Disclaimer: I don't own Glee.
Their friendship is over.
It's not that hard to believe. It's his fault (it generally is). He and his selfish ways screwed it right up, the same way that he's always screwed things up. His mother told him he was like his father, and this was something that he'd pretend made sense to him, because his father was amazing, and brilliant, and...and gone. His father: the rock star. Family always meant number two.
But he never wanted that. He never wanted to just leave like that. He knew he wasn't ready to be a parent (he was still in high school for crying out loud), but he wasn't a deadbeat. And so he gave Quinn whatever he had. There was nothing more to lose. Finn was out of his life, and his feelings for Quinn had just petered out into nothingness, nothing but a brief infatuation. But he wasn't going to screw this up. He was going to be a father, like it or not, and maybe this would be the one thing in his life that didn't end up fucked up. This baby.
And he was going to do anything to save this one thing.
Still, whenever he sees Finn, his best friend, he feels like shit. The other boy just gives him that awful stare, like he's been betrayed, and yes he has, so he guesses he kind of deserves that. But as many times as he tries to push it out of his mind that Finn and him are no longer friends, it never fully registers.
Then there's Berry and her new boyfriend. The girl he gave up who is still, somehow, always in his life.
It's just a culmination of the many, many things that he's messed up in his life.
He passes Finn in the hall again. He's blatantly staring at Berry, he's eyebrows scrunched tightly like the sight of her is something that's difficult to understand (knowing Finn, it probably is). He's leaning against the classroom door watching, and it's obvious in that one look that he's still hung up on Berry. Not even Quinn was ever able to capture his full attention like that.
He watches Finn from a distance. He doesn't understand it. This fixation on Rachel Berry. Why she's so damn intriguing. Why Finn can't stop looking at her.
His attention moves from Finn to Finn's line of vision. Berry's laughing away at something that that Jesse kid's said. Her hair is all over her face, she's laughing so hard, and he has this urge to just go up to her and push it back. Comb his fingers through her silky hair, but then Jesse's doing it. Jesse's running his too big hands through her hair, and it just isn't right. It doesn't look right.
Somehow he manages to rip his eyes away from the two of them, and his gaze meets with Finn. Finn, who he still hasn't had a real conversation with since he found out. Finn, who let Rachel Berry slip right out from under his fingers. Finn, his ex-best friend.
And Finn's looking at him in a way that he's never looked at him before. With pity.
He realises a second later that he's shooting Finn the exact same look.
"Why'd you give her up?"
He's stuffing his dirty clothes messily into his bag when he asks the question. It's only him and Finn in the locker room, and there's an awkward air about the place. He hasn't been fully alone with Finn since all the drama started, he's never tried to confront the issue. Normally he'd like to keep it that way, but he can't help but let curiosity get the better of him this time.
Finn, who's pulling on his shirt, turns to look at him, surprised. Confusion flickers past for a fraction of a second, and then he's back to his normal expression. His lips tighten just that little bit, and he clenches his fingers so subtly that Puck only just catches it in his peripheral vision.
"Why do you think?" He shakes his head in disbelief, frustrated at the other boy.
Puck opens his mouth to make a snappy remark, but nothing comes out. There are times when you can joke with your (ex) best friend, and there are times when you can't. And it sucks. It sucks that the both of them have been reduced to this because of one stupid night that he won't ever be able to take back.
He can't look Finn in the face, but he manages to compose himself, trying to feel as normal on the inside as he looks on the outside. He doesn't think he will ever be able to feel normal again, but the least he can do is try. The previous brief glance at Finn, with his anger and his pain and his hurt, show that they're talking about a different issue here. Finn thinks this is about Quinn. Finn thinks this is about Puck. But it's not. And that just makes Puck feel all that much god damn worse.
"Not...I'm not talking about..." He can't say Quinn's name because then it brings everything out in the open so he tries a different tactic. "Rachel. Why'd you give Rachel up?"
Everything changes once Rachel's name is out. Finn's defensive stance drops, and he slumps, defeated, onto the bench where his bag is. Puck tentatively goes to sit next to him. He's unsure about what to do because what can he say? He's fucked things up royally and Finn has every right to punch him, he almost wants him to because then it might make him feel a little less like the worst friend ever, but he knows Finn's not going to do that. Finn's too good of a guy, and that's one of the things that Puck kind of hates about him.
"I don't know." He sounds strained, contemplative. Puck's kind of hopeful because, though he wants to hear about Rachel, he wants his friend back. He honestly has no one else, and Finn has always, always been there for him when he needed him, and now Puck just wants to return the favour. Be there for him when Finn needs him. Even if it's all his fault. And even if Puck needs Finn just as much as Finn needs Puck.
He laughs, darkly, and turns to face Puck. Puck, who's trying so hard not to let the way this affects him show on the outside. Puck who's just scared that everything is lost and unsalvageable, because it can't be. There has to be something more, and their friendship has to be worth something more than one stupid mistake. A big mistake, sure, but he needs that validation, and Finn's hurt is slowly killing him on the inside. They're supposed to be best friends. It's always been this way.
It's funny how you never really miss something until you face it head on.
"Why'd you give her up?" Finn asks, countering him, and he has nothing to say to that. He wants to say that she was the one that broke up with him, that they were too different, that that was the reason why he let her walk away and ignored that pathetic fluttering in his insides as she kept walking. That when he was by himself, in his room, he kept the sweater (the one with the cat on it) she left at his place that one time she came over, and he put it under his pillow. He wants to tell Finn that he hates him for it because it was his fault.
He doesn't. Just shrugs, like the question doesn't matter (even though it so clearly does), and pretends like the both of them aren't hurting. Aren't aching. That it doesn't matter that Berry wanted Finn, and Puck wanted Berry, and that none of this is about Quinn. None of this was ever about Quinn. And how he fucking hates Finn. He fucking hates him. The same way that he fucking needs Finn, his best friend back, and it's ripping him in two.
Instead, he gets up from the bench, grabs his bag, and walks out of the room without looking behind him. He doesn't need this shit. He doesn't need any of this.
He's out the door by the time Finn calls his name a moment later.
The next day, Mr Schue decides to shake things up. At first he talks about it being nothing new, duets, something that they've all done (or Finn, Jesse and Rachel anyway) a million times before. But then he starts pairing them up, and instead of the usual Rachel and Jesse, or Rachel and Finn, it's Rachel and Mercedes. The members look up at him in disbelief, and Mr Schue's smiling wryly, saying that it's the new assignment for the week. Same sex pairings. Come up with an arrangement that will suit both your individual styles.
Puck knows who he's paired up with before Mr Schue even says his name. Either the man is an idiot that doesn't know anything about handling personal issues, or he's a genius. Puck doesn't know what to do. He's not ready for this, and he's sure that Finn isn't either, judging by the way he's hunched forward, eyebrows furrowed the way they always are when he's troubled. Finn's dim, but Puck can tell from his position that he knows exactly what's going to happen.
"Finn and Puck." Mr Schue says, and Puck's pretty much tuned him out at this point.
He wants to tell Mr Schue that this is a bad idea. To stick him with Artie, Mike or Matt. Heck, even Kurt would be better. But, really, what can he say? He doesn't want to work with Finn because he slept with Finn's girlfriend? He destroyed the foundation that their relationship was built on? And he feels like shit, he really does, but he doesn't know how else to fixthis. A duet isn't going to do anything. Mr Schue is just meddling in their affairs. He has to know exactly what is going to happen, yet he's still stuck them together.
Mr Schue doesn't look up from the sheet of names he's reading from, but he does pause for the slightest second, almost as though he thinks that someone will speak up. Someone will say something. Puck can't say anything, but Finn can, and he's anticipating Finn's voice at any moment, but when there's nothing, in surprise, he rotates his body around to look at Finn. Finn's in the same position as before, but he looks up for the briefest time. He meets Puck's eyes, and then they're back at Mr Schue again with a slight nod of his head.
Mr Schue hands them their sheet music, and Puck shuffles over to where Finn's sitting, unable to even look at the taller boy.
He's such a coward.
There are a lot of things that Puck doesn't care about. He doesn't care about anyone other than himself, and that's always been his philosophy. He doesn't need anyone, not attachment or commitment, and that's always been evident in his relationships. It's just usually applied when it comes to girls, not his friends.
Finn is a whole other story.
The thing with having a friend is that you can't discard them, or dump them. Not in the same way that Puck always manages to do with girls. Girls are easy. You have fun, and once you get tired of them, that's the end. There's always another one that can replace the one that you've just dropped. But it's not the same when it comes to friends. Not when he doesn't have many friends in the first place because most people are scared of him, and that's always been ok, because he had Finn.
Finn, who he's known for practically all of his schooling life. Who has always been there throughout it all, like when he's dad left, when he's mother went through her bout of depression. Finn was always there. And he never complained. Not once. Not even that time when Puck knew for certain that his dad wasn't coming home, and he told Finn to piss off, punched him, gave him a black eye. Through it all, Finn stayed, and how did Puck repay him? By sleeping with his girlfriend.
By letting himself feel something for Rachel when Finn's obviously still in love with her.
It's not right. He knows it. It's just that he can't do anything about it. The same way that Finn can't do anything about his own feelings. And all he really wants is to make it better. To rebuild the foundation of their friendship because he can feel the pieces slipping through his fingers, and he doesn't know if he can just let that go the way his brain is telling him to. To take the easy way out. But then there's that silly, unresolved feeling in the pit of his stomach that's telling him that all those years must have meant something, and it's his turn to take some kind of initiative.
And though his brain is telling him to walk away, it's his heart that wins out in the end.
Because, through it all, Finn was the one who cared, and now it's Puck's turn to put his front foot forward. His turn to do the caring.
Because Finn's his best friend. And he'd never tell anyone (ever) but it's like there's a huge gaping hole in his insides without him.
Twenty minutes after school is over, he's standing at Finn's doorstep, guitar slung on his back. He tries to knock on the door only to stuff his hands back into his pockets. He doesn't know why he feels so nervous (nervous isn't his thing), but he's sure he can feel his heart pumping just that little bit faster, his palms are a little more damp than usual, and all he really wants to do is turn around and go home as fast as he can, but then he remembers that Finn needs him. Finn needs him and he can't just walk away from this. He's in too deep now. He knows now that he has too much to lose, and he's lost so much already he just needs something to hold onto.
So with another deep breath, he finds that courage, and he's knocking on Finn's door.
He doesn't hear anything for a full minute, so he taps the door again as gently as possible. Part of him wishes that Finn's not home, that way he can take the easy way out, go home, and forget that he even ever tried in the first place.
But then there are the footsteps, and there's no turning back now. All he can do is hope that it's not Finn's mother. He hasn't talked to Mrs Hudson since before the whole ordeal. He's not sure he can deal with anymore screaming mothers. One is enough for him. Not when everything between him and Finn is still so raw, because even if it's been awhile, by bringing everything up the other day, he brought it all back up to the surface again.
His eyes are glued to the tiny cracks on the door, made that one time Finn and him, both eight, were trying to break it down the way they saw the police did it in the movies. Instead, they'd just ended up smashing their bony shoulders against the door and writhing around on the floor in pain. He remembered that Mrs Hudson and her ice-cream had made everything worthwhile in the end.
The door opened, and he felt sick. It was Finn. Looking at him with a puzzled expression, his eyes asking why are you here, before noting the guitar on Puck's back. The bewilderment fades from his face a moment later, and he shuffles awkwardly to the side, gesturing with his other hand for Puck to come in.
Usually he can read Finn's emotions like the back of his hand, but today he can't make out any distinguishing emotions from the way Finn's looking at him (or not looking at him), and it makes everything a lot harder to figure out. Like where he and Finn stand having had their little talk. And whether Finn still hates him. Because he's not sure of anything anymore.
He waits around uncertainly while Finn shuts the door. If this had been two months ago, he'd already been lounging around on Finn's couch, rummaging around for the remote, his feet on the table. But things have changed (doesn't he know it), and now he's practically a stranger in the Hudson household.
The taller boy walks into his room, and Puck's unsure about what to do next. Thankfully, he appears a second later, sheet music in hand, and walks over to the couch. Puck follows him, sitting down right on the edge, as far as he can get, while on the same couch as the other boy.
Finn clears his throat. They haven't said anything to one another yet, and this whole five minutes have been the tensest, most awkward five minutes of his life. And nothing used to be awkward between him and Finn. He can't remember one instance of awkwardness. Even when they fought before this, the trivial fights, it was never this tense.
"So I was thinking we could start with this." Finn hands him a few pieces of sheet music and Puck just stares at them blankly, not really focusing on the notes on the page.
He supresses a sigh. This is going to be the longest rehearsal of his life.
After about twenty minutes, Puck excuses himself to go to the bathroom. The uncomfortable atmosphere feels unnatural. Especially since it's all happening in Finn's house, a place he's only been to a thousand times before. Other than the sound of him rhythmically playing along to the strings on his guitar, and the soft sound of Finn's voice, there's just silence. None of them say anything to one another. The sound of the clock on the wall the only thing managing to fill in the gaps of uneasiness whenever Puck stuffs up a note or Finn forgets a lyric.
Finn rubs his hand over his face, looking considerably relieved that the silence has been broken. He nods once before Puck gets up and places the guitar carefully on the couch, heading down the part of the house that he's been through so many times before.
As he turns a corner, he notices that Finn's door is slightly ajar. He turns around and sees that Finn's not looking. He's staring out of the window kind of like he's half dreaming and concentrating at the same time.
Hesitantly, he slips inside Finn's room, closing the door lightly behind him. It looks the same as it always has. The same way it's been for most of the years that Puck's known Finn. Finn's not a messy guy. Well, not as messy as Puck is anyway, and he notes that even the pile of clothes on his floor have been slightly folded. His bed is unmade, and his pyjamas lie on top of his bed sheets. Puck's hand plunges underneath Finn's pillow to find the miniature football that he gave the other boy the day they both tried out for the football team. The one he always keeps beneath his pillow. His lucky charm. He stares at it for a moment, unsure on what to do next, before stuffing it into his jacket pocket. He doesn't know why he does it. He doesn't know why the stupid, little object makes his stomach feel like that gaping hole has grown bigger. It just has a lot of memories attached to it, he guesses.
He pushes his hands into his pockets, feeling the cold, skin of the football, and makes his way over to Finn's desk. It's pretty empty. A bunch of his school books are swept to the side, and there's some ridiculous looking cat calendar on the wall hanging over his desk. On closer inspection he sees that the cats have human faces. They have Rachel and Finn faces.
He stomach does a belly flop, a feeling even stronger than when he saw the football. When they were dating, Rachel never gave him a cat calendar. Not that he cares. Because he would have thrown it away anyway. And the fact that Finn even kept it in the first place shows how much Rachel Berry's sucked him in.
Berry's sweater on the other hand is another story. He keeps it because...because it's stupid. And it reminds him of how much it sucked to be dating her. With her musical theatre, and her practising, and her soft hair, and brown eyes. He realises he's not very good at lying to himself. And though he tries to shake away the feeling of the stupid, insignificant cat calendar, it grates at him. Because Rachel always liked Finn better. And Finn was always the star. He was always the perfect one. The one people looked up to and weren't afraid of. The hatred flares up in him again, jealousy taking hold of him once again, like that time with Quinn. And he can't stand that he's in Finn's house. In Finn's room. Looking at a fucking cat calendar that Berry probably slaved over. Perfected. Just so that precious Finn could take and hang up on his wall. He sees the red crosses over each day, imagines Finn's big hand reaching over every morning to cross another day of, and he almost loses it. He almost rips the calendar off the wall to tear it to shreds when something catches his attention.
Something's sticking out of Finn's pillowcase. He hadn't seen it when he'd reached underneath it, but he must have accidentally shifted it. He walks over, still angry, but now more in control, and pulls the piece of paper out, flipping it over.
It's a photograph. Kind of faded and torn at the edges, but it's enough to make the anger in his heart diminish. He's not thinking about cat calendars, or sweaters, or Berry. He focuses on the picture, and there's this larger pang in his stomach this time. Something that, unlike everything else, he can feel echoing in his heart.
The photo is of him and Finn on the football field, arms slung over one another's shoulders. It's of the first time they won a game. Before Finn had Quinn, before Rachel Berry, before every factor that had caused their friendship to end had entered into their lives. It's just the both of them beaming, and Puck can't remember a time that he felt that happy. He can't remember when he and Finn were that close, and he's so confused because he misses that. He misses having Finn there to support him. He misses Finn's smile and words of encouragement. He misses his best friend. And he doesn't know whether he's supposed to be angry, or jealous, or miserable now that Finn's gone.
Dazed, he looks at the picture, unable to take his eyes off it for a second, before reluctantly placing the tattered photograph back underneath his ex-best friend's pillow. His eyes linger on the pillow, before he looks up at the door.
Finn's standing there with his jaw clenched and fists tight.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Puck sees the white of Finn's knuckles.
He can feel the anger radiating off of the other boy, and a few minutes before he'd have been in the same position. But things have changed, and now he just feels weak and worn out at having to pretend that everything's always so fuckingok. And despite his competitive nature, he doesn't have it in him to fight the other boy. Not now.
"I saw the photo." He looks down at his fingers because it's easier than looking Finn in the eye.
"Screw you." Finn hisses harshly, and he makes a move towards Puck, who doesn't even try to defend himself.
His fist clenched tight, he makes to hit him, and it's only then that Puck looks him in the eye. Finn loses all resistance. The anger fades from his eyes, and he's letting go of the front of the boy's shirt. He slouches down onto his bed, hands over his head, fingers pulling at his hair. Puck sits down next to him, resisting the urge to pat him on the back, or to calm him down or something.
They haven't talked in so long, and they'd never been all that good with all this emotional crap in the first place, but he supposes that they have to start somewhere.
"She broke up with me for you, you know." Puck looks at Finn uncertainly. Part of him would like to avoid this talk forever, but they can't. He knows they can't. They've gone on for too long without talking.
"What?" Finn moves his hands away from his head to look at Puck.
"Berry. She was always hung up on you." It kind of feels like he's admitting defeat, and maybe he is, because it hurts that he was the stepping stone to Finn. It hurts that no one wants him, and he's always the one left craving someone. Deep down it's the reason why he goes through girls so fast. He's always looking for something that he can never find.
Finn doesn't say anything for a bit. Puck follows his gaze to the cat calendar on the wall. He'd ask Finn why he has a fucking cat calendar on the wall when he's allergic to cats, but he already knows the answer. He wants to joke around, tell him that Berry's crazy (because she is), and he wants them to laugh about it. To laugh about the stupid predicament they're both in. Loving the same girl who they both overlooked in the first place. But he knows that they're not ready for that. They're not at that stage, and maybe they never will be.
"Well, she doesn't need the both of us now." Finn breaks Puck from his thoughts. And he's right. Berry doesn't need them now that she has that Vocal Adrenalin kid. They've both screwed up on that front.
But for the first time, he feels like he's not burdening all the pain all by himself. He has Finn to share that with.
They don't end up finishing the rehearsal, and the next day, Pucks skips Glee. He knows he's going to get shit from Mr Schue for not turning up, and for not contributing to class. Berry will nag at him about how he's letting the rest of the club down, but he doesn't really care.
He doesn't want to go to glee. Pretend to be happy. See Rachel with Jesse, and interact with Finn after their vague little heart to heart the day before. He doesn't want to deal with all of that crap right now, so he takes the easy way out. It's what he's done for most of his life, so why stop now?
He's sitting around in the locker room because no one else is around, and it's the quietest place he can get to, when someone barrels through the door. It's Finn. It always seems to be Finn now, and even Finn doesn't seem all that surprised to see him.
"Couldn't handle going to Glee." He says, scratching his head. Puck gives him a nod in acknowledgement, and he sits down on the bench next to him.
There's that tension in the air again, but this time it seems to have evaporated a little. Possibly due to them having gotten some of what had been bothering them out in the open.
"She used to make me practise every day after school." Finn says kind of absently, he gives a hollow laugh. "I used to hate it. I used to pretend I was sick just so I wouldn't have to go over to her place and rehearse."
Puck gives him a smirk. "Same. At least we don't have to do that anymore."
Finn fidgets with his hands. He has something in them. A piece of paper or something.
"But I kind of wish I could rehearse with her now." He plays around with whatever he's holding.
"Yeah." Puck says, softly.
Finn continues to fidget, and Puck's unsure of whether he's aware of it. He knows that they're avoiding the real issue. Not Quinn, but the baby, and what he did, and how he could do it. They're bonding over Rachel of all things. They're bonding over the girl they both want and can't have. What happens when that changes? If it does? Do they just go back to being the way they were before their little confessions. Puck knows that he doesn't want that. He knows that he's not sure he can take the anger of it all again. But at the moment, though what they're saying actually means something to the both of them. It doesn't mean anything for their relationship in the long-term. It's just a superficial conversation. The easiest topic that they can talk about.
He doesn't want to bring it up because he's afraid that it'll break their already fragile bond. And he knows that he'll need to progress with care when addressing the issue because it's still so raw and uncovered. He's progressing into dangerous territory, but regardless of the consequences it bursts out anyway.
"I miss you, man." He spies the photograph in Finn's hand, all old and scratched up, but so happy, and he can't help but want that back. The words are so unlike him, and he doesn't know where they even come from, but they're true, and there's no taking them back now.
Finn's jaw clenches, like he's caught between being both mad and upset. When he does that he looks like he's a little boy, and that hits so close to home for Puck. He's known Finn for practically his whole life. He's known Finn for as long as it counts, and his face, so conflicted and wounded is like a flashback to an earlier time. It's like being hit with a wave of nostalgia.
"Then why'd you do it?" He knows that this time the both of them are on the same wavelength. This is about going deeper into everything than they've ever been before.
Puck goes for honesty. There's no point lying. He wouldn't know what to say if he tried.
"Because I was jealous." He keeps his eyes focused on the ground. On the walls. On the lockers. Anything so long as he doesn't have to look Finn in the eye. Because this is damn hard for him to admit. It's damn hard because this is a relationship that he's striving hard to keep. Because there have been many relationships in his life, but this one is the one that counts the most right now.
Finn shakes his head, incredulously. The remnants of his anger still remain. "Why?"
"You had the perfect girlfriend. The perfect life. Everyone wants to be you for fuck's sake." He throws his hands in the air in frustration. Finn has to know this. He has to know that he's got everything, and that Puck's stupid life, with his endless array of girls, his bullying, his fucking pool cleaning business, can never match up to Finn Hudson's. He even failed when it came to Rachel Berry. And he still sort of wants to strangle Finn over it all, but at the same time he doesn't. Because that's where he went wrong the last time. He screwed it all up with his spur of the moment thoughtlessness, and it just made everything worse. All of this isn't worth losing his best friend for.
Finn purses his lips as though he's unsure as to how to go on. He breaks his gaze from Puck to stare up at the ceiling in exasperation.
"You're so stupid. You're so fucking stupid." Finn stands up, facing Puck, and looks down at the other boy. "You don't know how good you have it. At least your dad's still fucking alive, ok? Sure, he may be a piece of crap excuse of a dad, but at least he's alive. You can still talk to him on the fucking phone. And you can still get birthday presents from him. And get lessons by him on how to play the fucking guitar."
Finn stops for a second, taking a breath before launching back into his rant, voice increasing in volume with every word.
"Me? The perfect life? You've got to be kidding me. Quinn never really wanted me. Not enough to have sex with anyway. She chose you over me. She had sex with you even though I was the one who was supposed to be her boyfriend. She chose you with your one night stands instead. It was never about the sex, but that she did it with you means that you actually meant something to her. And Rachel? I was too hung up on Quinn to be the boyfriend she needed, and by the time I realised it, it was too late. And then there's you. My best friend. Who slept with my girlfriend. Who got her pregnant. You were supposed to be my best friend and best friend's don't fucking do that."
He runs a hand through his hair, obviously distressed. Puck wants to do something, wants to say something, but nothing comes out.
"I was jealous of you too, you know. But that doesn't mean I would ever sleep with your girlfriend, if you had one. You were always able to get away with stuff that I wasn't able to. I'm not perfect. Far from it. So don't you fucking dare tell me that you miss me, because I hate you. I fucking hate you because I needed my best friend with me when I went through my break up with Quinn. I needed him with me when I realised I'd truly fucked things up with Rachel. I needed you there, but you weren't."
Finn's rubbing at his face furiously, and Puck can see that the boy's trying not to cry. The taller boy's hunched over now, on the floor, leaning against the wall, palms pressed to his face. And Puck's still shocked over Finn's words. He'd never have thought that Finn was suffering just as much as him. He'd never have thought that Finn had even given a damn about him after what he'd done.
Finn never gets this angry. He's always been the calm one of the two of them. The nice one. And everything that's spilt out of his mouth has made it clear to Puck that Finn's a better pretender than he's given him credit for. Finn has been hurting for a long time too, even before everything with Quinn, and the fact that it's all officially out in the open now is some kind of a relief. He's not sure if they will ever be able to go back to the way it used to be, whether they can fix what's broken down, but he's going to give it a shot. Finn's the one who had always fixed it before, and now it's his turn.
He gets up from the bench and makes his way over to where Finn is sitting, slouched over. He forces his arm around Finn's body, there's a feeble struggle and a weak "don't fucking touch me", before Finn gives in, and Puck's arms wrap around the other boy, who only then starts to cry. Really cry. And he can feel Finn's fingers gripping so hard onto the material of his shirt he's sure there are going to be nail marks on his skin later on. But he doesn't care.
He lets Finn sob, lets the boy cry his eyes out, because this is the least he can do. And he needs this just as much as Finn does. He's so hurt, and tired, and confused from all the emotions clashing with one another in his chest, that this is a release for him. Hugging his best friend like it's the end of the world.
They don't say anything else. Enough has been said. There are too many words already filling up their minds that they don't need to add to them. They stay like that for what feels like an eternity, and even when they get up to go home, nothing is exchanged. No words, or gestures. It's like the silence at Finn's house again, only without the awkwardness. They've been through too much today for it to end in awkwardness.
They go home separately, which doesn't come as much of a surprise, and by the time Puck's home he's completely spent. Despite all the football games, the training, the sex, he's never been more drained in his life.
Later on, when he stares at his face in the mirror, he realises from the dried tear tracts on his face, that Finn hadn't been the only one crying.
The next day, when Mr Schue gets mad at them for not coming to Glee, both he and Finn don't even bother to come up with an excuse. They're sick of lying, of people knowing their personal lives, which have been splayed out all over the school. They're done with it all.
But Mr Schue's a pretty observant guy. He tends to look past things that other teachers don't, and he's asking them if anything's wrong. He's talking to them individually, and he's telling them that they can talk to him if they really want to. They can talk to him about anything and that he's there for them.
Puck shakes his head. No, he doesn't want to talk. He's done with talking, and spilling his guts, and the hurting that never seems to stop. He wants to shake Mr Schue. Ask him what the fuck he thought he was doing making him and Finn work together? Did he really think that all of this was going to turn out alright? He had to have known that this was all going to backfire. He knew their history together.
He doesn't speak to Finn the whole day, and Finn doesn't speak to him. They don't have anything left to say, and now it's even more unclear where their relationship stands. You can't just bare your soul like that and expect that everything's going to go back to normal, he thinks. If it were that easy, this would have all happened a long, long time ago.
They don't speak because everything is still too new, and they need more time to comprehend all the words and the feelings involved. This has never been one of their strong suits when it comes to their relationship. They never have these deep and meaningful conversations, they usually just let it slide, but they can't this time. Everything is much too big this time to just forget about.
He slides his hand into his pocket where he can feel the miniature football, and encloses it with his fingers, rubbing it lightly to reassure him. There's something comforting about it. Just the idea that everything can still change, and there's still hope for the both of them.
He doesn't let go of it for the whole day.
For the next week, he and Finn don't even look at one another. They're still trying to process everything that's happened between them, and attempting to come to some sort of understanding on how to move on from here.
Puck's in the locker room again, staring at a picture. Only this time it's a different picture. It's a picture that is filled with the promise of something new, and wonderful, and beautiful. And he knows that he's not going to mess this one up. This is a picture of the future, and unlike the one in the past, he's going to make sure that everything turns out the way it should.
He'd been standing by his locker when Quinn came by with her ultrasound photo. He hadn't been able to go with her to the doctor's because of football practice, but she hadn't been mad. She'd probably thought that it would have caused even more problems with Finn since he used to be the one going with her to the doctor's office. If only she knew just how deep their problems ran.
She'd looked kind of worried, but happy, said the baby was healthy. The baby was a girl. That he was going to have a baby girl, and he was left speechless, because even though he knew that it was coming, it wasn't something that you could prepare yourself for.
She'd given him the ultrasound then, and he hadn't let go of it since.
He didn't want to go home, so he went to the only place he knew would be quiet. The only place where he knew things could change.
And he's sitting down, leaning against the wall, in the same position that Finn had been in not so long ago. Only this time, things are different, because he knows that it isn't just about him and Finn, or him and Quinn. It isn't about any of them. It's about something bigger than that. It's about this baby, and the chance for a new life.
He knows in the back of the mind that he'll never be able to look after her. He's still too young, and he's not stupid enough to assume that he can get through high school while raising a baby. But he can give the baby a better shot at life, and someone who will look after her. Someone who will care for her.
And this time, he knows he won't fuck it up.
"It's a baby girl." He says, not looking up to see who's entered the room. He knows who it is anyway. It's the only person that knows he'd be in here.
"I know." The boy hesitates, before sliding down to sit next to him.
Puck almost laughs at the irony of the situation. Finn's sitting where he'd sat just a week ago, and he's sitting where Finnsat. Now he's the one who's trying not to cry (and failing), while Finn's looking around the room desperately, unsure of what to do. He settles for patting the other boy on the shoulder kind of awkwardly, but it's ok. Because Puck knows exactly how it feels, and so does Finn for that matter.
Puck also knows that Finn has to be feeling somewhat like him right now. It was Finn's baby first, and you can't just let go of something like that. It's something that stays with you. So he knows that even though Finn's holding it in right now, he's still as messed up by this whole situation as the other boy. The only telltale sign of his emotional state is the way his hands are shaking.
"She's beautiful." And she is. It's hard to make her out through all the black and white, but he can see her head, and Quinn pointed out where all her arms and legs were. She's so small, so delicate, and he can't take his eyes of the photo. He can't believe it's really happening.
Puck just nods in response because he can't speak anymore. The tears are forcing their way down his face, and it's like everything he's been feeling his entire life is being unleashed right this moment. He's always been a failure at everything. And this baby might be his only saving grace. She might save him. And he recognises only then that she's the one bringing the two of them together again.
He doesn't notice until then that Finn's arms are around him, and that the boy, his best friend, is hugging him the same way that he'd hugged him when Finn needed him. He's hugging him tight (he can barely breathe), and he's crying into Finn's jacket, but none of that matters. The only thing that's important is that his best friend's here, and he can almost feel that empty void in his stomach filling back up.
Afterwards, they finally to come to some sort of an understanding. They don't rush out of the locker room like the time before. They stay, linger, make small snippets of conversation, and it's almost like old times. Puck can't remember the last time he's truly laughed this much, and he knows that Finn can't either.
They make to leave before Finn asks to see the ultrasound photo. Puck hands it over, knowing exactly what this means to the other boy. Everything goes silent again as Finn gazes at the photo and Puck's struck with the sudden fear that Finn will get angry at him again. That Finn will lash out, and that all this bonding, over Rachel and the baby, all of it will have been for nothing.
Then Finn speaks up. Rubbing his finger over the glossy photo like it's something precious (which it is).
"Do you regret it?"
The question surprises Puck. He knows the answer he wants to give to the question. He wants to take the easiest way out (like always), and he's so tempted by that easy exit. But he knows that lies were what started this whole disaster. And he's done with all the lying, the anger, the crying. It's this answer that determines all of it.
"No." He says before he can think otherwise. "...I-I can't." He furrows his brow, looking at the picture of his baby girl. He can't ever regret it after seeing his baby, his child. He just can't.
He stuffs his hands in his pockets self consciously, and his right hand grazes over something familiar. The football. He takes it out of his pocket and hands it to Finn. Yes, he doesn't regret it, but he needs Finn to know that he's just as important. And that they can be angry with one another from time to time, but they can't stay that way. Their friendship isn't built like that.
Finn takes it, frowning down at it like he's wondered where it's been. Puck can't tell from his expression whether he's mad, and he braces himself for some type of rage, but it never comes.
Rather, his best friend just smiles, flinging his arm around Puck's shoulder and rubbing his knuckle over the boy's head. He's hit with a wave of relief before he does the same to Finn. Then Finn says "good answer", and Puck can almost feel his heart smiling or something equally as ridiculous. It's the only way to describe how elevated he is right now and how everything, for once, seems to be working itself out alright.
Finn and him walk back home together for the first time in months.
He's still not sure whether Mr Schue is a genius or an idiot, but when they're both in Glee, and they're doing their duet for the first time, Finn catches his eye and grins, and he finds himself grinning back with just as much enthusiasm.
He goes with genius.
A/N: I started this piece awhile ago (and funnily enough, it started out as a Puck&Rachel), and it's my longest one yet :D I've kind of always wanted to explore Finn&Puck's relationship because I love them, and there was never any real closure between the two of them on the whole Quinn thing. So yeah, this sprung forth because of that. Enjoy, and please review :)