Author's Note: So even if I root for Tartie on the show, I apparently can't stop writing Pina drabbles. It's a sickness, really. And for the loyal readers of my The Happiest We've Been In Awhile story who were bombarded by all the angst, the fluff and slight ridiculousness in this is for you haha :] This is set the summer following THWBIA. I think. (so their relationship will probably make more sense if you read that first :p)
Days of Less Consequence
On Tina's 17th birthday, her parents are out of town.
She knows this is routine by now, but no matter how many times she'll deny it, no matter how many times she'll shrug or roll her eyes and claim that birthday cakes and blowing out candles are for 6 year-olds, she wishes that for once they'd be there for it.
To make matters worse, it's the middle of July and apparently Mother Nature has chosen this particular summer to turn on them. What is usually a mild July with 80 degree weather, has turned into the Summer From Hell with the sun is so scorching and the air so humid it makes her purple-streaked strands stick to her skin, makes her ditch her fishnet gloves, and makes her pretty sure she couldn't feel any more unattractive even if she tried. She has the fleeting desire to shave her head and soak her body in an ice water bath until her mind flashes with a combination of Brittany Spears and Seven Pounds. So she instead opts for a fuming silence.
Since most of their friends are on vacation, Puck's the only person around to witness her seething. So she sits around his house, her arms crossed and a permanent scowl marring her face. When she glares at him for the umpteenth time and ignores his suggestions that they do something, he decides he's had enough of her sulking and grabs her, hoists her over his shoulder, and pretends not to notice as she kicks and screams and generally threatens him into oblivion.
By the time they emerge from his front door, she seems to have accepted the fact she can't fight him off because her protests dissolve into the humid air and she lets herself dangle there in silence. With the sun blazing down on them both, she watches the cracks and the overgrown weeds in the sidewalk pass beneath them before craning her neck and propping her elbows up on his shoulders to get an idea of where they're headed. She looks up to see the Lima Public Library sign before they pass into the shadows alongside the building.
"Are you taking me to an alley to murder me?" she asks, practically wheezing to the air around her. "Because I've seen this movie before and there are more creative ways I'd like to go besides being ripped into tiny pieces and thrown into a dumpster."
He snorts. She would think of something like that.
He rolls his eyes, sets her down, and tells her to admit she likes being carried by him. She punches him instead before looking around and realizing they're at the back door of the abandoned building next to the public library. She's stumped as to why they're even here.
She stares up at the building and takes in the sight of a few broken windows, the faded brick covered in soot, cobwebs, and graffiti, and the black paint on the railing of the fire escape peeled and rusted red. She watches in silence as he picks up a nearby rock and hurls it at the rusty lock that in turn drops with a clang to the ground.
She continues to stare.
"C'mon," he urges, grabbing her hand as he attempts to lead her into the darkened building. He rolls his eyes when she doesn't budge. "Don't tell me you're afraid, Cohen. I thought vampires kicked it in bat-caves and shit all the time."
She has the fleeting notion to kick him and run home before she remembers that running is the last thing she wants to do in this weather. She disregards the fact that kicking her boyfriend is both childish and uncalled for. At least under these circumstances.
With a defeated sigh she finally lets him lead her by the hand up the spiraling steps of each floor. She refuses to admit it's mainly curiosity that's driving her. They make it to the rooftop with only a few threats consisting of 'I hate you', 'this is stupid,' and 'remind me to never do this again.'
He let's go of her hand when they reach the rooftop and she pauses at the sight in front of her. Spread out before them are at least two-dozen filled water balloons, each a different neon shade.
"What is all this?"
Her irritation seems to be momentarily subdued by her surprise.
There's a proud little grin on his face as he grips her shoulders from behind, steering her forward.
"It'll make you feel better, I promise."
She turns back to the balloons, her eyes narrowing at them as she studies the patterns their reflections make against the wall before her mouth opens in realization.
"'The Elusive Balloon Bastard!'"
He looks startled and amused all the same.
"My mom always gets pegged when she's driving home from work in the summer…that's you?"
He looks around as if he's being watched.
"Um…can you just never tell her that? I swear I have enough parents after me."
She smirks and crosses her arms in front of her, refusing to admit her own excitement.
"So this is what you do when you're not cleaning pools and bedding cougars," she says and he cringes at her still-angry tone. He probably shouldn't have tossed her over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes.
"Do you have to word it like that?"
"Well, it's what you do, right?" she mutters, determined to stay in a bad mood. She kicks the nearest balloon and watches as it hits the brick wall and bursts.
"Hey," he says, catching her hand to get her to look at him.
"Sorry, I just…" she trails off and shakes her head and he seems to take it for whatever it means since he merely shrugs and doesn't let go of her hand.
She doesn't really mean to be so hostile towards him; she figures she's taking out all her anger on him because he's the only one here. Which just makes her feel guiltier. She sighs and lets herself lean against the ledge as she takes a moment to breathe in the soft wind and peer up at the blue sky. She feels him move next to her as she turns her head towards the street, taking in the sight of the businesses that stretch out into tiny houses and a few lakes that glistened in the sunshine. If they all hadn't long since deemed this place a cow town, she would've thought it was actually beautiful right now. Maybe. She watches a few kids race each other on their bikes in the street below before turning back to Puck, a little calmer than 30 seconds before.
"Anyway," he's saying, "I've been coming up to different rooftops since I was a kid."
She lets him put his arm around her as she shakes a few strands of hair from her eyes and fixes him with a curious look.
"It started the summer my dad left. I was pissed, found it hilarious to tag people with water balloons. And I've basically been taking it out on the civilian population of Lima ever since."
Before she can comment on that, he scoops up the nearest balloon and hands it to her.
"Here. Trust me, you'd be surprised how…therapeutic this shit is."
"Puck," she laughs, pushing his hand away. "This is wrong. On so many levels. I'm not going to throw water balloons at people just because I—"
At this point in time the vision of Karofsky trudging down the sidewalk below them averts her attention. Her eyes narrow, causing him to smirk at her.
"Hand me that green one," she orders, the words out of her mouth before she even realizes it. "No, not that one. I want the big one."
"That's what she said."
She rolls her eyes at his childish grin.
"Just shut up and give it to me."
She gives him a pointed look and it silences him.
She pivots, hearing the gravel crunch beneath her sneakers, and leans forward, almost laughing that it's almost too perfect how Karofsky stopped at the 7-Eleven directly below them. Puck's beside her as they wait for him to come out of the store. Just as she's lifting the balloon, she hesitates. She doesn't really understand why, considering it's general consensus that Karofsky is the spawn of Satan.
Puck seems to sense her hesitation and greets it with this laughable annoyance.
"C'mon, Cohen, live a little."
The bells above the door of the convenience store chime and they're drawn to the sight of Karofsky cornering a group of 10 year-olds with newly bought slushies in tow. She feels herself bite her bottom lip and the balloon launches from her fingertips without another thought.
She stares in awe as the balloon soars downwards and bursts atop his gelled hair, causing Karofsky to emit one of the most girlish shrieks she's ever heard. She's too busy laughing to remember to duck until Puck tugs on her elbow, yanking her down until they're both squatting with their backs against the brick.
She turns around, her shoulders grazing the brick wall and her fingers gripping the ledge as she peers cautiously down at the scene below. She smiles in excited wonder as he stands there dumbfounded while the liquid drips down his face and pools around his sneakers. She quickly ducks again as his gaze frantically darts around, trying to find the perpetrator.
With a hand over her mouth and her forehead leaning against Puck's shoulder, Tina tries and fails to muffle her laughter. Hearing Karofsky's 'What the fuck!?' doesn't really help much, either.
After a moment, they catch their breath and he turns towards her with a genuine smile.
"Was that even water?" she asks, wondering why the substance the jock was currently drenched in looked so murky.
"I kinda-sorta filled that one with milk," he shrugs, and she laughs in disbelief.
"Milk balloons sitting out in 90 degree weather? That's so gross."
"So gross, yet so awesome."
She can't help but giggle at the fervent gleam in his eyes.
"Don't look now, Puck, but I think your inner-dork is showing."
That brings back the trademark scowl.
"You know," she says, leaning against the wall again, "If we're throwing balloons at the bullies, you do realize that you should be my next target, right?"
"I've changed my ways."
She gives him a doubtful look.
"Okay not really, but it's friggin' Karofsky!" he exclaims with a sudden defiance that only makes her laugh harder. "Dude's had it coming since grade school," he reasons, and she shrugs in agreement. "And you gotta admit that made you feel better."
She pauses for a moment, realizing he was right.
Before he can gloat or she can decide to throw one at him for good measure, they spot a familiar tower of short blonde hair and a bright pink tracksuit down the block. They hold their breaths in fascination as Sue Sylvester leaves the local hair salon and struts across the street to her car parked directly outside the 7-Eleven. Puck practically beams with excitement—a fact Tina makes a mental note to tease him about later. As he reaches for the nearest balloon, her hand covers his. Her goal is to stop him, but even as she attempts just that, she's struggling to bite back a smile.
"Why the hell not?" he asks, looking at her like she's crazy.
"Puck!" she laughs through her frantic protests, "No. No way. We'll be skinned alive if she catches us."
"Isn't that the fun part?"
"If you tell me to 'live a little' again I'm going to kill you."
"If you won't do it, let me—she friggin' deserves it for screwing us over at Sectionals."
She stares at him and swears that smile is going to be the death of her.
She glares at him for a moment longer before sighing in defeat.
"Fine," she mutters, picking up two water balloons and handing the pink one to him. "10 points for whoever hits her car, 20 for Sue herself."
Although he's pretty sure he's just created a monster, his grin impossibly widens.
"Dude, you have no idea how happy I am right now."
"And you call me sick and twisted."
Her tone is condemning but he notices the smile she's failing to hide as it dances across her lips anyway.
"Oh and by the way," he adds casually as she steadies herself on her haunches. "Happy Birthday, Tina," he murmurs, looking wary as if he's afraid she might glare daggers just by reminding her what today is. "Sara's gonna surprise you with a cake tonight, so don't tell her I told you."
She laughs at that.
"Way to ruin the element of surprise, Puck."
"Guess you just looked like you needed to know that not everybody in the world forgot."
She stares at him again.
There were moments, including this one, where she didn't really know what to say to him. The moments when she wishes she could formulate words that wouldn't make this into some cheesy big deal that isn't them at all.
So instead, she kisses him. His lips are soft and she can feel him smiling and she's not sure if it's just the excitement or the absurdity of the whole situation—crouching on a rooftop on her birthday with a boy who makes her smile more than she'll ever admit, preparing for a suicide attack on Sue Sylvester—that's the root cause of her sudden giddiness. Whatever the case may be, she's smiling right back.
"Thanks for this," she says quietly, once she pulls back, feeling his warm breath on her face. Her smile soon fades to be replaced with a mock look of stern resolve.
"Now before we totally go and get ourselves killed, there's something you should know…"
She leans in, a sweet little smile lighting up her face.
"If she hunts us down, I will not hesitate to flee and save myself."
He grins again and turns to aim towards their target.
"I've seriously taught you well. Welcome to the dark side, Cohen."
Hope you liked it. There will be more random one-shots and a future!fic to come for anyone whose interested. Reviews are love.