Sequel to Sympathy From the Devil with references to Swift and Exacting; can be read on it's own if you ignore a couple of paragraphs toward the end [:
Hello fab readers; thank you for all the nice reviews and commentary on the end of Shotgun Wedding. So many people asked for one-shots about the following summer that I may have to make them happen eventually. But for now, this—the first half of which has been sitting in my notes, waiting for season 1 to end.
I don't own Glee, but my shirt came in the mail on Tuesday. So that's pretty cool.
Out of all the people who could have possibly been pounding on his door at 4:30 on a Sunday afternoon…okay, there were actually a lot of people who would have been more surprising than her. Still, Puck definitely wasn't expecting to open the door after the fifth ring of the doorbell and find Tina Cohen-Chang standing there, ducked under the awning to escape from the rain and clutching a white plastic bag with a smiley face on it.
So naturally, his first reaction was to stare stupidly at her, before covering up his confusion with his trademark scowl.
"When someone doesn't answer the door, it's usually because they don't want visitors," he informed her, glaring. He'd been lying on his bed, contemplating his crappy existence with the help of his good friend JD, and had only gotten up when it became clear that whoever was on his porch wasn't going to leave him alone until he scared them away in person. She raised an eyebrow. "You answered the door," she pointed out coolly.
Shit. He had, hadn't he? Stupid girl-logic.
"Fine," he barked. "What do you want?" Usually that tone made people piss themselves in fear. Former-Stutterfly must have had metaphorical balls of steel or something though, because although she flinched at his tone, her recovery was impressive. "I thought you might want someone to talk to," she answered, not unkindly. Puck snorted. "I don't know what you're talking about," he bluffed.
That was a lie. He knew exactly what she was talking about.
In the two weeks since Quinn had given Beth up, most of the Gleek Squad had reached out in some way or another, trying to get him to cry it out or do some pansy Kumbaya shit to express his "deep inner angst over the heart-wrenching decision that has surely affected you in some meaningful way."
Or whatever it was that Rachel had said.
Every offer so far had either been made in passing before a hasty subject change, or had come in the form of a pat on the back or punch in the shoulder. Tina was the first one to actually show up at his house.
She was still looking at him, all big eyes and dark hair and knowing expression, so he tried again. "I'm a dude," he stressed. "We don't talk about our feelings over ice cream and hair braiding sessions, okay?" Tina nodded. "Good thing, too," she agreed, "because you don't have enough hair for a braid, and I'm lactose intolerant. So that would have been a really bad plan." She held up the plastic bag. "How about we just eat Chinese food and watch movies with explosions in them?" she offered.
And with that, she pushed past him and entered the house.
Puck briefly considered yanking her back by the hood of her sweatshirt and throwing her back out, but she was still holding the Chinese food. And he might be miserable and pissed off, but damn if he wasn't also kinda hungry. Plus, the longer she stood on the porch, the greater the odds were that someone would see her there and think that Puck had invited her or something. So really, he had no choice but to just go with it.
By the time he closed the door and made it to the kitchen, she was already dishing up plates of Sesame Chicken and Lo Mein noodles. "I brought brown rice instead of white, I hope that's okay," she called over her shoulder, pulling two pairs of chopsticks out of the bag. Puck ignored the question and picked up a plate, popping a piece of chicken into his mouth with his fingers.
Holy crap. This was the most ridiculously awesome piece of chicken known to man. Maybe there was a God, after all.
"You make this?" he asked, snatching the serving spoon from Ruby Gloom and loading more of the chicken onto his plate. She passed him a set of chopsticks. "I'm Korean," she said by way of explanation. Puck shrugged. "…so did you make this?" he repeated. She sighed. "It's Mr. Chen's," she informed him, picking up her own plate and starting in on the noodles.
Puck ignored the chopsticks—because really, who used fucking twigs to eat with?—and grabbed a fork from the drawer. "I have a tv in my room," he told her. "I guess you can stay, as long as you're not annoying." Without looking to see if she was following him, he turned around and left the kitchen, trudging up the stairs to his bedroom.
And if he maybe listened once or twice for the sound of her footsteps behind him, it was only because it had been raining out, and he didn't want her freaky-ass boots tracking mud all over the carpet.
Plopping on the bed with his plate in hand, he gestured to the rack of DVDs between the closet and the tv. "You pick," he offered, and she looked at him weirdly. "It's your house, don't you want to pick?" she asked, and Puck shook his head vehemently. "Not happening," he said sardonically. "If I pick, you're gonna do that chick-radar thing where my choice means something deep and personal about my feelings and shit, and I'm really not digging on being psychoanalyzed right now."
If it had been Rachel, she would have immediately begun psychoanalyzing his completely justifiable paranoia. Quinn would have given him That Look, the one with the raised eyebrow and hands on her hips that made him feel the size of an ant. Santana would have scoffed meanly and told him to get over himself. Tina merely shrugged and knelt down to examine his movie collection.
Only then did it occur to him that the good majority of his DVDs featured heroines with blonde hair and big, blue eyes. Damn it.
After slipping his copy of Shaun of the Dead (which he really should have seen coming) into the DVD player, she sat down on the carpet next to the bed, accidently knocking over the bottle that was half-hidden by the untucked sheet hanging off his mattress. She held it up, inspecting it. "Jack Daniels?" she asked, and Puck shrugged his shoulders. "Were you drinking when I got here?"
Puck considered lying for about four seconds, before realizing that she couldn't exactly take back her Chinese food at this point. Plus, her voice had been a lot less judgmental than his would have been if he had found her drinking alone on a Sunday afternoon. "Maybe," he compromised, only somewhat evading the question. She studied the label, face neutral.
And maybe it was because she hadn't been nasty about it, or maybe he really just didn't feel like drinking alone, or maybe it was just one of those impulsive things that he said without thinking about it. Whatever the reason, he said it: "You can have some if you want."
She gave him an incredulous look—what? He could be a good host—that faded when she realized he was being serious. "Can I have a glass?" she asked skeptically, and Puck found himself wanting to laugh like an idiot at the absurdity of everything, and maybe not stop for days. Instead, he settled for a dazzling grin. "Fuck yes, you can have a glass. Top row on the bookshelf." She picked out a blue, opaque shot glass from his collection, and he filled it for her.
"Cheers," he toasted, taking a long swig from the bottle. She hesitantly drank hers, coughing and spluttering a bit after choking it down. He patted her roughly on the back. "Whoa, you okay?" he asked, it only then occurring to him that she probably wasn't used to drinking. She pulled an unopened bottle of water out of her purse and cracked the seal, drinking a couple gulps. "Fine," she coughed, blushing a little. "Wasn't expecting it to burn like that." Puck snorted. "Right," he remembered, "Asian Flush. Don't worry about it. Mike drinks like a pansy, too." She shot him a withering glare, and he laughed again before taking another swig.
The movie was ending, and he was definitely drunk.
He and Tina had spent the entire movie doing shots, and somehow he had ended up sprawled on the floor next to her. She insisted on pouring her own, and each time she handed him the bottle back, he would take a drink along with her. And it was insane, because even though they had cracked open a second bottle over an hour ago (he'd made her retrieve it from his stash in the closet), he was so drunk it was almost embarrassing, and she seemed perfectly fine. She was currently refuting or affirming every Asian stereotype she could think of, having finally snapped after his fourteenth Asian joke, her speech perfectly clear and steady.
"…and I passed my road test on the second try and am a surprisingly decent driver, my parents don't own a Laundromat, restaurant, or grocery store, I get A's in math and science but only because I study, I did play the violin when I was a kid for three years, I don't know any type of kung fu, karate, or tae kwon do, I know how to play mahjong, and nobody I know has bound feet. Any other questions?"
She looked kind of pleased with herself after the eight minute recital, so Puck just smirked and went for the obvious hit: "You and Chang related?"
She huffed and snatched the whiskey out of his hand. He snatched it back, only a little annoyed. "Hey, I'm only sharing with you because I got all this from Professor X, and I figure that makes it part yours or something," he informed her. "Keep it up, I'll cut you off." She pursed her lips, but let him take the alcohol. "Artie doesn't drink," she told him, eyes on the bottle as he tipped it back and swallowed a mouthful. "Whatever you say, Morticia," he shrugged, and let the subject drop.
Tina was playing with her bracelets. "Where's your mom?" she asked. Puck glared darkly at the floor. "Driving my sister to summer camp," he answered moodily. "Said she'd be back around midnight." Tina nodded. "How long is she going to be gone?" He leaned his head back against the bed, staring absently out the window.
"Seven weeks." The rain had stopped, but the sun was going down and it was getting dark out.
"It's okay though," he said suddenly, surprising them both. "She'll have fun, and it's better than being stuck here with us." Tina raised her eyebrows inquisitively, and he swallowed tightly at the too-familiar expression on the wrong face. He took another drink before handing her the bottle, allowing her to put the cap on and set it aside.
They sat in silence, watching the sun go down.
It could have been minutes or hours later, Puck didn't know. He just knew that suddenly, he was talking. "Why aren't you afraid of me?" he asked, genuinely wanting to know. "You're like, afraid of everyone." Tina kept her eyes straight ahead. "Because you were nice to me when I was upset," she answered. He shook his head. "No I wasn't," he protested, head feeling heavy. "I just wanted you to stop crying because it was freaking me out."
Tina smiled gently. "You say that now," she said softly, "but nobody else would have thought to fill Artie's locker with jelly beans."
When the sun had finally gone down all the way, Tina helped Puck stand up. "You should go to bed," she told him, and Puck's fuzzy drunk brain didn't disagree. "Want to stay and keep me company?" he leered halfheartedly, knowing full well that she wouldn't take him seriously in his state. She shook her head, and he pretended to be hurt by her refusal. "Come on, Asian," he whined. "What if I choke on my own vomit and die? You'd feel really bad." She pulled back the covers of his bed and helped him settle into it. "Charming, but I'll pass," she replied. He made a face at her. "Fine," he snapped childishly. "You're demoted. I'm gonna tell Schue that you're 'Other Asian' from now on."
She ignored him. "Where's your advil?" she asked. "I'll leave you some and a glass of water for the morning." He shook his head—man, that made him dizzy—and opened the drawer of his bedside table. "It's cool," he assured her, pulling out a bottle of store-brand Tylenol. "Just give me your water bottle, I'll be fine." He leaned over and snatched it off the floor before she could protest.
It was empty, and she looked guilty. Suddenly, the secret to her mysterious sobriety became clear.
Puck groaned. "Ah, Cohen, you suck." She studied the floor sheepishly. "Sorry," she muttered. "I knew I'd die if I tried to keep up." He rolled his eyes and threw his head back on the pillow, weighing it down with all the heaviness of an anvil. "Why'd you let me drink then, if you didn't want to?" he asked, half curious and half annoyed. Tina still looked guilty. "You wanted to drink," she pointed out, "and I didn't think you should be alone." She cut him off, before he could protest or argue the sheer number of times he had drunk alone without consequence.
"I know what day it is, Puck," she said, expression soft and sympathetic.
Puck knew what day it was, too. The day his daughter was supposed to have been born.
His daughter. He should be in the hospital, holding her right now. Instead, he was drunk, and his mom wouldn't look at him, and his sister kept complaining that she missed Quinn and when was she coming back, and Quinn was—
Well, Quinn wasn't here.
He hadn't realized that Tina had left the room until she was next to him, placing a fresh glass of water on the table. "I know you threatened to douse Kurt with honey and tie him to a tree in Bear Country when he offered this," she said slowly, "but if you remember any of this in the morning and you want to talk, you can call me. I'll put my number in your phone."
And with a light brush of her hand on his shoulder, she was gone.
Puck listened to the sound of her car starting up and driving away, before turning over sleepily. As he drifted off, he couldn't help but muse that, freaky bloodsucker or not, former-Stutterfly really wasn't all that bad, for a Gleek.
He was still changing her name from 'Tina' to 'Other Asian' in his phone when he woke up, though.