Folded And Unfolded
The first time is a few months after. They're preparing dinner together and she's slicing vegetables and suddenly he hears her go "oh!", all startled more than pained.
"You okay, baby?" He asks, turning to see her pop her thumb into her mouth-which would be sexy in other circumstances.
She nods her head and takes it out. "Just a little cut, Noah. Will you grab me a band-aid?"
He goes and snags one from their bathroom cabinet, she's holding out her thumb to be doctored when he returns, smiling at his concern. It's taken a while, she thinks, but we just might be getting back to good.
The warm bloom in her chest blows out abruptly when Noah collapses to the ground at her feet.
He wakes, still lying on the cold tile floor in their kitchen. The first thing that registers being Rachel's frantic voice on the phone, apparently calling 911. He lifts himself up slowly. God, he can't stand how weak he feels, so woozy and disoriented and all he can remember is a sudden ringing in his ears and he hates feeling helpless- (shit, fuck! He can't make it stop)
He can't think about that right now. Focus on your fucking wife, you douche, he grabs the kitchen counter and hauls himself up, sees Rachel with one hand over her stomach and the other clenching the telephone. Her eyes are closed.
"Rachel." Louder, "Rachel!"
She opens her eyes, breathes out "oh, thank god."
She runs over to embrace him, telling the police operator that they no longer need an ambulance, but, yes, they'll be checking him in right away. Thank you for your help.
She hangs up, tosses the phone on the counter.
"Don't ever, ever do that to me again, Noah Puckerman!"
He protests that he had no part in that while she hauls him out the door to go to the hospital. She's not about to just let this go now that it's supposedly over.
But the best the doctor can figure is dehydration.
For two weeks after that, Rachel makes him carry a water bottle on him at all times.
The second time he's out playing football at the park with a couple of guys from work. It's been a month after the first incident, and Rachel has stopped acting like he's about to faint at any moment (she's just started letting him take the stairs again).
At first the guys are tentative around him, because he kinda had shut them out after and this is the first time he's been out with them since. Pretty soon, though, they're acting like dicks to each other and tackling each other as hard as possible into the dirt.
And Puck thinks, this is good.
"Fuck," Joe hisses and shoves Barry off of him. "Asshole, my girl isn't going to be happy when I come home all torn up."
"C'mon, pussy-whipped, it can't be that bad," Barry says. Barry is single. It isn't a surprise.
Puck comes over to see what the big deal is, and that's when he sees Joe's knee.
He doesn't see anything after that.
The guys haul him to the ER before he wakes up this time, so he comes to in a hospital bed, Rachel is sitting in the chair next to it, a hand on her stomach, and one the armrest. There's a strained look on her face that he wants to kiss away.
He knows she's scared.
(He is a little, too.)
She hands him a cup of water, quietly. He takes it, downs it quickly, sets it aside. He curls a finger at her and she climbs on the bed next to him. Rachel carefully tucks herself into his side.
He checks out an hour later, leaving behind the confused ER staff-who recommend that he follow up with his doctor for more extensive testing.
It's been six months since then, almost a year now after.
He's still banned from using the stairs (Rachel decreed and enforced), but that's not really a problem; elevators, there for a purpose. If it makes her stop worrying so much, he'll do it.
It's all good, though. They think they might actually be willing to try again. And this time, this time nothing will go wrong. Because it just can't.
Sure, he's still having nightmares, but not as much-even if they still shake him from his sleep, sweating and crying. Whatever. He can handle his shit.
All that matters is what Rachel wants.
So, he's walking to work (it's only a mile or so away and this is fucking New York; who really drives?) when he sees a little girl playing with her father in the little neighborhood garden he's walking past. He smiles a little, despite the sharp ache in his chest, and thinks soon.
Suddenly though, the little girl is crying and her dad is rocking her in his arms, murmuring soothing words-Puck winces, she'd tripped over a garden hose and taken quite the tumble. Still crying the girl looks up from her father's neck and-
There's a cut, on her forehead. She's just a baby and there's blood.
His world crashes down.
"I don't think this is about water."
He closes his eyes, pulls her tighter into his arms. They're lying on their bed, still no answers after a trip to his doctor.
Apparently, he's fine.
"No, I don't either."
Nothing is fine, and all he wants is for everything to be good again, but.
Rachel asks him to describe for her, in minute detail, everything that was happening for each episode.
("You were holding out your thumb and I just, shit, this is so lame, but I felt dizzy and then..."
"Barry was being a dick, but Joe's no wuss and I wanted to see if he needed help or whatever-I'm not a complete asshole-and he shows us his leg. I can't even remember what it looked like."
"I don't want to talk about it."
"We have to figure this out, Noah. How can we..." She looks so vulnerable and heartbroken, a subtle longing in her next words. "How can we try to have a baby again if we can't fix this?"
He hates feeling helpless, he hates that he isn't enough for her right now. Not now and not then.
So he tries. "There was this little girl with her dad. She fell down, and he'd picked her up," fuck "was just, you know being a dad. She's crying and I can't do anything and then she looks at me and she's bleeding."
"Noah, Noah! Breathe."
He's hyperventilating. He hadn't noticed. He breathes; for her.
"That's it, that's right. It'll be okay, I promise."
He presses his face against her belly and wishes.
After the miscarriage, Puck had done everything in his power to make sure his wife was okay. He'd gotten her to see a therapist, spent every free hour he could just being with her, had even sat in on some appointments-always to be there for her.
He'd been the one to find her, just not in time, he'd thought.
Slowly she'd begun smiling again, and he smiled when she did. Hugged when she did, kissed, touched, made love. Whatever Rachel wanted, he wanted too.
He dismissed the idea that what she needed, he did too.
Rachel hates herself a little for not noticing sooner. That she'd assumed that as things got better for her, the same was true for Noah.
They're sitting in her therapist's office, and he's stiff next to her, gripping her hand that it's the only thing holding him together.
Dr. Ruby opens the door and says that she's ready to see him now.
He looks at Rachel, pained, but walks through the door anyway.
"It'll be good someday."
Author's Note: Prompted at puckrachel community on LiveJournal by "Puck passes out at the sight of blood." I suppose I could have done with funny. But. You know.
Title taken from "Colorblind" by the Counting Crows.