Title: Apples and Berry
Characters: Noah "Puck" Puckerman, Rachel Berry, mentions of Quinn and Jesse
Pairing: Puck/Quinn, Rachel/Jesse (but it's more a Puck/Rachel friendship story)
Prompt: 16: A souk story_lottery
Summary: He's never seen so many apples in his entire life.
Spoilers: If you've seen "The Power of Madonna", you're good.
Warning(s): Bad language (Puck has a potty mouth)
Word Count: 1288
Disclaimer: These characters belong to Ryan Murphy. I am not him.
A/N: I feel I should explain my thought process with this one as I don't feel it's entirely self-explanatory. So: souk – Arabic marketplace – Aladdin – Jasmine steals an apple from one of the marketplace stalls. For the result, read the story. ;)
- - -
So ten minutes ago Puck was minding his own business, tossing up between Call of Duty and tracking down the tabs for "Sweet Child O' Mine", when Quinn thrust open his bedroom door and started screeching about there being no apples in his house.
Well, shit yeah, he could have told her that. Puck hasn't eaten an apple since he was twelve (after he decided he was giving them up for his teens and possibly even his adulthood). His mom and sister still eat them but tomorrow is grocery day so it makes sense that there are none left.
He tells her this and then says she can wait until tomorrow.
He leaves the house faster than he's ever left a house before (and that includes that one time Mrs Habar's husband came home from his business trip a day early), mumbling to himself about crazy pregnant chicks and their fucking cravings.
But then one of her shoes thunks into the front door just as he's pulling it open so maybe he wasn't as quiet as he thought.
And that's how Puck finds himself at the grocery store, in the produce aisle, confronted by a sea of apples. On the drive over he'd just assumed he'd walk in, grab a couple and then high-tail it outta there so he could get back to his computer (because he's finally decided he wants to learn that song, just so he can rock it in Glee Club next week and totally blow those other losers out of the water).
So much for that plan.
He's never seen so many apples in his entire life and his mom only buys the red ones (but there are so many of those too: big ones, small ones, round ones, tall ones). How was he to know they came in green, yellow and pink?
Maybe he should just call Quinn and ask which kind she wants, even though it will end up with her yelling at him that he should know which kind she wants, like he's a fucking mind reader or something. Or maybe he could call his mom, even though she's still at work and will just start crying again, like she has been ever since he came home, Quinn and bags in hand, and told her she was gonna be a grandma.
He's trying to figure out which he hates worse—Quinn yelling or his mom crying—when God smiles on him.
"Don't Rain on My Parade" is gonna be one of those songs he just remembers for the rest of his life, so it's no surprise that hearing it hummed from further up the aisle has him turning in the direction of the hummer.
Of course, it's Rachel, inspecting a bag of oranges; Puck knows then that God truly loves him.
"Hey!" he calls out. "Berry!"
He cuts her off mid-note but she looks more surprised than angry.
"Noah." She looks around, like maybe he was speaking to another Berry, even though she's the only one around. "Good evening."
"C'mere," he says and waves her over.
Her shoulders straighten and her lips purse but she comes towards him, pushing a cart that looks about twice as big as she is.
"You know, Noah, I don't appreciate being hailed in that manner, like some sort of cab, and I—"
"I know, okay? But I need your help."
Yeah, asking for help (from Rachel Berry of all people) isn't exactly badass, but Quinn's waiting at home and he's kinda desperate.
"Oh." She puts that look on her face; the one that tells every member of New Directions that they better be ready to work their asses off because she won't be happy until they've all collapsed in a sweaty heap (and not the kind he likes). "Well, in that case I'll do what I can."
It's exactly what he needs to hear.
Puck bobs his head at the fruit in front of him. "I need apples."
Her eyebrows rise up and she clears her throat, glancing around. "Noah, you know I don't approve of substance abuse in any form but if you've taken something, of course I'll help you overcome your addiction. You can even take some time off Glee if you need it, I'll fully understand. Now that we have Jesse—"
Oh, hell no. He's got a pregnant girlfriend waiting for him; the last thing he needs to hear about is the Vocal Adrenaline spy, with his big hair and shiny teeth.
"I'm not high, okay? They're for Quinn. She wants apples but she didn't say which kind and you know how she gets if she doesn't have exactly what she wants."
Rachel's mouth forms an "O" because she knows exactly what he's talking about. Just last week, smack in the middle of rehearsal, what should Quinn crave but M&Ms? So Puck, being the great boyfriend/baby daddy that he is, walked all the way down to the other end of the school, to the only vending machine that stocks M&Ms, and bought the last packet of the milk chocolate ones.
Of course, when he returned to the choir room, Quinn chucked them at his head and demanded the peanut kind. Puck had been excused from the rest of rehearsal to drive to the store.
She isn't so bad, though, when she isn't craving something, and he did get to eat that other packet of M&Ms on his own.
Rachel turns to the apples and taps her lips with her fingers. "Do you know which variety she eats normally?"
She rolls her eyes and sighs. "Oh, Noah."
He glares. "What, does the douche know which apples you eat?"
"As a matter of fact, yes." She glares back. "Jesse takes an interest in every aspect of my personality."
"Where is he anyway?" Puck asks, looking around. "Don't you two do everything together now?"
Rachel hands him a plastic bag and starts picking up green apples, holding them up to the light and sniffing them. "We spend adequate amounts of time in each others company, but we're well aware that too much time together could be the end of our relationship. We both appreciate our personal space and independence."
He lets it go and takes to holding open the bag, following her from one apple stand to the next. From the looks of things, she doesn't know which apples Quinn wants either, so she's packing the bag with two of each kind.
By the time she's made all her choices, Puck's holding two full bags and wondering why a town as small as Lima needs so many types of apples in the first place.
After that, walking to the checkout and leaving together seems natural; he even helps her load her groceries into her car. If only his mom could see him now; she'd be so proud.
Rachel's staring up at him through her open window. "You should probably get going. Quinn will be wanting her apples."
He nods. "Yeah, thanks for, you know, helping."
She smiles, that wide smile she wore that week they dated (or whatever). He's not sure why he never noticed before, but it isn't the same as her stage smile. He wonders which smile she wears when she's with the Vocal Adrenaline scum.
"Any time, Noah. I know you were adamant about us not being friends, but if you ever need help with anything, you can always come to me."
She drives away with a cheerful, "See you at school!" and he wanders back to his truck.
All right, so he can admit it: Rachel Berry isn't so bad. If he'd known that when they were dating, maybe he wouldn't have dumped her.
- - -
A/N 2: Oh, Noah. -sigh-