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Author’s notes: As you can probably guess from the way chapter 13 ended, this chapter discusses topics that may be considered sensitive. If you choose to skip some parts, it should be safe to come back for the last section of this chapter.

Also, because I’ve been accused of putting my own opinions in my characters’ mouths before: this is a story, a work of fiction. I go where the story takes me, I don’t have an agenda and I always try to write with respect and sensitivity whenever I touch difficult topics.

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“Are you sure?”

It’s probably the dumbest question to ask someone who just told you they’re pregnant, but Blaine can’t help it. He has trouble processing the news, is all.

She looks at him with reddened eyes. “Well, I haven’t gone to a doctor, but I took three different pregnancy tests in the last week and they are all positive, so yes, I’m pretty sure.”

“But… how? When? I mean… how long?”

Her stomach, clearly visible in the see-through outfit, is completely flat, but then again, Blaine has never known any pregnant women personally. He doesn’t know anything about pregnancy.

Well, no, okay – he does know it lasts nine months, and that it causes morning sickness and some crazy food cravings. He remembers diagrams of a baby in the uterus from his freshman year Health class, and something about putting pillows between a pregnant woman’s  legs to make her more comfortable, though he’s not sure when or why. Should he gather some for Rachel now? She doesn’t look uncomfortable, just emotional and drained, but what does he know?

Oh, and he’s pretty sure women should avoid stress when expecting babies, and… alcohol maybe? And strenuous exercise? Does Rachel know that? The crunches she was doing earlier looked pretty strenuous to him.

He has a sudden urge to call his mom – more because she’s a doctor and a woman than anything – and ask a ton of questions. Rachel’s voice brings him back to reality.

“It’s still very early. I only missed my period two weeks ago. At first I thought it was just stress after the mess with Brody, or maybe I miscalculated. But then another week passed, and I couldn’t stop thinking…” She takes a shuddery breath and starts playing with her overlong sleeve. “There was this party. About a week before I left. Brody kept bringing me drinks, and the more I had, the more fun it seemed, and… I just know we had sex, and that it was in the bathroom, but no matter how hard I think, I can’t remember if he used a condom. I mean, he always had before but–“ She shrugs, her lower lip trembling. “So finally I bought the test and… boom.” Her eyes well up again.

“Did you talk about this to anyone? One of your girl friends, maybe?” Blaine is feeling so out of his depth it’s not even funny.

“No. You’re the first to know.”

“Wait, you haven’t even told Kurt?” Blaine stares at her, shocked.

“No.” She sighs and wipes at her eyes. “I’ve felt like… if I said it out loud, it would become real. Like the problem would just disappear if I didn’t acknowledge it.”

“But it won’t!”

Rachel frowns at his frantic tone. “Of course it won’t, do you think I don’t know that? I may be desperate but I’m not stupid. Yes, I have been doing everything I’m apparently not supposed to do while pregnant, hoping against hope that nature will somehow take its course, but rationally, I know I’m deluding myself. Taking scalding hot baths, exercising like a madwoman or drinking gallons of strong coffee won’t make my period just magically come and fix everything.”

“Oh Rachel–“ Blaine whispers, mortified.

She snaps at him. “Don’t you dare tell me it’s wrong to think like this. You have no idea how it feels when your body betrays you, you don’t know what it’s like to know you just messed up your whole life because you were stupid, that nothing will ever be the same again. You know nothing, Blaine.”

His eyes widen. “Oh, no, I didn’t mean–“ but she’s on a roll already.

“And that’s not even counting the hormones. God, I’m such a mess. I keep bursting into tears all the time, I’m exhausted, but I can’t sleep at night, and just yesterday I must have left the door unlocked when I went to the store though I was sure I locked it. I feel like I’m losing my mind. I don’t know what to do–“ Rachel’s voice breaks and Blaine gathers her into a hug, finally breaking free of his stunned paralysis.

“You have to tell Kurt,” he says, stroking her back. “Whatever you do, you need him in your corner, too.”

She’s shaking harder now, suppressed sobs breaking free between words. “I know but… how can I tell him I messed up even worse than he already knows? We’ve only just made up these last weeks, things have finally gotten back to normal… and now this. He’s gonna hate me.”

“He’s not going to hate you, come on. I’ll be right here when you tell him, okay? I can hold your hand if you need it, but you have to tell him, Rachel.”

Her “okay” is quiet and tremulous, but it’s there, and Blaine may know next to nothing about pregnancy, but he knows that whatever lies ahead won’t be easy. And there’s no doubt in his mind that whatever happens next, he’s going to support her through it.


xXxXx

“Guys, breaking up with a person is hard. I feel like I’ve kicked a puppy and I’m counting on you to distract me tonight,” Kurt announces as he steps into the apartment and drops his bag.

He’s met with two somber faces and a distraction that drives every last thought about Elias out of his mind in a heartbeat.



“What do you mean you’re pregnant? My god, Rachel, you were living with a guy, sleeping with him regularly, and you didn’t think to use protection? Get on a pill or something?”

Kurt can see how fast her face just falls, how she curls in on herself, but he’s too stunned-shocked-struck out of balance to stop the sharp words that crowd his tongue. Not until he sees Blaine shaking his head behind Rachel’s back, his face in a worried frown and eyes locked with Kurt’s. This does make him take a deep breath and force himself to calm down a little. He drops his head in his hands.

“No, okay, I’m sorry, Rach. There’s no use throwing blame around, I’m just… shit. Shishitshit. Are you sure?”

She just nods, still too upset to talk, and he tries to be gentle, asking the next question on his mind.

“And it’s this guy Brody’s?”

“Yes.” She doesn’t even protest the suggestion this question brings, which tells him more than enough about her state of mind. Sighing heavily, Kurt sits down on the couch and pulls her to his chest where she immediately buries her face in his shirt.

“I’m sorry. We’ll get through this, okay? I promise,” he murmurs into her hair. But the anger is still flaring bright and hot, in desperate need of release, so he adds, “I need this guy’s address. And I need to go kick his ass or I’ll explode.”

Rachel’s head shoots up at this, her face panicked. “No! I don’t want him to know, I don’t ever want him to hear about it. Promise me, Kurt. Both of you. Promise you won’t tell him.”

“But… what if you decide to–“ Kurt stops, reminds himself not to assume anything. “Do you know what you want to do?”

She starts to cry again, her eyes all puffy by this point, her voice breaking. “I can’t– I…” She shakes her head. “I need to think.”

“Of course.” Kurt nods, his mind going a mile a minute already, planning and calculating for every possibility. He forces himself to stop. Now is not the time. Now, he’s needed here. He hugs her again. “Do whatever you need, take as much time as necessary. We’ll be here for you no matter what you decide.”

On her other side, Blaine winds his arm around her shoulders, completing the embrace. “We will.”



They don’t even debate Blaine staying the night this time – it’s obvious that he will. Their own little drama fades into the background when there’s a much bigger, painfully real problem to face, one that touches them as if it was their own. Or at least touches Kurt this way.

He did think about being a father before. Not just at the Harbor, where it was supposed to be the set, obvious role for him to take in the community as soon as he was deemed ready, but also out of it, in his secret dreams of a husband and a home and a normal life. This is neither of these scenarios, and he’s too young and unprepared, and the child is not even his – but if need be, he will be a father to Rachel’s baby, or as close as he can be. Even if it makes his own life much more complicated.

Kurt leaves his bed to Blaine and holds Rachel as she falls asleep, worn out with tears and emotions. His own sleep is restless and plagued with unsettling dreams, and when he wakes up in the middle of the night, Rachel isn’t there.

He finds her in the kitchen with Blaine. They are both drinking warm milk and talking quietly, but when she notices Kurt, she starts crying again. It takes ten minutes for her to calm down enough to tell him it’s because she didn’t want to make him lose more sleep because of her. Barefoot and barely awake, he grabs a cup and joins them by the table.

It’s going to be a hard week.



Blaine leaves in the morning, only to be back with a borrowed air mattress in the evening when it becomes clear that Rachel is in a full meltdown mode. Juggling jobs and classes and food preparation, they spend the next few days together in the apartment, and Kurt has never appreciated Blaine’s friendship and his caring as much as he does now.

These few days are filled with Rachel’s tears and Kurt’s frantic yet discreet internet research, but also with some of the most honest, real conversations he remembers having with Rachel since they ran away. The hardships of their life on the run and then the first trying months here in NY caused distance to grow between them, an invisible wall that Kurt never fully realized was there until he saw how much he’s missed, busy fighting for their survival. Rachel has no defenses now, weighted with her new burden – no fabulous fronts to put on. She’s completely vulnerable, utterly open, and it shocks Kurt to learn just how lost she’s been since she gave up her suicide plan for him, how little sense she saw – still sees sometimes – in staying alive. She has no real goals and only a few fairytale dreams, no anchor to hold onto when it’s hard, like Kurt has always had in Blaine and his hope for a normal life one day. It aches to hear, to know that he hasn’t noticed the extent of her problems even though he was the closest to her.

How lonely she must have been all this time.

It’s the fourth day, a bright and sunny morning, when they wake up and find Rachel sitting at the kitchen table with a determined expression. She’s drinking coffee – something she gave up in the last few days – and Kurt knows what she’s going to say before she even opens her mouth.

“I… I made up my mind.” Her voice is tremulous, but her face resolute, not a hint of doubt visible. “I mean, it was made up all along, but… I think I’m okay with it now. As okay as I will ever be, at least.” She takes a shaky breath and Kurt reaches for her hand, which she gives him gratefully. “I can’t have a baby. Not now. With no money, no partner, no education at all… I’m too big a mess to even take good care of myself, let alone a child. I think I finally understand my mom.” Her eyes fill with tears again. “At least she had a husband who wanted a child and a family. I don’t. So… yeah. It’s hard after being told all my life that children are the greatest good there is, but that’s all I can do.” She looks between the two of them, anxious. “What do you think?”

“I think,” Kurt says, squeezing her hand, “that if you’re sure, we should make an appointment at Planned Parenthood today.”



One phone call, two days and one pill later, the three of them are back from the clinic, feeling somber and suddenly more grown up, in a sad way.

Rachel had been a nervous wreck before the appointment, terrified about the possibility of protesters and judgment and having to face a medical procedure all alone, but it turned out none of it was necessary. Kurt and Blaine were with her for support (and for potential protester scaring), the staff was respectful and professional, and it turned out that since she was only seven weeks pregnant, there was probably no need for a procedure – abortion pills should suffice. She swallowed the first one at the clinic and was given another one to take at home in two days.

And now they are home. They have all taken a few days off from jobs and classes, and Kurt and Blaine are determined to focus on what’s important for the next few days: helping Rachel to get through this physically and emotionally hard time, and caring for her in any way necessary, be it with distractions, pampering or providing shoulders to literally lean on.

That first day, they do some walking through spring-filled New York – sunlight filtering through fresh green leaves in Central Park, warm wind kissing their faces. They get ice-cream and watch street musicians, eat lunch at a salad bar and balance the healthiness of it out with decadent, sugar-laden desserts. They sit outside at a tiny old-fashioned café, drinking strong fragrant coffee out of pretty cups and just enjoying a beautiful warm day, detached from the rush of people all around them. It’s like they’ve pushed pause on their lives and no matter how sad the reason, it feels nice to slow down for a bit.

By the evening Rachel starts feeling the effects of the pill, so they move the pampering and distractions inside. Blaine has a disk full of light, feel-good movies on his laptop, there is good, simple food and snacks in the pantry to last for the rest of the week, and Kurt brings back the old tradition of mutual manicures and massages – only it turns out Blaine is far superior to either of them in his massage skills, as Kurt discovers when he has a sudden, mortifying reaction to a foot rub. There’s cuddling and music and heat pads for Rachel, and of course it doesn’t completely block out her cramps or discomfort, or the constant awareness of what exactly is happening, but they are all doing their best.

Blaine is still staying with them for the next few days, and with Rachel retreating to her bedroom early every evening for some alone time, he and Kurt are faced with unexpected hours to fill by themselves. It’s easier than Kurt feared, though. With the recent closeness born from Blaine essentially living with them this past week – and Kurt thinks he will never not feel the flood of affection at seeing Blaine sleepy and disheveled in the mornings – it feels natural to just exist together, talking or doing dishes or sewing while Blaine strums his guitar. They bake brownies, play board games that Blaine brought from his dorm and it’s all so damn easy it takes Kurt’s breath away.

Rachel is quiet these days, pensive, and they let her be, just following her lead, whether she wants to watch movies curled between them on the couch or hides in her bedroom asking to be left alone. It’s her time to grieve something that could have been, and even without talking about it, it’s clear to both boys that this is all they can do: just be there for her, the best support they can be, and hope this will be enough.



The shock comes two weeks later – after Blaine returned to his dorm, after Kurt and Rachel got used to his absence, after she slowly started smiling again.

They come home one afternoon, after Rachel’s check-up at Planned Parenthood, all three of them relieved and in good moods, ready to put this whole experience behind them and celebrate her clean bill of health with some ice cream. They are laughing as Kurt goes to unlock the door.

The key doesn’t turn.

Mildly concerned, he pushes the door and it slides open, the key still dangling from the lock. Kurt takes a few steps into the apartment, frowning. Behind him, Rachel and Blaine are still chatting animatedly, unaware of his confusion.

And then a tall, dark figure steps out from the shadows between their bedrooms.

“Hello, kids.”

Rachel screams.

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Chapter song:    Keep Holding On by Avril Lavigne
                             
NMP MASTERPOST is HERE

The next chapter will be posted on Monday (21 October).
 

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
amordemealma
Oct. 20th, 2013 12:13 am (UTC)
AHHHHHHH!!!!!! HOW DARE YOU LEAVE IT THERE!!!!!! I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NOW!!!!!!!!

This chapter made me incredibly sad though. I will admit to wanting Rachel to keep the baby, mostly due to my own personal feelings and convictions, although I understand her reasonings for deciding not to, and it did seem to keep with the characterizations better for her to abort rather than to give it up for adoption.

Very well written, I thought that you handled a sensitive topic very well and respectfully, so I thank you for that.
such_a_steph
Oct. 20th, 2013 12:29 am (UTC)
What a very real chapter! I've lived through that very scenario myself (making the opposite decision) and you conveyed the fragility, confusion and desperateness so perfectly.

And then you go and scare the wits out of me with that ending! I guess it had to happen, but why so soon? And why at this moment when everything is still so fragile and uncertain :( (rhetorically questioning the situation, not your choices as an author... They are, as ever, perfect)
lovesrabbits
Oct. 20th, 2013 01:13 am (UTC)
OMG.....
I've gone cold......gulp! I knew things were too good to be true.
springbay
Oct. 20th, 2013 07:47 am (UTC)
Bravo! Thank you for taking Rachel's situation and resolving it in a real and true manner. I especially liked that Rachel knew, at some level, all along what she was going to do. I never wanted Rachel to go through with the pregnancy for all the reasons she herself mentioned. Contrary to what is usually portrayed in the media, making this decision isn't always a huge anguished internal struggle that damages a woman forever. Sometimes it's the right choice. Thank you for being brave enough to write it.
I should have never underestimated you ;)

Omg, that ending! At least they're not facing the scary person alone!
mugglegato
Oct. 21st, 2013 01:59 am (UTC)
Noooooooo! How can you do that?!!! This chapter was so sad but I really like how they pulled together to get through it. And the end I just want Blaine to grab them and run. I'm so glad he was there.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )