Disclaimer: Don't own anything.

AN: Happy Valentine's day my lovelies! This is my Valentine's present to you! Just a little Puckleberry love. BTW I'm having issues with past and present tense during Puck and Kurt's convo so try not to get too confused.

Love Is Such A Dirty Word

"I love you."

Puck froze like a deer in the headlights and mentally pictured lighting himself on fire. Rachel seemed to realise she had made a mistake because she tilted her head upwards to look him in the eyes hesitantly. Puck felt his palms go sweaty and he felt claustrophobic. Shit; two seconds ago he was serenading his girlfriend for their six month anniversary present in her bedroom and the next she is whispering those three words that made Puck want to run screaming in the other direction. It had been a simple plan; sing her the song, get some Berry lovin' but the plan was completely FUBAR now. Puck opened his mouth to say something but realised he had nothing to say. Puck unwound her arms from his waist stiffly.

"I...uh...gotta go," Puck told her ignoring the flash of hurt he saw in her eyes before he turned tail and ran from her room leaving her alone on their anniversary.

Puck knew he was being a giant douche. He knew that. But damn; she said that she freaking loved him; that was about the scariest shit Puck had ever heard. After leaving Rachel he had gone home and just lay on his bed staring at the ceiling. He barely slept that night and then it was Monday morning and time for school. Puck was relieved when he received a text from Rachel.

Daddy is taking me to school

It was devoid of smiley faces which meant she was pissed at him, but at least she was talking to him. Puck didn't know what he was going to do. Rachel was his girlfriend and he didn't want that to change because he liked having her as his girlfriend but shit; she was taking crazy to a whole new level. What she said completely unnerved him and Puck hated feeling like this. Did Rachel want him to say it back? Because there was no way in hell Puck was saying it back. It wasn't that he didn't feel that way about her because he maybe (definitely) did but he was not going to say it out loud; that was all there was to it. Rachel would just have to deal with that. Puck felt confident now that he had a plan of attack and strode confidently down the halls to wait for Rachel by her locker. She was already there gathering her books for her first class and Puck leaned against a locker and folded his arms defiantly across his chest.

"I'm not saying it."

Rachel turned to face him with a raised eyebrow and Puck fought hard not to remember the look on her face when he had run away from her the day before. He had ruined their anniversary but she had ruined it first with all her talking.

"Saying what?" Rachel queried innocently like she didn't know and Puck narrowed his eyes at her. They had been dating for six months and she could read him like a book, she knew what he was talking about, she just wanted to see him suffer.

"You know what," Puck growled softly and Rachel rolled her eyes and shut her locker with a loud slam that indicated her rage was hidden just below the surface of her cool smile. Puck knew her just as well as she knew him. She was barely keeping her anger in check.

"I didn't say it to force you to say it back, I said it because that is how I feel about you," Rachel told him evenly her voice harsh then she looked up into his hazel eyes and her tone softened, "I don't expect you to say it back."

Puck was floored. She didn't expect him to say it back? What the hell was that supposed to mean? This had to be some sort of trick. Rachel was staring up at him her face completely composed.

"Is this some chick thing where you say you don't expect me to say it but you really do?" Puck asked slowly and Rachel sighed shaking her head.


"Because I'm not saying it back," Puck said petulantly, like a child and Rachel gazed at him coolly.

"I don't expect you to."



Both teens turned on their heels and walked in opposite directions but Puck stopped to turn back and watch his girlfriend strut down the hall her skirt swishing as she went. Shit. He knew he was going to have to say it, otherwise Rachel would realise that he was an asshole who didn't deserve her and dump his sorry ass.

Puck tried to psych himself up all day in preparation. Rachel had started speaking to him at lunch and she was acting normally towards him but Puck was still worried. If he wanted to keep Rachel as his girlfriend he was going to have to bring out the big guns; he had to bring out the grand gesture, he had to say the words he was dreading. Puck decided to work out in the weights room after school so he walked Rachel to her father's car in the afternoon and kissed her lightly. Rachel frowned at him.

"Is something wrong Noah? Usually you maul me every time you kiss me, even when my father's are present," Rachel asked worriedly and Puck could tell she thought that she had done something wrong.

"Nothing's wrong babe," he assured her touching her cheek lightly then he pressed his lips to her forehead, "I'll come by tonight okay?"

"Okay," Rachel agreed and then she flung her arms around her neck and kissed him. Puck squeezed her tightly to him and kissed her back. She was perfect and she was his. He couldn't screw this up.

There was no one in the locker room when Puck had a shower later that afternoon so he stood there in the mirror looking at himself, practicing how he was going to say the words to Rachel.

"Come on man it's easy, it's just words," Puck gave himself the pep talk as he bounced up and down in front of the mirror rolling his shoulders back, preparing himself.

"I love you."

Too slow.

"I love you."

Too fast.

"I love you."

Fuck he had no idea what the hell he was doing.

"You take narcissism to a whole new level," an amused voice commented and Puck spun guiltily to find Kurt in the doorway to the showers with a towel swung over his shoulder. Puck glared, though he was glad it was Kurt and not someone else who had caught him in such a compromising position.

"Fuck off Hummel," Puck snapped, embarrassed by the whole situation.

Sadly this was not the most embarrassing thing Kurt had caught him doing in a mirror. There was the night before Regional's last year when he and Kurt were forced to share a hotel room in Chicago and Kurt had walked into their room to find Puck trying to make his Pecs dance in the mirror. They hadn't been able to look each other in the eye for a couple of days after that.

"Trouble with the little lady?" Kurt gave a knowing smile and Puck looked back at his reflection in the mirror, glaring at himself.

"She told me she loved me," Puck admitted twisting his face like the words left a bad taste in his mouth and Kurt gave a squeal of excitement that expressed he was ready to gossip.

"What did you say?" Kurt asked eagerly and Puck winced before answering as he remembered exactly what he said and did after Rachel's confession.

"I gotta go," Puck said softly and Kurt was blank faced for a couple of moments before he started laughing so hard Puck thought he was going to piss his pants. Puck folded his arms across his chest defiantly, "It's not funny Hummel, I don't even know why I bother talking to you."

"Because I'm the only one you got," Kurt reminded him brushing the tears of laughter from his eyes and Puck frowned.


When the baby daddy drama unfolded Puck had become 'persona non grata' as Rachel liked to say. This meant that he was ignored by everyone including Finn, Matt and Mike. He luckily avoided slushie facials because the first time some idiot tried that Puck beat the ever loving shit out of him. Generally people left him alone, but the worst part was not having a friend or anyone to talk to. The kids in Glee were civil to him; the Cheerio's not so much. Quinn spoke to him sometimes, when she wasn't all bitched up due to her pregnancy.

A couple of weeks after the secret was out Quinn approached him with adoption papers and files on couples wanting to adopt their baby. Puck had actually gone to Mr Shue for advice and after talking to him Puck had realised that Quinn was right. There was no way they could raise a baby, not so young and without the proper support system around them. Quinn's parents still weren't speaking to her and his mother had cried for a full week when he told her that he had gotten Quinn pregnant. So Puck agreed to the adoption.

Quinn ended up living with Kurt of all people after she left Finn's and Puck spent a lot of time at the Hummel's due to the craving runs Quinn sent him on so Puck really got to know Kurt and his dad Burt. While Puck and Kurt weren't 'best friends forever' Puck found the guy easy enough to talk to and since Puck had no one else Kurt became his friend by default. Burt ended up giving him a job at the garage so Puck had worked there with Kurt after school and on weekends. It wasn't a glamorous job but it paid Quinn's bills. Even though they were giving the baby away, Puck still provided for them until his daughter was safe with her new family.

Surprisingly Rachel Berry was stood by him and Quinn even in the face of Finn's ire. Puck had thought it was due to guilt she felt over outing them so he had told her in no uncertain terms that she didn't owe them anything but she continued to come to the Hummel's often bringing sweets and treats for Quinn. Quinn learned to appreciate Rachel's gestures and they began to tolerate each other as Quinn's pregnancy progressed. Puck knew Quinn would never admit it but Rachel ended up being her closest friend. She washed Quinn's hair when there was slushie in it, she helped Quinn carry books to class when Puck wasn't around and she watched the movies with Quinn that Puck flat out refused to watch in case they made him grow a vagina. She became a permanent fixture at the Hummel house and even Kurt became nicer to her as they started up some sort of Diva truce. Puck started seeing her as someone he had to protect along with Quinn and his baby girl. Rachel and Puck didn't talk that much, but he knew that she knew he appreciated everything she did for them.

About two months after the baby drama Rachel had a boyfriend but to everyone's surprise it wasn't Finn, it was some punk called Jeremy from Vocal Adrenaline. Apparently she was tired of waiting for Finn and had started seeing this other guy. Finn was mournful but Rachel was finally happy so Finn bowed out like a gentleman and starting dating Brittany. When Regional's came around and New Directions wiped the floor with Vocal Adrenaline Jeremy had broken up with Rachel, loudly in front of everyone. Jeremy broke Rachel's heart so Puck broke his face. Well Puck didn't exactly break it, but he did use Jeremy's face for a punching bag. Being suspended from school was totally worth it. Everyone thought Rachel's eyes would have turned back to Finn but surprisingly, after Puck defended her honour, Rachel's crazy eyes had been focused directly on him.

And Puck hadn't minded. He had gotten used to her being around and talking nonstop and Puck really liked making out with her so it made sense when they started dating. Well Rachel had demanded they start dating and Puck hadn't wanted the making out to end so he agreed. Rachel was there for him when Quinn gave birth, she was there when they gave their baby girl away, she was there when he drank himself into a stupor, she was there when Quinn said goodbye and moved to live with her sister across the country. Rachel was just always there for him and he lov...fuck.

It had been six months since they started dating. Six months and then Rachel had pulled out the L word. Even just thinking about it made Puck shudder. Finn still refused to talk to Puck but Matt and Mike had warmed up to him again. Still Puck felt more comfortable talking to Kurt than he did with his old friends. Especially about something so serious as this.

"What do I do?" Puck asked desperately and Kurt sauntered over and inspected himself in the mirror critically.

"I'm no expert, but seems pretty simple to me," at Puck's blank look Kurt rolled his eyes, "Do you love her?"

"I dunno," Puck lied, and then he shrugged his shoulders and added awkwardly, "I don't hate her."

"I don't hate you; huh; that's great, that's just what every girl wants to hear from her boyfriend," Kurt said sarcastically shaking his head at Puck who gave a half smirk and Kurt narrowed his eyes warningly, "Do not tell Miss Diva you don't hate her in lieu of a love admission."

"I don't want her to be with anyone else and I like the way her hand feels in mine and I like pretty much every crazy thing about her," Puck said softly unable to believe he was saying this stuff out loud and Kurt's face brightened with understanding.

"You're scared to tell her you love her," Kurt commented and Puck glared at him. Scared? Did Hummel not know who he was talking to?

"I am a stud, I'm not scared of anything," Puck said confidently, flexing his guns as proof.

"Right," Kurt drawled in a way that indicated he didn't believe him, "Well why don't you do something nice for her to show her how you feel so you don't actually have to say the L word, maybe a nice turn of phrase."

"Like what?" Puck asked liking this idea more than saying the three words to Rachel. Kurt placed a hand on his chest and face the mirror to pretend he was Puck talking to Rachel.

"Rachel darling, I appreciate you and adore you and am honoured to have you in my life," Kurt gave his flowery speech and Puck stared blankly at Kurt for a moment.

"I'm not saying that, its gay," Puck snapped gruffly and Kurt raised an eyebrow before rolling his eyes.

"Well then Puck it up," Kurt frowned and put on a deep voice to imitate Puck, "The Puckerone wants you to know that he digs your boobs more than any other boobs he's ever digged."

Puck burst out laughing and Kurt laughed as well. Puck turned back to Kurt and shrugged.

"I think I do...you know...Rachel, but I can't say it," Puck told him stumbling over his words and Kurt sighed like he knew that all along.

"Love isn't such a dirty word you know," Kurt informed him and Puck gave a rueful smile.

"Yes it is."

His mother had loved his father and his father had run off with the first younger woman to pay attention to him. The minute you admitted that you loved someone it took everything to a whole new level. You were vulnerable once you loved someone and declared it; they then had the power to hurt you. Puck couldn't tell Rachel he loved her because if she left him he would be destroyed. He had to protect himself; it was just the way he was.

"Well do as I suggested, give her a gift and tell her in your own way, I'm sure Rachel speaks 'Puckish' by now, she will read between the lines," Kurt suggested helpfully and Puck nodded his head liking the idea.

"Thanks man," Puck slapped Kurt on the back and Kurt beamed at him.

"I accept payment in chocolates and blind dates with attractive males."

Puck stopped at the 7/11 on his way home and bought a bouquet of flowers. It wasn't the greatest grand gesture but it was all he could think of at late notice and he wanted to get this over and done with. Kurt had suggested poetry but Puck had declined. There was no way in hell he was going to read her poetry. Puck had been practicing his speech all the way to her house working out a way to tell her how much she meant to him without actually saying the L word but when she opened the door to her house and looked at him with those brown eyes everything he was about to say just faded away.

"Oh Noah," Rachel gasped seeing the bouquet in his hands and Puck handed it to her wordlessly. Rachel made a show of sniffing the bouquet before she smiled at him, "They are lovely Noah."

Puck knew he had to say it all, now or never, before he lost his nerve.

"Rach, I know I'm not the best boyfriend and I never say the right thing at the right time but I just wanted to say...to tell you...I...that I..." Puck closed his mouth and gulped. Studs don't stutter, just say it you moron. Puck opened his eyes and the next words just fell out of his mouth before he had a chance to process, "I don't hate you."

That's exactly what Kurt told you not to say dickhead;
Puck groaned inwardly bracing himself for what was to come. Tears for sure followed by wailing, maybe she'd punch him or worse; break up with him because he was emotionally stunted. Puck felt a tightening in his chest. If she broke up with him he didn't know what he would do.

Rachel blinked at him before her face melted into a fond smile.

"I love you too," she whispered softly and went on her tip toes to brush her lips against his. Puck grabbed her to him roughly and plundered her mouth with his; relieved that this girl was his.

This was why he didn't hate her; Rachel knew exactly what he wanted to say without him having to say the words. She was fluent in 'Puckish'.

I don't hate you - I love you.

AN: Happy Valentine's Day My Lovelies!

For those of you who don't have a special someone you can borrow Puck for today, but give him back to me okay? And for those that do have someone enjoy the day with your sexy someone.

I am going to watch Valentine's Day in Star Class with the husband, it better be a good movie because I've been looking forward to it for weeks.

Holy cow next week on Friday I see Spring Awakening and then Saturday night I see Wicked. What a perfect weekend!