Disclaimer: I do not own Glee nor do I make any profit off of this piece of imagination.
Author's Note: This has probably been done before. If it has, I apologize to whomever has done it. No copying was intended. The idea just got into my head and wouldn't leave. This opening chapter is very angst filled. The story will probably continue to be angst filled and I can't promise a happy ending, but I can promise a hopeful ending at this point. It's my first Glee fic though I've read hundreds and just fell in love with the pairing. But, please forgive when it gets OOC or when something is not cannon. I take full responsibility. If you feel the need to flame please be civil and reviews are always appreciated! They keep me encouraged. Hoping that you like it! Happy reading! T.H.
There was nothing about that day to warn Noah Puckerman that before it ended the world as he knew it would come crashing down around him. The night before had been a perfect blend of three very strong drinks to leave him pleasantly buzzed and loose and fucking Kurt Hummel hard into his mattress. He'd never really expected to fuck another boy on a regular basis, but sex was sex and Kurt had been willing at a time when he had needed it to be fast and rough. After everything that had happened with Finn and Quinn his frustration had been at an all time high and Santana wasn't putting out due to some sort of female sisterhood loyalty bullshit. Winter was nearing and none of his housewives had reason to call him without making their husbands suspicious. Hell, he'd even tried to get back with Rachael, sure that she would give it up in her dramatic grieving after Finn forgave Quinn and they pretended that Finn finding out the baby was never his had never happened. (Which was dumb as hell and Puck still denied that when he had found out he hadn't been relieved but instead had raged until he sobbed in a back alley, his knuckles bloody from punching the wall.) But, even Rachael wasn't coming anywhere near him. The only one who was even remotely on his side was Hummel. He sat near him at least and, in exchange for not being tossed into dumpsters every morning anymore, he helped him when he needed it in Glee. Puck had seen Hummel looking at him in both Glee and the locker room after football, so when his frustration had been at its peak and he and Kurt were the only ones left in the room he had let his anger carry him into slamming Kurt against a locker and taking his lips in a hungry rage filled kiss.
And Hummel had returned it full force, demanded that Noah –he always called him Noah- take him hard right then, and allowed him to do just that, with a little help from the lotion he had in his bag. That had started a twice weekly tradition for them. Puck needed it and he was the only one who would give it to Hummel, or so he liked to think. Five months later it was still working for him. He never took Kurt face to face, just from behind, so that he could still say he was pretending it was a girl if he wanted to. He wasn't ready to admit even to himself that he had stopped imagining a girl and had come to appreciate the harsh angles and thin form without a lot of awkward bits that got in the way no matter how much he liked to look at them about the second time he and Kurt met up in the locker room. A month in they had taken it to Kurt's house because twice a week Kurt told his father that he had joined a study group and they had the place all to themselves. He always took Hummel hard, left bruises that they both seemed to like. He never touched Hummel's dick because he was afraid to admit that he wanted to. But, he always made sure Hummel got off. What was a good fuck buddy for, after all? Usually just before he came, he'd talk dirty to Kurt, as dirty as he could think, and Kurt would make little noises from the back of his throat and he'd clench up impossibly tighter and spill himself on the sheets. Puck didn't like to think that it was the fact that Kurt got off with him inside of his body that made his orgasms so intense. That couldn't possibly be it.
The night before had been the first time they'd spent the entire night together and it had been because Kurt was exhausted. Even Puck had been able to see that. It had been only the third time they'd fucked at Puck's place and Kurt had called his dad to say he was too exhausted to drive home from a study date with Mercedes. His dad had bought it. Really Puck didn't know why he'd let Kurt stay. He just hadn't been able to resist when Kurt looked at him with eyes bloodshot and outlined by dark circles.
"Please, Noah, I'll sleep on the couch if you like. I just…need to sleep." He'd sounded so defeated and tired.
"Naw. You can sleep in the bed," Puck had answered and had pretended not to see the way Kurt's eyes lit with hope, "I'll take my mom's bed. She and my sister are at a girl scout camp thing or something this week anyway."
"Oh. Well…Goodnight then."
He hadn't sounded deflated. He hadn't! Puck would not allow himself to feel guilt over something that may or may not have happened. He'd woken up in a great mood. Hummel had made breakfast and they'd been comfortably silent while eating. The day had gone well. Football had been awesome. The team was really pulling together. He was looking forward to pizza and video games with Matt and Mike. He wasn't even bothering to wonder where Kurt was. He'd taken to leaving practice fifteen minutes early every day to make sure he was showered and out of the locker room before the others got off of the field lately anyway. So, when someone, some random freshmen –And what the hell was he even still doing at the school anyway?- came barreling into the locker room as he was getting dressed, he only felt a sense of curiosity like the others and not dread when he heard the words:
"Someone just got hit by a car in the parking lot! Car just drove away! He's pretty messed up!"
It was wrong, Puck realized even as he ran out to the front of the school with the rest of them, that they were so eager to see someone in pain, but he wasn't able to stop himself. There was already a crowd around the victim when they got out there and it was completely quiet. That was when Puck began to get nervous. If something could affect teenagers enough to shut them up then the kid had to be seriously messed up. He could see the jumpy germophobe counselor on her cell phone a little distant from the crowd. She was talking rapidly and tears were pouring down her face. Puck's breath caught. A sense of black dread rolled over him and made him feel sick. Then he saw it.
Kurt's messenger bag that he loved so dearly was scuffed and tossed aside. Kurt would never just leave something like that lying around, even to see…And he heard the voice.
"Kurt? Kurt, come on, buddy, look at me. Just keep your eyes on me. The ambulance is coming. Just hold on. Please." It was Mr. Schuester and it was the please that made Puck want to bend over and throw up. It sounded so desperate. Suddenly he didn't care what he looked like or what anyone thought. His heart pounding in his ears, he pushed his way through the gathered crowd and froze.
Kurt was lying in a growing pool of his own blood. There was so much of it, coming out of Kurt's nose, his mouth, his ears and dozens of other places hidden by tattered clothing. One of his legs was bent at an awkward angle and his hair was matted. There was a large cut above his left eye and his face was already darkening with bruises. He was trying to look at Mr. Schue like the teacher demanded but his eyes weren't focusing. The hand that Mr. Schue wasn't holding was reaching for something, fingers closing on air again and again. Puck didn't think before he fell to his knees and took that bloody hand in his own.
"Hummel. Hummel, don't you dare die. Don't you dare. Fight. Look at me! Fight!" He didn't really know what he was saying as he held Kurt's hand in one of his own and turned the broken face to look at him.
"Noah…" Kurt breathed. His lips turned up slightly in what might have been an attempt at a smile. Puck couldn't help but think that it was because he was there. He tried to smile back.
"I'm right here. You look at me and don't look away. You got it?"
"Love…you…" Kurt whispered. He turned his gaze away to focus on the clouds and his breathing started to get choppy.
"Fuck! Hummel, don't start that! Look at me. Look at me, damn it! Fuck! Kurt? Kurt!" It took him at least thirty seconds before he realized that Kurt's gaze had unfocused and his chest was no longer rising and falling. He fell back off of knees, still holding on to Kurt's warm hand and looked around. The counselor was sobbing on Mr. Schue's shoulder. The football players were looking down in shock, their faces white and their eyes disbelieving. Finn was crying, holding on to some sobbing freshman Puck didn't know. No one had gotten the Cheerios, he realized. That seemed strange. Other people were staring to cry. Someone threw up in the grass. He looked back down at Kurt and held tighter to his hand.
They told him later that it took Finn, Mr. Schuester, Matt, and Mike to pull him away from Kurt when the paramedics tried to put Kurt gently in the body bag. He didn't really remember that. He didn't remember much until the funeral three days later. There wasn't a church service. Everyone gathered at the cemetery. Kurt's father looked broken, too broken to feel uncomfortable in the suit that he hadn't worn since his wife's funeral five years previous. Finn was stone faced now, being strong for Quinn who was rubbing her belly soothingly and trying not to sob. Tina held Artie's hand and they both cried silently. Mr. Schuester held the counselor, Ms. Pillsbury Puck finally remembered. They were both crying. Mercedes and Rachel had arms wrapped around each other's waists, giving each other the strength not to cry. Matt and Mike looked lost and uncomfortable. Brittany surprised them all when she couldn't control herself and started sobbing loudly. There was nothing fake about it, Puck realized as he looked at her. She was devastated. He wondered if he should do something until Santana stepped in and did it.
"Baby," she whispered gently, "Baby, come on. Take a walk with me. It's okay. Let's go. Come on."
Puck couldn't help but marvel at Santana's gentleness and ease with the other girl. They'd slept together, that was no secret. Brittany had always wanted more. That was no secret either. Maybe, just maybe, if Santana could admit her feelings for Brittany now then Kurt's death hadn't been in vain. Something good had come out of it. He turned back to the dark wood coffin and wondered why he couldn't cry.
When he got home he took off his tie, unbuttoned the first two buttons of his dress shirt, took off his shoes and socks, and sat down on the edge of his bed. He didn't know how long it was before his mother came into the room and sat down on the bed with him. He flinched away when she tried to cup his cheek in her hand and she didn't try again.
"Do you want something to eat?"
"No." His voice sounded strange even to himself.
"Noah, baby, you have to eat something. You haven't eaten in three days. Noah? Please talk to me. Please. Noah…"
"Don't call me that."
"Don't call me Noah," There was a tension building in his chest. His breathing was coming faster, "He called me Noah. Don't call me Noah! It's Puck! My name is Puck!" He was on his feet before he made the decision to move and had punched his mirror, breaking it and digging glass into his knuckles before he could realize what he was doing, "Fuck!" He screamed, trying to release the rage he was feeling, and only managed to fall to his knees, tired.
"Baby!" His mother was suddenly hugging him from behind, stroking his hair, "It's okay, baby! It's okay!" She was crying, he realized. He covered her hand with his and let her rock him, "Baby, it's okay to cry."
"I can't cry," He whispered, "Ma…why can't I cry?"
"You will, baby. Don't rush it. You'll grieve at your own pace. Let's fix up your hand, okay?"
Three hours later found him in bed in the same clothes, hand bandaged, on top of the covers, staring at the shadows on the wall as the sun went down. He didn't even bother to look at who had come in when he heard his door open. He felt the little body slip into the bed behind him and closed his eyes when she snuggled. The tight fist that had been in his chest all day tightened further and he gasped for air.
"Mama says you're hurting, Noe. Why? What happened? Can I help?"
"No, Miriam, you can't help. Someone died."
"Oh," Her voice was sweet, "Someone you liked?"
"Yeah, Miri," His voice wavered, "He was my friend. I liked him. That's a lie. He was more than a friend. I more than liked him."
"You loved him?"
"Yeah, maybe," He rolled over to face her and couldn't stand the sympathy he saw in her big brown eyes. His little sister was so pretty, so innocent, "But, I never told him. I was afraid. And that hurts more. He died without ever knowing…"
"Oh," She leaned forward and kissed his cheek before settling herself against his chest, "Maybe you should tell him now."
When he felt Miri's breathing deepen and even he slipped out of the bed and pulled on his running shoes. When he went to grab his jacket his mother was already by the door holding it out for him. She simply hugged him and told him not to be too late and to call if he needed anything at all. The walk to cemetery in the early spring night air was cool and helped clear his head. He didn't really think of anything until he reached the plot with the newly turned earth and the plastic marker with only a name next to the stone that belonged to the boy's –just a boy- mother. He sat down on the dirt.
"Hey, Hummel. Kurt. I…I don't know what to say. There were so many things I should have said while I still had you. You were always…I should have…I wish I would have looked at you just once while we…Look, I'm no good at this. I should have been better. You should have spoken up. I shouldn't have hurt you, been so rough with you. You shouldn't have let me never be gentle with you! Fuck!" He pounded his fist into the dirt and finally felt something in him break. The tears started to come hard and fast. He got to his knees and kept pounding the dirt, unaware of his already injured hand, "You're so much stronger than me! You should have held on! Why the hell did you give up, huh? I could have changed! We just needed more time! Why didn't you give us more time? You stupid fuck! Why did you…" He choked on the words, "Why did you leave? Why did you go? Why couldn't you just hold on? Wasn't I enough for you? Why'd you have to go and leave me all alone?"
He collapsed on the dirt, sobbing like a child, and wrapped his arms around himself, curling into a ball. He sobbed until there were no tears left and he didn't fell any better. He simply felt hollow. He didn't even hear anyone approaching before he heard the voice.
"If you had a chance to do it over, would you?"
"Artie?" He sat up and turned around. Artie was in his chair, looking down at Puck with tears and compassion in his eyes.
"Would you do it over?" He asked again, "Would you change anything? Would you let it be?"
"Abrams, I can't deal with this right now…"
"I'm serious, Noah Puckerman," And suddenly he didn't sound like Artie anymore, "Given the chance, given seven days before the tragedy, would you change anything? Could you be strong enough to change anything?"
"I…" Puck looked down at the plastic name plate, "I'd like to think I could. I want to."
"Then, come. Follow me." Artie stood and began to walk away. After a moment of shock, Puck got up and followed the young man he was fairly certain was not Artie Abrams into the darkness.