A/N: Random, I dunno. I just kinda find the dynamic of opposites appealing, and what's cuter than a nerdy kid in a wheelchair like Artie and a macho-man with a Mohawk like Puck? Nothing, I tell you! (Plus, the pairing name is 'Partie.' You gotta admit, that's just awesome. XD )
Slight AU, and focuses on the second season. ;D
They are probably the most unlikely friendship developed in the history of forever, and it all starts because one needs something to look good on his parole, something that's secretly a really each community service to take part in. He says that he'll be assisting a cripple, and honestly, the handicapable teen in question doesn't mind it very much because the manslut-second-to-Will-Shuester is popular and seen as just so cool because he went to juvie and returned as a survivor. He's a badass and everyone knows it, so the nerd-in-the-wheelchair is pretty okay with being Noah Puckerman's community service.
But things get hairy, and soon they are torn between being friends and enemies, because things aren't going according to plan for Puck, and poor Artie is trying not to let more than the cool factor rub off on him, because he can't eat and run and he can't bang girls willy-nilly and there's something wrong here, because Brittany is adorable and all, but Artie can't stop looking at Puck with new eyes.
And so they work out a compromise in the end: Puck can clean up trash on the side of the road like he doesn't want to do, but in return, Artie will stick around as one of the only positive influences in Puck's life, and he'll treat Puck to as many Eggo waffles as he pleases, and they can chat it up about video games and play a few together.
So it comes as no surprise when it's Puck who's wheeling Artie around more often, and sitting near him at lunch, and it comes as no surprise when the odd pair seem to spend more and more time together, because it's all about Artie's tutoring of Puckerman and Puckerman's casual friendship with Artie. Right?
It doesn't feel that way part of the time, however. Artie starts questioning the butterflies that rise in his stomach whenever Puck's fist-bump lingers for a second before exploding, or whenever Puck's hands drift a bit too high on Artie's thighs whenever he helps move the slimmer boy in and out of his chair.
Because, dammit, Artie might not be able to move his legs, but he can still feel sensation on the skin there, even through fabric.
And Artie isn't one for jealousy (okay, maybe he is, but he had every right to be before when Tina and Mike first told him about their togetherness), but he finds himself feeling heady and his ears warm whenever he spies Santana moving in on Puck, getting too close to him.
And Artie isn't one for blushing, either (okay, maybe he is, because he used to do it all the time around Tina before they started dating), but he finds himself growing fuzzy and hot in the face every time Puck leans over the back of Artie's chair, his breath on Artie's neck, as he laughs at something Artie said or whispers something witty to Artie.
And it feels wrong, crushing on Noah Puckerman like this, because everyone knows that the guy is strictly straight, but there's always the rumors that Puck swings both ways like Santana and Brittany do because he's just as much of a stud as the two Cheerios are as sluts. And it's so very wrong that Artie prays this rumor is true, just so he might have a shot at getting with his newfound best friend.
And so, one Friday, Artie leans over the armrest of his wheelchair and states casually to Puck, "Yo, want to come over tonight for some Super Smash Brothers Brawl and Eggos?"
Artie pretends that he isn't nibbling on his bottom lip in anxiety as he awaits Puck's reply, and pretends that he doesn't mentally fist pump a whispered 'yes!' when Puck agrees with that cocky smile of his attached. And most of all, Artie pretends that he doesn't love that smile, and doesn't want to kiss the lips that make up that smile.
When Puck rides home with Artie for the proffered games and waffles, Artie notes with some unexplained eagerness that his dad is still out, and he has the house to himself.
Puck immediately plops down on the couch and turns on the game console, grabbing a controller. But as he sees Artie struggle with joining him, Puck doesn't even give it a second thought to drop the controller to assist the nerdy boy.
"Here, let me help," Puck says with a roll of his eyes. "I swear, dude, you're so pathetic sometimes."
"Shut up, man. It's not like I was always like this," he retorts defensively, and Puck shrugs, clearly meaning not to offend.
"Sorry. I know, man. I know." He sighs, and heaves Artie in one fluid movement onto the couch, but where he hovers in front of the smaller boy, he doesn't move. His hands remain on Artie's legs, and the spectacled boy blinks a few times, a blush rising to burn his ears.
"Um… Puck? What you are doing?"
The moment is broken, and Puck smiles. "Nothing," he says, moving away from Artie and sitting down beside him. "Let's play."
But the way Puck glanced at him a moment ago won't leave Artie's head; the way Puck's eyelids fell halfway and the way his breathing hitched softly, and the way he seemed to slow his movements… it stirred those butterflies in Artie's stomach around again, mixing them with his fluttering heartbeat like a stew for disaster.
"Puck," Artie addresses suddenly, pressing pause on the game. He peers across the couch at where the footballer is leaning over the opposite armrest.
"This is going to sound utterly gay, but bear with me," he begins, and Puck raises an eyebrow at him, encouraging the other to continue. With a sharp inhale, Artie asks, "When you set me down just now… you looked like you were going to kiss me. Did it cross your mind to do precisely that?"
And Puck gives him an odd stare, looking as though he's torn between lying to cover his hide and confessing his true thoughts. He makes a scoffing noise, his eyes adverting. "That really is gay, Artie. Don't talk like that."
Artie wants an answer, though. He desperately needs an answer. So, with a sly smile, Artie says, "Okay, fine, but if you don't tell me, I guess I'll hate to eat all of those waffles myself."
Puck's head turns so fast he could give the girl from The Exorcist a run for her money. "You wouldn't dare!"
"I assure you, I totally would, yo," Artie retorts, and sends Puck a sneaky glance. His face falls into something more serious. "So… did you or didn't you think about kissing me?"
Puck looks uncomfortable. "You'll really deny me my Eggo fix if I don't 'fess up, Abrams?" he challenges.
Artie nods his head firmly. "Yep."
The macho teen of the two sighs and roughly runs a hand over his buzzed hair for a moment. "Fine. You caught me, man: I thought about it, I really did. But it's not my fault you have such goddamn gorgeous eyes." And he flashes an embarrassed grin, and it only makes Artie's heart forget to pump for a beat or two.
"Well, in that case, what's stopping you from acting on your thoughts?" Artie murmurs, feeling not nearly half as confident as he sounds.
Puck blinks questioningly. "You mean that?"
"Do I look like the kind of guy who doesn't say what he means?" Artie returns with raised hands in his wannabe blackitude.
A crooked smile touches Puck's features. He scoots closer on the sofa. "You got a point," he replies. "So what, then, if I kissed you right now?"
"Then I wouldn't tell a soul, and I'd kiss you right back," Artie relays softly, his eyes flickering now and then to Puck's lips in anticipation, and his stomach does a churn in a full circle like a flipping acrobat.
"Cool," Puck grins in a whisper, and he finishes closing the already shrinking distance between them by removing Artie's glasses with both hands. Then, none too steadily, Puckerman swoops in and scores. He lightly grips Artie's softly pointed chin in one hand and balances himself on the couch with the other as their lips collide.
Artie, Puck finds, is a much better kisser than even Santana, which is saying something, because that girl has experience. But Artie's kisses are not as sloppy with spit or sticky with lip-gloss, and his lips are thinner than hers or any other girls' for that matter, but Puck likes their firm-yet-suppleness of Artie's lips, and he likes how Artie's hands come up between them and slide languidly down his pectorals.
And really, those waffles are totally worth sounding gay because it doesn't feel as wrong as the idea sounds out loud, and suddenly, Puck wonders if he might have found something better than Eggos and video games, and if he might start batting for the other team if it means having Artie in his lap like this, kissing him, touching him, and officially blowing his mind more than any girl ever has.
Because, really, they make for an unusual pair, but Puck really doesn't mind if Artie doesn't mind, because damn, for someone who can't move much below the waist, he's damn talented in other ways, and Puck could definitely get used to this.