They had been trapped here for over four hours now. Getting through the hallway to a staircase seemed easy enough and it would only have taken them 10 minutes to get to the other end in a normal situation, but unfortunately, right now the situation was anything but normal.
There were big chunks of rubble lying around, parts of ceiling, parts of the lights that used to be on the ceiling, making it hard for all of them to move around. At some points they literally had to crawl over big heaps of concrete, which proved to be very difficult for all of them, especially the wounded – which they almost all were.
Santana often looked back over to Frank and Fran –haha, good name-combo – and went back to help them a couple of times at first, but after that Bill and Mary and the others started helping them a hand.
Santana inwardly laughed a bit at this. Good bonding exercise – just put some people in a freaking cave with only a small possibility of getting out, and they'll either eat each other alive or actually grow closer. I don't even want to think what will happen when it the stairs are closed off and their hope was all for nothing…
She went slower and looked sad all of a sudden. A dozen what-ifs and maybe's popped into her head. Was it really okay for me to take charge here? I mean, seriously, I don't know shit about this type of situation. But she decided she didn't have a choice. Going forward should be better than curling up in a corner and crying, right?
Quinn had been watching the girl for a while now, getting closer and closer to her as the others sometimes stayed back to help each other now. She saw her eyes get sad, and suddenly very fierce again.
Quinn sighed… That girl was amazing. She had been helping all of them, without asking for anything in return. She was the only that hadn't even cried yet. It was like she was fearless…
Yeah, Santana is definitely fearless and amazing. And totally smart. And really really hot…
Quinn shook her head to get that thought out. Not appropriate, seriously! We could freaking die, and all I'm thinking about are her lips, and her body, and…
"Yo, Quinn, you okay?"
Santana had noticed her staring and had come back to walk – or more like, stumble - next to her.
Quinn snapped out of her daze and focused her attention on the girl in front of her again.
"I, uh…" She started, but she couldn't even finish her sentence. What the hell kind of excuse can I give for swooning over a girl when we could be dying.
Santana interpreted her silence as something else. She couldn't even imagine that a perfectly pretty girl like Quinn would have any interest, so she just immediately blamed something else. She nodded and softly smiled at Quinn, after which she turned her attention to the group behind them.
"Okay guys, I think this would be as good a time and place as any to rest up a bit. We've been walking for like over 2 hours now, and some rest from all the friggin' rock-climbing wouldn't be bad. If you've got any water, share it, but be sparse! No need to die from dehydration."
The others looked extremely relieved and settled down in the hallway. Frank put Fran down very calmly and continued to talk to her. They all quietly started talking to each other, having become more friendly because of the situation they were in.
Quinn was also included in the conversation, but she couldn't keep her attention away from the Latina, who was sitting on a rock a bit away from the rest of them, leaning her head against the wall.
The blonde went up to Santana and held some water in front of her. "No need for you to die of dehydration either", she joked, smiling down on the brunette.
Santana smiled up at her. "Thanks, Q." She took the water and took one small sip to please the blonde.
"Okay, San, did you even drink? 'Cause it looks like nothing went out of my bottle." Quinn eyes the girl suspiciously. "Seriously, I know you think you have to be the strongest here, but that doesn't mean you should stop taking care of yourself."
Santana gave a kind of sad laugh at this. She looked up into the hazel eyes.
"You know, huh? Really?" She smiled sadly and shook her head. "So you've had the responsibility of 10 freaking other people on you often then, huh? You've had to weigh everything you did or said, because apparently you were their only hope? I don't think you get it Quinn!" Her voice was getting louder, but still quiet enough to not alarm the others.
"What do you think will happen when I show a bit of doubt? When I start crying? Because I do doubt things, you know? I doubt everything now, Q. If I say go left and we were supposed to go right, it will all have been my fault! Do you get me? So don't say you know." Santana's head fell. "Because you don't."
Quinn was shocked at all the emotions she had seen in the Latina's dark eyes. Even with the little light they had, she could see her determination, her sadness, and her fear.
When she thought about what Santana had said, she knew the girl was right. She trusted the Latina for a reason she couldn't explain. She felt like taking care of the so selfless girl that had melted her heart the moment she saw her happy smile as she had given her the umbrella.
The others, however, didn't feel like that. They considered Santana as some kind of life raft, and where hanging on to her for dear life, not caring if they might be pushing her under water as they did so. And, in the end, even Quinn was hanging there with them, desperately trying to stay alive.
If Santana showed them any type of fear or weakness now… it would be like their life raft had sunk… They would start clawing at each other to be able to stay above water, but they wouldn't move toward the shore.
As the realization hit her, Quinn went to sit next to Santana. She looked at her intently and gently took the girl's chin in her fingers, lifting her head so the girl's chocolate eyes would meet her own hazel ones.
"You're right… I don't know. And maybe it's best if I don't, for now. But that doesn't mean you should put your health behind everyone else's. If you fall away now, you won't be able to do anything for them. So…" she handed Santana the bottle, "Drink."
Santana looked at her from below, her elbows resting on her legs. She obviously thought about Quinn's remark for a second and then smiled softly.
"Thanks, Q." She took the bottle with her left hand and fumbled it open using that hand alone as well. She took a large gulp now, and sighed deeply after she had drunk. She really needed that.
As she fumbled trying to close the bottle with one hand as well, Quinn couldn't stand it anymore. She took the water and closed it swiftly, locking eyes with Santana, a concerned look in her eyes.
"Your hand… What happened?"
Santana didn't answer this one, and looked away from the blonde. She knew she couldn't deny something was wrong, but she sure as hell wasn't going to tell Quinn what had happened to it.
After a while, she sighed and looked back up at the other girl. "It doesn't matter, Q, just forget about it, okay?"
Quinn frowned at that. "No, that's not okay, Santana, why can't you just admit to me what ha-"
Then realization hit her. "It… It was my fault, wasn't it?" She looked at Santana questioningly, getting an affirmation by the way the girl looked away and avoided eye contact.
"You hurt it when you caught me the moment the elevator broke. Your arm broke my fall… Oh my g-"
"It doesn't matter, okay Quinn? Even if you wouldn't have been there, I would probably have hurt it anyways. So chill out." Santana gave the blonde an encouraging smile and leaned her body a bit closer to hers so she could nudge her arm. Their legs touched, and they felt this type of electricity run through them as they kept looking into each other's eyes.
Quinn felt things she had never felt before… What was this girl doing to her? She smiled and coughed as she looked away, but she didn't move her legs. The way their knees were touching just felt right to her.
"Can I see?" Santana was shocked out of her trance as well at this.
"I don't think that that's-"
"Please San," Quinn pleaded as the girl obviously didn't want her to do so.
Santana rolled her eyes. Freaking hazel puppy eyes… And that pout… That's just dangerous. How can anyone ever say no to this girl?
"Fine." She stopped objecting and pulled up the sleeve of her plaid shirt. Quinn took her cell phone to be able to light the damage a bit more.
She gasped when she saw Santana's arm.
Her hand was swollen and bruised, it looked blue all over, but the worst still was her wrist: the skin was ruptured, and Quinn could see some bone sticking out.
Santana saw it herself and was a bit shocked too. Shit, I hadn't expected it to be this bad. She immediately corrected herself though, as she saw the blonde start to shake. She tried to pull away her arm and roll her sleeve back up, but Quinn held onto it and gently put it in her lap.
She went into her backpack for the last pieces of Santana's sweater and started putting a bandage on the girl's arm without saying a word.
Quinn's movements were soft, but Santana could see that something was bothering her. When she felt the blonde's hand shaking against her own, she decided that she couldn't take it any longer.
"Quinn?" The blonde's movements stopped for a second, before she went back to taking care of the wrist, never looking at Santana directly.
"Quinn.", Santana said, more pressingly. "What's wrong? Seriously girl, you're scaring me here."
Santana felt Quinn start to shake even harder, but this time the girl didn't stop bandaging the hand.
"What's wrong? What's wrong?" The blonde almost hissed the words, her voice cracking at her second question. She snapped her head up to look Santana in the eye.
"What's wrong is that you're probably hurt the most out of everyone here, and yet you're the only one who hasn't asked anyone to take care of it! In fact, it's even worse! Even though you're probably in a hell of a lot of pain, you're the one who has to take care of everyone!"
Quinn had finished wrapping the wrist and now took Santana's left hand in her own.
"What's wrong is that instead of telling anyone, you can't even do that, because you have to be everyone's fucking life raft! And I can't even change that right now! I can't tell the others that you're weak and that they need to help you, because you've already convinced me that that would be a bad idea! And I can't take your place as the freaking leader of this band of weaklings, because I'm a fucking weakling myself!"
Quinn let go of the Latina's hands and buried her face in them, crying now.
"Why can't I just take care of you? You shouldn't have to go through this alone…"
Santana's heart broke at this.
"Hey," she whispered softly to the girl. "Quinn, look at me." She turned herself to the girl completely and took her hands in her own again. Their eyes met again.
"Don't blame yourself, okay? It was my choice to do this shit, and I'm staying in for the rest of the ride. Okay?"
Quinn nodded slightly, but didn't seem all that convinced. Santana looked at a point a bit to the blonde's right and mumbled something.
Quinn didn't understand a thing of that. "What did you say, San?"
Santana sighed and blushed a bit. She still couldn't look Quinn directly in the eye.
"I said… You can take care of me… I kind of even think you're the only one who can right now. Just…" At this she looked into Quinn's eyes. Even in the dark, Quinn could see the Latina was blushing furiously. "Just be around me throughout this thing, 'kay? That'll be enough for me." For now.
Quinn looked at her dumbfounded. The tough girl was gone now, she had let her guard down for a few seconds, and in her eyes the blonde could see the silent plea. She couldn't pull herself away from those eyes, and found herself leaning closer to them.
Santana broke the silence.
"So… ehm… We cool?"
Her guards were up again, but when Santana shot a shy smile at Quinn, the latter couldn't help but smile back.
"Yeah we're cool." She saw that the girl was relieved, and on instinct she pulled her in for a hug.
Quinn had folded her arms across the brunette's neck, and felt the girl's initial tension at the contact seep away. Santana clasped her arms around the blonde and rested her head on the girl's shoulder.
Vanilla… I could get used to this.
The Latina grumbled and looked up to see who had disturbed them, pulling away from Quinn and immediately putting up her HBIC mask.
"What?", she scowled, watching as Frank came closer.
"Do you, maybe… I mean, we're all rested up and we think we can go on… If you think that's okay?" The last part was more of a mumble because of Santana's strong gaze. She noticed it herself and corrected her face.
"Yeah, good idea Frank." The guy's face lit up like a dog who had been given a cookie. Too easy.
Santana stood up, quickly rolling her sleeve over her injured and bandaged arm again. She looked down at Quinn as she did so and gave her a quick smile.
"Let's go, blondie."
Quinn stood up, rolling her eyes at the Latina's words, but at the same time smiling inwardly.
What is this girl doing to me? One thing's for sure: it's going to be a loooong Valentine.