It happened again. One minute, Kurt was just walking away from Cheerios practice out on the football field and the next, heavy hands grabbed him, yanking him under the bleachers and into a wild, sloppy kiss. It always seemed to happen this way, and as wrong and dangerous as letting it happen was, Kurt couldn't back away and say no. Not when Puck gave him that fiery look that was just the same as the look he'd used in eighth grade, when they were still friends.
Granted, it had been Kurt's words that really fucked things up between them, but Kurt could still feel the sharp sting of Puck's hand slapping his left cheek. The sensation brought Kurt back to reality as staggeringly as it had that day and he pushed Puck away. "Leave me alone," he shuddered, taking a step back and pulling his cheer top down, wondering when it had been pushed up in the first place. "We're not doing this again."
"Sure," Puck scoffed, rolling his eyes as he brushed past Kurt (shouldering him a little more than necessary) and picked up his helmet before heading toward the locker room. "Like I never heard that before..."
Kurt wanted to give the jock a scathing retort, but his heart just wasn't in it anymore. Something about Puck's lips against his again made Kurt forget the argument and forget the three intervening years of silence and dumpster dives. Maybe, just maybe the feud they'd been holding onto was past its expiration date. Since Puck joined glee, it was almost like they were friends again. Sure, they almost never talked to one another directly, at least not before this fall, when the kissing had started again.
Kurt had no idea what to do about the damn kissing.
Noah Puckerman missed having a best friend. Sure, he had buddies and he had sex partners, but he missed knowing someone had his back, no matter what.
"Dude," thirteen-year-old Puck cried as he led his best friend up to his bedroom, "you'll love what I got you for your birthday!"
"I doubt it," Kurt replied, smacking Puck's lower back as he followed closely behind, ducking under Puck's return blow with a laugh. "And you do know that my birthday isn't until tomorrow..."
"I know," Puck grinned, loping into his room and rummaging around in his closet until he pulled out the present, which was heavy, oddly shaped and badly wrapped in blue and silver paper. Okay, so maybe it was left over from last Hanukkah, but it was festive, right? "Happy Birthday, Kurt!"
"Please tell me you didn't steal this..." Kurt sighed, almost losing his footing when Puck dumped the package into his arms. Raising one eyebrow at Puck's lack of a denial, Kurt tore the paper away to reveal a single fifteen-pound free weight. "Um...thanks?"
"Dude," Puck cried, disappointment welling up in his chest, which he bid with another grin and a rough pat on Kurt's shoulder, "you gotta put on some muscle if we're gonna try out for the football team in two weeks. Seventh-grade, man. You and me, Stewart-fucking-Middle School! C'mon, man! You know girls only date dudes who are on the football team!"
"Well," Kurt nodded, smiling like he didn't really mean it and lowering the weight onto the floor, "thank you, Noah, but ..." he sat on the bed, like he always did when they hung out, and sighed heavily.
"What's wrong?" Puck asked, suddenly concerned. He knew Kurt wasn't very into sports, though he was a hell of a runner, but he figured the lure of chicks to date and hanging out with his best friend after school every day would have Kurt agreeing to at least try out with him. "You aren't dying, are you, man?"
"No," Kurt snorted, eyes down as he picked at his fingernails. "It's just... Promise you won't tell anyone?"
"Sure," Puck shrugged. That was part of the whole best friend deal, right? Keeping each others' secrets?
Kurt looked up, met Puck's eyes, and smacked him in the shoulder, "No really, Noah! Cross your heart and hope to die?"
Agreeing to the oath made Puck feel like a third grader, but this was Kurt, his best friend. He could look a little dumb in front of Kurt. Swallowing his pride and nodding as he crossed his index finger over his heart
"I don't," Kurt sighed again. "I don't like girls."
"Oh," Puck grinned. Was that all? "It'll happen, dude. I didn't start appreciating chicks until, like, the middle of last year. You're just a late bloomer."
"No, I..." Kurt looked down, his brows all scrunched like he was in major pain. Maybe he ate some of that bad taco meat Puck's mom had left in the fridge. "I like boys. Like, like-like. Like, I have a major crush on Jonny Andersen."
"Okay..." Puck replied, scratching his head under his mop of loose curls. Kurt liked boys? "Is that even a real thing? Like, you don't like girls at all?"
"It's called being gay, dumbass," Kurt hissed, punching Puck in the arm. "And it is real. Wikipedia says, like, one out of every twenty people is like me..."
"But..." Puck argued, "if you like boys, how are you ever gonna have," he whispered his next word conspiratorially, "sex?"
Looking crestfallen, Kurt shrugged one of his shoulders and said, "I don't know. But, I'd like to fall in love, someday, which is why I'm not going to try out for football. I've got to get really good grades so I can get out of here and go to college. All the blogs say there are other gay boys at college."
"Whatever, dude," Puck laughed, ruffling Kurt's hair despite the boy's urgent protests. He was a little disappointed that Kurt wouldn't even try to get on the football team, but Puck knew better than trying to force his best bud into something he didn't want to do. "Hey, when you get all rich and famous, you're not gonna forget me, are ya?"
"Never," Kurt grinned, leaning forward and giving Puck a hug. "And by the way, I'll never use that weight, so you can keep it and get me something better. I'm thinking a new pair of sunglasses..."
"Okay, dude!" Puck laughed, pulling Kurt into a friendly head lock and ruffling his hair again before suggesting a round of Ghost Recon before Kurt had to go home. Puck knew it wasn't Kurt's favorite game, but it was fun playing together and Kurt didn't seem to mind too much once he was blowing the heads off enemy henchmen with frightening accuracy.
Puck still thought it was weird that his friend liked boys, but he figured as long as Kurt stayed his friend, Puck didn't really care if Kurt wanted to fall in love with the freaking abominable snowman.
The next time it happened, now that they were older and maybe friends again, Kurt totally initiated things. He trapped Puck in the English room eighth period and slipped a note into Puck's back pocket during a long, heated, kiss. When Puck opened it after Kurt voiced away to catch up with Mercedes, the note simply said, "Tree house, one hour."
Puck knew the place. How could he not? He and Kurt had practically lived there together for five consecutive summers as kids. Puck was surprised Kurt would pick that place for a meeting, since their big falling out three years ago had happened there, and he knew that history was repeating itself with all these make-out sessions and fuck, he did not want his ribs broken again. But lately? Lately he hadn't been able to resist the pull of Kurt and his friendship-plus place in Puck's life.
"Hey, Kurt?" Fourteen-year-old Puck asked his best friend as they lay out on the floor of the tree house Kurt's dad built years earlier. Puck had been reading comics all afternoon, while Kurt read fashion magazines. It didn't give them much to talk about, but it was better than spending the whole rainy summer day alone at home. Ever since Puck set one little fire in the driveway, his mom had entrusted the care of Puck's little sister, Sarah, with their grandmother, so she wasn't even around to pester him. Besides, Puck figured what was a best friend for, besides being someone who would hang out with you, no matter what? And the no matter what part was going to come in real handy pretty soon here.
Figuring he was a badass and Kurt had been sworn to secrecy since the paintball-to-Mrs.-Deacon's-cat incident, Puck let his new-found secret fly and asked, "Do you think there's people who like both girls and boys? Like, for kissing and sex and stuff?"
Mouth open a little dumbly and eyebrows up in surprise, Kurt looked over from his magazine and nodded sharply. "Yeah," he replied, clearing his throat a little, like the question had scared his voice away. "Yeah. It's called bisexual. Why?"
"'Cause," Puck shrugged, dog-earing the corner of the page he was on and closing his comic. "I've made out with a few chicks-"
"Five to be exact," Kurt teased, rolling his eyes and sitting up. "You'd think I could be spared from hearing about it all the time."
"Dude," Puck sighed. "If you don't want everyone to know you're not into girls, you have to know about the chicks I make out with. If you didn't, the other kids would get suspicious. We're best friends, Kurt."
"Fine," Kurt nodded and Puck could see him holding back the same old argument about why he couldn't tell anyone else who he was. "But why are we talking about this, anyway?"
Taking a deep breath, Puck let it all out in one go, "IthinkI'mlikethat."
"Like, bisexual or whatever," Puck wanted to cringe, but this was his best friend. He shouldn't be afraid of his best friend, especially since he was the least badass dude ever. (Bonus: hanging out with Kurt all the time made Puck look even more badass in comparison!)
After a really long silence, Puck did cringe. He was about to take it back when Kurt asked, "Really? You're not just saying it because – I don't know, because we're best friends or something? It's fine that we don't hang out that much anymore. You don't need to pretend that-"
"I'm not pretending," breathed Puck, scooting over to get close to Kurt. "All I can think about lately is how much I want to kiss you, man."
"But you like girls!"
"I like you, too," Puck said simply. In his mind, it was simple. Kurt was awesome, Puck wanted to kiss him. End of story.
"Puckerman, I've been in love with you since we were six," Kurt admitted. "If you're fucking with me…"
Puck put a stop to that line of thought right quick by pressing his lips to Kurt's and kissing them to the best of his ability. Dude, this was even better than kissing girls!
The tree house was dark, but clean. Kurt must have come up here sometime recently to put it right – he never could stand letting the spiders up in the corners just be. There'd been so many hours of making out and holding back and breathing the same air that just being up here again made Puck a little hard. What the fuck was he doing? If anyone found out about this, they'd send Puck away again. They'd beat the crap out of Kurt again. They'd make Puck beat the crap out of Kurt again, just to prove that he could.
"I didn't think you'd be here," Kurt sighed as he climbed up through the trap door. "I was trying to call your bluff."
"Can't stay away," Puck shrugged, pulling the other boy the rest of the way up and slamming the door shut behind him. Of all the people he'd made out with, Puck had never slept with Kurt. It felt like a wrong that had to be put right.
"No," Kurt replied to his proposition. "Not yet."
"When I can forget how you hit me."
"Shit." It wasn't like Puck was the only one who'd done the hitting. Hell, he'd ended up worse off, too, because he pulled his punches and Kurt was so hurt and confused and angry that he hadn't. Puck could still remember the sharp ache of his ribs breaking when Kurt, tiny little Kurt, punched them.
"What's going on here?" Ruth Puckerman shrieked. Kurt started, pushing Puck off of him and trying to catch his breath. He thanked everything that was good that he'd refused Puck's umpteenth request to get naked.
"We're only fourteen, Noah," he insisted. "We can't. We're not ready."
"Yeah, okay," Noah replied, nuzzling into the hair at the back of Kurt's head and sighing. Kurt knew he wanted to lose his virginity to Noah, but he wanted to be at least sixteen before that happened. In some ways, especially when they were just curled around each other like this, Kurt didn't feel much older than he had at eight, when his mother passed away. Noah would hold him while he cried, so Kurt's dad wouldn't have to see it. "Whenever you say we're ready, Kurt."
"What in the good Lord's name is going on here?" Ruth demanded a second time when no answer was forthcoming, her eyes whipping back and forth between her son and his best friend. "Were you two…?"
"We love each other," Noah admitted bravely, standing up at the same height as his mother, trying to stare her down. "We love each other, Ma!"
The sharp crack of skin hitting skin made Kurt jump again before curling in on himself, eyes unable to look away from the sight of Noah struggling not to strike back. "I love him, Ma," Noah growled, his voice so, so low.
Crack! "I love Kurt." Smack! "I love h-unff!" Noah breathed out sharply when his mother pushed him back by the stomach, forcing the air from his lungs. Kurt didn't want to run away, but he did.
"You," Kurt sighed, breath hitching when another piece of his clothing hit the floor. Sure he was older, but maybe he still wasn't ready. "You were gone all summer. You came back – so, ahh, different!"
"I'm still Noah," he replied, lips tugging at the skin of Kurt's neck. "I never – hunghh – forgot I loved you."
"Felt like it," Kurt hissed, pushing Noah away so he stumbled and banged his head. "I hate how easy it is for us to hurt each other."
"Wouldn't be love otherwise," Noah replied, his hand coming away from the injury with a streak of bright red blood that he sucked away into his mouth. It turned Kurt's stomach.
"So these people convinced you you're completely straight?" Kurt asked, mouth twisting into a horrified frown. "What about all that kissing? You love me, Noah."
"It's Puck," the boy replied, sniffing like he didn't care Kurt was so close to breaking into tears, though part of his brain told him he did. "And I was confused, Kurt. I don't love you like that. You're my best friend, man. I want you to be happy, so you should try dating girls, too. It's what God wants."
"You," Kurt growled, shaking with fury. "You can take your fucking God and shove him up your ass, Noah Puckerman! "
Smack! Puck didn't mean to hit him. It just happened. It had been easier to hit people lately, since that was what a badass did. He beat up kids for their lunch money, or just for the hell of it. He charmed the pants off of ladies and lost his virginity to camp counselors who looked so freaking proud of him for it. He did not want to do things like kiss Kurt's cheek better and hold him like he used to. "Kurt…"
"You asshole!" Kurt cried, the tears flowing freely from his reddened eyes. So quickly that Puck barely got a chance to block it, Kurt hit back, his closed fist thudding darkly against Puck's jaw, just like Burt had taught them three summers ago. "Go be best friends with Dave fucking Karofsky from that fucking Jesus camp, because when high school starts next week, I don't know you!"
"Fine!" Puck cried, shoving Kurt with both hands. "I don't know you either, you faggy cocksucker! I hate you!"
After feinting with his left hand and taking a big swing, landing it against Puck's ribs with a breath-withering crack, Kurt replied, "I hate you more, Puck!"
"I don't hate you," Noah insisted, pressing Kurt up against the bark in the center of the tree house and grinding against him. "I never did."
"I hated you," Kurt admitted, trying not to press back, even though his body had other ideas. "You abandoned me. You made my life a living hell."
"And you didn't do the same to me?" Noah asked, his heavy breath moist against Kurt's neck. "Every minute without you is torture, Piglet."
"Oh my god," Kurt huffed, wanting to laugh at the old nickname and unable to. "Don't call me that!"
It happened again. Noah's eyes met his from across the room. Kurt left Blaine's side, citing an upset stomach, and he wasn't really lying. They found each other behind the school, in an alley that made Kurt really want to hurl. "He doesn't understand you."
"And you do?" Kurt asked. "Is that why it hurts so much?"
"Must be," Noah replied, taking Kurt's hand and leading him into the shadows. "I swear, I love you."
"I'm not ready, yet. I still hate you."
"Then why are you here?"
Kurt realized the hatred was gone during his welcome-home party. He'd always understood, on some level, why Noah had done the things he had. He knew the fear of being rejected from his family. He knew the tension of wanting what you couldn't have. He knew the pain of losing your best friend because you loved him.
And Noah still showed up. He came to the party. He brought a present and said, "Welcome back, Kurt," in front of everyone else. It couldn't last, could it?
"No, it's not okay!" Puck insisted, pushing Kurt away from him again. That whole summer away bombarded him again, like the confusion was fresh and not three years old. "It's not okay to be this way. It's not okay to love you!"
"If you start talking about religion again, Noah," Kurt sneered, straightening his scarf and his spine, "this will never happen again."
"It's never going to happen again."
Kurt scoffed and wiped a tear away. "Like I haven't heard that before. Leave me the hell alone."
"Wait!" Noah growled, grabbing Kurt from behind and holding him close. There was an answer he needed, more than anything else. "Do you … do you love me?"
When Kurt sighed, "I wish I didn't," Noah let him go and watched, as wounded as a slap would have left him, as Kurt stalked away.
"Noah?" Kurt asked, not knowing he was the first and last person ever to stay fully clothed whenever he lay in Puck's bed. Of course, he'd be the only boy in Noah's bed. Ever.
"Yeah, Piglet?" Noah asked, watching the way his fingers entwined with Kurt's lighter-colored ones.
"Are things always going to be like this? Even next year, when we start high school?"
Noah chuckled. "Why wouldn't they be? I love you, Kurt. Everyone should know that you're my boy."
As they kissed, Noah heard his mother get home from work, but he didn't really care. It's not like she didn't walk in on him kissing his first girl last year at his birthday party. Why would this be any different?
Well wasn't that a bucket of sunshine? Let me know what you thought, please!