Summary: The good news? Puck and Rachel are totally in love. The bad news? They both think the opposite. The worst news? Sam and Santana have a plan to get them together. And exactly what are Quinn and Blaine up to?
Pairings: Puckleberry, Samtana, Bartie, Klaine and Quinn/OC. Featuring Puck/Sam friendships, Faberrittana friendships, Pucktana friendship
Warnings: It's a future fic but is pretty canon up to the most recent episode, 'Original Song'. I've obviously spun things my way so it'll most likely be AU once the show returns. So it's probably safe from spoilers.
Disclaimer: I in no way shape or form own Glee despite my continued efforts. I also do not own any movie, magazine or television show mentioned in this story except for the awesomely bad Second Time's the Charm.
Author's Note: I want to start by thanking every last single person that has added this story to story alert, their favorites list and has reviewed. You are all amazing and awesome people. Then I want to apologize for how late this chapter is. I have been struggling with this thing since Sunday. I think must have about six different variations of this epilogue on my computer. This version ultimately won even though I'm not entirely in love with it. Also fair warning there is some Finn, Will and Mercedes bashing. Sorry, I'm really just not a fan of those three characters. Also Lauren kinda isn't in here or mentioned really. Just assume that she dropped out of New Directions sometime after Kurt came back and Blaine joined. Anyway with all that said enjoy this super long epilogue.
Phase 6: Ever After
"Don't you think you're being a little bit childish? And that's coming from me. I'm a child. I'm allowed to act this way. But you? You're supposed to be the adult. You're supposed to have your shit more together."
Puck narrowed his eyes at the blonde teenager currently sitting on the counter-top beside him. A pair of matching hazel eyes met his and a familiar smirk curved her lips. She was the perfect mix of him and Quinn and damn if she wasn't one of the biggest pains in his ass. He really loved the hell out of this kid.
"Does your mother know you talk like this?"
"The one that actually punishes you."
"Which one?" Beth repeated. "You realize you're the pushover parent here, right? Even bio mom punishes me. Or rather sends me to my room which is filled with fabulous stuff so it's not really a punishment per say. But you get the point."
"The point is that you want me to punish you?" Puck asked.
"No," she said quickly. "The point is that you're acting childish. So what bio mom is getting your old crew together? Why is that such a big deal?"
Puck sighed. There was really no way to describe the feeling of dread and anxiety he was feeling to his fifteen year old daughter. Hell, there was no way to describe it to his thirty year old wife either. She thought he was being as childish as Beth did, hence why he had been banished to the kitchen while everyone else prepared. It was difficult for him to understand it himself. He just knew that he didn't want to see them and he resented Quinn for inviting them back into their lives like this.
When they left Lima twelve years ago, he swore he was never going back. And save for that brief moment of insanity when he was contemplating hiding away from Rachel, he never thought about going back either. His mother had made it obvious before he left that he really didn't have a home there. Their relationship had always been strained but apparently she expected him to stick around Lima even after she had the nerve to let his father back into their lives. They were actually offended that he was planning on going to college and trying to make something of himself. He didn't bother trying to understand the logic. He just nodded his head and kept it moving. When he graduated eight years ago, he sent them a copy of his diploma and a note thanking them for never thinking he could make it. He made it just to spite them.
Before his junior year, he thought he would be stuck in Lima. That he would be a Lima loser like his father. But he made it out. He was now thirty years old, working as an architecture consultant at a fairly large, international firm, married to an amazingly beautiful woman and about to be a father… again. Four years ago, Shelby popped back into their lives wanting to be a part of Rachel's life, mostly at the urging of Beth, who wanted to get to know her sister and her biological parents. In the ensuing years, they learned to be a real family with Shelby freely sharing Beth with Puck and Quinn. Together they shared Beth for two weekends out of the month. Fortunately, they still lived in the same apartment building. It made traveling between parents easier when you could just take the stairs.
With the return of the daughter he was forced to give away, Puck felt truly happy. He had all the family he needed in his wife, friends and daughter. He didn't need the other gleeks. He didn't need to see them judging him as they always did. He was a grown man but the thought of having to be around the people that represented the lowest years of his life terrified him. He just didn't know how to explain all of this to everyone. Verbal communication of emotions and feelings would never be Puck's strong suit.
Puck looked up and found himself staring into Beth's wide, hazel eyes. The only thing he could think of was how Rachel was so right. No person in complete control of their emotional and mental faculties could resist those eyes. He was ready to give the teen whatever she wanted. Luckily, all she wanted at the moment was a hug. Those he gave freely. As he wrapped his daughter in his arms, Puck felt himself relaxing.
"It's going to be fine, dad."
"Oh, yeah? How do you know that?"
"Because you're fucking amazing and those losers would be completely retarded to not recognize that."
"Watch your mouth," he chided halfheartedly. "But I guess you're right."
"You only guess?" she pulled back with a cheeky smile. "Dad, trust me. Tonight is going to be awesome! Those jerks won't know what hit them."
Puck smiled as well. "Yeah, I guess it will be pretty fun to see the looks on their faces when they see that we actually made it without them."
"See! Don't think of tonight as a torture session but rather as a way to get revenge on all those assholes."
"Language," he warned, more for the sake of it then actual concern. His smile got wider and he kissed Beth on the forehead. "I don't know what I would do without you, baby girl."
"I know. The sister-nieces aren't going to be nearly as fun as I am for about fifteen years. By then you'll be old."
"Stop calling them your sister-nieces! You make it sound like one of those cults. Or some creepy inbred family."
Beth gracefully arched an eyebrow and resembled her mother far too much for him not to be terrified. "Let's see, you and bio mom had me and gave me to Mom. Mom is also the bio mom to Rachel and that makes Rachel my sister. My sister Rachel is also your wife and currently carrying your twin spawn. The twin spawns being both my sisters and my nieces. Sister-nieces."
Puck made a face. "You're gross. Go to your room."
"Vetoing that," Beth smirked. "Rachel! Dad's trying to punish me for stupid reasons again!"
Puck narrowed his eyes at the still smirking teen. "You're so on diaper duty every weekend for the first six months of their lives."
Her nose wrinkled but she ended up shrugging it off. "I can live with that. But you have to take me somewhere and I can bring anyone I want."
He knew this was going to be something he regretted. But really, she was his kid. Of course, he was going to end up saying yes to whatever she asked. He nodded his head.
"I want to go to the Aquarium with Aunt Brittany to see the seals," she managed to get out before exploding in a fit of giggles.
He was totally going to kick Sam's ass for telling her about that one. Just as soon as he dealt with the return of New Directions. That was the more immediate problem as the doorbell was ringing. He felt his heart seize for a brief moment. He wasn't ready for this. He didn't want this. But he would have to deal with it. He felt Beth brush a kiss against his cheek as she offered to go answer the door. He smirked.
This ought to be interesting.
Tina Cohen-Chang-Chang felt smug. It wasn't something she was used to feeling but there really weren't many other ways to be feeling in this type of situation. She, along with the other graduating members of New Directions and their director, had received invitations to the wedding of Quinn Fabray. They were also invited to a reunion of sorts before the wedding in order to catch up. It had been twelve years since they were all together under one roof. The New York gleeks had managed to avoid the ten year high school reunion. Tina supposed they had a good excuse. Rachel's first Tony nomination was worth ditching that lame reunion. The fact that she won just made Tina jealous that she hadn't insisted they go as well.
Unlike the majority of the people standing awkwardly behind her and Mike in front of Quinn's apartment door, Tina kept in touch with the New York gleeks. For three years of high school, they preached about being a family. But as soon as the eight of them had decided they were going to make their dreams come true, the so-called family fell apart. Tina knew it was more to do with jealousy than anything else. But it was petty and hurtful. She knew that several of them only accepted the invitation on the chance that they would get to see that they were right about them and that they were miserable. This is why Tina was feeling so smug.
"So you've been talking with them, right?" Mercedes asked before Tina could ring the doorbell. It was the fifth time she'd asked the question since they had met up at the hotel they were all staying at. "What are we expecting here?"
"I really don't know," Tina shrugged. "I haven't had a chance to talk to any of them in while. Been a little busy."
While it wasn't true that she hadn't talked to them in awhile, it was true that she was busy. She was a best selling author now. She had the number one bestselling graphic novel series in the country right now. This in addition to being a mom to her two and three year old sons. But she always made time to talk to her friends. The others didn't need to know that, however. It was much more amusing this way.
"Do you feel the urge to say, 'I know something you don't know' too?" Mike whispered in her ear. She kissed him on the cheek. She knew she married this man for a reason. She finally pressed the doorbell and waited for the fun to begin.
The front door was flung open to reveal a blonde teenage girl. She leaned casually in the doorway and eyed the group critically. "Yes?" the teen finally asked after several long moments of staring.
"Uh, we're here for Quinn Fabray?" Finn said, hesitantly. "Do we have the right apartment? Mercedes, I thought you said it was this way."
"I thought that's what the paper said."
Tina was glad that she was in the front and they couldn't see her eyes rolling. How did they not know who this girl was? Did none of them ever look at Quinn or Puck? Beth was the perfect combination of both of their features.
"You've got the right place but who are you?" Beth asked, with the air of boredom that only teenagers could muster. Her eyes flickered briefly to Tina and Mike and they could see the amusement hidden there. She was having fun. Too bad that fun was ruined by the six year old that suddenly slammed into Mike's leg.
"Miguel!" Mike grinned as he scooped the child into his arms. "Hey, buddy!"
"Miguel!" Beth hissed. "You're not supposed to come to the door when there are strangers here."
"But Aunt Tina and Uncle Mike aren't strangers," Miguel retorted, wrinkling his nose in confusion. He looked down at his uncle that was currently still holding him up. "Are you?"
"No way, kiddo," Mike assured him. "But Beth is right."
"Hold up," Mercedes interrupted. "Did you say Beth? As in Beth…"
"As in Beth Diana Fabray-Puckerman-Corcoran . Nice to meet you," she smirked. "You coming in or what?"
Tina could barely contain her laughter as she pulled her oldest adopted niece into a quick hug. "Hey, sweetie."
"Hey, Aunt T. Tell me you have presents for me."
And by presents, Beth meant the usual advance copy of Tina's series. Beth was a huge fan and she loved that she got the new books before anyone else. It gave her a sense of satisfaction to drop hints amongst her friends that were also fans. Tina loved to support that evil streak. She pulled out the newest issue and handed it to the very excited teenager. Beth squealed, gave her one last hug before abandoning the doorway to no doubt find a spot to curl up and read.
"I guess we should go in," Will said lamely. Mike followed after Beth and was already seated in the spacious living room with Miguel on his lap. Beth was lying on the sofa opposite the one with Mike with her head already buried in the book.
Quinn was standing in the foyer beaming at her guests with the maniac energy she dedicated to the race for prom queen in junior year. "Welcome!"
"Turn it down a notch, Crazy," Puck's cranky voice could be heard coming from the kitchen. She paused in her scary beaming to glare at the kitchen next to them before turning her attention back to her so oblivious victims.
"Puck, stop being antisocial and get out here. Help Sam take their stuff into the guest room."
They heard him sigh before shuffling footsteps in two different directions revealed both Sam and Puck. Tina had seen them both recently so she didn't need to be amazed that twelve years had only made them hotter than they were in high school (where they both already pretty hot). This feeling was not shared by the other members of their party as Mercedes felt the need to gasp at the sheer hotness. Tina rolled her eyes. That ship sailed long ago.
"What's up, Chang Times Two," Puck grinned as he reached down to give Tina a hug. "How are Max and Leo?"
"Good. They're with my mom and they send their love. Thanks for the model you sent them. I don't think they'll ever get a chance to try and put it together since their father has been all over it," Tina raised her voice to be heard over Miguel. Mike looked fairly sheepish for a moment. "But thanks anyway, Puck."
"No problem. So come in, have a seat or whatever. Anything you want to put down apparently just hand it to me and Sammy over here. We're the glorified porters now."
Once they had unloaded their various coats, purses and bags to the two glorified porters, they moved to sit down in the living room. Tina noted that Mercedes and Finn were quick to sit the closest to Blaine and Kurt. Kurt had really been the only one to have at least periodic contact with someone outside their little family unit that wasn't Mike or Tina. She assumed that they must have felt more comfortable with those two. They would find out how mistaken they were. Kurt and Finn might be brothers by marriage but Kurt was brother to the New York gleeks by choice. And that loyalty was stronger.
"So, anyone want to explain who the kid is?" Mercedes started as everyone started to drift into the living room from the many different rooms in the apartment. "Also how many rooms does this place have?"
"Uh, four bedrooms, a living room, a dining room, a kitchen, three bathrooms and a veranda," Quinn rattled off as if she were reading her grocery list. But Tina knew her better than that. She was aware of what she was saying and she was going for the shock factor. And shocked they were but they were more shocked when Rachel finally joined them.
It had been less than a month since she last saw Rachel and damn if the woman hadn't damn near doubled in size during that time. Despite having almost three more months left, Rachel looked like she was about to give birth any minute now. And she looked like she was mentally ready for that as well. Tina didn't envy her in the least bit. Having a single pregnancy was hard enough but twins? Yeah, Rachel was definitely a stronger woman than her.
"Whoa, Rachel," Finn rose to his feet as he took in 'the one that got away'. "You look…."
"I'd think very carefully about what leaves your mouth," Kurt warned primly. "Your life might depend on it."
"Might?" Blaine snorted. "Oh that's right, you missed the dress fitting this afternoon. You might also want to hire a new tailor. Rachel kind of stabbed the current one."
Rachel flushed as she gently eased herself down on the sofa Beth was sprawled across. In a show of how comfortable they were with one another. Beth lifted her legs and allowed Rachel to sit down. She lowered her legs onto Rachel's lap once she had gotten settled. All this was accomplished without putting down the book once. Impressive.
"Don't be crude, Blaine. I didn't exactly stab her. She accidentally pierced her own skin with her pins. This just happened to be after I pointed out to her that it's inappropriate for her to make fun of my weight gain since the last fitting. I'm in the perfectly normal weight range for a woman my age and in my physical condition." She crossed her arms over her very swollen stomach. "Anyway, she was being a total bitch."
There was a shocked silence from the gleeks that were not familiar with her less formal speech. Tina knew for a fact that it had only gotten worse when she got pregnant. The crass language she used to chide Puck for was now a staple of her vocabulary.
"You're pregnant?" Finn finally spoke again.
"You're observant," Rachel replied. "Yes, Finn. I'm pregnant."
"Who's the father?"
Rachel rolled her eyes. "My husband. Are they any further questions about my personal life? Something you haven't had a right to ask about since 2012."
Before Finn could further embarrass himself, Artie and Brittany appeared with beverages and snacks. After handing out the drinks, Artie wheeled his chair closer to the group and Brittany got comfortable on his lap. Since they got back together, Brittany and Artie had been pretty much inseparable. Tina was starting to believe that Brittany was attached to Artie's wheelchair in some way. As she was contemplating the ways in which to test this theory, Sam and Puck finally returned laughing and smiling at some joke between them. Miguel, who had gotten quieter once the others joined them, lit up at the sight of Sam. He sprang out of Mike's arms and ran straight to the blonde. Sam laughed and lifted the child up higher, eliciting a joyous laugh from the boy.
Mercedes choked on the drink she just took a sip from. "You have a kid?"
Sam looked down at Miguel. "Huh, is that what this is? I guess I do."
"It's like we're totally in the Twilight Zone here," Finn muttered. "Rachel is married and really pregnant. Sam has a kid."
"Named Miguel," Mercedes said, narrowing her eyes. "Where is Santana anyway? I mean we've seen most of you guys. Did you ditch her along the way or something?"
Miguel looked confused. Sam shushed him and whispered something in his ear. Most likely Sam was reminding Miguel that while they might not have the nicest things to say about his mother, cursing them out would not end well for him. "No me gusta," Miguel finally replied back, while glaring in Mercedes' direction.
"That makes two of us, Niño," Puck muttered. He flopped down on the end of the sofa that Rachel and Beth were seated. "Oh, Tina gave you the newest one already? Let me see."
"No! You'll just hog it and it'll disappear into your room and I'll never see it again."
"Hey, I am not like your Uncle Sam. My room is not the negative zone."
"I've gotten better."
"Not by much," Santana joined the conversation. Tina frowned at how pale the woman looked. Her arms were wound around her stomach and she moved slowly. She mustered a weak smile for the others and sat down gratefully in a nearby armchair. "I swear I thought Miguel was lost in there the other day."
"Miguel, defend daddy. Right we were just playing hide and seek?"
Miguel cocked his head to the side. "But mommy says I'm not supposed to lie."
Puck, Blaine and Kurt snickered not at all quietly, earning a dark glare from Sam. He tried to turn it on his young son still in his arms. "Traitor."
"Don't be a hater, Trouty Mouth. Kid gets his brains and normal sized mouth from his momma," Santana smirked. "Q, if you're still in the kitchen, you think you could bring me those saltines and more ginger ale?"
Quinn was back in the room in less than a minute with the requested items and a concerned face. "You're still throwing up? You've been throwing up all day for like the last three days! Is everything okay? Do we need to go to the doctor? Should I call John? He's not here but he can be back in like twenty minutes. Do we have twenty minutes? Are you… d-y-i-n-g?"
"Whoa! Quinn, your crazy meter is like here," Santana reached up high. "I'm going to need it to be significantly lower before I enter a conversation with you. Okay?"
The blonde took a deep breath much to the amusement of everyone familiar with Quinn's mother hen routine. "Seriously, San, are you sure that everything is okay? You've been throwing up a lot and you're really pale. And I'm just worried about you. I don't want to go away if you're sick." Santana looked up at Sam who was standing behind her chair. "What is it?"
"It's just that we were trying to wait until Friday to tell you, after the wedding and stuff," Santana started looking uncharacteristically hesitant.
"Santana Maria Lopez! If you think that I care more about this stupid wedding than your health, then you really don't know me at all."
"Oh, you big drama queen. Fine!" she held her arms out. Sam caught the hint and carefully lowered Miguel so that he was seated on her lap. "Baby, you want to tell your aunts and uncles what me and daddy told you yesterday?"
"I'm going to be a big brother," Miguel reported. "I hope it's a not a girl. They're smelly."
"Watch it, midget!" Beth threatened earning a bop to the head from Rachel. "Damn midget solidarity."
"Congratulations, you guys. That's amazing!" Quinn gushed.
"Seriously. Like what the hell is going on here? Sam and Santana?" Finn asked, loudly.
Puck growled. "Beth, go to your room and take my little namesake with you."
Beth hesitated but caught the tense glares being thrown around the room. "Alright. So Miguelito, let's go pick out potentially embarrassing names for your new baby sib. If it's a girl it has to have Rachel as a middle name. So we need something really stupid to go in front."
Miguel looked between his parents and his older cousin before nodding. "Okay." He hopped off his mother's lap and let Beth pull him out of the room. Puck waited until he heard the door closing behind them before he was on his feet.
"Who the hell do you guys think you are coming in here and judging us? Yes, Sam and Santana are together. What does that have to do with you?"
"We're not judging you," Mercedes tried to diffuse the situation. "We were just shocked, that's all."
"Oh, please," Kurt scoffed. "Save that for someone who doesn't know you all. Quinn sends you all an invitation to her wedding and you all jumped at the chance. You probably were waiting to see how bad we all failed."
"And sorry to disappoint, but you can clearly see that we didn't," Blaine finished. "We made it despite what you all thought."
"You guys really felt that we thought you would fail?" Will looked appropriately ashamed. "I never thought…."
"Really? You never thought we would fail? You all but told Rachel that the day of graduation. You practically told her that she shouldn't be disappointed if Broadway didn't happen," Santana spat out. "Does that sound like someone who believed in any of us?"
"It's funny but I didn't hear anyone questioning whether Finn was going places," Quinn spoke up. "All we heard was about how Finn Hudson got a scholarship to Ohio State. He was going to be to the one to put Lima on the map. It's been twelve years. Either that's a really small map or you ended up being the Lima loser you accused Puck of being."
Puck's eyes widened even as Finn looked down at his shoes. Tina knew she, as well as everyone else in the room, was confused. Well she, Mercedes and Mike were confused. The others just looked murderous. Quinn smirked. "Didn't know I knew about that, did you, Puckerman? I was there at graduation when he told you that were never going to amount to anything. And he was so wrong about you. Just look around. The proof of how amazing you are is in the building we're living in."
"What does Puck have to do with the building?" Mercedes asked, curiously.
"I designed it," Puck answered absently. He blinked at the mother of his oldest child. Tina knew that of all of the New York gleeks, Puck was the most uncomfortable about this reunion. She also knew that he was probably the most thrown to know that it was planned with him in mind. He ran a hand through his short cropped hair. "You got them all here for me?"
"Not only for you but that played a big part," Quinn shrugged. "It wasn't just you that they said wasn't going to make it. No one believed in us but this family. I know you all thought I was just showing off that I was marrying a really awesome and hot doctor and live in a really amazing apartment. Don't get me wrong, I totally am. But I'm also showing off my family. You guys have been my family since you practically kidnapped me and made me come with you to New York."
Tina smiled at the looks on the faces of everyone in the room. She knew for a fact that the negative reactions Mercedes, Will and Finn had been the harshest to deal with when it came to their decision to leave. The friendship between Mercedes and Kurt had been strained over time. It completely collapsed when Mercedes realized that Kurt intended to continue with the plan to go to NY Fashion Institute even though she hadn't gotten into NYU. Mercedes just couldn't find the strength to be happy for her friend who was getting to follow his dreams. Will was just bitter about them going off to do what he never had the guts to do. He always dreamed of going to New York and making it big but he never had enough courage to actually follow his dreams. He was jealous that they had the courage and the talent.
As for Finn, well it was pretty similar to Will. Finn was the golden boy. He was the one that was going places. And yet, he was living at home with his parents, working at Burt's garage and sending the majority of his biweekly paychecks to his ex-wife and ten year old son that he almost never saw. So yeah, Finn probably had a lot to be jealous and bitter about. Tina was still pretty certain that he didn't have to be such a douche about it.
"Are you guys done yelling at each other yet?" Beth's voice floated down the hallway. "Miguel fell asleep and I'm totally bored over here. I'm going to start setting shit on fire."
"Language!" Rachel and Quinn chorused together.
"She's a Puckerman," Artie rolled his eyes. "It's like hardwired in their DNA to curse like sailors on shore leave. Watch out for the Pucklebabies, Rach."
"You forgot hot. We're also genetically engineered to be hot," Puck added with a wink. He turned towards the hallway. "Yeah, Beth. You can come back in now. It's safe. No blood has been shed."
"Good," Beth replied, stomping back in the room and flopping down in her previous spot with her father and sister. "John is a total girl when it comes to these couches."
"So this is Beth, huh?" Mercedes finally spoke. "She looks like both of you."
"Which means I'm gorgeous, right?" Beth grinned. "So which one of you is the one that wanted to name me Drizzle? Because I have to say that's kind of lame."
And with that, there appeared to be a shift amongst the New York gleeks. Beth's somewhat casual acceptance of the newcomers caused a break in the tension. Puck's hand that had clenched into a fist relaxed. He sat back on the couch and Rachel tucked herself up against his chest. On the other side, Beth leaned on his shoulder and resumed reading her book. Tina smiled at the scene. She knew from the day that he nervously sang 'Sweet Caroline' in front of them that it would be this way. She always knew Puckleberry was endgame.
Now that the tension had been resolved, to a certain extent, the conversations had shifted to what everyone had been up to during the twelve years since graduation. Mercedes was teaching at McKinley and was actually helping Will co-chair the glee club. Will and Emma had finally made it official. They were now the proud parents of two kids. Finn was actually strangely happy working in the garage. It turns out that he was pretty good at it.
"Quinn, do you have anything chocolate?"
Their blonde hostess made a face. "This is going to end up as something gross isn't it?"
Rachel pouted. "No. I just want to know if there is anything chocolate."
"Yeah, we still have some chocolate ice cream from the last girl's night."
"Oh, that's perfect! Noah, do you think you could bring me some ice cream and the tofu I bought over. And some of those pickles. That would be great."
"Me too! That's sounds delicious, midget," Santana added.
Puck grimaced but got up anyway. "The things I do for you, babe."
"Its cause you're whipped," Beth chimed in.
"Go to your room."
"Vetoing that. Mom, Dad's trying to punish me for telling the truth."
"Puck! Go get your wife and Santana their nasty cravings food and stop punishing our daughter because she's incredibly observant."
Puck narrowed his eyes before sighing heavily. The truth of the matter was that he was incredibly whipped by all of them, not just Santana and Rachel. The badass persona from high school was long gone and in his place was the man that would do anything for his family and friends. The man that had been there all along if anyone had ever bothered to actually look. Tina wasn't so sure that was a bad thing even if Puck's frequent complaints begged otherwise.
As Puck made his way into the kitchen, Tina got caught up in a conversation with Mercedes and Quinn reminiscing about some of their adventures as teenagers. She was so involved she failed to notice the person following Puck into the kitchen.
"Pickles, tofu and ice cream," Puck muttered as he looked around Quinn's kitchen. "That just sounds wrong." but if he couldn't deny Beth, there was no way he was going to be able to resist his wife, the mother of his kids. Hell, he couldn't even resist Santana who was closer to a sister than his own biological sister. Damn, he really was whipped.
He opened the refrigerator and pulled out the jar of pickles. He kneeled down to root for the package of tofu when he heard footsteps behind him. They were slower and more hesitant than any of the others so he assumed that it was Finn. Puck shrugged and continued to look for the tofu, ignoring the lumbering presence behind him. Once he had finally located the elusive tofu, he turned around and smirked at his former best friend.
"Here for Round Two?" he asked, closing the refrigerator door with his hip.
"Actually," Finn sighed. "I'm here to say I'm sorry."
"That's unexpected. Continue."
"I was a douche in high school. I see that now. But everyone made me feel like I was really awesome. And people liked me. But I noticed that they liked you more. No matter what you did, steal an ATM, slushy people, knock up my girlfriend, people just liked you. And that really pissed me off. Especially since Rachel really liked you and I didn't get why."
"You said didn't get. You get it now?"
"I actually do. Surprising, huh?" Finn grinned. It was a shadow of the former goofy smile he used to have in high school. "I told her that I loved her in spite of her flaws. I think you love her with them."
"I do," Puck agreed. "I love that she balances me out. Everything I've done is because she's been there to push me and remind me that I can do it."
Finn nodded. "So Beth….?"
Puck smiled at the thought of his daughter. "Yeah, Beth. Hudson, I would love to tell you that I'm sorry about everything that happened between us, but I'm not. Knowing my daughter and actually being around her, if I had to do everything in sophomore year all over again, I would. Because the end result was worth it. She's amazing."
"She's a lot like you," Finn said. "Which means she'll grow up to do really awesome things. I know you said that you're not really sorry about everything that happened, and I understand that. But I'm sorry about the way it ended. I shouldn't have said that to you at graduation. I guess I was just jealous."
"Of what? You and Rachel were still dating until you went and acted like a jealous asshole before we left."
Finn winced but nodded again. "True, but I wasn't jealous of you and Rachel. I was jealous of you and Sam."
Puck's eyes widened. "Whoa! I don't know what you've heard or possibly seen before those pictures were deleted but me and Sam are totally not like that."
"Uh, yeah, I meant I was jealous that Sam was your best friend."
"Yeah. Anyway, I was like pissed because you replaced me. With the new kid at that. I saw you and Artie were getting closer but then you and Sam just started hanging out all the time. And I was pissed. So when you came up to me at graduation, I just blurted that out and it was wrong. And I'm so sorry."
Puck crossed his arms over his chest and really looked at his former best friend. When he was seventeen and graduating, those words had really hurt. He felt that Finn was probably the one that knew him better than everyone around them and if he thought he was a Lima loser then he must be one. But as he slowly understood later, Finn Hudson didn't know him at all. He didn't know about his dreams, his insecurities or his fears. But Sam did. Because Sam took the time to figure all that stuff out. Just like he took the time to silently follow Finn into the kitchen. Puck caught a glimpse of blonde hair over Finn's shoulder and shook his head fondly.
"Look, we just grew apart, Hudson. Too much drama and bullshit between us," Puck shrugged. "It happens. But the past is the past. I don't focus on that anymore."
"Yeah, I guess it is best to just leave the past in the past," Finn agreed. He held up a fist. Puck bumped fists with him and smiled. "Maybe one of these days when Kurt and Blaine come home, you guys could come too. Burt and Mom talk about you all the time."
"I think that could work," Puck nodded. Finn gave him one last smile before walking out the kitchen. He tipped his head towards Sam in acknowledgement that he knew he was there the whole time. Sam shrugged and walked into the kitchen. He hopped up onto the one of the counters and waited until Puck moved up to join him.
"So how do you feel now?"
"Better? I don't know, dude. This whole night has been trippy as hell. Part of me is glad that me and Finn talked it out, and the other part is like pissed because it shouldn't matter what he thinks about me. I don't even know what I'm trying to say."
"That you're suffering from multiple personality disorder?"
"I get what you're saying. You're happy because he was a part of your life. He was your best friend since you guys were like five. That's got to mean something. So the fact that he sees you're successful and knows he was wrong. That's pretty huge."
Puck leaned back against the wall. "When did you get so smart?"
"Probably when I got my Masters degree," Sam retorted, sticking out his tongue.
"Save that thing for your wife. Also really, Evans, baby number two? You ready for that?"
Sam smiled broadly. "I really am. Miguel wasn't planned but he's the best thing that's ever happened to me and Santana. I know neither of us really handle that pregnancy the best but I think we got it under control now."
That was the understatement of the century. Miguel's parents were unquestionably in love with him and completely devoted. In the beginning, however, they were arguing, breaking up and altogether falling apart. Santana found out she was pregnant a year and a half into their relationship. What she hadn't been telling anyone during that year and a half was that she was waiting for Sam to leave her like Brittany did. What Sam didn't tell anyone during that time was that he was waiting for Santana to leave him. When they found out they were having a baby, they were both waiting for the other to leave. So keeping in mind the success of the final phase, Rachel and Quinn locked the couple in a closet for about two hours. After they emerged, they had actually resolved their issues, were keeping the baby and engaged. Closets were now considered sacred amongst their family.
"Dude, did you ever think that we'd be here?" Puck asked, quietly amazed. "I mean we're married men with kids. And we're happy. I just never thought…."
"You never thought you'd leave Lima or be a good father. And you did both. You're in New York and Beth might be foulmouthed and sarcastic with a wicked streak a mile long, but she's a good kid. She loves you. So you're doing something right."
"I am aren't I?" Puck smiled proudly. "Thanks, Sammy."
"Being my bro."
Both men jumped at the sudden interruption in their Hallmark moment. Brittany was practically bouncing in place with what Beth called the "anime sparkly eyes' which meant that she was super excited about something that was totally going to make him wish he had run away when he heard her coming. But it was too late and she was right in front of him. He shifted over to give her space on the counter between him and Sam.
"What's up, Britt?"
"Is it true? You're taking Beth and me to the aquarium this weekend?"
Sam snorted before slapping his hands over his mouth. Puck glared at him over Brittany's shoulder and tried to find a way to resist the anime eyes. Which was about as effective as all his other attempts at turning down the women in his life.
"Yeah, it's true. But no seals, Britt. I mean it."
"That's ok. They weren't really as into it as I thought they'd be. They just kind of laid there. Plus they smelled funny. Like the old lady that lives on the fifth floor in our building." She wrinkled her nose obviously recalling the woman's smell. And then the eyes were back on. "I was thinking penguins this time."
"Okay, but only if they consent. We're not getting busted trying to chuck a penguin over a fence like the last time."
"Penguins have significantly less body mass than seals."
Puck blinked and turned to Sam. "You in?"
"Duh. On the bright side, when we get caught this time at least I have a good excuse to miss Miguel's field trips there. And this time we can totally afford bail without having to like beg Rachel's dads."
"Yeah, we're totally moving up in the world. We now can afford to legally fund our illegal animal liberation movements," Puck chuckled.
"I'm going to keep one," Brittany chimed in. "I'm going to name him Mr. Nibblers."
They might have gotten older but things would never change. He should have known there was some underlying message behind tonight. There always was with Quinn. The woman was born to be a mother. Good thing she had willing subjects in her friends. He draped an arm around Brittany's shoulders contemplating how long it would take his wife or Santana to come in here looking for their disgusting combination of foods that should not go together ever.
"Dad! Mom wants to punish me for being a badass!"
Puck laughed. "Veto! Puckerman's are born to be badass."
"Trouty Mouth, bring that stuff in here or I swear you're sleeping on the sofa for the next twenty years."
Sam rolled his eyes and grabbed the forgotten pickles and tofu off the counter. He opened the freezer and pulled out the ice cream. "Yeah, yeah, coming, Satan!"
The more things changed, the more things stayed the same. And with a family like this, Puck hoped they always would.
*The end for real this time, lol. Again thanks for all the love and I hope you enjoyed the ride. I'm sad to see it end but I've got some more ideas for other stories set within this little world if anyone would be interested in those. So yeah, ciao for now. Until next time!