A/N: I couldn't hang onto this for another day, so I'm posting it now. Happy September First, everyone. Here's hoping now that this story is done, I have a much more productive September than I did July and August!
Texts and Insanity
Chapter 17 – Crossing the River
"Of course I remember you, Kurt. You're Noah's boy-friend," the little girl giggled, singing the last word.
"Oh, good," Kurt replied. "I was hoping you could do something for me, Sarah. You see, I need to find your brother right away."
"Isn't he supposed to be singing with you? I wanted to go, but Mommy wouldn't let me."
"He is, but your mommy took him somewhere. Do you think you could call and ask where? It's really important."
"Okay, but I have to call, like right now. My grandma doesn't like me using the phone mommy got me. She says it'll give me the cancer. She's making lunch right now." Without a proper goodbye, the little girl hung up on Kurt. He tried to keep his breathing even as he waited for the phone to ring again, but it wasn't working very well. He tried focusing on the rest of the club as they modified the performance and sang together quietly, warming up, but that didn't work either. His hands were cold and clammy, his Gucci dress shoes didn't feel like they fit very well anymore, and he had a sharp pain behind one of his eyes. Probably from crying.
Oh, god! His face was probably a mess! Damn it! Finding his bag, Kurt excused himself to the bathroom to fix what he could before he had to be onstage. If Kurt looking like a ghoul wouldn't have damaged the rest of the team's chances of winning, he didn't think he would even bother. The only person he wanted to look good for was Noah, and he was probably thirty miles away by now. He would never get back in time.
Standing outside the restrooms, Kurt tried to decide which one to use. The men's room was probably more appropriate, but fuck it, the ladies' room was usually nicer. And any girls he ran into here backstage would be a lot less likely to harass him about using the mirror to apply a careful series of products to make his skin look perfect under the bright lights of the stage. Of course, he was at a glee competition, so maybe he'd be more likely to run into boys who understood.
He'd spent so much time trying to decide which bathroom to use that Tina and Mercedes came up behind him and grabbed Kurt's arms, making his decision for him and dragging him into the girls' room. "Thanks," he said softly, following as Tina took over one of the sinks, giving the evil eye to all the girls who looked at Kurt funny. She wet a few paper towels with some cold water and handed them to Kurt, so he could put them over his eyes.
As they sat together, Mercedes began singing quietly, probably to warm up, since she was in here with Kurt instead of with the rest of the team.
Ain't no mountain high
Ain't no valley low
Aint no river wide enough, baby.
Tina piped in with a higher harmony and then Kurt came in with them, singing along as best he could with cold water dripping down his face. This was a complete and utter disaster. If only there was more he could do, Kurt would be doing it. If Noah hadn't wanted him to stay and sing, Kurt would have been in his car and following his boyfriend all the way back to Lima. Kurt hoped that when all was said and done, his idea to call Noah's sister would be a good one, that it would change the outcome of the day somehow.
If you need me, call me
No matter where you are.
No matter how far,
Don't worry baby.
Just call my name,
I'll be there in a hurry
You don't have to worry.
'Cause baby there ain't no mountain high enough,
Ain't no valley low enough,
Ain't no river wide enough,
To keep me from gettin' to you, baby.
A girl with a surprisingly malicious voice broke in, stopping their song as she said from nearby, "Is it nerves? I know, if you're not used to performing, it can be a little intimidating."
Removing the towels from his eyes slowly and deliberately to look at the girl, who was blonde and bore an evil smile not unlike the one Quinn used to sport, Kurt said in a cool voice, "You wish, princess. This was because as soon as I saw your team arrive, I knew you had no chance and wept for your inevitable defeat."
"Whatever, you red-faced freak," she said, rolling her eyes and checking her reflection once more before looking down on Kurt and Tina as she left.
"Don't listen to her," Tina murmured encouragingly while Mercedes hugged him. "It's not that bad."
Kurt was about to thank Tina for her bald-faced lie when his phone rang. "Sarah? Did you find him?"
"Mom says they're stopping at the … state station? … No, state patrol office, over there by you before heading home. I don't know where it is."
"I'll find it, Sarah. Thanks so much." Turning to his friends, Kurt asked, "Watch my stuff for a minute?" before assuming they would and bolting out the door.
After a little running around, Kurt found Rachel's dad and told him where Noah was, hoping that somehow he could help. Kurt had a promise, hastily blurted out as he ran along the car carrying Noah away from him, to keep.
As the walrus pulled away from the auditorium parking lot, Puck muttered to himself, "This is bullshit."
Sitting beside him in the back, Puck's mom hissed, "Watch your language."
"Watch your ignorance," he whispered back, sighing and staring out the window when his mom glared at him. That seemed to be all he was doing lately, staring out windows. That was all he would be doing for the foreseeable future, if his mom decided to imprison him at home. Staring out windows and trying to figure out how to get back to Kurt. Because at this point, everything was about him, whether or not Puck liked it that way.
Yes, he loved Kurt and wanted to be his boyfriend, but Puck kind of wished all of this would just go away. Maybe if he wasn't such a badass, he would have caved in to his mom's demands when she first made them. If Puck wasn't such a stubborn dude, he wouldn't have moved out. He would have let Kurt's deadline pass by and lose out on the best thing in his life. Now, it was gone anyway and he would just have to get reacquainted with his hand.
"How am I going to go to school?" Puck asked his mother, needing to know the answer. She couldn't keep him at home forever, could she?
"We'll figure that out later," Puck's mom snapped, her arms folded over her chest stubbornly. Huh. Like mother, like son, he guessed.
"I want to graduate," he told her. "I want to get into a music program somewhere."
"You should have thought of that," she said coolly, "before running away from home."
"And allow Andy to 'put me out of my misery'?" Puck asked, making sure to play up the horror of those words, even though the man was sitting right in front of him.
"He didn't mean that," she insisted. "Not seriously."
"Then I didn't seriously mean to move out. Can I go back now?"
Sniffing and looking out the window again, she spat, "No. You're done with glee club, Noah. I know you like it, but you need to focus on getting better right now, and on your schoolwork."
"What about football?" Puck mentioned. "If we win our next game and make it to playoffs, I could get a football scholarship somewhere. How is missing out on that opportunity any better than keeping me from seeing my boyfriend? He's the one who wins all our games, you know."
"It's my job to make sure," she said, pointedly biting all her words, "you grow up to be a good man, Noah. With a wife and a family."
"Because that always works out so well," Puck scoffed. "I don't know who I'll end up with, Ma. But I love Kurt right now. And I want to be a musician, a singer. That's no life for a family anyway; not that I couldn't have a family with Kurt. But it wouldn't be an accidental one. Like with you and dad." He'd found out that little bit of family trivia from his Nana Connie when he was ten and hadn't been able to get it out of his head since.
"You think you love him, Noah," his mom said, ignoring the fact that Puck knew her secret. "But you don't! You're just-"
"I'm not confused!" Puck shouted. "You know, as soon as I can, I'm leaving. I love you, Ma, but I'm my own person. I'm not who you wanted Dad to be. God, I can totally understand why he left."
"Don't you dare talk to me that way!"
Puck rolled his eyes at the manic anger in her voice and watched as they pulled up to a building. The walrus called back, "We have to do some paperwork here, but then we'll be on our way."
He hustled Puck into the station, a state police station according to the sign, and cuffed him to one of the bolted-down plastic chairs. All three adults went somewhere to talk, leaving Puck chained up and enraged. He wanted to rip the chair out of the ground. He wanted to trash the room and destroy everything he could get his hands on. His life was over. Why not add a few more charges to his police record? Why not go down fighting? Tugging on his handcuffs, he realized that it would hurt like hell trying to get free now. But what was that compared to the pain in his heart?
Puck sat for a long time before Andy came to sit next to him, Puck's mom nowhere in sight. "What do you want, home wrecker?" he asked with as much scorn as possible.
"I just want you to be happy and healthy, Noah," the bastard replied. "Because that would make your mom happy."
"You don't deserve her," Puck spat. "Tell me, does she do anything for you at all? Or are you gonna make her miserable because you never want to do it with her? Are you seriously going to tell my mother that you love her and then completely ruin her life?"
"I do love your mom," Andy snarled back defensively.
"I love my friend Finn," Puck shrugged. "That doesn't mean I want to fuck him."
Andy flinched at the language before looking around and seeing no one. Then, he grabbed Puck's ear and twisted it painfully, hissing, "If you don't shut up about this, if you ruin things for me with your mom, I will personally cut off that appendage you seem to love so much. You won't see it coming, there will be no evidence, and I will have an alibi. You won't be able to fuck anyone, you useless little shit!"
Shaking his head at the threat when Andy let him go, Puck said, "I knew you wanted to get your hands on my cock. It's cool. I'm pretty badass. Lots of people want me."
"Arggh!" Andy groaned, grabbing Puck's shirt and gearing up for what promised to be a painful punch.
"Let go of that young man right now!" a familiar voice called from near the station door. "This is unbelievable!"
Andy grudgingly unwound his hand from Puck's shirt and stepped away, asking, "Who are you?"
Turning so he could get a look, Puck cried, "Mr. Berry! How did you find me?"
Aaron smiled and stepped up, sitting next to Puck and glaring at Andy, "It wasn't easy. A few more are coming for moral support, but I'm here primarily to sign some paperwork."
"What's going on out here?" the walrus asked, sauntering back into the room, his big gut swaying in front of him.
"Ah, Officer..." Aaron looked at the guy's tag, "...Wimmer. I believe my attorney has faxed you a few court orders? Regarding Noah Puckerman?"
"What are you doing?" Puck's mom asked as she came around from the back, passing Wimmer as he went to go check on those faxes. "Who are you?"
"Ah, hello," Rachel's dad said as he stood up and shook her hand, "I'm Aaron Berry. My partner and I have been housing your son all week. Today, I'm helping Noah petition the court for a change in legal guardianship."
"Fucking sweet!" Puck cried, earning a frown from his mother.
"We're also asking for a waiver of his probation violation on the grounds that he was persecuted from his home. A state judge from here in Toledo has agreed to hear both petitions so we can get this boy back to his competition." Turning to Puck and smiling, he added, "She's a big show choir fan."
Just then, a few more people burst into the room, including Kurt and Rachel, already in their performance costumes - the New Directions had gone with black and silver this time around. "Noah!" Kurt cried, running over and throwing his arms around Puck's neck.
"Hi, baby!" Puck laughed, wishing his hands weren't tied down so he could hug the boy back. A few well-placed kisses had to do. "What happened? Did you already sing?"
"We're performing last, so we still have about an hour before we go on," Kurt confessed. "You're going to sing with us." Puck nodded at the absolute certainty in his boyfriend's voice. If only he felt that confident.
"Let's get this taken care of people," an older woman in a suit said, facing Officer Wimmer, "I have a show to get back to. I'll need the use of your conference room and for this young man to be freed from restraints."
"But..." the officer complained, "he started a fight during apprehension!"
"You ambushed me," Puck said, trying to keep cool. He was sick of these fucking cuffs. "I'll be good."
"Take them off," the lady ordered and Puck was beginning to think she was the judge. He gave her a winning, sincere smile, figuring it couldn't hurt his chances of getting out of there in time for the performance. He belonged on stage with his friends, with his boyfriend, and now Puck let himself believe for the first time since getting snatched that it might actually happen.
When there was just twenty minutes before they were supposed to go on, Puck decided, fuck it, and told Kurt, "Go now. I'll catch up if I can."
"But..." Kurt argued, looking around. Rachel had already gone back to the auditorium with her other dad, Sean; Puck's mom and Andy looked more and more put out by the moment; and Aaron Berry grew more and more fierce about arguing Puck's case, which the boy thought was absolutely amazing and above and beyond the call of duty. Maybe he could finally see where Rachel got her argumentative nature.
"Hummel," Puck said harshly, but softly, as the judge made a call to someone, "I need to know you're there and holding up your part. They can't do it without both of us."
"What if this is goodbye?" Kurt asked, fear pinching his summer-blue eyes in a way Puck hated.
"Shove it, baby," he growled. "It's not. I'll be there as soon as I can."
Nodding, Kurt pressed a kiss to Puck's cheek and left. He knew why he had done it and he knew why it was important that Kurt get back to the auditorium on time, but Puck felt suddenly so alone when his boyfriend left that it felt like he couldn't even breathe.
After a few minutes, the judge said, "I've made my ruling." This was it. The judge, though she seemed fair, also seemed like the kind of lady who would try to keep a family together, no matter what. She had that stern purse of her lips and that squint in her eye and Puck knew he was going to hate the next few words out of her mouth. As it turned out, he would never, ever forget them.
"We go on in two minutes, Kurt!" Mr. Schuester cried. "Puck's not here, which means we're doing this without him."
"He's going to be here! He has to. We have to wait a few more minutes, Mr. Schue," Kurt pleaded. "Please?"
"There's no time left," Mr. Schue shook his head. "The show must go on!"
Kurt took his place sadly, wishing he had never made the promise to sing without Noah. It just felt wrong now, like Kurt didn't have any music left in his heart when he couldn't know whether or not he would get to see his boyfriend within the next few minutes, or if it would be almost a year. How was he going to be able to get out there and give it his best, help the team win Sectionals, if he had to focus most of his effort on keeping himself from crying?
When Mr. Schue called for it, Kurt took his place at the side of the stage, waiting as Rachel and Finn started their duet. Finn started out, taking center stage as the music came up, a heavy beat, and the spotlight brightened on him. His voice was stronger this year, and fast as the song began.
Midnight, gettin' uptight, where are you?
You said you'd meet me, now it's quarter to two
I know I'm hangin' but I'm still wantin' you.
Rachel's first few words almost overlapped Finn's as she took over the song, circling Finn as she sang. Kurt had been happy for them, once he got over the lingering resentment he had towards Finn for what had happened during Week Gaga. And really, they deserved each other, right?
Hey, Jack, it's a fact they're talkin' in town
I turn my back and you're messin' around
I'm not really jealous, don't like lookin' like a clown
Well now, when Kurt had been introduced to something that exciting and sweet and heart wrenching, only to have it taken away again, he felt this jealous rage building up inside of him as he watched them perform, singing the next two lines together.
I think of you every night and day
You took my heart and you took my pride away.
Everyone came in on the chorus, though most of them were still hiding behind a screen, their outlines backlit and visible as they changed poses every few beats.
I hate myself for loving you
Can't break free from the things that you do
I wanna walk but I run back to you
That's why I hate myself for loving you
It was a good thing the audience and the judges were eating it up. Then, Tina and Artie took over, singing to each other as Artie rolled her out on his lap. The entire audience gave a soft, "Aww," and Kurt felt like setting something on fire. Nobody would ever "Aww" over his relationship with Noah, would they? People would leave them alone if they knew what was good for them, but they would never be jealous of his relationship with Puck. At least he could smirk at the girls Noah had dated before, knowing he was the only one superior enough to hang onto the guy.
Daylight, spent the night without you
But I've been dreamin' 'bout the lovin' you do
I won't be as angry 'bout the hell you put me through.
But there was still this niggling insecurity that if Noah did have to go home with his mom, he would forget about Kurt. On his eighteenth birthday, when he was free, would he come for Kurt? Or would he try to meet someone else? A girl? Another boy? That would just take the cake, wouldn't it? Kurt and Noah had each learned how to be with another boy together, and then Noah would just take that knowledge and move on.
It was a stupid insecurity, though, and one that Kurt didn't have time for. He was better than that. Even if Noah missed the competition, there was nothing saying he would be going home with his mother, was there? God, why wasn't he here yet?
Mercedes stepped out onto stage, taking the next verse, her diva attitude in full force, really getting into the Joan Jett vibe of the song.
Hey, man, bet you can treat me right
You just don't know what you was missin' last night
I wanna see your face and say forget it just for spite.
I think of you every night and day
You took my heart and you took my pride away.
With one last deep breath, Kurt pasted on what he hoped was an enthusiastic smile and joined the rest of the choir on the stage, stepping out with Brittany, dancing with her, even though they were the same height when she was wearing ballroom heels. But he was taking Noah's place in the choreography as best he could, and so even if it looked a little silly, he would do it. As the second repetition of the chorus started, Kurt sang his heart out, feeling it so much more than he had a few weeks before. He loved Noah. Maybe he shouldn't, but he did. And now the boy was gone.
Santana and Matt danced past them in the middle of the stage, and then Mike and Quinn. Two of the new kids followed after Kurt and Brittany and soon he was part of an intricate eight-person dance as Rachel, Finn, Artie, and Tina kept singing, playing out their roles at the front of the stage. Kurt was supposed to be down there with them, dancing with Mercedes to round out the other side of the stage. Instead, she danced with the other new girl, who'd been recruited last minute because Kurt was the only guy who could fill in for Noah, after watching him dance over and over again in the past month (and even before that, if he was honest with himself).
I hate myself for loving you
Can't break free from the things that you do
I wanna walk but I run back to you.
Kurt sang and he danced, appreciating how Brittany kept shooting him encouraging smiles. Or at least, he took them that way. She could have just been happy to perform. For all the problems Brittany had in class, she was at home up on the stage. Like him. Like the rest of the glee club.
Noah belonged here, too.
I hate myself for loving you.
The first song came to a close and this next one was going to be "Thunderstruck", so everyone cleared the stage. Finn rolled Artie out as the boy in the chair began the song on his guitar, parking Artie to the far side of the stage, but still close enough to center to be part of the action. The others danced out one by one and Kurt was supposed to be at the end of the line, with Rachel following later for her big entrance. But then, at the last moment, Rachel took her original place in front of Kurt, giving him an encouraging nod just before she danced out onto stage.
Did this mean Noah was coming? Was there a last minute choreography change that Kurt had missed when he was at the police station with Noah? Why hadn't anyone told him? Kurt danced onto stage when it was his turn, noting that it did look like Rachel had led everyone into the original choreography. This had to mean Noah was coming didn't it? Kurt tried not to, but he kept shooting nervous glances off stage, looking for his boyfriend.
The cue was coming up! Where was he? What had Rachel been thinking? This was all going to go down in flames and tears and …
Suddenly, heart up in his throat and breath growing short as he tried to sing, Kurt spotted a dark figure running up one of the auditorium aisles, sprinting toward the stage and leaping up the stairs at the side, sliding on his knees into the spotlight. He was here! Noah was here and free and everything was going to be okay!
I was caught
In the middle of a lightning attack!
Somehow, he managed to belt out his verse without sounding out of breath, even after sprinting. God, that was impressive! And then Noah was dancing in the group with him and met Kurt's smile with a bright one of his own and a sparkle in his eye. A few lines later, when he managed to break away from the pack of dancers and catch him, Noah kissed Kurt right on the lips, even though Mr. Schue had told them to cut that part. A cheer went up from one section of the audience and Kurt wondered if that was where his parents were sitting. He hoped it was.
The song went on perfectly, without any more unscripted kisses and when he and Noah collapsed to the ground together, there wasn't time for anything more than an excited smile and a quick squeeze of Kurt's hand. As they moved on to their third and final number, Kurt felt like a huge weight was lifted from his world.
Artie began the song, his smooth, low voice really setting the tone for the sedate, powerful pace of the song.
Nature, nurture, heaven and home.
Sum of all and by them driven
To conquer every mountain shown,
But I've never crossed the river.
Finn and Mercedes came in with the next verse, walking out onto stage hand in hand, only to go their separate ways halfway toward the audience.
Brave the forest, brave the stone,
Brave the icy winds and fire,
Braved and beat them on my own,
Yet I'm helpless by the river.
Next up were Quinn, Santana and Puck, all singing together, breaking apart again so that there were three girls on one side of the stage and three boys on the other.
Angel, angel, what have I done?
I faced the quakes, the wind, the fire.
I've conquered country, crown and throne.
Why can't I cross this river?
Brittany, the new guy, and both of the new girls took the repetition of the "Angel, angel," verse and then it was Kurt, Matt and Mike's turn.
Pay no mind to the battles you've won.
It'll take a lot more than rage and muscle
Open your heart and hands my son,
Or you'll never make it o'er the river.
Finally, it was Rachel's cue to come onto the stage and unite the two groups with her voice, begging them to join her in a slow, almost ballet-like dance that Brittany had taught everyone.
It'll take a lot more than words and guns
A whole lot more than riches and muscle.
As everyone's voices joined Rachel's, Kurt noticed how the air felt lighter and easier to breathe. His feet felt quicker to dance, his throat more eager to sing. This was what it felt like to be Finn and Rachel, wasn't it? Except for the entire-foot-difference in height… Kurt shared another smile with Noah as they passed each other while dancing, holding his hand out further for a second, just to brush his fingertips along his boyfriend's arm.
The hands of the many must join as one
And together we'll cross the river.
It'll take a lot more than words and guns
A whole lot more than riches and muscle.
The hands of the many must join as one
And together we'll cross the river.
As the lights went down and the music drew to a close, the auditorium grew silent and in that split-second before the roaring, deafening applause began, Noah reached over and grabbed Kurt's hand, making him realize something. No one could ever keep them apart again.
As the rest of the glee club took their bows and exited the stage, Puck grabbed Kurt around the middle and spun him around, loving the way he laughed so easily. Somehow, everything had gone right. Everything was going to be alright! Kurt was in his arms. Puck was free! No one was going to try to take him away again. Puck and Kurt tripped from the stage with the rest of their team, arms wrapped around each other. As they got backstage and the passageway became maze-like, Puck pulled Kurt aside, pushing him up against one of the walls and kissing the hell out of him.
"I'm yours, baby," he murmured with a smile, brushing his nose along Kurt's cheekbone. "All yours."
"What happened after I left?" Kurt asked, his hands ghosting over Puck's ass and then pulling him closer.
"After Aaron told the judge what he saw, she declared my mom's house a hostile environment or some shit! Because of Andy! I don't have to stay there!"
"What about your sister?" Kurt asked, and it was so cute how concerned he was for the little twerp.
"My mom has to have a social worker over on Monday to talk to Sarah! Can you fucking believe that? She'll probably be able to stay, but Aaron agreed to take her in too, if need be."
"You're taking over Rachel's house!"
"Speaking of," Puck laughed, hugging Kurt and kissing his neck, "while Aaron was driving me back here, and I was changing into this shit, he made me promise not to lay a hand on Rachel! Can you believe that?"
"Found out about your lingering appreciation for the females?" Kurt shuddered in Puck's arms and he laughed again.
"Yeah, but it's cool. I already promised Finn, anyway." He kissed Kurt again, putting a little tongue into it to daze the boy. "Besides, I'm pretty sure you wanted to be exclusive, right?"
"Obviously," Kurt agreed with a roll of his eyes before breaking into another grin. "I'm not sharing you with anyone, Noah Puckerman. Not even your beloved MILFs."
Laughing, they kissed again, Puck setting his feet just a little further apart so he would be the same height as Kurt and pressing as much of his body against his boyfriend as was physically possible. They kissed for far too long, since Mercedes came looking for them, calling, "Where are you crazy horn-dogs?" When she found them, Puck refused to acknowledge her presence until she actually tapped his shoulder. "Come on. They're going to announce the winners soon."
"I bet we won," Kurt smirked, pushing until Puck backed off, but keeping Puck's hand in his.
"Yeah," Puck agreed. "We totally owned that mother. Especially after I got there."
"Anyone wanna bet on how long it takes Rachel to suggest we start rehearsing for Regionals?" Mercedes asked, and Puck saw that she took Kurt's other hand in a friendly gesture.
That was cool. Anyone who made his boy happy was alright in Puck's book. Opening those pretty lips of his, Kurt said, "I bet forty-five seconds," and everyone laughed, including Puck, which was a nice change from how the rest of his week had been going. In fact the whole month since he had gone insane had been interesting and painful at times, but this moment, holding Kurt's hand and laughing, feeling completely in love for the first time in his life, made everything worth it.
Songs used: "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Marvin Gay;, "I Hate Myself For Loving You" by Joan Jett, which was suggested by the ever-talented and musically literate Pyropadawa; a tiny bit of "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC; and "The Humbling River" by Puscifer, which is an absolutely beautiful song and you should go listen to it right away.
For your further enjoyment, I have included a little epilogue!
Rachel smiled brightly as she read the magazine article, "...Kurt Hummel and Noah Puckerman showed great courage coming out to their classmates in such a spectacular manner, winning the Western Ohio Show Choir Sectional Competition with their rendition of AC/DC's "Thunderstruck". All across the state more and more gay and lesbian teens are declaring their sexualities while still in High School, which we at Ohio Magazine see this trend as a boon to our state, letting our children learn to be themselves and to tolerate those who are different. Only by changing attitudes towards sexual minorities can our state continue to thrive in modern America!
"Hummel's and Puckerman's classmates have been remarkably supportive, which is unsurprising at an institution whose Cheer squad won their National competition with both Mr. Hummel and a handi-capable young firecracker named Becky Jackson playing integral roles in that victory. Keep on, William McKinley High School. We at Ohio Magazine hope to see your attitude of inclusion and tolerance lead other High Schools in this state toward loftier, twenty-first century ideals."
Rachel took a deep breath as she finished, beaming up at the rest of the glee club before saying, "There's rumors this story may go national! Especially since Jacob Ben Israel put the clip of our lunch room performance up on You Tube."
Beside Kurt, Puck groaned, "Oh god, no!" and let his head fall into his hands.
"What's wrong, sweetie?" Kurt asked his boyfriend, rubbing the boy's back and worrying what stupid thought could be going through his head now. "If this goes national, we could get discovered! We could make it big before even graduating..."
Instead of answering, Noah just groaned again, head hanging between his knees.
"What's wrong, dude?" Finn asked, turning around in his chair. "I thought the whole idea of that number was to announce your relationship to the world."
"To the school!" Puck amended and Kurt felt a sharp pain of the insult in his heart. He knew he should give Noah a little more slack. He'd only gotten used to the idea of liking boys since striking up a romance with Kurt three months ago. Kurt could see how that adjustment might take a while if you weren't born knowing exactly what you were. "And that article doesn't have its facts right. I'm bi, not gay! But if I protest, no one's going to believe me!"
Kurt knew the distinction meant a lot to Noah, but he was sick of hearing it. Every time he made the argument, Kurt felt like he wasn't good enough for Puck and insecure that Noah would decide at any moment that he was sick of Kurt and needed a woman. "It's just a label, Noah," Kurt said, his voice colder than he wanted it to be. "If you're with me, and only me, why does it matter that everyone thinks you're gay?"
"Because," he pouted, "all those ladies won't know they missed their chance to be with Puckzilla now that I'm yours, baby. They'll start asking me about shoes and crap. Dudes won't talk to me about sports and video games. They'll take away my bro card!"
Kurt smiled, reassured that it was just Noah's vanity making him pout and not an overwhelming need to fuck a woman.
"I won't get to brag about how I beat Super Mario Brothers Two in twenty-three minutes!"
Kurt rolled his eyes and chuckled, kissing Noah's freshly shaved head. "You can still brag about those things, sweetie," he sighed with a smile. "No one would dare take away your bro card."
"Fuuuck," he continued, "and my grandmother gets that magazine. There's going to be all these awkward questions."
"You don't think your mom already told her? You did move out," Kurt reminded him. "That's big news, isn't it?"
"My mom and her mom don't talk unless it's a holiday. There haven't been any big holidays since I moved out. She probably doesn't even know!"
In the background, Mercedes asked Quinn, "Wasn't it Hanukah over Christmas break?" and the blonde girl nodded with a confused look on her face.
"Calm down, dude!" Finn cried at Puck, shaking his shoulder with one hand. "It's not a big deal. You and Kurt should just go visit your grandma and talk to her in person. She lives in town, doesn't she?"
"Next town over," Puck nodded, looking up at Kurt with the question on his face.
"We can go whenever you want, baby," Kurt smiled, kissing Noah lightly on the lips.
"Sure," Kurt nodded, glad that football season was over and basketball season had yet to begin. These days Noah's only afterschool activity was glee, which gave them a lot more time for making out and other, sex-like activities. Or, in today's case, going to visit his grandmother.
"I'll drive," Noah insisted, standing up as the bell rang, letting Kurt catch his hand as they left the choir room.
"Oh, no," Kurt argued. "What did I tell you about that death trap you call a truck?"
"That you would never ride in it under any circumstances," Noah laughed, obviously feeling better about the article now. They split up to go to their lockers with a quick kiss and no one even batted an eye. Kurt was glad people were getting used to them. Even the hockey players. Of course, Puck had to beat up Dave Karofsky Fight Club-style before that lesson sunk in, but when word got around that the jock was out of school for three days with a pair of broken ribs, people pretty much stopped harassing Kurt, especially when Puck was around.
Though there had been an anonymous campaign against Noah in particular and as Kurt watched his boyfriend out of the corner of his eye ball up and throw to the ground another hate-note, he wondered when it would stop. Kurt was pretty sure that the notes didn't bother Noah anymore, but the first few had been something they had to get over together, especially when there was an envelope of dead cockroaches along with the first note. They both had to remember that it was just stupid assholes jealous of them and their glamorous relationship. Or, at least Kurt liked to describe them as glamorous. Puck insisted they were badass and glamorous was too girly to describe a couple consisting of two dudes, but that was where they just agreed to disagree.
A/N: Once again, thanks to all of you who have followed this story and especially to those of you who have taken the time to review. Many of you reviewed almost every chapter, and for that I am ever so grateful. I've had a rough six weeks, and all of the love for this story really helped me get through it. Adieu, mine readers. Until next time!
P.S. I have more slash, mostly of the Angel/Spike variety, as well as a little Puckurt one- (maybe two-) shot, on my profile page, if you'd like to check those out. Also, I have in the works a Bones/Glee crossover which may or may not ever see the light of day. It's Kurt/Zack with some heavy Booth/Brennan and a little Booth/Brittany in the beginning. Everyone's in high school and Puck has been framed for a crime he didn't commit. If there's any interest in this story, please let me know either in a review or a PM, and keep me on author alert so you can find it when I do start posting.
P.P.S. I 3 all my readers!