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"I want you to meet my dad." Kurt comes out with it randomly after Glee one afternoon and Puck is completely thrown for a loop.
"Um, babe, I've met him. Like, five times." Which is true, because there was the wedding, and the night he crashed on the couch after his mom kicked him out, the night he'd stayed over playing video games, the time they'd been making ridiculous cupcakes all over again to get money for a bake sale and the time he'd tried to convince Carole to talk his mom out of sending him with the JCC for their summer camp as a chaperone -seriously, did they think he was any sort of chaperone at all? "I'm pretty sure he hasn't changed."
"I want you to meet him as my boyfriend." Kurt grits out, as if Puck should've known that all along.
"Seriously? Like, full on 'Dad this is Noah' and all that?" He knows he sounds surprised. There's a reason for that. He is surprised. No one has ever done that with him -he met Santana's parents only because he was leaving her house just as her parents were coming in one day, and he was just 'a boy from school', Brittany's parents were told he was the chimney sweep, which was confusing for everyone but Britt because they didn't have a chimney, Rachel and he weren't involved long enough to meet the parents, Quinn's mother only met him in the hospital and he was just 'the father', Lauren didn't even bother getting that far with him. "Wow."
"Don't you want to? I mean, I thought since the whole school knows," mostly because Puck finds it fucking difficult to keep his hands off the boys ass when he wears those skin tight fucking jeans, "so I figured we'd be telling our parents." Puck shakes his head vigorously, because if there's one thing he's found out in the space of three weeks it's that Kurt is not like anyone he's ever dated before.
"No, no, no. I want to, I do, it's fine it's just," he's not exactly the 'bring home to the parents' type of guy. "Blaine met your dad, right? I mean, in the boyfriend capacity." And it's not that Puck is still all that worried about Blaine, not really. Whatever happened between Junior year and Senior year definitely meant he didn't need to worry about Blaine, but he still worried about the lasting impression from Kurt's first relationship and just how he measured up -not in Kurt's opinion, because Kurt was very vocal in his opinion, but in other peoples. Since Mercedes had already made it clear that she thought Kurt was downgrading from Blaine to Puck and wow did that sting a little.
"Puck, Dad likes you, he'll just give you the Dad speech and then you'll watch a football game and drink soda." Well, that didn't sound too scary, not really, he could do that. And Kurt was right, he'd met Burt a bunch of time and Burt was pretty cool. It calmed him down just a little, because even if Burt was cool with 'Puck', Finn's friend and Kurt's friend too really, he might be a little different when it came to 'Noah', Kurt's boyfriend. But he could do this, really, he'd be fine.
Noah has never been so wrong in his whole life.
Finn gives him this look when they're outside the house, because Kurt's laced their fingers together -really, Puck doesn't mind holding hands with Kurt, because it's kind of nice- so Finn figures out this is the big unveiling. Either way, Finn goes in first, calling out his hello. "Hey Burt, where's Mom?" Carole, apparently, is next door, talking to Mrs Greene about a rather annoying tree that covers both their back yards and casts a shadow that both women would like gone. Puck doesn't know why they don't just cut it the hell down.
"Dad," oh wow, they're going right in there for it, "this is probably kind of redundant, but, well. Noah and I are dating." Burt turns and looks at Puck, then down at their hands and then back up before slowly standing from his seat. Puck has dealt with three hundred pounds of steroid bulked rhino coming at him before on the football field, but for some reason, Burt Hummel, his boyfriends dad, standing calmly in front of him is ten times scarier than that.
"Sir," Puck has no idea where the manners come from, he's never met parents like this, he doesn't know the drill. Jeez, why did Kurt have to be so formal. He was so going to leave Kurt to the lions when the little diva met his mother.
"Well, I can't say I'm overly pleased," who is? No one really wants Puck dating their kid, hell, Puck's pretty sure that if he had his daughter, come the time, he'd be just as bad. "But, I guess if you're both happy, and careful," Puck gets a pointed look here, "then I'm happy for you both." That's it? Seriously? That's the extent of the talk? Wow, he really was worried about nothing. "But if you ever hurt him," ah, there it is, Kurt rolls his eyes, so Puck's pretty hopeful that maybe Blaine got this talk too, "I will hunt you down. I have a shotgun kid, and I'm not afraid to use it."
Anything else that happens, Puck's too busy freaking the fuck out. He should've known that this shit would bite him in the ass.
"Ow, Noah, my hand. Noah, hey, oh my God, Noah?" Finn, who had been across the room, smirking, is suddenly at Puck's side and Puck recognises that he's not breathing properly, his head is starting to ache and his chest is getting really tight. He's gripping to Kurt's hand like it's his only way to stay grounded, like he'll fall away if he doesn't, and everything around him feels like a dream.
"Burt, get my mom, Kurt get him to sit down." Finn's voice is foggy and far away and Puck's too busy arguing with his body to really focus on it, because damnit, he needs a decent breath of air before he freaking passes out.
"Why is he- is he hyperventilating? It was just- Dad wasn't serious, Noah, sweetie?" Puck's sitting down, he doesn't know how he's sitting down, but he suddenly is.
"It's a panic attack, Kurt. He's having a panic attack." Thank you Doctor Debbie. Puck was well aware of it, just like he always was -it sucks to hell and back that he's used to panic attacks, but hell they never get easier. That's probably why they're panic attacks, he panics every freakin' time. But he can't draw a breath and he can't function beyond his grip on Kurt. He can feel the soothing stroke of Kurt's hand along his hair and that would usually help, but right then he's just cursing his body for not letting him breath.
"Finn, what's- oh God. Burt, get a clothe and soak it." Ah, Carole, she's the next best thing than his own mom. "Get him on the floor, sit him on the floor. What the hell happened?" He feels the floor under him, just as Carole pulls him against her chest, his back pressing to her and Burt comes back with a clothe. "Kurt, sweetie, press this to his neck." God, his neck is burning like a mother- except when Kurt presses it on his throat everything cools down and he gasps just a little. "That's it sweetie, just focus on breathing, okay? Just a small breath, little breaths, that's it, just in and out, come on, in and out." He can't believe that he's seventeen and breaking down in his boyfriends living room because of a stupid throwaway comment from said boyfriends father. It's almost enough to kick his heart into overdrive again. "No, no, come on, you're doing so good sweetie, just in and out, that's it."
His head is resting against Carole's cheek as she coaxes him into calming down, his breathing starting to regulate, his heart slowing, the soft touches to his throat from Kurt becoming a focal point. He feels so drained, and it pretty much leaves him tired and boneless against Carole's body, but she's not pulling away and Kurt's still there, holding his hand and petting his cheek and neck.
"There, you're okay, it's okay." Puck feels the tears in his eyes and he needs to blink them back, he doesn't want the shakes to start because that just sends him into another panic and he knows he's freaking Kurt out and he doesn't want to do that.
"'m okay, Mrs H." God, he sounds pathetic even to his own ears, but Carole isn't moving away from him, Burt and Finn are hovering nearby and Puck can see Finn biting his nails again. Shit, it's been a good few years since he had a full blown attack like this, and Kurt's just staring at him, scared and worried. "'m sorry."
"Don't be silly, there's nothing to be sorry for." Carole slides a little to the side, resting Puck's back against the sofa. "Finn, get a glass of water," Finn's out of the room faster than Puck's ever seen, and Puck knows it's not because he's uncomfortable, but because he's that eager to help. The glass is in front of him in record time and Puck just sips at it carefully.
"Someone want to explain why he nearly crushed Kurt's hand?"
"Burt, enough." It doesn't stop Puck from letting Kurt go like he was burnt and staring at Kurt's hand.
"Shit, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to grip like that, I'm sorry Kurt."
"It's okay," Kurt takes his hand back, pressing against Puck's side and Puck practically melts into Kurt like the pussy he feels like right then. "Can you tell us what happened?" Puck just looks imploringly at Carole, because he wants Kurt to understand, he wants to explain so that Kurt isn't scared, but he just can't get the words out.
"When Noah was nine, there was an incident at his school. It was before he moved here, but one of the teachers' husbands came in with a- a-" Puck closed his eyes tightly as Carole forced the word out, "a shotgun." God he felt like such a piece of shit right then. Kurt gave a little gasp and shifted closer -not away, closer- and gripped tightly to Puck's hand. "He doesn't like guns, and sometimes, when people are being big goofs and threatening perfectly suitable boys for his son to date, he has a panic attack."
"Is that why you leave whenever the others play those army games?" Puck just nodded at Kurt's question, remembering the questions that were fired after him when he walked away during one of the video game marathons until Finn came out to tell him they were playing Mario Kart.
"And I had Mr Schue write me an excuse to skip the PSA crap Figgins ran last month." Because Puck knew there would be something there, and explaining to Mr Schue that he had a bad experience with this crap was easier than just walking out when it started. But Puck tried not to tell anyone -Mr Schue only knew the little details, Finn and Carole found out because of a clip from a television show that they'd seen when Puck was twelve and he'd had a panic attack in their house. Thank God Carole was a nurse. Puck had cried himself to sleep in Finn's room afterwards and his mom had explained what happened to Carole while Finn stayed with Puck.
"You want to lie down, honey?" Puck just nodded, emotionally drained and physically shattered.
"I'll help you to my room." Burt looked like he wanted to say something, but Carole shot him a look and Kurt just helped Puck to his feet before pulling him along and up the stairs.
A few minutes later and Noah is cocooned in blankets and pillows and God knew what else, but hell if he wasn't comfortable and safe. Kurt had pulled Noah's shirt off and he'd kicked off his shoes and let Kurt pull him out of his jeans until he was just lying in Kurt's bed in his boxers and this was as far as they'd actually gone and it seriously sucked that he wasn't in any condition to do anything about it. But Kurt stripped until they were equal and then crawled in with Puck until they were both swamped with all the trimmings of Kurt's very comfortable bed.
Puck just lay there, watching Kurt while Kurt trailed his fingers over Puck's temple, stroking and petting and slowly all the tension just drained right out of Puck's body. It was so relaxing. He dozed off for a while, waking up later to the exact same position, only Kurt was closer. "Hi," with a small smile, Puck managed to nudge Kurt a little. "Bet this wasn't what you were expecting." He was feeling slightly better, it was easier to make fun of himself when he felt more human again.
"I'm so sorry," Kurt whispered, leaning over to press a soft kiss to Puck's lips, "Carole called your mom, so you can stay the night." And that was a bit of a relief, he really didn't want to leave Kurt's bed right then. "Can you, I mean, do you-"
"You want to know about it?" Puck pulled in a sigh, of course Kurt wanted to know. Kurt wanted to know everything, he wanted Puck to talk to him, to trust him, to tell him things like this -things that shaped him. Puck figured, he'd already told Kurt everything he ever felt when it came to his dad, about giving up Beth, about juvie. What was one more thing?
"Only if you can talk about it." That was the pretty great thing about Kurt, he wanted all of these things, but he wanted them on Puck's terms, he never pushed, he just let Puck know that he was there, that he cared, that he was listening. No one really gave Puck that kind of attention except his mother and Carole. But Kurt fucking cared about what he said and how he felt.
"It was when we lived in Columbus, before Dad got paid off, Ma didn't know she was pregnant or anything. And it was all just normal, just this stupid normal day. Her name was Mrs Janney, she was kinda like Miss P, y'know? That big bambi eyes thing and sweet, caring persona. We all loved her, she was great. She brought us cookies once a week and we'd always get to do the fun craft stuff." While he was talking, Kurt just kept stroking a hand over his head. "It was first thing in the morning, half the class was there, Mrs Janney always let us in early so we could sit and play for a while before school started. And this time, this time her husband came in and slammed the door shut. He had his- the-" his breathing started to kick up again and Kurt shuffled closer until Puck's cheek was resting on Kurt's shoulder.
"It's okay, you don't have to, it's okay." Puck wrapped an arm around Kurt's waist, inhaling the scent of Kurt and his shampoo and fabric softener and just letting it out slowly. He could do this, he had to, he wanted to.
"He came in with his shotgun. I'd never seen one before, my Ma hated guns, she made my Dad get rid of his before they were even married. We were scared out of our minds, there were like nine of us or something and Mrs Janney is up there trying to get him to calm down and put it away, cause he was really scaring us. There was this girl, her name was Claire, she was really nice, she was kind of like Tina." God, Puck can remember her face, her pretty green eyes and wavy blond hair. "She was so shy and she had a stutter, she always called me No-No because she stuttered on the first part of my name and I never cared. She started crying, he shouted at us to shut up and we were trying so hard to just keep Claire quiet but she was sobbing and wheezing and then, then he just, he just lost it and-" Puck can feel the tears spilling down his cheeks onto Kurt's shoulder, Kurt's arms around him and stroking down his back. "He shot her. He just turned towards us and fired and she was right next to me. There was just so much blood and everyone was freaking out and- have you ever seen buckshot? It's insane, it's everywhere, it spreads out like everywhere. Claire's chest was just gone and there was all this blood, and none of us could stop crying or screaming and there was the alarms going off and it was just chaos."
He can still remember the feel of blood on his face and neck, the sticky clotting of the blood against his hands, they way it soaked into his pants and t-shirt. Can still see Claire's lifeless eyes and her hair matted with blood. He hates when Britt curls her hair, because he still sees Claire.
"He shot Mrs Janney point blank. Just blew her away and I remember thinking that he was just going to kill all of us, that it was done and I'd never see my Ma again and never see my Dad and that I'd be just like Claire. But he was gone, just like, crazy gone. He shot off like two more rounds before the cops flew in the door and took him out." Puck reached up to take Kurt's hand, dragging it down until it ran over the side of his ribcage, along a puckered scar that ran from front to back and over the small round scar on his back. "I caught a piece of the buckshot, part of it popped into my lung and the other tore through my side. I wound up in the hospital with three of my classmates. Ma barely let me out of the house when they let me out. Then we moved and I thought, I can put it behind me. I couldn't even walk into school without having an attack. So getting out of Columbus was a fucking God send." He'd met Finn in the park three days after they moved. Most of the other kids were playing games with toy guns and Puck had just sat and glared at them until Finn came over and asked why he didn't want to join in, he'd told Finn 'guns are stupid' and Finn had just agreed. It was the start of the longest friendship he'd ever had.
"He didn't mean it," Kurt whispered, finger stroking the scar on Puck's side, "he'd never use it, he was just being stupid and over-protective, and he'd never use it. I promise." Puck knows, realistically, he knows that Burt was just being a Dad. He was just trying to protect Kurt. Puck figures Carole will ream Burt out more than anyone, so it's not a problem.
"When my Ma threatens to fatten you up, she does mean it. She's a bit of a mother hen." Kurt laughs softly against the top of Puck's head and Puck actually nuzzles in closer to Kurt. "I didn't mean to scare you, or hurt your hand. But sometimes, it just hits me, and I just can't do anything but try to breathe."
"It's okay, you're always so strong for me, I can be strong for you sometimes." Puck falls asleep with Kurt holding him close and wakes up feeling the most rested he's ever felt. At least until he and Kurt need to pull themselves out of the safe cocoon of Kurt's bed and get ready for school. Puck pulls his jeans back on, slinks into Finn's room to borrow a jersey and then stomps down the stairs with Finn while Kurt fusses over his hair that Puck knows he's just going to mess up when Puck runs his fingers through it when they kiss.
"Morning Mom, Burt." It's all the greeting that Finn bothers with before he sits down and starts shovelling food into his mouth. Puck just gives Carole a small nod before blushing just a little when she kisses his cheek.
"Did you sleep okay, sweetie?" And Puck can see Burt twitch just a little. But he knows that Carole's meaning nightmares, because panic attacks always kick up the nightmares.
"Yeah, actually, slept great." Because there wasn't a single nightmare, and he didn't startle even once. "I told Kurt." Carole beams at him proudly. "And I'm really sorry that I freaked out but-"
"Don't apologise," Burt says gruffly, folding the paper that he's reading, "you haven't got anything to be sorry for, son." And that, right there, that one word, it's pretty much approval and Puck knows it. But when Kurt flounces into the kitchen and kisses Puck good morning, Burt still twitches and Puck makes a note to keep the PDA to a minimum for a while. At least until Burt is used to him being all over Kurt.