Title: Playing Gay
Pairing: Puck/Kurt preslash, mentions of Quinn/Finn and Santana/Matt, implied Santana/Puck, Finn/Puck if you want to get all technical about it…
Rating: PG-13 for language
Warnings: Mostly language, a tiny little reference to cruising, like, tiny tiny.
Summary: Kurt dares Puck to walk a mile in his Gucci boots. Not literally. But yeah, Puck has to kiss Finn… in front of witnesses. LJ post.
A/N: Okay, I know that people are going to want a sequel to this. And believe me, I want to write a sequel to this. But sequels beat me up and murder me and leave my dead body in a park somewhere, so please don't expect a sequel. Sorry! But I hope you're satisfied with the nearly 5,000 words of lovely pre-slash goodness.
It was no secret that Brittney was kind of stupid, and often, this was not to her advantage. However, it could sometimes be to other people's advantage--for example, when she was so dim that she thought that inviting all of the Glee kids, popular and nonpopular alike, to a party was a good idea. Socially inept and hopelessly naïve--but nice.
Of course, Rachel had gone psycho on the booze and poured it down the drain, so the party kind of sucked at first. It got better once they started doing karaoke and Dance Dance Revolution, which was painfully tacky but fun. Then, almost sarcastically, someone had suggested Truth or Dare, which was even more ridiculously tacky… and also fun.
When the game started, they pretty much all said truth--Finn was deathly afraid of spiders, Matt was secretly obsessed with the Harry Potter series--but after awhile, the game took an increasingly silly, even more brilliant tone. Tina was dared to sing her audition piece in Chinese (which sounded pretty good, actually), Quinn was dared to sing 'Baby Got Back' to her stomach, and Artie was dared to do a handstand, which he managed to hold for almost five minutes.
Artie then dared Kurt to mess up his hair, which he did with a wry grin.
"Insultingly easy, although I appreciate the motivation," he sniffed. "My turn." His gaze flickered around the room, where everyone was sitting in a wide, vaguely circular shape. His eyes alighted briefly on Rachel and Santana, before landing on Puck. "Noah, truth or dare?"
"Dare," Puck said without a moment of hesitation. The smile that spread across Kurt's face was vaguely frightening.
"I dare you to kiss Finn."
There was a chorus of "Hey-oh!"s and other triumphant noises, and Finn's constant nice-guy smile disappeared.
"Um, I know it's Puck's dare and all," he began. "But I have a girlfriend and I really don't feel comfortable…"
"Oh, it's fine," Quinn said archly, with an angelic smile. "It is Puck's dare, I'm perfectly okay with that."
"That's ridic--" Santana began hotly, but Kurt cut her off.
"Then it's a good thing you're dating Matt, and not one of the guys involved in the dare, isn't it?" he said icily. Santana glanced at Matt, took his hand, and shut up.
Puck sighed in a silent touche.
"Fine. Sorry, Finn."
He leaned over reluctantly--a few people contributed suspenseful background music--and Kurt waited until their lips were about an inch apart before stopping them.
"Look, Hummel," Puck said, exasperated. "is this some fantasy you're interested in directing?"
Kurt's lip curled in disgust, although internally he did briefly consider the idea.
"Please," he drawled. "I just forgot to tell you… the dare wasn't for right now. I meant Monday morning, at 7:30, right inside the main entrance."
The room was silent for a moment.
"No fucking way," Puck said firmly.
"It's a dare and you already accepted it," Artie pointed out.
"Kurt," Finn said weakly. "Come on, man, I thought we were friends."
"We are," Kurt said, unmoved. "This is nothing personal, Finn, you're just significantly high up there on the social status. This is a social experiment. I want to see if the two most popular boys in school can survive playing gay."
"No fucking way," Puck repeated.
"Your badassness is being questioned, Noah," Rachel said in a sing-song voice.
"Acting like a fag is not badass, it's stupid," he said bluntly. There were a few hushed whispers, and Mercedes stood up.
"Oh HELL no, you did not just say what I think you said," she fumed. Despite himself, Puck flinched away a little.
"Mercedes," Kurt said in a restrained voice. He put a hand on her elbow, and she sat back down. His face and voice were colder than a slushie to the face. "Listen, Puckerman, I know you think you're strong because you're big enough to throw people in dumpsters and porto-potties and because you can run a football, but it takes a hell of a lot more than that to be a man. You need to be able to stand up and do whatever the hell you want and face down people who try to fuck you up for that without complaining or breaking down and giving up. You have never done that, and I do it every day. So, do you know what I think?"
The room was absolutely silent, and Kurt's eyes glittered as he leaned forward, letting the bomb drop.
"I don't think you have the balls to be me."
There was a long pause as the two boys stared each other down, and then Puck dropped his gaze and sighed.
"All right," he said grudgingly. "What do I have to do?"
It wasn't quite as bad as Puck had expected. He had to kiss Finn, on the mouth, in the predetermined location. No tongue (Kurt actually said "Optional", but that was not going to happen), but it had to last three seconds or more. Puck could use any excuse he could think of to tell people that he wasn't gay, unless he blamed it on a dare or a bet. If that happened, then he would have to kiss a different male member of Glee once a day for an entire week, and there was no way that could be explained away.
So, the next day, he and Finn were standing awkwardly in the main hallway, near the door, but sort of hiding in the corner. They couldn't make eye contact, and Finn kept checking his watch.
"'S 7:30," he mumbled.
"Okay," Puck said. "Um… just, like, stand still and don't duck or anything. And don't punch me."
"Come on, man, if I punch you then people know I'm not gay!" Finn hissed.
"If I don't get an out, then you shouldn't either!" Puck countered, poking Finn in the chest with his finger. "'Sides, we're kind of out of the way here, maybe people won't notice if you don't make a big deal out of it."
Screwing up his courage, Puck swooped forward--damn, Finn was tall--and kissed his best friend. His best guy friend.
It was… really weird. He had no idea what Quinn was so crazy about. Finn's lips were chapped, and (maybe because he was nervous) his eyes were screwed up so tight that his lips made this weird duck-bill shape. He was really not enjoying this. One Mississippi… A few scattered gasps told him that people had started to notice. Two Mississippi… A gang of Cheerios giggled. Their voices were ridiculously squeaky. Three Mississippi!
Puck broke away and gasped for air. The hallway began to buzz.
"See ya," Finn said, walking away with long, quick strides.
"Good luck, dude," Puck said in return. He ran his hand over the back of his head and stared at the floor as he started the long walk to homeroom. The only time he looked up was to glare at Kurt, who was looking at him with an annoyingly superior grin.
The day from hell had commenced.
It was only fourth period, and Puck had had enough. Whenever anyone on any sports team had a free period, they would go off campus to buy slushies, and throw them at him between classes. He had gotten hit with nine already! After the third, he decided to get his gym clothes from his locker. He changed into a new tee-shirt--the jeans were a lost cause--and protected it with a baseball windbreaker. It wasn't as stylish as Kurt's stupid clear raincoat, but it got the job done. He snatched a couple of towels from the shower to wipe off before class.
Despite the new protection, each additional slushie pissed Puck off more. Why did those guys get off on this? Sure, he was in Glee, and had been seen kissing one dude, but those assholes knew him better than that! They had seen him beat people up for disrespecting him. They knew he wasn't a weak little fairy like Kurt Hummel. Who cared if he was (supposedly) gay? He was still badass as hell!
Puck's fourth class was a study hall, and he had to leave ten minutes into the class because a group of second-string defensive linemen were sitting in the corner, miming blowjobs and laughing at him. He told the teacher he was going to the library.
"Fuck!" He swore when the door swung shut. "Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!" Each word was accented with a kick to the lockers lining the wall, which hurt Puck's foot a lot but sated the bloodlust for a little while.
This was social suicide, and he was going to go homicidal all over Hummel's ass--and not in a gay way!
"Hey, Puckerman!" someone called. He looked up and scowled. Five guys--first-string, both defensive and offensive players--were stalking towards him with little smirks on their faces. That pissed Puck off. He had invented that smirk.
"What do you want, Phillips?" he growled.
"Relax, man, we just want to chat. Come with us, alright?"
Puck hesitated, but Phillips was about twice as wide as him and accompanied by four other guys. So he just shrugged.
"Sure. You guys cutting?"
"Nah. Study hall."
No one else was interested in small talk, so they fell silent. The other guys formed a sort of honor guard around Puck, which was kind of unnerving. If they were going to give him a slushie bath, they could have just done it in the hallway. This was something worse.
They passed the Spanish room, and Puck briefly considered ducking in. He could pretend that he had to ask Mr. Schue about a song or something, but they passed the room too quickly. Besides, he decided, it was better if he pretended to still be one of the guys.
And, as one of the guys, he wasn't surprised that they ended up outside in the school, in the dumpster area where they hung out, waiting for unsuspecting victims to pass. Also as one of the guys, he was surprised that a very suspecting victim was standing there, waiting for them. Specifically, Kurt Hummel, who had carefully placed his sweater and bag on a nearby bench, and who looked resigned to his fate.
"What's going on?" Puck asked.
"This is a test, man," Phillips said, clapping him on the shoulder. "To see if you're one of us--or one of the glee fairies."
His expression--locked jaw, squinted eyes--made Phillips look betrayed, but there was a little smirk on his face that Puck didn't like. He glanced at Kurt, whose face was still perfectly blank.
"What do you mean?"
"It's simple," one of the other players chimed in. He had only joined a few weeks ago, so Puck really didn't know his name. He didn't really care. "You throw Hummel in the trash, or take a dive yourself."
Puck's first reaction was instinctual; he didn't want to smell like garbage, and he needed a pick-me-up. Picking on Kurt was always fun. Then he noticed that, in addition to being blank, Kurt's face was also really pale, with no blush at all. That reminded him of how Finn was reluctant to slushie Kurt because of his skin care stuff, and that reminded him that he had slushied everyone in Glee like three times each, and that reminded him how much he hated it when it had been done to him.
He sighed. This was a bad idea, but…
"No way, dude," he said, shaking his head. Kurt's eyebrows flew up in surprise. "Kurt joined football even though we treated him like crap, and he was twelve for twelve in field goals. That takes guts."
The guys exchanged looks, but Puck didn't see. He looked Kurt straight in the eye and gave a little nod to show that he (sort of) got it. He wasn't a total asshole, and neither were the guys. Football was something they could understand; they wouldn't toss teammates. The new expression on Kurt's face surprised him. It was almost… pitying?
Someone grabbed Puck's arm, and he jerked away.
"What the hell?"
Then all five guys tried to grab him, and he realized that these guys were total assholes.
"Get the hell off!" he snapped, elbowing Phillips in the gut. Anderson grabbed his arm, and Puck bashed in his nose. He was suddenly winded as the guy he didn't know punched him in the gut, and Jonah kneed his fucking face. He tried to fight, but he really shouldn't have. Five against one? Really sucked.
By the time Puck was lifted bodily into the air, still cursing and twisting like mad, he had a split lip, a nosebleed, a cut below his eye, various bruises over his body, and scratches on his knuckles from where his fist had collided with Jonah's braces.
"I am going to kill you!" he swore, right as he spilled over the edge and into the trash. The guys laughed at him.
"Hey, don't worry, Puck, we got you some company."
The breath was knocked out of him again, as Kurt was dropped into the dumpster. Literally dropped, hard enough that his elbow hit a bruise and momentarily distracted Puck from the fact that Kurt's entire body was on top of his, and that was really gay. The other football players slammed the lid of the dumpster shut.
"Fuck," he said.
"Ugh, it smells like shit it here." A drop of blood trickled down his face. Puck reached the wipe it away, and recoiled as something lumpy and gross splattered on his face. A tentative sniff revealed it to be spoiled mayonnaise. "This is just nasty. Is it always this bad?"
"No," Kurt said. His voice conveyed nothing but mild distaste. "I think they opened the bags today."
He reached up with both hands and shoved open the dumpster. With relative ease, Kurt managed to swing out of the dumpster without getting too much trash on his clothes or kneeing Puck in the crotch. Puck had more difficulty. He felt dirty, and it stunk like hell. He just managed to stand up when Kurt's shirt floated into the dumpster.
For a second, he stared at it. What the hell? He looked over at Kurt in confusion, but Kurt didn't seem to notice. He had put his sweater back on, and was just pulled off his pants--giving Puck another heart attack--to reveal a tighter pair of jeans underneath them. The discarded jeans also went into the trash.
"I always bring a change of clothes on days when I expect to be slushied," Kurt shrugged. "As do you, apparently--that horribly tacky plaid shirt isn't the same horribly tacky shirt you wore this morning."
"Got it out of my gym locker," Puck shrugged, dropping onto the ground.
He pulled a clean towel out of his backpack and wiped down his jeans. His baseball hoodie had been unzipped so there was still ketchup and crap on his shirt in some spots, but in general he was pretty clean. Kurt gave him a scathing look; clearly, he didn't agree.
"Very resourceful." His expression softened a bit as he took in the bruises. "Come on, let's get you an ice pack or something, you look terrible."
"Gee, thanks, Hummel, I appreciate it. After I took a dive for you and all…"
"I still got thrown in. That was nice, but all in all pretty useless."
"Oh come on… why were you waiting here? You could have left."
"It was either this, or they were going to egg my house later. I didn't want my d-- this is just less messy."
"If you didn't act all prissy like that, they wouldn't--"
"That's a joke, right?"
They bickered all the way to the nurse's office, where Kurt managed to con the nurse out of an ice pack without Puck having to spend any time in her office.
"She just hasn't been the same since that coma," he sighed, shaking his head. "Come on, I'll help you clean off."
Kurt opened the door to the boy's bathroom, and Puck hesitated. This was… still a little gay. Kurt raised an exasperated eyebrow.
"I'm coming, I'm coming," he mumbled, embarrassed. It wasn't like there was anyone around to see, anyway… so he followed Kurt Hummel into the bathroom.
It was the usual bathroom the whole Glee Club used to clean up after the slushie war, so there was already a chair shoved in the corner, which he dragged over next to the sink.
"Sit down, lean back, and take off the ice pack," Kurt ordered, fishing through his bag. Puck obeyed, and he ran a washcloth under the sink. He wiped at Puck's face, cleaning off blood, dirt, and old mayonnaise.
"Don't mention it." Kurt rinsed the cloth and was about to clean the other side of Puck's face when he hesitated. Quickly, he bent down and kissed Puck's cheek--the clean one. "For not throwing me in yourself," he explained, moving on as if he wasn't blushing. "You're having a bad day, and not many guys would have resisted the temptation."
"No problem," Puck shrugged, closing his eyes. He could smell fresh soap, and Kurt was running the wet cloth over his hair now. It was relaxing. He was starting to understand why his mom got so excited the one time a year she went to the spa with his aunts.
"Besides, one of the few perks of being gay is getting kissed by cute guys--well, not that I would know. You're getting all the suffering, so you might as well enjoy it."
Puck never blushed, but he felt like he wanted to, so he latched onto the only part of that sentence that didn't involve him.
"You've never been kissed before?"
He could not believe that they were having this conversation--that Kurt Hummel had kissed him, albeit on the cheek--but there was this little voice in Puck's head saying that, in the grand scheme of things it really wasn't important. Kurt was the only one witnessing this, and he got it. He could feel the strange little truce they were working under, and he wouldn't go blabbing.
"I've often wondered that myself."
"What, you don't have a boyfriend or anything?"
"What made you think I did?"
Puck shrugged as Kurt rinsed the soap out of his hair and started shuffling around in his bag again.
"I guess we all just kind of assumed that you were seeing someone in another town. You always refused friend invites from the cheerios and us on MySpace, so we figured there was something personal on there that you didn't want us to see. You know, when you were still pretending to be straight?"
"First of all, I have never pretended I was anything. A few times I caved under the pressure and claimed to be straight, but that is entirely different from pretending to be someone I'm not, which I would never do. And secondly, I refused invites because false names like 'Tom Brady' are ridiculously easy to see through, and I didn't want to give the football team another medium to bully me through. Are you allergic to anything?" he asked suddenly.
"Shellfish," Puck said, his eyes snapping open. That kind of questioning made him nervous. He didn't eat shellfish much, being Jewish, but his mom didn't have total control over every food he ever came in contact with. He had gone to the hospital when he was eight for trying cocktail shrimp at Finn's birthday party. Not fun. "Why?"
"Relax, it's just a deep-cleaning soap with moisturizer. Corn syrup is awful for the skin, and all the bacteria in the dumpster doesn't help. I tried to give it to Tina, but it turns out she was allergic to one of the ingredients and she got a nasty rash on her neck."
Kurt smoothed a small amount on his own face before squirting more onto his hand. A lot more than he had used for himself, he explained, because Puck's skin looked like nobody had paid attention to it since his mother stopped bathing him as an infant. Which was apparently very bad.
Puck's eyes drifted closed, and Kurt started applying a foamy, clean-smelling soap to his face. He had ditched the washcloth, and was using two fingers to apply the soap in small, smoothing circles. On a normal day, Puck would have punched him again--but this wasn't a normal day, it was a shitty day, and it felt nice.
There was peaceful silence for a moment, and then he sighed.
"Look, man, I'm sorry for everything I've ever done. You're right, this sucks. I could never be gay."
"Considering you've slept with every girl in town and her mother, you're right, I don't think you could," Kurt scoffed. "But otherwise, I think you're doing okay."
"I couldn't do this every day, though."
"Yes… that does take something incredible, doesn't it?" Kurt smirked. Puck smiled a little bit--and then sucked in his breath as the soap made contact with a cut under his eye.
"Oh, sorry. Hold on, there's antiseptic in my bag."
There was a shuffling sound as Kurt went through his bag, and Puck cleared his throat to relieve some of the sudden tension and make his voice sound way more casual than it felt.
"So, hypothetically--if I knew a guy who might be interested--what's your type?"
Kurt pressed the washcloth to a few cuts to make sure they stopped bleeding and smeared some antiseptic on them. His movements were a bit slower as he weighed the question in his mind.
"This doesn't get back to the guys?"
"Man, after this day they'll be lucky if I talk to them at all."
Puck's eyes flickered open; there was a small, rueful smile on Kurt's face as he started using the foamy soap again..
"I've… got a bit of a thing for football players, if you must know. Shut up!" he added, slapping Puck's shoulder when he laughed. "It's not funny!"
"Yeah it is," he laughed. "Dude, you are a football player."
"I'm a kicker and I dance before every point, it's not the same."
"Seriously, though? After all that shit we put you through?"
"Believe it or not, there are football players outside of McKinley. What can I say? I keep myself entertained by picturing your faces if I had a big strong jock on my arm threatening to break the next person who threw me into a dumpster. And, in my experience, football players are fairly stupid, which is always a huge perk. Mentally, I like to be in control."
"Football players are not stupid!" Puck said, affronted.
"How many classes are you failing?"
"By choice, not ability. I've got a reputation to uphold."
"You think you're smart."
"I know I'm smart."
"Okay--when did World War II end?"
"1945," he answered promptly.
"Damn, I forgot you were Jewish. What's the fiftieth state?"
"Hawaii, my uncle lives there."
"The chemical symbol for Hydrogen is…?"
"I thought so." Puck could practically hear the smirk in Kurt's voice, and he dropped the washcloth on his face. "Clean yourself off; the class is almost over. Oh, and give me your phone."
Puck handed it over without question, and wiped the stuff off his face. His skin already felt smoother. Kurt really did know what he was talking about.
"Here," Kurt said, handing the phone back when Puck finished. A new number had been programmed in. "For your friend. Although don't bother if he doesn't meet my standards, and please be discriminating. I can be quite a bitch when I'm disappointed."
"Sure." There was no friend. It had been a purely hypothetical situation. "Listen, Kurt… thanks. I mean, I know it was your stupid dare that got me into this shit, but you didn't have to do this."
"Don't thank me yet," Kurt said, a tiny smile slipping off of his face. "We have practice today. That will be the worst."
Puck stepped forward, just half a step, and pressed his lips to Kurt's in a quick, friendly kiss. Friendly. Kurt wasn't as tall as Finn and he didn't look disgusted, so it wasn't as emotionally nerve-wracking.
"Why…" Kurt started to ask, incredulous. Puck shrugged shyly.
"I dunno, it's just… you have to deal with this every day. Might as well enjoy the perks, right?"
Kurt nodded, trying to hide the smile growing on his face. He hefted his bag over his shoulder.
"Well, I'll see you at practice then," he said with a little wave. He slipped out the door right before he started blushing again.
"Bye," Puck said. He picked up the forgotten ice pack, and left.
Kurt was right. Practice was the worst. He got tripped up, tackled, shoved, kicked, and sworn at. He didn't know that there were so many nasty words for a gay guy until he got called all of them in the shower. Finn had managed to skate by on the 'Dude, I don't know, he just came on to me, I didn't do anything' excuse, but he couldn't really stick up for Puck without arousing suspicion his way, so he just sent a few sympathetic glances his way.
Kurt… well, Kurt couldn't really do anything either, or he would be able to protect himself. So he just showered in the stall next to Puck and kept up an incessant stream of conversation to try and drown out the slurs. At one point, Puck was pretty sure he was reciting all the lines of 'Rent.' He'd never seen the show and he wasn't really paying attention so he couldn't pin it down, but half of the words rhymed, like lyrics, and the word 'rent' was in there a lot, so it was a good guess. Didn't work, but it was a nice gesture.
The next day… oh boy. Puck was ready to rip skin off some faces, or at least knock out a few teeth. Finn caught up with him in the parking lot and reminded him to think about what his mom would do if he got sent to jail. That calmed Puck down a bit.
The calm was totally negated when he went to his locker and found a crude spray-paint caricature of himself, wearing his football uniform, bending over as Finn banged him.
What. The. Hell.
A whole knot of football players gathered around to laugh at him, including David Karofsky, who was holding an empty spray can. That pissed him off. Karofsky wasn't even on the fucking football team!
That was probably what made him slam Karofsky against the wall instead of anyone else. Finn shoved his shoulder a little bit to remind him not to go overboard.
"What the fuck is wrong with you?" Puck fumed. "I'm not fucking gay, asshole! It was a goddamn bet!"
"It's true," Kurt said, appearing out of nowhere. He didn't look remotely interested. "I bet Dumb and Dumber here that they couldn't kiss and go the whole day without giving up. I'm still the only queer on the football team."
He turned and stalked over to Mercedes' locker, where they immediately began gossiping about some shit that no one interested in girls cared about. Puck redirected his gaze to Karofsky and practically growled. The hockey player looked unrepentant, but a little bit scared.
"So… you're not gay?" one of the stupider guys there said.
"What do you think?" he snapped.
"Look, man, we gave you a chance," Phillips said. "You wouldn't whale on Hummel anymore, so we figured…"
"That's 'cause, like or not, Kurt is one of us, douche," Puck snarled. He dropped Karofsky in order to focus on the entire group. "And you know what, I'm sick of you guys messing up Glee."
"Yeah," Finn chimed in. Oh great, Puck really needed the help. "Matt and Mike agree with us. We're all a part of Glee, and we're doing as much good for this school as you guys. Plus, it's, like, packed full of minorities and stuff, so we could totally sue you for discrimination if we wanted to."
"So, you're not gay?" the stupid guy repeated.
For a moment, Puck stopped paying attention to the gang of huge, stupid idiots that he used to call friends, and started paying attention to his peripheral vision. Specifically, the fashionable soprano dallying around the edge of his sight.
He would be an idiot to pretend that he didn't notice the way Kurt stilled visibly at the question. Mercedes was still talking, but Kurt's gaze had drifted over to the pack of football players. His expression was… careful. He was remembering yesterday's kiss, and Puck would be lying if he said his mind wasn't suddenly overcome by the sensation of a warm body pressed against his in the dumpster, warmer lips under his, and an even warmer blush on white skin.
For a moment, he was tempted to say, "Fuck you," and walk away without answering the question. Then Finn ruined all that by saying, "Of course we're not, dude. Puck's probably slept with your mom like five times."
It was a very well-calculated reply. He and Finn were swept down the hallway in a barrage of denials and buddy-buddiness. He looked back down the hall and nodded. Kurt nodded back. They both understood.
Puck was good at a lot of things. Singing, dancing, guitar, football, making pot cupcakes. They had established that he was good at playing gay. And maybe… maybe he was kind of good at playing straight, too.
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