Title: No Fear
Pairing: Puck/Rachel, Jesse/Rachel (mentioned)
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em - not making any money off 'em. Dern it.
Summary: Rachel loses her voice. And it's not Finn to help her, but Puck. Season 1 Laryngitis AU.
Word Count: 1,043
Note: For the H/C Bingo at LJ. Prompt: loss of voice
When Rachel felt her throat beginning to hurt while she sang "The Climb," she tried to ignore the pain. After all, the show must go on. She knew she sounded bad, but she plowed on. When the pain became unimaginable, she stopped. Her hand wrapped around her throat. She tried to speak, only for a hoarse sound to come out.
Mr. Shue came up to her and laid a hand on her shoulder. "I think you need to see a doctor," he quietly told her.
The diagnosis came back. Tonsillitis.
Rachel felt her heart crack and fear washed over her.
It seemed everyone knew to walk on eggshells around her. Even Santana, in all of her supreme bitchiness, knew to steer clear of Rachel.
Jesse was not answering her phone calls and Finn seemed to be going out of his way to avoid her along with the rest of the club.
The only person who seemed willing to look the monster in the eyes, so to speak, was Noah. "S'up Berry?"
Rachel turned and nodded her head to him, trying to protect her voice from unnecessary strain.
"How are you feeling?"
Rachel shrugged as she wondered what he could possibly want.
"Can I come over to your house?"
Rachel stared at him.
As if Noah could read her mind, he smirked. "I'll be on my best behavior. I promise."
She rolled her eyes as she closed her locker and walked away. When she glanced back over her shoulder, Noah was eyeing her legs. She shook her head and faced forward once again.
When Noah walked into her room, Rachel was sitting at her desk doing homework. Her cheeks were wet.
Noah zeroed in on it as he pulled her from her chair and over to her bed. "The antibiotics aren't working, are they?"
"You know me so well, don't you?" she hoarsely whispered.
"Will you have to do surgery?"
"Maybe," she admitted. "What if I can sing ever again?" she asked in a small voice.
Noah took her into his arms. "Say that's the worst case scenario. So what?"
"So what?" Rachel asked incredulously. "I'd never be able to live out my dreams."
"At least you'd still have your health."
"That means nothing if I don't have my voice. Noah, I'm like Tinker Bell. I need applause to live. After all, singing and performing are the only things I have going for me. They're the things that make me special."
"That is so not true," Noah rebuked. "Rach, you have an awesome voice. There's no denying that. You're probably one of the best singers in Lima, if not Ohio. But that's not all you have going for you. Not at all."
Rachel tried turning away and Noah gripped her chin so she'd keep looking at him. "Listen to me. You're hot and smart. You're fun to be around when you calm down. You're compassionate, and you can be pretty loyal when a person earns it. You also have a way of making people feel good about themselves."
"When?" Noah looked down, and this time, Rachel was the one gripping a chin. Their noses almost touched, and she gulped due to their close proximity as their breaths mingled. "Noah?"
"When we dated, you made me feel as if I was someone special. As if I had something that someone like you saw that made me worth caring about. Quinn had always called me a Lima Loser, but you made me believe that wasn't true."
Rachel could tell he was embarrassed by his admission, so she decided to admit something herself. "I could say the same thing about you. You are the first person, male or female, that ever made me feel attractive. I felt your desire in more ways than one, and it made me feel good about myself. More than one person commented how tolerable I was while I was your girlfriend. They said I was less crazy, less intense, and I think that's because you made me feel secure, something I wasn't, and am still not, used to."
Noah moved to grip Rachel's hand, and Rachel returned the hold. "Then why aren't we together when it's obvious we should be?"
"Maybe because of fear. Fear of what we could mean to each other and what we would do if it didn't work out."
"Let's stop being afraid, then."
"I'm still dating, Jesse."
"Then you'll break up with him."
Noah leaned in for a kiss, but Rachel pulled away before their lips could touch. "I want to kiss you, but I want to break up with Jesse first."
Noah nodded even though he didn't seem happy.
It was two days later, and the medicine was finally beginning to work. Her voice was slowly coming back. She didn't see Noah at all during the day so she was forced to wait until glee which was meeting in the auditorium. She arrived a few minutes early and kept her eyes open for the Mohawked boy.
When he walked through the doors alone, Rachel walked quickly towards him. As soon as she reached him, she pulled his head down and kissed him. He immediately returned it, holding her body close to his.
Rachel moved her hands over his chest and felt his muscles ripple through his shirt. She clutched the fabric of his shirt with tiny hands and arched her back as one of his hand caressed her back while underneath her shirt.
When they pulled away, both of them had uneven breathing.
"You and Jesse?"
"Officially over. He called me a two-timing slut even though you and I never actually did anything."
"What me to smash his face on my fist? Because I so will."
Rachel smiled as she shook her head. "No thank you, Noah. I'd appreciate it if there wasn't any violence because of me."
"He'd deserve it."
"Noah," she warned.
"I won't, though."
Rachel brought his lips back down, and she sighed into his mouth. She knew there would be fallout from her and Noah getting back together. Especially where Finn, and maybe Quinn, was concerned. There might even be a riot from a very disappointed female population. Kissing him felt right though, and she never wanted to stop doing it again.