Title: It Goes Down Easy
Summary: Forwards & backwards, then up & down. And the non-stop spinning. That's what it feels like. That's how they are together.
Disclaimer: I do not own Glee, but if I DID, well, I only have five words for you: Brittney. Finn. Spin-off. Freelance detectives. Get on it, Ryan Murphy.
Author notes: Well, here it is. The sequel to Easy Girl. I've decided to stick with the Puck POV, so let me know where my Puck voice needs work because this is going to be a chaptered fic. I know, kids; I'm scared, too. But we'll get through this together somehow. Title is from the awesome Feist song Brandy Alexander.
Chapter notes: The chapter title is from the Devendra Banhart song of the same name. I defy you to listen to it & not have it become your go-to Puck/Rachel song. There's a shout-out to Jackie/Hyde in here somewhere; cookies to whoever finds it.
Also, go send my beta Babs much love, if not for turning my insane rants into an actual story than at least for holding my hand through the editing process and not giving up after my countless MARRY ME FINN HUDSON e-mails. She deserves it! GOLD STAR!
Our story begins on a Sunday afternoon
Just between halfway tree and Spanish town
Where a young boy
Not yet the cock o' the walk that he would soon become,
Was lying on the grass and takin' in the sweet and sensuous scent of hibiscus
That languidly lilted along the summer breeze
But he doesn't, of course. He just keeps elbowing Rachel in her side, taking an obscene amount of pleasure in the way her eye twitches in tandem with his arm.
"Quit. It." Her voice is low, but deadly. Mr. Schue doesn't notice because he is up at the front of the group, going on and on about Nationals which are months away and Puck doesn't care because he has Rachel Berry about to lose her shit right next to him now.
"Raaaaaachel," he wheedles, quietly but insistently. "Hey, Rachel!"
Her eyes do not stray from Mr. Schue's bouncing (the man is bouncing) form and Puck doesn't know when to quit.
"Rachel." Jab. "Look at me." Jab. Jab. "Just say it."
Rachel's whole neck flushes and he knows he's getting to her but it's not enough for him.
He pokes her once more, and then leans down to whisper in her ear. "Just say you agree that that closet is the best closet in the school." He glances at the tiny storage closet to the side of the choir room, barely big enough to hold a couple of old tubas and an average-sized person (two, if one of them is particularly limber.)
Now her whole face is flushing too and Puck's smirking so hard that it's starting to hurt. "I don't know what you're talking about," she mutters.
Oh, what a liar.
He quits elbowing her and waits for the look of relief on her face before rapping his knuckles sharply on her bare knee.
He is vaguely aware of Mr. Schuester dismissing the club when Rachel gets up so quickly that he almost falls off his chair in surprise. She whips around to stare him down and starts poking her finger into his shoulder, repeatedly and maniacally. "OK, I admit it! I admit it! I admit it! Are you happy?" she shrieks.
The rest of the Glee club turns a wary eye at them. It's been a week since Regionals, and a week since his little sister yapped to the whole club about what they mistakenly interpreted to be some sort of relationship. He's going to set that misconception straight one of these days. He'll get right on it.
As it stands, ever since that night the rest of the Gleeks have been handling him and Rachel as though they were made of dynamite.
Except for Quinn, who always sends them these indulgent smiles when she sees them, as though somehow she is the one to be thanked for all of this and she is patiently waiting for them to drop to their knees in gratitude.
And Kurt, who chased them out right after the big reveal and squealed "I knew it, I knew it," before running back into the party and making out with Trumpet Kid.
And Finn. Who has tried at least five times since the party to talk to Puck about this, but never gets past "So, you and, um, Rachel are, uh, you know..." before scratching the back of his neck and mumbling "This is weird," and stumbling off. Puck chooses to take that as Finn's unique blessing.
Everyone else seems to not really know how to handle them being... you know... them. It annoys him sometimes, because he's pretty sure he's the part of the equation that they can't quite figure out.
Then again, he can't really blame them when they have to witness Rachel going full-on mental and trying to stab him with her finger.
"Yeah, I'm happy," he admits quietly. He grabs her finger and yanks her forward. "Now tell me why it's the best closet."
"Noah..." she sighs. She has that look on her face, the one that says plainly you have the mind of a child, Noah Puckerman, and he loves that she knows this about him and he hates that he hasn't gotten her to look past it yet. "I know why. You know why. Now let's go."
"Do you really know why I love that closet?"
"I know exactly what you're talking about."
He waits for Mr. Schue to walk right by them, because even though there's nothing he enjoys more than getting a rise out of Rachel, there's still something to be said for freaking out his teacher. "OK. But in case you don't, I'm talking about how you totally went down on me after practice two weeks ago in that very closet."
Even though Rachel launches her schoolbag into his gut, it's totally worth it because Mr. Schuester looks at them in shock and walks straight into the piano bench, toppling over Brad the pianist.
And within half an hour, Puck manages to sweet talk Rachel back into the closet.
It starts one day in Biology class, as he studiously ignores a lecture on amoebas or some shit.
(He's been holding a grudge against Mrs. Dreekle ever since she showed a video on childbirth two weeks ago that caused Quinn to freak out and punch him in the 'nads. Twice.)
So, he tunes out as Finn is being berated for asking Why do guys have nipples? again. (The guy really needs to let that one go.)
He starts to think about what he's going to do this weekend. Puck's never been much of a planner, but during last period on a Friday afternoon, thoughts of everything else he could be doing are the only thing stopping him from jamming a pencil through his forehead.
There are videogames to be played and at least three baggies still left over from his short stint as a baker/drug peddler. Nice. But then his mind automatically goes to Rachel and how she factors into it all. He'll probably end up picking a game that's very plot-oriented, because Rachel sometimes sits on the couch to watch him play and pretends it's a movie. And he's definitely going to try to get her to smoke with him again because the first and only time she did, she spent about an hour saying his name all slow and crazy-like, rubbing her hands up and down his Mohawk before demanding he tape her performing Slave 4 U for her Myspace page.
(After watching the footage the next day, she ordered him to delete it off his hard drive. He didn't, obviously.)
He's mind-numbingly bored so he doesn't feel too pathetic when he follows the Rachel Berry train of thought. And there is something there, niggling at the back of his mind when he thinks about her showing up at his house in a short skirt, always exactly six minutes after his mother has left for work (he's convinced she hides in the bushes and waits but she just blushes and ignores him when he asks) and how she always stops on the way to his room to have "girl-talk" with Debbie and he knows he's thought to himself in the past that he might love her but that was emotional distress and this, this right now is something he can't explain. But it's something.
When the period bell rings, the class pours out of the room and Rachel aggressively shoulders her way against the moving tide of bodies to get in and meet him at his desk. She does that sometimes, having committed his schedule to heart. Without him ever actually showing it to her, the little psycho. "So, what did you learn in Biology?"
Puck doesn't bother telling her anything about his revelation because he has a feeling she's already had it figured out and has just been waiting for him to catch up.
"Amoebas," he mumbles before grabbing her waist and hoisting her onto his desk. He leans in for a kiss, but she ducks out of the way.
At first he doesn't understand the weird look on her face, but when he follows her line of sight he sees THE HUMAN DIGESTIVE SYSTEM written across the chalkboard in big, bold letters.
"Anyway, I told Kurt that if this boy really likes him it won't matter whether or not he's interested in basketball. You can't just go around changing who you are for some boy who probably won't appreciate it in the end." Rachel's vocal training seems to have some practical benefits because she doesn't lose a bit of steam as she talks on and on while jumping up and down to reach the back of her locker. He'd offer to help but the way she's bopping around is too funny an image to pass up. Plus, she's flashing her pink cotton panties with every hop. "Of course he took it the wrong way so now I'm going to have to bake him some cookies because he hasn't spoken to me since second period. Are you even listening to me, Noah?"
"God help me, I am." He finally takes pity on her and grabs the book she needs, swings her locker closed and walks off down the hallway.
She scurries after him and it's not long before she's going at it again. "Well? Don't you think I'm right, Noah?"
"I think you should let Kurt figure his own drama out." He's already spent two hours explaining the game of basketball to the kid. He'll be damned if Rachel fucks that up. "And ease up with the Noah thing at school would you? Most of these people don't even know that's my name. I'm sure they think you're talking to someone who isn't even there." He brings a hand to her shoulder, patting it lightly. "I just don't want them thinking you're even crazier than you are," he explains to her sweetly.
Her scowl doesn't have the usual I Am Berry, Hear Me Roar edge to it, so he knows she's going to let that last one slide. "If you want me to stop calling you Noah, you just have to say so."
That's not at all what he's saying.
"That's not at all what I'm saying."
He slings his arm over her shoulder and they head towards the school exit. "I don't mind you calling me Noah. That's fine. But I like Puck, too. I picked that name out. I got it to stick."
No need to mention who picked the name Noah when he was born.
Rachel reaches up to the hand on her shoulder and holds it, and she giggles when he grimaces at having to stoop lower to accommodate their difference in height.
"I think it's charming that you go by the name Puck. It shows character. Besides, some of the greatest performing artists of all time have gone by one name. Madonna, Cher, Prince..."
"Thanks Berry. I ask you for one favour and you turn it into the gayest thing imaginable."
"You'll appreciate me when you're famous, Puck."
He scoffs loudly as the head out the door. "Please. As if I'll still let you hit this when I'm famous."
It freaks him out a little how well he can read her, because that means something but also because she is insane and therefore his ability to follow her thought processes means he might be insane too. He hopes it isn't genetic or anything.
When Rachel asks him one day if he's ever been tested for STDs, he doesn't get offended. Instead, he accepts her invitation to go get themselves checked out at the free clinic because "in this day and age, Noah, there is no such thing as too safe and we must be responsible for our bodies, especially when one considers a sexual history that is spotty at best, like yours is." Still not offended (but kind of annoyed by the manwhore comment) Puck drives them down to the clinic and doesn't complain once as he feels the damage the hard plastic chairs of the waiting room are doing to his back because he knows this is Rachel's crazy-ass way of saying she is ready to have sex with him. Finally.
The first time, she cries and initially he assumes it's from the pain but she's still sniffling long after their done. "That was... nice," she says through a watery smile, wrapped in his old quilt and curled up into a small ball at the foot of his bed. Puck rolls his eyes, dragging her up to his lap before nudging her head onto his chest.
"It gets better, Berry." She lifts her head and turns it to stare at him hopefully. "It does?"
"Just consider yourself lucky to have landed such a stud like me." He tugs the quilt open and pulls it around the both of them. "The hard part's over. Get ready to have your world rocked on a consistent basis from now on."
She kisses him and whispers something that he doesn't quite catch before falling asleep on him. Debbie's been trained well-enough to run interference with his mom when she gets home, so he lets himself drift off to sleep.
Except he doesn't get much sleep that night. Rachel wakes him up at least twice (or maybe it was three times, but one of those had to be a dream right?) to practice and she keeps saying "Practice makes perfect" and making these gasps that sound better than anything he's ever heard her sing and in his sleep-addled mind his thoughts are forming too quickly for him to grasp onto anything except This isn't practice, this is the real thing.
"Tell me something."
Puck considers lifting his head from Rachel's bed to answer but he honestly can't be bothered. The first time he saw her room, he couldn't wrap his head around why somebody would need so many damn pillows. They were everywhere, just taking up space. But now he knows. After a particularly brutal football practice, he had swept right by her and headed straight for the bed. She had huffed and stormed out (and then back in and out again) and he couldn't have cared less because the pillows were there to take care of him. Fucking pillows.
("Just get your own pillows." "Why should I when I have yours?" "Is it weird that I find that statement so romantic?" "Yes.")
And now, even though Puck is getting some much needed face-time with the pillows, Rachel is insisting on ruining their special moment because he feels her staring a hole through the back of his head. He groans as he rolls over.
She's kneeling on the bed, her feet tucked under her butt, and even when she's relaxed she looks ready to spring into action at a moment's notice. "Tell me something," she repeats softly.
He opens his arm wide and she accepts the silent invitation, lowering herself down and cradling herself against his torso. "Do you remember the first time the club performed for the school? Before I had joined?" She murmurs in affirmation, and then waits for him to continue "I was so fucking pissed when I saw Finn up there with you guys. But then you did the Push It routine. And I don't know if it was the kneepads or the pigtails, but even though I was angry, it still managed to get me pretty hard. I had to go home and rub one out, pronto." Half-truth. He went home with that in mind, but he ended up having sex with Quinn instead.
Normally, her reaction can go in one of two ways (pissed or horny) but, being Rachel Berry, she does something completely unexpected: nothing.
"Hmmm," she hums. He waits for her to take her turn, because that's how these things go. One confession for another.
"Finn was my first kiss."
Puck makes sure not to move a muscle in the arm that he has wrapped around her, but he's pretty sure he's just strangled one of his beloved pillows to death with his free hand. This isn't surprising or anything. He's always assumed that their flirtation wasn't as innocent as they led everyone to believe. Hell, everyone's kind of assumed it, Quinn included. He just never really looked for confirmation on the theory.
She tells him the whole story, every ridiculous detail. The fake picnic, the virgin cosmos, the beating hearts... the way Finn ran out and left her there to clean it all up, sobbing.
And even though a part of him is kind of raging at the thought, he chokes back laughter when he hears how it ends. While he'd love nothing than to make a mockery of this memory of hers, he figures he owes Finn for how shit went down with Quinn so he doesn't tell Rachel that Finn probably blew his load over first base.
More than ready to get the image of Rachel kissing Finn out of his head, Puck runs his hand up the inside of her thigh, kissing her neck the whole time. This might be when he likes Rachel best, when she is squirming against the bed, biting her lip with the strain of not saying something she knows will just be desperate and embarrassing. When his hand finally gets to its intended destination, he stops. He holds it there, firm but unmoving and it's not long before her patience wears out and she starts rubbing herself against it. Rachel Berry loves nothing more than working hard towards a goal.
Now that they're actually sleeping together, he can't help comparing her to the others he's been with. Some were better, some worse. He doesn't exactly have an exact ranking system that he can consult for this (although now he has something to do next Biology class). But what Rachel lacks in experience, she more than makes up for in enthusiasm.
Puck's never taken much stock in the Don't Kiss And Tell philosophy, but he's come to learn that there are some things that just don't make sense outside of him and her, and whatever it is they have. They do things together that neither would ever, ever discuss with another human being. Rachel does this one bit where she sings some power ballad and she pretends to be using a microphone but really it's his... whatever, just trust him when he says it's extremely fucked up and it never fails to make him laugh until he can hardly breathe.
(When Puck tries to write up the ranking chart next class, he doesn't know what to call that exact feeling so he rips the paper out of his notebook, throws it away and takes a nap.)
Even though they never really decide to become exclusive in any official capacity, he still finds himself getting shoehorned into meeting her fathers. And even though he refuses to admit it, a small (very small) part of him is curious. The rest of him is hesitant and scared shitless, but that small part that stops him from just flat-out saying no to this wants to know, plain and simple, how the fuck do they do it? He's never been around them for more than a few minutes at a time and even he can realize they are probably two of the best fathers he knows, and possibly will ever know. Rachel hero-worships both of them and if he can get his own daughter to look at him with even a fraction of that same adoration, it'll be more than he deserves.
So he agrees to meet them. And then lives to regret it pretty much immediately after.
His first dinner with them is an exercise in torture. Eli, the short, balding one with glasses is one of those intellectual types that makes Puck want to put his head in the oven when he starts going on and on about some political situation in a country he never knew existed. Brian is tall, black and used to play college ball. He even tried out for the Browns before blowing out his knee, and Puck likes him well enough but all that means is that when he puts his hand up Rachel's skirt under the dinner table, he feels kind of guilty about it.
He can't even pretend to be Rachel's sweet, innocent, well-intentioned boyfriend because they already know he isn't. He wishes the blame for this could fall solely on Debbie's shoulders, but just last week the dads came home early to find Puck with his pants around his ankles in the study and Rachel on her knees. Puck had pushed her away so quickly that she still complains about a twinge in her neck whenever she turns her head left but not fast enough to stop her fathers from knowing exactly what was going on.
So really, this isn't so much a Getting To Know Our Daughter's Boyfriend dinner as it is a Who Is This Miscreant Molesting Our Baby Girl And Why Are We Feeding Him? kind of thing. They wait for the second course before bringing up his and Rachel's "uh, natural reactions to the overwhelming feelings in their bodies" and Puck tries not to throw up in his mouth.
What really kills him is that he has been in this situation before. When Santana forced him to meet her psychotic parents, he wrote and memorized a speech about how special /lovely/not a total bitch when you really got to know her/beautiful their daughter is, and if they ever decide to consummate their love (HA!) he will make sure it is what she wants and they will always, always be safe. Santana's bullshit meter was working in fine order because she almost choked on her enchilada but her parents fell for it hook, line and sinker.
Obviously, this speech is of no use to him now because, as Mr. and Mr. Berry are well aware, he has a baby on the way. Always safe, my ass.
Except Puck is surely catching some of Finn's stupid because he repeats the speech. Verbatim. Without prompting. He may have even used Santana's name at some point.
The men just stare at him silently and Rachel looks like she wants to drown herself in her soup.
How she convinces him to come over for a second dinner, he has no idea. It might be because they were both naked at the time and she had been doing something with her teeth that made his eyes roll to the back of his head. Whatever, the point is: he's there. And nobody but Rachel looks all that happy about it.
Puck decides to stick religiously to his plan of nodding at questions, giving one-word answers when necessary and absolutely no touching. (He briefly contemplates smacking Rachel's hand with a spoon when he feels it running up and down his thigh.) Eli asks about the baby, and sounds genuinely curious about her. Puck gives them a brief lowdown on Quinn's latest doctor visit, and then asks for a second helping of mashed potatoes.
He feels the words forming in his mouth, so he chugs his glass of water and swallows them. The night has been bearable so far if not pleasant, so nobody needs to hear him say: I know you probably hate me because I try to violate your daughter on a regular basis but if you could give me a few pointers on how to raise the kid of my own that's on her way, I'd really appreciate it because I think you did a great job with yours, minus the times when she's a raging psychopath. He shoves a huge chunk of bread in his mouth for good measure. Rachel is clearly trying to mentally project some manners into him because he sees her going cross-eyed from the effort.
Later, Puck helps Brian load the dishwasher as Rachel and Eli argue in the living room over what movie to watch during dessert.
"You know, I know a little something about what you're going through," Brian says as he turns the knob on the machine. Puck's raised eyebrow earns him a chuckle from the older man.
"Look at Eli." Through the entrance to the kitchen and across the hallway, Puck does look at Eli. He and Rachel are about the same height, which means he could probably use them both as crutches if he wanted to. Their debate has devolved into a weird display of musical one-upmanship, as both seem to think their dilemma will be solved by how well the crucial number from their chosen film is performed. "He's small, smart and a total geek. His parents almost fainted the first time he brought me home for Shabbat dinner."
"I guess no one really wants their child to date some punk football player, even if they've done it too."
"Did they, uh, ever accept you?" Puck shrugs, "Or whatever." Way to play it cool.
Brian has a teasing glint in his eye when he answers. "Eventually. I had to work at it. But I eventually got them to forget that their son was in love with a dumb jock."
Puck knows that this is probably an important turning point in his relationship with Mr. Berry, but he still can't help it when he says "Maybe they just didn't want him to be dating a dude."
He considers himself lucky when Brian lets out a hearty laugh instead of punching him straight into the floor like he should have.
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