“I want a baby.“
Unlike most times during her life Rachel Berry spoke those words spontaneously. It wasn't a well thought through doctrine she had written several pro and con lists or done intense research on. It also wasn't the clichéd situation of strolling through the park seeing parents with their newborns. In fact, watching her wife curse while she cleaned the shower drain was possibly the most disjointed image possible. Just a moment ago they had been talking about the for and against of chemical drain cleaner. Still she said it. It was the truth and now it was out there.
Looking completely calm, just as if Rachel's statement didn't have the enormity it did Quinn got up from her kneeling position and sat down on her heels. Rachel wanted to sigh at the neutral expression on her wife's face. Of course Quinn would put her walls up in a moment like this. Even after six years of being together and three years of marriage, when vital choices came up the blonde would initially draw back to ponder over it for herself before sharing her thoughts with Rachel.
Rachel decided to file the silence under taken by surprise in a positive way for now.
Quinn took off her rubber gloves and swiped her bangs out of her forehead. “You want a baby?” The tone of her voice made clear she hadn't quite assimilated the information yet.
Rachel nodded; she had her mind made up completely. “Yes.”
“Okay,” Quinn answered, her voice as neutral as her face previously was.
Rachel was perfectly aware that this wasn't approval in any way. It was more of a acknowledgment of reception. It meant that Quinn had gotten the message but would need a while to digest it. Rachel remained in her spot leaned against the door frame, her arms crossed, even when Quinn got up and brushed past her out of the en suite into their bedroom.
Expecting her wife to return any second, she stayed there. It was only when she heard the metallic noise of – supposedly – pots being moved around in the kitchen, did she realize Quinn wouldn't come back. Following the sound she came to behind her wife who apparently had decided that it was time to prepare dinner.
“For the sake of hygiene I really hope you washed your hands somewhere between what you were just doing and touching groceries.” Rachel had hopped onto the kitchen counter smiling softly when that remark earned her Quinn's famous raised eyebrow.
“For the sake of domestic peace I really hope you decide to help me out instead of continuing to stare at my ass, like you have done for the last thirty minutes while I was doing all the work.”
“It's not my fault you have such a marvelous rear,” the brunette clarified, pressing a kiss to her wife's cheek and turning all her attention to vegetables that needed to be chopped in front of her.
Quinn was pretty sure that God had some kind of alarm system for her that would trigger as soon as she was in a good place in her life. It had to be; because just the night before, around sixteen hours before Rachel dropped the bombshell in the form of those damn four words on her she had thought about how perfect everything was.
Rachel had been snoring softly where she rested her head on Quinn's chest then, pretty much exactly like she was now. The night before Quinn had studied the brunette's features silently and allowed herself the thought that it probably didn't get more perfect than this. Now the usually so comforting warmth of her wife's body made her feel restricted.
Quinn didn't want children. It was as simple as that.
Or not. Depending on the point of view. It wasn't a realization she had made just now, obviously; but at the same time it was. She herself had known for a while. It was simply that she wasn't forced to face any consequences of it until Rachel had put her to the question of yes or no.
Rachel hadn't even done that. She had just stated her own desire, evidently expecting that Quinn felt the same way. Granted, they had never really brought the subject up. For Rachel it was self-evident that her wife wanted kids. Just like it had been for Quinn, through a large part of her life. And through a large part of her relationship with Rachel.
Quinn was brought up under the impression that a baby is just something you want as a woman. There was no alternative. She didn't have any woman in her environment who thought differently.
But she was twenty-six years old now. A lot of things that she had wanted growing up have changed. She'd never thought she would end up married to Rachel Berry, yet here she was. Plans and dreams change. It wasn't a big deal, it was just life.
What was a big deal was that Rachel and Quinn's plans seemed to cross in completely adverse ways. As she pressed a kiss to her wife's head she hoped that their love was strong enough to see through this.
Rachel was growing impatient. That was an understatement really. She was by nature not very enduring. Suffice to say that she certainly wasn't when she wanted something with all her heart; and what she wanted with all her heart right now was a baby with Quinn. A family with Quinn.
She understood that her wife needed time. Rachel's demand had been a bit more extensive that time than the usual and it wasn't like she had expected Quinn to Goggle the closest sperm bank, but nine days had passed since she had shared her desire with her wife and nothing had happened. Nada. Quinn was acting like the conversation never took place.
Rachel's mind had been occupied with dreaming about their future as a little family since she had brought it up that day. Everything about it excited her endlessly.
So she was on a mission. Rachel was resolved to get an answer from Quinn this time. No excuses or quibbling. She didn't want to wait any longer. Every day since she decided that she wanted a baby she could hear her biological clock ticking. It was ridiculous of course, but Rachel just felt like they were wasting time that they could easily spend on looking through sperm donor files or mapping out her ovulation.
Just like the first time she approached the subject they were in the bathroom. They had just gotten home from dinner with Rachel's former castmates and Quinn was brushing her teeth while the brunette removed the last remains of her evening make up.
“Are we ever going to talk about it?” It was vague, but really defensive at the same time and she knew that Quinn immediately realized what she was talking about because she stilled all movement.
“I want a baby, Quinn.”
Rachel choose this moment deliberately. Due to the toothbrush and paste in her mouth Quinn couldn't answer right away and was forced to listen to what her wife had to say.
“I know that you – as the voice of reason in this relationship – probably think this is hasty and something life altering as that needs some major planning, but I'm sick of planning. I've planned everything for my whole life and reached everything I ever wanted. Even the things that I realized I didn't even want once I got them.”
They looked at each other in heavy silence and Rachel sighed.
“I don't want another Tony or finally win that stupid Emmy after the fourth nomination. I want to lie in bed with you a little girl or boy on my chest and just take in their adorableness. I want to fight with you if they should be raised in a vegan lifestyle or not. I want you to yell at me because I enrolled our daughter in voice lessons even though she's only two years old. I want to watch you show our little boy how to tie his shoes. I want to watch a little person grow into a mixture of me and you, not because they will be genetically both of ours but because we will give them both of our values along the way. I want... I want a family with you, Quinn.”
She was a little out of breath when she finally came to an end. The time in which Quinn hadn't mentioned her desire to have children even once has intensified all of those thoughts and images within her.
Quinn must have known that she's already anxious, but she took her time in that moment anyway. As the blonde cleansed her mouth Rachel briefly wondered why the two seconds that action took seemed even longer than the previous two weeks.
A soft smile was on Quinn's face when she finally looked up into her wife's face. And then she nodded her head. It was so brief, Rachel would have missed it if she blinked.
It wasn't a confirmation of reception this time. It was an agreement.
Rachel mouth spreads into a face splitting grin. “Yes?”
Her wife mirrors the expression pulling Rachel into a tight embrace. “When you talk about it, I can see how happy it will make you. What other answer could there be, besides yes?”
It was due to the extreme thrill about the fact that Quinn had finally given her the approval that she had craved so desperately that Rachel was able to see past the hint of a pained expression in Quinn's smile. It wasn't until a few days later that she would have to face the imbalance of her wife's agreement.
Their coffee table was completely covered in papers. Seventy four files to be exact on potential sperm donors. Rachel had picked them up that morning, idly studying each and every one for hours now. She was sitting on the couch, feet tucked beneath herself and sorting the papers into various stacks. That was how Quinn had left her wife in the morning when she had headed off to work and she wasn't really surprised to see the brunette in the very same position when she got home at night. That was how her wife was to be found those last couple of days.
When Quinn wanted to move a few files out of the way so she could sit down next to Rachel, the shorter woman protested with a shriek. “Don't mess up my system!”
Quinn sighed. Four days had passed ever since she had agreed to try and start a family with Rachel, and in those for days the initial enthusiasm Rachel had managed to infect her with had gotten less with every hour that passed. When she had said yes, it was because she had realized how deeply her wife longed for it and she had never really been able to deny the woman anything. She had thought that if having a baby would make Rachel happy, it would make her happy too, but the truth was with every file that Rachel put down on her 'considered' stack, she realized more that this wasn't what she wanted. Faced with Rachel's - those days constant - excitement and enthusiasm, she tried her best to suppress that realization and convince herself that she could do this, instead.
“I narrowed it down to those five,” Rachel informed her, effectively breaking her train of thought. In her hands the brunette held the papers out to Quinn expectantly.
The blonde started to browse through them briefly while her wife was talking. “They are all blonde, with eyes similar to yours, of above average IQ and of course all very musically and artistic talented.”
Quinn could feel Rachel's eyes watching her closely as she read through the files. It was like when they were watching a movie that Rachel loved and the diva watched her every reaction to see if she loved it just as much as she did.
“I also went over counting through my cycle one more time. If we can decide on a donor, we should be able to try this weekend.”
Quinn nodded silently. She didn't know she remained so calm on the outside. Her mind was going crazy. The weekend was four days away. She didn't think that everything would go this fast when she had given her okay. She had figured that there would be a month of picking out a donor, another one of Rachel mentally and physically preparing herself and then about another month of preparing the actual event of insemination. This was just a lot faster than she wanted. There was no time for her to adjust to the idea. Or possibly for Rachel to change her mind.
“Isn't that a bit rushed?” she finally spoke her thought out loud.
“What are we supposed to be waiting for? We are in a very good place financially, I'm healthy and each of this donor's is close to perfect,” she said, a dreamy expression crossed her face. “Imagine Quinn, if this should work out, we could be parents by Christmas this year!”
Christmas. Quinn swallowed, thinking about last year's holidays. They had rented a little cabin upstate New York where they wanted to hide out until all the holiday trouble was over. When that initially romantic plan turned into a disaster due to torrential rain and a broken radiator, they had sworn to go someplace really warm the following year. Quinn thought about the brochures about Canary Islands that were already in her night stand. No way they would do that hiking trip on Madeira with a newborn. Just like there were a million other things that they wouldn't be able to do if they went ahead with Rachel's plans.
“I don't want to do this,” the words left Quinn's mouth before she could think about it too much.
Rachel looked taken aback for the split of a second before she contained herself and shook her head with a smile. “You want some time to go pick out the sperm donor properly, don't you? You're probably right, I mean this isn't deciding on a new wallpaper for the study. We are trying to decide what DNA we are giving our child along. Where would I be without your voice of reason, Quinn?”
The brunette leaned in to plant a kiss on her wife's lips but Quinn ducked away from her awkwardly. “That isn't what I'm talking about.”
Remorseful Quinn watched as Rachel drew back and her lips formed a thin line. “I think I need you to be more specific.”
With a sigh the blonde let her head fall back against the couch cushion. “I don't want a baby. Not now and I don't think I ever will.”
Quinn had prepared herself for a lot after that statement. Fits of rage. Fits of tears. Questions. Pleads. But nothing ever comes, Rachel just remained sitting next to her in silence. A dejected look on her face that was breaking Quinn's heart; but at the same time Quinn couldn't help but feel incredibly relieved that the truth was finally out.
Once the initial feeling of being punched in the stomach passed, Rachel found herself starting to go through the classic five stages of coping over the next few weeks after Quinn's revelation.
Denial set in big time almost immediately. She convinced herself that this wasn't really how her wife felt. That Quinn was just getting cold feet because everything happened so fast. She tried her best to give the blonde space so she would be able to realize on her own that it was ridiculous. Of course Quinn wanted kids. She had a kid, for crying out loud! Granted, Beth wasn't what you would call a planned child or Quinn's kid in the proper meaning of the word; still in Rachel's eyes it was nearly impossible that someone could do a 180 on such an essential subject.
When she realized that simply giving the blonde time wasn't going to cut it, she tried her best to find out Quinn's clearly underlying fears were that made her change her mind.
“Why don't you want a baby, Quinn?”
The addressed blonde lowered her hand that had just been reaching for a pack of pasta. It was obvious that she hadn't expected Rachel to bring the subject up after two weeks of not mentioning it once, especially not during a moment so trivial as grocery shopping.
Quinn's answer was plain. “I wouldn't make a good mother.”
“That's ridiculous!” Rachel exclaimed passionately, foremost relieved that Quinn's refusal came from such a silly fear. “ Think about the last time we babysat Tommy!You are great with kids.”
“Yes sure. As long as they aren't mine and I can drop them off again.”
They remained walking through the shop's aisles quietly before Rachel was hit by an epiphany. “This is about your parents isn't it? You're afraid that you will be a bad mother because they were lousy parents.”
The blonde pursed her lips. “Do you really think we should have this discussion in an overcrowded super market?”
“If it were up to you, we wouldn't have this discussion at all,” Rachel stated defensively.
“Let's talk about this when we get home, Rachel.”
“No!” The diva was a second away from stomping her foot. “You're just trying to avoid the subject again and I'm sick of it! We will talk about this now! Tell me why in the world you don't want a baby.”
Quinn took a deep breath and shook her head slightly at her wife's stubborn antics; still unwilling to give Rachel an answer she pushed the cart further down the aisle.
The brunette caught Quinn by her right arm, bringing her to hold. “No more evading! I want an answer now!”
“Fine.” Looking somewhat defeated the blonde ran a hand through her hair and sighed. “No this has nothing do to with me thinking I'll be as shitty as my parents. It has everything to do with the fact that I'm too selfish to be a mother. I like to sleep in late, I like to jump on a plane and travel whenever I feel like it, I like to take you on the kitchen table in the middle of the day, but mostly I love my independence and it isn't just like all the things above are very compatible with a baby!”
With those words Quinn continued walking leaving her wife staring at her back completely stunned. As it appeared, Rachel wasn't the only one who had spend a lot of thought on the subject.
She was aware that her unwillingness to give Rachel what she wanted could easily be the death sentence to their marriage, but really Quinn didn't see why she was the one to make a compromise. Because having kids is what you're supposed to want? Because Rachel's dream of having a family was more important than her dreams?
Ever since they had gotten around to talking about their issues in the halls of a grocery store it was like their life together had turned into a constant argument. In the past when they lay in bed together shortly before they would go to sleep, they would talk about their days or random thoughts that had been on their minds. It was her favorite time of the day. Now it seemed that everything Rachel was capable of talking about was her damn baby plans and Quinn felt like they were having the same fight over and over again.
“I see your point, alright,” Rachel acknowledged softly. “You're not ready to start a family, you want to live your life before you make a big decision like that, I get it, but you can't tell me that you know for sure that this is never going to change.”
Quinn sighed as she turned onto her side so she could face her wife. They had this conversation for what felt like thirty times already. She felt exhausted. At the same time she was also incredibly scared. Rachel seemed dead-set on her plans and Quinn knew that she couldn't give in this time. This wasn't a decision you made compromises on. It wasn't like deciding on a color for the kitchen that could be repainted if they thought differently. You couldn't give a baby back.
The blonde reached over and intertwined their hands. “No, I don't know that is never going to change, but there is a very high chance that it won't. How could I do that to our hypothetical child? Bring it into this world and when I'm not one hundred percent sure I want it. I think you should be completely sure before you decide to have a baby. And I'm simply not. What if I would end up blaming that child for everything that I missed out on in my life?”
“What if it turns out to be the greatest thing that ever happened to you?” Rachel argued. “What if you fall in love with this little person as soon as you first hold him or her in your arms?”
“What if I don't? Loving a child isn't something you should take chances on, Rachel.”
The argument was airtight. Quinn knew that; and judging by the defeated look on Rachel's face she knew it too.
“Where is this even coming from?” the brunette wanted to know. “I thought you wanted kids. I thought that kids were always a part of your plan. Of our plan. You once told me that you would tug a pillow beneath you shirt when you were a little girl to see what being pregnant would look like. What changed?”
“Maybe it's because that pillow became reality a few years later. I don't know.”
“So this is about Beth?”
Quinn could nearly hear her wife's brain starting to psychoanalyze her.
“No. Me not wanting kids isn't about Beth. Or my parents. Or you, for that matter. It's me, just me.”
“Your decision might not be about me, but the consequences it entails most certainly are about us,” Rachel clarified in a sober way.
“I really wish that I could want this, Rachel.” Quinn pulled their joined hands to her lips and placed a tender kiss on the brunette's knuckles. “For your sake I really want to crave a baby just as much as you do.”
“But you don't.” Rachel's voice was hardly more than a whisper. She looked absolutely disappointed and Quinn hated herself for being the cause of that pain.
Still she confirmed her statement. “No I don't.”
“So where does that leave us?”
Quinn rolled onto her back looking up at the ceiling silently, her fingers were still tightly laced with Rachel's. She didn't want to say it out loud. It left them at a place where the ball was in Rachel's court now. It was up to her to decide what she wanted more. A baby or Quinn.
After passing through the stages of bargaining (“Maybe you will change your mind about kids in five years or so, Quinn.”) and anger (“I hate you for putting this decision on me, why can't you just want kids like any normal person in this world?”) briefly, Rachel found herself in a major depression. For once in her life she didn't know what to do.
She didn't want to lose Quinn. She loved her wife more than her own life, but at the same time she knew that all of this fighting and discussing was slowly killing them and Rachel was very aware that things wouldn't necessarily get better should she bring herself to make the choice that being a mother wasn't as important as being with Quinn.
It was Wednesday afternoon when she lay on her side in their bed, pondering over her options once again, when Quinn appeared in the doorway. She barely acknowledged her wife with more than a mumbled “hey”.
Without saying a word Quinn walked up to the bed, sitting down on the edge next to Rachel. The brunette closed her eyes as soft fingers started running through her hair tenderly.
“We can't go on like this,” Quinn stated quietly. “I can't stand to see you like this.”
For a second, Rachel allowed herself to hope that the blonde was going to tell her that she changed her mind. That she would be telling her that it really were just cold feet all along and that she wanted a baby just as much as Rachel did. The somber look on her wife's face let that hope vanish in an instant.
“I'm really scared,” Quinn admitted. “I'm scared that you will start to hate me because I can't make your dreams come true.”
“We will make it,” Rachel vowed. “It's us Quinn. Of course we will make it.”
“You say that now,” the blonde sighed. “I know how determined you can be when you really want something. Sooner or later I will be in the way.”
Rachel turned onto her back and reached up to pull her wife down for a kiss. “You will never be in my way. You're my life.”
Quinn once released from their kiss, blew out air and went back to softly running her hand through Rachel's hair. “You're still hoping that one day my dreams will be the same as yours aren't you?”
“Aren't you hoping for the same?” Rachel countered quietly. She didn't need an answer. She already knew it. They stayed silent for a while, enjoying each other's closeness for this moment.
“Maybe...” the blonde's voice was barely above a whisper as she spoke the words. “I think that I should look for a place of my own.”
Within a second Rachel had sat up and looked at her wife in disbelief. “Are you talking about leaving me? About divorce?”
Quinn reached for both of Rachel's hands, a serious expression on her face. “It's not what I want. Obviously.”
“Then why would you even suggest something like it!” Rachel was enraged. Also, the thought of Quinn leaving her was angst-inducing and devastating at the same time. A second later anger came over her as a new thought hit her. “Is this some kind of emotional blackmail? If I don't let go of my baby plans you'll leave me?”
“No. Of course not,” Quinn's face was sincere as she shook her head. “It's just that ...Neither of us is going to change our minds. I think we should just forestall the inevitable and split while we still love each other.”
"So you will just give up? Just leave me?” Rachel didn't know if she should start to cry or to yell.
A look in Quinn's eyes told her that she felt just as helpless. “I don't think there will be a happy ending for us.”