A/N: Written for hc_bingo, the prompt: "pining (confession in desperate situation)." Title comes from a song by The Killers.
This River is Wild
It's Kurt's fault, to begin with.
"Puck, I don't know why you even volunteered to help me with this. Now shut up and let me work," he bitches, his nose raised in the air snootily. Puck rolls his eyes.
"Whatever. Finn so owes me," Puck says, grabbing for the other piece of wood. "Why doesn't everyone hate you again?"
"Because unlike you, I have this thing called social skills," Kurt says, and Puck doesn't buy it.
"Except you're totally a dick to like, everyone. You're worse than me, man," Puck says. Kurt sighs and appears to think about this.
"True, but I'm gay, so no-one's allowed to call me out on it."
"So unfair," Puck grumbles. Kurt shrugs.
"I guess. Now let's get on with this."
Puck rotates the wooden frame into place. Kurt looks confused. "Why did you volunteer to help me with this anyway?"
Puck blinks. "It's for Finn. He's my best friend. Why not?"
"He was your best friend, Puck. I'm pretty sure the whole impregnating-his-girlfriend memory hasn't entirely faded. Well, that's what Quinn says anyway."
Puck scowls at him. "Dude, fuck you."
Kurt smirks. "Thought you didn't swing that way, Puckerman."
Puck rolls his eyes. "Whatever. Can we just get this fucking thing finished?"
Kurt shrugs and appears to go along with that plan; shutting up and putting more bits of wood in their places. Puck, to his own surprise, starts talking again. "Anyway, it's like you said. I really sucked as a best friend last year, and I'm trying not to suck so much now."
"And that involves carpentry?"
"It's the little things, alright dude?" Puck says.
"Okay," says Kurt. Then he looks confused. "I just don't see why it's so important to you."
Puck starts getting defensive. "Hey, he's my best friend. Of course I want to fix this shit. Man, I don't know... I want him to look at me the way he used to, okay?"
Kurt raises an eyebrow. "O...kay. Not going to ask about that phrasing," Kurt says. Puck groans.
"You're a piece of shit; you know that?"
"I've noticed," Kurt says cheerily. "So... you miss him?"
Puck frowns. "Dude, I'm not a pussy."
Kurt rolls his eyes.
"You know, if you were worried about Finn you'd think the appropriate move would be to just not do it in the first place. Admittedly, I may not be in the greatest position to judge the irresistibility of Quinn Fabray, but I'm fairly sure her vagina does not contain any magical life-saving substances, so I don't understand how what you did was necessary.
"Dude, shut the fuck up!" Puck yells at him. "You have no fucking idea what happened there. And you and her; you're all buddy-buddy, so don't you have a go at me."
Kurt shrugs. "Fine. I just wanted to know why, that's all."
"Dude, I don't know," says Puck. He's forced to actually think about it. "She's hot. And cool. But all that time... it just felt like she was Finn's. It was weird, thinking of him..."
Fuck, that sounds bad. Kurt gapes at him like he just found something out.
"What?" Puck asks.
"Huh? Oh, nothing," says Kurt. "Just... God, what a cliche," he says, repressing laughter.
"Okay, seriously dude. What the fuck?"
Kurt bites his lip, and does his best to look sympathetic. It doesn't work very well. "You, Puck. You... you want him."
Puck's eyes go wide. "What?"
Kurt looks a little scared, but he's also seems to be trying really really hard to repress that smirk. "Finn. You always have. You can't have him, though, and you don't want to admit it, so instead you go after everything he has. See Figure A, Quinn Fabray," Kurt's voice gets quieter on her name, and Puck just stares at him.
"Dude. What the fuck?"
"Are variants of asking me what I'm on about going to be what your entire response consists of?" Kurt asks. He sighs. "And now, you're going to go into denial, and rip my head off for even suggesting it. You'll probably beat me up, too."
Puck swallows hard. "Dude," he says, "I'm not a fucking–"
"Puck. There are all kinds of offensive slurs you could be about to use right now, all of which would probably apply to me. Stop and think," Kurt says. Puck shakes his head.
"Dude, you're crazy."
Kurt shrugs. "Maybe. But it would explain a lot."
"Don't you have a better response than that?"
Puck can't help but stare at him.
"Screw you. I'm out of here," he says.
Kurt sighs. "I don't care."
Puck storms out.
He does his best not to think about what Kurt said. Dude, it's Hummel – Puck doesn't like the guy at the best of times, and he so isn't going to buy Kurt's psycho theories on why he acts like he does about Finn. Dude, it's his brain; he'd know what he's thinking, right?
It's just Hummel being their resident queer, and while Puck is trying not to be the total dick about that he used to be, he thinks that might be the reason Kurt's seeing gayness everywhere. He even feels bad about it – being the guy who likes dudes in a world full of guys who like chicks must kind of suck; Hummel's probably just trying to feel less freakish.
Not that Hummel's not being a crazy bitch about it though.
So. Puck's not thinking about it. Not about the way Kurt gaped in realization, the way you would if you'd just figured out how to complete a goddamn jigsaw puzzle. And he's definitely not thinking about Finn and what the hell would make Hummel think all that anyway – he's so not thinking of that short, spiky hair; or the dumbass way of talking that just makes him seem nice; or the stupid smile that everyone wants to see; or the way Finn looks, feels when they're in the change rooms and he forgets how awkward it all is, so he comes over and Puck can see–
Yeah. So not thinking about it.
Rachel Berry is fucking hot. Crazy bitch, sure, but fine. Pity he never got the good stuff when he was going out with her – still, the whole thing made his mom happy.
He watches her and Finn; she's leaning on his shoulder and listing songs she thinks they should perform. Mr. Schue looks tired, and the rest of them just seem slightly scared of her. Puck rolls his eyes. Finn just looks kind of stoned, because he usually looks that way around Rachel. It was the same with Quinn, before everything went to hell. Finn's kind of retarded like that.
(And Puck's so not thinking of getting that look fixed on him; maybe sharing some actual weed and breathing it into his mouth, until it just turns into a sloppy, needy make-out session with Finn–
"Shut it, Berry. Can the rest of us talk?" Puck says. She glares at him.
Mr. Schue looks at him expectantly. "Puck, did you have an...?"
"What? Ah, nah. Just wanted to give the rest of these dudes a chance. No offense, Rach, but you talk a lot.
She pouts, but she has her 'okay, that's fair but I am Rachel Berry so I will not say it aloud' face. So it's all cool.
Finn snakes his arm around Rachel's lower back when he thinks nobody's looking, dropping dangerously close to her ass. It is a very nice ass. Puck briefly entertains thoughts of it; of bending her over, and putting her pouty lips to much better use...
Not that he would, because dude, look how bad that went with the Quinn thing, but still. No harm in looking.
The thing about Finn and Rachel is: they're really distracting. The make-out more often and more publicly than any two people Puck's ever known – although that might just be that he's more likely to notice them, for some reason he's so not thinking about. It gets kind of annoying at points, but whatever. Finn is happy, and like, not all bitter about the Quinn thing, so Puck is really giving Berry the credit she's owed.
Still. He has a locker to get to.
"Dude. Dudette. Move," he says gruffly. "I need stuff."
They break apart, and Puck notices – just for a second – the redness of their (his) lips. Then he shrugs it off. "You guys know you're going to hurt yourselves after too long, right? And I'm telling you this."
"Jealous much?" Rachel asks, nervously pulling on that cheesy name necklace Finn gave her a while ago.
Kurt's gaping flashes into Puck's head for a second. He pushes it back down.
"Please. I'm just saying," he says. "Why are you two here anyway? Your lockers are nowhere near mine."
"Uh... I actually needed to talk to you. Wanted you to tell Tanaka I can't make practice today," says Finn, rubbing the back of his neck nervously.
Puck groans. "Dude, he'll kill me," he whines.
"Remember that time you–"
"Fine," Puck says. Then he blinks. "Wait, why are you..."
He raises an eyebrow at Finn, who looks down and blushes slightly. He turns to Rachel, who just glares at him. The 'don't you dare think dirty thoughts about me' glare. Which, dude, is hard – no pun intended.
He's still a bit pissed though.
Not that he has any problem with Finn getting laid (with Rachel; her being the only one he takes home). It's just annoying that he's ditching practice for it, okay? Plus, when he was dating Berry she wouldn't let him past first base, so it's totally unfair. And that's all he's jealous of, really.
(Shut up, stupid voice at the back of his head that sounds like Hummel).
Still, Puck did knock up the dude's girlfriend, so he kind of owes Finn some slack.
"Fine," he says, and they both seem relieved not to have to answer the question. Puck finds it harder to swallow than he should.
"Thanks man," Finn says, giving a grateful squeeze of the arm. Then he and Rachel walk off, hand in hand and giggling.
Puck frowns for some reason he doesn't know, and rubs that arm. It kind of tickles.
He doesn't do it on purpose. Really. She's just there, and it seems like a good idea at the time.
"Noah, hello," she says, with that psycho-bouncy tone she alone has mastered. "I just wanted to ask you about a new duet I was considering for Glee; Finn doesn't think he can do it, and I know the attitude you usually take to these things, but you have a strong voice and I just think–"
He kisses her to shut her up. He thinks, anyway. Dude, she's a hot chick, and since when does he need reasons to make out with hot chicks?
For a second she's too shocked to do anything but just stand there, but that ends pretty quickly, and she leaps away to slap him. Hard.
"What the fuck?" she shrieks, and did Rachel Berry just swear? "What is wrong with you, Puck?"
"I – I–"
"Don't," she says. "You know, Finn thought you had actually learned something from the whole Quinn debacle. Guess he was wrong. You're pathetic," she says.
"Rachel, it wasn't–"
"Do not give me excuses, Puck," she says. "You really are a slave to your nature, aren't you? No conscience or anything, oh no; you can't help it. The sole object of the game is sex, and to hell with whoever it hurts in the process?"
He doesn't answer. At least partially because of that dark voice at the back of his head telling him she's right (and that darker voice further back in his head telling him she's wrong).
She just stares at him. "Finn and I? Are happy together, Puck. I don't know what your problem with that is, but I should probably tell him exactly how little you have changed."
She storms out before he can say anything to convince her not to. Like he's got any excuse for that anyway.
He doesn't really expect Finn to start a fight in the middle of Glee. Although the guy's done it before, so Puck's not sure why he's that surprised.
At least Finn doesn't punch him in the face this time.
"What the fuck?" Finn roars, holding Puck against the wall. Little bits of spit land on Puck's face, while the whole Glee club stands and stares. Quinn looks like she wants to be sick, while Rachel holds her hand over her mouth, aghast.
"Dude, I don't know–"
"Don't give me that shit!" Finn says, shoving him by the shoulders. "Rachel told me about the moves you made, you fucking asshole!"
You know, he didn't actually think she meant that. Well, fuck.
"Dude, I can – Okay, no, I can't explain, but–"
"I don't care, Puck! You haven't fucking changed!" Finn yells, and Puck sees Quinn wince from behind them. "You'll keep doing this. And I am fucking through with it."
Finn lets him go, but then he turns on his heel to go, and Puck can't let him. Because he means it this time, and Puck has totally fucked him over again (not to the same extent, but that's more to do with Berry being cool than anything), and if Puck doesn't do something now it's over. For them, forever, and he doesn't fucking care if that's the gayest thought he's ever had because he just doesn't want to lose Finn, okay?
"Dude, will you stop and wait and listen?" Puck grabs him by the arm, spinning him around.
"To what, Puck. What magical excuse can you pull out of your ass this time?"
"I don't know!"
"Then I'm gone."
Puck doesn't even know what he's doing. He doesn't realize what he's done until he hears the gasps from the entire club and feels his own lips pressed against Finn's; dry, warm and smooth. The taste like home-baked bread, and they make Puck feel comfortable.
Finn doesn't even get time to snap out of his shock and push Puck away before Puck does it himself. He's mostly thinking holy shit what the fuck did I just do?
"What the hell, Puck?" Finn asks, but he's quiet this time. Like he's just trying to understand.
"I – I–" Puck cannot believe he's doing this. Stammering like a moron. But really, if Finn's looking for understanding.
"I don't..." the awkward silence hangs painfully between them, and Puck bites his lip anxiously. If Finn goes now, it's even more screwed over than before. And Puck's pretty sure he just gave up a pretty big chunk of his persona for Finn, so it would totally be unfair if the guy ran out now.
Their fellow Glee clubbers stare at them.
"Finn, I..." Puck doesn't know how to finish that sentence. There are those two words he's desperate to avoid using, even though the part of his mind telling him they're not true is currently in critical con-fucking-dition."
"...I should go," Finn eventually says, before he runs and leaves away. He doesn't seem mad now – he seems scared. It's really not much of a comfort.
Puck collapses on one of the chairs, burying his head in his hands. What did he just do?
"So... what just happened?" he hears Wheels ask, and it draws his head back up. He's just in time to see Rachel give a choked sob, and it makes him feel that sharp stab of guilt. For whatever reason he was doing it, that one attempted-kiss totally fucked things up big time. Again.
Quinn stares at him like she's figured everything out, and fuck.
Kurt bites his lip, and looks thoughtful. "You know, for the record," he says, "I would say 'I told you so' right now, but it seems highly inappropriate."
Everyone else looks confused, but Puck just groans. "Fuck you, Hummel," he says, but he's not actually pissed at Kurt. This just... sucks.
He walks out slowly. He's not following Finn; he just doesn't want to be around people right now.
Kurt finds him moping in the auditorium. And yes, Puck will admit it – he's moping. He's a stud, so he shouldn't be, but whatever – he thinks these are pretty special circumstances.
"Hey," says Kurt, walking to where Puck sits languidly on the stage. Puck avoids his eyes.
"Fuck off, Hummel."
Kurt grimaces down at the floor, before he kneels next to Puck. "For your information, this surface is filthy. I am going through a lot for you here."
"Go you," says Puck unenthusiastically. He so doesn't want to talk right now.
"What do you think?" Puck asks.
"Okay, yes, stupid question," says Kurt. He bites his lip. "So, when I called you out on this and you called me crazy, were you lying, or in deep, deep denial?"
"Always the river in fucking Egypt, man," Puck says. "Dammit. This sucks."
"Agreed," says Kurt. Puck collapses on the ground.
"What do you think Finn'll do?" Puck asks. Kurt shrugs.
"I'm not sure," Kurt says. "Hopefully, he won't have the elaborate explosion he once had at me at you, since he was meant to have learned his lesson. Although your tendencies towards his girlfriends because of it might change things. Then again, I was all but stalking him, so who the fuck knows."
Puck groans. "Okay, yeah, I suck. Thanks for reminding me, dude."
Kurt shrugs. "Sorry. I'll admit, I'm always a little more likely to judge any actions that involve romantic intentions toward Rachel Berry," Kurt emphasizes this with an overblown shudder. Puck rolls his eyes.
"Dude, enough with the bitching about Berry. She's not that bad. Seriously, if vagina was your thing, I would so call you out on being into her crazy ass."
"Ew. Not funny, Puck," Kurt says. "And you are hopelessly crude."
"Of all my problems, that seems a bit small."
"Fair point," says Kurt.
Puck sighs. "I just don't get it. I mean... No offense to you dude; each to his own and whatever, but I'm not gay. Really. But this Finn thing so doesn't fit in with that, and the denial thing... didn't work out so well."
"Bisexuality does exist, Puck."
"Yeah, but isn't that like, mostly drunk chicks in college making out or whatever?"
Kurt looks annoyed. "Okay, I don't know if that's shockingly offensive and ignorant; or just sad, given you're the one it probably applies to."
Puck shrugs. "Whatever," he says. "You know, I totally would not have expected you to be cool and help me deal with this. Given how shit I was to you about which way you swung for like, ever."
Kurt shrugs. "Just call me your fairy godmother," he says, and Puck even manages to smile at the pun. "Besides, I sympathize with unrequited gay love for one certain Finn Hudson. Well, except for that part of me that's annoyed because you've avoided all the pining and angsting I've gone through, thanks to your denial; but that part of me is a whiny little bitch, so heed it not."
Puck's in his room when his phone rings. He checks the caller ID. Finn.
Well, he wasn't expecting that one.
Puck reluctantly answers. "What is it?" he asks. "Are you just here to gloat? Because you're that fucking irresistible?"
There's an awkward silence.
"...You could have just told me, you know," Finn says. Puck sighs.
"Well, that would have required having figured it out myself, but thanks for the tip," he says. "Thanks for not freaking out, by the way."
"Sorry," says Finn. "I just... it was weird, you know? Plus, I was still pissed at you about the Rachel thing."
"Really? Didn't notice," Puck snarks.
"Okay, maybe I kind of overreacted, but – it was the Quinn thing, you know?" Finn says. "You knocked up my girlfriend, dude. I was already doing the 'forgiving you' thing pretty badly. It seemed like you hadn't changed... and it sucked."
Puck shrugs, even though Finn can't see it. "Guess I hadn't," he says. "Are you going to freak out any more?"
"Nah," says Finn. Then he pauses. "Okay, I probably will at some point, but I'm going to try really hard not to, and feel totally guilty if I do."
"...Thanks?" Puck says, and they both laugh. "Okay, how much did Kurt nag you into making this call.
There's an awkward silence. "...A bit, but I kind of knew I had to do it anyway, so whatever."
"Alright then," says Puck. "You know, you can totally hang up now if you want. I want mind."
"Well, yeah, but I don't think I do. Want," Finn says, clarifying that last bit. "This sucks. I'm sorry, you know?"
"Dude, I know."