Summary: Puck is determined to prove that he can be a good influence in Beth's life. He recruits Kurt to help him. When tragedy strikes they must work together to give Beth the best life possible.
Warning: Language and character death.
Disclaimer: Glee does not belong to me, and any and all mistakes are mine.
Noah Puckerman. He's been known as Lima's resident bad boy, a dumb jock, wicked guitar player, a fuck-up, sometimes a man-whore. What people don't see is the other side of Noah. The sweet, loving big brother, smart, a little bit of a dork, and the big soft side that puts the people he loves first above anything else. And the person at the top of his list? His daughter, Beth. Giving her up nearly killed him, but he knew deep down that he wasn't in the right place to take care of her. That doesn't mean he doesn't think of her every day or that he loves her any less. So when Shelby comes back to town, he's more determined than ever to prove that he's grown up and can be a positive influence in Beth's life. Puck decides he needs to take action. What that action is exactly? He's not too sure. He figures he could recruit one of his friends for help.
Britt? No go. He loves the girl to death and would do anything for her, but no. Just no.
Finn? He's his boy – sometimes – but let's face it, he barely knows left from right.
Quinn? Um... she's kind of gone crazy lately so that's a big fat no.
Santana? Maybe. She's his girl and all, but she's not exactly known for being nice.
Mercedes? Just plain scary.
Mike or Tina? He's not exactly close to either of them.
Sam? He's not exactly in any position to help.
Rachel? She makes him want to light himself on fire with her craziness.
Artie? Artie's his bro and can help when it comes to school stuff. So there are possibilities there.
And that leaves Hummel. He's a bit of a bitch but he's fearless. He's smart as hell and can spit comebacks in no time at all. He's not a pushover and won't hesitate to call him on my bullshit. Perfect. Looks like we have a winner. Now all that's left is to convince him to help...
When glee club let's out for the day, Puck takes his time to gather his things in hopes of getting Hummel alone to talk. He peeks up through his lashes to see Kurt hugging Rachel goodbye before heading to gather his things. Finally it's only the two of them. It's now or never. Puck clears his throat, "hey Hummel."
Kurt barely spares him a glance before replying, "Puckerman."
"Can I talk to you?"
"You are talking."
"Kurt please? It's important." Kurt locked eyes with him obviously searching for something. Whatever he was looking for he must have found because he gave a brief nod.
"Okay, fine. What about?"
"Look can we do this somewhere else? Somewhere private. This is personal and I don't want anyone to walk in on us."
"Fine. Hmm... how about my house? Finn will be somewhere with Rachel, dad will still be at work, and Carole doesn't tend to bother me."
"Yeah that works. Is it cool if I ride with you? My truck is kind of giving me trouble so I had to catch a ride today."
"Yeah. Grab your stuff." They each grabbed their respective belongings and headed to Kurt's Navigator.
The drive to the Hudson-Hummel home was made in relative silence except for the soft hum of the radio. Neither boy said a word as they grabbed their belongings, made their way into the house – removing shoes and coats – and to Kurt's basement bedroom door. "After you," Kurt offered the jock. Kurt made sure the door was shut firmly and then flicked the lock. It was one sure fire way to ensure that they weren't interrupted. Kurt stood at the bottom of the stairs while Puck studied his room. When the mohawked boy turned toward him with a smile his stomach finally unclenched.
"Cool room Kurt. I like it. It's very you," Puck complimented.
"Thanks. I like to consider it my sanctuary. A place I can just be me," he stated looking around trying to see it through the other teen's eyes. "So, uh, would you like some water or juice or something?"
"Sure. Water'll be good." Kurt went to his mini-frig and removed two bottles of water, handing one to Puck.
"Well make yourself comfortable," Kurt said, gesturing towards the couch against the wall. "So what is it you wanted to talk to me about?" He settled himself on one end of the couch, drawing his feet under himself to get comfortable.
"Okay. Yeah. Um, you know that Rachel's mom is back right?"
"That's what I heard."
"Okay, well, obviously she has Beth with her. I'm hoping to convince Shelby that I can be a good influence on Beth. In order to do that I need your help."
"Wait a second. What do I have to do with this?"
"I'm asking you because I know I can trust you. You and Artie really."
"But what do you expect me to do?"
"I want to get my act together, to prove that I can be a good guy. You come in because I know you won't take my bullshit and won't hesitate to set me straight. You're a good guy Kurt. I'm sure you're probably wondering why in the hell should you even consider helping me and I don't blame you. I was a major ass to you and for that I'm truly sorry. I just really, really need your help." Kurt studied the boy sitting before him. He actually looked repentant for the way he treated him in the past. He took a moment to gather his thoughts before speaking.
"First I want to make it clear that I truly appreciate your apology. The past is exactly that, the past. I'm not going to let it affect the present from this point on. And I know how much Beth means to you. You were prepared to help from the very beginning and I admire that. If there is the slightest possibility that you can be a part of her life, I'm more than happy to help you with that. "
"Really?" Puck couldn't believe what he was hearing. He didn't want to get his hopes up just to have them crushed.
"Yes really. You deserve that shot."
"OMG! Kurt you are the fucking best I swear!" He couldn't hold it in any longer. He jumped up and grabbed Kurt into a tight hug, more ecstatic than ever before. "Thank you so much."
Kurt was shocked at first, but relaxed into the hug, wrapping his arm around the bigger boy to return the embrace. "You're welcome. Now how do you want to do this?" They separated and settled back onto the couch.
"I was thinking a good place to start would be with school. Go to class, get my grades up, show that I can be responsible."
"Okay, I think that's a good start. Another thing..." Kurt hesitated because he wasn't sure how Noah would react.
"Um... you should probably get rid of the cougars."
"Don't worry I haven't done that in a while. The last time I did was before Lauren so that's not an issue. I know that my sleeping around won't look good. "
"Oh, okay. That's good. What about a job?"
"Well I still clean pools but there aren't that many pools in Lima."
"I'll talk to my dad. Maybe I can work something out there."
"But I'm not exactly an expert on cars."
"That's okay. If I have to I'll teach you. We could start off slow and work our way up."
"Okay that would be cool."
"Oh while we're on the subject, I can look at your truck for you if you want."
"You don't have to do that. You're already doing so much for me."
"I don't mind. I've been working on cars since I was 8 so it won't be any trouble. How about we look over it this weekend? You can start learning then that way you'll be able to work on your truck on your own."
"Awesome. That sounds like a good plan to me." The boys were interrupted when Carole yelled that dinner would be ready in about 15 minutes.
"Hey, would you like to stay for dinner?"
"Are you sure? I don't want to impose."
"Nonsense. It'll be a good start at getting my dad used to having you around."
"Okay then I'd love that. I'll just have to call my mom and let her know and to make sure that I don't have to get home to look after Sarah."
"Yeah my sister."
"Oh okay. Well I'll go tell Carole while you call your mom." Kurt ran upstairs to talk to Carole. When he asked if Noah could stay for dinner she was ecstatic and said that of course he could. Noah's mom, Ruth, was fine with him staying and said that she was off work so he didn't need to hurry home to watch after Sarah. Kurt came back downstairs to tell him the good news. "Carole's happy to have you stay for dinner. She said it's been far too long since she's seen you. How did it go with your mom?"
"She's off work so she doesn't care. Do you think Finn will have a problem with me staying?"
"He shouldn't. I've been stuck at dinner listening to Rachel talk nonstop and have my retina's burned due to her hideous animal sweaters because of him, so I don't care what he says I'm allowed to have a friend stay."
"Wait, I thought you and Rachel were friends now."
"We are. I'm talking about back in the day. Even now we may be friends but I still can't stand the sight of her stupid sweaters." Puck couldn't help but laugh. This was one of the things he liked about Kurt. He would be your friend but still not hesitate to voice his opinion if he didn't like something. "Come on, let's head up before Finn eats everything." Overall dinner wasn't too bad. Finn didn't say much, but Noah and Kurt were too busy talking that they didn't really notice. Burt was a little weary about Noah. Kurt told him that everything was fine and when Burt asked why Noah was there Kurt just asked if they could just talk to him after dinner. Carole had always looked at Noah like a second son so she was quick in picking up conversation to take Burt's attention away from the boys. After dinner, Burt joined Kurt and Noah in Kurt's room to talk about everything involving Noah. Noah surprisingly stepped up and even apologized to Burt for all the juvenile bullshit he's pulled over the years. After hearing them out, Burt agreed to hire Noah at the garage as long as Kurt trained him and worked with him until everyone was sure that Noah could handle things on his own. Noah's plan was off to a great start. He even stayed the night with Kurt and they worked on homework – Noah had to start sometime – and talked more about the plan. They were even surprised to find quite a few things in common and were fast becoming good friends.
True to his word Noah attended classes, did homework, and even did well on tests. Kurt was a little surprised to find that he wasn't just a dumb jock. Artie readily agreed to help Noah if he ended up having trouble with school work if Kurt wasn't able to help. The three worked rather well together. Kurt looked over Noah's truck and instructed him on doing the repairs. The glee club seemed rather surprised at the sudden friendship but when questions went unanswered they let it go. Noah settled into working at Burt's garage with surprising ease, picking up on how to do the work rather quickly.
A couple of weeks after the boys started the plan, Kurt accompanied Noah when he went to talk to Shelby about Beth. She was hesitant to agree, but Kurt was quick to assure her that Noah had turned things around. She was told all about how he was getting really good grades, attended all his classes, had a steady job, and even looked after his sister. After she heard all the facts – along with the results of a drug test – she agreed that Noah could be in Beth's life on the condition that Kurt was too. Noah didn't care as long as he could see his daughter. Besides it wasn't like having Kurt around was a bad thing. He was quickly becoming his best friend.
Beth adjusted rather well to being around the two boys. If she wouldn't settle down for one boy then she usually would for the other, ultimately making them a great tag team. The boys took up a permanent fixture in Beth's life and were able to help Shelby out by taking some of the strain off of her. It was a Friday evening when Shelby asked the boys if they could watch Beth while she ran some errands. They were quick to agree, and Kurt even offered to cook dinner. Shelby was adamant that he didn't need to but he insisted until she caved. Kurt was searching through the cabinets to get an idea of what to cook while Noah played with Beth on the carpet. Beth was standing in front of Noah when out of nowhere she took a step towards him and said "da!" They were so shocked they didn't know what to say. Noah looked at Kurt, silently asking what should he do.
"Holy shi – cow, did you hear that Kurt?"
"Sounded like she said da. What were you doing when she did it?"
"I don't know. She was standing there and I would tickle her every once in a while and next thing I know she giggles, takes a step and says da."
"Well let's see if we can get her to do it again. Hold on, let me get my phone so we can get this on camera if she does. I'm sure Shelby will want to see." Phone in hand, Kurt settled perpendicular to Noah and Beth. "Okay go ahead."
Noah gave Beth a few tickles causing the beautiful melody of the child's giggles to spread through the condo. He sat her on her feet in front of him with his arms open. Sure enough she took a cautious step, giggled, and fell into Puck with a "da" escaping her lips. Noah grabbed his little girl tightly into his body, pressing his face into her neck and breathing in her sweet baby smell. Kurt set his phone down and made his way to the man and daughter before him. He gently placed a comforting hand on his friend's shoulder to reassure him that he wasn't alone. The bigger boy looked up with tear filled eyes to see that he wasn't the only one about to be a blubbering mess. He quickly pulled Kurt in with them and truly savored this moment. Little baby giggles broke the silence, causing them to separate. Released from her daddy's hold Beth crawled over to grab one of her stuffed animals. Kurt took the moment to run his hand through the other's mohawk and to check on him. "Are you okay Noah?"
It took Noah a few deep breaths before he could answer. "I think so. Like did she really just call me da or did I imagine it?"
"She most certainly did. I have the footage to prove it. I figured you'd be jumping on furniture or something in excitement."
"Nah, dude, I'm floored. It's just...," Noah turned to the counter tenor and reached up to cup his cheek gently.
"It's just what Noah?" Kurt whispered.
"That if it weren't for you, I wouldn't have been here for this and I wouldn't have gotten to share it with you." Noah closed the distance between them bringing them into the most tender, meaningful kiss he's ever been a part of. He was about to pull away when chubby little fingers threw a soft book at him. "Let me guess shrimp: you want me to read you a book." The baby's clapping hands were answer enough. Noah raised to his feet and then lent a hand down to the paler boy. When he was once again face to face with him, he dropped a quick peck on his lips before making sure Kurt would still be okay with dinner while he read to Beth.
"You two go ahead. Take your adorableness and learn something. Dinner is handled." Kurt flitted around the kitchen having decided on making pasta with an alfredo sauce while listening to the beautiful sounds coming from merely feet away.
When Shelby returned from her errands she walked into her condo to find Kurt putting the last touches in setting the table and Noah was playing with Beth and her toys. "Hello boys. It smells delicious in here Kurt. How did things go?" She asked as Noah shifted the baby into her waiting arms. She kissed her little girl on the cheek making her giggle and then settled her in her high chair.
"It tastes better than it smells believe me," Kurt replied with a wink. "Things here were good. Beth was an absolute angel, wasn't she Noah?"
"Yeah sweet as can be. Actually we have something to show you after dinner. I just hope you don't get upset when you see it," Noah said twiddling with the hem of his shirt.
"Noah, sweetie, I highly doubt she's going to be upset. Don't worry."
"I'll try." Shelby giggled at their exchange. They were adorable together. The way she saw it was that if something isn't going on with them now then it will be soon. Everyone settled down for the amazing dinner that Kurt made, and boy could he cook. It was beyond delicious. They made idle chit chat between bites basking in the comfortable atmosphere. Once dinner was over and the plates placed in the dishwasher Shelby couldn't hold her curiosity in any longer.
"Okay the suspense is killing me boys. What did you want to show me?" Kurt set up the clip that was on his phone and handed it to Shelby to watch. Watching the video made her eyes start to water. Her little girl and her daddy finally have the relationship they deserved to have. She looked up at the penetrating gaze of the teenagers before her.
"Darn it Kurt! I knew it would upset her," Noah exclaimed. She couldn't help but think, does he really believe that I'm upset about this? He has the relationship with Beth that he should. It's exactly what she wanted.
"Noah I'm not upset. Beth sees you as her father which you are. When I agreed for you to be in her life, this is what I was hoping would happen. I'm not upset I'm happy." She shared a watery smile with Kurt before turning back to the bigger boy. "So tell me, how did it feel?"
"Honestly? Best feeling in the world." She could definitely understand that. Later that evening, after the boys had left, Shelby made a note to call her attorney. There was some paperwork that she needed to get written up now that she knows her little girl is attached to her father. She didn't want to overwhelm the boys but she still wanted this done just in case. That evenings events were evidence enough that it was the right decision.
Tuesday, 5:12 pm. Noah sat in Kurt's room working on homework when his cell phone rang. It wasn't a number he recognized, but he figured he'd answer it just in case it was important. "Hello?"
"Hi. Is this a Mr. Noah Puckerman?" The person on the line asked.
"Yes I'm Noah Puckerman," Noah replied sharing a look with Kurt, "who is this?"
"Mr. Puckerman my name is Officer Miller. I'm calling on behalf of a Ms. Shelby Corcoran."
"I'm sorry Officer, did something happen to Shelby?" Noah looks to Kurt worriedly. Kurt is quick to get up and grab Noah's hand in support.
"There was an accident son. Is there any way you can come to Lima General Hospital?"
"Absolutely. Wait, is Beth hurt?"
"Just a couple of scratches. Please get here as soon as you can."
"Yeah, okay, I'm on my way." He closed his phone in shock. The usually tanned boy had turned as white as a ghost.
"Noah, what's wrong?" Kurt asked, very concerned for the boy he cares so much for.
"There was an accident. Beth has some scratches but I don't know about Shelby. He wouldn't say, only that I needed to get there right away." Kurt grabbed the boy in a tight hug, before letting go and dragging him towards the stairs.
"Okay let's go. I'm coming with you. We can take my car." He was halted from going any further by a tug on his arm.
"Kurt I'm scared."
"I know sweetie. I am too, but you don't have to do this alone. I promise." The mohawked teen nodded and they continued on their way. Kurt addressed his dad when he saw him in the kitchen, "dad I'm taking Noah to the hospital. There was an accident involving Beth and Shelby."
Burt nodded and grabbed his coat. "Come on kid I'm coming with you. I'll drive. You sit in the back with Noah. Give me your keys." Kurt was silently glad that his dad was taking control because he's was sort of freaking out on the inside. They settled into the back seat, his arm wrapped around the trembling boy.
He ran a comforting hand through Noah's mohawk whispering in his ear, "don't worry Noah. Everything will be okay. We'll take care of you." The trip to the hospital was pretty much a blur for the teens. Burt parked the Navigator and the trio made their way into the hospital entrance where they were met with an officer.
"Noah Puckerman?" he asked.
"This here is Noah, my son Kurt Hummel, and I'm Burt Hummel," Burt introduced, shaking the officer's hand.
"Nice to meet you although I wish it was under better circumstances. Please follow me so we can talk in private." The officer guided them to a private conference room and shut the door. "As I told you on the phone Mr. Puckerman Shelby and Beth were involved in a car accident. From what I've been told you're Beth's biological father?"
"Yes. You said that Beth had some scratches but what about Shelby?"
"I'm not sure how to say this but she didn't make it son." Noah's legs gave out and he sunk into the closest chair. Kurt rushed to his side, tears sliding down his cheeks. They couldn't believe that Shelby was gone. Beth's mom was gone. The officer continued, "it seems a drunk driver ran a red light and hit Ms. Corcoran's car. She suffered some internal bleeding and they weren't able to stop it in time. Beth is very lucky."
"So what's going to happen to Beth?" Burt questioned, causing the teen's heads to snap up.
"That's why we called Mr. Puckerman. In Ms. Corcoran's belongs was a document that she had written up in case of an emergency. She has no immediate family besides Beth. It was her request that Beth not be put as a ward of the state. Instead she would go immediately into Noah's care. Well Noah and Kurt's to be more specific."
"Are you serious?" Noah and Kurt asked at the same time. They were shocked that Shelby would want that.
"Yes I am. She was very clear that Beth be put in the care of Noah and Kurt. There was also something about making sure the child absolutely does not go to a Ms. Quinn Fabray?"
"Yeah that's her biological mother. She's not exactly in a stable place right now. Beth doesn't even know her," Noah clarified.
"Okay. Would you like me to take you to Beth now?"
"Please." They followed the officer through several corridors before stopping in front of a room where they could see Beth with a nurse. She had little bandages on her arms and a tiny cut on her cheek.
"Da!" she squealed when she laid eyes on her father.
"Hey baby girl. Daddy's here." He grabbed her up and held her close, pressing a kiss to her temple. He held an arm out to Kurt and pulled him into a hug. The three embraced until a throat cleared behind them.
"Will she need to stay overnight?" Burt inquired.
"No she's clear to go. We just needed Noah here to be able to discharge her," the nurse answered.
This seemed to catch Kurt's attention because he looked around with wide eyes, "wait we don't have anything for Beth except for the car seat I keep in my car in case we need it."
"He's right," Noah replied, "is there any way we can get into Shelby's condo to get some of her things? I know there are certain toys and blankets that she won't go to sleep without."
"Yeah. We have her keys which we can give you so you can get anything you need," the officer supplied.
"Thank you Officer. Boys let's go there now. I'm sure Beth's probably getting hungry by now," said Burt.
"Oh you're right. It is almost her dinner time. Dad, can they stay with us tonight? I really don't want to leave them. Please," Kurt pleaded.
"Kurt that's not necessary. I'm sure my ma will be fine with me bringing her home," Noah tried to reason.
Burt shook his head, "it's okay you can stay. I know you two probably want to be there for each other to work your heads around this tragedy. Besides I have no doubt that if you don't stay Kurt will just go to your house instead."
"Okay if you're sure. I'll need to call my ma after we get the baby settled. I need to tell her what's going on. I still can't believe this is happening."
"You're probably in shock son. It'll be okay. You have a lot of support behind you." They bundled up the baby and set out to Kurt's car. They set up the car seat in the middle of the back seat so Kurt and Noah could sit on either side of her. Noah guided Burt to Shelby's condo in relative ease. Inside they packed up formula, diapers, clothes, toys, the stuffed animals she wouldn't go without, the portable playpen for her to sleep in, and any other random items they came across that they thought she may need at least for the time being. Burt watched the ease in which Noah and his son worked together, the way they seemed to know on instinct what Beth needed and could read what the other needed without even having to say anything. He even noticed the tender glances, comforting touches, and he's positive he saw a small kiss or two. It was watching the two together that made him realize how much they cared for each other. He knew they were strong and they had each other to lean on. They would make it.
A/N: Okay, I think I'm going to end this chapter here. It was only going to be a one shot but it was getting a little long so I think I'll turn it into a two shot. I have more planned for the boys. You'll see how they're settling in with Beth and the reactions of various people (especially Quinn's). I hope you enjoyed this. I'm quite proud of it to be honest. Please feel free to tell me what you thought. Until next time... :)