This is my first attempt at a Glee fanfic, so hopefully it's at the very least decent.

It's going to get a lot darker in later chapters, just fair warning.

1. Iced Queen

When he'd left Rachel Berry sitting on the bleachers after she asked him if they could 'still be friends' or some shit, he really meant what he'd said. They hadn't been friends before she had broken up with him for stupid ass reasons, and he didn't want to be friends with her after. The implication was pretty clear, he thought. It screamed: no way, you loser freak without actually saying the words out loud, which showed that she was kind of rubbing off on him because she was so fucking annoying that he wanted to be nothing like her.

But after a week and a half of her slowly breaking down his defenses with that chipper smile and those killer skirts, that decision went to shit. He heard her talking to Mr. Schue about her stupid self-esteem issues or whatever, and he actually felt bad. So the next day when she sat next to him at Glee because there were no more seats, he smiled at her instead of his usual apathetic nod. And then it all sort of came together when he sort of accidentally bought a grape Slushee instead of cherry (grape slushies were disgusting, but they were her favorite) and when he saw her in the hallway, he didn't throw it in her face.

The guys on the football team (when had he stopped referring to them as his friends?) wanted him to. He knew they did (even though they didn't say the words out loud because, hey, no one tells Noah Puckerman what to do). They were watching him hungrily as he walked down the hall towards her, and he was inwardly debating for all of three seconds before he remembered the way it felt to get his own slushy facial, and the way she'd cleaned him off so thoroughly like she was the best girlfriend in the world instead of just his second best. And he remembered how she'd sat on his lap and didn't care if he put his hand on her thigh like really far up there. And sure, she'd dumped him because she liked Finn (and because he liked Quinn, even though he kind of didn't at the same time), and sure she hadn't let him touch her boobs (in his opinion, the thigh was way hotter), but she still forgave him for being such an asshole to her, and she still told him that he was a wonderful performer and…shit. He kind of wanted to be her friend, if he couldn't be anything else.

Friends with benefits would have been better, though, because she was seriously hot when she wasn't talking and he had a feeling she'd be a freak in the sack. He was going to bring that up eventually, but starting out slow seemed like a good idea if he didn't want to get, like, a ten hour lecture about decency or something equally as stupid.

So he handed her the slushy, pulled the straw from behind his ear, and said, "here. I guess we can be friends."

She took it and smiled at him, and it wasn't like last time where she'd looked all shocked and confused. She looked just fucking happy, and for once she wasn't talking, and she just kept nodding like that, like they were sharing some private joke that he didn't get.

"Thank you, Noah," she said finally. And he only walked away because she started sucking on that straw, and he really didn't need to watch that. He already had the occasional sex dream about her. He didn't need them to be, like, more accurate than they already were.

He was almost to Biology when he heard the gasps, and the splashing, and her squeal of surprise that could only mean she'd just been slushied. He turned and saw the entire hockey team, plus a few baseball kids, walking in the other direction with empty slushy cups in their hands and smirks on their faces the size of their giant assholes. Rachel was standing motionless at her locker, eyes squeezed shut and mouth trembling in a tight little line like she was trying to force herself not to cry. The slushy he had just given her was rolling on the ground, spilling everywhere, and Rachel was absolutely covered in flavored ice. Head-to-toe. Her shirt was practically hanging off of her because it was so drenched, and her legs were streaked different colors of sticky sweetness. Before he could stop himself, he imagined licking them clean.

But then he felt bad, because she ran into the bathroom crying.

And he had no idea what to do.

The bell rang and the other students cleared the hallway, avoiding the giant slushie puddle and laughing about what a bitch Rachel Berry supposedly was. He wanted to tell them that she wasn't a bitch, that she was just really smart and knew what she wanted out of life, and if she didn't like you then you probably didn't deserve to be liked because she was totally forgiving of even really mean kids like he and Quinn.

But he didn't say anything and just sort of stood there and looked around for any of the Glee members. Because even though Kurt had been a little turd to Rachel about the whole solo thing earlier, it seemed like they had made up, and Kurt was pretty cool despite liking other dudes. He would know exactly what to do to help her.

Puck didn't. But he stood there anyway because no one from Glee passed by except Finn, and he really didn't want Finn's help. Finn would do something awesome and totally sweet that Puck never would have been able to think of, while Quinn would be sitting somewhere in class being all pregnant with Puck's damn kid, and the stupid love connections were messed up enough as it was without adding that whole jealousy angle that Puck would start to feel if he saw Finn and Rachel interact, like, ever again.

He waited until he was sure that no one was looking, and then he went into the bathroom. He heard her crying in one of the stalls, so he awkwardly cleared his throat. That surprised squeal came again (and it was still more cute than annoying, no matter how much he tried to hate it) and she hit her elbow on something and gave a little gut-wrenching sob.

"It's, uh, it's Puck," he announced when she didn't say anything. He heard her let out a sigh of relief, and he watched under the stall as she got to her feet.

He spied a sliver of something pink under that retardedly short skirt of hers, but he really couldn't bring himself to care. That was fucked up.

She opened the stall and stared at him with disbelief, like she had expected that he was really just Tina or Mercedes doing a really good impression.

"Why are you in the girl's bathroom?" she asked finally. She was totally shivering and he could totally see through her shirt to her bra, which was also pink (matching. Sweet), but it was not erotic at all and overall pretty disappointing. Because he kind of felt like he was being stabbed in the stomach, which was not the feeling he typically associated with wet t-shirts and a decent set of boobs.

"I saw what happened. I followed you."

It sounded a little creepy, but since Rachel was the queen of creeps, he knew she'd actually think it was sweet or whatever. He wanted to say something to fuck up the moment, because he was kind of uncomfortable playing the hero, but instead he reached out and put a hand on her shoulder. It was just an innocent gesture, like: hey, sorry you got slushied. If you want, I can sneak you into the locker room and shower you off.

Seemed like a good plan at the time, but then she started crying again. He really didn't want to get his shirt all sticky and wet, but he didn't feel like he had a choice. So he hugged her. He didn't want to, and he tried not to like the way that she felt under his arms, or the way that it reminded him of how he had quit football for her and the Glee club (which made him feel really proud of himself, even though he knew he was a screw-up most of the time). He tried not to like how she clung to him like he was someone who could protect her, even though he was stupid and selfish and just a Lima loser, just like Quinn said.

It was kind of impossible, though, and he realized that she had gotten under his skin.

Before he and Rachel had dated for like two seconds, he'd never understood why Finn liked her so much when he had Quinn and the baby on the way. Quinn was all perfect and beautiful and untouchable and pure, and all these things that you were supposed to want. He had to admit that when he actually got her, in the Biblical sense, it was pretty freaking awesome, even though she was kind of mean about it and cried a lot afterwards before she ran away and told him that he could forget about telling Finn. But then he started dating Rachel, and even though it was only for a few days, it was pretty awesome. She was totally chill to hang out with, even though she talked a mile a minute, because she only ever judged him if he was being mean (and he was okay with that, because it made sense, unlike Quinn and Santana who judged him for his hair and for thinking that Justin Timberlake was stupid and stuff like that). When he told Rachel that he hated West Side Story, she had just smiled and replied that obviously he could not appreciate the nuances of the musical because society dictated that he should be a Neanderthal due to his physical appearance and exceptional physique. And that was pretty cool because Rachel Berry didn't call just anyone hot. She had to like, appreciate their personality, too.

Not to mention she believed in him and shit. And she made him sing in front of the Glee club before she would date him, which was kind of hot because he liked bossy girls and he liked how she wanted him to go places. And even when she was talking about Tonys and Broadway, some of the stuff was pretty interesting, and it was easy to tune out the stuff that wasn't and just watch how her lips were really cute when they moved that fast.

So, sure, he felt comfortable enough to admit to himself (and himself only) that despite what he had said to her on the bleachers that day, he was never going to break up with Rachel Berry. Dating her was easy despite her self-described high-maintenance, and he sort of liked listening to her sing even though he liked making out with her better. And she wasn't a hypocrite about sex or anything, not like the other girls in the school. She told him that she wanted to wait a little, but not forever. He thought that was really cool. He liked the honesty because he was sick of lying to everyone and pretending to be supportive of Finn and the kid that he thought had been conceived in a fucking hot tub. And so he was just as badly whipped as Finn, which was so fucked up. Especially since he knew that if it came down to it, both Rachel and Quinn would choose Finn every time.

"Are you okay?" he asked finally when he realized that she wasn't really crying anymore, just shivering and clinging to him like he was that wooden door in the last scene of Titanic (they watched it together, which meant that they made out through the boring shit and then watched the awesome scene when people were falling into the water and hitting propellers on the way down).

"I'm fine. Thank you. I was just surprised, I suppose. Receiving the slushy from you was so lovely and unexpected that I never guessed it could have such a nasty conclusion. And I must admit that although many horrible things have happened to me at this school, I never expected something like this. Not so many. Not all at once."

She pulled away from him and sighed, looking down at her ruined clothes and her body that was streaked with slushy juices.

"That was really out of line," he said. "I don't know why they did that."

She shrugged and tried to toss her hair, but it sort of didn't work because it was so heavy with all the ice that had yet to melt.

"It was a message, Noah. Just because your experiences in Glee club have transformed you into a nice young man who is not quite the Neanderthal you once were, it doesn't mean that anything has changed for me. I'm still a freak. And there are still slushy machines in the cafeteria."

That made Puck mad, for reasons that were pretty stupid. He had been the first to spill a slushy into her perfect hair. Why would they think it was okay to keep going with it after he stopped? His giving Rachel that grape slushy should have been the real message: no one messed with his ex-girlfriends.

Unless they wanted to mess with Santana, which was cool with him.

Plus, he was kind of mad because Rachel looked so sad and he really wanted her to smile because her eyes just made him feel like his stomach was being put through a meat grinder or something.

"Want me to beat them up?" he asked in a light tone. He was hoping to get a laugh out of her, and he did. A sweet laugh that made her look really pretty.

Or hot. Or whatever.

"As wonderful and admittedly chivalrous a gesture as that would be, Noah, I would feel immensely guilty if you were hurt because of me. And as you probably saw, there were many perpetrators in this particular incident. In order to find the time to destroy all of them and still keep up with your schoolwork, you would probably need to quit Glee, and then we wouldn't be able to compete in sectionals."

He loved when she made jokes. Not because they were funny (she was Rachel Berry, after all, so they usually weren't), but because she always smiled like she was proud of herself for even attempting it. Like it had been a conscious effort to try and be normal for a second. It was totally cute.

So he laughed. Only because he knew it would make her happy. Which in itself was pretty weird because he usually didn't do shit like that for people.

"Okay. Fine. I won't beat them up. But at least let me do something."

"Actually…I know this is asking a lot…"

"Anything," he said honestly. And, whoa, when did he start being the kind of guy who would do anything for a chick he wasn't even sleeping with? Or even one that he was sleeping with, for that matter.

"It's just…oh, nevermind. You don't need to…"

"Berry, seriously, spill. We're standing in the chick's bathroom and it's going to look really weird if someone comes in right now."

Rachel laughed the laugh that Puck really liked, the one that made her face go all soft. She looked down at the ground and put her hands on his forearms. He kind of liked that, even though he didn't know why.

"Well, I remember from our short-lived relationship that you have algebra this period, and I know that you don't usually attend. Unfortunately my dads have not seen it fit to purchase me a car because I am a rather inexperienced driver and, and…well, I normally bring a change of clothes to school but I was feeling unusually optimistic today and I decided to leave them at home. I would…I would really like to go home and shower."

"Dude, you think that is asking a lot? Please. That's no problem. I hate algebra. This is an awesome idea."

Plus he got to sit in her house while she was taking a shower, which was totally awesome. But Rachel wasn't done.

"First we need to go to Principal Figgins so that neither of us will get into trouble as a result of this."

"No way! He's never going to let us leave. That guy's a tool, and he hates me."

Rachel smirked, and he suddenly thought that she was, like, the sexiest person ever.

"Broadway isn't just singing and dancing, Noah. My repertoire includes more than a hauntingly beautiful voice and a highly competitive dance record."

And he just kind of smiled because he really wasn't sure what he was supposed to say about that, anyway.