Title: Always Shout Fire
Warnings: Adult themes (now with smut), some violence and bad language and set in season 2
Spoilers: Spoilers for up to Duets
Summary: Kurt decides further investigation is needed regarding the Puckerman situation. He is both surprised and shocked to find his former nemesis brought low and how it changes them from team mates, to friends and perhaps...
Previous Chapters: ( Chapter 1 ) ( Chapter 2 ) ( Chapter 3 ) ( Chapter 4 ) ( Chapter 5 ) ( Chapter 6 ) ( Chapter 7 ) ( Chapter 8 ) ( Chapter 9 ) ( Chapter 10 ) ( Chapter 11 ) ( Chapter 12 ) ( Chapter 13 ) ( Chapter 14 ) ( Chapter 15 ) ( Chapter 16 ) ( Chapter 17 ) ( Chapter 18 ) ( Chapter 19 )
“He thinks I don’t know but things were said, feelings hurt. Next thing Noah gets the girl pregnant.” She looked at Kurt meaningfully. “Finn touched a nerve before that whole business, one that set Noah off into a world of self-hate and destruction.” Pausing she shook her head. “I shouldn’t blame Finn too much but I couldn’t help it.”
“What did he say?” Kurt could not help but ask.
“I’m sorry Kurt, that is for Noah to tell you.”
Kurt thought of that conversation with Mrs Puckerman he’d had just before Puck’s surgery. He’d hinted a few times to Puck hoping he might open up but that was one of the things he seemed adamant not to discuss. In only a few hours they would attend the winter ball together and he had come upstairs to sit before his mother’s dresser. It was not exactly a shrine, her things were not kept in the drawers or anything like that but Burt had kept her photo sitting front of the mirror and her perfume bottle, long since empty, next to it. If Kurt closed his eyes and held it close he could still detect the barest scent from the green bottle.
For some reason he had not only thought of his Mom but of what Prs P had said. It shouldn’t matter why Puck and Finn fell out and why Puck became a brute for over a year. He knew the gist of it – Puck had somehow come out to Finn and been rejected. Had he made a move on Finn? That was silly, they were best friends but Kurt scrunched his face in thought.
It was possible, and if so were any of those feelings still there?
Even as he felt the burn of jealousy he knew it was wrong. Puck was with him and he had no reason to doubt his loyalty... well given Puck’s reputation he probably had very good reason but not if it involved Finn. The fact was Kurt knew he was just doubting himself; after too long believing a relationship was near impossible in high school here he was with the hottest boy in
“Mom,” he spoke to the photo, a springtime shot taken just before she fell ill. She wore a rainbow coloured dress and had flowers in her hair – flowers Kurt had put there. “I’ve met a guy... I think you’d like him.” He almost snorted at the thought. Of course she’d like him, if Dad was right he had been a lot like Puck as a younger man, before he was tamed by Kurt’s mother. “Well I haven’t just met him but you could say we took a while to properly know each other.” He fingered the perfume bottle, its scent seemed to get stronger and Kurt fancied that she was actually in room with him. “I don’t know if it will last and maybe after tonight he will realise its too hard being with another guy or just too hard being with me but for the moment we’re happy.” He smiled. “I’m happy, really and truly. Guess asking for more than that is just greedy huh?”
He swallowed back a lump in his throat as he imagined his mother giving him a disapproving look. “I know Mom, I am fabulous and deserve the very best and should not doubt that the best things in life are those we fight for.” She’d told him this many times, no doubt knowing he would face adversity – if his father had known he was gay from a very young age then she had probably known since he was in the womb. “Noah’s great Mom, and I think I might love him – so yeah, I’ll fight for us if I have to... but I guess I just wanted to speak to you and say,” he paused and felt a tear run down his face. “Please be there with us tonight, I know I don’t believe in god or religion but I do believe in you.” He replaced the bottle and gently touched the photo.
As he went to leave the room Kurt thought he felt just the slightest breeze across his cheek and smiled.
“That your Mom?”
Kurt almost shrieked as he ran straight into Puck, standing in the doorway like he had every right to be there. Kurt nodded, even though Puck had his back to him now as he leaned over the dresser to inspect the photo. He wondered why Puck was so interested and why he continued to stare.
Joining him Kurt touched his boyfriend’s shoulder since Puck’s eyes were lost in some daydream.
“She’s a beautiful woman,” Puck whispered respecting the moment. “Your Dad really married up huh?”
That earned a slap to the arm but Puck grinned. “Kidding, Burt’s got that whole gruff but handsome thing going on.”
“Oh my Prada, you’ve been checking out my dad?”
“Gotta know how you might look in a couple of decades – but I think you have your mother’s eyes... and hair, even her voice.”
Kurt cocked his head at the odd statement. “How would you know that?”
Puck looked worried but shrugged. “Well you don’t sound like Burt and I figure he doesn’t sing soprano.”
“You’ll be singing soprano permanently if you keep it up Noah.”
“Hah! I think you’ll find you like my balls exactly where they are.”
Raising an eyebrow Kurt made a cutting motion. “One won’t be unduly missed.”
Kurt smiled at the banter; something he hoped they never lost. He was a romantic and was all for being in love but if that meant never being able to needle each other what was the point? It was a probably a guy thing; as honorary girl as he may be that only stretched as far as fashion and skin-care.
Covering his groin but trying not to show that was what he was doing Puck led Kurt the door. “Fun as this is its getting near show time, while I am confident of dressing myself Finessa needs your assistance.
Down in what was now mostly Finn’s room the suits were hanging in their plastic, three dark coloured but thankfully not matching pieces.
“Right,” Kurt rubbed his hands together in anticipation. They could start on hair, not a problem for Puck (yet, but it was growing) but Finn was starting to get quite the faux-hawk and Kurt had to convince him to tone it down for tonight. He glared at Finn’s shaggy mop and sighed. “Have you even showered?”
“Yep... this morning,” Finn didn’t even have to wait for Kurt’s response and slumped his shoulders as he headed to the bathroom.
“I’m glad we got slip on shoes because I’m not sure he’s graduated to knots yet,” smirked Kurt.
Hands wrapped around his waist and Puck dragged him to the bed.
“Do we have time?” whispered Kurt.
Puck’s eye twitched as he obviously considered it. “Probably but there’s something more important.”
“Sounds ominous, don’t tell me you can’t dance because I know for a fact that is untrue.”
“No,” Puck chuckled. “A story actually, a true one I think you need to hear.”
“Look, if its about what you heard me saying to my mother I don’t expect-.”
“Shush,” said Puck, putting a finger to his lips. “Its about us, you, me and Finn.”
Kurt’s eyes widened.
That made Puck snort. “Filthy boy – not that!” He glanced at the bathroom but they could both hear the water still running. “Its time you knew what happened to us, what led to me being a bastard to you and all those others and maybe even why Finn took a while to be better to you about being gay.”
“You don’t have to,” said Kurt. “Its just the past, we can let that go.”
“I don’t think I can – I need you to know that you and me are not some experiment.” Grinning widely as if it were a joke Puck continued. “In case we’re not clear I am gay… not bi or confused or messing with you just for fun.” Puck shook his head. “And I don’t want there to be any more secrets after tonight... what do you already know, Mom’s hinted that she said something.”
Kurt took a breath and considered lying but Puck would know. “Before Glee, before Quinn was pregnant and before I knew you guys you admitted to Finn you were gay – and he did something to make you keep it a secret.”
Puck nodded sadly. “Unfortunately that makes it all Finn’s fault and while he wasn’t exactly welcoming I should have tried harder, instead I let anger and frustration get the better of me.”
“Okay,” Kurt said, wriggling to get more comfortable and leaning against his boyfriend. “Spill it Puckerman.”
Sitting on Finn’s couch as his friend sat on what they all called ‘Dad’s chair’ Puck fiddled with the game controller but knew he had no chance today. Too much on his mind and too much stress about talking to Finn. This shouldn’t be so hard; they were in high school – Finn had just got the Quarterback position and Puck had finally gone out with a girl last Friday.
That had kind of settled it for him.
But how do you tell your best friend, the one guy who is a constant in your life, that you think that you are kinda maybe just a little bit possibly gay?
He opens his mouth to just blurt it out, with Finn that is the easiest way otherwise he gets far too confused. Instead Finn speaks first.
“Dude, I think Quinn and I are going to do it soon.”
That breaks his confidence. He hadn’t even known they were that serious. Sure Finn had taken her out a few times but he’d never even called her his girlfriend.
“Uh, that’s great man.”
What else could he say?
Finn gives him this weird kind of questioning look but Puck pretends not to notice and starts the game.
“So I think I might be gay.”
He finally says it when Finn’s over his house. Finn is sitting on the washer as Puck sorts through the pile of clothes, separating his from his sisters. He’ll still wash them both but has learned not to mix them up after the purple Wiggles shirt fiasco.
For a moment Puck wonders if he said it aloud but then he sees Finn’s face.
“Did you hear what I sa-.”
“Yeah, and you’d better say that was a fucking joke!” Finn hisses, looking around the small room as if there was somehow a spy hiding in the towels.
Puck continues sorting, the work hiding the tremors in his hands. “Not really something I would kid you about dude.”
Finn jumps off the washer and gets right in his face. “No! You are not a fucking queer!”
“I-.” But Finn interrupts him again.
“Noah Puckerman is not gay, nor will he ever be while he’s my friend, got it?”
“Why?” Puck whispers, he had been unsure how Finn might react but this anger and implied threat was not it.
“Do you know what this would do to my… to our reputations? I just got quarterback you idiot, and I’m seeing the head cheer leader.”
“This doesn’t change that,” Puck muttered, his eyes lowered as he tried to shift away but Finn kept in his personal space.
“It changes everything. You and I spend all our spare time together, everyone knows how close we are and if you… if people know you’re one of them – they’ll think I am too.”
Puck feels his anger start to simmer. It was just like Finn to make it more about him. “I never said I was going to tell anyone.”
“You’re telling me!”
“But you’re my best friend.”
“Not for much longer if you keep up with this shit.”
“Come on man, this is hard enough as it is,” Puck reaches out and puts a hand on Finn’s shoulder but Finn immediately shrugs it off and backs away.
“What? You telling me just so you can touch me, so you can be all perverted and crap with me – I’m no fag.”
“Dude that’s not it.”
“And what is,” hissed Finn. “You in love with me now, is that what you’re saying – cause that means nothing to me.”
“Fuck you Hudson, you’re my bro – that’s how I love you.” Puck felt the heat building in his face and knew he was either going to cry soon or get violent or both.
“Then be my bro – stop this shit, you-are-not-gay. You like girls, I like girls and that is how it has to be.”
Puck couldn’t look at him and turned away as he felt his eyes burning.
“Hey,” said Finn a little more softly. “I know you went out with whats-her-name and it didn’t work out but you can’t allow that to make you doubt yourself – next time you’ll get it right, you’ll see.”
Puck wasn’t stupid and knew that one bad date didn’t turn you gay; he’d been checking out guys, a lot of guys and what he felt with them was not what he felt when he looked at girls. But if Finn, his best friend, couldn’t accept him what chance did he have with anyone else in this town? They’d been hitting the gym since joining the team and Puck had bulked up but he couldn’t take on the entire school, not to mention anyone else who’d want to bash the queer.
“Yeah maybe you’re right.” He said it with no conviction but he saw Finn nod as if Puck had spoken some noble truth.
“You know I am. Remember we had a plan to rule this school and no homo has a chance of surviving at McKinley, let alone being at the top.”
“Dude you shouldn’t use those words, just say gay.” Puck may not be a prude but he knew when it was wrong to use hateful words, especially when they were about him.”
“I’ll say what’s needed to convince you to get back on track,” said Finn, getting in his face again. “And you gotta do what’s needed to stop being such a fag because I’m serious Puck – our friendship is over unless you man-up.”
His blood started to boil as Finn said those words. His father had said that to him before he left, that he wasn’t ‘man enough to be my son’… and Finn knew that. Puck grabbed Finn by his shirt and pushed him back. “Shut the hell up Finn! You don’t say that shit to me!”
“Why not!” Finn almost shouted. “What’re you going to do about it? Cry like a baby like you did when daddy left you… huh!”
Puck snarled and pulled his fist back. “Fuck you!” He swung and only at the last moment pulled the punch, it still glanced across Finn’s jaw but lacked the force it would have had. It had enough though to slam Finn against the wall. Puck immediately felt the anger turn into guilt and concern.
He had hit his best friend.
He’d sworn never to hurt Finn, to protect him from anything and now here he was, the aggressor.
“Finn, I’m sorry, are you okay – please I didn’t mean it.”
Holding his jaw Finn was smiling instead of being angry. His expression was… victorious.
“No queer could punch like that,” chuckled Finn. “Now you need to find a girl and prove this is just some stupid idea because you got too drunk and couldn’t finish the deed the other night.”
Staring at Finn as he raved on about how they’d forget this ever happened now that Puck had proven he was a real man it was all Puck could do not to be sick. Finn had made him attack him, had made him break a vow they’d made as kids to never hurt each other – just to show in some weird screwed up Hudson logic that Puck wasn’t gay. His stomach churned and he looked down at his knuckles, reddened from hitting Finn. His other hand wiped back his hair, he’d been growing it longer; something his mother loved since it curled after a few inches and she thought it made him very handsome.
He’d never been betrayed like this, not by someone he literally trusted with his deepest secrets; someone he would give his life for. His dad had left them sure, but the guy had been a dead-beat from day one. Finn had been the only guy he had ever felt close to, the one person except for his mom that could make him feel okay about himself.
He glared at Finn, the teen continuing to babble on about the upcoming game, the party afterwards and the girls that would be there. Puck’s eyes hardened as anger and hurt turned into ice-cold rage, repressed in an instant into a burning need for vengeance. Finn, in his typical inability to notice anyone’s feelings but his own, never saw the change – was not aware of the moment when Puck’s normally soft and caring brown eyes became that of a predator. Puck felt it, the beast within him growling to make Finn hurt like he was hurting. He held back though, violence would not achieve anything.
“And Quinn’s gonna be there too, I’m hoping I can get more than just above the clothes action.”
Puck’s eyes glazed over, not quite seeing Finn anymore.
“Quinn,” he whispered, Finn not hearing him.
The next morning Puck adjusted the mirror and tested the clippers, they buzzed warmly in his hand. His mother would kill him but if Finn wanted Puck to be a real man then he would show Finn just how much of a bad-ass guy he could be… then he would strike where Finn least expected it.
It took only a few sweeps to cut swathes of hair away; the rich black curls falling without a sound into the basin. Puck scraped his fingers against the tender stubble on both sides of his head and smiled viciously at his own reflection.
“You want me to get with a girl Hudson,” muttered Puck. “Then how about yours.”