A/N: First, as always, thank you to the many wonderful people who reviewed! You all are awesome.
Second, I am so sorry for not getting this out yesterday. I feel horrible that I didn't. I really strived to- cranked out the last twelve pages yesterday. But as Glee came on my TV screen I still had the last three paragraphs to write and I hadn't proofread at all (and my tired, still somewhat cold-hazy eyes still probably missed some things). Since I didn't make that deadline I decided to take a bit more time with it and do some much needed polishing. I hope it's worth the wait.
Third, as mentioned, this chapter's structure and concept it completely different than the previous ones.
Forth, how great was all the Quick in last night's episode?
Finally, I will shut up and let you get to the last chapter (the longest yet). Happy reading!
The restoration of (wo)man from the bondage of sin.
She's not huge. Far from it actually. She's showing so little that her pants are only barely tight. Yet, since about halfway through her first trimester her balance has been off. Her doctor said it was perfectly normal and that most falls wouldn't hurt the baby, but while she was still a Cheerio it really worried her. Since she's been off the team though, she hadn't thought about it once. Not until her feet slipped out from under her at least.
Her balance was off, she was wearing new shoes with apparently somewhat slippery soles, and there was slushie on the ground that she forgot about in her triumphant high. That combination of things caused her feet to slip out from under her and to land flat on her back on the ground, hitting her head and books flying out of her arms in the process.
The next thing she remembers is Puck's face over hers, looking more concerned than she'd ever seen him. He was still watching her when she took the fall and he ran right over, pushing the other concerned people out of his way.
The second thing she notices is that that's not Puck's voice talking to her. She doesn't see Coach Sylvester, but she hears her asking, "Q, you alright? Can you hear me?"
She tries to talk and it comes out as a weak, "Yes." She tries to nod to confirm that she's alert, but when she does there's a sharp pain in her head as the motion of nodding just rubbed the spot she hit her head on the linoleum. "Ow," she cries softly.
"Don't move," she hears Coach order, "an ambulance should be here soon."
"Ambulance?" she asks feeling a bit hazy, "Is that necessary?"
"You hit your head pretty hard," Puck responds. He adds softly, "And we should probably make sure the baby's okay."
The baby. Crap. Her hand flies to her abdomen and tears sting in her eyes as she realizes, "The baby…"
"Will be fine," Puck interrupts confidently. He takes her hand and explains, "You were just out for a few seconds there and…" he admits softly looking down at her hand in his instead of at her, "got scared."
"We're taking you to the hospital, no arguments Fabray," Coach Sylvester's voice interrupts, from somewhere north of her head, and clearly not noticing that someone else was in the middle of saying something to her. "Get to class," she hears her yell next. She doesn't try to turn her head, but she doesn't hear many footsteps so she assumes the crowd that was there was no longer too big.
"Sue," calls a familiar voice.
"Emma," Sue responds uncharacteristically accurate in the midst of the crisis, "I've got the straggling students under control. Can you go tell Schuester so we can track down Hudson and get him on the ambulance when it comes?"
Emma's eyes widen and she splutters, "Uh…"
"What?" Sue demands of the weak guidance counselor for her hesitation.
"We-well," she stutter, and she glances at Puck and Quinn (Puck who's looking back at her having heard the conversation and wondering why they guidance counselor seems to be clued in).
Sue doesn't catch on though and simply declares, "Fine, you wait with Q, I'll go get Schuester."
As Sue marches off Emma's eyes widen in alarm and she asks quickly as she follows after Sue hurriedly, "Mr. Puckerman, you're okay here right? Just keep Quinn awake to try and prevent a concussion."
He doesn't get a chance to respond before the meek counselor is out of sight.
"A concussion?" Quinn asks worriedly.
"You'll be fine," Puck assures, for both their benefits.
It's just the two of them now. Her flat on her back, him sitting beside her holding her hand, in the empty hallway.
"What if she's not?" she asks, face crumpling into a sob in the process.
He squeezes her hand that's in his, brushes her hair away from her face with his other hand and promises, "She will be. She will be."
As this is happening in the hall, Sue barges right into Will's Spanish class and immediately notices the presence of Finn. Emma rushes in and declares that there is an emergency and she needs Sue and Will outside immediately. Sue goes figuring there better be a damn good reason for all of this trouble. Why couldn't they just tell the boy?
"Guys, I'm kind of in the middle of class here," Will says as soon as the door is softly shut behind them.
"Please," Sue mutters with an eye roll. Spanish is not a "class."
Will ignores it, as does Emma as she begins, "Quinn Fabray had an accident. She slipped on the ruminants of a slushie and hit her head pretty hard on the ground."
"And I'd like to go in there and let the father of her little Fabray baby know that his baby mama's going to be carted off in an ambulance momentarily, but Emily here is unexplainably determined to stop me," Sue interrupts.
"You don't want to tell Finn?" Will questions.
"Well,…you see…" Emma stumbles.
There's a commotion from inside the classroom and Will interrupts, "Hold on." He sticks his head back in the room and dictates some problems for them to have done by the time he returns. He shuts the door again and says, "Let's go back to wherever Quinn is real quick. I want to see how she is. And while we're doing that you can tell me why you don't think Finn should be told."
Emma stumbles over it for the whole minute walk back to where they left Quinn and Puck. When they come into view she accidentally sort of gestures to them as she continues her stumble, and Will catches on as he watches them.
"Seriously?" he asks Emma.
"Yeah," she confirms.
"Is this some secret language the two of you have cooked up? What in God's name are you talking about?" Sue demands, not having caught on.
They ignore her and Will continues, "We still have to tell him."
"I know," Emma agrees. But she knows what will come next when they do tell him and adds, "But-"
"Yeah," Will agrees with the thought that she doesn't get out, but he knows she was going to say anyway (because he just knows her that well). "Today's going to be quite a day," he says with a sigh. He's still watching the two kids down the hall from him, this could be their last peaceful moment of the day, he's not going to interrupt it. He tells the two women, "Tell Quinn that I hope everything is okay and I'll drop by the hospital later to check on her. I've got to get back to class. I'll give them another minute before I tell Finn."
When he gets back to his class, Will spends a minute getting everyone on a new task to follow the brief one they were doing while he was gone and makes sure everyone understands it and is indeed working on it before he pulls Finn out of the room. He tells Finn that everything is going to be fine, but Quinn did take a fall and an ambulance was called to take her to the hospital just to make sure everything is okay.
Meanwhile the ambulance arrives and Sue informs the paramedics what happened and how they didn't want to move her in case there was serious damage they couldn't tell. She also adds that Quinn is expecting so there's a fetus to make sure is okay too.
The paramedics make Puck back away while they check on Quinn and load her on to a gurney.
Emma, though not one for contact, rests a hand on Puck's arm. She knows she's one of very few people who knows why this matters to him so much, so her fear of germs and contact has to be overlooked for the moment, he's a kid and he's scared and he needs people.
Sue notice the germaphobe guidance counselor actually touching the Puckerman kid and the way he looks so worried and raises an eyebrow. She thinks she's beginning to get what Schuester and The Pill were so hush-hush about.
"Who's ridding with us?" one of the paramedics calls as they start rolling the gurney.
"I am," Puck declares without a second thought. He comes to her side to take her hand, because she's already reaching out for him. And he hopes he doesn't look as scared as he feels, because as soon as they move her he notices blood on the ground, from where her head was.
"Sue, do you want to go?" Emma questions.
The paramedics hang back and wait to see who of the school personnel will be accompanying the girl.
"No," she declines, "I'm going to go find out what's kept Figgins away from this mess and demand that something be done about this idiotic slushie war the kids have been having." She adds quietly as to not alarm Quinn, "And make sure this floor is taken care of." She begins to head off to do exactly that, and calls over her shoulder, "Good luck Q. Hope everything is okay."
"I'll be going then," Emma decides quickly, eyes averted from the mess of mostly slushie and a little blood so she's not tempted to stay and make sure it gets properly taken care of herself.
They head off for the exit as footsteps pound down one of the hallways. But they come to an abrupt halt.
Finn had raced towards the main hallway, where Mr. Schue told him Quinn was, but as he was running there he saw her gurney pass the hallway he was in. And with her were two paramedics, Ms. Pillsbury trailing behind, and Puck, holding her hand and looking more freaked out than he'd ever seen him.
Something wasn't right.
He pauses, but then he continues his run down the hallway. His brief delay allowed them to get an advantage though and as he gets to the exit he sees the ambulance pulling away.
He's not sure what's going on. He's kind of scared and even more confused. He should go to the hospital though, right? Only, his mom needed his car today and she still doesn't know about the baby so he can't call her about this. Mr. Schue has always come through for him though so he heads back to class.
He interrupts whatever they're in the middle of and asks Mr. Schue for a ride. Mr. Schue explains he's in the middle of class, they can't get anyone to cover for him, he can't leave. Finn retaliates that he doesn't have anyone else, how is he supposed to get there? And Mr. Schue feels bad for him. He glances at the clock and tells him that class will be over in ten minutes and he has prep next period so he can drive him over then. Finn agrees gratefully.
When they leave the class though for Mr. Schue to give Finn that ride, everyone from glee somehow finds them on their way out and everyone wants to come. Stories about Quinn had already made their way around school and they were concerned. Mr. Schue can't encourage ditching, and what's about to go down between Finn and Puck and Quinn is between them, but it might be easier if there are more people around, if they all have support. He refuses to give anyone but Finn a ride and he has to report anyone he catches off campus without parent's permission, but if they have that, then he'll see them at the hospital.
Tina has well over a dozen of the passes they make parents sign when they pick up their kids to check them out of school. She passes them out to anyone who asks for them in the between periods haze and rush to get the hospital (which inadvertently consists of a few kids who aren't in glee). They all fill them out, forge signatures, and hand them back to Tina to slip into the daily pile.
Rachel then takes control organizing rides, which is much easier than she expects since Kurt has his Suburban back and it can hold most of them and Mike has his El Camino. They divide up into their normal clicks for the ride over to the hospital.
When they get there they find Finn and Mr. Schue still in the main waiting area- no one having told them where Quinn was yet.
Finn stands silently by Mr. Schue, trying to think through what's going on, while the older man attempts to talk the nurses into letting Finn know what's going on- the problem being that he's not family (and she hasn't asked for him, hasn't designated him as "family"). The rest of the glee kids simply stand behind them as Mr. Schue tries to get answers at the front desk.
Mr. Schue becomes distracted in his attempt to charm his way into answers when he notices red hair out of the corner of his eye. He resist the urge to run over to her and find out what's going on. He should be there for Finn now and Finn doesn't seem to be moving. None of the kids are moving, just standing watching their guidance counselor approach and waiting for news.
Rachel, who's standing next to Finn now that they've all turned her direction, grabs his hand in a friendly, reassuring gesture.
Emma seems surprised by the number of McKinley students out of school despite the fact that school is still very much in session, and that they're accompanied by Will, but she doesn't comment on that now, she knows they must be waiting for news. She begins, "Everyone is okay. Quinn hit her head and she needs a few stitches and they still need to make sure she doesn't have a concussion, but other than that everything is okay." Before any of them can ask she announces, "They're still fixing her up so no one can see her right now." She adds trying to lighten the mood, "Even I was asked to step out and I know everyone who works here very well."
"Where's Puck?" Finn asks. Because if they made Ms. Pillsbury leave, then shouldn't they have made him leave too? He's only her boyfriend's best friend so there's no reason he should get to stay, right?
The nine glee kids seem confused by the question. The fact that Puck was there was not part of any of the Quinn-taking-a-fall-stories circulating. And in the rush to get there, no one noticed his absence from their little group.
Mr. Schue simply looks worried.
This isn't the time or the place, and she's absolutely not the person it should be coming from. Knowing that, Emma tries to lie, "He was there when Quinn fell and he came along, but, uh, I don't know where he is or what he's doing now. I'd imagine he's around somewhere." Trying to change the topic quickly, Emma continues, "Quinn has Dr. Kerry working on her though and he's wonderful, but to be that great with stitches he does them rather slow so we're probably in for a wait. How about we grab some seats? The doctor promised me that as soon as there's any news and as soon as anyone else can see her, he'll be out here telling us."
Will encourages them to sit down and wait too. Half the glee kids take some of the empty seats on one side of one section of the waiting area, the other glee kids taking some empty seats on the opposite side of the section. The division was typical.
Will stayed towards the check-in desk with Emma. She was quick to ask, "They can all be here right?"
"They all have notes they said," he confirms, "but they got them pretty quick and I didn't ask questions about how they pulled that off." He notices another nurse go by and wave at Emma and comments, "Everyone keeps waving at you."
"I told you I know everyone here," Emma repeats, " I like it here. It's clean."
Will goes to check his watch only to remember that he hasn't found it yet. He groans and asks, "Do you have the time? I should probably head back soon."
"You have ten minutes until the end of the period, but then there's lunch so…thirty minutes left probably," Emma answers, but questions, "What happened to your watch?"
"I lost it," he explains, "I noticed it was missing about a week ago. Looked everywhere and still haven't found it."
"You know, I think there was a watch turned into the office yesterday and I remember the kid saying he found it backstage in the auditorium. It might be yours," Emma informs him.
"Thanks," Will says gratefully. All he had to do was tell her about his problem and it seemed it was already solved.
"Are you really going to leave?" She questions softly with a glance to Finn who's sitting with neither group of kids, instead having opted for a seat in the middle of the section alone, surrounded by strangers. "I mean," she continues, "these are your kids, and this could change everything."
"I know," Will agrees. He doesn't want to leave. He's a teacher though and all his students are supposed to come first, not just the ones in glee. Then again most of them aren't facing complicated situations like this one. He sighs and decides, "I guess I should call Figgins and see if he can find me a sub for the last two periods."
As Will takes out his phone and prepares to step away, he stalls when he notices Finn coming toward them. But he's relieved when Finn simply asks Emma where the bathrooms are, since she said she was familiar with the place. She gives him directions as Will goes off to call in a sub.
Meanwhile, the glee kids are all a whisper. They kept silent and to themselves while Finn was there, just in case he could over hear them, but as soon as he's left the little waiting section they're fast to make up for lost time.
"I told you Puck likes Quinn," Rachel rubs in.
"Yes but you failed to mention he's the father of her baby," Kurt points out.
"Do we know he's definitely the father?" Mercedes questions, "I mean, just cause he likes her doesn't mean she was sleeping with both of them."
"Yeah, but he was allowed…wherever with her," Arty points out.
"He was here though and Finn wasn't yet," Rachel offers.
"D-d-do you think they know anything?" Tina asks with a glance to the two cheerleaders and two football players sitting across the waiting section from them about thirty feet away.
They all follow Tina's gaze, but return their attention to their own little group. Kurt is just about to question more when their attention it drawn back to the other side of the room by Mike. "I told you Puck had a secret girlfriend," he practically shouts with a triumphant smile.
Matt simply shrugs disinterestedly, Santana has her arms crossed over her defensively looking more than a little peeved, and Brittany isn't paying attention at all, off somewhere in her mind. Mike notices the complete disinterest of those sitting around him and refrains from saying anything else. But then he notices that he did catch the attention of the other glee kids and promptly gets up and jogs over to them. He sits himself down on the floor in front of their chairs, and beside Arty as there was no other place for his chair except in front of them in the aisle.
"You guys think there's something up with all this too right?" he asks as he invites himself to join them without a second thought. After all, they're all in glee together.
"Yes," Kurt confirms for all of them.
"What did you mean by you knew Puck had a secret girlfriend though?" Mercedes is quick to question.
"He stopped sleeping around. I figured he did it for a girl," Mike answers simply. He looks at Rachel and asks, "You went out with him and didn't sleep with him, right?"
"Of course not," she answers, trying not to be offended as she recognizes that he's trying to make a point.
"Normally he doesn't go out with girls who he couldn't…seal the deal with," Mike explains.
"And if he's in there with Quinn then he probably 'sealed the deal' with her and then there is a possibility that it could be his kid," Kurt speculates.
"You think it could be his kid?" Mike questions, the thought never having occurred to him.
They continue speculating together for while. Brittany eventually joins them, having come out of her bubble and noticing that her side of the room was not the fun side. In the larger group Rachel finds it easy to slip away, because while she did participate in the conversation, she also noticed that Finn didn't return so she leaves discretely to seek him out.
Across the waiting area from the glee kids, two of them sat in near silence.
Eventually, Matt breaks the silence asking confidently (he's pretty sure he's on the right track), "You wondering if he only went out with you to get to her?"
She doesn't respond, but he's right, it's all she's been thinking about. She hasn't minded having worse grades or losing cheer captain to Quinn because Quinn worked harder and was genuinely better at both those things. But guys tended to be intimidated by her high standards for a boyfriend so she didn't exactly get that many offers. Even though she dumped him, she'd hate to think that one of the few guys to be interested in her this year only was because of her closest friend.
He offers, "If he did, he's an idiot."
It remains silent on their side of the room, but it's a much more happy silence.
Rachel finds Finn wandering down a hallway on the third floor.
He looks like he knows he's caught when she approaches, but denies it anyway when he responds to her question about what he's doing with, "Got lost." She quirks a knowing eyebrow at him and he caves. He admits, "Okay, I was trying to find Quinn. And Puck."
"Why?" she asks. She knows why she would be looking for them if she was him, but he doesn't know the same things as her probably and she wants to hear him say it before she jumps to any conclusions.
He sighs and runs a hand through his hair, "I don't know. I don't know what's going on at all."
Well, that's not helpful. Rachel, on the search for resolution, asks, "How about you tell me what you do know and maybe we can figure out what's going on?"
He smiles, he knew she was smart. They start strolling down the open hall as he says, "I know that Quinn is pregnant. I saw the ultrasound thing, there's definitely a baby in there." The next thing he knows is kind of embarrassing. He hates talking about this kind of stuff so he blushes as he admits, "I know that I never slept with Quinn."
"What?" Rachel breaks in with a sharp look to him, "You never slept with Quinn? How did you think you got her pregnant?"
Finn blushes more and looks at his shoes as he explains, "I…I had an…accident in her hot tub while we were making out. She said her doctor said that's how it happened."
Rachel wants to laugh. And cry. Oh, this is just so messed up. And oy vey has the public school system failed him. She refrains from saying anything and hopes he's on the right track now and not still believing in that ridiculousness.
"Anyway," he continues, "I also know that I saw Puck with her as she was being wheeled away. He was holding her hand. And I've never seen him so worried."
He stops talking. Rachel was expecting some kind of realization, but since he's not having it, she helps out recapping, "So you never slept with Quinn, she's pregnant, and Puck is worried about her."
He doesn't have some "Oh my God," moment. He simply states, "I'm not the father."
"No," Rachel agrees, "I don't see how you could be."
"Puck is," he says, in that same surprisingly even tone.
"It seems most likely," Rachel confirms.
They wander in silence for a few more minutes. Rachel, however, isn't so good with silence. She offers, "I think Puck really likes her. I mean, I didn't know about any of this, but I've seen him watching her. I could tell he wanted to be with her, that he cares for her. If that helps any…"
He doesn't respond to what she says, seeming deep in thought for several minutes now. Eventually he asks, "Can you help me find them? I'd still like to find where they're at."
She doesn't think it's the best thing for Noah or probably Quinn if she agrees, but Finn's a victim in all this and she cares about him, she's always going to side with him. She agrees and they start their mission.
Back downstairs Emma and Will have settled into two secluded chairs right next to each other.
They talk about the repercussions of today for a while, how a lie can do so much damage. They discuss the potential effects it could have for glee club- they may not have their twelve members after today if everything goes horribly. Emma adds that he can probably charm them back into joining even if anyone quits and she can counsel them and maybe help resolve any issues too.
Eventually though, the topic turns back to the teen they're all there for. Will asks, "Did anyone call Quinn's parents? Are they going to be here soon?"
Emma hesitates, but explains, "No, they won't be coming. Technically the school should notify them as well as the hospital, but I talked Figgins out of it and the staff here out of it for the moment- unless she has something seriously wrong."
"Why?" Will is quick to ask because notifying a parent their child has been hurt seems like the first thing to do.
Emma grimaces because she's not supposed to share things said to her in confidence by Quinn with anyone, she promised. But she may need his help pulling this off so she answers, "Quinn's parents don't know she's pregnant and I really don't think this is the best situation or time for them to find out." She sees him open his mouth to interject something so she adds quickly, "I know they should know and I've encouraged her to tell them, but…they're not going to take it well. She's had me looking into emancipation, she's convinced she'll need to do that whether or not she keeps the baby."
"Emancipation?" Will asks alarmed, "Is it really that bad? And I thought she already decided to give the baby up?"
"This is all privileged information and I really shouldn't be divulging any of it," Emma prefaces guiltily, "but yes, from what she's told me emancipation sounds like something she could have to go through with possibly as soon as her parents find out and she's not prepared for that yet. We need more time to set some things up. Which is why if the doctors decide that they need to talk with one of her parents I may need you to pose as her dad."
"What?" Will asks shocked, "If they needed me to sign anything that be fraud…or identity theft."
"She needs this," Emma retorts, "She needs us." She looks at him imploringly with her big blue doe-eyes.
He caves, "If we have to, I guess."
She smiles at him gratefully. He smiles back.
They turn back to face forward. His arm brushes hers on their shared armrest. They both let them stay like that, barely touching arms, as they continue to wait.
In a room down many hectic halls on the same floor, two other people were also touching.
The only time Puck let go of Quinn's hand was when anyone made him. But once the doctor said he was going to clean and stitch the small cut on Quinn's head the doctor insisted that Puck not only hold Quinn's hand, but talk to her and distract her as well.
He takes her hand easy enough, but he doesn't know what to say.
He's not sure that he's ever been more scared in his life than watching her fall, watching her with the paramedics, seeing the blood on the ground, watching the doctors and nurses around her make sure she's okay.
He's not sure he's ever been so relieved as when he heard that Quinn and their baby girl would be fine.
Quinn's lying on her side facing him as the doctor sits on the opposite side of her bed, cleaning out the wound on the back of her head as he holds it in place gently.
Luckily, Puck is freed from having to immediately think of something because nurse Judy, who previously introduced herself and said she'd be Quinn's nurse, came back into their little area of the bay of beds. The other beds were empty now, but the curtain around Quinn's was still drawn. Judy came and partially removed the curtain while she announced, "Alright Quinn, the first thing that's a sign of trouble when you take a fall when you're pregnant is spotting, which we're happy to say you haven't had. So, there's another good indicator that your baby is doing just fine. The womb was built to protect so you don't have to worry. After you're done with your stitches though, we'll get an ultrasound tech down here so we can double check though, just in case. Sound good?"
"Yes, thank you," Quinn says gratefully.
Silence settles over them after nurse Judy leaves.
Still without anything to say, Puck finally admits, "I don't know what to say to distract you."
She smiles because she didn't expect him to be that honest. She offers thinking back to the things she's heard while they hadn't been talking, "Kurt told me you haven't put him in a dumpster in months. Why?"
"Honestly?" He questions, which is stupid he quickly realizes. Of course she wanted the truth and it's not like she could nod a yes anyway. He responds, "I was too angry at you to beat up other people." He sees that guilty look she'd been wearing for what felt like forever now (really just a week and half or so) and he feels bad, but he's not going to lie. Lies got them in trouble already. He continues, "Then, after things changed," he nods in the direction of her stomach, "I didn't want to be the guy that beats people up- which is difficult cause a lot of them deserve it- but it's nothing a kid can be proud of in their father."
That reminded her of a lot of the things they needed to talk about and hadn't yet. It was kind of ironic that they had this forced time to talk since they actually needed to.
The doctor mutters that he's almost done cleaning her up, then he'll numb the area.
She loses her train of thought at that. Her brow furrows trying to remember, but she's really starting to feel like she did indeed hit her head. She grasps for a new topic as she hopes she remembers what she was thinking before. She asks, "Why'd you want to know your class rank?" To his look of surprise she explains simply, "Tina…and Mercedes kind of."
He shrugs and responds, "Same reason I stopped fighting." Silence begins to settle again and he realizes five word responses aren't distracting, he's not doing his job, he's not taking care of her like he said he would. He elaborates, "I never wanted to go to college. I hate school too much to do it voluntarily. But I don't want her to settle for a dad who works at Starbucks either. I figured I should know where I stand now, with blowing most of my schoolwork off, so I can improve. Though I think I could probably at least get into a tech school with my current grades."
He's already working hard for them, keeping his promise to her even though she hasn't even told him whether or not she'll let him be a part of their daughter's life. She comments, "It sounds like she'd have a lot to be proud of you for. I'm going to have to work harder to do the same."
"You're already first in our class," he reminds. He sees her surprise and explains, "Tina and Mercedes."
He looks nervous sitting there before her. She remembers all the things they haven't talked about and how the last thing she said sounded like she was making plans for them. She thinks he's probably trying really hard not to ask, not to push, but he clearly wants to know what she's thinking, what she's decided. So, she broaches the topic, "Thank you for the things you wrote on the list."
"I meant them," he promises, "we could make it work."
She sighs. She believes him. And she wants her daughter. She's known that for a while now. She can't imagine having to give her up. It's a big commitment though. But today she thought she almost lost her daughter and she can't go through that ever again. It was the push she needed to be absolutely certain that this is the right decision, no regrets. She contends, "We'll have to make it work."
He has a hint of that real smile she was (is) so attracted to on him as he checks, "You're going to keep her?"
"I love her too much to give her up," she confesses. A few tears roll down her cheeks, but she can't move to brush them away. They're not sad or distressed tears as they've been so many times recently. She just changed her life forever and she knows it's as right as anything she's ever done.
He smiles at her and she notices that it's better than his other real smiles, brighter.
She wants to ask him a hundred other things, because they may have both decided that they want to be parents to their little girl, but she's still dating his best friend and they're still facing so many obstacles.
But their moment is interrupted by Dr. Kerry announcing, "All done. It was only three stitches and you're all fixed up. The stitches should dissolve in time, but if they don't in the next couple of weeks just come back and we'll take care of them for you." She starts to move, to turn back on to her back, but the doctor stops her, "You may want to lie on your side for a few nights to avoid it being more sore than it would otherwise." He reviews her bruises again, just to make sure she knows where they are and how bad they are so when she sees them later herself they don't come as a shock, and he assures her again that she's fine. Before he departs he checks, "It should be about twenty minutes before they get a tech down here to do an ultrasound and from what I understand there's a lot of people waiting for you in the waiting room. Would you like me to send them in or would you like me to tell them that you're waiting on another exam? After the ultrasound they'll probably start your paper work to get you out of here, since you don't have a concussion we don't need you to stay."
People? Yeah, people are one of those things they hadn't talked about yet and that she's definitely not ready to face. She buys as much time as possible by telling the doctor not to let anyone back yet, tell them she's getting the ultrasound and then she should be out there with them.
Puck knows what she's thinking as the doctor leaves the room, he's thinking the same thing. "I guess everyone's going to know now," he says, stating the obvious.
"Yeah," she agrees quietly, turning her face more towards her pillow so he doesn't notice the tears.
Rather than saying something sweet or reassuring, he shrugs and concludes, "They'll get over it."
That's it? That's all he has to say? Not that it didn't seem like something he'd say, but still, she was kind of hoping for something more comforting. She figures the gravity of the situation must not have hit him and she reminds, "I've been horrible to you and Finn. Everyone's going to hate me."
"The glee kids don't have it in them to hate you. And Finn's way too nice to hate you," he points out. He mutters, "Finn's probably going to break my jaw though. Good thing we're in a hospital."
"I'm sorry," she apologizes and not just for being the reason for what he thinks is going to happen to him at his best friend's hand, but for everything.
He doesn't catch on to the weight of her words and half shrugs as he plays with her fingers in his, "He'll get over it or he won't. Doesn't matter."
"No," she says, trying to explain what she meant, "I'm sorry for everything. I shouldn't have let things go that far that night, or go anywhere at all not when I'm with him. And I shouldn't have treated you so badly the next day or when I found out I was pregnant. I was panicked, which is no excuse, but I just never expected any of this."
"Neither did I," Puck offers.
There's really only one more thing they need to talk about: them. Whether or not there is a them, what's going on between them if anything. And then they can figure out what they'll tell everyone, but until then they're stuck with nothing.
She's not quite ready for that conversation though. It's been such a life changing day already, is she sure she wants to make another huge decision and change everything? She's not. So she grabs a remote that's sitting on the table near her bed and hands it to him, asks him to find something and then help her raise the bed so she can sit up.
He gladly accepts the distracting tasks. He's pretty sure he knows what he wants, but it doesn't make it any less scary as hell so he's willing to put it off for as long as they can.
Outside the door to the large room of beds Quinn's in, Finn watches through the rectangular window in the door as Puck gets up to do something. He doesn't stay in front of the window long enough to find out because he doesn't want to get caught watching them. There hadn't been a chance either of them would notice before when Quinn was on her side and facing Puck rather than the door and Puck was staring at her, eyes never leaving her for a second it seemed like to Finn.
He jumps away from the window in the door to the other side of the frame and Rachel, who's still with him but too short to see in the window asks, "What? What happened?"
"He moved," Finn answers, "He turned so I thought he could probably see me if I stayed there."
"Are you going to go in?" Rachel questions. When they found them by going down hall after hall on the first floor with Finn peering in windows (and on a few occasions Rachel sneaking into some "restricted" areas), Finn stopped at this room, her room, and just watched. She didn't question him just looking in at first because she figured maybe there was something to see. But they'd been here a good five minutes and he still remained in active. Which is just ridiculous to her, no one ever got anywhere doing nothing.
"I don't know," he responds honestly. He comes to join her sitting on the floor and against the wall opposite the door. He sighs and questions, "What would I say to them? I know you're having his baby not mine? Or, I know you slept with my girlfriend?"
"Are you upset?" she asks. It seems like something she should be able to tell, but she can't with him, especially right now. Shock is the only thing she's been getting from him and she's not sure where to go with that.
"I'm relieved," he offers honestly, "I mean, I should be pissed that my girlfriend is having somebody else's baby, but I'm really relieved it's not mine." This seems to unlock something in him because he begins rambling, "And I know I should feel other things. I know I should be really angry with both of them. I should be mad that she cheated on me and I should be, like, enraged that he betrayed me by sleeping with my girlfriend. And maybe it's just cause it's new and I'm still in shock or something, but I'm really not that mad, I'm just…relieved."
"You still need to talk to them about this though," Rachel asserts, "but maybe that's all you can say to them now. You're relieved, but your feelings about all this could change and they should be prepared for that."
"You think I should talk to them together?" Finn questions like it's the most unappealing idea ever.
"I suppose separately would work if you prefer," she offers.
He stands back up and tries to sneakily get a glance through the window. Quinn's sitting up in her bed now, the bed's been moved to be upright. Her eyes are fixed on a TV towards the ceiling and Puck's are too. But one of her hands is still in his as he sits by her bed. He doesn't feel like going in there with them like that. He figures he should probably ask Rachel to go in and figure out something so he can talk to them separately, starting with Quinn.
But there must be a side door to this room because a lady in a white coat just entered wheeling in an ultrasound thing- he's pretty sure that's what it looked like at the appointment he went to her with. He really can't go in now. He suggests to Rachel, "They have some doctor in there doing something now, let's go to the cafeteria and get something to drink, see if they're done when we come back."
Rachel goes along without hesitation. (Though she does hang back and try to jump to see in the window on the door- she's curious.)
"Fifty on Puck coming out with a black eye," Kurt bets.
"Twenty on him not coming out at all and Quinn still staying with Finn," Santana bets because Quinn clearly had a plan and if she still doesn't want it changed, she knows Quinn's too determined to let something like this change it.
Arty scribbles all of this down, having created a betting system for the possible outcomes for today while they were all bored waiting.
"Thirty on Rachel snagging Finn by the end of the day. I'd bet more cause that girl's determined, but I don't have it," Mercedes contributes.
"Guys?" Mr. Schue questions having wandered over to them to see why he suddenly saw them with money out. "What are you doing?"
"Taking bets," Arty answers guiltily.
"There are a lot of possible outcomes for today, creating quite exciting odds," Kurt defends, "Someone could really clean up."
Mr. Schue sighs tiredly and gives the standard teacher response, "You guys really shouldn't be gambling." He notices the bets written down and hesitates as he leaves them. He turns back around as he gets out his wallet and says, "Fifty on Finn not hitting Puck. Who's the bank?"
"I-I am," Tina says reaching out and taking his proffered money from him.
Brittany and Mike cheer at Mr. Schue's bet and everyone pleads that he stay and hang out with them, bet more.
He doesn't intend to bet more, nor does he, but he sits down in one of the chairs they've rearranged into a huge gathering around them and let's everyone tell them their bets.
Emma comes back from chatting with some of the nurses she knows very well and see's what's going on. "Will," she admonishes, "you're letting them bet?"
"They already had it all set up," he defends.
She glances at Arty's system and the recorded bets and questions, "Why is no one betting for a happy ending?"
"It's too vague," Kurt explains, "our opinions about something like that could differ and then there'd be confusion about what would win."
Emma continues to glance at the things they've bet and Mercedes encourages, "Come on Ms. Pillsbury, you know there's at least one thing you want to bet."
"Oh I wouldn't know what to bet," she waves off.
"We were talking about things that could happen," Will reminds, "just bet on one of the things you think is most likely to happen."
She thinks about it for a minute before getting out her wallet and hesitating over the bills. "One hundred dollars," she begins, capturing everyone's attention, "on everyone staying in glee."
Kurt lets out a whistle.
Mr. Schue comments, "That's a bold bet." He adds for his students, "Though I hope she's right."
She shrugs and explains, "I just believe that you all truly want to be here. That you're happy in glee."
The moment is interrupted by Will's phone ringing. Sue demanded to know what was going on and why no one had the forethought to call her and let her know so she didn't have to waste time trying to find someone who actually knew his cell phone number.
They all continued to wait. Some of them hoping their bets were right, some hoping they would be wrong. All of them knowing that as far as they were concerned Ms. Pillsbury would be winning her bet, but hoping that she was right for the other glee clubbers as well.
The ultrasound technician comes and goes.
Quinn thinks Puck may have stopped breathing when their daughter appeared on the screen and her heartbeat filled the room. She can relate. Even though this isn't the first time she's done this, it still makes her heart skip a beat. This time seemed especially important though because she was finally here with the right person.
A doctor comes in while the tech is still there and says she's an obstetrician and she's going to perform one more quick exam just to be one hundred percent positive that everything is okay before they begin Quinn's release paper work.
They draw the curtain and ask Puck to be on the other side of it. He realizes that it's the first time in hours that he hasn't been able to see her. It feels like the longest day and he knows that they still have more to come. He checks his phone and sees that it's only been a few hours, in fact, school is just now getting out. He sighs as he puts back his phone because he knows that there's going to be a lot of hard stuff still to come. For one thing, he's probably got to talk to Quinn about where they stand as soon an the doctor's done checking her over because then it won't be long before they'll have to face people and say something.
The doctor opens the curtain and declares cheerily, "The baby is doing fantastic. She's healthy, mommy's happy," she rest a hand on Puck's shoulder and says with a smile, "and daddy can stop worrying."
Puck couldn't help thinking that this lady was weird and he hoped it wasn't actually Quinn's doctor- people that peppy bothered him. As the doctor leaves he takes his seat next to Quinn again. For the first time, he refrains taking her hand. Given the conversation they need to have, it seems weird- jumping the gun.
"Makes it a lot more real, doesn't it?" Quinn asks softly, playing with a lose thread on the blanket on her, staring at it as she does so. She clarifies, "Hearing her heartbeat, seeing her. It's…"
"Intense," he finishes for her.
She nods and asks, "You sure you still want to do this?" He wasn't the one carrying the baby, he'd never seen it, for him it could seem a lot less real than it had been for her so she knows it'd be naïve of her not to question him again now that it's real for him too. It has nothing to do with what she believes about his intentions; she's just trying to be smart about this.
"Yes," he declares evenly. He'd be lying if he said he wasn't even more terrified than before, but seeing her doesn't change the fact that he's not walking away from his kid.
"Good," she says with a small smile as she glances at him. She can't believe she's actually going to ask something like this, but she needs to know because they have decisions to make. She can't look at him though while she asks so her eyes return to her blanketed legs. She asks quietly, "Do you want me too?"
The question takes them both back to his truck just over sixteen weeks ago where all of this began. His answer then was a quick and certain yes. But things are different now, more complicated.
He sighs because he's not quite sure how to explain this. He figures he should just tell her everything he's thinking, hope it makes sense to her like it does in his head. He answers, "You know for a while there, as much as I was determined to not walk away like my dad, I wanted to. I just…couldn't be around you. I wanted to anyway obviously- joined glee in all. But things were bad with you and it made me want to run." It's a difficult confession to make, saying that he felt the same things his dad must have, knowing he had the urge to leave them both. But he forges on and continues to confess, "And I don't want to feel like that again. I can't. I can't be tempted to walk because things with us are bad and I don't want to be around you."
She never considered that. She just thought he'd either want her or not, but after everything she should have known that nothing with them would be so simple. She nods and responds, "I understand."
"On the other hand," he continues, his voice lighter, "every time I'm driving in my truck I can't stop thinking about you- have at least one near-miss accident a day."
She looks up at him then and finds him looking at her, smiling a little.
He offers, "That's never happened for me with a girl before. Should probably at least try to hang on to it, right?"
She bites her lower lip and turns away from him, eyes fixed on the blanket again, this time in an effort to hide her smile. She suggests, "Maybe we should date then?"
"Date?" he questions, "That feels backwards." He tries to add casually, "But you know, I could do that, if you want."
"I think I could go for it," she replies trying for the same nonchalance, glancing up to meet his eyes again.
"Alright," he accepts, with a smile so big he can't even begin to hide it.
"Yeah," she agrees giving in to her own smile again.
Silence settles over them. He's not too used to the whole relationship thing and this one's definitely not a typical one anyway so he's not sure what to do. He knows what he wants to do, but he has no idea if he actually should do it. He figures the safest way to find out what's right, right now is to just ask (he's not risking anything messing this up, it's too important), "Can I kiss you now or did you want me to like take you out or something first?"
She smiles. At least he's smart enough to check before he just does something, maybe that means they have a better chance at lasting. She answers quickly, "No. Now would be a really good time to kis-" The rest of her "s" and "me" doesn't make it out because he's already stood up, leaned over her slightly, and he's kissing her.
This continues, both of them enjoying making out completely sober this time, until they hear someone clear their throat.
They sprang apart because they both know that despite their decisions, this still isn't exactly kosher.
Rachel stands four feet in front of Quinn's bed, not a single hint of surprise or concern in her face for disturbing their moment. She announces, "Finn would like to talk to both of you- separately. Noah, please come with me out the side door and when I give the all clear he'll be coming through the main door to talk to you first Quinn."
"He knows?" Quinn checks.
"Yes," Rachel responds simply. She knows there's a lot that Finn doesn't know, probably a lot that she doesn't know, but she figures the most important thing- about the baby and the two of them cheating- is what Quinn really wants to know about and that, Finn has figured out.
Puck gives Quinn's forehead a peck and her hand a reassuring squeeze before letting the demanding brunette escort him out of the room.
"How does being with a shiksa fit into being a good Jew?" Rachel teases on their way out of the room.
"Shvayg," Puck retorts simply.
"Don't tell me to shut up," Rachel cries indignantly as the side exit to the room closes behind them.
Quinn almost feels sorry for him until the door in front of her opens and she's faced with a challenge of her own.
"Hey," Finn greets. He enters the room, but stops a pretty good distance from her bed, like he's not sure it's his place to come any closer.
"Hi," she responds.
"So," he drawls.
"I'm so sorry," she breaks in before he can say anything, "I messed up and I was scared and it's no excuse, but I was going to tell you, I swear."
He's silent for a few seconds and then he surprises them both when he says, "It's okay."
"Really?" Quinn questions. If she was in his place she's pretty sure she'd be planning her revenge by now- something extravagant and effective.
"Well, sort of," he amends. He seems to forget his previous discomfort as he comes and sits on the end of her bed and rambles, "It's just, I was talking to Rachel while we were waiting, and I was telling her how right now I'm really just relieved. And she keeps telling me that it's probably only how I feel right now and once the shock wears off I'll feel differently. And she's smart and all, but I think she's wrong." He runs a hand through his hair, gathering his thoughts and explains, "See, I realized that I'm not that mad and I don't think I will be. It sucks and all that you cheated on me, but if I can't get mad about it, then can I really blame you? Does that make any sense?"
She considers it. In a sort of twisted way, he is making a surprising amount of sense. She answers, "Sort of."
He nods and offers, "And don't you deserve a guy that would be like really, really pissed about you cheating on him? And don't I deserve to be with someone that I would be really pissed about them cheating on me? And if that's not the way we feel about each other, then I guess it's a really good thing we realized that and we're not together."
She nods. It makes sense, his rationalizing. She repeats, "I'm still sorry for lying to you though."
He shrugs and offers, "It's not like I never lied to you. Not about anything this big, but still…"
He stands up to leave, offering her a small smile as he does.
"Wait," she says stopping him, "before you talk to Puck you should know that I made the first move."
"Good to know," he says with a nod.
She doesn't have the right to ask and she's not asking for the same reasons she would have once been, but she asks, "Are you with Rachel yet?"
He looks kind of embarrassed as he says, "Nah, that would be-"
"Fine," she says cutting him off, "you don't need a grace period with this. And Puck and I are going to try a real relationship and we're starting now since we only have so many weeks left alone together. You should go after what you want now too. There's no reason for you to wait and I think Rachel's been waiting long enough anyway."
He smiles at her then for real and nods as he says, "I'm really glad you're okay."
He heads for the door that Puck and Rachel went through. He stops before going out and Rachel comes in before he leaves.
Rachel then is clearly on a mission to distract her from wondering what's going on between Puck and Finn as she asks question after question about what the doctor told her and about her injuries and their care. It's a nice gesture in it's own Rachel way and she's surprised that she's being that nice to her after everything. Eventually she asks Rachel why she's doing this and she says simply to Quinn that she messed up, everyone does (even her though very rarely and never on stage). She hopes the other glee kids and her Cheerio friends will hold the same opinion.
Finn simply stands in front of Puck in silence for a minute once they're alone together. Puck stares at the tile and waits to feel Finn's fist hit his face.
Instead of administering that punch Finn eventually admits, "I don't know how to feel about this." He rambles, "On the one hand I should be really mad you slept with my girlfriend- and that you got her pregnant. On the other hand I know it's like a huge deal that you want to be with her cause you had always planned on being a bachelor for life and now you're practically committing to one girl forever." He amends after a beat, "Two girls forever really."
"Just hit me and get it over with," Puck offers.
Finn shakes his head and responds, "Rachel says that violence would probably prevent us from ever being friends again and I don't know if I'm mad enough to risk that." He thinks about it for a second and suggests, "Can I reserve the right to hit you later if I decide I want to?"
"Sure, I'm good with that," Puck responds without even thinking it through. He's not passing up a good opportunity when it knocks.
"Good," Finn concludes. He adds, "And I may not talk to you for a while. Definitely won't be hanging out until I figure all this out."
"Okay," Puck accepts because it's a lot better than he was expecting.
"Can you send Rachel back out?" Finn asks to let him know that this little exchange is over.
"Yeah," he agrees and leaves before Finn changes his mind and stops being so surprisingly cool about this.
They're all one-step closer to all of this being over.
It takes thirty more minutes before a nurse drops off the discharge papers and then another ten before anyone comes back to get them. The nurse warns her as she leaves that her parents weren't notified as a favor to Emma, but her insurance will be billed so she has a month to six weeks before her parents find it on a bill. That's something she'll think about later though, as she heads down the hall to the waiting area she knows there are more pressing matters.
At least she's not doing this alone she's reminded as Puck's hand gives hers a reassuring squeeze as they draw ever nearer to the waiting area.
They had talked about this and she insisted that she wants to be the one to say something to all of them. And she's not backing down. When they get to the waiting area and silence settles over the glee kids immediately as their eyes fall on her, she opens her mouth determined to say what she prepared. She announces, "Just to recap. I'm sixteen and a half weeks pregnant with a little girl that is Puck's from when I cheated on Finn with him." Puck clears his throat to her right and she realizes what she forgot in her nervousness and adds, "And we're dating now."
"And?" Mercedes prompts.
"And what?" Quinn asks confused. She looks to Puck to see if he understands, but he clearly doesn't.
"Well we already figured all that out," Kurt informs them.
She sees Finn shaking his head as if to say it wasn't him that told and Rachel shrugs beside him to say the same thing.
Arty pipes up, "What we don't know is if all of this…paternity…drama is going to make anyone quit glee."
Quinn glances at Puck uncertain. Neither know what they should do. Do people want them to quit?
Mr. Schue picks up on the hesitation and pipes up, "Everyone here has discussed it and they're all staying." He adds with a glance around to all the kids, "And I think I speak for everyone when I say that we're a team, and no matter what, you're both still part of that team."
Most of the heads nod along, confirming that they agree with Mr. Schue- a couple of the others look like they simply weren't listening to anything that's going on (Matt was attempting to charm Santana into a date as everyone else was distracted).
It's nicer than they expected and Quinn checks disbelievingly, "You guys don't care about any of this? You still want us around?"
Mercedes beats Rachel to a response saying, "Not really, it's old news now."
"Plus you're still our fellow glee clubbers. And our friends," Arty adds hopefully.
Puck nudges Quinn's shoulder getting her attention, gives her a small smile, and she knows what to do. She smiles at her friends and responds, "We'll be staying in glee club then."
Rachel takes control re-organizing rides to go get some dinner together- it's been hours since most of them ate and they're staving. She refuses to organize them into their usual clicks. She puts Ms. Pillsbury with Mr. Schue in his car as well as Matt, Mercedes, and herself. She puts Tina, Finn, and Santana riding with Mike. And everyone else piles into Kurt's Suburban. She then double checks every car before they leave to make sure no one deviated from her plan.
They head off together all knowing that Ms. Pillsbury totally cleaned them out in their bet.
Later that night, as Quinn lays in her bed, hand on abdomen, she realizes that this is what redemption feels like. She may have committed a lot of sins, but the guilt and punishments she fell into weren't right. And she's made amends to the people she felt guilt over and it wasn't nearly as bad as she thought it'd be. She's finally at peace with herself.
Nothing will be easy, just like nothing has been so far. She has a feeling that school could get worse for her. She'll have her friends from glee and Puck to lean on though and she knows she'll get through it.
She strokes her hand over her stomach, fingertips trailing over the small of bump forming. She has a feeling that no matter what is to come, it will all be worth it.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed the end of the story!
And for those of you who may be wondering if I'll be writing any more Glee fics (and specifically Puck/Quinn), I definitely have ideas and I do hope to get to them. Though, fair warning, I've finally found a job- subbing- and I'm hoping to actually get some work starting next week (if everything goes as planned). So I may not have as much time on my hands (and I've had way too much- this fic only took me two weeks to write from beginning to end). But even if I get some work, I hope to continue to write the newest pairing I've become hopelessly addicted to.
On a side note, why has no one started a Quick community? Personally, I'm far too irresponsible with recreational communities to be trusted with one (my myspace and facebook accounts are proof of that), but I'd like to encourage anyone willing to give them a community.
Thank you so much for reading and as reviews do indeed equal love, I hope to hear from you in a REVIEW!