A/N: Oh, hey there, Quick fluff. So, how often you come to Emily's account? I've never seen you before.
It's probably because I find it hard to write Quick fluff. But hey, here's some. And I kind of suck, so that's why there's still some angst in it. Sue me.
He smells like booze (he always does) but she pretends not to notice, because it's a party and there's alcohol and she can't judge, and really, if anything, she should be judged for being sober. But she's never liked these parties (it's always Santana or Finn or Brittany dragging her along) and she doesn't have to drink if she doesn't want to.
Unlike the crowd of obnoxiously loud party-goers behind her, Quinn ends up alone by the pool in the darkness, just watching everything passing by. She wants to go home, but she's not brave enough to venture into the house to find Finn, and he's probably in no state to drive her, anyway.
So she sits and watches.
She doesn't hear the footsteps or look in his direction out of stubborn habit, but she sees him out of her peripheal as he comes towards her, swaying on his feet. "Fabray!" He sounds pleasantly surprised to see her, like one would react if they saw a teacher at the grocery store, even though he's the one who started towards her. She rolls her eyes at his greeting; this habitual way of acknowledging his presence never gets old.
He stands before her, grinning, like he knows a secret and wants to boast. And she doesn't know why, but the look infuriates her (because everything he does infuriates her), so she stands up to perhaps smack the look off his face.
But they're entirely too close now and she instead rolls her shoulders and huffs, "What do you want?" It's a defense mechanism, to challenge him until he gives in. They both like to be in control, like to have power, but they fight each other for it all the time.
He stops grinning, but he still has an amused smile on his face, and while it's not nearly as annoying, it's still concerning. "What?" he asks defensively, showing his palms. "I can't talk to a friend without getting jumped?" He's grinning again. "I just saw you all alone..."
Before he can reach under her skirt, Quinn steps back and snorts, "Since when are we friends?" And it's a bit of a lie, because they kind of are, but not in a friendly sense. They know each other and they talk to each other at times, and they could be considered linked in some way. But they're never nice to each other (she can't remember the last time they were) and friends are supposed to like each other in some way.
He shrugs. "I don't know. Maybe we're like, best friends." His eyes grow hard and his jaw tightens, and this is how Quinn knows he's going to make a sarcastic joke. Any normal person would think he was angry, but really it's just him trying to look serious. It never works. "Maybe we'll like, fall in love or some shit. And have kids and get married, maybe not in that order, and we'll like, grow old together and -"
Quinn starts laughing before he can finish. And he stops and laughs too, because, what kind of world would that be?
Before he can say anything else, Quinn moves to push him in the pool. He stumbles at the edge but ends up dragging her in with him; and she's screaming and angry and laughing (and he's sober now, and he's laughing too) but they don't know what's so funny.
She has no ride. Her car is in the shop, Finn didn't pass his driver's test, and she was too proud to call her parents. So she's sitting outside the school with her best bitch-face on, hoping it's enough to intimidate some nobody into driving her home. But instead of a nobody, she's instead confronted with a somebody, and she scowls up at him.
"What do you want, Puck?" Quinn doesn't want to look desperate, but she kind of is, because Christ Crusaders is on tonight, and she doesn't want to stay at school all night. It doesn't appeal to her. And while she could surely force someone to drive her, there really doesn't seem to be anyone around.
He jingles keys in his hands, whistling to himself. "Need a ride, bitch-face?" It's a stupid, flippant insult, and not really much of an insult at all. He grins. "Maybe you'll tell Finn to pass his driver's test. Just in case."
Quinn rolls her eyes. "It's a one-time thing." Even though she's afraid she'll catch STDs by sitting in his car, she decides it's her only option, and hops to her feet. "Do you have like, a towel or something that I can sit on?"
He stares at her. "What are you, twelve? You won't catch my cooties."
Decidedly not in the mood to argue, Quinn follows him pliantly to his truck, and actually does manage to not say anything as she climbs in. It smells like cheese, something beefy and... Mexican-styled. She wrinkles her nose. "When was the last time you had Taco Bell?"
"Uh," he starts, glancing at her, "lunch?"
Of course he'd skip just to get Taco Bell.
There is mostly silence as he drives, and Quinn doesn't pretend to not know he knows where she lives. It's a bit of a rite of passage. Puck knows where everyone lives, even if he hasn't been there. Probably Finn, or something. It's a little creepy, and when she first figured it out, Quinn spent a long time making sure he wasn't outside her window, but after a while, it's almost normal.
"Gotta stop and pick my sister up," he says as he turns clumsily into the parking lot of an elementary school. "Cool with waiting in here?"
Quinn nods, though she's aware he probably doesn't care (maybe) if she stays or goes. There's a crowd of small children waiting outside of the school for parents; before she can try to figure out which one is Elizabeth Puckerman, a small, blonde-haired girl bursts from the crowd and attacks Puck in the middle of the parking lot.
And it's something Quinn hasn't seen before - an open display of platonic, mutual affection involving Puck. She watches a little apprehensively, as if afraid she'd be launched into the Twilight Zone after a few moments. But it's nice, seeing him smiling without malice. Almost... fatherly.
Quinn probably has been watching too much television.
Puck and his sister reach the truck within a few moments, and it's mostly quiet again, as they drive to Quinn's house. As they're turning down the street, Elizabeth - Lizzie - interrupts the silence with, "Noah, this is the girl you said you were gonna marry?"
Quinn looks to Puck for an explanation.
He grins at her. "Oh, yeah," he agrees. "We're gonna have kids and grow old together, and all that." And though it's a recurring joke - something she's heard before - Quinn laughs all over again, because, who shares such a thing with their nine-year-old sister?
"Not necessarily in that order," Quinn adds to Lizzie, just because.
Puck is awkward in social situations involving girls who don't want to have sex with him.
Quinn's always kind of known that, but she hasn't seen it in action, because he never wastes his time with girls who don't want to have sex with him, unless he's aiming a slushie at their face. And anyways, it's not like she watches him all the time. But she's always figured he doesn't know how to handle girls with actual emotions.
She invites him over for the first time, and it's only because she hates for Finn to see her when she's upset, and she really doesn't want to have Santana and Brittany over (one will not go without the other).
Quinn's plan is to watch a movie to get her mind off everything - Sue, parents, religion, Finn, that shirt that makes her look fat - and exercise her power over someone like Puck. Because, it's always nice when someone like Puck respects you. He doesn't really respect much of anything.
And Quinn is still wearing her Cheerio uniform (she feels almost untouchable when she's encased in its cloth) when he knocks on the door, looking terrified to even be there. Finn's probably relayed the horror stories of her parents.
"Relax." She rolls her eyes. "Mom and dad aren't home."
Looking significantly calmed down, Puck enters the house. "You're like, fucking rich, Fabray." It's less of a statement and more of an accusation, like he's offended he didn't find out sooner. "I can so expect to be able to mooch off you now."
"I'm surprised you didn't combust at the doorway," Quinn replies evasively, batting her eyelashes. "Demons aren't supposed to enter the house of God."
Puck snorts. "Whatever. Your house is not a church."
The argument doesn't help, though; it might as well be. Everything is pristine and ivory and golden, with crosses adorning the wall and Jesus paintings everywhere. Quinn often feels suffocated in it all. She was born into religion; she never chose it.
Not waiting for her to say anything else, he asks, "What're we doing? I'ma be real with you: I'm not watching the Christ Crusaders with you." Then once more, before she replies, he adds, "And I brought wine-coolers. I kinda want to know what you're like drunk, and I bet you're a lightweight."
Quinn wrinkles her nose. "I am not drinking with you." Drinking with the boyfriend's best friend always turns out badly; she's heard enough from Santana and television and silly books about it. Then: "We can watch a movie, or something."
Puck scoffs. "You invited a guy like me over to your house to watch a movie?" He shakes his head mournfully. "I feel like the gay friend."
But he doesn't complain anymore and follows her up the stairs to her room, and it's a little weird and mostly awkward, but they try not to dwell on that. (It shouldn't be awkward; they're still just kind-of-friends, and theyr'e not close and they're both in relationships. Sort of.) There's nowhere else to sit in her room but on the bed (and that's awkward, too) so they both kind of have to settle themselves apart from each other.
"Shake the bed anymore, and it'll go through the wall." Puck's comment is so fleeting and biting that Quinn shouldn't be bothered by it, but her eyes are suddenly widened with shock and all she can think of is the shirt of hers that doesn't fit her anymore. And she stares at him a little angrily, a little hurt, and before she can say anything in retort, teenage angst and hormones and shit stab her tear ducts.
And she's this blubbering mess of tears and sobs and whimpers.
He's so, so freaked out. His eyes are bulging and his mouth is agape, like, holy shit. "What did I do?" There's really nothing he can say (because he's always so awkward in these situations) and nothing he can do so he just sits and stares. "I didn't mean that." She still hasn't stopped. "Okay, what the fuck. I didn't mean that."
She doesn't reply but the worst of it subsides and she's intelligible again. "Oh, my God, I hate you."
"Apparently enough to use his name in vain." At her watery glare, his face twists into a scowl. "What? I'm sorry. I didn't mean that." And he doesn't know what else to say, because he's only Puck, and he has no idea there's things he can say that hurt people.
"You were right." And she's still kind-of crying, in that half-way point between sobbing and sniffling. "I'm so fat and gross."
"What?" He really appears to have nothing else to say. "Uh... no?" And he tries to do something close to a hug, but all he ends up doing is stupidly groping her in inappropriate places, so he gives that up. "You're like, really hot. Duh."
She doesn't say a thing.
Suddenly feeling like it's working, he continues, "And Finn. Right? Finn. You got Finn."
She thinks she's done crying now. And it's stupid of her to even have started to cry; she hates herself for it. How silly of her to be so weak. And in front of Puck, no less. It's awkward now, and it'll be awkward later, and at school it'll be awkward. She'll never feel comfortable around him again and she's ruined that.
She isn't saying anything else, so Puck goes on. "Finn loves you. And there are hot girls who want Finn, too. And, and, you guys will probably be together for-like-fucking-ever. And have a lot of Jesus-freak kids. And you'll still be hot then." It's such a stupid tirade, such an unnecessary thing to say, but he doesn't want to be known as the one responsible for making her cry without doing shit to help.
Hearing him rant actually makes her laugh, and when she looks up, she's too close to him and she's smiling. "I thought that was us?" she teases, referring to the stupid skit they've been putting on.
He doesn't know what else to do (she's looking at him really nicely) or say (she's no less hotter when she's crying) so he kisses her instead. And it's not a word of comfort or a hug or something equally as platonic, but it works, and it's the only thing he knows how to do.
The babysitting went great and they've officially proved they can handle being parents without fucking it all up. It's a good revelation and will probably make her choice simpler. But sometimes things are too good to be true and she wants to be optimistic, but she can't be.
They're sitting in his truck, not saying anything, as he idles out front of Finn's house. For some reason, she doesn't want to go in, and she doesn't know if he'd let her even if she tried; there's a look on his face she can't understand.
"I should go." She says this tentatively, wondering why everything has to be so awkward just because they're Puck and Quinn. Why can't things be simple? Perhaps it's what draws her to staying with Finn. But it's not that, and she knows it (it's just a reluctance to tell the truth).
He doesn't say anything, but he turns to look at her. He looks so sad and dejected when she walks away, and she can't remember when things changed. She can't remember how it went from non-friends to kind-of friends to pre-marital sex and then... and now he's looking at her like he loves her, and it scares her, because they aren't this. This isn't what they were ever supposed to be. They were supposed to be forever kind-of friends, sharing little mutual interests.
But he looks at her like he loves her. And she can't look at him the same way. Not yet.
She bites her lip and her tongue to stop herself from saying anything, because there's not anything that would work in this situation. She could apologize, but for what? There is nothing appropriate. She might as well remain silent.
It's too quiet for far too long, so Quinn finally does decide to get out. Slowly, mutely, she opens the door and steps out, greeted by a cold wind. She shivers. It had been warm in the truck.
Before she can walk away, something pulls her back, and she looks down to see his hand covering hers. And it's so insistent, so demanding, so full of need that she has to turn around, has to face him. It isn't fair to deny him at least of that.
"What're you going to do? With the baby." It's a blunt question and he looks as if it would kill him if he didn't know right now. His eyes are intense and serious. "I really need to know. Because, if you keep it - her - who are you keeping her with?"
"I..." It's an answer she is not totally ready to give him. "I don't know, Puck."
He lets go of her hand. In the darkness, Quinn thinks there is a flash of pain in his eyes, but she can't be sure; it was gone too quickly to be there at all. "Remember how we always said we'd get like, married and grow old together and all -"
"Puck, that was just a jo -"
"Well, we're almost there already, right?" He doesn't look at her this time. He doesn't even say another thing, or wait for her to reply. It's as if he knows her answer won't be the one he wants. Without even another breath, he closes her door shut and drives off, leaving skidmarks in the road.
She doesn't know why, but when she curls into her sheets that night, before Finn is even home, she cries herself to sleep.
He looks at her like he loves her but for the first time, he actually says it, in that awkward way that only Puck can. He's still not very good at these kind of situations, but he makes an effort this time, and it's really all she can ask for.
They always said they'd get married and have kids and grow old together. That was their joke; they didn't ever imagine it to come true. At least part of it.
And it's summer now, and they're getting better at the whole couple thing. It's not easy for them - they weren't supposed to be like this - but everyday, they're making a bit more of an attempt at normalcy. It gets easier as it goes on.
"I love you." He hasn't gotten to the point where it's okay to say it to her face (he always looks anywhere but at her when he says it) but he's getting better at that, too. And he probably doesn't say it as often as he should - he doesn't know; it's still kind of new to him - but he always means it when he does, and it's always something she appreciates when he does. And it's getting better. Everything's getting better.
Quinn smiles. "You do?" It's their new skit, this new charade they play. I love you; no, you don't; yes, I do; you do? ; I do. They play their parts well.
And it's different, with them. They aren't always perfect. But they do try.
"I do." He snorts laughter at her, like she's an idiot to ever think otherwise. "What the shit, Fabray; I thought you'd know that by now." And she does, and he knows she does, and it's working out for them just the way it should.
They are silent for a bit longer (there's no longer such thing as an awkward silence between them; they are always comfortable with each other). Then, suddenly: "Hey, remember our plan?" He grins at her with his wide wolf-smile, a smug and satisfied expression coming over his eyes.
For the life of her, she can't remember any sort of plan. They usually just take what comes at them. "Um... no?" And she laughs, a little uneasily, as if she's forgotten something significantly important.
"Well, we're supposed to get married and have kids and grow old together. Remember?" And he's laughing, because it was always such a joke. And she's laughing too, because they would've had no way of knowing back then; they would've had no inkling. Yet still, here they are.
And she remembers the recurring joke, the skit they played before everyone. "I remember." She's still smiling, because it feels just so easy to smile; he makes her happy. It's such a simple thing. "But, Puck, that was just a joke."
He frowns. "What if I mean it this time?"
And she can't say anything, because she'd probably mess up the moment. Then, slowly, carefully, "That's like, a huge promise to make." Suddenly, the laughter is gone, and there's an unsettling amount of seriousness in the conversation.
His arms are wrapped tightly around her waste, and although they aren't laughing anymore, he's still grinning down at her. "So? Why the fuck wouldn't we?"
So many things could happen, she doesn't say, because that would ruin the moment too. Instead, she smiles up at him. "I don't know. Find me a reason." And she wonders if he really does mean it. He's still Puck (she's still Quinn) and it's not going to be easy (but it keeps getting better, they keep making more of an effort every day). But why not? Why not pretend they have a plan for themselves?
"Okay." She reaches up to steal a kiss. "But I'm so holding you to this promise."