Summary: When the gleeks are stranded at a rundown motel for the weekend, Puck starts acting strangely and isolating himself from the others. But is he really just tired or is there something else going on?
Pairings: Chang-squared, Fuinn, Kurtofsky. Puck/Rachel/Santana/Sam/Blaine/Brittany friendship, emphasis on Puck/Sam bromance.
Warnings: This contains spoilers up to the second season finale. It pretty much goes AU after that for obvious reasons. Just assume everything up to the New York episode is canon. After that, it goes off into Ms. P's happy land! Um, also this is a story by me. So expect some mild to severe Finn bashing. But to be fair I also threw in some Kurt, Quinn and Mercedes bashing too. Sorry to anyone that offends but it had to be done.
Disclaimer: I don't own this show or anything related to this show. If I did there would be many more songs featuring Santana, Puck and Artie. There would also be a lot more Mike and his wondrous abs. There would also be a lot less Finn and Chord Overstreet wouldn't be gone. Clearly I don't own the show. So my vision will just have to live on through my stories. *sniff*
Author's Note: Finally. I'm finally posting this. I've been working on this for months, I kid you not. I've been agonizing over this one for quite some time and I've finally decided to post what I have so far. No point in slaving over it if y'all aren't interested, right? So here is the first of what should be five or so chapters of Broken. I hope you enjoy. And per the usual… I apologize in advance!
Run Myself Out and No One Cares
It was quiet, dangerously bordering on being too damn quiet for his liking. If it was one thing that he'd learned in the two years he'd known him, it was that Noah Puckerman wasn't quiet. He was always humming, or talking, or ranting about something. The point was that he was always making noise. But now it was quiet. Too quiet. Sam knocked on the door once more, trying to keep the anxiety that was feeling from showing. He pressed his eat against the door, straining and hoping to hear some sort of movement inside. But it remained eerily still.
"Dude, come on. It's just me." There was still no response. "Puck, open the damn door!"
He didn't want to admit to being worried earlier, but now that he was alone and not getting an answer, he was over that shit. He was actually very worried. Between the general weirdness that was Puck so far this weekend and the clusterfuck of a scene earlier, Sam was beyond concerned. He started to raise his hand to knock again when he noticed that the door was slightly agar. Cursing his own stupidity for failing to notice that before pounding on the door like a psycho, he pushed it open and stepped inside.
The feeling of wrong that drove him to follow after Puck only intensified as he stepped fully into the room. It was neat and orderly. Pretty much the total opposite of Puck. His best friend was a textbook example of pure organized chaos. Everywhere he went, Puck left some sort of sign he was there. Even the corner of the Evans' family motel room he claimed for the majority of the summer screamed that at some point Puck was there. But now… there was nothing. Brittany was right. There was something wrong here. And it was all about Puck.
"Puck? Dude, you in here?"
There was no response. The knots in his stomach continued to twist. He looked around the empty room and frowned. Puck's bag remained packed at the foot of the bed. The bed itself was clearly never slept in and was still neatly made.
"Puck? Where the hell are you?"
He was yelling now and he really didn't care. It wasn't as if anyone would notice. Santana and the others were most likely on the third floor as it was the closest to what they were claiming as their room. And if the others were still around, he could give two shits if he was disturbing them. They probably wouldn't care even if they did hear him. As he ran a hand through his hair, his eyes landed on the one place he hadn't thought to look yet. The bathroom door was closed shut.
"Dude, if you're just in here taking a shit or something, I swear I'm gonna…."
The words died on his lips as he stared in disbelief and horror at the sight that greeted hi when he opened the bathroom door. He finally found Puck and god how he wished he hadn't. Puck was slumped against the bathtub with the shower curtain wrapped around his throat. Tightly wrapped around his throat. And he wasn't moving. Puck was always moving but now… he wasn't. And there was a shower curtain wrapped around his goddamn throat.
"Puck?" Sam asked, in quiet disbelief. He didn't even blink as his legs gave out and he fell heavily against the cold tile floor. He felt bile rising in his throat as he stared at the lifeless form of his best friend. Several thoughts were competing for his attention but the only one he could grab hold of was: how the hell did we end up here?
"For the record, in case it was not beyond obvious by this latest piece of shit, Principal Figgins is a cheap, penny pinching bastard!"
"Santana!" Will admonished, though Sam was convinced he was simply saying it more for the sake of saying it than because he actually disagreed with her. Sam found it hard to believe that anyone could argue with Santana's completely accurate assessment.
Their temporary home for the night was the Fresh Meadows Inn. It was one of those cutesy, kitschy small town America places that catered to those that still believed in family owned businesses. Or at least that's what the brochure said. The truth was that the Fresh Meadows Inn looked like it had seen its better days about ten years ago. That was probably one of the reasons it was empty and cheap. None of the other schools would send their choirs there. None but McKinley. It would never change. Figgins would always be a cheap, corner cutting bastard. He should've known that there would be a catch when they were promised their own rooms. There was always a catch with this school.
"Mr. Schue, I speak not as Santana's best friend but simply as someone with an eye for quality and taste when I say that Santana has a point. This place leaves a lot to be desired," Rachel spoke up in Santana's defense. The Latina tilted her head in gratitude towards said best friend and turned her glare back on their choir director.
"Hey, guys. I know that this place is not the best looking but it's just for tonight. In the morning, we'll be back on the road back to Lima. This will just be one of those memories you can all look back on and smile about later in life."
Suddenly, Brittany shrieked and practically launched herself onto woefully unprepared Puck's back. Sam scrambled to grab his friend's guitar case before it hit the floor. He propped it up against the wall and laughed at Puck's confused expression. Brittany scrambled further up his body, locking her long legs around his waist. Her arms were wrapped tightly around his neck as she continued to peer over his shoulder at something on the floor.
"Nice impersonation of a monkey there, Britt," Blaine quipped. "Any particular reason you're choking the crap out of Puck?"
"I just saw a spider the size of Lord Tubbington."
No sooner had the words left her lips most of the girls (and Finn) were standing on various pieces of furniture or jumping onto various boyfriends. Or in Santana's case – ex-boyfriends. Sam grinned at the girl in his arms.
"Aw is Santana Lopez afraid of a little spider?" he asked, playfully. She glared at him but didn't relinquish the death grip she had on his shoulders.
"Little my ass. Have you see Britt's cat lately? I've seen the Great White Rhino eat less in one sitting than that cat weighs. And that's saying something since I'm pretty sure I've seen her devour your body weight in French fries for an appetizer."
Sam shook his head, his gaze drifting towards Puck to see if he caught the reference to his, as of last week, former girlfriend. To say that it had been a less than amicable split would've been the understatement of the century. Lauren publicly humiliated and emotionally devastated his best friend. And that was a daily feature of their actual relationship. But then they found out that Lauren actually cheated on him. And somehow Puck was ok with that. He said that he could forgive it and was willing to keep dating her. That's when Lauren dumped him… in the middle of the hallway before first period.
A week passed since it all exploded and Sam still couldn't wrap his mind around the whole situation. Actually he was still struggling to understand the relationship altogether. It wasn't as if he didn't appreciate curves (because hello, Mercedes) but he didn't understand why Lauren was such a bitch to Puck and why Puck allowed it. When he posed this question over the summer, Rachel blathered on about low sense of self worth and abandonment issues. Honestly Sam stopped listening about an hour into that speech. According to Brittany, it lasted for another two.
"You can let me down now," Santana's voice brought him back to the present. He looked at the girl still in his arms. "I'm pretty sure Britt just made that up so she could ninja attack Puck with a hug. Again."
Sam laughed letting Santana down. Brittany on the other hand did not seem to terribly eager to get down. On the contrary, she seemed perfectly comfortable now that he was actually supporting her weight. She was latched onto him like a psychotic koala bear and for once Puck had nothing to say about it. Ordinarily, he would be cracking jokes or making lewd comments. Now he was just quiet, an all too frequently used way to describe him lately. He spoke when spoken to and even then it wasn't the same. Sam did not like this one bit.
"Remind me to get my harpoon out for Monday," Santana grumbled, also staring at their two friends. "Bitch is going down."
"Santana, we talked about this," Rachel warned. "Violence is not going to solve Noah's problems. He's upset about the dissolution of his first long-term monogamous relationship. He'll be alright with time. As his friends, we should simply be there for him and not physically or verbally attack Lauren in his presence."
Santana arched an eyebrow. "So says the same midget that stormed into Sam's place and pretty much ordered him to punch her ex-boyfriend in the face."
Rachel flushed. "Those were entirely different circumstances. Finn was being a total asshole." Sam couldn't help but laugh. Six months of friendship with Santana and Rachel's proper vocabulary was pretty much a thing of the past. "He called me a whore and claimed I was cheating on him with Sam and Noah."
"There are worse things in this world to be accused of than sleeping with those two," Santana smirked. "Two hotties? What? That just sounds like a good time to me."
Rachel rolled her eyes. "Lebanese, remember?"
"I'm starting to think there's too much of me to tie to just one gender."
Rachel's no doubt wonderful response to that one was cut off by Mr. Schue pointedly clearing his throat. The senior members of New Directions looked up from their various conversations to see the owner of the establishment coming out from the back office. She was an older woman, probably in her fifties or more. Her long, silver colored hair was held back from her face with a simple clip.
"I don't like her," Santana mumbled. "She looks evil."
Blaine scoffed. "Evil? She's like a grandmother, San."
"Fine, an evil grandmother. Grannies can be evil too. Fairy tales can't be wrong."
"Hello, Mrs. Meadows," Will stepped forward. "My name is William Schuester. I believe that Principal Figgins spoke with you about the kids staying here tonight."
"Yes, I spoke with him. He sounds like such a lovely man," she smiled in their direction. "Welcome, it's been awhile since we've had any young people around here. The other show choirs unusually stay at the fancier hotels in town. So it's an honor to have the champions staying here. My son Ethan will be out in a minute to show you to your rooms."
"We're still staying in our own rooms?" Quinn asked, hesitantly. Sam noticed that her eyes were still scanning the floors as if she were looking for the imaginary spider.
"If you would prefer to buddy up, that can be arranged. But I request that there be no co-ed rooms. Just girls or boys, thank you. I will not condone any frisky business. So please remain in single gender rooms."
Blaine's smirk was decidedly smug. Sam felt obligated to elbow him in the stomach. This woman looked like the worst thing she could possibly imagine in her hotel would be teenage fornication of the heterosexual variety. He did not want to horrify the poor woman by exposing her to Blaine, who was scarily similar to Santana in all the bad ways. Speaking of Santana, she caught Blaine's look and smiled as well.
"I think that they'll be good in their own separate rooms," Will assured the woman, eyeing Blaine and Santana. The duo merely shrugged and continued to smirk. "You two are on my floor."
"Like that's going to stop us," Santana whispered. "He's going to be too busy sexting Ms. P to notice anything going on around him."
"Thank you for that one. I now have images in my head that can never be taken back," Sam gagged. Santana's response was to jump on him again. "What the hell, Satan?"
"Turns out Brittany didn't make the spider up after all."
Sam's eyes widened as he looked down at the nightmare inducing spider beast crawling towards them. "Holy shit! That thing is huge!"
"On second thought, he's kind of cute," Brittany said. "Puck, can we keep him?"
"Did you see the ass on that girl from Robertson Academy? It was huge!" Santana giggled. "It was like she had two asses! You know she had work done."
"She definitely had breast implants," Rachel added. "And then those implants had breast implants."
"I should've transferred to Robertson," Blaine sighed. "The guys are way better looking. And I'm pretty sure the majority of that choir was totally gay."
"Yeah, but then you would have been in yet another loser choir," Santana reminded him. "Plus you wouldn't have the awesomeness that is us."
"With all the hotness there, I wouldn't need you. And again did you see the male lead? He couldn't be more flaming than if he spontaneously combusted… on second though, he's too much like Kurt. Moving on….."
"I'm going to name him Mr. Creepers," was Brittany's entirely random yet appropriate addition to the conversation that seemed to be going everywhere and nowhere at the same time. It was part of what made conversing with them so damn headache inducing.
Sam blinked at the gossiping trio and Brittany who were currently lounging on the bed in his room. As he had no intention of gossiping like a girl (and whatever the hell Brittany was doing over there) he was relegated to the window seat… of his own room. Because he mentioned that they were doing this in his room, right? Still he didn't have the heart to kick any of them out. Somehow along the lines the four of them (and Puck) had become the most important people in his life aside from his parents and siblings. And that alone was the only reason he put up with the insanity and randomness they brought to his life. But he drew the line at mutant spiders that looked like something Lovecraft would write about.
"You know what I don't get?" Blaine asked, sitting up straight.
"Is it why you guys are invading my room and not someone else's?" Sam asked.
"Why Finn gets to hold onto the trophy," Blaine finished, pointedly ignoring Sam's response. "I mean it's not like Gigantor did anything to deserve keeping it."
"And that's exactly why we actually won," Santana said. "Notice how this shit is way more enjoyable since Schue actually listened to St. Doucheface and lets the rest of you guys sing. Finn really does sing and dance like a zombie that has to take a poop."
"Smartest thing Jesse's ever said," Brittany said, sagely. "And that's coming from me."
"You're smart, Britt," Rachel assured her. "Just in ways that the rest of us can't always understand."
Sam repressed the urge to snicker. Rachel was right about one thing. They definitely didn't always understand Brittany. But he loved the bubbly blonde and wouldn't trade the random things she said for anything in the world. Sam paused. His thoughts were getting way too sappy.
"Where's Puck? There is way too much estrogen in the room right now."
"Screw you, Evans," Blaine glared in his direction. Though his expression morphed into a more pensive and thoughtful expression a second later. "He's still in his room. I told him we were coming up here like an hour ago. He's still down there."
Brittany drew her knees up to her chest. "I don't think he's ok. He's really upset about this whole Lauren thing."
Rachel put a hand on Brittany's shoulder. "It's Noah, Britt. He'll get through this."
"And if he doesn't, we kill the bitch," Santana shrugged. Blaine nodded in agreement. Did Sam mention that he was seriously concerned with the amount of time they spent together? Maybe he should've been more concerned with Blaine after the breakup between him and Kurt. It clearly left a void in his life that was filled only by the insane, violent agent of destruction that was Santana.
"We're not killing anyone," Sam said, surprised that Rachel hadn't spoken up. He saw hesitation flicker across her face and frowned. "Ok, I'm going to go get Puck. You four stay here and try not to plot any murders while I'm gone."
"Take all the fun out of life, Trouty Mouth," Santana huffed.
"I'm sure you'll find some new and exciting way to make someone's life a living Hell before the night is over, San."
"You know us so well!"
Sam rolled his eyes and left in search of Puck. He really did know them all too well. That's why he knew that Puck shouldn't be alone right now. He wasn't handling this breakup well. And as Sam made his way down the stairs, he found he was actually contemplating Santana's murder theory. He was sure that between the six of them, they could find a way to cover it up. Sam learned that when those five set their minds on something, nothing short of an act of God was going to stop them.
He paused once he was standing in front of Puck's door. It felt different down here even though the hallways were designed exactly the same. His room was directly above Puck's but it felt different. The temperature was cooler here than it was upstairs. He glanced out the window and saw the snow was beginning to fall heavier. Shivering a little, and wishing he brought his sweater with him, Sam knocked on the door.
"Hey, Puck? You in there?"
There was no answer. Just as he was about to press his ear against the door, he heard a scuffling sound further down the hall. He cocked his head to the side as the noise repeated. He took a hesitant step forward. "Hello?" No response. "Ok, Sam, this is the part where you stop walking down the hall towards the weird noise because that's how you end up dead. Yet, here we are still walking towards the scary noise."
He kept walking towards the darkened corner of the hallway. The noise stopped abruptly and Sam felt the cold that was permeating the hallway intensify until suddenly a hand clamped down on his wrist. He would later deny the shrill cry that escaped his lips. But he was assured later that Kurt would've been jealous.
"What the hell?"
Sam put a hand over his racing heart and glared down at his best friend. "Dude, I've been calling you for the past five minutes!"
Puck shrugged. "Sorry, I didn't hear you." He pulled his legs up his chest. "Why were you looking for me?"
Sam sat down on the floor beside him. "I need a reason?"
"No, I guess not."
"Now why don't I believe that one?"
Puck snorted. "I don't know. Why don't you?"
Sam grinned and leaned his head back against the wall. "What are you doing out here anyway? You do realize you have a perfectly good room that's like less than twenty feet away, right?"
"Oh, is that what that is?" Puck murmured. "Yeah, I know. I just… I don't know… couldn't be in there right now."
"Did you get Blaine's message?"
"Yeah. They invaded your room."
"So what you got lost coming up the stairs or something?"
"Nah. I couldn't be there either."
Sam frowned. "Don't do this."
"The shutting us out thing. It's a pattern. You go through some serious shit. Shut out everyone that gives a damn about you and then you do something colossally stupid and end up in juvie."
"So Rach and Satan were talking about me again, huh?"
"Was it that obvious? Damn it."
"It's ok," Puck patted him on the leg. "I know it's from a place of caring."
"Now there's the asshole we all love," Sam grinned. "Seriously, don't shut us out. You've come too far in this last year to go back to irrationally angry and stupid Puck."
Puck laughed quietly. "I'm trying. I know you guys care and stuff. I just… I don't know. I feel weird."
"Weird like how?"
He watched as Puck closed his eyes thoughtfully. "Weird like… I don't know how to describe it. It just feels weird."
"That's it. There is too much feeling going around. I'm feeling all sappy about the others. You're feeling weird. Well, tomorrow night is guys' night. And there will be no feelings. Also contrary to popular belief, Santana does not count as a guy." Puck laughed again. That was progress as far as Sam was concerned. "So tomorrow night, you, me and Blaine. We could even get Artie and Mike involved too."
"That could be cool," Puck agreed, leaning his head forward on his knees. "Then again anything would be cooler than this place."
"So you're in agreement that it's a piece of shit?"
"It's a creepy piece of shit," Puck added. "I just get this feeling."
"More feelings, joy," Sam muttered. "You coming back with me?"
"I think I'm going to bed. Maybe some sleep will help me shake this crap off. Besides I'm sure that Schue will be by to collect Satan and Blaine anyway."
Sam chuckled. "I don't why he thinks that he can stop them. We've been doing these out of town choir shows for like three months now and they always end up wherever they want to be. Which is usually the opposite of where Mr. Schue wants them. When is he going to catch on?"
"I'm guessing by graduation," Puck laughed a little louder this time. He almost sounded normal. Sam patted himself on the back for a job well done.
"By the way, tomorrow you're sitting next to me on the bus. There is no way I'm sitting next to Rach again. She was going on about the greatness of Patti LuPone. Again. Then Finn kept glaring at me for daring to sit next to his ex, who's been our friend longer than they ever dated for. And it was all really weird and not cool."
"Still way better than sitting next to Britt," Puck countered. "I don't remember exactly what was said but I am now very worried and a little afraid of our bus driver. Also I'm thinking we should be more cautious around the cafeteria lady. Britt's got some theories about her." He shrugged. "So we stick together?"
"Definitely," Sam agreed, rising to his feet. He held a hand out to help Puck to his feet. "Night, bro."
Sam walked Puck back to his room and started towards the stairs. He paused when he noticed that Puck was still standing in front of the door. For a second, he swore he saw fear flash across Puck's features but it was quickly covered with annoyance when he realized Sam was staring at him.
"You know that if you need…" Sam trailed off awkwardly.
"If I need to, I can always come to you," Puck finished with a grin. "Yeah, I know, mom. Good night!"
Sam rolled his eyes as Puck walked into his room at last and closed the door behind him. He gave the door one final worried look and headed back to his own room. He wasn't even fully up the stairs when he heard confirmation that he still had company. And judging by the time and the volume they most likely were not leaving. Great. Mr. Schue would finally catch on tonight of all nights.
"Why are you all still here?" Sam groaned, entering the room. "Don't you have your own rooms? Or other individuals more worthy of your unique brand of torture?"
"Where's Puck?" Brittany asked, ignoring his complaints per the usual. He was starting to think that they had a built in Ignore Sam Filter. He really wished he could build one in for all of them.
"He's going to bed. I think he's still in a funk and he doesn't want to be a Debbie Downer. So just leave it for tonight."
"You're sure?" Brittany persisted. "I really don't like this place."
"It's cool. He's just going to bed. Tomorrow we'll be out of here and back in Lima. Everything will be fine. I promise, Britt."
This appeared to appease Brittany and she returned to the conversation he had apparently interrupted in which they were trying to convince her (with little success) that Lord Tubbington would not likely take well to Mr. Creepers. Sam rolled his eyes and got comfortable in his window seat. He let the conversations fade into the background as he tried to bury the uneasy feeling in his stomach that had everything to do with his best friend. He shook it off. Puck would be fine. They were leaving in the afternoon and he wouldn't have to break his promise to Brittany. Everything was going to be fine.
*Hi there. So you've made it to the end of the chapter. Hopefully you've enjoyed what you've read so far and are interested in reading more. And I promise that the opening scene will be explained very soon. Or will it? *cue evil music* Nah, I'm kidding it will be. Hope you enjoyed. Ciao for now.