A Tale of Two Brothers... aka The Totally Not Dorky but Awesome and Badass Bromantic Adventures of the Puckerone and Trouty Mouth
Summary: When Sam starts noticing Puck is acting strangely, he takes it upon himself to help out. What follows is the beginnings of a friendship that would define them both.
Pairings: Samtana, Finnchel, Bartie, hints of Brittana and Puckleberry, Puck/Sam and Pezberry friendships
Warnings: No real spoilers involved in this story. It's obviously very AU as I just made up Sam's family life. So nothing really spoilery in here. Be warned, this fic does deal with a very sensitive issue (child abuse and domestic violence). It's not too graphic but it is mentioned.
Disclaimer: I in no way shape or form own Glee despite my continued efforts. I own Sam's brother Dean. And even that shtick is borrowed from Supernatural… which I also don't own. Sad now.
Author's Note: I've been on a writing kick since my desktop computer decided to die. I currently have like four stories written and was debating which one to post first. This one won thanks to the awesome cover of 'Friday' from the Prom Queen episode. I seriously love those three so much. Anyway back to the story. This one is loosely based around events from my Operation stories but really has nothing to do with that series. It's a total standalone story with a focus on the friendship (that I totally wish would happen more) between Puck and Sam. Even though it's marked as complete I'm planning on adding more eventually (if anyone wants more, lol). So enjoy!
How it Began…..
Something was wrong with Noah Puckerman. Aside from the obvious, there was only one problem with this situation. The only one that seemed to notice was Sam Evans. Sam and Puck had an odd kind of relationship in that Sam dated and was practically engaged to Puck's baby mama, who all but ignored Puck after meeting Sam. Sam was now currently dating another one of Puck's exes. They were in Glee together. They were on sports teams together. But they weren't exactly friends. This is why Sam found his sudden obsessive need to know what was going on with Puck very odd. Maybe it was just a nice distraction from the fact that his fake relationship with Santana was very rapidly becoming real… for him. Maybe he just felt bad for the self proclaimed badass who almost always isolating himself from the rest of the glee club. Whatever the case was, Sam was aware that there was something wrong with Noah Puckerman.
His first sign that there was something seriously wrong came at lunch one afternoon. Per the usual, it was Brittany, Santana, Artie, Puck and Sam. Initially Puck protested sitting with the couples saying he didn't want to be a fifth wheel. Sam would have told him that he shouldn't have felt awkward as he was sure that he and Artie could've disappeared and the two girls would have been fine. But he didn't because it was one thing to know it. It was another thing to acknowledge that Brittany and Santana were digging each other more than their boyfriends. Still, despite that one incredibly awkward topic, lunch was usually a fun time. Until the afternoon when Puck actually yelled at Brittany for chewing too loud.
Sadly, that wasn't when Sam realized that the problem was serious. That moment came when, instead of being hurt or offended, Brittany only apologized, patted him on the arm and promised to chew quieter. When Santana opened her mouth to no doubt bitch him out for snapping at Brittany, the blonde in question cut her off with a story about her cat who she now believed was stealing from the neighbors. Puck had listened mutely before slipping away from the table. That was the last time he ate with them.
Following the blowup at lunch, there were also incidents in his geometry class and two in glee practice. Everyone seemed determined to write this off as typical Puck behavior but Sam was convinced that there was something else going on. He got his confirmation a week after the lunch episode following football practice. Sam had learned fairly early in his high school career at McKinley that Puck had little to no shame. He was also quite secure in his own sexuality and pretty much non-caring about the sexuality of his teammates. This made changing in the locker room a fun yet awkward experience. Puck had been told repeatedly by their coaches that stripping on the field no matter how sweaty and gross he may feel was not necessary. He wouldn't lose valuable cleaning time by getting naked inside the actual locker room.
This afternoon, however, found Puck slowly trailing after the rest of the team as they headed back into the locker room. Sam noticed it but didn't have time to further contemplate this as he was supposed to meet with the coach after practice. It was a Friday afternoon and Sam was pretty certain that by the time he was finished meeting with the coach, everyone else would have cleared out. Which is why he was surprised to see Puck returning from the showers as he was entering the locker room.
"What… I thought everyone was gone," Puck stammered, cinching his towel tighter around his waist and looking strangely uncomfortable.
Sam shrugged. "Coach Bieste wanted to talk to me about scholarships for college." He frowned when he saw the almost white knuckled grip that Puck had on his towel. "Chill, dude. It's nothing you haven't shown us before."
Puck smirked and damn if it didn't just look fake. "I never knew you were looking, Sammy."
Sam rolled his eyes and went back to packing his stuff away. He hadn't played that afternoon due to his shoulder being hurt (again) and got to bypass the showers for once but he wanted to work out his shoulder during the weekend and needed some of his gear. He heard Puck shuffling around which meant that his friend finally started to get dressed. He glanced over his shoulder fully intending to ask if Puck wanted to practice this weekend with him but the words died on his lips.
Puck was facing his own locker with his back to Sam and oblivious to Sam's scrutiny. He finished with the towel and was already dressed in his jeans. He was sliding his t-shirt over his head but it wasn't quick enough to hide the vivid black and blue marks on his back. There were also angry red welts crossing his lower back. It was almost like he had been… whipped? Sam's eyes widened and a surprised gasp of air escaped before he could stop it. He turned around quickly, pretending to inspect his locker.
"You say something, Evans?"
"No, I didn't say anything," he forced himself to stay light. "You hearing things, Puckerman?"
Puck snorted and slammed his locker shut. "I'll see you later, Sam. I gotta get home before my sister or my mom will legit kill my ass."
Sam managed a nod even as his mind went into overdrive. Puck had said things similar to this in the past. However, his recent change in behavior and the bruises led Sam to believe there was something more to this than Puck merely joking. Long after Puck left, Sam was still sitting on the bench in front of his opened locker thinking. He really wasn't aware he had been sitting there that long until he heard a hiss coming from the doorway.
"Psst. Is there a clear coast?"
Sam would've been confused if it was anyone other than Brittany asking that question. Instead he merely smiled a bit and looked at the tall blonde who was currently poking her head in the partially opened door of the boy's locker room.
"What's up, Britt?" he motioned with his head for her to join him. She walked in and sat down beside him on the bench. She looked at him with the sparkly eyes of doom (as he heard Mike and Puck referring to them before). Those eyes made it nearly impossible to turn her down. It made it impossible to hate for most likely stealing his girlfriend too. With a deep sigh he turned towards her, resigned to do whatever she asked.
"Are you going to fix Puck?"
Sam paused in surprise. "What do you mean?"
"He's sad all the time now. And more grumpy than normal. Hugs don't even work anymore. I tried to hug him this morning but he wouldn't let me. He just walked away. Puck always hugs me."
Sam felt a knot twist his insides. There was a very obvious answer that all of the clues were pointing towards but he just couldn't believe that Puck's mom was beating him. Not just because Puck was a male. It was just that it was Puck. And he just couldn't imagine Puck being that physically intimidated by a woman (Lauren didn't count because Sam was convinced that she was really a dude or at least possessing a larger than usual amount of dude like tendencies and besides, that had had been over for months thanks to the unholy duo). No, there was something else they weren't seeing here but Sam was determined to get to the bottom of it. He gave Brittany a hopeful smile.
"I'm not really sure what's going on. But I know some people that might have an idea." He reached over and gave her a hug, mostly to make up for her missed hug from Puck and also because Brittany seriously gave the best hugs. He knew Puck must have been really out of it to turn down one of those hugs. This did not bode well. After promising her once again, that he would try to figure out what was wrong with Puck, Sam left the locker room to find his sources for all information Puck.
His sources were none other than his very 'it's complicated' girlfriend and her new best friend, Rachel. He found the two girls in the auditorium working on their song choice for whatever assignment that Will had assigned that week. He struggled to remember what the assignment was much less who his partner was. Oh yeah, it was Puck. Well, they were obviously going to blow that assignment. He shook it off and walked towards the two girls that were clearly talking more than practicing. The pair was unlikely as best friends but once they had teamed up, it was difficult to remember why. The unholy duo, as they were commonly referred, was scarily similar to one another. They sat up in unison once they heard him walking up to the stage.
"Hey, Sammy," Santana smiled and he tried to ignore that his heart skipped a beat at the sight. He couldn't repress the urge to smile however. "Practice done already?"
"For a little while," he shrugged. He nodded towards Rachel. "Hey, Rach."
"Hello, Sam," Rachel tilted her head to the side, eyeing him critically. "Is everything alright? You seemed to be preoccupied."
"I'm fine… I just," he ran a hand through his hair. "I had a question about Puck actually. What's his relationship with his mom like?"
Santana snorted. "What relationship? She barely tolerates him since the whole Beth thing. Add in juvie and he's lucky if she speaks to him during the day."
Rachel nodded sadly. "Mrs. Puckerman's mothering skills do appear to be somewhat lacking. I think it was before Beth honestly. I think it was around the time Noah's father left for good. She never really forgave him for making those accusations."
Rachel sighed. "A few days after Mr. Puckerman left town, we were all at the JCC. One of the counselors asked why Noah wasn't more upset about his father leaving. Noah said that he wasn't sad because his father was an abusive drunk. Naturally there was a big scene and his mother got involved. He recanted the story later on but I do believe that he was telling the truth."
"He probably was," Santana grumbled. "I met Mr. Puckerman when we were kids. Puck always used to tiptoe around his dad, like he was scared of him. And that's the same kid that thought nothing of blindly charging into shit when he was that age. I didn't like his dad."
"Why did you want to know about Noah's mother?"
"You two noticed anything odd about him lately?"
"We really haven't been spending that much time with Puck," Santana admitted guiltily. Rachel suddenly found the tip of her shoes to be very interesting. Sam felt really bad for bringing it up in the first place.
The truth was that Santana and Rachel wouldn't really be friends if it wasn't for Puck. He was the initial catalyst for their friendship and the thing that had been holding it together during the summer between their junior and senior year. But when the inevitable reunion between Finn and Rachel happened during that same summer, Puck stepped back. Something about a promise he made to Finn. Santana was willing to step back with him but Puck made her "fucking promise to stay BFF with the fucking midget". Santana had been less than pleased with that development. Though it was hard to see the evidence of that lately.
"Don't worry about it, Rach," Sam said in his best assuring voice possible. "It's probably nothing. He just seemed a little off lately. I'll talk to him later. It's probably no big deal." He would look back on those words in a few hours and kick his own ass for totally jinxing it.
There were a few basic facts about Puck that pretty much everyone knew. He had a little sister named Sarah. He had a mother who worked at the hospital. And he had a father that skipped town when Puck was eight. Almost everyone knew who knew Puck knew that story whether he told them or not. Sam was made aware of this story shortly after Puck was sent to juvie. It was told as a way of almost justifying why Puck was a bad seed that had to be put away for the safety of all. Sam felt that it was actually a justification for all the crap Puck had pulled through the years but Sam wisely kept that opinion to himself.
He also wished that he had just kept his thoughts to himself and minded his own damn business the first time he noticed Puck acting oddly. If he had, then he wouldn't be sitting outside Puck's house in his car on a Friday night when he could be enjoying make out time with his increasingly more real (for him) girlfriend. But no, he was bordering on stalking a guy that was barely his friend. And if he didn't give any information when he saw Santana later that weekend, he knew that he would be cut off for months.
"This is so stupid," he muttered aloud. "I should just go."
And yet, he couldn't seem to find the will to turn the key in the ignition. He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel and tried to figure out what he was supposed to be doing. He didn't know what he was thinking coming out here. He couldn't very well just waltz up to Puck's front door and accuse his mother of physically abusing her son. That wouldn't end well for him in several, very painful ways. He also didn't think trying to have a hallmark moment with Puck would work either.
"This was a really bad idea, Sam. A really, really bad idea."
As he was finally turning the key in the ignition to drive away, the front door of the house slammed open and a furious Puck was storming down the driveway. An older man followed quickly after him. Sam's eyes widened as the man grabbed Puck's arm roughly, yanking him back towards the house. Puck shoved him off and made to walk away again when the man punched him in the face. Puck fell down and stayed down. Sam moved on autopilot at that point. Logic left and instinct took over. He raced out of the car and stepped between the man and his fallen teammate.
"Evans, what the fuck are you doing here?" Puck grunted.
"Honestly, I have no idea. Are you okay?"
Puck pushed himself up and groaned. "Yeah, I'm fine. Now you need to go."
"Seriously, dude? Not leaving you to get your ass kicked by… who is this guy?"
Now that he was closer, Puck really didn't have to answer that one. Sam's proximity to the man let him see the answer for himself. He had Puck's eyes and smirk. Though Sam couldn't recall ever seeing Puck look quite as menacing as this man, even at his worst. The man was basically an older, less physically in shape and totally drunk off his ass version of Puck.
"He's my dad," Puck confirmed, quietly. Sam felt him put a hand on his back. "Just go home, Sam. I'll see you Monday."
"No," Sam repeated. Puck's father was watching the pair talking with amusement glistening in his eyes. Sam could smell the alcohol on his breath. Suddenly the pieces that were missing before were coming together to form a clearer picture and from that picture he was able to find one very easy solution. He shifted so that he could see Puck slightly but kept one eye on the elder Puckerman. "Where's your sister?"
"At my Nana's house."
"Perfect!" Sam spun on his heels, grabbed a hold of Puck's shoulder and steered his sort of friend away from his house and towards the car.
"Noah! You get your ass back here!" Puck's dad roared, though he made no move towards him. Witnesses were a tricky thing. You could beat your son into keeping quiet but it was a little more difficult with someone else. "Boy, if you leave, you better not think about coming back! You hear me?"
Sam felt Puck tense and tremble slightly but he let Sam continue to guide him towards their getaway vehicle. Sam made sure he was in the car before running around to the driver's side. He didn't bother to listen to the expletive filled threats that Mr. Puckerman was throwing their way as he sped away from the house. He also didn't bother to think about where they were supposed to go now. He had pretty much kidnapped Puck from his abusive father. The father that was not supposed to be here. The same father that left nine years ago but was clearly back and still an abusive drunkard.
"How long has he been back?" Sam asked, breaking the heavy silence in the car. Puck continued to stare out the window in pretty much the same position Sam had dropped him in. "Dude, answer me! How long has he been back?"
"And how long has he been hitting you?"
Puck sat up at this and Sam didn't need to look to know that he was glaring daggers at the side of Sam's face. "Let's get something clear, Lady Lips. I'm not some wimpy kid who gets beat by his dad or anything like that. He's just… an angry drunk. I happen to be the thing that pisses him off the most."
"Are you seriously trying to justify him hitting you?"
"Shut the fuck up! You don't know anything about me."
"I know that you're too smart to actually think this is okay!" Sam countered. "You're not wimpy but he's definitely hitting you and that's called abuse. It's not okay."
"You read Ms. P's pamphlets again, huh?" Puck asked, with what was supposed to be a teasing edge. But it came out a touch too bitter. Puck's leg was shaking and he kept shifting in his seat. "Why were you even there tonight?"
"You didn't hug Brittany."
"You didn't hug Britt. You know how she is about hugs. She was really upset and she asked me to fix you," he sighed, knowing he'd have to tell the whole truth if he was going to get anywhere with Puck tonight. "Also… I saw them."
"Saw wha…" Puck trailed off. "I knew you fucking watched me change. So you like what you saw or something?"
"Stop trying to change the subject! And stop making this a fucking joke. It's not funny," Sam yelled. He pulled the car to a stop on the side of the road and stormed out of the car.
He didn't really mean to yell but this was way beyond his scope of understanding. He really wasn't sure how he was supposed to be responding to this. What was he supposed to do? Wasn't he supposed to tell an adult he trusted or some crap like that? But really what adult did any of them trust? Their guidance counselor would probably have a heart attack at the thought of potentially being near someone as rank as Mr. Puckerman. And well Puck wasn't Finn, so Mr. Schuster's attention would be fairly limited as far as this was concerned. Coach Bieste might be a viable option but he wasn't sure that Puck really trusted her. He strangely didn't know the majority of his teachers but doubted that any of them would be much in the way of supportive.
"You know you make this face like a constipated monkey when you think?" Puck's voice dragged him out of his circuitous thoughts. He looked up to see that Puck was now sitting on the hood of his car. He looked strangely vulnerable sitting hunched over on the car. His legs were still bouncing and his good eye darted around as if he was looking for his father. Sam drifted towards him. "So I didn't think girly freak outs was supposed to be your thing. I thought I was the one that's supposed to be sobbing my eyes out and shit."
"When was the last time you cried?" Sam snorted in mild amusement.
"I'm too badass to cry, Sammy. I thought you knew."
Sam just shook his head. After a few minutes, he sat down on the hood beside Puck. "I'm sorry."
"How I reacted just now. Being there. Making you leave with me. That your dad is a major douche. I don't know. Whatever you want me to be sorry about."
Silence stretched on for what seemed like an eternity. But for once, Sam was okay with the silence. It was almost comfortable. And then Puck spoke.
"You want me to be sorry about Beth?" Sam asked in confusion.
"No, dumbass. That was the last time I cried. The day that Shelby and Quinn signed the papers and I didn't get to say goodbye to my daughter. That was the last time I cried."
Sam raised an eyebrow. "All the stuff that happened in between that and now and you haven't cried since then?"
"Dudes don't cry."
"Sure we do," Sam shrugged. "We have tear ducts and we have emotions therefore we're biologically capable of crying. My brother told me that it was okay to cry."
Puck was silent again. When he opened his mouth, Sam was certain he was going to mock him. He was pleasantly surprised. "When was the last time you cried?"
"There have been a few embarrassing moments here and there but nothing major. The last time I really cried was a year ago after I found my parents died and I had to move in with my brother. It seems so freaking stupid now but back then I was more upset about transferring schools than my parents being dead. I guess I was just using that as an excuse."
Puck turned his head towards Sam. "I never knew that, Sam. I'm sorry."
"For what?" Sam asked, teasingly. "It happened and my life changed. I got put in a new school and it turned out not to be the huge disaster I thought it would. Life without my parents is hard but bearable. I guess I just got used to things. And then when that happened, things just got better one day. It stopped being the end of the world."
"How? How did it get better?"
Sam shrugged again. "Honestly, I think it was because of my brother. He took me in and supported me through the worst of it. Sometimes I don't really think I would have gotten through everything without him."
"What if… what if you don't have someone? What if you're alone?"
Sam craned his neck to better see his sort of friend. Puck was staring intently at his hands. Sam bumped against the other teen's shoulder. "Dude, you're not alone. You got a shit deal with your parents but you've got friends."
"Really? Like who?" Puck asked, bitterly. "Finn? He only cares about himself. My dad could waltz in the room beat the shit out of me in front of him and Hudson would probably only ask if he could have an extra turn on the X-Box while I finish bleeding."
Sam raised an eyebrow at the particularly venomous response. While Sam was definitely not a fan of Finn, he didn't think that Puck had an issue with him as well. They always seemed to be close. Then again if the best friend who supposedly forgave you for everything that happened during Babygate couldn't stand to let you hang out with his girlfriend who just happened to be one of your very close friends that might be a sign that your friendship is not as a solid as you thought. And while Finn wasn't exactly a brain trust, few people understood that Puck was not the dumbass he pretended to be. Even he had to see that Finn wasn't the best friend ever. But that led to a new question.
"Why are you friends with him?"
"Not a whole lot of people lining up to be my friend. I'm an asshole. People either fear me or hate me. It's one or the other. Sometimes I'm lucky and it's both. No one in this shit town cares about me outside of making sure that I'm not stealing something or banging their moms or sisters. Or all of the above."
"How do you figure?"
Sam gave him a look that clearly called into question his intelligence. "I think that hit to your head was worse than we thought. Do you not remember that I just jumped in the middle of you and your dad while he was trying to beat the shit out of you? Brittany went into the boys' locker room just to make sure that I knew something wasn't right with you. Santana had to physically restrain Rachel from trying to follow me when I left school this afternoon. And Santana listened to your stupid ass request that she stay friends with Rachel even though that clearly left you the odd man out."
Puck opened his mouth to protest but nothing came out. He closed his mouth and stared down the road. Sam took the opportunity to actually look around at where they were. Somehow they ended by the lake. He had only seen this place once but it was definitely a great place to think. And potentially engage in the biggest chick flick moment of their lives.
"Look, dude, you're not alone, no matter what you think. You have people that care about you outside of Finn. There's Artie, Mike, Rachel, Santana and Brittany. And if for some reason all of those people fail, you still got me."
Puck sniffed quietly. His gaze fell down to his hands again. "When he came back, he promised things would be different. My mom trusted him. She fell for his bullshit and let him back in. He was different for a month. And then it all fell apart again. He started drinking because he couldn't find a job. When he drinks… well you saw. Everything about me pisses him off. It always has. So he just….. Yeah."
"Why don't you stop him? You could totally fight him off."
"I can't," Puck replied, sadly. "I try and I just fucking freeze. I don't know." Puck ran a hand through his Mohawk. "Thanks."
Puck didn't reply. He just waved a hand in the air. Sam nodded in understanding. Puck was thanking him for several things. For rescuing him, listening to him and the most important not mocking him.
"It's what friends are for."
"Yes, friends," Sam repeated, firmly. "That means I got your back and you got mine. Right?"
Puck nodded slowly. He kept his eyes trained on the ground. It was only because Sam was looking down as well that he saw the first teardrop land. He didn't say a word as the others followed quickly. He simply scooted closer to Puck so that their arms were touching. Sam wasn't always that great with academics, but people he did understand. And he knew that with Puck, it was all about the actions. He could say anything but it wouldn't mean a thing to Puck at all. But sitting there with him while he cried and not teasing him about it later? Priceless.
In the end Puck didn't go back to his parents. Puck was almost suicidal in his determination to go back to home as he didn't want to give the people in their town any more reasons to gossip about him or his family than they already did. Sam did not see this as a valid reason to allow his friend to return to a household where the people were actively physically and emotionally abusive. He hadn't expected Puck to show any common sense in that regard. So he made a very dangerous gambit. While Puck was busy buying a slurpee and dip at the 7-11, Sam snapped a quick picture and sent it along with a brief explanation to Santana and Rachel. As he expected, both girls were knocking on the window of Sam's parked car less than twenty minutes later. Puck was not pleased. He was especially less pleased when Hiram Berry appeared hovering over his daughter's shoulder.
If Sam were a more sensitive person, he probably would have spent the entire weekend brooding over the look of hurt and betrayal that Puck sent him before being shoved into the Berry's car by the overprotective father and daughter combo. He instead spent half of the weekend brooding over the look. The rest of the weekend was devoted to the venomous words that preceded the look. Santana had arrived with Rachel and her father so Sam was stuck giving her a ride home. She sat with him in silence on the drive to her house holding his hand as he replayed his actions over and over trying to reassure himself that he had made the best decision.
"You did the right thing," was the only thing she said as pressed a kiss against his the corner of his mouth and got out the car. He hoped she was right. He knew that if he hadn't sent that message Puck would have gone home and he would have let the abuse continue. But it was hard to think that way when the guy you just promised to always be there for totally called you every name under the sun and gave you that look. The look was like he gave Puck a puppy and let him love it before killing it right in front of his face. And he officially had even more disturbing images to obsess over.
By Monday, Sam was convinced that he had screwed things up irrevocably and was no better than Finn when it came to the friend thing. He was pretty certain that Puck was probably never going to speak to him again, which was a very depressing thing. Still as far as he was concerned, it sucked a lot but Puck was safe. That made it worth it. He guessed. Didn't it?
"You know, you still look like a constipated monkey when you're trying to think."
Sam blinked at the sudden vocal intrusion into his thoughts. Standing against his locker was the subject of his weekend brooding. His right eye still looked swollen but it was the only mark on his face. That meant that Puck stayed with Rachel and her dads this weekend.
"So you're not kicking my ass. That's good, right?"
Puck smirked lazily. "No, I'm not kicking your ass, Sammy." He looked down at his shoes for several long moments. "Do I actually have to apologize? Because to be honest, I'm not really good at it and it kinda makes me itch."
Sam snickered and shook his head. He felt a weight lift off his shoulders at the causal words. "Well, we wouldn't want that. Besides real friends don't need to say they're sorry. It's just kinda understood."
"I like that," Puck nodded. He shifted over to allow Sam access to his locker. "But real friends can say 'thank you' right?"
"Yeah, if they need to."
"I need to. Thank you, Sam. For letting Rach and Santana know what was going on."
"No problem. What did Rachel's dad say?"
"He agreed about me and Sarah not going back home. My nana is willing to take in Sarah since she's a girl and all, but I think she really doesn't want me there. My mom's been telling her stuff about me for years. So Mr. Berry suggested that I get emancipated. He said it didn't make much sense for me to go into the system being as I'm eighteen in like ten months."
"So where are you going to live?"
Puck shrugged with one shoulder. "I guess I'm crashing in the Berry's guestroom until I find something more long term. As you can guess, Finn has already had some choice words about that idea."
"You saw Finn?"
"He came over to pick Rachel up on for a date on Saturday. He saw me talking with her dad about the whole emancipation thing and flipped out. Typical Finn shit."
Sam frowned at the resignation in Puck's voice but chose to stay out of it. He was starting to see the cracks in the friendship between Puck and Finn and he didn't like what he saw. True, Sam had his own reasons to strongly dislike (okay, hate) Finn Hudson, but he was starting to see that Finn was a huge hypocrite and not the golden child that everyone (including Puck) made him out to be.
"I think I have an idea," Sam said, leaning back next to Puck. "My brother's been talking about renting out the extra bedroom for awhile now. What if we rent it out to you?"
"You know I can't pay much, right? I don't exactly have a job. And between my parole and the emancipation thing, I can't exactly do what I used to do to get money." Sam so didn't want to know what exactly Puck used to do to get money. He'd heard the rumors. They were bad enough. He didn't need confirmation.
"Let me worry about that," Sam smirked. "I'll make a call and get back to you during lunch. Okay?"
Puck looked at him worriedly. "Why are you doing all this for me? I mean you've really been there since everything went down on Friday. Why?"
"Because I know that if it were the other way around, you'd do the same for me."
"How do you know that?"
"Because I'm starting to get to know you!" Sam called out over his shoulder as he walked away. He heard Puck scoff and caught the flash of a smile as the other boy turned to walk towards his own classes. Sam didn't think he was wrong. The more time he spent around Puck, the more he started to see that the badass persona was just that. It was a persona and not a reflection of the real man underneath it. Sam was determined to make the rest of the world (or at least the rest of the gleeks) see what he saw.
True to his word, Sam did call his brother during his free period. And much as he expected, Dean was very accepting of the idea of Puck moving into the spare room. Sam gave what he hoped would be a reasonable price. Dean was less accepting of that and offered up another price with no negotiations. Sam just hoped that Puck would be able to deal with that. He supposed he would just have to make the offer in a way he couldn't refuse. And he found his solution to that dilemma as he finally entered the cafeteria and found his newly minted friend sitting sandwiched between Brittany and Santana. Brittany had her arm looped through his and was clearly forcing him to remain seated. Rachel was also at the table with Finn sitting practically on top of her. Perfect.
"You're late, Trouty Mouth," Santana pouted, playfully as he sat down beside her. "I had to go in the boys' bathroom to force Puck out of hiding because you weren't here."
"I'm sure that was a new and horrible experience for you," Sam deadpanned. "You were probably scarred for life."
"You doubt my purity and innocence?" Santana raised an eyebrow. Sam threw her a look that had her giggling. In moments like this, it was hard to remember that they started this for all the wrong reasons. He secretly loved moments like these. These moments gave him a feeling of hope that maybe it could be more one day. But their moments were almost always over way too soon. "So what were you up to anyway?"
"Finding Puck somewhere to live," he replied, casually stealing a carrot from Rachel's tray. The Broadway bound diva was too surprised by his words to reprimand his actions. The badass in question looked up quizzically. "So I talked to my brother and he agrees that you should come live with us. We have the space."
Finn looked between the two suspiciously before settling on Puck. "You need a place to live, dude? You didn't tell me."
Puck didn't bother to hide the eye roll. "Uh, remember Saturday in between the pauses you took yelling at me for being near Rachel without your permission or whatever, we all tried to explain that I can't live at home anymore."
Finn's brow furrowed and Sam could tell he was actually trying to remember this conversation. The blonde shook his head. Finn could be painfully slow.
"So this living arrangement," Rachel started, bringing them back to the issue at hand and away from Finn's constant attempts at winning the Douchebag of the Year award. "Is this a permanent thing?"
"Sure, until we go to college," Sam answered, reaching for another carrot. She caught him this time but still allowed him to have the carrot. "You'll have to pay rent though."
"Like how much?"
"How's a dollar a month?"
Puck narrowed his eyes. "Don't you guys have anything better to do with that space than give it to a charity case?"
"Probably," Sam shrugged. "But think of all the karma points we're racking up by taking in your sorry ass." Sam grinned and raised an eyebrow. "So you in or what?"
Puck smiled, like an actual happy smile. "Yeah, dude. I'm in."
"Great. Now that's settled, we have to work on our assignment for glee. I don't want the wrath of Schue coming down on us."
"I have a few suggestions based off your vocal ranges and combined talent," Rachel spoke up. Sam and Puck exchanged a wordless look and nodded.
Rachel practically bubbled over with joy. Clearly, not many people listened to her suggestions. But as she spoke, explaining why she thought the song 'Details in the Fabric' by Jason Mraz and James Morrison would be perfect for them, Sam didn't understand why. She was really good at this stuff. He also noticed that Puck hung onto every word she said with an interest that was just a little too intense to say they were just friends. He smirked. He wondered if Puck even knew how in love he was with Rachel. He also wondered if Rachel knew how in love with Puck she was. Judging by the frequent eye contact with him, Sam was betting that she did but wouldn't admit to it. Those two were kind of cute.
"You did good, Sammy," a voice whispered in his ear. "Thank you for being there for him." He smiled as he leaned against Santana's head that was now resting on his shoulder. Theirs hands clasped and interlaced under the table. He started feeling hopeful again. Maybe he could get what he wanted. Maybe there was a future for him and Santana after all.
"By the way, we're helping Britt this weekend. She's staking out the house to make sure that the cat's not actually stealing stuff. Turns out she's got an X-Box and she definitely didn't buy it."
Sam arched an eyebrow. Maybe he should be more concerned about that probable future with Santana. He glanced over her head towards Puck who was trying, and failing, to resist Brittany's pleading gaze. Ultimately, it was a losing battle and both knew they were giving up a few hours of their lives to stalk a cat. But they would at least be together in their suffering. Might not be so bad after all.
*The end for now.