Puck goes to Nationals
I don't own Glee or any of its franchise.
Unbetaed, but any help will be appreciated!
A/N So, as I sat down and started to write this chapter – and watched the episode to this - I realized that I'd cancelled out a lot of things and well…there really weren't that much drama to add and instead of pouring more on, I did what you're about to read. Now, after this there's only an epilogue left, which I can't really believe. I may write a few one-shots to this universe as well, 'cause Puck is hard to let go to be honest. Now, hopefully you'll all enjoy my take on Nationals. Also, thanks for the reviews; I haven't got a chance to reply to any of them this time around, really busy as I am these days…sorry: D
Sometimes I shudder to think about how Nationals would go if I hadn't been where I was in my life. I mean, the level of intense preparation (a.k.a. torture) that Rach had enforced upon me was almost ridiculous. And, since Quinn, and Sunshine were her two best friends, along with Kurt these days, between them, they all ensured that the rest of the New Directions didn't goof off in the last days before we had to leave for New York so we didn't show up thinking we knew everything.
Anyway, even though I totally respected, hell even felt grateful for all of the hard work and seriousness Nationals were bringing on, I still had to fight back a groan or two when, on the morning on our departure for New York, Rach insisted on rehearsing everything one last time.
"Babe, relax," I eventually managed to say in a somewhat normal tone of voice as I tried for the nth time to get my stubborn daughter to eat her oatmeal, "we know all the words and shit, it's not gonna magically vanish if we don't rehearse all of our free time. Seriously, it's probably even a good thing with a little break or two, before we end up losing our voices, you know."
Rach actually looked a little pale at the thought of losing her voice like she'd done before so long ago and nodded. "Well then," she straightened a few inches, "I shall endeavor to make packing a complete success; since I have a lot of reason to believe that you once again, have just thrown your clothing haphazardly into a sports bag quite unceremoniously, hoping it's all there, if I know anything about you."
My thoughts drifted to the half opened bag sitting on my bed with various clothing and hygiene products thrown into it carelessly just after my morning shower while Rach had taken care of Caroline's morning needs.
"That's totally not…" I began, grinning sheepishly as my girlfriend just raised a skeptical eyebrow, "…not untrue so I'll be happy for any help you'll give me."
Rachel grinned that relaxed smile that she only ever really used around me and Caroline before planting a quick kiss on said little girl's brown burls and disappearing upstairs, leaving me to get through yet another round of feeding a reluctant kid her breakfast.
Thirty minutes later, I got out of my second shower of an only just begun day, grinning ruefully at the giggling Caroline sitting in her playpen in the living room. "Think you're so funny, don't you, Cutie?" I shook my head a little, when all that my little girl did was blow me a raspberry, something her devoted "Uncle Dave" had taught her the week before.
Yeah, well, I reckoned with a small, secretly pleased sigh, I would be fucking pleased too, if I'd managed to pour my lukewarm oatmeal over my dad's head when I'd been a kid…you know, if the rat bastard had actually tried acting like a dad to me and not like the drunken loser that he was.
"So, the munchkin won another round, huh?"
I started a little at Quinn's voice and spun around, hoping that I didn't look like a complete ass. "No," I hastened to protest, "I just felt like showering, okay?"
"Right…" Quinn's disbelieving tone was obvious and I decided to ignore it and just keep whatever dignity I could, 'cause to be honest, the former cheerleader had seen me getting my ass handed to me during too many breakfasts over the last year for me to deny anything too much.
"Whatever," I simply muttered and grabbed my clean shirt and finished getting fully dressed, valiantly ignoring the tiny blush that I could feel on my face, 'cause Puckzilla doesn't blush 'cause he's…uhm, awesome. Shut up.
A half an hour later, Rach and I reluctantly kissed our kid goodbye, made sure Hiram had enough tissues as he just couldn't seem to stop weeping and I secretly told Abraham, that I had put a couple of steaks in the freezer in a empty box of vegetables for when Hiram was working late. We meat eaters gotta stick together after all.
Anyway, soon after that we were on our way to the airport with Quinn and Finn crammed into the truck beside us. New York here we come!
"I want to go home," the person speaking broke through all the excited chatter as we settled down in our rooms at the hotel several hours later. Mostly, 'cause it was Rachel 'I'm fucking obsessed with New York' Berry who said it.
"Okay, who died and possessed Manhands?" Santana unceremoniously asked; her usual sneer not able to hide her slight concern.
"Uh, should we call Sam and Dean?" Brittany asked, going off to into the corner of the room, muttering something about not knowing if she could get them to come since they were travelling around in an Impala and were…well, fictional.
I rolled my eyes and looked down at Rachel who was standing still next to me, looking surprisingly gloomy for being in her favorite city of all time. "What's wrong Babe?"
"I do not wish to air my dirty laundry so to speak in such a public venue," Rachel murmured, looking around at all the other Gleeks' curious looking faces. Grinning at the somewhat offended looks that remark cost her; I just took a gentle hold of her hand and dragged her into the bathroom that came with each set of rooms.
Huh, I glanced at the bathtub as we came in, wondering briefly if I might get a chance to convince Rach to join me before her crazy gene took over completely. Judging from the small glare and quick punch to my arm, I realized I may have been a little too obvious in my leering, so I quickly snapped out of an emerging fantasy of enjoying myself with a lot of bubbles and Rachel (not necessarily in that order) and looked a little more serious.
"Babe; what the hell's going on with you?"
Rachel bit her lip and looked away, suddenly looking a little abashed, like she knew what she was about to say was a tiny bit ridiculous. "I'm scared."
"Scared? Of losing?" I immediately launched into a cheerful speech to remind her of all the awesomeness that she really had going on. "You have nothing to worry about; I mean, you're hot, sing like a fucking angel and are way more talented than any of these other losers that's gonna compete. Hell, we all know it so…and you're totally hot and have never looked skinnier." (Yup, throw in the thin card and everything will be okay again).
Except for the unexpected fact that Rach started to tear up of all things, as soon as I stopped talking. "Uhm…you're kind of freaking me out, Sweetie," I whispered, suddenly a lot more concerned than before. Rach was a lot of things, but a weeping damsel wasn't one of them.
"Oh Noah," she practically groaned, sitting down daintily on the edge of the bathtub, "I'm scared because the last time we were at a competition, I nearly lost my child. I have this unbelievable ill feeling of something of that nature transpiring once again and it's making me want to throw up, but I know it's not good for my vocal chords and I can't make myself throw up since – as you very well know – my lack of gag reflex would hinder me more than anything and I just want to go home, hold my child safely in my arms and make darned sure that she's as healthy right this minute as when we left her this morning."
"Oh…" Well, what could I really say to that? I grimaced a bit before giving my quickly thought-out solution. "Wanna get you mind of things and take a dip in the bathtub?"
"…oh, alright, but please lock the door before Santana and or the rest of New Directions sees more of me than they've ever wished in their lives."
About an hour later, Rachel and I came out from the bathroom with a sheepish grin (her) and a big ass smirk (me), facing the glowering and in some cases uncomfortable looking Gleeks.
I just told them to go fuck themselves and then noticed that Mr. Shue wasn't in the room. Sam caught me looking around and guessed what I was gonna ask, 'cause he just shrugged and mumbled something about our teacher doing paper work for the competition and that he'd be back later.
Santana, Mercedes and Kurt seemed to realize simultaneously that we were without any so called adult supervision and started talking about going out and seeing New York up close and personal, and it quickly spread to most of the others.
Now, usually, I'd be right there with them all; fuck, I'd probably try hitting the bars for fruity drinks and crap, trying to enchant a New York Milf, but I was actually quite satisfied…I mean, you guys did catch the part about my woman not having a gag reflex, right?
Anyway, back to my point; some of the others took off to see the sights and whatever. I consoled myself with the fact that eventually I'd live in the city with Rach and Caroline twenty four seven, so I could always catch shit then.
Surprisingly, Quinn and Finn didn't follow the others out, deciding to spend time with us for some reason. After ten minutes of suffering through Quinn and Rachel's female tendencies to go to the bathroom together, Finn just looked at me with this weird, almost fearful look in his eyes.
"What's up?" I asked, riffling through my bag where I knew that Rach had packed a light snack for me. Finally I found the eight sandwiches and could devote some real attention to my friend.
"Dude," Finn cringed,"mind chewing with your mouth closed."
"Mind shutting the hell up or get to the point before I'm done with these?" I gestured to the remaining seven sandwiches.
Finn sighed and sat down on the nearest bed. "I kindda need to get your opinion on something." He waited, looking as if he feared that I'd jump up and scream that I didn't give out opinions or something. When I didn't do anything other than raise a brow and munch on sandwich number four, he continued in a rush. "'stoosoon?"
It was only years of being Finn Hudson's best friend that made sure I understood his word vomit, but even I had to process the sentence a few seconds, before its meaning became completely clear in my head.
"WHAT?" I practically roared, throwing away the remaining two sandwiches in the process. "Are you out of your fucking mind? We're just teenagers! We aren't ready for that kind of thing yet!"
Finn didn't seem surprised at my reaction, instead he looked eerily calm. "Look, Puck, like it or not – none of the four of us are kids anymore. Hell, we've got kids and…well, I want the whole deal, you know. A wife, a house and even the white-"
"Dude, if you end that sentence with 'fence', I may have to beat the shit out of you," I warned with a sigh, sitting back down on the other bed before continuing a little more gentle than before, "Why do you think about this all of the sudden? I mean, we are not even out of high school yet and from what I've overheard over the past year when she and Rach talked, Quinn's got plans of Yale and crap…not to burst your bubble, I don't think she's gonna wanna become a stay at home mom…"
Finn nodded, "I'd never ask her to do that. I love her, I want her to do and be whatever she wants, Dude. I just…I don't want her to leave me behind."
His words hit something inside of me that I rarely allowed to think about myself. It was spooky how much his thoughts and fears echoed those I didn't want to vocalize myself, but for my best bud, I had to at least try.
"Finn…" I began and ran a hand through my 'hawk to steady myself a little, to…well, launch into this pansy ass talking about one's feelings crap. "Look, Dog, I know how you feel; I'm petrified about Rach waking up one day and realizing what a loser I am and how little I have to offer while she runs off and dazzles the world – yes," I grinned tiredly at Finn's small smirk, "I said 'dazzled'. Anyway, I can't really say anything to kill those feelings you've got, 'cause like it or not; we both got women who are way above our league."
We sat quietly for a few moments, where only Rach and Quinn's laughter sounded from the bathroom, which briefly got me thinking about just how much the other Gleeks had heard of Rach's and I's little bath time moment earlier. Then I shook it off, deciding it wasn't exactly something I should worry about right now and turned back to a gloomy looking Finn.
"For what it's worth," I began quietly, hating that part of me that tried telling me I was a total wuss and should go ask out Kurt to complete the picture, "I wish I had your courage. I wish, I wasn't so screwed up that I could ask Rach to marry me and shit, but…despite all my evolvement and stuff, I'm still that messed up Puckerman kid, whose first instinct will always be hit first and ask questions later. You on the other hand are willing to go the distance no matter how not logical it seems and sometime I wish I could do that. Fuck, Finn, do whatever you want and no matter what happens I'll have your back. We're bro's despite all the crap that's been going on between us since Caroline and Eve made their appearance in our lives."
Finn cracked a small smile and just leaned back on the bed to wait for our girls to come back out. That's when I noticed that it'd been quiet from their end since my monologue and that was never a good idea.
A few seconds later, a smiling Rachel and Quinn came back out to us and started talking about going out for dinner, since, and I quote Rach here, "no one else of New Directions have the willpower to resist the alluring call of New York City".
It was only the extra tight hug later that night, where Mr. Shue finally showed up and delegated the girls to one side of the hotel and the boys to the other, that told me that Rach may have heard a little too much of my conversation with Finn and was trying to tell me without actually saying anything.
A little later, Sam, Finn, Kurt, Artie, and Mike had finally decided to go the fuck to sleep so I followed suit even though I wasn't the least bit tired. I mean, I'd come to realize over the last year or so that I had trouble sleeping without a certain tiny brunette lying next to me.
I was debating whether or not risking Rach's wrath of interrupting her much needed sleep before the competition just to see her for a short time, when there was a quick knock on the door and since I was the only one awake, I got up and opened the door a fraction. Then I broke out into a goofy grin at the sight of my girl standing there, looking a little bit sheepish herself.
"I can't sleep without you," she declared and that's how Sam found himself woken up a moment later, when I tossed his skinny ass out of the bed and offered it to Rachel with a smile.
Mr. Shue wasn't present at the breakfast table again and after Vocal Adrenaline's assistant Coach; a dude with way too white teeth and a little too much hair gel, came over, we all knew why. Apparently, our curly haired teacher was about to leave us hanging to go to Broadway to work for that drunk April chick. So we all confronted him the next time we saw him, which turned out to be the night before the competition.
But then, somehow we all ended up hugging the bastard when he revealed that he wasn't going anywhere after all and we spent the night eating pizza and enjoying ourselves. Of course, Rachel then woke us all up way too fucking early next morning, and forced us to rehearse in a tone of voice that even made Santana sit up and pay attention. I guess I wasn't the only one who respected Rach's mom voice these days.
Anyway, the time for the competition finally came along and I was nervous as fuck, it was only my tight grip on Rach's hand that made sure I didn't bolt to the nearest bathroom and puked my guts out. Judging from the greenish taint on Sunshine's face, I wasn't the only one feeling like that, so I made sure to point it out to a beaming Rach, who immediately grabbed her hand and distracted her.
I followed them as all of New Directions made their way to the seats to listen to some of the competition we were up against. I'm not gonna lie, the choirs that I managed to catch before our performance were fucking amazing and I could feel sweat of pure nerves pouring down my back as my insecurities grew. Don't get me wrong, I knew we were gonna be awesome, we'd practiced so much that I think I'd still be able to recite everything ten years in the future, thanks to Rach's hardcore pushing, but still; most of these choirs had had way more experience then we had and it would show no matter how much we rehearsed.
The moment Vocal Adrenaline entered the stage, Rach sighed and started whispering with Sunshine next to her, clearly not gonna reward her birth mother's choir with her attention and I smirked a little through that haze of fear that was all around me. Shelby had really fucked things up and it was her own loss that she hadn't seen how great a daughter she had when she had the chance.
The thought of Shelby, made me discreetly pat my pants pocket where I had a piece of paper prepared, just in case the insane female tried anything with us tonight. Without Rach's knowledge, I'd sought out her dads' and told them everything about the donor they'd picked once upon a time and how much of a mess she'd made in her attempts to get close to Rachel.
Let's just say that a volcano couldn't have erupted more than Hiram did hearing that and Abraham's stony silence had scared me more than anything else, 'cause that dude was dangerous if he put his mind to it. Well, to make a long story short, they'd gotten a lawyer friend to write something way to detailed and complicated for me to understand and told me to give it to Shelby if she came near us in New York. And from the looks of deviousness and hate on the Berrys' faces, I figured I should hand the paper over to Shelby even if she didn't try anything, just to rattle her a bit.
"Noah," Rachel's whisper brought me out of my vindictive fantasy of a paling Shelby, who begged for mercy and I turned to look at her, "we're going to perform after this choir, so come on, we have to warm up."
All thoughts of sticking it to Shelby immediately fled my mind, my nerves returned with a vengeance and I tried to do some of those calming breathing exercises that Rach had been taught during her pregnancy. Before I really knew if they'd succeeded much, Rachel was dragging me on to the stage and I was nearly blinded by the light shining down on me from above.
Okay, I thought, swallowing a lump of pure dread, let's show 'em what New Directions can really do…hopefully.
"Well," I said, a slow rueful smile beginning to break through, "at least we beat those Vocal Adrenaline bastards. No offence, St. Jackass."
Jesse, who'd shown up at our side just after we'd finished performing, rolled his eyes at me and said calmly, even through Santana's impressively loud shrieking, "Like that's the part of that sentence that I'd be offended about. Really, Puckerman." We shared one of our first ever truly amiable smiles and I turned around to look at a shell-shocked Rachel.
"We didn't win," she muttered, her brown eyes practically glued to the board in front of us, while the rest of the New Directions seemed to be falling apart a little. I guess having one of the lead singers walk up to one of the others and propose on stage, may have had a little something to do with it.
Yup, you guessed it; Finn's timing had been as bad as always and even though he'd been smart enough to wait until after we'd finished singing before walking up to a stunned Quinn, I guess some of the judges weren't really on board with his idea if you looked at the placement we'd gotten. We had sneaked ahead of Vocal Adrenaline, sure, but really, compared to the train wreck of their lead singer tripping on stage and breaking into tears of fear, muttering about being freaked out by her coaches, it wasn't really that hard to do. But still, we'd beat Vocal Adrenaline and that's how I was spinning it.
"Aw Babe," I smiled softly and enveloped my girl in my arms and shook her a little bit, "we may not have won, but we're still not losers. Be happy, 'cause you damn sure worked your pretty little ass off."
Rach sniffled a little into my shirt, but then nodded into the crook of my neck. "I'll try Noah. Just promise me one thing," she added even as she reached out a tanned leg and tripped Santana as she tore loose from her holders and jumped towards Finn with a battle cry that'd make most men wet themselves, "just do not ever propose to me like that, okay?"
I grinned, not even feeling a little bit afraid of the fact that Rachel seemingly expected us to end up married in the long run, "Fuck no, Babe – The Puckster is way too cool to copy someone else's approach, I swear."
"Good," Rachel smiled, the dark shadows in her eyes gliding away to happiness as she forced the loss of Nationals behind her. "Now let's go save Finn before Santana gets free from Quinn's grip, shall we?"
"Abso-fucking-lutely," I agreed and went to join the fun even as the other, more snobbish choirs looked down their posh noses at us.
A/N So, those observant of you will notice I threw in the Yale bit for Quinn after the MJ episode, which I just had to see despite not having seen much of season 3 and also, the Sam and Dean that Brittany mentioned is of course the Winchester brothers from Supernatural and Puck's end remark is from the Sex and The City Pilot where Mr. Big says the exact same thing.
I hope you all enjoyed it and don't mind that I didn't reveal the placements, 'cause I got so many suggestions that I decided not to reveal it at all hehe. Thanks in advance for any and all comments!
Until Next Time