His father had left when he'd been seven years old but even though it was so long ago he could still remember it so clearly. The stomach flu had kept him home from school, Anna was only a newborn at the time and Puck could remember how much he detested her presence in their lives. She cried and Dad and Mom yelled and it took him a long time to stop blaming his sister for his father walking out the door that day.
He didn't think he'd ever get the image of the last time he'd seen his father out of his head. His father sat idling in his truck in the driveway waiting. His mother had been just inside the doorway tears on her cheeks trying to quiet Anna who was screaming her head off. He'd been stuck in the middle, begging his father to stay but unable to actually get in the car and leave his mother behind.
"Get in the car Puck, we'll go somewhere it'll be just the two of us guys."
"Noah, please, don't go."
Two sentences that had forever defined who he was. His father hadn't waited around for him to make up his mind and his mother had been there waiting with full but open arms. He'd had no idea that that would be the last time that he'd ever see his father again. Jesus, he'd been seven he couldn't have fully understood that sometimes parents went away and didn't come back. So he spent a year feeling guilty and blaming himself for not going with his father so that he could convince him to go home, to convince him that his little sister was a pain but that they should all be together. The guilt ate away at him and replaced the loathing he had for his little sister, because he was the big brother and it was his job to protect her.
It was at his eighth birthday party that he finally understood that sometimes dads go away and don't come back and it was the same day that Finn Hudson became his best friend. It was coincidentally also the first time that he decked a douchebag and both go hand in hand really because this asshat kid that his mother made him invite was picking on the new kid. He only caught the tail end of the taunting but it was enough, you don't pick on a kid because his dad isn't around. The kid ended up with a bloody nose but Puck managed to stay out of trouble because Finn had put on an expression that Puck would come to know over the next decade and claimed that Jesse was lying and had fallen, mothers fell for that innocent boy shit and he'd been off the hook.
Maybe it was a seriously fucked up friendship. Puck acted like a jackass and Finn covered for it with a dopey grin and a shrug. Whatever. It worked for them. They were on all the city sports teams together and as far as Puck knew he was the only person that Finn talked to about his father, about how much that he wished he was around. About how awesome his mother was and about how she would never be enough. Even as a kid Puck hadn't been one to share his feelings or shit like that, Puckerman men just didn't do that shit, but he figured Finn understood that when he nodded along he got it completely.
It made sense that he would fuck it all up though. Although, to be fair, he did not see the Quinn thing coming until it knocked him on his ass. But that had been his problem all along hadn't it? He was shit at anticipating change, he sure as hell hadn't seen his dad walking out of their lives and screwing everything up. So it stood to reason that he wouldn't see Quinn Fabray walking in and screwing everything up just as well as his father had years ago.
Here was the thing though, he saw her first. Cheesy? Probably. Grade school? Maybe. The Truth? Hell yeah. It was the first day of freshman year when he saw her, word around school was that she transferred in from Lima Central Catholic High School. He didn't need to trust the word around school that she was hot as hell because she literally ran into him coming around the corner and he had fucking eyes didn't he? From that moment on he had wanted Quinn, before Finn had even known she had existed he had wanted her, but she wanted Finn (of-fucking-course she did) who was, of course, oblivious to all of it. It was such a bullshit confusing triangle it's not surprising they all got their asses kicked by it.
Still when he'd been making out with Quinn he had actually convinced himself that the fact that he had seen her first a long time ago that got him off the hook for hooking-up with his best friend's girlfriend. Dick move. Here was the thing though, for all of his life he'd been the troublemaking kid that didn't deserve the pretty, popular girl and he'd even resigned himself to the fact that she wanted Finn. And then she had wanted him, and he wasn't going to turn down the girl he'd wanted since he'd seen her so he'd pushed away the thoughts that this would fuck up his relationship with his best friend and did what he wanted.
If he was being honest with himself he thought the whole Quinn thing would have blown over after that, was he a dick to say that he'd really, mostly, just been interested in the chase? When he'd found out about the baby though, everything had changed and things had snapped into place. All of a sudden he saw his chance to prove that he was better than his father, that he wasn't just another Lima loser who knocked someone up and then bailed when life got tough slipping away. The downside? To take responsibility for his mistake he had to actually own up to it and everything just exploded from there.
Nobody was surprised when it all fell apart and that was the part that really sucked because he may be a lot of crappy things but he'd always considered himself at least a good friend. Yet, not one single person was surprised that he fucked over Finn in the end, it was like they'd all been waiting for him to do it since his eighth birthday party. He ran into Mrs. Hudson at the grocery store and she may not have said anything but she shook her head and avoided him, and he could read between the lines. She, like everyone else, thought that Puck wasn't good enough for her son, just like everyone had thought that Quinn was too good for him too.
Here was the thing though, he might be an jerk, asshat and just all around fuck up but that was not all that there was to him. Yes, maybe the screwed up things in his life have created some not so great personality traits (you know, shoving people in dumpsters and the whole slushie facial thing) but that doesn't mean that he doesn't have some good attributes. Like, okay, yeah his dad walked out on him and he hasn't heard from him since and not having a dad probably created most of his rage issues. But he was determined to be the best father he could be one day. He wanted more than anything to be a good father to the little girl that Quinn had just given birth to but he figured that in their own way they were being the best parents that they could be by giving their little girl the best life possible.
It took him a long time to accept that by giving his daughter away he was not becoming his father and running away from his responsibilities. Beth was going to have a better life and despite all of the mistakes he had made in his life he could count on knowing that he had given her a chance in this world. A chance to become the next Rachel Berry maybe, but a chance to do something great with her life whatever it was that she'd decide to do with her life and if something good came from the shitty situation, didn't it make all of it worth it?
Even if he amounted to nothing in his life, even if he stayed a Lima loser forever, he would be able to look back and know that there was a beautiful little girl out there in this world and he was responsible for putting her there. If that was all he ever amounted to in this life then he could accept that that would be enough. Funny thing? Knowing she was out there kind of made him want to be a better person so that one day if he ever saw her again she could be proud of him, and understand that she'd been given up to give three people a better chance in this world.
A.N. This was clearly written awhile ago (try August) but I couldn't resist posting it when I rediscovered it. Some of the issues are clearly older issues but since they seemed to skate right over the fact that Quinn and Puck gave up their daughter I figure it could be addressed! Hope you enjoyed, review and let me know what you thought!