He finds her in the choir room. He knows to go there right away, knows it's the place she feels safest. She's crouching behind the back row of chairs, knees to her chest, eyes shut tight, as she rocks back and forth. He's never seen her this scared, this vulnerable, this unlike some badass bitch who rules the world. He imagines this is how she must have been before she became Quinn.
"Puck." He can tell she's afraid to yell, afraid to attract attention, but her voice is full of such relief and hope, and her hug has enough power to convey what her voice can't. He holds her close, practically cradling her, half-carrying her to a chair as her legs start to shake and give out. She doesn't have to support herself alone, not now that he's there.
Her eyes are clear and still her own, and he sighs in relief, recognizes them as still those eyes he stared into when they first kissed, a mixture of determination and fear, sadness and joy, and an emotion he hopes sometime soon she identifies as love. Preferably much sooner rather than later, considering the situation they've found themselves in.
"Our friends," she says suddenly, pushing herself upright with such determination, and Puck has to stop and stare at her for just a second, knows full well a year ago she would have left everyone behind, maybe thrown a slushie on them first for good measure, because even in a demon-infested apocalyptic hell zone she would care so much about what whoever happened to be left thought of her.
But now she's charging out into the fray, even with her whole body literally shaking with fear, because her Glee Club, her friends, are out there somewhere and she isn't going to let them die, or turn into demons, or whatever the hell it is that's going on exactly.
The last time he was this proud of her, she was giving birth to his child.
He follows her out the door, quickly gets in front of her. All around them are bloodied corpses, people they had class with, kids they used to push around. He recognizes members of the football team, and even with all the crap they put him and his friends through, he still has to turn away, high fives and parties running on a loop through his brain. Quinn puts a steadying hand on his arm and he leans into it gratefully, returns the favor as they pass two lifeless Cheerios.
They hear yelling from the Spanish classroom, Mr. Schue's Spanish classroom, and they take off, no hesitation. Kids are fleeing the room in droves, but Puck and Quinn run in, to join the other Glee club members that are already gathered there. Mr. Schue is their mentor, their father figure, their friend, and there's no way they're letting him become another body on the side of the hallway, no way in hell.
Broken furniture is everywhere, joining the broken bodies of a few students who didn't get out. Mr. Schue's shirt is torn, a long cut across his cheek, and Puck knows the damage is from him trying to protect his students, even as so many of them left him behind, because that's the kind of person Mr. Schue is. Puck's determined to show him there are students who love him, and who won't ever leave him behind, so he picks up the garbage can and wades into the fray.
Quinn's brandishing a sharp chair leg Rachel tossed her, stabbing her way towards Mr. Schue. Her hair is flying, her clothes are bloodstained, her eyes are wild, every muscle tense with terror overridden by determination and affection and Puck knows right there, she's never been more beautiful, and he's never loved her more.
He knows he still loves her. He never really ever stopped.
So when she makes it to Mr. Schue, grabs his hand and pulls him from the fray, Puck grabs her hand and leads her out, shields her from the dead bodies and whatever clawing hellspawns made it past the Glee club's improvised weapons. He does a quick head count, and they're all there, all ready to pile onto the nearest school bus. Miss Pillsbury is with them, held close against Mr. Schue's chest, before he kisses her soundly and climbs into the driver's seat of the bus, Emma in the seat right behind him.
They peel off, away from the carnage, claw marks scarring the sides of the bus.
They stop at Shelby's. There's blood on the walls, and Shelby is nowhere in sight. They find Beth in the closet, where Shelby must have hid her, and Puck cradles her against his chest as they run from the house and back to the bus. Rachel knows what it means when they come back without Shelby, and she shivers in the embraces of the other Glee club members, leans into Finn's chest as he cradles her as gently as Puck cradles Beth. They make stops at other houses, grabbing parents, siblings, quick stops immediately followed by fast driving, the streets so deserted, the sidewalks full of blood.
On and off, everyone manages to grab snippets of sleep as the bus travels as far as it can go, as far away from Lima as its wheels can manage. Mr. Schue insists on driving, taking care of his kids, but eventually Puck convinces him to take a few hours sleep in a seat with Miss Pillsbury. Brittany and Santana are all tangled limbs in a backseat, their pinkies linked together even in fitful sleep. Rachel's head is on Finn's shoulder, his arm around her, holding her close.
And when Puck hands the driving back to Mr. Schue, he retreats immediately back to Quinn and Beth. Beth is in Quinn's arms, and Quinn's face is finally all smiles and soft lines, even in the midst of everything going on outside.
Puck settles back into the seat, and slowly puts an arm around his girls. Quinn leans into his touch, and Beth looks up at him and he swears her eyes light up. And he holds them as they travel into the unknown, together.