Title: I Have No Regrets, There Was Nothing To Forget (All The Pain Was Worth It)
Warning(s): Coarse Language
Prompt: Puck buys two slushies. One for him to drink (and maybe share with Rachel) and one for Rachel to throw in the face of anyone she wants. by for enchantedrose80 – puckrachel drabble meme (part seven)
Word Count: 3,642
Summary: Puck thinks Rachel deserves to slushee one of her bullies… Like usual, it's icy corn syrup that brings them together.
I Have No Regrets, There Was Nothing To Forget (All The Pain Was Worth It)
The 7-Eleven was a familiar sight these days. Since Noah and Lauren had broken up over the summer, she found herself spending more and more time with him. And after she and Finn broke up a month and a half ago, the two of them had been nearly inseparable. Like many lunch hours before it, he convinced her to leave school property and trip around town. Many times, they would drive around the small and usually boring town, listening and oftentimes singing to whatever came on the radio. There were a few instances in September and early October when the water was still warm enough to go swimming and the school's air conditioning wasn't enough to stave off the heat, resulting in a mid-afternoon swim where he tried unsuccessfully to encourage her to try skinny-dipping. This time, however, he had only 7-Eleven in mind and a plan that put her on edge. Noah, while mostly rehabilitated, still had a mischievous streak in him that he fully encouraged her to mimic. While she'd been coerced into a few moments of teenage rebellion at his hand (parties, underage drinking, jaywalking), she wasn't so sure about his latest act of badassery – his word, obviously.
"I feel like this may go against my moral compass… Having a direct understanding of what it feels like, I shouldn't be perpetuating the cycle," Rachel told him, chewing her lip as he filled up not one, but two cups with icy cold slushee.
He rolled his eyes, handing the grape back to her to put a cap on. "Babe, this is revenge… And you know what they say about that?"
"Gorgeous hair is the best revenge?" she asked, brows furrowed as she reached back to stroke her own long, dark locks.
"What?" His face screwed up. "No!" He shook his head. "It's best served cold." He smirked, looking proud of himself for his pun.
She scoffed. "I happen to appreciate Ivana Trump's version better."
He sighed, letting go of the handle and pulling the cup out, filled to the brim with cherry. "Look… I'm not saying it's nice and it's probably immature and stupid and all that other bullshit that's going around in your head—"
"It's called a conscience, Noah, and my worry over the lack of yours doubles every day."
"But these dudes deserve a little cold justice, okay?" He reached over and grabbed out a straw, putting it behind his ear before he walked up to pay at the counter. "I mean, how many awesome times did they ruin tossing these things in your face?"
She blinked thoughtfully, her lower lip jutting out. "Well, there have been a great many days that started out positively only to be irrevocably destroyed when I soon had to change my outfit or spend my morning avoiding any halls with Lettermen's jackets."
"Yeah, and did they ever apologize for making you feel like that?" he asked, brows spiked meaningfully.
She blew out a huff. "No."
"See?" He shrugged, handing over a five to the cashier. "Hey, I was there; I did the same shit they did and you know I regret that…" He stared down at her sincerely. "But I didn't know how lame it was until I went through it myself, right?"
She tipped her head thoughtfully. "Well you did seem to have quite the epiphany afterwards…" She smiled slowly. "You even chose glee over football."
Taking his change back, he stuffed it in his pocket and raised a brow. "Yeah, that wasn't 'cause of the slushee…"
Rachel frowned. "Well then why did you—"
"You," he interrupted simply, before walking out of the store and toward his truck.
Rachel stood slack-jawed in the 7-Eleven, staring after him and his lazy, albeit attractive, swagger. Shaking her head, she got a hold of herself and hurried after him. He dropped the slushee cups to the roof of his baby while he opened the old, creaky blue door and then drew them down to put in the cup holder. Rachel opened the other side and jumped up and onto the seat, smiling when he glared at her bemusedly as the cherry slushee nearly spilled over onto the floor.
Amused, she reminded, "There's a reason they offer caps, Noah."
"Waste of plastic," he muttered, taking his own seat and slamming the door rather hard.
Putting on her seatbelt, she stared at him until he mimicked her, rolling his eyes. Turning the ignition, he reached over and lowered the volume on the radio when it blasted out a too-cheery pop tune. "That's why you're not allowed to play with the radio."
She scoffed, still smiling, and reached over to fiddle with the dial as he backed out of the parking lot, amused when he didn't slap her hand away but did mutter about stubborn woman.
"If you think I'm going to completely ignore that rather interesting declaration back there, you're delusional," she told him.
He glanced at her out of the corner of his eyes. "Figured that."
She let him stew as they drove two blocks from the store, another eight between them and WMHS.
"So?" he finally asked, irritably.
She grinned widely. "I thought you were going to break up with me anyway," she reminded, raising a brow.
"Whatever…" He shook his head, flipping his turn signal. "What dude wouldn't say that when they're being dumped?"
She bit her lip, eyes downcast. "I never meant to hurt your feelings, Noah…"
"'s a long time ago, B, 'm over it…"
She stared at him, eyes narrowed thoughtfully. "Are you?"
His jaw clenched. "I'm used to Finn getting the girl… Took his slow-ass time getting you, but it happened…"
She picked at the pleats of her skirt. "Finn and I have been over for some time now…"
"Yeah," he snorted. "What's that? Break-up number three for you guys? What a way to spend senior year…"
She conceded his point, pursing her lips. "Third time's the charm, they say."
He looked over her, brows furrowed. "Babe, you guy's have tried this thing like…" He started flicking his fingers up off the steering wheel like he was counting up all their reunions.
She rolled her eyes. "That's not what I meant…" she sighed, exasperated. "Third break-up is the charm…" She shook her head and clasped her hands in her lap. "Finn and I were kidding ourselves making that ridiculous assumption that we could be happy with just this last year together… I want New York, more than anything, more than him… And despite the fact that he said he understood that, he didn't…" She licked her lips, tugging on each of her fingers individually. "Each time we broke up, for the same old reasons I might add, it became clearer to me that we were beating a dead horse…" She tucked her hair behind her ear. "I can't be with someone, not happily anyway, if I'm constantly waiting for it to be over…" She frowned. "It's not that I didn't love Finn, I did… But not so much that I would give up everything to stay here in Lima and be his—his perfect small town girlfriend or wife…"
She looked up suddenly and realized they were at McKinley, parked, with the truck turned off.
"So that's it then…" He raised an eyebrow at her. "You and Finn are toast?"
"Yes… Unbuttered, 12-grain, burnt and stale."
He blinked at her. "You're buckets of crazy…"
She glared at him sourly. "Thank you, Noah, I feel so much better after bearing my soul to you and having you remind me, yet again, that I am entirely unusual…"
He shrugged. "Never said it was bad… just crazy…"
"When has crazy ever been a compliment?"
"Ten seconds ago when I said it," he told her, rolling his eyes. Reaching over, he grabbed up the grape slushee and shoved out of his truck.
With a heavy sigh, she grabbed the cherry and followed after him, closing the passenger door lightly.
"If that's your version of a compliment, I have a lot of work to do."
He smirked at her. "You think you can reform my badass ways?"
"I wouldn't want to," she told him, lifting her shoulders. "But perhaps teaching you a more refined way of complimenting a girl wouldn't hurt." She walked primly ahead of him, her fingers chilled as they clutched the cup tightly.
"You think I don't have game, Berry?" he asked, looking affronted.
Her eyes rolled. "I'm sure your game works just fine on many girls, Noah…"
"So you think I can't compliment you then?"
"I think you have an unusual way of doing so and that I'm not actually flattered by your comments," she explained.
He frowned. "The fuck? Why not?"
"Noah…" She turned around to face him, her hip cocked. "Exactly how is it flattering that you call me crazy? Or tell me my voice is so loud I'm hurting dog's hears? Or that my skirts should be banned in certain states? Or that—"
"Okay, okay…" He rubbed the back of his neck. "Look, I like your crazy… It's…" He shrugged. "I dunno, it's hot… It's like… You're just…" He looked away, almost looking, dare she think it, embarrassed. "You're all passionate about shit and that's… That's cool…" He licked his lips. "And the loud thing, well…" He wiggled his brows. "I like 'em loud."
She frowned at him.
"And I just meant that you've got a stellar voice, y'know? Like you hit notes only dogs can hear; shit's unique."
She pursed her lips to keep from smiling, but a warmth had began fluttering at her heart.
"And the skirt thing…" He stared at her, smirking. "Those really should be banned, Rach. They're short as fuck and seriously hot… You think I want other dudes checking out your goods?" He shook his head. "Those legs are killer; I'm one of only a few lucky bastards who know that… I'd like to keep it on the down-lo."
She raised a brow teasingly. "And you would worry about other boys paying attention to my legs, because…?"
He scowled. "You're really gonna make me spell it out?"
She stepped up to him slowly, peering up at him, certain she already knew the answer but wanting to hear it from him. "Why'd you choose glee for me, Noah?"
"Same reason I'd do anything for you now, Rachel…" He stared at her seriously. "You got me wrapped around your little midget finger…"
Instead of taking offense to his 'short joke,' she smiled rather smugly. "Do I?" she murmured coyly.
His lips tilted in a half-smirk. "For awhile now."
She nodded slowly. "That could be a very appealing position to be in…"
He leered at her. "I know a few other positions we could get ourselves into."
She rolled her eyes, chuckling helplessly. "Oh, I'm sure you do." Turning on her heel, she started back for the doors of the school.
"Hey," he called after her, stalking quickly forward to keep pace. "That's it? You call me out on the whole whipped thing and then just, what? Leave it at that?"
She bit her lip, looking over at him. "Well that depends, really…"
He raised a brow impatiently. "On?"
She sighed, nerves fluttering wildly in her stomach. "What are your plans after graduation, Noah?"
She could see as realization dawned on him. "You think getting with me's gonna be like Finn… That I'll wanna stay in Lima and you'll get heartbroken; either 'cause you'll ditch me or for some fucked up reason I'd talk you into staying…"
Her eyes fell. "Is it really so far-fetched?"
"For me…?" He nodded, eyes wide. "Yeah."
Confused, she looked up at him.
"Rach, I want outta Lima… There is nothing keeping me here…" He shook his head. "I love my ma and my sister's cool shit most of the time, but I'm not staying here to waste away…" He half-grinned at her. "I'm fuckin' talented and I'mma bring my A-game to New York."
She stared up at him, her smile widening slowly. "New York?"
He grinned. "Hey, if I wasn't gonna get you in Lima, figure I had a better chance in the big apple…" He shrugged. "No way was Finn following, so all I had to do was wait out senior year; lay some ground-work… Soon as we hit New York, I'd start negotiating my way outta the friend zone…"
She chuckled softly. "Rather elaborate plan, don't you think?"
He shrugged. "You're worth it."
She grinned. "Now that is a much better compliment."
"I'm a charming s.o.b, babe."
She sighed, shaking her head; what a way with words he had.
He reached for her, tugging on a loose strand of hair. "So you and Hudson…? This shit's definite?"
She nodded staunchly. "I've made it very clear to him that I didn't want to pursue a relationship any longer…"
His head bobbed agreeably, eyes falling. "And you and me?"
"Well…" She peered up at him from beneath long lashes. "Unless you wanted to wait to enact your plan inNew York, I don't see why we can't see where a relationship might take us now…"
He smirked. "One condition…"
Her eyes narrowed. "Be careful what you insinuate," she warned.
He snorted. "Nothing sexual…" He wiggled his brows. "Unless you're ready for that."
She stared at him.
"Fine." He shrugged. "No big."
She tipped her head. "All right then, what is your condition?"
He nodded his chin down to the slushee in her hand. "It's time for you to break out your inner-badass and exact some revenge, Rach…"
She looked down dubiously at the somewhat melted cherry slush in her hand. "Is it really that important?"
His smile softened a little. "Okay, it's not a condition… 'Cause let's face it, I'm still gonna rock you…" He slid an arm around her waist and turned her around to start walking down the hall. "But I really think you deserve to throw it in the face of your worst offender…" He frowned. "Besides me."
"I've already forgiven you," she reminded.
"Right… So one slushee isn't gonna kill ya… Might even make you feel good."
She frowned thoughtfully. "I'm really not sure about this."
He sighed, letting her go so he could reach up and pluck the straw from behind his ear. He popped it in the grape slush and held it out to her. "Babe, if you wanna toss the cherry shit in the garbage and forget it, fine… We can share the grape and make-out on the bleachers… But if you wanna toss one in Karofsky's or Azimio's or anybody's face, I'll be right here to back you up if they go postal…"
Thoughtfully, she wrapped her lips around the straw and sucked in the grape flavor, letting it spread across her tongue. Releasing it, she raised her chin and looked up at him. "There were a great many outfits ruined by slushees…"
"The dry-cleaning bill was atrociously high."
"And the time spent picking ice from my hair…" She shook her head. "Or scrubbing dye from my skin…" Her eyes narrowed into slits. "Or explaining to my fathers why I left in one outfit but came home in another." She drew a deep, angry breath.
"That's it babe… Find your inner-rage."
Suddenly stomping forward, she worked up a rampage as she stalked through the halls of McKinley, looking from student to student. An excited Noah kept up with her eagerly; grinning wildly.
She stopped suddenly, spotting a Letterman's jacket and a smirk curved her lips. There was a moment where logic interceded, however, and she glanced back at him. "You're certain you'll be able to handle whatever retaliation they might serve?" She frowned. "We won't be graduating for quite a few months, Noah. I'm certain this will only incite their hatred toward me."
He nodded at her firmly. "I got your back, babe."
She couldn't help but smile at his support. "On the other hand, you could be right and it's eye-opening for him."
"Maybe…" His facial expression told her they were probably going to pay quite a bit for this act of rebellion.
Sighing, she started walking again, remembering the many times her joy had been so unkindly snuffed out by a slushee to the face; how any happiness she'd been feeling drained away at the sound of the resulting laughter, from both the offender and her peers; how often she had to paste on a stage-smile to keep her dads from knowing the awful truth about her school life. The ache in her chest burned until she was nearly panting with rage and she stepped forward, not caring who saw.
He turned, brows furrowed.
"Thanks for the memories!" She tossed the cup hard and felt the full weight of flavored ice leap forward and spray across the bully's face.
Surprised gasps and chatter filled the hallway.
Rachel stood, arm still raised, cup in hand.
As if in slow-motion, Karofsky reached up and dragged his fingers through the hollows of his eyes, digging out the cherry ice before throwing it to the floor. His jaw ticked as he stared down at Rachel.
Just as her body shook with a flood of fear, she felt the warmth of Noah standing behind her, radiating against her back. "Not so funny any more, is it?" he asked.
Karofsky's nostrils flared, his eyes going from her to Noah and then back again. His body was tense; shoulders set. He looked around to see people staring, pointing, even taking pictures.
Rachel could see his skin reddening and she knew it was more from embarrassment than the colored corn syrup.
A part of her felt smug; like she'd done exactly what needed doing; that he deserved that feeling, that humiliation and overwhelming loneliness. And another part of her felt awful; like she'd lowered herself to their level; as if she was no better than them.
With a sigh, her resentment flowed from her chest. "I can help you clean up," she told him, shoulders slumping slightly.
He stared at her, eyes narrowing. "Why?"
"Ditto that shit," Puck said, his tone full of surprise.
She frowned. "Don't get me wrong… You certainly deserved to know exactly what it felt like for me every day that I've been here…" She stared at him searchingly. "But that doesn't mean that what I did was right…" She handed the empty cup back to Noah, who tossed it in a nearby garbage can, and then she held a hand out to David. "If you don't wash it off soon, the dye will set and trust me, it is much more difficult to scrub off then…"
He looked at her hand and then around him, like he didn't want others to know that he'd even consider touching her willingly. "I don't need your help..."
Her hand fell slowly. "Perhaps not… But I offered it." She raised her chin. "And if you choose to slushee me for the rest of the year, more so than usual that is, then so be it… At least I'll know that my actions were wrong and I tried to make up for them…" Turning on her heel, she took Noah's hand and started walking.
He was staring at her. "Babe… Not that I didn't think that was kinda awesome… But I don't think you're supposed to be apologizing to your bully; it's the other way around…"
"No, you're probably right," she agreed. "But as much as I felt he deserved to know that humiliation, I don't…" She looked up at him worriedly. "I don't want to be like them."
He half-smiled, wrapping an arm around her and dragging her tight to his side. "You're a good person, Rachel… Better than any of them."
Resting her head on his chest, she encircled his waist with her arm. It felt nice, comforting and accepting, and each time she inhaled she was breathing him in. She could almost taste the warm masculinity on her tongue; her senses drowning a bit. She nuzzled her nose against him and felt relief and all consuming feeling of rightness; as if this was where she was meant to be, who she was meant to be with. They weren't, perhaps, the most likely pairing and she was sure others would tell them they wouldn't or shouldn't work, but she knew they'd be wrong. She and Noah made sense in a way that others might not understand or appreciate, but she did and he did and that was all that mattered.
Thinking on her afternoon and the dramatic changes that occurred, she had to smile. Squeezing him, she admitted, "It was rather amusing, don't you think? The expression on his face… He never saw it coming!"
He snorted, leaning down to press a kiss against her hair. "My little badass…"
Rolling her eyes, she reached over and took the grape slushee from him. "Careful, Noah… I may just take that to heart and cultivate a reputation even more shocking than your own."
He laughed, shaking his head. "C'mon… We got maybe ten minutes to make out in the choir room before Karofsky and his buddies start hunting us down to slushee us to death."
She beamed up at him. "Was it worth it?"
He grinned down at her and with little preamble, he slanted his mouth across hers in a deep, warm kiss that made her feet stutter to a halt, her body tingle head to toe, and her heart thump wildly in her chest. Panting a little, he told her, "Ask me again when we're in New York and I don't have to worry about frostbite anymore."
Months later, happily exploring New York, hand-in-hand, future bright ahead of them, she'd do just that. His reply? Fuck yeah, babe. All of it. She sincerely concurred.