"No," Burt Hummel stated emphatically when he saw Landon that Friday night. "Absolutely not."
"Dad!" Kurt groaned as he dragged his father away from the bonfire and all the nosey people there. "Don't do this. Not now. Puck and I have been working all week so that I would be prepared for this. I can beat him."
"Look at him Kurt!" Burt said, though he was quieter than he had been. "He's got to have a hundred pounds on you, and it's all muscle!"
Kurt rolled his eyes. "Just because he can lift weights doesn't mean he can fight. And I've fought guys just as big."
Burt's eyebrows raised in a good imitation of his son. "Oh?"
Kurt exhaled noisily to demonstrate his extreme annoyance. "I told you about that. A couple of the jocks at school who were being jerks."
Burt sighed. "Alright. But if I think things are getting out of hand, I will end the fight."
"Not just because he lands a punch?" Kurt asked cautiously. He wouldn't put it past his dad.
"Not just because he lands a punch," Burt agreed.
Puck and Finn warily approached them. Finn was trying unsuccessfully to hide the fact that he was carrying a beer while Puck didn't even bother to hide his cup. He handed an extra cup to Burt who eyed the boys before taking it and drinking half of it down. "Everything settled?"
"Yeah," Kurt agreed. "I'm fighting."
"Good," Puck said with a smile. "I've got two hundred riding on you."
"Well, I put two hundred on you too," Kurt said with a smile.
"Who's up first?" Finn asked.
"Lenny and Dave," Puck said. "And then Kurt and Landon."
The four of them were unnaturally quiet as they watched the first fight. Only Finn made any noise or said anything. Mostly he just gasped and hissed as one or the other of the fighters landed a punch.
"Dude, are you really gonna do that?" Finn asked once the fight was over. "Because that looked really painful."
Before Burt could revisit his objections, Kurt snapped, "Yes, I am going to do that. And I don't plan on letting anyone actually hit me. At least not the way those two were hitting each other. I'm a lot faster and more agile than either of those two."
"That's right Babe," Puck said encouragingly. "You duck and weave and make him chase you down. Then kick his ass."
Puck took Kurt off to the side to warm up again, leaving a very worried father and soon to be step-brother alone. Kurt kept glancing at them, and Puck knew he was worried that one of them would interfere. "Don't worry babe. I'll make sure they don't act up, even if I have to sit on them. You just concentrate on beating this guy."
A few minutes later, Kurt saw Puck and Jack surrounding his father on the edges of the crowd. He smiled. They would keep him in line. And Finn probably wouldn't be a problem. But he was right beside Puck too, so if he was, Puck could handle it. Turning his attention back to Landon, who was actually a rather personable guy when Puck introduced them, Kurt nodded his readiness and the fight began.
Kurt knew he couldn't feign aloofness and live this time around, though he didn't do the circling that most fighters seemed to do. He waited patiently for one of two things: either Landon would attack or he would lose focus and Kurt could attack. The trick was waiting, and in that Kurt had the upper hand over most combatants. He could be patient. He wasn't worried about looking macho in front of his friends or girlfriend. Hell, his boyfriend liked his girly side as much as he liked the fact that he could fight. Or at least that's what he said…
Kurt saw Landon's eyes flick to the side once and waited for it to happen again. When it did, he made his move. Before Landon could even turn his eyes back towards Kurt, he was faced with a full force roundhouse kick. Kurt felt his foot connect with the man's jaw and knew he had done some damage, but Landon wasn't as weak as Carl or the jocks he had fought at school. It would take more than one good kick to take him down.
While he was still reeling from that kick, Kurt landed a series of jabs to the man's solar plexus, but his abdominal muscles were taut and the punches didn't have as much of an effect as had hoped. And those harmless blows left Kurt open for Landon to land a rather tight blow to Kurt's cheek, making pain explode through his head in a way that was totally unfamiliar and almost blinding for a millisecond. Kurt didn't have the luxury of holding his cheek and moaning about the pain, though the thought flashed through his mind that he probably would do that later.
Landon attempted to use Kurt's smaller size against him and put him into a wrestling hold that would immobilize him while reducing his intake of air. Puck called it a sleeper hold. Some part of Kurt's brain registered the fact that his boyfriend was physically holding his father back, but the other part was weighing his options. He catalogued the pros and cons of each and chose a course of action. And all of this happened in less than a second. Before Kurt could even miss the air that Landon was cutting off, he used one foot to kick back into Landon's knee and then use their combined momentum from that move to flip Landon over his back and onto the ground.
Of course, this threw Kurt off balance as well and it took an extra second for him to get his footing well enough to take advantage of their new positions. Taking a page out of the bigger man's book, he used a move he had seen while watching wresting with Puck and used his full weight as he threw himself, elbow first, into the man's solar plexus. This time, there was no way that his abdominal muscles could withstand the blow and Landon lost his breath completely. Kurt stood up and waited to see if it was over. Landon gasped in a breath and waved a weak hand at Caleb. He was done.
The cheers rose up from crowd while Puck rushed to give Kurt a bear hug and Burt and Finn followed close behind. Kurt had won.
The rest of the fights seemed to be a letdown, though Puck's fight against one of the other local boys was rather exciting, but only because Kurt had a vested interest in how his boyfriend did. Amazingly, because of the increased betting activity and the longs odds on Kurt, Puck made more money from his bet on Kurt than he did on his own fight. And Kurt made 14 hundred dollars for his fight.
Of course, Burt missed most of the subsequent fights because he was hovering over Kurt and his swollen cheek. Landon had really gotten him good and the swelling and bruising actually turned his cheek and left eye into a great big puffy shiner. Meg had brought over a cold pack to help with the swelling and Caleb had checked his eyes to make sure he wasn't concussed, but in all, Kurt felt like he had come through the fight pretty well. He had fought and won against a guy who never lost to first level fighters.
Caleb had checked over Landon for any permanent damage, but other than some pretty good swelling around his knee and a great big bruise in the center of his torso, he was fine.
On the drive home that night, Kurt leaned against Puck and sighed. "How many kids from school do you think were there?"
"I counted about fifty," Puck said. "Jack said there were more, but with everyone milling around, who knows."
From the driver's seat of the truck, Burt said, "Meg took the beer money and she said that there had to be closer to a hundred kids from your school. Why were so many there tonight?"
"To see me get my ass kicked," Kurt said.
"They totally bet against Kurt," Finn said. "I mean, I talked to the guys on the team and I think all but me and Puck had bets on Landon."
"Even Matt and Mike?" Kurt asked with hurt coloring his voice.
"It's not personal," Puck assured him. "You have to admit that if you were in their place, you probably would have bet on Landon too."
Kurt thought about it conceded, "Fine."
"Anyway, it doesn't mean they didn't want you to win, they just didn't think you could. Kind of like our football team. Everyone wants us to win, we just never do." Finn was being fairly diplomatic about the whole thing.
"So all those kids came just to see Kurt fight?" Burt asked. "I don't get it."
"It has to do with juice and badassness," Puck said. "The jocks at school respect the people who win at fight club."
"More like they're afraid of the people who win at fight club," Finn corrected. "Not many have tried themselves, but those who have usually come back with horror stories."
"Afraid of, respect, same thing," Puck shrugged. "The school caught a glimpse of Kurt's new badass moves and wanted to see how that translated. Now he's won two fights at the club, something no student but me has done since we were in grade school."
They pulled up to the Hummel house and all climbed from the truck. Burt had arranged for Finn and Puck to stay since they were all going to be out so late. When they got inside, Burt sent the other two boys down to Kurt's room where they had set up the pull out couch and an air mattress. He wanted to talk to his son alone for a few minutes. They went into the kitchen and Burt grabbed a beer while Kurt got a glass of water. Then they stood across from each other on opposite sides of the room.
"I want you to know that I am very proud of you," Burt said. "You did great tonight. It almost killed me to watch it, but you really did great."
Kurt smiled at his father. It wasn't often that they had moments like this. "Thanks."
"I know why you did this and I know why it was important for you to fight tonight," Burt said. "But I also want you to remember that you don't have to fight to be a man. That's a lesson your mother taught me, and I thought I would never have to teach it to you. You're so much like her in so many ways… but I guess you've got a bit of me in you too. I'll support whatever you decide, but… I hope you won't feel the need to do this much longer."
Kurt chuckled. "Look at my face, Dad. Do you really think I want to risk looking like this any more than absolutely necessary?" Burt chuckled. "Seriously, though, I think I might want to fight a couple more times, just to prove to myself and others that it wasn't a fluke and then… I don't really like fighting all that much. Sure it's a great way to stay in shape and get out all that pent up aggression, but I have to touch sweaty disgusting guys. You saw Carl tonight. He actually sweated on me." Kurt shuddered.
Burt laughed outright that time and came over to hug his son. "I don't hear you complaining when Puck hugs you after working out."
Kurt stepped back and blushed. "Yeah well… that different. He's my boyfriend and he isn't disgusting."
Burt gave Kurt a one armed hug and kissed his temple. "I love you kiddo."
"I love you too, Dad," Kurt said quietly.
"So, what did your dad want?" Puck asked Kurt. They were lying in their separate beds, though Puck had pushed the air mattress right over next to Kurt's bed. Finn was out cold on the pull out couch.
Kurt leaned over his bed to look down at his boyfriend. "He wanted to tell me that I don't have to fight to prove that I'm a man."
Puck snorted. "Babe, he totally stole that from a Kenny Rogers song."
Kurt eyed his boyfriend. "And what do you know of Kenny Rogers?"
"My mom loves his shit," Puck shrugged. "Used to make us listen to him all the time. That's like totally a line from 'Coward of the County'."
Kurt groaned as the song began to play in his head. He knew he was going to hear it in his sleep. "My dad loved that song." Kurt admitted. "I think maybe it had something to do with the way he and my mom got together."
"Makes sense," Puck shrugged. He looked over to check and see if Finn was asleep before climbing up to lie beside Kurt in his bed. "Sorry. I just want to hold you for a while."
Kurt hummed and allowed Puck to gather him into his arms. "I love that you always make me feel safe and warm."
"You don't need me to keep you safe," Puck scoffed. "You are a true badass."
"Yeah," Kurt said with a small smile. He leaned in to kiss Puck, but had to pull back before it got too out of control. "Fuck that hurts."
Puck ran a gentle hand over the bruising on Kurt's cheek. It was more pronounced now and the purple marks reached from his temple to the side of his mouth. "Poor baby."
"I told my dad that I don't want to mess up my pretty face," Kurt said. "So I'm probably not going to fight for much longer. Maybe just two or three more and then I'm going to retire before they try to put me in a higher level."
Puck chuckled and kissed Kurt softly. "I won't complain. I'd like to keep your face pretty too." Puck was quiet for a minute before admitting, "It was tough watching you this time. I had to hold your dad back, but I just wanted to go out there with him and kill Landon."
"I'm glad you didn't," Kurt told him. "Because as good as it feels to have you protect me, it feels even better knowing that I can protect myself when you aren't around."
"I'm glad that you can," Puck said. "I'm so glad that you stumbled across the club. Otherwise I might never have known how bad things had gotten."
"And if you weren't teaching me to fight you wouldn't have fallen for me," Kurt said.
Puck nuzzled Kurt's neck and whispered. "Nah. I think that would have happened anyway. I'd already noticed you last year. And the more time we spent together, the more it became inevitable that I would love you."
"You love me?" Kurt asked breathlessly.
"Of course I do," Puck said. "And you love me."
Kurt smiled at the certainty in Puck's voice. "Of course I do."
"Great, everyone loves everyone," Finn muttered from his side of the room. "Can we shut up and go to sleep now?"
Kurt and Puck both laughed. Puck kissed Kurt once more before closing his eyes and drifting off.
Kurt lay in Puck's arms and thought about how much had changed in just a few short months. He wasn't worried about the bullies at school anymore. His dad and Carole were going to get married and Finn seemed to be accepting of the change. He loved the new house and couldn't wait until the closing so that he could move into his new room. And best of all, he had Puck. All the problems that had plagued him and sent him wandering that first night seemed to have disappeared to be replaced by something he hadn't felt in a very long time—not really since his mother died. Kurt Hummel was happy. And with that last thought, he joined Finn and Puck in sleep.
A/N: Okay everyone, that's my third Puck/Kurt story posted and still no smut. There is definitely a problem here. I think the Smut Muse has deserted me. So I ask for you all to pray and offer sacrifices to Trina, the goddess of porn, so that the muse will return. Because, really, what is a vampire story without smut?
Thanks again for the great support on this story. You guys really are the best! I'll keep working and hopefully get the vampire story finished this weekend or early next week (I'm on chapter 5 already). See you soon! Jules