Title: Almost Lover

Author: TheMastress, or smartalli on LJ

Count: 2200+

Characters: Puck/Rachel with mentions of Kurt/Rachel and Rachel/Tina friendship

Warnings: A little Puck language. AU.

Summary: "I realize that I don't know you, and it's possible that what I'm about to say may come out as slightly psychotic, but can you be my boyfriend for five minutes?"

Disclaimer: Don't own it. Not mine. Don't sue.

A/N: From a prompt from the puckrachel drabble meme.


"I realize that I don't know you, and it's possible that what I'm about to say may come out as slightly psychotic, but can you be my boyfriend for five minutes?"

When Puck looks up from pool table he sees this tiny brunette standing in front of him, an open bottle of beer in her right hand. She tucks her hair behind one ear and looks up at him nervously and he leans in to her, setting the pool cue down across the table and taking the beer out of her hand. He takes a long draw then settles his hip against the edge of the table. It brings them closer together and she only tenses briefly before she calms down and allows him into her space.

"Does you needing a boyfriend have anything to do with the weirdo standing by the mens room, tryin' to kill me with his eyes?"

She starts to turn her head and he wraps a hand around the back of her neck, his thumb tracing a pattern along her jaw. He takes another sip of the beer, smaller this time, and locks his eyes with hers. Her eyes widen a fraction and she says, "Tall? Button down shirt? Bizarre haircut for a man his age?"

He sets the beer down and wraps an arm around her waist, pulling her up against his body firmly. She lets out a little gasp, just loud enough for the two of them to hear, and he smirks as he presses his face into her neck. "Yep."

"It...uh...everything. He uh...won't...what are you...doing?"

"Well, if I'm your boyfriend, I gotta sell it, right?" He noses his way from behind her ear to her cheek, nudging her jaw. "I mean, what good's a fake boyfriend if he sucks?"

Her hands grip his biceps and her eyelids flutter. "Uh..no good. No good at...all."

"Exactly. So what'd this guy do that's got you running for the fuckin' hills, huh?"

He pulls back enough to look in her face and it takes her a moment to compose herself. Puck smirks and picks up the beer, taking another sip. She looks up at him through her lashes and she's breathin' kinda heavy and shit, and he wants to take this girl home. Now. He wonders if she'll let him.

She sighs. "It's a blind...something...that was set up by a mutual friend who apparently seems to think I'm into accountants who still live with their mother. All he does is talk about numbers. I met him here about fifteen minutes ago, and I know more about dividends than I ever need to. And he seems to think it's acceptable to put his hands on me, even when I kindly asked him not to on more than one occasion."

"Woah...he put his fuckin' hands on you?" She looks down at his arms and then looks back up at him pointedly. He shakes his head and says, "Not even close to the same thing, baby. For one, you asked me to be your boyfriend, and with a girl as gorgeous as you, you can bet my hands are gonna take as much advantage of the situation as they can. And you should give me a little credit, 'cause they're totally keeping things PG right now, even though they want to move south."

She blushes and looks away. "I asked you to pretend to be my boyfriend."

He turns her head back toward his. "Same thing. And two...I don't put my hands on a girl if they tell me not to. Shit's just not kosher."

"Is he still there?"

"Yep. Wait...lemme try something..." Puck takes one more sip of the beer before he sets the bottle down and pulls her in close again. He nuzzles his face into her hair and runs his hands down her back, inching them slowly further and further south, and he feels her breath quicken. His eyes catch douchebag's across the bar and Puck smirks at him, planting a kiss into the tiny brunette's hair.

Douchebag sputters and chokes on his drink – probably something pretentious like a Martini or something, which makes him even more of a douchebag, 'cause they're in a fuckin' Irish pub – and starts to walk over to them.

Puck pulls back and looks down at the gorgeous brunette in his arms and says, "Yep. That totally did it."

She looks up, confused. "Did what?"

"He's headed over. And he looks like his head is gonna explode."

Her eyes go wide and she starts to turn around but he holds her tight and says, "Didn't you want to get rid of him?"

"Well, yes, but-"

He watches douchebag walk over to them, shoving his way through groups of people, and Puck puts his mouth next to Rachel's ear and says, "Anything I need to know?"

"Uh...I'm uh...huh?"

He laughs softly. "What's your name, baby? How old are you? What do you do?"

"Oh! Uh...I'm Rachel...Rachel Berry. I'm uh...twenty-six, Jewish. I'm an actress...on Broadway. I'm on Broadway."

He laughs again. "Yeah? Broadway, huh?"

"Yes. I'm in the revival of Anything Goes." She takes a deep breath and says, "What about you?"

"Noah Puckerman. My friends call me Puck."

"I think I'll call you Noah, if that's alright with you."

He shakes his head and smiles 'cause he has a feeling that even if he told her no, this chick totally wouldn't listen to him. "I'm twenty-seven. Also Jewish. And I'm a firefighter."

"Oh! Well that certainly explains your-"

She stops herself and her face goes red. He lifts an eyebrow and says, "Explains my what?"

"Oh, nothing. Sometimes my mouth starts talking before I tell it to stop."

"Uh huh." He squeezes her a little and she looks up at him. "Explains my what, Rach?"

Her eyes widen a little at the pet name and she's about to speak when douchebag says, "Rachel? Is this man bothering you?"

"Does she look bothered to you?"

Puck looks over at the dude and really wants to give a giant slap upside the head to whichever of her friends decided this douche was even close to right for Rachel. He's just met this chick, but he can already tell she won't be satisfied by some buttoned-up dude with a bowl cut and a pocket protector.

"My date looks incredibly uncomfortable."

Rachel rolls her eyes and says, "I can assure you I am not, Eugene. And I am not your date. As I tried to explain before, this was not a date. It was just drinks."

"Lemme ask you something, douchebag...can I call you douchebag?"

The dude bristles and says, "My name is Eugene."

Puck nods, tightens his arms around Rachel – damn straight he's stakin' his fuckin' claim – and says, "So douchebag...what makes you think I'd be such an idiot that I'd let my smokin' hot girl go out with another guy?"

"She's not your girlfriend."

"That what you think?" Puck tilts Rachel's face up toward his with his finger and says, "Rach? Baby? Are you mine?"

She hesitates for just a moment then smiles up at him, all soft and sweet, and says, "Yes, Noah. I'm yours."

Puck looks over at the other man and says, "There you go, douchebag. She said it herself."

"If she was really your girlfriend, why would she have spent fifteen minutes with me at the bar when her boyfriend was across the room the whole time?"

Puck runs his hand through Rachel's hair and smiles down at her. " 'Cause she's a fuckin' saint, and she doesn't want to hurt her friend's feelings by telling them no when they ask her to do stupid shit, like have drinks with douchebags. She was doing her friend a favor." He looks over at Eugene and says, "Drinks are over. Go home."

Eugene huffs and glances at Rachel one more time before he turns and flounces – seriously, the dude flounces – out of the damn bar.

And if Puck waits an extra minute or two to loosen his hold on Rachel, well...the least he's owed is a little more time holding this gorgeous girl in his arms.

"Thank you, Noah. Really. You're a lifesaver."

"Your friends suck."

She frowns. "Kurt and Tina are actually rather lovely. They're just...persistent. And they're also quite happy in their relationships, so they want everyone else they know to be happy and in relationships too. Hence...Eugene."

"And how many douchebags have they made you go out with in the last few months?" She blushes and tucks her hair behind her ear and he snorts and rolls his eyes. "Yeah, like I said...your friends suck."

"They mean well."

"Or I'm right, and you're just a saint."

She shrugs and takes the bottle from his hand, tipping it back and taking a sip. When she hands it back, he lifts an eyebrow and she says, "You know, that is technically my beer you've been drinking."

He drains the last of the beer from the bottle and says, "Yeah? Then why didn't you tell me to stop drinking it?"

She shrugs. "I asked you to do something that was probably out of your comfort zone." She blushes again and shifts, like she still kinda can't believe she went up to a perfect stranger in the middle of a goddamn bar and asked him to be her boyfriend. "I believe some recompense was in order."

"I think I deserve more than a beer for that performance, baby."

"Oh! Well...certainly. You're right. You deserve far more for the inconvenience than just a beer. What else can I do for you? I'm an excellent baker. Or-"

"You."

"I'm sorry?"

She looks a little startled all of a sudden, like she's afraid she might have picked the wrong guy to trust, and he's got to set her straight on that shit right away. 'Cause yeah, he totally wants to have sex with Rachel, but it's not like that shit can't wait or anything. He can already tell she's not the type to go home with some guy she barely knows, so if he's gotta work for it a little, well...that's cool. 'Sides...he has a feeling she's totally gonna be worth the wait. "You. I want a date. With you."

That calms her down and she smiles and says, "Oh! Why?"

He lifts an eyebrow. "Did you happen to look in the mirror this morning?" She blushes again – fuck he loves when she does that – and he says, "Plus, you can use me to get your crappy friends off your back."

She frowns. "As I said before, they are not...crappy."

He points over his shoulder with his thumb and says, "Exhibit A. You know they're gonna keep settin' you up with losers like Eugene unless you put your foot down."

She glances over at the closed door and sighs. "You may have a point. Okay, yes. I would love to go out with you, Noah Puckerman."

He smirks. "Awesome. How's Friday?"

She smiles. "Friday's good for me."

"Good. Hey, can I borrow your phone?" She looks a little puzzled but hands her phone over. Puck scrolls down through the contacts until he finds the listing he's looking for and, with the phone to his ear, says, "Hey...your friend Kurt. His last name is Hummel, right?"

"Yes, why?"

Puck shakes his head and when he hears a voice on the other end of the phone, he says, "Is this Kurt? Yeah? So you're the shitty friend that's been setting your girl up with douchebags, huh?"

"Noah!"

Rachel tries to reach for the phone, but he twists away from her and wraps an arm around her, holding her in place. "Yeah, so I just wanted to give you a little PSA. Spread it around. Rachel's off the fuckin' market, got it?"

Rachel stops struggling against him and he looks down at her. She's giving him this look that makes him think half of her wants to kiss him and the other half wants to punch him and he smiles. He misses Kurt's question so he asks him to repeat it and when Puck hears it, he asks, confused, "You wanna know what I do?"

He raises an eyebrow and looks down at Rachel, who shrugs in response. "I'm a fireman."

Puck's pretty sure he's never heard a dude scream at that high of a decibel before.