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"Argh!" Normally, such an ineloquent outburst from Rachel would be worrying, but she's been making those noises for the better part of the hour and Puck's starting to get used to them honestly. They're sitting in the choir room, it's their one shared study hall period and Puck's spent the time messing about on the guitar while Rachel sits on the risers fiddling with, what Puck assumes to be, a ball of wool and knitting needles. She's been getting steadily more and more frustrated by the minute.
It shouldn't really surprise Puck; he saw the monstrosity that was her beanie dress when they did Gaga week, so it's not too farfetched that she can't knit to save herself. She pokes herself with the needles again and throws them to the floor with a slight roar of annoyance, huffing and crossing her legs over. Puck can't help the chuckle.
"Oh, shut up. I can't be the best at absolutely everything, it's a cosmic impossibility and my talents are clearly more refined than something as simple as knitting." And yeah, he can totally tell that she's pissed off that she can't do it.
"What're you trying to knit?" It's idle curiosity really, because she seemed to be having such difficulty with it that he feels it's only right to figure out just what is so hard. He puts his guitar down, picking up her attempt at whatever it was, and joins her on the risers to look at the pattern she has sat out on her knee. "Seriously? A scarf?" It's the easiest thing ever.
"I need one for my audition tomorrow and I'm not going to have it." Puck just shakes his head, because damn this girl, she's just impossible sometimes.
"Okay, you tell anyone about this, and I'll end you." He's only half serious, in that she better not tell anyone. He untangles all her knots, tugging the wool to unravel before starting it again. "It's not as complex as you make it; just stop thinking so much about it." She stares, mouth open, as he recasts the wool on the needle and proceeds to work through the knit and purl directions as per her pattern. "You just need to remember your numbers."
"How- Noah, how the hell do you know how to knit?" And yeah, it's not exactly badass by any standings, but it totally makes him the most awesome brother ever on a regular basis and it sort of worked for him, it's fucking relaxing and is the reason why his sister has so many fucking beanie hats because she keeps finding a new fucking colour that she loves and needs a new hat.
"Nana Connie taught me when I was younger, I mean, she wasn't exactly up for running around after a baby and a restless angry eight year old. So, when she watched us when Ma was working, she'd knit for Sarah and get me to help." He fucking rocks at baby booties. "How long do you want this?" He's already got like four inches done in the space of fifteen minutes, he could get her a foot and a half before anyone comes in and then she'll be set for her stupid audition.
Two days later, she flounces into the choir room, scarf around her neck and this massive, megawatt smile on her face. "I got the part! I was amazing." She hugs him in front of everyone and starts rambling on about her part in the play and how he needs to come see her in it and bring Sarah and how she might have a few more things for him to help her with.
He should've known it would bite him in the ass.
"What the fuck are you doing?"
Santana is sitting there; beating the ever loving crap out of some deformed piece of wood that Puck can only assume was, once upon a time, her project for the required segment of woodwork. "Stupid teacher won't just pass us. Need to apply ourselves. This is all Schuester's fault." Ever since that whole crazy fight between Coach S and Schue, all the jocks and Cheerio's have to maintain their GPA to be academically eligible for sports and extracurricular activities. Really, it was a dumb move for Schue, because Glee counts in that and if they fall below their required rank that's it. And honestly, Finn is straddling that mark almost constantly.
"And you're taking your anger out on what used to be a tree because," Santana fires a glare at him and he has to admit he's a little concerned about that piece of wood becoming a projectile and damn, but Santana has a good fucking arm.
"I need this to resemble something." What it resembles right now is something a beaver carved. It's possibly, maybe, might've once been like a plank or something, but now it's just a misshapen log with gouge marks. "I'm going to fucking fail." And failing isn't really an option for Santana, because then she's off the squad and out of glee and her dad will freak the ever loving fuck out and San doesn't need that bullshit.
"Oh, move over." He just grabs another of the trays with the scrap woods, and really, he needs to do this shit with scrap? "There's no way you're getting anything epic, because you can't carve for shit and then I'll get flack for doing your damn project for you, but fuck San, how the hell did you do this?" He knows where the dents came from (her beating it against the fucking table) but there are seriously gouges out of the thing, like she attacked it with a potato peeler.
It takes more than two periods -and he's skipping maths again but what the fuck ever, it's easy- but at the end of it she has four coasters with geometric diamond designs in the middle and a holder with pegs to keep the little squares in place. "There, don't say I don't do shit for you."
"Fuck Puckerman," Santana knows it's not going to get her much more than a B, but she just needs a pass so she should just fucking deal. "Do you wanna finger me?" Puck just laughs and swings his backpack over his shoulder.
"I think you're supposed to thank me, not the other way around." Later, when she's got her B fucking plus, she waltzes over in the middle of the day and makes out with him in the middle of the hall, complete with a reach around. It's probably the only way Santana knows to say 'thanks'.
Every now and then, Puck ventures into the library. It's still kind freaky in that they totally just let you take shit out of there, but it's pretty quiet and he can totally sleep in the back for half an hour before the librarian woman kicks him awake -he knows she only kicks him cause she can't bend over far enough to shake him awake, woman is like a hundred or something.
Usually, the very back of the library is dead, it's the languages section, but not like French or Spanish, it's all like Chinese and Latin and Russian and German, and those are all like way under taken classes (cause the teacher is fucking psycho, so most people stick to Spanish and French). But this time, Mercedes is sitting at the one desk back there, hunched over this book, frowning and glaring and, fuck can't he just have half an hour?
"Yo, Aretha, what's up? Gaga and Minaj having a fashion off?" He'd had to listen to Hummel go on and on about those to freaky chicks for an hour last night, and really, he kinda hates how much he actually paid attention. What? Minaj is fucking stacked!
"I don't have time, Puckerman. I need to learn this." He just shrugs and sits down at the table rather than lying out on the floor and rests his head on his bag. He doesn't look up until he hears her muttering something under her breath and he has to correct her pronunciation.
"Asirat Todah," he frowns at her, and she frowns back, but he thinks he's got more reason to frown. "Why're you learning Hebrew?"
"Say that again." She doesn't answer him, but he repeats it anyway and she tries again, so he corrects her annunciation one more time and then she gets it. "Okay, what about, 'with pleasure', what's that?"
"Beratzon." She gets that first time, so he asks again, "Why are you learning Hebrew?"
"There's um, there's this boy I'm dating. And his mom and dad are coming over for dinner. So, I'm trying to learn a few pieces, you know, so they don't like, tell him to stop dating the ignorant black girl."
Puck snorts, taking the book away from her. "Babe, they call you an ignorant black girl and you smack their heads together." So he sits there with her and gets the key phrases down, (please, thank you, yes I am a straight A student, it's a pleasure to meet you,) and just for kicks he teaches her how to say 'I'm a strong, independent black woman with lungs of steel' (it's not exact or anything, but they'll totally get it).
"So, you're pretty fluent in Hebrew?"
"My Dad's side are heavy into Judaism." His Ma's side are sometimes as bad, but his Dad's mother taught him Hebrew before the old man ran off and it's just something he uses to talk to her on the phone now and then. "Seriously, you shouldn't need to whip out the Hebrew to impress them. They should just be impressed by you."
"Thanks White Boy." If the way that Mercedes practically struts around like she's Queen of the joint the next day isn't any indication of things going well, the awesome fucking brownies in his locker totally are.
He's totally only there to hang out with Finn (it's part of this whole repairing their friendship thing) but Finn being the giant dork that he is completely forgets that Puck was invited over and is off somewhere with Quinn (who was having a crisis involving ballet flats and asked Finn for help and that isn't going to end well) so Puck ends up standing in the Hudson-Hummel doorway, staring at a rather ruffled Kurt, who is possibly close to tears and covered in flour, has egg up his front and sugar coating his cheeks.
"I'm gonna have to ask." Because this is the first time that Puck has ever seen Kurt anything less than perfect. Ever. "Did something explode?"
"I fail as a son."
So, Puck pushes Kurt into the kitchen -which possibly exploded, yes- and gets him to explain. It's Burt and Carole's anniversary (of when they went on their first date,) and Kurt wants to recreate the meal they had at the restaurant. Of course they went to one of those ridiculously overpriced places and ate tiny platefuls of food that cost more than a weeks' worth of food, but whatever.
And damn Puck for being such a fucking pushover -but Carole has always been epic with him so, whatever. He cleans up the mess, taking the recipes from Kurt and telling him to go out and replace all the crap he wasted and Puck will sort this out. Kurt is totally hesitant at first, but it's not like he's got any other options. So, Kurt heads to the grocery store and Puck, fucking hell, he starts making almond-sherry mushroom pate (seriously? People still eat pate?). By the time Kurt comes back the appetizer is in the fridge setting, Puck's half way through the chicken and mushroom pasta and sauce.
"Okay, who are you and where is Noah Puckerman?"
"Shut up." Very few people know that he cooks -and it's not just weed laced cupcakes either. "Ma's not always home for dinner, yeah? So someone has to feed Sarah." And recipes are totally easy to follow. Except when Kurt decides to do it apparently. "So, what was so special about this date of theirs?"
Puck lets Kurt talk on and on about the fancy restaurant he got his Dad to take Carole to, how they had a romantic candle lit dinner and talked all night, how it was the first time either of them really felt that special way since they lost their significant others. And Puck's kinda glad that Carole gets all that soppy stuff with Burt -cause she totally deserves it and shit, and Burt's like, really awesome, so it's sort of good that he gets to have it too.
"Okay, do you think you can whisk eggs without wearing them?" Kurt rolls his eyes and gets all prissy but totally needs Puck to show him how it's done while Puck heats off the champagne for the mousse. "Seriously there is gonna be so much of this stuff left over."
When Puck leaves, everything is prepared and presented and Kurt just has to take it to the table. "Kurt, dude, just take the credit, okay? You can just help me with French and we'll call it quits." Puck totally aces his next French test.
"It's a disaster! We can't do it; we need to change our selection." Rachel, as usual, is being her over dramatic self.
"We don't have time; we'll just use the recorded track for our backing."
"You can't do that, it detracts from the effectiveness of the whole song. We need the piano backing." Somehow, Brad managed to get food poisoning on the night of their Invitationals. It's not really a big deal, not like Rachel makes it out to be, but they had planned on doing two songs with a definite need for the piano -Rachel might have a point in that they are pretty much just sing-a-longs without the piano, but they could just do it that way and still kill it.
"Rachel," Schue's tone is enough that Rachel stops arguing and her face crumples.
"Oh," Puck hates when Rachel pulls out the furrowed brow and sad eyes. "We just need to have all twelve of us involved, right?" Since Lauren's wrestling practice clashed with Glee, and wrestling was sort of her whole aspiration thing, she'd had to bow out of the group. Which meant they had to keep their number up there carefully. But Coach S had said before that you just had to have twelve members involved, they didn't have to perform together though.
"Well, yeah, but,"
"So just gimme the damn sheet music." And okay, he hasn't played since he was like thirteen but surely it's like sex, right? Or was that supposed to be like riding a bike? Whatever, point was he'd be fine.
"You play piano?"
"No, I just want the sheet music to wipe my-" Finn punches his shoulder to stop him before he steps over the line with Schue, "Yes, I play piano." Rachel looks like he just told her she's getting a Tony for her role in the Broadway adaptation of Funny Girl. It's super creepy.
So they work around his absence in the routine, he can still harmonise but he won't be dancing, and he convinces himself that yeah, he can play these two songs and they just shoot for it. The good thing is that neither of the two teams performing with them at the Invitationals are in their category for Regionals, so it takes a load off to know they aren't competing just yet.
He plays the first few bars for Rachel's solo, and fuck could they have picked something more complicated than 'A Thousand Miles'? Vanessa Carlton sounded awesome until he had to play it. But they get to the second verse and he's more confident and yeah, it is just like the bike thing or sex thing and it totally just comes back to him like that. Rachel sounds epic as always and he keeps getting these little looks from her that tell him she's thoroughly impressed because he doesn't miss a note and he doesn't slip up and he's just as fucking good as Tinkles and hell, motheringfucking, yes he rocks.
But then they move on, and frankly, Puck is starting to hate Mike and Finn for convincing Schue to let them do this, because holy shit its hard-core complex and he's pretty sure his fingers are going to cramp like a bitch after this. They should've just got with Wonderwall, why the hell did Mike mention fucking Muse.
Puck spends five minutes gritting his teeth through New Born, because they're just using the piano for this, so if he fucks it up he'll fuck it all up and the hell if he's doing that. When they finish up there's the usual applause and everyone's grinning and Puck's heart is in his fucking throat because that was a rush, and then they're all off stage.
"Oh my God, Noah, you were amazing!" He's got an armful of Berry before he really notices that she's there and there's just all these words tumbling out of her mouth that it's impossible to understand what she's saying. "Where have you been hiding all these gifts, Noah?"
Puck just shrugs, because he kinda just doesn't do shit -it's too much like effort. "Whatever, no big."
"You know, it might be more impressive if one of the members of the group play during the competitions." Sweet mother of Jesus he's going to need to get Brittany to break his hands.