Title: I Never Promised You A Rose Garden
Author
: Fatebegins (http:// fatebegins .livejournal .com/)
Rating
: R / T
Pairing
: Puck/Kurt (Purt/Puckurt).
Summary
: Love isn't always a rose garden
Disclaimer
: No Glee don't belong to me or to fatebegins, this history is not mine! But I have permission to post it here! (The original post: http:// fatebegins .livejournal .com/11228 .html)
Warning: Slash, Angst.

Review? Please? *puppy eyes*

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Kurt had woken up that morning, alone, like he had done for the past couple of weeks. He still wasn't used to sleeping without Puck's warm heat pressed against him, holding him close. Kurt had found himself staring up at the ceiling tiredly, thinking of the past. The days when he would wake up to soft, lingering kisses and gentle caresses. Those days were gone, scattered and thrown away like ashes in the wind.

Kurt accepted that fact, and tried to move on but Mercedes constant nagging made it impossible to. "Why does it even matter to you?" Kurt straightened the line of books in his locker. "This should make you happy."

"Why would I be happy?" Mercedes sounded shocked; affronted.

"You never liked Noah." Kurt sighed. "You criticized everything he said, did or wore."

"I won't deny that I made a few observations but barring his stupid mohawk and the dude constantly rocking flannel , the guy made you happy Kurt. I knew that." Mercedes smiled faintly. " I didn't think he was very serious about you at first but, when he kissed you, in front of a football field filled with people…" Her expression turned dreamy. " I had to respect that ."

"People break up." Kurt didn't want to remember that. It'd been right after Kurt had made the winning field goal kick. After that sensational coming out, they had snuck behind the bleachers, kissing for hours, Puck still hot and sweaty from the game. Eventually, they'd made their way to Kurt's bedroom. Puck's touch had been rough but still somehow gentle, his gray eyes dark and fervent, he had whispered 'I love you', for the first time, as he slowly pushed into Kurt's trembling body. It was probably the best night of his life.

"You guys just seemed…" Mercedes thought for a moment. "I don't know nauseatingly happy. Like, two weeks ago, you were feeding each other ice cream while we watched a movie! "

"Well, he doesn't feel the way I do." The moment the words left his mouth Kurt cringed. He knew how it sounded. But in a way it was true. There was no possible way Puck could love Kurt as much as he loved him.

"He broke up with you? That fucking punk!" Mercedes was livid. "When I get my hands on him-"

"Stop." Kurt said quietly.

"But Kurt, you can't just let him get away with that-"

"I said, drop it." Kurt shut his locker with a resounding click. "I'm through discussing this."

Mercedes eyed him worriedly but let the matter drop with a nod. They walked the rest of the way to Glee in silence.

Kurt took a deep breath as they approached the assigned room, bracing himself as he had done for the past two weeks before entering, mentally preparing to see Puck. To be in the same room and not be able to speak to the other boy.

Puck didn't look up when Kurt came in, choosing instead to tune his guitar and Kurt didn't know whether to be grateful for that or whether to burst into tears. He did neither, sitting down in the empty chair next to Mercedes stiffly. Kurt focused on staring straight ahead.

Apparently, there were some wounds even time couldn't heal. The pain was getting even worse as more time passed.

"We're going to be singing duets." Schu was explaining. "A duet is more than just two people-"

"We did that already!" Quinn whined. "What's the point of doing it again?"

"It's true, we did have assigned duets, but in ballad form." Schu said. "This time I want to give you all a chance for some creativity. That means song choice, genre and partners," He paused, smiling. "All up to you."

Rachel squealed excitedly, her eyes already zeroing in on Finn who was staring moodily at Quinn. Everyone else began to murmur among themselves, selecting partners unofficially through exchanged looks.

"Guess it's you and me." Mercedes nudged him. "Don't think I'm giving you all the high notes."

"Yea, sure." Kurt tried not to look at Puck, knew that doing so would only cause him more pain but despite knowing that, he found his eyes drifting over to where the other boy sat.

It was like someone had sucked all the air out of the room.

Puck was no longer sitting alone, the empty seat on his right was now occupied with five foot six inches of beautiful, bitchy cheerio. Puck's ex. His stomach clenched when Puck unexpectedly looked up, grey eyes clashing with his blue before the older boy deliberately turned away.

Right. He wasn't even worth a glance anymore.

Kurt could dimly hear Mercedes rattling off song choices but couldn't bring himself to listen or care.

He had a clear view of Puck's hand skimming up Santana's thigh. He felt sick; paralyzed. He didn't know anything could hurt this much; that seeing Puck touch someone else could break his already broken heart. The phantom weight on chest worsened as he watched Puck grin into the brunette's ear, whispering words Kurt couldn't hear. Santana swatted Puck teasingly, her own fingers grasping the material of Puck's blue hooded sweatshirt. She toyed with his zipper, looking up at Puck through her lashes coyly as Puck looked down at her smiling.

"Hey Schu, we're going to sing Endless Love !" Santana called out, not even bothering to look towards the teacher as she did so, her eyes remaining locked on Puck. "That song was so romantic, but creepy when you sang it with Rachel. With us, it'll be just perfect."

"Uh, thank you?" Schu replied. "But you know you have all week to work out what song you're going to perform-"

"We have other plans all week." Santana chirped back, snuggling closer to Puck's chest.

Mike snickered. It was obvious to everyone in the room what those other plans entailed.

He couldn't see this. Kurt shot to his feet so quickly his chair turned over, the hard plastic back rapped against the floor with a booming thud. Kurt suddenly had the undivided attention of everyone in the room. His cheeks flamed.

"Kurt?" Schu sounded concerned, hand frozen midway to the chalk board, while he looked at Kurt.

"S-sorry." Kurt stammered, feeling the heat of every individual stare. His palms were clammy. "I'm not feeling…I just.. I have to g-go." Kurt felt like the worlds biggest fool as he hurriedly collected his few items, shoving them into his messenger bag and finally getting out of the room-after nearly tripping once on the way to the door.

Outside in the hall, Kurt considered his options. He could either try and drive home like this or find a place to hide. Kurt looked down at his hands, which were shaking so badly he could barely keep a grip on his bag. Okay, the first option was definitely out of the question.

Kurt headed for the bathroom.

He went into the first empty stall and closed the door behind him, not even waiting for the lock to click in place before giving in to the helpless tears.

*'~'*'~'*'~'*'~'*'~'*'~'*

"Well, I hope you're happy!" Mercedes snarled, marching up to Puck and Santana as soon as rehearsal ended.

"With our song choice?" Santana asked innocently. "Yeah, we are."

"I'm talking to you asshole!" Mercedes's gaze was focused solely on Puck.

Puck froze. "What the fuck?'

"Kurt was so upset by your little public display of affection, that he had to leave the room. You must have a sensitivity chip missing!" Mercedes was just getting started, picking up steam as she went along. "You know, I always knew you were a bastard Puckerman, but this," She motioned between Puck and Santana, her face screwing up in disgust. " This was a new low, even for you."

"Again." Puck's scow deepened. "What the fuck are you talking about?"

"Rubbing Kurt's face in it!" Mercedes shouted. "I don't think anybody missed the soft core porn you two were putting on back there."

"We did nothing wrong." Santana picked up her bag primly, flipping her dark hair. "Besides, Kurt should get a taste of his own medicine."

"Listen you anorexic-"

"Mercedes." Puck cut in. "I don't know what bullshit Kurt fed you but I'm free to do whatever I want. With whomever."

"I know you're broken up, that you broke up with him." Mercedes retorted. "But just because what you had meant nothing to you, don't think Kurt was the same way."

"I broke up with him?" Puck scoffed but his voice was pained. "Is that what you think?"

"Wow." Santana glared. "and you say Cheerleaders are stupid, looks like you're the one that can't put two and two together."

Mercedes was unsure of what to say. What was going on?

"Fuck it." Puck muttered and left the room. Mercedes winced when the door slammed shut.

"Fine, I'll do the math for you." Santana sighed, her hands on her hips. " Puck came out to the whole school for Kurt, he told his mother he was gay for fucks sake! Now, why in the hell would he suddenly up and decide to dump Kurt, who he has basically ruined his whole life for?"

"Uh.."

"Uh is right Aretha." Santana tugged her book bag on. " Your little side kick dumped him. So if I want to play pretend and flirt with Puck, what business is it of yours?" At Mercedes incredulous look she laughed. "Yes, it was pretend. Puck and I? Been there, done that, got the tee shirt. I just wanted Kurt to feel just an ounce of misery for once. He's a real bitch for the way he used Puck."

"Used him?"

"Well, why else would he dump him, after Puck went public? I think it was all part of a little revenge on the jock who used to throw him in the dumpsters plan." She rolled her yes. "How very teen movie cliché of him."

"But that can't-"

"See ya, Beyonce." Santana tossed over her shoulder, striding out the door, not caring that Mercedes was obviously not finished with her questions.

Mercedes was stunned for a moment but quickly recovered. First things, first. She was going to find Kurt and have a long over due discussion about Noah Puckerman.

*'~'*'~'*'~'*'~'*'~'*'~'*

"Kurt! Mercedes is here!"

Kurt jumped at his father's yell, hearing footsteps above him.

Damn it, Mercedes never came over without calling first. He had thought, when she hadn't come knocking by dinnertime, that it was safe to indulge his emotions. Kurt hurriedly dried his face as best as he could using the corner of his bed sheets and sat up; trying to right his appearance quickly.

"Kurt Hummel, we've got a lot to talk-" She broke off taking in his face. Kurt resisted the urge to squirm under her gaze, he knew what he must look like. His face was always blotchy when he cried, his eyes red and swollen. "What's going on with you?"

"Nothing. I tried a new steam cleanser, the heat got to me." He laughed awkwardly. "It was supposed to open up my pores." He got off the bed and went to the dresser, fiddling with random bottles . "so what's up, you find a song for our duet?"

"Stop." Her hand stilled his over his cologne. "Can you explain to me how I just got reamed out by Santana?"

"What?" Kurt looked surprised.

"She was just chock full of information."

Kurt looked away, his expression guilty.

"Why the hell would you break up with Puck?" Mercedes questioned. "You love him."

"I… I d-don't." Kurt choked out.

"Come on Kurt, who are you kidding! This break up has wrecked you!" She gestured to his face. " Who are you trying to fool, 'a steam cleanser'? I know what you look like when you cry."

"You don't know anything."

"I know that you love him."

Kurt sat back down on the bed numbly. "I can't…"

"Can't what?"

"Love him, not anymore."

"Why the hell not?"

"People don't like it."

"Fuck them."

"I would say the same thing, if it was just me! I've dealt with things like this my entire life Mercedes!" His gaze was fixed on the wall opposite of him. "People hating me. But Noah… I don't want him to go through that."

"This may be news to you Kurt but a lot of people hate Noah Puckerman, he's done plenty of shitty things!"

"They always forgive him." Kurt said. "Look at Finn...even after Quinn and the baby drama, they're friends again. Noah doesn't know what it's like to suffer just because you are who you are."

"So you dump him?"

Kurt could feel his eyes tearing up again. "A couple of weeks ago, Noah's mom stopped by the house. You can already guess it wasn't just to pay a friendly visit."

"Oh Kurt-"

"She said that she raised Noah to be a good, Jewish boy. That I was ruining him, ruining his life and that if I really cared about him I would leave him alone."

"And you believed her?"

"You didn't hear him the last few weeks, he was so excited that she was getting better… that maybe they could be a family again, get his little sister back." Kurt flinched a she thought back to that day. "If I stayed, didn't break things off with Noah, then she wouldn't let that happen. I know it." He paused. " No matter what, I want him to be happy."

"Even while you're miserable?"

"I'll get over it." He gave her a tremulous smile.

"Kurt, you're hurting-"

"Mercedes, please." Kurt's voice was pained. "I've already made my decision and Noah… he's moved on."

"With Santana?" Mercedes scoffed. "That was just for show. That bitch just wanted to hurt you."

Kurt felt a bolt of happiness at that bit of information, but then paused. "And he went along with it?" Kurt felt hollow.

"Only because she fed Puck a batch of lies about how you used him!" Mercedes looked at him pleadingly. " Look , you can go fix this right now if you want. Puck, he still cares about you. I can tell."

"Don't make it worse." Kurt moved away, picking up his discarded basket of clean laundry and plugged in the iron. If he kept busy it wouldn't hurt so much.

"Kurt-"

"I can't stand in the way of his dreams."

"You fucking asshole." Puck was standing at the foot of the stairs, furious. Kurt's mouth dropped open and Mercedes looked uncertain, neither had heard him come in.

"Hold on a min-"

"Mercedes, leave." Puck barked out, his eyes never moving from Kurt's frozen body behind the ironing board.

"But listen-"

"I'm not asking you again." Puck's voice was as cold as ice and Mercedes felt an uncharacteristic shiver run down her spine. While she wouldn't trade places with Kurt for anything in the world, there was no way in hell she was leaving without making sure Kurt was going to be okay first. "Kurt and I obviously need to have a little chat about honesty."

Kurt closed his eyes. "I'll see you tomorrow Mercedes. "His voice came out barely louder than a whisper.

Mercedes bit her lip but accepted Kurt's decision. If anything this would give both boys the closure they needed. "I'll call you later Kurt!" She said, glaring at Puck before she moved past him and disappeared up the stairs.

The room was silent for several moments. The iron hissed and Kurt pulled it off his shirt quickly but the damage had obviously been done, his Versace dress shirt now sported a large triangular burn.

"Aren't you going to say something?" Puck demanded.

"What are you doing here?"

"That's what you have to say?" Puck spat. "I just heard every word you fucking said, Kurt."

"Then just forget you ever heard anything."

"Forget that you broke up with me out of some twisted desire to help me? Not fucking likely."

Kurt looked at him, his eyes greedily drinking in Puck's broad shoulders, his beautiful eyes and firm mouth. "I'm sorry, okay?"

"Fuck you, Kurt." Puck said heatedly. Kurt dropped his gaze to the floor, he didn't want Puck to see the tears those words had brought to his eyes. "If you want to hide behind good intentions and play the martyr to make yourself feel better, than fuck you. You aren't worth my time."

This was what he had wanted anyway. For Puck to leave. "If that's the way you feel then-"

"Damn it, stop hiding behind stupid , fake concerns!"

"I'm not hiding behind anything!"

"Aren't you? You've always been scared, scared of us from the beginning! What do I have to do, huh? What can I do to prove to you that I'm 100% fucking serious about us?"

"It's not that!"

"Oh right." Puck sneered. "it's because my big, terrifying alcoholic mother paid you a visit and fed you lies!"

"You do want your family back!" Kurt insisted. " I know you do!"

"I'll always want that Kurt, I won't deny that but, " Puck looked at him gravely. "That's never going to happen , I've accepted that." He shook his head sadly. "I told you those things… I shared that shit with you because they were dreams, not because I thought they could become a reality." His voice was resolute, bitter but resigned. "You think my mother is getting better? That she'll change? Bullshit. She was drunk when I came home, always is."

"But your fam-"

"You're my family now!" Puck ground out. "At least I thought you were."

"Noah…"Kurt took a stilted step forward, the first move he had made since he'd seen Puck at the foot of the steps. Puck didn't move forward. "I'm so sorry. I'm sorry for what I did, what she did… I just want to protect you." Kurt prayed that Puck would understand. "You don't know what it's like…"

"You think you can protect me?" Puck laughed bitterly. "Do you know how much shit I take right now? For you, for us?" Puck laughed humorlessly at Kurt's look of disbelief. "Every other play, I'm left wide open so I can get the shit tackled out of me… and the bruises I got from 'playing hockey'? News flash Kurt, I've never played."

"But-" Kurt was horrified. How could he have not known?

"No matter what people did or said to me, I dealt with it. Because I had this crazy idea that you were worth it, that what we had was so fucking amazing that it didn't matter what I had to go through, as long as I had you." Puck pressed him mouth together, stifling the words that kept rising to his lips. "I didn't let my fear get to me, didn't use it as an excuse to hurt you."

"I didn't want you to be hurt like that!" Kurt cried. " It hurt me…honestly, so much, to break things off, it felt like I was dying, Noah." His voice was pleading. "You've gotten a taste of it. What it's like being me." Puck looked back at him grimly. " I can't promise you that it get's better, I can't make it okay…"

"I don't need you to. I'm a big boy Kurt. I can take care of myself." Puck hesitated but then took two steps toward Kurt, leaving about eight steps between them. "I just need you to be there."

"And I wasn't."

"No, you weren't." Puck gave him a sad , sort of half smile. "I'm not going to leave you Kurt. It's never going to get so bad that I'll think you're not worth it."

Kurt drew in a sharp breath. Puck had cut through to the heart of the matter with a single sentence, had lain Kurt's deepest fears out with just a few words. "I'm scared that you will."

"The only one who can tear us apart, is you." Puck said. "I'm here, I'll stand by you through anything."

Kurt tried to respond but failed, a sob hitching from his mouth instead. He took three steps and Puck took five. He pressed Kurt's wet face against his chest, his hands cradling the younger boy to him.

Kurt swallowed hard, looking up into Puck's face. "If you're with me Noah…the fights, the name calling- that's the reality." His palm slid up Puck's chest, fingers spreading out to feel the beat of his boyfriend's heart beneath his fingertips. "I can't promise you a rose garden."

"You never had to."