He ignored her.
Dude, if the girl you’d tortured on a daily basis was sitting ten feet away from you, fully capable of screwing with the choreography so you trip and crack your skull on the piano, you’d try your best to ignore her too.
So he sat there with Finn, Mike, Matt, Santana, and Brittany, and he didn’t look at her once.
But come on.
A girl like that? A girl with those legs? That voice, that ass, those eyes, those skirts, and that huge smile? It’s damn-near impossible to ignore her.
He figured that’s why he ended up dreaming about her. She was always there, you know? You couldn’t put her into the background because even in real life, the girl always has to be center-stage. Never an inch too far to the left or to the right.
So when he did dream about her, he kinda liked it. Even though it was rated so G that even babies would think it was out of their leagues. It also unrealistically showed her with her mouth shut. But it was a good dream regardless. And it’d been like a straight-up vision from God.
He never usually believed in signs and stuff—traffic, warning, or holy. Him taking it seriously said a lot.
He always had a knack for noticing little things—some, not
all, of course. He wasn’t like the guy from The
Mentalist or Psych, but he paid
So he used his little talent to buy her a grape slushie. He’d seen her lick her lips, and because he was a red-blooded teenage boy, he saw the lips and the tongue and his mind went straight to hell.
So his little mission was one part for his ma, two parts for the Big Man, and about eight hundred parts for his libido.
And so he bought the damn slushie and handed it to her and asked to work with her because damn it all to hell if he didn’t heed the Lord’s command and stuff.
So he never got to touch her boobs, and he barely got any quality time with her ass. But all-in-all? Not a bad week. She yammered on and on about the most random-ass shit that he couldn’t give a rat’s ass about, but good for her and all that. At least she knew where to steer her life.
He’d fucking run his into a ditch a long time ago.
But when she dumped him—dumped him. Dumped. Him—he told her the truth: They were never friends before.
If she wanted to chase after his idiot best friend, all right. He had his own problems to worry about anyway. Exhibit A: how to get out of previously-mentioned ditch.
He had his loyalties, all right? She was still his ex, and he honestly thought she was all right once you could hike, swim, and hack your way through her obsession with Finn to get to the girl.
He just…saw the Glist on her locker, decided she didn’t need more of that shit in her life, and then moved it.
Okay, yeah, fine. Whatever.
He did “Run, Joey, Run.” It was an opportunity to show off his guns and skills.
Naturally, he had to at least try to see if he could sneak in a little make-out session between two good-looking Jews; he was still religiously obligated. Fuck St. Asshat.
Besides, he still stood by the fact that he could totally walk around in a dress and maintain his rep because he was that badass, so him doing that music video wasn’t horrible.
Finding out he’d been three-timed, though? Not so hot.
But props to the midget because three-timing the Puckzilla himself was pretty hardcore.
He may or may not have made out with his buddy’s girlfriend. Again. But he was the Puckerone, and she was literally asking for it, okay?
Outright, he’d say he could never pass up an opportunity to nibble Berry Lips, but let’s be real. There are a couple things in life that he’d never be able to say “no” to.
At least he’d been the one to stop it, right? Points, right?
Singing a country song with her to make Finn jealous?
But he smiled the whole way through because it happened just like he’d predicted: They sounded phenomenal together. They were two good-looking, badass, talented Jews—it was natural.
So when she decided to get a nose job, practically turning her back on a huge percentage of her Jew-ness? He knew he couldn’t take that shit lying or sitting down.
Since Finessa was gonna be a little less than useless, he had to enlist Kurt, of all people, to help him.
That’s when he realized that him and Kurt? Not a bad team at all. He just hoped the clap on the shoulder translated into an apology in Hummel-language. ‘Cause he meant it, you know? Throwing kids into dumpsters? Stupid.
A lot of the stunts he’d pulled had been stupid.
Really, really stupid.
That’s when he started to feel obligated to repair the damage he’d helped cause by coming up with The Date.
Which was stupid. Really, really, really fucking stupid.
It was a stupid idea for a stupid date that the stupid ogre decided to stupidly go along with anyway because he didn’t have the brain capacity to come up with anything less stupid.
It was why he’d been fairly confident that Finn was gonna crash and burn. She’d made her decision, and he was more than happy to admit that he was proud of it. She was on the fast lane to shagging ass outta Lima, and if some troll decided to block her way, she’d run the damn thing over.
And he knew how to charm a girl. He’d charmed over half the town population. He knew.
Taking a chick out to dinner wasn’t anything big. Granted, he didn’t anticipate them encountering one of her heroes, so that may have been a point in Finn’s column. Even with his romantic serenading, Finn had crashed and burned.
He wanted to high-five her before she stomped off, but his accordion got in the way.
By the end of nationals, though… Dude, they all fucking crashed and burned.
Apparently, he bet too much on her self-respect.
Even in spite of that, he knew she had to have some sort of reserves of that shit—self-respect. That’s why he’d laughed the first time it’d happened. Not like a hysterical, Finn-lost-a-dare-so-now-he-has-to-dress-as-the-semi-holy-love-child-of-Little-Bo-Peep-and-Vampira kind of thing—just as mall chortle. His shoulders hunched forward as he snorted into his fist.
Kurt had given him this weird look (and cornered him afterward because the kid thought he’d been smoking up or shrooming), and the midget herself had shot him confused look.
He’d laughed because he thought they’d all been kidding. After all, since when did she ever take the backseat without starting a fight and summoning a little hellfire and brimstone?
So the second time it happened, he actually smiled a little.
To be honest, he knew and would argue the fact that the chick was the most talented person in the room, but damn his nice side for feeling proud that his hot little Jewish-American princess matured and humbled herself enough to step down for someone else.
The third time it happened, he frowned.
She’d given up way too easily. She usually pursed her lips a little and closed her eyes to take a couple of deep, calming breaths before giving up the solo with a massive speech interpolated with massive words—like that huge one right there, interpolated. But this time, she didn’t even ask for it. She didn’t even say a word.
She just sat there with Finn.
He thought he’d lost her for a second there, but then she was back in the game—auditioning for Maria and getting her first taste of a full diva fight with Jones. Then she submitted her name for the class president elections, and he was just like, “What the fuck?”
He’d never doubted Maria, and a year ago, she would’ve been right there with him. Hell, she’d probably already planned out her schedule to accommodate the rehearsals and shows before she’d even auditioned.
So when he heard through the grapevine that she’d run because she thought she wasn’t gonna get Maria and then submitted her candidacy so that she could “still have something significant” on her NYADA applications, he braced himself for another long bout of fuckery.
He hardly ever talked to her, but even he knew that her schedule was Broadway, Broadway, Broadway. She barely had time to floss her teeth, let alone be the president of a bunch of students who couldn’t give half a shit.
She belonged on a stage, not behind a podium—unless she was receiving awards like a Brody. (He was pretty sure that wasn’t the right name for it, but close enough.)
He didn’t say a word regardless. Mostly because he had other shit to worry about.
“I figured since you have some more experience than I do, maybe you could recommend a brand of condom?”
“Are you cheating on Rachel, dude? ‘Cause if you are, that’s not cool. And that’s coming from me.”
“No, I wanna use them with Rachel.”
“Oh.” Good God. “I’m happy for you, dude.” God was gonna punish him personally for this. “You and hear. I always thought it’d be me, but secretly I hoped it’d be you.” Even Satan was probably gonna lambast him for that shit. “As for the condoms, no idea. Never used ‘em. It’s worked out for me ninety-nine percent of the time.”
…until I’m married or twenty-five…
Married. Or twenty-five.
She was seventeen.
She hadn’t even been in a legitimate play yet.
But he didn’t say anything. Because he had his own shit to worry about.
Everyone in the choir room swiveled to see Santana stomping in with Brittany right at her heels.
Rachel stood, setting the sheet music on her empty seat as she tried to meet Santana halfway. “Santana, what—”
“Look at my face, B! Look at it! And you will know why the fuck I’m so upset!” Santana shrieked.
“How ‘bouts you go shove that fugly-ass sweater vest in your mouth for a couple seconds, Schue?! We about to go all DEFCON-one up in here!” Santana barked, actually shocking Schue into submission before she rounded on Rachel again. “What the fuck are you thinking?!”
Rachel glanced around nervously, and Puck frowned, leaning forward in his seat. He’d never seen Santana this pissed before, and if it was directed at her recently-acquired plaything, then Berry must’ve seriously pulled some serious stupid out of her shapely ass.
“I-I—I don’t understand—”
“No, he isn’t here right now, so you don’t have to put on a happy face!” Santana growled, grabbing Rachel’s head and giving her it shake.
“Santana!” Quinn and Tina cried, jumping to pull her off Rachel.
It was Brittany who stopped them. “Wait, guys,” she said, holding her arms out. “Wait.”
If Brittany wasn’t stopping this, then some serious shit had just hit the fan.
And the retired shit disturber himself pulled the mantle back on and spoke up: “Satan, the hell is going on?”
Santana’s glare nearly punched Puck. “Finn proposed!”
And it was just this wall of black and red. If he wasn’t so pissed beyond insanity, he’d be like, Damn, that’s a cool fusion of colors. No, bitches. No.
But he didn’t do anything. He just sat there, surrounded by the hazy walls of black and red while his eyes zeroed in on Rachel’s helpless expression.
“Rachel, you wouldn’t,” breathed Schue.
“Precious,” scoffed Santana. “You’re the one who probably planted the idea by asking that payaso to be your best man. You officially do not have the moral right to be part of this conversation.”
Bitch was gonna get herself suspended, and she knew it. Odds are she was too upset to care.
“Santana—” Schue tried to say, but he was cut off.
“I don’t see how any of this is any of your problems!” Rachel snapped, yanking herself away from Santana and smoothing down her outfit.
“When the star of Lima, Ohio decides to try and throw her life away—the star who has the best shot of getting out of this podunk town—what hope do the rest of us have?!” Santana demanded.
“You can’t base your lives on me! I’m not a standard!”
“Oh, Rachel, come on!” Kurt cried. “What happened to Broadway being your true love? Finn is just proposing to you because he thinks he needs someone to validate his life! He’s just going to hold you down!”
“That’s not true! I have e-every intention of getting out of this town, and if Finn just so happens to be right behind me as I blaze a trail to New York City, then so be it! None of you have the right to tell me what I can or cannot do!”
“It’s like the nose job all over again,” Tina sighed. “You keep rationalizing bad decisions.”
“And am I the only one who has a problem with the fact that you’re both still in high school?” Quinn chirped exasperatedly.
“Thousands of high school students get married, Quinn!” Rachel argued defiantly.
“But not all of them stay together, Rachel!” Quinn shot back.
“Fine, you know what? Go ahead. That guy is a fucking STD, and if you want to go live some horrible sex-less life, then by all means,” Santana said coldly.
“I don’t understand why you’re doing this!” Rachel cried. “I-I’ve been willing to share the spotlight and give up solos so the rest of you can have your time to shine, but when I want something, you all just ban together and tear me down!”
“Because it’s one thing to get solos,” Artie pointed out, “it’s another thing entirely to get married.”
“And you’re doing it for all the wrong reasons!” Kurt interjected. “You and I sat there in that booth, Rachel! Finn said—with both of us right there—that he had nothing special in his life! He’s my stepbrother, but he’s an idiot of inhuman levels! You can’t accept the proposal of a guy who doesn’t consider you special!”
“And notice that you had to sing a song about you not being able to live without him,” Blaine added. “Rachel, as far as I know and from what Kurt’s told me, he’s never done the same thing for you.”
But Puck just tuned them out. Because he knew she was doing the same thing.
She was gonna say ‘yes.’ He could see it in her eyes.
She said ‘yes.’
And forever tainted a Michael Jackson song.
She didn’t get into NYADA. Her suspension was too big of a black mark for those snooty bitches.
She did get into OSU, though. She said she’d invested too much into NYADA and made the mistake of not applying to other New York City schools, but she would most definitely transfer out of Ohio State as soon as she could.
Finn got into OSU too.
The look the rest of the gleeks shared? Not pretty.
But Puck just sat there and watched the way she grinned up at Finn like he was the scrolling marquee with her name on it. And the asshole just smiled down at her. Just a smile.
It was his turn. Finn had done it God-fucking-knows-how-many-times. Sam did it Sectionals ’10. Artie, Blaine, and Mike took their turns Sectionals ’11. Regionals ’12 was Puck’s time to shine, and fuck it all, he was excited. He’d be doing a guitar solo—Carlos Santana, bitches—on top of the lead in the group number. He’d stepped up his game, and with every other gleek (except for one nameless giant who wanted everything for himself) behind him, Schue had no choice.
He was lead in the ballad too. He was gonna sing with her. Again. For the first time since “Need You Now.”
And all it took was one little jealous hissy fit for her to give it up to Santana (who, for the record, didn’t even want it), and Puck lost it.
It’s like the cage sprang loose, the ropes snapped, the glass shattered—it all fucking broke.
“What?” Schue asked, blinking stupidly from where he was about to hand Puck the sheet music.
“No,” Puck repeated flatly.
“What do you mean?” Schue persisted.
“I’m not singing if I’m not singing with Rachel,” Puck answered stonily.
The choir room just fell silent. No one moved, no one breathed, and no one could tear their eyes away from his face.
“My voice fits. Her voice fits,” he continued. “No one else can do it.”
He slowly turned to look at her. “Santana’s voice doesn’t fit.”
“It doesn’t have to fit, dude. You guys can make it your own,” Finn said brightly.
Hudson’s face blurred and faded until it looked like a bull’s-eye was sitting on his neck. In the very middle of the bull’s-eye was a negatively charged magnet, and the positively charged magnet was attached to Puck’s right knuckles.
“I don’t see what’s the problem with Rachel singing it,” Sam said, stepping closer to Puck and knowing full-well what was gonna happen if Finn decided to say something else. “She’s our best. No offense to any of the other girls, but…y’all know it’s true.”
“She doesn’t wanna do it, dude,” Finn said innocently, shrugging his shoulders like it was absolutely nothing.
Sam’s hand went to Puck’s shoulder, and even Mike and Blaine stepped closer.
“Rachel, do you want to sing this?” Schue finally choked out through the statically charged atmosphere of the room.
“I-I already said that Santana would be—”
“You’re not answering the question, enano,” Santana said quietly. “Do you want to sing the song?”
Her answer should have been: “That’s like asking me if I want to breathe.”
What actually came out of her mouth was: “No, not particularly.”
Self-control meter: EMPTY.
“This is bullshit!”
“Puck!” Schue screeched at the outburst.
“One-thousand percent pure bullshit!” Puck roared again, clenching his fists and glaring up at the ceiling before dragging his eyes downward to meet her wide, brown ones. “I spent a year and a half chucking slushies in your face! Those girls threw practically every insult in the universe at you no matter how contradictory they were—slut, prude, midget, Man-Hands! We tore you down, and you never cracked! But you gave Finn a couple of months, and you broke! You just fucking shattered! What happened to you?!”
“What hell, Puck?! Shut up!” Finn bellowed furiously.
“No, you’ve been talking too much, asshat, and if you say another word, my fist will start mackin’ on those toxic lips, so you best shut your hole before I shut it permanently!” Puck growled menacingly, forcing Finn back a step. His eyes skipped over Rachel as he turned to look at Brittany, “Here, Brit. Here’s your proof of alien life right here. Full-on Invasion of the Body-Snatchers.”
“Oh, no. No one calls me that but my ma, my sister, and Rachel Berry,” he said acidly. “You ain’t my ma, my sister, and sure-as-shit, you ain’t no Rachel Berry.”
Then he walked out.
Out of the corner of his eye—right before he turned down the hallway—he saw Rachel try to go after him, but one sasquatch hand held her back.
“Let him be, Rach. He needs to cool off.”
Kurt—and only Kurt—came up with it. Only one person could be both deviously conniving and hopelessly romantic at the same damn time and still be able to pull it off.
He wasn’t stupid. He saw and heard shit. He saw the gleeks conspiring when Finn and Rachel weren’t looking and when they thought he wasn’t paying attention. People thought he was high most of the time he was in school. Nah, shitwads. He didn’t roll like that.
the plan was simple enough, but the foundation was shit.
The reason why Finn refused to let Rachel sing with Puck was the chemistry. It was just rolling off their shoulders and fucking drowning everyone. The belief was that if they actually got Puck and Rachel to sing a legitimate ballad—and forced him to not smile and actually act out the damn song—then it would be all over. Rachel would start questioning her compatibility with her current and alleged “leading man” and start doubting her relationship with Finn that would lead to their ultimate demise.
Yeah. It was all shit, and Puck couldn’t help but laugh.
Their solution to the problem that Puck and Rachel weren’t actually the ones singing together was stupidly simple: Santana faked laryngitis. And no other girl would step up to sing it, thereby forcing Schue to force Rachel to do it.
The “Puckleberry Chemistry” alone would beat the Warblers and dissolve Finchel.
Puck just snorted and rolled his eyes.
Fucking lost cause.
Nope, he was wrong.
It wasn’t a fucking lost cause.
It was a fucking epic fail.
The girls managed to all get the stomach flu—a result of one of Sugar’s brilliant ideas for a bonding session for all the girls at some restaurant—and fucking none of them could pull a solo—not even Rachel. So once again, the guys had to take the brunt of the workload—shit, they had to take it all. The girls just stood in the back, harmonized, and danced around as much as they could without, you know, throwing up down the guys’ backs.
They started off rock band-style. Finn started the beat on the drums on the stage in a spotlight, Puck broke out a riff as he walked in through the exit and down the aisle, Sam backing him up on the other aisle. Artie pumped out the bass, Blaine took the keyboard, Mike was the crowd-pumper, Kurt manned the tambourine, and Rory showed the world his kickass harmonica skills. The only song they sang that was actually in the initial set list was the Carlos Santana song, and Puck killed it. Chicks were screaming and throwing shit at him and everything. Their group number was a little iffy, but while the Warblers had the dapper, suave appeal, the New Directions boys brought in the sex appeal that Schue had tried to tone down during Sectionals—and they brought it full-force.
So, you know…they won.
It helped that the judges found out about the stomach flu and the fact that Schue and the guys had to pull that entire performance out of their asses twelve hours prior.
But the best part of the night wasn’t when they handed Puck, the MVP, the trophy. No, no, no. It was when Rachel, mid-victory hug, threw up on Finn’s face because the asstard made the mistake of lifting her and spinning her around.
Second best part? The fact that Jew-fro got it all on video.
Sadly, it all went back to normal after Regionals. Half the club still wanted to throw Finn into a vat of boiling sulfuric acid, and the other half didn’t give a shit about him. Graduation was coming up, so they all had to sort out their priorities. Then came Nationals.
Schue, having loved the previous set list—the one they planned on before the girls got sick—decided to bring back the unused songs. Which mean Puck was once again in the lead—by unanimous vote—and the duet issue was brought back.
And judging from the way Puck saw them all sneaking into an empty classroom to plan shit out again, Kurt’s plan was naturally back on track too.
Only this time, Puck confronted them.
“Yo. This is Nationals. Don’t risk that kind of shit at Nationals.”
Did they listen to him?
Of course not.
For good reason apparently.
Because the duet?
Brought the entire auditorium down to its knees.
When Rachel stared up at him at the end of the song, he could see it in her eyes: the doubt that Kurt so gleefully predicted.
Then he smirked—the first real, lecherous smirk in a long time—and winked at her, making her blush fucking scarlet. And when the curtains dropped and they were standing in the dark red light that fucking no one could see through, he leaned down, kissed the corner of her lips, and whispered, “I told you it’s natural.”
With help from her dads and the most random-ass lecture from Sylvester, Rachel dumped Finn’s ass during graduation. She transferred out of OSU in the middle of her freshman year and followed Puck to Tisch. He didn’t hold up a typical sign when he came to pick her up at the airport, he held a Wicked poster. But instead of seeing the damn thing, the first thing she said she spotted? Hazel eyes.