Happy Hanukkah, peeps! This is for 2012 Puckleberry Hanukkah on Tumblr, in which each day is designated to a certain Puckleberry genre. This story will follow that set list, each chapter having some relation to the theme of the day. Chapters will be posted on every night of Hanukkah, before 12 midnight, giving me a lot of leeway to write and edit this into coherence. No worries about late-ness because I'm now officially done with the fall term.
Joy to my soul.
This is set last year, in "Extraordinary Merry Christmas," an AU where Finn and Rachel did not kiss at Nationals 2011. Because I choose to live in a utopian kind of world like that.
Long Live Puckleberry
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Noah Puckerman was having a very typical day. The alarm rang, he threw the piece of shit against the wall, rolled over, and then waited until his actual alarm start blaring: his sister barging inside with all her over-opinionated, surround-sound glory. He threw her out (literally), hauled her out of the bathroom as she succumbed to her real banshee origins, and then loped into the kitchen right before his ma opened her mouth to scream at him that breakfast was ready. He cleared through whatever his ma and sister didn't eat, left, kicked Bekah out of the truck at the middle school, and then made it to McKinley early enough to grab a sweet parking space. He walked into the building, earning twenty winks, fifteen flirty smiles, and eighteen approving nods before he even walked fifty feet.
What wasn't so typical was what made him stop at his locker because what in the fuck?
Taped to the top of the door was a small penlight shining down on a small box also taped to the door a few inches below. It was wrapped in a green bow and tagged with "To Noah Puckerman" and everything.
Puck scanned the hallway up and down, checking to see if whomever had left this was watching him, but aside from the occasional fearful-but-resentful glances Jewfro Ben Idiot was throwing, there didn't seem to be anyone paying attention. And while it may have crossed his mind that Jewfro could've rigged this little present to explode in his face—like a paint bomb or…a legitimate bomb—the fact of the matter was that the guy was harmless. They'd come to an uneasy truce: no more creeping for Rachel's goodies in exchange for a painless remainder of a high school career.
That didn't mean Puck was free and clear to open this shit though. There was still a bunch of other assholes that could actually want him dead. Like that Nelson dipshit on the hockey team.
He was still standing there, staring at his…present, when Mike and Sam walked up.
Mike nodded at him. "What's going on?"
"What's that?" Sam reached for the box on the door, but Puck smacked his hand away with a glare.
Sam backed off, hands in the air. "Chill out. Just curious. Why haven't you opened it?"
"'Cause he thinks it might be a bomb," Mike answered, followed by a Puck-Chang fist bump.
They've known each other too fucking long.
"What are the odds someone in this school was smart enough to build a bomb that small, though?" Sam asked skeptically.
"They could've hid the C-4 in the locker, drilled a hole, and hooked the wirings to a small trigger in that box there," Puck said matter-of-factly.
Sam sighed. "Y'all watch too many movies."
Mike snorted. "Yeah, whatever, Avatar."
"That's one movie!"
"That you watched, like, eight hundred times!"
Puck let Tweedle-Blonde and Tweedle-Chang bitch at each other as he stepped forward and shut off the penlight. Nothing happened. Then he tugged on the present. Nothing happened.
It was a risk, but who honestly would put that much effort into killing him? He wasn't worth that kind of premeditation.
Throwing all caution to the colors of the fucking wind, he untied the little green bow and opened the box. Inside were three pieces of chocolate gelt and a free movie ticket.
"Oh, my god! Everyone, duck and cover!"
"Shut up, Trouty Mouth," Puck barked, whacking Sam upside the head.
"What is it for? Early Christmas present?" Mike asked, peering over Puck's shoulder before snatching the small box and examining the tag.
"It's Hanukkah," Sam said.
Puck's eyebrows shot up.
"Don't tell me you forgot," Sam said accusingly. "You're the Jewish one."
"So why do you know?" Puck asked.
Sam blinked. "Doesn't matter."
Mike rolled his eyes. "So what are you gonna do with this? Tag's typed and unsigned. You can't track down whoever gave you this." He handed the box back to Puck and leaned against the other locker. "Gonna watchthat new Alvin and the Chipmunks movie?"
"Don't project your stupid-ass taste in movies on me, bro," Puck scoffed, sticking the ticket in his wallet, the gelt in his pocket, and the penlight in his backpack. He yanked open his locker and started pulling out his books.
"We loved those little bastards, asshole. Don't deny it," Mike argued.
"We were six."
"Hello, Noah! Michael, Samuel—how are you boys this morning?"
Puck dropped his big-ass Trig book on his big toe and still managed to nod and smirk at Rachel Berry as she walked up to them. "What's up, baby?" Smooth.
"I just wanted to remind you that today is the first rehearsal of our PBS production," she said brightly, hugging that godforsaken binder—wait, actually, that was a new binder. The other one was a darker pink and was smothered with Mrs. Finn Hudson's and Mrs. Rachel Hudson's; this one was light pink and clean. "I hope you memorized your lines and submitted your measurements to Kurt, Sugar, and Mercedes for your costumes."
Seemingly satisfied with their lies, Rachel grinned up at them before her eyes moved to the small box in Puck's locker, and then her face just fell.
"Oh," she said in a small voice, "it's the first day of Hanukkah, isn't it?"
Puck legitimately felt a couple of his ribs just contract around his heart, and he watched himself reach into his pocket and hold out his gelt to her. "Here," he said coolly. "I'm not really big on chocolate."
Her broken smile warmed into a knowing upturn of her lips. "You, who can eat an entire chocolate bunny in ten minutes flat, are not really big on chocolate?" She laughed and shook her head, and either Chang and Trouty Disapparated or he just totally forgot they were there. "Keep the chocolate, Noah. I'm vegan, remember? I can't eat those, but thank you for the offer."
He scratched the back of his neck with his free hand as he slipped the gelt back into his pocket. "You didn't get any Hanukkah presents from Blackberry and Elderberry?"
She balked at him. "I…don't understand that reference."
Puck rolled his eyes. "Leroy's part black, and Hiram's white."
"But I thought elderberries are black."
"They got white flowers. Fuck it. It's hard finding a fucking pale berry, okay, Berry? Christ—"
Rachel grinned and laughed again, reaching out to pat his chest consolingly. "I get it, Noah. I get it. Calm down. And, yes, they usually give me something small every night, but they're currently in Maine with my ailing Aunt Olga who managed to break both arms and legs because she accidentally slid down the banister."
"Why the hell is an eighty-seven-year old woman, who can't even wash her dishes without disjointing her hip, sliding down a motherfucking banister?"
"She didn't mean to slide down," Rachel said. "She was going down the stairs and her pet ferret—"
"Mr. Yak Juice?"
"Mr. Cashews," she corrected him, "and, no. Mr. Cashews died. This one is Ringo. Ringo apparently darted down the stairs and scared Aunt Olga so badly that she jumped onto the banister to get out of the way, slid down, and smacked into the front door."
Puck didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
"Dad and Daddy now have to cook and clean for her as a favor since she was the only one to attend their wedding from my Daddy's side. They'll be back by the thirtieth, which is when her regular nurse gets back from Reykjavik."
Puck narrowed his eyes at her. "You telling me you're spending Hanukkah by yourself?"
She shrugged. "It's fine. It's not as if we're really that devout—"
"No, shut up. Whoever's got a boner for me gave me this free movie ticket, so you and I are gonna chill at the movies then get something to eat. Then we can…light your menorah tonight."
She frowned. "Was that meant to be a dirty reference?"
Puck grinned. "Get your head outta the gutter, Berry. I meant that literally. You want me to come over so we can light your menorah?"
She totally looked excited but obviously wanted to be socially proper enough to give him a way out. "Don't you have to do that with your mom and Bekah?"
Puck shrugged. "We just use those twisty-lamp-candles since we can't put Bekah near any real fire ever since she scorched her eyebrows and nearly set our house on fire last year. It's no big deal. I already threw the squirt's present at her this morning before we left the house."
"What did you get her?"
"An X-Men calendar. Tomorrow, it's an X-Men poster and then a pair of Avengers knee socks the day after that."
Rachel grimaced. "Oh, no. I thought Aviva was able to push her in the Hello Kitty direction."
"Kid's got too much Puckerman blood in her," Puck said, shrugging. "Beks prefers Goodbye Kitty."
"Okay, how do you two know each other?" Sam finally interjected in sheer confusion, scratching his head as he looked back and forth between Puck and Rachel. "And why are you so chummy all of a sudden?"
"JCC, dude," Puck answered.
"It's a small town, and the Jewish community is very close-knit. There are only a handful of us in the same age group, so whether or not we liked it, Noah and I have history."
"I burned her ribbons."
"I shaved his head."
Sam's mouth dropped. "That's the origin of the 'hawk?!"
Rachel rolled her eyes and shook her head. "He burned my silk ribbons because I made him sing 'From This Moment On' with me at the JCC's annual Valentine's Day Ball, so I took one of Dad's shaves and shaved off a strip of hair right down the side of his head. His mom had to find some way to salvage it, and since he was going through his Cowboys and Indians phase, he insisted on a Mohawk."
"So it was your fault," Sam breathed in awe.
She nodded sagely. "Indeed."
"Okay, enough remiss—"
"—reminiscing. Gonna be fucking late," Puck growled, shooting Rachel a glare. "Don't forget, after school. Movies, meatball marinara, and menorah-lighting."
"I'm vegan, Noah!"
"We'll get fucking vegan meatballs then, Christ! Tofu-balls or whatever!"
And so Mike and Sam watched Puck swagger off and Rachel roll her eyes, stomp a foot, and then storm away, muttering about how he always had to carve plans in stone without even checking if the rock was valuable or not or some metaphor like that.
Neither of them missed how both of these two idiots looked back, just missing each other's glances, before turning their respective corners.
"How do you think Finn's gonna take this?" Sam asked.
Mike smirked. "Not well at all."
"Hurry up, Berry," Puck called over his shoulder. "Move those sexy legs."
"Noah!" Rachel cried indignantly. "You're supposed to be a gentlemen and walk alongside me! You're the one who harangued me into coming with you—the least you could do is be considerate of my shorter stature instead of loping along, purposefully elongating your stride!"
"We're gonna miss the movie, Rachel," Puck argued. "I'm purposefully elongating my stride 'cause I don't think you want me to fucking jog or run, do you?"
"We can't miss a movie that we haven't even decided on yet!" Rachel gave up and jogged up to Puck's side, decorum be damned.
"I do not want to watch some sappy-ass rom-com," he said stonily.
"Why do you immediately conclude that I want to watch a romantic comedy?"
"Because you're Rachel Barbra Berry, Rachel Barbra Berry," he said, stopping at the ticket booth. "You're a sappy-ass rom-com kind of girl."
She glared at him, poked him hard enough in the ribs so that he jumped to the side, faced the clerk, and said four words that made Puck's head spin a little:
"Two for Ghost Protocol."
"Mission Impossible?" he asked in disbelief as he intercepted her money with his free ticket and a twenty. "Really?"
She glared at him and stepped aside, letting him near the booth again. "You didn't bother asking me, jerk. You simply assumed that I would want to watch a romantic comedy—much like how you assumed I'd go with you to the movies even though I never agreed."
"You're here now, aren't you?" Puck pointed out with a grin, stepping into her personal space just as the clerk handed him the tickets and his change.
"That's because you waited outside my classroom and manhandled me all the way to your truck," Rachel said blandly. "You gave me neither choice nor opportunity to decline."
"You could've run away," he said. "Like now. Just take off."
She turned her nose up at him, said a prim "No, thank you," and then flounced into the building. "Now come along. I want the best seats."
Puck snorted and trailed after her. "Don't gimme that attitude, you brat. You're the one who always picked the movie when we were little. Shrek, those godforsaken Disney movies—"
"The classics, Noah!"
"—and even fucking Child's Play, Rachel, 'cause you thought it was a live-action version of Toy Story. I'm fucking scarred for life. You don't watch those kinds of movies when you still see those kinds of dolls on a regular basis, you know," Puck groused. "You didn't even let me turn it off!"
"When you start watching a horror movie, you have to see it all the way in order to achieve the catharsis of knowing a nightmare will end!" she nearly shrieked, causing a bunch of people to look at them.
Puck just rolled his eyes. "You couldn't sleep with the lights off for almost a year and a half."
"You shoved all of my dolls and Bekah's dolls in a plastic bag and threw it into your shed." She stopped in front of the snack counter and glared up at him.
He turned to her, their faces inches apart as he growled, "You said thank you for doing that."
"Yes, because if I'd let you turn off the movie when you wanted me to, you would've burned all of the dolls instead of just tossing them into the shed. See? The cathartic ending works," she insisted finally.
"You know what else is cathartic?" he asked with a lecherous grin as he stepped even closer to her.
"Do not say it!" she barked knowingly. "Just come on." She grabbed fistful of his shirt and dragged him into the theater.
Puck sighed but didn't stop the small smile from growing on his face. She could annoy him something fierce, and he could piss her off like nobody's business. But that's what happens: sparks, magic, a chemical reaction.
Once the movie started, she hushed him like he'd been the one rambling on about the upcoming movies and practically praying to every god in existence that the Avengers would do the comics justice or some shit like that.
Not a lot of people knew it 'cause the whole Broadway-and-musicals-Great-White-Way shit overpowered almost everything else, but Rachel Berry was a sucker for action movies. He thought she'd grown out of it once she really got into the whole Broadway thing a couple of months after they…stopped talking. But apparently, it was like mono. Love for a good action movie just doesn't go away.
The crazy chick sitting next to him was exactly the same way.
She'd get under your skin like some weird illness, and just when you think you recovered and got her out of your system, you realize that no matter what the fuck you try to do, you could never get rid of her. She'd always stay with you.
"Noah, come on," she urged, digging her little purple nails into his arm and hauling him out of the kitchen.
"Calm your cheeks, Berry! Jeez! It's not like the movie's going anywhere," he grumbled, letting her drag him to the living room. "Heck, it's not like we've never seen this movie before. Why are we watching this again?"
"Because we were little when we first saw this," she said, sliding the VHS into the player.
"We're still little," he pointed out dryly. "The top of your head doesn't even reach the countertop yet."
"We're not babies," she corrected herself, grabbing the remote from the shelf. "We're big enough to know what the stories mean now instead of just watching them for the heck of it."
"We're seven. It's not like we're gonna get that much out of it."
"You might not, but I will."
"So why are you making me watch it?"
She turned her big brown eyes on him, and he knew he was screwed. "Because you're my best friend."
He scowled and tugged on her braid. "Whatever, Berry."
She grinned and then went back to her bossy self. "Hush! Go turn off the lights and come sit down," she ordered, throwing herself on the couch.
Puck reluctantly obeyed, flicking off the lights and then hopping over the back of the couch to land right on top of Rachel. She was so used to the gesture by now that she only whacked him in the head with the remote and pushed him off of her. He chortled evilly and sprawled out on the couch as the Disney logo appeared and the music began to play.
"I'm surprised you're not singing along with the song right now," he said.
"Is that your way of asking me to?"
"No, shut up."
"Stop being mean, Noah."
"Shut up. This is the cool part."
"This is when he gets cursed!"
"That's why it's cool! You get your girly parts, and I'll get my awesome badass parts."
"Noah! You're not allowed to say that word!"
"Ass," Puck hissed, snickering at Rachel's shocked expression before clamping his hand over her mouth. "Now shut up!"
"Once upon a time, in a faraway land, a young prince lived in a shining castle. Although he had everything his heart desired, the prince was spoiled, selfish, and unkind. Then, one winter's night, an old beggar woman came to the castle and offered him a single rose in return for shelter from the bitter cold. Repulsed by her haggard appearance, the prince sneered at the gift and turned the old woman away."
"No duh. No hotel would let me stay the night if I gave them a daisy or something."
"Noah, be quiet! You're the one who supposedly likes this part."
"—old woman's ugliness melted away to reveal a beautiful enchantress."
"Why was she in disguise to begin with?"
"Because she was testing his character, Noah, hush!"
"—seen there was no love in his heart. As punishment, she transformed him into a hideous beast and placed a powerful spell upon the castle and all who lived there."
"See, I don't get that part. I feel like she was doing that only to punish him like a death sentence because he pretty much has no chance of finding girl if he's a monster."
"You were the one telling me to shut up two seconds ago."
"It's a real problem, though. I think that enchantress lady was a-a-a—"
"S'true, Berry," he said with a shrug.
"All I'm saying is that if she wanted to teach him a lesson, she should've found a different way to do it."
"It's—what is it called?—perfect justice?"
"Poetic justice," she corrected him proudly. "See? We are smart enough to understand movies now."
"I need to stop hanging out with you," Puck sighed. "S'totally gonna ruin my street cred if I start talking about poetic justice and stuff."
Rachel rolled her eyes and patted his shoulder. "You'll be fine. Now stop talking. The song's about to start."
"—for who could ever learn to love a beast?"
Puck never did figure out what her fascination was with the whole Beauty and the Beast story. It got transposed over to her bizarre love for Shrek, even though some plot points were vastly different and shit. Like the talking donkey and the fact that they both wind up being ogres and…a whole lot of other shit, actually.
He liked watching movies with her, even though he'd never admit that out loud or anywhere near a telepath or something. If it was the first time through, she'd never say a word and would actually inflict bodily harm if you tried to distract her, but she'd walk away from it, totally analyzing and picking shit apart so even the dumbest movie sounded like fucking Inception. He figured it stemmed from being an actress. She had to really get into the characters' heads in order to really understand and portray it well and stuff.
He totally got it.
Which was why he leaned over to her right when the lights dimmed and the movie started and whispered, "Make sure you don't distract me, 'kay? 'Cause it's hella annoying when you do that."
She poked him in the arm, nearly causing some sort of deep muscle bruise 'cause her fingers are that small and deadly, but she was smiling anyway.
He leaned back and grinned.
He hoped she wouldn't be too inconvenienced if he decided he wanted to drag the past into the future. He was gonna spend his Hanukkah with Rachel Berry, not 'cause her dads weren't there, but 'cause—to be fucking honest?—he missed her. And she was gonna spend it with him even if her hair started falling out. 'Cause the way she'd grab his arm whenever something made her jump? Yeah, he knew she missed him too.
I miss Puckleberry so much.
Feedback is always appreciated and cherished.
I just love you guys so much. This bubble is awesome and beautiful and strong and wonderful and passionate and I just have so many feels right now that I don't know how to cope with anything. Just don't know what to do with myself.