Above Me (The Twelfth of Never)
Author's Note: So this is a little fic prequel to Candle In the Wind (Fifth of Forever) and it deals with Puck POV again. I was thinking of why Puck had been bullying Rachel and his own little code of ethics. And this is what sprouted. It's a little AU but not much. Hope you all enjoy.
Noah Puckerman (call me Puck and fuck you very much) was the McKinley High School's resident badass. He was a Mohawk wearing, football playing, dip using (don't tell my mother) badass who thought nothing of throwing the school's less fortunate into dumpsters regardless of their designer clothing, at least if they were guys. He might throw slushies on the geeky girls but he would never manhandle them, that shit wasn't kosher.
There was one chick that drove him nuts in two totally different ways, the way she dressed and the way she acted. She always wore these little skirts, knee socks and penny loafers, with these weird sweaters that had animals on them. She had long dark brown hair and creamy olive skin and huge brown eyes and she was a complete and total nutcase. He had a couple of classes with her and she always had her homework done. She always knew the answer. And if the teacher gave her any shit she was always talking about the ACLU. Puck wasn't even sure he knew what the ACLU was.
She was sneaky hot though, which was a big part of the reason he'd taken it upon himself to slushy her. She liked grape a lot, she always licked her lips when he hit her with grape. She didn't like the blue ones too much so he usually didn't use those, not unless she'd really made him crazy in algebra.
Puck found himself watching this chick more and more, and not just for the best opportunities to slushy her. She'd disappear into the auditorium at lunch, he didn't blame her for that, the cafeteria was like a no fly zone for anyone who didn't want a lunch on their head. And she was always at school early and staying late, when he saw her walking home just as it was getting dark outside.
Puck watched as she dragged her rolling case behind her, she was already on the edge of the school parking lot. "Shit," He groaned and got in his truck. She lived on the opposite side of town from him, in the nicer section and it wasn't exactly close. But if his mother found out he'd let Rachel Berry walk all the way home she'd have the fuckin' Rabbi talk to him about how to behave like a man all over again. He leaned over and rolled the window of the passenger side down and pulled up next to Berry. "Ya need a ride Berry?"
"From you?" Her eyes were fuckin' huge, and she looked… Shit, Puck sighed, she looked petrified.
"It's gettin' dark," Puck pointed out. "Prolly ain't safe to be walkin'."
"And why would I believe my person to be any safer with you?" Rachel kept walking and Puck eased the truck alongside her.
"That ain't fair," Puck snarled. "Have I ever put hands on you? Huh?" He shook his head, "I don't hit women. I don't even hit kids smaller'n me. I just throw 'em in dumpsters."
"That makes it so much better that you slushy me daily," Rachel sent him a narrow eyed look. "Leave me alone Puck."
"Why ain't your dads' pickin' you up?" Puck wanted to know. She had the most overprotective parents in the world but he could see why, it wasn't like it was easy for two dudes to have a kid and they weren't likely to get another shot at it so Rachel was it for them.
"They're out of town this week," She sounded pissed and sad at the same time. "I failed to recollect that particular piece of information when I stayed past the last bus time."
"Fuck my life," Puck groaned and shook his head. "Get in will ya, I promise as a hot Jew that I won't put my filthy paws on you." He held up one hand in the universal sign of an oath. "You can hit me with the can of pepper spray Karofsky says you carry around."
"You're not going to go away are you," Rachel sounded resigned.
"You can get in and ride or I can follow ya home like this," Puck agreed. "The ride'll be quicker an' you'll have to put up with me less." He shook his head. "C'mon Berry, I'll even give you my ma's number so you can call and complain about me if I treat ya wrong."
"I want you to swear that there will be no rumors at school regarding a 'hook-up' with me due to you providing me transportation," Rachel was still holding back. "I'm not a slut and I won't tolerate being called one by anybody just because you are."
Puck blinked and mentally translated what she'd said, "Shit," He groaned. "There ain't anybody around Berry. An' I ain't gonna go braggin' 'bout you puttin' my balls in a vice grip or getting pepper spray shot in my eyes 'cause you thought I was gettin' fresh." He stopped the truck and leaned over to push open the door. "Would ya just get in already? I've gotta drop you at home an' go get Becca from the sitter's yet."
"I apologize," Rachel nodded primly and put her rolling case on the floorboards before getting into the truck with something of a struggle. Puck blinked as he got a good long look at a creamy length of thigh before she pulled the door shut behind her, struggling to make it stick.
"Shit," Puck muttered feeling his jeans get tight. "Sorry Berry," He leaned over, trying to keep his arm from touching her but failing miserably as he pulled the door shut with a harsh slam. "Truck's old an' I usually deal with the doors." He was disturbingly aware of the soft swell of her breasts pushing against his forearm until he got the door closed. Removing his body parts from her proximity helped the tightness in his jeans and he leaned his head on the steering wheel. "Fuck my life," He groaned. This sucked hard and wide. He hadn't felt like this with a chick since he'd first embarked on his career as a pool cleaning man whore. Not even then, not since he'd learned to control his shit because nobody liked a guy who couldn't last long enough to take care of the chick.
"Are you all right?" Berry's melodic voice sounded almost worried and Puck would have laughed if he wasn't trying his best to control his dick.
"Yeah Berry, 'm fine," Puck told her gruffly. "You wanna gimme directions?"
"I thought everyone on the football team knew where my house was," Rachel said quietly. "It seems to be part of the homecoming ritual to egg and teepee the house and fork the lawn."
"I got enough trouble," Puck shook his head, "I keep my stupid shit at school. Rest a the team, buncha assholes wreckin' folk's houses. Eggs can mess up a car bad an' a stupid fork can kill ya with shrapnel if a lawn mower hits it." He shrugged,
"Everyone on the team does it?" Her voice was small, and Puck glanced at her. He'd seen her looking at Finn Hudson more than once and part of him was glad she'd know that the perfect boy quarterback wasn't above egging her house.
"Yeah, pretty much," Puck almost sighed. "I don't need the grief from my mom, an' I got 'nough of a spine I don't feel the need to fuck up people's property. Teepee ain't too bad, but it's a bitch to clean up."
"Speaking from experience, slushies aren't much easier to deal with," Rachel told him dryly.
"Only think I could think of that didn't involve physical violence," Puck grunted. She'd flip out if he ever told her why he was the only one who was allowed to slushy her. "Might mess up your clothes but your books an' homework're safe. An' no one shoves ya into a locker or steals your clothes durin' gym."
"So you came up with this repugnant tradition?" Rachel's voice was chilly.
"Nah," Puck shook his head. "Just made sure I was the only one doin' it to you." He slanted a glance at her and frowned when he saw her disbelieving look. "Other people slushy you?"
"Of course they do," She snapped at him. "Do you think I enjoy carrying two or three changes of clothing with me? Doing laundry nearly every night? Especially doing it when my dads are home? Do you think I like letting them think I—" She broke off and shrugged. "It doesn't matter."
"Shit, shit, shit, fuck!" Puck swore viciously and hit the ceiling with his fist. "Those muthafuckers," He cursed. "Lyin', cheatin' no good sunsabitches."
"What are you so upset about?" Rachel seemed almost amused, "I assume from the plethora of profanity that some form of sacred trust has been breached." She pointed at a street and gave him the appropriate turn.
"You could say that," Puck scowled furiously. "I made a deal with Tanaka," He told her bluntly. "He'd rein in the bullyin' on you an' any a your friends. An' I'd stop causin' trouble that might get me kicked offa the team."
"I'm guessing that this bargain was struck without the rest of the sports teams' knowledge?" Rachel murmured, her voice almost subdued.
"They shouldn't a had to know. Tanaka's the coach, he's a teacher or whatever, he should be able to control his shit," Puck said furiously. "Only reason I kept up with the slushies was so you—"
"So I what?" Rachel folded her arms and Puck did his best to ignore how it made her breasts push together and sent his mind spiraling towards nibbling on all that creamy flesh.
"Geez," Puck groaned. "So ya wouldn't end up with gossip 'bout me screwin' ya," He said finally. "Ya made it pretty clear last year that you didn't want anythin' to do with me Berry."
"What are you talking about," Rachel pointed towards a large house on the right side of the street and Puck pulled up in front of it.
"Fuckin' forget it Berry," Puck jumped out of the truck and walked around it to open Rachel's door, pulling out her case and lifting her down from the seat. She was so tiny, his hands almost went around her waist. He cursed at himself and his idiotic attraction as she looked up at him and the urge to kiss her almost got the better of him, "Go on get in your house, I'll wait 'til you're inside."
"I'm not done with you Noah Puckerman," Her musical voice had steel in it and Puck had to wonder if he was losing his shit because that just made him want to push her up against the truck and put his mouth on hers all over again.
"Yeah, ya are," He took her hand put it on the handle of her case and got the hell out of her way. "Go on, get in, I gotta get Becca yet." That got her moving and he watched as her skirt swished around her hips as she walked away.
Puck groaned as he saw Berry waiting for him near his locker. The girl made him want to set himself on fire, at least then he'd be out of his misery instead of drowning in whatever the hell this was that made his stomach twist and his dick jump around like Rachel Fuckin' Berry was catnip for cock. He didn't even have a slushy this early in the morning. "Whaddaya want Berry," He groaned the question like she was the last woman on earth he wanted to see.
"I want to know what you meant," She kept her voice down and opened her locker, a few doors down from his. "And you're going to explain yourself fully if I have to follow you around the school to make sure of it."
"Fuckin' fine," Puck growled the words out and dragged her into an empty classroom and out of sight of the door. "Don't know why you give a shit when you're in fuckin' love with Hudson the gigantor moron."
"I thought he was your friend," Rachel frowned. "You two are always hanging out together."
Puck sighed and shook his head, the passing thought that a good friend does not sleep with the virginal girlfriend of Finn Hudson. "We are but that don't mean I don't know him," He shrugged.
"Some sort of boy bonding thing I imagine," Rachel's nose wrinkled in distaste. "Explain to me what you meant when you said I didn't want anything to do with you last year."
"Nice Berry," Puck shook his head. "You shot me down and you don't even remember," He leaned back against the wall and let his eyes run over her tight little body lazily. "You remind me a that song ya know?"
"No, I don't know," Her voice was almost chilly. "Why don't you elaborate?"
Puck whistled a few lines and then sang the chorus, "She's so high… high above me, she's so lovely, she's so high… like Cleopatra, Joan of Arc or Aphrodite, she's so high, high above me…" He shrugged in the face of her astonished look. "An' you know it too Berry. Why else would you shoot me down like ya did?" He pushed away from the wall and began to leave, "So you can relax Berry, I know you ain't gonna slum it with the man slut."
He was almost out the door when he heard her voice, soft with shock, almost talking to herself, "Lovely?"
Puck had never quite been able to pinpoint when he'd become so protective of Rachel Berry. He'd always been aware of her, you couldn't be Jewish in Lima Ohio and not be aware of Rachel Berry, but his little obsession with her legs and the near nightly dreams had been a constant before he'd even really become aware of them.
Thankfully Rachel wasn't nearly as observant as she thought she was, so focused on her future and her crush on Hudson that she didn't see the school badass practically drooling over her legs and pert ass and sweet Yahweh those high firm breasts… Puck nearly groaned as he dropped his head back against the locker with a metallic thump. Quinn being pregnant was hands down the worst thing that had ever happened to him, and that included nearly twice weekly beat downs from his dad before the fucker left. This was worse than passing by the auditorium to see Finn kissing Rachel.
That had just made him feel sick to his stomach and then pretty pissed off since neither Rachel or Quinn deserved that kind of treatment. And before he knew it, Quinn was joining Glee club and he was too and that meant he had to spend more time with the girl who made him want to light himself on fire.
Damn she could sing though, he'd never heard a voice like hers in his life. Now when she opened her mouth he just wanted to pray she was gonna sing some more. Although listening to her little rants in glee were more amusing than annoying. He'd never admit that, but it was fuckin' hilarious how worked up everyone got when Rachel was just trying to be helpful in her own admittedly unique way.
Rachel hadn't cornered him again about what he'd meant regarding her shooting him down. He'd like to think she was still trying to figure out what he'd meant but more likely she was just wrapped up with Finn. Until a diminutive and gorgeous Jewish girl did finally corner him by the piano after the glee club.
"You still haven't told me what you meant about me 'shooting you down'," Rachel told him flatly. "I've thought about it and you've never even asked me out for me to 'shoot you down'. So either your recollection is faulty or mine is."
"Bullshit," Puck nearly snarled remembering the utter embarrassment of trying to ask Rachel Berry out after Temple and getting turned down flat. "You didn't even bother to turn around to do it," He swung his bag over his shoulder and stared down at her. "Maybe this'll ring a bell, 'I'll go out with you on the twelfth of Never, that's when I'll go out with you'." He sneered, "That fit into your 'recollection'?"
She was speechless again, Puck was kinda gettin' a kick out of leaving the unstoppable Rachel Berry speechless. He turned to leave and had just reached the choir room doors when she found her voice again. Her tone was incredulous and really irritated at the same time, funny how he knew exactly what expression she'd have on her face when he turned around, "You are a complete and utter idiot." She snapped out the words, her eyes furious as she pushed herself up from the piano. "Do you pay any attention to anyone besides yourself?"
"I tried to pay attention to you and look where it got me," Puck growled back. "Shot down and embarrassed and damn grateful that at least the Rabbi and my mother hadn't heard you."
"You were behind me?" Rachel folded her arms. Her foot was tapping impatiently and Puck wasn't entirely sure he was in the right anymore she was so pissed at him. "And I was standing near the alcove, by the piano."
"Yeah, so?" Puck shrugged and leaned against the wall near the door.
"So did it ever occur to you that I wasn't speaking to you Noah Puckerman?" Rachel nearly stomped towards him, fury in every inch of her five foot two body. "That I might have been trying to 'shoot down' someone else? Someone who has been bothering me and stalking me and…" She shuddered slightly, "Someone who doesn't take no for an answer and needed to be told in as rude a form as possible that I had no interest in him?"
"Who?" Puck was pissed now, who was bothering Rachel so much that she'd resort to such cruel words, words that had hurt his feelings even under his rhino thick skin. "Who's stalkin' you Berry?"
"If you have to ask you're more of an idiot than I thought," Rachel sat down on one of the chairs tiredly and began to gather her things, putting her notebook into her case and pulling on her coat. "I'm sorry you thought I was speaking to you. I can assure you I wasn't even aware that you were behind me. You've never had occasion to speak to me after Temple before so I had no reason to believe you would attempt it at that time."
"Yeah, yeah," Puck shook his head and wracked his brain to try and figure it out, pacing in front of the doors before he got it. "That creepy little son of a bitch," He could hear the growl in his voice. "What the fuck has Ben Israel been doin' to you Rachel?"
"Nothing you need concern yourself with," Rachel buttoned her coat and grabbed the handle of her case, clearly ready to brush past him and leave.
"Don't give me that bullshit Rachel," Puck put a hand across the doors and looked down at her. "What has he been doing?"
"I'll miss the bus, please let me by," Rachel was clearly not talking and now he was getting pissed.
"I'll give ya a ride," Puck shook his head. "I've been makin' it clear as I can all year that you're off limits. And apparently people haven't been gettin' the message 'cause they're still givin' you shit. But Jacob is just fuckin' creepy as hell an' he'd better not be…" Puck lost his words and had to take a deep breath to keep that old red out of his eyes. He knew damn well he had his father's temper, and he knew how to keep it under control, to let it out on the football field, running or hard fuckin' work. "He'd better not be scarin' you Rachel or I swear to God…"
"Noah are you all right?" Her pretty voice was concerned, she was worried about the guy whose idea of protecting her involved him hitting her with a slushy instead of someone else. Puck wondered exactly how crazy Rachel Berry was if she was worried about the biggest bully in school. Her soft little hand touched his arm and he groaned.
"Just tell me that he's not touchin' you or anythin'," Puck managed to get the words out past the red that wanted to mist over his eyes. "Please tell me he's just bein' his usual creepy stalker self an' he ain't…escalated to worse."
"He… gets uncomfortably close," Rachel admitted and he could see on her face that she found it embarrassing that she couldn't deal with Ben Israel with finality. "But he doesn't touch me much."
"How much is 'much'," Puck took another deep breath. "Tanaka hasn't lived up to his side of the bargain, I don't think I need to keep mine. Don't care if he goes to temple with us, I'll fuckin' kill him if he's scarin' you."
"He doesn't scare me Noah," Rachel shook her head and he was glad she was being honest because the thought of that weird 'alls right with the world even though my life is shit' smile she usually wore would kill him right now. "He's just creepy and embarrassing. I've been considering him practice for when I'm a star and end up with a real stalker."
"All right," Puck took another deep breath and felt the rage finally fading from his blood. "So…" He looked down at her, "Would ya?"
"Would I what?" She tilted her head curiously and Puck rolled his eyes.
"Would ya go out with me?" Puck tilted his head to match hers and gave her a little smile. "Or do ya want me to wait until the twelfth of Never?"
"I…" She was frowning, worried, obviously considering his reputation.
"It'll be fun," Puck coaxed. "I won't mess around on you with other chicks. An' you can always tell me to stop what I'm doin' and you know I will 'cause you can totally call my mom and she'll kill me for you 'cause I swear that woman is ex-Mossad."
"You'll want to kill me before a week is up," Rachel pointed out. "I make you want to set yourself on fire."
"Yeah but in a good way," Puck teased and dipped his head so his lips brushed over hers. "C'mon Berry, take a chance. Ain't like I don't know you're too good for me."
"All right Noah, I'll go out with you, I'll even be your girlfriend," Rachel smiled under his lips. "Since I know your mother has been nagging you to date a nice Jewish girl. I swear it's all she prays for at Temple."
"You're tellin' me," Puck rolled his eyes. "C'mon, I'll give you a ride home and we can work on that duet Schue assigned."
When they break up a week later Puck knows he's hurt her feelings, and he knows she can tell he's lyin', but she doesn't call him on either of those things. He watched her walk away from the bleachers and wished he'd given her his letterman's jacket, wished he'd gotten to third base, wished he could tell her the truth. Wished for that last thing more than anything else. It's hell being in love with someone who'll never love you back. It's hell having fucked up your life by chasing a girl who didn't mean anything because you knew you'd never have the one you loved. Watching that girl idealize and love someone who wasn't half good enough for her on his best day and knowing you were even worse for her.
It's the most fucked up situation imaginable and he still can't take his eyes of Rachel as she walks away. Because she's the one, she's the perfect woman for him and the day she loves him back probably will be the twelfth day of Never.