A/N: and here it is, the next installment of the series! This has been proof read a little, but hasn't been looked over by my beta so all mistakes are mine. I promise, this story isn't going to be super angsty. Yes, Faberry is broken up, and this is the aftermath, but I'm going to try and balance out the heartbreak with some lighter stuff in between. I'll try to have the next chapter up soon, but until then please review. They are food for the muse!
Leroy Berry let out a long sigh as he stared at the clock on the stove. It was 7:10 on Monday morning, and the house was eerily quiet. Normally at this moment in time he would be able to hear the pitter patter of his daughter's tiny feet moving around upstairs as she got ready for school. Sometimes she would even be warming up her voice if she had something prepared for glee club that day. For the last two or three months it also wasn't uncommon to hear the low murmur of her voice as she talked on the phone with her girlfriend. Ex-girlfriend now, he thought, and took a sip of coffee.
He was snapped out of his thoughts when the front door opened, and in walked Hiram carrying the newspaper. He looked tired, large bags were under his eyes, and he looked as if he were still half asleep. Since the breakup with Quinn - a whole four days ago - Rachel had...regressed, a bit. Hiram had spent most of the night laying with their baby girl and singing her lullabies and rubbing her back. Every time he got up to leave she would cry out for him, tugging at his heartstrings and making it impossible for him to leave.
"How is our prima-donna this morning?" he asked, and sat down at the table. Leroy was surprised that he didn't sound bitter. His husband was, at times, overprotective of their little girl, and this was Rachel's first big heartbreak, Leroy had been expecting Hiram to want Quinn's blood. At first he had been upset beyond belief when they came home from work and found Rachel sobbing hysterically into her pillow. When she explained it was her fault that they broke up, Hiram had still been upset, wanting to take away his baby's pain, but he couldn't find it in him to hold it against Quinn.
"Still in bed. I never thought I would miss the sound of that damn elliptical, but waking up to complete silence almost broke my heart," he said, and took a large sip of coffee. It was his third cup that morning, and he was normally only a one cup kind of guy. Since he had given up smoking the day Rachel was born, however, his way of reliving stress was drinking more of the stuff. Seeing their daughter hurt always caused the men a great amount of stress. "She's going to be late if she doesn't get up soon."
"Well, I stayed up with her last night," Hiram said around a very big yawn. Leroy couldn't help the smile that tugged at the corners of his lips. Hiram's bad habit of being passive-aggressive about things had always driven Leroy a little crazy. Over the years he had grown to tolerate it as Hiram worked on being more forthright. However, early mornings after a very late night meant he was allowed to backslide.
"Alright," he said with an over exaggerated sigh. "I'll get the little monster up, if you insist." Just because Hiram was slipping back into old habits because he was exhausted didn't mean that Leroy couldn't have a little fun teasing him for it. He took one last sip of his coffee before setting the mug down on the counter. When he glanced at Hiram the other man had a small smile on his face along with a far off look in his eyes. He knew that look all too well: nostalgia-face, as Rachel liked to call it.
"What are you thinking about?" he asked, and stood next to the table. He put his hands on Hiram's shoulders and softly squeezed the muscles. As soon as Rachel was feeling better the two would have to go away for a weekend to reconnect. Between work, all of Rachel's extracurricular activities, and now helping her through her first real love and loss the two hardly had any time to just be themselves.
"Remember Halloween when Rachel was seven, and at the last minute she changed her mind about her costume and wanted to be Boo from Monsters Inc?" he asked, the smile on his face growing larger. Leroy smiled also, and shook his head a little. They had spent three weeks scouring all of Lima looking for the perfect dress so she could be Dorothy from Wizard of Oz, and two hours before they were supposed to go trick or treating, she refused to leave the bedroom, saying that it wasn't right and she wanted to be Boo instead.
"She's not allowed to date anymore. Not until she goes away to college," Hiram said, his tone had taken on a much more stern quality. Leroy rolled his eyes, and gave his husband's shoulders another squeeze. This wasn't completely unexpected, and he was surprised it had taken the other man this long to say it.
"Now dear, banning her from dating isn't going to solve the problem," he said, barely keeping the laughter out of his tone. He had to at least try to take his husband's statement seriously. "When she falls for someone else she'll just date them behind our backs. She'll probably think it would make the whole thing more romantic, a forbidden love, and all that other crap she gets from those movies she watches." He leaned down and left a kiss on the top of the shorter man's head. "Read your paper, I'll go get sleeping beauty ready for the big day."
He left the room without another word, and as soon as he was on the stairs he felt a weight settle on his chest. Ok, no more coffee for the rest of the week, he thought. He knew deep down it wasn't about how much caffeine was in his system at that moment. No, he knew it was because in just a few seconds he would be walking into Rachel's bedroom, and odds were he would have to practically drag the girl out of bed. Hopefully not kicking and screaming. As dramatic as his daughter could be, he didn't think he would be able to handle that type of situation this morning.
When he opened up Rachel's bedroom door he was greeted with the sight of almost pitch black darkness, and a limp buried under the covers. It broke his heart to see her room like this. Normally Rachel always had the curtains open, and only closed the window when she was singing or had her music up really loud, as per the rules that were set because of the noise complaints they kept receiving from the neighbors. This gloominess reminded him more of that creepy little girl from the Addams Family.
"Rachel," he said in a low voice. He walked into the room, and stood by the side of the bed. She had the covers pulled over her head, but he could tell she wasn't really asleep. She'll never admit it, but she does quietly snore when she's asleep. "Rachel, sweetie, it's time to get up for school." He pulled down the covers very carefully, and as soon as her face was uncovered her eyebrows furrowed, and her face scrunched up in a very displeased look. "Pumpkin, you're going to be late for school." She groaned and rolled onto her stomach.
"I can't go to school today, Daddy, I don't feel well," she mumbled and buried her face in her pillow. He held back the little sigh that wanted to escape his lips as he sat down on the bed next to her. She tried to pull the covers back over her head, but he held onto them. She struggled for a moment, but very quickly gave up. She was either too tired or just didn't have any fight left in her, and the fact that he couldn't tell which scared him down to his core. His baby girl was a fighter, there was no doubt about it, so seeing her like this just hurt.
"Rachel, you can't miss anymore school. You're going to get behind in your studies if you do," he whispered and gently rubbed her back. Normally when he did this she would arch her back into his hand, trying to guide it to where it would feel best. That morning she just laid there, and this time he didn't try to stop the little sigh that fell passed his lips, as he softly shook his head. "I mean it, get up and get dressed." At his stern tone, she groaned again, and looked up at him through half lidded eyes.
"Daddy, I can't. I think I have a temperature," she said, and laid her head back down on the pillow. He could see the damp spots on the fabric where she had been crying, and that tightness in his chest grew larger. He continued to gently rub her back, but she still wasn't responding. When he started running his hand over the back of her head, her eyes screwed up tight, and her bottom lip started quivering. At least it's something, he thought, and continued to stroke her hair.
"Rachel, please, you haven't behaved this way since you were eight," he said, trying as hard as he could to keep the frustration out of his voice. He hated this whole situation so much there weren't enough words in any language to describe it exactly. Maybe Hiram is right, no more dating until she goes off to college, he thought, and glanced over at the clock. They sat there in silence for a couple of minutes, but if they didn't leave soon then he would be late for work as well, and that couldn't happen.
"Pumpkin, you can't just lie in bed and mope all day. I know it hurts, but trust me, torturing yourself like this isn't going to help at all. It's just going to make it worse," he said, and she buried her face into her pillow again. He could feel her body begin to shake as she started to cry, and he scratched at the back of his head. He knew she wasn't faking to try and get out of getting up, but that didn't mean she could get her way. "I know, Pumpkin, I know." She suddenly rolled onto her side and glared up at him.
"No, Daddy, you don't know," she practically spat. "You weren't there. You didn't see how much I hurt her. How am I supposed to go to school, and sit in class with her and pretend like nothing happened? How am I supposed to just act like I didn't rip her heart out? Can you tell me how?" By the end her voice had lost its edge, and now she sounded on the verge of breaking down again. "Please, Daddy, please tell me." She put her head back down on her pillow and sniffled loudly, trying to hold back the tears. She let out a small, grateful sigh as her Daddy continued to rub her back, and stroke her hair.
"Hey, shhh, calm down, ok?" he cooed at her as if she were a cranky toddler in a desperate need for a nap. He used the pad of his thumb to wipe away some of her tears, and she leaned her face against his big, comforting hand. He knew that if she had her way than the two of them would stay curled up in bed, Funny Girl on repeat while she snuggled into his chest and tried to forget about the world.
"I'm going to tell you something, ok, sweetie? You probably won't want to hear it, but when I was in college I was dating another man." He paused for a second to gauge her reaction. When she was a little kid she refused to believe that the two men had lives before she existed, which was normal for a small child. He had no clue how she would react now, however. She looked at him with big, curious, red rimmed eyes, and he took that as a sign to continue. "We were hopelessly in love with each other, always going off to some political rally, trying to fight for our rights, and when there wasn't a rally we would stay in my dorm room all weekend." He chuckled a little as the memories flooded his mind's eye.
"What happened? Did he cheat on you, and shred your heart into a thousand pieces, and you were really sad about it at first because you loved him so much, but eventually you learned to overcome it, and you met Dad, and knew all the pain was worth it because you wouldn't be the man you are today without those bad experiences?" she asked, nothing but sarcasm dripping from her tongue. He gave her the look, the one that meant he was in no mood to deal with that attitude, and she had the decency to look chastised.
"As a matter of fact, Mayor Smart-aleck of Sarcastlevania, no that's not what happened," he said, and gently brushed away the last of her tears. "We got into an argument one night, a really bad one, and he said some things that hurt me very badly, and no I'm not going to say exactly what they were, so get that look off your face. Anyway, I stormed off, and went to this little bar off campus, and I slept with the first guy who showed any interest in me." Her eyes went wide, her mouth dropped open, and she completely stopped breathing.
"Daddy, you didn't," she whispered, nothing but shock in her voice. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. Her daddy, her daddy, just admitted that he had cheated on someone. Her daddy just admitted to committing the worst relationship offense someone could commit. She didn't like this at all. Her daddy wasn't just a normal person, he was her daddy. How was he supposed to keep her safe and make her feel like anything was possible if he was just a regular person like everyone else?
"Yes, Pumpkin, I really did," he said, and watched as she sat up in bed. She wiped the drying tears off the side of her face that had been resting against the pillow, and she let out a little sigh. He could tell that this was upsetting her, but if it did some good in the end than it would be worth the discomfort. "I was young, and dumb, and hormonal. He had hurt me, and I wanted to make him hurt just as much. People make mistakes, Rae, especially in the heat of an emotional moment. It's going to hurt, probably for a long time, but if you really want to make it up to Quinn, then you need to get out of bed and prove that you deserve forgiveness." Her eyes drifted down to her lap, and she didn't say anything. He let out a little sigh and stood up.
"Rachel, you have fifteen minutes to get ready or you're going to school in your pajamas," he said, his voice taking on his well practiced dad-tone. He gave her one last serious look that she met with a small glare, but it didn't last for more than a few seconds before she sighed, and stood up. He left the room, and went back downstairs, trying to fight off the urge to drink another cup of coffee. Instead, he found his husband standing at the fridge looking for something to eat. He wrapped his arms around the shorter man, and gave him a lingering kiss on the lips.
"What was that for?" Hiram asked, a small amused smile pulling at his lips. He straightened out his glasses, and looked into his husband's eyes. He was a little surprised to see such distress. Trying to talk Rachel into doing something she was dead set against could be difficult, and seeing her so beaten down was heart wrenching, but he had never seen Leroy like this before. His husband was the more optimistic one, even in the face of hurt and sadness. Whenever Rachel had to go through something he always said it was just growing pains, and they can't shield her from this.
"For being young, and dumb, and hormonal," he replied, and rested his forehead against Hiram's. The short man simply smiled, and wrapped his arms around his love. He had a suspicion as to what brought this on, but he held back on asking. If Leroy had really spilled the beans of the indiscretion in their youth to Rachel then he really didn't want to know about it. He didn't think he'd be able to look at his baby girl for a few days if she knew.
"It's all water under the bridge," he said, and looked up at the ceiling when the sound of Rachel walking around her room could be heard through the floor. A few seconds later a song he didn't recognize at all started blasting, making the house rumble with the deep bass. He was sure she had set her iPod to 'bass booster' just to try and annoy her fathers. "Whatever you said seemed to work. At least she's out of bed." Leroy gave him a very questioning look, and Hiram just smiled. "It could be worse. She could come home with a piercing or tattoo."
For those of you who are going to criticize about the fact that Leroy had an affair and he and Hiram are still together, please keep that to yourselves. The harsh reality is 85% of all monogamous couples have had an affair whether the partner who has been cheated on knows it or not, and many relationships can survive.
Anyway, I have the next chapter all laid out, so it should be up in a day or so.