Title: Yo, Puckerman! "The Yo. Hudson! Sequel."
Rating: PG-13 for language.
Word Count:1800ish words
Spoilers: Up to Theatricality.
Genre: Romance/Angst with a splash of H/C
Summary: Puck experiences his first anniversary week.
Anniversary week had always brought the Hummel residence to a complete standstill. Dishes piled up in the sink, the radios and tv's stayed turned off and the curtains remained drawn. Both of them knew it might not be the best way to deal with their grief but it was just the way they always did it. An unspoken agreement that had held hard and fast for a decade.
It really had all started when Kurt was six. The third week in June became a dark time for everyone under their roof. On that Monday, the doctor decided that it was only a matter of time and that it was time for Mama to decide if she wanted to move to a hospice or to spend her final days at home. That Tuesday, Burt cradled his Mary in his arms and carried her over the threshold much like he had done a decade before. That Wednesday, Kurt spent sitting at the edge of her bed brushing his Barbie's hair, asking why his pink power ranger doll didn't have pretty hair he could brush and listening to records of his Mama's favorite Broadway shows. A quiet, gasping, rattling breath punctuating every note. On Thursday, color returned to Mary's cheeks and Daddy let Kurt help make the chocolate chip pancakes that were Mama's favorite. He'd even convinced Daddy to cut them into hearts. On Friday, Mama gave Kurt a make over. She let him play with her blue eyeshadow and wear her jewelry. When they were done she told him he was the prettiest princess in the whole world and hugged him so tight in her thin arms that the pearls he was wearing around his neck dug into his skin. She cried when she kissed the groves they had left in his neck and pulled him close again. She whispered I love you into Kurt's hair. She fell asleep with her baby's breath ghosting across her skin. On Saturday, she didn't wake up. Burt sat on one side of the bed holding her hand and Kurt stayed curled into her side. His head resting on her chest. His head rising and falling with every breath. On Sunday, at four in the morning Kurt woke up because his head stopped moving. On Sunday, at four in the morning Burt Hummel became a widower and Kurt became half an orphan
By the age of nine, Kurt had become very handy with the phone and takeout menus. The year before his father had lost at nearly forty pounds that week and Kurt was thankful they had hot lunch at school by then otherwise he probably would have staved to death. By eleven, he knew he had better teach himself how to cook. Anniversary week now made them both gain weight and Kurt really didn't think all that takeout was helping his growing skin problems. By thirteen, he was a culinary master in the kitchen and that meant good healthy meals all year round. Anniversary week meals were always prepped the week before and left their fridge scattered with heaping plates covered in tinfoil. That was the one week the dining room table remained unused.
By sixteen, Kurt had become used all that week brought. A small part of him hoped this year would be different. Especially with Carole and Finn living with them. But the sight of Carole's suitcase and Finn's duffle bag by the door yesterday told him they were really going to do this dance yet again. Burt tried to make it seem like this visit to Carole's mother was a coincidence but the awkward hunch of Finn's shoulders quickly ratted him out. But like so many times before he let Burt think he hadn't called his bluff and used the empty house to prep for the coming week. In all the planning and preparation, he had forgotten to explain what this week meant to Noah.
At 6:15 in the morning when Puck let himself into the Hummel house, like he had done everyday for the past month, he was sure something was wrong. The only noise in the whole house was him humming a Snow Patrol song to himself and the softer hum of the furnace. Burt's work boots were not in their usual place by the front door and the kitchen was completely empty.
It seemed wrong not to see the kitchen full of people. Not to see Burt with the paper in one hand and a coffee in the other. Not to see Carole in her pink bathrobe and Finn in his matching teddy bear pyjamas watching in awe as Kurt flitted around the kitchen preparing a three course breakfast. It felt even more wrong not to catch Kurt around the waist while he was sliding across the hardwood floor and kiss him until he remembered his family was watching. He missed the blush that would fill Kurt's cheeks and turn the top of Finn's ears red. His stomach protested that, for the first time in a month, he wouldn't be getting a homemade breakfast today.
The fact that the basement was completely silent was even more unsettling than the kitchen being empty. He actually gasped when Kurt turned around and he saw that he was only wearing Levi's and a plain white t-shirt. He remained quiet as Kurt pulled him up the stair, past the small shrine of pictures in the living room and grabbed the red and black rosary that was draped over a fading wedding picture. While he was practically hypnotized by the woman in white that had Kurt's eyes and the fact the Burt had actually once had hair. He almost missed when Kurt slipped the rosary around his neck and tucked it under that plain white shirt.
When they pulled into the school parking lot Kurt finally let him just what the hell was going on.
"It's anniversary week, Noah. It's always like this." Just like that. Like that completely explained everything. During third period Kurt sent him a text saying that he couldn't do anything that night. After that Noah knew it would be a long week.
On Tuesday morning, for the first time, the door was locked. No one answered the door when he rang the bell and Kurt wasn't in school at all that day.
On Wednesday, Puck didn't even bother knocking this time. Again Kurt was nowhere to be seen.
On Thursday, Puck didn't even bother showing up. This time Kurt missed glee too. There were fifty unreturned phone calls.
On Friday, Puck decided that enough was enough. He used his deep knowledge of crime to break into the Hummel house with no one the wiser. The place was a wreck. Puck spent him morning cleaning the house and doing the dishes. He spent the afternoon pulling a shivering Kurt out of a shower that had long since run out of hot water. And he spent the rest of the evening holding the person he loved more than anything in the whole world as sobs ripped through him so violently that he had made himself physical sick.
On Saturday, he woke up with a freshly showered Kurt pressed against his back. He had thought that Kurt would never be more beautiful than that night in that dirty bathroom. Eyes shining, first with tears then with happiness, with a hairstyle that was half a palm full of gel and a few quick tugs away from a mohawk.
When he turned into Kurt embrace that morning he knew he was wrong. He saw Kurt, hair damp from the shower, eyes rimmed in red from a night of too much crying and not enough sleep and kissed him. Mixing his morning breath with Kurt's minty toothpaste. Kurt smiled and Puck knew there was never anything more beautiful. They spend the day listening to music and thinks he know what heaven is when Kurt falls asleep that night with no tears and he can feel his warm breath against his collarbone.
On Sunday, Kurt takes him to his mother's grave. He doesn't cry. He quietly traces the engravings that spell his mother's name and lays lilies right beside the words beloved angel. Kurt gives him a small grateful smile when he sheepishly rests a light pink stone on the corner of the headstone. Kurt lightly kisses his own palm and presses it lightly against sun-warmed granite for a moment before taking that same hand and folding it into Noah's.
They walk back to the house in silence and sit underneath the giant oak tree in the Hummel's back yard. They look up at the clouds and Kurt explains what this week means. He says that before this year he has never let himself cry. That this week has always been about making sure his dad makes it through. That this year he has, for the first time, what he's always needed. A pair of strong arms wrapped around him letting him know that it's okay to be sad and that it's okay not to be perfect for once.
He knows it's useless but he does try to get Kurt to eat something. Kurt just shakes his head and promises him a big breakfast tomorrow. While Kurt falls asleep, relief floods him when he hears Carole and Finn come home. He knows in that moment that tomorrow everything will be back to normal and next year he'll be better equipped to deal with this. He kisses Kurt softly on the forehead before making his way upstairs.
His hand is just about to rest on the cool metal of the door handle when a gruff voice coming from the living room stops him in his tracks.
Puck turns and sees a weary looking Burt staggering towards him. He is caught off guard when two thick arms circle his shoulders. Burt whispers into his neck "Thanks for taking care of my boy, when I couldn't."
Puck thinks back to this afternoon, before he folded a smiling sleepy Kurt into bed, when they were sitting under the tree Kurt used to sit and look up at the sky with his mother. Back to when conversation lagged and all there was were the soft wind and the firm press of Kurt's head on his stomach. Back to when Kurt turned his head to look at him with a look that was a million times better than any look he used to give Finn and whispered I love you into his t-shirt.
He thinks about all of that and answers the only way he knows how. " It was my pleasure, sir. It was my pleasure."