Puck and his nuts
I don't own Glee or Any of its franchise or else Puckleberry would be endgame.
A/N Yeah, so I was dabbling with my VM fic and got stuck and this coupled with a discussion I had with a reviewer made me write this little chapter. It's a sad one, but not unreasonably so. I will point out that I am not a doctor – these statements in this chapter are made with the help of real life experience and google. Enjoy and please don't kill me…
Puck And His Nuts
"What?" I managed to croak out, suddenly unable to swallow past the huge lump in my throat.
The doctor in front of me looked sympathetic, but fortunately he wasn't eyeing me with pity. I honestly didn't think I could've handled that. Then again, I reasoned numbly, he probably got to deliver news like this tons of times a day and I wasn't anything special. Right now, I wasn't the celebrity that was envied worldwide; I was just a forty-year-old dude who'd just found out that he had cancer.
"Fuck," I moaned, leaning forward to rest my arms on the prim desk in front of me. "This can't be happening." I wanted to cry like a little girl, but forced it back, not ready to fully deal with my emotions yet.
My doctor, Dr. Hamilton, sighed as if he had expected my words and repeated his earlier sentence.
"I'm sorry Mr. Puckerman, but I'm afraid that the tests didn't lie. You do have testicular cancer."
My heart sank at the words I'd already heard, 'cause apparently, I didn't just have cancer in my nutsack, I had stage 3 cancer in my manhood and there was a high chance of it having already spread into other parts of my body.
"W-wha…Fuck," I stammered, using every last strength in me to look the very expensive doc in the eye and finish the question. "What are my chances, Dr. Hamilton? I've got a family that'd really like to keep me around, you know."
Dr. Hamilton smiled and handed me a couple of sheets of paper with a lot of difficult words written on them that were more up Rach's alley than mine. "To be completely honest, Mr. Puckerman, your type of cancer is one of the good ones. No," he held up a hand when I was about to protest, 'cause in my book no type of cancer was a good one. "Let me finish, please."
I nodded and gestured for the older man to continue, which he did without fuss. He'd been my doctor for years and knew how I was under stressful situations.
"There's about 80 percent survival rate after five years and even if the cancer has spread it will only decrease to about fifty percent, those are very good odds. Coupled with your very healthy lifestyle and relative young age, I'd say that with the proper treatment your chances are good."
I managed to swallow after that and nodded mutely. "Puck," Dr. Hamilton's voice was gentle and his eyes friendly when I met them. "Let me tell you what'll happen now and we'll take it from there. Okay?"
"Yeah, all right," I agreed, 'cause what else could I do? Like I'd told the doc, I had a family that needed me to stick around.
The next day, I finally landed in New York where I was gonna meet up with Rach that night after her newest show ended. I'd been away for a month on a small tour to get people excited for Sam's and I's newest album. I'd felt a little shitty before leaving for the tour, but it had escalated during our travels and I'd had Dr. Hamilton flown in, paid him an obscene amount of money to have my tests done at the nearest hospital while keeping my situation private and well…Now I had to go break my wife's heart.
Thank fuck it was summer, and the kids were off from school. The boys were spending it with Finn and Quinn in D.C. Caroline was in L.A. with her son, Seth Jr. to promote her book, which had shot to the top of the bestseller list and visit with Seth Senior's relatives for his birthday. Anita, my youngest miracle, had just turned four and was still too young to be away from either of us for too long. She was spending the week with Kurt and Dave and their little girl, Coco in their vacation home only an hour away.
That only left me with Rachel to worry about.
I knew I couldn't go meet her at the theater, 'cause not only was I home early, which would make her suspicious, but I looked like crap. I hadn't really slept in two days, too worried about what my tests would show and then after knowing my situation, I was terrified of telling my wife.
We'd lost Abraham only the year before when he'd gotten stomach cancer that had reduced the once so strong man to a shell of his former self. The only good thing about it all was that he went fast and didn't hang around for months, feeling pain with every breath. Hiram and Rachel had barely learned to cope with his absence; hell, I had barely learned to live without him in my life. They weren't ready to handle another loved one's disease without crumbling.
At least, that's what I thought and why I was so damned reluctant to share my news with Rachel.
I showered and ignored the ache in my scrotum and back as I quickly got redressed in a comfy pair of sweats and went into my office to kill the time until Rach got home. Like an idiot I did what Dr. Hamilton had warned me not to do. I went online and searched the hell out of testicular cancer, wanting to know all that I could about what could essentially be a death sentence.
So, I was pessimistic and freaked out, so sue me.
Anyway, after having spent nearly an hour online, getting more and more panicked by every word read, I heard the front door open and Rachel's happy voice calling out my name. She'd probably seen my car in the garage and figured out I was back.
"Noah! I'm so happy to see you," she all but squealed when she stormed through the open door and flung herself at me to welcome me home. Luckily for my nuts, she'd grown out of her habit of jumping into my lap.
She kissed me thoroughly, but I guess I wasn't as awesome in responding as usual, 'cause after a few moments, she withdrew with a small frown marring her still beautiful features. Seriously, she looked hotter than ever having just turned forty herself; if I'd met her during my pool-cleaning days, I'd have banged her with relish, is all I'm sayin'.
Anyway, Rach straightened back up and eyed me as though I was an intriguing puzzle she needed to solve. Or a competitor for the Tony awards, whatever.
"Noah, don't take this the wrong way, but you look completely terrible. Are you sick? Did you stay outside too much, you know how much rain and fog wreaks havoc on your immune system. "
Her tiny hand slapped onto my forehead, and she leaned closer to no doubt count my breaths or something. Feeling like an ass, I gently removed her hand and got to my feet with a smile so fake it made my toes curl.
"Nah, Babe – Relax, I'm just exhausted. Sam and I were extra careful to not spend too much time outside other than when we were performing." Yeah, my inner voice mockingly pointed out, you were spending most of the time feeling like crap and icing your achy back and groin whenever you had a spare moment. Tell her!
"I'm beat, do you mind if we pick this up tomorrow?" Not giving Rach a chance to reply, I simply kissed her softly on the lips and all but bolted to our bedroom, slamming the door after me as if she was chasing me for answers.
Two hours later, I was feeling kinda surprised that Rach hadn't barged in to demand that I tell her what the hell was the matter with me. Another thirty minutes went by with me sitting on our colossal bed and trying to make my body go back out to tell her the damned truth.
Finally, I catapulted off the bed and slowly managed to make my way out of the bedroom to locate my wife. Fuck, I really hoped the whole thing wasn't gonna blow up in my face. We'd always lived our lives together with the firm notion that we were gonna be totally honest with each other – in particular after we both got famous and the media tried to tear us apart regularly.
I was so caught up in castigating myself for my cowardice that it took me a little while to realize that Rach was nowhere to be seen. I didn't get a chance to worry before I walked towards my office where I'd last seen her and heard a sound that next to my sobbing kids I hated the most.
Stopping in the doorway, my entire body froze at the sight of my wife. She was crumbled in a heap in my massive chair, tears running down her face. It was the sound that hurt the most though, huge wrecking sobs that sounded like a mix between gasping and wailing.
This was not the happy woman I'd walked away from mere hours before, and it completely stumped me as to what had happened since I left. Suddenly, my heart started beating faster. Had something happened to the kids?
I was just about to ask, when my eyes landed on my computer and I instantly felt like a giant idiot. There, right where I'd left it was the google page which pretty much told Rachel all she had to know. This was so not the way I wanted her to find out, so I did the only thing that popped into my head.
It only took a second to walk over and kneel in front of her, gripping her thighs to make her aware of my presence in the most physical way I could think of. "Baby, I'm so fucking sorry. Please don't cry. Shh…It's gonna be okay, I promise."
Rach hiccupped as she spoke, her voice so timid and fearful it was almost unrecognizable. "Please don't leave me like Daddy did. I won't survive without you."
"Argh, fuck," the curse left my lips even as I reached up and enveloped Rach in my arms, wishing that this fucking disease was a nightmare I just hadn't woken up from yet.
After a while of us just relishing each other's nearness, Rach pulled back and placed her hands on my cheeks, lifting my face to meet her sorrowful gaze. "Tell me everything, Noah. I need to know all that you know so I won't lose my mind."
"Okay, Rach," I sighed and began my tale solemnly, "It's stage 3 and I'm getting the last tests done tomorrow to see if it's spread to my other organs. Judging from the symptoms, it may have, but the survival rate is—"
"I know what it is," Rachel interrupted quietly, caressing my face and stroking those little grey hairs that were the only proof of my age that she for some reason adored. "What'll happen next?"
"Surgery no matter what," I muttered, trying to lighten the mood with a joke. "Thank fuck we've already got four kids, huh?"
Sighing again, I continued more seriously, 'cause she deserved the truth. "Chemo is a necessity and if it's spread I'm gonna have to go under the knife again."
"Oh my God." The words were soft-spoken, but the amount of pain that I could sense in them damn near broke my heart.
"Rachel," I began, only to be interrupted again when she shook her head firmly and then placed her forehead against mine.
"No, Noah," she whispered, "I'm a grown woman and I will handle this – We will handle this together like we've done everything else. I love you more than anything and I am not ready to let this dreadful disease steal away another loved one of mine. I simply refuse, so you have to promise me that you'll fight it with all of your might, Noah Puckerman or I shall never, and I repeat never, forgive you."
I could feel the burn of oncoming tears in my eyes, and while half of me wanted to berate myself for being a God damn pussy, the rest of me was moved beyond comprehension by the sheer desperation in her tone. Also, my wife's words gave me the strength to admit something I hadn't voluntarily admitted to myself or anyone yet.
"Fuck, Rach," I cried, allowing those tears to escape for the first time since finding out the truth, "I'm so scared. I don't wanna die. I'm not gonna be able to handle this without you."
Rachel smiled and smoothly wiped away my tears without looking away from me. In that moment, she reminded me of the strong teenage girl that had overcome the stigma of unpopularity and teenage pregnancy and everything else life had decided to throw at her without breaking. "Luckily for you, Noah, you won't ever have to."
A/N I needed to write this so their lives weren't too fluffy and perfect, 'cause let's face it – no one has a perfect life. I'm leaving it open-ended as to how it goes, will he or won't he- that kind of thing, simply due to caution. I may one day return and add more to this plot line…Or I'll just fill in one of the other few remaining prompts that I've gotten instead. I'm evil and I'm sorry. I hope despite it all that you enjoyed the chapter.
Until Next Time