i. The morning comes eventually and she's awake before he is, tugging her skirt back over her hips and searching blindly for her shoes.
"Skipping out early, Fabray?"
She freezes in her compromising position and scrambles to face him. He notices too late the tears in her eyes, as if she's already regretting her mistake. She doesn't answer him — which is a bit of an answer on its own.
He snorts at her. "You're more like me than you'd admit."
She opens her mouth to respond, but clearly thinks better of it, taking a look at herself in the mirror (as if she'd never recognize herself again, Puck thinks).
Finally, she whispers, "This meant nothing."
It stings every time, but he's used to it by now. "It never does," he mumbles.
If she looks back, he doesn't notice. His eyes are already on the TV, flipping through morning cartoons, reminding him of the way her eyes glittered in the soft glow of the television as he branded his name into her stomach.
ii. He fancies he's some ridiculous drug that she's addicted to, because like magnets, they always find each other in some way.
It's only afterwards, when she's lying in the flickering light, the television playing some old sitcom with the volume low, that he thinks she might regret it. Like she's having a relapse.
(She always looks at him like he's the only person in the world.)
The words always die in his throat, and he simply watches her as she watches him, wondering if she was proof that he was meant for something more than Lima.
He kisses her instead and she always kisses him back, and in the morning, she's gone before he's awake. It's bitter on his tongue — like a horrible taste of his own medicine.
iii. "You know," she tells him as they share a box of shrimp fried rice, "if I didn't know any better, I'd say you liked me."
He flicks a piece of rice at her. "In your dreams, Fabray."
The way she looks at him (and again he can't remember how to breathe) makes him wonder if it was in her dreams. He could never remember his.
She laughs at him and it's a little nice, it's just enough to make him believe she belongs to him. That's the problem with her — he can never seem to remember that she's not his.
He thinks that's what it's like to love someone. Not being able to realize that they aren't there just for you, that the entire world can see her, and you're only one in a million.
That's when he realizes it, really, when she's shoving chinese food in her face, sitting across from him on his bed as the television plays some old '80s song.
Being with her was like being in love.
vi. If it makes him naive (and it does, horribly so), he believes the world would end if he ever began to love someone else, like the balance of things had shifted, like he was the deciding factor of cosmic disturbance.
He tells her that as she lies across from him, eyes fluttering gently shut with exhaustion. He runs a hand up and down her thigh, watching the goosebumps form, and whispers, "Do you think I'm capable of like —"
And it seems like such a silly question that he can only roll his eyes at himself.
"Like… love, and shit," he finishes lamely, avoiding her eyes and watching the way her chest rose and fell with her breath.
He steals a glance over the silence and her eyes are wide open. He's never noticed how green they were, or maybe he hadn't cared before. She blinks slowly and he watches the movement sharply.
She frowns at him, cupping his cheek in her hand. It has to feel like love for her. He doesn't think she cares nearly as much about Finn as she does —
(But he doesn't think like that.)
"I think you're capable of anything," she says at last.
He doesn't know what to say to that, because he knows if he opens his mouth, he'll say something he'll regret.
(He kisses her instead, but that's the way things always go.)
v. The world ended eventually, but not because he had fallen in love.
She tells him, "The baby is Finn's," when he knows the real truth, like he could ever forget the nights she spent telling him that he was her first, that it meant something to her. Like he could ever forget that he was the only one to touch her.
She's an expert liar. Maybe that's his downfall, not hers.
"Don't lie to me," he pleads with her, trying to make her remember, as if he could beg her to love him.
She dutifully averts her eyes and whispers, "The baby is Finn's," like it's a mantra she can't stop repeating.
If he was braver — if he wasn't Puck — he'd try to say that he loved her, like that meant anything to her.
But he's Puck, and he's not brave.
"You can't hide it forever."
She looks up, startled, finally meeting his gaze. He swears he's never seen such coldness (and it chills him to the bone.)