A/N: I don't really like this, but it's something to put up, right?
His breath is warm on her skin as he trails down her stomach, pausing contemplatively over her belly button. Soft kisses follow his path and she resists the urge to giggle at the ticklish sensation.
They're in her bed, her innocent lamb pillow decidedly a turn-off and her Jesus painting glaring down at them. Ms. Fabray kindly turns her head the other way and puts on heavy-duty headphones and reads downstairs for the next hour and a half. It's a give-and-take relationship; Quinn says nothing about the bottles of vodka and her mother says nothing about Puck.
But before Quinn can fully yield to him, Puck's hands are prying her legs open and she's going to have to -
"Again?" Puck releases a frustrated hiss through his teeth, lifting his head and smoothing her dress back to cover her thighs. "You can't keep doing this to me." His voice is tightly-controlled, like he's hesitant to be too angry, as he falls back on the bed beside her, staring at the ceiling.
Quinn bites her lip, rolling onto her side. "I'm sorry." It's not like she knows what's wrong with her; it's not like she's enjoying it, herself. "I don't know what's going on."
Puck glances up. "It's the fucking Jesus painting," he says unexpectedly, groaning. "He's like, glaring at us. It's like he knows I'm gonna bone you."
"You did not just say 'bone.'" Despite herself, Quinn wants to laugh. "I have never heard you say 'bone.'"
Puck doesn't say anything for a long while, and Quinn takes the silence to press herself into the crook of his arm. It's been going on for a while, since right after they began "dating" again. She cannot... function properly. She keeps thinking about Beth and Mrs. Corcaron and glee club and everything gets too much and - well...
Puck drops a kiss into her hair, quickly and quietly as to not draw attention to the gesture. "Is it me?" He sounds genuinely concerned. "'Cause if it's me, I could definitely get hotter. And like... work out more, or something."
Quinn actually does laugh this time, releasing the tiny sound inside of her for a moment. "It's not you." She twists around to look at him. "If it was you, it'd be your problem, not mine."
Puck frowns, his eyebrows coming slowly to knit together, as if he's seriously considering her words. "It's not," he says finally, "but you're making it my problem." There's a light, teasing flippancy to Puck's words, a warning that he's not entirely angry, just frustrated.
"I'll figure out what's wrong." Quinn smiles placatingly; she's fine, she knows she is, but there's something stopping her from... and it's all in her head - it must be. Her body could not be malfunctioning. Not after...
Puck smiles (he has a nice smile, when he actually smiles) right back at her, but it's weak, and she remembers: I'm a dude, I have needs. And she understands (why wouldn't she?) but it's just so hard and... well, she can't even make sense to her own mind, so why try to make sense out loud? She says nothing.
It's like a private joke on her. Laughter, at her expense, from God. That's a little unfair. Like, she may have gone wayward (read: pre-marital sex and a baby) and she may have lied to certain people, and she may have been just a little sinful but everyone makes mistakes, right? Couldn't God forgive?
Because she walks into glee club and Mr. Schue announces that there will be duets. There will be duets going on. And it has to be a cruel, cosmic joke. A punishment. Because - of course - she's paired with Puck, and he's grinning because - "Oh, and the boys get to pick the song."
She just knows he'll pick something awful, or he'll pick something to make fun of her, or he'll just make the song totally and completely inappropriate, something involving dry humps and heavy breathing in front of the whole glee club.
She loves him (how couldn't she?) but she hates him sometimes, too.
They try again, this time at his house, like maybe it'll be easier if they're in his bed, because they didn't conceive a baby in his bed. But all she sees is a Nirvana poster on the wall - and it's a picture of a baby, of course - and she thinks it's a nice-looking baby, and then she thinks about Beth, and then she thinks, oh my God, what if Mrs. Corcaron isn't taking care of her?
And then -
"Fuck!" He rolls over and probably hates her a little bit, and his lip is stuck out like a petulant child's. He looks so sad and dejected and it's all her fault, all of it. She feels bad but she also doesn't, because he should love her without the sex.
And Quinn knows that's a stupid thought to think, because she knows he does, and she's just being stubborn.
For a moment she contemplates offering a hand-job or something equally as gross and lecherous, but he'd never let her, because somewhere deep down in that tough body of his is a guy with sensitivities, and it'd be hard for that sensitive guy to watch a good girl do something... bad. That she really doesn't want to do.
So they make-out instead, and it's good, it's always good, but she knows he's upset, and she doesn't blame him, and maybe part of her is upset, too.
The first duet to go is Finn and Rachel. They march importantly up there, and they're holding hands, and it's a little weird for Quinn to watch, but the romantic inside of her thinks it's adorable. They sing Faithfully - it's like their song now, in a way that Beth is Puck and Quinn's song, even if... you know, there's no Beth. They do good - but then, they always do - and Mr. Schue thinks it's absolutely incredible and gives them an overly-enthusiastic clap.
(In Quinn's opinion, Finn's voice is great but so is Puck's, and she thinks it'd be cool if he got the chance to show it off more.)
Puck still hasn't told her what song he chose. He's smiling at her the entire time though, not in a lovely, I-love-you way, but more of a, "You are so going to hate me later," way. It scares her but it's also making her laugh, so she let's him, and she smiles right back.
Incidentally, they're supposed to be the last ones to go, on Friday. He has to tell her before then. She's scared but she also isn't, and she's nervous but not really. She thinks they'd do a great duet together; didn't they already prove that, though?
(Papa Don't Preach, anyone?)
Actually, now that Quinn thinks about it, that could be their song, too.
(Except... you know... she didn't keep her baby.)
They don't try again until Thursday, and even before they get started, Quinn knows it won't work, so she actually does toughen up and offer a stupid hand-job, since she's too defective to give him what he wants. She thinks it's stupid of her to care, and even worse of him to care, too.
But that's them; he's just going to be Puck, and she's just going to be Quinn. It's unfair to both of them that they love each other.
She's not very good - and she knows because his eyes are open and he's staring at her the entire time - but it works. And she doesn't like it but it's alleviating stress, so, it works.
He feels bad afterward (because he may be Puck, but he's still got that sensitive guy underneath) and he hugs her and tells her he doesn't care if she can't work properly, she's never, ever going to have to do that again.
"Unless you want to," he adds.
"Oh, and the song is..."
In front of the whole glee club, they sing I Will Follow You Into The Dark.
Quinn is relieved it isn't a sex song, and she's relieved it isn't humiliating, and she's relieved it doesn't involve dry humping and/or heavy breathing. But she's nervous (and she's terrified), because they aren't... this. They aren't lovely and cute and cuddly like little carebears. They're just them; and them is nothing like this song.
But it's a good song, and they do a good job, and maybe halfway through he holds her hand, and maybe halfway through she understands that the fact that she isn't functioning well isn't going to drive him away. She was so worried, so scared he'd become so frustrated he'd leave to - well, Santana is always available, isn't she?
But he isn't leaving (he says it in the song, but also not, like it's a secret they share). And maybe she believes him. And she's fine. She's... fine. It's the first time in a while she's felt just perfectly okay.
Mr. Schue claps and the glee club claps and they all smile like they've just witnessed something awesome, but it was actually pretty mediocre and Quinn thinks they could've done better. She doesn't say anyting. But she smiles at him and he smiles at her and puts his guitar away and they sit down like nothing ever happened.
She feels better.
Quinn's figured out the problem, so she jumps into his truck after school, and she hands him Mapquest directions. He raises an eyebrow but shrugs at her, like he could care less, and, hey, it's like an adventure, right?
He drives her to Shelby Cocaron's house (it's pouring rain; how cliche and perfect), and he idles his truck on the street. She doesn't go inside. She doesn't need to. She just needs to see Beth, see her alive and well and breathing, and then she'll be fine; she'll know she made a good choice. There's yellow light flooding in from the open window and Quinn stares; she just needs to see.
Shelby is pacing with a pink bundle in her arms, rocking her, swaying her back and forth in a slow rhythm, mouth open in what Quinn thinks is a song. There's love on her face and there's love in the room; it radiates warmth and family and home.
It's all she needs to see.
She smiles because she knows she did good, she knows she made a perfect baby (maybe Puck helped a little) and she knows she gave the baby a perfect home. It's right. It fits in the grand scheme of life.
"Okay, let's go."
Puck stares for a moment longer (he looked so lost before; he looks so found now) and then smiles, just like Quinn did, just like he did that night such a short, long time ago.
They drive off like they weren't there at all (and they weren't, there aren't even tire marks to prove it).
It's a long while before he asks for it again, and when he does she thinks she's ready, she thinks she's fixed it and everything's just going to be okay, because he's never leaving and she's never leaving, and Beth is perfectly fine, and they're just going to be them again, a little bit of Puck and a little bit of Quinn.
"I love you so much right now." He looks like a four-year-old on Christmas day and it should worry her but it doesn't.
She smiles (because she can, because it feels right) and her body is functioning just the way it should, and she's still a little defective, but hasn't she always been? And maybe they're still a little weird, because they can't be anything but themselves, but it doesn't matter. Nothing matters.
She lays back (and there's no Beth, and there's no glee club, and there's no Mrs. Corcaron to crowd her thoughts and break focus) - there's just Quinn and there's just Puck (and a condom, like, oh-my-God-there-better-be).