A/N & Disclaimer: This story is tagged as Faberry, but it is so much more than that. Honestly, this is a Quinn story and her struggle with coming to terms with who she is after the accident and what that means. So while this is a Faberry story, there will be some Quick, some Quartie some Finchel (it's necessary—they're married :/ ) This is also a story about Mercedes and how her friendship with Quinn influences her personal life, especially in regards to Sam. Mr. Evans himself will play an important role on both the Faberry and Samcedes side and Santana and Brittany make significant appearances. And if you didn't notice from the tag line there's a little bit of something for every ship/broTPs. What I'm trying to say, is that I need your patience, things will span out over time slowly, but I hope in a way that you'll enjoy to read. I would also like to put a disclaimer on the fact that not only do I not own Glee, but this story is tagged as Angst. So while I love my OTPs dearly and I have a very good idea of how and where this story is going and how it will end, happy endings are not promised for anyone-though if it makes you feel better I'm nearly certain that no one is dying. Hope you enjoy!
Carry Me Home
Tonight, We Are Young
So let's set the world on fire
We can burn brighter
Than the sun
-"We Are Young" F.U.N feat. Janelle Monae
Ch. 1 Still Life
In the days following the accident, Sam Evans felt as if he were stuck in an old 1920s film. Time seemed to be put on hold and when people moved about—especially in Quinn Fabray's hospital room—they moved in silence, stuck in a trance. Some days Sam felt as if there was a glass window that he was being forced to peer through. There was nowhere else to go. No alternate reality to escape to. God knows he wanted one. Some days he would desperately cling to the idea of running off and not looking back, but if Sam had come to understand anything over the past year, it was the fact that reality was an omnipresent pain in the ass, and the only practical choice was to roll with punches. Right now, life was serving some serious blows.
Inside Quinn's hospital room everyone in New Directions had a purpose, a place, a state of worry. Mercedes dared to sit the closest. She had one hand encampsed around Quinn's limp right arm. The other was used to keep her upper body propped up against the bed sheets. She was in a constant state of prayer.
Santana sat the furthest from Quinn, in the middle of chairs that face the edge of the bed. She sat nearly perfectly still, expect for the fact her knees would shake ever so slightly. Her hands used to shake too, but Brittany had gotten into the habit of not leaving Santana's side, so the blonde stilled her girlfriend's tremulous hands. Kurt paced from the left side of Quinn's bed. He would start just before Santana's shaking would begin and continue until Blaine rose from his seat next to Puck to trap his boyfriend in his arms.
Puck sat against the row of chairs on the left side, closest to Quinn's monitors, his eyes never leaving his ex-girlfriend's face. Across from Puck, behind Mercedes sat Rory and Sugar, the pair of them always drifting too close to the line of cuddling. Artie would vehemently agree, though he tried to avoid eye contact with the pair. At the edge of Quinn's bed, sat Tina, her legs tucked under her chin. She would occasionally run her hands over the wrinkles in Quinn's sheets. Tina, aside from Kurt's pacing, was also the only one who ever moved—though it was at the disposition of Mike, who stood ever patiently over his girlfriend's shoulder. The furthest from Puck on the left side was Finn, whose eyes never left the soft humming of the monitors. Next to Finn, against the door, stood Sam.
This pattern had been going on for a week and a half now. They'd all arrive after school. Mrs. Fabray would take her leave for a few hours—she would spend most of the morning with her daughter—before returning promptly at 6:30. No one moved or sat in her chair, the same way Quinn gave no indication that any of them were there.
"It's a self-induced coma," the doctors had said. "She has to wake herself up."
Rachel refused to come to the hospital. Kurt, bless him, had tried but the invitation had only led to a spectacular argument outside of the choir room. Apparently, she also wasn't speaking to Finn.
Nearly every day, Mr. Schue would visit, usually around 5, checking up on everyone. Most times he brought Ms. Pillsbury, once he even Coach Sylvester. Sam was also keenly aware that their daze continued until a quarter till eight. Sugar and Rory would exit quietly just after 7:30, when visiting hours technically ended, but Mike was never able to get Tina to move from the bed until 7:45. It would lead to a chain reaction—Artie rolled out next, Blaine and Kurt behind him. Finn would slip out just before Santana and Brittany who didn't leave until Mercedes' mother. Mrs. Jones made two trips—the first to take Santana and Brittany home and the second for her own daughter. By 8:25 Sam would have led Puck out of the hospital, fought him for his keys and started the drive back to Puck's place. He had been spending the last few nights at Puck's. He, Mike and Artie agreed that Puck was among the few in New Directions who should probably be watched. Puck's house wasn't exactly handicap friendly, so Artie was charged with checking up on Mercedes. Sam tried not to be too upset about that.
Puck's house was simple enough. His mom was kind, his sister often reminding Sam of a grown up Stacie. Puck normally didn't say much, but his mother made a point to ask Sam about his day, how he was doing. Sam wished he had something more interesting to say in response, but since Quinn went into the hospital his world had turned into a still life.
"Long day?" Ms. Puckerman asked Sam watching Puck tread up the stairs. She was a tired looking woman, and seemed to age as the minutes passed.
"A bit," Sam replied. "Nothing's changed yet. Quinn is still…"
"Asleep," Ms. Puckerman offered. "I'm sure she'll wake soon. Are you hungry, Sam?"
At the Puckerman's Sam often felt like he was still in the hospital. Certain events repeated itself without fail: Puck's sister, Laura, would wish her mother a good night while Sam ate quietly, and Ms. Puckerman cleaned. The young girl would then curl up next to Puck in his bed until their mother came up with food. Sam would be in the shower by then. When he got out, Puck's untouched food would be waiting on the top dresser, his mother and Laura gone. Puck would go into the bathroom to get ready for bed as Sam set up his air matress. They were both down by 11 pm, but Sam would wager that neither of them slept till at least 1.
The monotony stopped on a Thursday.
Early in that morning, Puck had refused to go to school. It was like pulling teeth every day trying to get Puck to school and that morning no one felt like fighting with him. Ms. Puckerman and Laura were gone by 9 and Sam decided that he would follow in Puck's lead and take just one day off. He tried to get Puck to play video games, toss a football around, anything to blow off some steam, but Puck wouldn't leave his bed and by noon Sam needed out. Lacking the patience to deal with even a half a day of school, or worse a somber Glee club meeting, Sam borrowed Puck's truck, placing the phone next to his friend's pillow and left. He drove around Lima until he found himself parking the truck near the Grace Hill Park. He and Mercedes had graced through the playground and picnic areas often during the summer with Stevie and Stacie. He'd enjoyed coming here to think upon his return, but since Valentine's Day, Sam found himself without the time for it.
For the most part the park was empty. A few mothers with their infant sons and daughters played around the swing sets and slides. The lack of faces made it easier to spot a familiar one—not that the double-breasted rainbow striped jacket and fluorescent green tight didn't help either.
Rachel Berry sat on the furthest bench from the playground. She didn't acknowledge Sam's presence until he sat down next to her and said, "We've missed you at the hospital."
"Well Finn is there," Rachel answered softly after a moment, starring off into space, "so I'm technically there in spirit."
"Rachel," Sam tried, "I know you feel guilty—"
"No you don't," Rachel snapped, her body stiffing. "You have no idea how I feel."
Sam leaned forward, watching the families play in bliss. "She's not dead."
"It's just a coma…"
"It's been almost two weeks!" She turned to glare at Sam, her eyes lighting with rage. "How much longer are we going to be forced to wait?"
"I don't know Rachel," Sam sighed. "But we'll get through this together. That's what Glee club is for, to lean on each other."
"No," Rachel refused. "I'm not going back there. I can't, not when I know…"
"Know what, Rachel?" Sam pressed. "Know what?"
The fear in her eyes unsettled Sam. He tried to reach out for her, but Rachel slipped from his grasp and paced in front of the bench.
"Rachel, talk to me," Sam begged, grasping her firmly. "You can trust me."
That's who he was: trustworthy Sam, Sam I am. He had ben everyone else's rock for the last two weeks—babysitting Puck, watching over the zombie version of his friends, holding his breath over every beep that Quinn's monitors made—but no one unsettled him more than the petit brunette.
"I-I think Quinn likes me."
"Of course she lik—"
"No Sam, likes me. She likes me."
Sam froze, racking his brain for any clues that would support such an idea. He couldn't remember anything odd about Quinn's behavior towards Rachel. Though two weeks ago you didn't know what color your shirt was, unless Mercedes mentioned it. And you totally blanked on the whole Santana-Brittany debacle last year…
"Are you sure?" Sam asked softly. Despite it all, he wouldn't put it past Rachel to misread any intentions; after all, it only took one bottle of lemon juice last year for half of McKinley to think he was gay.
Rachel nodded meekly. "It started at the bridal shop. We'd gotten into this argument about the wedding…she was practically screamed at me that she wasn't going to stand by while I wasted my life marrying Finn. There was…there was something in her eyes when she said it. I just knew."
Rachel had come to sit back down on the bench, her head in her hands. "And after sectionals, she had just gotten her uniform back, and she asked…asked if I had been singing for Finn, just…Finn."
Sam found himself in a complete loss for words. He wanted to ask, but knew couldn't. It would get them nowhere—Rachel would probably just close up again. Hell, she probably doesn't even know the answer!
"If Quinn likes you," Sam began carefully, "then you owe it to her to visit her."
"No, Rachel, what you can't do is wallow in this self-pity and regret. If this is going to be the last time you see Quinn don't you at least want to say good-bye? Don't you love Quinn enough for that?"
"Of course," Rachel choked. "Quinn and I are…"
"You don't have to define it," Sam cut in. "Just come and see her."
Sam left Rachel in the park, opting to give her some space to think, but by 4 o'clock, he wished he hadn't. Everyone was back into their pattern in the hospital. At 5, Mr. Schuester arrived with Ms. Pillsbury. They toured the room speaking in low tones with each of them.
"Sam, a word?"
He didn't notice Mr. Schue's presence until he was right in front of him, but followed his teacher out the door.
"You've been really strong through all of this," Mr. Schue complimented. "I half expected you to react more like Finn or Puck. I know how close you were with her."
Had he been close to Quinn? Once maybe, he thought, but that relationship had been so superficial, especially in comparison to what he shared with Mercedes over the summer. But Sam couldn't deny the fact that he was still in pain, his body numb from the last few weeks. They had been steadily getting closer, re-building their friendship, so as his friend it did hurt Sam to see Quinn hurt. What hurt more, however, was the fact that it could have been any one of them. What if Tina had been running late? Or Santana or Mercedes?
Sam closed his eyes and drew in a deep breath.
"Sam, she'll be fine," Mr. Schue assured, clasping Sam's shoulder. "Just hang in there and if you ever need anyone to talk to—"
"I'll find you."
Mr. Schue led the way back inside. He and Ms. Pillsbury lingered for a few more minutes before taking their leave. Glancing at the clock, Sam realized that it would be six soon—Mike and Artie would start alternating on food delivery. Sometimes they would bring or order food or pick up snacks from the cafeteria on the lower floors. It was always Sam's job to keep an eye on the group while they stepped out. Mike looked as if he were ready to leave, when the door reopened.
Rachel, still clad in her rainbow jacket and green tights, walked in slowly. She gave Finn a small, nervous smile. She and Sam locked eyes from the briefest of moments, before Rachel glided to the head of bed, across from Mercedes. Kurt stopped pacing at her arrival, Tina looked up and even Santana watched Rachel with a critical eye. Mercedes didn't notice her arrival, still bent in prayer, but when she rose, Mercy gave Rachel a ghost of a smile. The tears in her eyes stung Sam to no end.
"Praying?" Rachel asked softly.
"Every prayer I know." Mercedes' voice cracked slightly as she spoke, wiping away a few errand tears.
"Mind if I start with some Jewish prayers?"
"Be my guest. It can't hurt. Noah," Mercedes called out softly, "get over here and help Rachel. Two prayers are always better than one."
Puck rose slowly to stand next to Rachel, grabbing her hand. "I don't know much…"
"That's okay," Rachel said slowly, her voice thick with emotion. "We can do a group prayer instead."
Sam watched as hands laced among his friends, creating an oval around Quinn's bed—until he realized that he was the only one out of the circle.
"Sammy," Mercedes called out to him softly. "Pray."
At first he thought it was just an invitation to join the circle, but when Mercedes and Rachel closed their eyes and waited, Sam began to object.
"I'm not—I can't really—"
"Pray now," Kurt pressed, his eyes shut, "or I will start dying your hair back to that atrocious lemon juice blonde."
Laughter echoed softly in the room, whispering amongst the teens, though no one was quite sure who had started it.
"Fine then," Sam ceded. "Dear—To God or Allah, Christ or whoever can hear this…thank you. When we're on the brink of losing people we love, it's easy to forget about all of the good stuff. The times we've shared, memories made. We neglect our loved ones, family members and friends just to bask in our own misery and grief, but I—we just want to say thank you...for this club, for our friendships, for the love that we have for one another. For Quinn Fabray. Some people, some people think that she's a bit crazy…and maybe she is, but we love her. We need her. She's a part of our family and we can't go without her…please, please don't make us. We may fight like toddlers, but the love that we have for one another, the love that's in this room…it's beyond words. So please, we ask that you just heal Quinn and bring her back to us…Amen."
Several amens followed as Mercedes gave Sam a small smile.
"That was beautiful Sam," Blaine said.
"Yeah," Tina agreed. "I don't know how God'll feel about you calling Quinn crazy in a prayer, but…"
Laughter came easier this time, though it still felt a bit too soon.
"Y'know so long as no one breaks into song," Santana half-teased, "I think we can count this as a good moment for us."
"Singing is actually quite therapeutic," Rachel corrected, trying to rid herself of runaway tears. "It action might…do some good."
"Tears stream, down your face," Mercedes sang softly. "When you lose something you cannot replace."
"Tears stream," Tina joined, "down your face, and I…"
"Tears stream," Rachel's voice carried over all the others who had fallen in line after Tina and Mercedes. She took a hold of Quinn's hands and placed them in her own. "I promise you I will learn from my mistakes."
"Lights will guide you home," Mercedes sang.
"And ignite your bones," Santana followed, bringing Brittany closer to her.
"And I will try, to fix you."
As the soft hum of Rachel's final note echoed in the room, a low but definite groan was heard.
Song Credits: "Fix You" - Coldplay
Thanks for reading, please don't forget to review [and if anyone is interesting in possibly beta reading, let me know :) ]