I can't even begin to say how absolutely overwhelmed I am at the beautiful response that this has gotten. It just proves to me that Glee fans are the best fans in the world. It also proves to me that Mark Salling will make a killing over his career if he sticks with these bad boy with a hint of a heart of gold. Because fangirls like me will do their very best to grab it up and make a million fanfictions about it. : ) Thanks again!
A note, Glee time is crazy wonky (almost as wonky as how I've split up the school grades here), so I have no idea when Preggers or Rhodes took place. Suspend disbelief to humor me and forgive me if I've gotten it wrong. Thanks again, again!
-Chapter Four -
"Alright, here's the list."
Noah tried to keep paying attention to the dodgeball game that the fourth grade boys were playing during their communal gym period. It wasn't so hard though, the idiot of a gym teacher actually let them pick teams, and his team had been chosen by Matt Rutherford, they were stacked with all kinds of dodgy athleticism. He looked over to where a few of the fourth grade girls had parked their rear-ends on the bleachers. He looked around, wondering where Rachel was, and wasn't surprised that she was diligently power walking around the edge of the gymnasium, one of only two girls that were actually doing anything during the period.
He had dreaded gym class all year long, due to the fact that both fourth grade classes went together. Sure this meant more bodies to have more interesting games, but it really annoyed him that Rachel pretended she didn't know him at all during gym. Mike had questioned him about it but Noah had shrugged him off. He was a kid, he didn't understand how Rachel Berry's mind worked. At. All.
"So, Number Five, totally Karofsky. I mean, his Dad? Owns a car dealership."
Noah rolled his eyes as the queen bee of the fourth grade, Santana Lopez parroted her opinions out to the other girls as if her word were like, law from the lord or something. She caught him giving her a blank look and she smirked back at him before continuing,
"Number Four, Matt Rutherford. I think he's sort of cute and he's one of the best athletes. Which is totally important. Number Three, Mike Chang, have you seen his hair? It's shinier than the sun."
Noah smirked as he easily caught one of the balls that the other team had lobbed his way. He took careful aim and Jacob Ben Israel was out, and Noah errantly hoped the kid had a ball shaped bruise on his thigh. He turned to listen to more of Santana's mindless blathering. He totally couldn't wait to rib Rutherford about getting beat by Chang all because of shiny hair.
"Number two, without a doubt, Finn Hudson. He's almost as big as my dad already, and he still has to hit puberty! The kid is going to be like, an NBA player or something," Santana swore, giggling with Quinn Fabray. She cleared her throat and tried to catch Noah's attention again as she announced, "Number one with a bullet…our grade's alpha-male, hottest guy…Noah Puckerman. I mean, his eyes change color. That's awesome. And he's like…got this quiet bad boy thing going."
Noah furrowed his brow as he turned away from the girls. Bad boy? Quiet? Huh…this was new. He was too used to Jew-camp and Suck-it-lots calling him an abomination or the bane of her existence, whatever the hell that meant. He could be a quiet bad boy. And he could definitely be number one. He didn't know what alpha-male meant, but he'd have to ask Rachel about it after school.
"BERRY! You've got to be kidding me!"
Santana's shriek brought Noah back to Earth and he looked over to where the young Latina was currently fuming as Rachel attempted to speed walk past the pack of girls. Santana reached out and grabbed Rachel's shoulder, yanking her to a stand still. Puck couldn't help it, he began walking towards them, catching the dodgeball as he walked towards the edge of the basketball court to see why the hell that girl was physically assaulting the tiny midget Berry.
"The Jew is kidding right? I mean, it's not true Berry. No way could you have snagged him already," Santana said lowly.
"I-I don't know what Jacob's talking about," Rachel straightened her posture, her shoulder jerking Santana's hands off of her. "He's prone to delusional episodes."
"He said that he went to Jew camp with him this summer, and that you were like totally Puck's girlfriend. Is it true?" Santana demanded.
Rachel looked Noah's way for the briefest of seconds before leveling a very steady gaze back at Santana and saying calmly, "You should find a better source of information, Santana. I'm sorry to tell you that Noah Puckerman can't stand to look at me, much less spend time at summer camp with me…and much much less make me his girlfriend. Besides, I'm far too young to be thinking about boys in such a mature way. In time, my hormones will kick in and I'll begin to find boys attractive…"
"Oh god, stuff it, Man-hands," Santana peevishly ordered. "I asked for an answer, not an eight thousand page book."
"Your answer is this, Noah Puckerman doesn't know me, and I don't know him. We are very far from even being close to being friends," Rachel said resolutely, before turning on her heel and continuing her power walk.
Noah went back to his game, throwing the ball a little more vigorously than he been previously. The game was quickly over and they were told to go change and wait for the bell before the change of classes. Noah changed more quickly than he ever had before and walked back out into the gymnasium, pulling a small box out of his backpack and placing it on the top of Berry's bright pink trolley.
Puck looked up at the hushed whisper from the row of desks immediately to his left. He shrugged and tried to get back to pretending to pay attention. Suddenly a square of paper landed on his desk. He opened it up to see that she had anchored it with a penny so that it would have landed on his desk. Next to it she had scrawled in rotund print
For your thoughts?
Puck couldn't help but smile slightly. He scribbled something quickly and pretended to yawn, dropping the note on her desk inconspicuously. She opened it and shook her head.
Pennies? Eff that. Give me a dollar.
She actually reached for her wallet and fished out a one, then wrote her note back and folded it again with the penny still there.
Seriously, what's wrong? I can tell you're about ready to implode.
Puck stared at the paper intently, his mind racing in at least five different directions. And that was at least five directions too many. Like he could tell Rachel Berry, the girl his mother had decreed was sent from the lord himself to their family so that someday they could procreate perfect Jewish babies, what had gotten him in that particular mood. Hell, he hadn't even realized he had been in a mood, but leave it to Rachel to sense something. They had discovered her slightly psychic abilities the summer before eighth grade and he had been seriously freaked out by her uncanny ability to pick up on his bad moods since then. He was a badass emotionless rock. He didn't have any stinking emotions.
You're off the mark this time Berry-pants. Stop projecting and shit. I'm just fucking pissed that Schue is choreographing our football plays. Besides, its you who should be the gut spiller. Not me.
Rachel stared at the note with a furrowed brow. He knew he had just written far too many words on one piece of paper. It had taken her seven days after they had first met to figure out that when he was scamming someone he talked a lot. And it had taken him less than ten minutes after meeting her to know that she got real quiet when she was scared. He hoped that she wouldn't push this. No way in hell would the words "I knocked up Quinn Fabray 'cause I was jealous you let Finn kiss you in the auditorium…" ever make it out of his mouth.
…he was such a royal fuck up.
He looked down at her crumpled note and opened it, ever wary that she would have just been able to psychically write down why he was so on edge.
Schue gave a solo to Tina. He wouldn't even let me try to sing it. He hates me and I honestly don't think that I'm going to be able to stick around if he has it in his head that I'm some kind of fun punching bag that he can get his kicks deflating constantly. Anyway…you don't care about what's happening in Glee. What's really wrong with you?
Puck stared down at the words. No. He didn't give one small rats ass about Glee. The words Rachel had been writing down actually seemed to blur before his very eyes. He did wonder errantly what was so stick up Schue's ass. First he hears that Quinn gets the solo to the 80's power ballad that from what he heard, Rachel sang the literal shit and piss out of. And now stuttering Tina Cohen-Chang? Letting her sing all alone when Rachel was around? It seemed pretty stupid to him, and he had just heard the news that he had impregnated his best friend's chastity queen girlfriend. He knew stupid when he saw it.
Maybe he could kill two birds with one stone. Maybe he could just get a shot gun and blast all the damned birds out of the damned sky.
## If you wanna go and take a ride wit me
We three-wheelin in the fo' with the gold D's
Oh why do I live this way?
Hey! Must be the money!###
"I love that song, it's my jam, dude. I was the baddest ass rapper over at Mapledale Elementary."
Noah smirked at Rutherford's boastful claim as they meandered down the hall after their last football meeting of the year. They had played six whole games against other peewee teams in the county and had done pretty well. The two of them had lingered at the meeting extra long, as the coach had bought them pizza and the coach's girlfriend had made a big sheetcake that looked like a football field, complete with little teddy graham football players and little straw field goal posts. Puck had eaten his weight in delicious pizza and cakey goodness and was now looking forward to the extra-long weekend due to the following Monday's inservice day. Columbus day...or Save the Seals day or whatever the heck it was freaking rocked.
Matt stopped in front of the classroom where the blaring music was coming from and shrugged, "Wonder what teacher is totally the most awesome teacher in the school?"
"Let's find out…" Noah suggested, yanking the classroom door open quickly and quietly. Berry was rubbing her bad ass ninja skills off on him, thankfully he didn't have to wear pink to access the power.
Both boys jaws dropped simultaneously as the blaring music enveloped them. They looked on in wonder as Mike Chang, who had escaped the football meeting claiming that he was lactose intolerant, was currently completely in a world of his own. His lithe body was moving nonstop in a way that was completely hip, cutting edge, and yet surprisingly graceful.
Yeah, his mom had made him take Rachel to see the Swan Lake Massacre (it sounded more awesome that way) in September at a nearby community theatre, and she had taught him all the words that corresponded with the dancing world. Whatever, he was still totally awesome, because he saw a million girls in like, next to nothing that whole damn show. The dude's junk in the tights he probably could have lived without.
But Mike wasn't a boring ballerina…he looked like he belonged in a kick-ass music video. He was in a zen-like world of his own as he danced along to the music, his body fluid yet skillfully jerky.
Matt's stunned reaction broke the spell and Mike looked up in shock. In half a second he looked terrified as he rushed up to the CD player, pounding on it until it spewed it out. He gripped it in his hands and began rambling,
"This isn't what it looks like…I mean, I was just bored waiting for you guys and its not even my CD and I don't do this stuff…like ever. Definitely not all the time, and I'm totally a cool kid, I'm not some kind of nerd that sort of took any kind of dance classes with any of my sisters, and I really…really…"
Noah felt super bad for his friend, whose hysterical outburst had resulted in him snapping the CD in half.
"Shit, my sister's going to kill me," Mike whispered, looking down in his hands at the destroyed CD. He looked up at his friends, the hint of tears in his dark eyes. "Please don't say anything."
"Why not?" Noah wondered.
His honest confusion at Mike's request went ignored. The young Asian kid turned around and burst into tears, instantly convinced that his social life and friendships were over. -Shit, he hadn't meant to do that. He was seriously wondering why Chang wouldn't want to show off his kick-ass skillz. Yeah, skills with a z was how badass that dancing had been. Matt shuffled his feet and looked to Noah for some help as Mike continued to sniffle, his body trembling under the weight of the sudden embarrassment and shame he felt.
"Boy's aren't supposed to dance," Mike said softly, his voice filling up the quiet room nonetheless. "My dad said so. But that didn't stop my mom and sisters from making me go with them. Taking me to the classes…the competitions…the recitals. I was bored and I wanted to see if I could do it. And I could…"
"You kicked ass," Matt finally spoke.
Noah looked around the empty classroom and realized where they were. Chorus room. Triple shit sundae that meant…
Rachel walked into the room cheerfully and stopped suddenly when she saw Noah and his friends in the room already. She usually spent her afterschool time there until Noah was done with practice, since it had gotten too cold for her to stay at her elf tree. She saw that Mike had turned around to face the other boys and was wiping tears furiously from his eyes. She looked to Noah for an explanation and he gave her a small smile before walking towards the teacher's desk.
"Sup, Berry-pants?" Noah said softly. He picked up the guitar that had been sitting next to the piano in its stand. He handled the guitar with the sort of expertise a much older person would have had. If Rachel had taught him anything it was 1) Despite what some fanatics may think, Soundheim was a much better lyricist than he was a composer and 2) musical instruments, whether they be a human voice or a set of maracas (ha! shake those maracas), should be treated with respect. He settled into a chair and maneuvered the guitar that was a little large for his still child-like frame. He nodded towards Matt and said, "You know that Black Eyed Peas Song?"
"Ohhh!" Rachel actually clapped her hands together as she walked towards Matt as Noah began to strum the guitar slightly. Noah had gone to great lengths to review the weekly top ten Billboard chart with her after he learnt that if he didn't steer her towards popular, modern day music, he would be stuck listening to and hearing about Cole Porter's greatest hits constantly. Rachel hummed a note to herself slightly as she figured out the correct key and Noah swore she could see music notes in her head as she began to sing,
##"People killin', people dyin'
Children hurt… you hear them cryin'
Can you practice what you preach
And would you turn the other cheek"###
It didn't take long for Matt to grin like an idiot and join in. He sang pretty well, but Noah knew that on the walk home and all through his holiday weekend, he would hear a million and one tips from Rachel Berry on how best to improve Matt Rutherford's singing voice. Noah shrugged and looked to Mike, who was standing dumbstruck as the three other people in the room sang, or in Noah's case strummed. Mike's eyes widened as somehow Rachel sang the notes in a different way than Matt, causing the sudden pleasing harmonies to make goose bumps break out on his arms.
###"Father, Father, Father help us
Send us some guidance from above
'Cause people got me, got me questionin'
Where is the love"###
Matt began to rap, his pre-pubescent voice still fluid and rhythmic. Rachel grinned and turned to Mike as she echoed some of Matt's words, like the world's pinkest most classically trained ninja backup rapper. And then she did something that would forever cement her as a cool chick in all three of the boy's eyes. She diffused the bomb as she shrugged her shoulders and swayed back and forth in a gentle rhythm. She reached for Mike's hand instinctively, and suddenly the shame he had felt for dancing alone in a dark classroom disappeared. Suddenly he had a guitarist, a really good rapper, a kickass cute elf-chick singing and asking him to dance.
It made his day. Heck it made the whole next year.
"I can't believe it! We won! We haven't won a game since we were in sixth grade!"
Puck buried every single thing he had been feeling that whole day and focused on Mike Chang's exuberant celebrating in the locker room as they got dressed for a night of crazy ass partying. They were winners for the night at least, and he was going to go to Brittney's house where beer would flow freely all night from her football alumni dad's sweet ass lager tap. He didn't care what happened this past week, year, decade. He didn't care what was to come for the next million years. He was going to embrace this win and he wasn't going to let go until someone pried it from his cold dead hands.
"You were probably the best dancer, Jackie Chang. Also? That was a damned warrior block on that last play," Puck admitted as they strolled towards his truck in the parking lot. He watched as Mike couldn't help but grin with pride as Matt agreed enthusiastically. Puck threw his duffle in the back of the truck as Mike and Matt did the same. He walked towards his door when a flash of pink caught his eye from his front tire. He reached for the white bakery box and pulled the ribbon off, popping a cookie into his mouth without even thinking.
"Are those Rac-" Matt's words were cut short as Mike hit him on the back of the head authoritatively. They didn't say her name if they could help it. They never could tell how Puck would react.
Puck chewed as he inspected the next cookie and sure enough, they were the shapes of pumpkins. The second cookie cutter he had ever made for her after that gym class where he had been deemed the alpha male of the class. It was more like an uneven circle with a pumpkin stem, but Rachel always colored them in with icing to leave no room to doubt that they were indeed pumpkins. Attached to the box had been a slightly weathered note. He opened and saw the words they had written back and forth during history that week.
Berry-pants? Do you think I'm a Lima Loser?
He couldn't help the warmth that spread over his whole body at reading her response. It started in the pit of his stomach and went everywhere, like a shot of vodka, but instead of tasting like rubbing alcohol, it was all delicious and cookie flavored.
Never. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever.
She had filled the rest of the damned sheet with "Ever's". At least a hundred ever's after a never. It made him want to pull his man-gina out and cry like a big fat baby. It made him want to shove it in Quinn's face and make her repeat it over and over until it got into her peroxide damaged skull. It made him want to go back to shop class and make a half million slightly imperfect cookie cutters. Instead he looked up and saw that Mr. Schuester and Ms. Pillsbury were chatting beside the Glee instructor's beat up ole shit-mobile.
Will looked over curiously and smiled, "Congrats guys!"
"Yeah, thanks. Look…we're joining Glee. All three of us. See you Monday! We have to go get piss-ass drunk, now."
***Okay next up is Rhodes, promise. My weekends get kind of hectic, so I'll do my best to update with a chapter hopefully. If not, see you Monday!