Disclaimer: I don't own Glee. Or Bringing Up Baby.
Bringing Up Baby
"You actually know how to read?"
Puck looked up, closing his book with a snap. Before him stood none other than Kurt Hummel, all Marc Jacobs jacket and fabulous Prada bag, staring incredulously.
"What do you want, Hummel?" Puck shot back in irritation. He was in no mood for Kurt today, even if the tables had turned and Kurt, now spewing confidence after his recent feat of football heroism, had become a worthy adversary. No, not today, when this morning Puck had been greeted with the sight of Finn and Quinn making googly-eyes at each other before first period. (Their names even rhymed. How sickening was that?)
"I'm just shocked," Kurt grinned somewhat evilly. "I thought you came from a long line of baboons or something."
Puck glared at Kurt's stupid, smug smile. "Shouldn't you be off doing something gay?" He retorted. Yeah, not his best, but again, today had been bad and Puck didn't see it getting any better.
Kurt rolled his eyes, still the very picture of self-satisfaction. "I'm not gay," He said nonchalantly, an act only achieved after years of practicing. "So what book are you reading?"
Puck wasn't sure exactly why Kurt suddenly felt it was okay to associate with the guy who threw him in a dumpster almost every day (but not today, of course, due to Finn and Quinn related reasons). Maybe Kurt had established some sort of false sense of camaraderie, but as far as Puck was concerned, nothing had changed.
"None of your damn business," Puck replied coldly with narrowed eyes, lowering the book fully under the table. If he looked murderous enough, maybe Kurt would leave him the hell alone.
Apparently Kurt wasn't afraid of him anymore. In a move that could only have been achieved through years of intense dance classes, Kurt sat down abruptly in the chair opposite Puck, reached underneath the table, and snatched the book from Puck's hands before he even realized what was happening.
Kurt's eyes widened as he read the book's title. A single thought flashed through Puck's mind: Fuck. He sucked in a gulp of air, preparing himself.
"Bringing up Baby? Not the Cary Grant Katherine Hepburn Bringing up Baby, right? That's a fantastic movie. So, what, have you got a leopard in your living room?" Kurt exclaimed in one breath.
Puck didn't quite know what to say to this. On the one hand, Kurt hadn't put two and two together quite as fast as Puck had expected. On the other hand, once Kurt realized there was a ridiculously cute baby on the cover and not a leopard, it was only a matter of time.
Like now. Puck watched Kurt's eyes open wider, if that was possible, and braced himself for a voice shriller than Rachel Berry's when she was in one of her moods.
"Puck," Kurt said in a surprisingly not shrill, slightly strangled voice, "why are you reading about babies?" He looked up. "Planning on becoming Finn and Quinn's nanny?"
Puck narrowed his eyes. "No."
"Well then," Kurt ventured, a little on the tentative side, "what exactly are you doing?" He paused. "And on a side note, why does our library offer books on bringing up children?"
Puck rolled his eyes, feeling a bit sorry for himself, and snapped, "Because this is Lima, Ohio, a town made up entirely of losers who knock up random chicks while still in high school." And there. He said it. Now Kurt could get all high and mighty up on his celibate virgin horse.
He was right. Kurt raised his eyebrows slowly as his gaze flicked from the book in his hands to Puck's face. "Wait," he said, "you knocked up some random chick?" Kurt's mouth formed that perfect round "O" it always did when there was gossip in the air. "Who?"
"What?" Puck started, having been distracted by the shape of Kurt's mouth (but c'mon, only for like a second and not in that way). "Nobody, just..." he frowned, regaining his senses, "none of your business."
Kurt pursed his lips. Puck tried to ignore this. "Maybe," Kurt said, setting the book flat on the table and sliding it over to Puck, "I'm making it my business. You can trust me," he said, and Puck locked eyes with him because he honestly didn't believe that.
But then he saw it in Kurt's eyes (Kurt, who was an insufferably good person), that stupid false camaraderie, that stupid idea that they were friends or anything even remotely close.
And so Kurt wouldn't tell. He wouldn't. He was just too fucking nice.
Puck took a deep breath and closed his eyes. And then he said, in a pained, pathetic voice that he cursed himself for, "It's not some random girl. It's Quinn."
Puck couldn't see Kurt, but he could imagine those eyebrows disappearing into that immaculate hairdo; that little mouth making that perfect shape. He didn't have to imagine Kurt's gasp, because, well, there it was. Puck opened his eyes and found Kurt looking exactly the way he had pictured him in his head.
"Don't." Puck held up a hand, though it was unclear whether Kurt was even going to say anything. "Don't get all 'holier than thou' on me—"
"No," Kurt protested suddenly, "I wasn't..."
"Well good," Puck crossed his arms and looked away, because looking at Kurt was becoming harder and harder. "Because you're not the one who can't even get near the kid. Somebody else is not about to raise your baby."
Out of the corner of his eye, Puck saw Kurt nod slowly, as if it had just occurred to him. "Finn," he said quietly. Puck didn't respond.
"So that's why you've been such a jerk lately?" Kurt continued, and Puck whipped his head around to glare at him, because really?
"Really?" Puck asked angrily. "Do you want to go dumpster diving, Hummel? Because I am not in the mood for any of your bullshit right now."
Kurt was unfazed again, which wasn't fair, and he tilted his head to the side in a way that made Puck kind off feel like he was being a child about this. "Look," Kurt said sternly. "I'm trying to help you here. I like Quinn and everything, she knows how to accessorize, but I strongly believe that it takes two to tango."
"How would you know?" Puck grumped snippily, but Kurt just gave him his signature "shut the fuck up" look, and Puck surprisingly shut the fuck up.
"You're part of this too, right? I mean, that baby is half yours." Kurt looked down at his folded hands. "I'm not saying you should serve her with a paternity test or anything, but it's not fair to you or Finn to let him keep on believing—"
"Listen." Puck cut Kurt off abruptly, uncrossing his arms and grabbing the baby book off the table. "I appreciate this and everything, but do you really think telling Finn is going to make anything better? Either way, Quinn doesn't let me near the baby, and this way I don't end up being pulverized by a freakishly tall dude." Puck shoved the book in his backpack and made to stand, but then he caught sight of Kurt's face.
Kurt looked sad, and that was extra unfair, because the last thing Puck wanted was for Kurt to feel sorry for him. He hadn't even really meant to tell the guy in the first place.
"Either way, Quinn doesn't let you near the baby," Kurt repeated. "The baby you obviously care about, or you wouldn't be spending your lunch hour in the library researching parenting tips. Either way, Puck, you draw the short stick."
"Story of my life," Puck said, trying to be flippant but obviously failing, judging by the look on Kurt's face. He stood up this time, shouldering his backpack. "Look, Hummel, just forget it. Stop looking like someone kicked your puppy and pretend I never told you."
Kurt gazed up at him (through impossibly long lashes that Puck, of course, did not notice) and nodded, and after what felt like a long time he said, "I'll see you at practice."
Puck had a feeling that Kurt wasn't ever going to forget what he had just told him and it was an exercise in futility to even hope that he would, and for some reason, that comforted him. Like if (or when) this whole thing blew up in his face, he just might have someone on his side.
Maybe that's why he stopped and turned around, watching as Kurt stood up and fiddled with the clasp on his bag.
"Hummel," Puck said, like it was an afterthought, like it was nothing, but it was everything. Kurt looked at him, half surprised, half completely expectant, if that was at all possible. Puck cleared his throat.
"Thanks," he said. And Kurt smiled.