STOP! If you don't want to know any spoilers for episode six of season two, "Never Been Kissed," do not read until after you see the episode.
This is my speculative take on the rumors/spoilers/promos/etc. that I've seen and/or heard about, and what the episode would look like had I written it. A few of the speculations/ideas came from a lovely reader named Rocket Ajax, so thanks! I hope you like what I've done here.
I'm getting close to the end, so I will definitely finish posting all the chapters well before the episode airs, especially since I'm participating in Nanowrimo this year and don't want to get too far behind right of the bat.
Never Been Kissed
"Alright, guys!" Will Schuester said as the bell rang, signaling the start of third period. "Who's excited for the invitational? It's just a week away!" He looked over the club, noting how most of the students looked pretty enthused – maybe not as much as he was, because they were teenagers and it just wasn't cool to get hyped about anything, but enthused nonetheless. Rachel raised her hand impatiently while the rest of the club voiced their general approval. However, Noah Puckerman sat in the back of the room, wrapped up in his letterman's jacket, looking angry at the entire world. "And let's all welcome back, Puck!" Schue insisted, drawing attention to the guy, hoping it would help.
"Learn your lesson, Puckerman?" Santana asked loudly with a chuckle, her pinky oddly absent one Brittany S. Pierce, who sat on the other side of Quinn from Santana.
When Puck failed to respond, Rachel interjected, "Well, I hope you have. Sectionals are in six weeks and we cannot arrive a member short."
"Yeah, dude," Finn spoke up with a friendly smile, "we need you." Finally, Puck responded with a small smile and a nod. Thank god. Will certainly didn't want Puck poisoning the club with leftover hostilities from whatever had gotten him in trouble in the first place.
Artie cleared his throat from where he was sitting alone near the band equipment, and said, "All the blogs and chat rooms are saying we don't have a chance since this year we're pitted against the Dalton Academy. They're supposed to be really good."
There were a few scoffs of disbelief, and Will hoped his kids weren't getting complacent again. They'd never get to Nationals with that attitude. When Rachel raised her hand again, Will sighed, "Yes, Rachel?"
The girl stood up to face the rest of the club and announced, "I purchased tickets for each and every member of the club to attend Dalton's Invitational this Saturday. It will be a learning opportunity as well as a good way for us to bond as teammates, since the performance is forty-five minutes away and we'll have to bus there."
"Rachel," Schuester sighed, "we don't have the money. Our budget this year-"
"Hey," Santana spoke up with a shrug, "why don't we just have Puck steal another ATM?"
The rest of the club laughed and Puck looked about ready to either walk or start swinging, so Schue interrupted, "C'mon, guys! This ends now. What's done is done and we're happy Puck is back on the team, right?"
Several students, including the football players, Quinn, Brittany, and Rachel all agreed with smiles and words of encouragement, but Kurt rolled his eyes at Mercedes and Santana scoffed loudly.
"And..." Rachel added, taking the focus of the room back onto her shoulders, like always, "I saved up all the money I made over the summer giving singing and dance lessons to bored housewives and their children. It's almost enough to rent the handicapped bus for both this trip and for Sectionals and I would like to donate it, tax-deductible of course, to the team."
Concerned, Will asked, "Shouldn't you be saving that money for college, Rachel?"
"Please, Mr. Schue," the girl rolled her eyes as she sat back down next to Finn, "my dads set up a trust fund the moment they found out about my impending birth. There's more than enough money to see me through college and my early starlet years, especially since I am a very frugal person."
"Okay, then," Schue nodded, relieved. He should have known."Let's warm up and go through our songs for our invitational. And remember, guys, extra rehearsal after school all this week so we can practice in the auditorium."
"For everyone who doesn't have detention," Santana laughed, a pointed look in Puck's direction. Will gave the girl a glare of disapproval until she crossed her arms over her chest and sat back in her chair, silent, but with attitude.
After glee club, Artie was surprised when Puck grabbed the handles of his wheelchair and started pushing him down the hallway toward their lockers. "This isn't going to end with me trapped in a port-a-potty again is it?" Artie asked nervously, looking around for Finn or Sam, his new work-out buddies. They would protect him if he needed them to.
"Nah," Puck shrugged, to Artie's relief. "I was thinking you've got an image problem and I'm in need of a project. I'm gonna make you popular. That way the goth chick will think twice about having left you for Mike Chang and I get to tell my counselor that I'm rehabilitating."
"Wait," Artie insisted, taking control of his chair and turning around to face Puck. "You want me to be your community service?"
"Yeah," Puck shrugged again before turning Artie around and continuing to move them toward the Junior hall of lockers. "You're, like, my boy now, since we're both in glee, and my counselor says 'normal friendships' or whatever are important for making sure I don't end up in real prison. And believe me, Juvie was bad enough."
"I can only imagine," Artie nodded with a smile. "Okay. But how are you gonna make me popular?"
"You'll see," Puck replied, parking Artie in front of his locker and coming around to offer him a fist-bump, morphing it into the complete 'exploding rock' before walking away.
Puck wanted to help him out? Artie figured as he got his books out of his locker, that as rehabilitation plans went, this one seemed to be stacked heavily in his favor. He smiled and chuckled until he watched Kurt and Tina walk by, Karofsky right behind them. Without even a warning, the jock pushed Kurt by his neck face-first into the bank of lockers in a way that looked like it hurt, even from twenty feet away and several feet down.
Artie hated the way that unless teacher saw it, it didn't happen, and the way Kurt was too proud to ever report those jerks to the administration. Artie had never had it as bad as Kurt, because lots of guys wouldn't hit a kid in a wheelchair, but that didn't mean Artie ever reported the times they flushed his glasses or put his books out of reach or any of the other little things the popular kids did. Yeah, he could understand Kurt not wantingto rock the boat either.
Between classes, Quinn pulled Santana into the girls' room, Brittany trailing behind them, and said, "We need to talk to you."
"About what?" Santana asked, shrugging off Quinn's grip and stepping up tithe mirror, carefully adjusting her ponytail.
"You're being mean," Brittany said quietly. Quinn gave the other blonde a sympathetic look and Santana knew the Head Cheerleader suspected something horrible had happened between her and her ex-best friend, and that Artie was involved somehow, but she doubted Quinn knew exactly what. For how much she got around, Brittany wasn't really one to kiss and tell.
Santana opened her mouth, but Quinn cut off the words by saying, "I don't know what's gotten into your Spanx lately, Lopez, but this campaign of harassment ends now. All the little comments and jibes at Puck's expense aren't helping anyone, least of all you."
"Please," Santana scoffed, sharing a look with Brittany that cowed her slightly. She really did hate how hurt and innocent the blonde looked, even though Santana had told her a dozen times since they first made out that the two of them would never be serious. Something about Santana ditching Brittany to sing with Mercedes was like that straw that broke the donkey's back or whatever. "Puck can handle it. It's his own damn fault anyway, for blowing me off after he got out of Juvie." He never rejected Santana before. Not even when he and Quinn were supposedly together. Jail had ruined him and the stress of not having either him or Brittany to do it with was really grating on Santana, like, giving her stress-pimples and everything.
"I don't care if he killed your mother," Quinn hissed, and Santana recognized the expression, trying not to show how afraid and turned on she always got when Quinn wore it. "We need him if we're going to get to nationals. And you know what?"
"What?" Santana asked, weaving her head and giving her best good-defense-is-a-good-offense attitude as she turned to face Quinn.
"I am very invested in making it to Nationals this year," the Head Cheerleader insisted, her jaw set and clenched. "I need it to happen, so if you or anyone else gets in the way of what I want, you'd better be prepared for the consequences."
"Yeah," Brittany echoed, letting Quinn take her pinky and lead her from the bathroom, the look shot over her shoulder saying plainly that Brittany missed Santana, but was still mad at her. Santana tried to scoff at herself in the mirror, but it came out weakly, if at all.
"Are you excited about Saturday, Kurt?" Mercedes asked her friend as they sat in the auditorium, waiting for glee club to start. "Because I know I am."
"We're picking out our ensembles tonight," he insisted in reply, taking his friend's arm and squeezing it affectionately. "I'm thinking coordinated, but not obviously so. And the latest season, of course."
"Okay, white-boy," Mercedes replied with a laugh, patting his hand on her arm. She loved it when he held her arm, because Mercedes didn't have many friends in this school and she didn't have a boyfriend, but to know that Kurt was at least willing to hold her arm in friendship brightened her day more than she would ever admit.
"Hey, guys," Mike said as he sat in the row ahead of the two friends, gripping the back of his seat as he faced them. "Tina and I are hosting a party after our trip to Dalton on Saturday. It's gonna be awesome and you should totally come."
"I don't know..." Mercedes drawled out with a straight face, sharing a significant look with her best friend. "You and Tina…?"
When Mike's face fell, Kurt laughed, "She's kidding," he insisted, checking to make sure he was right with a look to Mercedes' smiling face. "Of course we'll be there."
"Great!" Mike smiled before practically skipping away to go invite Brittany and Quinn as well.
"How awesome is this?" Mercedes squealed. "The last time I was invited to a party, I was in fifth grade! This is going to be so much fun!"
Kurt shrugged sadly and said, "The last time I was invited to a party was just after my mom died. I kinda lost it, forever cementing my reputation as the weird kid."
"Once everyone see how fabulously talented you are at the Invitational," Mercedes insisted, knowing cheering up Kurt was the least she could do in payment for him being her friend, "they'll be eating their words, sweetie. I swear."
Smiling, Kurt hugged her arm again, putting a happy warmth in her chest that she knew she was going to miss once graduation eventually came around. Best Friends Forever was a nice sentiment, but Mercedes was too practical to take it too literally. "Thanks."
After rehearsal in the auditorium, Will caught Puck on his way from detention to football practice and asked, "Hey, Noah? Are you okay?"
"Why wouldn't I be?" the guy shrugged and kept walking.
"Santana," he guessed, making the boy stop short. "Did something happen? She seems..."
"Like a bitch?" Puck asked coldly, eyes on the ground. Of course it was too much to ask for a little civility from the bad boy.
Nodding uncomfortably, Will nodded, "Well … yeah. Did you two have a fight?"
"Whatever," he insisted, shrugging and taking another few steps. "It's none of your business, Mr. Schue. Get your own freaking life." Puck turned the corner, leaving a confused and insulted Will standing there, dumbstruck. It seemed like he wasn't wrong about the trouble between Puck and his on-again-off-again girlfriend, but it wasn't the whole story, either. Just when Will thought Puck was gone for the day, he came back just long enough to call, "But, thanks."
That was something, anyway.
"I've tried, Will," Emma insisted, her lips cottoned around his name, her hands straightening the pencils on her desk. "I've tried rewards, I've tried threats, but I just can't get Mr. Puckerman to come see me. I mean, he does have a court-appointed therapist, so…"
"But," Will sighed, "I don't think the smash-and-grab at the convenience store was a fluke and I don't think it was about the money. I'm worried about him. Sometimes he seems just like his old self and sometimes he just seems angry at the world. If we could just talk to him long enough to ask…"
"I know," Emma replied, screwing up her eyebrows in concern and pouting her lips for a moment, not realizing how heavily that expression affected him. "I know, Will."
Taking a deep breath to clear his thoughts, he told Emma, "He's a good kid underneath whatever's going on. And he's a great performer. How do I get him to see that?"
"Well," the guidance counselor nodded, looking down at her desk and straightening a few more things as she thought. "Have you tried giving him a solo? That always seems to make your kids happy. Something that fits his personality if not his current depression..."
"Yeah," Will agreed slowly, thinking the possibility over. Puck always did seem happier when he was performing, even if he insisted he didn't really care all that much about glee club. Will knew it was just a cover. "Yeah, that sounds great, Emma!" He smiled brightly until he caught her still-concerned expression and let his smile falter. Damn. He was unconsciously flirting with her again, wasn't he? It was just so difficult to change the way he'd always spoken with Emma and divert it into a more appropriate attitude. She was with Carl now, and Will had to accept it. "I'll think up something good. You've been a big help!" He smiled again, more friendly this time, and left with one final wave.
"Hey," Quinn greeted Puck at his locker before glee club.
"So you're talking to me now?" he asked angrily, shoving things around in his locker because as soon as she showed up, he'd forgotten what he was there for. "I thought you wanted nothing to do with me."
"I said, I needed some time," she insisted, referencing that awful talk they'd had at the beginning of the summer. She didn't want him. Not even after he'd put his balls under the knife for her. And still, when he tried to call her awful names just in his head, it never worked. "And I'm sorry for making you feel whatever you've felt, but that doesn't mean..."
"What?" Puck asked, slamming his locker closed. What sort of cheap apology was that? He wondered if she really just wanted him to go away for good and if he was that much of a reminder that Beth was out there in the world without them. "It doesn't mean I should go all crime-spree again? It doesn't mean I should feel sick to my stomach whenever I see you with that Evans kid?"
"Look," she said quietly, holding onto his arm and pulling him away from the bank of lockers and to the side of the hallway where their conversation would be more private. "You know what I went through and I'm sorry that whenever I look at you, it's all I can think about. I am!" Ha! He'd been right. Puck knew he understood Quinn; it was just a matter of making her see it. "But you cannot take this out on convenience stores and Santana and the rest of the club! I know you love performing, Puck. I know you belong up there on the stage with us, but you and I don't belong together. I'm sorry." Her face was twisted with pain, threatening tears, and Puck's jaw clenched, his fists balled up in anger. How dare she? She didn't have the right to cry. Not after what she'd done and jerking him around for months on end and then he had all that time in jail to just sit and think about her and why couldn't he let it go?
Before he could do anything stupid, Mr. Schuester came by with a fake smile plastered on and interrupted them, "Hey guys! Puck, I think I've found a song for Invitationals where I can give you a pretty epic solo. I'm pitting the girls against the boys again, and want you to lead the boys' team. You interested?"
Quinn slipped away and Puck sighed, looking at Mr. Schuester like he was either a godsend or a jackass, because Puck couldn't figure out which. Upping the ante, Will added, "It'll show Quinn what she's missing. No promises she'd stop seeing Sam, but-"
"I'll do it," Puck agreed, his eyes still on Quinn as she escaped into the choir room. If it would show her what she was missing, he would take every opportunity he got to twist that knife in a little deeper. Hey, he wasn't even giving half as bad as he'd gotten, even though he knew Gary, his parole counselor or shrink or whatever, wouldn't see it that way.
"Great!" Will replied with an excited nod. "Let's get the sheet music and go over it."
"I'm so excited!" Rachel squealed, hugging a very confused Kurt when he opened the door before she grabbed Finn's hand and practically jumped up and down. "Aren't you two excited?"
"For Friday dinner?" Finn asked skeptically, sharing a look with Kurt that the counter-tenor made so disappointed and scornful that Finn backpedaled into saying, "I mean, I'm excited too! Burt's feeling well enough to have dinner with us again! Isn't this exciting, Mom?"
Carole smiled indulgently and stepped through the threshold from behind her son and his girlfriend, taking a moment to hug Kurt and ask, "How're you doing, sweetie?"
"Good," he smiled, adjusting his bangs as he closed the door behind them. "It might be an early night, though. I don't want to tire him out too much."
"I agree," the woman nodded and for the first time in a long time, he was happy to see her. For a few weeks there, he'd been mad that his dad was sick and had taken it out on his friends, including Carole. He wanted to be there for his dad and somehow, letting Carole help had been akin to admitting he and his dad were all alone without her and Finn. And that was not a prospect Kurt liked to dwell on. Turning to her son, Carole said, "Now, you and Rachel get the table set while Kurt and I finish cooking," before leading the way into the kitchen, so Kurt shrugged at his friends and followed her.
"Are you sure you're alright, sweetie?" Carole asked once they were alone. "You look a little ... depressed."
"Besides my dad's lengthy recovery," Kurt chuckled sadly, "there's not much to tell." Except that lately some of the jocks had been ramping up their campaign of harassment. Karofsky in particular. Great Dolce and Gabbana, Kurt hated that guy.
Surprising him out of his thoughts, Carole tapped Kurt's arm with the back of a clean wooden spoon and said, "I have a son, Kurt. I know that look. Spill."
"It's just," Kurt sighed, taking the spoon from Carole and pouring the soup she'd brought into a pot to warm it up, "lonely. Being me."
"Honey," Carole said softly, "it's lonely being anybody. Especially when you're a teenager. I know I never really dated until three weeks before graduation. Young boys can be wusses when it comes to asking out the people they like."
"Especially when they like someone inappropriate," Kurt scoffed, stirring the soup. Kurt knew his dad was right; he had to wait until someone else was willing to be brave and open before he found someone to date. He couldn't be the only gay boy in Lima, but he was definitely the one who'd had the most difficult time staying under the radar. Not that things hadn't gotten better once he had came out it was just… "Even if they did like you, they would just hide it and you would never even know..."
Carole smiled and put her arm around Kurt's shoulders. "I've told Finn this, but I think you need to hear it too."
"What?" Kurt asked, turning to look at Carole with wide, expectant eyes.
"Worry less about getting your seventeen-year-old self a date," she insisted, "and worry more about getting your twenty-year-old self a date. I know you're already fantastic, sweetie, and you don't need to work on things like grooming and vocabulary like Finn did when I told this to him last year when he and Rachel were broken up, but if you let yourself get bitter about the situation you're in now, it's going to poison the relationships you have later in life."
"I'm not –," Kurt tried to insist, but Carole cut him off again.
"You're getting there, Kurt, and it's not a road you want to go down, believe me," she sighed. "I've seen it happen."
It took a long time for Kurt to respond, but when he did – dropping the spoon into the pot and hugging Carole tightly - he said, "You're right. Thank you."
"Hey," she laughed, hugging him back and straightening his tie as they stepped apart, "anytime, Kurt. And I mean that."
Kurt smiled and went back to stirring, his shoulders a little straighter and his lips quicker to smile again when his dad shuffled in and asked regretfully, "How's the grub coming along? It's low-salt again, isn't it?" Kurt couldn't help but chuckle, just a little.
"Hey," Finn said as he sat in front of Puck on the bus to Dalton, turning around to hang his elbows over the back of his seat.
"Gonna complain about the solo Schue gave me?" Puck asked, looking up from his Game Boy.
"No, man," Finn smiled goofily. "I wanted to tell you it's gonna be great. So, cheer up!"
"Whatever," Puck replied, just wanting everyone to leave him alone. Sure, all these kids claimed to be his friends, but the only people who had ever visited him in Juvie were his mom and some crazy Christian lady who was elderly and tried to tell him about how turning to Jesus could save his mortal life and his immortal soul. Nobody cared about Puck, and he didn't even know why they tried acting like they did.
Though, Artie had been pretty cool to him since Puck had explained his community service plan. Maybe he should be sitting with that guy and going over again how to make Artie popular. Part of the reason he'd even came up with the idea was to show Quinn that he could be a good guy, like Finn or Sam. But Quinn and Brittany were sitting too close to Artie and Puck didn't want to show his cards early. He wanted Artie's transformation to be more of a surprise, because then maybe Quinn would give him that smile that said she was proud of him. God, he missed that smile.
After a moment of silence, Finn frowned and said, "Don't be like that, dude. You're sitting back here all by yourself and I'm worried and when I get worried I get a headache. Of course, that happens when Rachel talks a lot, too and I've been sitting next to her for, like, half an hour."
Knowing he was right again about the dude pretending to care when he really didn't, Puck laughed a little bit anyway, which made Finn smile and say, "There you go! We'll go see this other glee club and the whole ride home we can talk about how bad we're gonna own them when Sectionals come around."
Puck opened his mouth to tell Finn not to get his hopes up, because he was right and they were all Lima Losers, but Kurt interrupted, falling into the seat next to Finn and saying, "You guys have to see this YouTube. It's awesome. Mercedes almost shot Sprite out her nose when she saw it."
"No, thanks," Puck snarled, putting his headphones in and making both Kurt and Finn shrug and turn around. They didn't know that his iPod battery died while he was in prison and his mom had accidentally thrown out the power cable, so he was kinda boned until he found one to steal or managed to talk someone into paying him for one of the many ways he could be useful, so he could buy one. But, the headphones kept people away, even if they weren't working.
"What bug crawled up his butt?" Kurt asked Finn, and Puck knew he was giving his headphones lie away, but he couldn't help kicking the back of the boy's seat as payback.
Finn's shoulders shrugged above the seat at his back and he said, "I don't know, man, but I wish I did."
No he didn't. He just thought he should, because he was a good guy. And good guys are supposed to care about everyone. Even dudes like Puck who they have to hate.
Please review and frolic in the speculation with me! I promise we'll have fun!