Title: Fall Back On Me
Category: Glee
Genre: Romance/Drama
Ship: Rachel/Puck
Rating: Teen
Warning(s): A Lot of Coarse Language, Sexual Content
Word Count: 11,612
Summary: She needs a friend and he's willing to be it, just not forever. 'Coz one day, he needs them to be more… and maybe that day is sooner than he thinks.

Fall Back On Me
-1/1-

Seeing Rachel alone is normal, even expected. It's not like she's got a whole lot of friends. Seeing her look lonely, now that's different. She's practically the Queen of looking like she is perfectly happy with whatever shit sandwich life's served her that day. Puck will be the first to tell anyone that he doesn't do feelings or any of the bullshit that comes with them. It was one of the many reasons he preferred (married) cougars to teenage girls. They were usually jaded and good in the sack and all they wanted was some young, hot stud to make them feel good for awhile. That was like his specialty; it should go on a plaque somewhere. And yeah, there were some girls (like Santana) who felt the same way; that feelings and relationships just weren't worth the hassle (which was why she was on like permanent rotation when it came to getting laid). Most of the Cheerio's were good for a night or two, but then they got like clingy and shit and he had to bounce before "Wanna meet my dad?" came out of their mouths. Yes, he knew that was douchey, but what-the-fuck-ever. Wasn't like he walked into these things with a sign on that said "You can change me, I'm up for it!" If anything, it was the opposite. Being single was a way of life for him. And he liked it that way.

Usually.

Most of the time.

Up until recently.

Or, okay, maybe she got her claws into him (and yeah he was being serious, her fingers were like midget claws that sunk in and didn't fucking let go) way back when he was all fucked up over Quinn and the baby and stabbing his best friend in the back. And yeah, he wasn't really paying attention 'coz shit, she had doe eyes for Finn then, even when she was all up on him and sucking the skin off his lips like he had a fucking Tony hidden inside them. Shit was cool, though. 'Til she dumped his ass. But whatever, ancient history, it was like a year ago. 'Cept they were making out back in December and she was all like, "Take my virginity so I can get back at Finn!" except not really exactly in those words and he was down for that, legit, 'coz popping Berry's cherry would be like epic! Just kissing her was like walking on fucking sunshine, so getting right in there… Yeah, that would be life altering. And he was up for that, seriously. Maybe somewhere in his mohawked head he'd decided that if he went there she'd like, dump Finn's dopey ass and realize he was too nice and too dumb and not enough for all her crazy. And yeah, okay, he wanted to be the guy that was enough. Shit, she just had this like thing about her; all 'I believe in you' and 'Noah Puckerman is no Lima Loser' and she made him fucking believe it. Then she was all whimpery when he had his hands on her hips and was slowly making his way to the promised land – legit, girl had the best ass he'd ever copped a feel of; must be all that dancing shit. The noises that come out of the back of her throat when his mouth was on her neck… He totally did not just fucking shiver, shit's not cool; it's like fucking cold in here, whatever.

Anyway, he puts a halt to it, pulling back even though it was practically a sealed deal. He's into it, she's into it, and when he stops her only concern is that she might've bit him, which he kinda liked so there's no way he'd be bitching 'coz of that. Actually, there's a lot of reasons he shouldn't be pulling back. Like he really, seriously, legit likes her… a lot. And chances like these are rare, well with her anyway. He's got a cell full of babes who'd like fucking jump at the chance to be with him. But Rachel and him have history and he wants them to have some kinda future and this shit is so going to mess that the fuck up. Yeah, yeah, he was just saying he wanted it and she was down for it and he had all these fucking ideas, and then he remembers that shit, he's going for another of Finn's girls… And okay, Rachel is nothing like Quinn, which he actually likes, but the situation is too similar and he can't be the degenerate that got up Berry's skirt so she could get back at Finn for sticking it to Satan. Legit, he wants to be the degenerate that got up his girlfriend's skirt – finally! And it might take some time (he's praying to God that it at least happens before high school's out or his blue balls fuckin' kill him) and yeah, he's gotta watch the Finn and Rachel Show awhile longer, but he's pretty sure it's coming to an end – soon – so he thinks his chances must be better.

He's kind of right.

They don't last, especially after she admits that she didn't just kiss Puck, she was willing to hand over her V-card to him, and then Finn's all puppy-eyed and 'I never knew you'd make me feel this way,' and they're like over. And he means over-over. There's no sequel (or whatever fucking number of tries this is) in the cards and Finn starts dating some dumb Cheerio that hangs off his every word, wears the right clothes, never gets slushied, and gets his rep back up. And then there's Rachel, who's like… fucking sad. He knew she'd be like that for awhile – Finn was supposed to her leading man or whatever; he was pretty sure the fact that she always ended up kissing or near-kissing him, regardless of her relationship status, should've like woke her the fuck up about that already – but it's like fucking March already and she still looks like somebody ran over her cat and then waved it in her face and told her it was her fault.

So he's staring at her in the hallway, all lost in thought and shit, and he should probably leave and let her pine away some more, but he's kind of pissed that his chance is taking so fucking long and that she's still clinging to some desperate hope that Finn will see how stupid he was and come back to her. So he walks over to her (all right, so he half-stomps, half-swaggers) and he bumps her shoulder with his elbow – girl's a fucking midget, legit! And she looks up at him, brows furrowed, and he remembers this was kind of like how it all happened back in December. Him trying to be a good Jew (shut up, it was part of it!) and her needing someone to lean on.

"'Sup, Berry? Glee was out like an hour ago."

She nods, gaze falling to the floor, and he hates that she's all fucking pathetic looking. Where's the girl that could bust his eardrums with her singing and probably wouldn't mind trying just because it would look good on her resume for Broadway (Rachel Berry: Can, and have, caused the explosion of a human's eardrums with exceptional vocal intensity; obviously a very unique talent that should not be wasted. For proof, see itemized list. First victim – Noah Puckerman). She still fights for solos and glares at the Cheerio's that call her Manhands and Treasure Trail and she still takes each slushie with the kind of grace nobody should have perfected, but now she looks like a lost little girl.

"You need a ride or some shit?" So nobody said he was fucking charming.

"That would be appreciated, Noah," she murmurs, all quiet and soft.

Shit, that was easy. "No long rant about why you're hanging around the school at like six in the afternoon?" He cocks a brow at her quiet demeanor. "Where's the daddies-Berry at anyway?" He turns, holding out an arm for her to hook hers around. She takes it, smiling briefly, and he smirks, 'coz that shit's gallant or something.

"Daddy is out of town on business and dad had to work late… again." Her lips purse, like she's trying to figure something out… or she already has and she doesn't like what it is.

"You think he's cheating?" he asks bluntly.

Her eyes dart up to his, wide and surprised. "Wh-What?"

"Dad's working late, again," he mimics. "Shit's like code for 'dad's banging the secretary' or whatever the male equivalent of that is."

"Men can work as office assistants, Noah," she replied simply.

"Didn't answer my question, B," he sighs impatiently.

She wrinkles her nose at the nickname but doesn't correct him. "No, I don't believe he's having an affair… I just feel—" She stops, looking up at him. "I'm sorry; I shouldn't be discussing this with you. You were obviously doing something when you happened upon me and I've taken up enough of your time. Although I do commend you on your hospitable nature and for taking a moment to ask about my welfare." She moved to like pull her arm away and yeah, he's not having that shit. He flexes, the muscles of his bicep basically trapping her tiny little (non-man-like) hand there.

She raises her eyes to his and there's irritation there – shit, he should not like that... "I hope that has nothing to do with those steroids you were telling me about…"

He scowls. "Not after you told me they shrink your junk. Shit, I need to keep my boy in shape."

He's not sure if she's laughing or choking on air, but her head ducks as she reacts and she lifts her other hand to her mouth. When she looks back up, her eyes are a little brighter, so he goes with laughing. Hell, if that's all it takes to make her happy…

"Just working out, B…" He smirks suggestively. "Keeping the Puckerone ready for when you wanna take another ride."

She scoffs. "I never got to finish my first one…" Her brows furrow. "I'm saying first because our previous foray in a 'relationship' did not progress past heavy making out and I had no intentions then for letting you anywhere near a 'homerun' as it were." She even did those fucking air quote things.

"I didn't even get to second base, so yeah, I knew that…" He wiggled his brows at her. "You still pissed I didn't punch your V-card, Berry? Thought you wanted to wait for twenty-five anyway."

She flushed, chin falling a moment before suddenly she was looking up at him very confidently. "While I had once thought to wait until I was twenty-five, it's recently come to my attention that waiting might hinder the natural growth of my person in any future relationship I take part in."

He blinks at her. "What? So you think you'll get dumped if you don't put out?" He scowls. Okay, so his usual type pretty much has to be a girl willing to spread her legs, and yeah, a guy could get frustrated when they were sprawled on Rachel's too pink bed with her tight little body rocking all up on his junk and no chance of going any further, but any dude who didn't know she was like worth that was fucking stupid. "Shit's stupid," he tells her; fuck candy-coating that bull.

She rolls her eyes. "Any boy who wasn't willing to wait just because I wasn't ready or I had my priorities straight enough that I didn't want to sabotage myself by having intercourse before I had reached my planned age bracket, wouldn't be worthy of me… What I meant was that I may be holding myself back from personally growing if I didn't allow myself to experience the natural growth of a relationship from one stage to the next… If I was in love with a man and he felt the same way about me and we were both naturally at a stage where we felt sexual relations would only bring us closer, then I think I should be open to the possibility…"

He got most of that. He's just pretty sure she's saying she wants to wait for someone she loves and that she's not putting an age requirement on that. "S'cool," he says with a shrug. Because yeah, he knew he wanted her, more than he had any other girl before her, but he'd kind of come to the conclusion that getting between her legs wouldn't be happening for a long fucking time. When he realized he was actually down with that, he had to check to make sure his balls hadn't like fucking fallen off. But now she was saying 'maybe' and 'some day' and 'if I love him enough' and shit, he wants to be that dude!

She nods, like she appreciates his input, regardless of whether it would actually affect her decision.

They're in the parking lot and making their way to his truck when he looks at her again. "So were you just gonna hang around 'til your dad got off work or were you planning on spending your weekend here?" he asks, nodding back to the school. She still hadn't told him what she'd been doing loitering in the halls, looking all sad and shit.

She looks up at him, leaning in a little closer 'coz the wind picked up and she's still wearing those criminally tiny skirts and he knows it's March and like the snow's melted, but it's not warm enough for that shit. Not that he's gonna say anything, 'coz he'd rather her just use him as her heat source than lose out on the awesome view of her legs. "I was going to get a ride home and then I thought… Who would give me one?" She laughs, all sad and empty. "Kurt's at Dalton and the others… Well Tina's nice, I suppose, sometimes… And I'm sure if it'd been earlier, I could've gotten a ride from Artie's dad, but…" She swallows tightly, trying to smile for his benefit. "I've just realized that without Finn, I really don't have, well… anyone…"

He frowns.

Okay, so the gleeks are kind of cliquey, especially for a group of outcasts that don't have many fighting to be their friends, and he knew they didn't always like how bossy and loud and self-involved Rachel could be, but he didn't realize they were being douchey to her. And since he was like the motherfucking King of the Douches, he should know. But now that he thought about it, it wasn't like any of them went out of their way to invite Rachel into their fold. And yeah, he got an invite to everything, it was just like expected, but Rachel was one of those people that had to be asked to come to things and who was surprised when it happened. His weekends were mostly made up of parties and Halo and COD with the guys, 7-Eleven, beer and dip. He was used to it; it was just like how his life was. And when he dated Rachel, she was mostly dancing and music lessons and trying to look busy so she didn't look pathetic when she didn't get asked to things. When she was with him, for all of like five days, they made-out, sang, she harassed him to do his homework, and then they were loaded down with all this 'Pick football or glee' shit and even after he fucking picked her and the reject club, he was still dumped. Lame.

So he's not sure what his angle is when he says, "You got me…" Because it could mean 'Let's be friends,' and fuck that noise, he doesn't want to be shoved into the friendship zone. Or it could mean something more and he wants that but he doesn't want the Rachel still pining after Finn, so much as the Broadway Babe that drives him crazy and makes him want light himself on fire (in a vaguely good way). And she's staring up at him all wide-doe-eyed and if it were anybody else, he'd just cut and run, 'coz there's way too many expectations in those eyes. But then she smiles, all watery, and lets out a breath like she thought he was going to suddenly yell, "Gotcha! Didn't mean it, Loser!" which would be like the douchiest thing he's ever done.

"That's very sweet of you, Noah."

"Badass, Berry," he corrects seriously. "Sweet and me just don't go together."

"Puck is badass," she agrees. "Noah is sweet." And then she turns, lifts up on those tiny dancer's feet of hers and kisses his cheek, lingering. And he can smell her hair, all berry-scented, and feel her breath as she pulls away, and shit, he's kind of shaking on the inside. When she draws back, she circles the truck and launches herself into the passenger seat. He totally means launches 'coz she is tiny and she can't just sit down like he can, she has to like fucking jump for that shit. He'd laugh if he didn't kind of feel like dancing (no homo).

So instead he gets in on his side and slams his door a little harder than necessary and starts up the truck, half-smirking when it rumbles to life. Some days, he legit worries his old girl's just gonna die on him. And it would be at the worst time too. Luck is not his friend. Legit, he looks back and he's pretty sure nobody should ever let him gamble 'coz shit would not end well. The first girl he really likes was dating his best friend, so he slept with her anyway, one freaking time, and she fucking gets pregnant! And then she's all 'Lima Loser'-this and 'I want Finn to be the dad'-that and that is like a serious blow to his oversized ego. But he deals and he does his best anway and even when he's kinda proven that hell no he's not like his deadbeat dad, he still loses his daughter. And Quinn. He's over that now but at the time he kinda like loved her, or maybe just the idea of her or the part of her that gave him Beth, shit he's not sure. But then he can't look at her and not see his daughter and they're just better off not being together. And then after one night of really stupid fucking acting out, he steals an ATM, for what he doesn't even know. It's not like he needs a whole lot of money for slushies and dip, but what-the fuck-ever. So he gets the ATM and then he gets thrown in juvie and no shit, he's not even close to being the worst badass in there. He's like as popular as fucking Jacob Ben Israel – shit's not cool! And then when he gets his act together and gets out, he almost gets thrown back in 'coz apparently chillin' with Wheels wasn't 'gang related' like they'd thought he meant. Fuck his life. And just when he thinks he's making any head way, he finds himself falling for another girl and she's legit dating that same best friend and like fuckin' in love with him or some shit. So he makes out with her during one of her low points in her relationship and then tries to do the right thing and not fuck her and he stills ends up being the reason she loses her boyfriend, and he just knows Finn thinks it's all his fault… Lady Luck was a bitch he probably boned and didn't call back; he just fucking knows it.

He pulls out of the parking lot and turns on the heat. It takes a couple minutes for it to circulate but at least she's not rubbing her hands together and blowing hot air into them anymore. She fiddles with the radio even after he slaps her fingers away from the dial. She laughs under her breath, bounces in her seat, and goes looking for a station she likes. It's not until she's grinning all crazy-like and singing along that he thinks maybe he helped her a little bit. How, he's not really sure. Maybe he wasn't paying attention and she was like talking her shit out, but whatever. She looks happy, he's good.

"You busy this weekend?" he asks, glancing at her. He doesn't wanna try his luck, but he's hoping she doesn't turn this around and fuck him up somehow. Like if she suddenly tells him that Finn will be pissed he gave her a ride home, he's gonna lose his shit.

She taps her foot thoughtfully. "I have a vocal lesson early Saturday and ballet on Sunday, but other than that, no…" She looks over to him. "Is your schedule very packed?"

He half-smiles, 'coz she still talks a little weird and even though it used to kind of piss him off, like she was talking down to him or some shit, now he just knows it's just her. "My schedule is pretty open… I think Santana's having a party, might hit that up… Probably set up the X-Box 360 and have the guys over, too."

She chews her lip, nodding.

And all he's wondering is if she's thinking about Finn, comparing him to Finn.

"You going?"

She's confused, looking at him like his question makes little to no sense.

"To San's party," he explains.

Her eyes widen, like she gets it, and then she shakes her head. "It would only encourage their teasing and I'd rather avoid it when I can."

"Avoid…" he scoffs. "Not something I thought you'd ever do, Berry."

She half-glares at him and he smirks 'coz he'd rather her pissed than sad. "Yes, well, when you spend five days out of your week surrounded by people who do little else but belittle you, it tends to rub you the wrong way… On my weekends, I prefer to spend my time with people who appreciate me…" She frowns then. "Except my parents don't spend very much time at home anymore, so I'm mostly on my own, but… That's all right. I-I have plenty of things to occupy my time."

He takes a left, hardly pausing at the stop sign, and laughs when she looks offended. There was nobody around, so it wasn't like he was putting her in danger. Shit. "Yeah… You, uh… You wanna come hang out Sunday? After ballet or whatever… I'll, uh, show you how to play COD."

She stares at him with wide, unblinking eyes, like he's there for her dissection.

"You… You want to teach me to play one of your video games?" she basically squeaks.

"S'what I said." He shifts uncomfortably.

"Oh…" She looks down at her hands in her lap. "I probably won't be very good at first. Although, I have exceptional hand-eye coordination, so I should learn quickly."

He grins. "That a yes, Berry?"

She smiles carefully. "Yes." And when he doesn't like rescind (fuckin' A he knows that word) that shit, she gives a nod to seal the deal.

He pulls up in front of her house and looks at it a minute, all dark and empty. She moves to get out and he reaches over, touches her arm to stop her. "You, uh, got plans for dinner? Mom's home, she'll probably cook something kosher… or you can grab some vegan shit and make it at our place."

"Th-Thank you," she breathes, all soft and quiet.

"Shit, it's just dinner, Berry…" He squirms, 'coz she's looking at him like he legit just hung the fucking stars. And he likes it way too fucking much.

She nods, her cheeks flushing red. "I'll just be a moment," she tells him, reaching for the truck door, and then she looks back, like she's still pretty sure he's gonna drive off and ditch her, and he rolls his eyes.

"Hurry up," he says, waving a hand.

She hops out and literally skips to her door. It'd be weird if it wasn't cute.

It's ten minutes before she comes back out, a bag slung over her shoulder with what he assumes is some of that vegan shit she likes. Girl needs to try bacon, she'd forget all about souls then… He considers corrupting her for all of about five seconds, and then he remembers Jess St. Douche and the egg fiasco and how upset she was and he knows he can't do that to her. She hops back in the truck, excited and happy, and puts her seatbelt back on.

The ride to his place is filled with endless chatter (mostly one-sided) and he's pretty sure he got exactly what he wanted. The crazy, loud, obnoxious Rachel Berry that was missing for awhile now. She spends the weekend at his place; legit, his mom tells her to sleep on the couch 'coz it's late and she doesn't want him driving or her walking. Fuck that noise, he drives around a lot later and she's never complained. But she's like in-fucking-love with Rachel, the nice, Jewish girl her son brought home. He'd roll his eyes if he didn't like her just as much (maybe more). So she stays over and she makes him try her tofu-scramble wrap the next morning and it tastes like ass (which he totally tells her) and then he scarfs down a stack of pancakes as high as his forearm is long and she just wrinkles her nose and talks about how surprising it is he's kept his figure this long.

"Figure? The fuck…" He flexes his arms for her and tells her he's a stud.

And she just pats his arm, all sympathetic, and tells him, "Of course, Noah."

When his ma and sister giggle, he glares at them, but her hand's still on his arm, forefinger tracing the muscles there, and he's fucking proud of that shit.

He drives her to dance lessons on Saturday, hits up a Burger King with the boys while she's busy, and then picks her up after. She's all sweaty and wearing a leotard and he walks behind her, his hand on the small of her back, so she won't see how hard he is. It's getting to be like a permanent fucking problem lately. He shows her COD that night instead of going to Santana's party and she's shit at first, but then she gets the hang of it and she's yelling, "DIE! DIE!" and he just laughs, 'coz she's supposed to be all "Violence is never necessary!" and "Peace is Love!" but she's blowing shit up and aiming like a pro and he's seriously proud of that. She makes him play his guitar for him after dinner and he's kind of a pushover there 'coz she always gets all bright-eyed and smiles at him a lot, and she doesn't even sing to keep the attention on her, she just watches his fingers along the strings and sometimes sways to the beat or tells him, "I know this song."

He can hardly sleep that night, knowing she's downstairs on his couch, wearing his number 20 basketball jersey when he didn't take her home to get pajamas. She's sprawled out on the couch with one of those scratchy extra blankets and she's got her iPod on for background noise and if he listens hard enough, he'd probably hear Barbara Streisand or some shit, but whatever. She's downstairs and she's half naked and she's been smiling at him all fucking day and he legit just wants to go downstairs and kiss the fucking air out of her lungs. And his ma keeps looking at him like she knows that's exactly what he wants to do and she'd probably congratulate him for defiling Berry on the couch, but he doesn't move. Well, he moves long enough to wrap his hand around his dick and rub one out while he listens to the faint strains of The Way He Makes Me Feel and fantasizes it's her hand or she's there, even watching, and when he comes, her name is trapped in his throat but a growl escapes instead. His ma's got super-Jew hearing and she'd like catch that shit… Yeah, he knows he's totally fucked.

Sunday morning, she gets up and watches Disney movies with his sister, singing the songs with her and not even critiquing the childlike and totally off-key singing of the eight year old brat that's looking up at her like she'd willingly trade three of her brothers in for one Rachel Berry. He leans in the doorway to the kitchen awhile and just watches her. Her hair's in a lop-sided ponytail and she's still wearing his jersey and Sarah's bouncing next to her while they belt out A Whole New World and then he smells the food and he steps back into the kitchen to see if his ma needs any help. She's smiling at him, in that way that means she knows exactly what he's thinking and it's fucking scary.

"What?" he grumbles, crossing to the fridge to drag out the jug of milk and knock bag a swig straight from the container.

She rolls her eyes at his poor manners. "She's very pretty."

"I know."

"And talented…" she adds.

He sighs. "I know."

"She's got big plans for Broadway and New York and you know… I think she'll achieve them."

He frowns. "Yeah, ma, I know…"

Turning, she leans back against the counter and narrows her eyes at him thoughtfully. "She and Finn have been broken up since December, he's got himself some gentile girl now… Rachel's even said she's gotten over her 'previous attachment' to him, so…" She raises a brow. "What's stopping you?"

"She's pretty," he says.

And she nods. "Mmhmm."

"And talented."

"Yes…"

"And she's gonna take New York by storm while I'm still pissing off the Lima PD…" He snorts, leans back against the fridge and realizes he's never let himself think it, but it's fucking true. He likes Berry, a lot, but he's never been good enough for her. Probably never will be, either. No matter how many times she tells him he's worth more than he puts out.

His ma gets that 'protective mama bear' look on her face and starts waving her spatula around. "With that kind of attitude, no, you won't be parading around New York with that girl on your arm, but Noah…" She sighs, loud and thick. "Baby, you are smarter than you give yourself credit for. All those naps during math and the trouble you get into, you know maybe you wouldn't be a familiar face with the Lima police if you had a girl like that to keep you in line." She lifts a brow when she knows he's gonna argue that he doesn't need anybody to keep him in line and that he's his own fucking man and all that good shit. "You wanna girl like that, you gotta stop feeling sorry for yourself and show her that you can be what she needs. Not what she wants, Noah. Because right now, maybe she thinks tall, nice and dopey is her type, but you show her what a good, Jewish man can give her and she'll never walk away."

His jaw ticks as he looks away. "You done?"

"You started yet?" she retorts.

And he grins, rolls his eyes, and with a peck to her cheek, he goes to join Rachel and Sarah in the living room. He fucking hates Aladdin, but Rachel's singing is worth it.

When she realizes Mike and the boys are coming home, she starts getting anxious. "I should really be getting home… Not that I haven't appreciated all of your hospitality, Aviva." And yeah, she stopped calling his ma 'Mrs. Puckerman' somewhere after the third time she was corrected. "But I have ballet soon and since Noah will no doubt be occupied with the others…"

He nods, 'coz explaining her to the guys would be weird and he doesn't want any of their 'what-the-fuck' expressions making her all 'nobody-likes-me' again, not after he spent a weekend getting crazy, high-maintenance Berry back. And yeah, all right, she's not like totally off the wall when she's with his family. She's actually pretty tame, for her, and she's relaxed around him, which he likes. So he drives her home after she's hugged his ma and sister goodbye and promises Sarah she'll visit sometime soon and they can watch the High School Musical movies together (and he's so not fucking participating in that hell, but he kinda likes that she wants to come back) and he helps her into the truck this time rather than watching her running jump into the passenger side. She gets all stiff when his hands are on her hips and her head swivels back to look at him and then she smiles and softens and thanks him for his 'courteous behavior.' Fuck that noise, he just likes touching her.

So he drives her the short three blocks to her house and he waits, pretending he's not nervous, when she looks from the house and back to him. "You sure you don't need a ride to ballet?" he asks.

She shakes her head. "It's fine. One of the other girls usually picks me up and drops me off when my dads are busy…" She glances at her lap and suddenly she looks just as nervous as she did when they first hopped in the truck on Friday. "Are you… Is this…" She sighs before finally looking up at him. "Previously, when we spent any prolonged amount of time together, and yes I know it didn't end quite as happily as one might expect, but regardless, you said we… we weren't friends and I just thought that maybe now, after this weekend and all of the time we've spent together, I should be absolutely certain of our status…"

He stares at her, 'coz he's pretty sure she somehow brought up their brief relationship and the shit way he snapped back at her after she dumped him. "Listen, Berry…" And her face falls, like he's just kicked her damn puppy, and he knows she thinks he's gonna be all like No we're not friends and don't tell anybody I spent any time with you, all right? But what he really says is, "You need, like, a friend or whatever right now… 'Coz you're still getting over Finn and all of his lame bullshit, and I'll like… be that, but… Not for like, ever, all right?"

Her brows are furrowed and she's nodding and she's probably going to ask him exactly how long he plans to be her friend, so she can mark down on her calendar the exact day he plans to dissolve that friendship.

He kind of laughs, 'coz she'd legit ask that. "I just mean… Later, when you're, like, not all up on Finn or whatever… We could maybe try, uh, us… again… Y'know… Without all that Finn and Quinn and real baby-daddy bullshit…" He rubs the back of his neck 'coz this shit is awkward. "I'm not gonna like, bug you about it or whatever… Or date anybody… Not that I really like date, but you know what I mean…"

She blinks. "Noah Puckerman, are you promising to cut all ties to your previous bevy of sexual conquests."

Seriously, he needs like a Berry dictionary sometimes. "Uh… I think?"

She grinned. "So no cougars or Cheerios or gentile whores?" she says it so casually, he kind of grins.

"Yeah… None of… that…" He frowns then. "Unless you're, like, not gonna get over Finn, then you should tell me now, so I'm not, like, waiting around for you and get dumped before we're even, like, dating…"

And she smiles, softly, fondly, and not at all offended. "And if I was already over Finn?"

Yeah, so sue him for being unconvinced. "It's only been a few months, B."

"A lot can happen in a few months, Noah… I've done a lot of soul-searching and you know what I've found?" She sits back, shoulders straight. "Finn Hudson never fully appreciated the complete package that I was… In fact, he was very adamant that he somehow change various characters quirks that he deemed as flaws. And yes, I'm aware that I can be both overbearing and overwhelming at times, but that does not give him the right to use my feelings as justification for fixing me…" She takes a deep breath and then looks at him again. "And over the course of this weekend I've remembered that… you never really did that… I mean, yes, it was only five days that we dated, but even outside of our brief relationship you simply accepted my 'special brand of crazy' as what it was. And while you occasionally wanted to set yourself on fire or thought I should tone it down, you still… liked me… In fact, you're quite possibly the only person, outside of my fathers, who knows me, all of me, and still likes me…"

"Nah, my mom and sister think the sun like shines out of your ass…"

She laughs, a startled but genuine sound. "Well, that's… welcomed."

He rolls his eyes. "Whatever…"

She grins. "You can act as unaffected as you like, but you were just telling me that you would eventually like to date me and all my 'crazy' just as soon as I've finished mooning over Finn, and since that has already occurred I would like to take you up on your offer."

He stares at her, 'coz he thought that shit was gonna take a lot longer and be a lot harder. "Cool… So… You wanna make it official?"

She raises a brow. "Is your way of making it official simply making out in your truck?"

He smirked. "Hell yeah."

She smiled. "Okay."

Sweet.

They spend an hour steaming up the windows of his truck and she even lets him touch her boobs (over the shirt, but whatever, he'll get there), and it's not until one of her ballet friends pulls up and honks their horn for her to get it in gear that she finally pulls back. Her arms are around his neck, her fingers still tangled in his 'hawk, and she's smiling down at him with those big brown eyes and her mouth all swollen and red and thoroughly fucking kissed. "Call me later and we'll make a plan for that date," she tells him and then she kisses his forehead and hops off of him, climbing out of his truck. As she walks across her front yard, she pauses to turn back and wave at him, tucking her hair behind her ear with her other hand.

Fucking A.

He goes home and spends a distracted afternoon playing COD and Halo with the boys and when his ma looks at him like she knows something's changed, he smiles at her. 'Coz hell yeah it did.

And then he thinks maybe he'll do something for her, something that'll no doubt give him extra points for being fucking awesome but also make her feel like good about herself and shit. He spends most of the night planning.

He's not sure what he's expecting Monday, but when he gets there and doesn't see her, he's kinda like… disappointed. And then he starts getting paranoid, like he thinks maybe since the last time he saw her, she realized who the fuck she'd agreed to date. Or maybe Finn pulled his head out of his ass and like serenaded her into going with him again. His guts twists, violently, and maybe he throws a couple kids into dumpsters, but one of them is Jacob Ben Israel and that dude always deserves it. He doesn't see her at break and he spends his lunch trying to track her down; from the choir room to the stage to the glee table in the caf but she's like nowhere.

He finally just texts her, wondering why he didn't do that in the first place. hey b, where u at?

She replies quickly. I believe you mean, 'Where are you?' And to such a question I would reply, 'Second floor girl's bathroom…' Because cherry slush does not look particularly appealing on my previously very pristine white sweater.

The anger the courses through him is all too familiar; in fact, he's pretty sure it's what gets him into too much trouble, all too often. He texts back so hard his thumbs hurt from the pressure. the fuck slushied u?

He can practically hear her sighing in his head. While we haven't yet proceeded in our previously agreed to date, I would like to maintain the opportunity to do so and having you sent away to a juvenile center for your rash behavior in retaliation would hinder that…

He legit plans to buy a dictionary later that afternoon. He's gonna carry it in his pocket and whip it out when she texts him like this, or even when she's just talking at him sometimes. He wonders just how annoyed she'll get. Maybe she'll stomp her foot and storm out on him… He's grinning before he can help it and her diva-storm out's should not turn him on.

cum on berry. jus tell me wht douche is gettin his face bashed in.

There's a long, wordy rant going on his head (in her voice) about violence not being the answer… and then he remembers her playing COD and knows there's a little badass buried somewhere under her animal sweaters.

No.

That's it. That's all she says.

He's in the second floor girl's bathroom quicker than if he'd had Sue Sylvester chasing his ass the whole way up. He slams the door open, sees some freshmen girl scurry out with a cry of surprise and a lingering 'hey you're hot' look and then he's looking at a topless Rachel Berry. So she's wearing her bra, but her skin's all sticky and tanned and half-naked and he maybe forgets why he's there except to look at all that awesome perfection.

She rolls her eyes at him and scoffs at his manners. "You are aware that the silhouette on the door was of a female; the dress was your first sign."

He snorts. "S'cool, not the first time I been in here." He shrugs, tucks his hands in the back pockets of his jeans and swaggers over to her. "You got a spare shirt?" He nods to her.

She frowns, looking from the white sweater half-soaked in water and cherry syrup lying in the sink. "Unfortunately, since I'd had such a lovely weekend I was operating under the ridiculous reasoning that nothing could ruin my good day, thus encouraging me not to bring a spare set of clothes… I was mistaken…"

He cocks a brow, which is like Rachel Berry-speak for Tell me everything, but add in the fact that it's him and he really only means The fuck happened today?

So she gets that, he thinks, and replies, "I woke up late. Neither of my dads were home so they were unable to wake me up on time for school. And given the hour, I didn't want to trouble you, so I simple took the transit system." Her nose wrinkled. "While I find the cost of Lima's local busses are set at an acceptable rate, I found the ride itself to be very unsatisfactory… I was forced to sit by an older gentlemen who I fear has not showered in a very long time… He smelled entirely too much like urine and he had an odd affection for sniffing my hair…" She smoothed out her skirt as she spoke, seemingly forgetting that she was not wearing a shirt. His eyes darted from her mouth to her bra-covered boobs; he totally didn't forget. "When I arrived, I of course explained my situation to the office, but they were hardly sympathetic." Her mouth pinched with irritation. "Still, they gave me a note to give to my English teacher and I was able to finish out the last half of my class. During break, I went to my other classes to pick up any homework I might've missed and get a general idea of the day's lessons, and by then break had finished, so I wasn't able to do much else. Aside from a few spitballs that do absolutely nothing for my hair, class was generally uneventful. Although I did find the assignment a bit juvenile, I'm sure I can still achieve a good grade. And then by lunch time," she sighed, "I was nearly to my locker when Kar—" She stopped, backing up as she realized she'd basically outed her slushie-r (she'd totally tell him that wasn't a word, but fuck that shit) "Er, when I was unceremoniously slushied… and that, I believe, brings us up to this point."

He blinks. "So you woke up late, sat next to a homeless man on the bus who probably pissed himself, got spitballed in class, and slushied by Karofsky…" He nods, before telling her, "I'll start picking up in the mornings…" He winks then. "Waking you up could be fun…"

She shakes her head, but he can see the smile she's trying to hide.

His eyes darken then, 'coz all weekend he'd had her grinning and she didn't try to hide it then but she gets back to school and it's a shitstorm. Jaw ticking, he tells her, "And don't worry about Karofsky, he'll—"

"Noah, no!" She crosses the space between them, her little hands reaching up and squeezing his shoulders. He should probably remind her that she's like half-naked and having her touching him is not gonna keep things PG in there. "It's not…" She sighs, chewing her lip. "It's not Karofsky I'm worried about…" She stares up at him through those long lashes and he wants to get all soft and whatever but—

"Are you questioning my badassedness?" he snaps.

Her brows furrow, she's like not even surprised. "That is not a word… But no, I'm not." She begins rubbing his shoulders, all slow and methodic, and it's fucking awesome. He's like trying not to moan 'coz her little midget fingers are squeezing all these tensed up muscles and she could legit bring him to his knees if she keeps it up. "But if you were to engage in any violent behavior, whether it was for my benefit or not, it would only reflect badly on you… and since your last stint in juvie, I'd rather avoid you ever returning…"

He frowns, 'coz that's like logical and shit but when he gets angry he just wants to hit people or like steal stuff. And maybe his ma was right about having her around and not getting his ass into trouble as much. Not that he'd ever tell anyone that. "Okay… So I won't go after Karofsky…"

She looks suspicious, like it was too easy or some shit. "Really?"

"The fuck, Rachel? You want me to go after him or what?"

"No, no…" She lifted a dainty (bare, soft-looking) shoulder. "I just, thought it would take more convincing…"

He smirks then. "Yeah…" He wiggles his brows. "And how were you going to convince me?"

She scoffs then and slaps his chest lightly before turning on her heel and walking back to the sink. "If it wouldn't be too much trouble, do you think you could see if there are any spare shirts in the Lost and Found?" She looks up at him hopefully and he nods, stepping back toward the door.

But he stops for a second, 'coz she looks all lonely and sad trying to get the cherry coloring out of her sweater still. "You gonna be all right?"

"I'm in the girl's lavatory, Noah… So far, you are the only male willing to walk in here…"

"I'm badass," he reminds her, grinning.

She lets herself smile this time and then waves him off.

He doesn't go to the Lost and Found, he heads back to his locker and he gets his basketball jersey out. Yeah, the same one she was wearing to bed all weekend. His ma washed it on Sunday, so it doesn't smell like her anymore, but he thinks by the end of the day it should. So he tosses it over his shoulder and makes his way back up to the second floor. When he pushes open the door, she's singing The Way He Makes Me Feel from Streisand and he starts thinking of Saturday night… He has to readjust himself before he walks in 'coz he's already stiff and he's half-sure any thing by Streisand (whether Berry's singing it or not) should not get him off, let alone this fucking hard.

"Hey," he calls, getting her attention.

She pauses in squeezing out the excess water of her sweater and beams at him.

He half-grins. "Catch." He tosses the jersey over and smirks when she looks down at it, astonished.

"N-Noah, are you sure you want to do this…?" She fiddles with the giant white 2. Looking self-conscious, she lets her eyes stick to the shirt. "While I appreciate the gesture and would like nothing more than to wear your name and number with pride, I can't help but worry that…" She chewed her lip. "It's just… You were slushied because you were dating me… If I wear this, everyone will assume—"

"That I'm dating you, which is what I want…" He crosses his arms. "So we haven't gone on an official date yet…" He shrugs. "It'll happen… and it'll work… But at least, with you wearing this, Karofsky'll get the hint… I might not be allowed to rearrange his face, but at least he'll get the warning…" His eyes darkened. "And if he still doesn't get it, then I'm gonna rearrange his face."

She clucked her tongue. "I thought we were making progress with your violent tendencies."

He smirked. "Babe, we're working on my possessive whatevers now…" He crossed over to her and took the shirt, flipping it over his arms and wrangling it over her head. It was big on her, like hung so long her skirt legit disappeared, and the v-neck hung a little low, but it worked. Maybe he was biased or some shit, but she could legit wear a fucking potato sack and he'd still think she was hot… Especially if it left her legs bare; he seriously had it bad for her legs. "Look, the jersey's cool, and… y'know… it looks good on you…"

She stared up at him. "Thank you, Noah…"

He shrugs. "S'cool… Just a shirt, B."

"No, not…" She looks down at herself and then back at him and she's looking more confident again, like the girl she was at his place, laughing with his sister and talking with his mom. "Not just the jersey… Your friendship means a lot to me… Everything, in fact. Especially since you are currently the only McKinley student who calls himself my friend…" She reaches for him, her palms flattening against his chest, thumbs rubbing back and forth. And he likes it; he likes how easy it feels to be with her. "I'd like to think that even outside of our relationship – that hasn't really had much time to start yet, but I digress – I'd like to think that you would still be here for me, doing this, and acting like the gentleman that you hide poorly behind a mask of indifference."

His brows furrow. "I'm like pretty sure you complimented and insulted me…"

She nods. "By your standards of badassery in comparison to that of a gentleman, yes, I probably did."

The bell rang then, signaling the end of the lunch hour and he sighs. This was the first time he'd gotten any real time with her since Sunday and it was all wasted on slushies and jerseys and high school bullshit.

"I'll see you in glee?" she asks, smiling up at him brightly.

"Yeah… I'll, uh…" He rubs the back of his neck, 'coz was he like allowed to kiss her or-?

"Okay." She pops up on the tips of her toes and kisses him briefly, quickly. And then she's walking toward the door and he frowns. 'Coz that was over way too quick; he barely had time to like react and he didn't want her thinking that those little tiny pecks were real goodbye kisses. He catches her before she can leave the bathroom, his arm sliding around her back and tugging her toward him. He finds her mouth the same time her wet sweater makes contact with his chest. It's cold and uncomfortable and soaking through his t-shirt but he doesn't give a flying fuck. 'Coz this is a real kiss. It's all lips and tongues and teeth and she's nipping at him just a little and not holding back on the passion she's like known for. She puts that shit into everything. School, singing, hoovering his lips like he's hiding the secret to fucking life inside 'em. Shit was fucking cool.

He has her pinned to the wall, her bare thigh hooked around his hip and her wet sweater falls to the floor, forgotten, and he forgets all about where they were and why. It's just soft brown hair in his fingers and panting breaths meeting between frenzied mouths and this really awesome berry-scent that's tickling his nose and making him grin. And then the second bell rings and she has to shove him back because she hates being late to class. She runs her fingers through her hair hurriedly. "Oh no!" She hops on her toes. "I can't even remember which class I'm supposed to be attending!"

He smirks smugly and she stabs at his chest with her bony finger.

"This is not funny!"

He shrugs. Whatever, totally was. He legit kissed her senseless. Fuckin' A!

Gathering up her shirt, she reaches up and pecks his lips again, only longer this time, and then she's sprinting out of the bathroom. "I'll see you in Glee!" she calls back and then she's gone.

And he leans back against the wall of the bathroom and just sighs for a second. He feels good, really good. Like better than he has in a really fucking long time. Not caring about class or whether he was late or if he was going to get caught, he walks out of the girl's washroom and stuffs his hands in his jeans pocket, grinning to himself. He was at his locker before he remembers he was supposed to be in math, so he goes to the nurse's office and spends the next couple hours replaying every single second of making out with Rachel. He's pretty sure he touched some boob; awesome!

By the time school's over and Glee's waiting, he's starting to second guess himself. Not about her, just about what he was planning on doing. 'Coz this isn't like a room full of strangers or even really people he's close to. Sure, he's closer to them than like the jocks he's known most of his life, but half the time the gleeks are taking sides and if it's him verus Finn, he knows he's gonna lose. So doing this for Rachel is like telling them all to go fuck themselves, that he's going for it, and he doesn't care if that's just another reason he's a suck-ass best friend. Finn hardly talks to him anymore anyway and he's got his Cheeri-hoe anyway, so what's the big deal…?

Only he knows that Finn and Rachel were like Glee's couple. They might not always like Rachel, but she's there captain, and with Finn next to her she always had someone on her side. 'Til the end, when he didn't even stand up and say that he liked her when Santana told her nobody did… And yeah, he's really proud he had the balls to speak up and say he kinda liked her. So the gleeks are probably going to hate him (again) and blame him (again) and maybe they'll all think she's better off with Finn or that he's using or what-the-fuck-ever. He's over it and it hasn't even like fucking started. So he goes into the choir room and he talks to Brad the piano dude and when he's sure things are good, he sits down and tunes his guitar to distract himself.

The others start spilling in and he knows they're staring; Rachel's been walking around in his jersey all afternoon so he knows it's gotten around. He smirks, 'coz hell yeah he's possessive and that shit was on lock down now, mostly. Basically. He's pretty sure. To everyone else anyway, she was like his and nobody could really question it anymore. So they're all sitting on the other side of the room, huddled together, whispering, and he rolls his eyes. Why the fuck was he even nervous? And then she walks in and those are so fucking not butterflies in his stomach, 'coz that shit's notbadass… but it is all twisty and his palms are a little sweaty and when she smiles at him and her eyes light up like she didn't just see him a couple hours ago and he had her pinned to the wall, with all those curves up on him, he can't help but grin back. Not a smirk, but a grin. He's losing his shit, he knows this. But it takes her like ten seconds to cross the room and sit down next to him and she's still wearing his jersey and that's seriously fucking hot.

Finn walks in, slows a little when he sees them, and then he's frowning and going to sit with the other gossips. So maybe Puck leans back in his chair and throws his arm around Berry's and maybe he plays with her hair while she talks on and on (and on) about her last class. He knows she knows he's not really listening, but she's not really annoyed 'coz she's only talking to fill up the quiet. She's nervous and she doesn't know how to deal with it and when the fuck did he get all introspective and shit? The point is, he's like silently telling Finn that him and Berry were on and she just leans into his hands and keeps talking, so he takes it has her agreeing that it's okay to shove that in Finn's face, even if she has no idea that's what he's doing.

Mr. Shue finally shows up, arms full of papers and he's grinning like Mrs. P dumped her cool husband and agreed to hump him and Puck rolls his eyes. So what if he's happy? Doesn't mean he can't make fun of others for looking like sunshine and rainbows.

"All right guys," Shue says, clapping his hands together. "Before we start, is there anything anybody wants to say or sing?" Seriously, he's practically dancing.

If Puck were even half the gossip Mercedes was, he'd leave to check if Mrs. Pillsbury-Howell still had a ring on her finger. Instead, he raises his hand and flicks his fingers to let their teacher know that he has something.

And Shue just grins, nodding. "All right, Puck, let's hear what you've got…"

So he clears his throat and he tugs on Rachel's hair a little when she looks confused but curious and then he drags a seat over to the front of the room and sits down. He nods back at Brad to make sure they're on the same page and then he glances around at some of the faces staring back. Mercedes is looking from him to Rachel and texting and he just knows Hummel is freaking out somewhere, wishing he was watching it first-hand. And Tina is looking up at Chang like he knows what the fuck's going on but Dim Sum just shrugs and hugs her; dude's been a pussy since Goth-Chang and him hooked up. And Artie was paying more attention to Brittany who spent most of her time in his lap and playing with his glasses. It's Santana and Finn that are glaring at him, and Quinn looks a little confused, even a little annoyed, but she's got Big-Mouth Sam to keep her busy, so Puck really doesn't care if she thinks she's got some claim on him or whatever.

Brad starts them off with some piano shit that he's the king of and Puck waits 'til the piano pauses before he starts singing. And his eyes are down, staring at her shoes and this weird discolored spot on the floor. He feels kind of lame and like everybody's staring, but he's not gonna fuck this up. So he sings deep and he doesn't care if his hands would be shaking if they weren't wrapped so tightly around his guitar. 'Coz she like deserves this.

I'll never be
A knight in armor
With a sword in hand,
Or a kamikaze fighter;

He swallows tightly and Brad begins playing again behind him.

Don't count on me
To storm the barricades
And take a stand,
Or hold my ground;

He licks his lips, gaining a little more confidence with each bar he sings.

You'll never see
Any scars or wounds -
I don't walk on coals,
I won't walk on water:

With the chorus at the tip of his tongue, he lifts his eyes to stare at her, like he needs for this to sink in and for her to get it and that's all that really matters.

I am no prince,
I am no saint,
I am not anyone's wildest dream,
But I will stand behind
And be someone to fall back on…

She smiles then, realizing what it all means, and why. And he's glad he doesn't have to like spell it out in a way that's more him and he can just sing it and put it out there and leave it alone, 'coz if he said it himself, he'd fuck it up. And she'd like correct him and tell him why he was a prince or some shit. But this is easier and honest and since it's Rachel, she like appreciates this.

Some comedy -
You're bruised and beaten down
And I am the one
Who's looking for a favor.

He raises a brow at her meaningfully and he wonders if she gets this part; if she realizes that she's his favor, being with him, giving him the second chance, all of it… And then her nose wrinkles, like she's holding back tears or some shit, but she's smiling. And he knows she gets him. He's proud and kind of glad nobody's like videotaping this, 'coz it's a pussy move and shit but he's grinning and happy and fucking thankful that it's even happening.

Still, honestly,
You don't believe me
But the things I have
Are the things you need.

You look at me
Like I don't make sense,
Like a waste of time,
Like it serves no purpose –

He puts a little more of himself into it when the chorus comes back and he's singing it to her, with no fear, and he thinks maybe she does that for him in a way that being a badass had always tried. 'Coz he's giving it all and not regretting. For him the room is just empty, except for her, leaning forward in her seat with her hands clutching the bottom of her chair, and his jersey wrapped around her like a fucking 'Puck's Girl' sign. And she'd call that caveman or whatever, but fuck that noise. It took him long enough to get her, he deserves to like rub that in people's faces.

I am no prince,
I am no saint,
And if that's what you believe you need,
You're wrong - you don't need much,
You need someone to fall back on...

He thinks for a second that if he and Finn were still boys, now would be a good moment for drums. And then he thinks Finn's probably trying to blow him up with his mind and that's like… okay. Yeah, he was his best friend since like pre-school or some shit and they've got history (a lot of it good, way back when) and maybe one day they'll patch that shit up. But right now, all he's thinking is 'I got her, you can't have, I'm not giving her back' and yeah, it's probably really fucking douchey, but he seriously doesn't care. 'Coz Finn will get another girl, he always does, and this one time Puck thinks he deserves this girl in a way Finn never did. And okay, after all their shit, he's done some things that Rachel probably shouldn't forgive him for (like slushy-facials), but he's trying and he wants to be better. When she's around, he legit thinks he can be.

And I'll be that:
I'll take your side.
If I'm the only one,
I'm used to that.
I've been alone,
I'd rather be…
The half of us,
The least of you,
The best of me…

And shit, she's smiling at him like she believes it too. Like all her 'You're not a Lima Loser's' and the 'You have so much more to offer's' and that endless support she gives when she thinks he can do better if he'd just try, it's like legit. Like she thinks one day he's gonna leave Lima and it'll be on his terms, not like on one of those big buses to bring him to fucking State prison or some shit. And for a second that his ma would be way too proud of, he thinks maybe when he gets out he'll see what New York has to offer. That maybe while Berry's taking Broadway, he'll find some calling or something and like… stay there… with her… And they haven't even gone on their first real date but he likes the fucking sound of that.

And I will be
I'll be your prince,
Ill be your saint,
I will go crashing through fences
In your name. I will, I swear -
I'll be someone to fall back on!

So he's gonna try. He's gonna not bang cougars or cheerleaders or whatever other vag comes his way and he's gonna go to class ('cept maybe Math, 'coz those naps are like his fuckin' crack!), and he's gonna be a better boyfriend to her than Finn ever was. And they'll fight and she probably won't put out for a really fucking long time and he'll deal. He'll make nice with his hand and he'll suffer through the longest sex-drought he's ever had since like thirteen and eventually, when she's in love with him and she's ready and she's set up some movie-perfect scene with like candles and shit, he'll make love to her and it'll be fucking legendary! Yeah… He can fucking do this.

I'll be the one who waits,
And for as long as you'll let me,
I will be the one you need.
I'll be someone to fall back on
I'll be someone to fall back on
One to fall back on...

Brad finishes off with the piano and then the room's just quiet and he's uncomfortable 'coz when he was singing, it was just them, but now like the whole of Glee is staring at him.

And then Rachel stands up, takes a deep breath, and grins at him. "I think… you're absolutely the best person for the job."

He laughs, 'coz that's like 'thank you' in Berry-speak, and he legit didn't even need a fucking dictionary. He slings his guitar out of the way and then walks to her, wrapping an arm around her and leaning down to bury his face in her hair and kiss the top of her head. And he doesn't care if that's some pussy move, 'coz he wanted to do it and badasses do whatever the fuck they want. "After glee," he says against her ear, "we're gonna go on that date… and make this official-official."

And she beams up at him, not caring what the others say or think, not even looking at them. "I rather liked your previous method of making things official."

He smirks. 'Coz hell yeah his girl likes making out with him, he's the motherfucking king of that shit.

"That was good, Puck," Brittany says, and she's looking up at him from behind Artie's glasses and waving her hand around in front of her face like she's seeing something they weren't; he wouldn't put it past her. She grins. "It's cool you and Rachel are like together again… I think Puckleberries would be yummy."

Rachel blinks, not entirely sure if she should like thank her for that or some shit.

"Uh, thanks Brit," he replies for them, 'coz Berry would only confuse the already really confused girl.

"Okay… If nobody else has anything…" Shue interrupts and they don't.

So Puck sits down and he wraps an arm around Rachel's shoulder and she leans into him like it's totally normal, but her attention's on Shue, like she's waiting for an opening to argue or get a solo and he just smirks. 'Coz yeah, she's crazy and self-involved and really fucking diva but… She's his. And when she takes a deep breath to start ranting at their teacher, he kisses her, just long enough for her to lose her line of thought and get all dazed, and then he grins. 'Coz Brittany's right, Puckleberries really are yummy.

[End.]

*Song was Someone to Fall Back On by Aly Michalka