Warnings: Contains spoilers. Not shippy. Also if you are a Quinn fan, this probably won't be your cup of tea, so be forewarned.
AN: I'm really not under the illusion that this is how Glee will deal with the upcoming Puck storyline, but this is my attempt to give him a POV that's in-line with his character arc, or at his arc least as I see it.
Disclaimers: Don't own Glee, or Ghostbusters for that matter
There is no Dana, only Zuul
He's ambling through the hallway of the science wing, thinking about making an appearance in class because come on, obviously chemistry should be in his wheelhouse, when an arm snakes out of the janitor's closet and yanks him inside. Honestly, it's not a great choice because this is the one where they store the chemicals, and apparently that same thing that makes you woozy, is also killing off brain cells. (Holly Holiday may have wiped her feet on Schue's heart, but when she started in on the grey jello with the sledge-hammer, he learned something.) No, on this floor the empty art-supply closet is definitely the better choice, or the last stall in the girls' bathroom has a lock that actually works, or even the back of Mrs. Randall's classroom works in a pinch, because she's almost legally blind.
Right. It's not his first time at the rodeo.
Blinking in the dim light, he tries to figure out who the lucky girl is. It's not just some random Cheerio looking to up her hotness factor because he recognizes the perfume, he just can't quite place it. Not Lauren, she likes that Chocolate Axe shit. And not Rachel: she just changed shampoos last week and it's green apple now. Not that it would be Rachel, since she's probably still busy trying to write Finn's college entrance essay. (And also because for whatever reason, she still thinks she's in love with Hudson, but details.) Still, the heavy scent is somewhere in the back of his head, mixed in with a memory...the sound of Ma screaming at him? And then smacking the back of his head?
The overhead light flicks on and he's not a pussy, so he doesn't freak out and jump back, or grab his chest or anything. It's a close thing though, because Quinn is looking scary as hell, which is kind of funny given that she's lost the skank look and is back in a floral dress and sweater combination. And yeah, way back in the summer before sophomore year, when he started looking at Quinn in her little Cheerios skirts and she started looking back, he always figured that there was a little crazy peeking out from underneath the Chastity Queen bullshit. For sure, hot trumps crazy, case in point: Rachel Berry, but this is something else. This is more like she's going to start boiling bunnies, or burn him with lasers shooting out of her eyes or alien tentacles are going to burst out of her chest.
"Puck," she says coolly. (Puck is a totally awesome name, so why does she always say it like it rhymes with 'dirt' or 'crappy baby daddy' in her head?) "I've left three messages for you in the last twenty-four hours. Why haven't you returned any of my calls?"
Real talk? At least half of it is because he's too pissed off to talk to her and the other half is kind of hoping she'll get distracted by something shiny. Fuck, is it prom season yet?
"I've been busy," he says. "Football. Stuff around town." Stuff like Beth. Shelby let him come over last night and he got to help feed her dinner. Well, he tried anyway because Beth is super-stubborn and insists on using the spoon herself and she ended up getting loads of yogurt on her face and even a little in her hair. Shelby just laughed and handed him a wash-cloth.
"Skipping classes and whoring, no doubt."
Whoring? Who the hell is she? That ninety-year-old nun on the local access channel?
He lips tighten until they're practically invisible. Whoops. He probably shouldn't have said that last part out loud. "You want know who I am, Puck? I'm Beth's mom. Me! Not that dark-haired, big-nosed, loud bitch. And I'm going to get Beth back and you Puck, you are going to help me.
"You're nuts," he says flatly. This is wrong in so many ways. "It's a done deal, Quinn. Shelby adopted Beth and we both signed those papers." He puts a hand on the door handle and mutters, "I gotta get out of here."
"It's not a done deal if we can prove that Shelby's an unfit parent. The court system took my daughter away and gave her to someone else, now they can give her back and if Shelby's morally unfit to raise her, they will."
His hand freezes in place and he slowly turns back towards Quinn. "Not going to happen. Shelby's a great mom."
Her eyes flash. "I told you, I'm Beth's mom! And anyway, that's where you come in. You like older women, right Puck? This should be easy for you, she's probably desperate for it. Use that charm of yours the next time she invites you over for 'playtime'. Brush up against her, find some excuse to take off your shirt, go ahead and play your guitar for her, she'd probably like that."
"What the hell are you saying?"
"Oh, figure it out! I'm saying I want you to kiss her, Puck. And some nudity wouldn't be out of place. For all I care, you can go ahead and have sex with her. Maybe you can give her a baby of her own, so she won't have to go stealing other people's. And please, don't bother looking so shocked. I know you. I'm sure you've thought of it before."
"You don't know shit about me," he says indignantly, ignoring the unpleasant sensation low in his gut.
Okay. Fuck. So he's thought about it once or twice. First of all, he's a seventeen-year-old guy. He thinks about sex like every three minutes and Shelby has long legs and a tight body and this cloud of dark hair and when she sings, which is all the time when she's happy, it's hard not to think about it. Completely normal and way less freaky than the sex dream he once had about Doris the lunch lady. (The combination of chocolate pudding and hair nets still makes him queasy.)
But beyond that, the whole thing with Shelby gets confusing.
He's just so fucking grateful to her for letting him see Beth and for being such a great mom to her. Really, she does all the right shit, like playing Mozart to her at bedtime. (And it works, because Beth is totally smart, she already says almost twenty words, which is way advanced for a 16-month old.) And Shelby's good with all the other stuff too, like hugs and kisses and books and educational toys and organic food. Sometimes when they both bring Beth to the park or when he's over and Shelby is cooking dinner while he sets the table and plays with Beth, he feels all this shit and it gets a little weird (for him anyway) and he's kinda not sure what to do with that.
Which probably means he's fucked, basically.
But you know what? He's not fucked enough to go out and like actively try to screw shit up for himself, especially not for Quinn's crazy ass.
And speaking of Quinn, she's still fucking talking. "You've got a camera on your phone, right? Photographic evidence is going to be important because any halfway competent defense attorney could dig up your history and raise doubts."
Enough with this bullshit. "Can I talk to Dana, please?"
"Focus!" she glares at him.
Not a Ghostbusters fan then.
"God, Puck, it's like you don't even want to get her back!"
Just like that, he's seeing red and all he wants to do is break shit: punch a hole in the door or tear the shelving unit down or something. Quinn reads it in his eyes and takes a step back and as much as he can't stand her right now, he hates that look in her eyes even more. Taking a couple of deep breaths, he releases his hands from the fists he's involuntarily made and when he speaks, his voice is low, but he stares directly into her wide eyes.
He needs her to know that he means every fucking word he's saying right now.
"You want to talk about getting Beth back to me? You spent most of sophomore year telling me that there was no way we could keep her, or at least the part of the year you weren't pretending that she was someone else's kid. And I signed those papers, Quinn, I can fucking own that, because you were right. Beth deserved a hell of a lot more than two kids with no education, no money and no jobs. Hell, you and I could barely even have a conversation without arguing."
"Is this about us being together, Puck?" she says quickly, almost eagerly, "Because we can have that once we have Beth back. We can be a family."
That's some scary shit right there, especially since he's starting to wonder if there's a part of her that actually believes what she's saying.
"Fuck, Quinn, think. Say I lose my god-damned mind and I help you do this, what happens then? You think any judge in his right mind would give Beth to you? No, sure as shit, she'd end up in foster care. And even if you did get her back, you think that's gonna make you happy? Face it Quinn, this whole thing, it's just another try for the top of the pyramid, another shot at prom queen, another go-around with Hudson. This shit-storm is all you! You're such a hot damn mess, even I can see that."
"Shut up, Puck!" she yells and her hand flies out and cracks against his cheek, hard. It's enough to shock him, both of them, into silence. And there it is on her face, the exact same expression he saw after they had sex as she ordered him out of her bedroom, sitting alone in the hallway after baby-gate broke, after Shelby walked out of the hospital with Beth. All that anger roiling through him, it's just gone and for the moment there's only pity in its place, because for the very first time he's realizing that Quinn Fabray probably needs it.
"Puck, I'm...," she breaks off, looking desperately unsure.
"You remember I got into some trouble right after I got out of juvie last year?" he asks evenly. (Granted she was busy sucking face with blondie at the time, but the story of his melt-down in Figgy's office definitely made the rounds.)
"Well, Schue managed to get me out of a return trip, but there were some strings. I had to get some counseling and stick to it too, once a week for six months." His stomach kind of clenches because McKinley being the shit-hole that it is, he hasn't really spread this information around. (Rachel knows, because her therapist is in the same building and sometimes they'd drive together, but that's it.) He pulls out his wallet and retrieves a dog-eared business card. "This woman I talked to, she kind of looks like my nana, you know, like she should be making cookies or something, but she doesn't bullshit. And she's easy to talk to. You could talk to her, get some shit straightened out. Or if you don't want to talk to the same person I did, she could help you find someone else."
"I...I don't need that," she says tightly.
She does. She really does. But everything between them is so fucked up that maybe it's not surprising that she can't take that from him, at least not now.
"S'okay," he says, placing the card on the shelving unit. "I'll leave it here if you change your mind. I gotta motor. Don't stick around for too long, all the chemicals will fuck you up."
He yanks the door open and walks out into the cool, clean air of the hallway without looking back. Fuck, it's selfish as shit, but he hopes this is the end of it.
But he's got a feeling that it's not.
A/N: He'll never get a chance to say any of this, will he? Feedback always appreciated.