This was a Chrismukkuh gift for Totalgleekgirl that was posted months ago on Puckurt. Yes, this is about Christmas. Yes, it's almost February. I like storing my stories together...
"What's this stuff?" Puck reaches into one of the eight cardboard boxes marked "X-mas" and pulls out what he hopes isn't a plastic boa.
Kurt spares a quick glance from his own decoration organization, "It's tinsel. It goes on the tree."
Puck drops the tinsel onto the pile of individually boxed ornaments and returns to his uncategorized decorations. "Where do the dwarves go?"
"Elves. On the mantel."
"Next to the socks?"
"And what about this doll of an old dude?"
"That's Santa Claus!" Kurt takes a moment to be outraged, then frowns, "You're doing this on purpose, aren't you?"
Puck shrugs, "It's possible."
Kurt rolls his eyes, "Santa goes on the end table."
Santa is set in his rightful place. "So, why do you do this?"
"All of your decorating on Christmas Eve? I mean, I'm a Jew. It takes us a whole week just to do the holiday."
Kurt studies a red doily, "It's tradition." He seems like he has more to say, which has Puck intrigued, and he knows the best way to get Kurt talking is to give him a silence to fill, so he waits quietly. Sure enough, Kurt continues, "My mom always thought the way stores start Christmas before the Halloween candy is even stocked makes everyone kind of over the big day by the time it finally rolls around. She wanted it to be more special than that."
Puck knows better than to argue with anything the late Mrs. Hummel established. It's not that he doesn't see her logic; he just thinks he's still got a pretty good point about feeling rushed. Or, maybe he's just annoyed he has to handle the decorations. When he was invited over to his boyfriend's for Christmas Eve, he didn't expect to be put to work; he thought he'd be fed alcoholic eggnog and get to cuddle with Kurt under a warm blanket. That's what they do in movies, right?
He loves Kurt, though, so he doesn't complain as he wraps tinsel around the tree, arranges ornaments on branches by size, stands precariously on chairs to place an angel atop the whole thing, and plants eerily cheery figurines on assigned flat surfaces.
"The elf in red needs to change places with the one in yellow," Kurt commands as he turns Santa clockwise thirty degrees.
Puck obeys, then watches his boyfriend survey the living room. A smile slowly forms on his face, "Perfect."
On cue, the front door opens and Burt carries a small burlap sack inside. Carole and Finn follow, weighed down by stacks of shiny wrapped packages.
"Noah," Carole exclaims upon spotting the boy, "I didn't know you'd be here."
"I- I thought he should experience his first Christmas Eve," Kurt explains nervously.
Carole nods, then sends an apologetic smile to Puck, "If I'd known you'd be here, I'd have gotten you something."
"Gotten me...? Presents? There are presents?" Puck tosses Kurt an incredulous look, because he may not be all up on the social niceties, but come on, you tell a dude if he's supposed to bring presents.
"It's Christmas Eve," Finn supplies, as if it's the most obvious connection in the world.
Puck retorts, "Well, I thought Santa didn't come 'til tomorrow."
Finn actually looks worried at that, "You... know Santa isn't real, right?"
Puck stares at his ex-best friend (though they are on significantly better terms now, so perhaps they're at the on-the-way-to-being-best-friends-again status) and waits for Finn to make it apparent he's just teasing. He's not. "Well, that would explain why he always forgets my house."
Kurt cuts in before his step-brother can suffer too much sarcasm, "I'm sorry, Noah. I wasn't thinking. I just wanted you to be here to- I should have told you. And, Carole, don't worry about it. I got him plenty; he won't be left out."
Burt can see how flustered his son is and steps in to help, "The place looks great, Kid. Really feels like Christmas."
Kurt sighs, "Thanks, Dad." He looks like he wants to ask the man something, but swallows the question down. Puck takes a soft, manicured hand into his own and gives it a gentle squeeze; something tells him the smaller boy could use some extra strength.
The Hudsons finally relieve themselves of their packages, adding them to the bounty below the newly-adorned tree. Kurt immediately kneels down to organize them all by recipient. No one chooses to question this.
Burt holds up the small burlap sack, "You like chestnuts, Noah?"
Until this very moment, Puck has never seen a chestnut, which is probably for the best, because that name is just designed for prime Puckzilla humor. "I have no idea," is thankfully what comes out before, "Well, I like chests and I like nuts, so sure," can make its classy debut.
Burt drops the bag next to the fire place and starts organizing the wood for a fire, "How about I roast you a few and you see how you like them, eh? Who else wants some?"
"I'll take five," Kurt rises from the perfect stacks of presents and wipes his pants a few times more than necessary.
Burt just nods, expecting the response.
"I'll have a few," Carole smiles. "Finn?"
Finn's eyes brighten, "I love chestnuts!" This means Burt's going to be roasting a lot.
As Burt gets the fire going, Puck finds his opportunity to cuddle his boyfriend. He gently tugs at Kurt's arm until they're sitting next to each other on the couch, drapes a felt blanket living on the armrest over them, and wraps the smaller boy in his arms. Kurt hums happily and presses into Puck's chest. All is right with the world.
Carole brings out a glass of eggnog for everyone.
Puck holds onto a tiny glimmer of hope as he sips his... No alcohol, not a drop. Damn. Though, Kurt's warm body snuggles closer to his own, so that makes up for it.
Hot crackling announces that Burt has accomplished building a roaring fire. Kurt awards him a small applause, and manners dictate everyone else join in. Surprising himself with his own self-consciousness, Burt waves off the praise and hides his face. "Just a fire..."
"It's almost eight, Dad," Kurt announces, obviously finding that bit of information very important.
Burt nods and flips on the TV, "What channel?"
"This one. I set it up already."
"All right," Burt sits the remote control back on the coffee table (next to the stuffed Rudolf, of course) and addresses the room, "I hope you all don't mind, we've got a family tradition here: we watch the eight o'clock showing of A Christmas Story. It was Kurt's mom's favorite."
Kurt buries himself deeper into Puck's side.
Everyone snuggles in for the holiday classic, Burt taking up residence in His Chair, Finn nabbing the rest of the couch next to Puck, and Carole settling into her rocker (Which is very much not just for grandmothers, thank you, Finn).
Snow softly falls outside the window, making them all the more grateful for the flames encased so near them.
About halfway through the movie, around the time Puck's cursing his ten-year-old self for not having tried tricking a dweeb into getting his tongue stuck to a frozen flag pole, the chestnuts are fully roasted and served.
They come with bowls for the shells and metal chopstick-like torture devices. Puck assumes they're designed to break through the tough surface, but that knowledge doesn't make the tool any more useful, and everyone is too enthralled in the movie to serve as an example just yet. He taps the torture device into one of the chestnuts and gives Kurt his confused look.
Kurt giggles, which Puck might actually find adorable if it weren't directed at him, and picks up his own torture device. "It's a nutcracker," he whispers, then places a nut inside and squeezes. The nut crumbles into his bowl with a loud snap. Kurt delicately picks out the edible parts and places them in his mouth, the tutorial complete.
Puck shoves a nut in his torture... nutcracker and gives a mighty squeeze. Shell explodes over the both of them. Puck freezes, empty nutcracker suspended mid-air in shock.
Kurt plucks a jagged piece of shell from his sweater and places it in Puck's bowl, then plants a forgiving kiss on Puck's cheek.
Eh, Puck's not really a fan of chestnuts. He chooses instead to just focus on the movie.
Kurt dutifully consumes each of his five chestnuts, places his bowl on the coffee table, dusts his clothing off, and presses his body impossibly close to Puck's, pulling Puck's arm tightly around him.
Puck makes a mental note that holidays make his boyfriend affectionate... sort of painfully so... and prepares himself for Valentine's Day.
By the time the credits are rolling, Kurt has changed pace on him and is crying big, silent tears. The movie is good, yeah, but it's not sad or even particularly sentimental. Really not the tear-jerking type.
And it hits Puck: Burt said this was Kurt's mom's favorite movie. Hell, Puck cried for months every time he heard a guitar after his dad left. And, this movie had, like, a totally awesome mom in it, to boot.
As legitimate as the excuse may be, Puck's pretty sure Kurt doesn't want anyone to notice him crying, so he pulls Kurt's damp face into his neck and pretends to just be initiating a sappy hug after a sweet holiday film. Hey, even Puckzilla can be touched by the arts - it's a legitimate cover. He feels Kurt soak up the comfort for all of half a second before leaping to his feet, fully recovered.
"It's time for presents," Kurt announces as he hurries to the tree. He selects a gift from each neat stack, hoists the entire Puck collection, holds them to his chest, and looks at the room expectantly. Each Hudmel follows suit obediently.
"So, you really do the whole present thing on Christmas Eve?" Puck is not going to feel awkward for not bringing gifts. Nope.
"Just one," Kurt shakes his head.
"One or two" Carole tosses out.
Kurt's eyes widen for just a second before he shakily swallows his reactions and returns to his seat.
Puck is pretty sure he's the only one to notice the flash of panic. He brings a knuckle up to Kurt's cheek.
Kurt leans into the touch, taking on a momentary air of peacefulness before diving back in the game. "Does anyone mind if I go first?" He phrases this as a question, but he's already divvying out the gifts.
No one objects.
Finn tears into his first. It's quite possible the act of opening a gift is just as exciting to him as the goody inside. Paper shreds away to reveal an unmarked cardboard box, which is quickly opened to reveal a small bottle of amber liquid. Finn removes it from its packaging and gives a valiant attempt at reading the swirly-printed label: "Oo de la...?"
"I'm vetoing Drakar Noir," Kurt informs his step-brother. "We're going to be living together soon and... it's for the best."
"What's wrong with-"
"Why don't you try it out and see what you think, Honey?" Carole cuts into the impending argument.
Finn opens the cologne up, takes a whiff, puts on his contemplation face, and smiles, "Thanks, Kurt!"
Kurt nods happily. He really does mean it to be a kind gesture.
"I'll go next," Carole exclaims as she lifts the tape from her gift and carefully unwraps it. It's perfume, thankfully a fragrance she already owns and not a... veto decision. "Thank you, Sweetie."
"I always used to give my mother perfume on Christmas Eve... or, my dad would and say it was from me, anyway. I know you like that one because you wear it when you go out with Dad, and it's a great fragrance on you, so I thought you should be able to wear it more often."
"There's always an excuse to be more fabulous," Carole recites the first words of advice ever given to her by the fashionista.
"Exactly," Kurt smiles.
"You're up, Kid," Burt nods his head at Puck.
Puck has three gifts in his lap. He turns to his boyfriend, "Which should I open first?"
"The top one." It makes sense Kurt would display them in order like that.
Puck rips open the package. Inside is a box he proceeds to read aloud, "Audio editing software. Record and edit your own audio files..."
"You're really talented, Noah. You should be able to share with more than just Glee. This comes with a microphone so you can record your own songs."
Puck looks back at the box, a renewed interest in these so-called audio files. "Cool."
Kurt's looking at him hopefully, so Puck does what he always does in such a situation: he kisses him. Kurt seems happy with the decision.
Burt opens his gift now. It's a silk tie that would look amazing with any worth over $1500 and a hat his father actually would wear. "Thanks, Kid," Burt says, unsurprised by the items. He swaps out the hat on his head for the one in the box and nods his approval. The act is a time-honored tradition, and Kurt practically vibrates with giddiness that his father has remained true to it. Still watching his father, his expression turns expectant.
"I hope no one minds if I go next?" Carole starts placing gifts on respective laps.
Kurt gasps, then immediately tries to disguise it with a small clearing of the throat. Puck's not really sure what that was about, so he just rubs Kurt's back soothingly.
"Again, Noah," Carole returns to her seat, "I'm so sorry I didn't get you anything."
"It's no problem, Mrs. H." Puck points to the pile of gifts from Kurt still in his lap.
Finn doesn't wait for permission before ripping open his next gift. "Pajamas?" He looks down at the reindeer print, up at Puck, and flushes with embarrassment.
"Open the other one," Carole urges.
He does, to his dismay. It contains slippers. Matching reindeer slippers. "Mom, if I wear these together, it's going to look like footies pajamas," he complains with a pout.
Puck can't stop an undignified snort at that, but Carole isn't deterred, "Sweetie, I always get you matching nightwear for Christmas. Just indulge me. It won't be long before you're off to college, and celebrating the holidays with a family of your own..."
"Fine," Finn relents at the guilt trip, "thanks for the gift, Mom."
"You're welcome." She turns to her step-son, "Don't worry, Honey, I know better than to pick out clothing for you."
Kurt flashes a quick smile at the joke, then methodically unwraps the thin, rectangular package. "The Barbra Streisand Christmas Album?" It's literally an album, as in a record, as in who even buys these anymore? Kurt's face reads grateful, though.
"I know you're a fan, but you haven't heard music until you've heard it on vinyl. Your dad has an old record player, so I thought we could play it tonight."
Kurt's face drops in momentary horror, "But, I thought we were going to play Mom's Sinatra CD, like we always do."
"Those CDs will still be there," Burt assures. "Maybe it's good to mix up tradition."
Puck feels Kurt trembling beside him, buzzing with contained emotion. Puck starts up the back rub again, hoping that one tactic will get Kurt through the night.
Kurt is calmed enough to nod and state, "Barbra would be nice, thank you."
Carole looks unsure, but eager to move on. She stands and takes the record from Kurt's hands, "How about I just put it on as background music?"
Kurt somehow manages to smile at that.
Carole kneels before the record player. Barbra fills the air.
Kurt presses deep into Puck's side again.
"Your turn, Mister," Carole announces to Burt as she reclaims her seat.
Burt rips open his package and pulls out, "A coat." A nice, new winter coat.
"You told me yours is ten years old, so I thought it was time for a new one."
Kurt gasps, his fist to his mouth. Puck resumes his back rub with earnest.
Burt nods in understanding and walks over to his son. He takes his old coat off and places it in Kurt's lap, "You're all grown up now, so it just might fit. She'd have wanted you to have it."
"I'm sorry, I didn't know..." Carole isn't sure what she didn't know, but she's sure she didn't know it.
"It's fine," Burt picks up the new coat and pulls it on. "It fits great."
Carole gives her husband an appreciative smile, but can't stop sending worried glances Kurt's way.
Kurt delicately threads his arms through the sleeves of the well-worn winter wear. He snuggles up in the material, even though it's laughably baggy on him and doesn't match his outfit in the slightest.
There are tears threatening to slip past his eyelids. Puck's pretty sure his back rub isn't working anymore.
New tactic: Distraction. "Hey, how about I open up another one of these?" He doesn't even wait for a response, just grabs the box now located at the top of his pile and starts ripping paper. It's hats. An assortment of winter caps in dark, manly colors.
"You have almost no hair and it's snowing," Kurt explains.
Puck's mohawk is badass enough to keep him warm, but if Kurt thinks an extra layer will keep his brain from freezing, then he'll start wearing hats.
Because keeping your boyfriend happy is a badass thing to do.
He selects one of the solid black ones and pulls it over his skull, "How do I look?"
Kurt leans into his shoulder again and sighs, "Perfect."
The rest of the gifts are exchanged without much emotional trauma. Kurt even manages to laugh when Finn gives him a replacement scarf and promises to never use it, or any of the others, to dust his computer screen again.
By the time all the wrapping paper is crumpled on the floor, the fire has died down and it's eleven o'clock.
"Well, I think that about wraps up the festivities," is how Burt announces it's time for everyone to go home, because he really doesn't host that often.
"Thank you for having us over for Christmas Eve, Burt, Kurt. Hopefully we'll be living under the same roof next time. And thank you, Noah, for sharing the holiday with us."
Kurt has rubbed off enough on Puck to get a, "Thanks for having me," out of him.
Burt walks Carole and Finn out to their car while Kurt and Puck say their goodbyes on the couch.
Puck leans in for a kiss, but before their lips can meet, words tumble from Kurt's mouth like a verbal dam just burst, "I'm so sorry I didn't tell you about the presents! I completely forgot. Oh, and I'm sorry I didn't tell anyone you were coming. I just needed you, and I wasn't thinking. And if you hate the hats, I understand. We both know I've yet to master your style-"
"Hey, hey, it's cool. Don't worry about it. No harm, no foul, right? And these hats are kickass." Puck runs a mental checklist and is pretty sure he didn't miss anything.
Kurt melts in relief, "Good."
"Are you okay? You've seemed kind of... off."
Kurt's eyes widen in horror and Puck slams in reverse, "It totally wasn't obvious or bad or anything! I don't think anyone else noticed. I was just sitting next to you and all. You just, kind of, I don't know, seemed... not quite right?"
Kurt bites his bottom lip, "I find Christmas to be... stressful."
That barely counts as an explanation, but Puck decides to stick with the supportive boyfriend role, "Yeah, I hear that. Holidays make everyone crazy. That's why my people made Hanukkah, like, not even a big deal, and all our important holidays are about God instead of materialistic relatives."
Kurt smiles, "Why, Noah Puckerman, are you trying to convert me?"
Puck shrugs, "Ma still has hope."
"Well, I'll tell you, it's starting to sound pretty appealing."
"You would look smoking in a yarmulke."
Instead of continuing with this conversation, Kurt presses forward and kisses Puck. With vigor, an almost desperate vigor. He tangles his fingers in Pucks' shirt, keeping his boyfriend close, and mumbles, "Love you, thank you so much!" into Puck's tongue.
A throat clears in the entryway, and Burt calls out a pointed, "Good night, Noah," before heading upstairs.
Puck knows Burt well enough not to take that as a mild suggestion. He hoists himself to his feet, turning toward the front door when Kurt's hand on his arm stops him.
"I... I, um..." Kurt stares at where his hand meets Puck's sleeve, as if trying to remember why it ended up there, "I just wanted to say... thank you for being here. I really needed you."
"Hey, no problem," Puck covers Kurt's fingers with his own, searching Kurt's utterly blank face.
Kurt pulls away, and the moment's over. He leads Puck to the front door, applies a quick goodbye kiss, and sends Puck to his car.
Puck accepted long ago that his boyfriend is unique. He pitches fits over wrinkled silk. He maintains a forcefield around his hair. He taught the entire football team to dance to Beyonce. He organizes his DVDs by the mood they put him in. He refuses to sit on Puck's right side. But tonight? That was just weird.
Puck hops in his truck and gets the engine going for heat, but doesn't put it in drive just yet.
This is thinking time.
Usually, Puck lets Kurt solve his own emotional problems. Bullies that need beating up: Puck's got it. Heavy furniture that needs moving: he's there. Problems more internal than that enter into Kurt's realm of expertise.
But maybe whatever is bothering Kurt is too much for him to handle on his own. Never has Puck seen his boyfriend so on edge.
Puck is brought out of his contemplation when he hears the front door slam. A shivering Kurt clutches his dad's old jacket tightly around himself as he rushes to his Navigator. As if to illustrate Puck's worries, Kurt doesn't even notice Puck's Chevy on the curb. It's old and the engine is revving: Puck isn't exactly in Stealth Mode here. Kurt just hops in his SUV and takes off.
He peels off into the night on Christmas Eve after an evening of near breakdowns and Puck decides fixing whatever Kurt's problem is has officially become a two man job.
It's almost midnight on Christmas Eve in the middle of snowy Ohio; they are the only ones on the road. Puck uses tailing tips learned on crime dramas until they reach the highway. It's here Puck realizes Kurt's differing taste in entertainment has left him without a paranoia of being followed. Kurt doesn't notice a thing, so Puck just follows at a typical distance. He does so from the other lane, though. He's not completely brazen.
Kurt leads him down an offramp and onto an old road on the edge of town. Puck has no idea where they are and therefore no idea where they are going. He was so pre-occupied with trying to act like a spy, he forgot to actually... spy. He's keeping track of the road names now, just in case he has to get himself out of here on his own. It's entirely possible Kurt is going to be outraged when he discovers he's been followed. It's also entirely possible they can solve this with kissing, and then have more kissing, so this is totally worth the risk.
They head further into the middle of nowhere and Puck can't fathom what answers can be stored way out here.
Kurt pulls off the road and stops the car. Whatever the answers are, they are located here.
Puck, still emulating the good people on Burn Notice, continues down the road. He turns at the next intersection, parks, and hustles back. He really has no reason to hide from Kurt, but something tells him he needs to let his boyfriend do his thing undisturbed.
Kurt pushes through a giant iron gate an takes a path up a grassy hill. A closer look gives Puck his biggest puzzle piece of the night: the Earth is dotted with finely-crafted stone. They are in a graveyard.
The cold wind blows strong, lending enough sound to cover the crunch of Puck's boots in the snow. He studies his boyfriend's back but can glean nothing but determination.
Kurt veers from the main path, down a row of headstones.
Puck stands behind a large, scraggily oak tree nearby and watches his boyfriend fall to his knees before a marble headstone.
Kurt reaches out a finger, tracing the lettering of his mother's name.
The wind stills, plunging them into absolute silence.
Then, Kurt speaks, and Puck can hear every word.
"Hi, Mom. I hope you're well. I'm sorry I haven't cisited in a while; I've been really busy. It's my Junior year, so I'm taking a lot of harder classes. I'm in Advanced French. You always loved French. Glee has been going well. I still haven't gotten a solo, but I get to sing.
"Dad and Carole are really happy together. She's not you, but she's good for him, for us. I think you would really like her. Finn is a pretty good brother, too. It's nice. We're a real family now, like we were with you."
Kurt clutches at the threadbare fabric of his dad's old coat, fisting and tugging nervously.
"We celebrated our first Christmas Eve as a family tonight. We watched A Christmas Story, roasted chestnuts, exchanged gifts. Dad got me an electric razor. I guess it's his way of accepting that I'm growing up.
"I... I invited... a friend... tonight. His name is Noah. He... No, he's not... he's not a friend. I mean, he is a friend, but... but... He's my..." Kurt struggles for the word, then lowers his voice to a whisper, "Mom, he's my boyfriend."
Kurt takes in a gasping breath, then releases it in a sob, "I'm so sorry, Mom! I'm sorry I haven't told you that... that I'm... I'm..." He abandons his confession, bowing his head and crying softly.
At his boyfriend's tears, Puck finally feels guilty for eavesdropping. He comes out of his hiding place, the crunching snow giving him away.
Kurt spins his head around, startled to find he's not alone. Even more startled when he recognizes the company. "Noah? What are you doing here?"
Puck crouches next to Kurt, doing his best to keep the snow off everything but his boots, "You can hate me if you want, but I was worried so I followed you."
Kurt doesn't show any sign of hatred. He looks more... kicked while down, and Puck thought his option was the worst. "You were worried?"
"Hey, I get it. Christmas was really important to your mom and you just want to keep up traditions. If my mom was so intense about decorations and movies, I probably wouldn't want them to change, either." At least, Puck is pretty sure that's what tonight has been about. He's still pretty hazy on the details.
"She wasn't, though," Kurt sighs. "She wasn't meticulous about any of it. That just happens to be how we celebrated one Christmas, and it just happened to be her last." His final few words bring the tears back.
Puck reaches out and grabs Kurt's freezing hand. The boy never has been good at maintaining his own body heat.
Kurt looks at their point of contact, then back to his mother's headstone. "I just feel like I'm losing her. I can't remember what her shampoo smelled like or which dress was her favorite or if she liked cake or pie. I don't remember what her voice sounds like, except for what's on those old tapes. I can't... I can't remember what her hugs felt like..."
Puck decides to remind Kurt what his feel like, wrapping strong arms around the trembling form.
"I just..." Kurt sniffles, "Noah, what if she never knew me?"
Curve ball. Puck just holds him closer.
"I was eight. How much can you know about an eight-year-old? I was just a kid. All the important stuff about me... I still can't tell her. I told my dad and I told Mercedes and everyone else just already knew, but I still can't tell her." Kurt reaches out and again touches his mother's name.
Puck's never been very good at gathering his thoughts; he's more the "Open Mouth and Let Words Fall Out" type, so he goes with his strength, "Okay, so I knew you when you were eight. You were the only kid who wore bow ties or anything without grass stains on them, so obviously your mom knew you were into clothes, and that's a big part of you. And no one ever wanted to trade lunches with you because yours were always whole wheat and full of vegetables, so she knew you were a health-nut, right? And you were always dancing and singing at recess, and don't even think I've forgotten about the tiaras. Besides, you said your dad's known since you were three. No offense to the guy, but I seriously doubt he could have caught on before your mom."
Kurt leans his head against Puck's shoulder as he takes in the speech. Then he nods, coming to terms with something.
Sitting up, Kurt opens his eyes and focuses on his mother's headstone, his breath coming in a shaky gasp. "Mom, you probably already knew this, but, um, I need to tell you... to tell you that I'm... I'm gay." The words just hang there. Kurt bites his bottom lip, suddenly feeling incredibly vulnerable.
Puck steps in, hoping to help, "Hey, Mrs. Hummel. Uh, Merry Christmas. I'm Noah, Kurt's boyfriend. I love him a lot," Puck grabs Kurt's hand and continues addressing the late Mrs. Hummel. "You raised a really awesome dude. Thanks for that. I know you must be really proud."
Kurt looks up at his boyfriend, eyes shining with tears finally born of happiness, "Thank you, Noah."
Puck tightens his squeeze for a moment, acknowledging.
Kurt's fingers once again find the engraved letters of his mother's name, "I just miss her so much. Sometimes, it feels like if I hold onto every tradition, even silly ones like where plastic elves in canary sweaters sit, I'm closer to her." Kurt tries for this to sound light-hearted, but Puck can hear how important it really is.
"Hey, if putting the yellow elf next to the green one makes you feel closer to your mom, I'll do it every year. I understand how important traditions are."
Kurt shivers. Puck looks down to see the smaller boy kneeling in the snow, the melt seeping through his jeans.
"Come on," Puck stands and extends a helpful hand, "let's get you home."
Kurt accepts the lift, then collapses back on his butt. He looks confusedly down at his legs, tries to stand again, and falls to the ground. His teeth start chattering, "I guess I didn't notice how cold it was."
As hilarious as watching Kurt stumble around in the snow is, being so cold your extremities go numb is a very bad sign. He stalks over to his boyfriend, grasps him under knees and shoulders, and hoists him to his chest.
Kurt squeaks, not really expecting the move, but is quickly wooed by the warmth. He snuggles close, body vibrating with shivers as it realizes just how cold it was. Puck rubs his arms for warm friction and doubles his speed.
Kurt's Navigator is closer than Puck's truck, so that becomes the goal. Puck is going to have to leave the Chevy overnight. Some teenager might end up thinking they're getting it for Christmas, but the rust bucket shouldn't cause too much disappointment.
"Where are your keys?"
Kurt makes a valiant attempt at fishing them out, but his hands are shaking too much to make any real progress.
"That's okay, I'll get them," Puck snakes the hand under Kurt's knees up to the pocket Kurt had been aiming for. The jeans are tight, but Puck is determined.
He settles Kurt down in the passenger seat and quickly shuts out the wind. He's quick with his own door, too, then starts the engine.
As the engine warms, he pulls Kurt close to him over the center console.
"Guess it was kind of dumb of me to kneel in snow," Kurt laughs through chattering teeth.
Puck chooses not to answer that, figuring Kurt deserves a freebie.
"Thank you for being there tonight, Noah. I don't think I could have handled Christmas Eve without you."
"And thank you for following me out here. Apparently I'm stupid enough to freeze to death if left on my own. I don't know what I was thinking."
"Hey, you don't mention why I got sent to juvie, I won't mention this."
"It's good Puck memorized his way out of here, because as soon as Kurt's body thaws, he passes out. It's a long drive for silence, but Kurt looks peaceful, so Puck supposes it's okay.
When Puck lifts Kurt from his seat and carries him to his house, Kurt doesn't stir. Not even when Puck uses Kurt's feet to shut the car.
The front door is unlocked, another product of Kurt's stress. Puck's able to get them down to the basement without making any obnoxious sounds.
"You won't want to sleep in your jeans and boots," Puck speaks to the sleeping body, "and you hate getting your bed dirty, so I can't put you on there yet... Let's sit you in your weird egg chair." And, he does. As soon as Puck strips him of his wet and bulky items, Kurt is transferred to the mattress, under as many covers as Puck can find.
Puck would like to stay, maybe cuddle his scantily-clad boyfriend under the guise of keeping him warm, but Burt Hummel is not a man to be snuck around behind. He marches back upstairs.
The living room light is on. Noticing this makes it less startling when Puck sees Burt sitting on the couch, waiting up for his kid.
Burt nods his head to the basement, "He okay?
Burt nods in appreciation.
Puck nods in acceptance.
They're dudes, so nothing more needs to be communicated.
It's almost twelve hours later when Puck shows up back at the Hummel door, shopping bag in hand.
Carole answers, "Oh! Noah?"
"Don't worry, Mrs. H. I come uninvited so you don't need to feel bad for not getting me anything."
"All right... Well, Merry Christmas! Come on in. We just finished with presents."
A layer of crumpled wrapping paper over the living room is evidence to that.
"Not yet," Puck counters, lifting his shopping bag.
"Not yet what? Oh, hey, Puck." Finn calls out as he exits the kitchen, completely unfazed by his friend's unannounced appearance.
"Puck's here?" Burt follows his step-son.
"Yeah, you guys were all so cool about letting me spend Christmas Eve with you, so I figured I'd get you a little something in return."
"Honey, you didn't have to do that," Carole half-admonishes, half-praises.
"What's Finn done now?" Kurt calls from his basement door. Then, he looks up and sees Puck, and his face brightens like Puck's simple presence is the best Christmas gift he could ask for. If all else tanks, Puck knows this idea will still be worth it.
The timing is perfect, so Puck opens his bag and pulls out stapled paper lunch bags, handing them out according to the name Sharpied on the front.
The adults open their's first, so Carole asks, "Shampoo?" at the same time Burt asks, "Shoe insoles?" Their tones are carefully balanced between "Thank you for the gift" and "What the Hell is this?"
"The only place open on Christmas is the pharmacy," Puck explains.
"Sweet, Poprocks!" Finn is completely satisfied, even when his mother warns, "Not until after lunch, Mister."
Kurt looks at his package, unsure. The only thing they get together at the pharmacy isn't exactly family friendly.
"Go ahead," Puck laughs, catching on. Thankfully, no one else does.
Kurt tears open his bag and pulls out his prize. "A bracelet?"
"A wristband," Puck quickly corrects. "For my first Hanukkah, my dad gave me an old guitar pick because it had brought him a lot of luck. It became a tradition. Every year, he'd find a shirt or penny or something that had been with him when good stuff would happen, and he'd give it to me. I figure, now it can be our tradition. I was wearing that wristband when you agreed to go out with me, and then on every date we ever went on, so, you know, it's got to be really lucky."
Kurt stares slack-jawed at Puck, stunned with happiness.
Puck has to check, "Do you like it?"
Kurt launches himself into Puck's arms and squeezes for all his might, "I love it."