Title: Intensive Care
Pairing: Quinn Fabray/Rachel Berry (kinda?)
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. Just having a little fun.
Summary: Rachel diligently sits by a comatose Quinn and manages to have a heart to heart even while Quinn's life hangs in the balance.
A/N: I promised myself that I wasn't going to write an On My Way fic because of how much I hate the fact that Quinn got hit by a truck. But I'm always fascinated with Faberry and how their 'friendship' can blur the lines sometimes, so this came from that.
She couldn't stop thinking about Quinn.
She and Finn didn't get married.
And the second thought should have been her first thought, but she could not stop thinking about Quinn.
Rachel sat with her head bowed in the waiting room, a wad of tissue drenched with her escaped tears being squeezed in her grip. She could barely register Finn's supportive hands on her shoulder as she stared down at the tiled floors. The chilled air bit at her skin as the monotone, emotionless sounds of the nurses gnawed at her ears. They were so detached from this moment because they had had several of these moments, Rachel reasoned. After a while seeing death must become second nature.
For her it was still fresh and new. It was Quinn in the hospital in who-knows-what condition. She casted weary brown eyes to the empty seats beside her that had previously been filled with her glee club members. They had been there for teetering on two hours and one by one they had all left. Puck was the last to leave, asking Rachel to shoot him a text after she had seen Quinn to let him know how she was doing. Mercedes promised to call her, and Santana had sat in the farthest most chair from her with her arms crossed, brow furrowed deeply. Rachel was pretty sure Santana blamed her for this whole thing. Not that she could blame Santana for blaming her because she was feeling pretty damn guilty right now.
"How're holding up?" Finn asked from above her.
Rachel shrugged a shoulder in response as she had been doing for the past two hours. Mr. and Mrs. Fabray had been in the intensive care wing the entire time and didn't show signs of leaving. It made Rachel oddly proud. She had heard cruel mocking jokes from her very own glee club members about how Mrs. Fabray was too drunk to even notice her daughter was in an accident and that Mr. Fabray was too caught up in his affair with a younger woman to notice his own daughter was injured. But both of Quinn's parents had shown up, teary eyed and a mess and were quickly led back to where they had been the past couple of hours.
"It's not your fault," Finn continued a moment later.
Her brow furrowed at the sentiment. She really just wanted him to shut up. No amount of 'how are yous' and 'it's not your faults' were going to make her feel better until she was able to see Quinn for herself, living and breathing.
The door to intensive care burst open and Rachel shot up out of her seat as Mr. and Mrs. Fabray came walking through. Mr. Fabray was holding a hysterical Mrs. Fabray as they both swiftly walked away and Rachel felt her chest cave in at the sight. Fearing the worst, she quickly strode over to the nurse who was disappearing behind the closing double doors. "Excuse me?" Rachel called desperately.
The woman turned around, looking young but tired like she was working a double and really just needed a nap. "May I help you?" she asked, a little snippily.
"Yes, I'm here to see my friend, Quinn Fabray," Rachel rushed out. "She was brought in two hours ago—sustained injuries from a car accident. Blonde, medium height, breath taking," she whispered. "Please tell me you know where she is; it's imperative that I see her. I just want to know if she's all right—please."
Her words seemed to strike a chord within the weary nurse whose deep set eyes widened as Rachel continued on. "She's this way," the woman, Catherine, her nametag read, said as she gestured for Rachel to follow.
Rachel casted a withering glance to Finn, leaving him with Mr. Schuester whom had just come back with coffee as she walked away and allowed the door to close behind her. They made a left and continued down a long hallway to a closed door at the end. There was another row of rooms further along a different hall, but the one they stopped at was 303. It had Quinn Fabray temporarily tacked onto a nameplate on the door and Rachel's heart lurched at how real this all began to feel. Quinn was on the other side. She was probably maimed, and would look so different, and Rachel wasn't sure she could handle it.
Catherine spun around to face Rachel as the hand behind her gripped the door knob until an audible click was heard. "We typically warn visitors that patients look different from how they normally see them."
"It's fine," Rachel assured in a quick breath, wanting to break down the barrier separating her from Quinn to finally see her. "She's still Quinn."
Sympathy rounded Catherine's eyes for the young girl she saw in front of her, looking frail and sad as she wrung her hands together and bit the corner of her lip anxiously. "She's not conscious," Catherine continued.
Rachel's eyes shot up to Catherine's immediately. Hot tears burned behind her eyes as she nodded just once.
The door creaked open and Rachel followed on Catherine's heels as they made their way inside. Catherine walked towards the monitors displaying Quinn's vitals and that was when Rachel saw her, a painful gasp ripping from her throat at the sight.
Quinn lied face up on the bed, unmoving, eyelids resting heavily on the prettiest eyes Rachel had ever seen. Her chest was barely moving and if it wasn't for the slow paced yet steady ECG machine that audibly displayed her heart rate, Rachel wouldn't have known she was even alive. Inhaling a shaky breath, Rachel shook off the chill of the room, wrapping her sweater around her tighter and took cautious steps towards the bed. She wrapped an arm around her middle and twisted her fingers into her sweater around her throat to make the two button-less ends meet as she continued to walk closer. Quinn's face was badly bruised. There was a bruise along the left side of her forehead, her left cheek. Her hair was in disarray with caked blood along her temple. Rachel's breath hitched at the sight of the fallen angel resting on the hospital bed.
"The car came from the left?" Rachel guessed as she stared at Quinn's bruises, willing them away with her glare alone.
"T-boned her," Catherine recalled as if she was giving the outcome of a football game and not talking about an important person whose life hung in the balance. "I heard it was difficult to pry the car apart enough to—"
"I get it—thank you," Rachel replied sharply over her shoulder. She tightened her grip around her middle as her shoulders slumped. "I'm sorry," she whispered. "I'm just really wound up right now."
"I've heard worse directed at me, darling," Catherine said softly. A moment later Rachel jumped when she felt a hand on her shoulder. "If it makes you feel any better, she's stable. It's just all a matter of when and…if she'll wake up."
"She will," Rachel declared tremblingly though determination laced her voice. "She's strong, she's so strong. No one realizes how strong she is." She choked out a sob. "She's faced everything she's ever been through head on and she's made it out. She'll do it again."
Catherine closed her mouth. When it was obvious that Rachel wanted nothing more than to be alone with Quinn, she quietly excused herself and left.
There were two chairs placed diligently at Quinn's beside, probably the Fabrays. Rachel smoothed down the skirt of her dress and sat down in the chair closest to Quinn's bed. Her concerned gaze washed over the unmoving statue on the bed. Quinn looked so pale, sickly so and the sight of her twisted Rachel's gut. Unable to help but touch her, Rachel reached out and smoothed a frayed lock of normally sleek and shiny blonde hair away. Quinn didn't even move.
Her eyes welled up with tears as her gaze traveled down to Quinn's arm and the various IV drips in them. She took her bottom lip between her teeth as she hesitantly reached out to grab Quinn's hand. It was cold, Quinn was probably cold, and Rachel fought with herself to rip her arms out of her sweater. She peeled it fully open and draped it across Quinn's torso, tucking it under her chin. "You looked cold," Rachel said softly, explaining herself to Quinn as if she could actually hear her. "I don't know who these doctors and nurses are, but they have terrible bedside manner if they couldn't even be bothered to make sure your arms were covered."
She sat back down and grabbed Quinn's hand once more. "You're-you're breathing," she continued, choking back a sob. "That's wonderful. I didn't—" Her eyes clenched shut and she shook her head just once as if to will the tears welling in her eyes away. "Something told me something was wrong. Call it a gut feeling, call it intuition, you know I have a sixth sense, Quinn," Rachel babbled through tears falling down her face. "I knew something had gone wrong, and I'm sorry. I'm so sorry for rushing you to the altar."
She hiccuped and shuddered through painful sobs that made her throat hurt more than singing ever could and she bowed her head to rest against Quinn's hand. "I'm so sorry…" she whispered.
The door creaked open and Rachel dragged her head up to find Catherine peeking her head inside with a box of tissues. "Mr. and Mrs. Fabray used them all. And I figured you'd need some."
Rachel released a shaky breath as Catherine came closer to hand her the box of tissues. "Thank you," she whispered, throat raw from all the crying she had been doing for the past several hours.
Catherine flashed a small smile before looking over to Quinn. "She can hear, you know."
A hopefulness she hadn't felt in hours blossomed in her heart at the offhanded comment. "She can? Really? Everything I say?"
"Normally when patients are comatose we encourage their loved ones to talk to them. Her parents tried, but she's a stubborn one."
Rachel smiled warmly as she glanced down at Quinn. "That she is."
"Maybe you can get her to come around."
Rachel's gaze turned doubtful as Catherine exited the room. She grabbed a tissue to dot along her eyes with one hand and grabbed Quinn's hand with the other. "Is that true?" Rachel whispered. "Can you hear me?"
If Quinn could, she didn't respond. Her heart rate continued at a steady pace and the barely there rise and fall of her chest was largely the same.
"You feel warmer," Rachel continued happily. "It's really cold in here. I hope you don't catch a cold." She hesitated for a moment, then continued. "Well, I hope you wake up. Then I hope you don't catch a cold."
Her gaze shot up to look along the stark walls of the hospital room as she silently critiqued it. It was clean, smelled stale, but still smelled of bleach and a smell that was distinctly hospital. There was a clock high on the wall that ticked annoyingly in a way that made Rachel grind her teeth together when she noticed it. Her grip on Quinn's hand tightened as she turned back to her. "You're still so beautiful," Rachel breathed. "Even in the face of sustaining horrific injuries you're still the pretties girl I've ever met, Quinn."
She reached up to smooth a lock of blonde hair away from the blood matted on Quinn forehead. "Of course you probably wouldn't want to hear that right now," Rachel conceded. "What would you want to hear? I could talk to you about the weather. It's sunny out," she continued as she casted a glance to the only window in the room. It was beautifully sunny outside and it pained her that Quinn was spending such a wonderful day in a coma.
"Want to hear about everyone who was here for you?" Rachel asked. "I know you-you put up a brave front, but I know that deep down you doubted how much we all cared about you. You always felt alone." Her eyes began to sting again and she grappled for the tissue in her lap, bringing it to her face to wipe a tear away. "Everyone was here. Me, of course. Your mother and your father. I really hope you got to hear them, Quinn. All of glee club was here. Puck and Mercedes specifically told me to get into contact with them about your condition once I left. Mr. Schuester, Ms. Pillsbury—Mrs. Schuester, I suppose. Gosh, that sounds really weird, right?" She giggled a little, the sound dying off when not a single muscle moved on Quinn's face. Swallowing thickly, Rachel continued. "I think Santana blames me. If I had never agreed to the wedding happening so soon, then this wouldn't have happened." She shifted uncomfortably. "And if I hadn't been texting you while you were driving..."
Rachel glanced down at their joined hands. She intertwined their fingers with some effort considering how limp Quinn's hand was, then gave her fingers a gentle squeeze. "People say I'm the dramatic one, but…honestly, Quinn, if you didn't want Finn and I to get married you could have just said something," she joked, heart clenching until a choked sob wretched from her throat. "You didn't have to…" she trailed off as a fresh wave of tears spilled down her face. "Please just come back," she sobbed. "That's enough, Quinn. It's gone too far. We miss you and we need you. I need you. I need you to be my level-headed friend who isn't afraid to tell me when I need to rein it in a little. I need my study buddy in the library after classes. I need you to be my snarky, smart, future valedictorian friend from Yale. I need you to visit me all the time, yet complain about it as if you don't enjoy my company when we both know you do."
She dropped the tissue from her hand and held Quinn's delicate, fragile hand in both of her own with tender care. "I need you, Quinn, please," she whispered. "I love you. A-and I don't want to get into the logistics of how or why or when—I don't know," Rachel cried. "I just know that I do, and that I need you to wake up soon. Help me, Quinn. I don't know what to do about Finn, about anything. We didn't—" she stopped, taking her bottom lip between her teeth in hesitation. "We didn't get married," she breathed shakily. "How could I? You weren't there. And I knew something was wrong. You'd probably think I was silly, but I knew something was wrong. So, I said no." She rubbed at her eye with the back of her arm and grabbed Quinn's hand again hastily. "My fathers were glad that I called it off, of course," she declared with a playful eyeroll. "But Finn's going to want an answer soon. And I can't—not without you. Okay? So, come back."
Someone knocking on the door caught her attention and Rachel turned her distraught gaze towards the right. "Come in," she croaked out.
The door creaked open and Finn peeked his head inside, eyes darting sympathetically to Quinn then to Rachel. "How is she?"
Rachel turned to look down at Quinn sadly. "The doctor said she's stable. She can hear. But she won't wake up." Tears clouded her vision to distort the image of Quinn lying on the bed. "Why won't she wake up, Finn?"
"She will soon, Rach," he said gently, not really believing his own words.
Her breath hitched. "Why won't she come back to me?" she whispered to herself.
Finn shifted uncomfortably at the door. "We should go."
"I'm not leaving," Rachel declared with finality. "I won't leave until she wakes up."
Finn took cautious steps into the room. "That could be weeks."
"Then I'll wait." Her very sanity seemed to depend on whether or not Quinn woke up and the thought terrified her.
He touched her shoulder and she flinched. "Then at least…come eat something with me. We'll go to the cafeteria."
She hadn't eaten in hours and cursed her body's natural urges. Finn wrapped a hand around her bicep and gave a small tug. "Come on. Just for a little while."
Rachel stared longingly at Quinn as she slowly pulled away. She turned to Finn and gave him a small smile in thanks for making her eat when she needed to. They reached the threshold of the door and he walked out first. Rachel turned around one last time to find Quinn's hand lifted slightly, the heel of her palm resting on the bed with her index and middle finger pointing outward as if she was looking for someone's hand to hold.
"Finn!" Rachel yelled as she rushed back inside. "Finn, get the nurse!"
Finn pushed back inside the room, eyes darting from the ECG machine to Quinn still lying unconscious on the bed. "What's wrong?" he asked in a rush.
"Look at her hand! She moved!" Rachel declared proudly. "She moved, she moved. Quinn, you moved," she murmured, pulling up a chair to sit closer to her. She stared down in excitement at that hand still held in its position, desperate to hold it, but wanting the nurse to see first.
"What's the problem?" Catherine asked in fear as she ran inside.
Rachel stood abruptly. "Look at her; she's moved! Does this count?" she asked, not really knowing how comas worked.
Catherine approached slowly, staring at Quinn's fingers curling in on themselves until her palm lay flat on the bed once more. "What happened?"
"I was holding her hand and talking to her. Then my boyfriend," she completely missed Finn's frown, "came in to escort me to the cafeteria. I pulled away from her to leave and when I looked back her hand was raised just as you saw." Rachel's eyes widened, caught the bright florescent lights overhead and shined with eager hopefulness at the prospect of Quinn coming around.
Catherine fished out a tiny flashlight from her breast pocket. She slid in behind Rachel and hovered over Quinn to peel her eyelids back. Rachel caught sight of gorgeous hazel eyes as Catherine shined a flashlight over her pupils. "She isn't conscious yet," Catherine declared, and Rachel's heart deflated. "But the fact that she moved something, even something as simple as her hand on her own is a very good sign." She pulled back to flash Rachel an encouraging smile. "So, don't give up hope."
"I won't," Rachel assured confidently as she plopped back down on her chair. She fixed her sweater to cover more of Quinn's arm and grabbed her hand once more.
"Wait, you aren't coming?" Finn asked incredulously.
"Can you bring me something back?" Rachel asked as she turned to look at him.
"She's in there, Finn. She's alive, and breathing, and thinking, and hearing, and she's probably terrified that she can't move. She didn't want to be alone; that was why she reached out for my hand," Rachel said surely. "And…I can't leave her."
Finn rubbed a hand roughly down his face in irritation that had been building up since the moment Rachel had looked up at him with wide, alarmed eyes and told him she was calling off the wedding. He jammed his hands into his pockets with a deep sigh. "Okay," was all he said before turning around and heading towards the door. He stopped at the threshold, spinning back around to find Rachel smoothing back a lock of Quinn's hair with tenderness and shook his head before walking away.
"Please come back, Quinn," Rachel whispered faintly. "Please come back to me."
She felt weak, pale fingers tighten around her hand the barest hint and smiled.