Title: Insecurity, Party of Two (Seat With A View)
Character(s): Darcy Lewis, Noah Puckerman, Nana Connie
Ship(s): Darcy/Steve, Puck/Rachel
Prompt: Day #3 | Darcy Lewis Crossover Week
Warning(s): Coarse Language, Sexually Suggestive
Word Count: 4,013
Summary: A family reunion brings Darcy back to Ohio and her favorite cousin, Noah Puckerman, where the conversation inevitably turns to significant others and how they're not sure they measure up to superheroes and super-divas.
Insecurity, Party of Two (Seat With A View)
"This is lame," Puck muttered, crossing his arms over his chest and kicking his booted foot up on top of the coffee table.
Darcy snorted. "It's gonna get a lot more interesting if Nana Connie sees your feet on her table," she warned him.
He rolled his eyes, shifting his feet but not moving them off. "Whatever, she's busy finding out how awesome cousin Mary is… What a brown-noser! Like, seriously, so what; she got through high school without getting knocked up…" He waved his hands around irritably. "La-di-friggin-da!"
Darcy smirked. "Still hasn't stopped bringing up that shiksa Quinn, huh?"
He muttered a few choice curse words under his breath.
"Don't worry, kid, she's pissed at me too…" Darcy sighed, leaning back into the corner of the couch, one of her knees drawn up to her chest, her chin balanced on it. "I mean, I don't know why… I got through high school and college without getting knocked up."
"Not for lack of trying," he teased.
"Shut up," she told him, lips twitching. "You're the idiot who couldn't manage a general knowledge of birth control!"
"Darce, I've explained this to you…" he sighed, exasperated. "The Puckerone has a 99% success rate of hittin' it and getting out; no spawn left behind." His eyebrows arched earnestly, "And also, it feels better."
Her lip curled in distaste. "Shut up, jerk-face, I think of you like I think of Ken dolls… You have no real male anatomy. You're just a pretty face, and that's just family pride, man. I only appreciate it because I know I'm hot too and it's our great-great-ancestor's attractive genes being passed down."
Puck shrugged. "Whatever. If you weren't my cousin, it'd be hard not to notice how stacked you are." He gave a shudder. "I mean, mostly when I do notice it freaks me out… But if we weren't related…"
"Yeah, yeah, you'd be hitting on me." She shook her head. "Seriously, you need a psych eval or something. I get that you're a teenage boy or whatever, but your junk needs to slow its roll a bit. Put it away, pick up a hobby, focus on something other than cleaning pools and 'cleaning pools.'"
He shifted in his seat, looking edgy. "I quit that," he admitted.
"What? Since when?" She leaned forward and snagged one of the snack plates from the coffee table, dropping it on the cushion between them to pick at; it was just olives and pickles, but she didn't really feel like leaving her safe zone of her favorite cousin and venturing into enemy territory, where pinched cheeks and too many questions were promised. She popped an olive into the air with her thumb and caught it on her tongue, smirking proudly. "How do you afford your dip and kick-ass nunchuk collection?" she asked him, chewing.
Puck dragged a hand down his 'hawk, tugging on the tail, and shrugged. "I still clean a few pools…" He wiggled his eyebrows meaningfully. "I just don't offer any extra services." He frowned. "I dunno… Some shit went down and I figured out my priorities, y'know?"
She eyed him, her brow furrowed. "Which are…?"
He blushed a little and cleared his throat. "I've been focusing on school, trying to get my grades up…" He glanced at her. "I know it's lame or whatever, but I don't wanna fail out of school…" He shrugged. "It's my last year and, shit, Nana Connie doesn't need another thing to add to my list of fuck-ups, right?"
Darcy kicked her foot out and shoved him in the leg. "Hey, you're not a fuck-up… You're just… a teenager." She shrugged. "You had a hard time after you dad split and Aunty Deb works so much, I mean… No offense or whatever, but she's kinda been super lame when it comes to paying attention to you guys." Her eyes widened, eyebrows hiked. "Once a week with Chinese and Schindler's List does not a good relationship make."
"Yeah," he sighed, pursing his lips. "Sucks."
She nodded. "But hey, I think it's cool you're focusing on school. You're smart, No'. You don't always show it, but you're one of the good eggs."
He raised an eyebrow at her, his lips quirked on one side. "What've you been smoking? Thought you said you were over your party girl stage…"
Darcy rolled her eyes. "Please, I was forced out of my party girl stage… Puente Antiguo wasn't exactly 'let your hair down' central. I was stuck with two manic scientists most of the time. There was a whole lot of stale pop tarts and very little human interaction." She stared at him seriously. "Keg stands by yourself are an AA meeting waiting to happen."
His head fell back as he laughed.
"Anyway, I didn't mean the whole 'daughter you gave up' thing… Sure, that was three shades of suckdom. She was cute; I have her picture saved on my phone." She shook her head. "But I meant despite all the bull in your life… I mean, you pull the 'badass' card a lot, but you're a softie under all the bravado, dude." She nodded. "Seriously! I mean, I'm not going to let it get out, but you can't fool me! We're family! I know all you really want is somebody to tell you you're better than your dick dad and you'll make it out of Lima."
His humor faded, eyes turning up to the ceiling. "Sometimes I think it was easier when I was just a douche on the football field… Before Quinn and Beth, before glee and…" He sighed, raising his hands up to scrub down his face as he groaned.
Darcy's mouth twitched in a smile. "So what is going on with the little wannabe Broadway starlet, anyway?" she asked. "Whenever mom talks about you it's because Aunty Deb brought up how she's still holding out hope that you and whats-her-face are going to get your crap together."
"Maybe ma would get off her 'nice, Jewish girl' kick if she was distracted with you dating a good, gentile dude from the 1920's!"
She frowned. "Hey, just because he's technically ninety years old…" She rolled her eyes. "And Cap's a good guy, religious quandary aside." She shrugged. "And don't change the subject; what's going on with you and Rachel? You've been radio silent on her the last few weeks of texting…"
He licked his lips and shrugged. "She broke up with Finn…"
Darcy stared at him a long second. "No way!" She lit up and slapped her knee excitedly. "Are you telling me Puckleberry is back on?" She dug into her jeans and fished out her phone. "Oh man, I gotta tell Jane… And Steve!" She grinned goofily. "He was hoping you two 'crazy kids' would get together."
Puck rolled his eyes. "Dude's never even met me! Which—!" He glared. "—Totally not cool, Darce! Where's the family love? I'm your favorite and you won't even introduce me to Captain America!" He snorted. "Raw deal."
"Okay, first off, you're lucky we both didn't get sniped for me telling you about that." She glanced around suspiciously. "I'm not exactly supposed to tell anybody that I'm working with the Avengers… Let alone sleeping in the bed of one six out of seven nights a week."
Puck smirked. "Corrupting a national hero, Darcy…" He held a hand up. "I'm proud of you!"
Rolling her eyes, she high-fived him, before offering a smile. "Hell, I'm proud of myself," she admitted. "Seriously, how crazy is it that he even looked at me?" She shook her head, sending off a text to Jane that 'Puckleberry is on, bitch! True love prevails!'
Puck's eyes fell, his brows furrowed. "Wait, why's it crazy he's into you?" he asked. "You're cool shit!" He grinned. "You gave me my first beer!"
"Yeah," she scoffed, "That's a shining endorsement."
"Whatever, you know what I mean…" He cocked his head, eyeing her seriously. "Really though, you're like, one of the most confident people I've ever known… I mean, Rachel takes the cake 'cause she's so confident she's just this side of crazy, but…" He waved a hand at her. "I learned most of my swag from you, so what's the deal?"
Darcy stared down at her hands, picking at a loose thread on her sweater. "He's friggin' Captain America, No'…" She glanced at him. "Seriously, he like, saves people. Fuck, he saves the world…" She shook her head. "And I'm just…" Her nose wrinkled. "Some poli-sci major that only got a job working at SHIELD because she took the internship for a crazy scientist in the middle of nowhere and happened to taze a God…"
She frowned. "I mean, I get that I'm stacked and normal-smart, 'cause I'm surrounded by geniuses; serious ego fail, and I've got that quirky, witty charm going for me, but…" She shrugged. "Steve is just… He's nice and good and seriously, I mean, people fall all over themselves to be near him. Even my boss, who's a super-ninja to the extreme, like, I think he botoxes his face every morning so he won't show emotion, he's like half-way in love with him. He practically fawns when Steve so much as breathes…" Her eyebrows hiked. "I'd be worried if Steve wasn't a boob-man."
Puck frowned. "Insecurity not usually your style, Darce…"
She chewed her lip. "The thing is, I don't feel that way when I'm with him… I feel like that when I take a step back and I look around and go 'what the actual fuck'? Like how did my life even get here…?" She shook her head. "But when I'm with him, it's like… It's cheesy, like the stars align and everything fades away and it's just… It's him and his laugh and the way his brow furrows when he's drawing…" She smiled softly. "And how he looks at me!" She threw her hands up, fingers curved like claws. "Ugh, it's like he's the amazed one and I'm just… I'm so…"
She sighed, dragging a hand through her thick hair. "I mean, I don't forget all the in-between shit. Like, I get that he's gotta go save the world and he's got this need engrained in him to help everybody all the time. I like that. I like that he is such a good person I can't escape it…"
She took her glasses off to clean them, offering her a small distraction. "It's not even perfect, either. We fight! The 'perfect soldier' has a habit of breaking electronic everything, and he almost never gets my pop culture references, and he leaves wet towels on my bed, and he's incredibly stubborn, like if he thinks he's right there's nothing you can say that will change his mind. But… He's also really good at apologizing and trying and wanting to be better and make things better, and I've never really had that…"
She hugged her arms around her knees. "In college and high school, I dated but it was always surface crap. Half the time because I was scared that I'd get close and I'd be rejected, but Steve, he just…" Her head shook. "He finds my sense of humor charming, even if sometimes it's a little dark or dirty for his taste. He doesn't make me feel dumb or weird or wrong… I just—I feel like I can be me with him and he likes me and accepts me and that's like, it's huge…"
She frowned. "But then I step back from him and suddenly it's like, how does this guy even exist and why is he interested in me?" She laughed humorlessly. "And it's stupid and lame and if it wasn't me, I'd think this chick is whack, she should just enjoy it and stop questioning it. But… I can't. Because I keep waiting for him to suddenly see somebody who fits him better, or makes more sense with him, and then it'll just be me and my latest heartbreak playlist to help me get over it…"
She reached up and swiped quickly at the corner of her eye with her fist. "God, this is stupid, why are we even talking about this?" she muttered.
Puck was quiet a long minute, staring down at the couch cushion between them, his brow furrowed. "That's what I felt like… Sometimes I still feel it," he admitted with a shrug. "I mean, Rachel's like… She's got her sights set on Broadway and she's really gonna do it, y'know? She's bigger than life; she's so damn determined and she's just going to take the world by storm. And sometimes I look at her and she's talking about how we're gonna be so badass in New York and she's making these plans and I just… I shut down. 'Cause I keep waiting for like, Finn or Jesse or some other dude that fits her prince charming check list better to show up and take her away…" He scowled, scoffing. "We're fucked. It must be in the genes or something."
"Insecurity doesn't pass down generation to generation, Noah, and I won't tell you again not to use that language in my house," a new voice interrupted.
Darcy and Puck turned quickly, the latter yanking his feet from the table. They peered up, eyes wide, at Nana Connie staring them down, her eyes narrowed.
"You two were always doing this when you were little… You'd run off and leave the rest of the family to talk." She shook her head. "When Noah was just five, Darcy you made him climb the old tree out back and you two hid up there the whole day, just eating all the apples you could reach…" She smiled fondly and looked to her grandson. "Darcy had to carry you down on her back because you got scared when it got dark."
"You were such a wimp when you were little," Darcy teased him.
He glared back at her.
She glanced back up at their nana and quirked an eyebrow, "So, like, how much of that did you hear?"
"I know you're dating a nice man that you don't think you're good enough for and that Noah's finally figured out that Rachel Berry's the right girl for him." She waved a finger. "And don't pull any of that 'nice, Jewish girl' crap with me, bubbala. You and Rachel used to play together in pre-school, I remember… You'd sing together on the steps of our synagogue… And I knew then just like I know now that you two make sense!"
Puck just stared at her, not sure what to say.
"What you both need to learn is that nothing and nobody can tell you your worth, but you…" She looked between them. "If you love this Steve, and you want to have a future with Rachel, then do it!" she said seriously, in her no-nonsense tone. "Instead of waiting for the bottom to fall out, waiting for something that might never happen, why not enjoy what you have and let it grow like it should?"
She shook her head. "Me and your zayde were together forty-five wonderful years. Did I know that when we started dating?" She scoffed, "Puh! Of course not! But I saw a good, strong, smart man that I was happy with. I saw a man that wanted both his dreams and to make mine come true too. And it didn't matter if we were young or old, smart or dumb, rich or poor… I had a good man and he had me. And if something happened, his eye got caught by some other girl or we grew apart or what-have-you, then too bad. At least we had our fun when we had it. But you know what? That didn't happen. We stayed together and we had beautiful children and a wonderful marriage, even if that old goat never remembered to take the garbage out, not once!"
Darcy folded her lips to keep herself from laughing.
"My point is, you two are hung up on not being good enough for people who already think you're plenty good. And in the end, the only person you really got to be good enough for is you." She wagged a hand. "Your happiness doesn't come out of other people; you find it in your own hearts—" She tapped Puck's chest. "—and your own dreams," She tapped Darcy's temple. "If whoever you're dating comes along with that, joins you on that journey, then good for them." She shrugged. "But don't wait around for them to catch up and don't change yourself to fit them. People that are meant to be together will be. You can't force it. You just got to let it be."
"Wow, Nan, you're getting deep," Puck said.
"Don't make me smack you upside the head, boy," she told him simply. "You're only recently getting back in my good graces because your mama's been telling me how hard you're working at school."
He rubbed his neck awkwardly. "Yeah, I'm doin' all right," he muttered.
Connie grinned, looking proud. "All right," she scoffed. "All B's isn't just all right, Noah Isaiah Puckerman." She leaned down and gave his head a smacking kiss. "You're making me proud, my little chipmunk."
He flushed, "Nana…"
She pinched his cheeks. "You just keep those grades up and you get into college, you hear me?"
"Yeah, yeah…" He rolled his eyes.
"And you?" Connie turned on Darcy. "You got that fancy job in New York; a smart cookie, just like I always knew." She frowned. "But what's this, why haven't I heard about this Steve boy, hm? Why didn't you bring him here to the reunion? He doesn't like latkes?"
Darcy sunk down low in the couch. "No…" She frowned. "He loves latkes…"
Connie waved her hands around. "Well?"
She sighed. "Next time, all right?"
"Next time," she scoffed. "You think I'm going to wait a whole year to meet this boy?" She waved a finger at her. "You'll bring him out for my birthday next month," she decided.
"Jeez, hey, put the finger of shame away!" she exclaimed, cringing dramatically.
Connie rolled her eyes. "Careful, little lady, or I'll fly out to New York unexpectedly and introduce myself."
Darcy's eyes widened. "Okay, okay, uncle! He'll come out!"
"Good." Connie lifted her chin, looking accomplished. "Now come visit with your aunts and cousins and stop being so anti-social." She looked between them demandingly.
"We're coming," Puck assured.
She gave a nod before wandering back into the fray of loud women all congregating in the dining room, nibbling on snacks and sharing stories.
"Why is this an annual thing?" Darcy pouted. "I see you guys enough, don't I?"
"We should have it at your place next year," he said with a smirk. "If everything goes well, I'm gonna be living in the same city as you anyway."
She eyed him, lips twitching. "So I guess Nana's pearls of wisdom sunk in? You and Rachel are going to take over the big apple…?"
"As much as we can before your superhero boyfriend comes in to save the day."
She laughed, rolling her eyes. "I think Stark's got reserved seating for every big theater in town… Maybe me and Steve will join you on Rachel's first opening night."
"Sounds good to me," he agreed, grinning.
Sighing, she shoved up from the couch, moving her plate of olives and pickles back onto the coffee table. She readjusted her clothing and stretched from the last couple hours of sitting around. "So I'm thinking that old tree house we built like a decade ago should still be pretty sturdy… Wanna go hide out until everybody leaves?"
Puck grabbed up a handful of olives. "Sure…" He moved to walk past her, but reached out and pulled her into a headlock. "But only if you carry me down when it gets dark."
Darcy stomped his foot. "Let me go or I'll show you what Black Widow taught me… If Rachel wants kids, they won't be yours when I'm done!"
Quickly, he released her. "Below the belt, Darce! What happened to favorite cousin?"
Fixing her hair, she stuck out her tongue. "Your sister's growing up fast; I might replace you."
He rolled his eyes.
"Seriously," she told him, following him out the back door. "She's still young enough that I can mold her in my image and we can slowly build up a rebel force. With my connections inside SHIELD and her naturally devious Puckerman mind, we're gonna own the world."
He arched an eyebrow back at her. "You think the Captain'll go for that?"
She smirked. "Hey, Nana said not to change myself for a boy…" She shrugged. "I'm just a hot, evil mastermind at work."
He snorted, shaking his head as he watched her climb up to the tree house via the nailed in boards that made a ladder.
"Well… You did swipe Captain America's v-card and completely destroyed any virtue he had," he mused. "So, I guess that could be considered your first act of terrorism."
Laughing, she climbed inside the house, laying down on her stomach, and turned around to look down at him as he climbed up. "I'm not going to lie, dude… It was the best sex of my life; totally worth making every bald eagle alive cry tears of shame for our terrible, terrible depravity."
Rolling his eyes, he climbed in next to her and leaned in one of the corners, an elbow resting on his upturned knee. It was a few minutes before he finally said, "We're doin' all right, huh?"
She looked over at him and half-smiled. "Yeah, I think we've got this life thing pretty good right now."
He nodded. "For what it's worth… I think Steve's lucky." He shrugged. "You're cool shit, Darce…"
"Sentiment shared, Puckerone…" She nodded, grinning to herself. "Rachel's got it good with you."
"Yeah, well…" He wiggled his eyebrows. "You wanna talk best sex of someone's life…"
She laughed, shaking her head.
"No, like seriously!" His eyes widened. "She can put her leg behind her head, I'm not kidding!"
"Okay!" She leaned forward. "You want to talk hot, let's talk stamina, because Steve…"
Eventually, when night came around, Connie would come out to call them down from their hiding space, tapping her foot and looking on in exasperation.
Darcy wouldn't have to carry Puck down, but for what it was worth, they were both feeling a lot lighter; the weight of insecurity lifting some.
She couldn't say that she was cured, but at the very least she felt like she'd made progress.
And when she returned to New York and found Steve waiting, excited and eager to hear about her family, she didn't let those old fears creep in and ruin her own happiness to be reunited with him, even if it was just a week apart.
"So what are you doing next month around the sixth, Cap? I've got a nana who wants to meet the man in my life," she told him, fiddling with a button on his shirt as she leaned into his side, breathing in the woodsy scent of him that melded with the leather of his jacket, every muscle in her body relaxing immediately.
His grin widened broadly, his large hand sliding from the small of her back up to her shoulder. "I'd guess I'm clearing my schedule and donning my Sunday best to meet a special woman," he told her.
She nodded and patted his chest over his heart. "You'd guess right…" She smirked. "Now, the details, from how my favorite cousin finally got together with his Broadway diva to the general awesome of my crazy family, I'll save to the post-coital cuddle… How do we feel about hot, sweaty, reunion sex?"
To his credit, he only blushed a little before letting his hand slide down into the back pocket of her jeans, squeezing her ass. "We feel really good about it…"
Hugging her arm around his waist, she turned him toward the elevator. "Right answer."