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Cresskill, New Jersey, takes about three years to start feeling like home, but by the time Rachel’s turned 27, he can’t really imagine living anywhere else anymore. 

Sam and Rachel both mostly work from home, which is great for Hayley, and he and Quinn commute into the city together every single day, where occasionally they hear murmurs from other people on the train talking about how handsome and fashionable a couple they make.

It always makes Quinn loop their arms together and tilt her head against his, in a gentle mockery of the life she once thought she’d be stuck in forever; but when his hand starts reaching for his business cards, because he does use her as his travel-everywhere model and it’s fantastic advertising for his design skills, she usually just gently elbows him and tells him to leave the poor people from Jersey alone.

“It’s not like they can afford you,” she reminds him, regularly, and he completely loves her for it; Sam doesn’t understand that it’s not fashion if it’s at high street prices, and still loves buying black skinny jeans from the Gap, but Quinn just gets it.

There are strange, little moments where he considers what his life would’ve been like if Quinn hadn’t become pregnant.  Would they have even been friends?  She would’ve chalked it up to a one-time experiment, dove headfirst into the closet again until it literally destroyed her life, and they would’ve maybe sung a duet together and danced around stage a few times, but she wouldn’t be this to him.

It’s unbearable, really, to think of her even living three blocks down the street, at this point.  Sam is the love of his life, as Rachel is hers, but she’s his life partner, and the day he turns 26 she buys him a watch and has the date they accidentally produced Hayley engraved on the back for him.  Sam and Rachel don’t really get it, he knows, but he does, and designs her some new scrubs that make her the absolute it-girl in the pediatrics ward.

Three weeks after Rachel’s 27th, which they celebrated by going out for a dinner as a fivesome and then splitting up in mismatched pairs, with he and Rachel and Hayles off to the theater and Sam and Quinn off to some batting cages in Harlem to work off some steam, he gets a text message while in his workshop at Ralph Lauren that makes him wince just on principle.

Daddy K, EFM tonight - have arranged sitter for Hayley, drag Quinn home with you please?  Love, Mommy R.

No matter how many times he tells her that he will not ever respond to ‘Daddy K’, she’s insistent on using some sort of parenting lingo she got from this episode of Supernanny about how children cope with divorced and remarried parents.  Like that’s at all analogous.

He sighs and texts back, Does the R stand for Ridiculous?  Will bring home The Bacon, don’t worry.

It’ll outrage her, that he still refers to Quinn as ‘the bacon’ even though she’s practically given it up ever since they got married, and he turns his phone off in anticipation of about twelve messages to that effect, before sticking his head out the door and calling his rail-thin, African-Asian model of the month, Lindsay, over for a fitting.

She glances at the family portrait series he has on his wall as he prods at her, and he smiled around his pin cushion before taking a step back and eyeing the blazer he’s just pinned on her critically.  “You can ask, you know.”

“I’m not really sure how to,” she admits, and then gives him the kind of smile that makes him want to sit her down and tell her that she’s not cut out for the catwalk, because she glows when she’s happy and should be doing--whatever, pimple ads or something.  But he won’t, because people have dreams, and this would be akin to telling Rachel that the chorus isn’t so bad.

“The blonde--”

“She’s gorgeous,” Lindsay says, with no small measure of envy.

He can’t help but smile a little smugly.  “--is the mother of my daughter.   My daughter, obviously, is the one under the age of twenty--”

Lindsay laughs at that and then points at Rachel.  “And that?  Your--sister?’

“God, no,” he says, laughing breathlessly and moving around the chair Lindsay is now sitting on to take a few more measurements; some of the fabric at the back is going to have to be cut back, but that’ll mean resizing the entire line, and he narrows his eyes at the blazer in search of a solution.

“No?”

“No, that’s Quinn’s wife--Quinn being the mother of my daughter.”

The workshop room is deadly quiet for a few seconds and then Lindsay says, “Hot blond guy--your boyfriend?  Or husband?”

He admires her guts, because even after almost twelve years of this arrangement, very few people outright ask.  The first time Quinn’s mother had come to meet Hayley, he’d almost felt sorry enough for the woman to go out and buy her a bottle of Scotch, but by the end of the visit she’d almost been able to look Rachel in the eye.  It was more than enough progress, especially since Rachel had been unusually murderous, as if to compensate for how quiet Quinn had been that entire day.  She’d even cooked meat, for God’s sake.

“Yes.  Boyfriend, of twelve years,” he says, after a second, glancing up at the picture of Sam.  He took it on one of their rare two-person get-aways, to Hawaii when Sam had landed the job as assistant editor at DC after years of slugging around the comic book industry without getting a real foothold, and Sam basically looks like a God in it. He’s bronzed, and his hair is wet, and he’s grinning at Kurt while motioning for him to put his magazine and camera down and dip into the ocean with him.

Rachel liked to look at that picture from time to time and remind everyone she was bisexual, to Quinn’s endless annoyance, but he could hardly blame her.  It would be enough to make him gay if he wasn’t already.

“You’re done,” he tells Lindsay, and pats her on the shoulder as she hops off the chair, letting him take the blazer back off her.  “Thanks, kitten.”

She sort of curtsies at him and he smiles, and then watches as she looks at the pictures again.

“Your family is--wow.”

He feels the corner of his mouth curl up even more.  “Yeah.  It is.”

Quinn is exhausted, as always, and even the bacon burger only brightens her about three percent.  She looks stunning in his fitted scrubs, though, and when one of the nurses catches him looking at her ass deliberately as she bends down to scoop her backpack off the ground, he just shrugs and gestures at it.

The nurse glares, and Quinn figures out what’s going on and slaps him gently.  “Stop looking at how your design is complemented by my posterior.”

“Stop saying posterior,” he fires back at her, before reaching for her hand and tucking both of their hands in his coat pocket.  “And let’s talk strategy, because I fear your woman is on a rampage tonight.”

Quinn deflates completely, shoulders actually slumping forward--and he frowns at her, because her posture is usually exquisite and needs to stay that way--before she looks at him blearily.  “No--tell me she didn’t use the words.”

“She did.  Emergency Family Meeting as soon as we’re home.  I’m afraid to check my phone, actually, so let’s just attempt to guess what it’s about this time.  I don’t think it’s about Hayley’s sexual education again, because we definitely dealt with that by just agreeing that you’d do it because you’re the doctor--”

“Yes, and less likely to traumatize her than Rachel is and less likely to just gloss over the relevant parts to get to a discussion about Kryptonite than Sam is,” Quinn agrees, running a hand through her hair.  “Okay, so it’s definitely not that, though if she wants to renegotiate the time and date, I’m going to have to kill her because I cleared my entire schedule for next Friday so we can go camping and--you know.  Turn it into a mother/daughter bonding experience, rather than the single most traumatic conversation of her life.”

“I’m going to assume it’s not about that, then,” Kurt says, squeezing her fingers for a moment.  “Though way to create some insane associations with the outdoors, there.  It’s almost like you want Rachel and I to succeed in making the child allergic to nature.”

Quinn sort of rolls her eyes at him, but then frowns again, as they head over towards the nearest subway station.  “It’s not about the house--”

“No, Sam’s on top of that.”

“And--I know for a fact that she’s been thinking about cutting back on her auditions--”

Kurt feels his step falter.  “She has?”

Quinn nods, slowly.  “She said something last week, about how--the pace is starting to wear on her nerves a little, and she’d rather just focus on being good at the bit parts she has for now, because we all agree that fame is probably not--well.  With our family situation...  Broadway is tolerant, but--”

“She knows that,” Kurt says, slowly.  “And that’s no real reason to slow down, it’s just one to--”

Quinn gasps at the same time that a horrible thought hits his brain front and center.

“Oh my God--” Quinn says, staring ahead in a sort of dead way.  “This--she wants to have the talk tonight, doesn’t she?”

They’re already underground when Kurt finds it in himself to nod.  “That seems like a fair assumption.”

“I’m warning Sam,” Quinn says, already pulling out her phone.  “He should just avoid her and cite creative genius until we get home, or she’ll get too impatient and just unload on him, and I love him but he does not have the spine to stand up to her.  God, if we don’t hurry we might actually come home to find them--”

“--in bed with each other, trying to make a child,” Kurt completes, feeling acutely nauseous, until a wave of nervous laughter bubbles up in his throat.  “Um, she wouldn’t really, would she?”

Quinn just stares at him for a second; and then they run to the platform.

Quinn almost flattens him to the ground when they burst through the door, a good hour later, only to find Rachel sitting on the sofa drinking a glass of wine with Project Accessories on in the background, on mute.  Hayley is playing something on her 4Ds, sniffing at the screen from time to time, and Sam is nowhere to be found--so that text message definitely arrived at the right time.

Of course, as normal as the scene looks, Rachel literally bounces off the couch after a second and then claps her hands together.  “Okay--dinner is in the oven--”

You cooked?” Quinn asks, making a face at her.  “Are you trying to kill us?”

Rachel’s jaw tightens for a moment and then she takes a deep breath.  “No, I just thought--it would be nice to not rely on you too much, but it’s a ready made meal, if you must know, and I’m only heating it up.”  She walks over to them, and then leans in to kiss Quinn, before recoiling.  “You smell like--pork.”

“Thanks, baby,” Quinn said, tiredly, before just pecking her on the forehead and then heading over to greet Hayley, who barely even looks up from her game as she gets a kiss to her forehead.  “I have time to shower, right?”

Rachel glances at her watch and the nods.  “Yes.  The sitter isn’t coming for another half an hour or so, so that gives us twenty  minutes to eat and for me to set up--”

“Set up what?” Kurt asks, warily.

Rachel just rolls her eyes at him.  “I know you’re just teasing me, but I have to get the projector out of the basement if this is going to work, okay?”

He fights the urge to clutch his skull--his hair still looks great, even after a nine hour work day--and instead just smiles at her tightly.  “Of course you do.  I--will also be showering.  Or at least changing into something more suitable for... one of your Powerpoint presentations.”

Rachel smiles at him in a way that makes his teeth hurt, just on principle, and then he walks by the couch and accepts a half-hearted high-five from his kid, who still won’t look away from her console.

Well.  He’d say something, but it’s probably for the best if she ignores Rachel tonight, because she might be the only member in the family who still likes Rachel when she’s done with what is bound to be another excruciating presentation on something incredibly important.

He pulls his tie off on his way upstairs, and then heads over to Sam’s office, knocking there before stepping inside with a hushed, “Don’t worry, I come in peace.”

“You really should learn the secret X-Men door knock,” Sam says, turning around and pushing his reading glasses up to his forehead.  “I mean, it’ll save all of us a lot of hassle if you just properly identify yourself at the outset.  I almost crossed out a panel just now, thinking Rachel was going to come in here and like, assault me.”

Hearing Sam say it out loud makes Kurt realize they’re all being ridiculous, and so he just sighs and laughs at the same time, and then leans down to hug Sam tightly for a moment.

“You’ll stay with me even if we divorce them, right?” he then asks.

Sam just presses his cheek--stubbly, this time of night, and Kurt’s as always surprised by how much he doesn’t care that that contact really screws up his skin care regimen--against Kurt’s for a moment, and then holds out his hand for a fist-bump.

“Team Hevans,” he then says.

Kurt smiles.

It is in fact another hour before the three of them are lined up in front of Rachel, who has actually decided to wear what Kurt supposes passes for educational clothing for the main event; she’s in a blazer he most definitely did not approve, and wearing some sort of too-short but still fugly skirt and fishnet stockings and--

“Are you trying to be Zatanna?” Sam asks, after a second, making a face at Rachel.

Rachel just owlishly blinks at him.  “Who?”

Quinn sighs, stretching her legs out and planting one foot deliberately on the coffee table; it’s as clear a warning sign that this needs to get going as any, because she normally goes ballistic when anyone else does it.  She’s in sweatpants, now, and her hair’s slick from her shower, and it’s in moments like this that Kurt always flashes back to when it was the two of them against the world.

It might be again now, and he reaches for Quinn’s hand on principle with his left; Sam’s with his right, and then they all stare at Rachel.

“I want to have another baby,” Rachel says, plainly, and then clicks on her presentation, which is titled Operation Reproduction.

Nobody says anything for a few seconds, and then Sam shifts next to him and says, “Um--I think maybe you should just talk us through the entire presentation and we can do questions at the end.”

God, I love that guy, Kurt thinks, and tips his head onto Sam’s shoulder as Rachel rolls her shoulders briefly and then, with a look of fierce determination, nods.  “Excellent idea, Sam.  Unless there are any objections...”

“Not yet,” Quinn mumbles, sinking down further into the sofa, and Kurt bites his lip to not start laughing.

The next thirty minutes are impossible to describe and he doesn’t think he ever wants to reference them again.

Sam, like the good schoolboy he probably once was, sticks up his hand when Rachel arrives at a question slide.  Kurt almost wants to stop him and ask how he can talk when clearly his mind has been blown completely, but Sam’s always been a little more steadfast than the rest of them when it comes to dealing with Rachel, so instead he just watches.

“I like kids,” is Sam’s opening bid.  He pauses on that for a few seconds, mashing his lips together, and then nods to himself.  “I really do, and I think that having another one will work out great for all of us, so thanks for um, outlining all those reasons and telling us all about your um, baby-making equipment and everything, but I’m mostly just thinking that--having another baby would be cool.  So, I’m in.”

“Excuse me. Do you really think this is that easy?” Kurt asks him, in sort of a rush of breath.  His eyebrows are damn near climbing off his forehead, he’s sure, and Sam looks at him with a small cringe after a second.

“I’m--not the guy who comes up with the detailed plans, okay.  I’m here for the day to day stuff and I think that we’re solid, all four of us, and we’re at a good age now to have a kid and not screw it up, so I don’t see why we couldn’t.  Objections are more--your and Quinn’s specialty.”

“Being … prudent...” Quinn says, slowly, in an ominous tone of voice that Kurt is glad isn’t directed at him, “is not something to be equated to being the stuck-up tightwads who refuse to let you and Rachel have baby-making fun together, Sam.”

Kurt feels himself nodding, and then looks at Rachel carefully again; she’s sort of hopping from one foot to the next, and he feels for her a little, because it can’t be easy to pitch this idea in general to one partner, let alone to three, but--he really didn’t ever need to know about her uterine lining, and it’s sort of putting a halt to any real compassion he could muster.

“I would like to be pregnant again,” Quinn says, before he can think of any questions to ask Rachel, because--frankly, Sam said it all.  They’re stable, and they can afford this, and they’re not teenagers anymore, so it’s really all about whether or not they all want to.  

Rachel blinks at that, and snaps out of presentation mode in a flash and sits down on the coffee table next to Quinn’s foot, reaching out to rub it gently.  “Baby--” she says, and in that one word is a world of rejection.  Kurt squeezes Quinn’s hand tighter.

“I know.  We can’t, now.  Or for the next five years.  My hours are--” Quinn says, sighing and tipping her head back.  “So--this is about you, getting pregnant.”

Rachel, to her credit, stays quiet, and lets her process.  

Kurt decides that the most kind and strategic thing to do here is to just move the discussion along, and so he clear his throat.  “Who do you want to be the father?”

Rachel’s head whips towards them at that, even though her hand keeps rubbing Quinn’s foot.

“I really--” she starts to say, and then stares at the ground.  “I thought you’d shoot me down before we got to that point, because we’re sort of in this situation accidentally but we definitely don’t need to deliberately worsen it by having more babies in the quadrangle.”

She’s not even imitating his voice, but he knows her well enough to realize that she was expecting him to be the one to say ‘no, thank you’.  Because he’d never really wanted Hayley, to begin with.  Because they’d come at this by accident and it wasn’t in his life plan to end up with not one, but two lesbians who he’s more or less married to.

Because maybe, he and Sam would’ve wanted their own family that didn’t have a thing to do with her and Quinn.

He feels a slight ache in his chest at the idea that she really just doesn’t get it, at all, and then just sighs.  “It’s a crazy idea, but it’s no crazier than moving into this house was, or moving to New York together was, or letting you near our child, ever, was, so--”

Tears shoot into Rachel’s eyes, and Quinn’s thumb rubs the back of his hand, and Sam leans into his side further.

“We could--do what my fathers did,” Rachel then says, her voice a little thick now.  “You know, have you both produce... output and just mix it, so that it’s not an issue of who is and isn’t the father--it would just be yours.”

“Is what what you want?” Quinn asks, quietly.

Rachel hesitates, but then shrugs.  “I’m--willing to discuss every single part of this.  It’s not going to be traditional or simple, and I want us all to be happy, because if we’re not--”

She doesn’t need to finish that sentence, and after a few moments of silence, Sam says, “Well, I don’t know about Kurt, but I’m happy to um, what did you call it?  Produce--”

“Output,” Kurt says, and then looks at Quinn carefully; the look on her face is exhausted, and resigned, but not disinterested, and it’s with that that he knows that this is actually going to happen.  “Yes.  Me too.”

“Okay,” Rachel says, blowing out some air slowly, and then gingerly getting to her feet.

A second later, she’s more less launched herself on top of all three of them, and in the midst of a shitload of incoherent wailing and crying, Kurt sort of makes out a, “Thank you” that means he’s only regretting agreeing to this a little, so far.

“So,” Rachel finally says, after a few moments of long quiet, before getting to her feet again and sitting down on the coffee table’s edge once more.  

Sam is sort of rubbing at his shoulder and he needs that contact right now, and Quinn is staring down at her own stomach in a way that—well, he’ll deal with that later, but for now, it’s mostly a question of what utterly insane thing Rachel is going to say next.

He figures more alcohol really can’t hurt, right now, and so she swills some of the red—a really, really good 2001 Cabernet, God  bless his daughter’s mother and her impeccable taste—around in the glass and then takes a careful sip.

“Do you both want to be there during the moment of conception--you know, when we use the syringe?” Rachel blurts out.

The wine sails all over their coffee tables, which have just been re-varnished by Sam, so that’s fine, but then it drips down onto the cream-colored rug that they purchased now that Hayley is officially capable of chewing with her mouth closed, and he stares at it in horror.

It takes him about twenty seconds to start staring at Rachel in horror, much like everyone else in the room.

“Um,” Sam says, frowning heavily and then rubbing at the side of his face with both hands, before tilting his head at her.  ”If you think it’s important for the baby that—”

“The baby doesn’t exist yet, Sam,” Quinn says, stiltedly, and then stares at her wife.  ”Are you insane?”

“It’s their baby, too,” Rachel sort of murmurs.  ”And normally—”

Normally, she says, as if there is a normal in this situation,” Kurt squeaks out, before clearing his throat and leveling Rachel with a serious look.  ”Honey, I sort of love you a lot of the time, but I really can’t think of anything less appealing than watching her—do whatever it is you two do together for an extended period of time.”

“We could do it under the covers,” Rachel offers, now starting to look a little nauseous at her own suggestion.  ”I mean, Quinn’s latent religious hang-ups mean that we do that a lot of the—”

Rachel,” Quinn hisses at her; Kurt reaches out instinctively and gingerly pats her on the thigh, because it’s not like he fell down the sex appeal tree and hit every branch on the way down, either.

Rachel clamps her lips together and then her eyes do that thing where they go all Bambi and a little sad, and Kurt feels his entire body brace itself.

“It’s just—I don’t want this to be clinical.  Honestly, my original suggestion was going to be that Sam and I make love—”

“Oh my God,” Sam says, almost flying off the sofa and then rapidly heading out to the back porch.

Quinn stares at Rachel.  ”Really, Rach?”

Rachel has the decency to cringe.  ”I know that’s not—I mean, attractive as I find him, I doubt he could get it up—well, actually, maybe he could… how did that work with you two back in the day?”

“Poorly,” Quinn says, at the same time that Kurt manages a, “Terribly.”

They look at each other and then start laughing, and he finds himself leaning into Quinn’s side with her arm slung around his back when they both look back at Rachel, who now just looks devastated.

“I just don’t want this to feel like some sort of Frankenstein-like experiment, okay, with Quinn shaking a jar of sperm around to make sure it’s nice and—”

“Okay, stop talking,” he says, before Rachel can ruin his sex life the way she’s just sabotaged her own for the next however long.  ”Rachel, sweetheart, you were conceived with—the jar, in a hospital, and your parents loved you all the same for not having been there or having—you know, gone about it au naturale so… why would you think it’s any different for any of us?”

He watches as she chews on her lip for a moment and then it happens; some horrible truth she’s been sitting on for the last eight years just vomits out.

“I guess I’ve always felt a little—I mean, it’s nothing you’ve done, but I know Hayley isn’t mine, and if we expand on our little nuclear family in any way whatsoever, I don’t want Sam or myself to keep feeling like—we’re the spares.”

The way Quinn’s nails dig into his shoulder without warning says it all, really, and he stares at Rachel in disbelief.

“The spares,” he then repeats.

He can see her swallow, and then she wipes at her eyes and shrugs.  ”It’s not how Hayley feels, because I know to her we all matter equally and that’s not just because she’s too young to really understand the differences between biological and non-biological parenting, but—”

Quinn exhales in sort of a croak next to him, and then her arm slips away and she gets up off the couch and heads out back to where Sam is pacing on the deck, without even looking at Rachel.

Rachel just watches her go with a devastated expression on her face, and Kurt sighs, because of course he feels sympathy for her even though she’s redefining high maintenance and ridiculous behavior all at once.

“Rachel,” he says, and watches as her face slowly cranes back around to him.  ”I’m not letting you sleep with my boyfriend because it’ll make your experience similar to ours, okay?  So don’t even bother pitching that to us again; it’s out of the question.”

She deflates a little more and then cups her head in her hand.  ”I just—don’t want this to become more alien.  I mean, how can we possibly explain in the future that Hayles is going to have a sister who is actually in no way related to her if Sam and I—and I honestly do think that’s my preference, much as I think the way my dads proceeded was right for them—”

“We won’t need to explain,” he says, a little shortly.  ”We’ll come home with—gosh, I have no idea how to even conceptualize your features blending, but here’s hoping our daughter or son has his nose and your eyes—”

Rachel chuckles softly, and then looks at him.  ”You mean that, don’t you?”

“What, that I don’t want to bring a child into this world that will have to spend its entire existence somehow overcoming that one physical marker?” he asks, raising his eyebrows.  ”Uh—”

“No, ours.  When you say ours like that.”

He fights the urge to roll his eyes at hers.  ”Yes, Rachel.  It’s going to be ours, okay, no matter what ridiculous steps amount to the baby’s conception.  It’ll always be ours, because we’ll love the kid equally no matter whose genes it has, just as we always have with Hayley.  And if you want first dibs on parental decisions, might I remind you that I somehow ended up with a baptized child that celebrates all world religions?”

Rachel’s smile is a little watery.  ”You’re sweeter than you think you are.”

“Don’t be disgusting,” he says, and then exhales slowly and gets to his feet, holding out a hand for her.  ”By the way—if this is you without pregnancy hormones, remind me to find a very long business trip to go on once you’ve … been blessed.”

She takes his hand and then sort of hugs and elbows him at the same time, and he pulls an arm low around her waist while they stare out at where Quinn and Sam are now pacing in tandem, almost looking like they’re practicing to walk down a red carpet or, God forbid, a church aisle.

Rachel giggles, after a second.  ”Do you ever think they could be siblings in a different life?”

He stares at her in disgust, and she kisses his cheek and throws the patio doors open, announcing, “Crisis averted, no thanks to you two” and then pulling them both into a hug.

Kurt jolts when suddenly someone is clambering onto his back, and then Hayley says, “Are you guys done?”

“For now,” he says, honestly, because everyone in this house seems to have a menstrual cycle aside from Sam, bless him, so—this definitely isn’t the last of this particular mess of a discussion.  “What did we tell you about eavesdropping, Hayley?

“That it’s bad, but um, I sort of saw what Mommy’s Powerpoint was about when she was rehearsing it two days ago so it’s not like I didn’t already know.”

“That’s--so not the point, but okay.”

“So am I getting a little brother or a sister or what?” Hayley demands, tugging on his hair for a moment.

He grins almost despite himself, swats her hand away, and tickles the bottom of her foot.  ”Don’t touch the hair, and yes.  Though we’re still not entirely sure that your Mommy can give birth to anything human, but—”

A heel digs into his side, and he laughs.

“Be nice,” Hayley chastises him, in a perfect imitation of Quinn, and he rolls his eyes at her before carrying her out onto the deck, and into the family huddle that’s waiting for them.

As it turns out, Rachel has an unexpected partner in crime in Sam, who seems fascinated by the idea of tracking her cycle--and has hand-drawn some sort of chart for them to all look at on the refrigerator; it comes with a blooming flower motif that has Quinn frowning darkly and Kurt just laughing helplessly--and, for the better part of the next two weeks, he literally can’t come downstairs for breakfast without Sam and Rachel talking about her temperature, and her diet, and how she feels ready.

Sam mostly just likes making French toast and nodding throughout all of this, and Kurt buys Hayley a new pair of headphones to make up for the absolute wretchedness that she’s bound to keep witnessing if they keep going.

Still, the extent of Sam’s conversion to the Ways of Crazy doesn’t become apparent until late on Friday night, when Sam is done showering and walks into the bedroom--Kurt’s already in his favorite pajamas, skimming through a copy of the Italian Vogue from last month--in nothing but a towel.

Well, nothing but a towel--and a cup in his hand.

Kurt stares at him for a long moment, and opts to focus on the towel.

“Look, I know neither of us want to see them--doing this, but I figure--we can at least make sure that our part of it is a team effort,” Sam says, a little sheepishly.

“A team--” Kurt manages, but then Sam drops his towel and he drops his magazine.  “Oh, I see.  That’s--”

“Ridiculous, I know, but it’s not like I don’t like it anyway, and, um,” Sam says, chewing on his lip for a second and then blushing violently.  “This is so not scientific, but I think maybe like, my stuff will work better if it um, was produced through--you know, love?”

Kurt knows he’s smitten when that barely even gets a chuckle out of him, and instead he feels weirdly... like he might actually understand what Quinn feels like about eighty percent of the time around her wife.  It’s a strange, helpless sensation of knowing better, but not being able to do anything about it anyway.

And so he just smiles, and shoves the magazine off the side of the bed, and pats Sam’s side for him.  “Science or no science, I’m happy to lend a … well.  Pun intended.”

Sam settles down next to him, as comfortable naked as he is in his scruffy hipster garb, and then laughs abruptly.

“What?”

“Remember when Brittany sang that My Cup song in Glee?” Sam then says, grinning and holding the cup up for inspection.

Kurt laughs hysterically for about five minutes, but ultimately they manage the team effort just fine, and then head downstairs to refrigerate the output until Rachel’s body is ready to receive it as input.

The next morning, he finds Quinn staring at that same cup; she’s clearly just been on her morning run, and it’s not even light out yet, but in the dim lighting of the fridge itself, he can still clearly make out her expression.

He wouldn’t normally dream of touching anyone this sweaty, but family first and all--and so he steps into her side and hugs her tightly.

“The next one is all yours, okay,” he just says, and she squeezes her eyes shut.

“We might not want--”

You do, hon, and the rest of us just want you to be happy, okay?” he tells her, and then pulls he down to kiss her cheek.  

“We’ll see,” she says, after a second, still gnawing on her lip.  “I just always thought--I’d get a do-over.  When happily married, which I am, but--it’s not the same, with Rachel going through it this time.”

“No, it’s not,” he agrees, and rubs her lower back for a moment.  “But you know, Rachel is going to hapless and crazy about this and she’ll need you in a way that she’s never really needed any of us, and I think you’ll probably like that, even if it’s not the same.”

Quinn exhales slowly, and stares at the cup for another moment, and he slaps her on the ass before he can think about it too much.

“Besides, if we space them out by five years every time, we might actually be able to send them all to good colleges.  Okay?  So--I mean it.  Next one’s yours, and I know Sam feels the same way, and Rachel for some reason thinks you’re insanely hot when even more moody and temperamental than you normally are--”

Quinn’s smile is faint, but there, when he drops down again, and then he looks at the miserable little cup in the refrigerator.

“If I catch Rachel singing at that thing at any point in the next two days--” he says.

A low chuckle sounds from Quinn’s chest, and then she just says, “Thank you”, before slamming the fridge shut and heading back up the stairs to wake Rachel up.

They really don’t want to be there for the moment of conception, because--no--but that doesn’t mean that they all don’t feel a desperate need to be involved somehow anyway.  Kurt would never admit to it out loud, but this is very different from Hayley--who is snuggled into his side and watching some old Pixar movie with him and Sam while... the magic happens upstairs--and he feels strangely detached, even though it’s clear to everyone that this is both a communal blessing and problem.

It makes him reevaluate how much he rolled his eyes at Rachel saying she felt like an outsider, and he wonders how Sam feels, about the extent of his own involvement and yet--sitting down here and watching a rat learn how to cook while...

“Jesus,” Sam says, abruptly, when a particularly loud moan filters down from upstairs.

“What are they doing?” Hayley asks, sitting up and turning towards the stairs.  

Kurt clamps a hand down on her shoulder and says, “They’re--making your sibling, right now.  Ignore it.  I know it sounds like Rachel’s in pain but trust me, she’s not.”

Hayley stares at him for a few moments, and then her expression clears.  “Oh, they’re fucking, aren’t they?”

Sam wheezes incredibly loudly and then spills water all over himself in an effort to drink it quickly.

Kurt just opens and closes his mouth a few times, and ultimately Hayley just folds her arms in front of her chest and says, “I don’t know why you don’t just tell me these things; I’m not a baby, and even though I think it’s gross that they want to do all that naked stuff, it’s not like, my problem.”

Sam catches his eye over her head, and they both burst out laughing; Hayley, of course, flounces out of the room a moment later, and it’s not until a very disheveled-looking Quinn appears at the landing and says, “Um, we’re--ready for you now”, in the most awkward tone of voice ever, that Hayley reappears like a Jack-in-the-Box and takes the stairs two at a time.

“Careful, Hayles,” Sam calls out, before reaching for Kurt’s hand and pulling him along.

By the time they reach the girls’ bedroom (and it’s hard to think of it as anything else, even if they’re both women now), Hayley has already crawled onto the bed and is examining a thankfully-clothed Rachel’s stomach.

“So it’s like in there, now?”

Rachel looks exhausted and blissfully happy at the same time, and then says, “Well, hopefully; but it’s kind of like those games in the fair, you know, where you’re not always going to get the big prize in one try.”

Hayley turns around and directs a Quinn-style glare at Quinn.  “Do you have bad aim or something?”

Quinn goes purple in the face and then just excuses herself for a moment, and Sam untangles his hand and then settles on the bed next to Rachel, a vaguely awed look on his face.

Kurt watches them for a moment, waiting until Rachel looks at him for some kind of reassurance, and then gives her a smile before heading out to find Quinn, who has her head stuck under a faucet that’s probably set to icy cold and then looks up at him again.

He opens his mouth to say something encouraging, but ultimately just ends up laughing and then sort of hugging her.

“She gets that from you,” Quinn mumbles, squeezing him in tightly.

“What, the bad aim or--”

“Oh, shut up.”

The first try is not successful.

By the time the third try comes around, it’s almost a routine; he and Sam disappear for some manual labor, as Rachel has started calling it with an unpleasant, teasing grin on her face, and then they watch a Pixar movie downstairs while Quinn does something upstairs to draw particularly loud, unrestrained noises from her wife, scarring Hayley and any and all gay men in the house for life, and then they all head upstairs again to stare at Rachel’s stomach.

The fun is gone from it by the fifth time, at which point Sam stops him when they're trying to ... produce output, and just says, “Dude--do you think I’m maybe--you know, shooting blanks?”

Kurt stares at the cup for a moment and then puts it on his nightstand and pulls Sam into a hug.  “I don’t know.  I mean, my only experience with this, really, and my only awareness of it--Quinn is unnaturally fertile, even according to her gynecologist...  It could just be luck, or it could be you, or it could be Rachel.”

Sam stays still against his chest for a long moment, and then exhales sadly.  “It’s weird.  I didn’t think I wanted this like, very badly at all, but now that we’re trying it’s like--come on, you know?  And it’s wearing them down.  Rachel was saying the other day that she’s not sure how much longer Quinn will even want to try given that she’d rather be the pregnant one and …”

Kurt closes his eyes and sighs softly.  “Okay.  I’m calling an EFM.”

Sam presses a kiss to his neck and says, “Thanks.  We sort of need you being cranky and rational right now, because I think the rest of us are just starting to freak out.”

A week later, all four of them are meeting with a colleague and friend of Quinn’s, who separates them by gender and them tells them that they’ll all be tested because it will enable them to come to a good action plan for not just this attempt, but all future ones.

“We know you and Quinn work together, obviously,” Dr. Lao, or ‘call me Cindy’, tells them, in her office, “but everything else--well, you have a lot of options, so let’s just figure out how to explore them, all right?”

Rachel looks like she did when she missed out on the lead in the NYU production of West Side Story by a miniscule margin, and Quinn is biting her nail and then looking at Sam, who is just staring down at his own lap.

“I’ll go first,” Kurt finally says, pushing up and taking one of the cups off the desk and heading into the adjacent bathroom.

It takes an age, but he returns with a sample and then picks up the next cup and tosses it to Sam, who says, “Godspeed” to it, or maybe his--equipment, and then also disappears.

Rachel and Quinn have curled into each other, and he sits on the opposite end of the sofa until Rachel reaches for him.

“If you and I are a match,” she then says, quietly.  “Would you--”

“Of course,” he says, and bites his lip.  “Quinn might know more about this than I do, but there are reasons to--do that anyway, simply because if Hayley ever gets sick, or this new baby does, the more genes they share--”

Quinn nods quietly and presses a kiss to Rachel’s head.  “Let’s just wait and see, okay?”

Rachel pulls a leg up to her chest and hugs it, and Kurt honestly has no idea what the hell else he can possibly do for her right now; even that Greatest Of Streisand blu-ray boxset that she keeps complaining is overpriced doesn’t seem like it’ll cheer her up in the slightest, at which point he’s really at a loss.

Four days later, Quinn comes home with a folder full of test results, and sits them all--Hayley included--down at the dining room table.

“Hayles, we’ve talked about how this works technically, right--when we went camping,” Quinn says, a mild blush on her cheeks.

Hayley just tears off a piece of a Fruit Roll-Up and nods at her seriously.  “Yeah--where you don’t have parts and so you just do it for fun but if you did it with a boy you’d also be making a baby, and--”

She turns to look at Kurt and Sam sharply, and then tilts her head at them.

“You both have boy parts, right?” she then asks.

Sam nods carefully after a second.

“How does that work?” Hayley asks, leaning forward in fascination and pulling on her roll-up again.

Quinn looks at Kurt with the most smug expression he’s seen on her in a while, all good luck managing this one, but Sam ultimately just coughs and says, “It feels good when you, you know, touch them.”

Hayley makes a grossed-out face and then just looks back at the folder.  “Is that the baby making stuff?”

“Yeah,” Quinn says, and opens it carefully.  “So what we did is we all took some tests to find out how good our bodies are going to be for making babies, right?  Even though only Mommy and I would ever carry them, we can’t actually get pregnant unless the connection between the boy stuff and the girl stuff is right.”

Hayley frowns at that for a moment, but then nods.  “It’s like if you have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and if you have chunky peanut butter it’s gross just the way it is if there’s too much jelly, right?”

They all stare at her for a moment, until Rachel pulls her into a hug and says, “Yeah, exactly like that.”

“Right, so, this will tell us what will make the best.... sandwich,” Quinn ultimately says, before leaning down and scanning the results really quickly, and then pulling over a notepad and translating them into plain English.

They end up with a list that looks like this:

Quinn and Kurt - 89%

Rachel and Kurt - 87%

Quinn and Sam - 65%

Rachel and Sam - 45%

Hayley is the first of them to react.  “So basically I am the perfect sandwich.”

It’s a good thing she’s there, Kurt thinks, or there’d be one embarrassed man leaving the table right now, and two women in tears across from him.

“Seems like,” he says, and then looks at Rachel.  “Though you and I are pretty close.”

He’s holding Sam’s hand under the table, and feels it tremble a little and squeezes it tight, because this is so not something to care about and--God, it’s not like they can’t keep trying.  It might just take longer, the way they’d planned, and they might want to discuss if the third child is going to be spectacularly Scandinavian-looking or if they want to stick with the eighty-nine percent that they’d chanced upon the first time around, but--these aren’t devastating statistics.

If he could find any kind of detergent that promised him a forty-five percent chance of washing out red wine and tomato sauce stains, he’d buy it in a heartbeat, and it’s with that thought that he closes the binder and says, “Rachel, I think this is ultimately up to you.”

“It’s not--this is about Sam as much as it’s about me,” she says, after a moment, and it’s at times like this that he remembers that he does both like and love her; she’s a completely selfish cow until things actually start mattering, and then she probably has a bigger heart than either he or Quinn can even imagine.

Sam is staring down at the table a little forlornly, and then sighs.  “Well, I’m a gay dude, so I guess I wasn’t ever expecting to have kids anyway--and I mean, it’s not as if that kid won’t be mine or like I really am just some tag-along--”

“Marry me,” Kurt says, before he can think about it too much; because it feels right, and it’ll fix this problem in ways that a bunch of other words probably could not, and after a moment, he reaches for Quinn’s hand, rips her engagement ring off it, and sticks it onto Sam’s pinky finger.  “I mean it.  Marry me, and we’ll give this child your last name, because I’ve thought about this for years now and Kurt Evans is ridiculously debonair, and--”

“Okay, dude,” Sam says, after a second, before grinning at him and pulling him into a wild hug.  “Okay, yeah, I’ll marry you.”

His vision’s a little blurry, but his three girls are all sort of huddled together across from them, with dopey smiles on their faces--or, in Quinn’s case, an eyebrow arched in approval--and yeah, it feels good, having saved this wretched moment just by doing something he was going to do anyway.

“So wait,” Hayley finally says, after Sam carefully pulls Quinn’s engagement ring off his finger again and slides it back across the table to her.  They all look at her, and she squints.  “If my baby brother or sister is an Evans and I’m a Fabray, how will anyone know that we’re family?  This sucks.”

Quinn makes a hilarious face and then says, “Well, I don’t think that your Dad and Uncle Sam want to become Fabrays, per se--”

“Rachel Evans is not nearly as stage-worthy as Rachel Fabray is, unfortunately,” Rachel sighs, after a moment.  “Kurt and Sam Fabray could work, though, but--it would also make it seem like we’re possibly all related to each other?”

Kurt feels his forehead pinch as if he’s smelling something heinous, and then just sighs.  “Fabray-Evans for any and all children, then?”

“I’m glad you agree we’d come first,” Rachel says, with a self-satisfied little smile that he just rolls his eyes at.

“Yeah, that sounds--nice,” Sam says, after a moment, and then looks at Kurt with no end of wonder again.  “Dude--I can’t believe you just asked me to marry you.  I honestly thought you’d just never--”

“You’re a catch.  I’d be crazy to let anyone else near you, and that includes you, Rachel,” Kurt says, rolling his eyes a little when Sam just grins and Rachel huffs across from him.

“Congrats,” Quinn says, picking the folder back up and then pushing away from the table and heading towards the trash can with purpose.

“We should definitely celebrate,” Rachel says, looking perkier than she has in ages, and Kurt finally feels a knot in his chest unwind, because--no matter whose baby this ends up being, they’re going to be fine.

The Hummelberry baby is a hit after two goes, and when the positive test comes in, Quinn streaks down the stairs with it so fast that she misses the last two and ends up in the ER, still clutching the positive in her hand and telling every single one of her colleagues that she’s pregnant.

Kurt considers amending that to, “her wife is”, but the way Quinn just can’t stop looking at the test result in wonder, even as her ankle is being bandaged and her head is being checked for a concussion, maybe that’s the kind of technical crap that really doesn’t matter in moments like this.

“Between Rachel and myself, this is going to be the gayest child that ever existed,” Kurt notes, when they’re waiting in a pharmacy to fill her prescription, and Sam and Rachel--those idiots--are already heading over to the baby product aisle to start buying a few first things.

“I hope it’s a boy,” Quinn admits, after a moment, and then looks at him carefully.  “With your eyes, and her smile.”

“And my nose,” he says, softly, just in case Rachel’s in range.

Quinn’s lips flash in and out of a grin, and then says, “You’re awful.  But--yeah.”

Telling their parents is a joy.

Kurt’s dad at this point is immune to having heart attacks from bizarre news that comes from Jersey, so they hit the speaker on their phone and tell him casually.  

"Good, good; Rachel, you take it easy now,” is his ultimate verdict, and Quinn whispers a soft, “I love your dad so much” into his ears that she’ll probably never say to his dad, but he’ll pass it on for her anyway.

Rachel’s dads, similarly, are a breeze; there’s hysterical crying, then singing, then finally some Yiddish gibberish he doesn’t understand a word of, and then a few threatening words to Quinn about not letting Rachel run herself into the ground because they want this second grandchild to be as healthy and perfect as the first one.

If not for the kind of iron will that he and Quinn have developed after years of watching Rachel’s theatrics, they’d all be crying by then, but as it is, Sam is sniffling a little and ruffling Hayley’s hair, and Rachel is just outright weeping but, by her standards, actually keeping it in check relatively well.  Not to mention, for once, she has an excuse to be so hormonal.

They flip a coin for what comes next.  Sam’s parents are wonderful people, who have zero problems with their son’s homosexuality or life partner, but the whole cohabitation with lesbians thing is just pushing their sense of normal too far, and so it tends to be something that they just don’t discuss--but it’s kind of hard to bring up the engagement without also prompting the secondary reason for it, and so Sam fumbles through a, “We want to be legally sound when um, Rachel’s baby is born, because Kurt and I are the dads”, while the line goes eerily quiet until his dad says, “I’m not sure what the appropriate thing to say to that is--”

“A ‘congratulations’ wouldn’t hurt, because we’re all ecstatic,” Rachel bites out, before covering her mouth in horror.

Sam’s mother, however, laughs at that and says, “You’re right.  Stuart, we might not understand this but as long as they’re all happy and not on drugs--”

“You aren’t on drugs, right?” Sam’s dad asks, but now sounding resigned.

“Not unless love is a drug,” Sam says, in his now impeccable Sean Connery impression.

Kurt sort of cringes and swoons at the same time, and Quinn just rolls her eyes and says, “We’ll send pictures of the ultrasound along if you like.  Just let us know.”

Bedside manner is a saving grace in ultra-awkward conversation, as it turns out; but Quinn can’t apply it to her own family, and so they take the phone off speaker and let Kurt tackle this one himself.  

Somehow, he’s become the point of contact for Judy Fabray.  Rachel just hates the woman in a way that Kurt didn’t honestly think she could hate anything, but it’s some sort of mama bear reaction to how Quinn sometimes still has nightmares about being thrown out of her house, and he doesn’t blame her.  Sam could deal with the woman, but she needs a firm hand, and Quinn herself...

He excuses himself and heads into the kitchen, where Judy picks up after three rings and then sounds immediately terrified when he identifies himself.  “Has something happened to Quinn, or to the girls?”

He pauses at that, and then says, “By the girls you mean--”

Quinnie’s girls,” she says, now actually sounding frantic.

He smiles, and says, “No, they’re both fine.  All three of them, sorry.  I’m not--calling with bad news.”

The loud exhale on the other side of the line is telling, and he waits for Judy to compose herself.

“I apologize; you don’t normally call--”

“I know, and I’m sorry if I scared you, but this is a little too important for an email,” he says, gently.

Judy remains silent, and he knows where Quinn gets it from when that becomes almost unbearable, and then takes a deep breath.

“Rachel and Quinn decided about eight months ago that they’d like to have more children, and given the nature of our situation with Hayley, it made sense to--involve Sam and myself in the process.  It did to us, anyway, and I’m sure you might feel different--”

“No,” Judy cuts him off, before softening her voice on purpose.  “That makes perfect sense.  You would want Hayley’s siblings to be--”

“Yes,” Kurt agrees, with no small sense of relief that she’s at least technically on the same page.  “Anyway, given Quinn’s career, it made more sense that Rachel have the next child, and we found out today that she is in fact pregnant.”

The line crackles emptily for a moment, and then Judy says, “Can I--may I please speak to one of them?”

He almost says no, instinctively, because non-alcoholic cider is flowing in the living room and Quinn can’t really walk over, but then closes his eyes and thinks about what he wouldn’t give for his mother to get to know her granddaughters, and says, “One second.”

The phone gets passed over to Rachel, but not before he covers the mouthpiece and looks at her sternly.  “We are severely lacking in grandmothers, Rachel, and we have one here is who is willing to at least try.  You don’t have to forgive her for how she treated Quinn, but I think it’s time to give her a chance with Hayley and Baby Hummelberry.  Okay?”

Rachel stares at him stonily for a few seconds, until Quinn slides in closer to her and whispers something in her ear, and her expression softens so quickly that he’s abruptly reminded that Rachel doesn’t have a mean-spirited bone in her body.

She sighs, and then gestures for the phone with grabby hands, and puts on her best show voice for an awkward conversation about pregnancy that Judy probably should have had with Quinn, at some point, but--

It’s better late than never, he reminds himself, and squeezes Quinn’s shoulder before settling down next to his soon-to-be husband again.

They opt for something simple, for the wedding.

Definitely not his choice, but Sam reminds him--mid-sex, and that’s the definition of cheating, but Kurt doesn’t have it in him to complain overly much--that if Rachel is upstaged on her wedding, she’s going to be upset indefinitely and they don’t want that kind of stress for the baby...

… and then also adds that his own ideal wedding would be Marvel-themed, with him dropping from the ceiling like Spiderman to kiss his loved one as an ‘I Do’.

“Why am I a woman in this fantasy?” Kurt asks, frowning at him.  “I mean, Peter Parker marries Mary Jane Watson, right?  Why am I Mary Jane?”

“You’re not,” Sam promises him, and then, with a blush, says, “I’m sort of--I mean, when I read those comics, I always fantasized about Peter Parker getting it on with Harry Osborn.”

“James Franco?” Kurt checks.

Sam blushes to the tips of his ears and then buries his face in his pillow.  “Dude, I know, okay?”

“No, I just don’t think anyone’s ever favorably compared me to anyone that attractive before,” Kurt says, after a moment, running his hand through Sam’s hair and then rolling over to kiss his shoulder.  “How about--we do a simple courthouse wedding, then, where I’ll obviously design all the clothing but we otherwise keep it plain--and then we come back home and get Quinn and Rachel to help us stage some sort of superhero themed reception?”

“It’s going to be incredibly lame and not sophisticated at all,” Sam warns him.  “You’ll probably hate it and then hate me a little for making you wear that much hair gel, because it’ll damage your roots.”

Kurt feels himself fall in love all over again at the way Sam has somehow absorbed his endless yammering about hair care, despite not caring about it at all, and kisses him on the nose.  “You’ll find a way to make it up to me, I’m sure.”

“I’ll wear designer suits around the house for a month; y’know, because we can’t go on a honeymoon right now,” Sam offers.

Kurt smiles.  “It’s a start.”

By the time Rachel’s third trimester hits, they’re all ready to just cut the baby out of her, but real life isn’t Twilight and so instead, he and Quinn sneak out onto the back porch with a bottle of tequila while Sam constructs a crib with Rachel barking orders at him and pass it back and forth for ages.

“She’s a nightmare,” Quinn finally says.

“You don’t say.”

“I’ve never loved her more,” Quinn then adds, before necking the bottle until tears are streaming from her eyes and a quarter of it is just gone.  “So you were right about that.”

“She keeping all of her worries inside until late at night?” Kurt checks, before taking a much more delicate sip and then resting the bottle between his thighs.

Quinn nods after a moment, wiping her mouth.  “Yeah.  All the bravado just vanishes and she’s just on my chest, worrying about all the ways the baby is going to be uglier than Hayley and her genes are a mess and what if my child can’t sing, Quinn?  I don’t know if I could love it if it couldn’t sing.”

He laughs, a little, and then tips his head back and stares at the sky.  “It’s funniest because she’s the most natural parent out of all of us; overbearing and rampantly insane, but with instincts that I would kill for.”

“I know, right?” Quinn agrees, with a sloppy little smile that makes him smile as well.

“You desperately need a haircut,” he then tells her.  “Just because she’s pregnant doesn’t mean you have any reason to be letting yourself go this much.”

She kicks at his shin, and he chuckles before pulling her into a hug.  “Still jealous of the vomiting and cankles and general insanity that comes with this particular condition?”

She shrugs, and then rests her cheek on his shoulder.  “You know, somewhere along the way I convinced myself that being pregnant with Hayley was perfect, but--it was kind of a hot mess and we should be thanking God daily that your dad and Rachel’s parents stopped us from screwing her up completely.”

He smiles.  “I don’t know; I think by the time we’d accepted that the universe hated us, and it became about that little gray blob on the ultrasound, we pulled it together fairly well.”

“I’m really glad you’re her dad,” Quinn says, after a moment.

He wonders if it’s a sentiment that he even needs to return, because she knows he wouldn’t have ever gotten near any woman that isn’t her, Rachel’s pregnancy notwithstanding, but then a loud howl sounds from inside and they’re both on their feet again in seconds--wobbling, but ready to intervene.

“Sam called her psychotic yesterday,” Kurt admits, in a low whisper, as they sneak back inside.  “I think she might be taking revenge.”

“By being psychotic?” Quinn asks, raising her eyebrows at him, before shushing him when he accidentally steps on the creaky step.  Hayley’s asleep, or should be--she probably isn’t what with all the hammering and Rachel’s increasingly high-pitched why can’t you understand these instructions?  They’re not actually in Swedish, Sam!--and so they giggle at each other as softly as they can, before appearing at the top of the stairs.

Rachel has a checkered bandana around her head, is wearing some heinous pregnancy pantsuit or something--he can’t honestly look at her below the waist, which means he’s just staring at her incensed, baboon-like expression.

“Have you two been drinking?” she demands.

Quinn shakes her head dramatically.  “Noo-ooo.  Just getting some fresh air because--you know.  It’s important to keep breathing.”

Rachel’s eyes flash at them and Kurt bites down on both his cheeks to not start laughing again.  “You think my condition is funny?”

“No,” they say in tandem, because they don’t.

“Because I know I’m being a hysterical whale about all of this,” Rachel snaps, and then bursts into tears, and sinks down to her knees, and--God, he’s not cut out for women, let alone ones that actually act like women.  He was so lucky to impregnate Quinn, and he stares at the ceiling while Quinn clambers the rest of the way up the stairs and crawls over to her now-sobbing wife.

“You’re not a whale, baby, you’re an incubator,” Quinn then says, in this soft and private bedroom voice that would normally make his skin crawl, but this time, the outrage on Rachel’s face sort of cuts that reaction off.

What did you just call me?”

Sam flees the room a second later and hisses, “Let’s grab Hayley and go for a walk; this is going to get ugly.”

“I’m not sober enough to walk,” Kurt says, smiling widely when Quinn starts pawing at a now retreating and “don’t touch me!”-ing Rachel, before looking back at Sam.  “Just sit here and drink this tequila with me and enjoy the show.”

Sam looks skeptical, but settles at the top of the stairs with him, and they watch as it takes Rachel and Quinn ten minutes to literally crawl this argument over to their bedroom, with a mixture of curses and apologies in their wake.

Ten minutes later, a loud moan sounds from the bedroom, and Sam just grimaces.

“Lesbians,” Kurt says, with a sigh, before handing over the bottle.  “Tequila?”

The actual birth process is a completely different experience from Quinn’s.

For one thing, he’s not working at the Gap; Sam is not working up the courage to ask him out on a date before being used as an impromptu chauffeur; and, given that Rachel’s business, quote, “feels like it’s splitting at the seams”, unquote, she’s more focused on that than on all the things that can go wrong with the process and the list of things that needs to be brought to the hospital and how she definitely does not want an epidural, and everything else she’s been ranting about endlessly for the last two weeks.

It’s probably the most different from Quinn, though, who absently rubs at her stomach on the car ride over while Sam encourages Rachel to “think like a choo-choo-train” and--

God, he loves his family, he thinks, before giving Quinn an encouraging glance in the rear view mirror and then telling Hayley to stop mocking her mother’s breathing techniques.

Rachel isn’t Quinn, and so there isn’t a “I look like shit so don't look at me” factor to be considered; instead, Quinn gets tugged along into the delivery room almost immediately, and then Rachel howls for him and Sam to also get in.

They move to the head of the bed so that they don’t have see--any of what’s going on, really, and Sam reaches for Rachel’s spare hand and lets her basically detach it from his arm without ever once abandoning his pep talk.

Quinn is quiet, but like a rock, and her hand doesn’t stop running along Rachel’s forehead, wiping her sweaty hair out of the way.

Rachel hits notes that, frankly, he definitely thought were out of her range given that she’s not a true soprano, but she surprises them all--not so much by taking about seven hours to deliver the baby, because when has Rachel ever chosen the easy path when a difficult one was available?

They’re all on the verge of a nervous breakdown by the time her final push arrives, and Quinn leans down and murmurs something softly in her ear, and Rachel cries out, “I hate you Kurt”, which is oddly reminiscent of the last time he was in a room like, this, actually, and then the baby is there.

It greets the world with an ear-splitting cry, which somehow settles Rachel down immediately and shifts her from hatred at everything into quiet, proud tears, and then the nurse holds the baby up and asks, carefully, “Who would like to hold her?”

“Quinn,” Kurt says, before anyone else can make any decisions otherwise, and he watches as Quinn takes a hesitant step towards the foot of the bed, where Rachel’s legs are still limply dangling from stirrups, and then collects the bundle that they’re now responsible for.

“A boy,” the nurse supplies, and Sam flushes with joy, or pride, or something, before reaching down and kissing Rachel’s forehead and telling her that he bets the kid is going to be some sort of amazing singer when he grows up.  Then, he slips out of the delivery room to collect Hayley, who’s going to be excited to meet her new brother in a way that the rest of them are too exhausted to be.

Rachel can barely manage a smile, at this point, but watches as her wife and the baby turn back around and bend down to greet her--and then she reaches up for Kurt’s hand, tangles it with hers, and says, “Together.”

They pull a bit of the blanket back, and stare at their son, and if he thought that this had gone unexpectedly perfect the first time around, it’s only because he had no real frame of reference.

The list of boy baby names has been shrinking gradually for months now, but they still find themselves in the hospital cafeteria while Rachel catches up on some sleep, mulling over the last few names.

“We can’t decide this without her,” Sam finally says, and then in the same breath adds, “But I’m going to go with Joshua.”

“He looks like a Josh,” Quinn agrees, quietly; there’s something about her face that means that she’s torn between two experiences right now, but her arm is around Hayley’s back and that’s grounding her, for now.  “Hayles?”

Hayley, who’s been in the waiting room--because God, nobody should have to see their parent go through something like that--for most of the last seven hours, nods after a second.  “I’ve been thinking about it and I think Josh and Hayley go good together so that’s my pick too, but I’m okay with Seth if you want that.”

They all look at him, after that, and he thinks about the little crying mess that they’d put into a crib about twenty minutes ago, and says, “I don’t think there are any famous designers named Joshua yet, so that’s perfect, actually.  He can be the first.”

“Except he’s going to be a singer,” Hayley says.  “He has to, he came out of Mommy.”

Quinn finally seems to relax at that, and kisses the top of Hayley’s head.  “That’s not really how it works, babe.”

Sam says, “Well, not normally, but in Rachel’s case...--”

They all laugh, exhausted, and Kurt rubs at his eyes and then says, “Okay.  Q, I guess you want to be here with her when she wakes up, but one of us needs to be rested for when they come home, so--”

“I know,” Quinn says, and nudges Hayley in the side.  “Want to help your dad get the rest of the nursery set up while Sam and I hang out here?”

Hayley almost nods, but then hesitates and looks at Sam curiously for a moment.  “What’s Joshua going to call you?”

Sam blinks.  “I’m not--I don’t know.”  He looks to Kurt for guidance, who frowns.

“Uncle Sam is hardly going to work given that--we’re married now, and you’ve been here since the start, and, well--he was almost yours,” he then says, slowly.

“Maybe just … Sam?” Sam ventures after a moment.

They helplessly look at each other, until Quinn sighs.  “Hayley, are you asking if you can start calling Uncle Sam Daddy because the baby probably will?”

Hayley shifts in her seat.  “Well, I don’t know, but it’s definitely weird if he’s my uncle and Josh’s dad, so--”

Sam’s entire face freezes, and then he says, “Um--you want to--I mean--”

God, there is literally no etiquette for a situation like this, and so they’re saved by the ten year old, who rolls her eyes in a spectacular way and then says, “Duh.  I kind of do in my head anyway.”

Sam looks like he might start crying all over again, but then just sinks back in his seat and wipes at his forehead.  “God, I haven’t been this emotionally exhausted since like, 52 started and they rebuilt five universes at once.”

Kurt almost tells him to not be ridiculous, but it’s pointless; ridiculous is how he likes Sam.

Somehow, he and Rachel end up alone on her second day home, with Josh nestled on her chest, snoring as much as babies can snore.

“His breath control worries me,” Rachel murmurs.

Kurt almost hits her in the face, but then she starts grinning and looks at him a little mockingly.

“Come on,” she says, and then pulls on his arm until he settles by her side.  “Look at what we’ve made together.  Do you really think I have any complaints?”

He forgives her for the last nine months instantly.

Well, most of the last nine months, anyway.

About two weeks after Joshua returns home, he finds himself playing a video game with Hayley--who mostly likes playing him because he has zero hand-eye coordination and she can legitimately kick his ass without trying.

She destroys him by pulling his head off his body--and he cringes at the visual before reminding himself to talk to Sam about the difference between awesome and age-appropriate--and then stares at the buttons on her controller for a moment.

“Dad?” is then voiced, and he looks at her carefully.  “I know--that I was kind of an accident and that you and Mom didn’t want me, but--do you love Josh more than you love me because you asked for him and he didn’t just show up?”

He feels his heart sink, and then gingerly puts the controller onto the table, before reaching for hers and putting that one down, too.

Then, he folds one leg under his body and turns to look at her carefully, and reaches out to fix her off-center braid with one hand as he wonders how on earth to respond to this.

In the end, it can only be with the truth, and so he closes his eyes for a second and says, “Even when I hoped that it wasn’t true, about me, I always knew that I liked boys better than girls.  That one afternoon when your mom and I were together were kind of like--oh, God, there is probably some sports metaphor for this, but bear with me... it’s like going out looking for the perfect cable-knit cashmere v-neck sweater on Black Friday.  You know you’re not going to find it, but you have to try.”

Hayley looks at him in confusion, and he sighs.

“I never thought I’d have children.  Sam and I can’t have them together, and even though when I was fifteen I didn’t think I’d have a chance in h-e-l-l of dating a guy like him--”

She laughs at his spelling, and then says, “If Mom’s not home she can’t hear you.”

“I know, but it’s the rules,” he says, pulling on her hair elastic one last time.  “Anyway.  I knew I’d be with a man.  And we wouldn’t have children, because it just wouldn’t happen, and I thought my life would be full of fashion and parties and extravagance, and I thought I’d be happy with just that.”

Hayley’s lip snags between her teeth, and he reaches over to cup her cheek for a moment.

“I was wrong.  My life would’ve been incredibly empty without you, okay?  And though I feel the same way about Joshua, now, he would’ve never been here if we hadn’t been so lucky so as to have you, first.”

It’s probably not entirely in line with Rachel’s approach to kosher parenting to pit the existence of one child against the existence of another child, but Hayley will be eleven soon, and is growing up incredibly fast and will realize sooner rather than later that there’s more than enough love to go around for both of them--and, the eventual third that Quinn is now starting to long for, if he’s honest.

For today, though, it’s important to give her just that one little sign that she came first and comes first, and she fights a smile but ultimately gives in, much in the way Quinn always does when faced with Rachel’s milder crazy ideas.

“Okay,” she then says.  “Just making sure because, I like him, but not if you like him better than me.”

He smiles, and then stares at the video game.  “Want to go and play dress-up with Joshua instead of this?”

She beams at him, and he honestly couldn’t have asked for a better kid.

It takes the Andersons three weeks to show up with a gift basket, but they do it.

Kurt opens the door this time, and smiles at them politely, even as they fidget in the doorway.

“Hayley tells us that... some of you have had a child,” Mrs. Anderson finally says.

He struggles not to laugh at her, but hey, at least Sam isn’t taking a shower this time, so by definition this can’t get as awkward as it did when they first introduced themselves.

“Rachel--the one you filed the noise complaint against,” he says, not without humor, and they blush before staring at the ground, “delivered a healthy baby boy a few weeks ago, and she and the baby are both recovering fine.”

Quinn pads down the stairs in her sweat pants and a loose-fitting cotton t-shirt, ready to go on a weekend run, and then slides in place next to him.  “Oh, what’s this?”

“For the baby,” Mr. Anderson supplies, scratching at his cheek.  “And its.... parents.”

"Oh, how wonderful; you really didn’t have to,” Quinn supplies, reaching for the basket and then dropping it just inside of the door.  “Would you like to meet Joshua?”

“No, that’s okay,” Mrs. Anderson says, wringing her hands together.  “Hayley showed us pictures.  He’s a very handsome baby boy.”

“Just like his mommy and daddy,” Quinn agrees, and then plants a wet kiss on Kurt’s cheek, before heading out the door past the Andersons.  “See you later, sweetheart.  Wish me luck; I’m trying to break the five minute mark.”

“You can do it, baby,” he calls out after her, and then smiles at the Andersons with a butter-wouldn’t-melt expression on his face.  “She’s very athletic.”

They flush again, and he knows Rachel and Sam will be pissed at them both for once again toying with their straight-laced neighbors just for fun, because it’s important to nurture that relationship (Rachel) and to not be a dick, dude (Sam) but--sometimes it’s just too easy.

He and Rachel are watching Project Runway on the couch together, when Josh is two months old, and she turns to him and stares for so long that he eventually stares back.

“What?”

“Do you miss the city?” she asks him.

He shrugs.  “I go there daily, so not really.”

“Because I honestly thought that Jersey would be--the worst thing to ever happen to me--”

“Yeah, that’s not dramatic at all,” he says, rolling his eyes at her.

She scowls at him.  “I am dramatic, Kurt, and so are you, for the record, so this is a classic case of a pot and a kettle--”

“I demand to be the kettle,” he tells her, blithely.

She huffs and then turns towards the TV again, and after about two minutes of wondering if he’s actually going to have this conversation, he pulls her feet into his lap.

A content look passes over her face--that glutton--and when he starts rubbing, he says, “We’re happy here, aren’t we?”

She’s quiet for a little while, and then rolls onto her back to give him better access--and he refuses to look at her wiggling toes, because, ew--and then says, “I thought I’d be married to a man by this point; you know, headlining actual Broadway shows and … maybe I’d have two designer dogs that I’d specifically requested to be cross-bred--”

He snorts at her, and she’s sort of laughing at herself, now, so it’s fine.

“I never thought that--the highlight of my day, every single day, is having Josh on my lap while we wait for Quinn to get back and--that’s it.  That’s the best moment.  It outweighs any single standing ovation I’ve ever received.”  She’s quiet for a moment, and then adds, “I’ve even weighed it up in my mind to a Tony acceptance speech, and frankly, I couldn’t bring Josh and Hayley to the Tonys, at which point I’d probably just be helplessly weeping up there while my publicist reams me out for referencing my unusual family situation at all.”

He digs into her arches for a second, and she sort of hisses at him and then they stare at each other.

“If there was an award in mothering, Quinn and I would give it to you,” he tells her, in a moment of weakness; maybe it’s just that she’s literally dripping with sincerity right now, and it reminds him that he loves her separate of how good she is for Quinn.  “Honest.”

Her eyes grow even softer at that, but of course, then she says, “Well.  If only the rest of you would do as much research as I do, maybe it’d be a competition.”

He rolls his eyes at her and pinches her toes, hard, and she laughs and kicks at him.

...

Quinn and Josh are out on the back porch, with the cordless, and he makes some coffee for them both and tries not to listen in on a hushed conversation that is really none of his business, but given that it’s fairly obvious from just how tense her shoulders are and now tightly she’s gripping Josh’s fist that she’s talking to her mother, he opts to hover obnoxiously anyway.

The conversation ends in the same low tones it started in, and he takes that as a good sign, and when she puts the phone down, he joins her and hands her a macchiato, just the way she likes it.

She murmurs something in response, and he nudges the phone to the side before sitting down next to her and tickling Josh’s foot for a second, until the baby grins at him toothily.

“I don’t think I actually played any part in the making of,” he then says, quietly.  “This child is about one thousand percent Rachel, right down to that smile.”

Quinn’s entire face grows soft when she looks at Josh, and then she shifts in closer and presses her side against Kurt’s.

“I don’t think so,” she then says.  “I think this child is the product of a very strange but ultimately healthy family, and he’ll grow up to be .. extraordinary.  Much like Hayley will.”

“He has a good role model in you,” Kurt offers.

She smiles a little, at that, and then says, “Who knew that fucking Cresskill, New Jersey, would end up being so good to us, huh?”

He knows she really means it because of the unprompted curse, and lets Josh pull the sleeve of his jacket out of shape before taking a careful sip.

They sit there until the sun rises, and then slowly get joined by the rest of their family--Sam, sleepy and just in boxers, collapsing somewhere behind them in a deck chair, and falling asleep again within minutes; Rachel, in one of those ridiculous outfits she likes to wear on the elliptical, sweaty and energized, fishing Josh out of Quinn’s hands and flying him around like an airplane for a few moments before settling down between Quinn’s legs; and finally Hayley, dressed like either a pirate or a drag queen--and really, it could be either--in anticipation of Sunday Funday, when they all get to do whatever it is they feel like as long as they can find a way to do it together.

“Great outfit, Hayles,” he says, as she squeezes past him and sits down next to Rachel, poking at Josh for a moment.  “Really fashion-forward.”

Quinn snorts, and then holds up a hand in apology when Hayley glares at her.  “He’s right, baby.  You’re an innovator.”

“Your taste is as revolutionary as mine was at your age,” Rachel says, which is enough to make Kurt’s face contort in a way that actually hurts--but then Sam blurts out, “Waffles” out of nowhere, and they all just start laughing.

It might be Cresskill, New Jersey--but honestly, he thinks that with this combination of people, he could’ve made home happen anywhere.