my having a child, that's all. Plenty of single mothers meet someone and get married. I'm not saying I've given up on love. I'm just not going to wait around for fate to decide to show it to me and be too old when I start having kids. I want to be a mom."

"I can't say I understand it but…alright." Kurt waves a hand as though he knows arguing with her further won't do him any good. Not that they're actually fighting. They were having a mild difference of opinion and they'd had worse differences in opinion over the years. She was sure they would have many more before they stopped being friends- if that even happened.

"I've decided on my donor already. They let me look at the profiles and this is the one I chose." Standing up from her table she makes her way over to the little filing cabinet she keeps in the corner for her documents for when tax season rolls around. Pulling out a folder she heads back over to the table and holds it out to her best friend. "There's no names, obviously. But his profile looks good."

"Well, let's see if I approve of what it says about the father of my future niece or nephew, shall we?" Taking the folder out of Rachel's hands he opens it up, sits back in his seat as he looks over the information. "Donor number 1932. What a lovely name." He ignores the way she rolls her eyes at him. "Caucasian. Ethnicity, Russian Jewish and Austrian Jewish. Ooh, you picked a Jewish guy to father your child. My, my. Color me surprised."

"Hush. You know I'm quite proud of my Jewish heritage. There's nothing wrong with wanting my child to have the same heritage as me. If I happen to end up falling in love with a man who isn't Jewish that's fine. But since I'm picking the father of this child? Yes, I am picking a Jewish man. Nothing wrong with that."

"Nothing wrong with that at all," Kurt soothes and waves a hand at her as he looks back at the folder. "Blood type. A+."

"Same as me."

"So I see. Should mix well. Height, six foot. That's the taller side of average. Weight, 180. Slender enough without being skinny but also nowhere near heavy. Eyes, hazel. Hair, dark brown. Skin tone, medium. Ah, education. BA in music. Not the most useful of degrees but nice nonetheless. And my, my. His occupation is a musician. Color me surprised. And for interests and activities? Music, basketball, baseball and football- though I'm sure there are things people wouldn't dare to list as interests that they're interested in." Looking up at her he smiled a little. "And you always did have a bit of a thing for football players."

"If you're referring to my dating your stepbrother in high school don't. It was a long time ago. Besides, it means my son or daughter will have a chance of being well-rounded. Sometimes you're interested in things because you're good at them. Perhaps my child will be able to inherit sports abilities from its father." Taking the folder back she shrugged a little. "And the best part of all this? According to the records he hasn't had anyone use his sperm and get pregnant before so I don't have to worry about my child meeting and falling in love with a half sibling somewhere down the line."

"Well, that's a nasty thought."

"The procedure is scheduled in a couple of weeks. And after that I hate to wait a little bit before I take a pregnancy test. But I'd like for you to be there when I sit and wait for the results. Who better to be there than my best friend?"

"The father." Kurt smiles to let her know that he's merely teasing her. "I'd love to be there with you when you find out if you're having a baby." Reaching out he took her hand in his and squeezed down slightly. "You're going to be a wonderful mother, Rachel. I know you will. I don't doubt that for a moment. And if this is what you want to do? Then I'll support it."

A month after the procedure Rachel sits there in her bedroom with Kurt while she waits for the results of the pregnancy test. He squeezes down on her hand and she taps her foot anxiously as she waits for the short amount of time needed to pass before she could check on it. And once the little egg timer goes off and she retrieves the test, comes back in with a smile on her face, Kurt lets out this excited little squeal and throws his arms around her, all but lifts her off of the floor as he hugs her. She's pretty sure he's just as excited as she is, if not more so. It's really rather adorable.

The next few months she can barely get Kurt and Blaine out of her apartment. The idea of being uncles is one that makes them both as hyperactive as little puppies. They pretty much jump up and down every time something new comes up in reference to how the baby is. They insist on going and doing all the shopping with her and refuse to let her paint the room for the baby. They go with her to pick the paint but Blaine is quite adamant that he's going to paint the room for her and its too adorable for her to disagree with him.

They paint the room yellow because they want to start the room before she's even far enough along to tell what the gender of the baby is and they want the color to be unisex. The three of them put together the crib and the dresser. They put the changing table in the room, pick out curtains. They put animal decals on the wall and try to make the room look as nice as it can long before the baby is born.

When she finds out it's a boy Kurt insists that Blaine will have to be the one to watch sports with the baby because he's not interested in them. But he says he'll be the one to make sure he has fabulous clothing every holiday. She doesn't know why he's insisting that her son should be dressed up to the nines but its Kurt and Kurt just can't seem to understand sometimes that there are things that are more important than fashion. But for Kurt? Well, fashion is his life. It always has been and probably always will be. She figures she'll have to reign him in a little bit to make sure that he didn't end up spending far too much money on clothing for her son that she might never dress him in.

Her fathers show up two weeks before her due date because they want to be there for her when she has the baby. They spend the entire two weeks waiting on her hand and foot as though she's incapable of doing things on her own. But it's adorable and sweet that they want to take care of her, that they want to make sure that her last two weeks are relaxing. But her fathers have always been very keen to spoiling her. They have always wanted to spoil her. So it really doesn't surprise her. Not even a little bit.

When she finally goes into labor it's basically like a comedy show. All four of the men in her life are sort of scrambling to get her to the hospital and after twelve hours of very, very painful labor her son finally comes kicking and screaming into the worlds. Somewhere in the back of her head she thinks he has lungs as strong as hers. The pain made her feel like she was being ripped apart from the inside out but when they lay that baby in her arms and she sees his tiny little nose and his little mouth it's completely and totally worth it. She can't stop the smile that spreads across her face, the sort of happy sob that slips past her lips.

Little Gabriel Hiram Berry comes into the world with two very excited grandfathers smiling ear to ear the first second they see him and two very happy surrogate uncles standing there smiling ear to ear. And if by the look Blaine gives Kurt when he holds the baby it means that Blaine is telling Kurt not to get any bright ideas, that he's telling him he's not ready for them to think about them having children yet. Maybe one day but not any time soon. But she definitely feels like one day Kurt and Blaine are going to be wonderful fathers.

Gabriel comes into the world with five people waiting to give him all the love in the world and she has to admit that she thinks that's much better than just having two parents waiting for him. One day she knows she'll have to explain to her son why he doesn't have a father but for the time being she's perfectly content with being a single mother and having her friends there to help her. She has that beautiful little boy in her arms and she loves him more than she can imagine just moments after meeting him.

"Get up."

Noah Puckerman groans as he feels a hand shoving his shoulder. He reaches up and rubs his eyes to try to clear away the traces of sleep, yawns as he slowly opens his eyes only to realize that he's not in his apartment. There's no fucking way it's in his apartment. So he sits up slowly, groans as his stomach sloshes. Definitely the traces of a hangover making him feel like he might throw up. He's not going to. He never throws up when he's hung over but half the time he feels like he's going to.

A cup of coffee is thrust into his hand and as soon as he takes a sip from the mug he realizes that he's in his friend's apartment. He vaguely remembers going out drinking the night before but the rest of the night is nothing more than a blur. The coffee burns going down and he just looks up at Mike, furrows his eyebrows while he tries to figure out exactly what happened. "How the fuck did I end up here, dude?"

"You pretty much passed out," Mike informs him as he sits down in the chair across from him. "Do you know how heavy you are when you're basically passed out? You owe me for dragging you up three flights of stairs."

"Guess I drank a little too much, huh?" Taking another sip of his coffee Puck shifts a little in his spot on the couch, groans as he throws his legs over the edge of the couch. All of his muscles feel tense and uncomfortable from sleeping on the couch like that. "Bet your girl fucking loved me crashing on the couch last night."

"She was at a friend's house last night. She doesn't know you were here."

"Lucky me, I guess."

"There a reason you got shit-faced last night?"

"Nah. Just felt like it."

"Didn't you outgrow this stuff yet? You're twenty-seven years old."

"Not dead yet." It doesn't take Puck much time to finish his coffee and once it's done he puts the mug down on the coffee table, runs a hand over his face. "Mind if I take a shower?"

"You should. You fucking smell right now." Mike's smiling as he says it though and yet still, Puck gives him the middle finger as he stands up and moves towards the back of the apartment. The shower helps him wake up but he has to change right back into the same clothes he was wearing the night before. It's not like he keeps a change of clothes in Mike's apartment. He doesn't end up there drunk very often. He almost never gets too drunk to get back home.

By the time he comes out Mike is doing the dishes and Puck crosses his arms over his chest, leans against the doorframe as he looks at him with this sort of amused smile on his face. "Gotta clean up before your girl gets back?"

"Stop saying that like having a girlfriend is a bad thing." Putting the last of the dishes onto the drying wrack he turns around to look at his friend, leans back against the corner, crosses his ankles as he looks at Puck standing there. "Did you ever think that maybe, just maybe, you should start thinking about settling down? Maybe having sex that means something instead of a thanks-for-scratching-the-itch-but-I-got

ta-go sex?"

"Nah." Puck shrugs his shoulders a little bit as he looks at his friend. "Not all guys are meant to be head-over-heels in love with a girl the way you're in love with your little girlfriend. Don't get me wrong- your girl is great. But I haven't found a girl who is worth me sticking around and dating for real. Maybe I will one day. But for now? Hooking up is a thousand times easier. Cause in case you forgot? The girls I tend to spend my time with aren't exactly girlfriend material."

"Fair enough."

"Maybe one day," he muses for a moment. He cocks his head to one side like he's considering it. Sure, his mother's been on his case to find a nice girl to settle down with but he just hasn't found the right girl. He's not a guy who loves easily but who knows, right? There's no saying he won't find the right girl one day. But right then and there he's got no girls in his life that he could end up dating long term. Most of them are definitely not the type of girl that he could introduce to his mother or that he'd want to be stuck with for the rest of his life. Nothing doing. Shit, even being with them long-term would be fucking murder.

"Tell your girl I said 'hello'. And thanks for letting me crash. I owe you." Lifting up one hand he waved a slight goodbye and headed out of the apartment. In all honesty he's really fucking late. He was supposed to be up at six so he could go meet with the guys in his band but that was blown to shit by him apparently passing out and ending up at Mike's apartment. So, he's gotta haul ass if he wants to get to where he has to meet up with his band mates. They're probably going to kick his ass for being late but shit happens. It isn't like none of them have ever been late before so they can't say shit about it. They will but they shouldn't. But it's not very often that musicians do what they're supposed to do rather than what they feel like doing.

He's sort of trying really hard not to end up extra late so he's not really looking where he's going. He's running out of the apartment building to get to the meeting place and he makes it about halfway down the street before he ends up slamming right into someone. The person he slams into is a lot smaller than he is and it's not until he realizes what just happen that he looks down and sees that he's bumped into a woman and knocked her purse right out of her arms.

"Sorry," he mumbles as he crouches down to grab the few things that fell out of bag.

"It's fine," she soothes. "Really."

"I should have been watching where I was going."

"It's fine, really."

Puck picks up the lipstick that fell out of the purse and dumps it right back into the bag before he actually looks up at her. He looks up at her, looks at the tiny little brunette girl standing there. The tiny little brunette girl with the big, dark eyes and the tan skin. The little brunette girl in the pink blouse and short little black skirt. And shit, for a girl her height she has fucking insanely long legs. He's not even gonna lie that she's really kind of fucking hot. It's just a fact.

Smiling slowly he stands up, hands the purse back to her. "At least I didn't knock you over." Talk about fucking embarrassing.

"Yeah." She takes the purse back from him and smiles slightly but then she just nods at him. "Well, thank you."

"Sure." He watches her heading into the building before he realizes he still has to move his ass and get to the damn band meeting.

Rachel runs up the stairs of her apartment building to get back to her place. She's running really late and she has to get back inside. It's already after eight in the morning and she can't believe she's just getting in just then. And as soon as she opens the door she lets out this slow breath. "I'm so sorry, Tina. I fell asleep on Kurt's couch and before I knew it it was morning. I hope he didn't give you any trouble."

Tina smiles as she turns on the couch and settles her back against the arm. "It's fine. Gabriel was an angel, as always."

"You know how Kurt can be. He got so into his discussion about the costumes for the show that he went on and on and on. And he had this old movie on and before I knew it I fell asleep on the couch. I'm sure Mike didn't appreciate you ending up spending the night here. I feel horrible."

"Don't." Tina waves off the concern as she stands up from the couch. "I called to speak to him last night and he said a friend spent the night because he drank too much so it's not a big deal. And besides, as I said, Gabriel was a complete angel." She knew how Kurt could get. She had met the two of them when she and Rachel worked in a show together just before she started showing. And then she happened to find out that she and Rachel lived on the same block. They got really close after that and she was always willing to babysit for Rachel when she needed it. Gabriel really was a very well-behaved child.

"Sounds fun." Rachel smiled a little though she's tired and a little frazzled from being late. She doesn't like leaving Gabriel without her for that long. She trusts Tina. She doesn't think the girl would ever let anything happen to Gabriel but that's her little boy and she loves being around him. He's the light of her life and even if technically raising him on her own is difficult she wouldn't go back and change her decision to have him for anything in the world.

"Well, I'm glad he didn't give you any trouble." Smiling a little bit she moved over to the play mat where Gabriel was and picked him up. His hands instantly grabbed at her nose and despite her being so very tired she smiled widely and took his hand in hers, pressed a quick kiss to Gabriel's palm. "Hello, my handsome little boy. Were you a good boy for Auntie Tina?" She kissed Gabriel's hand again and smiled even wider when he giggled.

"He was perfect. He ate when he was supposed to, he was good when he had his bath and he slept like a little log. If all kids are this easy then I might have to think about having one of my own one day. One day in a few years after both Mike and I are ready."

"No need to hurry into it. But no need to wait forever either. If I had just kept on waiting I wouldn't have this handsome little boy." Holding her son closer to her body she pressed a kiss to his temple, ran her hand over his mass of dark hair on his head. It was starting to grow a little long and was curling at the edges so she'd probably have to get it cut soon. "No one is saying you have to have a baby right now. But you and Mark are a lovely couple. And I'm sure he's going to make a wonderful father when you're both ready for it."

"I'm sure he will." Grabbing her purse Tina moved over and pressed a kiss to Gabriel's cheek. "It was nice to spend time with you, sweetie. We'll have to do this again." Looking at Rachel she arched both of her eyebrows. "Are you and Kurt still coming to the party on Saturday?"

"We're definitely going to be there. Blaine said that he would watch Gabriel so we can go and I don't have to worry about leaving him with a stranger." Rubbing her hand up and down her son's back she smiles at Tina. "Make sure to let Mike know that we'll be there. I'll try not to let Kurt make us too late because of his constant need to change his clothes a million times and to try to get me to change a million times."

"I have complete faith in you." She sort of smiles a little at the older girl and the baby before she's heading out the door. She just has to head home and help Mike start to clean up the apartment before the party. She doesn't think that they have that much work to do but since they both have jobs? Getting started sooner is better.

Rachel manages to make it to the party with Kurt only half an hour late because he kept making her change her clothes. He thought her clothes were either too boring or too bland or even over dressy for the party. He eventually settled on a tight little red dress that stopped only about halfway down her thighs. She isn't so sure she likes the idea of wearing that dress to a party her friend and her friend's boyfriend is throwing but at the same time she has to admit she likes that dress. It's a strange contradiction.

It only takes her about ten minutes of being there to realize that the guy she had run into on the street is in the apartment. She almost doesn't recognize him but she does so in the end. He's a rather attractive man, she has to admit, but she doesn't put much thought into it. Not, at least, until she realizes he's watching her. for a good twenty minutes he's watching her move around the apartment, watching her talk with Kurt and then with Tina. She knows she should feel unnerved by it but she just ends up finding it a little bit amusing.

After a while she finally turns to Tina, this amused smile on her face as she looks at her friend. "Okay," she says to her friend. "Who is the guy that keeps looking at me?" She figures it can't hurt to ask. And she's curious, of course. She wants to know who keeps watching her.

Tina looks around her to see who she's talking to and then she smiles a little bit, shakes her head with a sort of amused laugh slipping past her lips. "That's Mike's friend. Puck."

"Ah. Puck." Rachel nods her head as though she finally understands and when Kurt looks at her with furrowed eyebrows she shakes her head as she looks at him. "According to Tina, Puck is sort of one of those…he's good for a one-night stand if you want one sort of guys. And apparently he gets around. A lot."

"Oh. Oh." Both of Kurt's eyebrows shoot up towards his hairline as he glances over at the man in question. "Well, I have to say…he is rather good-looking. And he seems to have taken a bit of an interest in you."

"Given his reputation I don't find that all that flattering, to be honest."

"Oh, come on, Rachel. You haven't had sex in two years. Are you telling me you're not tempted to just…clear the bats out of your system, so to speak? It might do you some good."

"Kurt!" Rachel gapes at her best friend like he just said the most ridiculous thing in the entire world. And he sort of did. "I'm not interested in no strings attached sex. If I have sex with anyone it'll be because I'm in an actual relationship with the guy, not just to have sex. And that's all there is to it." Reaching out she flicked her friend's arm and then steps away from him to go mingle a little more, maybe have something to eat.

As Puck watches the girl walk away from her friend he moves over to Mike, grabs his arm and nods in the direction of the petite brunette with the insanely long legs. "Who is that?"

"Who?" Mike looks towards where he is friend is looking and then shakes his head. "No. Oh, no. Don't even think about it. That's Tina's friend Rachel and you are not, I repeat not to try to get her to be another name on your list. Do you hear me?"

"Hey! I was just asking. I bumped into her the other day. Call me curious."

"I know you, Puck. I know that you're anything but innocent. So, don't even act like you're not thinking what I know you're thinking. So, I'm warning you. Don't do it, man. Tina will kill you. It's like a rule, man. You don't screw with my girlfriend's friends. If you do it then I'm going to have to kick your ass. Got it?"

"I'd like to see you try, dude." Puck smiles a little, claps his friend on the back and makes his way through the crowd in the room, makes his way over to Rachel and stands there near her for a moment and then looks at her, looks at her profile. "Hi."


"Rachel, right?"

"That's right. And you're Puck." Turning to look at him Rachel arches both of her eyebrows at him, sort of plays with the carrot stick in her hands. "Tina's mentioned you before. Which is why I can tell you if you're thinking of hitting on me it will just be a waste of your time. I'm not interested."

"Ouch. Tina must have said some pretty nasty things about me. And here I thought she liked me." Reaching up Puck placed his hand over his heart like he's been wounded. He keeps a pained expression on his face until he sees the corners of her mouth turning up slightly. "Seriously, I'm just trying to be nice. My best friend is in love with one of your friends. I thought it would be nice to get to know you, that's all."

Rachel doesn't really buy it so she just takes a bite out of her carrot and chews, swallows before she considers talking again. "Right." Glancing back at her out of the corner of her eye she looks at him for a moment. "Okay, so then tell me what kind of a name Puck is. Because I don't know any parents who would name their child 'Puck'. Just saying."

"It's a nickname."

"Really? You like hockey or something?" When he makes a face she knows that's not right. "Okay, then. So, what is Puck for?"

"It's for my last name. It's a shortened version of it." When she arches an eyebrow at him he sort of smiles a little as though he was expecting her to question it further. "Puckerman. My last name is Puckerman. Noah Puckerman." He sort of makes a face as though saying he doesn't much care for the name but at the same time he shrugs just a little bit as though saying that there's nothing he can do about that. His name is his name and it would be silly and pointless to try to change his name after having it for so many years.

"Noah, huh?" She likes it but she's not about to admit that to him. It seems like if she admits it that would make him feel like she's almost flirting with him. And she's not about to start flirting with him. She doesn't want him to think anything is going to come from his sudden interest in her. She's not interested in being another notch in his bedpost, so to speak. "Well, as nice as it is to meet you, Noah, I'm not really interested in getting to know you the way I'm sure you're accustomed to getting to know women."

"Ouch. I see my reputation precedes me." He keeps his gaze on her for a little bit, watches her daintily eat the carrot stick in her hand and then smiles just a little bit. "I promise, I'm just trying to be nice. Really. I'm a nice guy. Do you think Mike would be friends with me if I was just a total asshole?"

"Possibly." She's only teasing him though and it's evident by the way the corners of her mouth turn up just a tiny bit. "Look, I'm sure you're a very nice guy, Noah. But I haven't made very many friends recently. I'm a bit too busy for that."

"Really? You working a lot?"

"Something like that." She watches him for a few moments and then picks up another carrot stick. "I have a son. He keeps me busy."

"You have a kid?" Out of the corner of her eye she can see him smiling just a little bit. "I like kids. What's his name?"

"You like kids, huh?" She arches an eyebrow because that's not something that you hear every single day. "Gabriel. His name is Gabriel. He's a year-old."

"Guess that keeps his father busy too, huh?"

"His, um…his father isn't in his life." It's a lot easier to explain it that way than to explain it in detail, to tell him that Gabriel's father is some anonymous sperm donor that she never knew and never found out the name of. Someone who doesn't know her well might judge her for that simply because she's still so young and she's raising her son all on her own.

"Oh." It sort of feels like he just stepped in it but it isn't like he had any way of knowing that her baby's father isn't in his life. One would assume that a father would be in his child's life, that's all. But it's also not that uncommon that a father would abandon his child either. His father definitely took off on his family so that has to mean that other fathers probably walk out on their kids, too. "So, what is it that you do, Rachel?"

"I'm a Broadway actress." She shrugs her shoulders just a tiny bit as though saying that there's nothing unusual or special about that. And to her it isn't special or unusual because the are in New York. And many people there work on Broadway.

"Oh, you and Tina both then. The two Broadway girls and the dancer." It's obvious he's talking about Mike. Mike is quite obviously the dancer. "And your friend that you came here with?"

"Kurt?" Rachel instinctively glances in his direction. "He designs costumes for plays." Cocking her head slightly to the side she watches Noah for a few seconds. "Obviously you're not a dancer. You don't really have the body for it. No offense meant. I just know a lot of dancers and they have a certain way about them, a certain quality to their build. And you just don't fit. So, what is it that you do, Noah?"

Normally he doesn't like it when girls use his first name but for some reason he doesn't mind when Rachel uses it. He can't say why, exactly. It's something in the way she says it that he's alright with. He almost sort of likes it. Not that he's about to say that to her or anyone else for that matter. It doesn't suit him. "I'm a musician."

"Ah." Rachel smiles in a strange sort of way that he can't quite read and nods her head a little bit as if to say she expected something like that. But really she's just not surprised that he's a musician. There's a million of those in New York. So many people come there with big dreams and a lot of them with big talent. Just not everyone can make it. That's not to say he can't or won't but not everyone can. "Do you play an instrument?"


"Really?" She's not sure what makes her do it but she reaches out and takes one of his hands in hers, brushes her fingers over the tips of his fingers. "Ah, there they are."

"There what are?"

"The callouses. Guitar players tend to get callouses from the chords."

"Oh." He takes his hand back though he's not quite sure why. It's not as though he doesn't enjoy the way she's holding his hand. Maybe it's that he enjoys it a little bit too much. "So," he drawls, a slow smile spreading across his face. "What do you say? You think you might want to try the friends thing?"

"I don't know. Maybe."


"Yeah, maybe. " The edges of her mouth curve up a tiny bit.

"See, now I know you're teasing me."

She is, just a little bit. She can't really help herself. She doesn't mean to but it's just so easy. So she just looks back ahead of her, puts the carrot stick in her hand in her mouth, chews and swallows. "Maybe I am. Maybe I'm not. Guess you'll never know." She's pretty sure, however, he knows that she's teasing him, that she doesn't mean it. It should be pretty obvious to him that she's just playing games with him. And she doesn't play games very often when it comes to men but it isn't as though she's flirting with him or trying to date him. She's just being friendly and playful in her own way. And she honestly doesn't think that there's anything wrong with that.

"Oh, but I already know." She can see him smiling out of the corner of her eye and she almost wants to scowl but she also almost wants to laugh at the way he's looking at her, at the smile on his face. And the fact is that he's right. She is teasing him but that doesn't mean that she's going to admit it out loud. She's not going to give him the satisfaction. "Come on. What could it hurt? People can always use more friends. And besides, your friend and my friend are dating. It would be nice for them if their friends could get along."

"Are we not getting along?" Rachel looks over at him and arches both of her eyebrows in question. "If you're this pleasant when not getting along with someone then I'd love to see you actually getting along with people. It must be a sight to see."

"Ooh. Sarcasm. I like it."

"Do you?"

"I do."

"Well, that's good to know." She smiles at him a little bit and then turns to go walk back over by Kurt.

"Does that mean you're going to try the friendship thing?"


"I can find you if I want to talk to you, you know. All I have to do is ask Tina where you live."

"I have no doubt about that."

"You going to tell me your last name, at least?"

Rachel smiles just a little bit as she walks slowly back over by her friend. "Berry," she decides to say after a bit.

"Rachel Berry, huh?" Puck nods to himself a little bit and then after a moment he just smiles as he turns to walk back over to where the drinks are. "I'll be seeing you around, Rachel Berry," he says to himself as he listens to the sound of her heels clicking against the floor fade away.

So, in the end, she really does give him a chance for them to possibly become friends. He actually does get either Mike or Tina to give him her exact address because one day she hears someone knocking on her door and when she opens it Noah is standing there with a cup of coffee in his hand. She assumes it was Tina who told him because somehow he has her coffee order perfect and Mike, as lovely as he is, wouldn't know how she takes her coffee if his life depended on it.

She almost wants to be annoyed that he just showed up like that but in the end she can't be. He's standing there with the little smile on his face and holds out the coffee cup to her. And she can't bring herself to tell him to go away. Instead she just lets him into the apartment.

They end up spending a lot of time together. He comes over a lot and they talk. They get to know each other pretty well over the couple of months. He doesn't seem to mind that she has a son in the apartment either. He will sit on the floor and play with Gabriel and he will make her little boy laugh and smile. It's really rather nice to have him around sometimes. She doesn't go into it trying to do anything other than be friends with him but she eventually finds herself caring about Noah quite a bit more than she probably should. Or maybe not more than she should but more than she thought she would.

When she admits to that on the phone with Kurt her friend just scoffs like that's should be totally obvious, like he saw that one coming a mile away but that's just how Kurt is so she doesn't take it to heart. He always seems to think he knows things are going to happen before they actually do. It's more like he wants to be in the know all the time. It doesn't bother her. She wishes she could say it does but it doesn't. That's just how Kurt is and that can't really bother her all that much because he's her friend.

But he just scoffs and she can almost hear him rolling his eyes which she knows is ridiculous but still. She just knows him well enough to know that's exactly what he does. He rolls his eyes and says, "I could have told you that was going to happen. Deny it all you want but you were both looking at each other at the party like you couldn't wait to be in private so you could rip each other's clothes off."

"There has been no clothes ripping, Kurt. Our clothes have remained intact and on our bodies. We talk, we spend time together. He spends time around Gabriel. It's nice."

"And you have feelings for him."

"So maybe I do. But that doesn't mean anything. We're just friends. I've been in this place before and I'll be in this place again. I don't see any reason to ruin a perfectly good friendship by letting him know I have feelings for him. If I put myself on the line like that? All it will do is end badly and I'll lose a friend."

"Or he could have feelings for you, too."

"I doubt that, Kurt. You remember what I told you. He's one of those guys that doesn't do relationships and I'm one of those girls that does."

"People change."

"Are you saying I should become the type of girl who just has sex?"

"More like I'm saying it's possible he can be the guy who does relationships. Stranger things have happened. Who says that if he finds the right girl he can't be the boyfriend type?"

"And you're implying I'm the right girl?"

"I'm saying that you could be. You never know until you take the risk. I know you want to focus on your son. And that's both understandable and admirable. But being a good mother doesn't mean you can't have a life. It doesn't mean you can't date. Actually, it might do you and Gabriel some good. You deserve to be happy. And if you're happy? Well, Gabriel will be happy. Babies can sense those things."

"Since when have you become an expert on babies?"

"Ever since you gave me that lovely, wonderful little nephew to help you take care of."

Rachel smiles despite herself and just shakes her head but she doesn't bother arguing with Kurt about whether or not she has feelings for Noah or whether or not anything could happen between them. She really doesn't see a point in it. She and Noah are just friends and that's all there is to it. So she doesn't let what Kurt said get to her. She doesn't take it to heart.

She doesn't act differently the next time that Noah comes to the house. When he gets there she just sort of smiles at him and has fun watching him with Gabriel. She notices that he looks at her in a strange way. Or, well, not really strange but different and so she's not quite sure how she should respond to it. So she doesn't do or say anything. She just lets him look at her that way and pays attention to Gabriel, sits with the two of them.

That night when she puts Gabriel to bed Noah stands in the doorway and watches her and when she closes the door behind her he sort of smiles at her. And when she does she has to bite down on the inside of her bottom lip to keep herself from blushing. She manages to keep it from happening though. She doesn't blush but she just keeps on looking at him looking at her until he wraps the fingers of one hand in her hair and leans down, kisses her.

She doesn't know how to react at first because she didn't think he would kiss her. It's not that she doesn't want him to kiss her or that she doesn't enjoy it. Because she does enjoy it. So it doesn't take her that long to react. She reaches up and puts her hands against the sides of his neck and she kisses him back. She isn't sure at first what's going to happen but she can't bring herself to care.

What does happen happens fast and she neither wants to question it nor has the time to question it even if she wanted to. And the reason she doesn't want to is because she's been wondering for quite a bit of time about how it would feel to kiss him, to be with him. It was healthy to wonder about such things when attracted to someone. At least if you're a perfectly healthy adult who isn't afraid of your own sexuality which was a description that suited her. So, yes, she often wondered what it would be like to be with him.

But what happens happens quickly. One second they're standing in the hall outside of her son's bedroom and then they're kissing. They're kissing and his arms are around her, he's holding her against him like he's afraid of letting her go or something which she doesn't quite understand. But one moment they're kissing in the hall and then they're moving to her bedroom. She's not sure who closes the door behind them because she's not paying attention and she's not even sure who takes off the first piece of clothes, her or him but it all sort of happens really slow and really fast all at the same time.

By the time the flow of time seems to stabilize they're naked and entangled on her bed and she knows that she could ask him to stop if she wanted to and she doubts he wouldn't stop- he doesn't seem the type- but she just can't bring herself to tell him to stop. Instead she just watched him. She watched him and when he looked at her like he wanted to be sure that she was alright with what was happening she didn't say anything. Instead she just kissed him all over again.

And by the time it's all said and done and they're lying sweaty and naked on the bed she's sure that he's going to be gone in the morning just because that's apparently his usual way of dealing with things. But she goes to sleep rather easily regardless. She's happily exhausted and completely comfortably sated. She may have to deal with some awkwardness that has to do with what they just did in the morning but that doesn't bother her. She just can't let it bother her. Because if she does then she'll just panic about the choice she had made. And she doesn't want to do that.

But he's still there when she wakes up in the morning and by the time she's gotten dressed and made her into the kitchen and the coffee is ready he comes out, sits there with her, has coffee with her in silence. She would think the silence would be awkward but it's rather comfortable actually. It's not until they're both completely dressed and she's getting ready to bring her son to daycare that she starts to think he might just want to pretend what happened between them never happened at all. At least he thinks that until he kisses her. And then she thinks maybe he doesn't want to pretend it never happened.

She can't keep the smile off of her face as she's locking up her apartment door.

"I think I'm fucked, man."

Mike looks at his friend as they sit in his kitchen. He pauses with his coffee mug halfway to his mouth and furrows his eyebrows at her. "Why are you, as you so elegantly put it, fucked?"

Puck just looks at his friend for a little while. It's been a few weeks since he and Rachel sort of crossed that line between friends and something more than that. He hasn't said anything to Mike about it yet mostly because he's pretty sure that Mike is going to give him a lecture about fucking one of Tina's friends. But he sort of needs to talk to his friend about it. It makes him feel like a girl but shit is so much more complicated than it was before.

"I've been sleeping with Rachel."

Mike blinks at him a few times, holds his coffee in his mouth for a moment and then swallows harshly. "Dude, that's not cool. She's Tina's friend. If I get shit from her because you had sex with her friend-"

"Dude, I didn't just fuck her once and then walk away." Rolling his eyes Puck sits back in his seat, runs his hand over his face. He lets out a slow, deep breath and rests a hand on the table, drums his fingers against it. "I think I have feelings for her. Like, real feelings for her. And this shit is all new to me. I've never fucked a girl and, you know, had feelings like this for her."

"So? It's a good thing. It means you're growing up. That's a good thing, Puck."

"It's pretty fucking complicated though, dude."

"Why? Because of her son? What, do you not like him?"

"Nah, I like her kid. It just makes it more complicated."

Mike rolls his eyes, puts his coffee mug back down on the table and shakes his head. "Look, dude, if you like her? Then that's it. Just deal with it. Don't run, don't make it more complicated than it is. Who knows? It could turn out in your favor." Okay, not that he's positive that Rachel could end up really having true feelings for Puck but it's worth a shot.

Puck feels dubious about it at best but he doesn't think he's going to run. Not yet, at least. He'll at least give it a chance.

The next time they're together Rachel and Puck end up doing it on the couch. He wakes up in the morning with just a blanket keeping his bottom half covered on the couch. They had fallen asleep there and for a moment he's disoriented by the fact that he's not at home but that's not unusual for him if he wakes up not in his place in the morning,

He walks into the kitchen a couple of minutes later naked from the waist down and sits down at the little island in the kitchen, reaches over and musses up Gabriel's mass of dark hair while the little guy munches on the Cheerios that Rachel has laid out in front of him. She doesn't even really ask if he wants any coffee. She just puts a mug down in front of him, takes her own seat and just drinks her coffee, watches him drinking his and looks between him and her son. It's sort of really nice watching him sitting there and watching her son munching on the Cheerios. It's his favorite table food because it's easy to eat. As soon as he started to have table food he would gum them to death.

She almost smiles when she sees Noah reach over, takes one of the Cheerios from her son's bowl and pops it in her mouth. Gabriel looks at him with an expression she can't quite read and when Noah looks back at him, his eyebrows shooting up like he's trying to make Gabriel laugh her eyebrows furrow. Because, well, Gabriel makes that same face sometimes. It's really sort of fascinating.

"Can I ask you something?"

Rachel shrugs her shoulders a little, swallows her coffee and shakes off the oddness of the similar facial expressions. "Sure."

"I didn't want to ask before because, well, it's not really my business but…what's the deal with Gabriel's dad?" He's quiet for a few moments and then he clears his throat. "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to."

"No, no. It's natural to wonder. Most guys would wonder." They're sort of in a relationship by then so it's not like she couldn't expect him to wonder. It's something most guys would want to know if the girl they're basically dating has a child. "He doesn't have a father."

"Everyone has a father."

"Well, genetically he does," she confirms with a slight nod of her head. Reaching out she picks up a couple of the Cheerios are on the little table of Gabriel's highchair and puts them into the bowl as she talks. "I wanted a baby. It sounds strange because it wasn't like I was old when I had him but I didn't want to wait forever for the right guy. So I decided to just have a baby."


"I don't know who his father is."

"You don't know who his father is?" He arches both eyebrows at her in question.

"Don't look at me like that." Taking her hand back away from the highchair she rolls her eyes though she can't say she's all that annoyed. "I don't know who his father is because his father is a sperm donor."

"A sperm donor?" Puck puts his mug down, watches her intently.

"Yes, a sperm donor. It's not something I talk about very much because a lot of people think it's weird that I did it that way so young. But I wanted to be a mother. And I don't regret it. Not for a second."

"And…you never wondered about his father?"

"Of course I wondered. But it doesn't mean I want to know who his father is. All I need to know is that I'm thankful to him because if it wasn't for him I wouldn't have my wonderful little boy. My wonderful boy who is turning his cereal into mush and needs me to clean up his hands." Standing up she moves over to pick up her son, presses a quick kiss to his cheek, blows air against his cheek until he giggles. It's definitely one of her favorite sounds in the world. She absolutely loves listening to her son laugh. She can't honestly say any sound in the world makes her smile more than that sound. "I suppose I could always try to find out if I wanted to. See if the place I went to can give me information. But usually those records are confidential. But since I still have the paperwork…I guess I could try. I just don't see the point."

"You still have the paperwork? I don't think many keep that."

"I guess I just figured that's the only tie I have to his father so I kept it with me." Nodding towards the filing cabinet in the corner of the kitchen she holds Gabriel closer to her. "In there. I'll be right back. I'm going to clean this little monster up."

Puck watches her as she leaves and he knows that he shouldn't go look in the cabinet but he can't really help himself. He's curious. He's really fucking curious. And he knows he has every right to be. So, even though he knows he shouldn't do it when Rachel takes her son to clean him up Puck makes his way over to the filing cabinet to find the paperwork.

"I need your boyfriend. Now. In private."

Tina arches both of her eyebrows as she looks at Puck standing at her apartment door, his eyes sort of holding this quiet mania. She's never really seen that sort of look in his eyes before. "I'm not even going to touch that statement." Stepping back to let Puck into the apartment she motions slightly inside. "He's in the kitchen. Go ahead and talk to him. I'll give you boys time for your little flirtation."

Puck doesn't even take the opportunity to glare at her as he moves into the apartment, makes his way into the kitchen and stops just in the doorway. "Dude, I'm fucked."

"Is this the whole feelings thing again? Because I thought we went over that already."

"No, that's not what I'm talking about. Can you stop cooking for five fucking seconds? I really need to talk to you."

Sighing heavily Mike puts his knife down and puts the tomatoes he's been cutting aside and then turns to look at his friend as he grabs a towel, wipes off his hands. Tossing the towel back to where it belongs he folds his arms over his chest. "Okay, if this isn't about you having feelings for her then what is it about?"

"Her kid."

"I thought we already established you don't have a problem with the kid. Gabriel's great."

"I don't have a problem with the kid. I love the kid." Puck waves Mike off as though he's saying that he's bringing up a very pointless point and to him it is because that's not what this is about. "He's mine."

Mike's eyebrows furrow. "What do you mean?"

"I mean he's mine. He's my kid."

"Okay, what the hell are you talking about?"

"The kid's father? A sperm donor. It's me."

"How the hell is it you?"

"I needed the money. So I donated. Once. And she said she had the paperwork still for the donor she used and I was curious so I looked in her files- don't fucking tell me that it was a bad idea because I know its fucked up- but it's my paperwork. Her kid is my kid."

For several long beats Mike just looks at him, looks at him like he's trying to decide what he should say. "Are you sure, dude?"

"Yes, I'm sure. I know my own paperwork. Her fucking kid is my kid. I'm the father of her child. What the fuck am I supposed to say to her when I know I'm the one who fathered her kid?"

"I don't know. Tell her the truth, I guess." Mike shrugs his shoulders a little bit like it should be the most obvious thing in the world. And to him it sort of is obvious. "I mean, how do you feel about him being your kid?"

"I don't know how I feel. I mean, I knew when I donated I could father a kid but I never thought I'd meet the kid. I just…don't know."

"Well, you like the kid, right?"

"Well…yeah. He's cool. I mean, he's a kid…he's, like, a baby. So he doesn't really have a big personality yet or anything but he's still pretty cool."

"And you like her."

"We already went over this before."

"So, then you just gotta tell her the truth. If you like her and you like the kid the you gotta be honest with her. I think she's going to be pretty upset though that you went through her paperwork but if you want to be with her? You have to be honest with her."

"That fucking sucks."

"Yeah, well…that's life sometimes, I guess."

When the door opens Rachel can tell that Mike knows she's pissed just by the way his eyes widen. But she supposes her face says it all. She's holding her son close to her chest so she tries not to be too loud but she studies Mike pretty closely. "You knew, didn't you?"

"Knew what?"

"That Puck was his father."

Mike just watches her for a couple of seconds and then steps aside to let her in. she doesn't even question it. She just steps into the apartment and turns to look at him as he closes the door behind her. He knew she would probably be upset about Puck going through her paperwork but he didn't expect her to be that upset about the whole thing. "Puck told me last week. I told him to tell you."

"Oh my God." Rachel lets out a harsh breath and shakes her head, purses her lips and then moves to put the baby down. She makes sure that he's settled down on the floor comfortably and then looks back at Mike. "You knew and you didn't tell me."

"I told him to tell you. I don't understand why you're this upset. What exactly happened when you found out?"

"I have something I need to tell you."

Rachel looked at Puck with her eyebrows furrowed, sat down at the table across from Puck instead of finishing putting the plates away from dinner. She can't help but look very concerned because Puck had a very concerned look on his face. Or maybe it was nervous. She wasn't quite sure what to call the look on his face. "Alright…is something wrong? Are you alright?"

"Yeah, yeah. No, I'm fine." Puck waved a hand at her to wave off that concern though he couldn't say that he minded her concern. Because he didn't mind it. He didn't mind it one bit. He really, really couldn't say he minded at all. "I just have to tell you something and you're not going to like it."

The first thing that came to his head was the fact that it was possible that he was going to either tell her that he wanted nothing to do anymore with her, that he wanted to turn them into just friends again or maybe he was seeing someone else, too. And she supposed she couldn't expect anything other than that because the fact was they never expressly said they'd be exclusive but that doesn't mean it didn't make her uneasy. "Okay…"

"Remember how you told me that Gabriel's father was a donor? That you didn't know who he was?"

"Of course I remember that. What's your point?"

"I got curious."


"And I went through your paperwork."

"You went through my paperwork?" She could already feel herself tensing when she heard him say that. She couldn't say she wasn't upset he invaded her privacy that way. She doesn't like it one bit. "Why would you go through my paperwork?"

"Because I had to know."

"Had to know what?"

"Just…hear me out and then you can say what you need to, okay? Just don't interrupt me."

Rachel pursed her lips but nodded despite wanting to protest a little bit. But she was going to keep her mouth shut and that was all there was to it.

"A couple of years ago I needed money. I wasn't really getting a lot of gigs at the time and I needed the money. So I donated. And then you told me that Gabriel's father was a donor and…I don't know, I got curious. I wanted to see if it was the same place, that was all. I just wanted to see if you used the same place I donated to. And I was looking at the paperwork and….fuck." He let out a harsh breath and shook his head. "It was me." He tried to sound casual about it, shrugged his shoulders. "It was me."

"What was you?"

"The donor you picked? That was me. It was my paperwork. It was my profile. So, you know, I'm technically Gabriel's father. You know, genetically and all. Not that I except you to think of me as his father or anything but…like, I sort of am."

For several long beats Rachel just looked at him, her jaw set and then she stood up from her seat. "Get out."


"Get out of my apartment." She didn't even wait to see if he would listen to her. She just went down the hall and locked herself in her bedroom.

"What do you mean what happened? Nothing happened. He just told me he went through my paperwork and he's the father of my son. He's the father of my son."

"And that's a bad thing…why?"

Rachel rolls her eyes like she can't understand why Mike doesn't see the problem and sits down on the couch, picks Gabriel up and puts him on the couch next to her. Running her hand over his hair she watches him playing with his little stuffed bear he's taken to needing to have with him wherever they go. "The whole point of using a donor was I wasn't supposed to have to deal with this. The whole issue of having his father around and invading our lives. If I wanted that I would have just gone out and gotten pregnant the old-fashioned way."

"Look, it's not like he has any legal claim to Gabriel and we both know that," Mike soothes as he sits down in the chair across from her. "Donating means you sign away all rights to that kid. He couldn't try to claim paternity if he wanted to. It's not like you have to worry about him trying to take any custody away from you. Not that he would anyway."

"It's just….it;s screwed up. He's Gabriel's father. My son shares DNA with him. It's just…"

"I know you weren't expecting this. But, well, you like Puck, right?"

"He invaded my privacy."

"Well, no one ever accused him of being a genius." He watches her with her son, cocks his head slightly to the side. "Look, you love that little boy. And if it wasn't for Puck then you wouldn't have that little boy right now. And even if that wasn't the case, the fact is that you like Puck. I know you do. I know you wouldn't end up dating him as long as you have if you didn't like him. You would have to like him a whole lot to stay with him. Why can't it be that simple? So, he's the man who technically fathered your son. It doesn't have to be more complicated than that, does it?"

"Yes, I like him, but…" Closing her mouth she shook her head. "That doesn't matter."

"Of course it matters. If you have feelings for him of course it matters. You like him, he likes you. He likes your kid- well, his kid technically. There shouldn't be a problem. You should just try to see if things are going to work and let the cards fall where they may. You can't breakup over a coincidence. You two didn't even know each other. It's not like either of you could have known you would end up creating a kid together and dating later on."

"I don't just like Puck. I mean, I do like Puck. But…"

"You think you might love him. And now you feel weird. But it shouldn't make you feel weird. You have feelings for him and he likes your son. Don't push him away. If things don't work out on their own? Then fine, they don't work out. But don't bite off your nose to spite your face."

She turns her gaze down to her son, watches him sort of gnaw on the arm of his teddy bear which is both cute and strange and then runs her hand over his hair again. "I…"

"Just go talk to him. Tina and I can watch Gabriel."

Rachel doesn't say anything to him at first but he knows she's going to take him up on that offer. Why wouldn't she?

When Puck opens his door he definitely isn't expecting to see Rachel standing there. But she's standing there with one hand gripping her purse strap rather tightly in her hand as she looks up at him. Her lips are pursed and he can tell she's still very angry at him. he has this feeling that she's going to end up yelling at him the second she gets inside and he's not really looking forward to that but despite himself he opens the door wider and lets him in. call him a glutton for punishment.

Once she's in the apartment he watches her wrap her arms around herself like she's cold though she knows that's not the reason. He closes the door behind her and just watches her as she moves around the living room, sort of paces and looks around. She's never been there before even though they've been sort of dating for a while. He's just never brought her there. He's always gone to her place but he says that's because of the kid. It makes it easier on her and that's the most important part of dating a woman with a kid. To try to make things sort of easy for her.

Licking her bottom lip she turns her head to look at Puck, wraps her arms more tightly around herself as she stands there. "You're the father of my son." She knows he doesn't mean it to be a question but it sort of seems like a question with the way she's saying it. He's not sure if that's intentional or not though.

"Technically, yes." He already admitted to that so he doesn't really see any reason to deny it with her addressing it. Especially since she didn't seem to want to talk about it when he told her that he was Gabriel's father. But he's not about to point that out because it'll just end up pissing her off probably.

"I need you to tell me something. And you need to be honest."

"Alright. I guess I can do that."

"I need you to tell me how you feel about Gabriel."

"How I feel about Gabriel?" Puck furrows his eyebrows at her as he looks at her, licks his bottom lip and runs a hand over his super short hair, looks off to the side as he thinks about how he should answer her. "He's a great kid. I mean, he's still a baby so, you know, he doesn't have a big personality yet or anything. But he's a good kid."

"So, you like him."

"Of course I like him."

"And me?"

"You?" He lets out this heavy sigh. "Fuck, I'm not good with the whole emotions thing."


"I like you." But the look on his face makes it obvious that's not all there is to it because she just rolls her eyes. "What the fuck do you want me to say?"

"Be honest. Tell me how you feel."

Puck just watches her quietly for a few moments and then he runs his hand over his face. "Alright," he says, sort of throws his hands up in the air. "Alright, I don't just like you. I think I might actually love you, okay? And I know you're pissed. Fine. Be pissed at me for going through your stuff. But I didn't know he was mine when we started to date. I didn't even know I had technically fathered a kid. And I sure as hell didn't know I was going to end up meeting the mother and the kid let alone dating her and ending up having feelings for her. How could I know? But I care about you. And I like Gabriel. I liked him before I knew I was technically his father."

"You're right. I am mad at you. You shouldn't have gone through my stuff."

"I know."

"You invaded my privacy."

"I know."

Rachel watches him for a couple of seconds and then she steps closer to him, looks up at him. "But…I like you. So…if you promise not to do it again then…I guess we can try this. Well, try to continue this."


"Yeah." Licking her bottom lip she clears her throat. "But you can't betray my trust again. Do you understand?"

"Yeah. Yeah, I get it."

"Alright." She nods her head a little as she looks up at him. "So, then we can try to see if things are going to work out."

Puck doesn't know how he should react but he supposes he should be thankful. And he supposes he should try his hardest not to screw things up. But just to say he hears what she's saying? Yeah, he kisses her. It works in his mind.

One year later…

Rachel is sitting on the couch while Noah is putting the baby to bed. She leans back on the couch and watches the old movie she decided to watch that night. Noah hasn't really been showing much interest in it but he's still watching it with her because she wants to watch it. She has to admit she appreciates that he's that willing to put himself through that. And she has to admit, he's been a pretty good boyfriend. And he's been doing a pretty good job being sort of a good father figure to Gabriel. She wouldn't necessarily call him Gabriel's father even though he obviously is but at the same time she doesn't want to call him that because they're not married or engaged or anything.

When Noah sits back down she doesn't hesitate to lean against him and she doesn't protest when he wraps an arm around her shoulders. He moved in a few months before and it was a strange adjustment at first because she's never lived with a boyfriend before but she doesn't really mind having him there. She actually really likes it. It's nice having him around and it's nice knowing that she has someone there to help her with Gabriel when she's really busy.

Recently Kurt has been asking her if maybe she and Noah were ever going to get married but all she can do is tell him time and time again that she has no idea what's going on in Noah's head. If it's going to happen then he has to talk to Noah instead of talking to her. She may be a pretty forward thinking girl but that doesn't mean that she's going to be the type of girl that asks a guy to marry her. If she gets engaged she wants to be asked. Call her old-fashioned but she likes the idea of being asked to marry someone rather than asking them.

She snuggles herself closer to him as she watches the movie. The fact is she's not sure where they're at. All she knows is that she has to admit by then that she's fallen in love with Noah. She tells him that she loves him and he doesn't hide that he loves her but that's as far as it goes. They don't really talk in detail. She knows they should eventually but they just haven't yet. She's not opposed to it but she's also not going to pressure him to talk about things. Pressuring him would be a bad idea.

"I wanna ask you something." Rachel's tempted to turn her head to look at him, to see what kind of expression he has on his face but she doesn't want to turn around only because she's very comfortable exactly where she is. And because she has a feeling this is going to be one of those questions she has to think of an answer to and she'd rather be comfortable while thinking about the answer to whatever question he's going to ask. So she just nods her head a little bit as if to tell him he can go ahead and ask the question. "Do you ever think about maybe having another kid? Someday, I mean."

"Oh." Blinking her eyes she furrows her eyebrows as she keeps looking at the television though she's not really seeing it anymore. She's just thinking and that's all there is to it. "Well, I don't know. I suppose it'd be nice to give Gabriel a little brother or sister. I mean, I'm not really focusing on the idea but I wouldn't be opposed to it."

"Because, you know, if you want to have another kid then, you know, I'm more than willing to practice making one."

Rachel lets out this little scoffing sound and sits up, looks down at him like he's just the biggest idiot in the world before she slaps at his shoulder. "Noah!"

When he laughs and kisses her she can't help but kiss him back. Because he can be pretty perverted and he can be a real jerk when he wants to be but the fact of the matter is that she loves the idiot. And she's not exactly looking to have another kid anytime soon, she's not even planning it but if she has a kid then she has a kid. And in the end she couldn't say she'd mind Noah being the father of her next child since, well, Gabriel turned out pretty damn amazing. And the practicing as he likes to call it? The practicing is really pretty fun.

So, she doesn't protest when he kisses her. Not even a little. She just kisses him back. And she just lets herself be content with the fact that she was living with one of the best guys she really cares about. And if they end up together in the end? That's great. At the end of the day she definitely thinks that fate works in really mysterious ways but at the end of the day? Fate worked in her favor this time around. And that's just fine by her. So she thinks that she sort of likes fate if it gave her the life she has just then.