Snapping the collar of his new shirt into crisp perfection, Puck admired his reflection. He really did look even more than usually hot today. Girls had been coming on to him all day, and who could blame them? He'd had his doubts while Kurt was making him try on half the store Wednesday, especially when he had tossed that butt-ugly disco shirt onto the "Keep" pile, but the kid really did have great taste in clothes.
Puck was not so stupid that he did not realize that Kurt had made him wear the tackier outfit this morning for the sole purpose of attracting ridicule. Finn had been 100 percent right about that, but while the Slushie attack had made him boiling mad at first, a little time to think it over had made him realize that from Kurt's point-of-view, he'd totally had it coming.
This new nicer way of acting, and even thinking, was still taking a lot of getting used to and sometimes Puck wasn't sure he'd ever fully figure it out. For years he had lived by the rule that guys like him; the cool, strong, popular ones; had a social obligation to dominate the weak and punish the losers for being . . . well, losers. Then his best friend had defected and taken a public stand on behalf of the geeks. It was an act that should have cost Finn everything, and almost had. Yet in the end, he was more popular than ever and his example had convinced three fellow jocks and three cheerleaders to follow him over to the Dark Side.
Then there was Kurt Hummel. The biggest social reject of all. The only openly gay kid in the entire school, who had refused to give up his pretty clothes and fey mannerisms, who had a voice like no other post-pubescent male Puck had ever met but who refused to be ashamed of that voice. Celebrated it, in fact.
Puck could not help but admire Kurt, though he would never tell him so. The plucky little guy had shown more guts than the rest of the football team put together when he had "auditioned" as kicker, and then convinced the team to try things his way instead of the other way around. Who wouldn't admire a guy who could convince Miss Sylvester – the one person in the entire school who scared the crap out of Puck – to put him on the Cheerios squad, and then became their star and secret weapon for Nationals?
This new social ladder was baffling and contrary to all that he had always thought of as normal, but he could not deny that he kind of liked this strange, upside-down world a little better than the old one. And if being friends with people like Kurt cost him a few Slushie facials from the other jocks? Well, Puck knew where most of them hung out. And he was still a bad-ass.
Order would be restored soon enough.
Kurt walked proudly down the hall, enjoying the approving looks he was getting. True, it would be nicer if more of those looks came from boys than girls, but he was not about to refuse admiration due to a technicality.
All too often, nobody appreciated his sense of fashion, but he had decided that since Puck was being such a good sport about the shopping, he would also try a new look – the hot metro-sexual dude – just to support him. Apparently, he was totally rocking it! Maybe he would have to consider a few more purchases along this line.
Kurt smiled as he thought about Puck. He actually felt a little bit shamed by the degree of pleasure he had experienced at watching his former nemesis receive a face-full of orange Slushie this morning. But only a bit. There had been a lot of pay-back contained in that cup.
Still, it had been a complete shock when Puck had not only decided against holding him to blame for the Slushie attack, but had accepted his offer of friendship in front of the entire glee-club.
For a moment, Kurt had been convinced that he was dreaming.
A tiny, cynical part of his mind could not help wondering if that acceptance had not been given primarily as a peace-offering to Finn, who had recently started taking their "practically brothers" relationship quite seriously and become both supportive and protective of Kurt.
He hoped not. Deep down, he liked Puck a lot. Not in the same way that he had liked Finn for so long. There was way too much water under the troll-bridge for that, and Kurt was no masochist, but he was pleased by the idea of having Puck for a . . . well, a buddy, maybe. Somebody to eat junk food and discuss cars and play video games with. He did similar things with Finn, but that was different somehow. Finn lived with him now, so they were more or less obligated to socialize.
Of course, Puck might have no intention of socializing with him outside of glee-club. His idea of being a friend might just mean a refusal to let other jocks bully Kurt, which would be just fine too, but a small hopeful part of him preferred the day-dream. Puck and Finn seemed to be rebuilding their friendship lately and he liked the idea that maybe he could help them along, just by being there.
It would be really nice to genuinely be friends with a couple of straight guys who weren't living in fear for their reputations, or otherwise creeped out by the idea of hanging with a gay kid.
Besides, given enough time and subtle suggestion, he might be able to completely weed out the large collection of football jerseys and plaid flannel shirts that dominated both of the other boys' wardrobes. And who knew? Maybe if he compromised with an increase in his personal knowledge of '80's pop and '90s grunge music, it would be possible to cultivate a proper appreciation of musical theater in both of them.
The possibilities were endless.