The Littlest Matchmaker
Summary: Will the proud music teacher eventually find love with the beautiful kindergarten teacher or will he forever come second to the football coach? This isn't very M but, to be safe, I'll leave it at that.
A/N 1: There's a teeny bit of angst in this but nothing major as I don't get off on having Kurt all bruised and bloodied, etc. I'd love to get your feedback, dear readers, to let me know if I should continue this.
Disclaimer: None of these characters is mine except for any OCs found wandering. I own nothing but this computer.
'Don't worry that it's not good enough
For anyone else to hear
Just sing… sing a song!'
The cacophony of happy little voices supported their teacher's beautiful high tones and when the song came to an end, they all laughed and clapped, a few cheering as well.
"Well, that was wonderful, wasn't it?" The teacher stood and the students followed the cue and rose as well, each taking his or her chair to return to the little tables. "Now, who is ready for some juice?!"
Two of the students jumped up and headed over to a long side table on which their juice boxes were arrayed and, after lining them up on two trays, took them around the room to serve the other students. This was a system that had worked from the start of the semester and the kids took turns being the server. This school was intent on raising all its students to be generous and considerate and sharing the work was one surefire way to do this.
Kurt Hummel smiled as he took his own water bottle and sat at his desk, watching the kids sip their juice and chatter softly. He had never thought that he would have given up his dream of Broadway to come back to Ohio. He also never would have thought he would find teaching these sweet little ones to be so fulfilling.
It has been nearly eight years since his dream of performing on the Great White Way had been dashed by one coldly formal letter from NYADA. He had gone on to intern at one of the most prestigious fashion magazines in the world but eventually, he'd realised that it wasn't giving him the satisfaction that he craved. Of course he still loved fashion but somehow, as the years passed and the increasingly inane forced-urgency of the fashion industry wore him down, he'd decided to come home to Ohio.
He grinned as he watched two of his charges talking with their heads together. For some reason these two particular children reminded him of Rachel Berry and himself. Of course they were too young to be as driven as he and Rachel had become but he could see the beginnings of it in these two. They were bright, lovable kids but they had such a determined air about them that he just knew they were divas in the making.
Suddenly he was brought out of his musings by the opening of his classroom door and he looked up to see the Principal's secretary poking her head in and smiling apologetically. His assistant was standing behind her, waiting to slide by and come inside and he waved her on in. Marcy was a few years younger than he but was as sharp as a tack. She stepped past the secretary now and headed over to prepare for the last part of the afternoon session as Kurt got up.
He and the secretary stepped outside and he smiled at her enquiringly. "Yes, Mrs. Edwards, what's happening?"
Mrs. Edwards was a pleasant, olive-skinned woman who'd been the Principal's secretary since prehistory, the rest of the staff always joked. She knew where every skeleton was hidden, it was said quite uncharitably but she was simply very efficient… and very discreet. She smiled now as she patted Kurt on the arm.
"Oh, nothing's wrong, dear. We have a new student coming into your class tomorrow. Her father's a teacher as well and they just transferred from Dayton. I'm sorry to leave it so late but she'll be in your class and I just wanted to give you a heads up."
Kurt nodded now, curiosity lighting his blue-green eyes. "Okay, is there anything special I need to know about her… like her name, for example?" He grinned teasingly at the older woman who smirked at him after tutting a bit.
"Why yes, her name is Judith Puckerman and she and her father have recently moved here, as I said." She prattled on, totally unaware of the stunned look on Kurt's face when he'd heard the child's surname.
Kurt's mind flew back more than eight years to another little girl named Puckerman – but she had been named Beth, if he recalled correctly. He slowly tuned in back to the little woman beside him who had finished whatever she'd been saying to stare anxiously up at him.
"Are you alright, Kurt?" Her pleasant voice was full of concern as she looked at the fair-skinned young man who had gone off somewhere far away, she was sure of it. She relaxed when he focused back on her and smiled brightly, shrugging in that elegant way of his.
"Oh, sorry, sorry," Kurt chuckled as he turned to rest a hand on his classroom door preparatory to heading back inside. "It's just the last name rang a bell, you see."
She nodded knowingly. "It should; I hear that the father is from here originally and used to raise quite a bit of," and she lowered her voice at the next word; "hell."
They laughed together and Kurt nodded, smirking. "Oh yes, if it's the same Puckerman I'm thinking of, hell wasn't all he used to raise."
They chuckled some more before Mrs. Edwards waved a hand at him and continued down the corridor, Kurt turning to head inside his classroom. The sight that greeted him had him biting his lip to stop from laughing out loud.
The last session of the day was a story-time session and the little ones were ranged about the floor on various cushions and pillows. Their rapt expressions as Marcy read dramatically from a huge colourful storybook made his heart swell. This was one of the reasons he had chosen Kindergarten and not the older grades: young, open minds and hearts that were not yet closed to new ideas and old stories.
Kurt stepped in quietly and lowered himself onto the floor near the back of the group and smiled softly as some of the kids turned their heads to him. He put his finger to his lips and then pointed back at Marcy and they giggled and returned their attention to the story. He smiled and breathed a soft sigh of pleasure. If only all areas of his life could be this sweet and uncomplicated, he mused ruefully.
He allowed himself to sink into the cadence of Marcy's dramatic storytelling voice and he gasped and chuckled along with the children as he immersed himself for just a little while in their uncomplicated world.
The next morning found a vaguely grumpy Noah Puckerman dragging himself from bed. Mornings weren't Noah's favourite time of day but, as a 'grownup', a word he felt still didn't really apply to him, he needed to get his act together and deal.
"Jude, babe, time to wake up," he almost crooned the words as his dark-haired little girl whined pathetically at him. "Don't you want to meet your new friends today?"
He knew just what buttons to push with his daughter, his second child, actually but he tried not to think about Beth who had been given up for adoption against his wishes. He didn't blame her mother, Quinn, because he'd agreed at the time that two 17-year-olds weren't really equipped to look after her. He knew intellectually that Beth was better off with the woman who was now her mom but in his heart, he still wished he could have kept her himself.
Now he helped his second daughter, his beloved Judith, to get ready for school, nodding indulgently when she showed him the special outfit she'd chosen to wear. It was her first day at a new school in a new city and he wasn't going to tell her that the colours of her outfit clashed horribly. She had explained to him in her little lisping voice that she was wearing all her favourite colours … for luck.
He had blinked back the sudden moisture as he'd watched her dark head as she patted the clothes she'd laid out. He didn't blame her; if he'd had a favourite colour, he would definitely plan to wear it for his first day as the music teacher at William McKinley High. The thought of teaching at his high school alma mater was intimidating but he would never let anyone in on that secret. It wasn't as if he wouldn't have former classmates there; Finn was the football coach and, strangely enough, Brittany was the assistant cheer coach to Sue Sylvester who was still raining down terror and torture on the denizens of McKinley.
Judith, finally dressed and ready in her eye-watering outfit, had sat herself in the breakfast nook and was staring expectantly at him, he realised. He shook his head to rid himself of the clinging memories and sorted out breakfast quickly, reminding her that she had to eat up everything so as to be the brightest kid in the class.
Their chuckles went a long way to easing his nerves and as he helped her into her little fuchsia hoodie – which once again clashed startlingly with the rest of her outfit – he told himself everything was going to be okay. It was just a normal day and they were going to be fine. Just another day in Lima, Ohio; what could possibly go wrong?
Kurt listened to the little hustle and bustle going on around him as he gathered his things together in the staff room. These few minutes before he headed to his classroom were precious to him as he always sought to centre himself. He always reminded himself that he was here to serve these little ones, to prepare them as best he could for a world that would at best prove challenging.
He smiled serenely as he waved to some of the other teachers, heading out the door and down the wide corridor leading to his classroom. He nodded, smiled, called 'hi' to the students and teachers around him and just as he got to his door, he heard his name being called.
Kurt turned, the smile still curving his lips and then his eyes collided with wide, smoky, hazel ones.
The principal, Dr. Leyton Thompson, strode up to him, the Puckermans in his wake and Kurt chuckled softly. The rotund, ever-sweating little man looked at him inquiringly before turning to the newcomers but before he could speak, Kurt was interrupting.
"Hello, Noah, it's nice to see you again."
Noah felt as if he were walking in slow motion. There he was, the one person he'd almost wished never to see again. Not that Kurt knew that, of course; no, this ache was his secret and no one knew, not even Finn – especially not Finn.
He tried to get the words of mundane greeting out but they were stuck somewhere in his very dry throat and he stared at Kurt. Kurt, who was still gorgeous, more sophisticated than when he used to strut the halls of McKinley High as if he owned them. Taller, maybe a little broader in the shoulders and leaner in the hips, but the skin was the same, the lips and… oh god, the eyes… everything was still the same. Although he was dressed more simply now in a pin-striped green shirt and black pants and a dark green vest with gold buttons, the colours only enhanced his flawless ivory complexion – pink-tinged now from apparent pleasure at seeing Noah again.
Dr. Thompson beamed at both men, his eyes taking in the way the two men's hands clasped and held for just a little longer than necessary. "Ah, yes, you knew each other in high school, Mrs. Edwards said…"
Noah cleared his throat, his cheeks slightly darker as he glanced from Kurt to his little girl. He nodded once and then said to Judith, "Sweetie, this is your new teacher, Mr. Hummel. What do you say?"
Kurt stared down into eyes eerily similar to her dad's and smiled encouragingly.
"Hello," Judith smiled up at the new person standing at the classroom door. "You're pretty."
"Jude!" Noah glared at the little girl who grinned up at Kurt, displaying the fact that she was missing one of her bottom teeth. "She's always doing that… sorry."
Kurt and Dr. Thompson chuckled and then the principal let them know he had to get back to the office. "You're in good hands here so I'll leave you to it. Don't forget the new parents' meeting on Thursday evening, Noah."
Noah nodded as he watched the man waddle off hurriedly and then he turned back to Kurt who had engaged Judith in conversation. Apparently, Kurt thought the colourful outfit his daughter was wearing was quite 'creative'. Noah smirked as he listened in.
"And do you have one extra-special favourite colour?" Kurt didn't sound at all patronising but as if he were really interested in knowing. He chuckled when Judith whispered that fuchsia was actually her very favourite and added that he quite liked it, too.
Kurt's voice was as seductive as ever, Noah thought, noting the way Judith had wormed her hand into her teacher's. Hah, his daughter was shaping up to be a teacher's pet already, he scoffed to himself.
He found himself suddenly staring into Kurt's amused eyes and realised he'd probably asked him a question. "Uhm, sorry, what did you say?"
Kurt grinned; he'd never known Noah to be discomfited by anything back when he was McKinley's resident badass. It was kind of cute, watching him now looking all shy and flustered as he delivered his daughter to her new class.
"I just asked how you were doing. After all, we did fall out of touch for quite some time," Kurt murmured as he glanced over his shoulder, keeping an eye on his class although Marcy was already there.
Noah nodded and cleared his throat. "Well, nothing much, the usual. But, hey, I gotta get set up over at McKinley so, maybe we could have coffee and catch up? I'll fill you in then…" He trailed off as he realised it sounded as if he were asking Kurt on a date.
Kurt's eyes widened a bit but he smiled before nodding. "Yes, we can do that. Do you want to take a quick peek into the classroom?" He turned around and stepped forward, pushing the door inward and leading Judith and Noah inside.
The spacious classroom was probably a little kid's dream, Noah grinned to himself, taking in the huge cut outs of fictional characters that were pasted up on the pale yellow walls and the huge square windows with their bright yellow blinds. There were brightly coloured cupboards and bins arranged along the walls and various charts depicting parts of speech, parts of the body, a colour wheel, etc. Everything was there to jumpstart young minds and, best of all, two teachers who seemed to love being with children, from what he could see.
Kurt smiled at Noah's interested expression and he let go of Judith's hand so she could skip over to one of the round tables and introduce herself to the other kids. He found himself watching the little girl wistfully, remembering how it had been for him when he'd first come to school, never having gone to pre-K. His mother had wanted him at home with her for as long as possible and only relinquished him when it was time for Kindergarten.
He turned to glance back at Noah who was also watching Judith happily settle herself in between two of the other kids and then realised he needed to introduce his assistant.
"Oh, Noah, this is Marcy, my very able assistant. Marcy, this is Noah Puckerman and that poppet over there is Judith."
Kurt grinned knowingly as he saw how Marcy's eyes widened, taking in Noah's very handsome face and muscular body. Thank heavens he got rid of the mohawk, Kurt chuckled to himself, and cleared his throat as he saw that Marcy hadn't yet released Noah's hand.
Noah smiled politely at the young assistant, recognising the interested glint in her eye but he wasn't the same person he had been all those years ago. Maybe he was just 'sexed out', he thought wryly, because he had been a bit of a shark back in high school and even college. Now, especially after the ordeal of dealing with Judith's neurotic mom, Donna, he was certainly not interested in getting into anything right now.
"So, Kurt, when do we go for that coffee," he asked now, hoping that Marcy would get the hint and move off, leaving him to make arrangements with Kurt. He shrugged inwardly at the slightly sour expression on the girl's face but dismissed it; she was way too young for Noah anyway.
After they exchanged numbers on their smart phones, Kurt walked Noah to the door, smiling softly as he watched him leave. My, he almost didn't recognise this new Noah – and he realised he'd been thinking of him as Noah all along and not 'Puck'. Time certainly had been more than kind to him and the former jock looked even better than he had in high school.
Puck had been one of the bullies that had made his early high school years such a pain. He, along with Finn, David Karofsky, Karofsky's close friend Azimio Adams and various and assorted members of the football and hockey teams had made the lives of the kids they considered 'losers' a living hell at McKinley. Kurt, however, had never let any of them know how much he'd been affected by their behaviour and the whole thing had come to a head when David had forcibly kissed him in the boys' locker room one day.
It was indirectly because of David that Kurt had met the first love of his life, Blaine. The bullying had reached such a point that Kurt had skipped school one afternoon to go and check out the only school in Ohio that had a strict zero tolerance policy on bullying – Dalton Academy, a private school for boys over in Westerville. From the looks of the grounds alone, Kurt knew the place was expensive but after inadvertently encountering the school's show choir putting on an impromptu performance, he was completely won over.
Of course, it had a lot to do with the fact that the choir's lead singer was absolutely gorgeous! He chuckled to himself as he recalled how entranced he'd been by the short, slender, dark-haired crooner. His velvety voice transported Kurt to a world where everyone was gay – in both senses of the word. He had stood there as the a capella rendition of the current hit 'Teenage Dream' had washed over him and when at the end the same boy had spoken to him and offered to show him around the school, Kurt knew he was in love.
Kurt recalled now how Noah had been famous for bedding both cheerleaders and the cougars whose pools he'd cleaned while in high school. Yet, there was something different about him now, almost wounded and Kurt had to shake himself from his reverie as he turned back to his waiting class.
Hmmm, I'm going to have to get all the details from Finn soon, he muttered, because there was no way he was going to give Noah the third degree on their coffee date.
He noticed Marcy eyeing him from the corner of her eye and he came over to her, smirking. "Okay, spit it out. What do you want to know?"
The assistant stared at Kurt intently before blurting the very last thing Kurt would have expected from her.
"Why are all the hot ones gay?"
A/N 2: After watching several clips of my favourite new best-selling author charming little kids on his recent book-signing tour, I was inspired to do this story. He was so sweet and never condescending when he spoke to them.
Please, review; it's no fun writing if you all don't tell me what you think, okay?