In the outside world, it was night by now. Quinn hoped that her friends were safe at home now, lying in their beds, without dust and gravel all over them, without their feet hurting because they had tripped over rubble one too many times, without being hungry and thirsty.
They were lucky they weren't still in the mall as well when the building collapsed – and she was lucky she was when it happened.
"You're thinking too much, Q…", she looked up smiling as Santana sing-songed in her ear.
The Latina rolled her eyes laughing. "What were you thinking about anyways. It's like you were in some other world."
"Ha, yeah, well, can you blame me? I mean, this place isn't exactly paradise, right?" Santana couldn't help but laugh at the irony. This hell was indeed far from any type of paradise.
"Although I have to say though", Quinn continued, looking at Santana with a flirtatious smile, "this hell isn't so bad with an angel to guide us through it. I have to say, I can't wait until we can walk like this", lifting their intertwined hands up pointedly, "out on the streets."
Santana blushed and looked away quickly at this, but this time Quinn saw the sad expression that played on the brunette's face.
"San, what's wrong?", Quinn asked, suddenly concerned. "You've been really quiet since we started walking again… Are you still worried you won't get us out of here? Or is it the walking on the streets part."
The smaller girl didn't answer, but Quinn felt the hand she was holding get tense.
"Santana, what's wrong." She grasped the girl and turned her to face her, cupping her cheek as the Latina refused to meet her eyes. "Why are you-"
She stopped and whipped her head to the side suddenly, just like Santana did.
The others caught up with them and saw them standing completely still, staring intently into the darkness.
"Ehm, guys? Santana, what's going-" Ally was quickly interrupted by Santana holding her hand up and shushing her.
They all fell silent right away and listened, but they couldn't hear anything but their own breathing. Ally was about to ask Santana again, when they heard a small sound, like a cry or something.
Before the rest could even really register what they were hearing, Santana was already on the move toward the noise.
"Hello? Is someone still here? Make some noise again so we can find you!"
Everyone was dead silent as they waited, and began to think that they had heard wrong, when suddenly something that resembled a sob was heard, followed by a pained: "Oh god, help me, please help me!"
Santana didn't need any more encouragement and immediately moved to where she thought the person must be, beginning to move boulders already, digging away at the rubble to find whomever was stuck there.
The others recovered themselves pretty quickly, and Quinn, Frank and Bill went over to help Santana, trying to create some kind of opening.
The sobs became louder as they worked on, and Quinn felt the need to comfort the poor woman – they had heard enough of her soft 'help me's' to understand that this was indeed a woman – and so she talked to her.
"Please, stay calm, we're trying to get you out of here. Just breathe slowly, and say something when we get closer, or if we hurt you. Can you do that?"
They heard the person take deep breaths, followed by a soft and muffled "okay". The four of them kept searching, every once in a while asking the woman to make some kind of noise, and they began to feel their motivation lessen until they finally uncovered a hole in the rubble.
Santana shone her phone's light through the hole, and saw that it led to a slightly larger space, about as large as the elevator they had been stuck in earlier, although here the ceiling went all the way to the floor, apparently supporting the weight of the fallen building.
They saw the woman only a few feet away to the higher side of the space to their right, lying face down, her body shaking and her eyes shut close as the light shone on her. Her face was obviously stained with tears and dust, and her eyes were apparently filling up again as she saw what were probably the first people she had seen in hours of being stuck in that place.
"I… I c-can't believe it… Someone's here… Someone came for me… You're here… I'm not going to die alone!" She broke down into heavy sobs, causing Santana and Quinn to move over to her side right away, the guys following just behind them.
"Shh…", Quinn was whispering soothingly into the woman's ear, stroking her face. "It's going to be alright, you're not going to die. We'll get you out of here. Come on, let's get you up."
She tried to help the woman up, but she refused. "I c-can't… I'm stuck."
"Quinn…" Santana said it softly, to draw the girl's attention to where she was hunched over. There, Quinn saw that one of the woman's calves was stuck underneath a stray roof beam. Luckily for her, her leg wasn't supporting the full weight of the beam – and part of the rubble that it was stuck under on the right – because the other part was supported by some big chunk of concrete, or whatever it was.
The guys came stand with them and had the same shocked look on their faces Quinn had. After all, it was one thing to be stuck in an elevator with 10 others, but at least they could still walk around and try. This woman had been forced to stay here by herself, probably thinking there was no possibility for her to get out of here. But even with them there, was it possible for them to get her out of here?
Quinn looked at Santana and saw that the girl was studying the leg and the beam. She saw her maul over something, uncertainty in her gaze, until she saw the brunette nod to herself, the fierce look in her eyes once again.
She made her way over to the woman's face, so she could talk to her directly, and took a deep breath before locking eyes with her.
"Okay, first of all, what's your name?" Santana's words had the same fierceness she had had all day long, but her look was soft, and the way she touched the woman's shoulders as she spoke showed that she was trying to be gentle but decisive at the same time.
"H- Hannah", the woman said shakily, her bright blue eyes staring at Santana at the same time fearful and hopeful.
She still looks so young… Probably has a family… Maybe I should ask- No Lopez, get your act together! That type of question won't calm her down, anything but that, and you need her calm to get her out of here… If that's even possible. I can't imagine what she must have been thr- No, focus! No getting teary-eyed here, you are a girl on a mission, joder!
"Okay, Hannah, listen to me. I'm gonna ask you to do one thing, and that is to stay calm, you get me? I don't do tears, and sobbing and shit. It won't help you, and it definitely won't help me try to get you out of here, am I clear?"
Hannah shot her head up a little to say something, but with one of Santana's famous HBIC glares she fell silent right away and simply nodded fervently. After all, she had heard the girl say that she would try to get her out of here. That was the most hope she had felt since the collapse.
"Alright then, it's good that we're clear. Now, let me ask you, have you had any feeling in your foot after this happened?"
The woman started to tear up right away, but remembering Santana's words she collected herself and just nodded that she hadn't.
"Does it hurt a lot?"
The woman nodded. "Eh… Yeah, but it's gone numb a while ago…"
"Does it feel numb all the way up your legs?"
"No, I don't think so… I mean, I can feel that my knee is kind of painful after lying here for so long, so…"
Santana nodded at this. "Okay, that's a good sign. I think it's time for us to try and get you out of this hell-hole, so all you have to do is lay perfectly still and let us do all the work, okay?"
Hannah started to nod at first, but then her head shot up and she had a look of fear in her eyes.
"Are you… Are you going to cut of my leg?" She tried not to cry like the Latina had told her, but her body started to shake uncontrollably as the woman sobbed loudly.
Santana looked at her in surprise, her eyebrows quirked up.
"Am I going to… what? Oh hell no, there's no way in hell I'm doing that! I'd have to wait at least 127 hours to do something like that!" She ended with a joke, chuckling at the suggestion the woman had made.
"Then, what are we going to do?" This time it was Bill who asked the question.
"We're going to try to lift the beam", Santana answered simply, making it sound like it would be the easiest thing to do.
The others had their mouths wide open as she said this, causing her to roll her eyes.
Listen, guys, I don't even want to hear it, we're going to try and that's final. If you-" pointing at Bill "-really want to chop off her leg, you can do that after, but first, we're gonna do this my way, vale?"
The two guys and Quinn nodded, waiting for some instructions.
"Okay, first thing, we need a strong rock-boulder-thingy that is just a bit bigger than her leg, that we can slide underneath the beam as we lift it, so that the thing doesn't come crashing down on top of her again. If we got that, Frank and I are gonna try and lift the beam at the high end, and Bill, you're going to put the boulder underneath the beam. After that, I'll steady the thing, and the three of you pull Hannah out, steadying her leg so that it doesn't get damaged any more. Is that clear, or what?"
The three others were dumbfounded by the idea, but the two men quickly set out on a search for the right stone, leaving Santana alone with Quinn and Hannah.
"Santana…", Quinn said, asking the girl's attention. "Maybe you should let Bill help Frank with the lifting. You're hurt and-"
"I know what you're saying, but it's better if Bill stays with her. If something comes up, Frank needs to help me, and I don't think the two of us would be able to get the woman out of there on our own. If Bill is with you, it might just work."
"Q, I promise, it'll be fine." She said, cupping the girl's cheek and looking into her eyes. "Besides, I'm already pretty roughed up, a little more won't hurt me." She had intended it as a joke, but Quinn wasn't really laughing. She was going to say something when the guys crawled back into the hole, carrying a good rock.
"Alright, let's get this party started then," Santana said, quickly getting up from her place next to Quinn and moving over to the beam. Frank shrugged off his expensive vest – it was all worn out by now anyways – and set himself up next to Santana, who was already bending down to be able to get a good grip.
"Bill, next to the lower side of the beam with the rock. Shout when you think it's stable, then carefully try and get Hannah out. Hannah-", the woman tried to look to her side to see Santana, "-I know you're probably weak right now, so don't move and let us help you. You'll probably only make things harder if you panic, so don't panic. And if it hurts, you can shout, but if it hurts so much you want us to stop, just say 'applesauce'." The woman nodded, but Quinn looked at Santana with a questioning look on her face.
The Latina just shrugged it off. "It's a youth club-thing." She rolled up her sleeves and got ready. "Okay, on 3 – 1, 2, 3!"
Santana and Frank both held on tight to the beam and started to lift it. Slowly, Quinn could see the woman whimpering in pain, but she could also see that the beam was inching up, one millimetre at a time.
She saw that Santana and Frank were having a hard time, Santana having to hold onto the beam with only her left hand and her right elbow, seeing as her wrist was still pretty messed up. They were sweating by the buckets and breathing hardly, and Quinn just wanted to go over there and hug Santana, tell her to give up, but she didn't.
She stuck to her place, prepared to get the woman out of that hell, praying for all of them to get out of there in one piece.
"We're almost there, just a few more guys!" Quinn looked up to see Bill shouting at them, his eyes obviously focused on the beam and the leg, the boulder in his hand.
"Yes! Easy, keep it up, I'm going to shove the rock in! Just keep it steady guys!"
Santana and Frank were working hard to keep the beam up, obviously at the end of their wits, when Bill quickly but carefully placed the boulder, steadying it underneath the beam.
"Okay, you can softly let go, it should be kept in place."
The two of them softly dropped the beam, until it rested on the rock. Frank and Santana breathed a heavy sigh of relief, but Santana also took action right away.
"Okay-", she panted, still holding onto the thing, -"Frank and Bill, you pull the girl out softly. Quinn, go the her like and try to stabilize it. Hurry!"
Frank let go after het was sure Santana was able to steady it, and went with Bill to the girl's body, whilst Quinn moved over to the leg, reaching underneath the beam to be able to get to her ankles.
They had only started inching the woman out of there, when Quinn felt something crumble somewhere above her to her right, causing the beam to shift to her side, sliding away from the rock. Her heart nearly stopped in fear as she saw the beam move down on her, and she took a deep breath as realization hit her.