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Words To Make You Love Me

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Quinn jumped when she felt a hand grab her arm and pull her into an empty classroom. “Finn! What the hell are you doing?”

“I want to talk to you,” Finn said, shoving his hands in his pockets.

“You couldn’t have asked instead of practically kidnapping me?” Quinn rolled her eyes.

“Whatever.” Finn shrugged his shoulders.

“Well, what do you want? I haven’t got all day.” Quinn didn’t mean to sound so short with him but Puck would forget she needed a ride if she didn’t meet up with him.

“You owe me and I want you to pay up.”

“Excuse me?” Quinn narrowed her eyes at him.

“Trying to pass off the baby as mine. You owe me and I need your help,” Finn said nervously.

“What do you want me to do?” Quinn asked, knowing he was right. She’d screwed him over and if he needed something, she should probably give it to him.

“I want Rachel back but I’m no good with words. I keep messing up. I want you to help me write her letters that will make her like me again.” Finn looked at her, shaking with anxiety.

“That’s crazy.” Quinn shook her head, amazed that he had such nerve. “Forget it.”

“Come on, please. I can’t think of anything else,” Finn pleaded.

“Sing her a song. God knows she’d fall all over you for that.”

“I’m not as good a singer as Jesse,” Finn said sullenly.

“Well, that’s true,” Quinn muttered.

“Hey! I need your help, not insults. Please.”

Quinn bit her lip as she looked at Finn’s desperate face. She didn’t like this at all but Finn had a point. She did owe him. And she hated that Jesse guy nearly as much as Finn did. He was creepy. “I’ll do it but I want you to know that this will likely blow up in both of our faces.”

“No, it’ll be fine. Thank you, Quinn!” Finn pumped his fist in excitement.

“Do you want to start now? You’ll have to give me a ride home if you do. Puck probably got distracted by something shiny and forgot about me.” Quinn winced when Finn’s face fell at her mention of Puck. “Sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.”

“No, it’s- it’s okay.” Finn shrugged his shoulders. “Add I can give you a ride if you want.”

“Okay.” Quinn followed him out to his truck. “So, if we’re going to make Rachel fall in love with you, we’ll have to get into her head. Why don’t you tell me what you like about her?”

Finn instantly relaxed, a smile on his face. “She can sing great and she makes me feel so good about myself.”

“Okay. That’s a good start. What else?” Quinn steeled herself, unprepared to hear Finn talk about someone else. It was very comfortable but the weird thing was, she wasn’t jealous of Rachel. She just felt weird and this whole situation was going to be mess. She just knew it wouldn’t end well.

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Turning off her computer, Rachel smiled happily. She and Jesse had posted a video of them singing together. It was what she wanted, to have a boyfriend who wanted to perform with her. And he talked about musicals and Barbra Streisand and didn’t get tired of her when she did the same. This was what it was like to have a boyfriend who really cared about her. Even if sometimes, it felt a little strange. Jesse was older and experienced and even though he said he didn’t mind waiting, she still wondered if it was really okay.

Rachel grabbed her lit book, wanting to put Jesse out of her mind. She needed to read the assigned story for tomorrow one last time. She opened the book but instead of reading, she flashed back to Finn and Quinn earlier in the day. They had been walking together in the parking lot after school. She wasn’t jealous but she didn’t know what she did feel. She and Finn weren’t together anymore and Quinn probably could use some help. She had thought about offering her own help but it wasn’t like she and Quinn were friends. They didn’t even get along. Shaking her head, Rachel pushed those thoughts from her mind. Finn and Quinn were none of her business. She had Jesse and that would make her happy. She was sure of it.

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Quinn shifted on the couch, trying to find a comfortable position but it was almost impossible. Puck had offered to let her have his bed but she had declined, knowing all of the things he had done in that bed. It really wasn’t that bad, sleeping on the couch but she was sure that once she was even more pregnant, it would be even worse. But it was better than sleeping on the street so she really couldn’t complain.

Once she was finally comfortable, Quinn began thinking over her day. She couldn’t believe she had let Finn talk her into winning Rachel back for him. She had screwed him over but still. It seemed like too much to ask. But she wanted Finn’s forgiveness, even though she really didn’t deserve it.

But this situation was going to drive her crazy. Listening to Finn talk about Rachel was maddening. He mentioned her voice and her eyes and how she made him feel. But it was so shallow. Quinn wasn’t even in love with her and she could describe what made Rachel amazing. It wasn’t that hard. Yeah, her voice was fantastic and she was beautiful beneath those awful clothes but those were the least of what made her special. Everyone talked about how self-centered she was but she was also kind. And forgiving. And willing to help anyone who needed it. Even after all of the crappy things Quinn had done to her, Rachel still offered forgiveness. It was astonishing. Quinn didn’t understand how she did it. Just thinking about her made Quinn feel funny inside. And Finn didn’t even begin to appreciate how wonderful Rachel was. It was infuriating.

Oh, no. No. Quinn couldn’t think about Rachel like that. It absolutely couldn’t happen. She was already a social pariah. If she wanted Rachel, her life would be over. She had to put it out of her mind. Damn Finn for this whole plan. There was no way she could forget her if she was writing her letters, trying to seduce her. This was bad. She was going to end up in an even bigger mess and there was nothing she could do to stop it.

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Rachel hid in the choir room during lunch, an envelope in her hand. Jesse had to talk with his History teacher so Rachel had all the time in the world to read this letter. It had appeared in her locker with hearts all over it. That wasn’t Jesse’s style and it wasn’t Finn’s, either. She wasn’t exactly swimming in admirers. She couldn’t imagine who would do this.

Opening the letter, Rachel read quickly and then read it again. She couldn’t believe it. Finn had written her this sweet and thoughtful letter. She hadn’t know he was capable of such sweetness. It- she hardly knew what to think. She had pushed Finn out of her mind, knowing he wasn’t able to give her what she needed. And Jesse was. She was happy with Jesse and now Finn wanted to stir up her old feelings again. It wasn’t fair.

Crumbling the paper in her hand, Rachel stomped out of the room. She found Finn in the cafeteria and grabbed his shirt, pulling him into an empty hallway. She shoved the letter in his face. “What is this?”

“You got my letter.” Finn smiled in relief. “Did you like it?”

“It’s highly inappropriate. I have a boyfriend,” Rachel stated, ignoring his question.

“But did you like it?” Finn asked again.

“No, I didn’t. I don’t- You shouldn’t have done this,” Rachel stammered, blushing red. She didn’t want Finn anymore but his words- She’d always wanted sweet words from someone. But not like this and not from Finn.

“You don’t mean that. You liked it. You still like me.” Finn smiled broadly.

“No. I want you to listen to me. I don’t want you to do this. Please accept my relationship with Jesse.” Rachel steeled herself for Finn to attempt to charm her. She wasn’t going to give in this time.

“I know we belong together,” Finn insisted. “I won’t bug you anymore right now but I’m not giving up.”

“Finn, please.” Rachel sighed. As romantic as it sounded to be the center of a love triangle, she just didn’t want it. She’d chosen Jesse and he was who she wanted.

“No, Rach. I’ll see you around.” Finn kissed her cheek and spun around, pumping his fist as he left her alone.

“Oh, no.” Rachel groaned loudly. She’d quickly learned that she preferred her drama to be on stage and not her real life. She didn’t want this attention from Finn. It had come too late. She just wanted to be with Jesse and enjoy his attention. No matter how much she liked those words, it wasn’t the right time. She was over Finn.

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“Quinn! It worked. It really worked!” Finn slapped her back and pulled her away from all of their friends.

“Are you sure? She looked pretty mad at you in the cafeteria.” Quinn raised her eyebrow, wondering if Rachel really had fallen for Finn so quickly. She hadn’t thought it would work. At least not yet. And she really wasn’t too happy about it.

“Well, she said she didn’t want me like that anymore,” Finn admitted sheepishly. “But she wouldn’t be so mad if she didn’t still have feelings for me.”

“I don’t think forcing her into something is going to work. You should respect what she has to say,” Quinn said, feeling incredibly relieved.

“No. I know Rachel and I want to be with her,” Finn said stubbornly. “And you said you’d help me.”

“Fine, fine. But don’t blame me if this blows up in your face.” Quinn rolled her eyes at his obstinacy. Rachel wasn’t an idiot, she wouldn’t be manipulated easily. A few pretty words weren’t going to sway her into Finn’s arms.

“It’s going to be great, I just know it. I want you to write another letter.”

“No, it’s too soon.” Quinn shook her heard. For all he claimed to love Rachel, he certainly didn’t know her that well.

“Come on, Quinn,” Finn whined.

“You don’t want to aggravate her. Give it a few days and we’ll write her another one.”

“You really thing that will work?” Finn asked.

“No but you seem insistent so I’ll do what you want,” Quinn said bluntly.

“Okay. Great. Thank you, Quinn.” Finn smiled sweetly at her and Quinn began to remember why she dated him in the first place. He was a typical jock but he was so earnest and charming. Rachel probably deserved someone like him, instead of that arrogant creep Jesse.

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Rachel searched the library looking for Quinn. Her Geometry teacher had told her to meet her there but this seemed like a bad idea. Quinn had been less hostile towards her lately but they still weren’t close. Getting tutored by her seemed like it would be a disaster. But she needed help and Quinn was smart. “Hi, Quinn.”

“Rachel? What are you doing here?” Quinn asked as Rachel sat down next to her.

“Mrs. Schultz said you tutored people after school and I need help,” Rachel explained simply.

“What? You’re smart. You don’t need a tutor.”

“I got an 82 on the last test,” Rachel said.

“Are you kidding me?” Quinn asked incredulously. “That’s a good grade.”

Rachel shook her head. “It’s not good enough. I need an A.”

“You’re crazy. It’s a waste of money. Schultz told you my rates, didn’t she?” Quinn stared at her seriously.

“She did and I don’t mind. She said you’re her best student and I settle for nothing but the best.” Rachel smiled arrogantly, relieved when Quinn smiled back.

“Okay. Fine. It’s your money.” Quinn opened her book to the assignment for the day. “You’ll get your A but you have to work. I’m not going to do your homework for you.”

“Of course not. People don’t really expect that.” Rachel opened her own notebook.

“At first and I chased them off. I need the money but I’m not going to commit academic fraud to get it,” Quinn said.

“Oh.” Rachel fell silent, not sure what she should say to that.

“Whatever. Let’s get to work.” Quinn began to explain the assignment and Rachel relaxed. She could do this. It would bring up her grade and help Quinn, too. Perfect solution.

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This was so uncomfortable, Quinn thought as she sat in the backseat of the Berry car. After their tutoring session, she’d figured getting a ride home from Rachel would be easier than hoping Puck would answer his phone. Of course, Rachel was only 15 and didn’t driver. She’d tried to beg off when Rachel said her dad would drive her but Rachel wouldn’t hear of it. So here she was, hoping that Rachel hadn’t told her dads the horrible things she’d done to her.

“Quinn? Thank you for helping. I really appreciate it.” Rachel smiled sweetly.

“You’re welcome. You really don’t need my help. You’ve got a strong grasp of the material. You just need to focus a little more.” Quinn dropped her eyes away from Rachel’s, a funny feeling in her stomach. There was a tingly feeling. She couldn’t understand but it scared the crap out of her. It had been nice to spend time with Rachel and not antagonize her but it had probably been a bad idea. She didn’t need to spend time with Rachel and know for sure how sweet she was. Things became so much harder to ignore when they spend one on one time together.

“You’re wrong. You explained things so much better than Mrs. Schultz. I understood without having to pore over the book.” Rachel reached over and covered Quinn’s hand with her own.

“Well, you pay good money. I might as well do my best,” Quinn joked, trying to ignore the feel of Rachel’s hand on her own.

“You earned every penny.” Rachel pulled her hand back and Quinn instantly felt the loss.

“Yeah, well.” Quinn shrugged, hoping she didn’t look as nervous as she felt. She could just imagine what Rachel would think if she told her how she felt. And she didn’t even really know who she felt herself. Everything was all tangled up.

“Quinn, are you okay?” Rachel looked at her with concern

“It’s just been a long week.” Quinn began rubbing her stomach absently.

“I bet. You’ve got a lot going on.” Rachel briefly glanced down at Quinn’s stomach. “How- how are you doing?”

“All right,” Quinn said shortly.

“Sorry for prying.” Rachel shrank back from her.

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to be short with you.” Quinn sighed. Rachel didn’t deserve her anger. “I’m just a mess right now. I got kicked out and I’m sleeping on Puck’s couch. I-”

“Noah’s making you sleep on the couch? You’re pregnant. That’s insane!” Rachel looked outraged.

“It’s not him. I don’t want to share his bed and it’s fine. I’m fine,” Quinn assured her.

“If you’re sure,” Rachel said doubtfully.

“I am.”

“Hmm.” Rachel shifted and a crumbled up piece of paper fell from her bag. “Oh.”

“What’s wrong?” Quinn frowned, noticing Rachel’s irritation.

“It’s a letter from Finn. He wants me back,” Rachel grumbled.

“Really?” Quinn tried to look uninterested but she was dying to know what Rachel thought of it.

“Yeah, can you believe that? He dumped me and expected me to wait around until he wanted me.” Rachel scoffed before looking sheepishly at Quinn. “You probably don’t want to hear about me and your ex-boyfriend.”

“Not particularly.” Quinn tried to keep her mouth shut but she had to know what Rachel thought of the letter. “What did he say?”

“That he wants me back. That I’m so much more than my voice. It was really sweet but it didn’t seem like Finn.” Rachel bit her lip. “Do you think he had help?”

“What?” Quinn’s eyes grew wide. She’d figure that Finn would eventually be found out but she hadn’t thought it’d be this soon.

“You know, maybe he found something online that he copied,” Rachel said.

“Oh.” Quinn tried to cover up how relieved she felt. “I doubt that. Finn- he really likes you.”

“That was hard for you to say, wasn’t it?” Rachel laughed.

“Little bit.” Quinn averted her eyes. She really had to stop this give and take between them before they got into trouble. She enjoyed it too much and Rachel made her let her guard down. She wasn’t prepared to deal with it.

“Here you go, Quinn.” Rachel’s dad pulled to a stop.

“Thanks, Mr. Berry.” Quinn opened her door, turning back to smile at Rachel. “I’ll see you at lunch tomorrow for more tutoring.”

“Yes, I’ll see you there.” Rachel smiled back.

“Bye.” Quinn made her way up to Puck’s house, a slight bounce in her step. It was far less awkward than she’d thought it would be. She’d never thought that she could spend time with Rachel without insulting her but it was kind of nice. Just so long as she didn’t enjoy it too much. This situation was complicated enough without tangling up her feelings for Rachel. She had to stay strong.

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A week later, Rachel opened her locker to find another letter sitting on top of her books. She glanced around the hallway, expecting Finn to be watching for her reaction. When she didn’t find him, she grabbed her geometry book before slamming her locker shut. He was so infuriating. She didn’t anything from him. Not anymore. And Rachel was meeting Quinn and she didn’t want to be angry. She didn’t’ want to take her mood out on Quinn. God, he ruined everything.

Collapsing onto a seat, Rachel waited for Quinn, fiddling with the letter. It would serve Finn right if she threw it out without reading it but she was a little curious. She wanted to know what he had to say. But she also didn’t. The other letter made her feel so confused, she wasn’t sure she wanted to subject herself to more trouble.

“Hey, what’s- Oh.” Quinn sat down next to her, eyes zeroed in on the letter. “Finn strike again?”

“Yeah. I haven’t read it yet. I don’t know if I want to,” Rachel said.

“How come?” Quinn couldn’t seem to tear her gaze from the letter.

“I- It’s confusing and I don’t know how to deal with it. I’m happy with Jesse.” Rachel frowned, wondering about the look on Quinn’s face. She’d never seen it before and she’d seen Quinn angry with her numerous times.

“Oh, um. I guess it’s not really fun for you.” Quinn looked away, absently tapping her pencil on the table.

“It’s not. And I guess I could ignore it but-”

“But?” Quinn asked hopefully.

“I’m curious. I know it makes me a bad girlfriend but Finn’s first letter was so wonderful. I really want to know what he has to say this time.” Rachel slumped, feeling bad. Jesse deserved better than this.

“It’s- it’s not the end of the world. You’re not doing anything and you’ve told Finn to stop. You can enjoy the attention.” Quinn shrugged with slightly red cheeks.

“Yeah.” Rachel shook her head. “Look, I’m sorry for wasting your time. We can get to work.”

“It’s no problem.” Quinn shifted tensely.

“Still, it’s Friday. I’m sure you’ve got plenty to do.” Rachel opened her book to the day’s lesson.

“Not exactly. Mostly trying to avoid slushies and Puck.” Quinn shrugged her shoulders again and pulled out her notes.

“That’s too bad.” Rachel frowned. She hadn’t really thought too much about Quinn’s life now but it was probably pretty difficult.

“I brought it on myself. Having to deal with Puck is probably karma for all the crap that I’ve ever done.” Quinn sighed.

“Is it really so bad? I thought Noah really liked you. Is- is he not there for you?” Rachel asked, an unexpected pang in her heart at Quinn’s downcast face.

“I shouldn’t complain. I’ve got a place to stay and food to eat. But- but Puck’s no good at emotional support.” Quinn scoffed. “Whatever.”

“No. I- I’m sorry, Quinn. You deserve to be taken care of.” Rachel cover Quinn’s hand with her own.

“I don’t know.” Quinn glanced down at her watch. “Sorry, my complaining has wasted most of lunch. We don’t have time to study.”

“Don’t worry about it. You obviously needed to talk. I don’t mind being your sounding board,” Rachel said, hoping she hadn’t pushed too fair. Quinn was so closed off that she probably didn’t want to show her feelings.

“I- Thanks.” Quinn looked away and pulled her hand from Rachel.

“Um, you can say no,” Rachel began, knowing Quinn probably wouldn’t agree. “But how about you come home with me tonight? We could study and you could get a break from Noah.”

“Why would you do that?” Quinn asked. “I’ve been so awful to you.”

“Not lately,” Rachel pointed out. “Besides, I’m not totally unselfish. I mean, you’re going to help me with my geometry homework.”

“I don’t- We’re not friends.” Quinn cringed. “I didn’t mean that how it sounded. I just- I don’t want to take advantage of you.”

“You’re not. I offered and I really want you to accept.” Rachel looked at her pleadingly.

“If you’re sure?”

“Yes!” Rachel squealed and threw her arms around Quinn. She realized she went a little too far when Quinn tensed up. “Sorry, I got a little excited.”

“It’s okay.” Quinn awkwardly patted her back before Rachel let her go.

“So, you can come home with me after school and stay for dinner and for however long you want.”

“All right.” Quinn nodded, smiling shyly. “I’ll see you this afternoon.”

“Bye.” Rachel leaned back in satisfaction. It felt really good to help Quinn. She only wished she could do more.

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Quinn sat alone in Rachel’s room while Rachel talked to her father. It wasn’t exactly what she’d expected. She’d kind of thought there’d be pictures of Rachel everywhere. A shrine to her excellence or something. But there was tons of Broadway stuff everywhere. Which, yeah, she’d expected. But it wasn’t nearly as irritating as she’d thought it would be. It was kind of nice that Rachel had something she was dedicated to.

“Hey, Quinn. Here you go.” Rachel handed her a water bottle.

“Thanks.” Quinn smiled gratefully when Rachel sat down next to her. She had to stay on her guard right now. She’d screwed up earlier, telling Rachel about how hard it was living with Puck. It was amazing to have someone care about her, but she couldn’t allow herself to grow too close to Rachel. Her life was complicated enough, she didn’t need to make it even worse.

“Do you want to get to work?” Rachel asked.

“Yes.” Quinn was happy to be able to focus on something other than how kind Rachel was to her.

They worked quietly for a while when Quinn began to notice the smell of bacon. “Um, not to change the subject but I think I’m hallucinating. I smell bacon.”

“No!” Rachel laughed, causing Quinn’s stomach to turn over. “Daddy’s cooking. He’s making breakfast for dinner. It’s probably almost done.”

“I thought you were vegan.” Quinn furrowed her brow.

“I am but Daddy’s not. Also, I heard you telling Brittany that Puck’s mom won’t let you have bacon. I thought it’d be nice for you to have it tonight,” Rachel said.

“That’s so sweet.” Quinn felt horrified when tears sprang to her eyes.

“Oh, Quinn.” Rachel put an arm around her.

“No, it’s fine. It’s the damn pregnancy hormones.” Quinn wiped at her eyes and laughed a little. “I can’t really control it.”

“That’s to be expected.” Rachel led Quinn down the stairs, making no more mention of Quinn’s tears.

“Smells good,” Quinn said, sitting down next to Rachel. She felt another wave of gratitude come over her. She didn’t deserve any of this. But she was glad to have it, even if sometimes it felt like too much. Like there were so many feelings that she thought she might burst. And it was all because of Rachel Berry. Kind of hard to believe.

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Rachel laid her head her head against Jesse’s shoulder, trying to pay attention to the movie. She loved Gene Kelly but Singin’ in the Rain just didn’t hold her attention. Not when Finn sent her another letter. It was even sweeter than the last one. There was no fancy language but it was like Finn could get directly into her heart. She didn’t understand how he wrote so differently than he spoke she’d never imagined that Finn would get her like this when he never had before.

“Are you enjoying the movie?” Jesse asked, kissing her gently.

“Yes.” Rachel forced a smile, cuddling closer to Jesse. He was so good to her. Finn never wanted to watch musicals with her but Jesse really liked them. Maybe that meant they were right for one another. Of course, the day before, Quinn had watched West Side Story with her with no complaints so maybe it was Finn who just didn’t fit with her. But his letters- It was so baffling and she didn’t want to think about it. Not Finn or Jesse or Quinn or anything. She just wanted to put everything out of her mind and pretend that everything was just fine.

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“It’s working, it’s really working,” Finn said excitedly as he carried Quinn’s backpack to the library.

“Oh, really? What did Rachel say?” Quinn asked with forced nonchalance. She cared but she really wished she didn’t.

“Nothing but she keeps looking at me. She- You made her think about me.” Finn smiled, bouncing on his feet.

“Are you sure she’s not just trying to figure you out?” Quinn held her breath, waiting for his response.

“No.” Finn shook his head impatiently. “Jesse was talking to her but she was looking right at me.”

“Well, congratulations.” Quinn shifted uncomfortably. This shouldn’t bother her. Rachel liking Finn back was kind of the whole point. Their plan was working, she just hadn’t really thought the whole thing through. “Does that mean we can stop now?”

“Oh, no. It’s working, we can’t stop yet.” Finn flashed her a grin. “But it’s really you. You’re the one who knew exactly what to say to her.”

“It wasn’t that hard.” Quinn shrugged, not wanting his compliments. She felt a little dirty about this whole thing. She just wanted to push through and go back to normal.

“Yeah, for you. You’re so smart and you really get Rachel.” Finn looked at her seriously. “How do you do that/”

“I don’t know. I guess it’s easier since I’ve been tutoring her.” Quinn’s eyes widened. She hadn’t meant to tell Finn that. He would never let it go.

“What? Since when?”

“A few weeks. She’s not satisfied with a B in Geometry so I’ve been helping her out.” Quinn waited for Finn’s response, sure he would lose his mind.

“This is great! What does she say? Does she talk about me?” Finn asked excitedly.

“Well,” Quinn said slowly, not wanting to hurt his feelings. “I think she’s confused. She- she wants to be happy with Jesse.”

“Wants to be? That means she’s not.” Finn pumped his fist.

“No. She- I don’t think she knows how she feels.” Quinn paused, uncertain if she should say anything or just let things play out. “Maybe- maybe you should back off and let Rachel figure things out on her own.

“What? No. Why?”

“If you love her-”

“I do,” Finn interrupted.

“Then you should want her to be happy,” Quinn continued. “Even if it’s not with you.”

“I-” Finn stopped, thinking for a moment. “No. I want to be with her. I can’t give up.”

“Okay,” Quinn said quietly. She wasn’t going to argue, even though she didn’t want to do this anymore.

“Good.” Finn handed her her backpack when they reached the library. “Will you write her another letter tonight?”

“If that’s what you want, I’ll get it done.” Quinn hoped she didn’t look as reluctant as she felt. Finn wasn’t the most perceptive person in the world but he wasn’t stupid. If he guessed her feelings, then she would have to talk about them and she couldn’t. She didn’t understand her feelings, she sure couldn’t explain them to anyone else.

“You’re awesome, Quinn. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Finn kissed her cheek and walked away, leaving Quinn to her thoughts. She didn’t know what to do. This situation was spinning way out of control and she couldn’t stop it. Not unless she was willing to deal with her feelings. And she wasn’t.

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Tapping her fingers on her leg, Rachel stared at Quinn and tried to figure out what was going on in her head. Quinn was so tense today and she couldn’t understand why. But it couldn’t be good for her baby. Rachel knew she had to help. “Quinn? Are you okay?”

“I am.” Quinn stared down at her English book. They had finished their math homework earlier and Rachel had invited Quinn to stay as long as she wanted. So they started reading the story assigned in their English class. But Quinn wasn’t okay.

“Can I get you something? Or maybe we can watch a movie? I’ll even let you pick.” Rachel didn’t know where this desire to please Quinn came from but she wanted to take care of her.

“I- You don’t have to- I’m just tired.” Quinn slumped, resting her head in her hands.

“Is- is that normal?” Rachel asked, realizing she knew nothing about the effect of pregnancy on someone.

“Yeah, but I’m also not sleeping at night.” Quinn rubbed her forehead.

“Why not?”

“I can’t get comfortable on the couch anymore and when I do manage to get to sleep, Puck’s mom wakes me up when she comes in from a late shift.” Quinn shrugged. “It’s not on purpose but I’m just exhausted.”

“I’m sorry.” Rachel rubbed her neck. “Why don’t you talk to Noah and his mom? This isn’t good for you or the baby.”

“I can’t.” Quinn shook her head. “I’m staying in their house, eating their food. My tutoring money doesn’t exactly do much. Plus, Puck is her precious baby boy and I’m the evil whore who seduced him.”

Rachel snorted. “Noah’s not exactly innocent.”

“But he’s her son.” Quinn sighed. “It doesn’t matter. I’ve got to figure out a way to deal with it.”

“Move in with me,” Rachel said suddenly.

“What?” Quinn looked stunned.

“We’ve got plenty of room and my dads won’t mind. It’d be nice to have someone around when my dads are gone.” Rachel hadn’t intended to say that but she knew it was the right thing to do. All of a sudden, she felt settled inside. This was something she could do for Quinn.

“I can’t ask you to do that,” Quinn said, dropping her jaw.

“You’re not, I volunteered. And I meant it. I want you here.” Rachel took Quinn’s hands and squeezed.

“Why?” Quinn asked. “I don’t understand.”

“I don’t, either. But this feels so right.” Rachel smiled slightly. “We’re kind of friends. I think we are anyway.”

“We are.” Quinn smiled back shyly. “I never would’ve guessed we’d be close like this but it’s nice.”

“It is,” Rachel agreed. There was a funny feeling inside of her but she didn’t care. The look on Quinn’s face told her she was doing what’s right.

“I- Thank you, Rachel. I really needed this. You saved me.”

“You’re welcome.” Rachel wrapped her arms around Quinn, too emotional to say anything else.

“I don’t know what to say,” Quinn whispered, returning Rachel’s embrace.

“That’s okay.” Rachel pulled back, ignoring Quinn’s quiet response. “Let’s go tell my dad we can go get your stuff from Noah’s.”

“You’re sure they won’t mind?” Quinn asked, seeming a bit uncertain.

“I’m sure.” Rachel entwined their finger. She couldn’t wait to get Quinn’s moved in here. Having Quinn around would be wonderful.

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Later that night, Quinn crawled into bed, enjoying the softness of the mattress. It had been months since she’d slept in a bed. She could sleep for a thousand years. Even thought it was a little bit strange. Rachel’s dads had welcome her so completely. Hiram had gone with her to Puck‘s, smoothing things over with his mother. Rachel and Leroy had prepared the guest room for her, changing the sheets and clearing the drawers. Nobody, not even her parents, had ever done so much for her. It was kind of overwhelming.

Quinn felt safe for the first time in months. She’d known her parents would kick her out as soon as they knew she was pregnant and she’d been living on borrowed time at Finn’s. And Puck- For all his talk of wanting to take care of her and the baby, he didn’t show it. It was all video games and cigarettes and hot chicks, which she was no longer included in. but somehow, here with the Berrys’, she felt secure. She didn’t think they would make her leave because they were ashamed or she was not hot anymore.

Hiram had even asked her about her plans for the baby. She’d been a little taken aback but he had talked simply with her. Everyone else had kind of talked around what she would do and Puck didn’t want to hear anything about giving her up. But Hiram had offered to set her up with some adoption counselors. It was nice to know that she could get some information. That she didn’t have to continue blindly. She didn’t think she wanted to keep her but she couldn’t imagine just handing her over to some stranger. And maybe she didn’t have to.

It finally seemed like things were calming down for her. Quinn felt like she could take a breath and figure things out. And as odd as it sounded, it was all because of Rachel Berry. She was absolutely amazed that her life had ended up this way.

------------

“What is she doing here?” Jesse demanded when Rachel pulled him out on the porch and away from Quinn.

“She lives here now,” Rachel said, hoping Quinn hadn’t heard anything Jesse had said.

“Why?” Jesse crossed his arms over his chest.

“Because she needs somewhere safe to stay. And she’s my friend,” Rachel added.

“Since when? You’ve been paying her to tutor you. She’s only being nice because of the money,” he said.

“That’s an awful thing to say.” Rachel shook her head, wiping away any doubts she might still have. “You don’t think I’m likable?”

“Of course you are.” Jesse hugged her. “I just don’t want you to be hurt. What if this is all a big plan to hurt you?”

“No. She really needs a place to stay. I know she’s not faking.” Rachel tried to draw comfort from his embrace but something felt off. Why did Jesse automatically go to the worst case scenario? What was so wrong with her that he didn’t even consider anything else?

“Okay. If you’re sure,” Jesse said doubtfully.

“I am.” Rachel looked him right in the eye so he knew she was serious.

“Besides, if she does pull anything, it’ll be good experience for you to draw from on the stage.” Jesse smiled.

“Right.” Rachel stifled a sigh, not wanting to get into it again. She and Jesse disagreed on this but she didn’t have to have his support. It had only been a few days but she and Quinn were getting along so well. They had a musical marathon the first day and they listened to music on Quinn’s iPod. They were getting closer and she liked taking care of Quinn. Having her live with her just felt right.

-----------------

It was amazing that she’d managed to avoid Puck as long as she had but her luck finally ran out. Quinn sighed when he corned her after she came out of the bathroom. The bell had rung so the hallway was empty and there was nowhere to hide. “What is it, Puck?”

“I want to talk about our kid. You’re not going to cut me out of her life,” Puck said.

“That’s not why I left.” Quinn had dreaded this conversation. That’s why she’d evaded him since she’d moved out. It wouldn’t go well and they both were going to end up disappointed. “I need to be with people who support me and that’s not happening at your house, where both you and your mom resent me.”

“That’s not true,” Puck protested.

“It is and I feel better at Rachel’s,” Quinn said softly.

“So what? Our baby’s going to be a dorky loser like Rachel?” Puck scoffed. “Don’t you want better for her than that?”

“What I want is for her to have more than two teenagers can give her,” Quinn snapped. She didn’t like him bad-mouthing Rachel or her dads. They had helped her out so much and they deserved better.

“You’re not going to give her up for adoption.” Puck narrowed his eyes. “You can’t do it without me.”

“I can’t. But I’ve started looking into it and we should consider it. We could do an open adoption and get pictures and visits. I- I think that would be best.” Quinn looked at him, hoping he’d at least consider it.

“No, I’m not abandoning my kid.” Puck shook his head.

“Okay. Fine. How are we going to do this? We don’t have money.”

“I don’t care. I’m not- I can take care of my kid.” Puck towered over her, glaring harshly.

“That’s just not true.” Quinn groaned. “But I’m not going to do raise this kid by myself.”

“You won’t have to,” Puck insisted.

“I’m sure.” Quinn rolled her eyes. “Like you wanted to be with me until I got fat. What happens when this baby isn’t fun?”

“I wouldn’t do that,” Puck said.

“We’re going to have to sit down and really talk about everything. About custody and child support.” Quinn hadn’t want to get into this but Puck wouldn’t drop it.

“We don’t need to do all that. We can figure it out as we go.” Puck backed off.

“No. I’m going to have all the worry while you get to be fun daddy which let’s be honest, is what you’d end up doing anyway,” Quinn said.

“Bull shit, Quinn!” Puck shouted, clenching his fists.

“It’s not and you need to be prepared. If we keep the baby, we’re going to court and getting things settled that way.” Quinn stared directly at him, refusing to show fear. She wasn’t going to let him intimidate her.

“I- You- I’m not talking about this anymore.” Puck took off before Quinn could say anything else.

Leaning against a locker, Quinn let out a shaky breath. That went about as well as she’d expected it would. Puck didn’t want to hear anything about the reality of raising a child. But that was all that she could think of. There were so many decisions she needed to make and it looked like she’d have to do it herself. She couldn’t count on Puck and she really didn’t want to bother Hiram and Leroy. They were nice enough to give her a place to stay, she couldn’t ask for anything else. She had to figure this out on her own. And she had absolutely no idea what she was going to do.

------------

Rachel frowned when Quinn darted out of the choir room. They were supposed to walk home together but that clearly wasn’t going to happen. Quinn was avoiding her but she didn’t know why. She’d wracked her brain but couldn’t think of what she might have done. They’d been a growing closer and it seemed like they were becoming friends. So why was Quinn avoiding her?

“Yes, I’m fine,” Rachel said shortly, not in the mood to deal with Finn when he cornered her.

“Are you sure? You look upset. Did Jesse do something?”

“Everything’s fine. I don’t want to talk to you.” Rachel walked away and dragged Jesse with her out of the room before Finn could say anything else. She hadn’t told Jesse about Finn’s letters and she didn’t want him to find out this way. She just wanted to forget it completely.

“Rachel? What’s wrong?” Jesse put his arm around her as they walked down the hallway.

“Quinn. She’s not talking to me.” Rachel waited for Jesse to start gloating. Jesse had a lot of good qualities but his incessant need to be right wasn’t one of them.

“She’s going through a tough time. Maybe she needs some space.” Jesse laughed when Rachel looked at him in surprise. “Quinn’s not my favorite person but it’s easy to see she’s got a lot on her mind.”

“Maybe you’re right.” Rachel pursed her lips as she mulled over his words. “I miss her.”

“That’s because you’re so sweet.” Jesse poked her cheek. “Why don’t you come over with me and we’ll watch musicals? That’ll take your mind off of Quinn.”

“Okay. Sure.” Rachel kissed him and tried to push Quinn from her mind. Jesse was right. This was a complicated time for Quinn. She had a lot of decisions to make and Rachel couldn’t make them for her. She could listen to her but maybe Quinn wasn’t ready to talk yet. Rachel had to accept that, even if it killed her.

--------------

Quinn carried her dinner plate to her room, glad that Rachel’s dad didn’t mind if she ate in her room. She couldn’t stand being around people right now. She had so much on her mind and no idea what she should do. She was terrified she’d keep the baby and Puck would flake out. How would she handle it? The only money she made was from tutoring and she lived in someone else’s house. She couldn’t expect the Berrys’ to let her stay with a baby.

“Quinn?” Rachel poked her head in the room. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah. I’m fine. Just eating alone.” Quinn looked down at her dinner, praying Rachel would let it go.

“No. I- I tried to leave you alone but- but I can’t. I have to know what I did.” Rachel closed the door behind her, putting her hands on her hips.

“You didn’t do anything. I’m just so confused.” Quinn sighed, caving into her desire to talk to Rachel. It had been so difficult ducking from Rachel’s attention. She’d wanted to be close to her, to let Rachel comfort her but she’d forced herself to stay away. But she wasn’t strong enough to look into Rachel’s eyes and push her away.

“Oh, Quinn.” Rachel set Quinn’s dinner plate out of the way and took Quinn into her arms. “I want to help you but I can’t if you won’t talk to me.”

“I don’t know how.” Quinn cuddled even closer. She wasn’t one to enjoy being so close to another person but something about Rachel made her crave it.

“Tell me what’s on your mind and we’ll figure it out. I thought that’s why you moved in. so I could help you out,” Rachel murmured in her ear.

“I- I was talking to Puck and I don’t think he’s going to agree to the adoption. But I don’t think he really wants to be a father, either. What am I going to do, Rachel?” Quinn asked, looking at Rachel.

“Quinn, we aren’t going to let you be alone. My dads and I will give you whatever you need.” Rachel tucked Quinn’s hair behind her ear.

“I can’t ask you to do that. It’s too much.” Quinn shook her head furiously. She couldn’t let anyone else take responsibility for her mistake.

“You’re not asking. We want to help you.”

“Why? I am an awful person.” Quinn wasn’t delusional. She knew she deserved none of this and she didn’t want to take advantage.

“You’re not. If you were, you wouldn’t care so much.” Rachel held Quinn’s face in her hands. “And I can’t help it. I don’t understand why but I just have this desire to help you. And that’s what I’m going to do.”

“You- I- I don’t deserve it.”

“I don’t care if you don’t.” Rachel covered Quinn’s mouth with her hand.

“I-” Quinn stopped. Rachel was fairly persistent when she made a decision. Quinn knew she wouldn’t be able to change her mind now that it was set. And she really didn’t want to. She’d been praying for some help. And while she’d meant Puck, maybe she should just accept it from Rachel.

“Quinn? It’ll all work out. You’re not alone, I promise,” Rachel said quietly.

“I’m so scared, Rachel. I don’t know what to do.” Quinn buried her face into Rachel’s shoulder.

“I know but we’ll figure it out. We’ve got time.” Rachel rubbed Quinn’s back. “You can still talk to Noah about the adoption. If he really thinks about it, he’ll realize it’s the right decision. And if for some reason he doesn’t, we’ll deal with it.”

“You sound so sure.” Quinn sank even deeper into Rachel’s embrace.

“I am.” Rachel kissed the side of her head. “Just don’t shut me out. I can’t help if I don’t know what’s wrong.”

“I’ll try but I’m used to hiding my feelings.” Quinn fought to keep her voice steady as her heart began to thud at the touch Rachel’s lips on her skin. It felt so nice to have Rachel’s arms around her but she couldn’t get used to it. She was already a pregnant, homeless teenager. She couldn’t add lesbian to that. No matter how nice it felt to be in Rachel’s arms.

“Yeah, I noticed that about you,” Rachel teased gently.

“Sorry.” Quinn pulled away slightly, wishing she could express herself like a normal person.

“It’s okay. I don’t know too much about your family life but I get the feeling that you weren’t exactly free to express yourself honestly,” Rachel said frankly. “This is all new for you. But you have a home here. My parents and I aren’t going to make you leave if you do something we don’t like.”

“You promise?” Quinn asked. She cringed at how week she sounded.

“Promise,” Rachel swore. “You’re stuck with us.”

“Good.” Quinn felt unexpectedly relieved. She might not have a clue what she should do but at least she had people on her side.

-------------------------

Crawling into bed, Rachel felt both exhausted and relieved at the same time. It had been a long day but she finally knew what was wrong with Quinn. She could help her. It was strange but that was what she wanted more than anything. It kind of hurt that Quinn wouldn’t confide in her but they were still getting to know each other. Trust would take time, especially for Quinn. But they would get there.

Rachel remembered holding Quinn in her arms and felt a flush all over. Her heart raced feeling Quinn pressed against her. Nothing had ever felt like that before. She didn’t understand what it meant but she liked it.

Rachel sighed. This thing with Quinn was confusing her even more. She thought she was just being a good friend but something was off. These feelings she had for Quinn- they were kind of like the ones she had for Jesse. She didn’t dream of kissing Quinn but she did want to be close to her.

Not to mention, the whole Finn’s letters thing was confusing. She didn’t want to be with Finn, she was sure. During the short time they dated, Finn had never made her feel like Jesse did when he kissed her. Or like Quinn did just being close to her. But his words- she liked them a lot. Nobody had ever talked to her like that. She’d never thought anyone would. If Finn would talk to her like her wrote to her, it might clear things up. But he didn’t and she couldn’t be with someone who needed to hide their feelings. She didn’t need him to be public with his feelings. Sure, she’d like a dramatic song to her but it wasn’t necessary. But she didn’t want someone who couldn’t even tell her to her face how he felt. That didn’t seem like it was too much to ask.

This was ridiculous. She had a boyfriend. Jesse was great, even if she wasn’t quite ready for everything he wanted. He wasn’t pressuring her and he was good to her. Finn- Half the time, Finn didn’t seem to know what he wanted. And as for Quinn- That just couldn’t happen. Quinn was straight, that baby in her belly proved that. And Rachel wasn’t even sure if it was attraction she felt. She’d never really had close friends before. Maybe this was how everyone felt about their friends.

There. The decision was made. She had Jesse and he was all she needed. She wouldn’t think about anyone else anymore. She’d be happy this way.

--------------

“Why didn’t you tell me you moved in with Rachel?” Finn demanded, cornering Quinn when she left Spanish class.

“I didn’t see how it was any of your business.” Quinn walked away from him, heading to her locker. She’d left a granola bar in there and she was starving. This baby was making her eat everything she came into contact with.

“Well, does she talk about me? What does she think of my letters?” Finn asked excitedly.

“She hasn’t mentioned them.”

“What? Why not?” Finn held onto Quinn’s books while she opened her food and began to eat.

“It’s a little weird, living with someone I used to treat like crap,” Quinn pointed out as they made their way through the hallway. “I’m not going to force her to spill her secrets to me.”

“I never thought of that.” Finn frowned.

“It doesn’t matter.” Quinn sat down once they reached their study hall and took her books from Finn. “Look, I wrote another letter for her. Sign your name and give it to her.”

“Thanks.” Finn nodded his head. “I- I’m glad you’ve got a place to stay. You know, where you’ll be safe.”

“It’s- it’s good.” Quinn shifted nervously. It was hard to talk about this with Finn. She didn’t blame him for kicking her out but she knew he had mixed feelings about it.

“Good,” Finn repeated. He held up the letter. “Thanks again. I’ll see you later.”

“See you,” Quinn echoed. She watched as he walked away. This was so complicated. She wanted Finn not to hate her but she didn’t want this plan to work. Rachel was way too good for him. Plus, she was deceiving Rachel. It seemed wrong, especially with all Rachel had done for her.

Looking down at her books, Quinn attempted to push those thoughts away. Things would end up however they ended up. She couldn’t stop it. She just had to deal with whatever happened and hope things would turn out all right.

---------------

Rachel sat down next to Quinn, trying to watch television with her and avoid the irritation she felt. There was no reason for it. Quinn could be friends with whoever she wanted. Just because-

“Rachel? What’s wrong?” Quinn asked.

“Nothing.” Rachel schooled her face.

“You’re not paying attention to the movie. You’ve obviously got something on your mind.” Quinn pointed to Rachel’s fists.

“What? Oh, it’s nothing.” Rachel flexed her fingers, trying to relax.

“You’re upset. Let me help. You’ve helped me so much,” Quinn pleaded.

“It- it’s stupid,” Rachel muttered.

“I’m sure it’s not.”

“You were talking to Finn in study hall,” Rachel blurted out.

“What? No, that was-”

“It’s none of my business. You can hang out with whoever you want.” Rachel waved away Quinn’s protests. “Besides, I know you want him to forgive you.”

“I do. But that’s not- I’m just doing him a favor,” Quinn said.

“What kind of favor?” Rachel asked, noticing Quinn’s discomfort.

“He doesn’t want me to tell anyone.” Quinn shook her head. “But he said he’d forgive me if I did this for him. And I do owe him.”

“You- you can’t earn forgiveness.”

“Maybe not but he asked for my help and I can’t tell him no.” Quinn looked at Rachel closely. “I thought you didn’t want to get back together with him.”

“I don’t.” Rachel blushed under Quinn’s scrutiny. “But he sent me another letter today after I saw him hanging out with you. It kind of made me feel like I didn’t matter. You know what I mean?”

“Yeah but there’s nothing to worry about. I have no interest in Finn,” Quinn assured her. “And he might forgive me but he’ll never forget.”

“Really?” Rachel released a breath. She felt happy but she wasn’t sure why.

“Yeah, and I probably shouldn’t tell you but he asks about you a lot. He’s still crazy about you,” Quinn said uncomfortably.

“I- it doesn’t matter. I don’t want to be with him, it just hurt my feelings.” Rachel realized she really hadn’t been jealous of Quinn, she was jealous of Finn because she thought he had Quinn’s attentions.

‘I’m sorry.” Quinn patted Rachel’s shoulder hesitantly. “I didn’t realized you’d seen us.”

“It’s- You don’t have to apologize. You can talk to whoever you want.” Rachel didn’t want Quinn to feel like she had to hold herself back.

“I’d never want to hurt you. Not anymore,” Quinn said softly.

“I know.” Rachel quirked her lips. “We’re friends now.”

“We are,” Quinn agreed. “Um. So, do you really have no interest in Finn anymore?”

“No. Well, I- His letters touch me. But we’re not compatible and he’s sending them even after I told him not to. Even though I have a boyfriend.” Rachel paused, certain she’d sound cruel if she continued. “Plus, they don’t sound like him. I keep thinking he’s copying them but I’ve looked online and I can’t find anything. But he’s not- he’s not smart enough to write me words like that.”

“Whoa.” Quinn looked at her with wide, panicked eyes.

“I know I sound like a bitch-”

“No, you don’t.” Quinn captured Rachel’s hands and squeezed. “I just want expecting that.”

“I know. And the first few letters, I wondered about but they sounded enough like him that I didn’t question it.” Rachel laced their fingers together, enjoying the feel of having Quinn’s comfort. “But this one- it was so sweet and sensitive. I just don’t know.”

“You really liked it?” Quinn whispered.

“Yeah. I just didn’t know Finn thought of me like that.” Rachel recalled the letter. “‘I never realized how generous you are. You deserve someone worthy of returning your affections. I only wish that I was and could give you everything.’”

“That’s- that’s something.” Quinn nodded, tightening her grip on Rachel’s hands.

“Yeah but it’s not Finn.” Rachel shrugged. “It’s just nice that he think of me like that. I don’t know if I deserve it but-”

“You do.” Quinn pulled her hands away to cradle Rachel’s face. “You’re the biggest hearted person I’ve ever met.”

“Quinn-” Rachel lost her voice at the look on Quinn’s face.

“It’s true. I- You are so wonderful and someone should tell you that every day.” Quinn released her, looking at bit sheepish. “Sorry.”

“No, you’re so thoughtful.” Rachel grew slightly more confident when she saw how unsure Quinn was. “Besides, I like hearing nice things about myself.”

Quinn giggled. “You- you should hear them every day.”

“Who know? Maybe someday I’ll have a boyfriend who can say them to me,” Rachel said.

“Do you want to finish the movie?” Quinn asked.

“Yes.” Rachel relaxed, glad that Quinn had given them a break. This had been an intense discussion. But she was glad she talked it out with Quinn. She felt better and Quinn was so good to her. She was happy they were close. She wanted to be around her always. It was strange and unsettling but she wouldn’t give it away for anything. Even if she was beyond confused about what it meant.

-----------

Quinn held a book in front of her, pretending to read while Santana helped Brittany with her English homework. She didn’t want to talk, she just wanted to think about Rachel. It was so nice being so close to her. She felt guilty about the uncertainty Rachel felt but she was glad she had the chance to tell her how she felt without risking herself. It was cowardly but it was the only they she could do. She’d promised Finn she’d help him and she wasn’t brave enough to put herself out there.

This was getting even more difficult then she’d thought it would be. Quinn hadn’t expected these feelings to bubble up. She was usually so good containing everything. But Rachel managed to bust past all of her defenses. She was terrified. She had too much going on in her life. She didn’t want to deal with it. Especially since she lived with Rachel. When this all blew up, she’d be out of a place to live. Again.

“Hey, Tubs. Are you planning your next meal?” Santana laughed as Quinn shot her a glare.

“Cute. I was just thinking.” Quinn rolled her eyes. It is difficult to deal with Santana on her best day. When she was on edge, it was nearly impossible.

“Whatever. I don’t care.” Santana looked across the cafeteria to where Rachel was talking to Tina. “How is it living with Manhands? Does she make you trim her treasure trail every night?”

“Stop it,” Quinn snapped instinctively. Santana would pounce on any sort of weakness but she couldn’t let her insult Rachel. “She’s letting me stay with her. It’s not like you offered anything.”

“You want to stay at my house? Or Brittany’s?” Santana asked skeptically.

“No. But I treated her horribly and she still offered. We weren’t even friends. That’s my point.” Quinn met Santana’s eyes, careful to seem strong.

“Yeah, okay. I get that. But it’s not weird? What about her dads?” Santana looked at her curiously.

“They’re really good to me. They’re giving me help but not pushing too much. And they’re taking me to my doctor’s appointment next week,” Quinn said.

“What, they’re paying for that? You’re pretty lucky,” Santana said.

“No.” Quinn shook her head. “Mr. Berry went over to my parent’s house and found out they haven’t taken me off their insurance. And then he kind of reminded them that the state doesn’t look kindly on parents who kick their children out. Just in case they thought about canceling they’re insurance or something.”

“Oh. We’ll that’s great,” Santana said.

“Are you keeping the baby?” Brittany asked.

“I don’t want to but Puck’s not agreeing to the adoption so far,” Quinn said surprised anyone was even asking. Besides Rachel, none of her friends really seemed to care.

“Please.” Santana scoffed. “Once he realizes that a baby will interrupt his drinking and whoring around time, I’m sure he’ll change his mind real quick.”

“I hope you’re right,” Quinn said faintly.

“Don’t worry, Quinn. We’ll help take care of the baby. I’ve been changing my sister’s diapers for years,” Brittany said brightly.

“Thanks Britt.” Quinn sighed. It was nice that someone else seemed to care but she really didn’t want to think about it. She wanted a few moments of peace.

-----------------

“What are you talking about?” Rachel demanded, staring at her boyfriend in shock. She couldn’t believe the words he had just said to her. This was the last thing she’d ever thought he’d say to her.

“I- Your mom was my coach in Vocal Adrenaline. We set up our meeting so that she could get in touch with you. But I really like you, Rachel. That’s- that’s why I changed schools. And I told you so that you could choose for yourself what you want to do.” Jesse treated to take her hands but she yanked them away.

“Don’t touch me.” Rachel glared at him. “You- you lied to me. This- It was all a lie.”

“No,” Jesse insisted. “You’re fantastic. I didn’t expect to fall in love with you. But I did and I don’t care what your mom wants.”

“How- how am I supposed to believe anything you say?” Rachel asked. “You’ve been lying to me this whole time?”

“No, I haven’t. I-” Jesse reached out to her but Rachel backed away. “Listen, I wasn’t really thinking. When Ms. Corcoran asked me to do this, I thought it would be a good acting experience. I didn’t really expect to love you but I do.”

“Why now? Why did you suddenly decide to be honest with me now? After all this time, what changed your mind?” Rachel fought the tears that were aching to fall. She wouldn’t allow Jesse to see how upset she was.

“Your mom- Shelby- Ms. Corcoran asked me to slip this tape into some box in your attic. She wanted you to find it and contact her because she’s not allowed to contact you until you’re 18,” Jesse spoke slowly. “But I couldn’t deceive you like that. So I’m telling you everything and hoping you’ll forgive me.”

“You didn’t want to deceive me?” Rachel laughed bitterly. “What do you think you’ve been doing?”

“Rachel, please.”

“Just shut up! There’s no excuse for this. I don’t understand what you thought would happen. Was I never going to find out?” Rachel set her jaw. This was too much. Her head was spinning.

“I- I didn’t really think about how you’d feel at first,” Jesse said.

“Of course you didn’t. What about my- What about her?” Rachel asked, not able to even speak her name. “Did she realize what a terrible thing she was doing to me?”

“I- I think she just wants to see you so bad, that she didn’t think this through. But she’s not a bad person.” Jesse tried to hand her the tape. “Listen to this.”

“No. Don’t- I don’t want anything from her or you,” Rachel said angrily.

“Please, Rachel. I love you.”

“No, you don’t. You don’t do this to someone you love.” Rachel flung her bedroom door open. “Get out.”

“No. I love you and I’m not giving up,” Jesse said stubbornly.

“I can’t even look at you, let alone think about being with you. Just leave.” Rachel pointed out the door.

“No, we can get through this.” Jesse set the tape on Rachel’s bed and walked to her. “We’re so similar. We belong together.”

“No, we don’t.” Rachel shoved him out the door and down the stairs. “Don’t make this difficult. If you really love me, just go.”

“I never meant to hurt you. I did what she wanted but I- I do want to be with you.” Jesse stood his ground, not letting Rachel push him out of the door.

“Get out! Leave me alone. You hurt me so badly.” Rachel shoved at him, trying not to break down. She wanted to fall apart but she couldn’t. Not yet.

“What the hell is going on?” Quinn demanded, coming up to Rachel’s side.

“Stay out of this, Fabray. This is between me and Rachel.” Jesse glared at her.

“Rachel asked you to leave. She’s obviously upset so I think you should do what she asked.” Quinn put her arm around Rachel’s waist but never turned her glare from Jesse.

“Rachel, I-”

“Don’t.” Rachel took a deep breathe, gathering her courage. “I want you to go back to Carmel and I never want to see you again outside of competition.”

“I love you. Please, believe me,” Jesse pleaded.

“No, I can’t,” Rachel said quietly. “If you leave now and never speak to me again, I’ll tell my dads nothing. They won’t go after you or her. Otherwise, I’ll let them do what they want.”

“Rachel-”

“Go. Get out,” Quinn said, her grip on Rachel tightening.

“I’ll go. But this isn’t over,” Jesse swore before turning and leaving.

“What happened?” Quinn asked, brushing hair off of Rachel’s face.

“I- I don’t- I can’t-” Rachel burst into tears, burying her face in the croak of Quinn’s neck.

“Shh. You’re okay. I’m here.” Quinn rubbed Rachel’s back and whispered into her ear.

Finally, Rachel calmed down enough to pull away and look up at Quinn with wet eyes. “Thank you.”

“No problem. You’ve held me enough times when I’ve cried, I’m just returning the favor.” Quinn smiled at her. “Do you want to tell me what he did?”

“It’s a long story. Let’s sit down.” Rachel pulled her into the living room and sat down, explaining the situation.

“That bastard. I’ll- I’ll kill him!” Quinn back away from her, clenching her fists. “How could he do this? And your mom- What kind of psychopath sends someone to manipulate their daughter like that?”

“Well, she’s not actually my mom. She was a surrogate,” Rachel pointed out, growing more composed as Quinn anger increased.

“Still. It’s- it’s- I don’t even know but I can’t believe they did this to you. You deserve so much better.”

“Really?” Rachel was charmed by Quinn’s concern for her.

“Yes. You’re the best person I know, Rachel,” Quinn whispered, a bashful look coming over her face.

“I don’t know. Maybe it’s my fault for believing that a guy like Jesse would be into me. I mean, he changed schools. How was I not suspicious?” Rachel wished she could go back and pay attention to the obvious signs that she clearly missed.

“No! None of this is your fault. How could you have possibly known?” Quinn asked, reaching out and touching Rachel’s shoulder.

“Kurt and Mercedes were awfully wary of him,” Rachel said morosely.

“Because they thought he was a spy for Vocal Adrenaline, not your mother. This- Nobody would’ve guessed this,” Quinn said.

“Maybe.” Rachel cuddled up to her, resting her head on Quinn’s shoulder and placing a hand on her stomach. “Is this okay?”

“Y-yeah.” Quinn was silent for a moment. “Do you want to listen to that tape?”

“No,” Rachel replied quickly. “Maybe later I will but right now, I think it’ll just remind me of their betrayal.”

“Do you want me to kill Jesse?” Quinn asked, a teasing smile on her face.

“No but thanks for offering.” Rachel grinned back, feeling a weight lift off of her. It was nice to have someone who cared about her. She was sort of making friends in Glee Club but she knew most of them only liked her for her voice.

“I’d do it gladly.”

“I- Whoa.” Rachel’s eyes widened at the movement coming for Quinn’s stomach. “What is that?”

“It’s the baby.” Quinn placed her hand over Rachel’s, keeping it on her stomach.

“Is she okay?” Rachel asked, staring at Quinn’s stomach.

“Yeah, she’s kicking.”

“Wow. That’s- that’s amazing. Does she do it a lot?”

Quinn nodded. “The last couple of days. Especially when you sing. I think she likes you.”

“I- Wow,” Rachel repeated, feeling stunned. “It’s like she’s a real baby now.”

“Yeah.” Quinn smiled.

“And you don’t mind me touching you?” Rachel asked.

“No, I told you she likes you. But, don’t tell anyone else. I don’t really like everyone touching me and if Brittany finds out she’s kicking, I’ll never get any peace,” Quinn said.

“She’d never leave you alone,” Rachel agreed.

“Exactly.” Quinn patted Rachel’s hand. “Do you want to watch a movie? I’ll let you pick.”

“Yeah, that’s great.” Rachel put a movie in and settled next to Quinn and relaxed. She needed to push the drama out of her life for a while and spending time with Quinn was the perfect way to do it.

---------------

Quinn tried to make it to her locker without seeing anyone from Glee Club. Everyone had found out that Jesse had transferred back to Carmel but nobody knew why. Rachel flat out refused to tell anyone and Quinn knew people would start pestering her. She wasn’t going to tell and she just wanted to avoid everyone.

“Quinn! They broke up, didn’t they?” Finn asked eagerly as she shut her locker.

“Yes, they did,” Quinn said simply, knowing he wouldn’t drop it.

“Why?”

“That’s none of your business.”

“But-”

“No,” Quinn said sharply. “I’m not getting into Rachel’s business.”

“But this is perfect. We can send her another letter!” Finn grinned.

“Are you insane?” Quinn asked, hoping she’d misheard. He couldn’t possibly be that dumb.

“No. Jesse hurt her and I can make her feel better,” Finn said, oblivious to Quinn’s impending explosion.

“No, absolutely not. She is hurt and the last thing she needs is you putting pressure on her,” Quinn said lowly. She was going to hit him, hard. “You are going to back off and give her space.”

“But this is my chance,” Finn protested.

“I am not writing her a letter and if you do, I’ll never help you again.” Quinn shoved him against the lockers. “You’re being selfish. All you’re thinking of is what you want, not what Rachel needs.”

“I- I love her, Quinn,” Finn said quietly.

“Okay. Then back off.” Quinn felt so uncomfortable. She really didn’t want to listen to him declare his love for Rachel.

“Is- is she all right? What happened?”

Quinn shook her head. “Rachel’s my friend and she doesn’t want anyone else to know.”

“Should I go over to Carmel and kick Jesse’s ass?” Finn asked.

“No.” Quinn laughed before growing serious. “Actually, you can help me. Drive me over to Carmel.”

“Quinn, I was just kidding. I can’t- What if he calls the cops?” Finn asked as she led him out of the building.

“Don’t worry, I just need the ride. You aren’t doing anything,” Quinn assured him once they were in his car.

“What’s going on?” Finn asked.

“Just drive,” Quinn said, patting his leg. This was stupid and reckless and Rachel would probably get angry but it had to be done. Jesse and that woman couldn’t possibly get away with what they did.

“We’re here,” Fin said a while later, looking anxiously at the school.

“Drop me off and I’ll be out in a few minutes,” Quinn said confidently. It had been a long time since she’d played the bitch but she could do this.

“Wait. By yourself? What if they hurt you?” Finn asked, looking even more worried.

“Relax. I can handle myself. They won’t do anything.”

“I should go in with you.”

“Rachel doesn’t want you to know. And I- I need to do this. They- He has to know he can’t hurt Rachel and get away with it,” Quinn said quietly.

“Fine. Good luck.” Finn smiled at her. “You’re a good friend.”

“I guess so.” Quinn shrugged her shoulders and got out of the care. She made her way inside and quickly found the auditorium. She spotted Jesse and an older woman she assumed was Shelby Corcoran on stage. They were alone, which was good. She didn’t want an audience. She cleared her throat as she climbed on stage, gratified when they both looked scared.

“What are you doing here, Quinn?” Jesse asked, crossing his arms over his chest.

“I think you know,” Quinn said, matching his glare with one of her own.

“Look, our rehearsals are closed so you need to get out of here before I report you for spying,” Shelby said.

Quinn scoffed. “Why don’t I report you for what you did to Rachel? That’s got to be against the rules. Sending a student to seduce the star of a rival choir?”

“That’s- that’s not what I did,” Shelby stuttered.

“That’s what it’ll look like if I tell. Rachel doesn’t want the whole world to know what you did to her.” Quinn smiled at the flash of guilt that came over Shelby’s face.

“Neither of us meant to hurt her,” Shelby said.

“I don’t care. What did you expect to happen? Did you think Rachel would rush into your arms like you were her mother and not just a surrogate?” Quinn demanded. She grew even more furious as they talked. This was never going to end up anything but bad. How could this woman not know that?

“I just want to get to know her,” Shelby said weakly.

“That doesn’t matter. She doesn’t want to see either of you ever again.” Quinn looked sternly at both of them. “And I’m here to make sure you both give her what she wants.”

“I want to explain,” Jesse began, stopping when Quinn got directly into his face.

“She doesn’t want to hear it. You broke her heart. You can’t fix it.” Quinn turned to Shelby, calming when she saw the contrition on her face. “Rachel didn’t tell her dads. She doesn’t want you to get in legal trouble. So if you leave her alone, this is it. Nothing will happen.”

Shelby was silent for several minutes. She finally sighed and nodded. “That’s- that’s fair.”

“Yeah.” Quinn glared at Jesse. “That goes for you, too, St. James. Back off.”

“But-”

“No.” Shelby put a hand on his back. “Jesse and I will both let Rachel come to us.”

“Good.” Quinn tried to make herself walk away but she just couldn’t. She couldn’t let him get away with everything. She walked up to Jesse and pulled her arm back, punching him in the eye. “That’s for trying to get into her pants when you were a spy for her mom.”

“You bitch!” Jesse stumbled backwards.

“Now I’m going to go.” Quinn spun around, not giving him the satisfaction of any further response. She hurried to Finn’s car. “Let’s go.”

“Are you all right?” Finn asked as he started to drive away.

“Yeah, I think the message was received.” Quinn shook out her hand.

“What happened to you? Did he touch you? A pregnant girl? I’ll- I’ll kill him.” Finn slammed his hand on the steering wheel.

“No, no. He didn’t do anything to me but call me a bitch.” Quinn rolled her eyes. “But I punched him in the eye.”

“Really?”

“Mmm hmm. My hand just stings a little.”

“That’s awesome!” Finn held his hand out and Quinn gave him five.

“He deserved it.” Quinn thought back to how arrogant Jesse had looked. Shelby seemed to realize she was wrong but him- Nothing. He still thought he could charm his way out of it. Asshole.

“You- you really care about her, don’t you?” Finn looked at her in surprise.

“I- I do. She’s a better friend to me than I deserve.” Quinn looked down at her lap, not wanting him to see how much she actually cared. Finn wasn’t perceptive but she wasn’t ready to have that conversation with anyone, especially not Finn.

“Well, I’m glad she’s got a friend when she needs one,” he said.

“Me, too.” Quinn closed her eyes as he continued to drive. She had to start planning what she would tell Rachel. She’d be angry but Quinn wasn’t sorry. And she just couldn’t pretend to be. Jesse deserved to be taught a lesson and she was glad she was the one to do it.

-------------

“What’s wrong?” Rachel asked Quinn, noticing the way she was flexing her fingers. Quinn had been quiet all afternoon. And she’d missed her last class of the day. Something was up and Rachel couldn’t keep her mouth shut anymore.

“Nothing,” Quinn said, an odd look on her face.

“Quinn,” Rachel said seriously. “You’re hurt and you missed class today. Tell me.”

“Okay. Promise you won’t be mad.” Quinn shoved her book away to look directly at her.

“I can’t promise that when I don’t know what’s wrong. What happened? Who hurt you?” Rachel asked, suddenly very concerned.

“Nobody. That’s what you’ll be mad about.” Quinn blew out a breath and met Rachel’s eyes. “I punched Jesse.”

“What?” Rachel didn’t know how to respond. That was not what she’d expected.

“I got Finn to drive me to Carmel. I told Jesse and Shelby to back off and not try to talk to you,” Quinn said quickly, clearly trying to spit the words out before out before Rachel could really understand.

“Why would you do that? Does Finn know? I didn’t want anyone to know what happened.” Rachel knew Quinn was trying to help but she felt betrayed.

“No, he just drove me. I made him stay in the car. He just thinks Jesse hurt you, I promise.” Quinn tried to grab her hands.

“Don’t.” Rachel yanked her hands away, ignoring the hurt on Quinn’s face. “Why would you do this? I don’t want- Everyone’s going to know!”

“They won’t. I threatened them. It’s okay,” Quinn said desperately.

“It’s not.” Rachel stood up and began to pace. She was fuming but she didn’t want to lash out at Quinn. Despite everything, she knew Quinn was only trying to help.

“Please, it’s not- They couldn’t just get away with what they did! Shelby seemed sorry but Jesse- He was so freaking arrogant. I- I’m sorry that I’m not sorry. But they hurt you and they had to pay.” Quinn slumped, looking down at the floor.

“Oh, Quinn. You shouldn’t have done that. You could have gotten hurt.” Rachel sighed softening at Quinn’s downcast demeanor.

“No, they wouldn’t hit a pregnant girl.” Quinn looked up at Rachel sheepishly. “Besides, you’re worth getting hurt over. I- I had to do it.”

“I’m really not.” Rachel sat back down next to Quinn, pressing her arm against Quinn’s.

“You are,” Quinn insisted. “You are so good to me and I just don’t know how anyone could treat you badly. How I can ever pay you back.”

“Is that what this is all about? You think you have to make up for how you used to be?” Rachel cupped Quinn’s cheek. “You don’t. I’ve forgiven you. That’s done.”

“That’s not why. Honestly.”

“Then why?” Rachel frowned at her.

“You’re my friend and you were hurt and I couldn’t do anything to stop it. But I could make sure they were punished,” Quinn said.

“That’s just- You helped me just by being here. I didn’t need anything else.” Rachel stroked Quinn’s cheek. It was so soft that Rachel lost her train of thought.

“I- That’s not a big deal,” Quinn whispered, her eyes dropping to Rachel’s lips.

“It is.” Rachel pulled her even closer, burying her face into Quinn’s neck. “You’re my best friend. And I know that’s not exactly saying much but-”

“Don’t. You’re so great and anyone who doesn’t know that is crazy.” Quinn held firmly to her. “And you’re my best friend, too.”

“You don’t have to say that.” Rachel knew Quinn wanted to make her feel better but that couldn’t possibly be true.

“I do. You’re the only one who knows what I need.” Quinn pulled back and smiled. “And I want to do the same for you.”

“Maybe next time you give me a hug instead of punching someone,” Rachel suggested, a good-natured smile on her face.

“You’re worth it, even if my hand is a little sore.” Quinn flexed her fingers once more.

“It does look bruised.” Rachel captured her hand, kissing her knuckles.

“Mmm.” Quinn looked at Rachel uneasily. “Feels good.”

“Good,” Rachel repeated, swallowing a lump in her throat. That was far more intimate than she’d mean it to be.

“Maybe- maybe we should get back to our homework.” Quinn cleared her throat.

“Yeah.” Rachel handed Quinn her books, glad to have some time to get herself together. Something was happening, it wasn’t one-sided. But between Quinn’s pregnancy and her own break up, Rachel didn’t think either of them were ready to deal with it. She should probably just stop think about it for right now.

------------------

Quinn cuddled up to Rachel, placing her hand onto her stomach. For some reason, the baby really liked when she was close to Rachel and she wasn’t going to complain. And Rachel didn’t seem to mind it, either. Plus, she had a lot on her mind and it was easier to talk when she wasn’t looking at Rachel directly. “I- I picked a couple that I really like.”

“Oh yeah?” Rachel kept a steady stoking rhythm on Quinn’s stomach.

“Yes. Angie and Yvonne. I- I think they’re perfect. They’ve got a huge yard and a dog and Angie works from home so the baby won’t be in daycare. And Cincinnati’s close enough that I can visit but not so close that I’ll see her all of the time.” Quinn allowed Rachel’s touch to soothe her nerves.

“That’s great. And they want an open adoption?” Rachel kept a strong hold on Quinn.

“Uh-huh. They said pictures once a month and we’ll negotiate visits.” Quinn took a breath, trying to keep a hold of herself. “I don’t really want to have to watch someone else mother my child but I don’t want to never see her again.”

“That makes sense.” Rachel hugged her closer, like she knew Quinn needed her support. “What about Noah?”

“I’m hoping if I pick someone good, he’ll see this is the best decision and go along with it.” Quinn sighed. “I know we should pick them together but he won’t even talk about it.”

“Oh. I’m sorry. But hoping he’ll change his mind is probably the only thing you can do,” Rachel said.

“Yeah.”

“You’re not uncomfortable to give her to a lesbian couple?” Rachel asked.

“No.” Quinn shook her head firmly. That was one thing she was sure about. “They’re the best ones. That’s all that matters. Your dads are awesome and I know Angie and Yvonne will be, too.”

“I’m happy for you,” Rachel said.

“Me, too.” Quinn closed her eyes. Permitting Rachel to ease her into sleep. After a long week, all she wanted was to enjoy this time with Rachel. This was practically the only time she was content.

------------

Rachel searched her room but couldn’t find her lucky headband. She had a dance recital and she needed some luck. She must have left it in the bathroom. She went to check, swinging the door open. “Oh, my God! Sorry, Quinn.”

“That’s okay,” Quinn said as Rachel turned away.

“No, I should’ve knocked.” Rachel squeezed her eyes shut but she could still see Quinn’s perfect body in her mind. She had just gotten out of the shower and wet hair tumbled down her back.

“I should’ve locked the door. What did you need?” Quinn asked.

“My lucky headband.” Rachel tried to stop picturing Quinn but she couldn’t.

“Here it is.”

“Thanks.” Rachel reached her hand out with her eyes shut.

“You can look, Rachel. It’s okay,” Quinn said, a smile in her voice.

“Oh.” Rachel opened her eyes to find Quinn had wrapped a towel around herself. It only help a little bit because Quinn still loved as gorgeous as ever.

“Don’t freak out. It’s no big deal.” Quinn’s smile grew.

“I guess not.” Rachel allowed herself to look Quinn up and down. The towel clung to her body and Rachel’s mouth grew dry. It was too much to take.

“I need to finish getting dressed.” Quinn laughed.

“Right. Sorry. I’ll go.” Rachel took her lucky headband back to her room, plopping backwards on her bed. She groaned loudly. She’d just made a fool of herself and Quinn wasn’t an idiot. She’d have to know why Rachel was acting so weird. But she just couldn’t help it. Now that she had broken up with Jesse, there was nothing to distract her from her feelings for Quinn. And it wasn’t a rebound, it was real. But she couldn’t do anything about them. Not yet. Maybe not ever. But God, did she want to.

----------------

Quinn wiped at her eyes, trying to stop crying before she saw Rachel. It wasn’t surprising. She’d known Puck was going to be difficult about the adoption. But he’d said such awful things.

“Quinn? Are you okay?” Leroy came into the house behind her.

“I- Yeah.” Quinn attempted to smile.

“These tears say differently.” Leroy patted her back.

“Dad? Quinn? What’s wrong?” Rachel walked into the room, coming over to Quinn. “What happened?”

“I don’t know. I just got home and found her like this,” Leroy said.

“Quinn, do you want to talk to me?” Rachel asked, leading Quinn up to her room.

“It’s a mess, Rachel. Everything’s messed up.” Quinn collapsed into Rachel’s arms, bursting into tears.

“Shh. It’s okay. I promise we’ll figure it out.” Rachel held her tightly, kissing her neck.

“It won’t. Puck, he said- It was awful.” Quinn pulled back, sniffling and avoiding Rachel’s eyes. She couldn’t repeat what Puck hand said. She couldn’t hurt Rachel like that.

“It didn’t go well when you talked to him about the adoption?” Rachel asked unnecessarily.

“No.” Quinn laughed. “He- he said-”

“What did he say?” Rachel held onto Quinn until she looked at her. “You can tell me anything.”

Quinn blew out a breath, knowing Rachel wouldn’t let it go. “He said no baby of his will be raised by a couple of dykes.”

“Oh.” Rachel cringed. “I’m sorry, Quinn. He’s- he’s a jerk.”

“Yeah, and I’m going to have to raise a baby with that jerk,” Quinn said resentfully. “There’s a perfectly capable family who wants a child but Puck’s too damn stubborn and prejudiced to let them.”

“Maybe he’ll change his mind,” Rachel said uncertainly.

“He won’t. It’s- it’s some sort of pride thing,” Quinn said. “He doesn’t even really want to be an actual father, he just can’t let it go.”

“I’m sorry,” Rachel repeated, staring at her helplessly.

“It’s not your fault.” Quinn leaned into Rachel, resting her head on her shoulder. “He’s an ass. He said living with you and your dads has infected me.”

“Bastard!” Rachel tangled a hand in Quinn’s hair.

“I just- I don’t even want to think about him anymore.” Quinn felt herself begin to calm down. It was so easy to lose herself in Rachel.

“Then we won’t,” Rachel said simply. “I’ve got you and I’m not letting go.”

“Good.” Quinn breathed deeply. There was something so comforting about being in Rachel’s arms. She felt like nothing could hurt her. And she wanted to stay there forever and enjoy that feeling.

---------------------

Rachel frantically searched the hallway, finding her target talking to a bunch of football players. She stomped her way over to him, grabbing his arm and yanking him outside. “We have to talk.”

“We have nothing to talk about,” Noah said, glaring down at her.

“You were horrible to Quinn and you need to really think about what you’re doing,” Rachel said calmly. She wanted to help Quinn and that meant not losing her temper, no matter how much she wanted to.

“Quinn’s none of your business.” Noah sneered at her. “She’s just confused by living with you but she’ll come to her senses soon and come back to live with me.”

“You’re an idiot.” Rachel narrowed her eyes at him. “You’re not even thinking about your child.”

Noah scoffed. “Give me a break. Quinn’s the one who wants to give our kid to a couple of freaks like your dads.”

“I know you don’t really think like that.” Rachel was seething but she couldn’t show it.

“I want what’s best for my kid,” Noah said stubbornly.

“And you think a couple of teenagers with no money is better than a successful couple?” Rachel asked.

“I would take care of my kid. I’d never let anything happen,” Noah said quietly.

“You couldn’t even take care of Quinn when she was living with you,” Rachel pointed out. “You couldn’t make her happy.”

“What do you know? I love her!” Noah shouted.

“You don’t. You weren’t faithful to her, you didn’t give her what she needed. She’s happier living with me than she ever was with you,” Rachel said.

“You sound like she’s your girlfriend.” Noah smirked.

“I’d be better for her than you ever were,” Rachel shot back hotly.

“What?”

“That doesn’t matter.” Rachel knew she’d said too much but hopefully she could get them back on track.

“No, are you saying-”

“I’m saying you haven’t given any indication that you know what it means to be a father,” Rachel interrupted him. “You talk a lot but you’re not doing anything.”

“I just want to do what’s right,” Noah said, losing some of his bravado.

“I know. Despite what I’ve said today, I don’t think you’re a bad guy. Just really think about what the right thing to do is.” Rachel patted his back.

“I don’t want my kid to think I don’t want her.” Noah looked smaller than Rachel had ever seen him before. Almost like a little boy.

“She won’t think that. She’ll have parents who can take care of her.” Rachel bit her lip. She’d probably better not say anything else. She’d gotten him thinking and that’s what she wanted. She didn’t want to push him so hard that it backfired.

“I’m going. I can’t talk about this anymore,” Noah said, backing away from her.

“Okay,” Rachel said, watching as he left. She really hoped this worked. She didn’t want things to get any worse. Quinn had looked so upset the night before. She’d do anything to protect her and she wanted desperately to be the one who took care of her. It was odd. She’d never thought that Quinn Fabray would bring out this feeling in her. But she didn’t mind it. It felt right.

----------------

Quinn smiled as Rachel talked excitedly about her solo for the day. It was so cute how Rachel loved to perform so much. Her single-mindedness toward stardom used to annoy her but now Quinn loved it. That was a part of what made Rachel who she was. And-

“Mr. Schue?” Puck stood up. “I’ve got a song I want to sing.”

“Sure. Go ahead, Puck,” Mr. Schue said as Puck looked nervously at Quinn.

“I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. I know you’re probably right that we can’t keep the baby. And this is my apology for how I’ve been acting.” Puck began to sing. “Beth, I hear you calling but I can’t come home right now.”

Quinn felt Rachel take her hand and she squeezed back, grateful for her support. She hoped this meant that Puck was seeing sense but she couldn’t be sure. But it was sweet and Quinn would burst into tears if she didn’t control herself. If Rachel let go of her, she might completely fall apart.

“That’s it.” Puck stood in front of Quinn’s chair. “I’ll do it. If you think the lesbians are good, I’ll sign the papers. I’ll do what you want. But I want to name her Beth.”

“Beth,” Quinn repeated absently. She was stunned. She hadn’t really believed he would change his mind.

“Yeah. I know they’ll probably change it but I want her to have a piece of me, you know?” Puck looked at her earnestly.

“Yeah. Okay. That’s fair.” Quinn nodded. She’d give Puck just about everything now that he finally realized the right thing to do.

“Good.” Puck smiled at her, shot a look at Rachel and sat down.

“Quinn!” Rachel threw her arms around her.

“Oh, thank God.” Quinn returned Rachel’s hug, a weight coming off of her. That one less thing she had to worry about. Things were finally slotting into the way she wanted them to. It felt like things were finally the way they should be.

------------------

“This is really sweet but you didn’t have to take me out for a bacon cheeseburger,” Quinn said, licking her lips at the food in front of her.

“You’ve had such a tough few months and you finally got some good news. We ought to celebrate.” Rachel smiled at the ravenous look on Quinn’s face.

“I can’t believe he changed his mind.” Quinn looked at her. “And I know you had something to do with it.”

“What?” Rachel tried to look innocent. She hadn’t thought Quinn would figure out that she’d talked to Noah.

“Don’t. The last time we talked, he acted like an asshole. He didn’t change his mind on his own. And he looked at you after he sang,” Quinn said.

“Maybe I did.” Rachel shrugged. “I hope I didn’t overstep.”

“No.” Quinn shook her head. “You- you convinced him. I owe you everything.”

“You don’t. I didn’t really do anything but talk. I gave him something to consider is all.” Rachel was relieved Quinn wasn’t angry. She really could have made things worse. But she had to make sure Noah didn’t do something he couldn’t take back.

“You- Thank you, Rachel. I can’t ever repay you.” Quinn stared intently at her.

“You don’t have to. I didn’t do it for repayment. I did it because I care about you.” Rachel blushed. She didn’t understand what exactly she was feeling but she’d do just about anything to protect Quinn.

“I care about you, too.” Quinn glanced away. “I am so thankful for you. And not because of everything you and your dads have done for me. But because of you.”

“I-” Rachel shook her head. “Nobody’s ever really wanted me for me. It’s always been because of what I could do for them.”

“That’s not true,” Quinn said quickly.

“It is. It’s pathetic but it’s true.” Rachel scoffed. “I know I’m overbearing and hard to like.”

“You’re not. People- people have just never taken the time to get to know you.” Quinn sighed. “And it’s kind of my fault. I treated you-”

“No.” Rachel held up her hands. “You were not the only one. You aren’t responsible for the actions of the entire school.”

“But I am responsible for me.”

“True, but you’ve more than apologized. I don’t want you to feel guilty anymore.” Rachel stared at her fiercely.

“I’ll- I’ll try not to. I just want you to be happy,” Quinn said.

“I am. Really.” Rachel smiled at her, blowing out a breath. “This wasn’t supposed to be heavy. I wanted to celebrate.”

“We still can. This is delicious.” Quinn took a big bite of her burger.

“If you say so.” Rachel laughed, delight by the happiness of Quinn’s face. She really must be crazy about her to be charmed by the way she ate that burger. It was insane but she didn’t want to miss a single second with Quinn.

------------

Quinn turned over in her bed. She pushed at her pillow, feeling frustrated. She just couldn’t sleep. It made absolutely no sense. Her life was finally calming down. So why did she still feel so restless? But there was still something bothering her.

‘Quinn? Are you okay?” Rachel stuck her head into the room, coming further in when she saw Quinn’s face. “What happened?”

“Nothing.” Quinn wiped at the tears that started falling.

“That’s obviously not true.” Rachel sat down on the bed, placing a hand on Quinn’s side. “I can’t help if you don’t tell me.”

“I don’t know. Things are okay. My life is finally how I want it. But I’m still so sad. Why am I still sad?” Quinn asked.

“Oh, Sweetheart.” Rachel climbed into bed, pressing against Quinn’s back and wrapping her arms around her.

“I’m a freaking mess,” Quinn said, holding onto Rachel’s hands.

“You’re not. I think maybe everything is finally hitting you all at once,” Rachel said.

“What do you mean?” Quinn pressed back against Rachel, drawing comfort from the warmth in her body.

“You spent so much time worrying about getting Noah to agree to the adoption. But that’s settled. And now you’re realizing that you have to give up your baby. And that hurts.” Rachel rubbed circles over Quinn’s stomach.

“Oh, God. It does hurt. I know it’s the right thing but I-” Quinn gave into her tears, turning in Rachel’s arms.

“I’m here, okay? Whatever you need, I’m here. I’m not letting go,” Rachel whispered.

“I- Thank you,” Quinn said after her tears stopped. She felt a little better. She wasn’t sure if it was because she finally released the feelings she’d been having or because she had Rachel with her.

“You don’t have to thank me. I’d never want you to hurt, Quinn.” Rachel smiled at her.

“I know. You’re so good to me.” Quinn met Rachel eyes, her heart beating faster.

“Uh-uh.” Rachel stroked Quinn’s cheek. “I kind of can’t help it.”

“Really?” Quinn gulped in air. Rachel had never looked at her like that before. She didn’t really know what to say to that.

“Uh-huh. It’s kind of scary how much I feel for you.” Rachel kissed Quinn’s forever, stopping to hover over her.

“Really?” Quinn repeated. She sounded like an idiot but her mind was spinning. They were so close, it would be so easy to close the distance and make her dreams come true.

“Yeah.” Rachel searched Quinn’s face. “Do- You feel this, too, right? It’s not all in my head?”

“No. It’s not.” Quinn broke away from Rachel’s intense stare. It was hard to think. “But my life is pretty complicated right now. I don’t want to start something I’m not ready for.”

“Of course not.” Rachel dropped her hands and backed away.

“No, don’t go.” Quinn grabbed Rachel’s waist, keeping her in place. “I want this, you, so much but I don’t want to hurt you. And if I start this right now, I will. I- I can’t lose you. I’d rather have your friendship forever than be your girlfriend for a while and then lose you.”

“That will never happen.” Rachel shook her head furiously. “You’re stuck with me. I’ve said it before but I’ll keep saying it until it sinks in.”

“But-”

“Listen.” Rachel put a finger over Quinn’s mouth. “I don’t want you worry that I’ll leave you. I will always be your friend. As for anything else, I can wait.”

“You shouldn’t have to. You deserve someone who can love you completely. Someone wonderful and ready for you,” Quinn protested.

“Maybe so but I’m not going to rush into something just so I won’t be alone. And you’re worth waiting for.” Rachel pulled Quinn closer.

“I want you to be happy,” Quinn whispered, pressing her cheek to Rachel’s.

“I am and everything will work itself out. I promise,” Rachel said.

“I am, too.” Quinn breathed in deeply. She had never felt so safe or cared for with anyone else.

“Is it all right if I stay here tonight?” Rachel asked. “I don’t want to leave you right now.”

“I think that would be perfect.” Quinn watched at Rachel laid on her back and Quinn settled against her side.

“I know things are a mess right now but they won’t always be,” Rachel said, tracing Quinn’s spine with her hand. “And once things calm down, if you decide that we’re better off as friends, that’s okay. We’re going to be fine.”

“I almost believe you when you say that.” Quinn closed her eyes, being lulled to sleep by Rachel’s touch.

“Good. Because I’m pretty smart,” Rachel teased.

“You are,” Quinn agreed, taking one of Rachel’s hands and lacing their fingers together. Even half asleep, she couldn’t get enough of Rachel. It was practically the only thing she wanted.

---------------

Rachel left the choir room, searching for Quinn and Finn. The Glee Club was supposed to be working on their songs for Regionals but those two were nowhere to be found. She knew nothing was going on between them. Quinn’s reaction to her touch couldn’t be faked. And she believed her when she said she had no more feelings for Finn. So where were they?

Hearing voices, Rachel head toward them. She frowned at the aggravation in Quinn’s voice. “No, Finn. This has gone on too long. I can’t deceive Rachel anymore.”

“But why? I think-”

“No!” Quinn cut him off. “I care way too much about her to continue this. I feel guilty. I can’t write letters for you anymore.”

Rachel didn’t hear Finn’s response as she registered what Quinn had just said. Quinn wrote those letters for Finn. On purpose. They planned it. Before she could think about it anymore, Rachel turned the corner. “What’s going on?”

“Uh, Rachel, hi. Finn and I were talking,” Quinn stuttered, her face pale.

“Yeah, I heard.” Rachel glared harshly.

“You heard,” Quinn repeated. “I-”

“Save it. I can’t believe you would do this to me. Either of you.” Rachel glared at Finn, not letting him off the hook.

“It’s- it’s not what you think,” Finn said, looking at her in panic.

“I’m not an idiot. I know what I heard.” Rachel could feel the anger bubbling up inside and she knew she had to get away. She spun around and began to run, ignoring the voices calling after her.

“Rachel, wait! Please.” Finn grabbed her arm.

“I don’t want to hear anything you have to say.” Rachel yanked her arm away.

“I just love you so much. I wanted you back and-”

“You never loved me. We barely dated before you dumped me to be a rock star who chased after Cheerios,” Rachel said with disgust.

“Rachel? Please let me explain.” Quinn caught up with them, looking pleadingly at her.

“How could you do this to me? Betray me like this? I thought we were friends,” Rachel said tearfully, fighting the urge to fall apart. She didn’t want to cry, she wanted to be mad.

“I’m sorry,” Quinn said desperately. “I didn’t meant for things to end up like this. Everything spun out of control.”

“Why would you do this?” Rachel asked. That was the thing that bugged her most. She could see why Finn would do it but Quinn- She just didn’t understand.

“Finn asked and I thought I owed him. And then you and I got close and I started feeling things but I couldn’t stop.” Quinn blinked back tears and Rachel tried to ignore the tug at her heart. Quinn didn’t deserve it.

“You know how confused I was. You let me believe that Finn felt all of these wonderful things about me,” Rachel said.

“I do. You are so-”

“Don’t. None of it was real. You’re both liars. I was the fool who believed someone could love me like that.” Rachel shook her head, feeling lost.

“Someone does. It wasn’t a lie,” Quinn insisted.

“It was.” Rachel scoffed.

“No. I’m a coward. I couldn’t admit it to myself, let alone anyone else. But- but with the letters, I could tell you without actually telling you.” Quinn shrugged her shoulders, looking smaller than she ever had before.

“I-I can’t do this. I don’t- I don’t want to do this. I have to get out of here.” Rachel backed away.

“No, please. I don’t know what’s going on with Quinn but I really want to be with you. That’s what this whole letter thing was about,” Finn said.

“I don’t want to be with you,” Rachel said bluntly. “I’m over you. That was true before I found out about this and it’s still true.”

“I’m sorry, Rachel,” Quinn said desperately.

“That doesn’t mean anything right now.” Rachel could feel herself softening and she knew she had to leave quickly. “I have to go. Tell Mr. Schue I’m sick.”

“Okay. Bye,” Quinn whispered, clearly trying not to reach out to her.

“Right.” Rachel walked away, needing to get as far away as possible. She needed to think. She didn’t know what to do. She was so furious but she still felt this pull to Quinn. Seeing her upset made her want to fix it. But she couldn’t. She wasn’t okay and she couldn’t pretend to be. She had to take care of herself, which meant leaving Quinn to fend for herself. No matter how wrong it felt.

----------------

Quinn zipped up her duffel bag and sighed. She wanted to force Rachel to talk to her but it wouldn’t be right. She needed to give her space if she hoped to be able to salvage their friendship. Of course who was she kidding? Everything was ruined and she wasn’t going to fix it. Rachel’s heart was more fragile than anyone knew and she’d broken it.

Grabbing her bag, Quinn went into the hallway. She hesitated at Rachel’s door. She sucked up her courage and knocked lightly. She didn’t expect a reply and she didn’t get one. But she had to let Rachel know she was leaving for a while.

“Rachel, I’m going to spend the weekend at Brittany’s. I won’t bug you anymore. If- if you want me to leave permanently, I will. I don’t want to make things harder for you.” Quinn leaned against the door, letting out a breath. She wanted to fix this but there was nothing she could do. “I really am so sorry. I’ll see you in a few days.”

Quinn made her way downstairs, knowing she couldn’t push. She had to get away because all she wanted to do was hold on to Rachel and never let her go. And that wasn’t an option. Not when she’d screwed up so badly. Time and space were what Rachel needed right now.

------------

Rachel yawned despite the fact that she had spent the past two days in bad. Her dads thought she was sick because she hadn’t wanted to explain what happened. She couldn’t talk about it, she was still getting her head around it. She honestly believed that Quinn hadn’t meant to hurt her. She could understand how she would want to help Finn. But she didn’t understand why she continued it once they became close. When Quinn know how confused she was.

Standing up, Rachel changed out of her pajamas. Quinn had come home earlier and they had to talk. She wasn’t ready to get into everything but she also didn’t want Quinn to leave.

“Hey, Quinn? Can we talk?” Rachel asked nervously, standing in her doorway.

“Yeah, of course.” Quinn waved her in, looking surprised. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.” Rachel took a few steps into the room, stopping a good distance away from Quinn. “Did you have a good weekend?”

“Yeah. Santana was grounded so Britt and I watched movies the whole time.” Quinn gazed at her seriously. “But that’s not what you want to talk about.”

“No, it’s not.” Rachel was grateful that Quinn opened the door to this subject. “I don’t want you to leave.”

“Rachel, it’s okay. I understand that I crossed the line. I can go back to Puck’s. It’s only a few more months.” Quinn smiled weakly.

“No! I’m angry and upset but I still want to take care of you,” Rachel said. She wasn’t going to let her go back to Noah’s. He may have been nicer lately but he wasn’t what Quinn needed right now.

“It’s not your job to take care of me.” Quinn shook her head firmly. “I don’t deserve you.”

“Stop it.” Rachel sat down on her bed, forgetting her need to keep her distance. “Quinn, you deserve to be safe. And no matter what, I want you to be here.”

“I don’t-”

“Wait.” Rachel hesitated. She didn’t want to give Quinn false hope but she still cared so much about her. “This is your home.”

“Rachel, you don’t have to say that.” Quinn’s eyes filled with tears.

“I mean it. Things may not ever be the same between us but you belong with us,” Rachel said honestly.

“If- if you’re sure. I don’t want you to be uncomfortable.” Quinn sucked in a shaky breath.

“I’m not. If you left, I’d be terrified.” Rachel managed to meet Quinn’s eyes. “I can’t be around you like I was before. I have to stay away. But please, don’t leave.”

“Okay. I won’t,” Quinn said.

“Good.” Rachel stood up awkwardly. “I’m going to go.”

“Sure.” Quinn nodded. “Thank you, Rachel.”

“You’re welcome.” Rachel made it back to her room and sank into her bed. That didn’t go as badly as she had feared it would. Quinn was staying and neither of them had dissolved into tears. They hadn’t gone into depth about Finn’s letters and that was what she had feared. She couldn’t listen to any explanations at the moment. Even thinking that Quinn felt those things in the letters- She wasn’t ready to deal with it. Her feelings were a jumble and she needed to untangle them before she tried talking to Quinn.

But Rachel knew she couldn’t allow Quinn to leave. She cared way too much about her, even when she was furious. And truthfully, she knew that if Quinn was back to Noah’s, he’d somehow convince her to be with him. She knew Quinn said she didn’t have feeling for him but they were having a child together. She didn’t want to risk Quinn moving on before she figured out what she wanted from her. Maybe it was selfish, but she needed Quinn. That was the one thing she was sure of. No matter what, she couldn’t lose her. She needed her in her life.

----------------

Quinn listened patiently as Leroy went over what she could expect at the hospital. It was all so overwhelming. Her due date was getting closer and she wasn’t sure she was ready for it. She’d kind of assumed that Rachel would be with her in the delivery room but she couldn’t count on that now. They barely talked anymore. She knew it was her fault and she didn’t blame Rachel but she missed her. So much.

“Quinn? Are you okay?” Leroy asked.

“Yeah. It’s just a lot to take in,” Quinn said.

“It is,” Leroy agreed. “Do you know who you want with you in the delivery room?”

Quinn shrugged. “Not really. I guess you and Hiram. If you want, I mean.”

“If you need us, then we’ll absolutely be there,” Leroy said. “What about Noah? Do you want him with you?”

“No way. He would freak out.” Quinn laughed bitterly.

“He is the father,” Leroy pointed out.

“I know that,” Quinn said shortly.

“Quinn-”

“I know what you mean but he would just make things difficult for me.” Quinn shook her head. “He can be at the hospital but not in the room with me. He can meet her after. He can wait with Angie and Yvonne.”

“That’s fair,” Leroy said quietly. “What about Rachel?”

“She won’t want to be there.” Quinn looked at him.

“Have you asked her?”

“I can’t do that,” Quinn said quickly. “If I do, she’ll do it whether she wants to or not.”

“She’s mad at you but she still cares,” Leroy said.

“Did she tell you what I did?” Quinn asked, unable to meet his eyes.

“She did. And I get it. It’s hard to put yourself out there and risk rejection.” Leroy patted her back. “I think she’s more hurt than angry.”

“That makes it worse!” Quinn exclaimed. “I never want to hurt her and I did it anyway.”

“Yeah, you did.” Leroy pulled her into his arms. “But it wasn’t maliciously. And if you’re really sorry, she’ll forgive you.”

“She shouldn’t.” Quinn allowed herself a moment of peace in his arms.

“Maybe not but she’s got a big heart and she adores you,” Leroy said. “If she didn’t, it wouldn’t have hurt her so much.”

Quinn sighed and pulled away, wiping her eyes. “I am sorry.”

“I know that.” Leroy tapped her nose playfully. “Everything’s going to work out just fine.”

“Rachel must get her optimism from you.” Quinn smiled at him.

“Yep. Hiram’s the realist in our relationship,” Leroy said. “That’s why we get along so well.”

“Yeah.” Quinn thought back to Rachel. Her great big heart was the thing Quinn loved most about her. She just wished she’d done a better job of protecting it.

“Do you want to get something to eat?” Leroy asked.

“I always do.” Quinn smirked playfully. Food would make her feel a little better.

--------------

Rachel watched anxiously as Quinn sat down on the stage. She was clearly exhausted. They had been rehearsing for a couple of hours and Rachel thought it might be too much for a pregnant girl. But she couldn’t make herself go over and check on her. She felt powerless.

“Hey, Berry? Do you think she’s okay?” Santana asked, nodding at Quinn.

“Yes, I think she’s just tired,” Rachel said, looking at her.

“Gee, I wonder why.” Santana snorted. “Like a pregnant girl really needs to be dancing all over the place.”

“No kidding.” Rachel hesitated. She hated asking for help but Santana cared about Quinn, too. “Do you think you could suggest that she lay off?”

“Why me? You’re the bossy big mouth around here.” Santana frowned.

“Nobody listens to me. They just think I’m irritating.” Rachel ignored the insult. That didn’t matter if Quinn was taken care of.

“That’s true.” Santana walked over to Mr. Schue and started poking him in the chest.

“Nice.” Rachel laughed to herself as Santana berated Mr. Schuester. Dancing wasn’t the worst thing in the world but it didn’t take a genius to know that Quinn needed rest. And she was way too stubborn to admit it. Wasn’t it Mr. Schue’s job to look out for his students?

Rachel shook her head. This wasn’t about Mr. Schue, it was about her and Quinn. She still cared so much but she couldn’t acknowledge it. If she spent any time with Quinn, it would be so easy to fall back into old patterns. And she wasn’t ready for that. She wasn’t ready to let Quinn back in. Maybe it was petty but she didn’t want to forgive her yet. She was still just so raw, she couldn’t be close to her.

“Okay, guys. We’ve done some good work. I think we can call it a day.

Everyone began to disperse and Rachel went over to Quinn. “I’m going to call Dad for a ride home.”

“Oh, good.” Quinn smiled hesitantly. “I’m kind of tired.”

“I’ll bet.” Rachel turned away and called, desperately needing a distraction. She wouldn’t last much longer.

---------------------

“Hey, Quinn. Can we talk for a second?” Finn asked as she walked to the cafeteria.

“Sure.” Quinn looked up at him with trepidation. She had been avoiding him almost as much as Rachel was avoiding her. She’d screwed him over again and she didn’t really want to deal with it.

“I want to talk about Rachel,” Finn said.

“I- I’m sorry everything got so messed up. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” Quinn cringed. Her apology seemed pathetic.

“No, you didn’t. It was my idea.” Finn scoffed. “My stupid idea.”

“I wanted to help you.”

“I know you did. But Rachel- she’s not stupid. She was going to figure out that I didn’t write the letters. And she’d want to know who.” Finn shrugged his shoulders. “And it’s hard not to love Rachel.”

“Finn, I-”

“I’m not saying it’s not weird but you can’t help how you feel, Quinn.”

“I don’t want you to hate me,” Quinn said. “I know you should but-”

Finn sighed. “It’d be easier if I could hate you for what you did. But I don’t. I could never be with you again but I think we could be friends.”

“Really?” Quinn asked hopefully.

“Yeah. I’ll just keep you away from my girlfriends from now on.” Finn grinned.

Quinn laughed at him. “I think Rachel’s the only girl I’d be willing to put myself out there for.”

“Right.” Finn nodded soberly.

“But we’re okay?” Quinn wanted to clarify once more. This would be a big weight gone.

“Yeah, we are.” Finn touched her cheek, eyes widening when he spotted something over her shoulder. “Oh, no.”

“What?” Quinn turned to find Rachel glaring at them before she stormed off. “I’ve got to go.”

“Yeah, good luck.”

“Thanks.” Quinn went directly to the choir room, knowing that Rachel liked to hide in there. Sure enough, she was pacing around the piano. “Rachel?”

“Quinn? What are you doing? Shouldn’t you be plotting with Finn?” Rachel asked snidely.

“We were talking things out,” Quinn said, ignoring the jab she knew she deserved. “I owed him an explanation.”

“I- I guess I understand that,” Rachel said.

“I’m not going to do anything with him. We’re just friends.” Quinn felt a little presumptuous. Rachel seemed jealous but that didn’t mean she really was.

“It’s none of my business.” Rachel avoided meeting Quinn’s eyes.

“We both know that’s not true,” Quinn said quietly.

“Quinn I- I can’t-” Rachel stopped, looking distressed.

“We don’t need to have a big discussion,” Quinn assured her. “I know you’re still upset with me and that’s okay.”

“It is?” Rachel asked, staring at her in surprise.

“Yes,” Quinn confirmed. “I want you to know I’m working to regain your trust. I won’t stop trying.”

“I want to but I-”

“You don’t have to say anything.” Quinn held her hands up, not wanting Rachel to feel any pressure.

“Okay.” Rachel looked away.

“Anyway, I- Huh.” Quinn pressed her hands to her stomach.

“What’s wrong? Are you okay? You’re not going into labor, are you?” Rachel asked, coming closer to Quinn’s side.

“No, she’s moving again.” Quinn smiled. “She’s been quiet lately.”

“Oh. Is she okay?” Rachel reached her hand out cautiously, settling on Quinn’s belly.

“Mmm hmm. I think she’s missed you and now she’s happy to hear your voice.” Quinn smiled wider at the awe in Rachel’s eyes.

“I- Really?” Rachel pressed her hand harder on Quinn and giggled when the baby kicked again. “That’s amazing.”

“Yeah,” Quinn said wistfully. This was as close as she’d been to Rachel in forever.

“And she’s really all right? Your doctor’s appointments have been going well?” Rachel asked, looking at her.

“Yes. She’s perfect and growing.” Quinn nodded, happy to feel Rachel’s concern. She knew Rachel still cared but it was nice to feel it.

“That’s great. I’m glad.” Rachel glanced at her watch. “Whoa, we better get you to the lunch room. You and the baby need to eat.”

“Right.” Quinn laughed. “Beth gets a little angry if I don’t eat at regular intervals.”

“You’re calling her Beth? I know you told Noah you’d name her that but won’t it get confusing if her parents name her something else?”

“No, they’re going to call her Beth. They said they want her to have something from her bio parents,” Quinn replied.

“That’s sweet.”

“Uh-huh.” Quinn ducked her head. “They said they want her middle name to be Quinn.”

“Wow.”

Quinn shook her head. “I’m not doing it. I think it would just be weird.”

“If that’s what you think is best,” Rachel said quietly.

“I do. She’s perfect. I- I don’t want her to be tied by name to someone like me,” Quinn said, still looking away.

“Hey, don’t talk like that.” Rachel forced Quinn’s chin up and held on tight. “Beth would be lucky to share her name with you.”

“No. I screw up constantly. I keep hurting people and I don’t want to hurt her.” Quinn blinked back tears. She didn’t want to talk about this. Why had she brought it up?

“You won’t,” Rachel assured her. “You’re giving her up to give her the best chance.”

“I know.” Quinn sniffled. “I just- I can’t have her tied to me like that.”

“Well, that’s okay.” Rachel wiped Quinn’s tears away. “But you’re not a bad person, Quinn.”

“I want to believe that,” Quinn said, amazed that Rachel would be here for her over everything.

“Maybe I’ll keep telling you that until you believe it.” Rachel patted her cheek. “Let’s get you fed before lunch is over.”

“Sounds good.” Quinn followed Rachel, a slight bounce in her step. She could think of nothing she wanted more than to have lunch with Rachel.

---------------------------

Rachel paced, waiting for the music to start. She wasn’t nervous exactly, just a bit apprehensive. The fate of the Glee Club rested on her shoulders. And Finn’s, too. She had to be her best. She felt a hand on her shoulder and spun around. “Quinn? Are you okay? Is the baby okay?”

“I’m fine.” Quinn smiled. “I wanted to tell you to break a leg.”

“Oh. Thanks.”

“You’re so talented, Rach. There’s no one like you,” Quinn said softly.

“Thank you.” Rachel looked into Quinn’s eyes, getting a little lost.

“I’d better get back to the other. Just don’t worry. I have faith in you and I love you.” Quinn leaned in, kissing Rachel’s cheek and walking away.

“Hmm.” Rachel absently brought her hand to her cheek. It was astonishing that such a little touch could make her heart race.

“Rach?” Finn knocked Rachel out of her daze.

“Yes?” Rachel tried to focus on him.

“Quinn really cares about you,” Finn said.

“What?” Rachel stared at him in surprise.

“I- The whole thing with the letters- I knew she cared about you but I didn’t really get it until everything blew up.” Finn shook his head. “It seems so obvious now.”

“What does?” Rachel asked.

“She loves you. Those letters- they came so easy for her. I thought she was just smart but- it was you. You brought out those emotions in her,” Finn said.

“I don’t know what to say,” Rachel said, her head spinning from his words and Quinn’s.

“I wasn’t think about what’s best for you and I’m sorry. I never should have started this whole thing. But you shouldn’t stay angry with Quinn.” Finn smiled faintly. “It’s a little strange to say but she’s not a bad person.”

“No, she isn’t,” Rachel agreed. “I’m not really angry with either of you anymore. I just don’t know how to trust her again.”

“Oh.” Finn deflated a little.

“We should probably just forget it right now. We’ve got to sing.” Rachel smiled a little, trying to put it out of her mind.

“Right. You’ll be great.” Finn smiled back.

“You, too.” Rachel took a deep breath, trying to get back into her performance mindset. She couldn’t let her romantic troubles distract her. The Glee Club was counting on her and she couldn’t let them down. Although, she knew a tiny part of her would have Quinn on her mind. But it would only make her perform better.

--------------------------

Quinn walked into the kitchen, flashing a tired smile to Hiram and Leroy. “What are we having for dinner?”

“We were thinking about ordering a pizza,” Leroy said. “Rachel’s gone to Santana’s for the party celebrating another year of Glee.”

“Yeah, I know. I’m just exhausted.” Quinn yawned.

“Are you okay?” Hiram asked worriedly.

“I’m fine. Just a million months pregnant.”

“These last few months have been tough on you,” Hiram agreed. “You probably need some rest.”

“Yeah, I-” Quinn gasped.

“What’s wrong?” Leroy asked, coming to her side.

“I- I think my water just broke.” Quinn looked down at the floor before looking at Leroy with panicked eyes. “Oh, my God.”

“It’s okay, it’s okay.” Leroy patted her back, seeming anxious.

“I’ll call your doctor and we’ll get you to the hospital. Leroy, help Quinn to the car,” Hiram said calmly.

“I- I need to change my clothes and get my bag and call Angie and Yvonne and Puck.” Quinn was panicking. She wanted to get this baby out but she didn’t feel ready.

“Shh, Quinn, it’s all right.” Hiram smiled at her reassuringly. “You go change and we’ll make your calls.”

“Okay.” Quinn nodded.

“Wait, do you want us to call Rachel, too?” Leroy asked.

“No. We- Things are still all mixed up between us. She’ll feel like she has to come and I don’t want that.” Quinn wanted Rachel with her desperately but not if she didn’t want to be there. She couldn’t do that to her. She could manage this on her own, even if she was scared to death. She was fine, she was strong and-”

“Quinn.” Hiram touched her hand on her shoulder. “You’re ready. Leroy and I are her for you. You’re not alone. You can do this.”

“Right.” Quinn took a deep breath. It was time. She could do it. She could.

------------------

Sipping her soda, Rachel glanced around the room. Everyone else seemed to be having fun but she couldn’t get into it. She was glad to have another year Glee but this felt wrong. She should be at home. Quinn had seemed tired the last few days and she was worried. It was probably nothing but Rachel was terrified something would happen. She still wasn’t talking to Quinn but she wanted to take care of her.

A sudden commotion caused Rachel to look up and she watched Noah tear out of the room. She looked at Finn. “What happened?”

“Quinn’s having the baby,” Finn said.

“What?” Rachel asked, getting her phone out. Her dads hadn’t called her. “I need a ride to the hospital.”

“What?”

“I know it’s weird for you but I have to be there for Quinn. She- she needs me. I can’t not be there.” Rachel wasn’t above begging if it would get her to Quinn.

“I- Of course. Let’s go.” Finn pulled her up.

“Thank you.” Rachel followed him to his truck and get in, anxious beyond all belief. She knew everything would probably be fine but she was worried that something would happen and Quinn would never know that she cared. She just couldn’t take that.

“Rach? We’re here.” Finn pulled into the hospital parking lot.

“Are you coming?” Rachel asked.

“No. That would be too awkward. But call me when it’s over,” Finn said.

“Sure.” Rachel went into the hospital, heading straight to the maternity ward. Once she got there, she started to slow down. Especially once she saw Noah and the adoptive parents. Since Quinn hadn’t called her, she really didn’t have a place here. But she had to be here. She couldn’t leave Quinn.

“Rachel.” Noah looked at her in relief. “You’ve got to get in there. She keeps asking for you but won’t let her dads call you.”

“What?” Rachel looked at him, feeling stunned. Noah had been a lot more pleasant lately but she still felt like he resented her.

“She needs you. It’s room 12,” Puck said, pointing down the hall. “You can go in, it’s fine.”

“Okay.” Rachel made her way down the hall, sucking in a breath before knocking and sticking her head inside. “Can I come in?”

“Oh, thank God.” Hiram pulled her into the room. “She’s been asking for you but every time we pull out our phone, she says not to call.

“I’m here.” Rachel rushed to Quinn’s side, her heart clenching at her tearstained face.

“You shouldn’t be here. Things are all messed up.” Quinn shook her head furiously even as she grabbed Rachel’s hand.

“That doesn’t matter. I still care about you.” Rachel pushed sweaty hair from Quinn’s face.

“You don’t have to. I don’t want to pressure you,” Quinn said.

“You’re not,” Rachel assured her. “I want to be here and the only way I’m leaving is if you tell me you want me to go.”

“I- Please, stay.” Quinn squeezed her eyes shut as another contraction came over her.

“Whoa.” Rachel hadn’t really thought about what it would be like to see Quinn in pain. “You’re doing great, Sweetie.”

“Hmm.” Quinn smirked.

“How long have you been in labor?” Rachel asked.

“My water broke about an hour after you left,” Quinn said. “But my back’s been hurting for two days. Apparently I’ve been in early labor for a long time.”

“What- Are you okay? Is that normal?” Rachel couldn’t believe that Quinn had been in labor all that time. That seemed crazy.

“She’s fine.” Leroy rubbed Rachel’s back to calm her. “The doctor said it was good she didn’t panic and the baby’s perfect. Quinn’s almost ready to start pushing.”

“This is all happening so quickly.” Rachel forced a smile. She couldn’t be flustered right now. Quinn needed her to be strong for her.

“It is. But I’m okay.”

“Quinn, we’ll stay if you want but you look like you’re all right,” Hiram said.

Quinn hesitated. “I- I think I just want Rachel, if that’s okay.”

“Of course it is,” Leroy said as he and Hiram took turns kissing Quinn’s forehead. “We’ll be right outside if you need us.”

“You ready for this?” Rachel asked after her dads left.

“No.” Quinn looked at her with wide eyes. “I’m just scared. I don’t know if I can really do this.”

“You can. I have faith in you. You’re so strong.” Rachel leaned down, pressing her lips to Quinn’s cheek.

“Thank you for being here. I couldn’t do this without you,” Quinn said.

“You could but you don’t have to. I couldn’t be anywhere else.” Rachel wanted to be closer to her. She felt helpless, completely out of her element. The only thing she could really give Quinn was her presence and that didn’t seem like enough.

“Quinn, I think you’re ready to push,” Quinn’s doctor said as she came into the room.

“Okay.”

“You can do this,” Rachel whispered.

“I can.” Quinn smiled at her.

Time seemed to speed up once Quinn started pushing. Rachel wasn’t quite sure what she had expected labor to be like but Quinn was even stronger than she had thought she was. As she plastered herself to Quinn’s side, whispering words of encouragement, Rachel fell even harder for her. Quinn was spectacular. When the baby was finally put into Quinn’s arms, Rachel’s heart felt fuller than it ever had before.

“I did it.” Quinn dragged her eyes away from the baby to Rachel.

“Yeah, you did. She’s perfect. You’re perfect.” Rachel couldn’t wipe the smile from her face.

“She’s here,” Quinn said in a daze.

“She is.” Rachel stared at Quinn in awe. “I’m so proud of you.”

“Wow.” Quinn grabbed Rachel’s hand, pulling her close. “Thank you for coming.”

“Of course. I wouldn’t have been anywhere else.” Rachel pushed the hair off of Quinn’s face. “I love you so much, Quinn.”

“I- I- I don’t know what to say.” Quinn blushed, looking shy.

“It’s okay. We don’t have to talk right now,” Rachel said. “Let just enjoy the quiet for everyone comes in.”

“Right.” Quinn sighed, looking back at the baby.

Rachel could do nothing but gaze at her. She was amazed by Quinn and she just wanted to stay in this moment with her forever. Just her and Quinn and nobody else. That would be perfect.

----------------

Quinn looked up when the door opened and smiled. “Hey, Rachel. Come on in.”

“You wanted to see me?” Rachel stopped at the foot of the bed.

“Uh-huh. The papers are signed. Puck’s already said his good-bye. Angie and Yvonne will be here in a few minutes. This is my last few moments with her and I need you with me.” Quinn blinked back her tears. If she started crying, she was never going to stop.

“Whatever you need,” Rachel said. “I’m honored you wanted me here.”

“Thank you.” Quinn shifted the baby in her arms, giving Rachel a better look. “Rachel, I’d like you to officially meet Elizabeth Rachel Bradford-Collins, otherwise known as Beth.”

“What?” Rachel looked at Quinn in astonishment.

“They- They asked if I had any special name I wanted to give her and I did.” Quinn ducked her head bashfully. Maybe Rachel wouldn’t like it but she’d known it was the perfect name the moment she’d said it. Despite everything, Rachel had been there for her and she wanted to honor that.

“That’s- I-”

“You don’t have to say anything.” Quinn managed a smile, even though Rachel’s reaction was making her nervous. “You’re no mad, are you?”

“No. I’m definitely not mad.” Rachel pressed her hand to Beth’s cheek. “You- you care about me that much. You tied a piece of me to your daughter.”

“Because you’re- I love you, Rach.” Quinn smiled, her heart beating fast.

“I- I don’t know what to say.”

“Me, neither.” Quinn glanced down at the baby. “I don’t know how to say good bye to her.”

“I don’t, either.” Rachel sat down on the edge of the bed. “She’s beautiful.”

“Something wonderful come out of my mistake and it seems wrong to just throw it away and never see her again,” Quinn said, biting her lip to keep from crying.

“That’s not what’s going to happen. You won’t be her mom but she’ll grow up having a relationship with you.” Rachel rubbed Quinn’s back. “You’ll still be able to love her.”

“It- it hurts.” Quinn blinked rapidly, trying to focus on Beth and not completely fall apart.

“I know.” Rachel slipped her arm around Quinn.

“What if- what if Angie and Yvonne change their mind? What if I never get to see her again?” Quinn asked. Even though it was unlikely, she was terrified that she’d completely lose her connection to Beth.

“I can’t promise that won’t happen. But I really don’t think it will.” Rachel sighed. “I think the best thing you can do is tell Beth every time you see her just how much you love her.”

“Yeah.” Quinn gently ran a hand over Beth’s face. “You weren’t expected, Beth, but I’m glad you’re here. I may not be your mom but I know you’re going to have the best life.”

“You both will,” Rachel whispered.

“I hope so.” Quinn glanced at the time, tears coming quickly at how little time she had left.

“Beth, you are a very lucky girl.” Rachel placed a comforting hand over Quinn’s, even as she kept her gaze on Beth. “You’ll have two moms who will take care of you and a biological mother who loves you enough to let you go even though it’s killing her.”

“Rach.” Quinn stopped, her feelings overwhelming her.

“She loves you so much,” Rachel continued.

A knock at the door jerked them both out of their thoughts. Quinn tried to brace herself as the door opened. “Come in.”

“Hi. Are you ready?” A tall woman came first into the room, another woman right behind her.

“Yes, Yvonne.” Quinn forced a smile. “How- how do we do this?”

“We do this however you want. We want you to be comfortable with this,” Angie said.

“I- I think I just want you to take her. I can’t stand a long, emotional drawn out thing,” Quinn said.

“Good bye, Beth,” Rachel said, leaning down and kissing Beth’s cheek.

“Oh.” Quinn swallowed the lump in her throat long enough to give Beth her own kiss. “I love you so much.”

“Thank you, Quinn,” Yvonne said as she took the baby from Quinn’s arms.

“You- you’re first visit is set for next month and we’ll send pictures every week.” Angie hugged Quinn tightly.

“Okay.” Quinn was vaguely aware of Rachel taking her hand but she didn’t really register it as she tried to keep from falling apart.

“Good bye, Quinn.”

“Bye.” Quinn watched as they left with her baby. She turned to Rachel, burying her face in her shoulder. She couldn’t be strong anymore. Beth was gone and all she was left with was a hole in her heart.

“Oh, Quinn.” Rachel held tightly to Quinn, tangling a hand in her hair. “I’m not going to say it’s okay, because it’s not. But I’m here. I’m not leaving you. Whatever you need, just tell me.”

“Don’t leave me. Please hold me,” Quinn cried, not caring that she sounded pathetic. It felt like Rachel’s arms were the only thing holding her together.

“Of course. I’ll never let you go,” Rachel promised.

“Thank you.” Quinn knew they couldn’t stay like this forever but she wanted it as long as she could have it. Rachel was all she needed right now.

--------------

Rachel tried to push past her irritation as Quinn headed outside for a run but she couldn’t. It had been a month since Beth was born and she and Quinn hadn’t talked since. At least not about anything important. Ever since that day in the hospital, Quinn had been avoiding her. She hadn’t want to push Quinn into talking when she wasn’t ready. But Quinn was acting like nothing was wrong. She had spent the last moth working to get back into shape and studying and laughing with Santana and Brittany. It was almost like she had never been pregnant.

And that was what scared Rachel the most. Maybe the closeness between her and Quinn had been because Quinn needed support. And now that Quinn didn’t need her anymore, they weren’t friends. She didn’t want to believe it but what else was she supposed to think? She had really thought there was something between them but Quinn didn’t seem to feel the same. And that hurt. Despite the mess with Finn’s letters, she still had feelings for her. And she just didn’t know how to handle things now.

“Hey, Rachel? Can we talk?” Quinn was standing in Rachel’s doorway, still sweaty from her run.

“Sure.” Rachel looked at her expectantly, trying to ignore how good Quinn looked. That was totally inappropriate.

“I- I don’t know how to ask this but-” Quinn stopped, her eyes darting around.

“Just ask. It’s okay.” Rachel couldn’t help but softened when she saw Quinn’s nervousness. She had a weakness for Quinn that wasn’t ever going away.

“My first visit with Beth is this weekend. Puck’s going to drive me and I was wondering if you’d go with us. Your dads both have to work.”

“I-” Rachel’s first instinct was to refuse. Quinn had ignored her until she needed something. It stung and she wanted to lash out. But she couldn’t. Not when Quinn really needed her. “Yeah, okay.”

“Is something wrong?” Quinn asked, looking at her closely.

“No,” Rachel said shortly. “Is that all you need?”

“What did I do?” Quinn asked, taking a few steps back.

“I- Nothing.” Rachel sighed. She didn’t want to get into this but it looked like she didn’t have a choice. “You- you’ve ignored me for the last month, Quinn. And I don’t mean to imply that you shouldn’t want your old life back but it feels like you used me.”

“No!” Quinn looked at her with panicked eyes.

“Except for living here, it’s- it’s like you totally forgot about me. I want you to be happy, Quinn. I want to be your friend. But I guess I thought we were close. It hurts to know we’re not. That you needed someone and I just happened to be there.” Rachel slumped her shoulders. She was totally pathetic. She’d really thought Quinn cared about her but it was nothing but a lie.

“That’s not- I didn’t- No, Rachel.” Quinn stumbled over her words as she crossed the room, sitting next to Rachel on her bed. “You’re- you’re everything. You’re the only reason I made it through my pregnancy and giving Beth up. But that’s not all.”

“Quinn, you don’t have to say all this.” Rachel closed her eyes. The stress of the situation was starting to get to her.

“I do,” Quinn whispered, palming Rachel’s cheek until she found her eyes. “I know it’s probably been forgotten but I told you I love you. I meant it, Rachel. With all of my heart.”

“Then why? Why have you been ignoring me? I don’t understand,” Rachel said, looking Quinn directly in the eyes.

“Because you- you were still mad at me. You came to the hospital but really, you didn’t have much of a choice.” Quinn shrugged her shoulders, looking away. “I know you’re not ready to forgive me so I gave you space.”

“Space?” Rachel repeated dumbly.

“Yeah. I didn’t want you to feel like you had to talk to me. I just threw myself into getting back to normal.” Quinn scoffed. “But that’s useless. I- I don’t want my old life back. I want you.”

“Quinn, I- Really?” Rachel gazed at her intently. What Quinn was saying made sense but she wasn’t sure she could believe it.

“Yes, really. I- Even if all we are is friends, I want you in my life. Please say I haven’t ruined everything.”

“You haven’t,” Rachel assured her. No matter how much she might want to, she couldn’t reject Quinn. “I can’t promise you anything. My feelings are all over the place. But I’m not pushing you away. You’re all I’ve thought about for so long.”

“Oh, Good.” Quinn smiled hesitantly.

“We’ll be okay.” Rachel smiled.

“And you’re sure you don’t mind coming with me this weekend. It’ll probably be super awkward with Puck and everything,” Quinn said shyly.

“I can handle Noah,” Rachel said. “And it’ll be good to see Beth again. I bet she’s so cute.”

“Oh! I’ve got pictures on my laptop. Do you want to see?” Quinn asked excitedly.

“Yeah, that’d be great.” Rachel settled happily on the bed while Quinn got her computer. She was relieved but more than that, she felt content. Quinn still cared about her. She wasn’t ready to do anything about it but she still wanted her. And maybe that was selfish but she didn’t care. She’d take Quinn anyway she could have her. Maybe if they spent this time together, she could figure out a way to be with her.

------------------------

Quinn tossed and turned but she still couldn’t fall asleep. It had been like that since she had Beth. She felt so empty. Her mind was a mess and she couldn’t turn it off. She knew she’d done the right thing. Beth was well-taken care of. But she missed her so much. She wanted to burst into tears but if she did, she was afraid she’d never stop. And she wanted to go to Rachel but she definitely couldn’t now. She didn’t want Rachel thinking she only wanted to be around her when she was hurting. Because it wasn’t true. She wanted Rachel all the time. She just couldn’t have her the way she wanted her.

“Quinn?” Rachel poked her head into the room.

“Rachel?” Quinn sat up quickly. She couldn’t believe she’d forgotten to shut her door. She hadn’t wanted Rachel or her fathers to know how upset she still was.

“Quinn, are you okay?” Rachel sat down on the edge of Quinn’s bed.

“Yeah, I’m fine. Really.” Quinn forced a smile.

“You’re not fine.” Rachel looked closely at her. “Have- have you been doing this since you gave birth?”

“It’s no big deal.”

“Don’t do that. Why- why didn’t you come to me?” Rachel asked.

“I- It’s like told you before. You were still mad at me and I didn’t want you to have to be there for me.” Quinn shrugged. “And you said earlier that I only want you when I’m in trouble. I couldn’t do anything that would make you think that was true.”

“Oh, no, Quinn. No.” Rachel scooted across the bed, taking Quinn into her arms. “I never want you to be in pain. You can come to me always.”

“But-”

“Shh, stop it. There is no reason for you to handle this but yourself,” Rachel whispered. “I know what I said before but I- I just thought it was weird that you weren’t talking to me. I was looking for reasons for it.”

“I- God, Rachel, I don’t know what to say.” Quinn held onto Rachel as tears began to fall. She knew she was beginning to fall apart but she didn’t want to.

“It’s okay. You’re okay. Whatever you need, I’m here. You can cry if that’s what you need.” Rachel rubbed her back, kissing her cheek.

“God, I miss her. It feels like there’s a hole inside me. Like it’s never going to get filled.” Quinn tucked herself into Rachel’s body, needing to feel her.

“I’m sorry, Sweetie. I wish there was something I could do. I wish…” Rachel trailed off as Quinn started to cry harder.

“What am I supposed to do?” Quinn sniffled as her tears fell harder.

“I don’t know. I don’t know how to make it better for you. But I’m here. I’m not going anywhere.” Rachel pressed her face into Quinn’s hair.

“Huh.” Quinn blew out a breath before lifting her head. “I think I’m feeling better.”

“Are you sure?” Rachel wiped the tears from Quinn’s cheeks.

“Yeah. I haven’t really cried since that first day but maybe I needed to,” Quinn said, ducking her head in embarrassment.

“Hey.” Rachel forced Quinn’s head up. “There’s nothing wrong with crying if that’s what you need to do.”

“I don’t know about that.” Quinn shook her head. “It’s hard for me to talk about my feelings.”

“Oh, I know that. But you can talk to me whenever you need me.” Rachel sighed. “I never want you to think you couldn’t.”

“Well, it’s kind of my own fault,” Quinn said sheepishly.

“No. There’s nothing you could do that would make me send you away. Even when I’m angry, you’re still a part of my family.” Rachel wrapped her arms around Quinn once more.

“I don’t want you to do something you don’t want to.” Quinn sank into Rachel’s embrace. She meant what she said but she couldn’t help but enjoy the feel of Rachel next to her.

“I don’t do things I don’t want to. You’re my best friend, Quinn and I just want you to be okay,” Rachel said, kissing her gently on the mouth.

“Rachel?” Quinn absently touched her lips.

“Let’s just go to sleep, Quinn. We can talk more in the morning.” Rachel gently pushed Quinn’s backwards, covering her with a blanket.

“Will you stay with me?” Quinn asked, grabbing Rachel’s wrist.

“Yes.” Rachel laid down beside her, turning over on her side and wrapping an arm around Quinn’s waist. She kissed the back of Quinn’s neck.

“Rach?” Quinn sighed into Rachel’s touch.

“Yes?” Rachel pulled Quinn even closer to her.

“I love you.”

“Quinn, I-”

“No. I didn’t say it to get a reaction out of you,” Quinn whispered. “I just want you to know that I meant it. I love you. No expectations.”

“Okay.” Rachel fell silent, keeping her hold on Quinn.

“Thank you, Rachel. I couldn’t have gotten through this without you,” Quinn said, leaning back against Rachel.

“You could have. You’re stronger than you think.” Rachel held her even closer.

“That’s not what I mean. I probably would have found a place to live. Maybe I would even have figure out a way to get Puck to agree to the adoption.” Quinn shrugged. “But I know I would have fallen apart. You- Nobody’s ever cared about me like you do.”

“Quinn, that’s not true.” Rachel snorted in disbelief. “Everyone trips all over themselves to get your attention.”

“Because of what I can do for them. My image. The pretty popular cheerleader. But when I wasn’t that anymore, nobody wanted me.” Quinn patted Rachel’s hand. “But you- you still cared.”

“I did. I do,” Rachel breathed out against Quinn’s neck, causing her to shiver.

“You’re so special to me, Rachel. I- I just- I’m sorry I screwed everything up.” Quinn blinked, trying not to cry again.

“You didn’t,” Rachel said. “But it’s late. Let’s not talk about this right now. We’ve got time to deal with this.”

“Okay.” Quinn breathed deeply, finally feeling sleepy. It was amazing how easily. Rachel managed to slip in and calm her down. This was what she’d missed the past month. Rachel was the only person who made her feel better, even when she didn’t deserve it. And she wouldn’t screwed it up again.

--------------

The car ride was nearly as bad as she’d assumed it would be, Rachel thought as Noah drove them to Cincinnati. It was completely silent but there wasn’t a lot of tension. She wanted to fill the silence but she knew Noah probably wouldn’t appreciate it. And Quinn would stick up for her and it would be a big argument. So she’d kept her mouth shut to make things easier for Quinn.

And Quinn definitely needed a break. Things made a lot more sense now that they had talked. She understood why Quinn had avoided her. And she wasn’t hurt anymore. She just want to help her. Well, she wanted more than that but she wasn’t ready for it. So she had to settle for being Quinn’s friend. Which really wasn’t that bad. She still got to see her and hold her and be there for her. And-

Quinn nudged her side, smiling widely. “You okay?”

Rachel nodded. “Just thinking.”

“Don’t think too hard.” Quinn smirked, kicking Rachel’s foot lightly.’

“Cute.” Rachel pinched her back, delighted by Quinn’s teasing. She hadn’t seen her like this in a long time. Maybe ever.

“You two can save your flirting for later,” Noah said from the driver’s seat. “I’d like to see Beth without puking.”

“Whatever, Puck.” Quinn rolled her eyes, flashing Rachel a smile.

“We’ll try to keep it down, Noah.” Rachel returned Quinn’s smile, feeling her heart skip a beat. Quinn was dazzling and Rachel had never wanted anything like this before. She wanted her so badly and she wasn’t stuck in the back of Noah’s car. She wanted to embrace Quinn, tell her she forgave her. Because she did. Quinn had been so accommodating, trying to give Rachel space. But she didn’t want that. She wanted to hold Quinn and figure out what all of these complicated feelings meant.

Rachel interrupted from her musings by a hand on her arm. She looked over to find Quinn lacing their fingers together. Raising an eyebrow, Rachel tilted her head toward Noah. She didn’t want to irritate him.

Quinn shook her head, keeping a hold of Rachel’s hand. She shifted slightly, pressing her leg to Rachel’s. It took all of her self-control for Rachel to keep herself steady. Every one of her instincts were desperate to love her, to throw her arms around Quinn and kiss her.

Shaking her head, Rachel met Quinn’s eyes. This was totally inappropriate but it didn’t seem to matter. She and Quinn were together, making eyes at each other, and the rest of the world just seemed to fade away.

---------------------

Quinn found Rachel sitting in the kitchen, fiddling with a cup of tea. She sat down across from her, smiling. “Hey.”

“Hi.” Rachel smiled back.

“Are you okay? You kind of disappeared,” Quinn said, looking at her closely.

“I’m fine. I just wanted to give you and Noah time with Beth. I didn’t want to intrude.” Rachel shrugged self-consciously.

“That’s sweet. But you could never be an intrusion.” Quinn blushed, glancing away from her. She probably shouldn’t have said that but it was true. Rachel fit with her like nobody else ever had. She needed Rachel. However, this wasn’t the time to think about it. This was Beth’s time, not her own.

“Still, you two don’t have a lot of time with her,” Rachel said.

“Yeah.” Quinn nodded. “Puck wanted a few minutes alone with her. That’s why I came to find you.”

“Oh.” Rachel drummed her fingers on the table.

“I- I’m thinking we should probably leave soon. I don’t want to take up a lot of Angie and Yvonne’s time,” Quinn said, forcing a smile. It hurt to even think about leaving Beth again.

“I don’t think they mind. They seem really happy to have you and Noah involved in Beth’s life,” Rachel pointed out.

“Maybe but-” Quinn looked up when Angie came into the kitchen, holding a fussy Beth. “Is something wrong?”

“No. It’s time for a bottle and a nap for this girl. Do you want to feed her?” Angie asked.

“Sure!” Quinn took Beth and her bottle and walked into Beth’s nursery. She sat down and began to feed her, blinking back tears at how nice it felt to hold her. She’d done the right thing. Beth was happy and taken care of, everything she’d wanted for her. But there was still a part of her that wished she had kept her.

Rachel knelt on the floor next to Quinn’s chair, placing a hand on her leg. “Do you mind some company?”

“No. That’s just what I need.” Quinn looked at her gratefully. It was funny how Rachel always knew exactly what she needed.

“She’s beautiful, Quinn, and happy. I know you feel conflicted but there is no doubt in my mind that you did the right thing.” Rachel patted Beth gently.

“I know.” Quinn sighed, looking down at a sleepy Beth. “I just miss her.”

“And that’s okay. It would be odd if you didn’t,” Rachel said quietly.

“I-” Quinn swallowed a lump in her throat, trying to keep it together. “Will you stay with me while I put her down? I don’t think I can do it by myself.”

“Of course.” Rachel laid a hand on Quinn’s back as she placed Beth in her crib.

“I love you, Beth.” Quinn leaned down, kissing Beth’s forehead. “See you soon.”

“Bye, Beth.” Rachel kissed her fingertips and pressed them to Beth’s cheek.

“Come on.” Quinn led Rachel into the hall, pulling her into her arms.

“You okay?” Rachel asked, rubbing Quinn’s back.

“Yeah.” Quinn sucked in a breath, calming at the feel of Rachel. “I’m fine.”

“It’s all right if you’re not.” Rachel cupped Quinn’s face in her hands.

“It’s hard,” Quinn admitted, turning her head to kiss Rachel’s hand. “But she has more than Puck and I could ever have given her. I can’t be sorry about that.”

“Good.”

“Yeah.” Quinn bit her lip, realizing how close they were. This wasn’t the time to be doing this with Rachel. Even though Rachel looked adorable. “We should probably go.”

“Right.” Rachel shuffled backward. “I was thinking I’d buy you and Noah lunch. Would you be okay with that?”

“Sure. That’s be nice. But you don’t have to.”

“I know I don’t. But this has been a tough day for both of you. Lunch is the least I can do for you,” Rachel said sweetly.

“Thank you.” Quinn followed her downstairs, trying to hide the stars in her eyes. Rachel was too good to her.

----------------------

“My dads are going to be stuck at work for a while. It looks like we’ve got the night to ourselves.” Rachel smiled nervously at Quinn. She shouldn’t be this anxious. They had been alone plenty of times before. Except she knew that things were about to change for them. And it was pretty scary.

“Sounds like fun.” Quinn looked as freaked out as she was and Rachel grew a little more confident.

“Do you want to watch a movie?” Rachel asked. She knew they need to talk seriously but it had been a long day. It could wait.

“No.” Quinn shook her head. “I don’t want to force you into anything, Rachel. I want to wait until you’re ready. But you’ve been there for me and it doesn’t feel like friendship. You don’t look at me like a friend. I can’t put this off anymore. I have to know what it means.”

“Quinn,” Rachel whispered, too stunned to say anything. She couldn’t believe Quinn was being so brave.

“If you’re not ready to deal with this, we don’t have to talk about it. But I’m so confused, Rachel, and terrified. You scare the crap out of me.” Quinn stopped, looking Rachel directly in the eyes. “But I’m not so scared that I want to avoid you. Because I love you and that’s just not going to change.”

“Quinn,” Rachel repeated, placing her hands on Quinn’s shoulders. “You’re so brave. I- I always thought I’d have to be the brave one in this relationship.”

“What- what are you say?” Quinn asked, furrowing her brow.

“I love you, too. And I’m just as afraid that this is going to blow up in our faces. But I can’t resist you.” Rachel smiled at the disbelief on Quinn’s face. She nuzzled her nose against Quinn’s. “You can breathe.”

“I- I just never really believed you’d feel the same. I kind of thought I screwed things up completely,” Quinn whispered.

“You didn’t. I needed time. But you’re all I’ve thought about for so long.” Rachel slid her hands to Quinn’s back, pulling her even closer.

“Me, too.” Quinn leaned down, pressing her lips softly to Rachel’s. “I love you so much.”

“You’ve said that before.” Rachel giggled against Quinn’s lips.

“I mean it. I’ve kept it in for so long that I’ve just got to say it. I love you, I love you, I love you.”

“You’re wonderful.” Rachel kissed her soundly, winding her arms around Quinn’s neck. Her hands went to Quinn’s hair, moving down to her back. She was so restless, she just couldn’t get enough.

“Whoa.” Quinn pulled back after a few minutes, a dazed look on her face.

“Yeah. You’re awfully good at that.” Rachel grinned up at her.

“It’s you. You- you drive me out of my mind.” Quinn smiled back.

“That’s exactly what I want. That’s how I feel about you.” Rachel took Quinn’s hand, leading her to the couch.

“This is almost like a dream.” Quinn snuggled up to Rachel, wrapping an arm around her back.

“It’s not. It’s real and exactly what we deserve,” Rachel said.

“I don’t know about that.” Quinn scoffed. “I still don’t quite understand why you love me. I just feel lucky that you do.”

“Hey, no. Don’t say that,” Rachel began.

“Come on, Rachel. I’m an awful person. I do awful things,” Quinn finished, looking away.

“No. You did awful things,” Rachel corrected, forcing Quinn to look at her. “You’re not the same person.”

“Rachel-”

“Listen. Quinn from a year ago wouldn’t have poured her heart out to me. She- she wouldn’t have fallen in love with me.” Rachel looked at her intently. “I just know that you’re different now. You feel changed, don’t you?”

“Yes but-”

“No, Quinn.” Rachel rolled her eyes impatiently. “We’re wasting time here.”

“Wasting time?” Quinn asked.

“We have the house to ourselves. We should be putting it to good use instead of arguing about something that doesn’t mean anything.” Rachel lowered her voice. “I really love you, Quinn. This- this time away from you has been difficult. I don’t want to even think about it anymore.”

“Me, either.” Quinn shrugged. “I just don’t want to hurt you.”

“I know. And I don’t want to hurt you, either.” Rachel pressed her face into Quinn’s neck. “But neither of us can promise that.”

“I- You are so wonderful to me, Rachel. You mean everything to me. I don’t want to lose you.” Quinn held tight to her. That was her worst fear. As hard as it was to give Rachel space, Quinn knew that losing her forever would be devastating.

“We’re teenagers, Quinn,” Rachel said, lifting her head. “I don’t know what’s going to happen between us. But I promise you’re in my life for as long as you want to be.”

“Promise?” Quinn asked.

“Absolutely.” Rachel grinned, leaning in and kissing Quinn. “I want to try. I want us to figure out how to be together.”

“I’m kind of a mess.” Quinn wanted to give in but she needed Rachel to know what she was getting into.

“A beautiful mess,” Rachel said sweetly.

“Seriously,” Quinn protested.

“We’ve lived together for months,” Rachel pointed out. “I know you can be moody and difficult. I know you don’t like to share your feelings. It doesn’t matter to me. I love you, Quinn Fabray. As prickly as you are.”

“I love you, too,” Quinn breathed out, pressing her forehead to Rachel’s.

“Good.” Rachel smiled brightly, nipping at Quinn’s lips. “I want to kiss you now. For a long, long time.”

“Sounds pretty good to me,” Quinn said against Rachel’s lips. She closed her eyes and lost herself in Rachel’s arms. She had wanted this for so long. She wasn’t going to over think things.

---------------------

Rachel sighed in satisfaction, running her hand up and down Quinn’s side. She liked cuddling with Quinn and she couldn’t imagine ever getting enough. All they had done was kiss and it felt amazing. Better than anything else ever had.

“What are you thinking about?” Quinn asked, a slight smile in her voice.

“You.” Rachel tilted her head, staring directly into Quinn’s eyes. “You make me so happy.”

“That’s all I’ve wanted to do for so long,” Quinn said shyly.

“I- Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say.”

“That’s a first for you, isn’t it?” Quinn teased.

“Cute.” Rachel pinched Quinn’s side before settling fully on top of her. “Hi.”

“Hi.” Quinn pulled her down for a kiss. “We have to talk.”

“No, we don’t. I think we’ve proven we work pretty well without words.” Rachel knew Quinn was right but she wasn’t quite ready yet.

“Rachel, I don’t want to push but-”

“But we have to settle some things if we want this to really work,” Rachel finished with a sigh.

“Exactly,” Quinn said, looking a little nervous.

“We’ve got to tell people, don’t we? I don’t want to deceive your dads and I don’t like secrets. Not anymore. I don’t want to hide my feelings for you. I’m not ashamed of you.”

“I know that,” Rachel assured her. “And yes, we do have to tell my dads. They won’t mind but if we lie, there will be big problems.”

“And everyone else?” Quinn asked.

“I- I don’t know.” Rachel rolled her eyes, knowing that sounded like a cop out. “I don’t want to hide, either. But you know how the Glee club is. And the rest of the school? You’re never going to get your Cheerio spot back if everyone knows we’re dating.”

“Hey, no. I don’t care about my popularity,” Quinn said quickly.

“Sure.” Rachel couldn’t stop the snort from coming out.

“Okay, I care.” Quinn sighed. “I want that back but not at your expense.”

“Quinn, I want you to have everything you want and you won’t if you’re with me.” Rachel didn’t think she was exaggerating. She knew very well what everyone at school thought about her. And she didn’t want it to affect Quinn in a negative way.

“Rachel, popularity and all that come with it is nice but I don’t need it.” Quinn cupped her cheek. “I need you.”

“That’s not even true. You-”

“Rachel, please.” Quinn placed a finger over her mouth. “My popularity didn’t help me when I was pregnant. It was useless. And if it means I can’t have you, I don’t want it.”

“Are you sure?” Rachel asked, kissing Quinn’s finger against her mouth.

“I am,” Quinn said resolutely. “Besides, Finn knows and Puck suspects so we’re no likely to keep it secret for long.”

“Finn knows?” Rachel frowned, not entirely sure how she felt about that. She remembered talking with him at Regionals but it didn’t really sink in.

“Well, yeah. At least about me. After the whole letters thing came out, we kind of talked about it,” Quinn said sheepishly. “He’s okay, I think. Even if it’s a little weird.

“Oh.” Rachel bit her lip. She couldn’t blame Quinn for taking it out with him and it was probably better that he knew before everyone else. “You know it’s not going to be easy.”

“I know. But I’ll have you.” Quinn nuzzled her nose against Rachel’s. “I can take on the world.”

“Wow. You’re so certain,” Rachel said, filled with awe. She’d never seen Quinn like this before but she sure liked it. She knew she could trust Quinn now.

“I am.” Quinn pressed her lips to Rachel’s, almost like a promise that she wasn’t going to let Rachel go. “I know what it’s like to live without you. I don’t want to do it again.”

“Me, either.” Rachel leaned down, needing to kiss Quinn even longer. “I love you so much.”

“Love you, too,” Quinn murmured, covering Rachel’s face with kisses.

After a while, Rachel reluctantly pulled back. She smiled at the stupefied look on Quinn’s face. It was nice to know that Quinn was feeling the same things she was. “We’d better stop and get ourselves together. My dads will be home soon.”

“Oh. Right. Are we going to tell them tonight?” Quinn asked as she stood up, pulling at her rumpled clothes.

“Let’s wait until tomorrow. I want one more night before they impose rules on us.” Rachel smiled, thinking of spending the right holding Quinn in her arms and knowing they were both feeling the same things.

“You think they’ll be strict?” Quinn looked worried.

“No but we probably won’t be allowed to sleep in the same room anymore.” Rachel kissed the worry from her face. “Relax. My dads aren’t ogres.”

“I don’t want them to hate me,” Quinn said softly. “I like living here.”

“You’re part of the family. They’ll never kick you out.” Rachel brushed the hair from Quinn’s face. “I can promise you that.”

“Okay.” Quinn nodded, smiling tremulously.

“It’s going to be great,” Rachel said, taking Quinn’s hand. “Let’s make something for dinner.”

“Why don’t I make something and you just watch?” Quinn asked, a teasing smile on her face.

“Hey, I can follow instructions.” Rachel pretended to pout, glad that Quinn was happy.

“Yeah, yeah.”

“Yeah.” Rachel followed Quinn to the kitchen, feeling light. This was going to work out. It was be okay. She and Quinn were together and everything else would work itself out.