A/N: Just wanted to add that, in this story, Rachel and Quinn are best friends as are Santana and Quinn, though Quinn does still attend Yale and they all see each other every few weeks or so. Rachel is very close to Kurt as well, and her friendship with Santana has been growing. Enjoy! XO-Chrmdpoet
Chapter Two: The Things That Haunt Us
Elaine asked me if there was someone that I would need to call for Rachel, and while her dads immediately came to mind, I realized that I didn't have their number. I had only been living with Rachel and Kurt for a few months and while Rachel and I had certainly grown into more of a solid friendship after the whole man-whore boyfriend debacle, we had only just begun to get close. So, with shaky hands, I pulled my phone from my pocket and dialed the only person I could think of in the moment that could provide the information as well as the comfort that I needed—Rachel's best friend as well as my own. I put the phone on speaker and waited, my breaths still coming in hiccups and gasps from my endless sobbing over the last hour and a half. On the third ring, a familiar raspy voice answered, echoing through the chaotic ER.
"Santana!" Quinn answered affectionately, and I instantly crumbled. The familiarity of Quinn's voice was such a comfort in that moment that I could hardly breathe or think or move, but the joy in her tone was just too much. I dissolved into heaving breaths and heavy sobs once more while I listened to my best friend's voice instantly change from elation to panic.
"Santana?" Quinn asked timidly, her own voice now shaking as I'm sure a million terrible possibilities flitted through her mind to explain my distress. "Santana, what is it? Talk to me, honey. Take a breath, and talk to me." I tried to answer, but I couldn't. I could only continue to gasp and cry, my heart-wrenching sobs and moans crashing through the speaker and probably only amplifying her panic. "Santana, please, you're scaring me," she pleaded, but I was lost. I was choking on my own words, so I simply handed the phone to Elaine and hoped that she could do what I couldn't.
Elaine patted my shoulder affectionately and took the phone from hand and spoke into the speaker, "Hello, may I ask with whom I am speaking, please?"
"Um, Qu-Quinn Fabray," I heard Quinn say before she asked her own question. "Who is this?"
"Miss Fabray, my name is Elaine, I am a nurse at Bellevue hospital in Manhattan—" Elaine started, but Quinn's voice quickly cut her off.
"Oh god," I heard her cry, "Is Santana…is she okay?" And at that, I only crumbled further. New sobs racked my body as tears spilled down my cheeks, and for the love of God, I couldn't stop crying. I had been at it for over an hour and I still couldn't stop. I wasn't even the one who'd been hurt, but I couldn't shake the images in my mind—images of Rachel and the way she'd looked when I found her. My stomach roared its protest to the sudden flickering pictures in my mind and I found myself doubled over once more, heaving bitter bile onto the floor at my feet.
Elaine only patted my back and continued her conversation with Quinn. "Yes ma'am," she reassured my best friend. "Santana is fine, but are you of any relation to a Rachel Berry?"
A deafening and guttural sob instantly ripped through the air and into the speaker of the phone, and it was several seconds later before I realized that the terrifying sound had actually come from me, from my own throat, from my own heart. This…it was more than I could handle, and just hearing Rachel's name, from my own lips or from the nurse's, only solidified the moment and all that had happened and was still happening. I had been through a lot of shit in my life and had had more than my fair share of shitty days, but never had I experienced anything like this. No, this…this was the worst day of my life.
And it only grew worse by the minute, because I had absolutely no fucking idea what was going on. I just wanted to know if she was okay, but at the same time, I just wanted to get her out of my head. I wanted to see her the way she was yesterday or the day before or even in high school when she was an annoyingly verbose drama queen in animal sweaters and hanging all over Finn Hudson. God, I'd give anything for those to be the images in my head, but instead, all I had was…was…
"No ma'am," Quinn's voice filtered into the air, snapping me back to reality, and I could hear the fear in her voice, the subtle crack to her tone that betrayed that she, too, had begun to cry. Part of me ached further for the pain and panic in my best friend's voice, but another part of me desperately wanted her to be broken with me, just so that I wouldn't have to be alone in this. Part of me wanted her to be a wreck…a mess like me, a mess over the girl we'd both tormented once, the girl who once taught us that we could be so much more than pretty faces and cheerleading uniforms; a mess over Rachel Berry. "Is…is Rachel…what happened to her?"
"That's not entirely clear yet, ma'am," Elaine told her, and I just shook my head as my pulse pounded in my ears and my eyes stung from clenching them closed and crying. "Are you Miss Berry's emergency contact or do you a have a way of reaching such a person?"
"I can, um…yes, I can call her fathers and give them the information for the hospital, but they live in Ohio, so…I'm not sure how long it will take them to make it there," I heard Quinn stutter and rattle off, her voice cracking again. "Is Santana…can you tell her that I'm coming, please? Tell her I'm getting on the train and I'll be there soon. Can you tell her that, please?"
I could only cry harder at that, and my heart simultaneously clenched and swelled in my chest. Soon, I wouldn't be alone and that was a blessing unlike any other I could think of at the moment, but it was also a curse, because that meant that soon, Quinn would know exactly how bad it was, how bad everything was, and before that happened…I just…I needed to tell my friend that she was important to me, because I hadn't ever told Rachel that and all I could think was that I should have. It was in that moment that I found my voice again, and I managed to loudly stutter, "I l-love you, Qu-Quinn."
I heard Quinn sigh heavily through the speaker before her raspy, broken voice echoed through, saying, "I love you, too, Santana," and with that she hung up, and I was on my own again—just me and a random nurse I didn't know except for her name, but somehow felt comforted by. Elaine smiled sadly at me and handed me several tissues for the mess that was my face, and I could only nod in gratitude.
"Elaine?" Both Elaine's head and mine snapped up and turned in the direction of the voice. A doctor in a white coat, green scrubs, and a green scrub cap was standing just off to the side and motioning for Elaine to join him. "A word, please?" he asked, and Elaine patted my knee before turning and walking the few steps over to him, not quite far enough that I couldn't overhear what they were saying, and it was only a matter of seconds before I heard my own name and chills shot down my spine.
"Dr. Hart," Elaine acknowledged the man as she stepped over to him, and he nodded to her.
"Is there a Santana here anywhere? Do you know? I checked the waiting room, but—"
"I'm Santana," I croaked, butting quickly into their conversation and forcing my gravelly voice steady, and it trembled regardless, but at least I managed not to stutter. My anxiety spiked as he nodded quickly and stepped over until he was standing where Elaine had only just stood in front of me. He extended a hand to shake mine, but I quickly shook my head and glanced down at my hands still covered in Rachel's blood. He followed my gaze and nodded with a sad smile before saying, "My name is Dr. Hart. Are you related to Miss Berry?" He glanced to Elaine, as if to ask if he'd gotten the name right, and she nodded quickly.
"No sir," I answer him. "She's…she's my roommate." He nodded again and continued.
"Okay, Santana, well we have stopped the bleeding and Miss Berry is stable for now, but she is going to need some surgery and…" he hesitated, his gaze penetrating my own as if he was afraid of how I'd take whatever he was about to say, and with good reason, because the next words that came out of his mouth had me retching into the floor again, "…a rape kit." He awkwardly patted my shoulder as I heaved but nothing came out, my stomach now empty and aching. "But she is conscious now and understandably rather distraught. As required with all possible rape cases, we have notified the police and they are on their way, and you will have to provide a statement when they arrive, but as of right now, Miss Berry is panicked and refusing to allow anyone to touch her."
My heart exploded in my chest, clenching painfully as his words crashed over me, and all I could picture in that moment was Rachel panicking somewhere in this hospital, terrified and broken and surrounded by only strangers. "She has been calling your name repeatedly, and as it is very important that we perform the appropriate tests as soon as possible and get her into surgery, we need her calm and cooperative. So, if you could come with me, I can take you to see her and perhaps you could help comfort and calm her."
My pulse quickened until it grew into a frantic rhythm, pounding violently against my ribcage as a painfully large lump formed in my throat and my eyes stung with fresh tears. "Santana?" I heard Elaine call to me and I turned to look at her, my body trembling and my teeth cutting into my lip as I bit into it, drawing blood. "Can you do that? Can you go and see Rachel?" She spoke to me like you would talk to a kid, but I couldn't blame her. I was a slobbering, whimpering, quivering mess and I was barely holding it together, but I nodded nonetheless and forced myself onto my feet.
My knees quaked and knocked together as they tried to hold my weight, screaming in protest as my body ached with exhaustion. After several moments, I steadied myself and nodded to the doctor that I was ready. He nodded in return and motioned for me to follow him, and I did, feeling Elaine's small hand pat my back encouragingly as we passed by her. I trailed behind the doctor silently, my fidgeting fists clenched into the material of my blood-soaked shirt and my gaze trained on the stark white of his coat-clad back as we made our way through the doors of the ER and down a bustling hallway.
Nurses and doctors alike glanced in my direction. I could see them from my peripheral, catching glimpses of grimaces or sad expressions as they took in my blood-stained clothing and my tear-soaked cheeks. I didn't look at them, though; at least not directly. I could only handle so much, and I was already at the end of my rope as far as that went. I tried to block out the blurs of people surrounding me and the sounds spilling into my ears. I tried not to picture Rachel or what she would look like or what she would say or if she would say anything at all or why she had been asking for me of all people. I guess I knew the answer to that. Right after I'd found her, she'd come into consciousness for only a minute or two. I can still feel her hands clutching onto me and hear her voice shakily whispering my name before she fell from the world again. The sound of it haunted my memory every second.
I tried not to think about Quinn and how she would react to all of this or about Rachel's dads and how they would be completely and utterly broken by what had happened. I tried so desperately to shut it all out, forcing it all down and away until nothing remained but the bright white lab coat in front of me and the brisk pace that now carried me through Bellevue Hospital, and before I could even process how far we had gone or where we were, doors swung open in front of me and Dr. Hart led me into a small examination room where I came face to face with a very frantic, but very much alive, Rachel Berry.