Puck managed to grab hold of Kurt's fingers with one hand, but the other slipped through his grasp. He was dragged to his knees as Kurt plunged into the icy water, his screams muffled then silenced as he was pulled down. The only things visible to Puck were bubbles. Puck was up to his elbow in the water, only barely able to hold onto the tips of Kurt's fingers.
Knowing Kurt would slip away if Puck started pulling, he sunk his other arm into the water and took hold of Kurt's hand, then was able to reposition his other hand and begin pulling Kurt up. He felt Kurt's other hand scramble to hold on to Puck's arm. The water was so cold it hurt, and Puck couldn't imagine how much worse it must be to Kurt.
Puck got Kurt halfway above water, coughing and spluttering and shivering violently. The ice he was kneeling on groaned, and Puck's heart pounded in fear. His arms were going numb, the water clinging to them freezing in the open air. He heaved one last time and got Kurt completely above the water, pulling and dragging them both back frantically, falling into the snow covered bank before the ice could crack under their combined weight.
"Kurt! Kurt, can you move? Can you—I don't even know, can you even hear me?" Puck shouted hopelessly. He thought of various movie scenarios and, however unlikely they seemed to be, the images of people freezing solid just scared him more. Kurt's arms were stiff and bent at his sides, and he was shivering so hard Puck thought he would break, but he opened his eyes and reached out, grabbing Puck and holding on tight. He was gasping for breath and he looked like he was going to pass out.
"P-P-Puck, I…" Kurt managed to stutter out between shortened breaths. He clung to Puck, but still didn't seem able to catch his breath.
"Just calm down, Kurt, it's gonna be alright," Puck said. He tried to get Kurt to take deep breaths. He knew enough to know that Kurt was panicking, and he didn't want him to hyperventilate. Knowing it might not do much in the end Puck shrugged out of his coat and wrapped it around Kurt, then picked him up and started carrying him back towards his truck as quickly as he could. He looked down when he heard Kurt wheezing and felt his heart sink in fear when he saw Kurt's blue-tinted skin and how purple his lips and eyelids were.
He ran as quickly as he could back to his truck, making a split second decision to just drive Kurt to the nearby hospital rather than wait for an ambulance to reach the restaurant he was still parked outside of.
When he reached the truck he opened the door and set Kurt inside, then ran around, got in, and blasted the heater, pointing all of the vents at Kurt's trembling body. He knew that if he could drive fast enough he could get Kurt to the hospital in less than seven minutes.
After just a few minutes, though, he noticed that Kurt seemed to be doing much better. He had stopped wheezing and was now managing to breathe relatively easily. He was leaning closer to the heaters, his eyes closed and his arms wrapped around himself. Puck's own arms had warmed up considerably also.
"Kurt?" Puck asked. "How ya doing?"
Kurt shivered and grunted, then turned to Puck and said, "I think it's okay. I mean, I think I'm warming up okay. I f-feel okay. Are we going home? I want to go home."
"We're going to the hospital. It's closer than your house anyway."
Kurt seemed to accept that and leaned back in his seat, closing his eyes again. After a moment he sat up, slowly took off Puck's coat and his own, then, shivering, replaced it with just Puck's, letting his drenched, icy coat fall to the floor of the truck.
"Don't fall asleep, okay?" Puck said worriedly.
Kurt smiled a little and said, "I think that's for concussions, Noah."
"Oh. Well what's for falling through ice?"
"I don't know. I think I remember reading something about warm water baths once, but that's if you're at home."
"Well we're here anyway. So just… stay awake," Puck said again.
"I will, don't worry."
They pulled into the hospital parking area and parked outside the doors. Puck got out and went around to the passenger door to get Kurt, but Kurt already had the door open and was getting out himself. When he stumbled on the first step though, Puck picked him up, ignoring his protests that he could walk by himself.
Puck carried him through the automatic hospital doors and into the waiting room. He sat Kurt gently in a plastic chair and went to talk to the lady at the desk. After telling her their names and explaining what had happened, the nurse looked at Kurt, shivering and huddled in the cool room, and told them to come into the back. She guided them through a hallway and into a small room with a bed and told them she'd be right back. Puck situated Kurt on the mattress and they waited.
She returned shortly with a large blanket and a bundle in her arms. "Here's something to change into, I'll leave so you can do that and come back to help you with the blankets." She turned to Puck and said, "I brought you a new change too, your shirt is wet."
"Uh, thanks." His arms were getting cold again though, so he was grateful she'd noticed. When she left Puck helped Kurt change. He was shivering more as his skin was exposed to air, so Puck tried to get Kurt into the new clothes as quickly as he could. Once they were done he helped Kurt get under the blankets on the bed, and the nurse came back in, dragging a cart with various machines on it.
"Alright, sweetie, I need to get your vitals and then we can get you warm again." The nurse bustled around quickly, sometimes writing on a notepad, and another orderly entered the room with more blankets. Once the nurse was done they both covered Kurt in the blankets and made sure he was mostly covered. "The doctor will be in as soon as possible. This is the emergency center though, so it could be a few hours."
"This isn't an emergency?" Puck said incredulously.
"He's not showing signs of hypothermia and his vitals are normal. We do like to keep patients in this type of situation at least forty-eight hours, but the doctor will tell you more about that. The most we can do right now is warm him back up. I'll check in periodically if the doctor hasn't made it yet to make sure his temperature is going back up to normal, but unless either of you have another injury then this is all we can do," the nurse said patiently.
Puck sighed angrily and nodded.
The nurse made to leave but turned back suddenly, seeming to remember something.
"How old are you two?" she asked.
"He's sixteen, I'm seventeen," Puck answered.
"Okay, is there a parent or guardian I can contact? Otherwise I'll need you to fill out some forms while you wait," she said.
"Puck, you can call my dad, right?" Kurt asked quietly from the bed.
"Yeah. Yeah, I'll do that now." Puck got out his phone and dialed, talking softly into the phone when Burt answered. He told him that everything was alright, but that they were in the hospital. Kurt could hear Burt's worried exclamations from across the room and winced.
"There goes any chance of us ever going anywhere ever again," he said weakly when Puck hung up.
"He's gonna kill me," Puck mumbled. Once the nurse left he went and sat next to Kurt on the bed, then when Kurt shifted over a bit, laid down next to him over the covers, putting an arm around him so they were facing each other on their sides.
"Are you feeling okay?" Puck asked. Kurt looked troubled. He was still pale, but the blue tinge was gone and there was a flush on his cheeks, so Puck didn't think he was too cold anymore.
"Yeah," Kurt whispered. "I just… God, it was horrible."
"Do you want to talk about it?" Puck figured he probably sounded like a girl or a shrink or something, but if it got that scared look off Kurt's face then he figured it was okay.
"I don't know," Kurt replied. After a pause he continued, "It was… really cold, at first. Obviously. And then I didn't really feel anything except really scared. It was really hard not to breathe in water. My eyes were open at first and it was dark and everything looked weird, but then it hurt so I closed them. I saw you holding onto me though, and I tried to grab you. You got me though."
"I've always got you."
Kurt smiled. "You're such a sap. The guys never believe me but you are."
"'Cause I've drilled my badassness into their heads," Puck said proudly.
"Uh huh. Whatever you say."
Kurt rolled his eyes and continued from before they'd gotten off topic, "When you pulled me out I thought I was going to die. It felt even colder than being in the water did. It was weird. So cold it burned, almost." He shivered and moved closer to Puck.
"You're okay now, though."
"Yeah. Much warmer," Kurt said, scooting even closer and closing his eyes. "Very tired though. You think it's safe to sleep now?" he teased.
Puck huffed out a laugh and said, "Yeah. I'll wake you up when your dad gets here."
Kurt hummed and burrowed further into the blankets and closer to Puck, resting his head against his chest. Puck pulled him close with his arm and rubbed his back for a long time, not stopping even after he fell asleep.
And that's all, folks. Thank you all for the very nice reviews, I was very pleased to see that all of you were riled up after the cliffhanger. Anon reviewers, I can't respond to you personally, so just know that I very much appreciate the reviews! Depending on the response this story gets (which means reviews, winkwink) I may put up some more fics. We'll see. How about you tell me what you'd like to see in a review, hmm? ;)
Constructive criticism is always welcome, thanks for reading, and I do not own Glee.