Author's Notes: So, um, wow. Apparently there are way more Rachel/Puck (what are we calling this, by the way? Puchel? Rack?) shippers out there than I imagined, because holy crap with the reviews. Thank you all so much! I seriously don't even know what to say, but to show my appreciation, this is my gift to you. An unplanned second (and final, this time I mean it) chapter!
Also, I just saw a bunch of the sneek peeks for next week and YES, SWEET VICTORY.
(Go here for all that is man: .com/watch?v=zQAIESU17uI)
we're both good-looking jews
After "Sweet Caroline", Rachel drags him into the girl's locker room and kisses him so hard that it actually hurts. Which, let's be honest, Puck's not gonna complain about, because when Rachel gets all musically-aroused, she's like an unstoppable force of sweet love that Puck could pretty much be happy in forever.
He doesn't tell her that he chose Sweet Caroline because he knows she's obsessed with Neil Diamond, her eyes get big and hungry when he plays his guitar, and he likes the way her cheeks go pink when he sings right to her; that would be one of those gay-ass chick click moments that Finn would be all over. Instead he says, "So you liked it."
She laughs and nestles rests her chin on his chest as she looks up at him, in what he figures has got to be like, her favorite position or something, because she does it all the time. He doesn't actually mind; he sort of likes how little she is, and how it pushes her cheeks up just a little and makes them round and chubby.
He thinks about that and adds, to himself: no homo.
"You've gotten really good, you know. I mean, I know that you're a very talented musician on the guitar because you're always able to keep up with me musically when you play accompaniment in my bedroom—which by the way, my Dads say that if you're going to keep coming over and staying after midnight than we'll have to keep the door open because they were boys your age once too, though I pointed out that it was different because they didn't like girls, but they said that they didn't want our house becoming a den of iniquity, like yours probably is (and that's still them speaking, not me, because you know I love your family, and how is your mother, by the way?)—but what I mean to say is, your voice has really improved since you started Glee, and I think that you're almost at the point of even being a real leader, I mean, vocally."
He raises an eyebrow at her. "Yeah, thanks," he says.
She pulls away, smoothing his shirt where her chin was, and then says, "Yes, well, okay, I should probably get going. Are you coming over tonight? The new season of Doña Bárbara starts at nine and you know that I don't like to watch without you, because it's very emotionally draining and I usually end up crying."
"Wow, good sell, Crazy."
She pouts a little. It's a new trick she learned last week when Mercedes didn't hide her Cosmo in time, and Rachel's somehow gotten it into her head that he won't be able to resist her if she juts out her lower lip and blinks a lot. Personally, Puck think she looks like Coach Sylvester after she's had her daily squeeze of lemon and vodka, but it's weird and kind of cute, so he humors her.
She tips up onto her toes and kisses him once, quickly, as the door opens and the rest of the guys walk in. There's a bit of hooting and hollering, and Finn's right eye does that twitchy, throbbing thing that it always does when he sees Rachel doing anything with anyone that's not him.
"See you tonight," she says.
On Thursday he steps in front of a slushy for her because under her white lace shirt she's wearing his favorite Catalina-from-Sin-Tetas bra and the thought of anyone else seeing it makes a vein in his temple throb.
It's way colder than he thought it would be, and he gets this achy sort of headache afterwards, but she takes him into the gender-neutral handicap bathroom and gently wipes it off his shirt. She's psychotic, so she carries around Tide-to-Go and spends like an hour coloring on him until the stains are gone.
It's not till she's done that he realizes that she's been smiling this whole time, and he mutters, "What's so funny?"
She looks up at him with big, open eyes and just shakes her head. "Nothing," she says, kissing him and licking a bit of slushy off his nose. "It's nothing."
Rachel's always particularly vulnerable after the weekly showing of Doña Bárbara; the tale of a ruined woman's battle against the world and struggle to find love is just one of those storylines that gets her every time, so he gets extra worried when she asks, "Am I your girlfriend?"
Puck blinks a couple of times and doesn't answer right away; he's pretty sure this is a trap and he's not in the mood to get dumped. "Um," he says.
She sits up, wiping her eyes and sniffing quietly. "I mean, we kiss a lot," she tells him, ticking off a finger, "and I drive you around everywhere, and we go out on the weekends, and the Dads have started calling you hoodlum instead of pool-boy—and though I realize that both are derogatory terms, at least they're accurately insulting you, which I think shows real progress—and I know your mother likes me, because I have an incredible voice, big dreams, and am Jewish, which means that our children, should we decide to have them (which, by the way, wouldn't happen until I had fully played out my dancing and musical career, because stars with children just don't have the time and energy necessary to devote to their art) would also be Jewish, and that's important to her. Also, you don't tell people that I make you want to light yourself on fire anymore."
Puck pushes himself up off the bed and blows out a long breath of air. "Yeahhhh, listen . . . I, uh, I don't really . . . 'date', like as a general rule."
"But you know about all my favorite things," she argues, frowning and bewildered. "You know I love Neil Diamond."
"Er," he says.
"And you stepped in front of a slushy for me."
"That was . . ."
"And you didn't have sex with Ms. Marquez!" she shouts triumphantly, leaping off of the bed and standing with one hand on her hip and the other with its pointer finger jabbing into his chest. "Admit it, Puckerman, I'm your girlfriend and there isn't anything you can do about it."
He gives her a look that's supposed to say: um, actually, yes I can, but Rachel's always been shit at reading human body language, so she throws herself at him with a squeal and says, "So we're agreed! I'm glad we got that out of the way; I didn't know how to bring it up and the Dads have been bothering me about it lately and I know that you aren't exactly Mr. Commitment so I hope you know how much this means to me, because it means a lot, a lot, I know I'm not supposed to get all emotional and scare you away, but, I mean, I can't help it, I just really like you."
Sometimes Puck wonders if he has any control in this relationship at all.
Mr. Schuester chooses to do Sweet Caroline because, well, let's be honest, his arrangement is that awesome. And he gets the lead for once, not Finn, but he's singing with Quinn; he guesses the Schue-man figured that if he was going to shake things up then he might as well go big.
Rachel's displeased, to say the least, and spends literally half an hour making him promise not to fall in love with Quinn just because she has a "decent, mostly sharp, but still sort of pretty, sometimes" voice and is the mother of his child.
"That ship has sailed, Crazy," he promises, hating himself for turning into Finn.
And it had, really, it had totally sailed when he says it, but two days later Quinn catches him before football and clasps her hands behind her back and bites her lip and does that tilted-head, sad-eyes thing that she's the master of and mumbles, "I just . . . I wanted to say that you have an amazing voice, Puck, and that . . . and that I'm sorry I called you a Lima loser. You're not. You're a really . . . I mean, I really . . . anyway, sorry."
And it's like—wham!
Back in the harbor.
He's not quite sure how it happens. It's not like he doesn't like Rachel; he does, he totally does, even if he really, really doesn't want to. She's completely psychotic and most of the time he thinks she might actually have some sort of mental disorder, like Asberger Syndrome or something, but she's also got this way of like, looking at him where he realizes that she's really not that bad.
And . . . the girl can sing.
And then one day he goes into the parking lot and Quinn is sitting in her car, just crying, so he gets in beside her and she crawls onto his lap, like . . . like she belongs there or something. And she starts talking about the baby—their baby—and he just . . .
It's an innocent kiss. Really. Mostly. At first.
But for pity's sake, she's pregnant with his baby, and through her tears she somehow manages to murmur, "It's a little girl, and Finn wants to name it Drizzle, for God's sake."
He laughs, although he loves Finn; the guy's fun as hell when he's not around girls and a good enough person that he makes Puck feel like he's not the douche bag they all make him out to be, but he's an idiot. For God's sake, immaculate conception? Is he kidding with that shit?
Then they just . . . sit, for a bit, and Quinn's totally quiet in a way that Rachel never is (EVER).
He tries to like the quiet, but when he gets home he feels antsy and bored so he calls Rachel and when she talks at him for an hour and a half, he breathes a little sigh of relief.
Finn and Quinn break up January 14th, three weeks before Regionals. It's all anyone in Glee talks about, because who thought that Finn would be the kind that dumps a pregnant girl?
Then Finn shows up at his house and gives him a bloody nose and isn't afraid to meet his eye when he says, "Stay the fuck away from me."
Which is how Puck figures out that Finn knows about the baby.
Aaand things are kinda awkward, after that.
At Glee Finn hits on Rachel like it's his job, and Puck tries not to be jealous because a) Rachel said she didn't have feelings for Finn anymore, b) Puck is still trying to pretend that he doesn't actually like her, and c) he does sort of owe the guy for knocking up his girlfriend.
But Rachel does that thing, where her cheeks get pink and she smiles all the time and alternates between being unable to quite meet anybody's eyes and making herself meet everybody's eyes, just to prove that she can.
Schuester asks him and Quinn to stay after and practice, and Rachel says she'd be happy to wait for him, but when he gets out to the parking lot she's sitting on Finn's car's hood and they're laughing like they're just bestiest best friends in the whole wide world.
Quinn comes up behind him and makes a sound of disgust in her throat. "What is it about that girl?" she mutters, smoothing out skirt. He manages a laugh, but she turns his head to look at her and repeats. "No. Seriously. What is it?"
He shrugs, not letting himself look away as Finn uses his finger to tip Rachel's chin upward as he leans in to kiss her.
He doesn't realize his hand is tightened into a fist until Quinn points it out. He doesn't interrupt the lovefest on Finn's car; Quinn just drives him home.
Rachel shows up just after dinner and she's got that guilty look that he's pretty used to by now. "Okay, I'm going to just be upfront with you," she begins, but he cuts her off with a flat-toned, "You and Finn made out."
She blinks, speechless for once. "What?"
"I saw you. On his car."
She frowns at him, folding her arms across her chest. "Well, maybe you should have looked closer because we only kissed once and that's not exactly making out, okay, I mean, it wasn't even that good, okay yes it was, actually it was great, but . . ."
He can't believe that the words are coming out of his mouth. Seriously, when did he turn into such a girl? When? "Well, uh, maybe we should just . . . see other people, then."
There's like this long vacuum of silence, where Rachel's eyes get really big and her mouth gets really small and then suddenly there's all these tears welling up in them and Puck is like, aw, shit.
"Oh," she murmurs, in the tiniest voice he's ever heard, and it's so not Rachel not to have some sort of great soliloquy prepared, and it freaks him out so damn bad that he does the only thing he can think of and reaches out to drag her against his chest and hold her there until she hugs him back.
"Look, I'm sorry," he says, kind of frantically because she's really crying now, like these huge gasping sobs. "Hey. Hey. I'm sorry."
She calms herself down. "Look," she says, her voice squeaking and hitting decibels that only dogs can hear, "if you don't like me anymore then I don't want to be with you, because I don't want to waste my time or yours and I'm not going to be your, like, thing on the side or something. I am not a backup singer, Noah Puckerman, not ever, so I'm either the star of this musical or I'm walking away and you'd better figure out which it is that you want because I gave up Finn for you so if you're not committed to this then I don't want to speak to you ever again."
She shoves him so hard that he stumbles, and she leaves him with a flip of her hair and a glare that burns a hole through his skin.
At school, Rachel treats him like he's everybody else, and he tries not to let it annoy him. But he's gotten used to her craziness, to the way she sometimes makes him hold hands when they're walking down the hallway, no matter how hard he tries to shake her loose; she's pretty much the only girl he could ever really be with, if only because she wouldn't let him walk away.
He makes out with Quinn once or twice, but it's not the same; she doesn't have the same . . . taste that Rachel does. Quinn is cool, collected, in control; Rachel is all over the place and giggles for no reason except that she's nervous or excited or just thinks his Mohawk is funny (it's not funny, he tells, it's cool; Puck, she tells him, you're an idiot).
He's got his hand on Quinn's right thigh when he pulls away abruptly and murmurs, "Sorry."
She frowns. "What? Why?"
Then he remembers that it's Rachel that's ticklish, not Quinn; that he knows Rachel well enough to remember that terrifies him. Puck drops his head into his hands. "Look, Quinn. I'm, uh…"
She sighs. "Yeah," she says. "Me, too. But hey, though, this has been fun, sorta."
"Yeah, definitely sometimes it was all right," he agrees, and just like that, they pretty much sort everything out. He wonders why it was so complicated before. All they had to do was hook up a few times, and it would've all been so much easier.
At Regionals, Quinn gets sick before the show and Rachel has to take her place. She looks at a spot of his chin the whole performance, instead of meeting his eyes.
Puck doesn't like the term "growing up", so when he shows up at Finn's house to apologize he calls it an act of "growing out". He figures progress has already been made in that he doesn't start bleeding the second Finn comes to the door.
"I don't really want to talk," Finn says flatly, and Puck shrugs.
"Yeah, I know. I wouldn't either. But, uh, just listen, okay? I'm sorry. About Quinn, obviously, I don't… I mean, I was drunk, if that means anything. And I'm going to help her with the baby. I know she's putting it up for adoption, but I'm going to pay for all the doctor's bills and things, just so you know. But, uh. We're not . . . I mean, she's kind of an asshole, dude."
Finn crosses his arms over his chest. "And Rachel?" he asks.
Puck looks at the ground. "You can't have both, dude," he starts to say, but when he looks at Finn's pinched mouth he runs his hands over his face. "Rachel too," he mumbles.
He expects to have the door slammed in his face, but instead Finn does the gay thing and pulls him into a hug that's more Kurt than man. Then he says, "You're an idiot. You're seriously going to walk away from a Jew that somehow puts up with your shit?"
"No," he says shamelessly. "Definitely not. But I figured I could get away with lying about it for a while."
What he does is this:
On Valentine's Day the Cheerios sell and deliver carnations and candy to the sweetheart of your choice, and he buys Rachel thirty. They get delivered in the middle of Spanish and he gives the new captain weed in exchange for the marching band to play the instrumental of Para Tu Amor by Juanes. He makes an idiot of himself singing, but he does it because somehow she started mattering to him and he's not afraid—just sort of annoyed—to admit it.
He ends up on his knees in front of her and wonders when he turned into Zac Efron. "Look," he says after the song ends, "you're the Idina to my Tay Diggs, baby." (He'd had to ask Kurt for an appropriate reference, an experience he won't be repeated ever. Ever.)
Rachel crosses her arms over her chest and frowns at him. "How do I know you aren't going to get all stupid again?"
He raises an eyebrow. "Rachel. I just humiliated myself in front of this entire classroom for you. Give me a—"
She cuts him off with a kiss that's long and dirty enough for Mr. Schuester to awkwardly break apart.
He's dressing up for dinner with her Dads when she comes in and straightens his tie. "We are two good-looking Jews," she says lightly, dusting off his shoulders. "Imagine how adorable our children are going to be."
"I'm uncomfortable with that statement," he says.