Puck gets an idea. Rachel owes him a favor. Quinn eats Hot Pockets. Rachel Berry teaches Puck something about the art of seduction. Spoilers for Laryngitis (1x18).
Disclaimer: Glee's not mine. And Puck says a bunch of things that are not at all socially acceptable or politically correct in anyway. Be forewarned!
These Foolish Things
"You know, I don't approve of this."
"Shut up, you love it when I sing."
"No, the singing is a fantastic idea, it's the preying on innocent girls to reclaim your popularity that I take issue with."
"Whatever, Berry. You owe me."
She's still confident that of the three male leads she cast as Joey last week, Puck is the last person who should have been offended. He must not have agreed though, because after that grand debacle, her haphazard interactions with him between classes and before Glee Club stopped entirely. In fact, they went almost a week without him so much as acknowledging her existence before she got his urgent text message a few hours earlier.
They never really talked about what happened the week before, but she prefers it that way. So when he brings it up so off-the-cuff, she sighs and mumbles a weak, "I suppose you're right," before walking over to where he's sitting at his desk.
She leans down so her head hovers slightly over his shoulder and watches curiously as he looks through the sea of songs he just downloaded on iTunes. She pauses for a beat then shakes her head.
"You know, when I suggested Sammy Davis, Jr. you didn't need to go out and purchase every single song he ever sang."
"If I want this to be believable, I gotta know the sound, okay?" He waves a hand over his shoulder and she swats it away.
"Is this what you did when you tried to seduce me?" She asks, taking a step back and crossing her arms. "Google 'Jewish plus singers' and see who came up?"
He glances back at her with a half-grin, his expression strangely unreadable. (No, it wasn't. Not entirely.)
He keeps his mouth shut and turns back to the screen.
"This dude's baller, now we just gotta choose a song."
"I say you go with a standard. Something's Gotta Give is—"
"I've never even heard of that one." He keeps scrolling through for a minute before something catches his eye and he stops and turns to her. "Wait, isn't a tramp basically a whore?"
"Oh my God, this guy is my hero," Puck laughs to himself, and Rachel just rolls her eyes. "I don't know what this song is, but I'm totally singing it."
"Funny enough, Lady is a Tramp would actually be perfect," Rachel offers, scanning the tracks again. "Mercedes' voice would complement yours fantastically."
He grunts in response and when he starts scrolling back through the tracks, she stares at her feet, her brow furrowed.
"You know, you never actually told me…"
"Told you what?" he asks, clearly distracted.
She looks back up at him, her eyes fixed on the back of his head.
He laughs, and she just hugs herself tighter, waiting for an answer.
"You know, for someone who supposedly isn't into me, you seem pretty—"
"Oh God no! I don't mean it like that—" His self-satisfied grin quickly changes into a deep set frown as her laugher echoes through his small room. He peers back at her and she coughs and quickly quiets down. "It's just…Of all the girls in the Glee—"
"—Why not Santana?"
"Dude, I would if she wasn't such a goddamn bitch—" When he notices the appalled look on Rachel's face, he redirects his train of thought. "If it were that easy, I would have done it already." He thinks for a second then looks at her suspiciously. "Why do you even care?"
"I'm just saying, Mercedes is my competition, you know. And every boost she gets socially makes it that much harder for me to maintain my standing in the Glee Club."
Puck throws his head back and groans loudly. "Rachel Berry only looking out for herself: why am I not surprised?" She gives him a testy glare and he rolls his eyes. "Listen, I could care less who I have to date to get back to my place as top dog." He turns around in his chair and rests his arm on the back of it. "You don't get it 'cause you're not one of us."
When her expression transforms into a mixture of sadness and anger, he rolls his chair out, spinning around to face her properly. He leans back and stretches his leg and playfully hits her shins.
"Dude, you know I didn't mean it like that."
"Then how did you mean it?"
He sighs and leans forward in his chair. "This chick's the hot new thing on the Cheerios, okay? She made her way up from fucking nothing. Sometimes you just gotta ride the wave."
"Which just gets back to my original point of you using sordid means to take advantage of an innocent girl to further your—"
"I don't understand a single word you just said."
She pauses for a second and laughs sadly to herself, looking up at the ceiling. "I'm well aware she can't really stand me and that if our roles were reversed she may not say the same for me, but Mercedes – arch rival and all – doesn't deserve that."
"I know," he looks down from the screen, thinking for a moment, "the chick is pretty decent."
"I mean, she's kinda cool. In that sassy, I-say-what-I-want-when-I-want kinda way." He thinks for a beat then looks back at Rachel with a fake frown. "I don't know, I can kinda dig it."
Rachel stares at him in surprise, but just as she's about to respond, he spins back around.
"Plus, it's pretty obvious you're just as desperate for her to like you as I am."
"You heard me."
He's back to staring intently at his computer screen, and she's not up for the fight (especially since he's right) so she just stares at the back of his head and shrugs. After a beat, she finally speaks up again. "You realize that Kurt will not be happy when he finds out about this, right?"
Puck tosses his head back and lets out a loud laugh. "Like I fucking care."
"I'm not kidding. You bullied him for years. It's pretty obvious he's going to take serious issue with you dating his best friend."
He scoffs and grins smugly. "I got you to forgive me, didn't I?"
Before she can respond, Sammy Davis, Jr.'s croon fills his room and she can't help but smile.
"Y'know, this shit isn't half bad…" he stands up and starts moving his shoulders up and down with the quick, big band beat. "And from what you showed me, he looked like a pretty classy dude."
Rachel scoffs at his naivety. "Of course, Noah. He was a member of the Rat Pack."
"The rat what?"
He's not really listening, just bopping around his room stupidly, trying his best to pretend like he doesn't see Rachel giggling, that he doesn't secretly like it.
When he spins around and extends a hand to her, she's slightly taken aback. "Dance with me, Berry," he says, his head tilted to the side, sporting an irresistible half-grin she's sure he's used on dozens of girls.
She chuckles, trying her best to play it off until he grabs her hand and pulls her to him.
"What—" It comes out as less of a question and more of a squeak. She's still suffering from her pretty nasty bout of tonsillitis, but Puck doesn't seem to notice, or even really care. When he reaches for her hand and pulls her to him, she struggles playfully against his grip.
"But you can't dance to save your life!" She laughs and he grins.
"Shut up, I can too." He swings her around in an awful attempt to mimic the dancing he saw Sammy do in a video they YouTubed earlier. She knows it's not even close, but…He's surprisingly not half bad.
"Okay, really Noah?" She laughs softly as she pushes him away. "If you want to be ready to perform this tomorrow, we've got a lot of work to do."
He doesn't understand how Rachel knows where to get these things, but somehow she finds the background instrumentals for Lady is a Tramp and spends the next two hours coaching him through vocal runs and watching random clips of Sammy to get some old school dance moves down. It's almost eight when they finish his last practice run, Rachel sitting on the edge of his bed, grinning like a proud mama and clapping like his little sister at a Jonas Brothers concert.
"So, do you think Mercedes will take the bait?"
Rachel rolls her eyes then gets up and walks over to his closet.
"I don't know if I'd go that far just yet."
He follows closely behind. "I'm not kidding, I need this shit to work—"
"Listen," she spins on her heel to face him. "The first thing you need to know is it doesn't matter how talented you are if you don't look the part. Now you've got the skill and you've got the swagger—" She gives him a once over, taking in his ratty jeans and ketchup-stained McKinley Football T-shirt, and frowns. "But you do not have the look."
He gives her a fake snarl, but she's too busy sifting through clothes to pay him any attention. He shakes his head and shrugs before backing up to his bed and plopping down on it.
"Jesus, Berry, I think you're taking this a little too seriously."
"No such thing," she calls out from the closet, tossing the suit he wore to his uncle's wedding last year back towards him. When she finally pulls herself out, she's carrying a heaping pile of pants and shirts and her hair is a mess. "You may not understand how important proper wardrobe choices are, but I certainly do."
Puck looks skeptical, glaring pointedly at her knee-high argyle socks.
He sighs dramatically and slams his head back against his pillow, grumbling. "Just choose something, I really don't care what it is."
She dumps the clothes onto the bed next to him and starts rifling through the pile, thinking through color schemes and styles out loud.
"I really do think you'll need to go with the full suit on this. We're so lucky you even have one—"
"A suit?" He jolts up. "What is this, my fucking Bar Mitzvah?"
She picks it out of the heap and brushes the wrinkles out. "You could actually think of it that way, yes—"
"If all this shit doesn't at least get me a blow job, it totally won't be worth it," he mutters to himself. When he snatches the suit from her hands, he points a dramatic finger in her direction. "At least."
She's not even offended by his crude comments anymore, she just crosses her arms and shoos him off before plopping down on the bed herself. When she looks up and sees him toss his T-shirt aside and start unzipping his pants, she gasps loudly and quickly covers her eyes.
"Excuse me, I'm still in the room. Can't you go change in the bathroom or something?"
"My room, my rules," he says, footing his jeans off. She peeks out from behind her hands to see him standing in front of her clad only in a pair of navy blue boxers with bright red fire trucks. He turns and tosses her a lecherous look. "I know, you like what you see, right?"
She doesn't respond, but she can't fight the growing grin that's seriously betraying the menacing glare she's trying to send his way.
"Your loss, man…Jesse St. Gay ain't got nothin' on the Puckerone," he mutters as he reaches for the suit pants and pulls them up.
Rachel wants to say something back (she really does) but given her current situation, she's having a difficult time stringing words together, let alone processing what is going on around her. So she purses her lips tightly and tries her best not to stare at his ass when suddenly—
"Puck, how many times have I told you—" Quinn bursts through the door with a box of Hot Pockets in her hand, and Puck's head snaps up. A squeak comes from the direction of the bed, but Quinn ignores it, crosses her arms and leans against the door jamb, staring at Puck accusingly as he zips up his pants.
"I know, I forgot to get the ones you asked for." He says unfazed as he reaches for the dress shirt next to him.
"Quinn, this isn't what it looks like!" Rachel's a bumbling mess, so Puck tosses his T-shirt at her face to quiet her.
"Pipe down, Crazy Face."
"Of all the girls at that school…" Quinn just shakes her head at Puck, more exasperated than angry. "You really are off your game." She scoffs and makes a move to close the door behind her when Rachel speaks up.
"Wait, Quinn! Actually—" She's surprised more than anyone when Quinn stops and listens to her. "Actually, we could really use another female perspective on this." Rachel motions for her to come in and take a seat. Quinn stares at the two of them suspiciously before slowly stepping in the room and closing the door.
"Another? I don't see any other girls in here."
"Burn!" Puck lets out a raucous laugh and motions to give her a high five, only to have her stare his hand disapprovingly back down to his side.
Rachel rolls her eyes and pretends like she didn't hear anything (it certainly is nicer than the usual torments she used to receive at the hands of McKinley's ex-head cheerleader) and urges Puck to put the tie on.
"What exactly is going on in here?" Quinn asks, resting her hand comfortably on her stomach.
"Puck's trying to seduce Mercedes and has enlisted my help." Rachel says, looking him over with a discerning eye.
When Quinn starts cracking up, Puck and Rachel both give her menacing glares. She makes no effort to stop, just lifts a hand and tries to speak between laughs. "It's just—Rachel Berry—You're getting—Oh my God…"
"Shut your face, Fabray."
"I'll have you know, I actually have excellent taste in—"
"I'm really interested to know how you're going to finish that sentence," Quinn cuts her off.
"In hotties with a body?" Puck makes himself laugh then turns to Quinn for affirmation. When he's greeted by a disgusted look, he mimics it back to her and rolls his eyes.
"I was going to say performance art, actually."
"Wait, why Mercedes?" Quinn asks, ignoring Rachel once again and turning back to Puck as she leans back in the bed. "She doesn't really seem like…Your type."
"I don't know, since you turned into a bus I thought maybe there's more to fat chicks than I thought." He throws her a sarcastic grin and she shoots one right back at him.
Rachel sits with her hands in her lap, observing the strangely domestic scene play out in front of her before speaking up again. "Actually, he's using his notoriously treacherous ways to reclaim his social status."
Quinn looks from Rachel to Puck, her mouth twisted in a mocking grin. "And you think that'll actually work?"
"Why wouldn't it?" Quinn shrugs and presses her lips together, trying her best to keep her retorts to herself. He slips his jacket on and straightens it out, turning to the two of them as Rachel ooh's in appreciation. Quinn watches her stand up and walk over to him, then smooth out the lapels of the coat and straighten out his tie.
"So wait, why the suit?"
Rachel turns back to her, suddenly animated. "He's going to serenade her!" She shrugs her shoulders in excitement and pats his arm eagerly. "He has the song and the dance moves down—"
Quinn chokes on her own laughter when she hears the word dance, then waves a hand in front of her face.
"I get it, I get it," Quinn says, cutting her off again as she struggles to her feet. "And now you need to dress him so he doesn't look like a hobo lost in an American Eagle."
"Well, you clearly have your work cut out for you. I'll leave you two to it." She sighs, the box of Hot Pockets still in her hand as she walks up to Puck, and stops in front of him. She grabs his chin and jerks it down to her in a move he's clearly used to. "Now you listen to me, I know you like to think you're some kind of badass, but don't you dare treat that poor girl like shit just to prove something."
Rachel's strangely moved by the serious nod he gives Quinn before she lets go and gives him a feisty warning about getting veggie Hot Pockets the next time he goes to the store. She looks down at her feet nervously as he laughs and smacks Quinn's ass playfully (much to her distaste) as she makes her way out.
When Quinn exits, Puck fusses with his collar and Rachel's eyes shift from the closing door to his determined face.
"You two seem happy," she says quietly. He looks surprised when he meets her gaze. "Why would you want to throw all that away for—"
"Throw what away? I'm not throwing away shit. She'll still be here, she always will. Quinn and I are in it for life now."
"That's…Actually quite lovely." She smiles dreamily at him, and he just scoffs.
"We're having a kid together, Berry," he gives himself a once over in the mirror and frowns. She reaches up and takes his jacket off for him and motions for him to roll up his sleeves. "Of course we're gonna be in each other's lives. No reason to make each other even more miserable by dating."
Rachel doesn't understand his logic and she doesn't want to. She tells him so and he's not at all surprised.
"I don't think I'll ever understand how your brain works, Noah." She sighs, pulling his shoulders around to face her. He peers down at her, staring at his suit, her hand on her chin, her face scrunched in concentration. He's gotta admit: it's pretty fucking cute.
She doesn't notice when he reaches his hand out and rests it on her hip.
"What's the verdict?"
She bites her bottom lip and reaches for his tie. "Something feels off." She loosens it and lets her hand rest on his chest.
"And now?" When he rests his other hand on her other hip, her eyes finally meet his. She looks vaguely like a deer caught in the headlights and he can't help but chuckle. She quickly brings her hands to her side and shakes her head to clear her mind, but his stay firmly planted where they are.
"I think—" She turns and pulls away from him, moving back to the heap of clothes on the bed. He tosses his head back and sighs in exasperation.
"No, wait! I've got it!" She tosses clothes left and right making a complete mess of his room, and he doesn't even care. She's so determined to see this thing through, he's almost glad the doc shaved his 'hawk. It's kinda cool to see her so into…Well, him.
Puck grins menacingly as he walks up behind Rachel and grabs her by the waist. She shrieks in surprise as he playfully throws her onto his bed. She gives a weak laugh, her eyes heavy and voice shot when he plops down next to her. He runs a hand over his head, and when he doesn't feel the familiar roughness of his mohawk, his smile quickly transforms into a scowl.
She rolls her eyes and moves his hand away. He looks over at her, an exaggerated frown once again playing on his lips.
"You know, that hairstyle never really suited you," she offers quietly, strangely fascinated by the freckles on his scalp.
"And this does?" He's skeptical.
"Maybe." She shrugs and reaches up to run a hand smoothly over his head. His short hair is soft against her palm. When she smiles and bites her bottom lip, he peers up at her, an eyebrow arched. She smiles wider this time and shoves his shoulder.
In an instant, the air between them shifts, and he's looking at her seriously. She feels that familiar drunken expression take hold; the one that always seems to consume her when they are together like this. The same one that proved too overwhelming when Artie left after their first day of Run Joey Run filming.
She knows where this is heading, but she's too hopped up on medication to really care. Some quiet, jazzy tune is coming from his computer's speakers and she knows she should be thinking of Finn – oh wait, no, Jesse; she should be thinking of Jesse – but Noah has this look in his eyes: a look she catches every now and then that completely betrays everything he usually tries to be.
He takes a deep breath and pushes her hair behind her ear. "Thanks for helping me out with this. I owe you." He leaves his hand on her shoulder, his thumb grazing her jaw.
"So we're even now, right?" She whispers, her hands resting heavily on his arms.
"Yeah, Berry. We're even."
When she wakes up, she's sitting in his truck in front of her house. He's whispering her name, running the back of his index finger against her cheek, but she's lost in the haze between sleep and wakefulness to pay it any mind.
He leans his head back against his headrest and watches her, a faraway look in his eye. He reaches out and plays with a strand of her hair as she slowly blinks awake.
"Q said I had to take you home. Not enough room in the bed for four."
Even in her state of remote consciousness, she's not amused, and he just chuckles. "Man, you must really be knocked out. I've never seen someone fall into such deep sleep in a ten minute drive."
"Thank you for the ride—"
"Don't sweat it," he replies quickly, looking down at the steering wheel, then back over at her. "Thanks for your help tonight."
She lets out a small yawn before shaking her head with a laugh. "I can't believe I actually helped you plan a seduction."
"Y'know, I prefer to call it bagging a chick."
"Oh, well excuse me," she laughs and looks down at her hands. When she glances back over at him, he still has that look. She blames it on her disorientation and she's sure that come tomorrow it'll be gone; but for now? It's kind of nice.
He leans across her and unlocks the door. "Feel better, okay?"
"Good luck tomorrow."