When the sun began to climb over Lima that Saturday morning, there was at least one person awake inside the Puckerman home. Puck was propped up in bed, gently rubbing Anna's back. She was curled up against his bare chest, fast asleep. His head bent down, his nose buried in her soft hair, he inhaled the scent of baby powder that seemed to come from within her tiny body. She had woken up in the middle of the night, fussy and hungry. With her sleeping on him, listening to the soft in and out of her breath, he felt more relaxed and at peace than he had at any time since Thursday morning, when IT happened. IT being the day that he and Rachel had sex at school for the first time. At 6:58 in the morning, they slipped into the band room and opened the closet door. Inside the huge instrument closet was another door that led to a tiny, rarely used storage room. Inside was a tall metal storage container that was perfect for "extracurricular" purposes. Picking Rachel up, he sat her on the container, unzipped his jeans, pushed her panties aside, and shoved himself inside her. They worked themselves into a frenzied state and both went wide-eyed as he came deep inside her, realizing only at that moment that they had forgotten to use a condom. Puck was near hyperventilation when Rachel assured him that it was physically impossible for her to get pregnant this time of the month considering her cycle was very regular and her period would start tomorrow. Relaxing slightly, he couldn't help but be a little pissed at himself. Okay, a lot pissed at himself. The incident had shaken him to his very foundation. The old Puck wouldn't have given it a second thought. It was just a nanosecond of "oops" that would have been forgotten by lunch. But the newer, wiser Puck, couldn't help but think that if it had been at a different time of the month, Anna could be a big sister in nine short months. And that thought made Puck want to fling himself off a cliff. To father two children before he graduated high school would forever seal his fate as a "Lima loser" and he just couldn't let that happen.

It had been six weeks since Puck and Rachel had begun their "arrangement." Since the night on the couch, their relationship had turned into a comfortable one involving hanging out and lots and lots of sex. As he eased Anna back into sleep, he couldn't stop thinking about Rachel and the whole convoluted situation. Actually, if he was honest with himself, he had spent most of his time thinking about Rachel lately when he wasn't actually with her. But he seemed to think best when he had his daughter in his arms. Anna Puckerman, in her fifteen weeks of life, had helped to bring more clarity to Puck's life than anything else in the previous 17 years. When he looked into those eyes that so closely mirrored his own, everything made sense. It was now, as he sat there with the smallest, greatest gift that he had ever received sleeping peacefully against him, that he knew what he had to do. Things couldn't continue with Rachel as they were.

Rachel was fast at work on her elliptical trainer when she heard a knock on the front door. Toweling herself off, she raced down the stairs and flung the door open, quite pleased to see Noah standing on the other side of the door holding a baby carrier.

"Noah! I didn't expect to see you today. And with Anna? How great! Come on in."

Rachel stepped aside so that they could enter and then she softly shut the door. Noah sat the baby carrier down on the couch and Rachel rushed over, unbuckled Anna, and cooed into her hair. "Hi Babygirl," she said, using the same term of endearment Noah often used when talking to Anna. "How's beautiful Anna today?" Anna stared up at Rachel with wide eyes before finally giving her a big, toothless grin. Rachel smiled up at Noah, who stood silently watching the exchange with a serious look on his face. Rachel could tell that something was off.

"Is everything okay? We didn't have plans to meet today because of the whole "time of the month" thing, I thought."

"Yeah....everything is okay. I just needed to see talk to you."

Puck flopped himself down on the couch next to her and Anna. Digging out a bottle from the diaper bag, he handed it to Rachel. She situated Anna in her lap and began feeding her, gently rocking her back and forth as she ate. She focused all her attention on Anna because she could tell that something just wasn't right with Noah. He seemed tense and like he wanted to say something...but he wasn't talking. She wasn't used to "serious Noah" and shockingly, didn't know what to do or say. The suspense, which grew with each passing minute where nothing was said, was killing her. Finally, even though she was afraid of the answer, she asked, "What did you need to talk about?"

Puck stood up, clapped his hands together, and took a deep breath. She could tell her was preparing for a speech and speeches were never, ever good. "Rachel….these past six weeks have been amazing. Sure, you've worn me out because of your insatiable need for this," he said, putting his hand lewdly on his crotch. Rachel reddened and smiled. "But anyway….while things have been awesome, they can't continue like this." Puck stopped talking, watching Rachel's face as her smile slowly faded, realization coming into her eyes. She started to speak but he put up his hand to stop her. "I'm not finished talking."

She nodded. He continued. "We've spent hours together lately. Sometimes we were too busy to talk but a lot of the time, we really did just talk. Despite your incessant babbling and use of big words, I really like you. And I realized that you deserve more than just being my secret, closeted whore." Rachel cringed at his description but admitted to herself that he was right. "Since Anna was born – well, actually since I found out that Anna existed and was going to be born, I've been doing a lot of thinking. I've been changing so much. Being a dad, even when the circumstances aren't great, is an awesome thing. Anna has made me wake up and see that the old Puck, the Puck who created her, wouldn't be very good at raising her, or at anything else for that matter. I'm not the guy I used to be….and I can't treat you like the old Puck would have treated you. And that's exactly what I've been doing….So I decided, after having a long talk with Anna, that we need to end things as they are."

Puck stood silently a few feet away, just looking at her. He watched tears began to pool in her eyes as she realized that she was being dumped. In a flash, he was on his knees beside the couch where she sat.

"So….so it's over?" She choked out.

"Yes….this secret sex thing has got to stop."

A tear slipped down her cheek. He reached up to wipe it away and she flinched when his hot thumb touched her cheek. Had she not been holding Anna, who had fallen asleep, she would probably be standing up, screaming at him by now. But her concern for Anna kept her firmly seated and quiet.

"I…" she sniffled, "thought you were enjoying this thing, Noah."

"I was, Rachel….but not anymore."

She nodded, not saying anything. Tears fell freely and Noah couldn't take it more. "Rachel, we need to make this official. I said the fuck buddy thing had to stop. I didn't say that WE had to stop."

She looked over at him, obviously confused. He smiled, standing to gently remove Anna from her arms. Laying the baby down on the couch, he turned back to Rachel. Grabbing her hands, he pulled her up and against him. "What I am trying to say….and dammit I'm not good with words….is that we can't be "secret lovers" anymore like in that bad 80s song. We CAN be a couple…." Puck took a deep breath, about to say the thing he NEVER said. "I love you, Rachel Berry, and I want you on my arm in the halls, not pretending that we're just casual Glee friends and certainly not sneaking around, having clandestine sex, even as freakin' awesome as it is."

Fresh tears poured down Rachel's cheeks and she leaned against his chest. He ran his hand over the back of her head, loving the feeling of her silken hair between his fingers. She sniffled into his shirt. "I thought you were dumping me."

Puck pulled back from her and kissed her forehead. "No, God no… I know I never say the right thing and I'm sorry I made you cry. I just had to get it all out. I practiced what I was going to say on the way over and Anna started crying too. I probably should have taken that as a cue that it wasn't right but I didn't….I'm so sorry I upset you. I didn't mean to."

"That's okay. At least I'm not being dumped."

"So….do you want to be an official couple?"

Rachel launched herself against him again, pressing her head against his chest. "I do, Noah….I love you, too. I have for weeks but was too afraid to say anything."

Puck tucked her against him, laying his chin on the top of her head as he wrapped his arms tighter around her. "So you're officially my girlfriend, now…. Sweet. I can't wait to introduce my Jewish girlfriend to my mother. She's probably going to cry!"


"Yes, baby?"

"Can we still have a lot of sex? I mean….more band room kind of stuff, but with a condom this time of course?"

His chest shook as he laughed. That was his Rachel….full of love, talented at everything she did, highly intelligent, and always horny. Damn, he was one lucky stud.

Author's Note: And so this little story comes to a close. But I leave you with a happy ending because, well....they deserve it! Writing this story has made me fall even more in love with the idea of these two characters together (actually, writing this story, reading all your great stories out there, and watching all the awesome Rachel/Puck videos on YouTube for inspiration). So I will be back at it, working on another Puckleberry story very soon. I'm working on story ideas now. (My husband has suggested I write a story about how they go camping and end up face-to-face with Bigfoot – I think I'll pass on that one.) I want to thank all of you for reading, subscribing, and commenting on this story. I'm adoring this Glee fanfiction community!!!