it's hard to say that I'd rather stay awake when I'm asleep

Author: GabrielleMB

Pairing: Puck/Kurt

Rating: R for vaguely described sex and naughty language.

Warnings: Angst, some violence and two boys making out.

Spoilers: Vague spoilers for the first thirteen episodes.

Summary: Kurt, Puck and the games boys play. Also, Puck grows up and almost has an epiphany.

Disclaimer: Not mine in any way, shape or form.

A/N: First fic in the Glee fandom \o/ This series really took me by storm: I marathoned all of the eps so far in two days and then spent two weeks reading all the Puckurt fic I could find OTL It's been a while since I've written anything, so I might be a little rusty, but I had fun writing this fic anyway. The title is from the Owl City song Fireflies.

----

They're making out in Kurt's car when it (almost) hits him. Puck thinks it's probably the indecent way Kurt's splayed over his hips, cheeks red and mouth wet, panting. It's fucking hot in the backseat. The tinted windows keep out most of the daylight, but Puck can see the way Kurt's blue, blue eyes glint down at him, his lips stretched in a naughty little grin. The leather's slippery with sweat under his head, and his fingers are almost cramping from the tight grip he has on Kurt's hips. Kurt leans down, presses a clumsy kiss to his mouth and writhes a little.

"C'mon, get to it already," Kurt whines, small fingers biting into Puck's shoulders.

Puck moves as though in a dream because while they've done this a hundred times before, it's never felt like this. Like he's drowning, eyes all pupil and chest heaving with the effort to scrape what little oxygen there is to gain from the stuffy air. Kurt makes an impatient little sound, tilts his hips down to bump his erection against Puck's, and Puck obediently reaches one hand to the front to pop the button of Kurt's jeans, drags down his zipper.

Kurt bites his lip, shifting impatiently, all squirms and little huffs of air between wet lips. Puck's fingers curl around his dick over his underwear (silk, expensive and, God, fucking sexy) and his thumb rubs at the wetness at the tip, making Kurt moan and blush even harder. Puck snaps the waistband and enjoys the little squeak that Kurt makes, a tiny furrow between his brows.

"Seriously, if you don't get to it, I'm gonna go get Finn-"

And that's how far Kurt makes it before Puck lunges upwards to slant his mouth along the seam of Kurt's lips. There's a moment of stiff shock but then Kurt relaxes, fingers splaying over Puck's chest, slipping to pluck at his nipple ring through his shirt. Puck groans into their kiss, extricates his hand from the front of Kurt's pants to grab at his ass instead and grinds upwards. Kurt's moan vibrates into their joined mouths and Puck's so hard he could pound nails into concrete and never even break a sweat.

"Shut it, Princess," Puck growls between kisses. He hates the bitter twist of jealousy in his chest because that's something that is definitely not supposed to happen. Never ever and that epiphany he's currently having can just fuck right off.

Kurt's whining into his mouth, nudging his erection into Puck's and it's all he can do not to come in his pants. He hooks his fingers into the loops in Kurt's ridiculously tight pants and tugs. Kurt gets the hint and shifts onto his knees on the wide backseat to allow Puck better access. Puck pulls his pants down just enough to get Kurt's dick in the open air and leans forward in one smooth, almost angry motion.

He's done this a dozen times before, so why does it feel like the first?

*

Afterwards Kurt pulls his pants up, a wicked grin on his lips. Puck pants, on his tongue the bitter bite of Kurt's semen and his stomach a mess of sweat and cum. Kurt smoothes down his hair in the rear-view mirror and applies cherry gloss to his lips.

"You've gotten better at this, Noah," he comments nonchalantly and climbs to the front. Puck watches the hypnotising sway of his round ass, scowling.

"Yeah, well, look who's talking, Captain Faggypants."

"Whatever." Kurt rolls his eyes at him then twists around to hand him a tissue.

"Wipe that up and get out. I'm going to the mall with Mercedes and Tina. We're getting facials," Kurt says, turning back around after Puck takes the tissue from him.

"You just had an amazing opportunity to get one for free if you'd just asked," Puck leers and ignores Kurt's snort as he drags the tissue through the mess on his belly. He's buttoned up and ready to go in short order, weird thoughts of mine and that fucking L word safely forgotten. Puck grabs his bag and leans into the front of the car just long enough to ruffle the hell out of Kurt's hair.

Puck's still smirking at the indignant shriek long after Kurt's driven off.

*

He doesn't remember how this thing began between him and Kurt. Maybe he can blame the stinging rejection he had to deal with from all fronts after Quinn's little secret came to light. Or maybe it was the endorphin high of winning – actually fucking winning – at the sectionals that made him go off the deep end. Either way, he was vulnerable, and then there was Hummel with his baby blues and plump lips making sympathetic noises at him and sitting next to him at glee when no one else would and before Puck even knew it, they had a standing arrangement to make out every Wednesday and Friday in Kurt's car.

(Kurt has some kind of burr up his ass about making out at any other time. It's just so messy that I have to make sure I'm wearing something expendable should the worst happen, he said once and Puck rolled his eyes and popped his gum in Kurt's face just to annoy him.)

It feels ridiculously good to make out with Kurt, and Puck's smart enough not to reject him. He figures this is his only source of nookie for the rest of his high school life with the way his popularity's gone down the drain. And hey, at least he can't get Kurt pregnant. Not that the prissy little princess has let him at his ass anyway, just pulled his best bitchface at Puck when he'd brought it up (So how about some backdoor action, huh?). One of these days, Puck swears, one of these days he's going to get to touch more of Kurt, strip his clothes off and splay him on a bed.

He doesn't understand why the thought of Kurt stretched out on his back, flawless white skin glowing with a sheen of sweat, makes his heart skip a beat.

*

Their arrangement of twice-a-week hanky panky has been going on for a year before Kurt pokes Puck in the chest during one such session and says haughtily: "So. You're coming over today."

Puck doesn't know what he's agreeing to, but he nods fervently anyway, dick throbbing in Kurt's other hand, desperate to do anything, everything Kurt wants if he gets to come.

*

So it turns out Kurt's got his own sweet pad in the basement of his big house. Puck saunters down the stairs after him, taking in the white paint and furniture. It's all kind of bare, but it suits Kurt. With the way he's all neat and put together all the time, it only figures that his room would be the same. Puck snorts when he sees the vanity, fiddles with the numerous bottles of lotions and sprays and god-knows-what, distracted by the sight of Kurt puttering around his room reflected in the mirror.

Kurt thumps his bag down next to his bed, runs a hand down his fruity little vest. It's black with white stripes, paired with a ruffled white shirt, and fuck Puck if he doesn't get off on the way the tight cuffs accentuate how small Kurt's wrists are, so easy to squeeze into submission. (Not that Kurt's let him do that either, but a guy can dream, right?)

"You want something to drink?"

Kurt's voice cuts into Puck's thoughts and he realizes he's squeezing a tube of some (no doubt expensive) lotion so hard he's surprised the cork hasn't popped off. Kurt props his hands on his hips and scowls.

"What? I'm a good host! Ask anyone!"

Puck holds back a snort, but just barely. "I figured we came here to fuck, not make small talk."

Kurt's cheeks start burning and it's kind of adorable.

"Doesn't mean I can't be a good host anyway! Besides, there's no way I'm letting you do that today," Kurt scoffs, his nose in the air. "I just changed the sheets and satin is a bitch to get clean."

Puck raises an eyebrow. Kurt drops his gaze, the blush deepening, his bravado lost for a moment. Puck doesn't have words for how it makes him feel, but it's definitely weird. He watches Kurt fiddle with the hem of his vest, mumble out an indistinct "I figured we could hang out. I've got an X-Box 360 and the girls don't really want to play. Well, Tina does, but then she always kicks my ass, which is, y'know, embarrassing. Whatever. Just a thought."

Kurt's made his way to the back door, his hand already resting on the knob, when Puck speaks up.

"So what games do you have?"

*

Their routine carries them all the way through to senior year of high school. They play games and make out and sometimes they lie on Kurt's bed in the dark not talking because there's nothing to really say. Puck still hasn't had the opportunity to do more than nip at Kurt's round, white ass, run his fingers over it and squeeze until he almost comes at the though of what it would be like to be buried to the hilt between the round globes. Kurt always swats at his hands or his cheeks, blushing and unwilling to meet his eyes, so Puck doesn't push the issue. Hey, Kurt gives good head and, although his hands are baby-soft, his fingers are strong and sure and he knows what Puck likes.

*

When they're two weeks from graduating, Puck feels the first pangs of panic in his chest. They're almost done, almost through, and he's always known Kurt's not staying in Lima any longer than he has to. He's listened to Kurt and Mercedes gossip in glee, going over prospective universities and curricula and programs and all that shit over and over again, but it's never really sunk in.

There's nothing out there for him, not with his grades. His life is in Lima and he knows that. Kurt, on the other hand… Kurt is destined to shine somewhere else.

*

On their graduation day Puck grins for countless photos, makes devil horns on a laughing Quinn, noogies Finn and pulls a stupid face behind Rachel's back. Kurt strikes his best poses for his dad, for Rachel's dads, for anyone and everyone who's willing to take his picture. Mr. Schue is there, too, all grins and pride over their win at nationals. He slaps all the guys on the back and hugs all the girls and promises them greatness.

Puck and Kurt end up standing side by side for one last glee club photo and Puck could swear he feels Kurt's fingers brush against his.

*

A week after they graduate, Kurt turns up on his front porch smiling up at him with the strap of his carryon bag biting into one small shoulder, his dad an impatient figure leaning against Kurt's monster of a car. Puck crosses his arms and slouches against the doorjamb in his pyjama pants, bare feet crossed. He takes one last, long look at Kurt, telling himself he's ready for it all to be over.

"I'm going to New York," Kurt says, exited splashes of red on his cheeks, suddenly avoiding Puck's eyes. "Here's my address. You can, y'know, do whatever with it."

The slip of paper is pink and Kurt's handwriting is ridiculously curly and pretty and Puck feels like he's been punched in the chest. Kurt nods to himself, barely flicking his eyes up to look at Puck's face and then he's gone.

*

"Noah! Hummel wants to talk to you!" His mom yells up the stairs at him a couple of weeks later, the phone squeezed in her hand.

Puck grips the neck of his guitar and feels his palms suddenly get slick with sweat. His heart's in his throat when he makes it down the stairs and practically lunges for the receiver.

"Hey," he breathes in the mouthpiece, all thoughts of getting over Kurt and being cool and calm flying out the window (he doesn't let himself even think about the fact that he's got Kurt's ridiculous note tucked away in his wallet, softly smudged at the edges from all the times he's folded and refolded the stupid thing).

"Noah, right?" Burt Hummel says and continues, "If you're not doing anything with your life, I could always use some help at the garage."

*

At first it's a little awkward to work with Kurt's dad, but he eventually relaxes. Mr. Hummel never brings up anything to do with Kurt, never even hints at knowing what Puck and Kurt got up to in Kurt's room. Mr. Hummel is a good man and guides him through the steps until he gets the hang of it and then leaves him to it. They work in companionable silence most of the time, fingers heavy with grease and the radio making enough noise for the both of them.

Puck doesn't know when he fell so in love with silence, but sometimes it reminds him of lazy nights in Kurt's bed, running his hand along Kurt's pale cheek, his arm and his fingers after Kurt had fallen asleep.

He doesn't go to New York and Kurt doesn't return to Lima.

*

Every once in a while Mr. Hummel forgets his email client open on his computer while he pops off on one errand or another. The first time Puck happens to glance at the screen it's by accident and he decides to protect the man's privacy by shutting the thing off. When he actually looks at the message, he realizes it's from Kurt.

He writes at length about his life in New York, about classes, hanging out with people who understand him, about boys and girls and fashion and Rachel's impending Broadway debut. His notes always end with some reference to garage business (I think it's the carburetor or Did you get that shipment of lug nuts?) and a photo or two of either some landmark or Kurt himself.

In the latest message Kurt is posing with a blond boy and smiling.

*

Puck decides after a while that shuttling between work and his dingy little apartment day in and day out isn't really living. He doesn't want to admit it, but he misses the regular fooling around. He got so familiar with Kurt's weight and touch that it's hard to be satisfied with his own hand. It's not like he and Kurt had anything exclusive going on and now that high school's over and Kurt's gone, it only makes sense for him to play the field again.

Finn is surprisingly eager to join him for a beer while he's back in Lima on a break from university. He caught the eye of some football scout at one of their very few away games (Puck doesn't want to remember how it felt to pin Kurt to the shower stall wall after practice, both of them dripping with sweat, but he does anyway), and now he's in a long-distance relationship with Rachel while they both go after their respective dreams.

Puck pushes his way into the only respectable bar in Lima and spots Finn right away. The guy looks even bigger than he did in high school, all big bones and muscles. Finn stands up and his grin is wide and contagious and Puck smirks back at him when Finn pulls Puck to him for a hug and a slap on the back.

"Puck! How've you been?!" Finn's enthusiasm is clear, his eyes sincere and Puck swallows.

"Fine, man, just awesome. So, how're you and the little lady? Any Jewish babies on the way yet?" Puck asks, his grin actually genuine. Rachel always did annoy the living shit out of him when she wasn't boring him to death, but she and Finn make a good combination. Both of them have the drive they need to get out of Lima, both are ready to go after their dreams.

Finn makes a face. "No, Rachel's definitely not ready. And I'm not either. I mean, it's only been like six months since we both started our classes, so no. No babies."

Puck smirks, but leaves it at that and changes topics. It's stilted and awkward at first, but then they find their rhythm again and drink, drink, drink. After the first sip of alcohol Puck's off and drinking anything he can get his hands on, riding high on the forgotten burn and spin of booze. He didn't drink while he and Kurt had their little arrangement because the princess claimed he could smell it on his skin and taste it on his breath, and refused to blow him for a week the last time he went drinking.

But now he can and he does. The burn inside him intensifies and gains an ugly edge.

*

He doesn't remember much about that night, just the heavy weight of a beautiful, buxom woman with her boobs practically spilling out of her top sitting on his lap, his hands gliding over hips too round, kissing lips too bloated and sticky with lipstick that smelled and tasted like stale wax.

Kurt always favored lip gloss, gave him shiny smiles and let him kiss off the tastes of raspberry, strawberry, cherry, watermelon until Puck's lips shone too.

*

Two years have passed when Burt grunts out "Kurt's comin' home for Christmas" at him one day and he damn near breaks his fingers when his wrench slips.

*

And then it's almost Christmas and Puck is hiding in his apartment, resolutely avoiding the garage and the Hummel house and the glee club reunion. He knows he's being a coward (Rachel's disapproving, increasingly exasperated texts told him so), but he can't, he just can't and he hates himself for it.

The doorbell rings and Puck scowls at it fiercely, willing whoever it is to go far away. Rachel's voice booms into the apartment, shrill and disapproving.

"Noah Puckerman! I know you're in there and I'm not going away! You might as well give in and come out right now!" She yowls, and Puck grinds his teeth but gets up anyway.

"Yeah, yeah. I'm coming," he mutters, opens the door and looks down at Rachel. Then his heart stops in his chest because Kurt's standing behind her, flushed from the cold with his nose buried in his thick scarf, beaming hesitantly at him.

"Kurt," Puck croaks. Kurt nods at him, tilts his head, and Puck's got his coat in his hand before he realizes what he's doing.

*

That night Puck finds himself in Kurt's bed, smoothing fingertips over familiar hipbones and down the grooves where Kurt's legs join his hips, listening to Kurt's breath catch. Everything is so familiar and yet so strange.

The taste of Kurt's cum is the same, the touch of his hands the same (although he's got calluses on his fingertips now and his skin is dry from handling fabrics) and the way he arches his back when Puck presses him into the mattress and grinds their dicks together is the same.

And yet, New York has written its hustle and bustle into Kurt's skin, mapped its streets up and down his legs and arms. His hair carries the soft scent of big dreams and determination, like he's not here anymore, like Puck will never catch up to him again.

*

The next morning Kurt's gone and Puck wakes up to a cold bed. He fumbles for the alarm clock on the nightstand, blinking sleep from his eyes. It's almost noon and Puck can hear Kurt and Mr. Hummel talking upstairs. He pushes himself upwards and drags a hand down his face. He should be happy that he'll be getting regular sex now that Kurt's back for a while, but it feels like a hollow victory.

Puck pulls on his boxers and he's halfway to the bathroom when he sees the big, wooden chest pushed up against the wall next to Kurt's empty closet. He doesn't know why he hasn't really noticed the thing before. It's big, after all, big and made of pale wood. It's framed with strips of metal, the lid heavy with two doilies arranged on top of it.

He slinks towards the chest, suddenly curious to see what's in it. Kurt has never spoken about the chest and Puck's never seen him open it either. The lid creaks on the way up and Puck freezes for a while, listening for footsteps on the stairs. Nothing happens, so he relaxes and leans the lid against the wall before taking a look inside.

There are piles of fluffy, sweet-smelling sheets in creamy colors on one side on the chest. Some towels are stacked next to them, accompanied by a pillow and a blanket. Puck reaches a under the piles, curious and sure that Kurt's hidden some porn in there, but his fingers bump against a metal box instead. He pulls it out and opens it.

Inside he finds three tiaras (one with beautiful, lilac rhinestones; a plain, small plastic one that reminds him of little girls and their games; and a simple, elegant contraption with three big blue jewels), muscle magazines (aha!) and finally a small stack of photos.

Most of them are of Mercedes or Tina or Kurt posing with other glee club members, but the last two with scuffed, soft edges are just of him.

In the first photo he's bent over his guitar, the sleeves of his letterman jacket pushed up to reveal his forearms, focusing on his music. In the second, he's smiling at the camera. Puck can't for the life of him remember who took the picture and when, but he can see the hearts Kurt has drawn next to his face. There's an epiphany – that same fucking epiphany that tried to distract him all those years ago – lurking somewhere close, close, closer and Puck can't breathe.

He puts everything back the way it was, dresses and leaves by the back door.

*

Puck waits until Kurt is in New York again before he puts his idea into practice. There's only one way someone like him can leave Lima, and he feels like he has to get the fuck out. It's an itch in every cell of his body, driving him. He isn't ready for his epiphany, it doesn't make sense to him, no way, no how, and there's nothing he can do about it anyway.

He doesn't want Mr. Hummel to find out before it's too late, so he doesn't tell him. He knows it's not fair and that he's leaving Mr. Hummel hanging, but he can't take the disappointed look in Mr. Hummel's eyes right now. His mother gives him a tremulous smile when he tells her about his plans, pats him on the arm and nods, proud that he's trying to understand the suffering of his people.

Two years and six months after he graduated high school, Puck leaves for the army.

*

Bootcamp is hell.

*

"Did you see the size of that dog, man? I coulda sworn it was some kinda hellbeast or somethin'," Henderson drawls, lazing on his back in the oppressive heat of an Iraqi desert. They're unwinding after a recon mission, all relaxed but alert limbs, male camaraderie at its best. Puck frowns, trying to remember.

"That shitty runt we saw coming in from the ruins? Fuck, that was like a puppy or something. You gotta get some glasses, man."

Henderson scoffs at him, pushing up onto his elbows.

"Yeah, well, maybe you didn't eye it properly, Puckerman."

Puck smirks at the challenge in his voice and chuckles at him. Henderson stares at him for a while, but then drops back down with a huff. Grant stretches his arms out on a nearby bedroll, dropping a hand to scratch at his belly. The other men in their company are scattered around the base camp, Santino somewhere making sweet love to his girlfriend via one of the few webcams they have, Lewis probably hitting up other tents for something to do.

Puck runs a hand over his clean-shaven scalp. He's surprisingly at home here. High school feels like another lifetime, Kurt a faraway dream that was never real to begin with. Sometimes there's a sharp pang of longing, but Puck tells himself he's being ridiculous and to man up because he's no pansy. He's a member of the US Army for fuck's sake, ain't nobody tougher than that.

Brown pushes his way into the tent, clutching their stack of mail.

"Puckerman, you've got a letter," he says and the pale violet envelope plops onto Puck's lap. He puts away his knife and the piece of wood he'd been whittling and stares at the envelope with a sinking feeling. Henderson is eyeing him from his bedroll, clearly ready to tease the hell out of him. Puck scowls at him and rips open the letter, ignoring the way the curly, pretty handwriting on the front makes his heart turn over in his chest.

Puck,

You're a class A idiot.

I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt, but I guess Mercedes was right all along: there's no way we'd ever work because you just refuse to take a hint! I simply do not know what more it would take to drill it into your stupid head that there's something between us and I'm tired of trying.

I've wasted all these years pining and settling for sex and missing y- the sex made me mess up one of the major student fashion competitions here in New York (I got SECOND PLACE and that is just not acceptable) and now you're off God knows where trying to get yourself killed! Well, here's a newsflash for you: I HOPE YOU DIE AND TAKE THAT MOHAWK WITH YOU.

No love,

K.H.

P.S. All those emails? I told dad to make sure you saw them.

Puck starts laughing. He laughs and laughs and laughs until he's gasping in dry desert air and tears are streaming from his eyes because that's all he can do.

*

Two weeks later they get a new recruit called Purdue. He reminds Puck of Kurt: tiny but resilient, eyes cornflower blue, skin milky white and lips plump. Puck can't help but look out for him in the way he never could for Kurt.

The man's smiles are shy, though, nothing like Kurt's proud, haughty ones.

Puck smiles back anyway.

*

They're right outside a small, ramshackle village stopping for a short break when they're ambushed. Shots ring out and Puck drops behind the nearest shelter, a clutter of wooden barrels, his gun at the ready, adrenaline pumping through his veins. The sand is all kicked up around their humvee, providing good cover for the attackers.

There's a choked yell somewhere nearby and Puck can feel his throat constrict.

It's Purdue yelling for help.

Puck moves before he can even think about it, lunging out of his cover, hurtling himself towards the sound, and then he sees what's going on. Purdue is on the ground, clutching his leg, a look of stark terror in his staring eyes. There's an enemy combatant driving towards them in a ramshackle jeep, unarmed, but Puck can see the bulge around his midsection and fuck, he needs to get Purdue out of here right the fuck now. There's no time to shoot.

He grabs at the man's arms, starts pulling and with a burst of strength manages to heave the man behind their humvee before the enemy's bomb goes off.

Puck can feel the heat of it burn his back, his feet kick off the ground and soon he's tumbling, tumbling down into a heap. His thoughts are disjointed, bouncing at light speed from one thing to another.

Shit, this is so cliché

I wonder if Purdue made it

Fuck, I never told Kurt that I–

Then he's on his back in the sand, hearing nothing and staring at the deep, deep blue of the clear sky (just like Kurt's eyes) for a second before everything goes black.

*

In the darkness he can sometimes hear snatches of voices talking.

His favorite is the high, clear soprano that sings to him.

*

Puck wakes up with a start, reaching for his gun, sure that the enemy's still there. He fists clean, crisp sheets and starchy blanket instead, and it's enough to jolt him to awareness. The lights hurt his eyes, but judging from the stark white of the walls and the pathetic, bulbous television dangling from the ceiling, he's in a hospital.

He's propped up in the bed and everything hurts. There's a tight, dull pain in his back and a pounding in his head, but at least he's alive. He thinks. Or else this is someone's twisted version of heaven, because his involves pretty girls and plenty of beer.

There's a soft stirring next to him and he squints his dry eyes at the figure rising from a slouch in the chair next to the hospital bed.

Puck's throat fills with desert sand the moment he realizes that it's Kurt.

Kurt knuckles his eyes, hair in a silly disarray of cowlicks on his head, his cardigan buttoned up wrong. Hell, there's even a stain on the collar of his undershirt. Puck stares at him quietly, thinking that if he just doesn't move, Kurt won't vanish like the fever dream he must be.

And then Kurt looks up at him and blinks.

"You're awake."

Puck tries to answer, but the sand still lodged in his throat turns it into a spasming cough. Kurt hurries to offer a cup of water with a straw jutting out of it. After a few sips it's easier to rasp out "Yeah. How long was I out?" and squint his eyes at Kurt.

Kurt worries his bottom lip. "Couple of weeks. You got a pretty nasty hit to the head and your back was burned. They did their best at the base, but figured that you'd need better care, so they shipped you back."

Puck tries to get his sluggish brain to comprehend it all.

"Okay. How's Purdue?"

Kurt smiles a little. "He's fine. You saved his life and he's really thankful. He was pretty badly burned too, though, and he had that gunshot wound, so he's here."

"In the hospital?"

"Yeah."

There's a short silence. Puck rests his head back against the pillow, closes his eyes against the burn of the lights.

"So," Kurt begins, but then he falls silent.

"What?" Puck rasps.

"I didn't actually want you to die. The mohawk's another story, though."

Kurt's voice is so miserable that Puck has to smile. His lips crack a little, dry and painful, but he doesn't mind.

"Yeah, I know," he says, reaching out blindly with his hand and sighs when Kurt's cool, small fingers grasp onto his.

"Uh, this is kind of awkward, but I told the hospital staff I'm your boyfriend," Kurt whispers, words jumbling together, tripping over his tongue. "They wouldn't let me in to see you otherwise."

"Okay," Puck whispers back and that damn epiphany creeps closer. This time he's not afraid.

Kurt's fingers tighten their grip and he rests his cool forehead against Puck's scraped knuckles. Puck wants to reach his other hand out and smooth down Kurt's hair for him and tug his clothes back into place because he knows how important all that shit is for Kurt, but his back is still sore and he's sure any more movement will kill him. He huffs out a breath and straightens his index finger to caress Kurt's temple and nudge at the unkempt strands of auburn hair.

"You should get some rest," Puck says. Kurt nods and lifts his head. They stare at each other for a while in silence, lost for words.

"I'm still a class A blockhead," Puck says, voice rasping into a cough at the end. The corner of Kurt's mouth quirks up and he snorts, reaching for the cup of water and offering some to Puck again. He drinks in long pulls.

"That much is obvious, Mr. Suicidal Bastard, but I'm here, aren't I?" Kurt scoffs, reaching back down to touch Puck's hand.

"Figured you felt guilty or something." Puck rubs at his eyes with his free hand, more tired than he can ever remember being. Kurt shakes his head a little and replaces the cup on the table.

"Not guilt. The other thing." Kurt's blush spreads to his ears and slithers its way down his neck. Puck wants to pull at the collar of Kurt's shirt to see how far it goes. He manages a tired leer, turns his hand around and twines their fingers together.

"Does this mean I finally get to do you up the ass?"

Kurt's laughter rings clear and true like silver bells.