title: it's a quarter after one.
fandom: glee
rating: m for multiple profanities
pairing: puck/rachel
words: 1,728
summary: Puck shows up the Rachel's house drunk after a party she wasn't invited to, and one he didn't want to be at.
notes: As the title song goes, I'm a little drunk right now so I have a poor judgement as to how awful this is, but here it is anyhow.

He shows up at her house drunk one night; his arrival announced by offbeat clumsy footsteps and a ramble of curse words as he tries to navigate through her garden. He had drunk-dialled ahead, so she was somewhat prepared for him, but still, it wasn't like him to call her, let alone show up at her door at 2am on a Saturday night. They both had other more important things to do. Well, she was sure he did. She listens intently from her open window for a few moments, trying to locate him in the maze of frosty rose bushes and iced tree branches. But it's too dark and he's suddenly quiet, and he never makes it to the doorbell.

She finds him sprawled on the steps ten minutes later, empty vodka bottle in one hand and unlit cigarette in the other. He doesn't seem to notice either has run out, his head inclined to look at the sky. He seems fascinated by whatever it is he sees there, whether it's stars or satellite, he doesn't seem to care. His mohawk is lit almost perfectly by the shaft of yellow light that escapes from the open door, but he never turns to look at her. His shirt is torn across his shoulder, and he looks liked he crawled most of the way to her street, but he looks so lost that she doesn't care.

"I didn't drink-and-drive, ok?" he calls to her as she approaches, waving the clear bottle in the air as if he's flagging her down. "I walked. So don't give me your holier than thou bullshit, ok?"

He goes to take a drink then, but upon finding it empty, tosses it a couple of feet to the side where it lands with a dull thud against the grass. He automatically winces as if he expects it to smash and pouts childishly when it doesn't. The night is lacking in the kind of carnage he enjoys, and all the damage is self inflicted.

"I'm impressed," is all she says, but he knows by her tone that no, she really isn't.

"Came straight from your boyfriend's house," he mutters, slowly pulling himself to his feet. "He's having a party. Celebrate the baby or whatever."

He may be highly intoxicated and mildly insensitive at the best of times, but he doesn't miss the flash of hurt that crosses her face in the half-darkness of his shadow. She hides it expertly a moment later, but it doesn't matter. He's already seen it, and it cuts into his chest a little, because he feels that hurt too. She hadn't been told about the baby being born, obviously, and it makes him a little glad, if only slightly. Glad that there's some one out there who understands and feels as shitty about it as he does. She's lost Finn to the child that isn't his, and he's lost... well, he never had anything in the first place, did he?

"Team and Cheerios only. So... you couldn't come," he adds, as if it makes it any better. Though he might be trying to.

"You came all the way from Finn's?" she asks. The name tightens in her throat, like something sickly she can't quite swallow. She has to be breaking a rule by mentioning him to him.

Him. Puck. Noah. Whichever one of the two has shown up on her porch tonight.

She doesn't completely understand his half-slurred speech or his shady motives for showing up here, and reflexively increases the gap between them as he steps closer, stumbling up the porch steps. She can't help the short laugh she lets out at the sight of him – un-composed and totally vulnerable – as he slips and falls rather ungracefully to the 'Welcome' mat. He can barely move enough to glare at her in response.

"You do realize it's the depths of winter? You could freeze out here, Noah," she chides, concealing a smirk as he tries to stand. She's seen him drunk before, but never this intoxicated. It only mildly terrifies her.

"No. No...I can't. Alcohol, had some. 'S in my veins. That shit has a lower freezing point than water. It'll keep me warm."

She laughs inwardly at his surprisingly logical (for him) reasoning, before helping him to his feet. He shifts his weight, unbalanced and brings his – now slightly flattened – cigarette to his lips, searching around for an imaginary lighter.

"I need somewhere to stay," he says as he fumbles in his pockets, and since it's the first coherent sentence he's uttered, she opens the door a bit wider, ignoring the biting cold, and lets him in. But not before grabbing the cigarette from his lips and holding out her hand for the packet. He doesn't understand, confusion clouding his face, until she reaches quickly into his jeans and retrieves the remainder of his cigarettes. He opens his mouth but forgets to complain considering her hand had just been that close to his junk.

"You can stay, but these can't. I can't be around smokers if I want to maintain by impeccable vocal chords," she says, her tone reprimanding as she tosses them onto one of the wicker chairs that sit around matching tables on her porch.

It's quaint, her house. Quaint and suburbian with perfect white fences and neatly pruned hedges and he's pretty sure she measures it with a ruler or some shit just to make sure it's all perfect. Fuck, she probably has a gardener to do that shit for her. But then he realizes he hasn't said anything and she's staring at him like she's waiting for him to pass out. It's like he's stepped into an episode of Desperate Housewives and she's Eva freaking Longoria and he's just the teenage gardener ogling her hedges.

(He's seen like three episodes because he heard there was a cougar and wanted to do 'research'.)

"These could kill you, you know," she adds, trying to stir him from his daydream by sounding patronising – something he always responds to - and it works, but only because her tone's gone serious and the whole conversation's turned somewhat morbid and he just wants to get out of it.

He doesn't mention that maybe that's the reason why he does it. Speeds up the inevitable process or some shit. He read it in a book once. Or maybe he heard it from her. Whichever. Same thing, really. His thoughts have been jumbled ever since her hand jumped into his jeans, but whatever.

"Do you have anything else on you I need to know about?"

Only a semi, he thinks.

"Nothin'," he says and unceremoniously pushes past her into her house.

He doesn't tell her why he can't go home, and she doesn't ask. For the same reason he doesn't ask why she's home alone on a Saturday night. It never dawns on him that he might be her only friend. Even a loose interpretation of that word.

He thinks she's gonna wanna talk or some shit first, like she'll tuck her feet up on the couch and try and play psychologist but either she knows him too well or is really fucking tired because she's dragging him upstairs the minute the door is closed. He's not dumb enough to think he's going to get any, but he definitely lets his mind wander once or twice as he takes the somewhat familiar path across the hall to her bedroom. She's already in bed with the lights off by the time he sluggishly drags his feet into the room. He tries to pull off his shirt, but that is seriously not happening with his lack of motor skills right now, so he just takes off his belt and kicks off his shoes and moves to get into the bed beside her. He's laid on it enough times, right?

But she turns around with some seriously scary reflexes and basically shoves him away, pointing to the narrow window seat near the corner. Yeah, he's not gonna fit on that thing. He'd probably fall out the window. So he concedes to sleep on her floor, because there's no way she trusts him to sleep in the same bed as her and one or both of her fathers would have hernias if they came home to find Noah Puckerman nursing a hangover on their sofa.

They talk for a while. About nothing, really. She says she thinks she should have made him take his shoes off downstairs before he dragged mud up the hall. He says he thinks her rug is weirdly comfy and he could probably live in it and it comes out as an innuendo he's too proud of himself for to correct. She's too smart to argue with a drunk so she just shakes her head and settles back down against her pillows until he coughs and awkwardly offers her a sorry and they're back to talking again.

Well, he mumbles and she pretends to understand his emotions at least, if not the sentences that explain them and it only takes a few minutes before she mentions the word 'baby' and he gets frustrated and closes himself up. The walls come down and he turns away from her and it's like he's not even there anymore. Like it wasn't him who called her up in the first place.

This is all she ever gets of him, really. Fragments of Noah in between fragments of Puck. The pieces come weeks apart – if at all – but she figures if she gets any sort of claim on him, it's a start. It was undoubtedly Puck who showed up at her door, but somewhere in between her porch and her bedroom, that had changed. It wasn't Puck who lay on her floor now, and when she hears that first deep breath – an almost guttural kind of sound – she throws off her covers and climbs down to join Noah on the floor, lifting one of his arms to slide in under it and pull at his shirt until they're as close as they can get.

He doesn't cry, because even as Noah, he doesn't cry, but she sheds enough tears for both of them and decides that maybe she has fragments too. And maybe... maybe they were made to fit his.