Title: Live a Little
Rating: R for language and sexual innuendo
Pairing: Puck/Kurt pre-slashish, maybe a little more on one side
Spoilers: Takes place between 1.17 (Bad Reputation) and 1.18 (Laryngitis)
Summary: Kurt's dad forgets his birthday and someone he least expects tries to cheer him up.
Written for gleefics birthday fic contest on LJ.
Kurt bent over his notebook, scribbling furiously. He was holed up in the choir room long after practice ended; he should have gone home ages ago, but he was entirely too busy being green with envy to travel. And green was so not his color.
"What the hell are you still doing here, Hummel?"
Noah Puckerman. Lovely.
"Homework," Kurt said, hoping he would lose interest and go away.
The other boy walked over and slumped into a chair. "Why aren't you doing it at home, then? You know, homework. What is it, anyway?"
Puck snatched the notebook away from him before he could pull it back out of reach. To his horror, Puck started flipping through the pages.
"Hey! Give it back!" Kurt said, trying not to whine. He would never hear the end of it if Puck found—
"Dude," Puck said, one of his eyebrows raised halfway to his mohawk, swear to God. Kurt groaned and buried his face in his arms. "What the hell is this?"
"Nothing," he answered, his voice muffled. He wished he could disappear completely, instead of just hiding his face. Puck had found his Daddy-has-a-new-favorite-son-I-hate-you-Finn-and-it's-all-my-fault doodles. His. Life. Was. Over.
It would be all over the school by morning. Probably literally. On multi-colored photocopies. And maybe a giant banner in the lunchroom. Coach Sylvester would probably try to use it to fracture the glee club even more and—
"I thought you had a hard-on for Finn. Or however it works for gays."
"Puck, I am a guy. I do get—never mind." He was not discussing hard-ons with Puck.
"What happened?" He sounded genuinely curious. Kurt couldn't see any way that would end well.
"Why do you care? Need some backstory to post with the scans?"
Kurt would never have predicted what Puck did next in a thousand years: he handed him back the notebook.
His jaw probably hit the floor because Puck gave him a strange look before saying, "Quit practicing your blow job face, Hummel. I'm not a complete asshole... OK, so maybe I am! Doesn't mean I have to be a jerk all the time."
'I must be desperate,' Kurt thought, before he said aloud, "All right... Today's my birthday. My dad forgot. He's taking Finn to some red-neck comedy show." At Puck's confused expression, he explained, "My dad is dating his mom. He's been doing all sorts of male bonding with Finn. He's the son he never had. And always wanted." He sounded horribly miserable and self-pitying, even to his own ears. "It's my seventeenth birthday. You're only seventeen once."
Puck didn't say anything for a while. Again, not usually a good thing. But finally: "Well, that sucks."
"Hard, fast, and repeatedly," Kurt agreed.
Puck snorted. "I'm gonna have to remember that one."
Suddenly, he got that look in his eye, the one that spelled danger and slushie facials and pot cupcakes. He stood up quickly and dragged Kurt out of his seat and out of the room after him.
"Puck, I need my books for—"
"Screw 'em, Hummel. It's your birthday. Live a little."
Puck had a strong hand clasped around Kurt's upper arm. It was very familiar. He couldn't help but feel like he was headed for a date with a dumpster.
"Where are we going?"
Well, that sounded terrifying. Why he was going along with it without putting up a fight, he'd never know.
"What are we doing at the mall?"
Puck had dragged Kurt all the way to the nearest bus stop and herded him aboard before he had a chance to see where it was headed. When the doors opened at the mall, he manhandled him down the steps and out the door.
"I thought I'd let you take me clothes shopping or whatever girly shit you do here. Take your mind off your dad forgetting your birthday."
"Puck, that's,"—nice still didn't seem to describe Puck; neither did kind—"sweet."
"Don't go getting all misty-eyed on me," Puck said, looking uncomfortable. "No one should have to spend their birthday alone, just 'cause their dad is a deadbeat. And, hey, you're only seventeen once, right?"
There was something in his tone of voice that made Kurt wonder if Puck might have some experience with this sort of thing. It would certainly explain a lot.
"So..." Puck said, shoving his hands in his pockets and looking uncharacteristically awkward, "what's up first, pedicure or bikini wax? Do those things come with a happy ending?"
Kurt sat in the chair by the dressing rooms, next to the mirrors. He was having a one-fifth life crisis or a heart attack or something, he just knew it. Puck was standing in front of the full-length triple-mirrors, modeling the outfit Kurt had picked for him to try on: tight black jeans, a black belt, black button-down, black vest, and a fedora. He moved around, dancing and flexing, obviously admiring the view. Kurt could barely breathe.
"So, how do I look, Hummel?"
"Um," Kurt said. His voice cracked and shot up even higher than usual. "Fine," he choked out, aiming for nonchalance and missing. He surreptitiously moved one of his shopping bags into his lap. "I—I could really go for, um, something to eat. Could you go get un—um, get changed and I'll—I'll meet you in the food court in fifteen minutes?"
"Sure, whatever," Puck said, and strutted back into the dressing room.
"Better make that five!" Kurt called after him, before rushing off to the men's room.
When Puck came sauntering over to his table in the food court, Kurt looked everywhere to avoid meeting his eyes. He pretended he was deciding which restaurant to choose.
"So, what do you want, Hummel?"
Kurt's head snapped back over at the sound of his voice reflexively. His whole face flushed red, even his ears, and he was grateful for the tabletop. Curse being a teenaged boy!
Puck's eyes narrowed, confused. "Do you have a fever or something?"
"What? No!" Kurt said, trying his damnedest to not think about his trip to the restroom. "Um... I think I'll have an ice cream. Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. With whipped cream. And sprinkles." He was going to live a little, carbs be damned.
He deflat—well... he relaxed a bit once Puck left to go get the ice cream, but he still could not stop replaying Puck's little fashion show in his mind. This was going to be inconvenient.
"So this is your house, huh, Hummel?"
"Yeah," he said.
They stood next to each other out on the sidewalk, laden down with bags. Reality came crashing down around Kurt when he saw the empty driveway. With all the excitement at the mall, he had forgotten about his dad and Finn, at least for a little while.
"Aren't we gonna go inside?"
Kurt didn't want to. He didn't want to face the empty house, no birthday dinner on the table, no presents in the living room. No dad at all. He felt sick.
"No," he said, and sat down on the curb, setting the bags down on the cement. After a moment, Puck sat down beside him.
"I don't blame you," he said.
Tears welled up in Kurt's eyes. He couldn't help it. Noah fucking Puckerman had been nicer to him on his birthday than his own father. He didn't want to cry in front of Puck, but the tears started to spill down his cheeks before he could stop them.
"Shit, Hummel," Puck said, sounding uncomfortable and awkward again. He dug around in his pocket for a minute before pulling out an old, warn handkerchief. "Here." Kurt hesitated. "Come on, dude, it's clean. I think." Kurt took it and gingerly blotted his face.
There were noises behind the pair, feet shuffling and hushed voices, but neither of them noticed. It wasn't until someone came up behind them that either of them did.
Kurt turned his head to see who was there. "Finn?" he said, confused. "What are you doing here?"
"Um," Finn said nervously, shuffling his feet and looking even more like a giant than usual from Kurt's vantage point on the curb. "Why are you sitting out here?" he asked, ignoring the question.
"Because I didn't want to go insi—" Kurt froze when he noticed his front door was open and Finn's mother was poking her head around the door jamb until she noticed him looking.
Kurt was up and across the lawn in a dash, running up the steps into his house. The lights were out in living room—the rest of the house, too—but he could make out decorations, like a Happy Birthday banner, in the darkness.
"It's about time you showed up. We were getting worried."
Kurt spun around. "Dad," he gasped. "I thought—"
"You thought I forgot your birthday. I could never forget my son's birthday."
Kurt rushed into his father's arms and hugged him tightly. "Thank you, Dad," he said through tears.
"You don't have to thank me. It's my job, kid," he said, hugging him back just as tightly. "Now why don't you go call your friends inside so we can get this party started?"