A/N: This is what deep conversation and country music lead too. Title and inspiration come from I Drive Your Truck by Lee Brice
It's been a while since he's done this. He should have called but that's not really his style. He doesn't want anyone to know how hard it's all really hit him. He doesn't want anyone telling him he should cope, or any other bullshit. He's got his own ways of dealing with the shit and it doesn't involve crying on anyone's shoulder or talking about his feelings. They can all have that shit. He's got his own ways. And he knows where to start them.
It's still there, that gay purple truck he used to make fun of. It's still just sitting in the grass to the left of the driveway exactly where Finn left it. The first time he took it he made sure to put it back exactly where Finn had left it. And no one had moved it since then. He'd know, like a bell would go off and a chill or some shit would alert him if anyone had fucking touched that truck since him. He tries to quiet the jingling of the keys and the crinkle of the bag in his hand as he walks up. He wants to be stealth and not have Burt or Carole or god fucking forbid Kurt catch him outside and give him some fucking lecture about confronting his feelings. All he wants is to get in the truck and get the fuck away for a minute.
The door still needs force to open it, and it squeaks like hell. He must have told Finn a thousand times to put some WD40 on the hinges. He'd had thought a guy with access to an auto shop would have known such a simple fix. Maybe Finn just forgot, or more likely never got around to it. Whatever, it didn't matter the door still squeaked loud enough to wake the entire neighborhood when he got it. But despite his shaking head, it's a comforting sound. He slams the door behind him as he gets in, if the squeak didn't wake everyone up that sure did, but it's the only way that damn door ever closed.
His keys get tangled between the holes in the plastic bag as he puts his twelve pack into the passenger seat. It forces his eyes to look around, something he planned on not doing this time. But as he yanks the keys free his hand hits the ash tray causes the change to jingle and it forces him to look down at it. It's still open. It's still got that same cigarette burned coin sitting on top. He'd burned that coin by accident when he was drunk and Finn was driving them home. A drunken haze man him completely forget Finn didn't smoke at all, not even drunk. He'd taken a stiff punch in the ribs for that mistake, one that left a bruise. He lets out a scoff at the memory and mutters, "Fuck you Hudson," under his breath. The same response he'd given to the punch. His eyes close for a minute and he tries desperately to scoff away more memories. He can't focus on everything around him. He can't let himself sit there and look at the stupid tree shaped air freshener that stopped smelling like anything years ago. Finn never changed it and that's why the whole cab smells like locker room feet because if he'd look he'd find gym shoes behind the driver's side seat still there. He can't think about all that shit. The only thing that's changed is the dog tags hanging behind the tree air freshener. And the only reason that's different is because he was the one who put them there. And he doesn't want to think about the day he put them there. He doesn't want to think about the last time he took this truck. He just needs to start the truck and drive because it's going to be bad enough when he does and that radio is still playing that classic rock station because it was the only station Finn liked. Which worked because it was the only station that truck ever seemed to be able to pick up.
And as he puts the key in and starts the truck he isn't surprised it's still there because that's how it should be. That classic rock station, and a gas gauge that always read a quarter of a tank no matter how much gas was or wasn't in it. Something that had caused them to run out of gas on more than one occasion. Well that and the fact that the dinosaur of a truck drank gas like it was beer. All he can hope is there's still enough gas in the tank to get him to where he plans to go. He put the truck in reverse idling out and careful not to touch the wheel until he's hit the street. But as soon as he dose he slams his foot down until the pedal hits the floor and peels out leaving a trail of smoke and burnt rubber behind him.
He waits until he's just passed the city limits before he reaches over and opens his first beer because that was the rule. No drinking in the truck until they were out of the city. He's thankful for that rule now because the recklessness in his driving as he heads out is bad enough. It doesn't help that the tires are worn and the streets hadn't dried from some rain earlier that night. He almost fishtails into the ditch on more than one occasion but he can't do anything but smile and scream "Wooo..." Because it's all happened before.
He's four beers in by the standards he shouldn't be driving. But he doesn't give a shit, and it doesn't matter as he backs the truck in near the lake and puts it in park. There's an Air Supply song playing on the radio as he grabs his beer, leaving the driver's side door open as he makes his way around to the tailgate opening it so he can have a place to sit down. This is the part where he has to think. This is the part where he's supposed to deal and shit. He pops out his can of beer and takes and long sip before he fishes the cigarettes out of the bag and lights it. Memories start to flood forward again and he twists his face up to fight back tears. He'd rather watch the smoke as it leave his lungs and disappears into the night. He'd rather do anything than be left alone with his thoughts, his memories. He rather do anything then have to process the pain. So he starts talking, even if it doesn't make any sense because it's easier to talk that to think.
"Fucker still runs," he says kicking the tire before he jumps up and sits down. "I was worried it would start. No surprise I was always worried this piece of shit wouldn't start. But it did, like it always does. Old reliable right?" He lets out a scoffed laugh. "You were like old reliable. Fits your truck would be."
"I stole your truck again. I hope you don't mine." He pauses to plow down his beer and sucks in the rest of his cigarette and looks at it before he flicks it into the lake. "I still smoke when I drink. But it's okay because Berry isn't here to give me some lecture about hurting my voice and lung cancer and shit. I know you only backed her up because you'd catch hell if you didn't. But I still smoke when I drink and fuck you for telling me not to..." His hand reaches up and grazes over his head. "I got rid of the mohawk. Shaved it off and grew my hair out. You'd be surprised how much more work you can get when people don't take you for some punk that's going to rip them off. Still clean pools on the side, but landscaping and construction that's where my real money is." He nods into the sir and cracks open another beer. "And I think I can make something out of that. I think I can actually become someone respectable and not just an opportunistic screw up. Someone you'd be proud to be friends with."
He scoffs at own words as they leave his mouth because they shouldn't be words he's saying now. He was always proud to call Finn his friend, and it shouldn't have taken this much time for him to want Finn to be proud to call him his friend. "I was shitty friend for a long time dude. I know that. And you should have told me that like a million fucking times. But you never did. You never made me feel like I was nothing. Even when I was nothing and a shitty friend. You were always my bro. You were always there... Except a time or two when you punched me in the face but I deserved that and once it was all said and done you let it all go. And I was a shitty friend." He slams his fist down against the tailgate and let out a yell. "I shoulda done better by you. I should have... And I shouldn't be out here sitting on your tailgating wondering if you're even fucking listening." He chucks his empty beer can out into the distance and leaning back into the bed of the truck for a moment to catch his composure.
"You never saw it that way did you?" He sits up and stares back out at the water. "You never saw it that way. You always saw me for the best in me, because you always saw the best in everyone, no matter what. That's why you could forgive people. And that's why you were such a leader." His eyes close at the hint of tears. "Fuck! It's not fair!" He screams into the night. "You were my best friend. Sometimes my only friend." He chokes back a lump in his throat and shakes his head as he wipes away a stray tear. "I really need you here to kick my ass for crying. Because there's been enough crying and shit... Even know if you're listening. I want to think you are, otherwise I'm just sitting out here fucking talking to myself to be talking to myself. But I don't know. Maybe you are, or maybe I am talking to myself but it's better than listening to everyone tell me what I should feel right." He huff out a breath and opens another beer. "But I miss you. So I'm going to shut the fuck up and drink until I pass out like you're here with me. Because if knowing else I know that'd be okay with you."
It's just before dawn when he pulls up to the house. There's a careful deliberation to make sure he parks it back exactly where it was. Following the cuts in the grass he made pulling it out, the same cuts that had been there since they day that truck had first gotten parked at that house. Cuts that should still be there or maybe not. Maybe that old hunk of junk would have been sold by now. But as far as he was concerned those cuts belonged there.
He couldn't exactly pull it in quietly. But if it didn't want anyone up when he'd stolen it, it was going to wake anyone up now. It takes him a second longer to shut it off and get out than it had to get in and taken. But he leaves everything exactly like he found it. And he always will, until the day he goes to take it and it's not there. But that's a day in the future and a day he'll deal with when it comes. He slams to driver's side door shut, because it won't close otherwise, and pulls his hood up over his face.
The upstairs light pops on and catches his attention. His eyes turn up and he sees her there. Carole, Finn's mom, the woman he came to call Mom too. Their eyes meet for a second, sadness and then understanding flashes in her glance before she mouths, "be careful Puck." He nods and she waves back at him before he starts walking down the street. Maybe she gets it; maybe he's why she hasn't tried to sell that truck yet. And even if it's shitty of him, he's glad she hasn't. The day she does, he'll figure out another way to deal with it. But for now, when he needs to he's going to keep driving that truck, it's the only coping makes sense to him.