Chapter 1 of 5-ish
"What are you giggling at, baby boy?" Mercedes asked, grabbing for his phone and missing, which made Rachel chuckle a little and wish she had a best friend. Sure, Mercedes, Kurt, and Tina were all her very close friends, but she often worried about how to thank all of them in her Tony Award speech before the orchestra played her off the stage. If she had one best friend, it wouldn't be a problem.
Kurt deftly stowed his phone in his bag and shrugged, "Just talking to Blaine." Rachel heard a tone in his voice that, despite its almost expert concealment, led Rachel to believe that Kurt was lying his designer pants off.
"I thought you two were only friends," Rachel asked, giving him one of her trademark looks. (Rachel had in fact sent headshots depicting various expressions to the copyright office, in order to get a jump on branding.)
"Just friends," Kurt agreed. "We're not each other's types."
"Not each other's types, or you're not his type?" Mercedes asked, one eyebrow up and her mouth twisted sardonically.
"I plead the fifth," Kurt replied, stealing one of Mercedes' grapes and popping it into his mouth. She retaliated by taking a big bite of his sandwich, which ended in the entire table, Rachel, Mike and Tina included, grabbing whatever food they could get their hands on and wolfing it down before it could be stolen.
Kurt ended up eating most of Rachel's vegan tapioca pudding after his soup was stolen and downed by Mike in three long gulps. Rachel had lost track of her pudding while distracted by practically wrestling Mercedes away from her homemade cookies, which meant she had to make do with half of Tina's sandwich, though she pulled the turkey off and flung it at Mike with a screech. He simply scooped up the lunch meat and popped it in his mouth, washing it down with some of Mercedes' diet cola. Within five minutes, all the friends were laughing way too hard for how quickly they had eaten everything at the table. Rachel thought maybe she might have to puke, but then she saw Puck approaching the table and his friendly smile distracted her from her gastric discomfort.
"C'mon, Rache," Puck said when he got to the gleek table, offering her his arm. She loved the way he no longer ignored her, even if they weren't together romantically. It just felt nice having a friend, especially one as popular as Puck. "Let's go to class. I heard Miss Holliday has something special for us in Sex Ed today," he grinned, wiggling his eyebrows
Trying not to imagine what Puck might have heard about, Rachel frowned and thought she might actually be sick. "I hope it's not more pictures."
"Don't worry," Puck laughed, smirking at her and making Rachel smile again. "I'll hold your hair if you have to puke again. But this time, aim for that stoner kid who sits behind to us. At least he already smells like crap."
"Noah," Rachel sighed, patting his arm and then pulling back. "Let's wait for Kurt and Mercedes."
"Yes!" Rachel hissed quietly. "If we're going to be friends, Noah, you have to respect that I have other friends as well."
"I suppose since they're glee club, they're alright," Puck replied, heaving a put-upon sigh. "Did you guys have a food fight or something?"
Rachel frowned again and looked down at her pink (non-animal, thank you very much) sweater, checking for stains. "Why?"
"You've got crumbs in your hair," Puck replied, brushing off the top of her head as Kurt and Mercedes joined them. Damn. Rachel thought one of her cookies might have been crushed in the struggle, but wasn't sure how it had gotten into her hair. When Puck finished, Rachel smiled up at him in gratitude.
"Oh, get a room," Kurt teased, rolling his eyes.
"What do ya say, Berry?" Puck offered, grinning at her in that way that used to give her butterflies, but didn't anymore. Really. "You. Me. Janitor's closet?"
"No thank you, Noah," she replied with a sharp smile, smoothing down her hair and hoping Puck managed to get all the cookie crumbs out. "We agreed we make better friends than anything else."
"Yeah," Puck agreed, leading them all down the hallway. "Since we're both on the outs with Finn, we might actually be best friends. How sad is that?"
"I don't think it's sad at all," Rachel replied, catching Puck's hand and squeezing it, her chest warm with nervous affection. "I think as two glee club members who are also Jews, we make a good team."
Puck laughed and threw his arm around the back of Rachel's neck, resting it heavily on her shoulders. "True dat, Rache. True dat." Rachel heard Kurt and Mercedes giggling together behind her and Puck, but chose to ignore their mirth, since it was probably at her expense.
When they reached the Sex Ed classroom, Finn approached the door from the other direction, frowning at Puck's arm around Rachel's shoulders. It made her a little cold and sad when Puck took his arm away, but she understood. Puck missed Finn; so did she.
"Alright, class!" Miss Holliday cried as Rachel took her seat between Puck and Kurt, Mercedes on his other side and Finn behind them, sitting next to Brittany, the only other glee club member in their class. The teacher was wearing what looked like nurses' scrubs with little bears and ducks on them. Rachel thought they were exceptionally cute and highly approved, despite Kurt's scoff of distaste beside her. "I have a big surprise for you! As you know, I've been hired to teach the rest of the school year, because of Mr. Yates' chronic boil situation, and I thought to celebrate, we'd do a three-week long project!"
"Boo," Puck called as the rest of the class groaned, which Rachel thought deserved a backhand to the shoulder. Someone had to keep Puck in line if Finn wasn't doing it, and it appeared that lately, that person was Rachel. She was surprised to find she didn't really mind.
"Don't be like that!" Miss Holliday insisted with a bright smile that Rachel appreciated very much. She wondered if the teacher practiced smiling for five minutes every day, as Rachel did. She was very good. "It's going to be fun! Look," she cried, picking up a bundle in a blue blanket from behind her desk. "You're all about to become parents."
"Miss Holiday?" Brittany asked, raising her hand. "My mother makes me take a pill every day, so I can't be a parent."
Beside her, Finn explained, "This assignment is just pretend, Brittany."
"That's right, Finn," Miss Holliday agreed. "Each of you will get a super-cool doll to take care of for three weeks. Hopefully this will convince you to follow Brittany's example and delay parenthood until after graduation, Mr. Puckerman."
"What?" Puck cried, throwing his hands up. "I would have made an awesome dad. All you punks know that."
"Whatever," Azimio said from across the room. "Does everyone get a doll or do we have, like partners or somethin'?"
"Yes, sir," the teacher replied in an antique accent. "You will indeed have a co-parent, my dear man."
"I pick Brittany," he smirked, sending the blonde girl a flirty grin.
"What would be the fun in that?" Miss Holiday cried with another one of those brilliant smiles that Rachel was really starting to envy. "No, I'm going to pair you up. And I think … yes, I think I'm going to make this as fun as possible, for me. Which means, you're getting partners you wouldn't normally pick. Rachel?"
Heart beating a little faster in anticipation after being called, Rachel replied, "Yes, Miss Holiday?"
"You'll be Mr. Karofsky's partner."
"What?" she cried, standing up so quickly that her chair would have fallen over if Puck hadn't caught it. "I'm not working with him! He's homophobic and has been so awful to one of my best friends he should have been expelled a dozen times over. If you make me do this, I will sue! I have two gay dads, you know, and they have so many ties to the ACLU, it's not even funny!" It had been awhile since Rachel had gotten to go on one of these tirades, that it felt immensely satisfying just letting loose.
"Rachel," Kurt grabbed her hand, getting her attention. "It's okay. Karofsky apologized when I came back. He'll be good."
"Yeah, or else," Puck added, sneering in the jock's direction.
Turning to face Karofsky, Rachel demanded, "Is this true?"
David looked down at the ground and shrugged, but it wasn't a denial.
"Fine, but our baby was born gay and if you can't handle that, I'll be raising it on my own."
"Whatever," Karofsky replied, standing up and taking the doll Miss Holliday thrust at him. Rachel did not appreciate the ham-handed way he held their simulated child, but when she glared at him, he shaped up and held the baby more like a football than a bag of trash.
Daring to get closer to her partner in this debacle, Rachel crossed the room to join Karofsky as Miss Holliday picked out the rest of the couples. "It's wearing a blue blanket," she observed as she peered at the bundle in David's arms. "Does that mean he's a boy?"
Karofsky lifted up the blanket and peered down the baby's front before saying, "Yep. It's a boy."
"Mazel tov," Rachel replied dryly, hoping she wouldn't have to spend much more time in Karofsky's presence than it took to hand off the baby and swap notes.
"And finally," Miss Holliday announced, "since we have two more boys than girls, I've decided Puck and Kurt will be our very own same-sex couple raising their adopted baby girl! Congratulations, boys!"
"Um, what?" Puck asked, giving Kurt a skeptical look and Rachel felt her heart drop. Puck had been making such good progress over the past year. She thought he'd left behind all his homophobia when he joined glee club and began to understand Kurt was just one of the gang, even if he did have a crush on Finn for the longest time. "Seriously, Miss H?"
"Seriously," the teacher nodded with that same bright grin.
"Just go with it, Puck," Kurt sighed, taking the baby from Miss Holliday. "I promise I won't molest you or anything. It's just an assignment."
"As long as I'm not the mom," Puck replied with a shrug, "I guess it's cool."
Kurt nodded and Rachel sighed in relief. It was important that two of her best friends get along, and maybe this project would be good for them. Plus, Rachel wouldn't have to split her friend-time between Puck and her Kurt-Mercedes-Tina group, if they could all learn to enjoy each other's company. The efficiency of it might allow Rachel to fit a third elocution rehearsal into her weekly schedule. One must never forget the importance of proper pronunciation in the entertainment line of work.
After the last class of the day Finn stood at his locker, which was next to Kurt's because their names were, like, right next to each other's in the alphabet. Now that they were brothers and Kurt wasn't giving him those puppy-dog looks anymore, Finn enjoyed his locker placement a lot more. It really came in handy when he lost his only pen or forgot a book at home, since Kurt was really cool about sharing.
When Puck approached, Finn thought he would want to talk about being allies in the basketball team or something, but instead, he tapped Kurt on the shoulder and asked, "Hey, Kurt? Wanna meet up after glee to work out a baby-plan or whatever?" Puck looked like he was trying to keep his cool being seen talking to someone like Kurt and the doll in his arm wasn't making it any easier.
"Oh, alright," Finn's brother sighed, pulling out his phone and poking at it a few times. "I suppose I have this afternoon free. I was going to see a friend, but I can cancel on him."
"What friend?" Finn asked. He'd been wanting to bring up a certain fact he knew for a while, but now seemed like the best chance he'd get. "The same friend you keep going to see when you say you'll be at Artie's, but you're not?"
Kurt gave his step-brother a wide-eyed look of surprise, but quickly covered it up with a careless attitude. The quick shift had to mean he was hiding something, right? "I don't know what you're talking about," Kurt insisted. "And no. I was going to swap music with a boy from Dalton, but it'll be easier on the weekend, anyway."
"I don't wanna mess up your date or whatever, Kurt," Puck insisted, putting on an uncomfortable frown. "We can talk about it tomorrow before school."
"Don't be silly," Kurt replied, taking the doll out of Puck's arms and holding it against his jutted-out hip as he led the way to the choir room. "I want a good grade on this project, Puck, and it wouldn't hurt your GPA to do well either. You'll come over to my house and we'll make all the arrangements before dinner. You'll probably want to stay for the food, right?"
Finn wanted to complain, but a sharp look from Kurt made him shut his trap real quick. Damn. There weren't many people who could make Finn shut up like that (besides maybe Rachel and his mom). Why did Kurt have to figure out how to do it, too?
"Yeah, alright," Puck shrugged in response to Kurt's invitation as they got to the choir room, only Tina and Mike having reached it before them. "What'cha havin'? If it's pork chops or bacon or something, just don't tell my mom."
"It's not," Kurt replied with an amused half-smile. He opened his mouth to say more, probably about whatever organic or eco-friendly meal he had planned, when Mr. Schue came into the room, followed by the rest of the club.
"Alright everyone, take a seat! This week, glee's going disco!"
Finn watched as Puck shared a look with Kurt that said way more Finn expected it to – but he guessed, who in their right minds wouldn't share an eye-roll at the mention of freaking disco?
Mercedes didn't know why she'd been paired up with Azimio for their baby project, but she had a sneaking suspicion that it had to do with the fact that Miss Holliday only had one dark-skinned baby. She had almost refused to take the damn doll home the first night after Azimio said, "You're the girl here, you do the women's work!" and instead beat her partner's head in with it, but Miss Holliday stepped in and brokered a peaceful resolution. Somehow it still included Mercedes waking up every three hours to feed the thing.
As she got to school, in dire need of some sugar and caffeine, she remembered who Kurt's partner for the project was, and hoped that the two of them hadn't come to blows at their planning session the night before. Sure, they hadn't been at each other's throats lately, but Mercedes could count on one hand the number of times she'd seen them interact directly since Puck joined glee club. Puck wasn't one to apologize for the stupid things he'd done and Kurt wasn't one to easily forgive.
Groaning, she stopped by the coffee cart in the cafeteria on her way to her locker, and then was unsurprised to see Kurt at his locker four down from hers (it was nice having a best friend whose last name was very near to Mercedes' in the alphabet). "Mornin'," she greeted him, trying to juggle her bag, her coffee and the damn baby doll on her hip. Miss Holliday had warned them that any incidents of dropping the thing on the floor would be recorded and count against them in their final grade. Mercedes missed the fun Miss Holliday who didn't give a crap about grades, though she was still loads better than most of the teachers at McKinley. "Where's your assignment?" she asked her friend, giving Kurt a grateful smile when he took the bundle Azimio had named Shaneequa out of her arms.
"Puck had her for the night," Kurt replied, pulling back the blankets to take a look at Mercedes' doll. "How was yours?"
"Had me up so many times last night," she complained, gathering her books for the first class of the day and shoving them in her backpack, "that I started dreaming about storks and Miss Sylvester's bullhorn. It was awful."
"Mmm," Kurt hummed in response, handing over the baby when she held her arm out for it. "I guess I'll find out tonight, if Puck hasn't managed to kill ours yet."
"How'd you get him to take the first night?" Mercedes asked as Kurt gathered his things and closed his locker, watching as her friend blushed a little.
"It's not important," he replied, his eyes following something behind her. When Mercedes turned around, she saw Puck coming down the hallway, his bag slung over one shoulder and a pink bundle held to his other shoulder.
It wasn't such a surprising sight, given their current assignment, but Mercedes had no idea what was going on when Puck approached them, said, "Hey, pumpkin," to Kurt and kissed the boy quickly on the lips.
"What the hell?" Had she woken up in the Twighlight Zone somewhere between feedings three and four?
"Good morning, honey," Kurt smiled, ignoring Mercedes' surprise and taking the bundle from Puck. "How was our little ball of sunshine last night?"
"Eh," Puck shrugged, throwing his now-free arm over Kurt's shoulders and hugging him close as the other boy put the doll up to his chest and patted its back like Miss Holliday had shown them. That was when Mercedes noticed the ring.
"Boy, what is on your hand?" Mercedes asked, ignoring Puck's weird presence and pointing to Kurt's new piece of jewelry. It was a plain silver-colored ring, and Mercedes cringed to ask if Kurt knew what it looked like. "You do know what finger you're wearing that on, right?"
"Mm-hmm," Kurt nodded, giving Puck a fond look. "A child deserves a stable home-life, Mercedes. For Molly's sake, Noah and I got married."
"Married?" Mercedes gasped, so confused by now that she was sure she'd bumped her head or died or something. "Molly?"
"The kid," Puck answered, putting his hand over Kurt's on the doll's back. At this point, Mercedes saw Puck was wearing a ring identical to Kurt's.
"What the freaking hell? Explain this, right now!"
While Kurt was opening his mouth, Azimio approached them. "Dude," he said to Mercedes' two friends, "gettin' a little friendly there with the queer, Puckerman. Be careful it doesn't rub off." Mercedes wanted to sock her partner in the stomach, but thought that one punch might turn into a full-on ass kicking and she didn't want to get expelled.
Besides, she figured Puck would just beat him up for her.
Instead, the jock smiled and looked Azimio straight in the eye before saying, "I think it's kinda hot when Kurt rubs off on me. Isn't that right, lamb-chop?"
"You don't need to air all of our dirty laundry, Pucky-bear," Kurt replied in the same saccharine tone of voice, his face hidden in Puck's neck. "Some things are just between us."
"What the hell?" Azimio cried, shooting Mercedes a confused expression like he was expecting her to explain.
"Don't look at me," she insisted. "I have no idea what happened to them overnight."
Azimio pointed his finger at Kurt and said, "He's one of them gay wizards or something. Puck, man, we need to find you a antidote to whatever love potion this creep gave you."
"What are you talking about, Azimio? Kurtsie is my husband and we're raising little Molly together. Why would I want to change that?" The jock grinned at his teammate as he nuzzled the side of Kurt's head.
"Husband?" Azimio cried, looking to Mercedes once more before he started laughing. "Oh, I get it. This is all a big joke. Ha, effing ha, Puckerman. Now stop it. You're creeping me out."
"I'm sorry our love offends you," Kurt sighed, "but Noah and I are together. Get used to it. In fact, I'm sure your baby doesn't appreciate being the product of a broken home. That's okay. Mercedes deserves someone much better than you." Turning to the boy at his side, Kurt asked, "Ready to walk me to class, jujube?"
"Sure thing, cream puff," Puck replied, walking a few steps before looking back over his shoulder and sneering at Azimio, like he was daring the jock to do something about his 'relationship' with Kurt. Mercedes still didn't know what the hell was going on.
"Tell your friends," Azimo said as he snatched their baby from Mercedes' arms, "to stop whatever it is they're doing if they don't want their asses kicked. A'right?"
"Hell, no," Mercedes replied. "I don't know what's going on any more than you do, Azimio, but leave Kurt and Puck the hell alone. You know your mother and my mother are church friends, dude. Don't mess with me or it'll be raining fire and brimstone on you at home."
"Jesus," Azimio cried, "e'rybody's gone crazy today." He threw his hands up in the air, almost dropping their doll in the process, and walked away.
Now Mercedes just had to figure out what was going on with her best friend!
Reviews please! This is going to be from everyone's POV, with Puck and Kurt at the end, and it's almost finished! I hope to post once a day until it's done, so wish me luck!