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He knows the moment he wakes up; something is wrong.
It isn't just the beeping, isn't the pain in his ribcage or the cast wrapped around his wrist. He has little flashes of memory; Ma and Nana arguing like they always did, the screech of tires, flash of red, the window smashing, pain and agony and then blackness. There's really vague moments of talking, a few instances where he'd swear he hears his sister. But he just can't figure it out.
The smell tells him he's in the hospital before the beeping and machines do. He's got an IV in his hand and something hooked up to his chest, probably one of those funky heart monitors. There's a bunch of flowers on the table beside his bed which he knows are from Quinn; they're her favourite flowers. A few cards are propped up around the vase and he can see one that has a massive love heart drawn on it which must be from Britt, and there's one beside it that he recognises as his sister's art work – she's drawn herself and him hugging and it's kinda cute. It's nice, the cards and Quinn's flowers. In that whole weird kind of way that he doesn't exactly get because he's not the sort of guy that people send cards to.
He's even more confused when he sees who's in the chair next to his bed.
It's one of those things you never forget - what your dad looks like. Puck's never forgotten because year by year he grew to look more and more like his dad. His ma hated it and he wasn't overly thrilled himself; he did what he could to take away from it, the mohawk, the plugs he got after juvie, the loose clothes. He wanted the reminder about his old man about as much as his ma wanted it.
But there he is, curled into this tiny chair that Puck knows will be hell on the old man's back. It's freaky just how much he hasn't changed in nine years. Puck has no idea how long he spends staring at the man, half expecting him to disappear all over again, before the man starts to wake.
It takes him a minute to notice that Puck is awake and then he's out of the seat faster than believable and at Puck's side.
"Noah, son, how're you feeling? You hurtin' kiddo? Lemme get a nurse." All Puck really wants is an explanation; for what happened, why he's in hospital, where Ma and Nana are, what the hell he was doing there, why the fuck he left, where his sister is? Anything would be nice really.
Before Puck can actually say anything though, his dad is out getting a nurse and doctors and he can't actually stop to ask what's going on between all the questions he has to answer. They ask about how his chest feels, about his arm, if he has any gaps in his memory other than right before and immediately after the incident, if he's feeling any nausea or dizziness, if his eye-sight is focused or not. It's all one thing after the other and Puck feels drained just dealing with them. He has three broken ribs, apparently they punctured his lung and he almost died. He'll get a scar on his side which is kind of cool and kind of not. His left wrist and his forearm fractured, so they plastered his whole lower left arm but left him his fingers, even though he can't move them right now. Beyond that and a bump on the head from the initial roll of the car, he's fine.
With the nurses and doctors leaving him to 'rest', Puck can finally address the big purple elephant in the room.
"What're you doing here?" He can't figure it out, because his dad didn't show up the first time he ended up in hospital from a football injury, he wasn't around when Sarah had tonsillitis and got them out, he didn't show up when Nana G broke her hip, didn't show up when Puck broke his eye-socket —and that injury was interesting to explain. All those other times, he'd never been there. So why now?
"Noah, during the crash, there— I'm sorry, kiddo. Your mama, she's... her and Nana are gone." It's scary how he kind of already knew that. People said that your life flashes before your eyes in situations like that, but Puck has crystal clear recall on just what happened. Ma and Nana were arguing, Nana seemed to do it a lot with his ma, he figured it was because she was the only one of her kids still around or whatever. But it's like, they were arguing one second and then the next Ma lost control, swerved the car sideways, someone rammed into their side and the car tumbled over. Puck's pretty sure that's when he hit his head, Nana's skull cracked on the dashboard and glass from the windscreen went everywhere. Considering how quiet things had been, beyond the ringing in his ears and the screeching around them and the screaming from somewhere outside of the car, inside the car was completely silent. He sort of knew then that he was the only one conscious or alive. He just couldn't see around the front seats to make sure.
Then things went black and faded into being moved but black straight after, then he remembers lights and moving and someone prattling off all these words and he had no clue what was being said. He's sure that was the last thing he remembered.
"But why are you here?" It still doesn't answer why his father showed up. Does it?
"I'm your next of kin, son. They called when you were brought in. I made it just in time to be told you'd flat-lined in surgery." Flat-lined? That was... shit, he'd died? "Scared the crap outta me."
"She's okay, your friend Rachel's down in the cafeteria with her just now, she'll be back soon, I promise." Rachel has Sarah, so that's okay. Sarah likes Rachel, weirdly. Rachel is the coolest girl at Temple; Rachel is the only girl at Temple who talked to Sarah which automatically made her 'cool'. "You should just rest up; you've been through a pretty serious crash, and a major operation."
"I still don't get it." His dad just sits there, waiting for it, "Why are you here? Why now? Why bother after all this time to show up?" Puck doesn't know if it's important or just something he's needed to know since he was seven and his ma told him that Dad wouldn't be there next week when he turned eight, so he'd just need to grow up. "Why did you leave in the first place?"
"Your mother never told Sarah who I was, did she?" Puck shakes his head, because Sarah had been born five months after his dad walked out. Sarah had never known who the man was beyond what Nana and Ma said when they were bitching. She'd asked Puck once, but he didn't really have anything to say at that point. "I figured she wouldn't. After— God, it's hard to believe it's been so long. I never regretted telling her, but I've always regretted what happened." Puck's not following. "Noah, when your mother told me she was pregnant again, I couldn't really feel the joy I wanted to, not like when we had you. Because at that point I knew what I had to do." He had to leave? He'd been planning on leaving? "When your mother and I met, we were just out of high school, we had dreams and plans and we were gonna be something. But it never kicked off, and then Ruth got pregnant and we got married and settled down and, for a while it worked. I mean, you remember then, don't you? We used to play baseball in the yard and we'd go to the park on the weekends? Mama'd bring you to see me at work sometimes. We were good, back then. But I started to figure some things out for myself.
"Now I loved your mother, don't ever think I didn't, just like I love you, and Sarah. You're my kids." Puck wants to get mad, because he doesn't have any right to call them that, not after he left them for so long, he never even saw Sarah when she was born, wasn't around long enough to name her. Noah had named her. "But I'd been lying to myself for too long, and it was just getting too hard. When I told your mother, she was four months along with Sarah, I knew that it wasn't the best time, but I hoped she'd understand. We'd been facing troubles, we'd been growing apart. I figured, when I told her I was gay, she'd understand why we weren't working." Puck can do little more than stare. Really, he's just a little too shocked.
"You walked out on us 'cause you like dick?"
"No, I..." the old man sighs, running a hand over his close cropped hair, "I never wanted to leave, kiddo. I never wanted that for us. I wanted us to work through it, for us to figure it out but still raise you and your sister together. We were still a family; we just weren't going to be together as one. But your mother, well, she told her mother, and Nana Goldman, well, you know Nana."
Nana Goldman was not a forgiving woman. She wasn't racist, or homophobic, or sexist, or any of that other stuff. But if you lied to her, by God you better run and hope she never found you. Puck could understand Nana G freaking out, Puck could understand Nana G. laying down the law and scary as it was he could picture her running his father out of town with a pitchfork in her hand. What he couldn't understand, was his father accepting it. Or his mother telling them what she told them. He could understand why she hated how much he looked like his dad though.
"So you just left?"
"I didn't want to, but they didn't really leave me with much choice. There was no divorce, I sent child support, but your mother refused to let me see you both, or talk to either of you. She just told you what she wanted and I had to live with it."
"She told us you left to be a rock star; something about groupies and STDs and plucking your guitar. Thinking about it, it makes more sense in a passive aggressive kind of way." His ma and him share a sense of humour, or they did at least. He honestly has no idea what this means for him and Sarah, because their Ma is gone. Like, gone gone. And Nana too. Nana G wasn't exactly as close to them as Nana Connie —Nana Connie was his dad's ma, and although she was a fair distance away, she still tried to keep in touch as much as possible. Nana G was around more, but she wasn't exactly 'close' or anything, she just yelled a lot and made them clean up their rooms.
"Noah—," he doesn't get to ask, not as Rachel stands in the doorway to his room, his little sister's hand in hers and Sarah has clearly been crying, and her voice has that pathetic, scared kid quality when she says his name.
"C'mere, squirt." She smiles at him, Rachel leading her to his left side and picking her up to kneel on the edge of his bed. Puck just raises his plaster-casted arm to loop her waist, pulling her in for a careful hug. "I love my card." Rachel stays behind them, stroking a hand down Sarah's hair, smiling slightly.
"I made it so you'd feel better. Cause Mama and Nana aren't here anymore; the lady said that they had to go away. I was scared you'd go away too and I'd be all alone, but Rach said you'd never leave me."
"Never ever." Not if he had anything to say about it. Sure, she was a pain in his ass sometimes; all her clubs, her annoying friends, her stupid make up, her shows on cable, her toys all over the floor, her weekly change in diet. It was frustrating. But she was his little sister, the little bundle that laid in his lap when he was eight and just stared up at him, the brat that crept into his room to sleep on the floor when she had a nightmare and scare the shit out of him in the morning when he stood on her, the dork who'd balance plastic or rubber spiders in the shower just to piss him off. But she was still this bright eyed little thing perched on his hospital bed half clinging to the top of his arm too.
"I've been staying at Rachel's; she helped me make a volcano, because you were sleeping. I got first place in the competition because my volcano had a village and people and foam lava." Puck just smiled at her enthusiasm while wondering just how long he'd been in the hospital. She'd asked him about helping her with her project before the crash, the day before it. She was supposed to have had a week to figure it out.
"We've all been worried about you, Noah." Rachel ran her fingers over the top of his hair, smiling slightly. "Your Dad hasn't left your side since he got here." There's a small flick of her eyes over to where his dad is, standing outside his room, talking on his cell phone.
He's not too sure why she tells him that, he's not even sure why it matters. The biggest thing is that his mother lied to them for so many years. The old man never wanted to leave, she forced him out. It didn't really matter that his dad was gay, did it? Kurt was queer and the kid was okay; Rachel's dads were gay and they were two of the best dads that Puck knew. He isn't sure what it means for him and Sarah, although it has to be something right; they aren't orphans because they have their dad. He's right there. But is he sticking around or does he have family somewhere else? Would he try to move them somewhere else? Puck just doesn't have the energy to deal with it right now.
"Hey squirt, you wanna head on back to Rachel's?" Sarah doesn't look like she wants to. "C'mon, it's just a little while longer; I need to heal up before they'll let me leave." She's careful as she leans over, hugging his neck tightly and kissing his cheek before climbing down with Rachel. She gives him a nod and squeezes his leg through the blanket, talking to his dad outside and taking Sarah home with her.
"You look beat, kiddo."
"All this sleeping must be hard work." He was still pretty tired; a week of sleeping and he was tired, it didn't really make much sense to him. "Or the talking." It's not like he's overly prone to doing much of that, but he's starting to worry about just what is going to happen now, where are him and Sarah going to stay? What's his dad been doing all these years? How is this going to change things?
"Get some sleep, son. We can deal with everything when you're better rested." It's not like he really has the strength to argue anyway.
It's a bit like déjà vu when he wakes up again. His dad is sitting in the same place as the day before, this time with a book on his lap. Sarah's curled up at Noah's side this time though, sleeping away and there's another guy sitting beside his dad, someone that Noah doesn't recognise at all, but the guy's sitting with a hand on his dad's thigh. Puck shifts a little, hissing slightly as his side protests to the movement.
"Easy there, bud." The book is placed down and the old man is there at his side to help him pull himself up a bit, the pillow being sat up to help support his back. "You okay?"
"Yeah, just stiff." His back hurts a little, his side is in knots from the slight pull, his arm is a little sore too, but he figures that's mostly due to it being broken and all. "Time is it?" He's careful about placing his good hand on the top of Sarah's head, mindful on the IV still in the back of his hand.
"Just after five," there's space just by Puck's feet for him to perch and the other guy sort of leans forward in his chair while Sarah sleeps on beside Puck's hip. "Rachel dropped her off after her dance class. She wanted to see you." He doesn't mind much, it's got to be hard for her, right? She never really understood when Papa G died, now it's Nana G and Ma. He trusts that Rachel's probably helped her deal with the explanations, but she'll be a long way away from accepting it. And she's kind of adorable when she sleeps, just like she was when she was tiny.
"Who's your friend?" He's pretty sure this is possibly, maybe, kind of his dad's boyfriend or something. The way they glance at each other sort of furthers that impression —Nana Connie only had one son, his dad, and three girls, and his Aunts are sort of spread out over Ohio and he's met all their husbands.
"Oh, Noah, this um, this is Richard." Richard looks to be the same age as Puck's dad; he's got sandy blond hair, a nice looking suit and this careful sort of way he sits there; like he's not sure of his welcome. "Richard and I um, we—"
"Go at it like rabbits? Bump uglies? Make the beast with two backs?" Puck smirks slightly, he's sort of amusing himself now. "I kinda figured he was your boyfriend." Really, he's mostly okay with the gay thing. It doesn't bother him. He's surprised really that it doesn't bother him at all, his biggest issue is his mother if he's honest, because she lied and she made him hate his dad for the better part of eight years and he can't exactly hate his ma now, because she's dead, and that's like super disrespectful to the dead or something and Nana G would clip his ear for that.
"And, you... I mean..."
"What your father is trying to ask, Noah, is if you're okay with that?" They probably think that Ma raised him and Sarah to hate fags or something. And yeah, okay, he's probably not the most obvious in his utterly unbiased opinion about that stuff, because people probably think that's what the whole thing with Kurt was about. And this is Lima, it's not like everyone is all open arms and open hearts or whatever. But it's not like he's going to get out the white hoods or whatever and start lynching people. Or was that just racist stuff, not homophobic stuff? He had no idea. But if there was one thing he'd learned from all his ma's crazy Jew movies and shit, it was that gays were just as persecuted as the Jews, so really, it's not a big deal.
"Dude, I don't care where you dip your stick." He'd shrug if it didn't hurt too much. "Rach has two dads. They're pretty cool. Hiram and Leroy. You met 'em?" Richard nods at him, and it makes sense if Rachel was taking care of Sarah for a while. "How long you two been together?"
"Five years." Longer than any of his ma's attempts at dating, because his ma sort of turned into this man hater, or she just picked really stupid guys to go on dates with and more than once Puck had told her to get real and told the assholes to go to hell. Seriously, she had no taste at all. And that, that right there, he's suddenly hit with the fact that there won't be any more of that.
"Didja know that Ma tried to date a few guys? There was this one guy, Michael. He was pretty cool. She met him while Nana G was away on some old lady cruise or whatever. He was around for nine weeks and I don't know, she really liked him. Nana practically tore into Ma when she found out he was Catholic." Ever since then, his ma went on about him and a nice Jewish girl. "So, Richard, are you Jewish?"
"No, Noah," Richard at least laughs at the question, "I'm an atheist."
"Kurt's an atheist." Kurt's also gay. "What do you do?" If he says anything about fashion design or whatever he's totally going to have to smother himself with the pillow.
"I'm an accountant, actually."
"My parents are dead, but I have two brothers. Both are married with kids."
"None of your own?"
"No, I... I always knew that I was—"
"A fairy? Queer as a three dollar bill? A lover of dick? As gay as the day is long—"
"You have a lot of these?" There's a smirk on Richard's face, so Puck's pretty sure this guy isn't too bad if he can at least poke fun or appreciate a joke or two.
"You have no idea." So he finds out that Richard and his dad have been together in Cincinnati for five years, Richard works for the same firm his dad does; his dad is a financial consultant whatever that means, while Richard is a company accountant. They have two dogs together which is practically having kids for gays or something according to Richard; two labs, Mitzy and Fang.
Sarah wakes up somewhere in the middle of the story of how dad and Richard met (something about a broken down elevator) and she wants to know when Noah can come home, because she misses him. She's just too freaking cute sometimes. He knows he should enjoy it just now, because she'll be hell soon enough. Richard heads off to see if he can find a doctor and Sarah tucks into the chocolate pudding that was left for Puck's lunch that he missed.
"So, what's the ruling after the third degree?" See, the old man isn't so bad. He's actually pretty much like Puck remembered him. He still has the same mannerisms, the same gestures, he's the same guy that Puck has these random memories of from when he was seven and his dad was his hero. And yeah, his ma took that away from them but it's not like he can't get it back or something.
"Hmm, I guess he's okay."
"Really? Because, well, you're only seventeen, and you and Sarah, you, well." Okay, this whole anxious thing, that's what Sarah does. Puck shares a small smirk with her, because she just climbs over Puck's legs carefully, sitting herself in their Dad's lap.
"Daddy, are you going to stay with me and Noah? You can bring your boyfriend too. And then we can be like Rachel's family. They're really nice. Is your boyfriend really nice?" The innocence of an eight-year-old is a great thing.
"The first person to get me a plastic fork to scratch my arm gets to do whatever the hell they want." Because seriously, broken arm or not, that shit is itchy.
He's told he needs to wait four more days and they'll run some more tests to see how he's holding up and then determine if he'll get to leave the hospital. He eventually has to kick his dad out of his room to sleep in a proper bed around day two of his four more days. He's sitting up without too much discomfort and playing cards with Quinn when the old man comes back from a ten hour exile from Puck's room.
"You look less like a zombie now, dude. They might stop trying to wheel you out to the morgue." Because as much as he kinda likes knowing that his dad wants to stick around, he doesn't need the dude making himself sick or a cripple from sitting in that chair like that. "Quinn, my dad. Dad, this is Quinn." Quinn smiles her bright smile at him, nodding her head and he's already told her everything that he'd got from his dad that pretty much contradicted what his ma had told him.
"Mr. Puckerman, it's a pleasure." Quinn is almost as good as Rachel at schmoozing parents.
"Right, you're the girl with the flowers." She just nods and his dad shoots a look at Puck that just makes the jock roll his eyes. "The nurse said you were out of bed today?"
"They let me walk to the end of the hall, turn around, and come back. I don't get it. There's nothin' up with my legs, it's my arm that's fucked." Quinn just pokes him in the leg with her finger; it's her way of getting him to stop swearing. "Ow, woman." Even if it doesn't exactly hurt, it's the principle.
"Okay, I should head out. Everyone's asking after you." She leans over to kiss his cheek and he just smiles nicely, no rude comment or innuendo, because he's playing nice.
"Thank you for my flowers." Because really, he's a little touched that she bothered, "Would you like to take them?" But they're still flowers. Even if they are in a black vase with a red bow wrapped around it. Orchids aren't exactly girly but he's not overly fussed about keeping them.
"Can I?" He just nods and she grins, picking up the vase and really, she's such an Indian giver. "Thank you." But she'll get more pleasure out of them than he will having them sitting on his bedside and he'll be out of there soon anyway.
"Don't say I don't give you shit." She actually gives him the finger as she walks out.
"So," his dad shifts to the end of the bed, where Quinn just was, looking out the door while Puck pulls all the cards back together, kind of glad that Quinn had brought them for him because he was losing his mind now that he wasn't sleeping all the time. "Are you dating that one, or Rachel?" Puck stares at the door, frowning before shaking his head.
"Actually, I dated both of them but we're not together. Rach is kinda just a friend," that he'd totally still bang, "and uh, Quinn and I had a baby." He hadn't actually told his dad about that, but like, when was he supposed to work that in. "Last year, little girl, Rachel's biological mom adopted her." Which was still just a little weird, especially if the rumours that Ms Corcoran was really coming back to Lima this year were true. "Her name's Beth. My daughter, not Rachel's mom."
"I have a granddaughter?"
"Surprise." He figures that well, they're sort of even, right? He's got the 'hey, you're a grandparent' thing and his dad had the 'by the way I'm gay' thing. Not that it's a competition or anything.
"Any other big surprises?" Puck's pretty sure he's got tonnes to list, not that he really wants to break them out; the cougars, the money he owed for slashing tires, the drinking from giving up Beth, the juvie stint, his whole attitude change after he hit eight. He's got a fair amount of baggage really.
"Not really." He's not really up for dragging all his short comings out; his dad will probably hear about all his shit anyway.
"Okay, so, Richard and I have been looking, and we've found a pretty decent house in the area. We can get transfers into Lima and move from Cincinnati fairly easy. Unless you and Sarah would rather move to Cincinnati with us." He was tempted, for sure. A move to Cincinnati would mean a whole new slate, it would mean senior year without any of the expectation or baggage or whatever. And yeah, he probably wasn't going to be playing football this year anyway, by the time he got his cast off there'd be no point in putting him on the starting team. But Sarah had friends, and he honestly counted the glee kids as his friends, and they made it to Nationals last year. They could win it this year, this was their shot. And yeah, he totally wanted to.
"You guys really cool about moving here or are you just sayin' that?" His dad just smiled, patted his knee and assured him that it wasn't a problem.
So, they get a house. And Puck is hit with the fact that his dad and Richard are fucking well off or some shit, because they get a place in Rachel's neighbourhood and that shit doesn't come cheap. By the time Puck gets out of hospital they've mostly moved in and got the dogs over and Sarah is fucking insanely happy because they have pets. Fang is a total dork and follows Sarah everywhere while Mitzy practically lives in the kitchen or sleeps at the bottom of the stairs. It's sorta cool.
The first night he's home, Richard makes matzo ball soup. It's weird how much like home it feels already.
Since Rach is like right around the corner, she comes around a lot to help him catch up on his missed work from class. He's not overly thrilled, but he figures if he's not playing football this year he better make a point of getting his grades up if he wants any college to take him serious when it comes to applying. She comes with him to visit his mother and grandmother's graves, since he missed the funerals because he was unconscious. He still can't figure out how he feels about his mother.
He can't remember the last thing he said to her, can't remember if he'd pissed her off with something or not. He remembers latkes for breakfast, remembers the last time they went to Temple, remembers playing guitar for her and Sarah one night while they danced in the living room after some really lame show on television. He remembers not getting in trouble at school so he didn't need to see her being all disappointed in him, he does remember that she kissed him on the cheek the night before the accident, because he'd cleaned up the house before she came in from work and made dinner.
He figures it's better than knowing if he'd pissed her off or not. He kind of hopes he hadn't.
"You know, he really cares about you." Rachel sits on his floor and plays Mario Kart while he types out an essay one handed, "I just mean, it's obvious that he loves you and Sarah." Rachel tends to do this thing where she points out how hard his dad is trying and how he's clearly devoted to being there now and how it wasn't really his fault he wasn't there before. Puck's not sure why, but he doesn't really question Rachel's motives, because he figures it'll mostly just cause a headache or something.
"Yeah," but Puck knows this, because his dad makes a point of coming home from work early, even though he's transitioning from one company to another just so that he'll be there for dinner, Richard tries it as much as possible too. One of them will drive Sarah to school every morning and they've already planned on dropping Noah off when he goes back to school the following week. And yeah, they sort of went all out on Sarah and him with the new stuff, and Puck gets that they aren't trying to buy their affection or whatever, but it's kinda nice and all that. And they take an interest. Like, after his dad met Quinn and obviously Rachel, he asked about Puck's other friends and remembered what Puck said and stuff, he found out about Puck's clubs and hobbies, about Sarah's hobbies and after school stuff. She even got new dance shoes. "He got all teary eyed and stuff when he figured out that my guitar is the one he left behind."
Even though Puck can't play just now, his dad sort of snagged a quick play. It sort of reminded him what it was that got him into playing really.
"So, everything is going well?" It's like Rachel is über invested in him slotting in okay with the new dynamic, because it's sort of new. He has, basically, two parents all of a sudden. And neither of them are his ma. But see, there are things that just work with this now. Like when they actually sit down around a table for a meal rather than in front of the television, it's pretty cool. And having the dogs is sort of awesome. They're big and noisy and sort of messy sometimes, but it's cool that Sarah drags him out twice a day to walk them and play in the park. Because his sister is totally less of a brat and he likes her like 90% of the time now rather than only 75% of the time. Which is cool.
"Yeah, it's good. Sarah's sometimes calling Richard Dad, like she forgets or something."
"What do you call him?"
"Dick." He does it mostly to get a rise out of her, because he misses Rachel's little moments and he's actually looking forward to glee again so he can catch up on them.
"Noah," he can't keep a straight face though, and the only thing that saves him from getting a pillow thrown at him is when he reminds her that he's got a broken arm and some busted ribs.
It's not exactly smooth sailing though; not when Sarah starts asking why Ma and Nana are gone, or if Richard and Daddy are going to leave too, or the time Noah ends up hunched over the toilet puking up blood because his rib moved again and there's a tear somewhere and he needs to go back in for another operation. He misses another two weeks of senior year because of this.
He's back at school for a day before the first brick comes through their window. Puck doesn't even need to ask who the fuck it was, because he knows the handwriting of the hockey jocks just from the way they write 'fag'. He socks the guy at school the next day, screw his probation, and screw his broken wrist, and screw detention. He makes sure that people know if it ever happens again he's going to break someone's face because his fucking little sister was in the house and that shit was not kosher. He doesn't really care about the name calling and shit, but the moment someone does something that could hurt Sarah he's going to break skulls. It's a little weird that he ends up closer friends with Rachel, Kurt and Blaine that year, but he's totally not down with that homophobic shit hitting his sister in any way.
"So, the school called this afternoon." He hits pause on the video game, setting down the controller and looking at Richard. He gets that his dad is kind of shit at this 'discipline' stuff, because he's like worried about boundaries or something and how he hasn't been there so does he really have a right. Richard doesn't seem too overly worried and he handles Sarah's temper tantrums pretty well. Puck figures the guy deserves a chance anyway. "Apparently there was a fight?"
"I wouldn't call it a fight." He's not going to lie and bullshit, he didn't do it to his ma, and he won't try it now. Yeah, he's fucked up a few times; yeah, he has a bit of an anger management issue. But it wasn't like he wasn't provoked. "I punched a guy in the face, probably broke his nose."
"Want to tell me why?" With Richard, he gets to explain himself; other people put it down as him being a bad kid, or just a rebellious teen. He's not anything but a bully and an angry boy with temper issues going nowhere but back to juvie to most people. Richard at least gives him a chance, which he doesn't need to; his dad does it because he partly blames himself and Puck partly blames him too, just like Puck partly blames his mother and himself for this shit.
"Because he was the piece of shit that threw the brick through the living room window. While Sarah was in the house, he didn't know where she was." Sarah had been in the kitchen when it happened, the dogs went nuts and only the window, the coffee table and a few picture frames got damaged, but if it happened again, things might not turn out so lucky. "So I made it very clear that if it happens again there would be blood." For a minute it almost looks like Richard's actually going to yell at him or something.
"Noah," instead he just shakes his head, "not everything can be solved with violence." He sounds like Rachel did while she'd checked his knuckles weren't too badly bruised. "But, I understand why you reacted how you reacted, I respect that you told the truth and that you acted to protect your sister."
"And not just her, dude. Brick coulda hit anyone. That shit ain't cool." Next time a brick goes through Hummel's window, or Rachel's window, or Blaine's windscreen, he'll do the exact same thing. "But hey, if you've got to ground me or whatever, I totally understand." His ma was terrible at that shit, because she worked so much she had no clue if he stayed in or not. Usually he didn't because she would ground him for the lamest shit ever. At least now he sort of got why he needed to deal with that shit.
"I don't think that's necessary. Just, you know, sit up here and think about what you've done." Richard shrugs with a smirk and Puck's pretty sure this guy is a lot like him.
The day he gets the cast off his arm —which they re-wrap in some mesh cast thing for another four weeks, just to be sure the bone is strong enough— he drags Rachel out to the mall afterwards. She was his ride to the hospital and back, so it made sense to somewhat kidnap her and get Kurt and Blaine to meet them there.
"Is there a reason we're shopping today?" He gets that he's sort of pulling her away from Finn time or whatever, but this shit is important. Blaine and Kurt seem just as interested since Puck avoids shopping with them like it's a chick flick.
"Okay, here's the deal, anyone makes a comment and I will pay Santana to bitch slap you." Because Rachel's a chick and he doesn't hit chicks, and Kurt and Blaine are just little and shit and he'd break them with a slap never mind a punch. "Dad and Richard's anniversary is next week. I've never done the anniversary thing, so me and Sarah need a gift for their six year mark. Suggestions?"
Rachel thinks it's incredibly sweet of him to get his dad and Richard a gift, but really it's Sarah; she's sort of this really adamant little hellion and she was learning things in school that Puck didn't even want to think about, but apparently they needed to buy a gift and cook a nice romantic dinner for the anniversary because that's what people do. Puck doesn't know anyone who does this outside of the TV set, but arguing with Sarah is like beating his head against a wall.
So they do the whole thing, Kurt picks out these monogrammed matching date books bound in leather and made from recycled paper, because his dad seems fairly old school and prefers pen and paper to technology and Richard's as bad as Rachel when it comes to saving the planet. He makes dinner, Sarah sets the table and when the pair of them come in from work Puck and Sarah disappear with the dogs to leave them some space. They come back an hour and a half later and Richard has their Dad sort of pinned against the fridge, and seriously, Puck could've timed this better.
"Dude," the dogs run off through the house, Sarah snickering beside him while Richard and their Dad jump apart. "No one wants to see their parents making out. No one." He makes the point with a finger pointing between them before Sarah drags him into the living room. "Happy anniversary."
It's later that same night, Puck's finishing off his homework, he's mostly just sitting at his desk, swivelling in his chair and not answering the history question because it's stupid, when his dad knocks on the door and comes in.
"How ya doin' kiddo?" For the most part, Puck just hates that he's still side-lined from sport because of a car crash that happened at the beginning of the school year.
"Not bad. Do you think arguing that Marie Antoinette was a hot ass crazy chick is a viable explanation for the French Revolution?" The fact that Rachel even got him to watch that movie was solely because of Kirsten Dunst and the possibility of a boob shot.
"I don't think that'll go down well." At least he doesn't get yelled at for objectifying women when he says shit like that. "Listen, um, thanks, for tonight. You and Sarah didn't need to do that."
"Ah, how many times do you get to celebrate your six year anniversary?" He had to listen to three romantics gush about anniversaries and their ideal views on how they'd like theirs to go and really, he sort of just shrugged cause, like six years with one person was a little mind blowing for him. But then, his dad and ma had been together for seven years before his dad told his ma the truth or whatever and they went their separate ways. The Berry's had been together longer than Rachel was alive.
"Listen, it was um, it's the comment, actually. That's why I'm dropping by, really." What blows Puck's mind is just how much like his dad he's not. See, his old man does this rambling, anxious unsure thing that Sarah does sometimes. Sarah blurts out words in any order and pulls at her hair and fidgets. His old man does that too, it's this long rambling stutter with unsure pauses and he's wringing his fingers together. Noah, he's like his ma, they just blurt out whatever it is they have to say, even if it's blunt as shit, but they get the point across. Richard is kinda like that too, he's not a beat around the bush kind of guy, and Puck sees that it balances his dad's little anxious thing.
"You mean the one about you two making out in the kitchen? It's not 'cause you're guys you know? Ma making out with Michael was freakin' weird too, okay, hell, Mrs. H and Mr. H mackin' at their wedding was a little awkward. Parents just aren't meant to make out in front of kids. I prefer to believe that you have no sex drive, even though I know it's a lie. I'm very good at lying to myself." His dad chuckles slightly, even though there's a blush on his cheeks. Old people blushing, it's weird.
"No, it's not the kissing thing. It's the, well, the parent thing. You, um, you and Sarah. Well, I mean, Sarah's been calling Richard Dad for I don't know how long now." Puck does, the first time she did it was two weeks after they moved into their new house, she did it because she wanted to stay up an extra hour and watch the end of Pretty Woman —which Puck was not cool with— and she knew that if she pulled out the big panda eyes and called Richard 'Dad' he'd be so in awe that he'd give her a unicorn if she'd asked. "But, you're okay with it? I mean, you and Richard get along okay, I know but like—"
"It's cool, Dad. Okay. 'Cause," see he hates this stuff, 'cause he actually needs to talk shit through with his dad because he needs reassurance that he's not like, over stepping his bounds or something because he's been absent for so long. And yeah, Puck was a little unsure at first, he had limits he needed to test out, but they did it pretty good. So he's cool about it now. But seriously, it was a little exhausting sometimes. "Ma was great, and she tried really hard. I know she did some messed up stuff, and it's cool if you're not down with her, but she wasn't always there. We weren't exactly a stable family, in any kind of way. But you and Dick, it's cool, okay. We like him, Sarah fuckin' loves him, and he's pretty awesome, so it's chill. He's practically a step-dad anyway, right?"
He's not sure what it is, but there's this look on his dad's face, it might be pride, it might be surprise —it sort of looks like he's going to do the teary eyed man hug thing really— and Puck really hopes that the old man pulls it together before this shit gets weird. It's not like with his ma; he misses her yeah, like when something happens that he knows she'd appreciate and he'd just turn around and tell her and laugh, but she's not there to do it with. Or when someone would say something and he can hear the comment she'd make and he sort of waits for it before he realises that she's not going to say anything because she's gone. But see, he's got this stuff he can do with his dad that's sort of like that, and Richard comes away with comments that Puck can totally appreciate. And Sarah does adore him; she's all about having two dads and being awesome. She's only once ever gotten upset over someone saying something about her not having a ma anymore and because she's so awesome she literally punched the little shit in the dick and told him her Ma was in heaven and he'd better watch his mouth or she'd get the Jewish God to go all epic on their ass (Jew God is badass, he's the one that did the plagues and shit).
So yeah, his dad is his dad and Richard is like, their unofficial step-dad. It's totally cool and works, and really, he's not fussed.
Most of the women at Temple fawn over his dad. Since Richard doesn't practice a faith, he doesn't go with them, but it's not too bad. Rachel says it's obvious where Puck's charisma comes from, and apparently it's the same place as his looks. It's probably not even the fact that they all think the old man is single what with his ma being gone —the number of women who try to console his Dad over that would be laughable if it wasn't pathetic— and most of them seem to forget that his ma and dad haven't even been together for the last eight years so he's got no clue what the big deal is. But Dad was pretty good at deflecting most of them, keeping it polite but being pretty firm that he wasn't interested.
Puck and Richard kept a tally on the fridge as a joke on just how frequently the women hit on his dad.
It only becomes awkward one week when his dad brings up something that Mrs. Marx had said. Rachel was over for dinner like she sometimes ended up doing on Saturday's, Sarah had opted for a night at her friend's house so it was just the four of them when his dad just blurted it out.
"Noah, what did Evelyn Marx mean when she offered to see if the old horse was as good a ride as the younger one?" Puck literally choked on his dinner and Rachel had to thump his back to dislodge the potato stuck in his throat. Mrs. Marx was one of those 'married an older man for his money and status but got screwed over in the prenup and can't leave him so just fucks around on him' type of marriages, even though her husband probably knew about the guys she fucked, since it was common knowledge to most of the guys that hehad like four mistresses or something (they were all younger than Mrs. Marx). Puck fucked her about a month into sophomore year, before the thing with Quinn, before the thing with glee, pretty much before anything really hit his radar beyond sex and money and Puck had kind of just gone with it because hey, sex and money.
What he didn't expect was Mrs. Marx to practically advertise the fact to his father. At Temple. Where her husband attended. And the rest of the Jewish community -because they weren't exactly a majority in Lima.
See, Puck might not exactly bite his tongue about what goes on, and most people sort of knew that he'd banged half the housewives in Lima, just like most people knew he'd banged more than half the chicks at McKinley and just about a third of the ones at Carmel and two of the Carmel substitute teachers. But he didn't exactly make a point in letting adults who he wasn't banging know that he was banging adults —what with the whole him not being eighteen yet and stuff. Not to mention he was basically a prostitute. Did his mother know that he had sex? Yes, he got a girl from school pregnant; his mother was never under the impression that he was a saint for crying out loud. Did his mother know that he'd had sex with three of the seven women in her coffee club? No, she did not. Did she know that he'd banged just about three quarters of the Lima Hope Church congregation? No, she did not. She knew that he didn't just sleep with girls at school, but she wasn't aware that he was having sex with women who were married and just a few years shy of being her age or in some cases older, like with Mrs. Marx (which, when he thinks about it, kinda creepy).
He's still coughing up a lung while his dad and Richard stare at him and he's trying to figure out just how the fuck to explain Mrs. Marx's comments without pretty much selling himself as a teenage prostitute. Rachel's not really helping too much beyond thumping his back and stroking it in alternating patterns.
When he's finally able to breathe again, and his eyes stop watering from the agony burning in his chest from lack of oxygen, he's met with two expectant stares and Rachel's look of 'I told you this day would come and you only have yourself to blame' directed at him (seriously, she can say that with a look).
"Noah, is there something we need to talk about?"
"Well, dinner was great, thanks very much, I'll see you later. Night." He has never seen a Rachel Berry exit that fast and lacking in melodrama before in his life. It pretty much leaves him in the kitchen, at the table with what has started to become his parents in just about every way and he knows he's fucked.
"So, there might've been this whole thing, where, y'know. I had sex with her." He just blurts it right out. Richard's potato at least gets spat across the table rather than inhaled whole. "And about twenty percent of the housewives in town. Maybe twenty five. At a push forty." He's fairly certain it's more than that but he's not really up for figuring out the maths.
"You... you've... there's..." impersonating a goldfish is something his dad does pretty well; Puck's really got to give him that. Although to be fair, Puck probably needs to stop springing this stuff out of the blue.
"You slept with a forty-year-old woman?" Richard doesn't have that problem.
"To be fair, she was thirty eight when I slept with her." But also married and with a kid who was like, four years younger than Puck.
"You, wait, you were sixteen when you— Noah, that's illegal."
"So is drinking under twenty one but I still got blackout drunk and drove Ma's car through the side of a building." The thing with this whole 'different house, different parents' thing is that his ma knew his shit. His ma knew when he was fucking around because shit was getting to him, she knew when he was just ballsing up because he was pissed off and it was easier to get drunk and pass out than to beat the ever loving fuck out of something and possibly get arrested —that backfired with the car through a building thing, but it was 90% effective. But his dad? Richard? They sort of knew him after he'd started getting his shit straight because this wasn't what he wanted to be. So pulling up all his fuck ups is sort of a bummer.
"Let me get this straight. You've engaged in intimate—"
"Can you just call it sex? Please? I get enough of the 'copulation' and 'intercourse' and 'sexual interaction' from Rachel."
"Okay, sex, you've had sex with women, older women, who are married?"
"Yes." He likes direct questions, direct questions he can just answer because he doesn't lie, because what's the fucking point in that shit?
"And you were technically underage?"
"And you were a father at sixteen?"
"We don't talk about that, but yes." Because Beth is still an issue. An issue because Shelby Corcoran has plans to return to Lima with Puck's little girl, she is in touch with Rachel —who is her biological daughter whom she gave up— and Rachel is sort of passing information to Puck about Beth, including pictures and no one is telling Quinn because she's still not ready to deal with it and holy Moses it's just this whole big thing that gives him a headache worse than when Kurt starts talking about the differences between chiffon and lace and why both of them are acceptable accessories for men (they are not, no matter what Hummel says).
"Oy, Noah," his dad sort of rubs at his forehead and Puck senses one of those 'we need to talk about this' situations that he sort of wants to head off before it starts.
"Look, I— I've done some stuff, like, a lot of stuff, really it's a shit load of stuff that I'm not overly proud of. Except that time with the lawn furniture on the roof which was kind of epic and kind of douchey, but totally awesome at the same time anyway." He's getting off point, "But yeah, I've slept around and I got a girl pregnant and kind of got the whole school high one time and I slashed some tires, and yes I drove a car into a building while drunk and underage and not insured and ended up in juvie," wow, he's not even eighteen and he's done that shit? That's like twenty five years' worth of shit kind of condensed a fair amount. "I'm not saying I don't fuck up, I do. A lot. But I was a kind of messed up kid." He's not saying it's not his fault; he totally made those decisions, even when he knew shit was fucked, he went along with it anyway, but he wasn't exactly in a good mental place. "It's not like that anymore. Really."
Richard tries to get him to explain it all, and fucking hell if this talking stuff is pretty exhausting. Because he's got to try and express how he's feeling and half the time he can't even understand that himself never mind explain it to someone else. He figures the turnaround for him might've been coming out of juvie. He was certain that he wasn't going to end up like some of those guys, he wasn't going back into that place and he didn't care what it took really. So, he ended up with better friends from that -–like Artie, and Tina by default because Artie and Tina sort of like, started to hang out more, and then there was Rachel after that whole Sectionals thing, and he got serious with Lauren and didn't really have time to go off the deep end and shit all over his progress.
So his dad kind of understands things. And they're sort of cool with knowing all this, and Puck makes a point of phoning Rachel to call her a deserter and ask if she wants to come back over for her dessert since she fucking made it.
Mrs. Marx is told, in no uncertain terms, that neither Puckerman, senior or junior, will be entertaining her come-ons anymore. Puck sort of hears from Rachel that his dad told Mrs. Marx if she tried anything he'd have her arrested for statutory rape without batting an eyelid.
The women at Temple stop hitting on his dad after that.