Title: Disney Laced Profanity
Rating: T (language)
Genre: Romance, Humor
Disclaimer: I don't Glee or anything remotely associated with it.
Spoilers: All aired episodes
Summary: A viewing of Harry Potter leads to some important revelations for Rachel and some self hatred for Puck.
Author's note: This is my first foray into Glee fic world! Special appreciation goes out to honeyprose for the encouragement and beta. It has been a long, long time since I've written-- so all constructive criticism would be HIGHLY appreciated!
She's not sure why she's never noticed before, but Rachel thinks that Puck might just be a little dead inside. Is it because he has regularly made her life hell since 8th grade graduation? No. Is it because he impregnated his best friend's girlfriend? No. Is it because he once yawned in the middle of the chorus of "Seasons of Love"? Unbelievably, no.
She's pretty sure he's a little (a lot?) dead inside because (prepare yourself!) he didn't cry when Dumbledore died. Nothing. Not a tear, not a sniffle, not even a slightly tense expression. Worse, she suspects that he feels the moment was kind of cool in an unfortunate, teenage boy kind of way. (The fact that he mutters "sweet" right after it happens is her first indication that something is wrong)
When she ventures this opinion to Puck shortly after the credits start to roll, he slides his eyes over to her but says nothing. The death of some old, dress-wearing dude is the least of his problems. He just spent a Saturday night watching Harry Fucking Potter at Berry's house.
Seriously. What the hell?
It starts like this:
A week after sectionals, Rachel starts showing up late to practice. No one knows quite what to make of it. It is never more than 10 minutes, and if it was Puck or Santana or even Finn (who seems to have bought himself a year's worth of free passes with baby-gate), no one would think a thing of it. But this is Rachel. And she is late. Repeatedly.
On her 6th straight day of tardiness, Mr. Schuester finally takes her aside after practice.
Rachel's heart sinks. She knew this was coming.
Puck doesn't stay to hear Berry get in trouble. He doesn't. Puck stays because he is tired from all the new choreography they just learned and doesn't feel like getting up from his chair yet. And if he gets to hear Mr. Schue lay into Crazy a little bit, well, that is just an added bonus. He likes hearing other students get bitched at every now and then, and he absolutely doesn't care if she mentions WHY she's been late all week.
"Rachel, you must know what this is about."
Mr. Schuester's voice comes out soft and patient. Puck tries to look uninterested as Rachel shoots a furtive glance his way before turning back to their teacher. Her frantic and whispered reply just barely works its way over to him. (Turns out? Puck's mom isn't just being a nag when she forces him to turn his stereo down and yells that he'll make himself deaf before he's out of puberty. How she hasn't noticed the puberty stick finished beating him black and blue at least a year ago is a mystery.)
"I'm sorry, Mr. Schuester. My tardiness is inexcusable. Please don't think that I'm resting on my laurels now that I have received my first -- though surely not my last -- standing ovation at Sectionals." She takes a deep breath. She has to make him understand. "You have my word that I am getting to practice as soon as humanly possible given the unavoidable circumstances that have confronted me recently..."
She can't let him interrupt. He doesn't understand. He's going to make Kurt the new Captain to punish her. She knows this with every fiber of her being.
"...and I know you like taking things from me and giving them to other people, but please don't take my position as Captain away. I can assure you that..."
Mr. Schuester pinches the bridge of his nose. "Rachel. Stop. Just take a breath."
Rachel knows that look. She stops. (Don't say this year hasn't brought her a certain level of personal growth.)
Across the room, Puck is relieved that Mr. Schue manages to stop the flood of words before all the air is sucked out of the room. And when he says flood, he means FLOOD. He's pretty sure he saw more than a little spit flying out of Crazy's mouth just then. Apparently? It is hard to emphatically whisper without turning into a spray hose. He tries not to smile in anticipation of the bitching out Berry's about to get. This should be good.
Mr. Schuester puts his hand on her shoulder. "Rachel, I'm not taking anything away. I don't doubt that you have a very good reason for being late. I just want to make sure that everything is OK. This behavior is very unlike you."
Puck blinks. What the fuck? This is definitely not the kind of talk HE gets from teachers every week. Where's the scowl? Where's the yelling? And why the hell has no one mentioned her permanent record? Puck doesn't give a shit about something as lame sounding as a permanent record, but Miss Pillsbury sure as fuck seemed to last week when she was talking about HIS.
Rachel bites her bottom lip and looks at her teacher in silence. She can't decide the best way to approach this.
"What's going on Rachel?"
It is only when she shoots another glance towards Puck that Mr. Schuester notices they aren't alone.
"Puck. I didn't realize you were still here. Did you need something?"
Puck is suddenly very interested in his backpack. "Uh, no man. I'm cool. Just hanging out.... waiting for.... uh.... my ride."
It's Rachel's turn to blink. Since when does Puck need a ride? He has a truck. She starts to mention this but stops. Yes, she knows he has a truck. A truck with an unfortunately placed gear shift, as a matter of fact.
Puck sees her scowl and returns it with a smirk. Rachel sure as shit knows he has a truck. No WAY has she forgotten his truck. His expression dares her to mention it. Her mouth snaps shut and his smirk grows to one of his rare grins.
She rolls her eyes and turns back to Mr. Schuester. She's not sure why Puck seems to be eavesdropping, but she's determined to ignore the little feeling in her chest (is that hope?) it brings.
"Well, if you must know, my performance at Sectionals seems to have attracted a certain amount of attention from a young man on the hockey team. Apparently, the version that I uploaded on You Tube -- I'm trying to branch out from My Space, you really can never have too many social media outlets, you know...." She catches herself before she goes completely off topic. "Well, it caught his attention and has made him decide to act out in some inappropriate ways as a means to prove that he is my biggest fan."
Puck stops grinning but Rachel doesn't notice.
"He's usually waiting for me in the hallway. I've tried explaining to him multiple times that I really don't have the time for fan interactions before Glee, but his dedication seems to know no bounds. Fortunately, his practice starts just 15 minutes after ours -- so usually I can just stay in the ladies' room and wait for him to leave."
Puck isn't sure whose frown is deeper, his or Schue's.
"Rachel, are you saying that another student is harassing you?"
At that, her eyes wander back over to Puck and he can't help but wonder just how clueless Schuester really is, sometimes. Do any students in this school NOT harass Berry? Puck gives up acting uninterested -- but he stays in his chair as he half shouts across the room.
"Dude. Berry. Half of this school is in love with my body and do you see ME waltzing my fine ass in here late every day? I don't think so."
Puck is sure Rachel doesn't even realize she just stomped her foot a little when she turns to look at him.
"Ugh. Why do you even care, Noah?"
He shrugs. "I admit that any dude that has decided to crush on all that crazy you have going on has got to be a little whacked" (he tries not to squirm as he says this) "But I don't see why that means you have to hide in the bathroom until your lover boy leaves. Suck it up."
Mr. Schuester chooses that moment to try to reassert some authority. "Puck, that's enough. If Rachel feels that..."
Rachel can't let him finish. How dare Noah Puckerman (of all people!) tell HER to suck it up. He wouldn't know professionalism if it bit him in his aforementioned ass (of course, professionalism would first have to FIND his ass in those ridiculously baggy jeans that he wears as if he were some tough, inner city hoodlum instead of a boy that's never been outside of Ohio). She stalks over to his chair and glares down at him.
"Yes, well you clearly haven't experienced this kind of adulation. If I don't wait for him to leave, he does something drastic to get my attention."
Puck raises an eyebrow. "Like?"
Rachel sighs. "Well, last week he spritzed me."
Mr. Schuester cocks his head to the side but says nothing. Puck has a sinking feeling that he doesn't want to know, but he asks anyway. "What the hell do you mean, he 'spritzed' you?"
She starts to look a little embarrassed. "Well, he said it was a tribute to my performance of Don't Rain on My Parade..... and he spritzed me down with a water bottle." (At least she hopes it was water.)
Puck swallows but doesn't say anything.
Rachel had hoped she could spin this correctly for Mr. Schuester, but no way is Puck not seeing through her version of events. He is, after all, a pioneer in torturing Rachel Berry. She starts talking faster.
"And while I realize that he was being unintentionally ironic by actually RAINING on my parade -- I think his actions show a level of creativity and devotion that I never really expected from a fan this early in my career."
Puck knows there are no words for this level of lunacy. And Rachel? She's crazy but she isn't a fucking loon. And only a loon would believe the crap she's currently spouting.
"He spritzed you?"
Mr. Schuester's belated question is the only thing that reminds both Puck and Rachel that he's in the room. Rachel bites her lip again and Puck sighs, stands up and slings his bag over one shoulder.
"I got this, Mr. Schue."
And with that, Puck pulls Rachel by the elbow out into the hall. She doesn't know what to feel. She's insulted by the look of relief on her teacher's face as he turns her over (turns her OVER!) to an emotionally stunted (yet strangely hot) hoodlum. She's confused at Puck's sudden interest in her lack of punctuality. She's also particularly annoyed about how much stronger than her he clearly is even though she spends 40 minutes on the elliptical every morning. (Perhaps some light weight training is in order?). If she's also feeling a certain amount of uhm..... well, warmth.... in direct relation to his take charge attitude and overheated hand on her arm, well -- that's nothing but an indication that she has been wasting far, far too much time on premium cable television shows.
Puck stops once he has her in front of the lockers. Crossing his arms, he gives her an impatient look. "OK, Berry. Enough with the Pollyanna shit. What is really going on?"
Rachel's jaw gapes open. She can't help it. "You can't use profanity in the same sentence as a classic Disney movie!" She pauses. "Wait. You know who Pollyanna is?"
And that right there? Is how it started. This is how it continued...
It took awhile for her to get the story out. The real one, that is.
As best as Puck can tell, some senior douche on the hockey team had seen an opening on Team Torture Berry (he is choosing not to dwell on whose recent retirement created that spot) and decided to try to make a name for himself in some desperate, last minute attempt before he graduates.
"Berry. You can't hide from this idiot. It's only going to get worse."
Puck really wishes she'd quit biting her lip like that. It only reminds him of other places those lips have nibbled and shit like that is distracting.
Rachel sees his eyes linger on her lips. It makes that little feeling in her chest grow, and for some reason, this infuriates her.
"I don't see how this is any of your business, Noah. Since when do you have any interest in helping me? I would think your sympathy in this situation would be with your fellow jock. He's clearing just following the path of the trail you blazed."
He knew some shit like that was coming, but it still makes him cringe which is annoying. She's right. He doesn't know why he cares (okay, he knows-he's just not about to admit it).
"Whatever, Berry. Good luck with your next wet t-shirt contest." He hates himself a little, but he can't help but add, "You can't hide like some girl forever. It won't work."
He starts to stalk off down the hall, and she suppresses the urge to grin. She calls after him with both hands on her hips. "I am a girl, Noah." He stops, but doesn't turn around. "I am a little surprised you've already forgotten that." She smirks a little. "I'm sure your truck remembers."
Puck's trying to hide it, but she can tell he's fighting not to smile as he starts to turn back towards her. Rachel feels that strange surge of pride she always does when she's able to amuse someone intentionally. He takes a few steps back towards her, and Rachel is surprised to find herself at the end of a somewhat intense look.
"Look, Berry. It's only going to get worse. He's trying to make a name for himself. It's dude's senior year. Douche Bag's desperate and you're only making yourself a bigger challenge. You need to take this situation by the balls."
Puck feels like an idiot, but she looks so small, standing there with her arms crossed in front of her. She's right. He's the fucking expert in this field. If he doesn't make her understand, then who will? Finn's not going to be any help. He's still stumbling around like an angry zombie. (Puck's starting to wonder if maybe Finn really isn't ever going to bake him that cake.) He takes a deep breath and tries to fake some patience.
"Ok, so what did you leave out?"
Rachel starts a little. How did he know? She forces herself not to back up as he walks towards her.
"I'm sure I don't know what you are talking about, Noah. I've given you a complete and accurate picture of the situation." He cocks an eyebrow at her and she starts to sputter. "I don't know what you want! Did he make some possible additional threats through the bathroom door? Of course! But I am sure that was just adolescent, male bluster. And while, yes, I am a little concerned that my fathers picked this weekend to go visit my Aunt Sadie, I am sure things will be fine."
It takes Puck a minute to process the Rachel-speak, but when he does he's not happy.
"And just what the fuck is going to happen this weekend?"
"I don't know. But I've been assured it is going to be 'epic'." She shrugs. "I'm sure it will be some ridiculous prank that proves nothing but the massive immaturity of the perpetrator. Nothing more, nothing less".
She's putting on a good show, but Puck's pretty sure he saw a lip quiver when she got to the "nothing less" part of that statement.
"I just wish...."
He's not going to do it. Puck is absolutely not going to do it.
She bites her lip (he seems to like that, though she has no idea why) and looks at him through lowered lashes. "I just wish I didn't have to be home alone while dealing with the anticipation of his juvenile theatrics."
And that shit? That's how Puck ended up spending his Saturday night watching Harry Fucking Potter.