His first memory of Artie was in second grade – "Hey kid, I'm Puck and I need that to finish my picture of the beach" he had yelled at Artie, who sat silently, before getting up and crossing the room to give it to him, a shy smile on his face.
"Can you come clean my pool?" Puck looked at him strangely before Artie interrupted him; "You don't have to have sex with my mother or anything – it just really needs to be cleaned, and I know how good you are at your job," Artie told him, which left Puck with a strange feeling in his chest.
Noah Puckerman's never been one to share how he feels or let people know what's on his mind, but all it took was a bright smile and some words of confidence from Artie, and all of that went out the window.
It's really nothing, and Puck realizes he's acting like a complete tool, especially considering that he's Puck, but giving high fives or fist bumps to Artie; it makes him feel pretty sweet.
Puck thought that the worst pain he had ever been through was when he found he was going to be a father or when he ended up at juvie… but when they're all in the locker room and Mike is sent flying into Artie's chair, sending him sprawling backwards onto the floor helplessly, none of those compare to what he's feeling.
It's just a normal class on a normal day, yet when Puck looks over at Artie's planner during English class, he sees all these scribbles at the bottom of the page for today, to which Artie ignores the question; "it's the anniversary of the car crash," Tina explained to him quietly later, "he always looks at it as the day death forgot about him."
Self-pity isn't very becoming on Artie, so when the two of them are at the table and he starts to complain, Puck can only exclaim "Stop thinking about it as the day death left you behind; you're still alive and that's all that matters!" before Artie smashes their lips together in a hurried mess.
It's not like Puck ever planned on something like this happening, but when his mother's hitting the bottle harder than ever, all he can do is pull Natalie out of bed and tuck her into the truck before driving to Artie's in the middle of the night; he gets to Artie's window, letting Natalie in and opening his mouth to explain, but all Artie does is offer him an Oreo and move over on the bed.
"What the hell happened out there?" Beiste yelled, taking in an eyeful of the now bruised, battered and dirtied Puck, who had completely forgone the play in favor of tackling another player; Puck shifted uncomfortably, wincing slightly before catching Artie's eye from across the locker room; what happened was no one tries to pull a fast one on his boy.
All it had been was a simple suggestion – remark – about how he thought it was really stupid the way Artie was nice to everyone no matter who they were or what they did to him; the whole table shifted their glances at him as Artie slowly shot a spoonful of mashed potatoes at him and wheeled away.
With anyone else, he would've called it a mistake, but the table of half-completed geometry problems and scattered papers underneath him as he climbed across to get to Artie felt more natural than any make-out session he'd had before.
Schuester picks 'Wonderwall' by Oasis, which Puck thinks is oddly fitting duet for the two of them to perform during rehearsal; when Rachel blurts out honestly that she never expected it to sound that good, Puck feels himself blush for the first time in what feels like forever.
They're the only ones in the locker room and he's helping Artie out of his shorts, unlacing them in silence before slipping them past his hips; as he does, his fingers brush a patch of skin on the other boy's side and he can feel the muscles contract under his fingertips - he doesn't think that Santana or even Quinn could even make his breath stop like that.
No matter how many times he may try to assure that Artie's the only one for him, Artie can't help but wonder why; why would Puck pick him out of the entire school, and it scares him.
With the way the rain was coming down over the past three days, it was almost impossible to remember that they were actually in Ohio, and not Seattle; when he drives the truck to the front of the school to pick up Artie, who presses his lips silently onto Puck's cheek catching the raindrops, Puck thinks he'd be perfectly fine with the rain everyday.
All he had called for was to know if Puck wanted him to come over later to help him study; it was completely accidental (well, at least on his part) that their voices became hushed, their breathing becoming husky – and before he could even realize, he was having phone sex with Noah Puckerman.
"Why won't you?" she exclaims, pounding her fist against the locker, and he starts to wonder what's scarier to him: Santana's desperation to get into his pants, or his adamant decision to turn down free, no strings-attached sex…
"Happy birthday," Artie says with a smile, before dropping a messily wrapped package into his hands and wheeling away; when he finally gets around to open it, it's cliché and corny and absolutely beautiful in every single way, and he can't wait to listen to the 'Totally Awesome Jewish Musicians' MixTape.
"Do you miss it?" Puck asked quietly one day while they were studying, to which Artie only raised an eyebrow, before Puck clarified "walking"; Artie shook his head casually - "it's definitely harder, but if I wasn't in the wheelchair, would you have given me a second glance?"
The first time they fuck, the Puckerman house is completely empty and with the silence in the house, any normal person wouldn't know what was happening; in Puck's room, as Artie grasped onto his shoulders and his hips rolling, he chants 'Puck' over and over in a whisper, so wrought with intimacy.
By now the rumors have gotten around the school about Puckerman fucking the wheelchair kid only because he can't get anything else and he normally would be upset for Artie's sake; when he sees Artie sing though, his eyes bright and his lips big and shiny and inviting, Puck climbs on the stage and proves the gossip wrong.
"Jeez, Puck, those jeans have so many holes in the knees you think that you're spending all of your time on them…" Kurt observes, dragging his finger over one of the frayed parts; across the room, bursts of laughter can be heard from none other than Artie.
"Are you – are you happy being – being together with me, Puck?" Artie stammers, his cheeks turning a pale shade of a pink; "You're the first person who ever cared about me for me."
When Puck gets back his geometry final, a large B+ scrawled at the top in red marker, he looks up at the teacher, who shakes her head curiously; honestly, he can't wrap his head around it either, but at least there's someone out there that was willing to give a fuck about him.
Just like the other doomed Glee couples before them that became one and received a nickname (Finchel, Puckleberry, Tike, Kurtofsky, Brittana, Sinn), before he can stop himself, he finds himself calling them 'the Partie'.
It's childish and stupid and if it ever got out, it'd be the end of him; "my dad walked out during a thunderstorm," Puck explains as a crack of a summer thunderstorm booms outside the window and he subconsciously backs up on the bed, "so I associate the two with each other…"; Artie doesn't say anything, just squeezes his hand tighter.
It's part of the game when you are dati – with – one of the most popular guys in school; jealousy just comes natural, but when he feels Puck's bare skin under his fingertips that night, all those feelings vanish.
As the days grow in weeks, and the weeks slowly begin to pass into months, it comes to Puck's attention that this is the longest relationship he's ever been in; he has nothing wrong with it in the least, but the thought of Artie staying like this, with him, forever was just a bit overwhelming.
There's not a whole lot that can get Artie down after everything he's been through; he knows he's stronger than a majority of the people in that school, but when he feels Noah Puckerman's lips brush softly across his lips, feels his fingers drag across his skin – Artie could fall for anything.
It's been said before that Artie Abrams has one of the nicest smiles in the school; the word nice doesn't even compare to what Puck sees when Artie grins at him.
When Puck's at home by himself on the computer, he'll find himself randomly searching for advances in curing paralysis; when his searches come up fruitless, he becomes angry, wondering why more people aren't trying to figure this out.
When Puck walks into the locker room, there he is, sitting on the floor against the bench and drawing pictures of dinosaurs on it with a Sharpie; "Azimio stole my wheelchair after I told him that his head looked out of proportion with the rest of his body" he says as Puck grips his under the arms and pulls him off the floor, his voice so matter of fact it leaves Puck speechless.
He knows she's standing there before he hears "I hope you know that you're reputation is down that toilet now that you're fucking Wheels," she hisses as she stomps away; considering that he's been known as a player in a school since forever, it's the fact everyone is more worried about his reputation than Artie's feelings that makes him sick with anger.
When Artie licks his lips in the middle of class one day, he finds himself tasting cloves and chewing tobacco; memories and heat thrum through his veins.
When Artie strums his guitar when they're together, the song is always soft and sweet, and slightly haunting, making Puck feel happy and sad at the same time; "what song is that?" he asked curiously before Arties laughs and tells him that he wrote it – about him.
He know he should've seen this coming while Artie's breathing shakily against his chest, making small frustrated whimpering noises and desperately trying to alter his current position; "hey, it's fine" Puck whispered before pulling him closer.
As the acceptance letters start coming in, and people start sporting their new school colors, Puck finds himself wondering, well, where all the time went – there's no school recruiting him, no college other than community that would take him - there's nothing for Puck; "Do you wanna come over later?" Artie asks him quietly.
They're at the mall when a boy who looks about eight runs up to them and asks "are you too stupid to walk?"; Artie opens his mouth to answer before being interrupted with "no, but you're ugly and that'll never change" from Puck, who in turn dumps his smoothie on the kid's head – "Thanks, but me not walking isn't going to change either, Puck…" Puck only winks at him.
It's the last night before graduation, and the Glee Club had a huge party before things kind of died down and all the others had left together for better things; Puck drives them to an abandoned lot and helps Artie into the flatbed of the truck, where the two of them just lay under the night sky.
Artie is the type of person that seems to exude happiness wherever he goes, one of the most smartest, nicest, and most naïve people Puck knows; when he realizes that they've been together for over an entire year, he can't help but feel that he's holding him back from better things.
At their graduation, Artie smirks at Puck from under his cap; "So what's next?" he asks, still smiling as bright as ever; "Go to college and do something with your life, Artie – I'll still be here when you get back…"
Months have passed by like the clouds the pass over the sky, and he still hasn't heard from Artie; though he wouldn't blame him – Puck took that conversation as 'I'm letting you move onto better things', he took it as 'you were some nice high school booty, but I'm moving on'.
Every so often, when he's not at class or at work, he finds his eyes lingering towards where the road meets the horizon, and just hoping that maybe at one point he'll see the Abrams' van driving along.
He doesn't think of himself as a bitter person, but he is a person to hold a grudge, and even more of one to save face – which means there's no way he would ever forgive Noah Puckerman; when he's cleaning out the desk drawer in his dorm, however, he finds Puck's old football jersey, that coincidentally is the only available shirt when he's getting into bed.
Puck realizes that it's a bit overused, one of the most warn out storylines in the history of life - heaven and hell collided, the division between good and evil was no longer, and so the lion fell for the lamb.
The invitation came in the mail, a brightly horrible yellow envelope surrounding the letter that not only invited him to McKinley High's Class of 2012 Five Year Reunion, but reminded him he hadn't seen or talked to Artie in those five years.
He can't believe he let Finn and Rachel (aka Mr. and Mrs. Hudson) drag him here, but as he's standing out by the moonlit pool deck smoking what has to be his seventh cigarette of the evening, he feels a hand on his shoulder and turns to find the person he most and least wanted to see standing next to him
"Hi Puck," he says softly, smiling sweetly as the wind wraps around the two of them, reminding him of when he used to go to the beach with Natalie when they were kids; "I was kind of hoping to see you here…"
"Ever gonna get rid of this stupid haircut?" Puck asks because he's so dumbfounded of how this kid has the ability to make his heart stop and he's fucking standing and Puck can't remember ever feeling like he was going to explode with happiness; Artie just beams at him.
Puck remembered the time when he compared the brilliance of Artie's smile to a star or to the sun; later that night, as Artie buries his head into the crook of Puck's shoulder, his whispers hot against his skin, he flashes Puck his signature grin; the sun or the stars or anything else for that matter have nothing on that smile.