Hi Everyone,

Finally, a new Glee story from me. This one doesn't start off with a bang but a conversation between two people who may or may not be friends. Come explore with me as Rachel and Puck face some personal challenges together. Hopefully, if the characters do what I want them too, we will all enjoy some romance and fun along the way.

As always the story is mine, the characters are not. The story behinds just after Mercedes has broken up with Puck and before Rachel has listened to the tape Jesse found. I will try to stay close to the show's storyline but may change that as the story continues.


****Chapter 1****

People that live in places other than Lima, Ohio may not think 58 degrees is warm, but after months of ice and snow, Midwesterners go a little nuts and brings out the shorts and flip flops while others are still wearing their winter coats. Puck, being the badass that he was, was no different. He had thrown on a pair of gym shorts and a t-shirt for his usual Saturday morning run hoping to stop the thoughts running though his head by running his body past its limits. He was finishing his ninth lap of the mile-long track around the city park when he was distracted by the children's laughter coming from the playground. He stopped at a bench a few yards away to watch as a small girl, with long blond hair flowing in the wind, as she ran up and down the slide, shrieking in glee as her father chased her and tried to catch her between trips up the stairs. There were other children on the playground with their parents as well, but it was the little girl and her father that caught his attention.

Fuck, why am I putting myself though this hell. I wonder what she'll look like. I'll never be the one to tease her and watch over her.

As he felt his muscles twitch occasionally from the long run, he also felt a vise tighten around his heart as his thoughts centered on the daughter he would never know. Without looking, he felt Rachel as she walked up and sat down next to him, slightly out of breath from her own run. He tensed, waiting for her never-ending chatter to start: instead, she remained silent and passed him her water bottle without taking her own eyes off the scene he was watching.

"Thanks," he murmured after taking a long drink and passing the bottle back to her while taking in her long running pants and long sleeve shirt as he leaned forward to rest his forearms on his legs.

"I'm sorry."

"For?" He turned his head back to look at her.

"That abhorrent video I tricked you into making, my attempt at video promiscuity was less than successful and only hurt people that I care about."

"Lame attempt at badassness." He smirked at her as he leaned back on the bench and absentmindedly rested his arm around the back of the bench behind her. They fell back into silence for several minutes before he added, "I would've still done it if you had told me the truth."

"Really?" She leaned further back as she looked up to him. He felt her relax as he drew lazy circles on her shoulder.

"No, that song was terrible, but I would have helped you find a better one." They continued to sit in comfortable silence as the laughter of more children joined those already at the park. "I wish things could be different."

"What do you mean?" He could feel her looking at him but couldn't bring himself to look her in the eye.

"I wish I wasn't the deadbeat he is." Puck felt Rachel's hand on his cheek as she forced him to look into her dark brown eyes.

"You are not like him." He just raised an eyebrow in response and started to turn away.

She had caught his face with both her hands and forced him to look at her. "You're not."

"I'm leaving my kid; I swore I would never do that." He tore his face from her grasp and leaned forward distancing himself from her.

"No, Noah… that's… that's a complete falsehood… you're giving her the best life… the best opportunities you can." She reached out her hand and tried to pull him back. "Noah, the reality is that you and Quinn are giving her the most selfless gift you ever could."

"Is that what you think… about your mom leaving you?" he demanded as he turned back to her with his hazel eyes blazing.

"It's different with me." For just a second he saw hurt flash though expressive chocolate eyes.

"Why?" His voice came out much gentler than he had planned as he relaxed onto the bench again.

"Because she wasn't a teenage girl who made a mistake, she was paid." Puck felt her body go rigid next to his, and he again placed his arm around Rachel as she stared unseeing in front of her. "As much as I love my dads, I still wonder how she could do that… just leave me and take the money."

Oh shit, what the hell am I supposed to say to that? "I thought you were just adopted, like a normal person." He gave her shoulder a quick squeeze as he gave her one of his trademark smirks.

"That wouldn't be very Berry of me, would it?" She smirked back as she allowed him to pull her closer into his body.

"Tell me."

"She was a surrogate. Did you know Ohio is one of the only states with surrogacy laws? She was paid to have a child for my fathers. They mixed their stuff together and then performed invitro. We still don't know who my biological father is."

"It's called sperm," he softly teased, "and you can't tell me you don't know who your bio daddy is, come on, one of your dads is black and the other is a total Jew." He tweaked her nose with his free hand.

"Fine," she huffed. "Still doesn't explain how she could do it."

"Do you ever wonder about her, or what your life would be like, if she had stayed around?"

"Don't misunderstand, my dads are wonderful but there are some things I just can't talk to them about. And yes, sometimes I wonder if I could have talked to her."

"What kinds of things?" He watched her face suddenly turn red as she looked back at him.

"Girl things. I'm not talking to you about it either." Puck could fell the heat of her blush as she crossed her arms protectively, pursed her lips and moved slightly away from him on the bench.

"Oh, the word is sex, Berry." He laughed at her.

"No, the word is menstruation, Noah." She glared at him as she continued, "While I am sure losing your virginity can be awkward, it cannot possibly be worse than telling your two fathers that Aunt Flow is visiting for the first time, or the horrific trip to the drug store that followed."

"Fuck, I'm glad my sister has a mom." Shit, I think I'm blushing.

"Agreed." In the somewhat uncomfortable silence that followed, Puck turned his attention back to watching the playground. The little blond girl and her father were leaving. She was riding on his hip with her head resting on his shoulder.

"Do you think about her though? Wonder what she's like?"

"I found-well, Jesse found-a tape she left me in a box my dads kept." He turned and lifted an eyebrow at her. Please Berry, do you not see the fool this guy is playing you for?

"Did you listen to it?"

"No." He felt her tremble next to him and pulled her closer into his body, wrapping his arm all the way around her.

"Why?" That idiot must be up to something.

"I'm afraid, what if she never wants anything to do with me? What if I was just a business deal to her? What if she's singing on the tape? What if she's terrible? Or worse: what if she's better than me? Jesse wanted me to listen to it but it's just moving too fast, it's my choice, it's my life." The silence wrapped around them again and Puck continued to hold her against him until he felt her shoulders drop and she let out a sigh. "I didn't want Jesse there when I heard it for the first time."

"Don't you trust him? I mean, I thought the two of you were a thing?" Not that the jerk deserves you.

"Jesse has a wonderful voice, but sometimes…sometimes I wonder if Kurt and Mercedes are right and he's just interested in me because of Regionals. He is on spring break with them now." Her back had gone poker straight as she now sat stiffly next to him.

"You broke up with me because you thought I loved Quinn.. why are you still with him if you think he's more into Vocal Adrenaline than you?"

She suddenly stood up and turned to face him, "Maybe because he is better at pretending to like me than you or Finn were, maybe because I want to be wanted for me, without Quinn in the middle."

He looked up at her with something close to pain in his eyes, "I lied that day. When I choose Glee, I choose you and maybe…" he stood and reached for her hand, "maybe I choose me too, or the me I wish I could be. I wouldn't have broken up with you."

Her eyebrows knit together as she continued to look into his eyes, "Why did you stop here today, Noah? I mean, sitting watching kids play in the park doesn't seem like a badass thing to do."

Puck turn away toward the playground, "Mercedes said some things to me that started me thinking. Wondering what my life would be like if I had my shit together. Maybe there is more to me than just being a stud."

He could see her trying not to laugh out of the corner of his eye, "What?" He gave her his best Puck glare

"Stud? I'm suddenly envisioning race horses put out to pasture until their services are needed."

"Berry," he sighed in exasperation and dropped the hand he hadn't realized he was still holding, "this is why I don't do feelings and shit." With that, he started to turn and walk away.

"Noah, I'm sorry." She reached out and grabbed his forearm, "I shouldn't have laughed, but it's only because I know there is so much more to you than just that. As long as we're having this surprisingly honest and personal conversation, I should tell you that you are the only person that I have ever trusted."

"What are you talking about?" He stopped pulling away and turned back to her.

"Noah, you never lie to me, even when you were throwing slushies at me you were honest about it. I believe you would say that `you own that shit' if I remember correctly. You always help me if I ask, even when you know it's a lame attempt at badassness, plus, good or bad, you never sugarcoat what you think about something or someone else."

He just stood looking into her eyes as what she said echoed in his mind, "Thanks… look, if you want someone around when you listen to the tape call me." He spoke quickly, rubbing his now missing Mohawk. "You, like, shouldn't have to be alone if you don't want to be."

"Thank you, Noah. I'll think about it." She was still looking into his eyes as she let go of his arm.

"Okay, well I gotta go. I promised Quinn I'd sneak some bacon in for her, Mom doesn't let pork in the house."

"Alright, I should go to, Jesse thinks I'm listening to the tape now."

"Don't let him pressure you into anything."

On impulse he bent and gave Rachel a quick, hard hug before turning and running toward home.