“Rachel?” Puck jumped to his feet when she started slurring and staggering in the middle of her song. With every long second that passed, she looked worse and worse…something was wrong. “Rachel!” he shouted again as her slurring turned to incoherent mumbling and her eyes started shifting as she seemed to lose focus. She stumbled and swayed hard to her left; she landed haphazardly in Puck’s arms a moment later, unconscious.
“Rachel? Rach, wake up!” He shouted helplessly at the limp form in his arms. “Call 9-1-1,” he barked at nobody, nodding once when he saw Kurt pull out his cell phone. The rest of the club was gathering quickly around the pair on the floor, concern torn across their faces.
“Puck,” Quinn glanced at him, the fear in her voice clear amongst the din of their peers. “She’s barely breathing.”
He looked up at her, his eyes showing everything he was afraid to say. “Hummel, tell them to get here fast; she might be having a stroke.”
Everything blurred in the room after that, the panic bustling around in the long minutes while they waited for the ambulance to arrive. When Rachel had stopped breathing, Puck sealed his mouth around hers and breathed for her. His hand never left her neck, making sure her heart never stopped beating; he knew his life wouldn’t be worth living if her heart stopped. When the paramedics hooked her up to countless tubes and wires and strapped her onto a gurney, they all rushed out the door to follow. Mr. Schue grabbed Puck’s shoulder as he headed toward his truck, yanking his keys from his pocket, but quickly released him, defeated; they were all scared, and Puck needed to be with his girl.
(He’d made a silent promise to everyone to watch out for her when she was diagnosed with high blood pressure a few years ago. He couldn’t let anything happen to her and he prepared himself for the worst possible scenarios – even the ones she wouldn’t think of or talk about herself – because she promised him forever, and he was going to hold her to it.)
Rachel groaned and stirred in bed.
“Rachel, can you hear me, babe?” Puck leaned over the bed and grabbed her hand. She’d been unconscious since the event in the choir room almost 24 hours ago and he was starting to worry.
“Am I in a hospital?” she mumbled, her eyes blinking slightly as she glanced around.
“Rachel, you had a TIA,” he told her point-blank. “Your blood pressure was so high by the time the paramedics got to you that I thought you were having a freakin’ stroke.” He shook his head. “I thought I was going to have a stroke.”
“I didn’t finish my song,” she shook her head.
He chuckled as he perched on the edge of her bed. “No, you kinda failed at that one. And I hate to break it to you, but you’re never going to be able to play contact sports again with the blood thinners the doctor put you on.”
She finally managed a smile. A small, but straight smile. “Well that’s disappointing as I was planning to go out for women’s basketball next year,” she joked along with him. After a moment, she looked up at him and dropped the smile. “How bad was it? The attack I had?”
“Sit up,” he instructed. “You tell me.”
With some help, Rachel sat up and hung her feet over the edge of the bed.
“Hold onto me,” Rachel said softly, but her eyes gave a plea, ‘don’t let me fall’, they said.
With a breath and a prayer, Rachel stood on her own two feet, with Puck encouraging her the whole time. When she was balance and realized she was supporting her body, she laughed, tears burning at her eyes. “I’m a little dizzy.”
“Ya been unconscious for a day and you’re alone in a room with me; it’s to be expected,” he teased. “You’re gonna be just fine, babe.” Puck wrapped his arms around her and held tight, promising to never let anything happen to her.