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The Running Back

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Quinn fought the tears that threatened to spill out of her eyes as she sat in the waiting room. Rachel was so small, so tiny. That hit should have torn her in half; it should have crushed her, or at least that's what Quinn's mind told her. She didn't want to listen to that. Quinn wanted to believe that Rachel would be perfectly fine, but considering the fact that she was sitting in a waiting room that possibility was highly unlikely. Rachel had been in so much pain. She was barely able to move. It had been hard to look at her while she was in such agony, but Rachel needed her.

After the ambulance came Quinn drove after it with Brittany and Santana coming along for the ride to make sure that, not only Rachel, but that Quinn too was okay. That left Gabrielle in charge of the Cheerios. She looked as terrified as everyone else, but she put on a strong face and said that she'd come by to check up on Rachel after the game. Puck had wanted to come along too, but he also wanted to teach Jesse a lesson.

Puck was torn, but Quinn made him promise to make Jesse pay and she'd make sure that Rachel was taken care of. Of course there was really nothing she could do but sit and wait. Brittany and Santana were sitting on either of her. They had been consistently giving her assurances that Rachel would be up and be her natural loud and annoying self in no time. Quinn smiled at their attempts to make her feel better, and they did succeed if only by a little bit.

Both Quinn's and Rachel's parents were also there. In the car, Brittany and Santana had made some calls while Quinn focused on the road. They were all as equally worried as she was. Her father looked the most composed except he couldn't find it in him to sit down. Russell paced back and force, periodically checking the clock on the wall. Quinn refused to do the same. It already had been too long since she had seen her girlfriend. Finding out exactly how long would only prove to make things worse.

Time seemed to slow down and yet it felt like so much of it had just passed them by. It was almost as though it had been hours until the doctor finally came out. They all huddled around him, nervously awaiting the news he had. Quinn listened intently but he said that Rachel would be okay she drowned out most everything else he had to say. All that mattered was that her girlfriend was alive and that she'd be, after some healing, perfectly okay.

The doctor told them that Rachel had broken some ribs; a few had only been slightly fractured. She was awake and so they could visit her but the doctor requested that they go in small groups. Her dads went in first and Quinn went back to her seat. Brittany and Santana were back at her sides. She took a hold of both of their hands. "Thanks for being here," she told them.

"Of course we'd be here," Brittany said. "We'll always be there for you."

"Yeah," Santana agreed. "We know you care about her, and she's not that bad."

Rachel's dads didn't take too to check in on their daughter. They wanted her to get her rest and they knew that there were plenty of other people who wanted to make sure that she was all right. Once they exited they went over to Quinn and told her that Rachel had asked for her. Quinn simply nodded and got to her feet. Brittany and Santana asked if she wanted their company, but Quinn declined. She went over to the room where her girlfriend was and walked inside. The moment she saw her, Quinn couldn't stop herself. She ran over to Rachel and took her into a big hug. Rachel smiled and hugged her back but then she groaned in pain.

"Ow!"

Quinn immediately pulled back. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry," she apologized quickly. "I was just so worried and I was so happy to see you." She reached out slowly and gently cupped her face. "It's just that- I'm just…" The words got lost in her throat. Tears streamed down her face. "I'm just so happy to know that you're okay."

"I'm sorry I worried you."

"Don't be; it wasn't you're fault." Quinn went to hug Rachel again but she stopped before fully wrapping her arms around her girlfriend. "Is it okay?" she asked. "I'll be more careful this time." Rachel nodded and then pulled Quinn in for a hug. Quinn kissed the side of her face and when she pulled back she gave her another kiss on the lips. "Are you hungry? I can go and find you something to eat while other people visit; there's lot of them waiting out there and I'm pretty sure the game should be over by now so the team should be coming by soon too."

"I'm not that hungry, but okay. Don't be too long."

"I'll be back before you know it."

Quinn went down to the cafeteria. There was a decent selection but, after making sure that it was vegan friendly, Quinn just got Rachel some pudding cups. She just wanted to ensure that Rachel had something in her stomach and if she wanted something more than Quinn would happily get her some more food. Brittany and Santana were in Rachel's room when Quinn got back there so she took a seat in the waiting room while they talked.

It wasn't soon later until Puck showed up. He looked to be a little worse for wear, like he'd been in a fight. Quinn was almost certain that that had been the case. He walked over to her and asked how Rachel was. Once Quinn informed him that she would be okay he breathed out a sigh of relief. Exhausted, he collapsed into the seat beside her. He said something about how the rest of the team would be over as soon as they could while also implying that he may have broken a few laws while on his own way to the hospital. "That fucker's lucky that she's going to be all right." Quinn simply nodded.

"I hope you taught him a lesson."

"Yeah," Puck confirmed. "Might have given him a black eye," he added with a shrug. "Not really sure. Things got kind of intense. All I know for sure that it that everyone was aiming to kick the crap out of him. Wouldn't be too surprised we end up seeing him rolled up being rolled up here in a stretcher." Quinn couldn't tell if and how much Puck was exaggerating, but didn't care to ask him. A brief silence fell over them until Quinn decided to break it.

"You know, I used to think that you and Rachel were together," she told him, earning a disbelieving stare. "The two of you were practically inseparable. You have no idea how jealous I was, especially with the way that you'd shamelessly flirt with every girl on the squad."

"Guess that explains why I always got the feeling that you hated me."

"I wouldn't use the word hate, but… yeah and I'm sorry," she apologized.

"It's in the past," Puck reasoned, shoving the topic aside. "Besides, I never took it personally. It would have been nice to know though." He shook his head a little. "Wouldn't have had to have gone through with this crazy plan of hers if she only knew you liked her; and she's supposed to be the smart one. I knew that I should have never gotten her onto the team."

"Hey, this isn't your fault. It's..." The words never left her throat because at that moment she saw him. Rage burned inside her. Quinn got up and marched straight to him. He opened his mouth to say something but before he could Quinn slapped him across the face. "What do you think you're doing here?" Jesse rubbed his cheek and shook off the stinging pain that he must have felt.

"I'm here to check up on Rachel," he explained with an even tone.

"Why? So you can see how badly she's hurt?" Quinn accused with venom in her voice. She could hear footsteps and while she couldn't see them, Quinn knew that everyone was standing behind her. "Rachel doesn't want to see you so why don't you leave?"

"It's not even like that!" Jesse all but yelled, clearly offended. "I didn't even hit her."

"I saw what happened. I know you didn't hit her," Quinn pointed out. "But you have to think I'm stupid if you actually believe that I don't know that you have something to do with what happened back there." Quinn balled her fists. "Rachel could have been broken in half. She could have been killed." Puck held her back and stepped in front of her.

"Why don't you just do what she says?" he suggested, trying his best to sound calm and collected. He stared Jesse down, using just the slightest amount of intimidation to coax him into leaving. Jesse was stubborn though and he refused to move. Quinn could tell that since they were in a hospital that Puck was trying his hardest not to punch Jesse right in the face, but his patience was wearing thin. And Puck was never the most patient guy to begin with. It almost looked like things were going to take a violent turn when Russell stepped in between the two of them.

"Jesse, why don't you and I have a little talk?" he asked while subtly leading him away. Quinn silently thanked her dad. She watched the two of them round a corner and then, after a few moments, heard a loud groan. Russell then reappeared from the hallway that they had gone into. She could see him shaking his hand as she approached.

"What did you just do daddy?"

"Jesse and I just had a nice chat sweetheart," he told her. "I explained to him the difference between right and wrong." He gave a small nod. "I think he learned a valuable lesson." Quinn smiled at him and checked on him hand. "It's nothing," he said as he pulled his hand back. "I can take of it, and don't you have a girlfriend you need to feed." He pointed to the pudding cups that Quinn had left by her seat.

"Yeah… yeah, I guess I do." Before she left, Quinn gave her dad a big hug. "Thank you." Once she was done Quinn retrieved the snack that she had gotten for Rachel and went back into her room. Quinn sat at Rachel's bedside while she fed her the pudding. Despite claiming that she wasn't hungry, Rachel ended up asking for more and Quinn was glad that she had brought extra. Admittedly, there was a part of Quinn that thought that Rachel just liked the idea of being fed pudding by her girlfriend.

After finishing the second cup Puck poked his head in and upon noticing that Quinn was already inside decided to quickly back out, but Rachel had other ideas. "Noah?" she called. "It's okay Noah, you can come in. Quinn doesn't mind, do you baby?"

"No, it's okay," Quinn assured as she picked up another pudding cup. She gestured to it to see if Rachel wanted some more and after some thought her girlfriend eagerly nodded her head. Quinn giggled and opened it up. "You can come in Puck, I'm just feeding her." He came back inside slowly walked over to her, just barely able to look her in the eye.

"How you feeling Jew Babe?"

"I'm okay. Doctor says that I won't be able to play, but I'm okay. How about you, are you okay?"

"Fine," he shrugged, to which Rachel frowned. She tried to sit up but the movement only caused her some pain and she gave out a groan. Quinn and Puck quickly helped her back onto her back. "Hey, hey, hey. Just lie down Rach; you shouldn't be exerting yourself."

"And you shouldn't be lying to me," Rachel argued. She pouted and crossed her arms over her chest. "I would have gotten on the team one way or another Noah," she pointed out. "It might have ended up taking more time, but I'd have found a way." Noah let out a small chuckle and nodded. Given the amount of determination that Rachel, it wasn't hard to believe that she would have. Quinn got another spoonful of pudding and fed it to her girlfriend. She then kissed her on the cheek and on her forehead. Rachel really was amazing.

Beside then, Noah sighed. He gave himself a light punch on the arm. "Ow."

"Hey, that's my job!" They all laughed for a bit until Rachel felt a stinging in her abdomen. Quinn and Puck leaned in to check on her but she assured them that that she was fine. "Did we win?" she asked.

"Yeah," Puck nodded. "We scored two more touchdown and they got nothing. Speaking of which." He quickly ducked out of the room only to return soon after with a football in hand. He handed it to Rachel. "It's the game ball," he told them. The team agreed that you should have it." In awe, Rachel could hardly form words. "Don't even think about refusing. It's yours. You deserve it." Rachel smiled a tearful smile.

"I don't know what to say. Tell the team thanks."

"Sure thing Jew Babe." He gave her a soft hug. "I'll give you two some private time."

Rachel examined the ball closing after he left. There was nothing special about it and yet there still was. Quinn could tell that Rachel would cherish greatly, but also thought that it would look quite out of place sitting next to one of Rachel's Care Bears. She fed her another spoonful of pudding. "The game ball, huh? My girl's a real stud, isn't she?" she asked, earning a grin and a kiss on the lips.