A/N: Okay, so this is random and weird and (eventually) dark and probably not the most in character story in the world, but I kind of like it.
Disclaimer: I don't own Glee.
Rachel Berry is a light sleeper. She wakes up at the lightest sounds of alarm clocks or footsteps. So when there's a tap on her window at two in the morning the night after Sectionals, she immediately shoots out of her bed.
She's about to go back to sleep when she hears it again. Tap, tap. She picks up one of her sharper dance trophies and slowly walks over to her window, fully expecting some sort of rapist to be waiting for her.
What she doesn't expect is Noah Puckerman sitting on the tree outside her window. She almost screams when she see him, but stops herself in order to not wake up her dads. His eyes are bloodshot, and he looks as if he hasn't got a full night of sleep in years. She feels so sorry for him that she forgets she's on Finn's side. She quietly eased her window open.
"Cute eye mask," he smirks as he climbs inside her bedroom. She self-consciously fingers the gold star covered eye mask that has her name embroidered on it. It was a present from her dads for her birthday last year.
"Noah," she finally breathes, "What are you doing here?"
He stares at her for what seems like ages. "Come with me," he says, without technically answering. He runs his hand through his mohawk. "Let's get out of Lima. It's cancerous here. We'll go to New York. Just run away from it all."
She looks at him like he's crazy (she thinks he might be), "You can't be serious, Noah. We can't just leave."
"Why not?" he begs, "You could be on Broadway. You're probably loads more talented than anyone there." She thinks that this is true, but it's still a terrible idea.
Something clicks, and Rachel asks, "Noah, did something happen with Quinn? Or Finn?"
Puck punches her wall and turns to her, "This isn't about them. This is about you and me and how we're to good for this fucking town."
She stares at the broken boy in front of her. He's more vulnerable than she's ever seen him. She grabs his hand (that's now bleeding a little bit) and in a moment of insanity says, "Okay."
It takes her forty-five minutes to pack all of the things she thinks she'll need into Puck's truck. She write a letter to her dads, telling them she needs to get out of Lima and that she still loves them. She doesn't tell them where she's going.
Noah helps her into his truck. She gives the house she grew up in a final look as he pulls out of the driveway.
They drive in silence for a while, passing streetlights and finally seeing the "You Are Now Leaving Lima, OH" sign. Rachel tries to sleep on numerous occasions in the first hour. She can't.
Eventually she begins fiddling with the radio (her cds are all in the back). She stops when she comes to a station with fairly decent music. She stares out the window for five minutes until a familiar song comes on.
She laughed out loud as Sweet Caroline begins playing. Noah looks at her and smiles for the first time since he knocked on her window. They both hum along quietly. The song ends, and Rachel is trying to decide what to say to him before the awkwardness returns.
All of her questions involve why they left (he doesn't want to talk about it), where there going to live or what they'll do for food (she doesn't want to stress him out), or what his favorite musical is (Kurt keeps telling her that's not socially acceptable conversation for most people).
She doesn't have to come up with a question because he's the one who breaks the silence, "We need a plan."
"What are you talking about?" she questions, confused.
"For New York, for running away, I can't go back there." he stumbles over his words, and she's suddenly overtaken with anger. He didn't have a plan! She glared at him, wishing for the first time that night that she didn't climb out the window with Noah Puckerman.
"I thought you had a plan," she spit out venomously. He seems surprised by her sudden fury.
"I needed to get out of there. I just… I just had to go." He seems distressed by whatever happened earlier in the night and she opens her mouth to ask what happened but closes it because for the first time in Rachel Berry's life she decides to mind her own business.
"Okay," her voice softens, "We need a plan then." They spend the next hour deciding on what to do. They'll stop at an ATM in Cleveland (so no one can track them down) and withdraw $20,000 on Rachel's emergency ATM card (she thinks this qualifies as an emergency). They'll get the cheapest apartment they can find when they get to New York. They'll attempt and get jobs as soon as possible. Rachel thinks they might need to come up with aliases (this idea manages to get Puck excited; he spends at least ten minutes trying to come up with the dirtiest fake names he can).
When the sun rises, Rachel starts to worry a bit. "My dads have probably seen have seen my note by now. They probably called the cops. Somebody's going to be looking for your car."
Puck rolls his eyes, "Berry, chill. We won't get caught."
She frowns at him. "My name is Rachel. And how can you know we won't get caught? You should hav…"
He cuts her off, "We won't get caught because I am badass, and cops don't arrest badasses."
Rachel huff in annoyance, "Your badass? What kind of answer is that? And for the record, I'm sure the cops have arrested far more badass people than you." She doesn't know how he can be so calm. He was the one freaking out a couple hours ago.
He scoffs at her implication that there were more badass people than him. "Well, what do you suggest we do?" He immediately regrets asking because he knows she'll launch into a 20-minute speech about how they should sell the truck (no way in hell) and buy two bus tickets.
This is actually what she does do, and Puck ignores her during the entire thing.
He does sell his truck and they do get bus tickets (not because he a pussy or anything; the idea just made sense). They have the money now, and it finally hits Rachel that they're actually doing this. They're sitting on the greyhound watching the streets go past.
Rachel stares at him (he's gone back to quiet Noah), and breaks her vow not to get involved in his business. "Do you want top talk about it?" she asks.
He glances at her, "Talk about what?"
She could completely change the subject and avoid the inevitable drama that'll come up. She could ask if he wanted to talk about his favorite Jewish tradition or if he was ever planning on shaving that stupid mohawk. She could, but she doesn't.
"You know. Whatever made you angry enough to leave your family and your entire life. Was it Quinn? Or Finn? What happened?" She knows the moment she says this that she made a mistake. His eyes become guarded again; he glares at her.
"What about you? Why'd you agree to leave? Did you throw yourself at the golden boy, Finn, and get rejected because you aren't pretty enough? You'd think you would be used to that by now, though."
There's a lump in her throat, but she forces herself not to cry (she's shed too many tears for Noah Puckerman). "You know, I'm starting to think Quinn made the right decision. I wouldn't admit that I was carrying your kid either."
Her words sting like hell. He scowls at her, "Well, it's a good thing I wouldn't ever fuck you." He gets up and walks away. He takes a seat next to the nearest cougar.
Puck doesn't apologize. Ever. So he reasons with himself that the only reason he's saying sorry to Berry is because she has the money, and it would suck to be alone and broke in New York. He sits down next to her.
She keeps her eyes on her book (Pride and Prejudice, really could she be more of a girl?). He clears his throat, but she still won't look at him. "Berry, err I mean Rachel, look I don't say sorry, but I said some shit, and I'm… I'm… I'm sorry, okay? I am sorry."
She still hasn't looked up, but he can see her smiling (because he damn charming). "That wasn't that hard, was it?" she smirks.
"Yes it was," he says seriously. She rolls her eyes playfully, and he thinks that maybe this friendship or whatever they have might actually work out.