Author's Note: And here it is, the end. Thank you to everyone who reviewed (to the guests, especially, since I can't thank you through PMs). It means a lot that you guys enjoyed a story that only happened because I listened to a new song. Haha.


Puck watched Rachel put away dish after dish, deliberately refusing to acknowledge his presence outside of mumbling about how she had a lot of cleaning to finish. "Can you just fuckin' stop?"

He walked forward, grabbing each of her wrists to keep her from putting away the plates that were in her hands. She flinched at his touch, which made him hold her tighter. In an effort to yank her hands free, Rachel dropped the plates she'd been holding, the sound of them crashing back into the luckily empty dishwasher tray echoing in the room along with her high-pitched yelp when one landed near her foot and broke into several small pieces.

"Careful!" Puck growled when she tried to step out of the way, keeping his one hand tight around her wrist to prevent her from moving while he kicked closed the dishwasher and moved the other arm across her waist. Puck scooped Rachel into him, securing her safely against his body as he walked out of the kitchen and to the living room. He dropped her down onto the couch, not even looking at her before going back to clean up the mess. When he was all done and put away the broom, he looked up and saw Rachel standing on the other side of the counter bar top.

"Thank you," she said softly, her eyes cast downward. "For helping me."

Puck sighed, resting his hands on each side of the kitchen sink. "Well you cleaned everything else, so …"

His tone was bitter, and she cowered a little more as a result. "I didn't mean that, though I appreciate it as well."

Puck walked around the kitchen counter through the dining room exit instead of through the doorway beside the hallway. His eyes landed on a stack of papers that he forgot he'd left in the apartment when he'd stopped by this morning. He recognized the top piece of paper even in the distance, and he was reminded of how excited he'd been when he'd walked into the apartment.

Rachel cleared her throat, daring to look up at him though not allowing herself to step any closer despite that he was nearly within reaching distance now. "I meant, for protecting me."

"Protect what ya love," he stated absently as his eyes skimmed over the rough piece of paper. Her sharp inhale of breath caught his attention, though, his brows furrowing at her shocked expression. "What?"

Rachel stepped forward then rocked back on her heel, her hands wringing in front of her. She released her bottom lip from between her teeth, trying not to stammer as she said, "I just … assumed otherwise based on …" She trailed off, jutting her chin toward the piece of paper still resting in his hands. "I might have accidentally seen the title."

Puck looked down at the piece of paper, up toward Rachel, then back down again. The red ink he'd used last night to make the edits on the song he'd written months ago stared back at him almost mockingly, and he couldn't help but laugh out loud. "Accidentally, huh?"

"I was going to take them to the office, but I … well, I was a little sidetracked after I saw the title, so I …"

Rachel's explanation was cut short, Puck's lips covering hers in one swift motion. His strong muscles kept her body from falling apart completely, but her brain prohibited her from responding fully to the kiss. She was still so torn emotionally, having spent most of the day depressed and then moving toward anger once they'd started fighting and now perplexed not just at how easily he'd expressed the sentiment she'd been wanting to hear for so long but also as to why his mood had quickly turned around.

"You shoulda kept readin'," Puck said once the embrace was over, pushing the paper into her chest with one hand while the other grabbed her hand and pulled her back toward the living room. "Stay."

"Noah," Rachel chastised, her gaze following his retreating form instead of looking at the paper now in her possession as instructed.

"Stay," he repeated when she started to get up from the couch after he'd reappeared with his guitar. He dragged one of the chairs from the table by the window closer, sitting down and tuning his guitar before demanding, "Listen."

I do not love you for the way you kiss
Though your lips, they can put me at ease
And I do not love you for your sweet green eyes
Though I love when they're lookin' at me
And I do not love you for the way your hands
Can touch me and quiet my soul
I love you for all of this, and so much more

I do not love you for the way you dress
Though you do look so lovely tonight
And I do not love you for the things you know
Though I've always admired your mind
And I do not love you for the way I feel
That first moment you walk through the door
I love you for all of this, and so much more

And all I know is you're the part of me that keeps me strong
And what I want is for us to face forever
Standing up together, eyes turned toward the heavens, arm in arm

I do not love you for the way my heart
Seems to live somewhere inside your chest
And I do not love you for the way your arms
They can hold me until I forget
And I do not love you for the way you've been
Exactly what I'm looking for
I love you for all of this, and so much more

I love you for all of this, and so much more

Rachel sat sunken into their couch, utterly speechless after hearing the words on the paper she was now clenching so tightly come to life in her living room. He looked so adorably happy and proud, and yet so entirely devoted to her that she couldn't loathe herself more for doubting his feelings for more than a moment. "Noah …"

"I did what ya said, babe." Puck set the guitar down, moving to sit next to her on the couch. "I went into the studio and laid it all on the line and showed them what I could do to help with the album. And they loved it. We made a few changes, obviously - I know your eyes are brown - but it's goin' right on the dude's record and my boss wants to see what else I have."

Rachel couldn't contain herself. She crawled into his lap and just started kissing him, knowing there was no way she'd ever be able to express just what she was feeling at that moment. She was so proud of him and so happy to not only hear that others were finally appreciating his talent but to hear that he was recognizing it himself. And the song … she'd always known he allowed himself to be more open in his music, but she still couldn't get over just how honest those words were. And they were for her.

"I love you," he whispered huskily, his forehead resting against hers as they both caught their breaths. "I probaby have since high school and I'm shit if ya really didn't know that by now."

Rachel shook her head, silencing him once again with her lips. She cradled his jaw in her hands, the tips of her fingers playing with the short strands of hair on the back of his neck. She mewled at the feel of his arms tightening around her waist, deepening the kiss when she could feel the affect she was having on him. How could she have ever doubted this man?

"I love you, too." She kissed him again before wrapping her arms around his neck and hugging him tenderly. "And I love your song."

"Ya still wanna go listen to it at the coffee shop?"

"Are you still buying?"

Puck could feel her smile and he chuckled into her neck, his arms loosening from around her waist and skimming her bare legs. "If you're good."

Rachel hummed, tilting her head a bit so she could whisper right into his ear. "I think I might prefer to stay here. With you."

Puck groaned low in his throat, his grip tightening again before he pulled back slightly, a smirk perched on his face. "Ya gonna wear my Knicks shirt again?"

"If you're good." Rachel giggled, standing up from his lap and walking toward their bedroom, tossing over her shoulder, "I think I need help getting out of these clothes first, though."

Puck moaned. "God, I love you."


Author's Note #2: For those who hadn't already guessed, the song is Ron Pope's "I Do Not Love You". If you haven't heard the song (or, heaven forbid, him, please go to YouTube and check it/him out. He's amazing.