Title: Good Medicine
Warnings: language (it's Puck, people)
Summary: From the puckleberry drabble meme on LJ: Puck gets sick and starts hallucinating lil!gleeks like Mr. Schu did. The amount of adorable that is lil!rachel is all he can think about.
Disclaimer: Don't own it. Not mine. Don't sue.
He should probably eat before he leaves for school, but his alarm didn't go off and Becca's fuckin' draggin' her feet and if he's actually going to get her to school on time, they needed to leave, like, yesterday.
"Becca...c'mon! We're gonna be late. Turn off the TV and grab your shit."
"I don't even have my shoes on."
"Not my problem. You can put 'em on in the truck. Let's go!"
Becca sticks her tongue out at him, but grabs her stuff and runs out to the truck. Puck digs that about his sister. Yeah, she can be a huge brat, but when he asks her to do something, she almost always does it.
Ever since he got out of juvie he's been trying to do his ma a solid and not be a pain in her ass. He knows he's not the best or easiest kid in the world, but getting put in lockup really did a number on her this time, and he feels like shit about it. So he does the laundry and feeds Becca when his ma works nights and takes her to school in the morning so their mom can actually get a full night's sleep. He figures eventually he'll do enough work to pay her back for not kicking him out on his ass years ago like he probably deserved.
Puck locks the front door and runs out to his truck just as Becca's finishing buckling her seat belt. Good. With the way he's gonna have to drive to get them both to school on time, he doesn't want to have to worry about how much time he'll lose in her school parking lot when he has to peel her off the dash.
"You know, if you'd gotten up on time, we wouldn't be having this problem."
"Yeah, thanks Captain Obvious. My alarm didn't go off. Why didn't you wake me up?"
"Not really in my job description."
Puck's stomach growls and he grunts in frustration. "Do you have any food?"
"Noooooo...I got up and actually ate breakfast this morning. You know...after my alarm went off."
"You're such a brat." He puts his foot on the gas to speed through a yellow light and out of the corner of his eye he sees her stick her tongue out at him again. He can't wait for her to outgrow that shit. "Seriously...don't you have a lunch or something?"
"No, it's Thursday. Pizza day. You know how much I love pizza day. Which reminds me..." She holds out her hand and Puck groans and reaches for the wallet in his back pocket. Sure she's a pain, but he loves her too much to let her fuckin' starve. "Why don't you just go to McDonald's or something before school? I promise not to tell anyone you're a bad Jew for eating a Sausage McMuffin."
"No time before first period."
"Since when do you care about making it to school on time?"
"Since I got sent to juvie and mom's fuckin' terrified I'm gonna screw up again. She doesn't -" Puck lets out a huge sneeze.
Great. Fuckin' great.
Becca squeals and backs into her door, pulling her t-shirt up over her nose. "Are you sick? Keep your stupid germs away from me!"
"Jesus, stop freaking out. It's probably just dust or something."
"If you get me sick and make me miss my first girl boy party this weekend, I will kill you. It's a Stephanie Davis party. No one ever misses a Stephanie Davis party. It's social suicide. The last kid who did had to move to Siberia or something. Like, literally."
"I told you, it's just dust." Puck stops the truck in front of her school and unbuckles her seat belt. "Now get out of my truck."
Becca hops out and slams the door shut and Puck peels out of the junior high parking lot. With a little bit of luck and a lot of green lights, he strolls into history class just as Mr. Goldfarb goes to shut the door. Good thing too, 'cause you'd think a fellow Jew would actually give him a pass every once in a while, but not Goldfarb. Dude has a serious hate on for the Puckerone.
"How nice of you to join us this morning, Mr. Puckerman. And on time too."
See? Dude's a total prick. They go through this pretty much every fuckin' day. Puck would just ditch the damn class but he doesn't want to give his mom an aneurism. "Whatever."
Puck finds his desk in the back and goes to sit down when he lets out another sneeze. Great. He does not need this shit. He just needs to make it through Goldfarb's class so he can take his daily nap in the nurse's office next period.
And a Sausage McMuffin. He could really use a fuckin' Sausage McMuffin right now.
He's on his way to the nurse's office at the end of the period when he sees Rachel standing in front of her locker. She's wearing this neon green and pink argyle sweater vest thing with matching knee socks and her tiny as fuck black skirt. He had a dream about Rachel and that skirt last night.
She spent most of the dream out of it, but whatever.
Puck's pretty sure the last time she wore that outfit Kurt told her that "progressing from a sad clown to a sad country club clown doesn't show much progress", but Puck actually digs her for it. Sure, most of the time it looks like she got dressed in the dark, but she wears what she likes, even if someone else thinks she looks ridiculous, and that's pretty badass.
She's focused on pulling books out of her locker when he walks up behind her, so he leans in close and puts his mouth up to her ear, breathing out her name. "Hey Rach."
She jumps and spins around, slapping him lightly on the chest. "Noah! You startled me."
Puck smirks as he leans into the locker next to hers. "Kinda the point, babe."
She rolls her eyes at him and turns back to her open locker. "Well in that case, congratulations on your success."
He scans her body from head to toe. "You look hot today."
She blushes and tucks a strand of hair behind her ear.
"That's sweet of you to say, Noah."
Here's the thing about Rachel: he's pretty sure she has no idea how hot she really is. And she is. She's gorgeous as fuck. Except no one ever tells her that, 'cause they get caught up on the animal sweaters and sailor dresses and shit, and totally miss that she's awesome and sweet and has legs that go on for days. It's pretty fuckin' sad if you ask him.
" 'S fuckin' true. I love this skirt." He grips the hem of her skirt between his fingers and runs his knuckles gently over her thigh. He can feel her muscle twitch beneath his hand and her breath hitches just a little bit. He smirks.
"So...uh...have you decided what you're going to sing for Mr. Schuester's assignment?"
They're supposed to come up with a song that "expresses what it feels like to really be alone", which basically means Miss Pillsbury hasn't forgiven him yet. Dude's so transparent about that shit.
"Yeah. I figured I'd-" The sneeze comes out of nowhere and as he turns away from Rachel (yeah...no way is he sneezing anywhere near her...he's not an asshole), he nails a squirrely-ass freshman standing nearby. Fresh meat has the nerve to look offended, and Puck chases him away with a growl.
"Noah! Are you getting sick?"
He figures Rachel's about to get all up on him about being sick near her and how "as Glee's strongest singer, they can ill afford the necessary period of convalescence it would require to return her to her normal, exceptional state of health this close to Regionals", when she puts one hand on his cheek and lifts the other to feel his forehead. Her hands are cool and soft and she's looking up at him with these big, concerned eyes and he's not gonna lie, it's kinda awesome that she gives a shit.
So maybe he leans into her hands a little bit. Shut up.
"You do feel a little warm. Maybe you should go home early."
She looks even more worried now, and Puck wants to reach up and smooth the crease between her eyebrows with his thumb. "Noah, your health is very important. And I'm sure your mother would understand."
She drops her hands and he shrugs. "Nah, that's not it. It's just we have to win our last two games to make the championship game, and if Coach finds out I went home sick, she's not gonna let me play this week. If I don't play, we're screwed."
"Hmmm...yes. Having seen the team play on more than one occasion, I can say with certainty that you are a key reason for the team's success this year. Your skills are definitely above the norm."
"Did you just call me awesome, babe?"
He grins as she rolls her eyes 'cause yeah...he totally saw that smile she tried to hide. "I know this championship is important to you, Noah. But are you sure you can still be effective if you're ill?"
He shrugs. "Yeah, I've done it before. I'll just take something now and push through the next two days then crash this weekend." Yeah, that part was gonna suck, but if they won the game, it would totally suck less. Plus, maybe he could convince Rachel to take care of him.
"Do you have anything?"
"I'll raid the medicine cabinet after school."
"Here," She reaches into her locker and pulls out a small bottle, tipping three pills into his hand. "Take these. Daddy got them-" He tosses the pills into his mouth and swallows them dry. She tries to hand him her water bottle, but he pushes it back toward her.
"Rach, I'm not gonna get you sick."
"That's very considerate of you, Noah, but I have another bottle in my bag. And you need to make sure you stay hydrated. Here."
"Thanks." He drains about a third of the bottle and when he twists the cap back on, he can see she's pleased.
"Aren't you going to ask what I gave you?"
"I trust you."
She smiles softly and he knows he's said the right thing.
Yeah...he's pretty much the man.
She hands him the bottle of pills and when he tries to tell her he'll be fine, she says, "Just in case, Noah. You don't want to run the risk of meeting Coach Bieste in the hallway and sneezing on her, do you?"
She has a point, so he slides the bottle into his pocket and they start to make their way down the hall toward her class. Well, their class, but it's not like he's going or anything. She clutches her books to her chest and he resists the urge to take them and carry them for her. He'd probably just get his germs all over her books and make her sick.
"I would ask if you'll be in math, but I know better. Besides, today may be the only day I'll actually endorse your daily nap in the nurse's office."
He lifts his eyebrows and nudges her shoulder with his. "Rachel Berry, are you saying you approve of my juvenile delinquency?"
"Of course not. But it does allow you the chance to rest, which can only benefit you in your fight against this horrible illness."
He doesn't know how she does it, but she somehow makes it sound like he's trying to slay a dragon or something, instead of just ditching class to try and sleep off a cold.
Yeah, he kinda digs that. No lie.
Puck chills in the bed of his truck during lunch and finds a way to sleep through most of his classes, so when Glee comes up, he's still feelin' alright. He started sneezing again like a half hour ago and he's pretty sure that one cough was going to turn into a lot more, so he popped a few more of Rachel's magic pills. He doesn't want Schue getting any ideas he's sick and letting it slip to Coach, since they're basically besties or whatever these days. He wouldn't put it past the guy to screw up Puck's week without even realizing he was doing it.
He tries to catch Rachel at the end of her class but her classroom is empty, so he makes his way through the halls to the choir room. He got hung up at his last class, so it's not like he still expected her to be there or anything, but he kinda wanted to surprise her. She loves stuff like that. When they were dating he did it every day, and she smiled at him and called him chivalrous.
And yeah, he kinda wouldn't mind if she called him that again.
Whatever the hell is going on with them, they've been dancing around it for a while now. She and Finn have been broken up for months and this time Puck's pretty sure it's for good, if the way Satan has been hanging all over Finn means anything. Plus, he's been watching Rachel since the break up and she seems completely unaffected by Fintana practically devouring each other in the hallway between classes, so he's pretty sure that's a good sign.
The last time they dated, they were both hung up on other people. Except apparently he wasn't, 'cause one day he found himself sitting on a bleacher trying to figure out the right thing to say to make Rachel stay. She didn't and it's not like it should matter, since it only lasted a week and they spent the whole time making out in her bedroom.
But he liked being around Rachel, so it kinda did. Yeah, she talks too much and she's demanding and a little bit crazy, but she's sweet and soft in all the right places and she genuinely gives a shit about him. She thinks he's worth something, and he's not such an idiot that he's gonna let a girl like that go, especially when she's as good with her mouth as Rachel is.
His phone beeps to let him know he has a text and he pulls his phone out to check it, walking blindly into the choir room. It's just his mom, letting him know that she's picking up a few hours at work and asking him to start dinner. Normally he wouldn't even bother texting her back, but these days she's all about "communication as a way to prevent more poor behavior", and he knows it stresses her out less when he responds right away, so he sends her a short text.
Watch the gremlin. Got it.
When he looks up there's all these tiny people where the Gleeks should be and he's totally fuckin' confused. Was it like, Bring Your Mini Me to Glee Day and someone forgot to tell him about it or something?
Standing just inside the door are two little Asian kids, holding hands. Boy Asian looks up and gives him the nod and girl Asian says, "Hey Puck."
Sitting in the first row of seats are two little blonde kids, smiling at each other like idiots and holding hands. Sitting behind them are a little black girl and a little white kid, and they're arguing about Prada or Gucci or something. Whatever. He stopped listening pretty much the second they started talking. There's a little kid in a sweater vest sitting in an adult sized wheelchair, two little girls in tiny ass Cheerios uniforms and a little kid with a Schue Fro trying to reach something on the top of the piano. Then there's little Finn, sitting behind the drums.
And that's how he figures out he's hallucinating.
(Maybe he should have asked Rachel what was in those pills.)
See, Finn's his boy. He's known him his entire life. Knows pretty much everything there is to know about him. So there's no way he's got a Mini Me running around that Puck's never met before.
Plus that Indians shirt the kid is wearing? Puck totally gave Finn that shirt for his birthday last year.
So yeah, he's hallucinating.
In the top row he sees a tiny little girl sitting all by herself, going through the pick bag at her feet, so he makes his way up to her. She has long brown hair and big brown eyes and she's wearing knee socks and an argyle sweater vest. She's Rachel, but tiny. Or tinier. Whatever.
"Noah, are you okay?"
It takes him a minute to realize Tiny Rachel is talking to him and when he looks down, he sees her eyes are wide as she holds her sheet music to her body. She's concerned about him. It's adorable as fuck.
He smiles at her. "Yeah, Rach. I'm okay."
"Are you sure? You seem a little...off. Are the pills working?"
She reaches her little hand up to feel his forehead again and he bends his head down to let her. "No sneezing, no coughing, no fever."
"Take a seat, Puck."
Puck looks at Mini Schue, standing in the front of the room, and shrugs before dropping down into the chair next to Rachel's. Mini Schue starts talking, and Puck's gotta admit, it's pretty hilarious watching a 5 year old with a Jeri curl talk about "expressing loneliness through the power of music". Little hard to take anyone seriously on that shit when they're 3 feet tall and sound like a chipmunk. Not that he has a habit of taking Schue all that seriously anyway.
He feels a little hand on his arm and he looks down at Rachel. She's shooting Schue this look like she's afraid he'll catch them talking or something, but she doesn't really have anything to worry about. Schue's focused on Fabray and Evans, who volunteered to sing first. Puck thinks it's a little weird they're singing a song about loneliness together, but whatever.
"So your nap in the nurse's office helped?"
"Yeah. Slept through lunch and most of my other classes too." When she doesn't say anything, he says, "Seriously, Rach. I can't believe you're not pi-...upset that I've basically used school as a bed today." He stops himself 'cause, yeah...even though he knows he's talking to Rachel, it still seems kinda wrong to use the word pissed with a kindergartner.
"As I said before, although I don't condone such behavior under normal circumstances, I believe the situation at hand calls for a different game plan, so to speak. I'm glad you were able to find the time to rest. That will certainly help on your road to recovery." She's so fuckin' cute he can't help himself, and he gives her this big smile.
It should be so weird hearing all these big words coming out of the mouth of such a little girl, but it's Rachel, so it's not. It's just adorable, like a little girl playing at being her mom or something. If he and Rachel had a little girl, she'd probably turn out exactly like this. Except with his nose, 'cause he knows even Rachel hopes her future kids don't end up with her nose.
She must have read something else into his smile because he sees her blush and start swinging her legs under her chair. Seriously. So fuckin' cute. "Besides, as I said earlier, I know this championship is important to you. You've worked hard all season. And having been to all the games this year myself, I can see your hard work has paid off. It would be a shame for you and quite detrimental for the team if you were to miss a game so late in the season."
"You've been to every game this year?"
She blushes and smiles and gives him this little shrug and Jesus, he wants to pick her up and cuddle her or buy her a stuffed animal or something. "And I admit that I find myself cheering the hardest when you have possession of the ball and are running toward the end of the field with the yellow metal posts."
"Endzone." Leave it to Rachel to have been to every game this season and still not know the right names for anything. "And the yellow metal things are called goalposts."
"Yes, those." She smiles. "You're quite quick and elusive. I've noticed the other team often has a difficult time catching you."
There's this big round of applause and they look up to see Mini Mercedes walking back to her seat. Mini Kurt gives her a little high five and Mini Schue's giving her this big ass smile, so that means she probably sang some big-voiced R&B tune with lots of runs at the end. Not like she ever sings anything else. Chick seriously needs to think about expanding her repertoire.
And yeah, he knows the word repertoire. Fuck off.
When Mini Schue asks who wants to go next, Rachel raises her hand and hops out of her seat, all excited. Puck can see some of the Minis rolling their eyes and crossing their arms and shit, and he can't really figure out what their problem is. It's not like Schue is asking for suggestions for what they're going to sing for Regionals or whatever. She's just doing her assignment like everyone else. Besides, everyone knows she's the best singer they have, and Glee means more to her than anyone else, even Mr. Schue. So she puts all this emotion into her voice and sings everything like it's the last time she'll ever get to sing anything. It's kinda awesome, no lie.
Brad starts playing this slow, sad song (for some reason Brad is his normal size, and no, he has no fuckin' idea why that dude's his normal size when everyone else isn't) and Rachel stands in front of the piano with her little hands clasped in front of her, looking all tiny and helpless and sad. She starts to sing this old Nat King Cole tune and she looks like she's about to cry, and even though he totally knows she's acting, he still wants to pick her up and hold her and shit.
Seriously, if he and Rachel ever have kids, he'll be done for. All they'll have to do is look up at him with their mom's big eyes and he'll do whatever the hell they want, just to make sure he never has to see them cry.
She sits back down and Puck goes to tell her how awesome she was, except little Rachel isn't sitting next to him. Big Rachel is. When he looks around the room, he notices that everyone else is back to normal too. He looks back at Rachel and she's giving him this funny look, so he says, "You were awesome, babe."
She looks pleased and says, "Thank you, Noah. Though I realize standards aren't typically as awe-inspiring to our peer group as more recent music, I felt it a particularly poignant choice."
He just nods his head like he knows what the hell she's talking about and watches Finn start his song. His choice is a little obvious (dude...the name of the song is Lonely Day, and pretty much every other word is lonely or loneliest), but he's Finn so it's not like Puck was expecting anything else. Finn may be his bro, but dude's not exactly known as a deep thinker or anything.
When he turns his head to tell Rachel something, Mini Rachel is back. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Mini Finn is back too. It's weird, but he's actually kind of glad to see them again. She wrinkles her little nose at one of the lines in the song (most loneliest is not proper grammar, Noah) and he just smirks and settles back in his chair.
The rest of Glee is pretty much the same. The Gleeks are normal sized for a while, then he blinks and they're Minis again. It's pretty hilarious when Mike's voice goes all high halfway through his song.
They get through about half the songs before Schue tells them he'll see them on Tuesday (which is stupid 'cause it's only Thursday and pretty much everyone has him for Spanish) and tells them to have a "safe weekend". The room clears in about 5 seconds. Even Schue is practically running out the door. By the time Puck stands up and slings his bag onto his back, he's alone with Rachel in the choir room. She's taking her time putting her stuff away, so he hangs back.
"It's very good of you to wait for me, Noah, but you didn't have to."
He takes her bag before she can pick it up, shrugs, and says, "I figured I'd give you a ride home or whatever. You know, since you usually have to walk home on Thursdays."
"That's sweet, but you're sick and your health is very important. You should go home and get into bed. I'll be fine." She reaches for the handle of her bag, but he rolls it away from her and pulls it behind his body.
"Then maybe you should come home with me."
"Go home with you?"
"Yeah, you know...you can make sure I eat chicken soup and drink plenty of fluids or whatever." He leans in close and says, "Since my health is so important to you."
"Plus, Becca and my mom have been kinda ridin' my ass 'cause you haven't been around in a while. Pretty sure they have girl crushes on you or something." He shrugs and rubs the back of his neck. "They'd be pretty psyched if you were there for dinner."
Rachel pulls her bottom lip between her teeth and looks at him through her lashes and Puck wants to drop his bag, wrap his hands in her hair, and pull her mouth to his.
Stupid fucking cold.
"Well...it is Thursday, so dad and daddy won't be home until late. I'm sure they wouldn't mind if I had dinner at your house. But are you sure?"
"Wouldn't have asked if I wasn't." He steps a little closer and reaches his hand into her jacket pocket, pulling out her cell phone and holding it up in front of her face. "Call your dads, Rach."
She takes the phone from his hand and dials and when he realizes she's taking about five minutes to explain what would take a normal person five seconds, he puts his hand on her lower back and starts to steer them toward the front door. He doesn't want to stand in the damn hallway all afternoon.
"Yes, of course I'll remember to relate my gratitude to Noah's mother."
"No, that shouldn't be a problem. I have all the resources necessary to complete my work."
"Oh, that's nice! You haven't had a date night in a while. Where are you going?"
They're almost to his truck when the sound of her voice stops him. She sounds...disappointed. He's not sure what's going on, but whatever it is, it's making her frown. He pretty much hates that.
He lifts his eyebrows at her and she mouths the word game and that's pretty much all it takes to clue him in, so he takes the phone from her. Yeah, okay, it's a little rude to interrupt someone when they're in the middle of a sentence, but she'll totally forgive him in about two seconds, so it's okay.
See, Rachel's dads are pretty cool about most things, but ever since they read some study about teenage drivers, they've been really strict about who's allowed to drive her places. And since the study said that teenagers are basically human crash test dummies, that means no teenagers are allowed to drive her anywhere, ever.
For some weird-ass reason, they trust him. He has no idea why, since it's not like parents usually trust him. But it's kinda nice that they do. No lie. "Hey Mr. Berry."
"Hello, Noah. How are you?"
"I'm good, thanks. Look...don't worry about Rachel. I'll take her home after the game tomorrow."
"Are you sure? It would be wonderful if you could."
"Yeah, it's no problem. Have fun on your date. I'll take care of her."
Rachel pulls the phone away from him before he can hear her dad's response, but she has this giant smile on her face, so it's all good. She says one last thing to her dad and hangs up and he puts the handle of her bag down and lifts it into the bed of his truck.
"Dad says to thank you again for agreeing to take me home tomorrow."
Puck shrugs. "You've seriously been to every game this year?"
"Is that so hard to believe?"
He shrugs again and pulls the passenger side door open for her. "Just never seen you there, that's all."
"Though initially I was a bit put off by the violence, I found I didn't mind so much when the violence was directed at the other team. Also, I discovered there is a certain feeling of exhilaration one feels when they align themselves with a successful team. It's exciting watching you win."
He knows that when she says you she means the team, but he also thinks when she says you she means him too and he's not gonna lie, that makes him feel pretty awesome.
"Yeah, considering how much the team has sucked the last few years, this season's been kinda surprising, actually. That's what happens when you get a coach that doesn't suck, I guess." She hops into his truck and he leans against her door. "Do you, uh...have a normal seat or whatever?"
"Usually I sit with Kurt, although he says my efforts at showing school spirit are close to blinding him, since every Friday I appear to be auditioning for a part in Seussical the Musical. Why?"
"My mom and Becca are actually gonna make it to the game tomorrow, so if you wanted to sit with them, that'd be cool. And...if you wanted to shut Kurt up, you could wear my extra jersey."
He legit does not take a breath in the time it takes her to respond. He hopes she knows what a big fuckin' deal this is, since he's never asked a girl to wear his number before. Some of his teammates may throw their numbers to any girl who even looks interested, but not Puck. As far as he's concerned, that shit's sacred.
"You want me to wear your jersey at the game?"
"Yeah, you know...if you want to."
She gives him this shy smile and buckles herself in. "I want to."
"Good." He was starting to think he'd never take another breath again, and that's just not cool, 'cause he needs that shit to live. "Now, c'mon babe." He smirks and waggles his eyebrows.
"The sooner we get home, the sooner you can get me into bed."