NAME: Uncertainty
CHARACTERS/PAIRINGS: focuses on Puck and Artie | Puck/Artie (Partie)
GENRES: Romance/Hurt/Comfort
SUMMARY: "What is it about these storms that scare you, Artie?" "Uncertainty. Sure, you can count the seconds between the lightening and the thunder claps and be assured that the storm is far away… but what about the lightening?" Artie's parents are away when a thunderstorm hits, and so Puck goes home with him to ease the uncertainty.
WARNINGS: crack!pairing; Puck's dirty mouth; fluff; light slash; some kissing—all light; OOC on Puck part, I think; cuddling; snuggling… that kind of stuff.
AU: No couples were sabotaged to create this delightful crack piece. And most of season 1 and none of season 2 happened. Everyone is in his or her sophomore year, though. Also… I'm taking a lot of creative liberties in even writing this…

DISCLAIMER: I don't own any characters or references shown here. I do own the idea to some degree, as well as the creative liberties to write this fic.

STATUS: One-shot.

Friday: It seemed weird that Artie's parents would be called out to his mom's parents' house in Minnesota, but it happened, and Artie wasn't going because his parents were taking a plane. It was inconsiderate, but Artie understood that his mom's parents meant the world to his mom, right after her darling son, of course. What made Artie seethe slightly as he rolled his way down the hallways of his high school toward his glee practice was that they had forgotten to tell his neighbor, who had a truck to transport Artie and his wheelchair home, to pick him up, and said neighbor was, as luck would have it, out of town as well. His parents had managed to drive him to school, his wheelchair under a tarp in the back of the truck the Abrams' owned.

So, either Artie had to walk (roll) home, or ask one of his friends (preferably with a truck to transport his wheelchair, as well) to take him.

He rolled into the music room as one of the last people, Mr. Schuester giving him a friendly push before the bespectacled teen came to a stop, turned around, and gave a friendly smile to Kurt, who had taken a chair in the front with Mercedes.

"All right, kids," Will said, clapping his hands, "Let's get started…"

Artie blanked out for a minute, staring out into the hall where the light was fading fast outside. It was springtime (not for Hitler, thank goodness), but that meant rain and some wind coming in from Chicago. Artie had forgotten to check the weather, but he was pretty sure the sun was supposed to be out until eight that evening. It was getting dark out pretty fast.

"Kurt… did you catch the weather this morning?" he asked of his fellow Gleek.

The fashionista glanced at him and said, "Scattered thunderstorms in the afternoons."

Crap. Artie hated thunderstorms. Rolling home would be out of the question, especially because it had been so sunny in the morning that the boy had forgone a jacket. He'd have to ask of the other Gleeks who among them had a wheelchair sized trunk or space in the back…

As soon as practice ended, Artie rolled to the front as the others were getting their stuff sorted out and said, "Guys? Does any one of you have space in the back of your cars for a wheelchair? We can collapse it if you want. I just need a ride home and I'm not rolling home if it's raining cats and dogs out there…"

Everyone looked at each other and gave Artie grimaces. They wanted to help their friend, they really did, but they all had made plans or had to be home at certain times, by the way they all opened their mouths and made excuses. The only person who didn't say anything was one Noah Puckerman.

As soon as the others were done excusing themselves from the situation and the room, Puck uncrossed his arms and said, "I managed to scrape some money together to buy an old pick-up from some weird guy down at the lots. I can take you home if you want."

Artie expelled a sigh of relief and nodded his head, "Thanks, Puckerman."

Puck nodded his head and went behind the boy to push his wheelchair out of the room and into the school's parking lot. The sky outside was dark, and the clouds were heavy with rain. Suddenly, both boys saw a flash of white, and Artie winced. A few seconds later, the thunder followed like a large timpani drum.

"You okay, man?" Puck asked as they approached the dumpy tan pick-up. Why Puck would want a car like this, Artie could never guess. It looked run down, but maybe Puck was in desperate need for a car?

"Do you have a tarp or something? I don't want my wheels getting all rusty," asked Arite, nervously rubbing the back of his neck.

"'I've got a box of garbage bags my mom asked me to get this morning… I'm sure cutting one up to make it big enough for your wheelchair to get under will do the trick," Puck replied, reaching into the passenger seat and grabbing the box.

While Puck was ripping a black bag down the seam, Artie tapped his wheels to the beat of the song New Directions had been practicing for the upcoming performance. Suddenly, Puck swooped Artie up from the wheelchair and set him neatly on the passenger side seat. "Will you grab the pipe cleaners next to you?" he asked as if Artie hadn't just been jostled and kind of violated.

Artie blinked and handed the gruff male the box: likely another purchase his mother needed, being violated by the fact that Artie was doomed to be a wheelchair kid, and thus needed to violate other people's stocks of stuff. Artie wouldn't apologize for that.

While Puck was tying down the wheelchair/garbage bag/pipe cleaner mass in the back, Artie continued tapping his thigh, looking at the dark clouds and the little droplets of water that were starting to fall. Again, there was another flash of lightening, and a few minutes later, the thunder boomed. Artie closed his eyes and willed the world to go black.

There was movement next to him: "Damn, that's going to be a bitch to get out once this storm gets going," Puck said, putting the keys in the ignition. Then he noticed the state of the boy next to him. "Something the matter, dude?"

Artie opened his eyes, "Nothing…"

Puck decided to let it go as his engine stalled. He turned the key again, and the truck purred to life. The ride to Artie's house was quiet, except for another flash of lightening and roll of thunder, to which Puck noticed Artie visibly flinch.

Once in the empty drive of the Abrams' house, Artie waited for Puck to get his wheelchair out of the back, still tapping his leg. It was a nervous habit the bespectacled boy had started ever since he was very little. Every time there was a thunderstorm, Artie tapped his leg, closed his eyes, and turned the music up loud. Sometimes he turned out the lights to help the darkness permeate behind his eyelids.

Puck finally got the wheelchair situated, and put Artie in it. "Is your neighbor here to take care of you?" he asked, recalling that Artie usually had help from his parents and neighbors.

Artie shook his head, and tried to roll away from Puck, moving up the ramp to his door and getting his keys out. Puck only followed him. "Then you're alone tonight?"

"Alan said he'd be here tomorrow. And my parents will be home Sunday night. You… you can go home," Artie said, nodding his head slightly in Puck's direction.

Puck blinked, taken-aback. "No dude. I'm not leaving you alone. I know it may come as a shock to you, but you are stuck in a wheelchair, and if you are left alone tonight, you might… well… I just don't want you to be alone tonight, man."

Artie found himself blushing, but he let Puck in, as the rain was soaking the other male, and Artie didn't want Puck to catch anything. "Then come in… you can stay for the evening until I go to bed, okay?"

Puck nodded and pushed passed the other, closing the door behind him. "That's better. Nice and warm compared to—" Puck didn't finish his observation about the temperature change, as Artie winced when lightening again flashed. "Dude… are you afraid of t-storms?"

Artie opened only one eye and put his hands in front of his face before waving them like a crazy person, "No. No-no-no-no-no." But the thunder soon followed its flashing visual companion, and Artie had to pause as his breath hitched and his eyes fluttered closed again. "Okay… I am. But you better not tell a soul."

Puck grinned a bit, which was a little out-of-character for him, and made an equally strange gesture like he was zipping his mouth closed and throwing away the key, "Our little secret."

'Okay,' Artie thought, blinking stupidly at Puck, 'that was weird.' But the bespectacled man had to admit, having Puck around and having Puck keep his little secret made Artie feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Puck shrugged out of the leather jacket to drape it up on a peg in the foyer of the house. Once he was done, Artie rolled forward into the kitchen, "Can I get you anything to drink? All we really have is water and some orange juice, actually…"

Puck followed a little ways behind, "I'll just… get myself some water."

Artie nodded and went to the couch, his hand on his gaming consol, "You know… this is a strange predicament. You… You've never really shown interest in me."

"That sounded very Kurt Hummel, Artie," Puck said, his back turned as he put tap water in a glass he found on the dish rack. He turned his face and made an almost wanton face at Artie.

Artie felt his cheeks flare up, but he raised an eyebrow, "What's 'very Kurt Hummel' supposed to mean?"

"Kurt's the only openly gay teen I know, so 'very Kurt Hummel' is supposed to be a euphemism for 'gay.' I mean fabulous gay… not derogatory gay. Something about the glee club makes me want to appreciate our rag tag qualities more," Puck said. "Anyway… since that revelation… I just wanted to get to know my fellow glee clubbers a bit more. I mean, I know Mike and Finn and Matt… and I tortured Kurt for so long and now we're kind of friends… I'm still working on him. The girls I know because I either made-out with them or am thinking about it… but you… you're still an enigma to me…"

Puck was now facing Artie, coming toward him and sitting on the couch. "Which games you got, man?"

"Oh, you know… Assassins' Creed, Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts II, Mario Kart. I've got Legend of Zelda and some other RPG games like that…" Artie shrugged.

"Come on: while I'm here, how about some one on one Mario Kart?" Puck asked.

Artie grinned, "Dude, I have to tell you straight up that I have perfected my game with my father. We can call and I will gloat and he will deny everything, but its true. I pwn all at that game."

Puck grinned almost seductively, "You're on."

Artie and Puck played for a couple of hours. Artie was indeed good, but after every session, Puck got better and was on the verge of winning when the lights flashed and the power surge made the power flash off than on again in a couple of seconds. All through the gaming competition, lightening flashed and thunder rolled mere seconds later, but Artie was so distracted by the game and Puck and yelling at the TV that he failed to notice. Until his distraction turned itself off and back on, and Puck looked at him with concern in his eyes.

It was then that Artie noticed that he had screamed loudly and put his head in between his knees and his hands over his ears. He straightened up and looked over at Puck and said, "I… guess them higher powers want us to call a truce now…"

Puck looked at his watch, "It's seven-thirty… you got anything to eat?"

Artie thought about it, "Mom put a frozen pizza in the freezer… we could eat that…"

"Yeah, that sounds good. Dominos probably is closing thanks to that power surge…" Puck said, and got up, wheeling Artie into the kitchen.

He opened the freezer and found the pizza, looking through the directions before preheating the oven and opening the box.

Artie twiddled his thumbs for a minute and said, "I'm sorry I scared you… I really… really hate thunderstorms."

Puck watched Artie for a minute before he leaned on the counter and laid his eyes on the nerd's face. "What is it about these storms that scare you, Artie?"

Artie really thought about it for a few moments. Then he answered, "Uncertainty," he saw the confusion flicker behind Puck's eyes and elaborated a bit, "Sure, you can count the seconds between the lightening and the thunder claps and be assured that the storm is far away… but what about the lightening?"

Puck nodded, "There are no scientific rules stating when you can be certain the lightening is going to flash… am I right?"

Artie nodded, his lower lip sticking out a bit. Lightening then flashed outside the kitchen window, and Artie's eyes closed before he drummed his hands on his leg again. A few moments later, the thunder rolled, and Artie still winced at the sound.

"You didn't do that when we were playing," Puck said after Artie peeked one eye open and saw that nothing was really happening outside the window except for what seemed like endless rain.

"Yeah… I have you to thank for that," Artie said, opening the other eye and looking up at his former bully.

Puck looked to the side, fighting off a blush that was bound to blow his cover. Puck had always been a ladies' man. But since joining the glee club, his heart and mind had softened to the kids that were all social misfits in some way. Puck liked hanging out with them, even though his football buddies (sans those who were also in New Directions) looked at him funny when he blew them off for glee practice. But there was something about Artie that made Puck throw away his total macho-straightness and lean more toward a total macho-bisexualness (at least).

With Artie, though, it didn't actually matter to him which team he swung for. He found girls attractive, but since meeting and hanging with Kurt, he found himself looking at other boys, too. Of course he'd have to be careful. He'd seen what Puck and Finn used to do to poor Kurt, but still, Kurt had helped Artie to come out to himself. It was only certain guys that turned Artie's head, after all.

The oven suddenly dinged and Puck unwrapped the pizza and set it on a cookie sheet, placing it in the oven. Once it was closed, he turned back to Artie, but Artie had moved back to the couch area. After resetting the clock on the television, Artie took up the remote and turned on the TV, which seemed to be stuck on the weather channel.

"It seems the thunderstorm will go all through the night, but it should stop around two-thirty tomorrow morning…" the man was saying. Artie's eyes fixed on the weather map behind him and he shuddered as he saw lightening hit again.

Puck followed the other nervously, and stood behind the couch, watching the boy in the wheelchair as he flinched against the force of nature flashing behind the windows of the house. "You know, I only drove you home so I could get to know you a little more," he said, just as the thunder boomed and Artie let out a small whimper. Puck moved around the couch at that point and gently picked Artie up, placing him on the couch. His hand lingered on the other boy's leg for a moment, before Puck moved away to roll the wheelchair out of the way of the other boy's line of vision. "And I think I learned a little more than I thought I would."

The other boy sat down next to Artie, placing a hand on his thigh once again. Artie's heart beat a little faster than was probably necessary, but he breathed deeply to keep from getting lightheaded. Puck smiled as warmly as he could (he still wasn't used to all this) before he took the remote from Artie and changed the channel to something a little more… fluffy.

"The Land Before Time?" Artie asked.

"Don't judge me. I used to watch this movie all the time when I was scared or sick," Puck replied, glaring playfully at the other male.

"I'm not judging. Dinosaurs are awesome. Especially sassy Triceratops and clever Apatosauruses," Artie replied, his grin widening.

"Nerd," Puck muttered, putting a splayed hand on Artie's face and pushing slightly.

Artie laughed and pushed Puck's big hand away, looking passed it to the TV, wherein the characters were plotting the antagonist's ultimate demise, "Aw… it's almost over! What's on after it?"

Puck got the guide on the screen and nodded, "Some Scooby-Doo movie…"

"Still good," Artie quipped, finally noticing that Puck (or he himself) had laced their fingers together in the limited amount of time it took Artie's house-guest to check the TV listings.

Puck noticed this and quickly untangled them, much to Artie's disappointment. Artie didn't try anything after that, but looked forward, Puck's big hand resting on his leg. Artie thought perhaps that little detail was so that Artie would remember that Puck was there, and it certainly helped, especially since the movies hardly helped Artie forget about the thunderstorm still raging outside.

The pizza was done baking by the end of The Land Before Time, and so the two took a break to let the pizza cool and cut it up. They ate in front of the TV as the Scooby-Doo film started up, laughing and joking about the characters.

After another power surge during the first half of the Scooby-Doo movie, Artie looked at the clock next to the lamp next to the couch and grabbed the remote, "I… should get to bed and you… should go home…"

Puck turned to Artie, slightly peeved that he was happy that Artie couldn't really move on his own. "Do you really want me to leave you? There's a storm outside, and you're afraid of them."

Artie crossed his arms over his chest, now a little peeved that Puck could use his disabilities against him. "Fine. Stay if you need to. I just want to get to my room and turn up some MJ, or some MC…"

Puck laughed, "And I still want to be here. The weather dude said that the storm would go on through the night."

It clicked for Artie, "You're staying the night?" he asked, mouth staying open a little.

Puck laughed again, "Yes. Artie, I want to stay the night. I've never felt I had to be there for someone like I feel I should be there for you. Not only are your parents away, but your neighbor isn't here either, and there's a storm. You're afraid and vulnerable and… I want to protect that for some odd reason. I want to protect you, to be more specific."

Artie was in awe, "But… but why?"

Puck shook his head, "I don't know how to say it. I don't even know what to say…"

Artie grinned. "Wheel me to my room. I'll put on the tunes and we can continue this conversation."

Puck smiled and lifted Artie back into his wheelchair. Artie lead the way, rolling his way down the hall to the end, where he took a sharp left and was indeed in his own room. There was a desk with no chair (no need, that is), with a laptop, stereo, and three towers of CDs on it (ordered by what looked like rap and R&B artists, pops artists, and musicals…), and a bed farther from the door near the window. There was a closet that had no door on it for easier access in the morning (or at night). Artie checked the CD that was all ready in the stereo, deemed it passable, and pressed the play button.

"What's this?" Puck asked, waving at the stereo with a sexy nonchalance.

"Kurt made mixed CDs for me, Tina and Mercedes a couple weeks back. Recommendations he thought we each might like: Broadway selections and angry girl bands for Tina, R&B for Mercedes, and the limited rap artists he happened to have for me. Plus a couple songs that are out of place in each, just for fun. Kurt can be a sneaky bastard when he wants to be."

Puck laughed, "This first song isn't what I'd call rap. It sounds like a guy's version of a Cindi Lauper song…"

"It's Quietdrive's version of 'Time after Time,' to be exact," Artie replied. "Kurt gave the Cindi Lauper version of it to the girls…"

"Cute…" Puck couldn't help but say. "You and Kurt are really good friends. Weren't you a little turned off by him being… you know… gay?"

Artie thought about it, leaning back in the chair a bit. Puck sat on Artie's bed.

"No," Artie finally replied, "Glee club is a place for social misfits: people who don't really belong anywhere else. We've got to stick together, no matter what sexuality, race or gender you happen to be… or if you're disabled, like me."

Puck smiled, "That's a cool way of putting it. Plus we get to express ourselves with creativity."

"That right," Artie replied, smiling. "You don't seem turned off by Kurt's sexuality, either…"

"I was before joining glee club and really getting to know everyone…" Puck replied, "Remember? Slushies, throwing him in the dumpster? I was horrible."

"Did you apologize to him after joining glee club?" Artie asked.

"Of course," Puck replied, his face and tone getting serious, "I apologized to everyone… even Rachel."

Artie nodded, "That's what I like to hear… only I don't think I got my apology…"

Puck sighed, "Yeah… I'm sorry, man. For making fun of you and stuff."

"Thanks. You're forgiven. Especially after today."

There was a silence for a moment before Artie looked at his bedside table clock and sighed. "That's why I'm so tired," he said, stretching. "I'm going to… go brush my teeth. Do you need a tooth brush tonight?"

Puck jumped up, "I got mints in my jacket pocket. I can always go home to brush in the morning."

"All right," Artie replied.

They split off for a moment: Artie to brush his teeth, and Puck to rifle through his jacket in the foyer. When they came together, Artie was all ready taking his pajamas off a shelf in his closet.

"You're going to have to help me into these," announced the boy confined to the wheelchair.

Puck almost blushed, but managed to compose himself as he walked over to Artie and helped Artie most of the way. Artie could take off his shirts, and un-buckle his belt and jeans, but Puck had to help Artie out of the latter. Artie pushed himself up by the arms of the wheelchair, and Puck slipped the pants down and then off. Then, as Puck was slipping on the bottoms of the PJs, Artie wrestled on the shirt and buttoned the buttons.

"Thanks man," Artie said, wheeling backwards toward the bed. Puck took his cue and, after tossing the clothes Artie had just shed into the laundry bin, he picked Artie up like a groom would his bride before crossing the threshold of their honeymoon suite and laid the bespectacled boy under the covers.

"Will you be all right alone?" Puck asked, right as the CD that was playing seemed to stop.

Just then lightening struck, and all lights went out and stayed out. "Crap," Artie swore. "The back-up generator doesn't kick on for another hour or so…"

Puck blinked against the dark and saw that Artie hadn't let go of him: his hands were still linked tightly behind the football stud's neck. Puck smiled inwardly and outwardly and put a firm knee on the bed before he moved slowly over Artie and under the covers next to him.

"Puckerman, what are you doing?"

"Please, Puckerman is my lousy father. Call me Puck…"

"Okay then… Puck, what are you doing?"

"You're clearly a hot mess right now. And I do mean hot…"

'What now?' "What now?" Artie thought and asked in about three seconds from thought to mouth.

"Look, Artie. The reason I haven't actually approached you to apologize and whatnot is because… I have some feelings for you. That's why I've pushed the whole Kurt thing, and have been touching you more that I probably should have the whole night. It's the reason I agreed to help you in the first place," Puck replied.

Artie blinked, "Are you… are you certain?"

Puck first answered him by closing the gap slowly between them, rolling over on top of the other boy, making sure not to squish him under Puck's (muscle) weight. As he felt the other boy push up against his mouth, Puck couldn't help but smile before he pulled away. "I am most certain."

Just then lightening flashed outside the blinds, brighter than ever. Artie closed his eyes and whimpered, his hand tapping the seconds before the thunder boomed. Puck wrapped his arms around the now trembling teen and took his glasses off before setting them on the windowsill. He resumed his position above Artie and pulled him close, turning them so that he was lying on his side and still holding the other boy. "You can be certain that I am here, and I will keep you safe from whatever uncertainty you feel right now…"

Artie chuckled softly before nestling into Puck's shirt and clutching at the other boy's sides. "Thank you, Puck."

A/N: Reviews would be nice. I know this is a crack!pairing, but a friend of mine as influenced me a lot and the fact that I used to be scared of thunderstorms made me create this delightully fluffy piece. You're comments would be appreciated. Haters, however, can click the 'back' button right this second. I mean it. Otherwise, comments and constructive (see: not flaming) criticism is love.