Standard disclaimer: I own nothing. If I did, Mike Chang would speak and Noah Puckerman would never wear a shirt.
Puck and Matt were playing Halo in the Chang living room, and Mike was on the phone with his parents who were out of town, when the doorbell rang. Figuring it was the pizza they had ordered half an hour ago, Matt tossed his controller onto the carpet and went to get the door. Puck heard Matt greet someone in a tone of surprise, and the responding voice was distinctly feminine. When Matt walked back into the room with Rachel Berry in tow, Puck almost spit out his sip of soda.
What the hell is Rachel Berry doing here? Not that he minded, really, the two of them had learned to (more or less) peacefully coexist over the past few months. She was one of the few people in the school who didn't act like he was the scum of the earth after Babygate erupted, after all.
"Hello, Noah," she said softly, shifting her weight from one foot to the other. She was wearing some tight, stretchy black shorts and a plain, pink t-shirt, and her hair was pulled back into a low bun.
"Berry," he managed to grunt as he found himself staring at her lean, tanned dancer's legs. Holy shit. How does someone that short have legs that long? He shook his head, and she looked away, clearly uncomfortable.
"Rach!" exclaimed Mike, walking into the room as Puck was about to ask the glee club drama queen what she was doing at Chang's house. Puck narrowed his eyes at the lanky Asian as he pulled the tiny brunette into a quick embrace. He couldn't help but notice the small but genuine smile that crossed the girl's face as they hugged. The fuck is that about? And since when does he call Berry 'Rach'?
"I ran into Rach at the dance studio earlier today," explained Mike, paying no attention to Puck and Matt rolling their eyes at each other. He had long since learned to ignore their jokes about him taking dance classes. He really had fun at the hip hop and contemporary classes he took, and he knew his friends understood and respected that, despite the teasing. "Her dads are out of town and she didn't have plans for tonight, so I said she could come over if she wanted to."
"I didn't know I would be interrupting a gathering of your friends, Michael," chastised Rachel. "Really, I don't want to impose on you."
"Chill, Rach. You're one of my friends too. And how many times do I have to tell you to call me Mike?"
Puck's eyebrows shot up at that. Berry and Chang are friends? When did that happen? He glanced across the room at Matt when the other football player spoke up. "No worries, we were just planning to watch a movie tonight."
Rachel's lips curved upwards in another smile. "Thanks Matt. I still wish I had known you guys would be here though. I would have changed my clothes after my dance class." Her cheeks turned pink as she bit her lip.
Puck scowled as his mind worried at the implications of that statement. She would have changed if she had known we were here… but doesn't care if Mike sees her like this? In those shorts? The fuck? He relaxed marginally when Mike laughed at her. "I don't think anyone cares that you're in your dance clothes. But I can get you some sweats or something if you want."
"That would be lovely, Michael. I mean, Mike," she amended when he poked her in the arm. He left the room, heading in the direction of the stairs up to the bedrooms. Rachel wandered into the living room and sat on the couch, drawing her legs up onto the seat and tucking her feet behind her. Her expression brightened noticeably when she saw the TV, screen set in the Halo multiplayer lobby.
"Halo?" she questioned, looking up at Puck, then over at Matt.
"Um, yeah. You wanna play?" responded Matt. Puck rolled his eyes. Dude, it's Rachel fuckin' Berry. Of course she doesn't—
"Sure! I should warn you I'm not very good on all the maps yet, in fact I am barely proficient on some of them, but I'll play any of them you like." Puck gaped at her, and she looked back at him unabashedly, eyes twinkling in amusement.
"You actually play Halo? That's awesome," enthused Matt, grinning at the petite girl.
"Seriously," agreed Puck, hardly able to believe it himself. "Who are you and what have you done with Rachel Berry?"
She laughed as she got up to retrieve a third controller from next to the console. "I know this will in all likelihood come as a shock to the two of you, but I actually own a 360, although I never really used it until a few weeks ago. It was a gift from my daddy a couple years ago."
Puck's jaw dropped. "Your father got you a 360 as a gift? Has he met you?"
Rachel chuckled at that as she settled back onto the couch. "Daddy felt that I might enjoy a form of entertainment common for other teenagers. I never had the heart to tell him that I simply wasn't interested in it; in point of fact, I never played any games on it until Michael got me Halo and made me learn how to play that. He insisted that it was a crime to have an Xbox and not own this game."
"Damn straight," said Mike as he walked back into the room holding a pair of sweatpants. He shook his head as he tossed the pants at Rachel, who caught them and retreated to the bathroom to change into them.
"Berry playing Halo," muttered Puck incredulously as he stared at Mike. He bought her an Xbox game. What alternate universe is this, anyway?
"So, you and Rachel?" grinned Matt, looking at the tall Asian.
Mike rolled his eyes. "Get your minds out of the gutter, guys. We're just friends. We take classes at the same dance studio and have been hanging out a little since we ran into each other there a few weeks ago."
"Uh huh," snorted Puck. Just friends. Right. No guy is ever 'just friends' with a hot chick who wears skirts as short as she does.
His inner dialogue was cut short when Rachel reentered the room with Mike's sweatpants, obviously too big for her, slung sinfully low on her hips even with the drawstrings pulled as tight as they would go, revealing a sliver of her perfectly flat stomach. "Thank you for the pants, Mike," she said, flashing him a sunny smile. "So, Halo?"
"You agreed to play?" Mike asked.
"Yes, I did. You do have four controllers, so we can all play?"
Mike laughed. "Yeah, I do. As long as we don't play on Construct again," he said cryptically.
Matt and Puck looked on in astonishment as Rachel made a face and actually stuck her tongue out at Mike. Puck shook his head. Only Rachel Berry.
They all settled on the large sectional sofa in front of the TV, taking a few minutes to select a map before actually starting the multiplayer game. Ten minutes later, Matt and Puck were gawking at Rachel in shock, while Mike simply laughed at his football teammates. For the first few minutes they had taken it easy, but upped their game as it quickly became apparent that Rachel actually played well, and she ended up beating all three boys handily.
"Did I forget to mention that it turns out Rach is as competitive and as much of a perfectionist with video games as she is with Glee?" said Mike, smugly. "It's why I won't play on Construct with her anymore, I don't even have a chance against her on that map."
"Dude. Rachel. You just kicked all our asses. At Halo," breathed Matt in awe.
"Seriously Berry. That has to make you one of the coolest chicks ever," agreed Puck, staring at his ex-girlfriend in fascination. Yeah, so they only dated for a week, and he only asked her out because she's a Jew. She had still been his. Shut the fuck up. Seriously, who are you, what have you done with Rachel Berry, and where the fuck have you been all my life?
Rachel laughed at all of them. "As I mentioned before, I am barely proficient on some of the maps. I seem to consistently perform at an adequate level on the map we just used, but as Mike indicated I am much better on other maps."
"Adequate, she says," muttered Puck, rolling his eyes to Matt.
The doorbell rang again, and Mike jumped up. "Must be the pizza this time, I'll get it!"
Rachel stood as well. "I'll go get plates and napkins. Noah, could you assist me please?" He stared at her as if she had sprouted a second head—plates? for pizza?—but followed her into the kitchen.
"So, Berry," he said conversationally. "You playing Halo? Not even gonna try to cover it up, that's pretty hot shit."
To his surprise, instead of launching into one of her tirades, she simply beamed at him. "I admit I was surprised to discover that I enjoy the game as much as I do. But it has been quite pleasant having Mike teach me to play."
He paused for a beat, frowning at that revelation as he watched her unerringly bustle around the kitchen, quickly getting four plates from a cupboard and a pile of napkins from a drawer. The fuck? How does she know her way around Chang's kitchen? He resolutely ignored the sudden lurch in his stomach at that thought, and carried the stack of plates and napkins out to the living room while she grabbed some more sodas out of the fridge.
"So," said Rachel as she opened a can of Sprite. "What movie are we watching?"
"Dunno yet, still trying to decide," replied Matt. "We can get The Ring from On Demand, or there's a Star Wars marathon, or we can watch one of Mike's DVDs."
"What's The Ring?" asked Rachel, pulling a slice of pizza onto her plate before settling back onto the couch.
"It's a horror and suspense movie."
"Oh. That explains why I haven't heard of it, I've never seen a horror film."
Puck stared at her in incredulity, and Mike piped up, "Seriously?"
"I am perfectly serious. Dad and Daddy don't enjoy that genre, and I don't think I would enjoy watching one by myself."
"Oh, then we definitely have to watch The Ring! Everyone has to see a horror flick at least once in their life. It's like, a rite of passage or something," Mike said as Rachel took a bite of pizza.
Rachel looked at the three boys doubtfully. "I don't know. . . maybe we can just watch one of Mike's DVDs?"
"Don't tell me you're afraid, Berry," said Puck, who started laughing when she frowned at him. "You are, aren't you? Oh, this is priceless," he crowed.
"I believe it is perfectly reasonable to be anxious at the thought of watching a film that is intended to make people feel fear, Noah," she huffed.
"Of course it is, Rach," reassured Mike, glaring at Puck. "But getting scared is the fun part of horror movies. That's the whole point."
"Oh, fine. I fully expect this to be vastly inferior to the musicals that are my preferred genre of film, but I will watch this. If only to be able to say that I have seen at least one horror film," she said. "But I will make you—all of you—regret it if I am traumatized by the experience," she glowered at them.
The boys had to laugh at that, but it didn't stop Matt from grabbing the remote and setting up the movie on the screen. Rachel simply sighed and finished her slice of pizza as Matt started the movie and Puck turned the lights off.
Fifteen minutes later, Rachel shrieked at a scene in the movie, practically jumping off the couch. Matt and Puck outright laughed at her, but Mike just chuckled and held his arm out to her. "C'mere Rach."
She turned an affronted look to all of them, but relented when she saw Mike shaking his head at her in amusement. Puck watched as the corners of her mouth turned up a little as she slid down the couch, curling her legs under her and settling into a comfortable position as Mike dropped his hand onto her shoulder and pulled her just a little closer to his side. Just friends my ass, he thought in sudden anger. Whatever. It's not like he was jealous or anything. Not of Chang being close to Rachel Berry.
Puck glanced over the next time Rachel let out a yelp. Mike snickered a little, but lowered his head and whispered something in her ear that caused her to smile up at him, laughing softly. He grinned at that and pressed a quick kiss to her hair before returning his attention to the screen. By the end of the movie, Rachel was burying her head into Mike's shoulder for the scary parts, but still looking up and squeaking. At some point during the film she had pulled her hair out of its bun, letting it tumble around her shoulders, and Mike had his hand tangled in the chestnut waves.
Puck, on the other hand, was scowling. This is crazy. Does he not know how batshit insane she is? Not even normal batshit insane, but, like, the special, Berry version of it. Okay, so he felt a little bad for thinking that. He did know that she wasn't really crazy, just driven and intelligent, which in a town like Lima was apt to make you an outsider. Whatever.
When the credits started rolling, Matt reached over to a lamp to turn it on. Rachel was staring wide-eyed at the screen, still secure under Mike's arm, but then she got to her feet and glared at them all. "I cannot believe you made me watch that! I am probably going to have nightmares about this stupid movie for a week!"
Puck guffawed at the sight of the petite brunette standing there indignantly. He couldn't help it. This only caused her to stomp her foot—no, really, she actually stomped her foot—and set her hands on her hips. This made him laugh even harder. This chick is ridiculous. "Weren't you the one who was saying horror movies are supposed to scare you?" he managed to choke out.
"Well. . . yes, but I had no idea it would be like that," she grumbled.
"I thought that was a kickass movie," said Matt, grinning at them. "Sorry Rachel, but really. That was great."
She softened a little, then flopped back onto the couch next to Mike. "Fine," she sighed. "I concede that it was a good movie. In my opinion, it certainly attained its objective of frightening its audience."
Matt laughed at her. "You certainly did your share of squealing at the scary parts."
She blushed. "Yes, well, I maintain that it was a natural reaction. Now, can we please do something to take my mind off of the movie? Not that, Noah," she said in exasperation, seeing a familiar expression cross his face.
"Hey, you left the door wide open for that one!" he protested. Damn. There were so many places I could have gone with that, too.
"More Halo?" offered Mike, smiling at her.
"Perfect," she said.
"Only if you warn us which maps are safe for us, though! Make the playing field at least close to level," chimed in Matt.
"Of course. I believe Mike will be able to tell you which maps we should play on," she said, turning to Mike and quirking an eyebrow at him.
"Sure thing," he returned easily.
They spent the next hour and a half playing Halo before Rachel finally got up, saying she had to get home. "It was nice to see you all outside of school," she said shyly. "I had a lot of fun, scary movie notwithstanding."
Matt grinned at her, knowing that she really didn't have many friends at school. "Us too. We'll let you know the next time we play Halo so you can join us. Or, you know, you can always just hang with us."
Her eyes lit up at that, and she smiled widely. "Thank you, Matt." She turned to the other two boys. "Goodbye Noah, Mike. I'll see you all at school on Monday."
"See ya Berry," said Puck, looking away as Mike got up and hugged the slight girl before she walked out. That weird feeling in his stomach? Had to be from the pizza. Or maybe the burrito he had for lunch.
When they heard the front door shut, Matt wasted no time turning to Mike, who was sporting a goofy grin. "Dude. Seriously. After all that, you're really going to tell me there's nothing going on with you two?"
"After all what? And yeah, we're just friends."
Puck snorted. "Dude, Berry was practically sitting in your lap that whole movie." Lucky bastard. Wait. What? Where did that come from?
Mike opened his mouth to say something, a strange look crossing his face as his brows furrowed, before he closed his mouth again. Matt gave him a knowing look. When Mike finally spoke, he said, "We're just friends. Can we drop it now?"
"Just friends for now," muttered Puck under his breath. "Sure dude." Fuck. Berry and Chang. That shit is unreal.
When Puck walked into school on Monday morning and saw Mike chatting with Rachel at her locker, her smiling brightly up at him, it brought a scowl to his face. When she laughed at something he said and playfully smacked him on the arm, Puck felt his jaw clenching reflexively. He stopped dead in his tracks when he realized what was happening to him. He might not be very good with feelings, but this one was broadcasting itself to him loud and clear.
Well fuck. I'm jealous of Chang being with Berry. How the fuck did that happen?
A/N: Hope you enjoyed it! I am considering turning this into a multi-chapter fic depending on the response, let me know what you think!