Noah Puckerman makes mistakes. Noah Puckerman is also a compulsive liar.

He can't help it. He's good at it, so he uses it to get what he wants. For example, what he wants right now is to get out of class. He combines lying with this teacher being a new mom and rambles to her at the beginning of class about how hard it was for him to give up baby Beth (which, okay, isn't really that big of a lie) and how he stalked Shelby all summer to catch glimpses of his kid (which, again, isn't so much a lie as stretching the truth. He may have followed Shelby that one time he saw her at the mall) and then just kind of looks away and forces his bottom lip to quiver.

It's maybe not the greatest choice of lie, now that he thinks about it.

"Noah," Ms. Pilsbury starts, and if she wasn't so scared of touching people and he could figure out what turned her on beyond Schue's hair, he might've put the moves on her by now, "Ms. Atkin told me you've been upset about your daughter; that you've been following Shelby Corcoran."

Puck runs his tongue along the top of his teeth, "Well, I may have lied a little." She frowns at him, and he sighs loudly, "Look, I thought she'd let me out of class, I don't need to talk to you like some fag."

"That's not a very nice word, Noah. I'll ask you not to use it around me."

"Fag?" Puck snorts, "Even that gay kid doesn't care when people call him 'fag,' cause that's what he is, isn't it?"

"Noah, did you ever think that Kurt just likes to make people think he's strong? Did you know gay teens have a much higher rate of suicide than other teens?"

Puck grimaces and stands up, "Look, are we done?"

She sighs sadly, watching his eyes, "Yes, alright. Please go to the library and get the librarian to call me to let me know that you're there."

He rolls his eyes, because that's so typical of a teacher, using other teachers to exploit kids and keep them in class. Once he's given the instructions to the batty old librarian, he stalks past the three other kids sitting at separate tables and throws himself down at a computer.

He hears a quiet sigh and leans around the computer, where he can see Hummel twirling a fancy-looking pen in his hand and staring at a sheet of paper. He's frowning, and Puck can see the tired redness in his eyes from here.

Nothing's wrong with Hummel, Puck tells himself, turning back to the computer and logging on. He still ends up searching "gay suicide" on Google. He gets a huge number of hits; news stories–recent news stories–about gay kids offing themselves because the bullying is too much or some other bullshit. So he leans back around the computer to stare at Hummel some more.

Hummel wouldn't want to kill himself, would he? He's like, super smart and funny and talented and so obviously going somewhere, why would he want to throw that away?

But he's been quiet the past few weeks and Puck's not entirely sure why.

He's also not entirely sure why he logs off and tosses his bag over the computer to crash onto the desk that Hummel is working at.

The other boy jumps and Puck laughs lowly as he sits down.

Kurt covers the sheet of paper in front of him even though Puck can tell it's only got like, one or two words on it, and his eyebrow lifts in a perfect curve of contempt. His voice makes it perfectly clear that Puck isn't really welcome, "Is there something I can help you with?"

"Look, Hummel, you're not gonna off yourself are you?" Hummel's eyes widen slightly and then narrow again, and he's obviously trying not to show his feelings. Puck just plods onward, "Because that would be really stupid and shitty, dude. I mean, like, you've got more balls than just about anyone I know–not that I think about your balls since that'd be totally homo, which I'm not. But you're going to graduate and get the fuck out of here and all of this bullshit will just be hazy in your rear view mirror."

Kurt just stares at him, but Puck can see the crinkle of a smile–or maybe it's the waver of a frown, he's not sure–and he nods as if that helps prove his point.

"You're going to do something important someday and if you give up now, all those stupid douches win and that would be so fucking lame. Twenty years from now you'll have more money and fame than all of us, and you'll be able to come to our reunion and rub it in everyone's faces. And I'll just sit back, going 'man, I totally knew him way back when' and if you're any kind of friend, you'll introduce me to some smoking hot famous chicks or like, float me a loan if I need it.

"So yeah, I've got a major vested interest in you not copping out here. And if you do, I swear to fucking God, Hummel, I will dig up your stupid fancy body and do unspeakable things to it," Kurt is smiling now, just barely, and Puck backtracks a little, "But not sexy things, cause that's just nasty."

He feels like maybe he should clarify some more, like, it's nasty because he's dead and a dude, not just because he'd be dead, but Kurt just shakes his head a tiny bit, "Thanks, Noah. That–It really means a lot."

Puck shrugs, looking up at the ceiling at the bell rings loudly, "Come on; walk you to glee club?"

Kurt nods, tucking his head down against his chest; Puck can see the smile, but he figures saying something will ruin the moment. As Kurt lifts the book from the table, Puck grabs the piece of paper off the table.

He stares at it as they walk towards the exit, and then shakes it a little, "Why'd you hide this from me, dude? All it says is 'Mercedes'." Kurt doesn't answer, so he holds it out above a garbage, "D'you want it?"

Kurt looks at the piece of paper, and then he smiles up at Puck, "No. I don't think I need it anymore."

He's got tears in his eyes and it makes Puck feel awkward and maybe that he's missed something, but he lets the paper fall into the garbage and throws an arm around Kurt anyways, "Whatever, dude. It's just a piece of paper."

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