Title: Falling In Love With You Is Like Going Bankrupt
Author: emo_chick_87
Pairing,Character(s): Puck/Kurt
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 1527
Spoilers: Season 1
Genre: Angst/Romance
Warnings: a homophobic slur and short talk of an ICU
Disclaimer: I don't own Glee.
Summary: Kurt tries to understand what the hell Puck is talking about.
AN: I have no idea where this came from but here it is.

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The first time Kurt hears it, they're fighting. Not the cute bickering that that sometimes lets the little barbs of truth bleed through and step on the other boy's fragile little male ego. It's the kind of fight where they both leave feeling like they've gone ten rounds and they have no idea how they could love and hate someone so much at the same time. It the kind of fight where they both say things that three years from now will wake them from a deep, happy dream and the familiar rush of shame will eat away that night's sleep.

The words are lost in between Puck saying he never wants to see Kurt again and the slam of the screen door as Puck stomps out the Hummel's front door.

"Falling in love with you is like going bankrupt!"

Of all the things Kurt hears ringing in his ears, that one makes the least sense but somehow manages to hurt the most.

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The second time Kurt hears it, they're sitting in the ICU. Kurt watches the way Puck's shoulders shake with raw emotion. Kurt can see the way Puck's Adams apple is doing a macabre dance along the newly formed bruises under his chin. When Burt stops by with flowers and fresh coffee that doesn't taste like piss, Puck can't even look him in the eye.

Burt rolls one of those flowers between his fingers and whispers, "It's tulips, right? Little Sarah always said she would know a boy loved her if they brought her tulips?" and Kurt near-silent "Yeah, dad. When Sarah wakes up she's gonna love them." that finally made Puck break. He holds on to Burt so tight his elbows start to hurt. Screaming and raging about how he didn't see the other car and how he thinks the guy just came out of nowhere. He's crying about not having enough time to swerve and ruining everything. He whispers I'm sorry until he loses his voice and throws up on Burt's new flannel shirt. Burt just spends the whole time telling Puck that's he's forgiven and that it wasn't his fault. None of it was ever Puck's fault.

Sarah wakes up three hours later with a, Bro, you look like shit. She can only keep her eyes open for three minutes but she sees Burt's tulips and teases Kurt about his hospital couture. It's the best and worst three minutes of Noah Puckerman's life.

Later, they'll fall asleep, pressed tightly together on the twin cot next to Sarah's bed. Kurt will wrap his arms tightly around Puck's shoulders and stay there the entire night. Kurt will keep his eyes fixed on the ceiling, listening to the steady, reassuring beeps of Sarah's heart and Puck's soft snoring against his neck.

"Falling in love with you is like going bankrupt."

Puck had said it right before he'd fallen asleep. This time Kurt only heard awe in Puck's voice. This time it didn't hurt but it still didn't make sense.

.

The third time, Kurt isn't even entirely sure if he heard it at all. To be fair, at that moment he really isn't sure of anything. Kurt had been lost of the heavy rotation of sleeping for a few hours to regain just enough energy to crawl to the side of the bed to vomit over the edge. He was quickly closing in on hour forty-six and Puck was taking care of him. The only relief Kurt had experienced in almost two day came from Noah and the magic that was a cold washcloth. Kurt had never before experienced ecstasy like the cool slide of cotton across his forehead, around his checks, down his neck and moving to rest at the hollow of his throat. His own moans were raspy and it was the only thing that lulled him back to sleep.

By the end of the second day, Kurt feels delirious. His face is mashed against the sweat-slicked sheets that Puck had already changed twice. His leg is hanging off the side of the bed and the soft fabric of the mattress is sending burning fires across every inch of his aching limbs. His sensitive nose smells chicken soup and his stomach rumbles in a way that almost make him want to try that whole eating thing again. In the end, all he can do is raise his head of the bed for a second before giving up and letting it plunge back down into his pillow.

He's almost asleep when he hears Noah pad downstairs and pull the blankets up over his shoulders. Noah presses a soft kiss against his fevered forehead and whispers it in his ear.

"Falling in love with you is like going bankrupt."

So yeah, that third time, Kurt isn't sure he heard it but it was the first thing he thought of when he woke up the next day. Then chicken soup soon became Kurt's sole reason for existing and he forgot that he still didn't know what Puck was talking about.

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The fourth time, he is entirely sure he heard it. Everybody in the rotunda at the Lima Trees Mall heard it. The guy that sold sunglasses at a kiosk fifty feet away heard it.

The truth was that the unassuming father of four hadn't said anything to Kurt that he hadn't heard before. Kurt lived his life knowing he was different and that sometimes different people didn't always fit. Sometime the different people got called a fudge-packing fag when their foot accidentally grazed the shopping bag of a normal person. Sometimes your running-back, fudge-packing fag of a boyfriend wants to beat said normie about the face and head, despite or maybe because of the fact, the guy had a girl no older than three on his lap.

Sometimes all you can do is square your shoulders and be the kind of man that father will never be. Sometimes the boy you love follows your lead. Screaming, "Falling in love with you is like going bankrupt!", in frustration before bending you back for a kiss.

A few hours later that little girl will waddle up to Kurt in the food court, holding a battered, pink pony in her chubby hand. She'll hold it out to him like a peace offering even though she doesn't really understand why she feels like one is needed. Puck will smile at Kurt like he is the entire world.

When they're driving home, Kurt twirls the pony's hair between his fingers. He still doesn't understand what it means but this time, it makes him feel proud.

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Unlike the other four times, the fifth time happens in a quiet moment of love. Puck is kissing him, like he could do nothing but kiss him like that for hours. In between the deep kisses that curl Kurt's toes and the almost shy, teasing kisses that still make Kurt blush. Puck whispers the words against his lips

"Falling in love with you is like going bankrupt."

This time Kurt needs to understand.

"Why do you always say that?"

Puck kind of ducks his head and whispers into Kurt's chest.

"When he left, my dad put this book by my bed. There was a bunch of stuff that I don't understand but there's this line that makes me think of you. About how guys go bankrupt. Slowly at first, and then all at once. That how I fell in love with you. Slowly at first, and then all at once.."

Puck stares at Kurt like he expects a response. Kurt knows that he should point out that Puck is misquoting Hemingway. He knows that he should say something just as profound. But after months, Kurt finally understands. Puck loves him in small ways everyday. It's the big times that make up the all at once. The angry flush of his cheeks when they fight. The stoic quiet in the face of something horrible and forgiveness for everything Puck thought he was responsible for. The delirious raspy moans and chicken soup cravings. The steadfast need to take the high road in shopping malls.

Kurt can see that Puck wants him to say something. But Kurt understands it for himself now too. The all at once of Puck coming back the same night of the fight and making love in the backyard. The way Puck felt everything fell at his feet and the way he was more than happy to accept it. The six times Puck cleaned out the puke bucket without flinching, only to return with a cool cloth and chicken soup. The claiming shopping mall kiss.

Kurt was speechless. So he did the only thing he could think of. He pulled Puck in hard and kissed him with everything he had.

Because Puck was right. Them falling in love was just like going bankrupt. It was the way the world would end and a person's life passes. It's the way change leaves it's mark on the world and people leave their marks on each other. It's the way their child will grow up.

Slowly at first, and then all at once.