Title: Chocolate Kisses
Summary: From the Puckleberry drabble meme on LJ: They were sitting in Glee one day, bored out of their minds, when Rachel turns to him and asks: "Hey Noah? Would you like a kiss?"
Disclaimer: Don't own it. Not mine. Don't sue.
A/N: Set during Season 1, pre-Mash Up. Takes an AU bent. Reviews are lovely and always appreciated.
It's not like it was a bad idea. Schue's had worse. Like that week he wanted the Gleeks to do songs from Robert Redford movies. Or the week he had them sing funeral songs. Or last week, when he had them take a song and turn it into spoken word or a monologue or something.
(Dude has some seriously weird interests.)
So when he told them this week he was going to split them up into "unconventional" pairs and groups of three, Puck's pretty sure they were all just happy they wouldn't have to hear Chang murder Danny Boy again. Schue says he wants them to bond better as a group, to really start thinking of themselves as a team, or whatever. Puck gets it. He's been on teams for years. It's a lot easier to be a team when you actually know your teammates, and he'll be the first to admit he knows shit about Beyoncé or Wheels. Plus, it's not even close to the worst idea Schue's ever had, and with any luck they'll be allowed to sing something that was written sometime in the last ten years. (Yeah...he's totally not holding his breath on that one. With his luck, he'll have to sing Debbie Gibson or something.)
Chang and Rutherford and Fabray are in the first group, which seems like it doesn't fit into Schue's definition of "unconventional", but actually kinda works, since Other Asian and Token Black Dude aren't exactly friends with her outside of school. Sometimes they're at the same parties or whatever, but it's not like they hang out and braid each other's hair or anything.
Finn gets put with Tina and Mercedes and as soon as they hear that, Mercedes stands up and says, "Okay, white boy. Now you best listen up, 'cause I got ideas. You feel me?" Tina tries to be all nice and comforting and pats him on the shoulder, but Finn still looks sorta constipated. Yeah...not obvious at all who already wears the pants in that relationship.
Artie gets paired with Brittany, which is fuckin' hilarious, and Santana gets paired with Kurt, which is even more fuckin' hilarious. Puck wants to grab a huge bucket of popcorn and a Big Gulp and seriously glue his eyes to that shit.
So that leaves him with Rachel.
He's not complaining. Rachel's voice is awesome and his is pretty damn good too, so he knows they'll nail whatever stupid '80s pop song Schue gives them to sing this week. And even though Rachel's kind of a dictator about performing, Schue's picking their song, so Puck doesn't have to try to talk her out of some lame Broadway tune.
It's just, they're not really an unconventional couple. Yeah, Puck's a jock and Rachel's a geek or a drama nerd or whatever, but they're Jews, and there's only one temple in town. (Not that either of them are all that strict about making it to temple every Saturday, but whatever.) They've spent most of their life going to the same Bar Mitzvahs and weddings and stuff.
Plus, their parents are best friends, their nanas are roommates at the retirement home, and his sister Becca basically decided Rachel was her big sister years ago.
So yeah...if the point of this whole thing was to get to know one another, Schue probably should have done his homework a little better. Still, when he announces he's paired them together, Rachel doesn't say anything. She doesn't even really respond. She just picks her stuff up, walks from the front row to the back right corner where he's sitting and sits down next to him. It shocks the shit out of him, but he figures if she's not gonna say anything to Schue, neither is he.
Schue starts talking about...something...and Puck tunes him out. (Yeah...he's not even gonna pretend to pay attention.) Rachel hasn't looked at him once since she sat down, hasn't really even acknowledged that he's there, and it's sorta starting to piss him off. He gets that they're not friends or anything, and he's kinda been a jackass to her in the past, but they're gonna make sweet fuckin' music together, so the least she can do is notice the fact that he's sitting right next to her.
Except it's his fuckin' fault she doesn't want to look at him, so he's not sure he's allowed to be pissed at her.
See, when he says he knows Rachel Berry, he means he knows Rachel Berry. He knows her favorite color is yellow, 'cause she thinks it's a happy color. He knows she's wanted to be a star on Broadway ever since she saw Annie when she was four. (It took three fuckin' weeks for her dads to get her to sing something other than Tomorrow. Longest three weeks of his life.) He knows she fell off the monkey bars when she was six and sprained her wrist, 'cause he sat on the ground next to her and tried to figure out a way to make her laugh, so he wouldn't have to see her cry. And when his dad walked out on his family, Rachel and her dads came over and Rachel played Mario Kart with him all night, even though she's always kinda sucked at it.
And something else he knows about Rachel?
He's the reason everyone thinks she's a loser. He started the whole thing.
He didn't mean to. That first slushy on the first day of high school was never supposed to end up in her face. It was supposed to end up in her hand. (She'd been freaking out all summer about starting high school, and he just wanted her to have an alright day. He was actually trying to do something nice.) But when he was walking up to her locker with it, some asshole ran into his back. His arm went up just as she turned around and the next thing he knew, Rachel was covered in cherry slushy.
He was going to apologize or ask her if she was okay or whatever, but the rest of the football team walked up behind him and Karofsky said, "Nice! Cherry covered loser! Genius, Puckerman," and Puck didn't tell Karofsky not to call her that, so she just gave him this little hurt look, closed her locker and walked away. He tried to find her later but every time she saw him, she'd just turn around and walk the other way. By the end of the week she'd been slushied ten times (yeah, he counted...fuck off), and he'd given up trying to apologize. She wouldn't have taken it anyway.
He leans into Rachel and whispers, "So why didn't you tell Schue you already knew me?"
She gives him a quick look and turns away. "Because I don't. Not really. Not anymore. Besides, you weren't exactly leaping out of your seat to correct him."
Schue moves some papers around on top of the piano for about twenty seconds before he realizes that whatever the hell he's looking for isn't there, so he walks into his office next door, mumbling something about Menudo.
God, he hopes that has nothing to do with him.
"And let's be realistic, you don't really know me anymore either. We're basically acquaintances now."
Puck snorted. "Bullshit."
"You heard me. Bull...shit. I still know you, Rach. No one knows you better than me. Unless you've actually gotten better at making friends."
She cringes and yeah, okay, that was a pretty shitty thing to say. But this girl? She's always driven him a little fuckin' crazy. And he misses her, okay? He fuckin' misses her. And he's tired of it.
She sighs and says, "Things change, Noah."
"Yeah?" She won't look at him and it's driving him nuts, so he turns his body towards her, leans in close, and rests his arm on the back of her chair. "You still make that little noise in the back of your throat after you yawn?" He runs the tip of his middle finger lightly down her throat and she turns her head to look at him. Score. "You still eat your whole salad before you'll even think about touching the rest of your dinner?" She flinches a little and he says, "Yeah, I thought so. You sure I don't know you?"
"Those are just a few anecdotes, Noah. Nothing more."
"Okay, fine. You want more?" He pulls his chair closer to hers and she doesn't back away. "Your favorite color is yellow, even though your dads think it's pink. You won't tell 'em they're wrong, 'cause your dads are the only people you don't correct. More?" She just looks at him. He can't figure out whether that's good or bad. "Whenever you see road kill, you have to turn your face away 'cause anytime you see a dead animal, it makes you sick to your stomach. That's the real reason you're a vegan, even though you tell people it's 'cause it's healthier.
"When you were five, someone at temple called your dads fags." Her eyes get all shiny, so he softens his voice. She's the only one who can do shit like that to him. "You didn't know what the word meant, but you knew it was bad, and you cried for hours after. You wouldn't tell 'em what was wrong.
"And when you came home from the first day of high school covered in slushy, you told your dads it was an accident."
She looks away from him. "That's because it was an accident, Noah."
Schue walks back into the choir room from his office and tells them he left their sheet music in his car, so while he goes to get it, they should "talk amongst themselves". What else does he think they're gonna do? Start up a game of craps or something?
"Yeah, it was. Doesn't mean I'm not a jackass."
"Look, I'm an asshole, okay? I should've told Karofsky to go fuck himself, and I didn't."
She turns her body toward him and looks him in the eye. She's playing with her hands in her lap and he wants to put his hands on top of hers to reassure her or whatever, but he's not sure she'd let him, so he doesn't. "Being a member of the football team has always been very important to you. I understand that. I understood that then. Losing face in front of your new teammates would have been detrimental to your position on the team, and as a result, detrimental to your popularity. You've always been popular, Noah. And regardless of my desire to be, I am...not."
Part of the problem with this whole thing is that Rachel's always been so damn nice about it. And he sorta hates that she is. She could've told his ma, and this shit would have been over months ago. (His ma would've pretty much skinned him alive when she found out, but he would've deserved it, so whatever.) But she didn't. She just let everyone at school believe he was a BAMF (which, yeah...he is), and let his ma believe he was still kinda a good guy (which, yeah...he's probably not).
Puck cocks an eyebrow at her. "You think I need a football team to be popular, babe? Maybe you don't know me." She gives him this little annoyed smile, so he gives her a little smile back. "You should've called me on my bullshit, Rach."
"What did you expect me to do? Walk up to you at your locker one day and call you...you know what...in front of the most popular kids in school?"
He can't help but smile a little 'cause yeah, it's pretty fuckin' cute that she can't bring herself to swear. "Yeah. I did."
She tilts her head and gives him this...look. "You really expect me to believe you would have been okay with my giving you a dressing down in front of all your friends?"
Puck smirks and leans in close. "Baby, you can undress me anytime."
She blushes. Awesome. "That's not what I meant and you know that." She sighs and says, "Noah...I've known you since we were babies. You'd never let anyone talk to you that way."
Puck shrugs. "You're allowed."
"You're...allowed." He sits back and crosses his arms and hopes she gets the fuckin' picture, 'cause he doesn't know how much clearer he can be.
She looks stunned, like she doesn't believe he's actually telling her the truth, which, yeah, he kinda deserves. "O...okay."
He watches her for a second. "We good?" She nods and gives him a smile, folding her hands in her lap. He smiles back. "Good. So...you gonna tell Schue you already know me or whatever?"
She sighs. "No. We're both Jewish teenagers in a moderately sized town in Ohio that boasts exactly one synagogue. The math isn't that hard to do. If Mr. Schuester hasn't picked up on that, then he clearly hasn't been paying much attention to either of us."
He sorta nods 'cause, yeah, she's right. Puck's totally caught Schue tuning out Rachel when she talks. "You know we're gonna wipe the floor with everyone else, right?"
She tucks a strand of hair behind her ear and crosses her legs. "Oh, I know. We will annihilate them and send them home crying to their mommies."
He grins at her and nudges her shoulder with his. "Yeah we will."
Rachel insists that they do their part of the assignment, even if Schue didn't really do the legwork on his end, so they start "sharing". They talk about a few things (Rachel's dads are thinking about getting a dog, but are apparently still in the "planning stages" and Becca has a ballet recital she wants Rachel to go to), but since they already know stuff like favorite colors and favorite movies, it only takes them about thirty seconds to do what Schue wants them to do, which is "bond" or whatever. And since his ma and her dads are friends, even though Puck and Rachel basically haven't talked at all in the last year, there's not much they don't know. Well, not much that fits into Schue's definition of bonding, anyway. (Puck's got a different definition of bonding he'd like to explore with Rachel, but for some reason, he doesn't think Schue'd really be cool with that in the middle of Glee.)
(Speaking of Schue, dude's still not back from his car. Where the hell did he park? Michigan?)
So after that, they spend the next few minutes kinda bored. Puck watches Beyoncé and Satan for a while, but they're not as interesting as he hoped they'd be. There's way less bitch-fighting than he expected, and that's kinda a letdown. Brittany keeps talking about Giggles, her clown uncle, and while it's not surprising Britt's from a circus family, dude can only take so many pies to the face before it stops getting interesting. The trios aren't any better. Rutherford, Chang and Fabray are the Boring Triplets and Finn and Tina are mostly just sitting there while Mercedes tells them all about how she's gonna be the next Whitney or something.
(Dude...where the hell's a Nintendo when you need one? He'd kill for some Mario action right now.)
Puck slouches down in his chair and drops his head back against the wall. Maybe his luck'll actually hold out this time and he and Rachel won't get some lame-ass New Kids on the Block tune. Not likely, since Schue's so obsessed with retro shit. It's his "thing", or whatever. (Still, if he's gonna keep giving them older stuff to sing, you'd think the least he could do is actually grow a pair and give them something awesome, like the Stones or Clapton or something. That way he could put his mad guitar skills to good use.)
"Hey Noah? Would you like a kiss?"
Puck lifts an eyebrow and looks over at Rachel. She's turned toward him and smiling all sweetly (and yeah...he's kinda been wondering for a while if her lips are just as soft now as they were in her backyard when they were seven), so he takes her chin in his hand and kisses her.
(And he kinda has to, since she's the one who suggested it and it's never cool to leave an awesome chick hangin'. He's just bein' a good guy and doin' the right thing.)
He moves his lips slowly and gently, and at first she doesn't respond. Then he deepens it, starts pulling at her lips a little, and she sighs a little in his mouth and starts kissing him back. When he feels her starting to kiss him a little deeper, he plants one more soft little kiss on her mouth and pulls back. She gives him this little noise of protest, and he smirks. (She totally wants to make out with him, and even though he totally wants to make out with her too, he's not gonna do it in the middle of Glee. He can wait until they're in her bedroom. Or his. Or the janitor's closet down the hall.)
He sits back and looks at her. Her eyes are locked on his and her mouth is sorta opening and closing like she can't make it form words (not the first time that's happened), but she doesn't look pissed, so that's good. She blinks a couple times and brings her left hand up and in the center of her palm, there's a silver foil wrapped kiss. "Uh...I meant a Hershey's...kiss."
Puck gives her this big-ass grin. "I know."
(He does, too. He saw the kiss out of the corner of his eye. But he figures he was totally within his rights to kiss her, since she didn't really specify or whatever.)
He plucks the kiss out of her hand, unwraps it, and tosses the chocolate in his mouth. "Thanks babe."
She still looks kinda shell-shocked, so he just sits back, crosses his arms, and sucks on the chocolate kiss in his mouth while he waits for her to get back to normal. She opens her mouth a few times and shakes her head, and he can tell she's about to say something to him when Schue walks back in the room with...shocker...no sheet music.
"Sorry, guys. I forgot I took your music to be copied during my free period this morning. I must have left it in the lounge. I'm going to go get it, but in the meantime, keep talking to each other. Keep sharing. I can see you're really starting to connect."
(Look...Puck's not gonna tell a teacher how to teach or whatever 'cause most of the time he just doesn't give a shit, but Schue needs to get his shit organized. This is gettin' ridiculous.)
When Schue leaves, Puck looks around the room and notices Matt's looking at him. He raises one eyebrow at Puck and gets this look on his face, and it starts to piss Puck off a little bit. Puck knows that look – dude, he's given Rutherford that look before, more than once – and it's so not kosher he's givin' it to the Puckerone now. It's bullshit, actually. 'Cause Matt may be his bro and all, and he kinda appreciates that the dude's trying to look out for him, but he knows shit about Rachel Berry.
So Puck sends Matt this hard look and Rutherford looks a little shocked, but he backs off and goes back to listening to Quinn talk, which is a good thing, 'cause Puck's got a bigger problem right now. He doesn't want to have to deal with Rutherford too.
Rachel's kinda pulled away from him since Schue walked back in the second time. He thinks she might've caught Matt's Fuck! Her? look, and since she's a girl, and he's the one that's mostly responsible for her being a social outcast and all, she probably thinks that means he's gonna say the kiss was a mistake or something. He's gotta nip that shit in the bud right now if he plans on getting his hands under her skirt anytime soon.
So he opens the front pocket of her bag and roots around until he finds what he's looking for: another kiss.
"Hey Rach...want a chocolate kiss?"
She turns her head to look at him and, when she sees the foil wrapped Hershey's kiss sitting in the middle of his outstretched hand, gives him a shy little smile. "Sure, Noah."
This time he doesn't go slow with her. He wraps a hand around her neck and pulls her mouth to his, pushing the tiny piece of chocolate that was still in his mouth up against her lips with his tongue.
Kissing Rachel is not a fuckin' chore. He didn't trip and fall on her lips (which are even more awesome than he remembers, since both of them know what to do with them now), and he didn't kiss her as a bet, like the plot of some stupid teen movie. He just likes her, and he likes kissing her. And if the rest of the gleeks and the jocks and the cheerios don't get that, then whatthefuckever. They can go fuck themselves. 'Cause Rachel Berry's his fuckin' girl now, and he's not gonna stop kissing her.
(And he really doesn't give a shit if she has anything to say about that, 'cause she totally is. End of story.)
They hear a throat clear, loudly, so Puck gives Rachel one more kiss on the corner of her mouth before backing off and sitting back in his chair.
Schue's standing over them with his arms crossed, looking pretty pissed. "Guys, when I said you should bond, that's not really what I meant."
Puck just shrugs and pops the chocolate kiss from his hand into his mouth, biting down and breaking it in half.
Rachel clears her throat and says, "Perhaps you should have been more specific, Mr. Schuester."
Yep. That's his fuckin' girl.