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Puck slams Karofsky into the locker, one hand locked against the bigger boy's windpipe, "I ever hear about you giving him trouble again, I'll end you."

Kurt tugs roughly on Puck's upper arm, muttering, "Please stop this, Puck."

Puck pulls Dave off the locker and slams him back once before letting go, "Fine." He turns, slinging an arm around Kurt's shoulders and leading him away, "Don't think he'll stop me next time, Karofsky."

"Why are you even doing this?" Kurt asks, struggling vainly to throw Puck's arm off, "First Azimio, who you hospitalized–"

"Who I allegedly hospitalized–"

"–who you most definitely hospitalized and who is too afraid to say it was you, and then that guy Jason who was actually kind of nice–"

"He was scum, dude."

"He asked me for my phone number." Kurt tries again to shrug Puck's arm off his shoulders as they sit down at their regular table in the cafeteria. Puck finally acquiesces and releases him. Dramatically, Kurt reaches up and rubs at the spot where Puck had his hand clamped.

"You'd just met him that day."

"You ask girls out within minutes," Kurt points out, glancing across at Rachel and Finn, who are too busy holding hands and feeding each other cupcakes to come to his rescue, "and I didn't want you to 'defend my honour,' even though you seem to be operating under the immensely irritating delusion that I need defending."

Puck shrugs, reaching over to steal one of Rachel's latest batch of cupcakes and shoving the whole thing in his mouth. Kurt stares, appalled, as he closes his mouth around it and spits out the wrapper.

"You're disgusting."

Puck opens his mouth; his words are muffled by the cupcake, "You love it."

Kurt drops his head onto the table as Artie rolls up, followed closely by Tina, Mercedes, and Quinn, "I really don't."

The first boyfriend Kurt actually manages to maintain is a boy named Sam, who joins the Glee club at the beginning of his junior year and immediately starts flirting with him.

Finn doesn't like him, but Kurt isn't sure if that's because he genuinely doesn't like him or because he's walked in on them making out one too many times.

Kurt catches Finn following him on a few dates, accompanied by Puck, and when Sam breaks up with him because they've "grown apart"–which Kurt takes to mean he's finally gotten sick of the two jocks tailing them everywhere and tries to pretend it's not because he hasn't put out–and the two of them find him sobbing into his pillow, he doesn't even protest when they throw him onto the couch and force him to play video games.

The second boyfriend is named Tyler, a boy that goes to the community college nearby, and it starts abruptly about halfway through his senior year and fizzles out just as fast. Tyler has a black eye when he shows up at their house to break up with Kurt.

Kurt interrupts the movie night Finn and Puck are having with the other glee boys and quietly asks if they can play video games; he has no idea when it became ritual for him to play ridiculous shooting games when he's upset, but Finn and Puck share an understanding and–if Kurt isn't mistaken–triumphant look and the five of them spend the rest of the night watching Kurt shout profanities at fictional characters.

"Why the hell can't you just let me date?"

Finn glances up from the computer, where he's buying Elphaba's jewellery and perfume for Rachel's and his two-year anniversary.

"I don't know what you're talking about?" Finn phrases it as a question, which he always does when he's trying to pretend he's stupider than he is.

"Don't play dumb, Finn. You and Puck scared Sam away and I think one of you had something to do with Tyler's black eye. Stop scaring away potential suitors!"

Finn frowns at him, calmly explaining that "Boys aren't suits, Kurt."

"Potential dates." Kurt crosses his arms impatiently, "I have a date this Friday, and if I so much as suspect you and Puck are planning anything, I will tell Dad that you were the one who spread that rumour about me." Finn winces; he knows the rumour.

He throws his hands up to signal forfeit, "You've got my word, dude."

Kurt makes an exasperated noise and turns on the television, turning it up to drown out Finn's tapping on the keyboard.

Kurt finds out through the grapevine that it was, in fact, Puck who slammed David against a locker and threatened his testicles, so he marches straight up to him at lunch, angry and determined.

Puck grins for a second and Kurt slaps him so hard he spins and stumbles against the metal rail that separates the lunch line from the tables.

The cafeteria goes silent and Puck gapes at him. He takes a breath, straightening his jacket, "I don't care what your problem is. Stop it."

He turns and starts walking away briskly, stopping at the end of the next table and turning back, "Are you coming?"

Puck looks surprised, but follows anyway, rubbing at the red handprint forming on his face.

Nobody says anything to them at their table–most of them pretend to be immersed in personal conversations–but Finn does grin much-too-brightly at them when they sit down and Kurt feels an uneasy churning develop in the pit of his stomach as he visualizes the imaginary cogs in Finn's head starting to turn.

Puck asks him out a month after graduation, leaning casually against the wall at the bottom of the stairs.

"So you'll go out with me, yeah?"

Kurt tries to prevent his eye from twitching, "You're serious? You've been one of my closest friends for two years and you think that's an appropriate way to ask me out?"

"Well, it's not like I'm going to beat myself up for dating you."

"Finn might." Kurt gestures upstairs, where he can hear Finn dropping things in the kitchen; what are they planning to do up there, anyway?

Puck snorts, "You really think I'm scared of Finn? Hell, you think Finn could take the Puckerone?" Puck lifts his sleeveless arm and kisses his bicep. Kurt rolls his eyes and doesn't say anything, so Puck starts up the stairs, "So I'll pick you up tomorrow at seven?"

"I didn't say yes!" Kurt shouts after him. Puck's head appears at the top of the stairs, looking far too smug, and Kurt fights the smile tugging at his own lips, "But seven sounds good."