Author's note: So here's the latest story. It takes place after Season 1, Episode 13. Will DEFINITELY be multi-chapter! Probably won't update this one as fast....I've been writing so much that my house is a neglected disaster (then again, I type 80+ words a minute so I can push out chapters pretty fast once they've been sketched out.) Hubby doesn't see the mess so it's up to me or we'll be living in a trash heap!

Author's Note no. 2: For those of you who are obsessed with Mark Salling's amazing...everything, be sure to check out the "Media" page on his website (www(dot)marksallingmusic(dot)com). If you haven't already watched it – check out the video called "Pipe Dreams." It is completely swoon-worthy, believe me. The man is singing to his grandma, people – that is LOVE!

Disclaimer: Still don't own Glee. They still frolic in my brain and won't leave. So I write.....


It was the unlikeliest of friendships – the kind tentatively built on quicksand that could suck it down at any moment and reduce it to a pile of rubble. It all started on the Saturday morning following Sectionals. Babygate had burst wide open, thanks to the flapping jaws of semi-psychic Rachel Berry. Since the competition, no one had either seen nor heard much out of Noah Puckerman. He had managed to skip school most of the week (which was hardly a feat for him.) His absence and Rachel's overriding guilt about her part in the whole affair resulted in an imprompu baking session on Saturday morning. By 10am, her signature "I'm sorry" cookies were iced, plated, foiled over, and ready for delivery.

Sliding her Honda Fit into his driveway, she nearly lost her nerve. She and Noah weren't exactly friends. They had a...silent understanding. Since their brief relationship and subsequent break-up, she had been spared from his Slushie-throwing attacks. But the civility of the relationship ended there. No, he wasn't outwardly hostile. But he wasn't rushing to befriend her either. Add their strained relationship to the fact that he was usually surly, even while being breathtakingly handsome, made Rachel a bigger ball of nerves than she usually was when it came to the awkwardness of dealing with boys. Even so, she was on a mission to seek forgiveness. If not complete forgiveness, at least an impasse. So she raised her hand and knocked on the door.

She heard heavy footsteps clomping down the stairs and the door jerked open. He stood in the open door for a moment, looking at her. Wordlessly, he started to close it.

Panicking, she exclaimed. "Noah, wait!"

The door continued to close. In a last-ditch effort, she blurted out "I brought homemade cookies!" just as the door was about to close. The movement ceased and the door was pulled back open. Not saying a word, he nodded for her to come inside.

Awkward, was all she could think as she stepped through the door and into the foyer of his small but comfortable house. Again without speaking, he motioned for her to step into the kitchen. She handed him the plate of cookies. He sat them down on the countertop and pulled back the foil. Seeing the "I'm sorry" iced in yellow with her feminine scrawl resulted in his first reaction since her arrival. He actually smiled.

Finally, he spoke. "So what do I owe this...honor?"

Rachel forgot what she was going to say. She had an entire speech prepared and had even practiced it to ensure that her apology was both sincere and heartfelt without being overly emotional. But as she looked at his eyes, noticing the dark rings of exhaustion around them, her neurons ceased firing. "Umm...I wanted to just come by and apologize."

"For what?" He asked, grabbing a cookie off the plate.

"...umm...for my involvement in the secret being revealed...which then resulted in your getting punched in the face...which then resulted in our chances at sectionals being severely jeopardized...not to mention angering Finn and Quinn."

He just stared at her, like he was waiting for lobsters to sprout from her earlobes or something. His gaze finally softened and he said, "It's okay, Berry. I wanted it to come out. Quinn is the one that didn't. I'm glad...Now I can at least be involved should Quinn decide she wants anything to do with me."

"Noah," she said, putting her hand on his forearm. "I am sorry."

"You didn't knock her up, Berry. That was all me...." There was a twinge of both sarcasm and sadness in his statement.

The looked at each other for a moment until finally she realizes she should probably go. "I...I guess I'll go now."

He put a hand out and caught her arm. "You can stay if you want...you know, hang out?"

She smiled, almost shocked at the offer. He showed her where to put her purse and then led her into the living room where they flopped down on the couch. Thumbing the remote, he turned the TV on and said, "you're choice" before tossing the remote at her.

She somehow managed to find the one musical playing on all 200 channels and he is luck enough to spend the next two hours suffering through Fiddler on the Roof. If he hadn't been so damn lonely lately, he would never allowed this to have happened. But since Finn wasn't speaking to him and Quinn had made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that she wanted nothing to do with him, he was kind of alone. The Gleeks were cordial to him but he couldn't help but feel like everyone looked at him like he was the worst person on the planet. Which he supposed is okay because he felt like he was. But still, abandonment hurts. But then Berry showed up, offering a sugar-coated olive branch, and he took it. And now he's watching Fiddler on the Roof. And it's really not that bad.

When the movie goes off, he heard the unmistakable growl of a hungry stomach. Asking her what she likes on her pizza, he is surprised when her favorite toppings are the same as his: ham and pineapple. Ordering the pizza and breadsticks, they waited for the delivery guy.

In the gap between the movie and food, she asked, "Where is your mom and sister?"

"Visiting my aunt. I wasn't in the mood to go this weekend."

"I don't blame you. I avoid my Aunt Margorie as much as I can. She smells like cat pee."

His eye caught hers and they both laughed. It felt good to laugh, considering he hadn't had much to laugh about in the last few weeks.

They made small talk about TV shows and even current events while they wait on the food. The fact that they didn't have much in common outside Glee was painfully obvious to both of them. But she smiled a lot and the smile made him feel better.

When the pizza guy finally arrived, Puck paid him and tossed the boxes on the table in front of Rachel. They both dug in. She surprised him when she shoveled in three pieces and two breadsticks.

"Berry, I took you for a lightweight!"

"Daddy never lets us have pizza. It doesn't provide proper nutrition and is overloaded with fat...but I adore it. So thank you, Noah!"

He grinned at her. "No prob."

They sat in silence, partially because they had run out of topics and partially because the pizza was just that good. Once they were done, Rachel said that she had to leave. A little bummed, he walked her to the door. Turning to him, she said, "Thanks for the movie and pizza, Noah. I had a good time."

"Me too, Berry."

As she left, she knew nothing would really be outwardly different between the two of them on Monday. He would still ignore her just as she ignored him. But at least the tension would be less, she hoped. So no one is more surprised than she is when he walked up up to her locker on Tuesday and asked her if she wanted to hang out again on Saturday. His sister's birthday party is that day and he'd feel less like killing himself if he had a friend around is his reasoning. Rachel didn't know what shocked her more – the fact that he invited her over or that he called her a friend. Either way, on that Tuesday, it was established that Noah Puckerman and Rachel Berry were friends.


Coming up next: Friendship develops further. And the title of the story should give you a hint at the direction in which I'm heading.