A/N: Disclaimers to chapter one apply. There will be two chapters after this one. And that's IT.
This will include the children, which I know some people like but bores the hell out of a lot of people. This chapter is both about and very much not about the children. As perhaps you'll see.
I hope you enjoy and if you do or don't, let me know. I like hearing from you.
30 Years Old
When Santana entered their loft after dinner out, she found a slightly harried-looking Quinn just standing in the kitchen leaned against the kitchen counter. She put her bag on the floor, "What's up—where's the troop?"
"Rach is giving them a bath." The children at four still bathed together.
Santana nodded, "And you're letting her do that alone because?"
"I just needed a quick time out."
Parenthood wasn't easy and all of the adjustments to it had been the most difficult for Quinn. She was a fantastic and engaged mother but now she was living with six other people, not three. And when you added Puck and Sam who were over constantly, it was eight. Interacting with that many people she had to be nice to on a daily basis was, and Santana knew it, something of a nightmare for her.
"Okay. That's cool. I'll go help. You know Rach—the kids'll be alright but they might drown her."
"I know—and I sort of perhaps suggested that and she became a little 'you think I can't bathe my own children by myself!' with me."
"Oh—I get it. A time-out from Rach, not the kids."
Quinn nodded, "Where's Britts?"
"She'll be here in about thirty—that dancer kid we had chow with needed to get back into the studio. What'd you guys have?"
"Kid food. Faux fish sticks and green beans with almonds and some sort of new braised carrot thing that was pretty good, actually. Plus bread and milk."
"She's determined to feed them carrots, isn't she?"
"Well, we don't have to interrupt but I like to listen outside—Rach brings the crazy out."
Quinn smiled and nodded.
They quietly walked down the hall to about fifteen feet of the open door main bath, where there seemed to be an inordinate amount of splashing going on. The acoustics were excellent, so they could hear Rachel's voice was exasperated yet oddly patient, "Quinn, Noah—boats of the nature you're sailing in this tub don't leap in and out of the water. They float placidly."
"Boring," Noah said. Splash!
"Wash, young men! One hand for the washcloth—one hand for the ship! Here's your soap floating peacefully—like your ships should be doing."
"I have questions."
"Noah has a penis."
Santana and Quinn looked at each other in the hall.
"He does, Berry. He's a boy. We've explained the difference between a boy and girl body."
"And Daddy's name is Noah. He has a penis?"
"Quinn has a penis."
"Mommy Quinn's name is Quinn. Does she have a penis?"
Quinn's mouth dropped open and she saw that Santana looked like she'd just taken a bite of the most delicious piece of cake she'd ever eaten even as Rachel answered smoothly, "No. Your mommy Quinn is a girl so she doesn't have one. Your brother Quinn is a boy so he does. But I understand why the names confused you. Understand?"
As they continued to talk, Santana looked at her with such amusement that Quinn whispered, "Shut up."
Santana backed her against the hallway wall and whispered, "You know I've never even cared to get up into you and the midget's bed business since we've been kids but that's one thing I've always wondered. Care to share?"
They both continued to whisper, "What?"
"You know what. What Berry was sayin'. Do you have…one?"
Quinn looked into Santana's eyes. They were merely curious. They'd grown up. Why not answer? She shrugged and lifted an eyebrow, "Why would I settle for one?"
Santana's eyes widened but she nodded, "Ooh, baby girl. Check you out. Good for you."
"Like you don't?"
"Actually no. We're strangely enough accessory-free. But I thought you guys might not be and I didn't sorta know how to broach this topic but Berry gave us a good segue."
"What are you talking about?"
"The kids are mobile embarrassment finders now so it's sort of a law of parenthood if you leave that junk in a place that's not locked up, one day one of them's going to plonk something down on the coffee table in front of guests."
Quinn thought about the utterly possible horror of that and said, "I'll buy something tomorrow."
"Cool—and I didn't mean you had to be embarrassed about—"
"I'm not embarrassed in the least. It's completely private but I'm not ashamed of any of the ways Rachel and I love each other."
Santana smiled, "And I love hearing you say that. Since you're being all sex-positive here, I'm going to ask you one other burning question I've had the fucking circumspection not to ask for years because I didn't want to get all up in your artistic process."
"That scene in Two Women, One Man, where Rach's character pushes yours against a wall and kisses her until she comes. Because I know you've said Rach can do that to you. That was real, wasn't it? You actually did that on film."
Quinn suddenly had the hottest 'yeah I did it and liked it' look on her face that Santana had ever seen. But she merely said, "Uh huh."
Santana ran her hands through her hair. "Wow. Just fuck. Okay. You filmed a real sex scene with your wife for worldwide theatrical distribution? Did Joe and Zac know?"
"No! Of course not! It'd be the height of non-professionalism. And I'm sure Britts knows but no one else except us four know for sure. The world can just think I'm a really great actor."
"And the rest of it? The love scene?"
"That was completely staged—nothing there."
"Okay. Still wrapping my mind around that but in the spirit of complete candor?"
"Me and Britts sometimes watch that before we…you know."
Quinn hissed, "No you don't!"
"Oh yeah we do."
"What—two hot girls?"
"But it's us!"
"No. It's your characters."
"That's such sophistry I'm not even going to dignify it. But if you do that…oh my God. If you ever tell Puck—I will—"
"Please. Like I ever would. Let that boy wonder. But he's burned a hole in his DVD too, promise."
Quinn took a breath, rested her head against the wall and said, "I'm not sorry."
"Don't be. It's an Easter Egg for us four. Although I'm not sure I should bring Easter into it."
"Right? Please don't. But I get the point."
Santana reached out and ran a hand through Quinn's hair. "I can think of a lot of reasons why you'd do that. You owned her, owned yourself and completely dissed your fucking sperm donor for the whole world to see. And was that a healthy reason? Maybe. Maybe not. But good for you if it helped."
"It wasn't really that simple, Santana. It was something about me only for me, not ever to talk to you or even Rachel about—but I felt better after I'd done it. And if that seems enigmatic, a girl has to keep some mystery."
A very aggrieved Rachel shouted, "Whatever you're whispering out there isn't getting your children bathed!"
Santana and Quinn found what they expected. A wet floor, a drenched Rachel and Noah, Quinn and Berry sitting in a tub full of bubbles. They always sat in the tub along birth order, which was a little ridiculous for triplets.
Noah and Quinn were sturdy little guys with the dark skin of their biological parents. Noah had a crewcut, which Quinn had nearly murdered his father for. Quinn had a regular little boy hair-cut. Berry's hair was very long and was extremely wavy and Rachel had put it up in a scrunchie for the bath.
She was an incredibly tiny child and Rachel had fretted about it so much that she'd scheduled an extra visit to their pediatrician who'd heard the complaint, took one discerning look at her and said, 'How tall do you think you were when you were four?' It had been slightly embarrassing.
"Look who I found outside, guys? Your mami."
Santana leaned down and kissed each in turn. "Okay, Rach, what stage are we at in this operation? Q—get some towels—this floor's lethal."
Quinn threw down a few towels to soak up the worst of the water as Rachel answered, "Berry is done. The boys have been very recalcitrant in washing due to their fleet of ships."
Quinn kissed Rachel on the head, "Go get dried off, angel. We'll handle this."
"Actually, I may as well take a quick shower."
Quinn stared into the tub, "Tell your Mommy Rachel thank you."
They all nodded. "Thank you."
"First thing's first—gotta land this fish." Santana reached into the tub and lifted Berry out, took a seat on the commode and wrapped a towel around her.
"I'm not a fish, mami."
"I calls it likes I sees it."
"I'm a girl. I don't have a penis."
"You know what? Let's not talk about penises anymore tonight."
"Because I want to see if you're a fish or a little girl." She dried her and took the scrunchie out of the girl's hair and it fell down onto her shoulders. "What do ya know. You are a little girl."
"I know. My hair is pretty."
"It is. Now let's get some PJs." She sifted through the PJs on the countertop and said, "Where are yours?"
"I want to be naked!"
Noah said, "She put them back in the room."
Quinn shook her head, "When, Noah?"
"When you and Mommy Rachel were talking about the bath."
"I want to be naked!" Berry announced again. This was a relatively new initiative on Berry's part—the embracing of a nudist lifestyle.
"I know you do, Berry, but little girls and boys have to wear clothes except at bathtime. Those are the rules."
The boys in the tub actually sighed.
Santana knelt down and said, "What'd you say to me little girl?"
Berry shrugged off the towel and began to march away and Santana snapped her fingers, "Oh hell no. Stop right there, Beryl Pierce or you'll be in time-out til you're 20!"
At that Beryl did stop at the threshold of the door, turned and shouted, "No time out!"
Santana put up her hand and said, "This child done lost her mind. What?"
"Yes, baby boy?"
"She got time-out already."
Santana looked at Quinn, who shook her head.
Little Quinn said, "At school."
Quinn raised her hand to keep Santana from speaking, "Berry, come here."
The little girl walked back into the room. No matter how sweet and open and loving Quinn was, all of the children seemed a little over-awed of her. Berry would glare at everything and everyone but Quinn.
"I know you're mad right now so I won't hug you but why'd you get time out today?"
Berry lowered her little head and whispered, "I talked in quiet time."
"You're still mad you had time out, aren't you?"
The girl nodded.
"And you're mad because you can't be naked."
"That was naughty of you to talk in quiet time and to talk to your mami that way."
That—being told she was wrong? Quinn could see the anger building and that the little girl wanted to rush out but because she knew she couldn't, it made her so much angrier and how familiar was that? Oh, the horrors of a thwarted diva storm-out.
"I know you need to leave the room and calm down, Berry. And we'll let you and it's not a time out, okay? But you can't walk there naked, especially after you were naughty about your PJs. Those are the rules. Your mami can wrap you in a towel and take you. How about that?"
The little girl scowled at the ground and then stamped it with one foot. At this point no one in the house knew whether that was just something she'd seen Rachel do or whether it was just the pony genes.
She finally huffed and nodded.
Santana rolled her eyes, wrapped the child tenderly in a towel and picked her up and made a face at the boys, who smiled.
"San please just keep her from making an atom bomb while me and these guys talk, okay?"
She sat by the tub looking at them and they at her. "So. How are you guys? Need a little top-up of hot water?"
They nodded. She said as she added some hot water to the tub, "What's wrong guys? But before you tell me—have you washed those faces?"
They both shook their heads. She scrubbed their washcloths and handed them to them. "Get going—I'm not raising men who can't even wash their own faces."
They dutifully scrubbed and she helped them with rinsing and then asked, "What's up? You guys usually talk a little more."
They looked at each other and then at her. She understood.
"Berry talks a lot doesn't she?"
They nodded vigorously.
"And sometimes she talks so much and needs so much attention you don't get any, right?"
Little Quinn girded up his courage and whispered, "She's obnoxious."
Quinn gaped, then asked, "Where'd you hear that word?"
Noah shook his head. "About Mommy Rachel."
Okay. Her kids weren't dumb.
"Keep scrubbing guys—get those arms and your chests washed. I'll let you in on a little secret, okay?"
They nodded as they scrubbed. "Berry can't help being how she is. Just like you, Noah, like cars and trucks and airplanes and Quinn likes dinosaurs and dancing with your mommy. Remember that—that's who Berry is. But I know what you're saying is that you'd like special time, too, and to talk first sometimes, too?"
Tears filled Little Quinn's eyes. "Today we got to see a yellow frog. I like frogs more but Berry told Mommy Rachel first. I wanted to."
She rubbed his head, "Okay, little guy. I understand. We'll work on that, okay? So that you guys get to talk more because all of us want to hear you too, okay? Now, all clean?"
They nodded and she helped them step out, dry, and don their PJs.
"Okay!" She knelt down and smiled at them, "I'm so happy you're my little boys." She held out her arms and…looking at her…they sometimes didn't know how to breathe around their Mommy Quinn. They hugged her. And she kissed them.
She stood and said, "Anything else we need to talk about, guys?"
The boys looked at each other and Little Quinn said, "They're mean."
"Who is, baby boy."
"Kids are? To you?"
She knelt once more because actually her knees had buckled. She composed herself. "Kids are mean to Berry?"
They both nodded.
She knew she had to compose herself and she was a fucking Fabray and could do it. "How are they mean?"
"They say mean things."
"Okay—thanks for telling me. And you can always tell me or any of us if people are mean, okay?"
"Let's go talk to the family."
Brittany had joined them and evidently Santana had made up with Berry if the fact the girl was resting in her arms with pink PJs was any indication. Rachel was sitting next to Santana with her head on her shoulder.
Brittany took one look at Quinn's face as she led the boys into the room and said, "What's wrong?"
"Little Quinn and Noah told me some things about school and I want to talk to you guys about them, okay?"
Rachel felt sick at the look on Quinn's face and Santana sat up and gripped her daughter tighter. Brittany said, "You guys come sit with me. I've missed you." They clambered onto their mommy's knees.
Quinn sat took a seat next to Santana. "Berry, baby?"
Berry blinked at her, "Are you mad?"
"Not a bit. I want to ask you some questions, okay?"
Berry rested her head on Santana's chest but nodded.
"Do you like school?"
There was a long pause. "Coloring and song time."
"Do you have friends at school?"
"Quinn and Noah."
"That's good. Are the other kids mean to you?"
She didn't answer.
"Do they say mean things to you?"
She sighed. "Stupid, pop-eye, big nose, midget. Dumb. Shut up, shut up, shut up."
Santana closed her eyes. Quinn didn't dare look at Rachel.
"Sweetie, does that make you sad?"
She shrugged her tiny shoulders.
Brittany looked from Quinn to Rachel to San and patted her boys on their little rumps, "Power up, rangers." They leapt up.
She crossed and grabbed Berry and swung her up on her shoulders, which always thrilled the little girl and this was no exception. She burst into giggles. "Look around, Berry—see how tall you are?"
"This is how tall you really are. People just don't know it. You're a giant princess but there's a magical spell on everyone that makes them think you're tiny. It's not your fault they can't see it."
She swung her down and waved at the boys. "Bring it in." She got on her knees, "We're all super sad kids are saying mean stuff to you Berry and we know that hurts you, too, guys, but I totally promise I know how to fix it, okay?"
They nodded vehemently. Their relationship with their mommy was very different than with their other mothers. Mommy actually knew things.
"And look at me. It won't be tomorrow and you'll have to do things with me for a lot of days so I can show you how but I promise it'll get better okay, Berry?"
"Okay—now me and your mommies have to have mommy talk now so hug them and play a game together okay? And then you can have some soya and a cookie each and I'll do some flips for you."
They all rushed around and hugged the stunned other mothers in the room and then rushed right out.
Rachel began to cry, "That was cruel! How could you tell her that!"
"That you could fix it?"
Brittany shrugged, "Because I know what's wrong now—and I've been thinking about it for months. I'm like one of six parents and I'm not like go to girl for people wanting to know anything. But sorry, guys, it's Brittany time. Those are the rules. I get to talk."
Brittany both was and wasn't the girl she'd been as a teen. Exposure to many other people and social and professional situations that had expected far more of her than her oldest friends had changed her perhaps the most of all of them.
She looked at Rachel's weeping and Quinn looking like she'd been hit and San looking so sad and mad and said, "I know what you're thinking. You're thinking Berry's going to have to be sad like Rach for tons of years but that's not going to happen. And you have to let me talk and some of this will seem maybe totally mean about Berry and about you Rach but I love both of you so much I would die for you. It's been happening a long time. A big problem Berry has at school is she's a complete brat. Like, the biggest brat I've ever known and I grew up with you and San, Rach."
"Sorry, but it's true. And this is where this will seem super mean but listen, Rach, because I'm trying to help, okay?"
"She's so sweet and so loving and so adorable and smart. But she wants everything. Everything. All the attention, all the love—everything first. You ever notice she'll give Quinn and Noah all her cookies as long as she gets the first one? She's sort of out of control because we let her be and that's not fair. To her or to the guys."
Quinn could see this was going to be extremely provocative to Rachel, took a seat by her and held her hand.
"I've thought about it—why do we let her get away with so much when the little guys don't get away with anything? And at first I thought it was because it was because she was so little and she was our girl and she was so funny and so Rachel. Because we love you so much, Rach. And then, like one night I got this big—OH—thing. Oh. We're all doing a reset for you, Rach. We get to do it all over again—but this time better and this time little Rachel won't ever have to be sad and it'll be ponies and kittens and unicorns for her. I know why me and Q and San are doing it because we made you so sad but you're doing it because you were sad."
Rachel was crying and Quinn was refusing to. Santana looked like she was chewing on her cheek not to.
"She's not you, Rachel. She's not Rachel, guys. She's her own little person. And I know she's totally just like you, Rach, in a lot of ways but she's not going to be you. She has six parents. She has two brothers. She's going to be different, guys, because she has to learn to share. Now. We can't raise two stand-ins and a star. We have to raise three children."
Rachel actually never underestimated Brittany, although Santana and Quinn occasionally did. "I can see where this is going, Brittany. It's running perilously close to saying I deserved some of the treatment I got as a child."
Santana said, "No, Rachel—that's not what—"
"San? I'm speaking. I can tell her what I'm saying."
Santana nodded. It was an old habit that was dying hard.
"I'm not saying that. She doesn't deserve to be treated badly and you didn't either and what we did in school was super crazy. Kids suck and you deserved a happier time at school, okay? I'm so sorry to ask you this question but it might make you feel better about Berry, okay?"
Rachel was completely in a corner and Quinn could feel it rolling off in waves from her. "What?"
Brittany steeled herself, "Be honest, Rach. What age do you think you started understanding that other people's stuff mattered? When did you really start thinking about them? What age? Be honest."
"And when did school get a little better for you?"
Rachel nodded, "Fifteen." Her voice was cold. "I see. So, if we can make Berry see the error of her ways now, we can help her avoid what I went through. Okay. I'm on board."
All of them could see this was really not going over well.
"No—I get it, Brittany. I totally get it. I was a self-absorbed and obnoxious only child. I was a lightning-rod for fucked up school bullshit for that reason. But she won't be that. Good to know. She'll have a happier life if we help her adjust to her temperament better than my parents could for me because I was an only child with only two parents to count on. Good plan. Great plan, even. I wholeheartedly agree. Let's get it in motion."
Quinn said, "Angel."
Rachel jumped up but she did keep her voice low because of the children. "No!"
"That's why! I SUCKED because I didn't know how to DO LIFE. And you guys evidently did. And you know what? This is the first time in my life I've ever really felt I sort of got what I deserved. Thank you for that Brittany S. Pierce. But you're right, so don't feel bad about that and it will help Berry so that's the important thing right now and thank you. But I don't even want to SEE you people right now. I seriously don't. You fucked me over for something I couldn't help and didn't know how to and…fuck you. I look at Berry and yeah…fuck you. You all did that to a little kid who was only two years older than Berry is now who didn't have two brothers—who had no one but my parents who did their best. Don't try to talk to me right now or I promise I will make a scene and our children don't deserve it. I'm smart enough to know I need to get out of this house right now."
"I don't care, Quinn! Out. Of. Here." She actually ran out of the room.
Santana had Britts to deal with but she grabbed Quinn, "Let her cool off!"
"She's not your wife!"
"Fine! Go badger her and make her scare the kids when she's out of her mind—that'll help!"
Quinn stood there in agony and Rachel came back from their room with only a handbag and took in the scene.
Quinn looked completely devastated. A tearful Santana was petting over Brittany, who was sitting on the couch and blankly staring out into space.
Rachel felt deeply hurt in a way she hadn't known since she'd been a kid but she'd hurt Brittany. Nobody hurt Brittany.
She crossed the room, climbed into Brittany's lap and began to weep. As she'd never cried in her life. Brittany held her for a long, long time and said, "You guys take care of the kids. We'll be okay."
When they went to their room after a couple of hours, they'd gotten into the bed and the room was dark. Rachel said, "I'm sorry, Quinn, for the drama and I'll talk about Berry and this issue. But I don't ever want to talk about how I feel about me because of this again or even this night. If you love me at all, please don't push that."
"Okay. Viking funeral?"
"Biggest yet. Bigger than being gay-bashed."
Quinn felt tears in her eyes. "Okay."
"I can't let you be there because you're such a big part of it so—hold my hand?"
After maybe thirty minutes, Rachel sighed. "That was good."
"Yeah? I'm glad, angel."
"Thanks for staying awake with me."
"I put fireworks onboard—for you."
Quinn smiled, "Yeah?"
"I really did. Like Fourth of July. You deserve something spectacular."
Rachel stroked their joined hands with her thumb, "Don't think I don't know how much all of this with me and with Berry must have been hitting your guilt buttons even before I went off on you. I'm sorry but I don't believe I can talk to you about that vis a vis this evening. I don't think it would be productive for us. We're living something with our child now that has so many parallels with our past and I really think we should leave the past in the past. I know what I said hurt you and you make have taken from it that I haven't forgiven you but I have. Completely. But if you remember the first time we talked about this when we were sixteen, I told you I'd forgive but that I'd never forget. I haven't. If you feel you need to talk, please talk to San or skype with Dr. Southerland. Promise me?"
"I do promise—and yes, I do think I probably need to. I'll schedule a session."
"Good. Thank you, Quinn."
"This is our biggest fight ever."
"It wasn't even a fight—it was a caterwaul."
"It felt much worse than that word."
Longer moments passed in the dark.
"Are we okay, Rachel?"
"Of course we are, Quinn. I want to say one more thing about this evening. I was wrong to threaten to leave the house. If we ever have a fight, I may have to leave the room and you may have to give me time. But I will never leave the house because I'm never leaving you. Okay?"
"That really scared me."
"I know—and I shouldn't have done it. So now we're okay. And in fact…so okay could we make up now?"
"You mean make up make up?"
"Yes. If you feel up to it."
"Absolutely I do. But before that, how about this? Did you know that San and Britts watch our love scene to get in the mood?"
Rachel kicked her foot in the bed. "That's not true!"
"Apparently it is."
"That's surprisingly sexy to me, Quinn, for reasons I'll leave unspoken."
"Thank you for that. And oh—you've missed a lot—I have to get something to lock our stuff up in."
"You know, I've decided the word toys doesn't adequately describe their purpose. How about WMD—for weapons of mutual delectation?"
"O-kay. Did you give a lot thought to that, Rach?"
"Don't be a smart-aleck. Why do we have to lock them up?"
"For the kids' sake. Because they might not be looking for WMDs but they'll find them."
Rachel thought about that. "Ah. Right. Good idea."
Long, long pause.
"And on that very specific note, Quinn, back to this making up we're doing. See if you can read my mind."
"I can. That's a great idea."
Santana and Brittany were lying next to each other on the same pillow.
"You sure you're okay, Britts? I know it must have hurt bad for Rach to take what you said that way when you were just trying to help."
"Sure—but she was only mad because she knew I was right. I mean, it's hard like when you just turn your head slightly—like light in a prism, right? And you see things totally differently. She didn't like to know that there were a lot of reasons kids might not have liked her that were real. I mean, she probably totally has always known that in the back of her mind. But people were so mean for so long I don't know how she would have maybe even wanted to live if she didn't make it all about them. You remember when we had to do some of those super scary stunts that would like probably cripple you if you messed up?"
"You can't hesitate ever when you do them because that's when you fall. If she hesitated and thought, 'Maybe this is partly me,' I think school would have totally crushed her. I'm glad Rach didn't hesitate. And she's right—she didn't have anyone so that makes her super braver that she didn't. She'll be okay about this. When she sort of plays the story to the end, she'll know that even though she wasn't perfect, she still didn't deserve to get hurt the way she was and it still didn't make the other kids less wrong. I know she won't talk to Quinn about it because it brings up stuff that hurts them. And please don't bring it up with her if she doesn't talk first. I can handle it. She'll talk to me."
"So the bromance continues."
Brittany smiled. "Always."
Santana and Brittany had been together twenty-seven years and they sometimes almost spoke in shorthand.
"Want to make out, B?"
Brittany thought about it. "Not really. You?"
"No. But thought I'd offer. I sort of still feel like I got slayed and reanimated tonight. Berry, then Rach and you. Holy shit."
"Yeah. Me, too. Wanna watch a movie?"
"Sure. Hey—Q admitted she totally did the big O in the movie."
"Right? That was obvious."
"But it's a secret."
"I know that, San. But she does look really pretty like that."
Quinn heard her phone vibrate. She knew hundreds of people but literally no one had her 'real' phone number except about 20 people she considered family. Rachel growled in disbelief as Quinn stopped what she was doing to answer it. After all at this time of night, it could be an emergency. Quinn looked at it and rolled her eyes. The post modern-age when people texted within the same house.
Santana Lopez: Guess what me and B are watching?
Quinn Fabray: Guess what me and R are DOING?
Santana Lopez: Oh, snap—sorry
They had already decided on very reasonable rules for the children's behavior before this incident. One of the differences now was that they actually enforced them with Berry.
The lessons, which Brittany began to teach immediately, were basically role-modeling for Berry. Brittany had no training. She simply pretended she was a little schoolmate, which she naturally did quite well, interacting with Berry every night for thirty minutes.
They also made it a rule that Berry and Noah and Quinn had to alternate days telling what happened at school first, as well as what movie or game would be played. It was sometimes murderously hard for Berry and she showed it and showed out and rebelled but the attention they were paying her made her happy. She stormed in and out of it but she seemed ultimately to like it because feeling there were rules that she shared with her brothers and that her parents had loving control of her made her able to relax a bit.
The boys bloomed and were startlingly talkative. And as months went by all of them noticed that the boys attitude toward Berry was changing. Although they'd always protected her, they now seemed to like her. She was still the same kid but with much of the heat taken off her megalomania, they actually began to treat her much like Santana and Quinn treated Rachel, with loving, exasperated fondness.
Four Months Later
Rachel brought the children home from school and Berry was so wound-up that Quinn stared at her. "What's wrong, honey?"
"It's Quinn's day to talk first. Quinn, go fast! Please."
Little Quinn smiled. "I give Berry my turn."
Rachel smiled, "Really?"
Noah answered, "She had a good day."
Rachel asked, "What happened?"
Berry climbed into her lap. The boys liked hugs and occasionally sitting on a lap but Berry sat on everyone. "Alice and Hannah sat with me and played with me at recess!"
"Well, that's terrific."
"I think they're my friends."
Quinn closed her eyes and sent up a prayer of gratitude.
"Isn't that nice, Berry?"
Berry nodded her head. That seemed to be all.
Noah said, "She forgot she got to sing all by herself at song time."
"You did? How'd that go?"
Little Quinn offered, "She was good. We clapped."
"You did have a big day. Did you forget you sang, sweetie?" This was incomprehensible to Rachel.
Berry nodded, "Friends are better than singing."
Rachel hugged her daughter as she looked at her wife, "Yes they are, sweetie."
Quinn said, "Next up to the plate is my batter boy Quinn. How was your day, bud?"
"Berry played with girls so I played with the boys."
"You don't usually play with the boys?"
"No. Me and Noah play with Berry."
That was so sweet but sad that they didn't do things because Berry couldn't. "Was that fun? And before you answer, it's Noah and I, not me and Noah."
"Mami always says 'Me and Britts.'"
"She does, but she knows the rules of grammar. You have to know the rules before you get to break them. So—was that fun?"
"Yeah. We played. And I did cartwheels and roundoffs."
The little boy was a natural dancer and gymnast and pestered Brittany for lessons.
"Let me guess. The guys thought you were cool because you could do that?"
He nodded happily. "Noah's turn."
"I played dodgeball with the boys."
Berry piped up, "Mona kissed Noah."
"A girl kissed you, Noah?"
He blushed. "Yes."
"What'd you do?"
"It was dumb. I said thank you."
And so it begins, Quinn thought. "That was very polite of you, sweetie."
Little Quinn added, "I forgot I kissed Bethany today."
Noah looked at him in horror. "You kissed a girl?"
Little Quinn nodded.
Quinn looked at him and couldn't help herself. "You kissed a girl and you liked it?"
Little Quinn nodded emphatically, "Yes."
"A man after my own heart. And I want to really thank you guys for being such good brothers to Berry, okay?"
Little Quinn smiled.
Noah shrugged, "She's my Jew. I got her back."
Quinn stared at the boy. "Excuse me? Did your father—Berry's not your Jew—she's your sister."
He shook his head, "I know. But Daddy said Mommy Rachel's his Jew and Berry's my Jew. We got their backs. It's a Noah…" he searched for the word, "tradition."
Rachel saw the slightly murderous look in Quinn's eyes, "Baby. Calm down. Noah, I understand you want to carry on your father's tradition. Berry can be your Jew at home but you can't call her that at school or anywhere else. Only at home. I'm very serious, okay?"
Santana and Brittany walked in at that moment, "What's shakin' bacon?"
"What a nice segue for this Jewish conversation." Quinn asked the children, "Can I tell?"
"Berry made two friends today. The boys got to play with the boys for a change and Noah got kissed by a girl and Quinn kissed a girl."
"Hell yeah! Right? All my kids got game at age four. That's what I'm talking 'bout."
But Quinn and Rachel could see the immense relief in Santana's eyes.
Brittany hadn't had a doubt in the world.
A/N There you go folks!