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You Can't Go Back Again

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“Daddy, daddy, daddy” The kids all came running into Finn’s arms as soon as the door slammed outside, signaling his return home for the night. As best he could, he scooped them all up at once, but with only two arms and three kids, he was out number. Sadie usually settled for clinging onto his leg. She was still small so it was easy for her to grab hold and sit on his giant foot as he walked inside.

“You kids are crazy it’s raining outside! We all better get inside before your mother comes and lectures us all about getting sick!” Finn was laughed at his kids, his eyes casting a glance toward the house where he knew Rachel was watching, and listening. He knew that she would worry about them catching a cold if they were all outside, without jackets, in the rain but he also knew she couldn’t resist watching them greet their father on the rare days he was home before they got in bed.

“Daddy, can we play before bed?” Charlie asked hopefully. It was hard to look into the big brown eyes of his only son and say no, especially when he so rarely saw his kids these days. With another economic down turn, things had been rough and Finn had been working extra hours. Rachel could only work a part-time job. Lucy, their oldest, had barely started school and they could only afford daycare for half of the day while Lucy was in school. It had been hard, but they both knew that things would get better soon.

“Well alright, but when mommy says it’s time to go to bed we have to listen to her, right?”

The kids all cheered and a smile spread over his face. He was sure Rachel might lecture him for keeping them up too late, but secretly she would be glad he did because she knew how much they missed their father.

“Have you all had your bath yet?” He looked at Lucy in his left arm, knowing that much like her mother she would be brutally honest with him.

The small girl nodded her head and Finn couldn’t help the little half smirk he got when there was mischief brewing in his mind.

“Tell you what” He set down the two kids in his arms and kneeled down to wrap his arms around Sadie before he huddled behind all three, his arms around them as a group as he pointed into the yard “I will race you” He whispered to all of them. The grass was slippery with the rain that had fallen; the mud seeping to the surface was almost visible through the luscious green of the lawn. He was already soaked head to toe and the kids were rapidly growing wetter with every moment they were in the rain with their father. 

“To the fence and back. Whoever beats me gets a cookie when we get inside, alright?”

The kids all cheered and quickly they lined up at the edge of the yard where it met the pavement to the driveway as if it were the starting line to their challenge.

Finn glanced up to the house and when Rachel saw that look on his face, that mischievous half smile, she knew she had to stop it.

“What are you do-“ She called out as she rushed onto the porch, but it was too late. The four of them had rushed across the wet grass toward the fence.

Finn had immediately swept Sadie off her feet. The girl was barely a year old and stood no real chance of winning the race so he would help her. His legs were longer than all of his children’s height combined, so the advantage he had over them would be better used to help one of his own instead of gaining the cookie for himself. Besides, he could have cookies whenever he wanted.

Rachel watched in amusement, although a little tensely, as the two older children gained a lead. They were about halfway across the yard before the eldest hit a slippery patch she could not handle and her feet seemed to slip from under her. Rachel gasped, her hand covering her mouth, and she had to fight herself from running down to the yard to check on her child.

She didn’t have to because Finn had slid to a stop over his fallen child. He didn’t have to help her up, though. She was already getting to her feet to continue the race. It must be the competitive nature she inherited for her mother.

Rachel gasped again, this time because she saw the mud that coated her eldest child. From head to toe, all down the back where she had landed, she was caked in the dark sticky dirt.

Finn saw this and laughed. Hard. He knew he would be in so much trouble for encouraging the kids to play in the rain, but he always said if you’re not getting dirty it’s not worth your time. At least he had started saying that when he got into the real world and had to work for a living.

Charlie had hit the fence with a huge lead and was turning back when his foot lost grip against the slippery ground and he fell, face first, into the mud. 

Finn lost it again. So did Lucy. Sadie giggled from where Finn held her safely, and cleanly, in his arms.
“You alright, bud?” Finn called to his son as he carefully made his way over to his second fallen child.
When Charlie looked up, his face was covered. He even had mud on his teeth. But he smiled, a bright happy smile much like Finn’s, and started to laugh. 

Finn laughed even harder and bent down to help his son to his feet. The pull from the little boy, the wet grass, and the off-balance weight of holding his youngest caused a chain reaction and soon he was fighting to stay upright. It was a one sided battle and soon he was lying on his own back, looking up at the falling rain.
Sadie had landed on his stomach, nice and clean.

Rachel was a giggling mess by now. She was watching her goofy husband and three children slide around the yard, coating themselves with mud. Though it would be a task to clean them up, she wouldn’t trade it for the world if it meant seeing all four of their smiling faces like she was right now.

“Alright you guys!” Rachel called out from the porch “Let’s get you hooligans inside and cleaned up before someone calls and reports me for child neglect.” She laughed softly and looked at Finn with a point of her finger “You, mister! You are a horrible influence. They were already all cleaned up and ready for bed.”
“I know, Sadie told me” Finn grinned triumphantly as he carefully made his way to solid ground, pulling Charlie and Sadie behind him as their little feet slipped across the ground.

“Oh no, through the garage!” Rachel pointed quickly as the kids tried to climb the steps. “I will meet you there with towels.” She shook her head and smiled at Finn again. She wanted to be mad, but she couldn’t. He had been her first love and there was just something about him that always left her weak in the knees. 

As she walked inside to get the towels, she heard Charlie ask “Do we still get cookies daddy?”

“As soon as your mom leaves the room” Finn whispered, ushering his kids into the dry warmth of the garage.

“Rach?” Santana’s soft voice broke the silence that had filled the room. Rachel stood in the kitchen, her eye focused out the little window just above the sink. It was raining and she could still hear the laughter echoing in the yard. It seemed like just yesterday to her sometimes although it had been two years since Finn’s accident.

“Yeah?” Rachel cleared her throat, looking over at the other woman who had entered the room somewhere during her quiet memory.

“Are you alright?” Santana walked up to her now, a hand being laid against her back, rubbing up and down soothingly as her eyes flickered out the window in hopes of seeing what the shorter girl had been so focused on just a moment ago.

“Of course” Rachel answered with a chipper tone, though the less than bright smile on her face immediately gave away that she was not alright. “Just watching the rain.”

Santana had known Rachel long enough to know when something wasn’t alright. She could see it in her eyes. Not only did she know the girl, but she was a horrible liar and always gave it away with the smallest look that she was not being honest. It was those little things that you just grew to know about someone the more time you spent with them. It wasn’t to say they had spent a lifetime together, not even close. There were the three years in high school, in Glee club, and the year just after where.

Rachel and Santana had coincidentally both signed up for a local singing and acting class to help hone their skills before Rachel would attempt to leave for New York, to be on Broadway, and Santana would get a job working for her father in the his medical office filing paperwork while taking online education classes on the side. In hindsight she should have flown to L.A. and tried to make something more of herself but her confidence was not exactly the highest when it came to her acting ability and at the time she had still been very much in love, and very much stuck, waiting for Brittany to come around. 

That hadn’t panned out, at all. After three years of waiting, Brittany came home on spring break from the small community college she had been attending just two hours away in nearby Columbus and announced she had found the love of her life. This had been a dagger to Santana, in so many ways. Santana would drive out nearly every weekend to see and stay with Brittany. They had remained close, as close as they had been in high school and Santana really though that Brittany was finally leaning toward them being out together.

 

Santana had come out the year after high school but Brittany still had reservations about it all so they had continued seeing one another away from Brittany’s family, in Columbus, where it had been marginally safe to be together. So when Brittany came home and announced she had a boyfriend, Santana was crushed. “He’s just a stupid boy!” Santana had once again tried to argue, but Brittany wouldn’t hear it. He was handsome and charming and good to her. He helped her with her studies and finally helped her find a direction she wanted to go in life. She wanted to be an elementary school teacher and he had opened her eyes up to that very realization and more.


That was the last time Santana had loved anyone. Until Rachel. It was odd how it had all happened, but here they were, together. Santana had been there when Rachel had needed someone the most and whether she like to admit it or not, it was nice to be needed, to be wanted, after being put on hold for so long then tossed aside.

“You just looked like you had something on your mind is all.” Santana whispered softly, her leaning into the shorter girl and easily bringing her chin to rest against her shoulder with how she stood behind Rachel. Her hand continued to soothe up and down Rachel’s back, feeling that perhaps the other girl had needed it even if she would not admit it.

“I love the rain” Rachel said with a smile, turning her head to look at where Santana had rested her chin. She really was beautiful, she always had been. She had such an exotic look to her and even years later she had aged wonderfully. Rachel leaned in and kissed Santana’s temple very lightly before she turned more fully toward the girl, sliding her arms around her tightly. “Are the kids in bed?”

The kiss against the side of her head made Santana smile. She nodded at the question and straightened from her slightly slouched position when Rachel turned to slide her arms around her. Hands snaked their way along her sides to her shoulders before sliding back down the length of Rachel’s back lightly “Out like a light. Sadie tried to get me to tell them a second story but I reminded her she had to be up early for pre-school so she finally agreed to get some sleep.”

Rachel smiled very softly, her fingers lifting to Santana’s cheek in a gentle and loving touch “You’re so good with them.”

Santana shrugged slightly, a humble side smile on her lips “They are great kids. It’s hard not to love them when I see their mother in each and every one of them.”

Rachel nodded her head at that, leaning in to touch the tiniest kiss to Santana’s chin “We should probably crawl in bed ourselves. Sadie has pre-school, then I have to make cupcakes for Charlie’s first grade home economics day and Lucy needs her costume for the third grade production of The Little Mermaid they are doing tomorrow.”

“Rach” Santana laughed softly, kissing her forehead “I know. I charged the battery for the video camera so I won’t miss a second of her debut on the stage. I already bought the sugar and flour that you asked for the cupcakes. I got this.”

Rachel’s smile softened and she let out a sigh “You’re so good to me. What would I do without you?”

“Be a nervous, fumbling mess running around like a chicken with your head cut off.”

Rachel gasped playfully, swatting at Santana’s chest lightly “Hey! I am not completely incapable!”

“Shhh, let me just pretend.” Santana said with a smirk “It gets me hot thinking about how much you need me.”
Rachel blushed, biting her lip “Are you sure the kids are asleep?”

Santana nodded slowly, her eyebrows dancing suggestively on her forehead. “Completely.”

 

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.


“What was that?” Rachel breathed out heavily, sitting up from where she had been sprawled out on the bed. She clutched the sheet to her bare chest and her eyes strained through the dark toward the door.

Santana sighed, licking her lips a little bit and lifting her head. She pulled the sheet to the side so she could look up at Rachel from where she had been perched under the sheet and between her legs “Babe, I didn’t hear a damn thing. I told you, the kids are asleep. Now lay back and let me gets my lady licking on.”

Rachel looked down to Santana with an unamused smile on her face “I hate when you talk like that. Do you have to use such terms?”

Santana smirked, licking her lips slowly “Well you hate when I say eat you out.”

Rachel blushed furiously. Even in her adult years, such graphic terms made her skin blush a bright red. “You know I hate that even more. If you must talk about it, will you use the term we agreed on?”

Santana rolled her eyes, lifting her hand to push at Rachel’s bare stomach “Lay back and let me practice my scales on you.”

Rachel nodded “Thank you” as she laid back down on the pillow. She could have sworn she had heard someone up and about in the house, though. Now all she could think about was one of the kids stumbling in only to see Mommy moaning and Tana under the sheets.

Santana pulled her head back under the sheets and immediately plunged her tongue back inside Rachel, right where she had left off. She had been in such a good rhythm, a perfect harmony of tongue and fingers working together as one before Rachel had interrupted her. No worries, though, she could find that again.

As her tongue dove back inside the other woman, it immediately started to swirl and flicker this way and that. She did this thing where she curled it up and in, flicking it forcefully against the sensitive nerves located there. It drove Rachel crazy. At least, it usually did. But tonight she had other things on her mind and after teasing that spot a few times with no real reaction, Santana sighed and pulled back again.

“Fine” She huffed as she pulled the sheet off her head and started to climb back up the bed.

“What?” Rachel looked at her with wide eyes, shaking her head “I didn’t say anything.”

“I know. And you didn’t moan anything or scream anything or even flinch a muscle. Your mind is somewhere else tonight.” 

“No, it’s not” Rachel shook her head, turning to her side and pulling herself right up against Santana. 
“You are a horrible liar” Santana mumbled, licking her lips once more before reaching over to the nightstand table to take a drink of the water she had set there. “I saw you, in the kitchen earlier, when you were staring out the window. You were playing with your necklace.”

Rachel glanced down at her chest. There was the necklace she always wore, the plain gold star outline that Finn had given her their junior year for Christmas. It had meant so much to her. It was a symbol of his belief in her, that she was more than anyone believed she could be, that she was meant to be somebody.

“You always play with it when you’re thinking about him.” Santana said softly, setting her water down before she settled on her back, a hand behind her head, her eyes on the ceiling.

Rachel shook her head a little bit as she moved even closer to Santana, her arm sliding around her waist. “It was just a memory, San. They happen sometimes. We all have moments in our past that come back to us randomly.”


Santana shrugged and rolled to her side so her back was toward Rachel.

Rachel frowned, sitting up now on her elbow and using her other hand to slide along Santana’s side “We’ve been over this. I am still healing; I am bound to have flashbacks. But all they are memories. There is nothing wrong with that, the therapist said so herself.”

Santana huffed, not acknowledging the other girl.

Rachel sighed a bit. It was the same old thing every time. Rachel sees a picture of Finn, or one of the kids talks about their daddy, or Finn’s mom calls to talks to the kids and Santana immediately shut herself down. It was frustrating, to say the least. Rachel had been seeing a grief counselor the past few years and had assured her that sometimes new partners of widows often felt insecure because they knew they could never replace the love lost. She had been assured that it would fade, but here they were almost two years later and Santana was still like this. 

“Fine” Rachel finally rolled away from Santana when she refused to even acknowledge her. Rachel slipped from bed and pulled a robe over herself, tying it tightly “I am going to check on the kids.”

Santana rolled her eyes and adjusted the pillow under her head. Of course she was, she cared more about Finn’s precious kids than anything.

That wasn’t fair, the kids were pretty amazing.

She waited until she heard the door close before she rolled to her back with a sigh, her eyes finding the ceiling again. How did they even get here? How did Santana get herself into this situation? She hadn’t even thought about Rachel Berry for three years and then suddenly she was all up in her life. It had been a fairly calm down in her father’s office when a paper slid across her desk for her to put on record then file. The name jumped out at her immediately: Hudson. She stopped what she was doing and read over the details of the sheet. Her heart had hurt just reading it.

 

Sure, she hadn’t seen Finn since graduation and hadn’t spoken to Rachel since their shared class, her having been out of town when Finn and Rachel had actually gotten married, but she still never wanted to see someone she knew and kind of sort of had liked at one point getting hurt. But here it was in her hands. All of the details of his stay at the hospital, the treatments, the diagnosis, prognosis, outcome. She frowned when she came across the line that had detailed exactly how and why Finn had not survived the surgery. Extensive internal damage to multiple organs. Massive blood loss. Multiple organ failure. Unable to resuscitate and restart heart.

 

Entering that information into the database had been the hardest thing Santana had ever had to do up until that date. It hit close to home and she knew she had to go to his funeral. Something inside her immediately told her she had to. There was no if ands or buts about it this time, she wasn’t going to miss this.

The funeral had been full of people she recognized, people she had not seen in years. Most of them had moved to bigger cities, but stayed in Ohio. Brittany was there with her that day, the two of them having spent the night before and the night after together, Santana did the comforting and Brittany did the crying. It had reminded Santana why she had loved the girl and served as a painful punch in the gut because, yes, Brittany was still with her wonderful college boyfriend. She always was a kind, caring girl, though, and she and Finn had gotten along well so she had to come say goodbye.

 

Mike and Tina had made it to pay their respects. Mr. Schuester had showed up. Of course Kurt was there with his father and Finn’s mother. Quinn and her mother were accompanied by Sam and Puck both. It was a pretty big reunion and a nice way to pay respects to a fallen friend. It had been hard to witness because whether they were friends or not, it was never fun to bury someone you knew, especially so young.

The hardest part had been watching Rachel and her kids in complete hysterics. Though Santana had not always been nice to Rachel in high school, she didn’t actually hate her as she said she did. She had grown to actually like her, even admire her a little, by the time they had graduated. Since school, Santana had softened a lot. Maybe it was because she didn’t have to hide behind her self-loathing or fear anymore. But, her heart had grown, it seemed, and on that day it had broken several times over for Rachel and those kids.


The kids. She had fallen in love with them the first day they met. Rachel had seen Santana near the wine table at the gathering after the funeral and approached her to thank her for coming. It was the first time Santana had ever seen Rachel Berry look weak. The two of them shared a hug and Santana offered any help she might need, at any time. To be honest, she figured everyone else had offered the same so she was just being polite. She never really expected Rachel to call her for help.

Then one day Rachel was running late for an interview. She had a screaming two year old that refused to leave her mother’s side. With Lucy in first grade by then, she was at school all day, and Charlie had just started pre-school. That gave Rachel half of the day to look for a better job than the one she had found just after Finn had died. Usually she could get Sadie to stay with one of her fathers for an hour or two while mommy did interviews, but that day there was no hope in that. So out of desperation, Rachel had called Santana.

 

She asked her to come sit in the lobby of the building Rachel was interviewing at, to hold Sadie and play with her while mommy went into the next room for an interview. Somehow, the plan had worked. Not only had Rachel landed the job, but Santana had fallen for the little girl. When Rachel had demanded Santana come over for dinner that night as a thank you for the help, she had wanted to say no, but Sadie looked up at her with a pout and she was a goner. Later that night, Santana met the two older children and that was that. Any time Rachel needed help with the kids, she would be there. Who knew Santana had such a maternal instinct?

“San?” Rachel’s voice broke Santana’s train of thought and the Latina looked over in the direction it had come from. Rachel had returned to the bedroom and was crawling back into bed with her. “I’m sorry.”

Santana frowned and shook her head a little bit, rolling toward Rachel as soon as she was back under the sheets “It’s alright. We all have moods.”

Rachel wrapped her arms around Santana gently, the two girls shifting in the bed until Santana lay against the mattress and Rachel lay her head against her chest lightly “I’m getting better.” Rachel whispered softly “Less flashbacks. My therapist says that my progress is steady and that you are helping me continue to move forward.”

Santana nodded, kissing the top of her head softly “Shhh” She whispered softly “Let’s get some sleep. Big day tomorrow.”

Rachel nodded and her eyes closed before she mumbled “I love you, Santana.”

A warm smile came to Santana’s lips as her fingers threaded through Rachel’s chestnut colored hair “I love you too, Rach.”

As the smaller girl drifted off to sleep, Santana lay there holding her. She loved being there for her, to hold her when she needed it, to calm her when no one else could, and to fill whatever hole remained in her heart. She deserved to have love and be loved. Those kids deserved to be taken care of by people who truly cared about them. As well as they all worked together, Santana felt that she would always be second best. She would never admit it, but she was probably the one that needed to be seeing the therapist, not Rachel.

Chapter Text

“I don’t know, Puckerman, it was a stupid fight and now I just feel off” Santana sighed into the  phone  as she spread the peanut butter onto a piece of bread.

“San all your fights are stupid” His voice came from the other end.

Santana rolled her eyes. She knew he was right. Every time they fought it was stupid. It was always caused by something dumb and more often than not it was Santana who started it. One little thing would set her off and they would spiral into an argument. Usually Rachel would walk away and Santana would be left feeling guilty.

“I didn’t call you to hear you tell me what I already knew. What do you think I should do?” Santana pushed the two pieces of bread together to make the sandwich before she put it in a bag and started on a second one.

“I think you should stop being such a freak. Do you love her?”

Santana rolled her eyes and nodded against the phone “You know I do.”

“Then suck it up. She lost her husband. He was her first love, we all watched them fall in love a hundred times in high school. They had kids together. He was taken from her for good before she was ready. It’s going to take some time but you should know as well as anyone that Rachel wouldn’t stay in a situation that wasn’t good for her, one that didn’t benefit her completely. Besides, you really think she would just try to find a replacement dad for her kids? You ain’t even a dude, San. I don’t think you are just a replacement.”

“How do you know?” Santana said softly as she finished the second sandwich then moved to the fridge to get some juice boxes out, putting them in the bags with the sandwiches.

“San, seriously?” Puck’s tone turned into that tone where she could tell he was looking at her with eyes wide as if to say she was blind to not see the obvious.

“Hold on” Santana mumbled quickly, setting down the phone “Hey baby!” She leaned down and scooped Charlie into her arms, giving him a big hug and a kiss. “Good morning handsome! Are you ready for school today?” The child nodded and immediately asked where his cupcakes were for class. Santana laughed, it was so like Rachel to get right to business. “They are on the table” She set him down and watched him run off. She smiled then put the phone back to her ear, sighing heavily into it “God I hope you’re right because losing these kids because Rachel just figured out she was finally healed and didn’t need me anymore would kill me.”

“San, she loves you.”

“I know” Santana mumbled. She looked up and saw Rachel coming down the hallway toward the kitchen with Sadie in her arms. “Gotta go.”

“Tell Rach hey for me.” Puck called before he was hung up on.

Santana set the phone down and picked up the bags that held Charlie and Lucy’s lunches. “Hey I got the lunches packed already. The camera is in your purse and Charlie is grabbing the cupcakes for school right now.”

“Really?” Rachel smiled brightly as she came into the kitchen. She looked around and saw that Santana really did have everything under control. She grinned even more, leaning in to kiss the taller girl lightly “You are so wonderful.”

Santana shrugged a bit “Just trying to help out.”

“You always do wonderful at that.” Rachel assured her. She took the lunches, handing Sadie off to Santana. 

The little girl lit up immediately and Santana bounced her in her arms “Hey beautiful! Are you excited to hang out with me all day today then see sissy in a play later?”

Sadie nodded, assuring Santana she was more than ready. She had even helped her older sister with her lines that night before. It made Santana laugh just how much like Rachel each of her kids were. It made it hard not to love each and every one of them. Maybe that was because she loved Rachel so much.

“Watch out world. In a year or two Sadie will be staring in all the school plays too.” Santana ruffled her hair playfully before setting her down and letting her run off to help Rachel run her mental checklist, a ritual she did every day before packing them up for school.

“Lucy!” Santana called up the stairs as she started to rinse the knife that she had used for the sandwiches “Your mother and brother are leaving in five minutes. If you aren’t in the car you are going to miss your debut!”

“Tana will you come help me?” The little girl called from upstairs. 

Santana glanced at Rachel who gave her a look that said she better hurry before she quickly left and made her way to where the third grader was. She peeked her head in and perked an eyebrow “What are you doing!?”

“I wanted to put on some of mom’s stage make up before the play today.” The bathroom was a mess. There were powders and concealers everywhere.

“Oh, babe.” Santana stepped inside and closed the door, in case Rachel was following to see what was up. “Your mom is going to kill you” She whispered softly, reaching out to wet a cloth and start to wipe at her face “I am sure they have all the stage make up you need at school. Let’s get this off of you before your mother sees.”

“Will she really be mad?” The little girl frowned, looking upset at that.

Santana sighed, shaking her head. She couldn’t help but give into that little pout. It looked so much like Rachel’s. “No, I’ll talk to her about it. I will tell her you didn’t know the school had make up and you were just wanting to put up your best performance.”

Lucy nodded, staying still while she let Santana clean her face “I’m sorry Tana.”

“Baby it’s alright. No harm, no foul.” The Latina gave her a sweet, soothing smile.

“I just don’t want you and mom to fight again about it.”

Santana frowned, her setting down the cloth and looking at the little girl “We aren’t going to fight. Baby girl I told you I would explain it to her.”

Lucy frowned and nodded a little bit “I don’t like when you two fight.”

Santana’s heart nearly broke in her chest. She sighed and wiped the last bit of make up from Lucy’s cheek before she picked it up and set her on the countertop. She grabbed her face and kissed her lips before she slid her arms around her and gave her a tight hug. She pulled back and looked into her eyes “Tana has a really bad temper, she always has. Sometimes I get upset over silly things. It’s not your fault, it’s not Charlie or Sadie or mommy’s fault either. It’s something I need to work on, I know it. I feel bad when your mommy tries to calm me down because she loves me and I take it out on her. It doesn’t make it right but your mommy is trying to help me with that. I am sorry you and your brother and sister have to hear that. It hurts me to know that so I am going to work really, really hard and try to control my temper alright?” 

Lucy nodded her head a little bit “Can I help?”

Santana smiled, her thumb running over her cheek lightly “You already do. Just looking at your face makes me want to be better.”

The girl smiled and hugged Santana tightly. She kissed her cheek “I love you, Tana. Please don’t leave.”

Santana’s heart broke again. She closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around the little girl tightly; lifting her up off the counter and into her arms “I’m not going anywhere.” She kissed her cheek lightly then turned to open the door. She set the girl on her feet once outside the bathroom and took her hand, giving it a squeeze “Now, let’s get you to school for your debut.”

Lucy giggled and ran ahead, meeting her mom and brother waiting for her at the door.

Santana stood nearby, her hand being taken by Sadie who was staying home with her for the day. “Have fun, guys. Give ‘em Hell.” She said with a smirk.

The kids giggled and hugged Santana before they ran out to get in the  car . Rachel scowled at Santana, then smiled as she leaned in to kiss her softly “You know I hate that language around the kids. I love you.”
Santana shrugged, smirking a bit as she gave a wave “You love my dirty mouth. Now go.”

Rachel rolled her eyes and sighed before kissing Sadie then starting toward the door “You girls have a good day, I will see you late at Lucy’s play.”

Santana and Sadie both waved as Rachel left the house and met up with the other two in the car. 

Santana scooped up the little girl and started into the living room to find some cartoons for them to watch while they ate cereal. She couldn’t wait to see Lucy in the play. She had promised she wasn’t going anywhere and she was determined now to make that promise stick. She would be there for these kids forever, she just had to be.

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.

The play had gone down without a hitch, which was surprising considering it was a third grade production in a public school. But everything went well. The lights weren’t too bright, the kids all spoke loudly enough to be heard, and no one puked or peed their pants. All in all it was a good night. After the play the families and friends of the children all gathered in the lobby for snacks and mingling while waiting for their little stars. Rachel got praised left and right about Lucy’s performance.

 

She heard so many times that she was an exact duplicate of her mother. Rachel, who had humbled through the years, would just blush and nod in thanks. Santana stood nearby with a grin from ear to ear on her face. She knew it wasn’t her daughter and yet she still felt proud. She stood by and watched everyone cheer for Lucy when she joined the rest of the kids and their families. The little girl looked so much like Rachel as she soaked in the praise. Santana couldn’t be more proud.

The night wound down and they all went home. After baths and stories, the kids had gone to bed easily. It had been a long day after all. With the kids tucked away, Santana poured two glasses of wine and made her way into the living room where Rachel sat. She had the camera plugged into the tv, her eyes trained on the screen without blinking as she watched her little girl in the spotlight. There was a smile on her face, a smile Santana had seen a thousand times in Glee club. It was that love for performing that would never die in Rachel. Then she saw her fingers wrapped around that gold star necklace, playing with it softly.

Santana sighed and sat down with a plop, nearly spilling the wine as she set the cups on the table “She was good.” Santana said softly, trying to ignore the necklace.

Rachel looked back at Santana and smiled, her head nodding “Like she was born to do it.”

“I wonder where she gets that from.” Santana said with a smile, patting the couch next to her.

Rachel got up and slipped onto the cushion, one leg folded under her. She leaned into Santana who wrapped her arm around her waist immediately. Her eyes were still fixed to the t.v. screen “I’m so proud of her.”
“Me too.” Santana whispered, kissing the side of Rachel’s head lightly.

Rachel was studying the screen as the video replayed the night’s theatrical accomplishments of her oldest child. Her smile was never fading and her fingers constantly played with the necklace.

Try as she might, Santana could not bite her tongue anymore and she sighed as she spoke, her tone sharper as she intended “I get it, you wish he was here to see this.”

Rachel sat up, her brow creasing as she looked at Santana. That had come out of nowhere, so it seemed “San, I didn’t say anything. Now you are jumping my case for no reason.”

“Reason!” Santana said, pointing to where Rachel’s fingers teased the necklace she wore.

Rachel glanced down, noticed what she was doing, and dropped her hand away “It’s a habit! Whenever I’m deep in thought or concentrating on something I fiddle, you should know this. It used to drive you crazy in high school when I tapped my pen.”

“That is not a pen, Rachel, that is the necklace that your one true love gave you. Every time you think about him, your fingers are there playing with it. Don’t deny it.”

“Santana, honestly, you are being an idiot right now. I wasn’t even thinking about him. I mean, yes, the thought crossed my mind that I wish he was here to see Lucy tonight, but that doesn’t mean I was thinking about him constantly tonight and that doesn’t mean I was thinking about him at this very moment!”

The tone that Rachel had used was sharp, her voice raising a bit into a soft shout and Santana bit her lip. She looked away, the both of them quiet for a long time to make sure the kids had not stirred before they would speak again. Santana was the first to break the silence, sighing softly “Lucy thinks I’m going to leave.”

“What? Why?” concern filled Rachel’s face and she scooted back toward Santana on the couch now.

Santana shrugged “This morning when I went to get her she was worried about how much we fight and begged me not to leave.” She choked on the words. Santana did not want to cry over this. She just wanted to fix it.

“Well did you tell her you weren’t leaving?”

“Of course I did”

“And did you tell her that when we fight it’s not her fault?”

“Of course I did” Santana huffed, her eyes rolling a little bit. You would think after nearly two years of being together Rachel would know Santana knew how to talk to her kids.

“What else did you say?” Rachel asked softly, reaching her hand out now to slide along Santana’s arm gently, soothingly.

“I told her I have a temper and that I get angry at really silly things and that I am working on it.”
Rachel nodded her head, sliding even closer now. She slid her arms around Santana’s waist and laid her head against her shoulder.

Santana sighed, lifting her hand to run over Rachel’s head and down her back before turning her face to kiss the top of her head, lips pressing to the brown chestnut hair a few times. “She asked if she could help me.”
Rachel smiled softly. She loved that her kids had such big hearts. “And what did you say to that?”

“I told her she does help. That every time I see her face it makes me want to be better.” Santana smiled, laying her head against Rachel’s softly.

Rachel nodded at this, her face turning now to look up at Santana. She lifted her hand and placed it against her cheek, her thumb stroking softly back and forth as her eyes gazed at her features. Santana had always been so tough, such a badass, never letting anyone really know her. And yet Rachel could always tell there was a softer side to her, just by looking at her, and in moments like this it was more obvious than ever “I really do love you.”

Santana’s features softened even more, if possible at that moment, and she nodded “I know.” She leaned in carefully and placed a kiss against her lips, letting it linger between the girls for a long moment. When it finally broke off she pulled back and looked at Rachel with a loving gaze, her hand lifting to push some hair off her eyes before tracing down her cheek “What do you say we go get in bed?”

Rachel gave one nod, patting Santana’s leg as she sat up on the couch. “Best idea you’ve had all day” She said with a grin, pulling on the Latina’s hand as she stood. She waited for her to be on her feet as well before Rachel lead the way through the house toward their bedroom.

“No funny business, though” Rachel warned at the door, a smirk on her lips as Santana walked past her.

“Who me?” Santana played innocent, though the smirk on her lips gave her away. “Never.” She said with a shake of her head before her hand came down and swatted at Rachel’s ass playfully before running and leaping into the bed.

Rachel gasped, pushing the door closed behind her before she hopped to the bed, bouncing onto it and over to Santana “You’re horrible!” She said with a point, fighting a laugh.

“You love it” Santana said with a cocky little nod sway of her head and a smirk on her lips.

Rachel’s nose scrunched up and she rolled her eyes as she half shrugged “Maybe a little.”

Santana gasped, tackling her back onto the bed. The two girls wrestled around a bit, poking, teasing, and tickling one another until finally they settled together in the middle of the bed, wrapped in one another’s arms. As they drifted off to sleep together Santana made yet another promise to herself. She would get better. For Rachel, for the kids, and for herself. This was the happiest she had ever been in her entire life and she couldn’t let her insecurities get the best of her yet again. She wouldn’t let it prevent her from being happy. No. She had to make a change.

Chapter Text

“I really can’t thank you enough for watching them tonight.” Rachel said softly. She looked tired. It had been a long day. She had spent the day at work only to have to leave early to  deal  with some attorneys who wanted to straighten things out after Finn’s death. Then she had to go back to work to make up for the hours she had left. She was exhausted and it showed.

“No problem, the kids are great. Some grilled cheese sandwiches and a movie with talking animals and they were planted all night.” Santana said with a smile. She could see how tired Rachel looked and it worried her. “You look like you could use some sleep.”

“Gee thanks” Rachel mumbled.

“I didn’t mean that harshly. I, just, you know..” Santana shrugged. Her huge heart had learned to show in her adult years and with Rachel and what she had to deal with, she was sure her heart was right on her sleeve “I just worry about you is all.” 

Rachel shrugged, giving her a soft smile. It was a sweet gesture. “Do you want to have a glass of  wine  before you go?” Rachel asked, pointing to the kitchen.

Santana bit her lip. It was already late and Rachel should probably get some sleep.

Seeing Santana’s hesitation, she quickly added “It helps me sleep sometimes. I would have a glass with or without you. I was just thinking it would be nice to have company, maybe we could catch up since we really haven’t had the chance.”

Santana couldn’t say no to that, really. She was sure that Rachel wanted any excuse to take her mind of the death of her husband. It had only been a month.

“Sure. But just one.” Santana said with a nod, the two girls moving into the kitchen.

The girls spend the night chatting about high school. They laughed about the crazy things that happened in Glee club. The talked about why Santana had always seemed to hate Rachel. That was when Santana came clean about Brittany, her sexuality, and why that had directly related to everything hateful she had ever said or done to anyone, especially Rachel.

 

Rachel comforted Santana about Brittany, although admitted she had always suspected. It was almost as if no time had passed, as if their high school feuding had never happened. It was the first time Rachel had laughed since Finn died.

“San?” Rachel’s voice broke in, bringing Santana back into the present. 

“Huh?” She blinked, looking up at Rachel who had now entered the kitchen. 

“What you thinking about?” Rachel asked as she poured herself a cup of coffee. Her hair was a mess and she had her robe on. Thank goodness for the weekend, a time where they didn’t have to rush out the door for school and work.

“Nothing” Santana said with a smile, pulling apart her bagel she had made but not started on. “You remember wine nights?”

Rachel giggled softly, nodding her head as she took a sip from her coffee “Mhm, I do. I remember we always invited Tina and Mercedes, Brittany and Quinn, but they never quite caught on, did they?”

Santana laughed a little bit, taking a bite from her bagel now, a bit of cream cheese sticking to her lip “It was just me and you most of the time, but we had fun didn’t we?”

Rachel nodded, reaching across to wipe her thumb across her lip to wipe the cream away. She licked the pad of her thumb before her hand dropped to lay against Santana’s hand lightly “I didn’t mind.” 

Santana turned her hand over, her fingers sliding through Rachel’s and giving her a squeeze “It’s how I fell in love with you.”

Rachel grinned sheepishly, her lifting Santana’s hand to kiss at her knuckles softly “Who would have thought that two old friends getting together once a week for a little wine and some girl talk would ever lead to this?”

Santana gave her head a shake, laughing softly as her thumb passed over Rachel’s fingers where she held onto her hand “Not me. You should have seen me when I first started to realize I was falling for you. I was a mess. Puck had to calm me down. Puck, of all people, the voice of reason.”

“Noah always has had a big heart and a steady head when need be.” 

“He still kind of is” Santana said with a shrug.

Rachel laughed, rolling her eyes “I know. I pay the phone bill, remember? You call him almost every time we fight.”

Santana frowned, her hand giving Rachel’s a soft squeeze “He knows me best. Well, aside from Brittany, but I don’t really feel welcome in her life anymore. Not since she and Scott…”

Rachel pulled at Santana’s hand, kissing it again “I know, San. But had that not happened, would you be here?”
Santana shook her head, a smile on her lips.

Rachel leaned across the little island they were leaning against, her lips pressing to Santana’s gently “Everything worked out for the best.”

Santana returned the kiss, nodding in agreement. She lifted her free hand and ran her thumb across Rachel’s chin, her eyes gazing into the shorter girl’s for a moment “Do you remember the night I kissed you?”

“Of course I do” Rachel said with a soft, warm laugh “You hadn’t touched your wine all night. You had barely said a word all night. When I asked you what was wrong, you started crying. You told me you were sorry, that you knew I was still hurting and still going through the loss of Finn, adjusting to having three kids and being a single mom. You looked up at me, looked right into my eyes and I knew they weren’t tears of pain. I didn’t know why you were apologizing and then you leaned in, you lifted my chin just so, and you put your lips to mine. And, San, it was the first time I felt anything since Finn.”

Santana’s smile had grown with each word she had said. She could see the love on Rachel’s face as she recalled the story. It didn’t surprise her that she remembered, Rachel had a sharp memory, but the way she was able to paint the picture so beautiful almost brought a tear to Santana’s eyes.

“And when you pulled back, you looked terrified.”

“I was! I had just kissed a straight girl with three kids and a dead husband! What was I thinking!” Santana said with a laugh.

Rachel giggled, shaking her head a little bit “Lucky for you I needed it more than I knew. When you kissed me it was like I woke up. I had been in a fog, a dream, I don’t know San. I was so numb. I was like a zombie and then you kissed me and I felt alive again. I felt my heart skip a beat and my lungs take in air for the first time in over six months.”

“You still looked like you might slap me, though.” Santana added with a little smirk.

Rachel rolled her eyes, laughing very softly “Well I had never kissed a girl before then, give me a break.”

Santana licked her lip, leaning over to catch a kiss from Rachel’s mouth playfully. “You liked it.”

“I did.” Rachel admitted without hesitation. “And for the first time since Finn died, I wasn’t afraid. I wasn’t even confused or worried about the fact that you were a girl, San. All I knew was I felt like everything was going to be alright because I had you in my life.”

“I am pretty badass.” Santana brushed at her shoulder, giving a half shrug. She definitely still had some of that seventeen year old Santana inside her still.

“You are impossible” Rachel rolled her eyes, laughing as she let go of her hand and gave her a swat to the shoulder. “No, it was because I knew you cared about me, and the kids, and I knew just by looking at you that you were going to take care of us. And that kiss, it was like…a silent reassurance from you that you wanted to be there.”

Santana nodded a little bit. Truthfully when she had first kissed Rachel it had been the first time she had kissed anyone based on an emotional attachment. Usually when she would be kissing someone, it was because she wanted to get laid. Santana had quite the track record since Brittany had completely shattered her world. She figured if she didn’t get attached, she couldn’t get hurt again. So she went from woman to woman, making sure never to call them back or even learn their last names. Hell, sometimes she didn’t learn their first names. It had just been easier that way.

 

But once Rachel had been pushed back into her life, she had stopped going out altogether. She had been available for her whenever she might need. She liked to be the one Rachel came to. Then that night, when she kissed her, it had been so driven by emotion that it had scared her. That was what she had been most terrified about, not the kids or the straight girl or the dead husband, but the fact that she cared so deeply about Rachel, about the kids. Truthfully, it still terrified her to this day. Sometimes how much she loved and cared about this family was too much for Santana and yet somehow she managed to remain fairly sane though it all. At least for the most part.

“I do want to be here.” Santana said strongly, confidently, her eyes locked with Rachel’s to remove any doubt the smaller girl might have. 

“I know. I’ve known since that day.” Rachel said with a nod.

Santana looked down at her bagel, her licking her lips as she tore it into pieces, not really eating it. She looked up to Rachel after a moment and whispered “You made me believe in love again.”

Rachel stepped around the island now, wrapping her arms around Santana’s waist and lifting on her toes to place a kiss against her lips “And so did you, Santana. The last thing I ever thought I would do was love again but there you were.”

Santana shrugged, an arm sliding around Rachel loosely “But I know I will never be better than Finn.”

Rachel frowned, shaking her head as she looked up at Santana with conviction “I never asked you to be. I never expected you to be. I’ve never once compared you to him.”

“Come on, Rach, everyone compares people to their first love.”

Rachel stepped back, her hands on her hips now as she looked at the Latina “Have you? Have you compared me to Brittany?”

Santana instantly hated the way she had said that. She couldn’t lie, though. She had. A slight shrug of one of her shoulders was seen.

Rachel gasped, her arms folding quickly across her chest “Santana. I know you loved her but honestly? I have never compared you to Finn and I never will. I’m hurt!”

“Rach, come on. What do you expect? I’m sitting over here thinking all these horrible things like you’re only with me because I was the first person that paid you attention or I am your rebound or something. Do you know I’m terrified you will fall in love with a random man at your work and leave me so your kids could have a father figure back in their life, so they could grow up normal?”

Rachel’s mouth was gapping open, staring in shock at what Santana had said. She had figured that Santana had issues with her self-confidence because of the fact that Brittany had chosen a man over her, more than once. She even though Santana might be a little worried that it was a rebound, but Rachel also though that after nearly two years together she would have realized it was more than a rebound. And now to hear that Santana thought Rachel would prefer her kids have a father figure so they could grow up normal? It stung.

“Are you listening to yourself? I grew up with two fathers, Santana. Am I not normal?” She folded her arms, that look on her face that just dared Santana to challenge her.

Santana opened her mouth to speak, but stopped and let out a sigh “That’s not what I meant.”

“No, it’s exactly what you meant. You are so insecure about yourself that you think I would pick a socially acceptable normal over a household filled with love? I want my kids to be happy, to feel loved and safe, and they do with you Santana. You’re not a substitute until I can find a real man. You are the person I love, I want to share my life with, what to have around my kids, and that is why you are here. Not just because you were there when I was weak and vulnerable and you were the only one to pick up the pieces.”

“Rachel, I never sai-“

“You didn’t have to, Santana. It’s written all over your face. Every time you point out the fact that, yes, I am playing with my necklace or every time you catch me having a memory about Finn, it is all over your face. I just can’t believe that these past two years haven’t given you the confidence enough to realize this is real, this is what I want, this is where I want to be. Do you really think I would let just anyone come in and raise my kids with me?”

“No” Santana shook her head “Rachel, I-“

“You, what? You didn’t mean it that way? When you asked if I have ever compared you to Finn then admitted to comparing me to Brittany you didn’t think I would take it personally? Well I do, Santana. I understand that Brittany made a conscious choice to leave, to hurt you and pick someone else. Finn was taken from me beyond my control, beyond his control, but that doesn’t give you the right to assume that I would choose to leave you. I am not like Brittany. I know what I want in life, I am not confused. What I want in life is you.”

Rachel wiped at a tear quickly, hoping Santana hadn’t seen it. She was so upset that Santana had made her feel this way.

“Babe” Santana whispered, moving closer to her, reaching out to wipe her tears. But Rachel slapped her hand away and shook her head, turning half away from her. “Rachel…”

“Santana, don’t” Rachel mumbled, pushing her hand away and turning fully now. She took a few steps to the wall, pulling her phone off the hook and starting to dial a number “I am going to take the kids to my dads this afternoon.” She licked her lips, sniffling softly “I need to see my grief counselor about this.” She looked at the phone suddenly “Yes, hello, this is Rachel Hud-Berry. Rachel Berry. I need to see Mrs. Yearly please, it’s an emergency. She told me to call if anything came up.” She glanced at Santana from where she stood across the kitchen before looking back toward the phone “Yes, three o’clock will be fine. Thank you.” She hung up the phone and wiped at her cheek again.

 

“I am not ashamed to admit that I still need help every now and then to deal with what happened to me. Maybe you ought to think about looking into it as well. As for today” She put her chin up and took a breath, flipping the hair off her shoulder “I am taking the kids to my dads then making my appointment. I don’t care what you do but please try and figure out if you really are all in before you come back tonight. Dinner is at seven p.m. sharp. If you are late I will assume you have made up your mind.”

“Rachel come on that’s not fair. You know I’m in this!”

Rachel stopped at the doorway that lead from the kitchen to the living room where the kids were watching Saturday morning cartoons “Then suck it up and start acting like it, Santana.” Rachel nearly growled the words, looking Santana over as if sizing her up before she turned and headed into the living room. 

Santana heard her announce loudly that they were going to their grandpas’ house and they should go get ready. Santana sighed softly, turning toward the laundry room. She would pull on some clean clothes and get out of there. Apparently she had some thinking to do and she knew Rachel wouldn’t let her speak until she was convinced Santana had actually done some thinking.

 

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.

It was eleven p.m., well past dinner time, and Rachel stood in the kitchen with her eyes locked on the window to the outside. Every second that passed by without Santana coming home, without a phone call from her, tore Rachel’s heart up a little more. How could she have been so stupid? She shouldn’t have fallen in love so soon after Finn’s death, she knew it would only end badly. It was her own fault. She sniffled softly as she felt herself starting to cry. She told herself she wouldn’t, but now as her heart started to shatter with every new tick from the clock on the wall, she couldn’t hold back.

Suddenly there were headlights in her driveway. She felt her heart jump into her throat. She stared through the darkness and immediately she knew that wasn’t Santana’s car. It was…a truck? There was a loud slam of the door, someone passing in front of the head lights from right to left, the driver having gotten out and walked to the passenger side door. Another slam and this time two bodies passed left to right across the lights. One body was helping the other body toward the door.

“Oh my goodness” Rachel said, hurrying to the door. Was Santana hurt?

“Noah” Rachel cried out when she opened the door to find her old high school friend there looking down at her.

He had an arm around Santana’s waist, Santana’s arm around his neck as he held her up “I found her like this at the bar, Rach. She’s in real bad shape. The guy said he lost count of how much she had drank. I tried to wake her up and she just kept mumbling your name and crying.”

“Come in, come in” Rachel moved out of the way so Puck could bring Santana into the house. He got her over to the steps and leaned down, shifting her so she slid off his shoulder and into a sitting position on the steps. She looked pale, almost like a shell of herself. She was sweating and her eyes were rolled into her skull. She couldn’t hold herself up and just flopped back onto the steps behind her.

“Oh my god, Santana” Rachel put a hand to her mouth, trying to fight off the tears.

“Are you alright?” Puck asked, his arm wrapping around Rachel’s tiny frame, his hand rubbing her back lightly.

“No, Noah, I’m not. I’ve been worried sick for four hours and now here she is and she looks almost dead.” 
Rachel’s face scrunched and she turned into Puck, her tears getting the best of her as she sobbed.

“Hey, shh, she will be alright. She just needs a good night sleep and lots of water. She will probably have a hell of a hangover tomorrow.” Puck’s hand came to the back of Rachel’s head, him trying to sooth her as much as he could although he knew a hysterical Rachel Berry was hard to calm down.

“What if I would have lost her, Noah? I couldn’t…” Rachel sobbed loudly, any words now lost under her drowning tears.

Puck frowned, shaking his head as he held her tight. He knew nothing he could say right now would make this any better, so he just held her.

Rachel cried for another few minutes, her entire body trembling. Puck did the best he could to hold her up, to be there for her. Rachel and Puck had always gotten along well. He liked her, he always had. He would always be there for her. He and Santana had definitely gone through Hell, but they had worked it out and become the best of friends after high school. The two girls he liked most where dating now. He loved it. He wanted them happy so he would do anything for them.

“Rachel” A slurry half mumble came from Santana. She was still sprawled out on the steps.

Rachel looked up, her eyes focusing on the heap of human on the steps. She wasn’t sure she had heard it right.
“Rachel” Another mumble came, this time accompanied by a hiccup.

Rachel gasped, holding back another sob as she hurried over to Santana’s side. She scooped up her hand and held it between her two smaller hands “Shhh, San, I am right here. You’re home. It’s alright, I’m right here.”
Santana sat up and her eyes came open. She looked like she was trying really hard to focus, her eyes glazed over so heavily from the effects of alcohol. When she finally saw Rachel she frowned and shook her head “I just want to be with you” she mumbled, her eyes rolling into her skull again. She looked like she was going to pass out.

Rachel nodded and looked back at Puck “Will you help me get her to bed?” 

He nodded and stepped forward, scooping up Santana in his arms and heading up the steps quietly, taking her into their room and laying her down on the bed. 

Rachel gave him a tight hug, thanking him for looking out for her.

“No problem, Rach. Just make sure she gets some help. She’s really messed up.”

“I know” Rachel said, her eyes filling with tears again.

“And get her some water. Wake her up every couple hours to make sure she hasn’t choked on her puke or something.”

“Thank you, Noah.” 

He smiled, giving her another hug and kissing the top of her head “Call me in the morning?”
“I promise.”

He gave her a nod and left the room, him shaking his head a bit as he made his way back to his truck.
Rachel looked back down Santana, shaking her head as well. She pushed the soaked hair off Santana’s face, taking in her features. She looked so sad, even passed out. It killed Rachel. “Santana, don’t you ever scare me like this again.” She leaned over and kissed her forehead before she went about removing her shoes and clothes. It was probably going to be a rough night and even rougher morning and she wanted Santana to be comfortable.

After setting out a trash can for her to puke in if she needed to, Rachel brought some water and some aspirin and set it by the bed. She climbed in beside Santana, her hand reaching out to rub her back lightly. She closed her eyes and started to cry again. She had never been so scared in her life than she was that night. Just the thought of losing Santana had hurt more than the pain of losing Finn. It was then that she realized she had completely moved on. She would always love and miss Finn, but her heart belonged somewhere else now. Unfortunately that somewhere else needed a little rebuilding first.

 

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.

“Shhh, we have to be quiet, Tana doesn’t feel good this morning” Santana could hear Rachel whispering just outside the bedroom door but it felt like she was yelling into her ear.

Santana rolled over with a groan, her pushing her head under a pillow and laying her arm over it to try and fill her ear with the pillow so she couldn’t hear anything. It felt like a monkey was playing a steel drum in her brain.

“Did she get hurt?” Charlie whispered, his tone was soft but very concerned. 

“Oh no sweetheart. She just doesn’t feel very good. Remember when you had a tummy ache and didn’t have to go to school?” Rachel’s voice was still soft, still calm, trying to convince the kids to stay away from the bedroom for now.

“Can we make her soup to make her feel better?” 

“Maybe later, sweetheart. Now go play and make sure you are quiet so Tana can rest.”

There was a sound of feet padding against the carpet and then silence. Santana sighed, glad that they had walked away. She didn’t want the kids to see her like this.

“Mom is Tana sick because you guys fought again last night?” It was Lucy’s voice this time. Obviously she had not run off with her brother and sister.

There was a silence and Santana knew Rachel was thinking. She never wanted to lie to her kids and Lucy was smart enough not to take the story at face value when she knew what else was going on. Santana frowned to herself. She knew Lucy hated when they fought.

“Sweetheart, sometimes adults fight and get really, really mad. You remember when Sadie took your doll and did her hair and you were so mad you didn’t talk to her for a whole day? But at the end before bed you two hugged and said you were sorry?”

Lucy nodded. Santana knew it because whenever Lucy was trying to understand something, she didn’t talk. She just nodded.

“Well honey adults are the same way. Sometimes we fight and get mad and we yell at each other but at the end of the day we hug each other and say we are sorry. That’s what happened last night with me and Tana. We had a fight, but it’s okay because we still love each other so much.”

Lucy nodded again. Santana knew she didn’t really think that everything was alright. She knew she was still worried that Santana would leave.

Finally the silence was broken with a soft whisper from the little girl “Tana promised me she would never leave.”

“She won’t” Rachel said quickly. “When Santana promises something, she keeps that promise. She has never broken promise to me and I know she would never break a promise to you kids either.”

Rachel pulled Lucy into a hug. She could tell because Lucy’s next words were muffled “I love her as much as I love you mommy and as much as I loved daddy.”

Santana bit her lip. Her head was throbbing, her body was sore, she felt sick and yet the biggest pain at the moment was her heart breaking just thinking about hurting those kids.

“Me too” Rachel whispered. “That is why Tana and I will always say we are sorry at the end of the day, okay?”

There was a sound of a kiss, probably to Lucy’s forehead, then the sound of a soft pat, probably against her butt “Now run off. Watch your siblings. I am going to check on Tana and make sure she is okay.”

It got quiet again, only the sound of feet on carpet. Rachel stood outside the door, composing herself, probably with a few deep breaths. Santana knew it. Her own heart was breaking, there was no way Rachel’s hadn’t been crushed by the words of her daughter.

A few minutes later, Rachel stepped into the room as quietly as possible, making sure even the door didn’t click as she opened and closed it. She tipped toed over toward the bed, leaning over where Santana slept. She didn’t see her face and nodded her head, moving to the bathroom attached to the room to get a class of water and some aspirin for the headache she no doubt had raging in her head. She came back and set the glass down, carefully, so she didn’t make too much noise.

“I’m awake” Santana’s voice cracked out through the silence in the room, causing Rachel to jump. Santana’s voice was hoarse, thicker and raspier than ever. It was easy to tell just how bad she felt just by her voice.

“Did the kids wake you up?” Rachel asked in a whisper, the bed shifting as she sat on the edge on the mattress.

“Nah I was laying here praying for my head to explode to take away some of the pain.”

“Well there are some pain killers here near the water on the table if you can manage to sit up.” Rachel half turned now, lifting a leg onto the bed to look at Santana. Or at least the lump where Santana laid hidden under pillows and blankets.

A hand emerged from the tangled mess of fabric, Santana’s palm up, ready for the pills.

Rachel rolled her eyes but gave a smile, picking up the pills and handing them to her.

The hand disappeared again. There was some shifting and adjusting then Santana’s hand appeared once more, his time held in the shape of a cup. 

Again Rachel smiled and handed her the cup, watching her carefully. The cup disappeared and the pillows shifted, lifting a little, but Santana still stayed hidden somehow. A moment later, the cup reappeared with half the water emptied from it. Rachel arched an eyebrow, laughing now softly “How did you do that?”

“I’ve had a lot of hangovers” Santana mumbled, no amusement in her voice at all.

Rachel sighed a little, she knew it was true. It was no secret Santana had quite the partying past. She shifted on the bed and lifted the blankets a few times until she found skin. Her hand laid against Santana’s leg, her rubbing it very softly “Are you going to be alright?”

Santana nodded a little bit even though Rachel couldn’t see it. Her hand reached down and she laid it over Rachel’s hand, her fingers wrapping up in the other girls and giving her hand a tight squeeze.

Rachel rolled her hand over and slid her fingers through Santana’s, returning the squeeze tightly “You scared me last night.”

Santana felt her chest tighten. She sighed a little bit and her hand gave another firm squeeze “I’m sorry. That was the last thing I wanted to do.”

Rachel didn’t want to fight again, but she wanted to pick Santana’s brain for answers. “What were you trying to do last night then?”

Santana sighed softly. She closed her eyes and moved her hand over her eyes, rubbing them softly. She honestly didn’t know. She had wanted to think, wanting to unwind, wanted to numb herself. She was silent for a long time before she rolled over, now lifting her head out of her pillow cave and laying it on top. Her eyes cracked open, her squinting as she focused on Rachel sitting near her “I don’t know, Rach. I was lost and hurt. I thought I was going to lose you. I don’t know. It was stupid, I know.”

Rachel frowned a bit. She could see the pain in Santana’s eyes, not just because of the hangover, but the actual emotional pain. She climbed up onto the bed completely now, her hand laying on Santana’s back as the other hand moved to push Santana’s messy hair off her eyes, forehead, and cheek “You aren’t going to lose me. I’m don’t have any plans of going anywhere, San. I was upset, I said things I didn’t mean.”

“I know. But I should never make you that upset.” Her hand reached out, sliding along Rachel’s back lightly “I love you, Rachel. I never want to see you hurt.”

“Santana” Rachel said softly, her hand pausing against Santana, her taking a deep breath “It is going to hurt me until you don’t hurt anymore.”

Santana nodded a little bit and turned to lay on her stomach now. She reached out and slid her hand along Rachel’s arm, looking for her hand. “You have never hurt me. This pain is all me, all in my head. I am the one hurting myself because I can’t let go of the past.”

Rachel frowned, reaching for Santana’s hand now and taking it tightly in hers. She didn’t say anything, she just lifted her hand and kissed at the knuckles lightly.

Santana frowned, her head nodding a little bit “I know”. Even though Rachel didn’t say anything, she could see it in Rachel’s eyes. She knew what she was thinking. She was quiet for a long time before finally a tear slipped from her eye and she took a deep breath “I need help.”

Rachel nodded her head, biting her lower lip softly. She did not want to cry. She didn’t want to shed any more tears, she had done too much of that last night.

“I’m sorry” Santana whispered through her hoarse voice, shifting closer to Rachel so she could slide her arm around her waist lightly. She leaned in and kissed her back gently “I’m going to fix myself, I promise.”

Rachel nodded, turning now to wrap her arms around Santana tightly. She lay down with her, kissing her on the cheek before she buried her head in her neck. Try as she might, she couldn’t hold the tears at bay any longer and she sobbed into Santana’s neck. She wanted nothing more than for Santana to get help and this was the first step toward that. She would never force Santana to do it because she knew that would only make her refuse to give in. But now that Santana had said herself that she needed help Rachel really believed that things would change. That Santana would really start to fix what was broken inside her and allow herself to truly give in and be happy.

Chapter Text

“It’s not like I’m a virgin, Santana” Rachel whispered softly, her breathing heavy against the Latin’s lips where they had been tangled in a deep, passionate kiss until Santana had hesitated with her hand against Rachel’s breast.

The kids had finally gone down for a nap which usually meant Rachel and Santana found themselves caught up in a heated make out session like two horny teenagers trying to get a thrill before their parents caught them. It had been nearly three months since Santana had first kissed Rachel that night, but it had never gone past the heated making out and a little bit of heavy petting. Between nap time and the times Santana spent the night with Rachel, there was enough tension built between them that she felt like she might explode.

“I know you’re not” Santana mumbled against her mouth, still desperately trying to maintain the kiss they had been sharing. Santana had never been shy about sex before, but she was now.

“Then touch me, Santana” Rachel mumbled, her fingers tugging at the Latina’s hair, pulling her head in again so their lips were tangled in the kiss as her tongue lashed and twisted against Santana’s.

A soft moan escaped Santana at the feel of the kiss and the depth and desperation behind it. She knew Rachel wanted more, she had expressed that a few days earlier and yet here they were wrapped up within one another again, hearts racing and bodies writhing in need and Santana was nervous about taking the next step.

A soft sigh escaped Santana’s mouth as she broke the kiss and she looked at Rachel, her dark eyes were hungry and yet there was uncertainty in them as she found her gaze “Are you sure?”

“Jesus, Santana, you sound like I’ve never done this before.” Rachel groaned, her fingers starting to pull at Santana’s shirt now.

Santana stopped her, just for a moment, her eyes still on her “You haven’t.”

“Really, Santana, I have three kids. There is hardly anything I haven’t done.”

“I’m not worried about what I’m going to do to you. I am worried about if you are sure you want this.”

“I told you I did, Santana” Again, Rachel reached for Santana’s shirt, this time tugging it up and over her head before Santana could fight it.

A shiver slid through Santana and she nodded her head, leaning in to touch another kiss to Rachel’s lips “Tell me if it’s too much.”

“Santana” Rachel barked, now pulling her own shirt off and tossing it aside “You’ve done this a hundred times. I’ve done this a hundred times. We are adults in a relationship. I have absolutely no moral dilemma in this situation.”

Santana nodded again, shifting now to pick Rachel up off the floor, sliding her onto the counter in the kitchen where they two of them had let their passions take over. If Rachel was sure about this, she was going to go for it and go hard. She moved fast, she had done this a hundred times after all, and in a whirlwind of hands, lips, and clothing, the two of them were soon stripped to their bra and underwear.

Rachel was leaning back on the counter, both hands supporting her weight, her head rolled back and her eyes closed as Santana’s lips moved along her body. The Latina’s lips were skilled, obviously, and for the first time in nearly a year Rachel’s nerves were on fire.

Santana smirked up at Rachel from where she was playing kisses against her tight stomach. Her hands had taken to teasing along the length of Rachel’s legs and now as she stood up again, her mouth found one of Rachel’s nipples through the material of her bra and pulled it into her mouth with her teeth. This brought a sound from Rachel that Santana had never heard before but definitely wanted to hear it again.

“San…” Rachel moaned out loudly, lifting one of her hands from the counter and reaching behind her to pop open the bra she wore. The next time Santana pulled at her nipple with her teeth, the material of the bra went with it, now leaving Rachel completely bare from the waist up, waiting for more from Santana and her amazing mouth.


Santana licked her lips hungrily at the sight of Rachel’s breasts in front of her. Any reservations she had before were now fading as she laid eyes upon the beautiful body that was laid out in front of her. Her head dipped and without a moment of pause she took one of her pink nipples between her lips and immediately started to assault it with her tongue, lashing it back and forth hungrily.

“Oh god. More, San. That feels so good” Rachel’s voice hit a deep husk that Santana didn’t think was possible from the singer and yet it was and it was the most amazing sound she had ever heard.

As Santana took to feasting on the pert breasts before her, switching back and forth between the two, her hand slid down Rachel’s tight torso, fingertips brushing along her tiny hipbones lightly. She couldn’t stop herself now, she was on auto pilot and before her was the canvass on which she would make her greatest work of art.

“Yes” Rachel’s voice rang out, encouraging the Latina to keep going. Who knew Rachel Berry was so vocal in bed?

Santana’s fingers dove into the material of the tiny panties Rachel wore, not even bothering to remove them. Her fingertips found their way into her heated need easily, immediately coating her fingers with her desire. A moan escaped Santana as her mouth broke from the nipples she had been so mercilessly teasing, head lifting in search of Rachel’s kiss.

“Don’t stop” Rachel mumbled before grabbing Santana’s head and hungrily pressing her lips against Santana’s.

Santana didn’t stop. She couldn’t stop, not with her fingers sliding up and down through Rachel’s slick folds, them begging for more attention. Attention that she was more than willing to give. She gave few teasing passes of her fingers through the soaking wet heat before curling her fingers and plunging them through the folds and into the depth of Rachel. 

The loudest moan pushed through the kiss and into the air as Rachel’s hips thrust forward, begging for more.


Santana didn’t hesitate, her fingers plunged into her again and again. Her fingers curved up and in then stretched completely straight, wanting to touch and tease every inch of Rachel that she could reach. Each new thrust of her hand was a new feel, Rachel’s body jolting against the counter with each push of Santana’s wrist into her.

A hand came to the back of Santana’s head, Rachel’s fingers tangling in her hair and gripping tightly as her head rolled back and she released a long, throaty groan. She was panting now, every push into her body took more of her breath away and sent her heart racing harder. 

Santana had looked up at Rachel with a smile when the kiss was broken. Her eyes were dark, hungry, full of a lust and fire that she was sure she had not held for years. She hadn’t felt like she felt now for years. She felt alive again. She felt incredible and hearing and feeling what she was doing to Rachel was waking her up from head to toe.

Each thrust of Santana’s hand brought another moan from Rachel. Her hips were moving in perfect rhythm with Santana’s hand, drawing her in harder and deeper each time Santana’s fingers dove inside her. 

Santana curled her fingers again, diving up into the sensitive bundle of nerves that lay just inside Rachel’s body. She knew she had found the spot, the yelp that Rachel let out had let her know that. She was driving her toward the edge, wanting to draw her over that edge of pleasure and feel Rachel lose control of herself. With each new push of her fingers, she felt Rachel tighten harder around her fingers, keeping her there in that spot in a silent begging for more.

“So close, Santana. Oh my god, just like that. Keep going.” The words were panted out one by one, Rachel’s throat dry from all the air she was pulling into her lungs so quickly, but she hardly noticed. All she knew was she felt her hips starting to jerk, her legs starting to trembled, and a knot in her stomach begging to unravel.

Santana’s thumb slid up through the slick folds and found the perked nub of flesh, waiting for attention. She trapped it under her thumb and as furiously as her fingers worked within Rachel, her thumb flickered back and forth and in circles, fingers pushing and twisting in perfect harmony, working to drive the amazing body before her into a state of ecstasy.

The hand tangled in Santana’s hair gave a sudden and sharp tug as her hips thrust up then paused. A shiver danced all the way up Rachel’s spine and she cried out loudly as her thighs shook violently around Santana’s hand that was buried inside her. The knot that had so fiercely build within Rachel’s stomach had unraveled so quickly in a forceful release that it took her breath away and she was rendered motionless.

Santana smiled wickedly as she watched the girl before her writhing and twisting in pleasure. Her body glistened and gleamed with an amazing coat of light sweat and as the light reflected through the window Santana was sure Rachel had never looked as beautiful as she did right then. Her hand came to a pause inside Rachel, letting her fingers linger as the singer’s chest heaved in and out, trying to catch her breath.

Finally Rachel moved, her body falling forward and her arms wrapping around Santana’s shoulders. She brought her mouth to her neck, laying a few lazy kisses there before her lips grazed her ear and gently she whispered, still in that husky tone from before “Santana Lopez you just rocked my world.”

Santana laughed out at that, shaking her head a bit as her hand finally pulled from inside her, sliding along her thigh and around her waist, pulling her to the edge of the counter again. She turned her head, kissing Rachel on the cheek before she returned the whisper into her ear “Wait until you see what I can do with my tongue.”

“Mommy?” Lucy’s voice broke through the room and Rachel blinked, suddenly realizing she had drifted off into a day dream. Her fingers were tangled in her gold star necklace and her eyes were glossy from being open without blinking for so long.

“Yeah baby?” Rachel asked softly, clearing her throat, when she realized her voice was small and dry.

“Are you alright?” The girl asked as she crawled onto her lap where Rachel sat on the couch.

Rachel gave a smile and shifted to accommodate for her daughter. She let the girl settle then slid her arms around her tiny waist “I’m fine. I was just thinking.”

“Were you thinking about Tana?” The little girl whispered. It was amazing to Rachel just how in tune her oldest daughter could be sometimes. 

“Yes I was.” Rachel said with a little nod of her head, rubbing her daughter’s back gently.

“I miss her, mommy” The girl spoke in another whisper.

“So do I.” Rachel returned the whisper before kissing the top of her forehead. Santana had gone away on a two week retreat to get help with herself. Rachel had convinced her that it would be good for her. To just escape and have no distractions so she could fully focus on herself and what needed to be fixed. Santana had no idea where to start with herself so Rachel had suggested getting away from everything so she wouldn’t be distracted and could find a starting point.

“When she is coming home?” Lucy asked again, her little hand running along Rachel’s arm lightly.

“Another week, sweetie. Tana has some stuff to deal with and she can’t leave now or it won’t get done. You remember when daddy used to take business trips?”

Lucy nodded slowly.

“It’s like that. She can’t come home until all the work is done.”

Lucy nodded again and wrapped her arms around her mother, squeezing her tightly. “When she gets back are you two going to fight as much?”

Rachel frowned. It killed her to know that her kids had to hear that, had to go through that too. She wished they didn’t, she had never wanted to put them through that. She and Finn had hardly ever fought before. Maybe she just wasn’t as passionate then as she was now…

“I hope not” Rachel mumbled softly, the confidence in her normal voice was not present at the words this time. She had no idea what would happen when Santana came home.

 

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.

Santana was only allowed five minutes of  phone  time a day and she was not allowed to call Rachel. Of course since it was a voluntary personal retreat, she didn’t have to follow the rules. She did because she knew it would help. That didn’t keep her from missing Rachel more than she could ever say, though. She wanted to tell her about her day, the amazing things she had discovered or talked about with the therapist, the goals she had made and the way she was making progress.

 

Every single moment that she was not talking about herself, her past, her trouble she was thinking about Rachel and the kids. She missed her family so much. Family. Just that word brought a smile to her face. It was the truth, though. She had a family and that was the most important thing to her, that much she had learned on the first day of the retreat.

“I think it’s really helping, Puck” Santana mumbled into the phone as she poked her plate of food on her bedside table. She was propped up against her headboard, her mindlessly killing time flipping channels and talking to Puck. “I’ve dealt with a lot of shit here. Rachel was right, I needed to get away from everything.”

“San, Rachel is right about just about everything.” He mumbled, laughing softly into the phone. His voice was cheerful. He had been the person Santana called every night,aside from Sunday when she had given her parents their usual phone call, and he could hear real progress in her voice. She seemed to really be feeling better.

“No shit” She rolled her eyes, but gave a laugh. Her smile was genuine. She felt happy. “This hasn’t been easy, though. Dude I had to talk about everything. Britt, my parents, high school, coming out. I felt like I was in a bad dream for most of it.”

“Sometimes we have to face the rough shit to realize the good shit we have in our lives.”

“When did you get so smart, Puckerman?”

“You live a little and you learn a lot, babe.”

Santana let out a warm laugh, shaking her head against the phone “If I were straight I’d still be all over you. Something about a badass with a sensitive side drives me wild.”

“Another thing you and Rachel have in common. Although it’s been a while since I’ve seen badass Santana.”

“Hey, watch it. I’ll go Lima Heights on your ass tomorrow.”

Puck let out a hearty laugh which made Santana laugh. The two of them shared a chuckle until the tone on the phone warned Santana there was only a minute left.

Sighing softly, a smile still on her lips Santana finally spoke “I gotta go. I’ll see you tomorrow?”

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world, babe.”

“Damn right.” Santana laughed again before rolling her eyes “I love you, you big lug.”

“Love you too, softie.”

“Hey!” Santana said with another laugh, shaking her head again “Bye.” She dropped the phone onto the receiver then settled her head back against the wall. She sighed softly, her eyes closing as she took a moment to just reflect. It had been a long two weeks and finally she would be heading home tomorrow. She never felt more ready for anything in her life.

After a moment, she let out a sigh and opened her eyes. She reached into the bedside table drawer and pulled out a picture of Rachel and the kids. It was taken the first summer they were together and in true Rachel Berry fashion all of them had stage face smiles on, even little Sadie. Santana smiled, her thumb passing over Rachel’s face lightly “I’m coming home, baby.” She whispered softly, her eyes locked on the picture. This was her family and there was nothing she wanted more in the world than to be with them, no matter what.

 

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.

Puck’s truck rumbled up the driveway and to a stop, his breaks screeching was a dead giveaway that they had arrived. The day was bright, the sun was shining, and it seemed the even the birds were singing for her return home. Santana barely waited for the truck to stop before she had the door open and was dropping to her feet. 


She didn’t have to go far. The breaks on the truck had alerted the kids inside and as soon as she had gotten to the front of the truck, all three of them were there, wrapping their arms around her. Santana had leaned down and scooped her arms around them all, trying to kiss and hug them all at once, wishing she had more arms and lips to complete the task.

“My babies! I missed you so much.” She was trying not to cry, but the more the kids kissed and hugged her, the more it was growing impossible not to.

“Tana! We missed you. We love you!” The cries were coming all at once. Sadie was bawling as she clung to Santana. Charlie was bouncing happily with his grip on one of Santana’s arms, his face buried in her neck. Lucy was trying not to cry, but it was impossible as well and she let a few tears slip from her eyes as she held onto Santana waist tightly.

“Guys, you’re killing me here. I did my make up so I’d look pretty for you and now it’s all ruined” Santana said with a laugh through her tears as she continued to squeeze the kids. She didn’t want to move for a long time.

Rachel stood on the porch, a hand tucked under her chin as she grinned at the sight in front of her. She was already in tears. The love her kids showed Santana was all the more proof that this was exactly where they all belonged.

Puck came up to Rachel, him holding Santana’s bag, giving her a hug before he set it down and looked at the four of them as well “She took care of herself, Berry.” 

Rachel nodded her head, her swallowing the lump that had formed in her throat “I hope so.”

“She did” Puck assured her as he pulled her into a sideways hug, letting her little body lean in against his own “You’ll see. She is a whole new woman. Well, she is the woman we both know she can be deep inside.”

Rachel nodded, wrapping her arms around Puck and giving him a hug as she sniffed, trying to keep her tears under control.

It was another ten minutes before Santana was able to pry the kids off her. They had started to demand she come inside and see what they had made for her return and once by one they crawled off her and started to tug at her hands. She followed willingly, giving Rachel a smile as she walked by and into the house. When the kids were focused, you couldn’t distract them and before she knew it she was inside and in the kitchen where a banner that read “Welcome home, mami.”

Santana nearly lost it again at the banner. Never had her kids called her mom or any form of it. It had always been Santana or Tana. She bit her lip and tried not to cry again as the kids showed her all the snacks they had made, the pictures they had colored or painted, and the little pictures they had taken for her while they were gone. 

Rachel had moved inside with them, Puck right there beside her. He saw the banner and immediately knew Santana would love it. He looked down to Rachel and gave her a wink “You are so getting laid tonight.”

“Shut up, Puckerman” Rachel tried to snap but it was completely lost under a soft laugh and a blush on her cheeks as she nodded in agreement. There was no doubt about that.

He gave a soft laugh and kissed the top of her head “Mind if I stay for some food?”

“Of course not!” Rachel said with a smile, pushing at his hip for him to move toward the kitchen “Knock yourself out. You can take some home if you want.”

Puck came into the kitchen with a roar, the kids all jumping and giggling, calls of “Uncle Puckasarus!” came from the kids as he passed out hugs, even picking up Sadie and throwing her over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. There was giggles and chatting as they all dug into the food.

Rachel stood at the doorway, watching the scene with a smile. She was glad Finn and Puck had remained close after high school and was even more pleased that Santana and Puck were friends. It was nice to have that male influence for the kids. They all made a great little family.

Rachel noticed that she didn’t see Santana. She frowned, pushing off the wall and about to step into the kitchen fully to look for her when she felt a hand on her arm. She jumped, having not expected it, but turned around quickly. 

She was greeted with Santana’s smiling face, her eyes sparkling with love as she stood in front of Rachel for the first time in two weeks. “Hey, Berry.” Santana said, fighting tears and a smirk all at once.

“Santana” Rachel said with a roll of her eyes, her smile so wide her face hurt.

“Did you miss me?” Santana asked, through the question was not necessary because Rachel’s face immediately dead panned into an obviously annoyed and slightly amused gaping stare at the Latina. This made Santana laugh and she stepped forward to slide hear arms around Rachel “Good because I missed you too.”

“I missed you so much. I couldn’t sleep most nights because you weren’t beside me.” Rachel’s pout was in full form as she slid her arms around Santana’s shoulder, lifting onto her toes to lay a kiss to her lips.

“I know. What the Hell is up with that? When did I get so dependant that I couldn’t sleep without someone beside me?” Santana laughed again. She couldn’t stop smiling, she hadn’t been this happy in forever.

Rachel rolled her eyes, swatting Santana lightly on the shoulder “You’re lucky I let you in my bed each night.” 

“Our bed” Santana corrected her with a smirk and Rachel nodded in agreement. She leaned in, her forehead coming to rest against Rachel’s forehead, her eyes locked with her brown orbs. Her fingers stroked through her long brown hair and she just soaked in the contact between the two of them.

Finally Santana took a deep breath and looked down at Rachel as she pulled back just enough to lifted her hand to her chin and pull it up as she leaned in to kiss her lips lightly. 

Rachel sighed, her eyes closing as her fingers gripping tightly at Santana’s shoulders as she took in the feel of the kiss she had longed to have for two weeks.

Santana held her hand there, pulling her into that kiss and making sure she felt it in her toes. It was soft but it was passionate, full of love and devotion, telling her everything she felt deep inside her and leaving no doubt that she was exactly where she wanted to be.

A soft noise left Rachel’s lips as she found herself taken over by the kiss, a shiver sliding through her spine, all the way to her toes. Her entire body tingled. She hadn’t been kissed like this in longer than she could remember.

It seemed to last forever and not long enough and Santana finally broke it. She licked her lips and as soon as Rachel’s eyes came open she smiled and ran her thumb over the girl’s lips lightly “I love you so much.”

Rachel nodded, kissing the thumb that passed over her lips, her eyes locked with Santana’s in a deep stare “I love you too Santana.”

Santana’s hand dropped and she took Rachel’s smaller hand in her own, giving it a squeeze before pulling her so they both walked into the kitchen together. She smiled as the kids and Puck were around the table, giggling and eating, everyone she loved all in one room together. Her heart was swelling.

“Can I have your attention?” Santana said, catching the group in a lull of their excited chatter. Their heads all turned and looked at Santana, Puck with a smirk on his lips as he bounced Sadie on his leg gently.

Rachel looked up at Santana curiously, giving her hand a squeeze, but didn’t say anything, curious as to what Santana had to say.

Santana smiled at the kids, and Puck, before she looked at Rachel and gave her a smile as well “The past two weeks have been some of the hardest times in my life but I’ve learned so much about myself.” She knew the kids wouldn’t really get what she was saying, maybe Lucy, but that was about it. “The past two weeks showed me the kind of person I was, the kind of person I was running from becoming, and the kind of person I want to be and I know now that I would be nothing and am nothing without my family.”

 

She smiled and looked at the kids “You kids, you are my family.” She glanced at Rachel and gave her hand another squeeze “And you, Rach, you have been my family for so long. Even in high school when we all yelled and fought and plotted against each other. We were still a family.”

Rachel smiled, giving her hand a squeeze. She did love a good speech to say thank you, she had given quite a few in her time in the Glee club.

“The biggest thing I was running from was myself” Santana continued, her eyes on Rachel now, focused so deeply on the girl she loved “I was afraid of so many things and all of those were things I could find wrong with myself or could go wrong with myself. I needed to remember I was worthy of being loved, genuinely loved, and once I remembered that I realized that you are the only one that has genuinely loved all of me, Rachel.”

Rachel nodded her head, lifting the hand she held to kiss at her knuckles softly “I really do.”

Santana smiled at this, squeezing Rachel’s hand again before she took another breath “I couldn’t be who I am without you in my life. I know who I want to be now, without a doubt, and I am willing to put it all on the line and give my everything to that, and to you, to this family.” She glanced up at the kids then back to Rachel with a nod. “This is it for me.”

Rachel bit her lip, she was starting to tear up a bit. Santana wasn’t exactly the most vocal person when it came to her feelings and this was one of the most beautiful things she had ever heard the Latina express.

“Rachel, I’m all in this, forever.” Santana said softly “And I wanted to prove that to you.”

Rachel had started to say that she didn’t need to prove it, but was cut off when Santana stepped back and suddenly she dropped to one knee.

Santana smiled, still holding Rachel’s hand, the other hand had produced a ring.

Rachel gasped and any tears she was holding back were now sliding down her cheeks.

“Rachel Barbra Berry, you are the best person I know, have known, and ever will know. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, loving you, fighting with you, being loved by you, and raising these kids as if there is no tomorrow. Together. Now I know it’s not legal here, but I don’t care. This is a symbol of my commitment to you, forever. Maybe we can wait until it is legal here, or maybe we can all move to New York and you can try out for Broadway one day but either way, I want to marry you, Rachel. One day, somehow, I want to declare in front of the world and everyone we love that I am yours, forever, and you are mine. No matter what. So, Rach, will you? Marry me one day? Be with me forever, no matter what?”

Rachel was in completely tears now. Her heart was racing and her hand shaking in Santana’s. This had been the last thing she had ever expected.

The kids watched in awe, big smiles on their faces. Puck had that dreamy look on his face that he got when he was so taken by something but would never admit to it. He had known it was coming and still he stared in complete happiness as the two girls.

Rachel realized she had been staring for more than a minute, her tears taking over, and quickly she let out a soft laugh mixed with a sob as she nodded “Yes, Santana, of course! I love you so much, I want to spend my life with you!”

Santana smiled, standing up quickly and wrapping her arms around Rachel, which was an easy task because the girl had all but leapt into her arms.

The kids giggled and Puck wiped a tear away.

“I love you” Santana mumbled softly, kissing Rachel’s neck before setting her on her feet again, pulling back to show the grin on her lips “Forever and ever, Rach. I promise.”

“Forever and ever” Rachel repeated, lifting her shaking hand up as Santana slid the ring on her finger. She squeaked as it fell into place, giggling as she threw her arms around Santana again.

The kids finally got up from the table, Puck too, and they all converged on the two girls and consumed them in a huge group hug. They weren’t your typical family, but they were one nonetheless and this was the first step down the road they would all take together.