Not so sure where I got this idea. It's actually got substance, unlike my other Puckleberry fics, so we shall see where/how it goes, eh? Depending on the response, this could turn into more than a one shot, but we shall see.
There's the familiar tune of 'Sweet Caroline' playing somewhere in the distance, and he's trying to ignore it. But it keeps playing, and now there's a buzzing noise to go along with it. When he opens his eyes groggily, he realizes that it's his cell phone, and it's his ringtone for when a certain person calls him, even if she is waking him up from a nap.
He sits up and grabs his phone, flipping it open. "Hello?" he says.
"Did I wake you?" she responds, and her voice his hoarse like she's been crying or screaming. Or, as he would come to figure out later, both.
"What's wrong?" he asks, standing up and gearing to kick some serious ass.
He hears her sob and sniffle.
"I'm coming over." He says, pulling a pair of jeans on.
"I kicked him out." She says meekly, and that makes him freeze. He never expected those words to come out of her mouth.
"I'll be right there, Rachel." He says.
"Okay." She whispers, and he hears the sound of her hanging up the phone.
He flies through the motions of getting dressed and finding his car keys. He practically rips his door off its hinges in his hurry to get outside. Her condo isn't far from his apartment, but he still wants to, needs to, be there for her and quickly. Doing the speed limit, he can make it to her house in ten minutes. Doing twenty above the speed limit and rolling through any stop signs, he makes it there in three.
He doesn't knock, because they never knock, and instead, lets himself in. He barely makes it through the door before she jumps him, wrapping her arms around his neck. He holds her close and he feels her small body shaking with sobs as her tears soak through his t-shirt.
"Shh, shh, I'm here. It's okay."
She doesn't speak, instead she's just crying, burying her face in his neck. He rubs her back softly with one hand, and holds her against him in a death grip with the other. He can feel her silky robe beneath his hands and he hopes that she's clothed underneath.
"What happened?" he asks when her sobs subside slightly.
She doesn't answer at first, but after a few seconds, she pulls away from him and what he sees makes his blood boil.
Her bottom lip is split open on the right side, and her right eye is swollen and he can already see a bruise forming.
"He fucking hit you?" he shouts. He moves to leave, to go find the fuckface, but she grabs his shirt.
"Noah, please!" she cries. "Don't!"
"He hit you, Rachel!" he shouts, his heart pounding so fast that he's surprised he's not having a heart attack.
"I know." She says, nodding, holding his shirt tighter. "I just…I need you here." She chokes as more sobs threaten to escape.
He stares at her for a second before pulling her back into his arms, smoothing her hair down and kissing the side of her head. "I'm here." He says gently. "I'm here, Rachel."
"Thank you." She whispers, clinging to him for dear life.
He picks her up and she wraps her legs around him as he walks through her large home to the living room, housing the gigantic entertainment center. "Where's Funny Girl?" he whispers.
"In the player." She responds as he puts her down on the massive, comfortable couch.
He walks away and turns on the television set, speakers, and DVD player. He presses play and the musical that he's seen too many times to count starts.
He sits down next to her and pulls her against his side, and she wraps her arms around him, her head on his shoulder. He can't even pay attention to the musical that Rachel loves so much because he's so pissed off about what's happened.
It's been ten years since they graduated from McKinley, and though it was hard, Rachel did her best to keep in touch with everyone from Glee. Because of her, Puck is friends with pretty much everyone still. He knows where almost everyone is headed right now. But to be honest, the one he cares about most is sitting on this couch next to him.
Rachel's getting everything she wants out of life, as far as a career goes. She's in her seventh consecutive year of being a Broadway star, starring in Les Miserebles, Cabaret, Funny Girl, and even some smaller, less popular musicals. It was he and Rachel who stayed closest, which nobody expected.
But now that he's sitting next to her in her condo, on her six thousand dollar couch, watching Funny Girl on her…he doesn't even want to know how many thousand dollar entertainment center, he doesn't care about why or how they stayed in touch. He just wants to beat the fuck out of Jeremy Johnston.
Jeremy Johnston was this years fucking Justin Timberlake. Or worse. He already had multiple movies under his belt, and was currently working on another one. Puck hates the stupid fucker, and he always has since Rachel met him five years ago. Puck thinks he's an arrogant, spoon fed, dip shit, and that he's rude, even to Rachel. Three years ago, when Rachel and Jeremy declared their relationship official two the public, Puck was sure wedding bells weren't far off. But for some reason, Rachel always seemed to be putting it off. He guesses now he knows why.
When the credits start rolling, Rachel sits up and wipes her tears away. "That masterpiece always gets me." She says with a sigh.
He sits up as she opens her mouth to once again comment about how much she loved Barbara Streisand's performance (which she always does after watching it), but before she can speak, her gently grabs her jaw and turns her to look him in the eye. He can smell her fruity breath.
"Rachel." He says sternly, his eyes boring into hers. "What. Happened." He says slowly, making it barely sound like a question. He supposes it's more of a demand.
She stares at him for a moment before pouting slightly and turning away, avoiding his gaze.
"We were…spending the day together when he got an e-mail on his lap top. He got up, read it, and went upstairs. And then his cell phone rang…so I answered it, not thinking it would be a big deal." She says quietly, and her voice is shaky, but he can still understand her.
"It was a woman and she said…she said that Jeremy was about to tell me he had to go to an emergency rehearsal but that he was actually going to meet Danielle to…have sex with her in my car. And then he came back down stairs and said how Will, the director, called for an emergency rehearsal." She says, and he can tell she's approaching tears again, so he rubs her back gently.
"So I asked who Danielle was." She says and she turns around to face him. "And do you know what he said to me then?" she asks rhetorically. He puts his hand on her knee in response. "He said…'Danielle is some girl I'm…" her eyes close and she looks down, and when she speaks the next few words, he can hear the anguish in them. " 'Some girl I'm fucking on the side.' He said it so blatantly and so casually! So we were fighting and screaming and he called me a frigid tease that wouldn't put out. So I told him he was a horny, cheating ass hole and he…he backhanded me."
Puck's fist flexes and his jaw tightens. "Then what?"
"That's just my eye." She says. "I screamed at him after he did it and then he…he slapped me…and I bit my lip." She says meekly.
He sits back, rubbing his hands over his head. "And then you kicked him out?"
"I told him to get out or I'd call you. He's scared of you." She says, and she almost sounds proud. "So he packed a bag and walked out." She says, sniffing and wiping her tears away.
He gently grabs her chin and turns her face towards him again, inspecting her lip which has dried blood on it, and her swollen eye, which looks worse now that it's been sitting for a couple of hours. "I'll fucking kill him." He whispers.
"No, no, no." she breathes, shaking her head slightly. "You can't. You can't touch him, Noah." She says.
"He hurt you." He growls.
"I know, but you- he'll have you arrested." She pouts, her eyes shining with unshed tears. "And I can't have that." She says. "I need you."
He stares at her for a moment before he pulls her towards him again. "You can't let him get away with it, Rachel. He hit you twice. Twice." He emphasizes.
"Can we just not talk about this?" she asks quietly.
He doesn't think she realizes how hard it is for him to just be sitting here while the fucking douche bag who fucked up her beautiful face is just walking around like everything is hunky-dory.
"Later, then." He whispers before he pulls her up so she's straddling his lap. He strokes her back while she nuzzles into his neck, taking deep breaths to try and relax herself.
"Thank you." She responds, wrapping her arms around his neck.
This might look weird, but it's normal for him and Rachel at this point. Whenever one of them is having a problem, they watched their favorite movie (Hers was Funny Girl, his was The Hangover), and then they cuddled, usually until Rachel fell asleep, because at that point, he'd just lay her down in her bed, or his bed depending on whose home they were in.
"Distract me, please."
"Hey, Jude, don't make it bad,
Take a sad song and make it better,
Remember to let her into your heart,
Then you can start to make it better."
He begins singing without even thinking about it. It's the only way he knows how to distract her. He's singing quietly to her because her ear is only inches away, and he doesn't need to be loud to sound good. He's still got it.
And when she starts singing along and harmonizing with him, he knows he's done a good job. They're on the third verse when someone disrupts them.
"What the hell is this?" a disgustingly familiar voice says angrily, causing Rachel to sit up in Puck's lap.
He cranes his neck to see Jeremy fucking Johnston standing there.
"I told you to leave." Rachel snaps. Puck stands, setting her to her feet and then turning to face Jeremy, his heart racing as he forces himself not to leap over the couch and screw up Jeremy's pretty face.
"I need my bathroom stuff. I didn't know I'd interrupt you screwing around. And you had the gall to call me a cheater?" Jeremy says. "While you have a thing on the side with a loser from your high school days?"
Puck takes a deep breath. He doesn't want to do anything rash because of Rachel, but if she even gives the smallest hint of 'go' sign, he's going to pummel Jeremy until you can't recognize him.
"Noah and I are not screwing around, he's my friend!" Rachel spits. "I don't have to explain myself to you! Even if you came in with him bending me over the coffee table, you'd have no room to talk!"
The image in Puck's head distracts him for a minute, but he focuses again…with difficulty.
"This is bullshit, Rachel." Jeremy says, taking a few steps towards them, moving around the couch.
Puck moves so that he's in front of Rachel once more, and he takes a few steps closer to Jeremy. "Get the fuck out." He snarls.
"This is my condo." Jeremy responds.
"It is most certainly not! You have never paid a penny. Get out. Now!" Rachel orders from behind Puck.
"Either get the fuck out or I'll make what you did to her look like a make up trick." Puck snaps, his fists clenching.
Jeremy stands there for a moment, trying to figure out if Puck is serious, before he shrugs.
"Whatever. She's so not even worth it." He shrugs.
Puck doesn't even mean to lay him out, but at least he doesn't climb on top and keep going like he wants too.
"Fucker!" Jeremy shouts from the floor.
"Noah!" Rachel gasps, grabbing his arm.
"I'm shooting tomorrow, ass hole!" Jeremy shouts as he stands up.
"Like I care. Get the fuck out." He snaps.
Jeremy leaves, forgetting all about his bathroom stuff, and it's then that Puck notices his throbbing knuckles. "Fuck." He mutters, flexing his fist.
"He'll press charges, Puckerman!" Rachel says, her arms crossed over her chest. He knows she's pissed because she didn't call him Noah.
"So? I'll say it was self defense." He shrugs. "I could kill him. Then he won't be pressin' anything." He winces, wiggling his fingers.
"Ugh, come here." She rolls her eyes as she grabs his other wrist and leads him into the kitchen. He watches as she puts some ice in a plastic baggy and then puts the baggy in a small, cloth bag. He's sitting on a bar stool and she walks up, taking his right hand as she stands between his legs and gently puts the ice on his throbbing knuckles.
"I couldn't not punch him, Rachel." He says quietly.
She's staring at his hand. "I know." She responds. "I don't know why I thought it would work if I asked you not too. You lasted longer than I thought you would." She says.
"I really care about you. And he hurt you." He says, his eyes watching her face.
She looks up at him with her big brown eyes and then she leans forward, gently pressing her lips to his cheek. "Thank you for always being here for me." She whispers, resting her forehead against his.
He discards the bag of ice on the table and wraps his arms around her waist, pulling her closer.
"Always, Rachel. I mean that." He whispers before kissing her temple and then enveloping her in his embrace.