A/N: This is a sequel to Puckleberry Finn. I don't suppose you would have to read that to follow along here. However, you will need to understand the basic premise. The concept I explored was Puckleberry Finn as a real relationship—a triad or a triple or whatever you want to call it. If you understand polyamorous jargon they were a polyfidelitous "V" relationship with Rachel at the apex. This story deals with all three of them leaving WMHS behind and going out into the "real world". If there are those of you who are unhappy with what happens to Puck, Finn and Rachel please understand that I tried to approach this logically. Rachel is an excellent student, with numerous curricular activities—it should be easy for her to get into college. Puck and Finn on the other hand are usually portrayed as lackluster students and Ms. Pillsbury-Howell was right—football scholarships are extremely difficult to come by. Also, I don't know if you've noticed, but WMHS' football team isn't that great. (If you're unfamiliar with American football…when Finn mentioned he had been sacked the most out of any QB in their conference—not a good thing.) There would have to be some sort of Hand of God miracle for them to be accepted to college straight out of high school.
Oh yeah, and I love lemon. It's like…my favorite flavor. Oh, wait. I think I've just been inspired to write. I do appreciate feedback, so feel free to tell me what a bad, dirty person I am. I'll thank you for it.
Most of Rachel's senior year was spent sending out scholarship applications, college applications, and praying. Lots and lots of praying. The top ten musical conservatories in the nation generally had freshman classes of less than 150 people. Julliard's students came from 42 different countries. Sometimes, Rachel felt like she was competing against the rest of the world for those few, precious spots. She knew Kurt was doing the exact same thing—well, not the praying. She had shamelessly sucked up to Mr. Schue and her ballet instructor for letters of recommendation. Every deadline was carefully plotted out on a chart that she kept on the wall in her room. This was the rest of her life, and she was not going to screw it up.
Puck and Finn spent most of senior year being bemused and then sometimes slightly scared of their tiny girlfriend. When she demanded to see their transcripts they should have known it might not end well. Rachel hit the roof.
"Oh my god! What have you two been doing all this time?" Rachel ranted and raved at them for hours. She made them attend a visitation at OSU and talk to a general advisor about their options. It had been a sad and sobering discussion for both boys. Basically, they would both need to attend a community college, raise their GPAs to something respectable (or at least not embarrassing) and try to apply at that time. Neither boy really wanted to spend the rest of their lives in Lima, Ohio so they dutifully filled out all the paperwork that Rachel put in front of them.
Somehow, despite their girlfriend having shifted into overdrive sometime after spring break, it hadn't really occurred to them what would inevitably happen after graduation. Needless to say, they were somewhat shocked when she sat them down for "the talk".
"So when we all go off to college, we won't be in a relationship anymore. You guys both understand that, right?" She appeared to be completely serious. Puck frowned at her.
"Why the hell not?" He growled.
"Well, because I'll either be in New York or Massachusetts and you two will be here in Ohio. I won't have time to be a good girlfriend. I won't have time to be crappy friend. I'm going to be working my ass off. You two had better be working your asses off, if you know what's good for you."
"But, Rach, we've figured out how to make this work," Finn protested. "We've all been together for two years. That's got to count for something."
Rachel smiled at him and touched his cheek with the tips of her fingers.
"Baby, I love you both, but we've got to be realistic. I want you two to do the college life thing. Experience the hell out of it. If we're meant to be, we'll all find each other again when the time is right. I'm probably going to date other guys. You two will at least sleep with, if not date, other girls. I know it will happen. It doesn't mean I won't still love you both. I'll try to stay in touch, but my freshman year will probably be something I can scare my future children with."
Puck and Finn argued with Rachel. Loudly. For several hours. It was probably the worst fight the three of them as a unit had ever had. They ended up not speaking to Rachel for about a week. The members of glee club kept making jokes about the coming apocalypse because usually it was the other way around. Rachel would pitch diva fits and occasionally get mad at the boys, but they had never seen the boys mad at Rachel. In the end, Rachel stood her ground. She knew she was right, and she knew that her boys had to deal with life after graduation. Neither of them liked it, but they were forced to admit that she was probably right. Maybe.
The three of them made the most of the rest of the school year and that last summer. It was bittersweet, but they made some pretty incredible memories too. Rachel didn't make it into Juilliard (Kurt did and she refused to speak to him for almost a month). However, Rachel did get accepted to the extremely prestigious Eastman Conservatory of Music in Rochester, New York so she really couldn't complain. (She complained anyway, but did we expect anything else?) The boys drove her up there and helped her move everything in. Her dads came to visit and tour the campus and her dorm.
This was it. The end. Rachel kept a brave face for Puck and Finn and her dads. She laughed and joked and waved until she couldn't see them anymore. Then she went to her room and cried for the rest of the night.
"So she's still crying, but she told me not to tell you that," Kurt informed his brother by telephone. Finn couldn't help but feel a little bit better about that. He'd cried too. He knew Puck had as well, but they didn't talk about it. They'd both started community college and already it was completely different from life at McKinley.
"Okay. Is she doing okay otherwise? How are you doing?"
"I think she's okay. The schedule is grueling, just like mine. We'll both be lucky if we survive." Kurt wasn't joking. The classes were intense and extremely competitive. "Blaine is sort of pissed off at me. I just don't have time for him right now."
Finn thought maybe he was lucky because he had Kurt. It gave him insight into what Rachel's life and schedule were probably like. It also made him admit to himself that maybe she'd been right. It didn't really help him feel better, but maybe she had been right. This time was just so hectic, so crazy that maybe they were better off not worrying about boyfriends or girlfriends or any of that. Finn passed everything along to Puck who grunted and continued reading his US History textbook.
"Still miss her."
"I know, me too," Finn sighed.
The boys were both amazed at how well they did when they actually focused on studying. Their parents were equally amazed. Carole didn't believe that it was really Finn's transcript at first. Puck's mom cried. She told him how proud she was of him, and Puck had to wipe away a couple tears as well. Rachel wasn't surprised at all. She sent them both the same text.
I knew you could do it all along.
Puck received an epiphany part way through his first year at community college. One of his instructors was a history professor whose specialty was Jewish Studies. Puck hadn't realized that such a thing existed, but he had always sort of done it on his own in glee. Dr. Levin encouraged Puck and eventually became his mentor. He passed along information about scholarships and wrote letters of recommendation for Puck when he applied for them. Dr. Levin was one of those individuals who were truly passionate about teaching, which was why he had chosen to work at a community college. Puck had never met anyone like him before in his entire life, and he made Puck think about a lot of things he'd never fully considered. He thought seriously about his future and what he wanted out of it. He thought about what it would take to get him there.
Finn wasn't sure what he wanted to do yet, but he worked just as hard as Puck to keep his grades up and make Rachel proud of them both. He talked to advisors who suggested that he go ahead and take all the basic gen ed requirements and then worry about a major later. He continued to scrawl in his songwriting notebook, but he couldn't bring his drums to the dorm room. He had to learn how to play the guitar. Finn loved music, but he wasn't sure how he could make a living with it. He wasn't like Rachel, or Kurt.
In general, Puck and Finn both did well their first year at community college. Puck ended up with a 3.85 GPA and Finn was close behind with 3.80. Rachel sent them congratulatory emails. She and Kurt survived their freshman year at their respective schools. That's all they both really said whenever friends asked. They survived.
It was perhaps inevitable that the alumni of WMHS' glee club were forced to keep in touch through facebook and other social media. Sam and Quinn had both been accepted to OSU. Lauren had chosen the pro-wrestling organization that appealed most to her. They were working on making her the next big thing in the world of wrestling. They'd released a signature fragrance called Zizes and they used her famous tagline "you've just been ziced!" Santana went on a road trip and never quite made it back to Lima, Ohio. Everyone was sort of shocked when Finn went with her. He'd tried community college, but he still felt like he wasn't doing what he needed to do. They ended up in Los Angeles and they both found freedom just being themselves. After a year of freedom, Santana decided education might be good for her too, and she enrolled in UCLA. Finn had joined a band, but he enrolled at UCLA with Santana and took classes.
Brittany followed Santana to California where she quickly became the favorite of UCLA's psychology department. They made a special dispensation for her to take classes so that the psych department could gather data. Mike made it onto ABDC on MTV with some people from his college's dance team. Tina was accepted to an art school. Artie and Mercedes had been accepted to Oberlin's music program. It was impossible to keep track of everyone except through something like facebook.
Everyone's updates were random and haphazard. There was a graduate student at UCLA who was writing his dissertation based on Brittany's status updates and tweets. Regardless, they were able to keep some kind of connection to one another, and it made them all feel better.
Noah Puckerman is in a relationship with Miri Stevenson.
Rachel cried. She couldn't help it—it was completely stupid, but she did anyway. Kurt promised not to tell Finn because she knew that what Finn knew, Puck knew. They were still best friends and they kept in touch. Puck called her.
"You told us to do this, you know." His voice was gentle, sad.
"I hate Kurt."
"Nope. You love him. You can't help it. Love's like that." She knew he wasn't talking about Kurt anymore.
"Doesn't make you a bad person."
"Good." She sighed into the phone. "Rach, honey, I have to go. I miss you."
"Miss you, too."
"Finn said to say hi."
She slept with Eeyore that night.
Noah Puckerman would like to make a formal record. My girlfriend is threatening to break up with me because I am not "jealous enough". Is Rachel or Finn on here? Can you people believe that shit?
Finn Hudson seriously? You're not jealous enough? What are you supposed to do? Punch random people in the face?
Santana Lopez O.o Puck, have you changed drastically in the last couple years? I remember you getting in trouble for that ALL THE TIME. It was like you couldn't help yourself.
Noah Puckerman Santana, you know that's not fair. I'm sure I have matured, but I don't understand what's going on here. Can't you guys help?
Miri Stevenson Noah, you always end up finding me talking with guys and you're never even concerned! It's like you don't care who I hang out with.
Noah Puckerman Okay, first of all, is this about yesterday? Kyle broke his leg and wanted your OChem notes. You want me to punch the dude for trying to not fail OChem?
Miri Stevenson That is completely beside the point. Boys are constantly chatting me up and you don't seem to care.
Noah Puckerman I'm sorry? I promise to start beating up random people tomorrow.
Miri Stevenson That's not funny. What about that boy from my Calculus class? He wanted to arrange a study date. In my room. He swears it's because his roommate is annoying.
Noah Puckerman :sigh: Babe, Blaine was not hitting on you. He's gay.
Miri Stevenson That's ridiculous. How would you know that?
Finn Hudson He's been my brother's boyfriend on and off for over three years now.
Miri Stevenson Oh.
Blaine Anderson It's true. Sorry, Miri, but Kurt's the only one who makes my…um…heart go pitter-pat.
Finn Hudson Dude, I'm eating. Please do not talk about my brother and sex right now.
Blaine Anderson :P You're just jealous.
Finn Hudson Whatever. How would you like it if I started making comments about your sister?
Blaine Anderson That's not funny.
Finn Hudson Exactly. Now knock it off.
Puck applied and was accepted to Brandeis University. He had worked his ass off, gotten excellent grades, and been invited to several honor societies. He had been the President of Phi Theta Kappa his last year at his community college. His mother was so proud of him she could hardly stand it when he was named the student of the year for the Jewish Student Union. She'd cried all through the awards dinner.
Finn wasn't sure what he wanted to be when he grew up just yet. He was taking basic classes and doing fairly well. He was dating a fellow UCLA student named Claire, but his schedule didn't really fit anything too serious. During the strange, quiet moments he felt like something wasn't quite right, but he couldn't put his finger on it. Finn was still writing songs and he played with a band on weekends. They tried to make sure gigs didn't conflict with his school schedule. They were actually doing okay on the underground circuit in LA. Digital Meridian had received several positive reviews in local music rags.
Rachel was in her third year at Eastman. She was casually dating a fellow student named Logan. She'd tried seriously dating, but her schedule was often too hectic to accommodate anything serious. Her friends Naomi and Olivia (and Santana who threw in her opinion over facebook) insisted that Rachel designed her schedule so that she couldn't date anyone. It was hard to tell. All she knew was that it always felt wrong, as though there were pieces missing.
Finn and Puck managed to attend Rachel's graduation with her dads and Kurt. She cried and hugged them both to her. Rachel decided it wasn't really anyone's business if she decided to visit the boys in their hotel room and ended up staying all night with them. None of them would admit how perfect and how right that night felt. Rachel went to Kurt in New York City, Finn returned to LA and Puck went back Massachusetts.
Rachel worked on Broadway and lived with Kurt in a tiny apartment barely big enough for them to turn around in. Kurt swore that it must have been a closet at one point. It was sweet revenge for Rachel that she landed a role before Kurt (He got Juilliard, but she got a role first). It had never occurred to anyone, least of all Rachel, that that role would lead to her next role—and a Tony.
Puck was trying to watch the Superbowl in his room. He had to threaten his roommate with bodily harm so the guy would shut up.
"It's just the national anthem. The game hasn't even started yet."
"Shut up! Dude, I swear I will punch you in the face if you don't shut up!"
It was Rachel. She looked so tiny as she walked up to the microphone. He thought she looked more beautiful than ever. She opened her mouth and it was like heaven. Finn called him.
"Puck, are you watching?"
"Always has been." Finn couldn't argue there. That fall, she was in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, too.
A/N: I apologize if this seemed choppy. I'm trying to show the passing of several years, and the growing maturity of all three of my main characters. People don't stay the same—the only constant is change. They've tried to stay in touch, but that is really difficult considering the types of schedules that all three of them would have. Now that time has passed, they are ready to make some major decisions about where they need to go next. Rachel's already receiving the accolades she always dreamed of.