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Aurora

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To fight the disconnect that Diane has felt for the past couple of months she has decided to proactively fight against the current administration the only way she knows how; through the law.

Thanks to Eli and Natalie Flores, who believed she was the right person to take the case, she has learned about an expectant mother who has been detained at an immigrant detention center with no medical supervision and no legal representation.

Before she knows it she is elbow deep in paperwork and motions she needs to file. When she tells Kurt about the case, he backs her up a 100% insisting this was the way she made her little corner of the world a better place.

When she finally meets Estela Rodriguez she is instantly heartbroken.

They’ve obviously tried to make it seem like she has been taken care off by giving her a half-done bath; but the random smudges, the ice wet hair, the purple bags under deep brown eyes, and the fact that she looks like her body is eating her inside-out for she is so thin, tells her that was not the case.

After getting her released and filling against the detention center she had been at, Diane secures her a safe place to stay, promising her that all the work she will be doing will be pro-bono.

Estela thanks her in half learned English, bypassing the interpreter. When she gets home she finally breaks down and Kurt holds her tightly.

The case consumes her, spending as much time as she can researching and filling motions, trying to get everything she needs to not only secure Estella’s asylum but ensure that she and the baby are looked after medically.

When she reaches out to a childhood friend who happens to be an OBGYN, she is surprised that she will help free of charge.

Having developed a sort of protective friendship with Diane, Estela begs her to be in the room during the exam and Diane cannot refuse. She holds her hand and attempts to calm and reassure her with the Spanish she has retained.

Both women gasp when they finally see the baby on the screen, a little small for her age group but still healthy. As if she knows she was being observed, the baby suckles on her thumb then let’s out a kick. Estela quickly guides Diane’s hand to her belly, letting her connect with the tiny baby she’s also fighting for. At that moment Diane vows she will stop at nothing to make sure the baby is safe.

While the baby girl, whom Estela has named Aurora because she wanted to give her an ‘American’ name while maintaining a connection to her own name, thrives every day, Estela’s health declines. She is admitted to a hospital and a call is made to Diane in the middle of the night because her name is all Estela says.

By the time Diane gets to the hospital, Estela has passed away.

Diane blinks confused at the information she is receiving. “And Aurora?” She suddenly interrupts the ER doctor who tended to Estela. “The baby? Did she…”

She cannot stomach asking if the baby has passed as well and thankfully Kurt seems to understand and finishes her thought. The doctor has good news; baby is alive!

They spend the rest of the night with Aurora, Diane feeling like she needs to stay with her, to finish what she has started, protect her as fiercely as she tried to protect her mother.

“The doctor said that social services will be here in the morning.” Kurt informs her as he walks into the room they had requested.

Diane let’s out a deep breath, slumping slightly, her eyes never leaving the bundle in her arms. She finds herself unable to put her down since the nurse asked her if she wanted to feed her. “She’s gonna get lost in the system, like all the other babies.”

Kurt can see the defeat in his wife’s eyes and posture. He hates it. Diane had been so focused on ensuring Estela could stay protected in US soil that she never stopped to think of any other alternative and definitively not this outcome.

“Did she have family here?”

“No.” Diane replies still not looking up at him. “She was fleeing. They killed her husband and parents, her siblings too. She has no one here and yet she took the chance of the unknown because it was better than getting killed back home. She wanted Aurora to have a chance. This was not supposed to happen.”

Kurt kneels in front of her, steadying himself by placing a hand on her knee. “What can we do?”

“Nothing.” Diane admits. “Estela is gone. She doesn’t have a next of kin, no one to look after Aurora. Social services will take her when she’s ready to leave the hospital, transfer her to an adoption center, if she’s lucky, or take her back to a tender age detention center. Who knows what will happen then.”

Kurt stares at her long enough that Diane feels that he wants her to look up. “What?” She asks confused.

Kurt passes a hand over his beard, scratching it lightly. “When I first saw you holding her, I had this crazy thought.”

“What thought?”

Kurt shakes his head as he dismisses the idea. “It’s crazier than skipping town and going to Costa Rica. You wouldn’t like it.”

The baby coos in her sleep as if urging him to continue.

“What is it?” Diane asks as she settles the baby once more in her arms.

He knows she is Maia’s godmother and that she has always been close to her, babysitting whenever she could when Maia had been a baby and a young child and her parents, her childhood friends, had needed a break. Now she is practically a surrogate mother to the young lawyer. He knows she has been in contact with children, after all she loves to dote on little Joseph Quinn-Morello, but seeing her holding a baby she deeply cared for, despite just meeting, was something that had stolen his breath away and made him fall even more in love with her.

“We’ve talked about our missed chance of having a family of our own.” He starts and quickly raises a hand as he sees Diane’s defenses rise. “Had we met at another time in our lives perhaps we would have had a son or a daughter, or one of each. Arabella and Lucien, remember?”

They had once lamented the fact they wouldn’t have children. The topic had come up when they had been healing from his affair and she had asked if that was, perhaps subconsciously, why he had slept with Holly. He reassured her that if he had any children he would only have them with her, and since they couldn’t, he wasn’t interested. They had daydreamed, If only for a day, what they would name their children. Arabella after the first female lawyer in the United States and Lucien after her father. For a night their imaginary children were tangible, loved as if they existed, and very much a part of their family.

“We can’t change the past, Kurt.”

“No, we can’t,” he agrees with her before letting his eyes drop to the baby who now slept peacefully in his wife’s arms, a finger raising to gently caress the newborn’s cheek. “But we can change the future. We can change her future.”

Diane, who has followed his line of sight towards the baby, quickly looks up. He can see the mirad of thoughts and emotions that course thru her as she considers what he’s hinting at. Instead of verbally answering, Kurt receives a dazzling smile from his wife before Diane reaches over, cups the side of his face and guides him in for a kiss.

By the time social services arrive at the hospital, Diane and Kurt have already filed for adoption.

 

Chapter Text

With the paperwork filed and the process of adoption started, all Diane and Kurt could do was wait for social services to make a house call to see if they were accepted as possible parents. They would have to be evaluated to make sure that they were not only financially stable but a loving couple with Aurora’s well being as their ultimate goal.

After talking with Boseman and Reddic and explaining the situation, Diane and Kurt had decided to stay close to the baby.

Aurora has been born slightly premature and though she was doing great on her own, the pediatricians insisted on keeping a close eye on her.

Since neither had legal grounds, at least not until the adoption went through, they weren’t able to be by her side, but that didn’t stop Diane from camping out, being as close as she could be even if it meant staying at the hospital waiting room. Poor of the soul who tried to tell her she had to leave.

Ever needing to be doing something or she would be imagining the worst, Diane had spent hours designing and purchasing baby items for what would be the baby’s room at their apartment.

“Will you be picking up the paint on the way home?” She asks Kurt who has just woken from a cat nap, slumped on the not so comfortable sofa. “For the nursery?”

Kurt rubs the sleep from his eyes, a slight grunt is his answer for her. He stretches, some bones cracking from not having been used in an attempt to find sleep.

Diane raises her eyes to look in his direction, her glasses falling down her nose slightly. She says nothing which only catches Kurt’s attention even more.

“What?”

Diane removes her glasses and let’s out a deep sigh. “They are not going to let us raise her.” She replies as she closes her laptop.

“Wait… what?” Kurt asks now fully awake.

“They are not going to let us raise her. We… Kurt we are old..”

She trails off as he raises a finger to stop her. “Older…” he inserts. “Older than other couples looking to adopt, sure, but no less capable.”

“Older…” she agrees. “Why would they let us raise her?”

“Well…” Kurt leans forward, pressing his elbows to his knees. “We can provide for her financially. She would have access to the best healthcare, the best schools, a good life.“

Is not that which worries her. Having lost everything and gaining it all back had been a life lesson Diane had paid close attention to. Kurt and her had taken steps to ensure that a situation such as the one she lived through never happened again. She knew they could and would provide the very best for Aurora. What worried her was more personal.

“What if… what if I am a bad mother? Or I don’t know how to be a mother.”

“Diane. I can tell you already love her deeply; you are already putting her well-being over everything else, over your work, your well-bring, giving up your office space at our home for her to have a nursery, finding everything a baby could need without moving away from where she is at even though they won’t let us be with her.” Kurt reassures her. “If that’s not the start of a great mother, I don’t know what is.”

“And you?” Diane asks with a raised eyebrow.

“Me? The moment I saw you two together I knew there was no going back. She’s our daughter. It’s meant to be.” He pauses, thinks for a second then adds. “And if changes have to be made so that we can give her all the love she needs, then we’ll make those changes when the time comes, but we’ll do it together.”

Diane can't help but smile, her whole face lighting up despite the obvious tiredness in her features. It has been a long night.

“Diane… this is going to work out.” Kurt promises her as he gets up from the sofa and crosses the distance to where she sits . “Aurora is our daughter. Estela would have wanted you to take care of her.”

“And if they don’t see that?”

“I happen to know a great lawyer who never backs down, specially when it’s about those she loves.” He closes the distance between them and loses himself in her lips.

They are interrupted by the shrill sound of her cellphone. Parting they both turn to look at it. Diane instantly knows who it is.

This is it. This is the call.

Their world is about to permanently change.

Chapter Text

He has had the opportunity many times to watch Diane in her element and each time he is sure that he has never seen such magic in a courtroom.

From the way she can hold the jury’s attention to the way she can throw law after law on the floor to pummel the opposing counsel, she flows thru the courtroom in such way he had never witnessed before.

Every time he has left the courtroom proud to call her his lover, fiancée or wife.

Today he is simply in awe.

Not only is she fighting tooth and nail but she’s also allowing an emotional element to filter through the legal jargon.

“Your honor, Ms. Lockhart is simply lying. We have no intention of putting Baby Jane in any of the immigrant detention centers, she will…”

“First of all,” Diane interrupts the lawyer. He can see fire in her eyes, a fire that won’t be quenched. “It is Mrs. Lockhart.” 

The lawyer seems to raise an eyebrow at her words. He knows that she’s gotten raised eyebrows everywhere she goes for not taking his name, but he understands that she has worked hard to build up her name, to be the lawyer she is, and to have the reputation she possesses. Quite frankly, if she asked, he would gladly take her name.

“Second, her name is not Baby Jane, her mother gave her a name before she passed and she’s been given that name on her birth certificate, her US Birth certificate.” Diane continues, taking no prisoners in her path. “Her name is Aurora, not Baby Jane. Or is it that you repeat the lie so much that you can’t keep track of which babies you are fighting against placing with foster families?”

“Your honor, I objec…”

“Or is it because you already want to disappear her, so using Baby Jane is much more convenient?” Diane adds. “And third, you are already drafting the paperwork to send her to a tender age detention center.” She quickly pulls a wad of papers and starts walking toward the judge. “As your honor can see, we have obtained a copy of said paperwork which clearly states that one Aurora Rodriguez, daughter of Estela Rodriguez, has been scheduled to be received at the Texas Tender Age Immigrant Detention Center tonight.”

The judge takes a minute to look over the paperwork before turning to look at the opposing lawyer. “How do you explain this?”

“I’m sorry your honor, but we haven’t been given this piece of evidence to review.”

“Your honor,” Diane cuts in again, her voice lower than before, a slight tremble that Kurt can easily detect. He knows this is not Diane Lockhart the lawyer, but Diane Lockhart the woman who is afraid of losing someone she loves. “If Aurora is taken to one of those centers, we will never hear from her again. She will be lost to the government, just like all those other immigrant children. She is a US citizen by birth and there is a family willing to foster and adopt her right away, there is no need for her to be taken away from those that love her.”

“And who might that gracious family be?” The man who has been arguing with Diane suddenly asks, his voice dripping of sarcasm.

Diane turns to look at him, her shoulders squared, her eyes narrowed and her lips pursed. “The Lockhart-McVeigh’s.” She replies and Kurt automatically rises to stand behind his wife, separated only by the banister which frames the lawyers away from the audience.

“The Lockhart-McVeigh’s?” The Judge asks astonished. He knows Diane, he knows Kurt, they’ve both been in his or his colleague’s courts many times over, he knows they are married. “Diane? You want to adopt this child?”

Diane gives Kurt a quick sideway glance before turning towards the Judge. “Yes, your honor.”

“Why?”

“We knew her mother. I was the lawyer in charge of defending her case for asylum. Unfortunately, Stela passed away unexpectedly and left no one to take care of her daughter. She… she requested I be present at the hospital when she was taken in and my husband and I were able to bond with Aurora.” Diane explains as calmly as she can. Kurt, just like Diane, could already feel the other lawyer preparing himself to argue against them. “Aurora knows us, your Honor. I promised her mother that I would do everything to ensure that her daughter was happy and protected and I intend to do so for as long as I can.”

As soon as Diane has finished speaking, the opposing counsel starts to argue but his wife is not paying attention to him and neither is the Judge. Instead he is looking straight at Diane.

Next thing Kurt knows, the judge has stopped the counsel with a raised hand.

“Enough.” He declared. “Mrs. Lockhart, Mr. McVeigh, is it safe to assume you’ve been visited by social services to ensure your home is suitable for a child?”

“We have your honor.” They both answer.

“Have you submitted the paperwork for Emergency Fostering.”

“The very night she was born, your honor.” Diane replies. “We were in the fast track to foster her until ICE agents appeared at the neonatal unit to retrieve her.”

“Surprising how fast ICE works to identify people they feel shouldn’t be in US soil compared to how long it takes them to reunite families.” The Judge says under his breath, though loud enough for Kurt to hear. “And your home, do you already have a room for her; crib, clothes, food?”

“We do your honor.”

“This child is clearly cared for by the Lockhart-McVeigh and pardon my language, but I’ll be damned if I allow the government to lose another child.” The judge raises his gavel. “Aurora Rodriguez is to be handed over to the emergency foster family within 24 hours or you will be held in contempt of court, do I make myself clear, counselor?”

The lawyer visibly deflates but nods.

With a hit of the gavel Diane and he are officially, and un-refutably, Aurora’s foster parents.

———-

The twenty four hours are about to pass when there is a sudden loud knock on their door and filtered cries of a newborn.

Diane quickly rises from the couch were she has been nervously waiting and practically launches herself towards the door.

Aurora is in a state of panic. Her face is red, her whole body is tense, and the cries she’s letting out are deafening. Still his wife takes Aurora in her arms and puts as much distance as she physically can between the baby and the agents.

Kurt takes whatever meager provisions they are given and closes the door without letting them say a word.

“Shhh, it’s alright beloved.” He hears his wife mumble. “It’s alright. You are home now, they can’t do anything to you anymore.”

Aurora has obviously been badly taken care of. She’s smelly, distraught, exhausted and no doubt hungry.

“Oh Kurt.” Diane's voice trembles in a whispers as she unwraps the baby, fighting the urge to break down. Aurora’s diaper is soiled and she has a rash on her skin wherever Diane uncovers. “She needs a bath. Can you start one?”

The cries follow him all the way to the bathroom where, having prepared for this very event, they had already assembled the baby bath seat and lined up the bath products. He quickly starts the water, making sure it’s warm but not too hot. As the cries grow closer he can’t help but wince; Aurora has a set of lungs alright.

He turns just in time to see his wife enter with Aurora in her arms. She looks so tiny, smaller even than when they had last seen her.

Diane undresses her quickly, not wanting her to be in that state any longer. She waits until the water is ready before gently placing Aurora in the bathtub which only elicits louder cries from the baby.

“It’s alright, little one.” He tries to calm her, kneeling besides his wife and gently passing a hand over her dark baby hair. “Aurora, it’s alright.”

“She’s terrified.” Diane notes and doesn’t even attempt to hide her tears as she brushes them away.

They bathe her quickly, the water having no positive effect on the baby. “We’ll have to phone a pediatrician. That rash doesn’t look good.”

“I think she might have a low grade fever.” Diane notes after pressing her lips to Aurora’s hair. “We’ll have to keep an eye on her temperature.”

They are flying by the seam of their pants but both are very good at acting under pressure and with the experience they have as uncle and godmother, they manage to dress her in the softest baby clothes they have and wrap her in a very soft, yellow blanket

Even though she should have been comfortable, Aurora still cries.

“Food. She must be hungry.” Kurt doesn’t wait for his wife to ask him to prepare the bottle. As soon as the bottle is ready he returns to the bathroom only to find it deserted.

The nursery is the only other option, so he quickly moves down the hallway towards the room they’ve decorated for the baby. He finds Diane sitting down on the white rocking chair, little Aurora crying away in her arms.

“Here, it’s good, I already tested it.”

“Thank you, love.” Diane replies without taking her eyes away from the tiny child.

He knows that she has some recent knowledge and practice of how to feed babies because she has watched over little Joseph Quinn-Morello, and used to be a very important part in Maia’s upbringing, but as he watches Diane try and coax Aurora into taking her meal, he notices that both Diane and Aurora are growing frazzled.

“Want me to try?”

It’s not until Diane gently hands Aurora to him that he even notices she’s about to join the baby in crying. “Hey, it’s alright.” He promises her. “She’s just scared, tired and hungry.”

Diane shakes her head, brushing off the fact that she’s about to have a meltdown. He knows that later on, when she has calmed, she will use those same emotions and turn them into fury in the courtroom. He sincerely wishes good luck to whomever is in her war path. For now she has every right to be as emotional as Aurora.

Still, Aurora doesn’t want to take her meal even though Kurt can clearly hear her tummy rumbling. She even cries louder.

“She’s forgotten who we are.” Diane notes with a sad tone of voice. “We are strangers to her and she’s scared. I don’t think she knows the difference between the agents and us.”

“Nonsense.” Kurt immediately declares. “She might have forgotten me, but she’s heard your voice for months. She knows who you are.”

It takes a little coaxing but finally Aurora is back in Diane’s arms. “I don’t…”

“See?” Kurt exclaims. “You talked and she turned towards you. You just have to keep talking to her.”

Diane looks down at the distraught baby and takes a deep breath. “Very well, Miss Aurora.” She starts, angling the baby in her arms so that Aurora could look up at her if she desires. Sure enough, as soon as she starts speaking, Aurora’s little face turns towards her. “Cry all those tears, let it all out little one. I promise, after this nothing will ever hurt you. Your…” she turns to look at Kurt with a raised eyebrow. “Papa?”

Kurt’s heart jumps in his chest at the words but nods nonetheless. “Your Papa and I are going to protect you. We won’t let anyone ever take you from us. I promise. Your Mama Estela, she was a very strong woman. She… she decided to leave everything, to face the unknown so that you could have a chance. She loved you so much, Aurora…”

Gradually Aurora calms down; she stops crying and fully settles in Diane’s arms. Once they manage to have her latch on to the bottle, Aurora eats like a child that has been starving. All the while, Diane continues talking to her and the baby, when her eyes will open, gazes up at Diane with some degree of familiarity.

By the time her belly is full, Aurora’s eyes have fully closed, her breathing has slowed down, and she is well on her way to dreamland.

“Do you mind if we stay here a little longer?” Diane asks, not ready to surrender her hold on the baby.

“No.” Kurt promises. “But I do think I have something you might like.”

By the time he’s done assembling the surprise, Diane has wandered into the room, Aurora now asleep in her arms. “What is that?” She asks in the softest voice he’s ever heard.

“An attachment.” He explains.

“I can see that.” She replies with a smile. “An attachment to what?”

Once he is done securing it and triple checking the sturdiness, he turns to Diane. “For the bed; it’s so that she can sleep by you.” He explains.

He figures that what Aurora needs is to be near those that love her, those that want the very best for her, instead of sleeping in a room that for all she knows is unfamiliar and lonely. “So she can be near you… near us.”

Diane takes a beat to process what he has said before smiling brightly at him and closing the distance between them. She cradles his face in that way he adores and presses her lips to his. “Have I told you recently how wonderful you are?” She whispers to him.

That night he spoons against her, both facing the tiny baby that sleeps, for now, the night away.

They are parents and though he knows they’ll mess up along the way, and need help, lots of help, he also knows that this is meant to be.

Hopefully, in the future, Aurora will become an official Lockhart-McVeigh, but for now, for now everything is as it should be.